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She and I, Volume 1 A Love Story. A Life History.   By:

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She and I Volume 1

by John Conroy Hutcheson The setting is a dull suburb in London, just after the middle of the nineteenth century. The hero spots a very pretty young lady in church, and falls in love with her. The first problem is to get an introduction. He manages this, but the girl's mother, with an eye to the long term, knows that our hero is not well off, while others, who we can see are not the sort of person the girl would like to marry, are. Various parties and expeditions involving the church's congregation take place, and eventually the wooing of the young lady appears successful.

The book is altogether in a different style to Hutcheson's later works, which are mostly nautical. Possibly a period of twenty years separates this book from the later ones. Certainly this book has about it, at times, a feeling of the experimental, particularly in the use of certain words, which one feels Hutcheson may have thought up, and which have not "caught on." Another symptom is the use of unusual hyphenated words, and an over use of common ones. There are also several quotations from poetry, which one does not mind while they are in English, or perhaps French, but which get a bit tedious when they are in other languages. I particularly dislike this habit when one of these foreign poems is used at the start of the chapter. Couldn't a good translation have done just as well? SHE AND I VOLUME ONE




"I muse, as in a trance, when e'er The languors of thy love deep eyes Float on me. I would I were So tranced, so wrapt in ecstasies, To stand apart, and to adore, Gazing on thee for evermore!"

I saw her first in church.

Do you happen to know a quaint, dreamy old region in the west of London, which bricks and mortar have not, as yet, overtaken, nor newfangled villas vulgarised?

A region of innumerable market gardens that are principally laid out in long, narrow beds, lost into nothingness as they dwindle down in the dim vista of perspective, and which are planted with curly endive, piquante looking lettuces, and early cabbages; squat rows of gooseberry bushes and currant trees, with a rose set here and there in between; and sweet smelling, besides, of hidden violets and honeysuckles, and the pink and white hawthorn of the hedges in May:

A region of country lanes, ever winding and seemingly never ending, leading down to and past and from the whilom silent, whilom bustling river, that never heeds their tortuous intricacies, but hurries by on its way through the busy city towards the sea below; lanes wherein are to be occasionally met with curious old stone houses, of almost historical antecedents and dreamy as the region in which they lie, scattered about in the queerest situations without plan or precedent, on which the casual pedestrian comes when he least expects:

Do you know this quaint old region, this fleeting oasis in the Sahara of the building mad suburban metropolis? I do, well; its market gardens, its circumambient lanes, its old, antiquarian stone houses, and all!

Many a time have I wandered through them; many a time watched the heavy waggons as they went creaking on their way to town and the great emporium at Covent Garden, groaning beneath the wealth and weight of the vegetable produce they carried, and laden so high with cunningly arranged nests of baskets on baskets, that one believed each moment that they would topple over, and held the breath for fear of hastening their fall; many a time sought to trace each curving lane to its probable goal, or tried to hunt out the hidden histories which lay concealed within the crumbling walls of the old dwellings on which I might happen to light in my walks.

But my favourite ramble, eclipsing all others now in pleasant recollections of by gone days, was through the Prebend's Walk, bordered with its noble grove of stately lime trees and oaks and elms on either hand; and passing by open fields, that are, in spring, rich with yellow buttercups and star spangled daisies, and, in summer, ripe with the aromatic odours of new mown hay... Continue reading book >>

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