"The Princess and the Goblin" is a children's fantasy novel by George MacDonald. Eight-year-old Princess Irene lives a lonely life in a castle in a wild, desolate, mountainous kingdom, with only her nursemaid "Lootie" for company. Her father the king is normally absent, and her mother is dead. Unknown to her, the nearby mines are inhabited by a race of goblins, long banished from the kingdom and now anxious to take revenge on their human neighbors.
"The Lancashire Witches" is a historical novel is based on the true story of the Pendle witches, who were executed in 1612 for causing harm by witchcraft. Ainsworth based his story largely on the official account of the Lancashire witch trials written by the clerk to the court, Thomas Potts, first published in 1613 under the title "The Wonderfull Discoverie of Witches in the Countie of Lancaster".
"The Wrong Box" is a black comedy novel co-written by Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne, first published in 1889. The story is about two elderly brothers Masterman and Joseph Finsbury, who are the last two surviving members of a tontine, an investment scheme set up many years before, in which the last member stands to receive a fortune.
"The Matador of the Five Towns and Other Stories" is a collection written by English writer Arnold Bennett (1867-1931). It was first published in 1912. These satirical stories draw on the author's experience of life in the Potteries, as did most of his best work. This collection includes 22 tales of life in the five pottery manufacturing towns of Staffordshire.
Bladys was tall and slender. An unusual feature in the district, where women are thickset and short; she had inherited from her Spanish great-grandmother a pale face and dark hair and eyes. She held the light with a trembling hand, not above her head, lest she should set fire to the drapery of cobwebs that hung from the vault. What little daylight penetrated to the cellar fell from the entrance door, and lay pale on the steps that led down into it, in gradually reduced brilliancy, and left the rest of the cellar wholly unillumined.
"The Gamekeeper at Home" is a collection of sketches of natural history and rural life in 19th century England. The book was written by English writer John Richard Jefferies (1848-1887) and it was first published in 1878. Jefferies is best known for his prolific and sensitive writing on natural history, rural life and agriculture in the late Victorian period. In "The Gamekeeper at Home" we are introduced with the manner of the English country life.
"The Regent" or "A towns story of adventure in London" is a story about London's upper class society in the Victorian era. The protagonist Edward Henry is a self-made successful entrepreneur, a "nouveau riche". He is a charming and clever man, but unfortunately with no artistic taste. Despite his wealth and accomplished political influence, he becomes bored in the small town so he heads up to London in order to get back into the competitive and exciting "game" of business.
"George and Robert Stephenson" is a biographical novel about the two railway pioneers and famous engineers, written by their close friend Samuel Smiles. George Stephenson (1781-1848) was an English civil engineer and mechanical engineer who built the first public inter-city railway line in the world to use steam locomotives, the Liverpool and Manchester Railway which opened in 1830.