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HAPPY DAYS And now Philip seemed as prosperous as his heart could desire. The business flourished, and money beyond his moderate wants came in. As for himself he required very little; but he had always looked forward to placing his idol in a befitting shrine; and means for this were now furnished to him. The dress, the comforts, the position he had desired for Sylvia were all hers. She did not need to do a stroke of household work if she... more...

A DIFFICULT QUESTION Philip went to bed with that kind of humble penitent gratitude in his heart, which we sometimes feel after a sudden revulsion of feeling from despondency to hope. The night before it seemed as if all events were so arranged as to thwart him in his dearest wishes; he felt now as if his discontent and repining, not twenty-four hours before, had been almost impious, so great was the change in his circumstances for the better.... more...

MONKSHAVEN On the north-eastern shores of England there is a town called Monkshaven, containing at the present day about fifteen thousand inhabitants. There were, however, but half the number at the end of the last century, and it was at that period that the events narrated in the following pages occurred. Monkshaven was a name not unknown in the history of England, and traditions of its having been the landing-place of a throneless queen were... more...

CHAPTER I The Dressmaker's Apprentice at Work  There is an assize-town in one of the eastern counties which was much distinguished by the Tudor sovereigns, and, in consequence of their favour and protection, attained a degree of importance that surprises the modern traveller. A hundred years ago its appearance was that of picturesque grandeur. The old houses, which were the temporary residences of such of the county-families as contented... more...


CHAPTER I. I am an old woman now, and things are very different to what they were in my youth.  Then we, who travelled, travelled in coaches, carrying six inside, and making a two days’ journey out of what people now go over in a couple of hours with a whizz and a flash, and a screaming whistle, enough to deafen one.  Then letters came in but three times a week: indeed, in some places in Scotland where I have stayed when I was a... more...

CHAPTER I. When Death is present in a household on a Christmas Day, the very contrast between the time as it now is, and the day as it has often been, gives a poignancy to sorrow—a more utter blankness to the desolation.  James Leigh died just as the far-away bells of Rochdale Church were ringing for morning service on Christmas Day, 1836.  A few minutes before his death, he opened his already glazing eyes, and made a sign to his... more...

THE OLD NURSE'S STORY You know, my dears, that your mother was an orphan, and an only child; and I daresay you have heard that your grandfather was a clergyman up in Westmoreland, where I come from. I was just a girl in the village school, when, one day, your grandmother came in to ask the mistress if there was any scholar there who would do for a nurse-maid; and mighty proud I was, I can tell ye, when the mistress called me up, and spoke of... more...

PART I It is a great thing for a lad when he is first turned into the independence of lodgings. I do not think I ever was so satisfied and proud in my life as when, at seventeen, I sate down in a little three-cornered room above a pastry-cook's shop in the county town of Eltham. My father had left me that afternoon, after delivering himself of a few plain precepts, strongly expressed, for my guidance in the new course of life on which I was... more...

We have our prejudices in England.  Or, if that assertion offends any of my readers, I will modify it: we have had our prejudices in England.  We have tortured Jews; we have burnt Catholics and Protestants, to say nothing of a few witches and wizards.  We have satirized Puritans, and we have dressed-up Guys.  But, after all, I do not think we have been so bad as our Continental friends.  To be sure, our insular position... more...