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The Fortunate Youth

William John Locke

Book Overview: 

Paul is a poor boy who grew up in London, in the household of his mother and stepfather. His journey to greatness is the subject of our story. But his desired success comes at a very high price.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Oh!" said Jane.

He practised on her each newly learned social accomplishment. He minced his broad Lancashire, when he spoke to her, in such a way as to be grotesquely unintelligible. By listening to conversations he learned many amazing social facts; among them that the gentry had a bath every morning of their lives. This stirred his imagination to such a pitch that he commanded Jane to bring up the matutinal washtub to his bedroom. By instinct refined he revelled in the resultant sensation of cleanliness. He paid great attention to his attire, modelling himself, as far as he could, on young Rowlatt, the architect, on whom he occasionally called to report progress. He bought such neckties and collars as Rowlatt wore and submitted them for Jane's approval. She thought them vastly genteel. He also entertained her with whatever jargon of art talk he managed to pick up. Thus, though the urchin gave himself airs and invested himself with affectations, which render. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Paul Kegworthy endures a horribly abusive childhood until he can't endure it any more and runs away from home. From then on he does a rather adequate job of sustaining himself, mainly due to Fate always dropping opportunities in his way. Paul grows up, finds love, and it looks like he's finally g...more

This reminded me of a male Cinderella story. At its outset we meet Paul, an unloved and unwanted child in Lancashire. He sleeps on the scullery floor at night and is beaten whenever his mother and stepfather over imbibe (which is most of the time). This would normally break a child's spirit but P...more