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A Life's Eclipse by George Manville Fenn

Produced by Nick Hodson of London, England

A Life's Eclipse, by George Manville Fenn.

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This is a short book by G.M. Fenn's usual standards, but you will enjoy reading it. The hero is John Grange, a young gardener on Mrs Mostyn's estate, who finds himself to be in love with Mary Ellis, the daughter of the bailiff, James Ellis. But as he is no more than an under-gardener Ellis is angry with him for even thinking of Mary.

There is an accident when John has ascended a large cedar tree that had lost a bough in a gale, and a broken branch needed to be tidied up. John falls from where he was sawing, onto the ground, landing on his head. He recovers from the concussion, but is now blind.

His rival not only for Mary's hand but also for promotion to Head Gardener when Dunton, the present Head Gardener, now very old, dies, is Daniel Barnett, who of course gets the job. But he is a nasty man, not very good at his work, while the blind John can do his work almost as well as before, working by touch. Barnett plays a number of most unkind tricks on his rival John. Eventually John disappears without trace and rumour is rife that Daniel Barnett had made away with him, so that he might have a clear run to Mary's hand--not that Mary is interested in him.

There is a surprise ending to the story, of course.

All the characters are beautifully drawn, and this little book is quite a masterpiece. It was published by the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge, and must have been within their guidelines, without being excessively pious. Do read it--it won't take you long. NH

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A LIFE'S ECLIPSE, BY GEORGE MANVILLE FENN.

CHAPTER ONE.

"What insolence!"

John Grange's brown, good-looking face turned of a reddish-brown in the cheeks, the warm tint mounting into his forehead, as he looked straight in the speaker's eyes, and there was a good, manly English ring in his voice as he said sturdily--

"I didn't know, Mr Ellis, that it was insolent for a man to come in a straightforward way, and say to the father of the young lady simply-- yes, and humbly--`I love your daughter, sir.'"

"But it is, sir, downright insolence. Recollect what you are, sir, only an under-gardener living at the bothy on thirty shillings a week."

"I do recollect it, sir, but I don't mean to be an under-gardener always."

"Oh, indeed," said James Ellis sarcastically, "but poor old Dunton is not dead yet, and when he does die, Mrs Mostyn is quite as likely to appoint Daniel Barnett to his place as you, and if she takes my advice, she'll give the post to neither of you, but get some able, sensible man from Chiswick."


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