Quotes Wish House


‘I ’eard a cheer, like, pushed back on de floor o’ the kitchen. Then I ’eard feet on de kitchen-stairs, like it might ha’ been a heavy woman in slippers. They come up to de stairhead, acrost the hall—I ’eard the bare boards creak under ’em—an’ at de front door dey stopped. I stooped me to the letter-box slit, an’ I says: “Let me take everythin’ bad that’s in store for my man, ’Arry Mockler, for love’s sake.”



This is from “The Wish House” ” (1924) collected in Debits and Credits, about a woman’s overpowering passion for a man.

Two old Sussex women, friends since childhood, are talking about the past, and the present. Grace. Mrs Ashcroft, is mortally ill with a painful cancerous ulcer on her leg.

A strong determined woman, she recalls how she had fallen desperately in love with Harry Mockler, the love of her life, whom she knew to be her ‘master’. After a time he had rejected her. Then he had an accident and was gravely ill. She had heard of a “Wish House’’’ where one could ask to bear another’s  trouble. She goes there,  and in this passage asks to bear Harry’s. Soon he recovers and she suffers her cancer, which will kill her.

The knowledge of her sacrifice, in bearing his pain, has sustained her through many hard  years. Though he does not know it, it has made him – and kept him – hers.