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You Never Know Your Luck   By: (1862-1932)

Book cover

First Page:

YOU NEVER KNOW YOUR LUCK

[BEING THE STORY OF A MATRIMONIAL DESERTER]

By Gilbert Parker

CONTENTS:

Volume 1. PROEM I. "PIONEERS, O PIONEERS" II. CLOSING THE DOORS III. THE LOGAN TRIAL AND WHAT CAME OF IT IV. "STRENGTH SHALL BE GIVEN THEE" V. A STORY TO BE TOLD

Volume 2. VI. "HERE ENDETH THE FIRST LESSON" VII. A WOMAN'S WAY TO KNOWLEDGE VIII. ALL ABOUT AN UNOPENED LETTER IX. NIGHT SHADE AND MORNING GLORY X. "S. O. S." XI. IN THE CAMP OF THE DESERTER

Volume 3. XII. AT THE RECEIPT OF CUSTOM XIII. KITTY SPEAKS HER MIND AGAIN XIV. AWAITING THE VERDICT XV. "MALE AND FEMALE CREATED HE THEM" XVI. "'TWAS FOR YOUR PLEASURE YOU CAME HERE, YOU GO BACK FOR MINE" XVII. WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT IT? EPILOGUE

INTRODUCTION

This volume contains two novels dealing with the life of prairie people in the town of Askatoon in the far West. 'The World for Sale' and the latter portion of 'The Money Master' deal with the same life, and 'The Money Master' contained some of the characters to be found in 'Wild Youth'. 'The World for Sale' also was a picture of prairie country with strife between a modern Anglo Canadian town and a French Canadian town in the West. These books are of the same people; but 'You Never Know Your Luck' and 'Wild Youth' have several characters which move prominently through both.

In the introduction to 'The World for Sale' in this series, I drew a description of prairie life, and I need not repeat what was said there. 'In You Never Know Your Luck' there is a Proem which describes briefly the look of the prairie and suggests characteristics of the life of the people. The basis of the book has a letter written by a wife to her husband at a critical time in his career when he had broken his promise to her. One or two critics said the situation is impossible, because no man would carry a letter unopened for a long number of years. My reply is: that it is exactly what I myself did. I have still a letter written to me which was delivered at my door sixteen years ago. I have never read it, and my reason for not reading it was that I realised, as I think, what its contents were. I knew that the letter would annoy, and there it lies. The writer of the letter who was then my enemy is now my friend. The chief character in the book, Crozier, was an Irishman, with all the Irishman's cleverness, sensitiveness, audacity, and timidity; for both those latter qualities are characteristic of the Irish race, and as I am half Irish I can understand why I suppressed a letter and why Crozier did. Crozier is the type of man that comes occasionally to the Dominion of Canada; and Kitty Tynan is the sort of girl that the great West breeds. She did an immoral thing in opening the letter that Crozier had suppressed, but she did it in a good cause for Crozier's sake; she made his wife write another letter, and she placed it again in the envelope for Crozier to open and see. Whatever lack of morality there was in her act was balanced by the good end to the story, though it meant the sacrifice of Kitty's love for Crozier, and the making of his wife happy once more.

As for 'Wild Youth' I make no apology for it. It is still fresh in the minds of the American public, and it is true to the life. Some critics frankly called it melodramatic. I do not object to the term. I know nothing more melodramatic than certain of the plots of Shakespeare's plays. Thomas Hardy is melodramatic; Joseph Conrad is melodramatic; Balzac was melodramatic, and so were Victor Hugo, Charles Dickens, and Sir Walter Scott. The charge of melodrama is not one that should disturb a writer of fiction. The question is, are the characters melodramatic. Will anyone suggest to me the marriage of a girl of seventeen with a man over sixty is melodramatic. It may be, but I think it tragical, and so it was in this case. As for Orlando Guise, I describe the man as I knew him, and he is still alive... Continue reading book >>


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