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Paul Kelver, a Novel   By: (1859-1927)

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PAUL KELVER

By Jerome K. Jerome

(Jerome Klapka), 1859 1927

Transcriber's Note: Items in [brackets] are editorial comments added in proofing. Italicized text is delimited by underscores . The pound (currency) symbol has been replaced by the word "pound".

CONTENTS.

PROLOGUE

BOOK I

I. PAUL, ARRIVED IN A STRANGE LAND, LEARNS MANY THINGS, AND GOES TO MEET THE MAN IN GREY

II. IN WHICH PAUL MAKES ACQUAINTANCE OF THE MAN WITH THE UGLY MOUTH

III. HOW GOOD LUCK KNOCKED AT THE DOOR OF THE MAN IN GREY

IV. PAUL, FALLING IN WITH A GOODLY COMPANY OF PILGRIMS, LEARNS OF THEM THE ROAD THAT HE MUST TRAVEL, AND MEETS THE PRINCESS OF THE GOLDEN LOCKS

V. IN WHICH THERE COMES BY ONE BENT UPON PURSUING HIS OWN WAY

VI. OF THE SHADOW THAT CAME BETWEEN THE MAN IN GREY AND THE LADY OF THE LOVE LIT EYES

VII. OF THE PASSING OF THE SHADOW

VIII. HOW THE MAN IN GREY MADE READY FOR HIS GOING

IX. OF THE FASHIONING OF PAUL

X. IN WHICH PAUL IS SHIPWRECKED, AND CAST INTO DEEP WATERS

BOOK II.

I. DESCRIBES THE DESERT ISLAND TO WHICH PAUL WAS DRIFTED

II. PAUL, ESCAPING FROM HIS SOLITUDE, FALLS INTO STRANGE COMPANY, AND BECOMES CAPTIVE TO ONE OF HAUGHTY MIEN

III. GOOD FRIENDS SHOW PAUL THE ROAD TO FREEDOM. BUT BEFORE SETTING OUT, HE WILL GO A VISITING

IV. LEADS TO A MEETING

V. HOW ON A SWEET GREY MORNING THE FUTURE CAME TO PAUL

VI. OF THE GLORY AND GOODNESS AND THE EVIL THAT GO TO THE MAKING OF LOVE

VII. HOW PAUL SET FORTH UPON A QUEST

VIII. AND HOW CAME BACK AGAIN

IX. THE PRINCESS OF THE GOLDEN LOCKS SENDS PAUL A RING

X. PAUL FINDS HIS WAY

PAUL KELVER

PROLOGUE.

IN WHICH THE AUTHOR SEEKS TO CAST THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THIS STORY UPON ANOTHER.

At the corner of a long, straight, brick built street in the far East End of London one of those lifeless streets, made of two drab walls upon which the level lines, formed by the precisely even window sills and doorsteps, stretch in weary perspective from end to end, suggesting petrified diagrams proving dead problems stands a house that ever draws me to it; so that often, when least conscious of my footsteps, I awake to find myself hurrying through noisy, crowded thoroughfares, where flaring naphtha lamps illumine fierce, patient, leaden coloured faces; through dim lit, empty streets, where monstrous shadows come and go upon the close drawn blinds; through narrow, noisome streets, where the gutters swarm with children, and each ever open doorway vomits riot; past reeking corners, and across waste places, till at last I reach the dreary goal of my memory driven desire, and, coming to a halt beside the broken railings, find rest.

The house, larger than its fellows, built when the street was still a country lane, edging the marshes, strikes a strange note of individuality amid the surrounding harmony of hideousness. It is encompassed on two sides by what was once a garden, though now but a barren patch of stones and dust where clothes it is odd any one should have thought of washing hang in perpetuity; while about the door continue the remnants of a porch, which the stucco falling has left exposed in all its naked insincerity.

Occasionally I drift hitherward in the day time, when slatternly women gossip round the area gates, and the silence is broken by the hoarse, wailing cry of "Coals any coals three and sixpence a sack co o o als!" chanted in a tone that absence of response has stamped with chronic melancholy; but then the street knows me not, and my old friend of the corner, ashamed of its shabbiness in the unpitying sunlight, turns its face away, and will not see me as I pass.

Not until the Night, merciful alone of all things to the ugly, draws her veil across its sordid features will it, as some fond old nurse, sought out in after years, open wide its arms to welcome me. Then the teeming life it now shelters, hushed for a time within its walls, the flickering flare from the "King of Prussia" opposite extinguished, will it talk with me of the past, asking me many questions, reminding me of many things I had forgotten... Continue reading book >>




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