Fan : the story of a young girl
757 Pages
English
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Fan : the story of a young girl's life

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757 Pages
English

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Fan, by Henry HarfordCopyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the copyright laws for your country before downloadingor redistributing this or any other Project Gutenberg eBook.This header should be the first thing seen when viewing this Project Gutenberg file. Please do not remove it. Do notchange or edit the header without written permission.Please read the "legal small print," and other information about the eBook and Project Gutenberg at the bottom of thisfile. Included is important information about your specific rights and restrictions in how the file may be used. You can alsofind out about how to make a donation to Project Gutenberg, and how to get involved.**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts****eBooks Readable By Both Humans and By Computers, Since 1971*******These eBooks Were Prepared By Thousands of Volunteers!*****Title: FanAuthor: Henry HarfordRelease Date: April, 2005 [EBook #7827] [This file was first posted on May 20, 2003]Edition: 10Language: EnglishCharacter set encoding: ISO Latin-1*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK, FAN ***Eric Eldred, Charles Franks, and the Online Distributed Proofreading TeamFANTHE STORY OF A YOUNG GIRL'S LIFEBY HENRY HARFORD(W.H. HUDSON)* * * * *NOTEThe novel Fan was originally published in 1892, under the pseudonym of "Henry Harford." It now makes its appearanceunder the name of W.H. Hudson for the first time.This ...

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Fan, by Henry
Harford
Copyright laws are changing all over the world. Be
sure to check the copyright laws for your country
before downloading or redistributing this or any
other Project Gutenberg eBook.
This header should be the first thing seen when
viewing this Project Gutenberg file. Please do not
remove it. Do not change or edit the header
without written permission.
Please read the "legal small print," and other
information about the eBook and Project
Gutenberg at the bottom of this file. Included is
important information about your specific rights and
restrictions in how the file may be used. You can
also find out about how to make a donation to
Project Gutenberg, and how to get involved.
**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla
Electronic Texts**
**eBooks Readable By Both Humans and By
Computers, Since 1971**
*****These eBooks Were Prepared By Thousands
of Volunteers!*****
Title: FanAuthor: Henry Harford
Release Date: April, 2005 [EBook #7827] [This file
was first posted on May 20, 2003]
Edition: 10
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO Latin-1
*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG
EBOOK, FAN ***
Eric Eldred, Charles Franks, and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team
FAN
THE STORY OF A YOUNG GIRL'S LIFE
BY HENRY HARFORD
(W.H. HUDSON)* * * * *
NOTE
The novel Fan was originally published in 1892,
under the pseudonym of "Henry Harford." It now
makes its appearance under the name of W.H.
Hudson for the first time.
This edition is limited to 498 copies of which 450
copies are for sale.
* * * * *CHAPTER I
A Misty evening in mid-October; a top room in one
of the small dingy houses on the north side of
Moon Street, its floor partially covered with pieces
of drugget carpet trodden into rags; for furniture,
an iron bed placed against the wall, a deal
cupboard or wardrobe, a broken iron cot in a
corner, a wooden box and three or four chairs, and
a small square deal table; on the table one candle
in a tin candlestick gave light to the two occupants
of the room. One of these a woman sitting in a
listless attitude before the grate, fireless now,
although the evening was damp and chilly. She
appeared strong, but just now was almost repulsive
to look at as she sat there in her dirty ill-fitting
gown, with her feet thrust out before her, showing
her broken muddy boots. Her features were
regular, even handsome; that, however, was little
in her favour when set against the hard red colour
of her skin, which told of habitual intemperance,
and the expression, half sullen and half reckless, of
her dark eyes, as she sat there staring into the
empty grate. There were no white threads yet in
her thick long hair that had once been black and
glossy, unkempt now, like everything about her,
with a dusky dead look in it.
On the cot in the corner rested or crouched a girl
not yet fifteen years old, the woman's only child:
she was trying to keep herself warm there, sittingclose against the wall with her knees drawn up to
enable her to cover herself, head included, with a
shawl and an old quilt. Both were silent: at intervals
the girl would start up out of her wrappings and
stare towards the door with a startled look on her
face, apparently listening. From the street sounded
the shrill animal-like cries of children playing and
quarrelling, and, further away, the low, dull,
continuous roar of traffic in the Edgware Road.
Then she would drop back again, to crouch against
the wall, drawing the quilt about her, and remain
motionless until a step on the stair or the banging
of a door below would startle her once more.
Meanwhile her mother maintained her silence and
passive attitude, only stirring when the light grew
very dim; then she would turn half round, snuff the
wick off with her fingers, and wipe them on her
shabby dirty dress.
At length the girl started up, throwing her quilt quite
off, and remained seated on the edge of her cot,
the look of anxiety increasing every moment on her
thin pale face. In the matter of dress she seemed
even worse off than her mother, and wore an old
tattered earth-coloured gown, which came down to
within three or four inches of her ankles, showing
under it ragged stockings and shoes trodden down
at heel, so much too large for her feet that they
had evidently belonged to her mother. She looked
tall for her years, but this was owing to her
extreme thinness. Her arms were like sticks, and
her sunken cheeks showed the bones of her face;
but it was a pathetic face, both on account of thewant and anxiety so plainly written on it and its
promise of beauty. There was not a particle of
colour in it, even the thin lips were almost white,
but the eyes were of the purest grey, shaded by
long dark lashes; while her hair, hanging uneven
and disordered to her shoulders, was of a pure
golden brown.
"Mother, he's coming!" said the girl.
"Let him come!" returned the other, without looking
up or stirring.
Slowly the approaching footsteps came nearer,
stumbling up the dark, narrow staircase; then the
door was pushed open and a man entered—a
broad-chested, broad-faced rough-looking man
with stubbly whiskers, wearing the dress and rusty
boots of a labourer.
He drew a chair to the table and sat down in
silence. Presently he turned to his wife.
"Well, what have you got to say?" he asked, in a
somewhat unsteady voice.
"Nothing," she returned. "What have you got?"
"I've got tired of walking about for a job, and I want
something to eat and drink, and that's what I've
got."
"Then you'd better go where you can get it," said
she. "You can't find work, but you can find drink,
and you ain't sober now."For only answer he began whistling and drumming
noisily on the table.
Suddenly he paused and looked at her.
"Ain't you done that charing job, then?" he asked
with a grin.
"Yes; and what's more, I got a florin and gave it to
Mrs. Clark," she replied.
"You blarsted fool! what did you do that for?"
"Because I'm not going to have my few sticks
taken for rent and be turned into the street with my
girl. That's what I did it for; and if you won't work
you'll starve, so don't you come to me for
anything."
Again he drummed noisily on the table, and
hummed or tried to hum a tune.
Presently he spoke again:
"What's Fan been a-doing, then?"
"You know fast enough; tramping about the streets
to sell a box of matches. A nice thing!"
"How much did she get?"
To this question no answer was returned.
"What did she get, I arsk you?" he repeated,
getting up and putting his hand heavily on her
shoulder."Enough for bread," she replied, shaking his hand
off.
"How much?" But as she refused to answer, he
turned to the girl and repeated in a threatening
tone, "How much?"
She sat trembling, her eyes cast down, but silent.
"I'll learn you to answer when you're spoken to, you
damn barstard!" he said, approaching her with
raised hand.
"Don't you hit her, you brute!" exclaimed his wife,
springing in sudden anger to her feet.
"Oh, father, don't hit me—oh, please don't—I'll tell
—I'll tell! I got eighteenpence," cried the girl,
shrinking back terrified.
He turned and went back to his seat, grinning at
his success in getting at the truth. Presently he
asked his wife if she had spent eighteenpence in
bread.
"No, I didn't. I got a haddock for morning, and two
ounces of tea, and a loaf, and a bundle of wood,"
she returned sullenly.
After an interval of a couple of minutes he got up,
went to the cupboard, and opened it.
"There's the haddy right enough," he said. "No
great things—cost you thrippence, I s'pose. Tea
tuppence-ha'penny, and that's fivepence-ha'penny, and a ha'penny for wood, and tuppence-
ha'penny for a loaf makes eightpence-ha'penny.
There's more'n ninepence over, Margy, and all I
want is a pint of beer and a screw. Threepence—
come now."
"I've nothing to give you," she returned doggedly.
"Then what did you do with it? How much gin did
you drink—eh?"
"As much as I could get," she answered defiantly.
He looked at her, whistled and drummed, then got
up and went out.
"Mother, he's gone," whispered Fan.
"No such luck. He's only going to ask Mrs. Clark if I
gave her the florin. He won't be long you'll see."
Very soon he did return and sat down again. "A
pint and a screw, that's all I want," he said, as if
speaking to himself, and there was no answer.
Then he got up, put his hand on her shoulder, and
almost shook her out of her chair. "Don't you
hear?" he shouted.
"Let me alone, you drunken brute; I've got nothing,
I tell you," she returned, and after watching his
face a few moments settled down again.
"All right, old woman, I'll leave you," he said,
dropping his hands. But suddenly changing his
mind, he swung round and dealt her a heavy blow.