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Mary Gray



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Mary Gray by Katharine Tynan
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The house where Mary Gray was born and grew towards womanhood was one of a squat line of mean little houses that hid themselves behind a great church. The roadway in front of the houses led only to the back entrance of the church. Over against the windows was the playground of the church schools, surrounded by a high wall that shut away field and sky from the front rooms of Wistaria Terrace. The houses were drab and ugly, with untidy grass-plots in front. They presented an exterior of three windows and a narrow round-topped hall-door which was a confession of poverty in itself. Five out of six houses had a ramping plaster horse in the fanlight of the hall door, a fixture which went with the house and was immune from breakage because no one ever thought of cleaning the fanlights. In the back gardens the family wash was put to dry. Some of the more enterprising inhabitants kept fowls; but there was not much enterprise in Wistaria Terrace. Earlier inhabitants had planted the gardens with lilac and laburnum bushes, with gooseberries and currants. There were no flowers there that did not sow themselves year after year. They were damp, grubby places, but even there an imaginative child like Mary Gray could find suggestions of delight. Mary's father, Walter Gray, was employed at a watchmaker's of repute. He spent all his working life with a magnifying glass in his eye, peering into the mechanism of watches, adjusting the delicate pivots and springs on which their lives moved. His occupation had perhaps encouraged in him a habit of introspection. Perhaps he found the human machine as worthy of interest as the works of watches and clocks. Anyhow, in his leisure moments, which were few, he would discuss curiously with Mary the hidden springs that kept the human machine in motion, the strange workings and convolutions of it. From the very early age when she began to be a comfort and a companion to her father, Mary had been accustomed to such speculations as would have written Walter Gray down a madman if he had shared them with the grown people about him rather than with a child. Mary was the child of his romance, of his first marriage, which had lasted barely a year.
Release date NZ
January 9th, 2007
Country of Publication
United States
black & white illustrations
Wildside Press
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