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Frederick Merrick White (1859-?) wrote a number of novels and short stories under the name Fred M. White, including the six 'Doom of London' science-fiction stories, in which various catastrophes beset London. These include The Four Days' Night (1903), in which London is beset by a massive killer smog; The Dust of Death (1903), in which diphtheria infects the city, spreading from refuse tips and sewers; and The Four White Days (1903), in which a sudden and deep winter paralyses the city under snow and ice. These six stories all first appeared in Pearson's Magazine, and were illustrated by Warwick Globe.
"Faugh, the old fellow is bleeding," Bentley said as he fumbled with the body. "Where the dickens does he keep that book? Here is a key, but the book—"
THE HEAD OF THE CAESARS
THE SILVERPOOL CUP
THE MORRISON RAID INDEMNITY
THE ROSY CROSS
THE DEATH OF THE PRESIDENT
THE CRADLESTONE OIL MILLS
THE LOSS OF THE EASTERN EMPRESS
They found her next morning, when the tide went down, behind the barrier of the rocks, lying in a tiny pool, with the water laying out her long black hair in shimmering waves. There were no bruises on her fair white skin; no cruel marks to mar the symmetry of her limbs; calm and pale in death as a little child asleep, with a smile upon the scarlet, curved lips such as she had worn in the hour of that noble sacrifice.
A dreadful face, a face dull and dissipated, with horrible watery red eyes, yet full of malice and cunning and passion. There was a bristle of whiskers and a moustache, as if chin and razor had for days been strangers. As suddenly as the face had come it turned. A hand shot out from somewhere as if seeking for the throat of the strange apparition, a fist was uplifted and the figure disappeared, evidently going down before a cruel and crushing blow. The light vanished; it had probably been overturned and gone out.
Ralph Kingsmill drew a deep breath as he looked around. It seemed
life had suddenly brought him all that man could desire. In his
waking dreams he had pictured this, never hoping to see it realised.
And now it had all come to him in most unexpected fashion. A week
before and what had he been? A poor, struggling author, with one or
two minor successes to his credit, burning with unsatisfied ambition,
strong at one moment, lamentably weak the next; in short, a
brilliantly clever man, cursed with the temperament that usually goes
with the artistic faculty. He had had his debts and his dissolute
companions, he had known a full pocket and a purse so lean that
starvation had stared him in the face. The sordid side was the more
painful, agonising, because Ralph had known the luxury of a refined
home, and was an old public schoolboy.