The Nether World - George Gissing
This is a novel book. 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. The old Michael Snowdon returns from Australia to London after inheriting a substantial sum of money from his deceased son. Despite being able to live a comfortable, if not luxurious life, he spends only on necessities and lives like a poor man, keeping his fortune secret. In London he finds his granddaughter, Jane, a weak child whom he rescues from the tyranny of the Peckovers (mother and daughter), in whose house she is employed as a household drudge. Jane's father, Joseph, is another son of Michael's who disappeared a few years ago in search of work, leaving Jane with the Peckovers. Michael nurtures a plan to bestow his fortune on Jane after his death, but he wants Jane to spend this money on charity and social work rather than on her own needs. He engages Jane in charitable activities and everyday work even before he reveals the secret of his wealth to her, trying to inculcate to her the principles of benevolence.