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My Novel - Book 7 - Chapter 3 Post by :ortaz Category :Long Stories Author :Edward Bulwer-lytton Date :May 2012 Read :913

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My Novel - Book 7 - Chapter 3


There was to be a considerable book-sale at a country house one day's journey from London. Mr. Prickett meant to have attended it on his own behalf, and that of several gentlemen who had given him commissions for purchase; but on the morning fixed for his departure, he was seized with a severe return of his old foe the rheumatism. He requested Leonard to attend instead of himself. Leonard went, and was absent for the three days during which the sale lasted. He returned late in the evening, and went at once to Mr. Prickett's house. The shop was closed; he knocked at the private entrance; a strange person opened the door to him, and in reply to his question if Mr. Prickett was at home, said, with a long and funereal face, "Young man, Mr. Prickett senior is gone to his long home, but Mr. Richard Prickett will see you."

At this moment a very grave-looking man, with lank hair, looked forth from the side-door communicating between the shop and the passage, and then stepped forward. "Come in, sir; you are my late uncle's assistant, Mr. Fairfield, I suppose?"

"Your late uncle! Heavens, sir, do I understand aright, can Mr. Prickett be dead since I left London?"

"Died, sir, suddenly, last night. It was an affection of the heart. The doctor thinks the rheumatism attacked that organ. He had small time to provide for his departure, and his account-books seem in sad disorder: I am his nephew and executor."

Leonard had now--followed the nephew into the shop. There still burned the gas-lamp. The place seemed more dingy and cavernous than before. Death always makes its presence felt in the house it visits.

Leonard was greatly affected,--and yet more, perhaps, by the utter want of feeling which the nephew exhibited. In fact the deceased had not been on friendly terms with this person, his nearest relative and heir-at-law, who was also a bookseller.

"You were engaged but by the week, I find, young man, on reference to my late uncle's papers. He gave you L1 a week,--a monstrous sum! I shall not require your services any further. I shall move these books to my own house. You will be good enough to send me a list of those you bought at the sale, and your account of travelling expenses, etc. What may be due to you shall be sent to your address. Good-evening."

Leonard went home, shocked and saddened at the sudden death of his kind employer. He did not think much of himself that night; but when he rose the next day, he suddenly felt that the world of London lay before him, without a friend, without a calling, without an occupation for bread.

This time it was no fancied sorrow, no poetic dream disappointed. Before him, gaunt and palpable, stood Famine. Escape!--yes. Back to the village: his mother's cottage; the exile's garden; the radishes and the fount. Why could he not escape? Ask why civilization cannot escape its ills, and fly back to the wild and the wigwam.

Leonard could not have returned to the cottage, even if the Famine that faced had already seized him with her skeleton hand. London releases not so readily her fated step-sons.

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My Novel - Book 7 - Chapter 4 My Novel - Book 7 - Chapter 4

My Novel - Book 7 - Chapter 4
BOOK SEVENTH CHAPTER IVOne day three persons were standing before an old bookstall in a passage leading from Oxford Street into Tottenham Court Road. Two were gentlemen; the third, of the class and appearance of those who more habitually halt at old bookstalls. "Look," said one of the gentlemen to the other, "I have discovered here what I have searched for in vain the last ten years,--the Horace of 1580, the Horace of the Forty Commentators, a perfect treasury of learning, and marked only fourteen shillings!" "Hush, Norreys," said the other, "and observe what is yet more worth your study;" and

My Novel - Book 7 - Chapter 2 My Novel - Book 7 - Chapter 2

My Novel - Book 7 - Chapter 2
BOOK SEVENTH CHAPTER IILeonard had written twice to Mrs. Fairfield, twice to Riccabocca, and once to Mr. Dale; and the poor proud boy could not bear to betray his humiliation. He wrote as with cheerful spirits,--as if perfectly satisfied with his prospects. He said that he was well employed, in the midst of books, and that he had found kind friends. Then he turned from himself to write about those whom he addressed, and the affairs and interests of the quiet world wherein they lived. He did not give his own address, nor that of Mr. Prickett. He dated his letters