THE MAN IN THE DARK by Mansel Stimpson

Paul knew that he possessed none of the characteristics of the gay male stereotype. And in all probability that was equally true of Richard. Not that he knew Richard, the man he was about to meet, the man who had placed the gay ad to which he had replied. Their contact to date had been limited to a single, quite short, telephone conversation. Yet Paul felt able already to build up a picture in his mind because the name announced on the telephone had not been unfamiliar. Quite the contrary, in fact, for this stranger was a figure from the past. He had been noted for his involvement in gay liberation a decade ago, long before Paul had started to come to terms with his own sexuality.

The prospect of meeting such a man would be daunting to some. Paul, however, merely regarded it as an intriguing prospect. There was nothing strange in this, for, if he had been late in identifying himself as gay, his eventual acceptance had been without reservations. This made him very positive in outlook and strong in manner. The history of Richard’s achievements suggested he might well be Paul’s equal in these respects, and this was appealing to Paul who had long ago dismissed the idea that gay lovers had to be respectively active and passive for sex to go well. The challenge of like to like had been part of his experience; but not lately, and the possibility of sparking off a new relationship of this kind could not have been more welcome. As he travelled to Richard’s house to keep their appointment, he realized to his pleasure that he felt decidedly randy.
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THE SECRET OF GORESTHORPE GRANGE by Arthur Conan Doyle

I AM SURE THAT NATURE NEVER INTENDED ME TO BE A self-made man. There are times when I can hardly bring myself to realize that twenty years of my life were spent behind the counter of a grocer’s shop in the East End of London, and that it was through such an avenue that I reached a wealthy independence and the possession of Goresthorpe Grange. My habits are Conservative, and my tastes refined and aristocratic. I have a soul which spurns the vulgar herd. Our family, the D’Odds, date back to a prehistoric era, as is to be inferred from the fact that their advent into British history is not commented on by any trustworthy historian. Some instinct tells me that the blood of a Crusader runs in my veins. Even now, after the lapse of so many years, such exclamations as “By’r Lady!” rise naturally to my lips, and I feel that, should circumstances require it, I am capable of rising in my stirrups and dealing an infidel a blow–say with a mace–which would considerably astonish him.

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ARTHUR SNATCHFOLD by E.M. Forster

1.

CONWAY (SIR RICHARD CONWAY) WOKE EARLY, and went to the window to have a look at the Trevor Donaldsons’ garden. Too green. A flight of mossy steps led up from the drive to a turfed amphitheatre. This contained a number of trees of the lead-pencil persuasion, and a number of flowerbeds, profuse with herbaceous promises which would certainly not be fulfilled that weekend. The summer was heavy-leaved and at a moment between flowerings, and the gardener, though evidently expensive, had been caught bending. Bounding the amphitheatre was a high yew hedge, an imposing background had there been any foreground, and behind the hedge a heavy wood shut the sky out. OF course what was wanted was colour. Delphinium, salvia, red-hot-poker, zinnias, tobacco-plant, anything. Leaning out of the baronial casement, Conway considered this, while he waited for his tea. He was not an artist, nor a philosopher, but he liked exercising his mind when he had nothing else to do, as on this Sunday morning, this country morning, with so much ahead to be eaten, and so little to be said.

A VISIT TO THE GENERAL by Francis King

THE SUN-BURNED HAND WITH THE FRECKLES and the clean, closely-cut nails moved across the chess-board. “Check,” the general murmured. He was sitting bolt upright in a plain wooden chair.

The boy opposite him stirred lazily in the recesses of the sofa, pushed the hair away from his eyes, and glanced at the game. “Oh, but you’ve exposed your king,” he exclaimed, massaging one thin blue-veined wrist against the fingers of his other hand. He was slight, with a stoop, and when he gave his faintly malicious smile, as he did now, one corner of his mouth twitched oddly upwards, almost in the snarl of a cornered animal. “Don’t you see?” he asked. “You can’t do that.”

The general scraped his chair backward and rose to his feet, his face moving out of the shadows in which they had been playing and striking a transverse beam of sunshine from the open window. It was a fine but rather terrible face, one cheek covered with scars, and the whole divided by a few resolute lines. “I give you the game,” he said. “You’re too good for me. I’m becoming rusty.”

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