The Lodger by Marie Adelaide Belloc Lowndes


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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Lodger, by Marie Belloc Lowndes

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net


Title: The Lodger

Author: Marie Belloc Lowndes

Release Date: March 13, 2005 [EBook #2014]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE LODGER ***




This Etext prepared by an anonymous Project Gutenberg volunteer.




The Lodger

by Marie Belloc Lowndes




"Lover and friend hast thou put far from me,
and mine acquaintance into darkness."
PSALM lxxxviii. 18




CHAPTER I

Robert Bunting and Ellen his wife sat before their dully burning,
carefully-banked-up fire.

The room, especially when it be known that it was part of a house
standing in a grimy, if not exactly sordid, London thoroughfare,
was exceptionally clean and well-cared-for. A casual stranger,
more particularly one of a Superior class to their own, on suddenly
opening the door of that sitting-room; would have thought that Mr.
and Mrs. Bunting presented a very pleasant cosy picture of
comfortable married life. Bunting, who was leaning back in a deep
leather arm-chair, was clean-shaven and dapper, still in appearance
what he had been for many years of his life--a self-respecting
man-servant.

On his wife, now sitting up in an uncomfortable straight-backed
chair, the marks of past servitude were less apparent; but they
were there all the same--in her neat black stuff dress, and in
her scrupulously clean, plain collar and cuffs. Mrs. Bunting, as
a single woman, had been what is known as a useful maid.

But peculiarly true of average English life is the time-worn
English proverb as to appearances being deceitful. Mr. and Mrs.
Bunting were sitting in a very nice room and in their time--how
long ago it now seemed!--both husband and wife had been proud of
their carefully chosen belongings. Everything in the room was
strong and substantial, and each article of furniture had been
bought at a well-conducted auction held in a private house.

Thus the red damask curtains which now shut out the fog-laden,
drizzling atmosphere of the Marylebone Road, had cost a mere song,
and yet they might have been warranted to last another thirty years.
A great bargain also had been the excellent Axminster carpet which
covered the floor; as, again, the arm-chair in which Bunting now sat
forward, staring into the dull, small fire. In fact, that arm-chair
had been an extravagance of Mrs. Bunting. She had wanted her husband
to be comfortable after the day's work was done, and she had paid
thirty-seven shillings for the chair. Only yesterday Bunting had
tried to find a purchaser for it, but the man who had come to look at
it, guessing their cruel necessities, had only offered them twelve
shillings and sixpence for it; so for the present they were keeping
their arm-chair.

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Books | Photos | Paul Mutton | Sat 16th Dec 2017, 18:49