I encountered this following sentence while reading the second chapter of H. G. Wells' novel Kipps.
He was an irascible, energetic little man, with hairy hands, for the most part under his coat tails, a long, shiny, bald head, a pointed, aquiline nose a little askew, and a neatly trimmed beard. He walked lightly and with a confident jerk, and he was given to humming. He had added to exceptional business "push," bankruptcy under the old dispensation, and judicious matrimony.
I'm not so clear what this sentence means. What exactly does "the old dispensation" refer to, and what role does the notion of "judicious matrimony" play in the context of this sentence? I'm not a native speaker of English so it's possible I'm not understanding some subtle language play, or perhaps some allusion to certain social context is lost on me. Could anyone help?