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Precious Bane

by Mary Gladys Meredith Webb

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'She has a style of exquisite beauty; which yet has both force and restraint, simplicity and subtlety; she has fancy and wit, delicious humour and pathos. She sees and knows men aright as no other novelist does. She has, In short, genius' Mr. Edwin Pugh

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It suited me, the quiet and the melancholy, for I was sad and quiet too. He that I loved was hurt, and I couldna get to him. There he lay, as weak as a babe, and only Missis Callard to tend him. I forgot that she, having six, was well knowledged in tending helpless folk, for it is the way of lovers to think that none can bless or succour their love but their own selves. And there is a touch of truth in it, maybe more than a touch. We went on and on, through country that was neither hilly nor flat, in a night neither dark nor gleamy, feeling neither glad nor sorry. I thought we were like people bound for some place beyond the world that was neither hell nor heaven.

The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature
Novel by Mary Webb, published in 1924. The story is set in the wild countryside near the Welsh border and is narrated by Prudence Sarn, a young woman whose life has been plagued by her harelip. Prudence's defect forces her to develop an inner strength that supports her when she is betrayed both by her own brother and by the townspeople, who believe she is a witch. Critics noted Webb's use of dialect, her powerful descriptions of nature, and her depictions of rural life, with its abundant legends and superstitions.

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