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Everything is Possible to Will

Chapter XIV. Thinking Against Eating

page 167

Chapter XIV. Thinking Against Eating.

It was May, charming May, when Zee returned to English country life, and from around her on every hand she absorbed beauty enough to glorify a dozen women. All nature sang of life, and when walking with her sisters they would ask her why she lingered. Lingered! because kind fairies, opening bright visions to her hungry senses, dogged her footsteps; she must needs halt and tread softly, lest she crush her friends of the mossy dell, to whom her sisters, beauty-logged by familiarity, had become indifferent. Then, too, the lark, that tiny speck in cloudland, heard again after many years, carried the listener to heaven's gate as she watched, with the rapturous delight uprising of the one visible link between the upper and the nether springs of joy; and angels bending earthward met her upturned face as they, too, listened to the song, perchance as sweet to them as to Zee. “What ear hath not heard” was never brought so near to Zee by the human voice as by the birds out in the woods, where buttercups and daisies hold carnival, with yon blue vault for canopy.

It were well that the “gutter children”83 of large cities should know the God of the country; that youth's happiest hours should be associated with the birds. Nothing, perhaps, has such a home-ring, God-ring, or inspires such thrilling emotions, now of joy, now of penitence, as the jocund laughter of the green woods; and if youthful feet stray rashly in bye-path meadow, bird-voices, angel-voices, will call them home; bygone memories will come trooping on the stage, and bow the head penitently ere age has frosted the hair or the heart.

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Out in the woods with the wild flowers, her boy of the higher world was close to Zee; and in crossing a common she once found herself, quite unconsciously, walking zigzag, lest she should tread upon the daisies. Piri would have thought it “so cruel.” He never wearied of hunting for the scrubby things, scarcely to be called flowers, growing on the far-away sea coast. If he could but once have feasted his eyes on the English wild flowers, they would have given a sweeter note to his “little songs,” and a finer lustre to his glad, black eyes. Rex, though less enthusiastic than his brother in the matter of flowers, was bewitched by the profusion of hedge-row glories, and gathered whole basketsful for the very joy of it.

Poor Rex, feeling as he said, “all alone in the world,” was too old for the toys love had laid aside for the little one: he needed them not. After his long holiday, school was his business; and he was placed boarder at the best school in Zee's native town, so that she saw but little of him. Knowing she would soon arrive at the end of her leave, and must give her boy up for the first time in his life, she was anxious to wean each from the other by degrees.

Pursuing the pleasure-giving course mapped out for her by her one dearest friend, whose open-handed generosity almost burdened Zee with the cares riches bring, she flitted from pillar to post too hurriedly to allow the scenes to photograph themselves on the mind; so she carried some characteristic atom from each spot visited, and folded it in paper, on which was written whence it was taken and the names of her companions for the hour, in order to recall the histories of the silent, yet eloquent, memorials at leisure.

Feeling the rejuvenescent vitality of the shady lanes and avenues centuries old, through which she occasionally roamed, Zee said her friends “might well look as young as ever,” sheltered by such enlivening quietude. Having kept her heart as fresh as those charming lanes, though many winters had taken liberties with her now silvery-wreathed brow, Zee's lily of lilies, and oft-time companion, a sister of Wrax, said, while sighing at its hopelessness: “I suppose I page 169 ought to learn how to grow old.” No, oh no! one is as old as the heart is, no older. The growing mind defies chronological reckoning, hence the acquisition of knowledge resulting in practical goodness keeps the soul ever going. But if the years bring no mental wealth with them, merely rob us of our youth, old age presents a prospect blank indeed. Silliness is not youthfulness.

Of the live mountain scenery of the Scotch highlands, its hills, dales, glens and passes; its falls, rivers, and lochs; its purple heather, diamond-studded with the foamy spray of its madly-rushing torrents; of the graceful deer, too, with the gently vigilant eyes, and nervously - distended nostrils, slaking their thirst on the margin of a stream, rippling lazily over its rocky bed, or as, startled by intruders, the pretty creatures made for the pine-forest hard by, and from its safe cover, casting timid glances around, seemed to invite friend and foe to a game of hide-and-seek; Zee, judged by her nerve-poised excitability, could entertain the reader for an hour if certain he would not skip it.

Floods, unbounded by space, “mists” so - called, which in the sun's rays set all nature steaming with a humidity well named “soft,” overtook the sight-seers when climbing rugged heights, or rained them within doors when they would fain have climbed over the hills and away. But Time's wings tire not; the delightful trip had come to an end, and having packed their individual carry-all with a wealth of stolen beauty which left the plundered none the poorer, the party bade farewell regretfully to their kind entertainers. The globe is a different thing to him who knows it only in his study, and to him who has a personal knowledge of two-thirds of its surface; hence, unless entirely absorbed with self, the soul is the richer, not the poorer, for the time and money spent in travel; it expands the capacity of enjoyment of both eye and mind, leaving much honey, if a refining sting in brushing conservative cobwebs off the heart and brain.

Zee's spirit, if nothing else, had been purified in suf- page 170 fering's crucible, and admitting that there are any number of degrees of refinement in this disordered world, and that Zee was, and is still, very low down in the scale, she was yet amazed to find how completely she had distanced some of her English friends, except in the matter of gloss. Besides which, full of blundering inconsistency though her life had been to those to whom her submission had not been pledged as to Wrax, there was about her still sufficient truthfulness to make her presence irksome to the artificial and self-centred, who, denying her the possession of one little clinging virtue, a budding lily or violet, were prone to say: “She likes that best she least resembles; I am glad the seas divide her life from ours; her every word and deed is a reproach to us, so much so, in truth, that if we were worth her weight in gold she would make us feel that she was rich, not we.” And that is precisely what those who mean to do as they like will not endure. In training one's own will and that of others, what one likes must, nevertheless, yield to what is right in principle. But for the sheltering love of her one dear friend, to whom she owed her visit home, that visit would have been one of all but perpetual snubbing from those who fancied they were sorry for her, but whose sympathy, in fact, remained very much with Wrax, who had never wounded their rampant self-love. The treatment Zee received was so precisely what would be meted to one in her circumstances by those who had done “well to themselves,” that they were conscious of no unkindness in thrusting her poverty continually upon her notice; they had never begun to think to any purpose. They worshipped success, and sacrificed all else to it; and had Zee done well to herself, they would have outrivalled each other in a parade of affection and good cheer in her honor.

But for others' sake—unfortunates like Zee, meriting a tenderness they rarely meet with—it must be told that notwithstanding that much of her time might be occupied in sight-seeing, she was not to look upon her visit home as a holiday; any such illusion was quickly dispelled by her being told in one instance that the page 171 “spring clean” had been deferred that she might assist therein. Zee was not afraid of work, and although this circumstance, speaking volumes, is mentioned now for the first time quite uncomplainingly, she blushed for the coarseness that made such cruelty possible, especially when one and another, carefully elaborating for her delectation the reception given to this and that well-to-do member of her family on a visiting tour, wound up their grand doings on such state occasions with: “We knew, of course, that you would expect nothing of the kind.” No, indeed, she knew them too well; she knew they had not the remotest idea what unselfish generosity might mean, notwithstanding that they gave freely of their abundance. How much “kindness,” real or otherwise, is due to the fabled “long-stocking”!

In her husband's family Zee met the tenderest consideration, and the unlovely members of her own family are what they are because they have no desire to grow, except in material wealth and such general information as pays. There is all the difference of the real and the sham between the religious and the pious world, the thinking and the eating world; every word of the former being freighted with thought, they become educators, in the truest sense, of all within the sphere of their influence; and their scorn of mere money-grubbing is justly pronounced. Goodness and happiness are twin sisters, so much alike the great parent cannot tell them apart. Nothing can give so manly a bearing, so fearless an eye, so frank and guileless a smile, as to know that neither the love of gold nor any other passion can seduce the soul from its allegiance to purity and truth. Nothing material can enrich, nothing impoverish such beings.

Perceiving that to recall Wrax to his wife's remembrance was to rob her short reprieve of all its brightness, he was allowed to drop out of a recognised existence by general consent. But, at length, having missed her more than he was willing to own, possibly, he was found urging her return to himself before her leave had expired, sending her at the same time £25 as part of her passage-money back to Auckland, money page 172 already her own, by the way, being but a small part of six New Zealand Bank shares she had bought with the money her one dearest friend had sent her that she might have a little at command in case of need, which shares Wrax had prevailed on the ever-foolish Zee to sell immediately before she left Auckland. His letters, however, encouraging her to expect to find himself much changed for the better, nerved her to brave the dangers before which strong men quail, and made the inevitable parting from friends comparatively easy.

Missing his brother with an abiding sense of loneliness, Rex was slow in making friends; he was, nevertheless, a strong, healthy lad, happy at school on the whole, and content to be left behind; and his mother was more than content to leave him to his kind caretakers, his good uncle especially, whose thoughtful love having gladdened every moment of her stay in England followed her to its close; and as a slight diversion for her on the voyage, he himself arranged a tiny garden in which he planted lilies of the valley, snowdrops, crocuses, etc., carefully covering them in with moss, and lacing the whole with fine wire. The garden, together with her hyacinths in their glasses, was suspended from the brass rod over the saloon table, and her various birds were accommodated aft of the saloon.

Her cabin was shared by a lady quite to Zee's mind, a bride-elect,84 bent on turning a New Zealand bush-home into a paradisaic bower; the far-off lover successfully laid a private telegraphic cable across the briny deep, and swift wings not electrical were now wafting towards him a neat specimen of London-pride. Having, amid a whirl of excitement, garnered much food for reflexion which she proposed to digest at leisure, the quiet monotony of the voyage was welcome to Zee, who craved the solitude to be found among strangers. Once fairly afloat, however, she surprised herself busily taking stock of her fellow-passengers, one of whom she eyed askance from his studied attempts to generally ingratiate himself. Experience had proved to Zee that respect is seldom merited by those who need to purchase it.

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In the tropics Zee's miniature garden came up in a night like Jonah's gourd—the flowers were “fast,” as travel-stained creation is apt to be. Every fresh thing is beautiful at sea, and from the flowers strong men stole kisses, gratefully, as they watched the hyacinths growing at both ends with special interest. At the dinner hour, one day, Zee fastened a lily, folded in its own green leaf, in the captain's coat. He said: “It is the first flower I've seen so far out at sea; I shall preserve it among my treasures.” Wonder did he keep his word?

The matron of the single women on board was a man! at least the husband did his wife's work, she being too feeble, and being unable to prevail on his charges “to go below,” one night at the usual hour of 9 p.m., the man-matron complained to the captain, who shouted from the poop: “All single women go below immediately;” but wielding the cudgels for the women a storm of discordant hisses from angry men broke upon the calm night-air. Returning to the charge, the captain shouted again: “If you don't go below immediately, I'll put you on bread-and-water for a week;” and again defiant groans burst from the men, sufficiently prolonged to curdle one's blood. Nowhere else, perhaps, are moon and stars and blue ethereal sky so transcendently beautiful as in the tropics, and this was a gem of a night. Striding angrily about, the captain suddenly demanded: “What shall I do?” of Zee, who was walking with her lady friend on the poop As she made no reply, the captain said again: “I will know what you would recommend.” “Mercy,” returned Zee quietly. “Mercy?” exclaimed the captain, “that makes the matter worse than ever.” “So long,” persisted Zee, “as the women are well-behaved, nine o'clock is too early to send them to their close, miserable dens on such nights as these.” The captain, however, as he strode about in the sulks, or something better, said: “You've doubled the difficulty; I'll never ask you again.” Clinching the plea for “mercy,” a gentleman declared: “It is the first time I ever heard a woman plead for mercy on women,” and forthwith quoted: “Mercy is twice blessed,” etc.85 Nothing more, page 174 however, was heard of “bread-and-water” rations, nor was there any further demonstration of ill-feeling, each party becoming more accommodating, probably.

The birds, that unfailing source of amusement on an ocean voyage, had grown wary; they had learnt that the leviathans which skim the deep gave them meat, but the meat had an indigestible hook in it; that despite the devoted attentions of powder-and-shot bestowed upon them, they did not take well to salt water after having been riddled; nor did they approve of promenading the deck, subject to the vulgar gaze of a new order of beings, 'yclept men and women.

Hence they kept their distance, but patience was at length rewarded by two Cape pigeons becoming entangled in the lines thrown out astern, one of which belonged to a little fellow in the second cabin, whose good fortune can be appreciated only as one realises the crowds of sportsmen hanging over the bulwarks, crazy for such luck. His face all aglow with the ebullition of excitement, he was about to run off to show his prize to his mother, when a passenger said: “Let me look at it.” The bird was given with child-like pride and perfect trust, when the fellow coolly threw the bird up in the air—his own boy's line had caught no bird. With a half groan the child involuntarily raised his eyes and his hands after his bird, then dropped his head and ran to hide his tears on his mother's bosom; not even to her had he been allowed to show his pretty bird.

The dead silence which followed the dastardly act was more eloquent than a volley of hard words; and if indignation could cremate, that creature's small body would have been reduced to ashes. And of all who witnessed his meanness, no one despised him more probably than did his wife; she was a lady and won the respect of every one; but she had “mated with a clown,” and he invariably spoke of the passengers between decks as “those brutes,” “those wretches,” or “those beasts.” His pride had been mortified in permission having been given to the many to go astern to catch or shoot the birds. Thenceforward he was always being “robbed” by “those wretches,” as they page 175 passed his cabin window on going round the poop gallery, though they “robbed” no one else. A peep into the neat poop cabins must have been like a succession of pretty pictures to the tiny dwellers in the darkness between decks, whose remarks anent the cabins, believing themselves to be unheard, were quite refreshing; Zee and her friend only wished they had a store of sweets to shower among them. When the child's father asked the fellow “how he dared to take such a liberty with the bird,” etc., the fellow put him off with some cowardly excuse; but he had ultimately to beg the child's pardon. Tyranny such as he exercised must give place to a growing intelligence. He was a staff-captain in the army and afterwards promoted; a soldier perhaps, a gentleman never. The reader will be prepared to hear that it was he who was at such pains to ingratiate himself with all at the beginning of the voyage. And he would sit at the cuddy table reading his Bible by the hour; much good it had done him.

Now, in view of the cable being paid out, Zee was loth to leave her ocean bed and board; falling into exactly the right niche, she drank in the poetry of motion, as the ship ran before the waves, now curling their proud crests in baffled majesty, anon spending themselves in foam at her feet, to begin again the never-ending game with renewed might. She loved the water, stern though the treacherous element had been to her; with it she entered into many sweet ties; through it her boy beckoned to her, and she oftimes became possessed of an almost overpowering impulse to throw herself into the water and go home the way he went. She and the bride-elect were named “the inseparables;” the merry-thought was always between them, and they were charged with having monopolised all the fun in the ship.

The end of the uneventful voyage found all on board greeting the shores of their future home in full feather; shores whose picturesqueness is now in a measure destroyed by signs of commercial prosperity and enterprise; the foreground being occupied by huge brick buildings, as a set-off to which, however, Zee page 176 knew that a few friends would hail her return with pleasure. Not to a soul had she breathed one word of her husband's untoward career; scarcely to herself had one distrustful thought dimmed the horizon of a brighter day. Still, now that the hour of meeting was close at hand, she would fain have deferred it indefinitely, lest he himself should rudely dispel all kindly thoughts of him. But the living morn found her looking nervously for his boat; eight o'clock, nine o'clock, found her looking in vain; and jocularly prognosticating all sorts of evil of the slothful one, Zee was finely teased by one and another. But as the breakfast bell rang she descried Wrax making with speed for the ship, quite as early as she could have expected him, knowing his habit of hugging the pillow; for he must have risen hours earlier than was his wont. He was well, though white to the lips, and miserably bachelor-like in appearance; still, his joy at his wife's return was boundless, and he declared he would never, never spare her again.

The bride-elect had unconsciously fortified her for the yet future, experience having taught Zee that when heartsease is at its highest sorrow is at hand; thus bitter and sweet are married, the cross is enwreathed with flowers. Unfortunately, it is to be feared, her friend, whose strong sense of duty would make her faithful to the death, failed to realise the proverbial “slip,” but became a wife within a week of landing, and well the breast-knot suited her, till it grew too knotty.

The new house, respecting which Zee had not indulged the ghost of a hope, still dreamily occupied a vacant allotment in that running-to-waste domain Wrax carried on his broad shoulders. Having soon parted company with the folk with whom Zee left him, and tried various other modes of living, as a last resource, Wrax made bachelor's hall of a cottage of his own, to which he now led his wife. Such a piggery! One glance told Zee that herself and Wrax were as much at variance as to cleanliness as to other matters; she hesitated to unrobe, to hang bonnet and cloak against the wall; whereas to lay them down was beyond the scope of possibility.

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Each having much of interest to communicate to the other, Wrax would have had Zee sit and chat with dirt all around. Impossible! the walls had ears and eyes too, since daddy-longlegs held undisputed possession of every corner. One, two, three, yea, a dozen things were wanted ere she could sit and chat in comfort. First of all, a strong woman to turn house out of window, and Wrax with it, until the piggery, or a part of it, was converted into a snuggery, when he might return to a cosy tea. Finding that nothing remained to him but to do as he was bidden, he reluctantly exhumed an active body from the lower regions for a general lather and scald, in which his energetic wife, fastening up her dress, prepared to take part.

So spiritedly did the charwoman throw strength and elbow-grease about, that by tea-time she had thoroughly sweetened two rooms from floor to ceiling. And by many a finishing touch here and there, Zee had earned a relish for tea, a meal to be had in remembrance, so overjoyed was Wrax in having Zee to share it with him. She, too, was in a measure glad to be at her post by his side, although she was compelled by the first kiss to accept the disgusting fact, with an inward groan, that Wrax was Wrax still.

Her return to Wrax would have been strenuously opposed by her best friends, but that in going she had stipulated for her return at all costs. Having fainted under a too heavy cross, and being unwilling she should continue to bear it alone, while admitting the less said about it the better, her friends made Zee promise, in the event of Wrax's habits remaining unchanged, she would mention her trouble at once to those whose friendship she prized, urging that it would be a relief to her and to them, nor would they respect her the less for so doing. Acting on their advice, she did open her heart with much sorrow, and, strangely enough, her trouble took wings, never again presenting the same dread aspect; she marvelled, indeed, that it should ever have been so great a burden.

The secret was no secret; the skeleton had stood revealed long before she left Auckland. Shrinking with cowardly sensitiveness from “The hint malevolent,86 page 178 the look oblique,” she had done her friends an injustice, and though respecting her desire to conceal what was so much to be regretted, they knew she was planting thorns cruel as useless in her own pillow. But now she was, of course, happier in mind and more at ease with those friends; yet notwithstanding the relief afforded, the reflexion forced itself upon her, happier anywhere, everywhere without Wrax. Lonely, too, and cheerless was the home wanting her boy; but she counted the cost before she gave him up; to know him better off was the one drop of honey in her cup; not for the world would she, if she could, have called him back.

During the influx of red-coats, Auckland had gloried in a tidal-wave of unparalleled money-making, and sharing in the plunder, Wrax declared: “Money was made hand over fist;” and rents being fabulously high, he invested in house-property, from which source alone his income was considerable; and if he had entered into no fresh speculations, and if rents had continued as exorbitant but for three months longer, Wrax would have sailed grandly out of port with all sails well set to the breeze. But the war with the natives ended; the Imperial troops were recalled; the seat of Government removed from Auckland; and each and all occurring simultaneously, such an exodus of both the military and civilians took place, that the commercial collapse of Auckland was sudden and complete, and house-property, in common with all things else, became a drug in the market.

He added tenfold to his misfortunes by keeping his wife in ignorance thereof. The advertised sale: “By order of the mortgagee” of certain properties of Wrax, was her first intimation of the impending crisis. Moreover, despite the general stagnation, and in opposition to Zee's expressed wishes, he had set men to work to build their new home. Then from his numerous creditors came, for the first time in New Zealand, summons after summons thick and fast; things looked too dark ahead to all men to make leniency possible. And so long as those summonses kept rolling in, Zee could make nothing of Wrax, page 179 try how she would; curses only were on his lips, until the day before the advertised sale of the property; then she prevailed upon him to give her a clear statement of accounts, which proved his solvency beyond question. In his wife lay his only hope of salvation; for his creditors, believing neither in his honor nor his solvency, acted on the principle of “first come first served.” It was a thousand pities to lose all without an effort to save it; and notwithstanding her inexperience and all but insuperable objection to business, Zee determined to save all, exacting only a promise from Wrax that in saving all he would afford her the necessary assistance, keeping carefully in the background the while.

To save the property already in the market was the first consideration, and it was withdrawn directly Zee had her honor-saving machinery in full trim. She then interviewed the more clamorous creditors; and being careful to make no doubtful promises, begged for time, pledging her honor, which by the way was as safe as England's bank, that their claims should be paid to the last penny if time were but given her. She met but a cold shoulder in every case; still she made the best terms she could, and forthwith set to work to collect and pay away all moneys due to Wrax, Oh, what work it was!

The following is an instance of how she, strong in her rectitude of purpose, nailed men to their word. A certain M.D. owed Wrax considerably over £100, and gave Zee promissory notes of £20 each for the amount. Having once failed to meet the note when due, Zee warned him not to fail again, and presenting herself as per date of bill, the doctor said, with many regrets: “I can do nothing for you to-day.” “Very well, doctor, I'll sit here till you can,” responded Zee, dropping into an easy chair, quietly ignoring his manifold apologies and the many patients awaiting his leisure. Seeing the cold disdain in the look of the sturdy piece of oak that would not take no for an answer, the doctor accepted the situation and gave her a cheque for the amount, which was quickly divided among her hungry brood.

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The street-door required care in securing it, and hearing a fumbling at it one night, when summonses were pouring in fast, Zee jumped out of bed and to her horror confronted a strange man, with whom Wrax parleyed and then dismissed. And during the small hours of another night a tremendous thundering was heard at their back door, and Zee was certain they had come to grief again; but saying “it was only a lark,” Wrax refused to rise to quiet her apprehensions. As they were seated at breakfast next morning, a coarse, ill-conditioned fellow passed their window, and knocking at the door, it was instantly opened by Wrax, who evidently knew the man, and by a sign imposed silence on him. Wrax then went out into the street, carefully closing the door after him. Thinking that he was playing her false, laughing at her behind her back, Zee, whose nerves were too strained to make practical jokes bearable, broke down utterly, asking in all her helplessness, Where can I go? what will be the end of it? But sorrow or no sorrow, she must choke back her tears; out into the world she must go; much business had to be transacted that day. Fortunately Wrax soon returned and allayed her fears. Knowing that the bailiffs might be hanging on the outskirts of their dwelling, that very ill-conditioned fellow had pounded Wrax's door “for fun.” How base he must have been!

The property was saved; but with all her indefatigable energy Zee failed to pay the money into Court as fast as could be wished; else, by the Saturday of that worst of bad weeks, the more pressing debts would have been wiped off, and Zee would have escaped as a bird from the fowler; and oh, what a thanksgiving-day Sunday would have been! Never did tempest-tossed mariner hail port more gratefully than she hailed the prospective rest of that first day of the week; she had kept her eye steadily fixed on the goal; it was the alpenstock by which she had climbed Mount Opposition. But it was not to be; she was in the hands of the notoriously dilatory lawyers, and had to learn the value of the Sabbath, sealed by the law's blessed protection. Dreading lest what Wrax called “a limb of the law” should appear on the scene, and page 181 “an execution” should add to the already needless misery and expense of the summonses, they barricaded their door and windows that Saturday night, not daring to have fire or light, scarcely daring to speak or breathe.

But freedom from undue pressure came at last. First making their domicile bailiff-proof, Zee sallied forth again on Monday morning to those horrid lawyers, and once clutching the money for which she had waited patiently, it melted as only money can which is already swallowed up of debt. But Zee was free, free, free! Well done, daring, indomitable Zee! She had saved all; and hammer and tongs, pots, kettles, and pans served her for joy-bells; there was a clear light in her eye and sweet ring in her voice, and she held her head higher than she had done for many a day. They would have to skin a flint and live on it for many a month before they were out of debt; but all the remaining creditors had faith in Zee, her word was sufficient bond, and from them personally she received kind consideration the instant she took Wrax's affairs into her own hands.

O men, have the courage to trust your wives! Zee would have been spared the wading through much mud, moral and material, that first winter of her return to Auckland, and much money swallowed up in court dues, lawyer's fees, etc., would have been saved, had she earlier known Wrax's financial position. If in business matters she had ventured on an inquiry or suggestion, he had silenced her insolently with: “Mind your own business, and leave me to mine.”

But now, as Zee cleared the way for him, and he could see a chance of keeping his head above water, he vowed by all that was extravagant he would never more touch the hated drink. He even talked of settling on Zee the property which she had saved; but he never did it, nor did she wish it—she was too silly by half for that; mere talk as it was, however, she was glad to have won such an acknowledgment of services rendered.

83 A colloquial 19th century term for homeless children, or children of the very poor. Thomas Wright wrote on so-called ‘gutter children' in his 1882 book The Great Army of London Poor: “Many gutter children have great natural intelligence, and, with education, would doubtless make bright and useful members of society. But, being left uneducated, being allowed to remain gutter children, they grow up with minds uncultivated, bodies emaciated, and become what gutter children do become - the suffering poor, or worse” (277). [The River-Side Visitor [Thomas Wright]. The Great Army of London Poor. London: T. Woolmer Publishing, 1882: 277-300.]

84 A term for a betrothed person (also 'bridegroom-elect'), commonly used before 1915 in place of 'bride-to-be.'

85 From William Shakespeare's the Merchant of Venice : “The quality of mercy is not strained . . . It is twice blest; / It blesseth him that gives and him that takes” (Portia, Act 4, Scene I).

86 From Hannah More’s Sensibility: An Epistle : “The hint malevolent, the look oblique / The obvious satire, or implied dislike; / The sneer equivocal, / the harsh reply, / And all the cruel language of the eye” (176).