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Sally Bishop A Romance   By: (1879-1933)

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SALLY BISHOP

A ROMANCE

BY E. TEMPLE THURSTON

NEW AND CHEAPER EDITION

LONDON CHAPMAN & HALL, LTD. 1912

BY THE SAME AUTHOR .

THE APPLE OF EDEN. TRAFFIC. THE REALIST. THE EVOLUTION OF KATHERINE. MIRAGE. THE CITY OF BEAUTIFUL NONSENSE. THE GREATEST WISH IN THE WORLD. THE PATCHWORK PAPERS. THE GARDEN OF RESURRECTION. THIRTEEN. THE FLOWER OF GLOSTER. THE ANTAGONISTS.

Copyright in the United States of America by E. Temple Thurston, 1909 .

To GERALD DU MAURIER

MY DEAR GERALD,

Amongst the many things which I anticipate in the reception of this book, is the shrug shoulder smile of critics at my sub title a Romance. There are canons and rubrics to be observed, it would seem, in the slightest action that a man attempts in this Great World's Fair of Conventionality, whose every sideshow is hedged around with the red tape of the Law. Witness even that delusive proverb there is honour amongst thieves. So is there an unwritten canon in literature and the making of books, that a Romance must end with a phrase to convey another illusion namely, the happiness that is ever after.

And so, in this respect, I throw canons to the winds it sounds a herculean feat wash out the printed red of the rubric, and call, perhaps the saddest story I shall write, a Romance.

Yet I profess to have a reason beyond mere contrariness. The world of Romance must be at all times an elusive star never capable of being put in the exact same place on any one's calendar. And to me it conveys no fixed beginning, no fixed end, so long as it possesses that quality of dreaming imagination in the mind of the character with whom the circumstances are first concerned. All that we know certainly of life is reality, and of all those myriad things which combine to make up the one great scheme, of which we know nothing, there is the quality of Romance free to any one who cares to let his mind drift upon the sea of conjecture.

In that this was the case with Sally; in that she made her dream out of Reality itself I have called it a Romance. The Romance that remains a Romance until the end, is not as yet within the reach of my pen. If it ever should be then I promise you that book as well.

On all my other anticipations the attitude of the critical mind towards Chapter IV. in Book I., the sensitiveness of the delicate mind when it closes its eyes on Chapter VI. of Book II. I will keep silent. As I have said, I anticipate many things, but I only hope for your approval.

Yours always, E. TEMPLE THURSTON.

LONDON, January 31st, 1908.

CONTENTS

BOOK I. THE CONSCRIPT

BOOK II. THE DESERTER

BOOK III. DERELICT

BOOK IV. THE EMPTY HORIZON

SALLY BISHOP

BOOK I

THE CONSCRIPT

CHAPTER I

It was an evening late in November. The fog that during the afternoon had been lying like a crouching beast between the closely built houses had now risen. It was as though it had waited till nightfall for its prey, and then departed, leaving a sense of sulkiness in the atmosphere that weighed persistently on the spirits. A slight drizzling rain was wetting the pavements. It clung in a mist to the glass panes of the street lamps, dimming the glow of the light within.

In the windows of all the houses the electric lights were burning. You could see clerks, male and female, bent up over their desks beneath them. Some worked steadily, never looking up from their occupations; others gazed with expressionless faces out into the street. Occasionally the figure of a man would move out of the apparent darkness of the room beyond. The light would fan in patches on his face. You could see his lips moving as he spoke to the occupant of the desk; you might even trace the faint animation as it crept into the face of the person thus addressed. But it would only last for a few moments... Continue reading book >>




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