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Hilda Lessways

by Arnold Bennett

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Enoch Arnold Bennett (1867-1931) was a British novelist. He was born in a modest house in Hanley in the Potteries district of Staffordshire. At age 21 he went to London as a solicitor's clerk. He won a literary competition in Tit Bits magazine in 1889 and was encouraged to take up journalism full time. From 1900 he devoted himself full time to writing, giving up the editorship and writing much serious criticism, and also theatre journalism, one of his special interests. In 1902 Anna of the Five Towns, the first of a succession of stories which detailed life in the Potteries, appeared. In 1908 The Old Wives' Tale was published, and was an immediate success throughout the English-speaking world. His most famous works are the Clayhanger (1910) trilogy and The Old Wives' Tale. These books draw on his experience of life in the Potteries, as did most of his best work. Among his other books are: The Grand Babylon Hotel (1902), The Grim Smile of the Five Towns (1907), Hilda Lessways (1911), The Author's Craft (1914), The Lion's Share (1916), and The Roll-Call (1919).

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He turned to the left, toward the High Street and the great cleared space out of which the cellarage of the new Town Hall had already been scooped. He carried his thick gloves in his white and elegant hand, as one who did not feel the frost. She stepped after him. Their breaths whitened the keen air. She was extremely afraid, and considered herself an abject coward, but she was determined to the point of desperation. He ought to know the truth and he ought to know it at once: nothing else mattered. She reflected in her terror: "If I don't begin right off, he will be asking me to begin, and that will be worse than ever."



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