Tales of Mean Streets

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Boni and Liveright, 1921 - 251 pages
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Page 154 - Ay, ay, well enough son to me," responded the old woman, a little peevishly; "an' I'll 'ave 'im put away decent, though there's on'y the Union for me after. I can do that, thank Gawd! "she added, meditatively, as chin on fist she stared into the thickening dark over the stairs. "When I lost my pore 'usband," said the gaunt woman, with a certain brightening, "I give 'im a 'ansome funeral.
Page 162 - ud be a pity not to 'ave plooms. I "ad—" There were footsteps on the stairs: then a stumble and a testy word. Mrs. Curtis peered over into the gathering dark. "Is it the doctor, sir?" she asked. It was the doctor's assistant; and Mrs. Manders tramped up to the next landing as the door of the sick-room took him in. For five minutes the stairs were darker than ever. Then the assistant, a very young man, came out again, followed by the old woman with a candle. Mrs. Manders listened in the upper dark....
Page 15 - At last Lizer ceased from going to the pickle factory, and could not even help Billy's mother at the mangle for long. This lasted for near a week, when Billy, rising at ten with a bad mouth, resolved to stand no nonsense, and demanded two shillings. "Two bob? Wot for?" Lizer asked. "Cos I want it. None o
Page 167 - I can make it up, with the insurance money, an' this, an' that. On'y I dunno about mutes. It's a expense." In the East End, when a woman has not enough money to buy a thing much desired, she does not say so in plain words; she says the thing is an "expense," or a "great expense." It means the same thing, but it sounds better. Mrs. Curtis had reckoned her resources, and found that mutes would be an "expense.
Page 157 - Mansell ordered port wine. Where is it?" Mrs. Curtis mumbled dolorously. "I tell you he must have it," he averred with unprofessional emphasis (his qualification was only a month old) . "The man can't take solid food, and his strength must be kept up somehow. Another day may make all the difference. Is it because you can't afford it?" "It's a expense— sich a expense, doctor," the old woman pleaded. "An" wot with 'arf-pints o" milk an'—" She grew inarticulate, and mumbled dismally. "But he must...
Page xiii - But who knows the East End? It is down through Cornhill and out beyond Leadenhall Street and Aldgate Pump, one will say: a shocking place, where he once went with a curate; an evil plexus of slums that hide human creeping things; where filthy men and women live on penn'orths of gin, where collars and clean shirts are decencies unknown, where every citizen wears a black eye, and none ever combs his hair.
Page xxiii - Existence dawns, and the doctor-watchman's door-knock resounds along the row of rectangular holes. Then a muffled cry announces that a small new being has come to trudge and sweat its way in the appointed groove. Later, the trotting of little feet and the school; the midday play hour, when love peeps even into this street; after that more trotting of little feet— strange little feet, new little feet— and the scrubbing, and the squalling, and the barren flower-pot; the end of the sooty day's work;...
Page 73 - I'll name a figure, as man to man, fust an' last, no less an' no more. Five pound does it." Simmons hadn't five pounds — he hadn't even five pence — and he said so. " An' I wouldn't think for to come between a man an' 'is wife," he added, " not on no account. It may be rough on me, but it's a dooty. I'll 'ook it." " No," said Ford, hastily, clutching Simmons by the arm, " don't do that. I'll make it a bit cheaper. Say three quid — come, that's reasonable, ain't it? Three quid ain't much compensation...
Page 64 - ... tell the tale, she was at pains to impress the fact on Simmons's memory, and to set forth at length all the circumstances of his ungrateful selfishness. In the beginning she had always escorted him to the ready-made clothes shop, and had selected and paid for his clothes — for the reason that men are such perfect fools, and shopkeepers do as they like with them. But she presently improved on that. She found a man selling cheap remnants at a street corner, and straightway she conceived the idea...
Page 4 - ... adequately done. There is no other fair like Whit Monday's on Wanstead Flats. Here is a square mile and more of open land where you may howl at large; here is no danger of losing yourself as in Epping Forest; the public-houses are always with you; shows, shies, swings, merry-go-rounds, fried fish stalls, donkeys are packed closer than on Hampstead Heath; the ladies' tormentors are larger, and their contents smell worse than at any other fair.

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