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The Emancipated   By: (1857-1903)

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First Page:

The Emancipated

by

George Gissing

CONTENTS

PART I

I NORTHERNERS IN SUNLIGHT II CECILY DORAN III THE BOARDING HOUSE ON THE MERGELLINA IV MIRIAM'S BROTHER V THE ARTIST ASTRAY VI CAPTIVE TRAVELLERS VII THE MARTYR VIII PROOF AGAINST ILLUSION IX IN THE DEAD CITY X THE DECLARATION XI THE APPEAL TO AUTHORITY XII ON THE HEIGHTS XIII ECHO AND PRELUDE XIV ON THE WINGS OF THE MORNING XV "WOLF!" XVI LETTERS

PART II

I A CORNER OF SOCIETY II THE PROPRIETIES DEFENDED III GRADATION IV THE DENYERS IN ENGLAND V MULTUM IN PARVO VI AT PAESTUM VII LEARNING AND TEACHING VIII STUMBLINGS IX SILENCES X ELGAR AT WORK XI IN DUE COURSE XII CECILY'S RETURN XIII ONWARD TO THE VAGUE XIV SUGGESTION AND ASSURANCE XV PEACE IN SHOW AND PEACE IN TRUTH XVI THE TWO FACES XVII END AND BEGINNING

PART I.

CHAPTER I

NORTHERNERS IN SUNLIGHT

By a window looking from Posillipo upon the Bay of Naples sat an English lady, engaged in letter writing. She was only in her four and twentieth year, but her attire of subdued mourning indicated widowhood already at the stage when it is permitted to make quiet suggestion of freedom rather than distressful reference to loss; the dress, however, was severely plain, and its grey coldness, which would well have harmonized with an English sky in this month of November, looked alien in the southern sunlight. There was no mistaking her nationality; the absorption, the troubled earnestness with which she bent over her writing, were peculiar to a cast of features such as can be found only in our familiar island; a physiognomy not quite pure in outline, vigorous in general effect and in detail delicate; a proud young face, full of character and capacity, beautiful in chaste control. Sorrowful it was not, but its paleness and thinness expressed something more than imperfect health of body; the blue grey eyes, when they wandered for a moment in an effort of recollection, had a look of weariness, even of ennui; the lips moved as if in nervous impatience until she had found the phrase or the thought for which her pen waited. Save for these intervals, she wrote with quick decision, in a large clear hand, never underlining, but frequently supplying the emphasis of heavy stroke in her penning of a word. At the end of her letters came a signature excellent in individuality: "Miriam Baske."

The furniture of her room was modern, and of the kind demanded by wealthy forestieri in the lodgings they condescend to occupy. On the variegated tiles of the floor were strewn rugs and carpets; the drapery was bright, without much reference to taste in the ordering of hues; a handsome stove served at present to support leafy plants, a row of which also stood on the balcony before the window. Round the ceiling ran a painted border of foliage and flowers. The chief ornament of the walls was a large and indifferent copy of Raphael's "St. Cecilia;" there were, too, several gouache drawings of local scenery: a fiery night view of Vesuvius, a panorama of the Bay, and a very blue Blue Grotto. The whole was blithe, sunny, Neapolitan; sufficiently unlike a sitting room in Redheck House, Bartles, Lancashire, which Mrs. Baske had in her mind as she wrote.

A few English books lay here and there, volumes of unattractive binding, and presenting titles little suggestive of a holiday in Campania; works which it would be misleading to call theological; the feeblest modern echoes of fierce old Puritans, half shame faced modifications of logic which, at all events, was wont to conceal no consequence of its savage premises. More noticeable were some architectural plans unrolled upon a settee; the uppermost represented the elevation of a building designed for religious purposes, painfully recognizable by all who know the conventicles of sectarian England... Continue reading book >>




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