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Sylvia's Marriage   By: (1878-1968)

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SYLVIA'S MARRIAGE

SOME PRESS NOTICES

"The importance of the theme cannot be doubted, and no one hitherto ignorant of the ravages of the evil and therefore, by implication, in need of being convinced can refuse general agreement with Mr. Sinclair upon the question as he argues it. The character that matters most is very much alive and most entertaining." The Times.

"Very severe and courageous. It would, indeed, be difficult to deny or extenuate the appalling truth of Mr. Sinclair's indictment." The Nation.

"There is not a man nor a grown woman who would not be better for reading Sylvia's Marriage." The Globe

"Those who found Sylvia charming on her first appearance will find her as beautiful and fascinating as ever." The Pall Mall.

"A novel that frankly is devoted to the illustration of the dangers that society runs through the marriage of unsound men with unsuspecting women. The time has gone by when any objection was likely to be taken to a perfectly clean discussion of a nasty subject." T.P.'s Weekly.

SYLVIA'S MARRIAGE

A NOVEL

BY

UPTON SINCLAIR

AUTHOR OF "THE JUNGLE," ETC., ETC.

LONDON

CONTENTS

BOOK I SYLVIA AS WIFE

BOOK II SYLVIA AS MOTHER

BOOK III SYLVIA AS REBEL

SYLVIA'S MARRIAGE

BOOK I

SYLVIA AS WIFE

1. I am telling the story of Sylvia Castleman. I should prefer to tell it without mention of myself; but it was written in the book of fate that I should be a decisive factor in her life, and so her story pre supposes mine. I imagine the impatience of a reader, who is promised a heroine out of a romantic and picturesque "society" world, and finds himself beginning with the autobiography of a farmer's wife on a solitary homestead in Manitoba. But then I remember that Sylvia found me interesting. Putting myself in her place, remembering her eager questions and her exclamations, I am able to see myself as a heroine of fiction.

I was to Sylvia a new and miraculous thing, a self made woman. I must have been the first "common" person she had ever known intimately. She had seen us afar off, and wondered vaguely about us, consoling herself with the reflection that we probably did not know enough to be unhappy over our sad lot in life. But here I was, actually a soul like herself; and it happened that I knew more than she did, and of things she desperately needed to know. So all the luxury, power and prestige that had been given to Sylvia Castleman seemed as nothing beside Mary Abbott, with her modern attitude and her common sense.

My girlhood was spent upon a farm in Iowa. My father had eight children, and he drank. Sometimes he struck me; and so it came about that at the age of seventeen I ran away with a boy of twenty who worked upon a neighbour's farm. I wanted a home of my own, and Tom had some money saved up. We journeyed to Manitoba, and took out a homestead, where I spent the next twenty years of my life in a hand to hand struggle with Nature which seemed simply incredible to Sylvia when I told her of it.

The man I married turned out to be a petty tyrant. In the first five years of our life he succeeded in killing the love I had for him; but meantime I had borne him three children, and there was nothing to do but make the best of my bargain. I became to outward view a beaten drudge; yet it was the truth that never for an hour did I give up. When I lost what would have been my fourth child, and the doctor told me that I could never have another, I took this for my charter of freedom, and made up my mind to my course; I would raise the children I had, and grow up with them, and move out into life when they did.

This was when I was working eighteen hours a day, more than half of it by lamp light, in the darkness of our Northern winters. When the accident came, I had been doing the cooking for half a dozen men, who were getting in the wheat upon which our future depended... Continue reading book >>




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