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    Chapter V
    Again he fell into thought. Then warmed by these confidences, went further. “Mary, love, let me confess it: I realise what a sad fool I’ve made of myself over this whole business. My ever leaving Ballarat was a fatal mistake. If I’d only had the sense to take your advice! I was run down — at the end of my tether — from years of overwork. A twelve-month out of harness would have set me right again: a voyage to this side; fresh surroundings and associations — and no need to stint with the money either, for we should now have been going back to our old ample income. Instead of having to face another start on as good as nothing . . . eat humble pie before them all, too. For they will certainly grasp what has happened. — No, I can see it now; I was too old for such a drastic break. One’s habits stiffen with one’s joints. You’ve noticed I’ve been hurt by people here implying I’m out-of-date, old-fashioned — good enough for the colonies but not for the home-country — but, upon my word, Mary, I don’t know if there isn’t some truth in it. I stopped too long in the one place, my dear; with the result that I ought to have stopped there altogether. — Well, well! . . . there’s only this about it: fiasco though it has proved, it has not hit me as hard as it might have done, considering the exaggerated expectations I came home with. Which in itself is enough to show me age is rendering me indifferent. Actually, my dear, I believe much of the sting is taken from what has happened by the sight of your satisfaction at returning. Never should I have brought you here — never! I thought to find myself among a different set of people altogether. In memory, I confused good breeding with tact and kindliness. Whereas, now, if it comes to a choice between blue blood and inborn goodness of heart, then what I say is: give me nature’s gentlefolk all the time. There’s as little likeness between them as between this eternal clammy drizzle and some of those cloudless winter days we knew on the Flat.”


    1.With this Mahony’s budget was exhausted, and he rose to go to the surgery, where he proposed to make a few calculations in connection with his little windfall. But Mary held him back for yet a moment.
    2.But the thin smile of amusement that curled his lips at the thought faded, when he heard her pressing Purdy to come again. And the first time he got her alone — it was not till bedtime — he took her soundly to task.
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