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More Pages from a Journal   By: (1831-1913)

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MORE PAGES FROM A JOURNAL WITH OTHER PAPERS

Contents:

A Bad Dream Esther Kate Radcliffe Mr. Whittaker's Retirement Confessions of a Self tormentor A letter to the 'Rambler' A letter from the Authoress of 'Judith Crowhurst' Clearing up after a storm in January The end of the North Wind Romney Marsh Axmouth The Preacher and the Sea Conversion July A Sunday morning in November Under Beachy Head: December 24th December Dreaming Ourselves The Riddle An Epoch Belief Extracts from a diary on the Quantocks Godwin and Wordsworth Notes Shakespeare

A BAD DREAM

Miss Toller, a lady about forty years old, kept a boarding house, called Russell House, at Brighton, in a dull but genteel part of the town so dull that even those fortunate inhabitants who were reputed to have resources in themselves were relieved by a walk to the shops or by a German band. Miss Toller could not afford to be nearer the front. Rents were too high for her, even in the next street, which claimed a sea view sideways through the bow windows. She was the daughter of a farmer in Northamptonshire, and till she came to Brighton had lived at home. When she was five and twenty her mother died, and in two years her father married again. The second wife was a widow, good looking but hard, and had a temper. She made herself very disagreeable to Miss Toller, and the husband took the wife's part. Miss Toller therefore left the farm at Barton Sluice, and with a little money that belonged to her purchased the goodwill and furniture of Russell House. She brought with her a Northamptonshire girl as servant, and the two shared the work between them. At the time when this history begins she had five lodgers, all of whom had been with her six months, and one for more than a year.

Mrs. Poulter, the senior in residence of the five, was the widow of a retired paymaster in the Navy. She was between fifty and sixty, a big, portly woman. After her husband was pensioned she lived in Southsea. As he belonged to the civilian branch, Mrs. Poulter had to fight undauntedly in order to maintain a calling acquaintance with the wives of executive officers, and in fact the highest she had on her list was a commander's lady. When Paymaster Poulter died, and his pension ceased, she gave up the struggle. She had no children, and moved to Brighton with an annuity of 150 pounds a year derived from her husband's insurance of 2000 pounds, and a life interest in some property left by her mother.

Mr. Goacher was a bachelor clergyman of about forty. He read prayers, presided over the book club, and by a judicious expenditure of oil prevented friction between the other boarders. It was understood that he had been compelled to give up clerical duty by what is called clergyman's sore throat. It was not known whether he had been vicar, rector, or curate, but he wore the usual white neck band and a soft, low felt hat, he was clean shaven, his letters were addressed 'Reverend,' he was not bad looking; and these vouchers were considered sufficient.

Mrs. Mudge was the widow of a tradesman in London. She was better off than any of the other lodgers, and drank claret at twenty shillings a dozen.

Miss Everard, the youngest of the party, was a French mistress, but English by birth, and gave lessons in two or three schools. She was never at home on weekdays excepting at breakfast and dinner. After dinner she generally corrected exercises in her bedroom, but when she was not busy she sat in the drawing room to save fire and light.

Miss Taggart was the daughter of a country doctor. Both her parents were dead, and she was poor. She had a reputation for being enlightened, as she was not regular in her attendance at public worship on Sunday, and did not always go to the same church. She told Mrs. Poulter once that science should tincture theology, whereupon, appeal being made to Mr. Goacher by that alarmed lady, he ventured to remark, that with all respect to Miss Taggart, such observations were perhaps liable to misconstruction in ordinary society, where they could not be fully explained, and, although she was doubtless right in a way, the statement needed qualification... Continue reading book >>




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