Book One, The Cup and The Lip; Chapter 1, On the Look Out; Chapter 2, The Man From Somewhere; Chapter 3, Another Man; and Chapter 4, The R. Wilfer Family
• A man, Jessie Hexam or the Gaffer, and his daughter, Lizzie Hexam, are floating in a boat on the Thames River in London, near the London Bridge, in May 1864. They are scouring the river for something.
• Her father reaches into the river and pulls out some money.
• He tells her to switch places with him, and she's afraid to sit near something in the boat.
• Her father chides her for being thankless when the river has given them their livelihood.
• In Chapter 2, Mr. and Mrs. Veneering are a married couple living in a new house in London, and are friends with Melvin Twemlow.
• They are having a dinner party, however it is clear the guests do not really know much about each...
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