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Hilda Lessways

Arnold Bennett

Book Overview: 

This book is the second in Bennett’s four books about life in the Five Towns (the real life Potteries in Staffordshire). It tells the story of Hilda before her marriage to Edwin Clayhanger (from the first book). Bennett explores Hilda's ambition to make a career for herself, her coming of age and her working experiences as a shorthand clerk and keeper of a lodging house in London and Brighton. He also shows her intensifying relationship with the enigmatic George Cannon that ends in her disastrous bigamous marriage and pregnancy, and finally her reconciliation with Edwin Clayhanger

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .nt to young limbs; and now she was rheumatic.

"Nobody but Mr. Cannon can do anything," Janet murmured.

"I'm sure he hasn't the slightest idea--not the slightest!" said Hilda half defensively. But she was saying to herself: "This man made me write a lie, and now I hear that his sister is starving--in the same town!" And she thought of his glossy opulence. "I'm quite sure of that!" she repeated to Janet.

"Oh! So am I!" Janet eagerly concurred. "That's why I came.... Somebody had to give him a hint.... I never dreamt of finding you, dear!"

"It is strange, isn't it?" said Hilda, the wondrous romance of things seizing her. Seen afresh, through the eyes of this charming, sympathetic acquaintance, was not Mr. Cannon's originality in engaging her positively astounding?

"I suppose you couldn't give him a hint?"

"Yes, I'll tell him," said Hilda. "Of course!" In spite of herself she was assuming a certain proprietorship in Mr. . . . Read More