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Cousin Phillis by Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell
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Cousin Phillis by Elizabeth Gaskell (1863)

Philip Hermongenes Calderon (1833-98)
Broken Vows (1856)


It is a great thing for a lad when he is first turned into the
independence of lodgings. I do not think I ever was so satisfied
and proud in my life as when, at seventeen, I sate down in a
little three-cornered room above a pastry-cook's shop in the
county town of Eltham. My father had left me that afternoon,
after delivering himself of a few plain precepts, strongly
expressed, for my guidance in the new course of life on which I
was entering. I was to be a clerk under the engineer who had
undertaken to make the little branch line from Eltham to Hornby.
My father had got me this situation, which was in a position
rather above his own in life; or perhaps I should say, above the
station in which he was born and bred; for he was raising himself
every year in men's consideration and respect. He was a mechanic
by trade, but he had some inventive genius, and a great deal of
perseverance, and had devised several valuable improvements in
railway machinery. He did not do this for profit, though, as was
reasonable, what came in the natural course of things was
acceptable; he worked out his ideas, because, as he said, 'until
he could put them into shape, they plagued him by night and by
day.' But this is enough about my dear father; it is a good thing
for a country where there are many like him. He was a sturdy
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