I was wasting money, I knew that, but his presence was agreeable, and it seemed a fair exchange. I knew perfectly well that I was paying for his company, as I had never in my life done before... (Ch. 6)
And I had nothing to read. But there comes a time when books let you down. Surely that time had not arrived? But in comparison with a living presence there is no contest. That I knew and had always known. Ideally that living presence should be of one's own choosing. The default presence was that of a stranger, whose goodwill must be paid for, and who may or may not be willing. (Ibid.)Were Elizabeth a man - were we dealing here with Paul Sturgis or Julius Herz - and were Chris an itinerant young woman, how differently might we read their story?