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Miss Lulu Bett

Book cover
By: (1874-1938)

Lulu Bett is a spinster, living at the turn of the 20th century essentially as a servant with her sister Ina and brother-in-law Dwight. She is, uncomplainingly, "the family beast of burden," living in the background and tending to the family's needs. It therefore surprises everyone, Lulu included, when Dwight's visiting brother Ninian proposes to her, and she accepts. The surprise is even greater when Lulu returns home alone from their homeymoon trip, with the news that Ninian was already legally married before he married her. What follows brings Lulu into conflict with the self-satisfied Dwight, forcing her to choose how she defines herself, with unexpected results. This novel is the basis of the 1921 play for which Zona Gale became the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for drama. The original ending of the play, in which Lulu gains freedom by walking away from the security of the family, was considered so controversial that a new ending was written. In this, the book, we see the author's original intent.

First Page:

MISS LULU BETT

By ZONA GALE

1921

CONTENTS

CHAPTER

I. APRIL

II. MAY

III. JUNE

IV. JULY

V. AUGUST

VI. SEPTEMBER

I

APRIL

The Deacons were at supper. In the middle of the table was a small, appealing tulip plant, looking as anything would look whose sun was a gas jet. This gas jet was high above the table and flared, with a sound.

"Better turn down the gas jest a little," Mr. Deacon said, and stretched up to do so. He made this joke almost every night. He seldom spoke as a man speaks who has something to say, but as a man who makes something to say.

"Well, what have we on the festive board to night?" he questioned, eyeing it. "Festive" was his favourite adjective. "Beautiful," too. In October he might be heard asking: "Where's my beautiful fall coat?"

"We have creamed salmon," replied Mrs. Deacon gently. "On toast," she added, with a scrupulous regard for the whole truth. Why she should say this so gently no one can tell. She says everything gently. Her "Could you leave me another bottle of milk this morning?" would wring a milkman's heart... Continue reading book >>


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