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Page:Gissing - Isabel Clarendon, vol. II, 1886.djvu/9

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ISABEL CLARENDON.




CHAPTER I.


Vincent Lacour rose at eleven these dark mornings; by half-past twelve he had breakfasted and was at leisure. To begin the day with an elastic interval of leisure seemed to him a primary condition of tolerable existence. From his bedroom windows he had a glimpse of a very busy street, along which, as he hummed at his toilet, he could see heavily-laden omnibuses hastening Citywards; he thought with contemptuous pity of the poor wretches who had to present themselves at bank, or office, or shop by a certain hour. "Under no circumstances whatever," he often said to himself with conviction, "would I support life in that way. If it comes to the worst, there are always the backwoods. Hard enough, no doubt, but that would be in the order of things. If I stick in the midst of civilisation, I live the life