Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
An extraordinary modern novel in the Victorian tradition, Charles Palliser has created something extraordinary--a plot within a plot within a plot of family secrets, mysterious clues, low-born birth, high-reaching immorality, and, always, always the fog-enshrouded, enigmatic character of 19th century -- London itself.
"You read the first page and down you wonderfully fall, into a long, large, wide world of fiction."
THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
of the two oldest chests, but finding nothing suitable, then pulled out the oldest of them and brought out from it piles of documents and register-books. At last he found a parchment with a large piece that was blank at the bottom which he cut off. As he began to sharpen a quill he said: “We need a witness. While I’m doing this, might I trouble you, Master Mellamphy, to step out and find the under-sexton? He’ll be at work in the yard. His name is about all he can write but that will suffice. The
see you right. Cross me and I’ll tear off your arm and beat you to death with it! Is that understood?” “Yes,” I said. “Tell nobody here nothing about yourself. ’Cept me. All right?” Again I gasped my acknowledgement of this condition. Still holding me he escorted me the length of the great dark hall and then pushed me ahead of him through a door-way to the right — which had no door — into the strangest room I had ever seen. CHAPTER 59 It was a large, lofty drawing-room which would,
great-grandfather and his father before him. Now the future, whatever it might be, was at least my own. How would I live? What would I do with the rest of my life? The best I could hope for — barely educated and without friends to advance me — was a lowly clerkship at a salary of twenty pounds a year. And I would be fortunate even to gain such a position for I did not write a good hand or cypher well or know how to reckon up accounts. The idea of entering one of the professions that I had long
stranger to me. The man broke off when he saw Bissett and me looking at him, and touched his hat ceremoniously to each of us. “And a very good evenin’ to you, too, mistress, and to the little genel’man. I was jist explainin’ to this young lady,” he addressed himself to Bissett but with a friendly eye included me in his speech, “how it is that I find meself, a stranger passin’ through this country to seek work, havin’ to seek charity of strangers, which is a thing I haven’t never done a-fore.”
attempts to force it. And then I looked more closely at the chain and realized that, formidable though it looked, it was severely rusted. I found a large stone nearby and tried smashing it down on one of the links where it crossed the jamb. After a few blows the chain parted in a shower of rust. The next problem was to move the door which had become almost a part of the ground. However, after some minutes I was able to push it far enough to allow me to squeeze round it. I did not hesitate, and a