The orphaned daughter of a drunken and shiftless gold miner in New Zealand, Catherine Baird, was induced to marry a former associate of her father, old Peter Carmichael, owner of a sheep ranch in another part of the colony. At the time of her father’s death she met Peter’s young cousin John and fell in love with him, but as he had no means of supporting her he gave no sign of wishing to marry her. Peter was wealthy but so harsh and niggardly, so demanding and unfeeling, that Catherine soon hated him. A few months after their marriage he hired his cousin to come to the ranch to assist in its management. His presence was torture to Catherine, torn as she was by hatred of her husband and love for John. The situation became unendurable, and she demanded that he be sent away. Returning from town where he had taken John for the beginning of his journey, Peter was drowned. Although all his property was left to her, her hatred was so great that she refused to accept it and sent for John to turn it over to him. Upon his arrival, sympathizing with her scruples, he accepted the property on the condition that she was to give herself with it.
© 1948 Princeton University Press, 1976 renewed PUP. Reprinted by permissions of Princeton University Press.