One day a smart little groom rode into the court where Tom lived. Tom was just hiding behind a wall, to heave half a brick at his horse's legs, as is the custom of that country when they welcome strangers; but the groom saw him, and halloed to him to know where Mr. Grimes, the chimney-sweep, lived. Now, Mr. Grimes was Tom's own master, and Tom was a good man of business, and always civil to customers, so he put the half-brick down quietly behind the wall, and proceeded to take orders.
The plot revolves around Hypatia the pagan philosopher; Cyril the Christian patriarch; Orestes the power-hungry prefect of Egypt; and Philammon an Egyptian monk. Philammon travels from his monastic, desert community to Alexandria, and expresses a desire to attend Hypatia's lectures despite Cyril's dislike of Hypatia. Although Hypatia has a deep-seated hatred of Christianity, Philammon becomes her devoted friend and disciple. Philammon also encounters Pelagia, his long-lost sister, a former singer and dancer who is now married to a Gothic warrior. Philammon naturally desires to convert both women to Christianity. The plot is played out against the backdrop of Orestes as the scheming prefect who hopes to become emperor of Egypt and Africa, and uses Hypatia as a pawn in his schemes. A subplot involves Raphael Aben-Ezra as a wealthy Jewish associate of Hypatia who falls in love with a Christian girl called Victoria, and converts to win her love. A series of events, some of which are orchestrated by a Jewish woman called Miriam, raise tensions between the Prefect and the Church. Hypatia undergoes a spiritual crisis and comes close to being converted to Christianity by Raphael. Before this can happen however, rumours are spread that Hypatia is the cause of unrest in the city and she is murdered by a Christian mob. Philammon, despondent, returns to the desert where he eventually becomes abbot of his monastery, albeit with a more worldly view of Christianity.
All Saints' Day and Other Sermons
Alton Locke, Tailor And Poet
The Ancien Regime
Andromeda and Other Poems
Discipline and Other Sermons
Glaucus; or The Wonders of the Shore
The Good News of God
The Gospel of the Pentateuch
Health and Education
Hereward, The Last of the English
Historical Lectures and Essays
Literary and General Lectures and Essays
Madam How and Lady Why
Out of the Deep
Plays and Puritans
The Roman and the Teuton
The Saint's Tragedy
Sanitary and Social Lectures and Essays
Scientific Essays and Lectures
Sermons for the Times
Sermons on National Subjects
Sir Walter Raleigh and his Time
Town and Country Sermons
True Words for Brave Men
Twenty-Five Village Sermons
Two Years Ago, Volume I
Two Years Ago, Volume II.
The Water of Life and Other Sermons
Yeast: A Problem
Instantly popular upon its initial publication in 1863, The Water Babies is at once a bewitching childhood fantasy and a skillfully woven moral allegory. Tom, a young chimney sweep, escapes his horrendous job and his cruel boss, Grimes, when fairies plunge him into a fantastical world under the sea. As he meets and befriends his fellow water babies, as well as all sorts of sea creatures, he begins to learn some valuable lessons. Much in demand by scholars, this authoritative new edition featuring the Victorian illustrations from early editions will charm children and adults alike.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
The protagonist is Tom, a young chimney sweep, who falls into a river after encountering an upper-class girl named Ellie and being chased out of her house. There he dies and is transformed into a "water baby", as he is told by a caddis fly — an insect that sheds its skin — and begins his moral education. The story is thematically concerned with Christian redemption, though Kingsley also uses the book to argue that England treats its poor badly, and to question child labour, among other themes.