Read THE RELIGIOUS LIFE - CHAPTER IV. of The Christian A Story, free online book, by Hall Caine, on

The house to which Glory had fled out of the fog was a little dingy tobacconist’s shop opening on a narrow alley that runs from Holborn into Lincoln’s-Inn Fields.  It was kept by the baby farmer whom she had met at the house of Polly Love, and the memory of the address thrust upon her there had been her only resource on that day of crushing disappointment and that night of peril.  Mrs. Jupe’s husband, a waiter at a West End club, was a simple and helpless creature, very fond of his wife, much deceived by her, and kept in ignorance of the darker side of her business operations.  Their daughter, familiarly called “Booboo,” a silent child with cunning eyes and pasty cheeks, was being brought up to help in the shop and to dodge the inspector of the school board.

On coming downstairs next morning to the close and dingy parlour at the back, Glory had looked about her as one who had expected something she did not see, whereupon Mrs. Jupe, who was at breakfast with her husband, threw up her little twinkling eyes and said: 

“Now I know what she’s a-lookin’ for; it’s the byeby.”

“Where is it?” said Glory.

“Gorn, my dear.”

“Surely you don’t mean ”

“No, not dead, but I ’ad to put it out, pore thing!”

“Ye see, miss,” said Mr. Jupe with his mouth full, “my missus couldn’t nurse the byeby and ’tend to the biziniss as well, so as reason was ”

“It brikes my ’eart to think it; but it made such a n’ise, pore darling!”

“Does the mother know?” said Glory.

“That wasn’t necessary, my dear.  It’s gorn to a pusson I can trust to tyke keer of it, and I’m trooly thenkful ”

“It jest amarnts to this, miss:  the biziness is too much for the missus as things is ”

“I wouldn’t keer if my ’ealth was what it used to be, in the dyes when I ’ad Booboo.”

“But it ain’t, and she’s often said as how she’d like a young laidy to live with her and ’elp her with the shop.”

“A nice-lookin’ girl might ’ave a-many chawnces in a place syme as this, my dear.”

“Lawd, yus; and when I seen the young laidy come in at the door, ’Strike me lucky!’ thinks I, ‘the very one!’”

“Syme ’ere, my dear.  I reckkernized ye the minute I seen ye; and if ye want to leave the hospital and myke a stawt, as you were sayinglast night ”

Glory stopped them.  They were on the wrong trace entirely.  She had merely come to lodge with them, and if that was not agreeable

“Well, and so ye shell, my dear; and if ye don’t like the shop all at onct, there’s Booboo, she wants lessons ”

“But I can pay,” said Glory, and then she was compelled to say something of her plans.  She wanted to become a singer, perhaps an actress, and to tell them the truth she might not be staying long, for when she got engagements

“Jest as you like, my dear; myke yerself at ’ome.  On’y don’t be in a ’urry about engygements.  Good ones ain’t tots picked up by the childring in the streets these dyes.”

Nevertheless it was agreed that Glory was to lodge at the tobacconist’s, and Mr. Jupe was to bring her box from the hospital on coming home that night from his work.  She was to pay ten shillings a week, all told, so that her money would last four or five weeks, and leave something to spare.  “But I shall be earning long before that,” she thought, and her resources seemed boundless.  She started on her enterprise instantly, knowing no more of how to begin than that it would first be necessary to find the office of an agent.  Mr. Jupe remembered one such place.

“It’s in a street off of Waterloo Road,” he said, “and the name on the windows is Josephs.”

Glory found this person in a fur-lined coat and an opera hat, sitting in a room which was papered with photographs, chiefly of the nude and the semi-nude, intermingled with sheafs of playbills that hung from the walls like ballads, from the board of the balladmonger.

“Vell, vot’s yer line?” he asked.

Glory answered nervously and indefinitely.

“Vot can you do then?”

She could sing and recite and imitate people.

The man shrugged his shoulders.  “My terms are two guineas down and ten per cent on salary.”

Glory rose to go.  “That is impossible.  I can not ”

“Vait a minute.  How much have you got?”

“Isn’t that my business, sir?”

“Touchy, ain’t ye, miss?  But if you mean bizness, I’ll tyke a guinea and give you the first chawnce what comes in.”

Reluctantly, fearfully, distrustfully, Glory paid her guinea and left her address.

“Daddle doo,” said the agent.

Then she found herself in the street.

“Two weeks less for lodgings,” she thought, as she returned to the tobacconist’s.  But Mrs. Jupe seemed entirely satisfied.

“What did I tell ye, my dear?  Good engygements ain’t chasing nobody abart the streets these dyes, and there’s that many girls now as can do a song and a dance and a recitashing ”

Three days passed, four days, five days, six days, a week, and still no word from Mr. Josephs.  Glory called on him again.  He counselled patience.  It was the dead season at the theatres and music halls, but if she only waited

She waited a week longer and then called again, and again, and yet again.  But she brought nothing back except her mimicry of the man’s manner.  She could hit him off to a hairhis raucous voice, his guttural utterance, and the shrug of his shoulders that told of the Ghetto.

Mrs. Jupe shrieked with laughter.  That lady’s spirits were going up as Glory’s came down.  At the end of the third week she said, “I can’t abear to tyke yer money no longer, my dear, you not doing nothink.”

Then she hinted at a new arrangement.  She had to be much from home.  It was necessary; her health was pooran obvious fiction.  During her absence she had to leave Booboo in charge.

“It ain’t good for the child, my dear, and it ain’t good for the shop; but if anybody syme as yerself would tyke a turn behind the counter ”

Having less than ten shillings in her pocket, Glory was forced to submit.

There was a considerable traffic through the little turnstile.  Lying between Bedford Row and Lincoln’s Inn, it was the usual course of lawyers and lawyers’ clerks passing to and fro from the courts.  They were not long in seeing that a fresh and beautiful face was behind the counter of the dingy little tobacco-shop.  Business increased, and Mrs. Jupe became radiant.

“What did I tell ye, my dear?  There’s more real gentlemen a-mooching rahnd here in a day than a girl would have a chawnce of meeting in a awspital in a twelvemonth.”

Glory’s very soul was sickening.  The attentions of the men, their easy manners, their little liberties, their bows, their smiles, their complimentsit was gall and wormwood to the girl’s unbroken spirit.  Nevertheless she was conscious of a certain pleasure in the bitterness.  The bitterness was her own, the pleasure some one else’s, so to speak, who was looking on and laughing.  She felt an unconquerable impulse to sharpen her wit on Mrs. Jupe’s customers, and even to imitate them to their faces.  They liked it, so she was good for business both ways.

But she remembered John Storm and felt suffocated with shame.  Her thoughts turned to him constantly, and she called at the hospital to ask if there were any letters.  There were two, but neither of them was from Bishopsgate Street.  One was from Aunt Anna.  Glory was not to dream of leaving the hospital.  With tithes going down every year, and everything else going up, how could she think of throwing away a salary and adding to their anxieties?  The other was from her grandfather: 

“Glad to hear you have had a holiday, dear Glory, and trust you are feeling the better for the change.  Must confess to being a little startled by the account of your adventure on Lord Mayor’s Day, with the wild scheme for cutting adrift from the hospital and taking London by storm.  But it was just like my little witch, my wandering gipsy, and I knew it was all nonsense; so when Aunt Anna began to scold I took my pipe and went upstairs.  Sorry to hear that John Storm has gone over to Popery, for that is what it comes to, though he is not under the Romish obedience.  I am the more concerned because I failed to make his peace with his father.  The old man seems to blame me for everything, and has even taken to passing me on the road.  Give my best respects to Mrs. Jupe, when you see her again, with my thanks for taking care of you.  And now that you are alone in that great and wicked Babylon, take good care of yourself, my dear one.  To know that my runaway is well and happy and prosperous is all I have left to reconcile me to her absence.  Yes, the harvest is over and threshed and housed, and we have fires in the parlour nearly every day, which makes Anna severe sometimes, coals being so dear just now, and the turf no longer allowed to us.”

It was ten days overdue.  That night, in her little bedroom, with its low ceiling and sloping floor, Glory wrote her answer: 

“But it isn’t nonsense, my dear grandfather, and I really have left the hospital.  I don’t know if it was the holiday and the liberty or what, but I felt like that young hawk at Glenfabado you remember it?the one that was partly snared and came dragging the trap on to the lawn by a string caught round its leg.  I had to cut it away, I had to, I had to!  But you mustn’t feel one single moment’s uneasiness about me.  An able-bodied woman like Glory Quayle doesn’t starve in a place like London.  Besides, I am provided for already, so you see my bow abides in strength.  The first morning after my arrival Mrs. Jupe told me that if I cared to take to myself the style and title of teacheress to her little Slyboots I had only to say the word and I should be as welcome as the flowers in May.  It isn’t exactly first fiddling, you know, and it doesn’t bring an ambassador’s salary, but it may serve for the present, and give me time to look about.  You mustn’t pay too much attention to my lamentations about being compelled by Nature to wear a petticoat.  Things being so arranged in this world I’ll make them do.  But it does make one’s head swim and one’s wings droop to see how hard Nature is on a woman compared to a man.  Unless she is a genius or a jelly-fish there seems to be only one career open to her, and that is a lottery, with marriage for the prizes, and for the blanksoh dear, oh dear!  Not that I have anything to complain of, and I hate to be so sensitive.  Life is wonderfully interesting, and the world is such an amusing place that I’ve no patience with people who run away from it, and if I were a manbut wait, only wait, good people!”