John Masefield A Mainsail Haul

ISBN 13: 9781230221403

A Mainsail Haul

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9781230221403: A Mainsail Haul
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This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can usually download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1913 edition. Excerpt: ... THE DEVIL AND THE OLD MAN Up away north, in the old days, in Chester, there was a man who never throve. Nothing he put his hand to ever prospered, and as his state worsened, his friends fell away, and he grew desperate. So one night when he was alone in his room, thinking of the rent due in two or three days and the money he couldn't scrape together, he cried out, "I wish I could sell my soul to the devil like that man the old books tell about." Now just as he spoke the clock struck twelve, and, while it chimed, a sparkle began to burn about the room, and the air, all at once, began to smell of brimstone, and a voice said: "Will these terms suit you?" He then saw that some one had just placed a parchment there. He picked it up and read it through; and being in despair, and not knowing what he was doing, he answered, "Yes," and looked round for a pen. "Take and sign," said the voice again, "but first consider what it is you do; do nothing rashly. Consider." So he thought awhile; then "Yes" he said, "I'll sign," and with that he groped for the pen. "Blood from your left thumb and sign," said the voice. So he pricked his left thumb and signed. "Here is your earnest money," said the voice, "nine and twenty silver pennies. This day twenty years hence I shall see you again." Now early next morning our friend came to himself and felt like one of the drowned. "What a dream I've had," he said. Then he woke up and saw the nine and twenty silver pennies and smelt a faint smell of brimstone. So he sat in his chair there, and remembered that he had sold his soul to the devil for twenty years of heart's-desire; and whatever fears he may have had as to what might come at the end of those twenty years, he found comfort in the thought that, after all, ...

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