Herbert George Wells was born in Bromley, Kent. His father was a shopkeeper and a professional cricketer until he broke his leg. In his early childhood Wells developed a love for literature. His mother served from time to time as a housekeeper at the nearby estate of Uppark, and young Herbert studied books in the library secretly. When his father's business failed, Wells was apprenticed like his brothers to a draper. He spent the years between 1880 and 1883 in Windsor and Southsea and later recorded them in Kipps (1905). In the story Arthur Kipps is raised by his aunt and uncle. Kipps is also apprenticed to a draper. After learning that he has been left a fortune, Kipps enters the upper-class society, which Wells describes with sharp social criticism.
I do not propose to add anything to what has already been written concerning the loss of the "Lady Vain." As everyone knows, she collided with a derelict when ten days out from Callao. The longboat, with seven of the crew, was picked up eighteen days after by H. M. gunboat "Myrtle," and the story of their terrible privations has become quite as well known as the far more horrible "Medusa" case. But I have to add to the published story of the "Lady Vain" another, possibly as horrible and far stranger. It has hitherto been supposed that the four men who were in the dingey perished, but this is incorrect. I have the best of evidence for this assertion: I was one of the four men.
But in the first place I must state that there never were four men in the dingey,--the number was three. Constans, who was "seen by the captain to jump into the gig," luckily for us and unluckily for himself did not reach us. He came down out of the tangle of ropes under the stays of the smashed bowsprit, some small rope caught his heel as he let go, and he hung for a moment head downward, and then fell and struck a block or spar floating in the water. We pulled towards him, but he never came up.
In 1883 Wells became a teacher/pupil at Midhurst Grammar School. He obtained a scholarship to the Normal School of Science in London and studied there biology under T.H. Huxley. However, his interest faltered, and in 1887 he left without a degree. He taught in private schools for four years, not taking his B.S. degree until 1890. The next year he settled in London, married his cousin Isabel, and continued his career as a teacher in a correspondence college. From 1893 Wells became a full-time writer.
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