This is the annotated edition including the rare biographical essay by Edwin E. Slosson called "H. G. Wells - A Major Prophet Of His Time".
We first meet Mr. Polly at the crisis of his career, seated on a stile on the outskirts of Foxbourne, gazing gloomily into the dark abyss of the nothingness of everything. Little Mary is the cause of his trouble, Mr. Wells explains in an aside as he introduces the little man. Need one add that Mr. Polly's own wife was not the least dark shade that floated irritatingly before his eyes in the abyss? Mr. Polly's acute physical discomfort stirred up his chronic mental indigestion, which was the result of the system of education in vogue among the English lower middle classes. His "schooling" had muddled his mind, and all but killed his sense of beauty and romance, what survived of this having been kept alive by confused, unsystematised, surreptitious reading, ripe and green, in which Shakespeare was elbowed by the penny-dreadful. His starving love of the beautiful found outlet in a strange joy in unfamiliar words, which he deliberately mispronounced, to hide his ignorance, and unwittingly misapplied. His imagination he kept limber with the invention of nicknames and new slang. The mind that, on the spur of the moment, dubbed a British magistrate "the grave and reverend Signor with the palatial Boko" was born to better things than the "gentlemen's out-fitting" to which he had been apprenticed when he was fourteen, not from any predilection of his own for that branch of retail trade, but by his father's dictum …