Creative response:

Theme: Prejudice – How judgements and preconceived notions are made, affecting both the accused and the accuser.

Dictionary meaning: prej·u·dice



an unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason.


any preconceived opinion or feeling, either favorable or unfavorable.


unreasonable feelings, opinions, or attitudes, esp. of a hostile nature, regarding a racial, religious, or national group.


such attitudes considered collectively: The war against prejudice is never-ending.


damage or injury; detriment: a law that operated to the prejudice of the majority.

verb (used with object)


to affect with a prejudice, either favorable or unfavorable: His honesty and sincerity prejudiced us in his favor.



without prejudice, Law. without dismissing, damaging, or otherwise affecting a legal interest or demand.

Origin: 1250–1300; ME OF L praejūdicium prejudgment, orig. preliminary or

previous judicial inquiry, equiv. to prae- pre- + jūdicium legal proceedings, judging (jūdic-, s. of jūdex judge + -ium -ium)

—Related forms

prej·u·diced·ly, adverb

prej·u·dice·less, adjective


I intend to write a short story following the theme of prejudice, of which Ham employed when writing The Dressmaker. The town was prejudiced against Tilly and Molly – their family, and I intend to write of a family prejudiced against the majority of their town.

The Dressmaker showed the townspeople discriminating Tilly and Molly, hating them purely because they believed they ought to. My story will show one family discriminating against the town, prejudiced against anything that isn't quite within their standards.

Teddy becomes Tilly's only true friend in the prejudicial town; one of very few not of the same beliefs, along with Sergeant Farrat. His upbringing down near the tip, in the closest proximity to Mad Molly, set him apart from the other townspeople, and made him able to think differently, to befriend someone not up to the town's standards. Candide, the youngest in my story, is the most naïve, and the only one capable of thinking differently to his family, just like Teddy.

As in The Dressmaker, I have employed the use of nomology. The surname of family of which the story circulates is Bigot, as they are all prejudicial. The father and head of the family is named William; from the Ancient Germanic wil helm, meaning determined protector, as well as short forms and variants also with a common basic meaning of "will", such as "determined", or "resolute". Eagan and Lily, aged respectively, also hold nomological meanings. Eagan, the eldest child, originates from the Irish, meaning fiery and forceful. Lily Acacia Bigot, hidden behind the façade of her beauty; Lily, a name of Latin origin, is a symbol of innocence and purity as well as beauty, however her 'thorny' nature is given away by her middle name, which quite literally is a thorny tree, as well as the bigotry entailed by her surname that her father and brother also hold within their characteristics. Lastly, the youngest child is named Candide, also from Latin origin, meaning innocent and naïve, because he is the only one who can see past the prejudicial ways holding back the rest of his family. The wife, who died in labour, was Ella; an English name, meaning beautiful fairy woman.

Candide is the reason for the end of his family's prejudicial ways; he befriends a lovely Greek girl, Arachne Christie, which horrifies his father, sister and brother. Arachne, meaning spider, is named because her fingers are constantly sticky like a spiders' web, due to her love of all things sugary and sweet. Arachne's mother is Adonia, or Adonia Althea Christie, as she introduces herself; the female form of Adonis, also of Greek origin, meaning beautiful or extremely good-looking. Althea, from the Greek verb meaning 'to heal'; and Christie, the feminine form of Christopher, from the Greek word meaning 'carrier of Christ', and St Christopher, patron Saint of travellers, as Adonia and Arachne travel from town to town. William forbids Candide to see Arachne again, as the townspeople in The Dressmaker seem to forbid one another to associate with Tilly and Molly, and even Teddy after he befriends Tilly. However, Candide falls ill, and William asks the townspeople for help. They refuse to help him, after all the degrading remarks he has constantly made, finally getting revenge for his condescending sneers, and being made to feel as if they were not worthy of William. William is forced to resort to asking Adonia, mother of Arachne, for help to with Candide's illness; similar to another aspect of The Dressmaker, in which the townspeople get over their prejudice and go to Tilly for her seamstress skills.

In The Dressmaker, Tilly is finally accepted by the town because of her dressmaking skills. Previously, as Myrtle, she was constantly mocked and teased for being a bastard child, and then, after the death of Stewart Pettyman – her half-brother – she was hated and blamed, too. When returning as Tilly, she reinvents herself, trying to hide her past life in the town. Gertrude also takes this route and renames herself Trudy after her marriage, in the hope that she could reinvent herself as someone more sophisticated, rather than the common girl she grew up as. In my creative piece, the family finally accepts the town because they need help, only to be rejected. They realise that in order to reconcile, they must put aside their differences and truly appreciate what they have, and they too must be accepted by the town.

Ham wrote The Dressmaker with an indefinite time. My authorital decision was to attempt to employ the same idea, and keep with Ham's indefinitive era. I chose to include different aspects of the 1900's, researching 50's fashions and such, but also to mix customs and what was/has been generally accepted throughout times.

Marie, the nanny, poisons Candide in revenge for their prejudice against her cousin, and over her jealousy of the Bigot's status. Her cousin Hannah babysat for the Bigot's previously, and was told by Eagan never to return again, simply because she was mixed race. Marie swore to get revenge, and slipped poison into Candide's milk.

My story will combine aspects of The Dressmaker with my own ideas, revolving around the theme of prejudice; one of many topics in The Dressmaker. I plan to write with characters who will be prejudicial and racist, and conclude with a moral, like Ham did in finishing The Dressmaker as she tied up loose ends. The conflict in my story will be resolved, and the characters will learn not to be so prejudiced.


Racial slurs and derogatory comments were quite common in the Bigot household. Many subjects, which most of the townspeople of Sunsville would deem unacceptable, were carelessly thrown about between the Bigot's, as though they thought themselves above the rest of the town. Fearful residents of Sunsville would talk in reverent whispers about the Bigot's, though were always careful to make sure word never got back to them.

William Bigot's shrewd eye never missed a thing; his forceful and imposing presence tended to make one feel inadequate, something for which his victim's came off worse for. He had a cruel streak, and the impression he gave tended to be unpleasant, though he couldn't care less.

The rest of his family weren't much better. Lily, William's eldest daughter, appeared sweet and lovely, but looks can be deceiving, as any poor soul who had the misfortune of meeting Lily would tell. She had been likened once to a precious rose by a previous suitor; beautiful on the outside, but if you stepped too close, her hidden thorns would snatch and tear. 'A conniving bitch', one man had dared to describe her. He had later been introduced to Eagan's fist.

Eagan was Lily's elder brother. The eldest child in the family, he was proud to be a Bigot. He was horribly biased on the subject of his sister, and thought her to be an angel on God's earth. Religion was also highly important to Eagan, placing his Catholicity near the top of his priorities, as did his father William, and his sister Lily.

Candide, the youngest of three siblings at the tender age of seven, was the polar opposite of his prejudicial family. Sweet natured, innocent and naïve, his doe-eyed gaze was enough to melt even the heart of his stony father. People who met the family often wondered if Candide was adopted.

William's wife, Ella, had been a kind and beautiful woman. William had adored her, often claiming her vivid cerulean eyes were brighter and more brilliant than the ocean, her creamy skin more porcelain-like than a doll, and doted on her constantly. When she died during labour at the birth of Candide, William swore he would never love again, a vow to which he stayed true to. However, in his mourning and remorse, he grew bitter, and vented his emotions from his loss through anger and other emotions, from which his prejudice stemmed, and steadily grew, reinforcing his intolerance and discrimination of others.

The weather in Sunsville was, ironically, usually rather cloudy, and often rained. This particular Monday was one such day. Gazing out the window before setting off to work, William caught sight of the threatening grey clouds looming not far in the distance, then returned to fetch his umbrella.

The door to the coat room swung open easily beneath William's fingertips, and he lifted his other hand to the wall, fumbling for the light switch. He felt the smooth, cold brass of the switch, and flicked it with his index finger. The light flickered momentarily, before a dull glow enveloped the small room. William blinked for a moment, as he let his vision adjust. His eyes roamed the small room, passing the coats resting on hooks, and the shoes piled on top each other in disarray, before settling on the array of umbrellas. He reached over, grabbed a black umbrella, and headed out, closing the door behind him. Then, William tucked the umbrella under his arm, and strode out of the house purposefully, without so much as a backward glance.

Candide stood on the staircase, his sleepy eyes still half closed, and he yawned, emitting a sound similar to a baby lion. He rubbed his eyes with his fists and walked downstairs slowly. Catching sight of William, his face broke out in a grin.


Candide called out eagerly. William appeared not to hear, and the door slammed behind him, the noise reverberating around the room. A small frown settled upon Candide's face, and he returned upstairs to search for his sister, Lily.

William strode into the foyer of the bank, his mere presence exuding power and confidence. All voices hushed the moment he entered the building; the authority he held over these people was quite clear to anyone in the room.

William advanced towards the front desk, and the receptionist, a timid young female, shrivelled back into her seat. Her eyes widened as William nodded curtly at her, utterly petrified that he was even acknowledging her.

"I would like to see Mr Humphries," William announced to her, his voice low, yet each word impeccably enunciated.

"Of course, sir. Right away." She nodded fervently, turned a few switches, and pressed a few buttons before her.

"Thank you," William said sombrely, then paused to glance at the name plate on her desk, "Amelia."

Amelia's eyes widened even further – if possible – in terror, and she dug her nails into her palm, which made things difficult when it came to picking up the phone to tell Mr Humphries that someone was there to see him. Still, she managed, and spoke briefly to another assistant who then relayed the message. There were several nods, yes's, and noises of acknowledgement on Amelia's behalf, until at last, she raised her head to face William again. In a small, hushed voice, she said to him;

"Mr Humphries will see you now, sir."

Then, with no warning whatsoever, she stood up from her seat and scurried off, presumably to escape William. William shot her a bemused look as he left.

"What an odd girl," he muttered aloud.

William exited the room, oblivious to the sudden change in noise level at his departure. As if returning to life, everyone in the room spoke in quiet, reverent whispers, moving around the room with sudden fervour.

William made his way up the corridor, taking a left, a right and a left again, with a conviction that indicated that he knew his way around the area quite well. This, of course, was be true; William was the bank manager, and oversaw everything that happened in the bank.

As he passed a door marked A. M. Johnson, in large, gold coloured lettering, William noticed something on the floor. Curiosity peaked, he bent down to have a closer look. It appeared to be pencil stub, clearly trodden on, or so the shattered lead indicted, and embedded in the threadbare carpet. William straightened up again with this knowledge and continued on his way, a slight frown now marring his features. The untidy state of the building would have to be addressed, he decided, though left the stub for the janitor to pick up. After all, a man of such high authority as William shouldn't have to stoop so low at to picking up other people's rubbish. No, William told himself, that was most certainly not his job. Someone of lesser importance would have to do that.

William caught sight of own door and smirked, then paused and pushed it open. The door opened soundlessly, William noted; no cleaner would dare leave him with a creaking door. Very well oiled indeed. He peered in, proudly observing the tidy room he called his office. Pristine walls and carpet, well-polished mahogany desk, and a green plant in the corner which, though disliked immensely by William, he kept for the 'professional' aura he thought it added.

Leather shoes padded softly back over the carpet, and William exited, closing the door again carefully. He straightened his posture, straightened his tie, and straightened his facial expression, once again reverting to his signature blank, haughty stare, his eerie grey eyes giving others the impression of being stared right through. Then, he rounded the corner, and entered Mr Humphries office.

Lily stood in front of the full length mirror in her room, a look of displeasure settling on her face. She held before her two dresses; one formal, one casual. The casual dress was verging on inappropriate - or so Lily thought, with such a short skirt - with an above knee-length hemline, high cinched waist, sleeveless, and a square neckline. A lovely shade of peach, the colour contrasted her vivid green eyes, inherited from her mother. Of these features, she rather abhorred the hemline, preferring not to reveal her knees, which she deemed too knobbly and unattractive to be shown in public. Thinking about this, Lily tossed the aforementioned dress onto her bed, and studied the second dress. An understated lilac chiffon, the sweetheart neckline and pinched waist flaunted Lily's tiny waist, creating a more curvaceous figure. The corseted bodice was not an issue for Lilly, having been wearing them since the age of eleven or twelve. The hemline flowed to mid-calf region, hiding Lily's knees, which was the deciding factor for her.

Lily slid on the dress, then a pair of baby doll style, round toe cream heels. On went her strand of pearls, sitting prettily on her collar bones, and a spritz of an expensive perfume. A gift from her father on her sixteenth birthday. Her complexion, a Victorian pallor, inherited from her father's side of her genetics - he had been born in England - contrasted with the vivid red of her lips, already dark and coated again.

Lily was just about to leave her room, when the pitter patter of small feet sounded near her door; a pair of brown suede young boys shoes, to be exact. Lily smiled faintly as Candide entered the room. Candide smiled broadly in return.

"Lily!" Candide cried joyfully.

Candide bounded enthusiastically over to Lily. She held out her arms absently, her mind elsewhere, and Candide jumped into her embrace. He chattered on about nothing in particular, and Lily pretended to listen, interjecting occasionally with an 'oh', or a 'hmm' and sometimes a 'yes, yes'. She was pondering the reason insects could walk on ceilings when a small fist lightly made contact with her shoulder.

"Yes?" Lily questioned distractedly.

"I said, where are you going?"

Candide looked up at Lily, still sitting in her lap, his soulful grey eyes blinking innocently. Lily wondered for a moment what Candide was talking about, then remembered suddenly.


Lily replied brusquely, any hint of a smile vanished. She pushed Candide off her lap, letting him land on his feet with a small thud. Candide sniffed, as if preparing to cry. His hands balled into fists, and he shoved them into his pockets. Lily's harsh gaze softened, and she spoke in a gentler tone.

"Don't cry, Little one."

Lily hugged Candide, and he crumpled into her, sobbing heavily. Lily grimaced, as she realised she was most likely about to be covered in salty tears and possibly snot. She soothed Candide, and he hiccoughed quietly. Lily smiled into his jacket, and Candide clung to her like a koala bear. Lily released Candide once his tears had subsided, and sat him next to her on her bed. She eyed him uncertainly, then cleared her throat.

"I have to attend one of those dreadful garden functions. Fortunately, I will not have to suffer through it alone; Eagan has also been convinced to go."

Candide gazed up through his thick eyelashes at Lily, his nose wrinkling in confusion.

"Why can't I go, too?"

Candide whinged, and Lily laughed - a soft, tinkling sound. She patted his shoulder.

"Trust me, you really do not want to go." Lily stood up, brushing out the creases in her dress. "Besides, why are you complaining? You will have Marie to take care of you."

Candide's nose wrinkled further, creasing like Lily's dress. He tilted his head to one side, and squinted up at his older sister.

"Who is she? Like Hannah, you mean? The lady who gave me hot milk when Daddy left on business, and someone had to take care of me?"

Lily nodded. Candide's shoulders slumped in a defeated manner.

"That milk burnt my tongue," Candide muttered in annoyance. Lily giggled and ruffled his hair.

"She was a wench." Candide stated in a matter-of-fact way, looking up at Lily. Lily gasped in horror.

"Don't say such awful things! Where did you hear that?"

Candide's brow furrowed in thought. He stuck the tip of his tongue out in concentration.

"Um... Eagan did. He said she was a 'rude little wench', rightafter she left."

Lily tutted, and scowled at her older brother's language around their youngest brother.

"Don't slur your vowels," was all Lily said, and then pushed him out the door.

Lily made her way down the staircase, her hand sliding elegantly down the banister. The tulle beneath her dress swished around her legs, and Lily walked down the last few steps. She stopped at the bottom, and turned around to see Candide before her departure. He stood at the top of the staircase, hands clasped behind his back, staring forlornly back at her.

"Marie will arrive in a few minutes, and Eagan and I will see you in a few hours. W-" Lily cut herself off, silently reprimanding herself for the informality she had been about to use. "Our father will not be home 'til late."

She stood for a moment, wavering uncertainly between rushing back up to her brother, and walking out the door. She heaved a sigh, and walked resignedly towards the door.

Candide watched miserably as Lily left, the daylight outside creating a silhouette around her person as she exited the front door. She shut the door behind herself, and a small click ensued. Candide sighed, and his shoulders slumped in submission. He retreated up the hall and went into his bedroom, shutting it behind him noiselessly.

William left Mr Humphries' office, having finished reprimanding him. As a higher authority, William abused his power, thinking he could treat everyone however he liked, and sauntered out of the cramped room carefree.

A fellow businessman rushed past, accidentally knocking William in the process. William glared at him haughtily, and he rushed away, muttering a hasty apology. Angered by what he thought to be impudence on behalf of the other man, William stalked down the corridor, and snarled at the next person who passed him.

As he walked down the street to his car, William came across a woman he hadn't seen in town before. Judging by the size of the town, William thought it fairly unlikely that she had been around for very long if he didn't recognise her, and made to greet her. He neared closer, and caught a glimpse of her face. Realising she was foreign, though not actually caring of what nationality, he stepped back, horrified that he had actually been about to converse with a woman of colour. William left hastily, and started the engine of his car.

Eagan stifled a yawn, utterly bored in the presence of of his current company. Two young women, Enid and Harriet, daughters of one of the most wealthy men in town, were hosting a garden party in the hopes of meeting a suitor. Quite a large portion of the town's men had shown, as well as many young women.

Lily sat across from Eagan. She, too, looked decidedly bored, and Eagan took comfort in the fact that he wasn't alone. She caught him looking at her and shot him a sympathetic smile. Eagan nodded in her direction.

One of the young ladies at the event sidled up to Eagan, fluttering her eyelashes. She greeted him, and he snorted derisively. She was much too idiotic to hold a conversation with, Eagan decided, and let her do the talking instead.

As the blonde chattered on mindlessly, Eagan glanced around his surroundings, and let his eyes fixate on a pouting brunette nearest the pine tree. He sighed inwardly; he would be stuck for quite a while longer, and he thought he may as well have something to look at.

Eagan switched his attention back to the blonde, who was still rambling on about something to do with cheese. Shutting her voice out completely, he let his gaze drift downwards, and settle on her heaving chest.

Candide was sitting on the leather couch in the downstairs living room when a knock at the door sounded. He got up, ran his fingers through his dishevelled hair, and wondered whether or not to answer the door. He already knew it would be Marie, the woman called to babysit him, but Candide wasn't quite sure if he wanted to let her in or not. He didn't personally think he required a babysitter, but his siblings and father insisted.

As he stood there thinking, other things popped into his mind, too, and random thoughts that any seven year old would think entered his mind. It wasn't until another sharp rat-tat-tat sounded that Candide remembered someone was there. He skipped to the front door and answered it, his big, blinking doe eyes greeting the woman at the door.

"Hello," the woman said to Candide. "My name is Marie. Would you like some cookies?"

Candide grinned, and let her in.

Lily frowned. Her brother's gaze was firmly fixated on a rather tarty blonde's chest, and she looked away disapprovingly. Now not even he was quite as bored as she was.

Men stood in clumps around the charming outdoors setting, eyeing up the women. Women did much the same. Lily observed one such lady shyly ask a man to- Well, Lily wasn't entirely sure what she was asking, but he smirked, and left quickly with her.

Noticing a food platter not far away, Lily stood up and went to grab a bite to eat.

Candide sat at the kitchen table. Marie had her back to him, and was heating up milk on the stove for him to drink with the cookies he was munching happily on.

Candide spoke as he ate, crumbs dropping all over his lap and the floor. His hands gestured wildly, never mind the fact that Marie wasn't facing him.

"-And then, she came right up behind me, and ROARED!"

Candide squealed animatedly. Marie 'oohed' and 'ahhed' at all the right places, all the while not paying any attention at all. Candide noticed this and felt a twinge of something he vaguely recollected being called de ja vu by Eagan. He sighed, and fell silent for a moment.

Marie noticed his silence, and turned around to see Candide sucking the last of the biscuit crumbs off of his fingers. A broad grin spread across her face, and she clapped her hands together.

"How about you go and play a game? I'll call you when your milk is ready."

Candide nodded, still smiling. He jumped off the stool to leave, and turned around just before he walked out to add,

"You know, I had a nanny last time called Hannah. She gave me milk, too."

He turned and left. A hard look settled upon Marie's face as she remembered her cousin. Her dismissal had been unfairly unjust, rejected simply because she was of mixed race.

Marie smirked and clenched her hands to fists. Now, she would get her sweet revenge.

Digging her hand into her pocket, she searched around for a small packet. Her fingers grasped it, and she slid it out. With her left hand, she lifted the lid of the saucepan, and tore open the packet with her teeth. Grinning manically, she tipped the packet, and let the white powder fall like snow into the saucepan. Marie turned off the stove, lifted the saucepan by the handle. She tipped the contents into a mug, just enough to fill it, then poured the rest down the sink.

"Candide," Marie called shrilly, "Your milk is ready."

William drove towards his house, speeding in his anger. He ignored all signs, and jammed his foot on the accelerator when he saw a pedestrian crossing the road. He saw William and screamed, and jumped off the road. William laughed, took his hands off the wheel, and put them behind his head, so he could steer with his knees.

Candide raised the mug to his lips and swallowed a mouthful of milk, letting the hot liquid run down his throat. He thanked Marie, and sat at the stool again.

"You're welcome," Marie replied silkily. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll just nip to the bathroom."

Candide nodded, and pointed her up the hall. Marie walked away.

Candide heard footsteps at the front of the house. His eyebrows shot up in surprise, wondering where Marie was going. He got up to have a look.

Marie stepped quickly, her heels thumping slightly. She rounded the corner, sure that her heart was thumping louder than her feet, and started to run. She fled to the front door, and flung it open, not caring any more how suspicious she looked. She had accomplished what she came for, and now she could leave.

A small voice called out after her,


Marie ran out the door, as fast as her legs would take her. She reached the sidewalk just as Mr Bigot drove into the driveway, and he opened his window to have a look. Marie saw his eyes widen in horror, obviously recognising her. She reached her own car and got in, revving the engine. Mr Bigot got out to stop her, but it was too late; she was gone.

William parked his car, jumped out, and slammed his door shut. He saw Candide, and sprinted towards him.

"Daddy! You're home!"

Candide cried. William felt his heart rip out of his chest - What if that wretched woman had done something to Candide? He noticed the mug in Candide's hand, and snatched it from his son, raising it to his nose.

"Daddy, if you wanted my milk, you could have just asked."

Candide stood before his father, bewildered. William sniffed the mug, and, detecting unknown substances, tipped it on to the grass. Candide cried out in disbelief.

"I apologise, Candide, but that woman was up to no good. She must have drugged-"

William broke off mid-sentence, realising his son had no idea what he was talking about. He bent down and took Candide'd small hand in his big one.

"Let's go inside, shall we?"

Candide smiled at his father, and they entered the house.

Marie sped around the corner, breaking every law she could in her haste to get away. None of the Bigot's would ever mess with her again, that was for sure.

Candide watched as his father fell to pieces, frantically making phone calls. He spoke to the town doctor, Candide thought, but after a few words received only the dial tone. He seemed to call every person in the town, and Candide didn't have a clue why.

Candide realised he was feeling a little queasy, and sat down on the floor. His father turned and saw him, and his face went pale. He dropped to his knees, a sight Candide was sure he had never felt before. his mouth was moving, and Candide realised he was being asked a question.

"Candide? Candide? Can you hear me? I need you to tell me; how much of that milk did you drink? This is important."

Candide lay down, the blurry image of his father's face visible. He clutched his stomach and moaned lightly before answering. An unusual feeling had erupted in his stomach.

"Most of the mug."

Candide managed to answer before his vision turned to black, and he lost awareness of his surroundings.

A young woman approached Eagan, a puzzled look upon her face. She motioned for Eagan to follow her.

"It's for you and your sister." She said, and told gave him the phone.

Candide awoke to his brother, sister, and father all standing above him. He moaned, and made to move. His father stopped him, holding his arm down with his left hand. Or was it his right? Candide wasn't sure of anything at the moment, and he rubbed his eyes with the backs of his hands.

He could hear the conversation they were having. They had lowered their voices, now that they had realised Candide was conscious, but he could makes out snatches of what they were saying.

"The doctor... No"


"All said no..."

"How could they?"

"...Only a matter of time"

"...Told me I wasn't... Not going to"

"No help? ...At all?"

"Said I was...too high and mighty"

"Refused to help"

Candide blinked, and raised his head. He coughed to get their attention. They all rushed to help him, but he pushed them away.

"Ask Arachne. Her mother's a healer."

They all stopped and looked at each other as Candide fell unconscious again. William looked at his two other children, but before he could ask, Lily answered him.

"The little greek girl." She spoke softly, sadness filling her voice.

"The who?" William asked incredulously.

William was informed of the little greek girl who had come to play with Candide several days before. His daughter had refrained from telling him, sure he would be disgusted. She was right, but William felt more horrified that his own daughter felt the need to hide things from him. He decided then and there that Ella's death would no longer affect his decisions; his attitude shouldn't affect his children.

William reached for the phone and called the number Lily gave him.

In a matter of minutes, a woman and her child arrived. William physically recoiled when he recognised her as the woman he had met on the streets, outside the bank, and had to force himself not to be so ridiculous.

"Old habits die hard," William said under his breath.

The woman introduced herself as Adonia Althea Christie, mother of Arachne. The young girl grinned impishly, her face and hands covered in the sticky residue of some sort of sweet.

William sat back as his children interacted with the woman and child, eyes half shut, in a daze. Adonia produced some sort of herb with medicinal properties, and woke Candide to swallow it. Adonia explained to William what Candide had ingested; she had been shown the saucepan in which the milk had been cooked, and she had inspected it, and made her diagnosis.

William couldn't believe his ears, let alone his eyes. Here was he, William Bigot, self-confessed most racist man in Sunsville, with a Greek woman and child in his home. William sat back on the couch. Perhaps he would have to rethink his priorities.

With this in mind, William smiled - a genuine smile, one that his children hadn't seen in many years - and knelt down to join his children, all listening intently to the Greek woman tell them a story of her hometown.