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32 Works of Arnold Bennett

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The Elixir Of Youth

Story type: Literature

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It was Monday afternoon of Bursley Wakes–not our modern rectified festival, but the wild and naive orgy of seventy years ago, the days of bear-baiting and of bull-baiting, from which latter phrase, they say, the town derives its name. In those times there was a town-bull, a sort of civic beast; and a certain notorious […]

Mary With The High Hand

Story type: Literature

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In the front-bedroom of Edward Beechinor’s small house in Trafalgar Road the two primary social forces of action and reaction–those forces which under a thousand names and disguises have alternately ruled the world since the invention of politics–were pitted against each other in a struggle rendered futile by the equality of the combatants. Edward Beechinor […]

I It was an amiable but deceitful afternoon in the third week of December. Snow fell heavily in the windows of confectioners’ shops, and Father Christmas smiled in Keats’s Bazaar the fawning smile of a myth who knows himself to be exploded; but beyond these and similar efforts to remedy the forgetfulness of a careless […]

The Tiger And The Baby

Story type: Literature

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I George Peel and Mary, his wife, sat down to breakfast. Their only son, Georgie, was already seated. George the younger showed an astounding disregard for the decencies of life, and a frankly gluttonous absorption in food which amounted to cynicism. Evidently he cared for nothing but the satisfaction of bodily desires. Yet he was […]

The Revolver

Story type: Literature

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When friends observed his occasional limp, Alderman Keats would say, with an air of false casualness, “Oh, a touch of the gout.” And after a year or two, the limp having increased in frequency and become almost lameness, he would say, “My gout!” He also acquired the use of the word “twinge.” A scowl of […]

An Unfair Advantage

Story type: Literature

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I James Peake and his wife, and Enoch Lovatt, his wife’s half-sister’s husband, and Randolph Sneyd, the architect, were just finishing the usual Saturday night game of solo whist in the drawing-room of Peake’s large new residence at Hillport, that unique suburb of Bursley. Ella Peake, twenty-year-old daughter of the house, sat reading in an […]

Half-A-Sovereign

Story type: Literature

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The scene was the up-platform of Knype railway station on a summer afternoon, and, more particularly, that part of the platform round about the bookstall. There were three persons in the neighbourhood of the bookstall. The first was the principal bookstall clerk, who was folding with extraordinary rapidity copies of the special edition of the […]

The Blue Suit

Story type: Literature

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I was just going into my tailor’s in Sackville Street, when who should be coming out of the same establishment but Mrs Ellis! I was startled, as any man might well have been, to see a lady emerging from my tailor’s. Of course a lady might have been to a tailor’s to order a tailor-made […]

Why The Clock Stopped

Story type: Literature

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I Mr Morfe and Mary Morfe, his sister, were sitting on either side of their drawing-room fire, on a Friday evening in November, when they heard a ring at the front door. They both started, and showed symptoms of nervous disturbance. They both said aloud that no doubt it was a parcel or something of […]

Hot Potatoes

Story type: Literature

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I It was considered by certain people to be a dramatic moment in the history of musical enterprise in the Five Towns when Mrs Swann opened the front door of her house at Bleakridge, in the early darkness of a November evening, and let forth her son Gilbert. Gilbert’s age was nineteen, and he was […]

The Long-Lost Uncle

Story type: Literature

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On a recent visit to the Five Towns I was sitting with my old schoolmaster, who, by the way, is much younger than I am after all, in the bow window of a house overlooking that great thoroughfare, Trafalgar Road, Bursley, when a pretty woman of twenty-eight or so passed down the street. Now the […]

The Tight Hand

Story type: Literature

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I The tight hand was Mrs Garlick’s. A miser, she was not the ordinary miser, being exceptional in the fact that her temperament was joyous. She had reached the thirtieth year of her widowhood and the sixtieth of her age, with cheerfulness unimpaired. The people of Bursley, when they met her sometimes of a morning […]

The Cat And Cupid

Story type: Literature

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I The secret history of the Ebag marriage is now printed for the first time. The Ebag family, who prefer their name to be accented on the first syllable, once almost ruled Oldcastle, which is a clean and conceited borough, with long historical traditions, on the very edge of the industrial, democratic and unclean Five […]

Catching The Train

Story type: Literature

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I Arthur Cotterill awoke. It was not exactly with a start that he awoke, but rather with a swift premonition of woe and disaster. The strong, bright glare from the patent incandescent street lamp outside, which the lavish Corporation of Bursley kept burning at the full till long after dawn in winter, illuminated the room […]

I They stood at the window of her boudoir in the new house which Stephen Cheswardine had recently bought at Sneyd. The stars were pursuing their orbits overhead in a clear dark velvet sky, except to the north, where the industrial fires and smoke of the Five Towns had completely put them out. But even […]

Under The Clock

Story type: Literature

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I It was one of those swift and violent marriages which occur when the interested parties are so severely wounded by the arrow of love that only immediate and constant mutual nursing will save them from a fatal issue. (So they think.) Hence when Annie came from Sneyd to inhabit the house in Birches Street, […]

I They all happened on the same day. And that day was a Saturday, the red Saturday on which, in the unforgettable football match between Tottenham Hotspur and the Hanbridge F.C. (formed regardless of expense in the matter of professionals to take the place of the bankrupt Knype F.C.), the referee would certainly have been […]

I “Have you heard about Tommy Chadwick?” one gossip asked another in Bursley. “No.” “He’s a tram-conductor now.” This information occasioned surprise, as it was meant to do, the expression on the faces of both gossips indicating a pleasant curiosity as to what Tommy Chadwick would be doing next. Thomas Chadwick was a “character” in […]

The Supreme Illusion

Story type: Literature

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I Perhaps it was because I was in a state of excited annoyance that I did not recognize him until he came right across the large hall of the hotel and put his hand on my shoulder. I had arrived in Paris that afternoon, and driven to that nice, reasonable little hotel which we all […]

The Letter And The Lie

Story type: Literature

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I As he hurried from his brougham through the sombre hall to his study, leaving his secretary far in the rear, he had already composed the first sentence of his address to the United Chambers of Commerce of the Five Towns; his mind was full of it; he sat down at once to his vast […]

Jock-At-A-Venture

Story type: Literature

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I All this happened at a Martinmas Fair in Bursley, long ago in the fifties, when everybody throughout the Five Towns pronounced Bursley “Bosley” as a matter of course; in the tedious and tragic old times, before it had been discovered that hell was a myth, and before the invention of pleasure or even of […]

Mimi

Story type: Literature

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I On a Saturday afternoon in late October Edward Coe, a satisfactory average successful man of thirty-five, was walking slowly along the King’s Road, Brighton. A native and inhabitant of the Five Towns in the Midlands, he had the brusque and energetic mien of the Midlands. It could be seen that he was a stranger […]

I Mrs Brindeley looked across the lunch-table at her husband with glinting, eager eyes, which showed that there was something unusual in the brain behind them. “Bob,” she said, factitiously calm. “You don’t know what I’ve just remembered!” “Well?” said he. “It’s only grandma’s birthday to-day!” My friend Robert Brindley, the architect, struck the table […]

I In the daily strenuous life of a great hotel there are periods during which its bewildering activities slacken, and the vast organism seems to be under the influence of an opiate. Such a period recurs after dinner when the guests are preoccupied by the mysterious processes of digestion in the drawing-rooms or smoking-rooms or […]

The Sisters Qita

Story type: Literature

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The manuscript ran thus: * * * * * When I had finished my daily personal examination of the ropes and-trapezes, I hesitated a moment, and then climbed up again, to the roof, where the red and the blue long ropes were fastened. I took my sharp scissors from my chatelaine, and gently fretted the […]

The Hungarian Rhapsody

Story type: Literature

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I After a honeymoon of five weeks in the shining cities of the Mediterranean and in Paris, they re-entered the British Empire by the august portals of the Chatham and Dover Railway. They stood impatiently waiting, part of a well-dressed, querulous crowd, while a few officials performed their daily task of improvising a Custom-house for […]

I ‘What did you say your name was?’ asked Otto, the famous concert manager. ‘Clara Toft.’ ‘That won’t do,’ he said roughly. ‘My real proper name is Clarice,’ she added, blushing. ‘But—-‘ ‘That’s better, that’s better.’ His large, dark face smiled carelessly. ‘Clarice–and stick an “e” on to Toft–Clarice Tofte. Looks like either French or […]

Tiddy-Fol-Lol

Story type: Literature

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It was the dinner-hour, and a group of ragged and clay-soiled apprentice boys were making a great noise in the yard of Henry Mynors and Co.’s small, compact earthenware manufactory up at Toft End. Toft End caps the ridge to the east of Bursley; and Bursley, which has been the home of the potter for […]

Phantom

Story type: Literature

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I The heart of the Five Towns–that undulating patch of England covered with mean streets, and dominated by tall smoking chimneys, whence are derived your cups and saucers and plates, some of your coal, and a portion of your iron–is Hanbridge, a borough larger and busier than its four sisters, and even more grimy and […]

A Feud

Story type: Literature

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When Clive Timmis paused at the side-door of Ezra Brunt’s great shop in Machin Street, and the door was opened to him by Ezra Brunt’s daughter before he had had time to pull the bell, not only all Machin Street knew it within the hour, but also most persons of consequence left in Hanbridge on […]

The Idiot

Story type: Literature

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William Froyle, ostler at the Queen’s Arms at Moorthorne, took the letter, and, with a curt nod which stifled the loquacity of the village postman, went at once from the yard into the coach-house. He had recognised the hand-writing on the envelope, and the recognition of it gave form and quick life to all the […]

The Feast Of St. Friend

Story type: Literature

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ONE THE FACT Something has happened to Christmas, or to our hearts; or to both. In order to be convinced of this it is only necessary to compare the present with the past. In the old days of not so long ago the festival began to excite us in November. For weeks the house rustled […]