McTeague (Signet Classics)
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McTeague is the story of a poor dentist scraping by in San Francisco at the end of the 19th century, and his wife Trina, whose $5,000 lottery winning sets in motion a shocking chain of events. Few works have captured the seamy side of American urban life with such graphic intensity.
down half a dozen times a day; by evening it was an unkempt, tangled mass, a veritable rat’s nest. Ah, no, it was not very gay, that life of hers, when one had to rustle for two, cook and work and wash, to say nothing of paying the rent. What odds was it if she was slatternly, dirty, coarse? Was there time to make herself look otherwise, and who was there to be pleased when she was all prinked out? Surely not a great brute of a husband who bit you like a dog, and kicked and pounded you as though
young fellow who reeked of the barber shop and whom he had once ordered from his rooms. “What can I do for you this morning, Mister McTeague? Something wrong with the teeth, eh?” “No, no.” McTeague, floundering in the difficulties of his speech, forgot the carefully rehearsed words with which he had intended to begin this interview. “I want to sell you my sign,” he said stupidly. “That big tooth of French gilt–you know–that you made an offer for once.” “Oh, I don’t want that now,” said the
Cribbens, who was in the lead, drew rein on the summit of the hills. Behind them was the beautiful green Panamint Valley, but before and below them for miles and miles, as far as the eye could reach, a flat, white desert, empty even of sagebrush, unrolled toward the horizon. In the immediate foreground a broken system of arroyos, and little canyons tumbled down to meet it. To the north faint-blue hills shouldered themselves above the horizon. “Well,” observed Cribbens, “we’re on the top of the
learned it after a fashion, mostly by watching the charlatan operate. He had read many of the necessary books, but he was too hopelessly stupid to get much benefit from them. Then one day at San Francisco had come the news of his mother’s death; she had left him some money–not much, but enough to set him up in business; so he had cut loose from the charlatan and had opened his Dental Parlors on Polk Street, an accommodation street of small shops in the residence quarter of the town. Here he had
dressmaker might ask her to stay to lunch, and that would be something saved, as the dentist had announced his intention that morning of taking a long walk out to the Presidio to be gone all day. But Trina rapped on Miss Baker’s door in vain that morning. She was out. Perhaps she was gone to the florist’s to buy some geranium seeds. However, Old Grannis’ door stood a little ajar, and on hearing Trina at Miss Baker’s room, the old Englishman came out into the hall. “She’s gone out,” he said