horehound, elder flowers, parsley-purt, marshmallow, hyssop, dandelion, and centaury. Usually there was a jug of one or other decoction standing on the hob, from which he drank largely.

"Grand!" he said, smacking his lips after wormwood. "Grand?" And he exhorted the children to try.

"It's better than any of your tea or your cocoa stews," he vowed. But they were not to be tempted.

This time, however, neither pills nor vitriol nor all his herbs would shift the "nasty peens in his head". He was sickening for an attack of an inflammation of the brain. He had never been well since his sleeping on the ground when he went with Jerry to Nottingham. Since then he had drunk and stormed. Now he fell seriously ill, and Mrs. Morel had him to nurse. He was one of the worst patients imaginable. But, in spite of all, and putting aside the fact that he was bread-winner, she never quite wanted him to die. Still there was one part of her wanted him for herself.

The neighbours were very good to her: occasionally some had the children in to meals, occasionally some would do the downstairs work for her, one would mind the baby for a day. But it was a great drag, nevertheless. It was not every day the neighbours helped. Then she had nursing of baby and husband, cleaning and cooking, everything to do. She was quite worn out, but she did what was wanted of her.

And the money was just sufficient. She had seventeen shillings a week from clubs, and every Friday Barker and the other butty put by a portion of the stall's profits for Morel's wife. And the neighbours made broths, and gave eggs, and such invalids' trifles. If they had not helped her so generously in those times, Mrs. Morel would never have pulled through, without incurring debts that would have dragged her down.

The weeks passed. Morel, almost against hope, grew better. He had a fine constitution, so that, once on the mend, he went straight forward to recovery. Soon he was pottering about downstairs. During his illness his wife had spoilt him a little. Now he wanted her to continue. He often put his hand to his head, pulled down the corners of his mouth, and shammed pains he did not feel. But there was no deceiving her. At first she merely smiled to herself. Then she scolded him sharply.

-49-

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Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Part One 1
  • Chapter I - The Early Married Life of the Morels 3
  • Chapter II - The Birth of Paul, and Another Battle 30
  • Chapter III - The Casting off of Morel-- the Taking on of William 49
  • Chapter IV - The Young Life of Paul 61
  • Chapter V - Paul Launches into Life 88
  • Chapter VI - Death in the Family 119
  • Part Two 149
  • Chapter VII - Lad-And-Girl Love 151
  • Chapter VIII - Strife in Love 190
  • Chapter IX - Defeat of Miriam 227
  • Chapter X - Clara 265
  • Chapter XI - The Test on Miriam 291
  • Chapter XII - Passion 314
  • Chapter XIII - Baxter Dawes 355
  • Chapter XIV - The Release 394
  • Chapter XV - Derelict 426
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