Paul Kelver, a Novel

Author: Jerome K. Jerome

Chapter III. How Good Luck Knocked at the Door of the Man in Grey

"Louisa!" roared my father down the kitchen stairs, "are you all asleep? Here have I had to answer the front door myself." Then my father strode into his office, and the door slammed. My father could be very angry when nobody was by.

Quarter of an hour later his bell rang with a quick, authoritative jangle. My mother, who was peeling potatoes with difficulty in wash-leather gloves, looked at my aunt who was shelling peas. The bell rang again louder still this time.

"Once for Louisa, twice for James, isn’t it?" enquired my aunt.

"You go, Paul," said my mother; "say that Louisa—" but with the words a sudden flush overspread my mother’s face, and before I could lay down my slate she had drawn off her gloves and had passed me. "No, don’t stop your lessons, I’ll go myself," she said, and ran out.

A few minutes later the kitchen door opened softly, and my mother’s hand, appearing through the jar, beckoned to me mysteriously.

"Walk on your toes," whispered my mother, setting the example as she led the way up the stairs; which after the manner of stairs showed their disapproval of deception by creaking louder and more often than under any other circumstances; and in this manner we reached my parents’ bedroom, where, in the old-fashioned wardrobe, relic of better days, reposed my best suit of clothes, or, to be strictly grammatical, my better.

Never before had I worn these on a week-day morning, but all conversation not germane to the question of getting into them quickly my mother swept aside; and when I was complete, down even to the new shoes—Bluchers, we called them in those days—took me by the hand, and together we crept down as we had crept up, silent, stealthy and alert. My mother led me to the street door and opened it.

"Shan’t I want my cap?" I whispered. But my mother only shook her head and closed the door with a bang; and then the explanation of the pantomime came to me, for with such "business"—comic, shall I call it, or tragic?—I was becoming familiar; and, my mother’s hand upon my shoulder, we entered my father’s office.

Whether from the fact that so often of an evening—our drawing-room being reserved always as a show-room in case of chance visitors; Cowper’s poems, open face-downwards on the wobbly loo table; the half-finished crochet work, suggestive of elegant leisure, thrown carelessly over the arm of the smaller easy-chair—this office would become our sitting-room, its books and papers, as things of no account, being huddled out of sight; or whether from the readiness with which my father would come out of it at all times to play at something else—at cricket in the back garden on dry days or ninepins in the passage on wet, charging back into it again whenever a knock sounded at the front door, I cannot say. But I know that as a child it never occurred to me to regard my father’s profession as a serious affair. To me he was merely playing there, surrounded by big books and bundles of documents, labelled profusely but consisting only of blank papers; by japanned tin boxes, lettered imposingly, but for the most part empty. "Sutton Hampden, Esq.," I remember was practically my mother’s work-box. The "Drayton Estates" yielded apparently nothing but apples, a fruit of which my father was fond; while "Mortgages" it was not until later in life I discovered had no connection with poems in manuscript, some in course of correction, others completed.

Now, as the door opened, he rose and came towards us. His hair stood up from his head, for it was a habit of his to rumple it as he talked; and this added to his evident efforts to compose his face into an expression of businesslike gravity, added emphasis, if such were needed, to the suggestion of the over long schoolboy making believe.

"This is the youngster," said my father, taking me from my mother, and passing me on. "Tall for his age, isn’t he?"

With a twist of his thick lips, he rolled the evil-smelling cigar he was smoking from the left corner of his mouth to the right; and held out a fat and not too clean hand, which, as it closed round mine, brought to my mind the picture of the walrus in my natural history book; with the other he flapped me kindly on the head.

"Like ’is mother, wonderfully like ’is mother, ain’t ’e?" he observed, still holding my hand. "And that," he added with a wink of one of his small eyes towards my father, "is about the ’ighest compliment I can pay ’im, eh?"

His eyes were remarkably small, but marvellously bright and piercing; so much so that when he turned them again upon me I tried to think quickly of something nice about him, feeling sure that he could see right into me.

"And where are you thinkin’ of sendin’ ’im?" he continued; "Eton or ’Arrow?"

"We haven’t quite made up our minds as yet," replied my father; "at present we are educating him at home."

"You take my tip," said the fat man, "and learn all you can. Look at me! If I’d ’ad the opportunity of being a schollard I wouldn’t be here offering your father an extravagant price for doin’ my work; I’d be able to do it myself."

"You seem to have got on very well without it," laughed my father; and in truth his air of prosperity might have justified greater self-complacency. Rings sparkled on his blunt fingers, and upon the swelling billows of his waistcoat rose and sank a massive gold cable.

"I’d ’ave done better with it," he grunted.

"But you look very clever," I said; and though divining with a child’s cuteness that it was desired I should make a favourable impression upon him, I hoped this would please him, the words were yet spontaneous.

He laughed heartily, his whole body shaking like some huge jelly.

"Well, old Noel Hasluck’s not exactly a fool," he assented, "but I’d like myself better if I could talk about something else than business, and didn’t drop my aitches. And so would my little gell."

"You have a daughter?" asked my mother, with whom a child, as a bond of sympathy with the stranger took the place assigned by most women to disrespectful cooks and incompetent housemaids.

"I won’t tell you about ’er. But I’ll just bring ’er to see you now and then, ma’am, if you don’t mind," answered Mr. Hasluck. "She don’t often meet gentle-folks, an’ it’ll do ’er good."

My mother glanced across at my father, but the man, intercepting her question, replied to it himself.

"You needn’t be afraid, ma’am, that she’s anything like me," he assured her quite good-temperedly; "nobody ever believes she’s my daughter, except me and the old woman. She’s a little lady, she is. Freak o’ nature, I call it."

"We shall be delighted," explained my mother.

"Well, you will when you see ’er," replied Mr. Hasluck, quite contentedly.

He pushed half-a-crown into my hand, overriding my parents’ susceptibilities with the easy good-temper of a man accustomed to have his way in all things.

"No squanderin’ it on the ’eathen," was his parting injunction as I left the room; "you spend that on a Christian tradesman."

It was the first money I ever remember having to spend, that half-crown of old Hasluck’s; suggestions of the delights to be derived from a new pair of gloves for Sunday, from a Latin grammar, which would then be all my own, and so on, having hitherto displaced all less exalted visions concerning the disposal of chance coins coming into my small hands. But on this occasion I was left free to decide for myself.

The anxiety it gave me! the long tossing hours in bed! the tramping of the bewildering streets! Even advice when asked for was denied me.

"You must learn to think for yourself," said my father, who spoke eloquently on the necessity of early acquiring sound judgment and what he called "commercial aptitude."

"No, dear," said my mother, "Mr. Hasluck wanted you to spend it as you like. If I told you, that would be spending it as I liked. Your father and I want to see what you will do with it."

The good little boys in the books bought presents or gave away to people in distress. For this I hated them with the malignity the lower nature ever feels towards the higher. I consulted my aunt Fan.

"If somebody gave you half-a-crown," I put it to her, "what would you buy with it?"

"Side-combs," said my aunt; she was always losing or breaking her side-combs.

"But I mean if you were me," I explained.

"Drat the child!" said my aunt; "how do I know what he wants if he don’t know himself. Idiot!"

The shop windows into which I stared, my nose glued to the pane! The things I asked the price of! The things I made up my mind to buy and then decided that I wouldn’t buy! Even my patient mother began to show signs of irritation. It was rapidly assuming the dimensions of a family curse, was old Hasluck’s half-crown.

Then one day I made up my mind, and so ended the trouble. In the window of a small plumber’s shop in a back street near, stood on view among brass taps, rolls of lead piping and cistern requisites, various squares of coloured glass, the sort of thing chiefly used, I believe, for lavatory doors and staircase windows. Some had stars in the centre, and others, more elaborate, were enriched with designs, severe but inoffensive. I purchased a dozen of these, the plumber, an affable man who appeared glad to see me, throwing in two extra out of sheer generosity.

Why I bought them I did not know at the time, and I do not know now. My mother cried when she saw them. My father could get no further than: "But what are you going to do with them?" to which I was unable to reply. My aunt, alone, attempted comfort.

"If a person fancies coloured glass," said my aunt, "then he’s a fool not to buy coloured glass when he gets the chance. We haven’t all the same tastes."

In the end, I cut myself badly with them and consented to their being thrown into the dust-bin. But looking back, I have come to regard myself rather as the victim of Fate than of Folly. Many folks have I met since, recipients of Hasluck’s half-crowns—many a man who has slapped his pocket and blessed the day he first met that "Napoleon of Finance," as later he came to be known among his friends—but it ever ended so; coloured glass and cut fingers. Is it fairy gold that he and his kind fling round? It would seem to be.

Next time old Hasluck knocked at our front door a maid in cap and apron opened it to him, and this was but the beginning of change. New oilcloth glistened in the passage. Lace curtains, such as in that neighbourhood were the hall-mark of the plutocrat, advertised our rising fortunes to the street, and greatest marvel of all, at least to my awed eyes, my father’s Sunday clothes came into weekday wear, new ones taking their place in the great wardrobe that hitherto had been the stronghold of our gentility; to which we had ever turned for comfort when rendered despondent by contemplation of the weakness of our outer walls. "Seeing that everything was all right" is how my mother would explain it. She would lay the lilac silk upon the bed, fondly soothing down its rustling undulations, lingering lovingly over its deep frosted flounces of rich Honiton. Maybe she had entered the room weary looking and depressed, but soon there would proceed from her a gentle humming as from some small winged thing when the sun first touches it and warms it, and sometimes by the time the Indian shawl, which could go through a wedding ring, but never would when it was wanted to, had been refolded and fastened again with the great cameo brooch, and the poke bonnet, like some fractious child, shaken and petted into good condition, she would be singing softly to herself, nodding her head to the words: which were generally to the effect that somebody was too old and somebody else too bold and another too cold, "so he wouldn’t do for me;" and stepping lightly as though the burden of the years had fallen from her.

One evening—it was before the advent of this Hasluck—I remember climbing out of bed, for trouble was within me. Creatures, indescribable but heavy, had sat upon my chest, after which I had fallen downstairs, slowly and reasonably for the first few hundred flights, then with haste for the next million miles or so, until I found myself in the street with nothing on but my nightshirt. Personally, I was shocked, but nobody else seemed to mind, and I hailed a two-penny ’bus and climbed in. But when I tried to pay I found I hadn’t any pockets, so I jumped out and ran away and the conductor came after me. My feet were like lead, and with every step he gained on me, till with a scream I made one mighty effort and awoke.

Feeling the need of comfort after these unpleasant but by no means unfamiliar experiences, I wrapped some clothes round me and crept downstairs. The "office" was dark, but to my surprise a light shone from under the drawing-room door, and I opened it.

The candles in the silver candlesticks were lighted, and in state, one in each easy-chair, sat my father and mother, both in their best clothes; my father in the buckled shoes and the frilled shirt that I had never seen him wear before, my mother with the Indian shawl about her shoulders, and upon her head the cap of ceremony that reposed three hundred and sixty days out of the year in its round wicker-work nest lined with silk. They started guiltily as I pushed open the door, but I congratulate myself that I had sense enough—or was it instinct—to ask no questions.

The last time I had seen them, three hours ago, they had been engaged, the lights carefully extinguished, cleaning the ground floor windows, my father the outside, my mother within, and it astonished me the change not only in their appearance, but in their manner and bearing, and even in their very voices. My father brought over from the sideboard the sherry and sweet biscuits and poured out and handed a glass to my mother, and he and my mother drank to each other, while I between them ate the biscuits, and the conversation was of Byron’s poems and the great glass palace in Hyde Park.

I wonder am I disloyal setting this down? Maybe to others it shows but a foolish man and woman, and that is far from my intention. I dwell upon such trifles because to me the memory of them is very tender. The virtues of our loved ones we admire, yet after all ’tis but what we expected of them: how could they do otherwise? Their failings we would forget; no one of us is perfect. But over their follies we love to linger, smiling.

To me personally, old Hasluck’s coming and all that followed thereupon made perhaps more difference than to any one else. My father now was busy all the day; if not in his office, then away in the grim city of the giants, as I still thought of it; while to my mother came every day more social and domestic duties; so that for a time I was left much to my own resources.

Rambling—"bummelling," as the Germans term it—was my bent. This my mother would have checked, but my father said:

"Don’t molly-coddle him. Let him learn to be smart."

"I don’t think the smart people are always the nicest," demurred my mother. "I don’t call you at all ’smart,’ Luke."

My father appeared surprised, but reflected.

"I should call myself smart—in a sense," he explained, after consideration.

"Perhaps you are right, dear," replied my mother; "and of course boys are different from girls."

Sometimes I would wander Victoria Park way, which was then surrounded by many small cottages in leafy gardens; or even reach as far as Clapton, where old red brick Georgian houses still stood behind high palings, and tall elms gave to the wide road on sunny afternoons an old-world air of peace. But such excursions were the exception, for strange though it may read, the narrow, squalid streets had greater hold on me. Not the few main thoroughfares, filled ever with a dull, deep throbbing as of some tireless iron machine; where the endless human files, streaming ever up and down, crossing and recrossing, seemed mere rushing chains of flesh and blood, working upon unseen wheels; but the dim, weary, lifeless streets—the dark, tortuous roots, as I fancied them, of that grim forest of entangled brick. Mystery lurked in their gloom. Fear whispered from behind their silence. Dumb figures flitted swiftly to and fro, never pausing, never glancing right nor left. Far-off footsteps, rising swiftly into sound, as swiftly fading, echoed round their lonely comers. Dreading, yet drawn on, I would creep along their pavements as through some city of the dead, thinking of the eyes I saw not watching from the thousand windows; starting at each muffled sound penetrating the long, dreary walls, behind which that close-packed, writhing life lay hid.

One day there came a cry from behind a curtained window. I stood still for a moment and then ran; but before I could get far enough away I heard it again, a long, piercing cry, growing fiercer before it ceased; so that I ran faster still, not heeding where I went, till I found myself in a raw, unfinished street, ending in black waste land, bordering the river. I stopped, panting, wondering how I should find my way again. To recover myself and think I sat upon the doorstep of an empty house, and there came dancing down the road with a curious, half-running, half-hopping step—something like a water wagtail’s—a child, a boy about my own age, who, after eyeing me strangely sat down beside me.

We watched each other for a few minutes; and I noticed that his mouth kept opening and shutting, though he said nothing. Suddenly, edging closer to me, he spoke in a thick whisper. It sounded as though his mouth were full of wool.

"Wot ’appens to yer when yer dead?"

"If you’re good you go to Heaven. If you’re bad you go to Hell."

"Long way off, both of ’em, ain’t they?"

"Yes. Millions of miles."

"They can’t come after yer? Can’t fetch yer back again?"

"No, never."

The doorstep that we occupied was the last. A yard beyond began the black waste of mud. From the other end of the street, now growing dark, he never took his staring eyes for an instant.

"Ever seen a stiff ’un—a dead ’un?"


"I ’ave—stuck a pin into ’im. ’E never felt it. Don’t feel anything when yer dead, do yer?"

All the while he kept swaying his body to and fro, twisting his arms and legs, and making faces. Comical figures made of ginger-bread, with quaintly curved limbs and grinning features, were to be bought then in bakers’ shops: he made me hungry, reminding me of such.

"Of course not. When you are dead you’re not there, you know. Our bodies are but senseless clay." I was glad I remembered that line. I tried to think of the next one, which was about food for worms; but it evaded me.

"I like you," he said; and making a fist, he gave me a punch in the chest. It was the token of palship among the youth of that neighbourhood, and gravely I returned it, meaning it, for friendship with children is an affair of the instant, or not at all, and I knew him for my first chum.

He wormed himself up.

"Yer won’t tell?" he said.

I had no notion what I was not to tell, but our compact demanded that I should agree.

"Say ’I swear.’"

"I swear."

The heroes of my favourite fiction bound themselves by such like secret oaths. Here evidently was a comrade after my own heart.

"Good-bye, cockey."

But he turned again, and taking from his pocket an old knife, thrust it into my hand. Then with that extraordinary hopping movement of his ran off across the mud.

I stood watching him, wondering where he could be going. He stumbled a little further, where the mud began to get softer and deeper, but struggling up again, went hopping on towards the river.

I shouted to him, but he never looked back. At every few yards he would sink down almost to his knees in the black mud, but wrenching himself free would flounder forward. Then, still some distance from the river, he fell upon his face, and did not rise again. I saw his arms beating feebler and feebler as he sank till at last the oily slime closed over him, and I could detect nothing but a faint heaving underneath the mud. And after a time even that ceased.

It was late before I reached home, and fortunately my father and mother were still out. I did not tell any one what I had seen, having sworn not to; and as time went on the incident haunted me less and less until it became subservient to my will. But of my fancy for those silent, lifeless streets it cured me for the time. From behind their still walls I would hear that long cry; down their narrow vistas see that writhing figure, like some animated ginger-bread, hopping, springing, falling.

Yet in the more crowded streets another trouble awaited me, one more tangible.

Have you ever noticed a pack of sparrows round some crumbs perchance that you have thrown out from your window? Suddenly the rest of the flock will set upon one. There is a tremendous Lilliputian hubbub, a tossing of tiny wings and heads, a babel of shrill chirps. It is comical.

"Spiteful little imps they are," you say to yourself, much amused.

So I have heard good-tempered men and women calling out to one another with a laugh.

"There go those young devils chivvying that poor little beggar again; ought to be ashamed of theirselves."

But, oh! the anguish of the poor little beggar! Can any one who has not been through it imagine it! Reduced to its actualities, what was it? Gibes and jeers that, after all, break no bones. A few pinches, kicks and slaps; at worst a few hard knocks. But the dreading of it beforehand! Terror lived in every street, hid, waiting for me, round each corner. The half-dozen wrangling over their marbles—had they seen me? The boy whistling as he stood staring into the print shop, would I get past him without his noticing me; or would he, swinging round upon his heel, raise the shrill whoop that brought them from every doorway to hunt me?

The shame, when caught at last and cornered: the grinning face that would stop to watch; the careless jokes of passers-by, regarding the whole thing but as a sparrows’ squabble: worst of all, perhaps, the rare pity! The after humiliation when, finally released, I would dart away, followed by shouted taunts and laughter; every eye turned to watch me, shrinking by; my whole small carcass shaking with dry sobs of bitterness and rage!

If only I could have turned and faced them! So far as the mere bearing of pain was concerned, I knew myself brave. The physical suffering resulting from any number of stand-up fights would have been trivial compared with the mental agony I endured. That I, the comrade of a hundred heroes—I, who nightly rode with Richard Coeur de Lion, who against Sir Lancelot himself had couched a lance, and that not altogether unsuccessful, I to whom all damsels in distress were wont to look for succour—that I should run from varlets such as these!

My friend, my bosom friend, good Robin Hood! how would he have behaved under similar circumstances? how Ivanhoe, my chosen companion in all quests of knightly enterprise? how—to come to modern times—Jack Harkaway, mere schoolboy though he might be? Would not one and all have welcomed such incident with a joyous shout, and in a trice have scattered to the winds the worthless herd?

But, alas! upon my pale lips the joyous shout sank into an unheard whisper, and the thing that became scattered to the wind was myself, the first opening that occurred.

Sometimes, the blood boiling in my veins, I would turn, thinking to go back and at all risk defying my tormentors, prove to myself I was no coward. But before I had retraced my steps a dozen paces, I would see in imagination the whole scene again before me: the laughing crowd, the halting passers-by, the spiteful, mocking little faces every way I turned; and so instead would creep on home, and climbing stealthily up into my own room, cry my heart out in the dark upon my bed.

Until one blessed day, when a blessed Fairy, in the form of a small kitten, lifted the spell that bound me, and set free my limbs.

I have always had a passionate affection for the dumb world, if it be dumb. My first playmate, I remember, was a water rat. A stream ran at the bottom of our garden; and sometimes, escaping the vigilant eye of Mrs. Fursey, I would steal out with my supper and join him on the banks. There, hidden behind the osiers, we would play at banquets, he, it is true, doing most of the banqueting, and I the make-believe. But it was a good game; added to which it was the only game I could ever get him to play, though I tried. He was a one-ideaed rat.

Later I came into the possession of a white specimen all my own. He lived chiefly in the outside breast pocket of my jacket, in company with my handkerchief, so that glancing down I could generally see his little pink eyes gleaming up at me, except on very cold days, when it would be only his tail that I could see; and when I felt miserable, somehow he would know it, and, swarming up, push his little cold snout against my ear. He died just so, clinging round my neck; and from many of my fellow-men and women have I parted with less pain. It sounds callous to say so; but, after all, our feelings are not under our own control; and I have never been able to understand the use of pretending to emotions one has not. All this, however, comes later. Let me return now to my fairy kitten.

I heard its cry of pain from afar, and instinctively hastened my steps. Three or four times I heard it again, and at each call I ran faster, till, breathless, I arrived upon the scene, the opening of a narrow court, leading out of a by-street. At first I saw nothing but the backs of a small mob of urchins. Then from the centre of them came another wailing appeal for help, and without waiting for any invitation, I pushed my way into the group.

What I saw was Hecuba to me—gave me the motive and the cue for passion, transformed me from the dull and muddy-mettled little John-a-dreams I had been into a small, blind Fury. Pale Thought, that mental emetic, banished from my system, I became the healthy, unreasoning animal, and acted as such.

From my methods, I frankly admit, science was absent. In simple, primitive fashion that would have charmed a Darwinian disciple to observe, I "went for" the whole crowd. To employ the expressive idiom of the neighbourhood, I was "all over it and inside." Something clung about my feet. By kicking myself free and then standing on it I gained the advantage of quite an extra foot in height; I don’t know what it was and didn’t care. I fought with my arms and I fought with my legs; where I could get in with my head I did. I fought whatever came to hand in a spirit of simple thankfulness, grateful for what I could reach and indifferent to what was beyond me.

That the "show"—if again I may be permitted the local idiom—was not entirely mine I was well aware. That not alone my person but my property also was being damaged in the rear became dimly conveyed to me through the sensation of draught. Already the world to the left of me was mere picturesque perspective, while the growing importance of my nose was threatening the absorption of all my other features. These things did not trouble me. I merely noted them as phenomena and continued to punch steadily.

Until I found that I was punching something soft and yet unyielding. I looked up to see what this foreign matter that thus mysteriously had entered into the mixture might be, and discovered it to be a policeman. Still I did not care. The felon’s dock! the prison cell! a fig for such mere bogies. An impudent word, an insulting look, and I would have gone for the Law itself. Pale Thought—it must have been a livid green by this time—still trembled at respectful distance from me.

Fortunately for all of us, he was not impertinent, and though he spoke the language of his order, his tone disarmed offence.

"Now, then. Now, then. What is all this about?"

There was no need for me to answer. A dozen voluble tongues were ready to explain to him; and to explain wholly in my favour. This time the crowd was with me. Let a man school himself to bear dispraise, for thereby alone shall he call his soul his own. But let no man lie, saying he is indifferent to popular opinion. That was my first taste of public applause. The public was not select, and the applause might, by the sticklers for English pure and undefiled, have been deemed ill-worded, but to me it was the sweetest music I had ever heard, or have heard since. I was called a "plucky little devil," a "fair ’ot ’un," not only a "good ’un," but a "good ’un" preceded by the adjective that in the East bestows upon its principal every admirable quality that can possibly apply. Under the circumstances it likewise fitted me literally; but I knew it was intended rather in its complimentary sense.

Kind, if dirty, hands wiped my face. A neighbouring butcher presented me with a choice morsel of steak, not to eat but to wear; and I found it, if I may so express myself without infringing copyright, "grateful and comforting." My enemies had long since scooted, some of them, I had rejoiced to notice, with lame and halting steps. The mutilated kitten had been restored to its owner, a lady of ample bosom, who, carried beyond judgment by emotion, publicly offered to adopt me on the spot. The Law suggested, not for the first time, that everybody should now move on; and slowly, followed by feminine commendation mingled with masculine advice as to improved methods for the future, I was allowed to drift away.

My bones ached, my flesh stung me, yet I walked as upon air. Gradually I became conscious that I was not alone. A light, pattering step was trying to keep pace with me. Graciously I slacked my speed, and the pattering step settled down beside me. Every now and again she would run ahead and then turn round to look up into my face, much as your small dog does when he happens not to be misbehaving himself and desires you to note the fact. Evidently she approved of me. I was not at my best, as far as appearance was concerned, but women are kittle cattle, and I think she preferred me so. Thus we walked for quite a long distance without speaking, I drinking in the tribute of her worship and enjoying it. Then gaining confidence, she shyly put her hand into mine, and finding I did not repel her, promptly assumed possession of me, according to woman’s way.

For her age and station she must have been a person of means, for having tried in vain various methods to make me more acceptable to followers and such as having passed would turn their heads, she said:

"I know, gelatines;" and disappearing into a sweetstuff shop, returned with quite a quantity. With these, first sucked till glutinous, we joined my many tatters. I still attracted attention, but felt warmer.

She informed me that her name was Cissy, and that her father’s shop was in Three Colt Street. I informed her that my name was Paul, and that my father was a lawyer. I also pointed out to her that a lawyer is much superior in social position to a shopkeeper, which she acknowledged cheerfully. We parted at the corner of the Stainsby Road, and I let her kiss me once. It was understood that in the Stainsby Road we might meet again.

I left Eliza gaping after me, the front door in her hand, and ran straight up into my own room. Robinson Crusoe, King Arthur, The Last of the Barons, Rob Roy! I looked them all in the face and was not ashamed. I also was a gentleman.

My mother was much troubled when she saw me, but my father, hearing the story, approved.

"But he looks so awful," said my mother. "In this world," said my father, "one must occasionally be aggressive—if necessary, brutal."

My father would at times be quite savage in his sentiments.


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Chicago: Jerome K. Jerome, "Chapter III. How Good Luck Knocked at the Door of the Man in Grey," Paul Kelver, a Novel, ed. Macaulay, G. C. (George Campbell), 1852-1915 and trans. Evans, Sebastian in Paul Kelver, a Novel Original Sources, accessed June 19, 2024,

MLA: Jerome, Jerome K. "Chapter III. How Good Luck Knocked at the Door of the Man in Grey." Paul Kelver, a Novel, edited by Macaulay, G. C. (George Campbell), 1852-1915, and translated by Evans, Sebastian, in Paul Kelver, a Novel, Original Sources. 19 Jun. 2024.

Harvard: Jerome, JK, 'Chapter III. How Good Luck Knocked at the Door of the Man in Grey' in Paul Kelver, a Novel, ed. and trans. . cited in , Paul Kelver, a Novel. Original Sources, retrieved 19 June 2024, from