The attractive and likable personality of Jimmy Bulstrode and his ingenious and unexpected adventures in love and life give this book a rare charm. The humor, the sentiment, and the cheerful originality of the hero make him a unique figure in fiction. Whether he buys a Christmas tree under highly original and very characteristic circumstances, or surprises some people into being happy, or fails in a gallant attempt toward the same object, or collects curios, or makes love through many adventures to the final outcome of the romance that knits the book into a novel of deep interest, he is always a strong, fine and delightfully unusual character.
"I have asked you to dine with me," he explained, with a certain graciousness, as if he claimed, not gave, a favor, "as I'm all alone to-night. It's Christmas eve, you know--or perhaps you've been more or less glad to forget it?"
The young man who took the chair indicated him was unrecognizable as the stranger who had staggered into 9 Washington Square three or four hours before. Turned out in spotless linen and a good suit that fitted him fairly well, shaven face save for a mustache above his lip, bathed, brushed, refreshed by nourishment and sleep and repose, he looked like one who has been in the waters, possibly a long, long time; like one who has drifted, been bruised, shattered, and beaten, but who has nevertheless drifted to shore; and in spite of his borrowed clothes, his scarred, haggard face, he looked like a gentleman, and Bulstrode from the moment he spoke had recognized him as one.
The food was a feast to the stranger, in spite of nourishment already given him by