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The wounds of which she had spoken, seemed to be about the neck of the self-made outcast. She dressed them now, still without showing her. She steeped a piece of linen in a basin, into which she poured some liquid from a bottle and laid it with a gentle hand upon the sore.

The "wounds" Mrs. Blackpool has on her neck may be syphilitic sores; the throat is one site on which such sores may develop. The "liquid" with which Rachael treats them would probably have been a solution made with mercury, which would be highly poisonous and marked as such—hence Stephen's horror at seeing "what was printed on [the bottle] in large letters" and his later, troubled dreams.

exercised him diligently in his calculations relative to number one

That is, Tom is thinking of himself first.

the Calmucks of Tartary

A nomadic tribe living between the Volga river and the Caspian Sea.

strongest smelling-salts

A common remedy for fainting in the Victorian period, made up of carbonate of ammonia and perfumes.

light porter

A worker, as in a bank, whose duties involve carrying light packages.

She might have said the sweetbread, for that delicate article in a savoury brown sauce was her favorite supper

Sweetbreads are the thymus glands of calves or lambs, and were a much-prized delicacy of the Victorian era. Because they must be cooked when very fresh and also must be soaked for several hours before cooking, they were generally a luxury item. Mrs. Beeton, in her Book of Household Management, includes both recipes and an illustration:

Love was made on these occasions in the form of bracelets; and, on all occasions during the period of betrothal, took a manufacturing aspect. Dresses were made, jewellery was made, cakes and gloves were made, settlements were made…

Victorian wedding preparations included not only the making of the trousseau (the dresses and other articles the bride would take to her new home) but also the wedding cake, which was similar to present-day fruitcake and thus was made well in advance. Settlements were financial arrangements providing for the wife as well as for the couple's future children. Until 1870, according to British law married women could not own property separately; all property she brought to the marriage belonged to her husband. The exception to this law was money or property placed in trust for her or her children, or "settled" on her. Making such settlements protected the wife's interests in case her husband suffered financial setbacks or died and left his widow without income. Arranging for such settlements was an important part of the financial negotiations surrounding a bourgeois marriage at the time.



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