Notes on the text
These notes, by John McGivering, are partly new, and partly based on the ORG. The page and line numbers below refer to the Macmillan (London) Standard Edition of Wee Willie Winkie and Other Stories, as published and frequently reprinted between 1899 and 1950.
'Thou art so fat-witted with drinking of old sack, and unbuttoning thee after supper, and sleeping upon benches after noon, that thou hast forgotten to demand that truly which thou wouldest truly know'.[Page 78, line 22] going to Phelp’s to get it let out Phelp's was the dress shop in the Mall – implying she is putting on weight; a dreadful insult, even in jest !
The swallow has set her six young on the rail'set on the rail' can also mean 'put on the train', perhaps a pun, when one imagines the birds sitting on a fence ready to migrate.
And looks to sea-ward.. (Robert Browning - “James Lee’s Wife”)