The Nether World (1889) is a novel written by the English author George Gissing. The plot concerns several poor families living in the slums of 19th century London.

Rich in naturalistic detail, the novel concentrates on the individual problems and hardships which result from the typical shortages experienced by the lower classes — want of money, employment and decent living conditions.

The Nether World is pessimistic and concerns exclusively the lives of poor people: there is no juxtaposition with the world of the rich.

Chapter 1 A Thrall of Thralls2015-06-01
In the troubled twilight of a March evening ten years ago, an old man, whose equipment and bearing suggested that he was fresh from travel, walked slowly across Clerkenwell Green, and by the graveyard of St. Jamess Church stood for a moment looking about him. His age could not be far from sev
Chapter 2 A Friend in Request2015-05-31
It was the hour of the unyoking of men. In the highways and byways of Clerkenwell there was a thronging of released toilers, of young and old, of male and female. Forth they streamed from factories and workrooms, anxious to make the most of the few hours during which they might live for themselves.
Chapter 3 A Superfluous Family2015-05-31
Kirkwoods face, as he turned to greet the new-comer, changed suddenly to an expression of surprise. Why, what have you been doing to your hair? he asked abruptly. A stranger would have seen nothing remarkable in John Hewetts hair, unless he had reflected that, being so spar
Chapter 4 Clara and Jane2015-05-31
Rain no longer fell, but the gusty and bitter wind still swept about the black streets. Walking side by side without speech, Clara and her companion left the neighbourhood of the prison, and kept a northward direction till they reached the junction of highways where stands the Angel. H
Chapter 5 Jane is Visited2015-05-30
At ten oclock next morning Mrs. Peckover reached home. She was a tall, big-boned woman of fifty, with an arm like a coalheavers. She had dark hair, which shone and was odorous with unguents; a sallow, uncomely face, and a handsome moustache. Her countenance was more difficult to read t
Chapter 6 Glimpses of the Past2015-05-30
Sidney Kirkwood had a lodging in Tysoe Street, Clerkenwell. It is a short street, which, like so many in London, begins reputably and degenerates in its latter half. The cleaner end leads into Wilmington Square, which consists of decently depressing houses, occupied in the main, as the lower windows
Chapter 7 Mrs. Byass’s Lodgings2015-05-30
You are Mr. Kirkwood? said his visitor civilly. My name is Snowdon. I should be glad to speak a few words with you, if you could spare the time. Sidneys thoughts were instantly led into the right channel; he identified the old man by his white hair and the cloak. Th
Chapter 8 Pennyloaf Candy2015-05-29
In the social classification of the nether world - a subject which so eminently adapts itself to the sportive and gracefully picturesque mode of treatment - it will be convenient to distinguish broadly, and with reference to males alone, the two great sections of those who do, and those
Chapter 9 Pathological2015-05-29
Through the day and through the evening Clara Hewett had her place behind Mrs. Tubbss bar. For daylight wear, the dress which had formerly been her best was deemed sufficient; it was simple, but not badly made, and became her figure. Her evening attire was provided by Mrs. Tubbs, who recouped
Chapter 10 The Last Combat2015-05-29
During these summer months Sidney Kirkwoods visits to the house in Clerkenwell Close were comparatively rare. It was not his own wish to relax in any degree the close friendship so long subsisting between the Hewetts and himself, but from the day of Claras engagement with Mrs. Tubbs Jo
Chapter 11 A Disappointment2015-05-28
On ordinary Sundays the Byasses breakfasted at ten oclock; this morning the meal was ready at eight, and Bessies boisterous spirits declared the exception to be of joyous significance. Finding that Samuels repeated promises to rise were the merest evasion, she rushed into the ro
Chapter 12 ‘Io Saturnalia!’2015-05-28
So at length came Monday, the first Monday in August, a day gravely set apart for the repose and recreation of multitudes who neither know how to rest nor how to refresh themselves with pastime. To-day will the slaves of industrialism don the pileus. It is high summertide. With joy does the awaking
Chapter 13 The Bringer of ill News2015-05-28
Knowing the likelihood that Clara Hewett would go from home for Bank-holiday, Sidney made it his request before he left Hanover Street on Sunday night that Jane might be despatched on her errand at an early hour next morning. At eight oclock, accordingly, Snowdon went forth with his granddaug
Chapter 14 A Welcome Guest2015-05-27
The bells of St. Jamess, Clerkenwell, ring melodies in intervals of the pealing for service-time. One morning of spring their music, like the rain that fell intermittently, was flung westwards by the boisterous wind, away over Clerkenwell Close, until the notes failed one by one, or were clas
Chapter 15 Sunlight in Dreary Places2015-05-27
Among the by-ways of Clerkenwell you might, with some difficulty, have discovered an establishment known in its neighbourhood as Whiteheads. It was an artificial-flower factory, and the rooms of which it consisted were only to be reached by traversing a timber-yard, and then mou
Chapter 16 Dialogue and Comment2015-05-27
Will it be late before he comes back? asked Sidney, his smile of greeting shadowed with disappointment. Not later than half-past ten, he said. Sidney turned his face to the stairs. The homeward prospect was dreary after that glimpse of the familiar mom through the doorway.
Chapter 17 Clem Makes a Disclosure2015-05-26
When Miss Peckover suggested to her affianced that their wedding might as well take place at the registry-office, seeing that there would then be no need to go to expense in the article of costume, Mr. Snowdon readily assented; at the same time it gave him new matter for speculation. Clem was not ex
Chapter 18 The Joke is Completed2015-05-26
Michael Snowdon - to distinguish the old man by name from the son who thus unexpectedly returned to him - professed no formal religion. He attended no Sunday service, nor had ever shown a wish that Jane should do so. We have seen that he used the Bible as a source of moral instruction; J
Chapter 19 A Retreat2015-05-26
Visiting his friends as usual on Sunday evening, Sidney Kirkwood felt, before he had been many minutes in the room, that something unwonted was troubling the quiet he always found here. Michael Snowdon was unlike himself, nervously inattentive, moving frequently, indisposed to converse on any subjec
Chapter 20 A Vision of Noble Things2015-05-25
He slept but for an hour or two, and even then with such disturbance of fitful dreams that he could not be said to rest. At the earliest sound of movements in the house he rose and went out into the morning air. There had fallen a heavy shower just after sunrise, and the glory of the east was still
Chapter 21 Death the Reconciler2015-05-25
There is no accounting for tastes. Sidney Kirkwood, spending his Sunday evening in a garden away there in the chaw-bacon regions of Essex, where it was so deadly quiet that you could hear the flutter of a birds wing or the rustle of a leaf, not once only congratulated himself on his good fort
Chapter 22 Watching from Ambush2015-05-25
Mr. Joseph Snowdon, though presenting a calm countenance to the world and seeming to enjoy comparative prosperity, was in truth much harassed by the difficulties of his position. Domestic troubles he had anticipated, but the unforeseen sequel of his marriage resulted in a martyrdom at the hands of C
Chapter 23 On the Eve of Triumph2015-05-24
I have got your letter, but it tells me no more than the last did. Why dont you say plainly what you mean? I suppose its something you are ashamed of. You say that theres a chance for me of earning a large sum of money, and if you are in earnest, I shall be only too glad
Chapter 24 The Family History Progresses2015-05-24
What could possess John Hewett that, after resting from the days work, he often left his comfortable room late in the evening and rambled about the streets of that part of London which had surely least interest for him, the streets which are thronged with idlers, with carriages going homeward
Chapter 25 A Double Consecration2015-05-24
Bessie Byass and her husband had, as you may suppose, devoted many an hour to intimate gossip on the affairs of their top-floor lodgers. Having no relations with Clerkenwell Close, they did not even hear the rumours which spread from Mrs. Peckovers house at the time of Janes departure
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