The Unclassed eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 469 pages of information about The Unclassed.
his own battle, and showed himself very capable of winning it.  In many strange ways he accumulated a little capital, and the development of commercial genius put him at a comparatively early age on the road to fortune.  He kept to the business of an accountant, and by degrees added several other distinct callings.  He became a lender of money in several shapes, keeping both a loan-office and a pawnbroker’s shop.  In middle age he frequented the race-course, but, for sufficient reasons, dropped that pursuit entirely before he had turned his fiftieth year.  As a youth he had made a good thing of games of skill, but did not pursue them as a means of profit when he no longer needed the resource.

He married at the age of thirty.  This, like every other step he took, was well planned; his wife brought him several thousand pounds, being the daughter of a retired publican with whom Woodstock had had business relations.

Two years after his marriage was born his first and only child, a girl whom they called Lotty.  Lotty, as she grew up, gradually developed an unfortunate combination of her parents’ qualities; she had her mother’s weakness of mind, without her mother’s moral sense, and from her father she derived an ingrained stubbornness, which had nothing in common with strength of character.  Doubly unhappy was it that she lost her mother so early; the loss deprived her of gentle guidance during her youth, and left her without resource against her father’s coldness or harshness.  The result was that the softer elements of her character unavoidably degenerated and found expression in qualities not at all admirable, whilst her obstinacy grew the ally of the weakness from which she had most to fear.

Lotty was sent to a day-school till the age of thirteen, then had to become her father’s housekeeper.  Her friends were very few, none of them likely to be of use to her.  Left very much to her own control, she made an acquaintance which led to secret intimacy and open disaster.  Rather than face her father with such a disclosure, she left home, and threw herself upon the mercy of the man who had assisted her to go astray.  He was generous enough to support her for about a year, during which time her child was born.  Then his help ceased.

The familiar choice lay before her—­home again, the streets, or starvation.  Hardship she could not bear; the second alternative she shrank from on account of her child; she determined to face her father.  For him she had no affection, and knew that he did not love her; only desperation could drive her back.  She came one Sunday evening, found Mr. Woodstock at home, and, without letting the servant say who was come, went up and entered his presence, the child in her arms.  Abraham rose and looked at her calmly.  Her disappearance had not troubled him, though he had exerted himself to discover why and whither she was gone, and her return did not visibly affect him.  She was a rebel against his authority—­so

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The Unclassed from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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