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At the Circulating Library

A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901

A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901

Title: The Type-writer Girl

Author and Title: Grant Allen. The Type-writer Girl

First Edition: London: C. Arthur Pearson, 1897. 1 volume, cr. 8vo., 3s. 6d.

Summary: Written under the pseudonym "Olive Pratt Rayner." Juliet Appleton is a 22-years old Girton girl left penniless after the death of her father (who worked in an East end settlement). Armed with her typewriter, astride her bicycle, and accompanied by her dog Commissioner Lin, she sets forth into the world. Her first situation is in a lawyer's office: after three days, Juliet quits due to the repetitious works she is asked to do. Her resignation letter strikes her "one blow for freedom." She next meets a group of Anarchist in a shop. Intrigued, she pawns her typewriter, hops on her bicycle, and rides to Horsham to join them. They elect her to their commune more fascinated with her bicycle than her. After a week, Juliet leaves her comrades after a handful of difficulties culminating in the confiscation of her bicycle for the community. She refuses to give up her bicycle and heads back to London once again nearly penniless. On her way, she crashes into another bicyclist. Juliet befriends the woman (who she dubs "Michaela") who pays her fare back to London and loans her a sovereign. Back in London, she finds a new job as the secretary to a young publisher, a man she dubs her "Romeo." Juliet discovers he's a poet; Romeo falls in love with his employee. His attempt to introduce Juliet to his mother fails—she cannot look past the fact that she is a typewriter girl. The relationship comes to a head when Romeo goes to Venice for his vacation and Juliet impulsively follows. There, he confesses that he is already engaged and he intends to break off the five-year engagement. Before he can, Juliet learns that Michaela is the fiance. On principle, Juliet refuses to allow Romeo to break the engagement with her friend. The novel ends with Juliet on her way back to London. (TJB)

Title Tags:

References: EC; Wolff


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