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The Beggar Man   By: (1883-1955)

The Beggar Man by Ruby M. Ayres

First Page:

THE BEGGAR MAN

BY THE SAME AUTHOR

THE WOMAN HATER

THE BEGGAR MAN

THE ONE WHO FORGOT

THE PHANTOM LOVER

THE GIRL NEXT DOOR

THE MASTER MAN

THE SECOND HONEYMOON

PAPER ROSES

THE WINDS OF THE WORLD

FOR LOVE

THE LITTL'ST LOVER

THE UPHILL ROAD

THE BLACK SHEEP

RICHARD CHATTERTON, V.C.

THE REMEMBERED KISS

INVALIDED OUT

A BACHELOR HUSBAND

HODDER AND STOUGHTON LIMITED LONDON

THE BEGGAR MAN

BY

RUBY M. AYRES

AUTHOR OF

"THE ONE WHO FORGOT," "THE MASTER MAN"

[Illustration: logo]

HODDER AND STOUGHTON

LIMITED LONDON

CONTENTS

PAGE CHAPTER I 9

CHAPTER II 24

CHAPTER III 43

CHAPTER IV 55

CHAPTER V 79

CHAPTER VI 93

CHAPTER VII 115

CHAPTER VIII 147

CHAPTER IX 162

CHAPTER X 178

CHAPTER XI 193

CHAPTER XII 209

CHAPTER XIII 234

CHAPTER I

She was small and slight, with timid, brown eyes and soft, fair hair and a certain daintiness of person that singled her out for attention in spite of the shabbiness of her clothes.

The first morning she put in an appearance at the factory the other girls marked her down as being a little different from themselves; a little less rough and capable of looking after her own interests, a little more refined, and ready to shrink from jest and laughter.

They crowded round her to stare with interest, in which there was mingled a faint suspicion. A volley of questions greeted her from all sides.

"What's your name?" "Where do you come from?" "Who took you on?"

She shrank back a little from their good natured inquisition. She answered their questions at random nervously.

"My name's Faith Ledley.... I live in Poplar.... I just applied, and the manager said he'd give me a trial."

She could feel the something hostile in the air, and her brown eyes darkened with anxiety. She felt herself so small and alone in this crowd of muscular, cheery young women.

One of them, who seemed a sort of leader amongst the others, took a little step towards her.

"What are you a machinist?"

"Yes "

"Oh!" The elder girl's rather bold blue eyes seemed to take stock of the younger one; then she said, with a note of greater friendliness:

"Oh, well, come on. You can sit next to me if you like."

Faith took courage.

"What is your name?" she asked diffidently.

The elder girl laughed. "They call me Peg," she said, and with sudden impulse she held out her work roughened hand. "Come on," she said again, with an unconscious note of imperiousness in her voice, and Faith obeyed.

That was Faith's initiation into the workings of Heeler's blouse factory. It was the beginning, also, of a lifelong friendship between herself and Peg Fraser.

During the day Peg asked many questions.

"Have you got a father and mother?"

"A mother she's delicate."

"Oh! Any brothers and sisters?"

"Two little sisters."

"Do you keep them?"

Faith smiled. "Oh, no! I help we take lodgers."

"Oh." For a moment Peg was silent, treadling away busily at her machine, and Faith stole a timid glance at her.

Peg was handsome in a bold sort of way. She had jet black hair and a high colour, blue eyes, a little hard in expression, and a fine figure.

She was a power to reckon with in the room in which she worked, as Faith was quick to discover. Even the forewoman, who was thin lipped and shrewish, seemed a little afraid of her. Presently she asked another question:

"What was your father?"

Faith flushed sensitively. "He was a gentleman," she said proudly.

Peg's blue eyes opened wide and for a moment she stopped work. Then:

"My father was a night watchman," she said dryly. She snapped off a thread with a vicious little gesture. "He was a drunken brute," she added vehemently. "We were all glad when he died. Were you glad when yours died?"

Faith's eyes clouded with tears... Continue reading book >>




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