The Nether World eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 609 pages of information about The Nether World.

The answer was something dashed violently in her face—­something fluid and fiery—­something that ate into her flesh, that frenzied her with pain, that drove her shrieking she knew not whither.

Late in the same night, a pointsman, walking along the railway a little distance out of the town, came upon the body of a woman, train-crushed, horrible to view.  She wore the dress of a lady; a shawl was still partly wrapped about her, and her hands were gloved.  Nothing discoverable upon her would have helped strangers in the task of identification, and as for her face—­But a missing woman was already sought by the police, and when certain persons were taken to view this body, they had no difficulty in pronouncing it that of Grace Danver.



What could possess John Hewett that, after resting from the day’s work, he often left his comfortable room late in the evening and rambled about the streets of that part of London which had surely least interest for him, the streets which are thronged with idlers, with carriages going homeward from the theatres, with those who can only come forth to ply their business when darkness has fallen?  Did he seek food for his antagonism in observing the characteristics of the world in which he was a stranger, the world which has its garners full and takes its ease amid superfluity?  It could scarcely be that, for since his wife’s death an indifference seemed to be settling upon him; he no longer cared to visit the Green or his club on Sunday, and seldom spoke on the subjects which formerly goaded him to madness.  He appeared to be drawn forth against his will, in spite of weariness, and his look as he walked on was that of a man who is in search of some one.  Yet whom could he expect to meet in these highways of the West End?

Oxford Street, Regent Street, Piccadilly, the Strand, the ways about St. James’s Park; John Hewett was not the only father who has come forth after nightfall from an obscure home to look darkly at the faces passing on these broad pavements.  At times he would shrink into a shadowed corner, and peer thence at those who went by under the gaslight.  When he moved forward, it was with the uneasy gait of one who shuns observation; you would have thought, perchance, that he watched an opportunity of begging and was shamefaced:  it happened now and then that he was regarded suspiciously.  A rough-looking man, with grizzled beard, with eyes generally bloodshot, his shoulders stooping—­naturally the miserable are always suspected where law is conscious of its injustice.

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The Nether World from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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