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Our Friend the Charlatan
George Gissing

Page 1 of 796


Our Friend the Charlatan 

CHAPTER I 

As he waited for his breakfast, never served to time, Mr.  Lashmar
drummed upon the window-pane, and seemed to watch a blackbird
lunching with much gusto about the moist lawn of Alverholme
Vicarage.  But his gaze was absent and worried.  The countenance of
the reverend gentleman rarely wore any other expression, for he took
to heart all human miseries and follies, and lived in a ceaseless
mild indignation against the tenor of the age.  Inwardly, Mr.  Lashmar
was at this moment rather pleased, having come upon an article in
his weekly paper which reviewed in a very depressing strain the
present aspect of English life.  He felt that he might have, and
ought to have, written the article himself a loss of opportunity
which gave new matter for discontent. 

The Rev.  Philip was in his sixty-seventh year; a thin, dry,
round-shouldered man, with bald occiput, straggling yellowish beard,

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