Part 7 out of 13
"Never mind what is man; what is your hobby?"
"Saving idiotic ruffians' lives."
"Well, that is a hobby. But, if Mr. Little is to profit by it,
never mind; you shall not be interrupted, if I can keep 'les
Accordingly she got her work, and sat in the hall. Here, as she
expected, she was soon joined by Mr. Coventry, and he found her in a
gracious mood, and in excellent spirits.
After some very pleasant conversation, she told him she was keeping
sentinel over Dr. Amboyne and his hobby.
"What is that?"
"Saving idiotic ruffians' lives. Ha! ha! ha!"
Her merry laugh rang through the hall like a peal of bells.
Coventry stared, and then gave up trying to understand her and her
eternal changes. He just set himself to please her, and he never
found it easier than that afternoon.
Meantime Dr. Amboyne got Raby alone, and begged leave, in the first
place, to premise that his (Raby's) nephew was a remarkable man. To
prove it, he related Little's whole battle with the Hillsborough
Trades; and then produced a report the young man had handed him that
very day. It was actually in his pocket during the fight, mute
protest against that barbarous act.
The Report was entitled--"LIFE, LABOR AND CAPITAL IN HILLSBOROUGH,"
and was divided into two parts.
Part 1 was entitled--"PECULIARITIES OF CUTLERY HURTFUL TO LIFE AND
And part 2 was entitled--"The REMEDIES TO THE ABOVE."
Part 2 was divided thus:--
A. What the masters could do.
B. What the workmen could do.
C. What the Legislature could do.
Part 1 dealt first with the diseases of the grinders; but instead of
quoting it, I ask leave to refer to Chapter VIII., where the main
facts lie recorded.
Having thus curtailed the Report, I print the remainder in an
Appendix, for the use of those few readers who can endure useful
knowledge in works of this class.
Raby read the report without moving a muscle.
"Well, what do you think of him?" asked Amboyne.
"I think he is a fool to trouble his head whether these animals live
"Oh, that is my folly; not his. At bottom, he cares no more than
"Then I retract my observation."
"As to its being folly, or as to Little being the fool?"
"Whichever you like best."
"Thank you. Well, but to be serious, this young man is very anxious
to be a master, instead of a man. What do you say? Will you help
his ambition, and my sacred hobby?"
"What, plunge you deeper in folly, and him in trade? Not I. I
don't approve folly, I hate trade. But I tell you what I'll do. If
he and his mother can see my conduct in its proper light, and say
so, they can come to Raby, and he can turn gentleman, take the name
of Raby, as he has got the face, and be my heir."
"Are you serious, Raby?"
"Then you had better write it, and I'll take it to him."
"Certainly." He sat down and wrote as follows:
"SIR,--What has recently occurred appears calculated to soften one
of those animosities which, between persons allied in blood, are
always to be regretted. I take the opportunity to say, that if your
mother, under your advice, will now reconsider the duties of a
trustee, and my conduct in that character, and her remarks on that
conduct, I think she will do me justice, and honor me once more with
her esteem. Should this be the result, I further hope that she and
yourself will come to Raby, and that you will change that way of
life which you have found so full of thorns, and prepare yourself to
succeed to my name and place. I am, your obedient servant,
"There read that."
Amboyne read it, and approved it. Then he gave a sigh, and said,
"And so down goes my poor hobby."
"Oh, never mind," said Raby; "you've got one or two left in your
Dr. Amboyne went out, and passed through the hall. There he found
Mr. Coventry and Miss Carden: the latter asked him, rather keenly,
if the conference was over.
"Yes, and not without a result: I'll read it to you." He did so,
and Grace's cheek was dyed with blushes, and her eyes beamed with
"Oh, how noble is, and how good you are. Run! Fly!"
"Such movements are undignified, and unsuited to my figure. Shall I
roll down the hill? That would be my quickest way."
This discussion was cut short by a servant, who came to tell the
doctor that a carriage was ordered for him, and would be round in a
minute. Dr. Amboyne drove off, and Miss Carden now avoided
Coventry: she retired to her room. But, it seems, she was on the
watch; for, on the doctor's return, she was the person who met him
in the hall.
"Well?" said she, eagerly.
"Well, would you believe it? he declines. He objects to leave his
way of life, and to wait for dead men's shoes."
"Oh, Dr. Amboyne! And you were there to advise him!"
"I did not venture to advise him. There was so much to be said on
both sides." Then he went off to Raby with the note; but, as he
went, he heard Grace say, in a low voice, "Ah, you never thought of
Little's note ran thus:
"SIR,--I thank you for your proposal; and as to the first part of
it, I quite agree, and should be glad to see my mother and you
friends again. But, as to my way of life, I have chosen my path,
and mean to stick to it. I hope soon to be a master, instead of a
workman, and I shall try and behave like a gentleman, so that you
may not have to blush for me. Should blush for myself if I were to
give up industry and independence, and take to waiting for dead
men's shoes; that is a baser occupation than any trade in
Hillsborough, I think. This is not as politely written as I could
wish; but I am a blunt fellow, and I hope you will excuse it. I am
not ungrateful to you for shooting those vermin, nor for your offer,
though I can not accept it. Yours respectfully,
Raby read this, and turned white with rage.
He locked the letter up along with poor Mrs. Little's letters, and
merely said, "I have only one request to make. Never mention the
name of Little to me again."
Dr. Amboyne went home very thoughtful.
That same day Mr. Carden wrote from London to his daughter informing
her he should be at Hillsborough next day to dinner. She got the
letter next morning, and showed it to Mr. Raby. He ordered his
carriage after breakfast for Hillsborough.
This was a blow to Grace. She had been hoping all this time a fair
opportunity might occur for saying something to young Little.
She longed to write to him, and set his heart and her own at rest.
But a great shyness and timidity paralyzed her, and she gave up the
idea of writing, and had hitherto been hoping they might meet, and
she might reinstate herself by some one cunning word. And now the
end of it all was, that she was driven away from Raby Hall without
doing any thing but wish, and sigh, and resolve, and give up her
resolutions with a blush.
The carriage passed the farm on its way to Hillsborough. This was
Grace's last chance.
Little was standing at the porch.
A thrill of delight traversed Grace's bosom.
It was followed, however, by a keen pang. Jael Dence sat beside
him, sewing; and Grace saw, in a moment, she was sewing
complacently. It was more than Grace could bear. She pulled the
check-string, and the carriage stopped.
Henry Little, at this moment, was in very low spirits. His forge
was in the yard, and a faithful body-guard at his service; but his
right arm was in a sling, and so he was brought to a stand-still;
and Coventry was with Grace at the house; and he, like her, was
tortured with jealousies; and neither knew what the other suffered.
But everything vanished in a flood of joy when the carriage stopped
and that enchanting face looked out at him, covered with blushes,
that told him he could not be indifferent to her.
"Oh, Mr. Little, are you better?"
"I'm all right. But, you see, I can't work."
"Ah, poor arm. But why should you work? Why not accept Mr. Raby's
offer? How proud you are!"
"Should you have thought any better of me if I had?"
"No. I don't want you altered. It would spoil you. You will come
and see us at Woodbine Villa! Only think how many things we have to
talk of now."
"Why, of course."
"And will you wait two years for me?"
"Two years!" (blushing like a rose.) "Why, I hope it will not be
two days before you come and see us."
"Ah, you mock me."
"No; no. But suppose you should take the advice I gave you in my
"There's no fear of that."
"Are you sure?" (with a glance at Jael.)
"Then--good-by. Please drive on."
She wouldn't answer his question; but her blushes and her radiant
satisfaction, and her modest but eloquent looks of love, fully
compensated her silence on that head, and the carriage left him
standing there, a figure of rapture.
Next day Dr. Amboyne rode up to the farm with a long envelope, and
waved it over his head in triumph. It contained a communication
from the Secretary of the Philanthropic Society. The committee were
much struck with Mr. Little's report, but feared that no
manufacturer would act on his suggestions. They were willing to
advance L500 toward setting Mr. Little himself up as a manufacturer,
if he would bind himself to adopt and carry out the improvements
suggested in his report. The loan to bear no interest, and the
return of the capital to depend upon the success of the scheme. Dr.
Amboyne for the society, to have the right of inspecting Mr.
Little's books, if any doubt should arise on that head. An
agreement was inclosed, and this was more full, particular, and
stringent in form than the above, but the purport substantially the
Little could not believe his good fortune at first. But there was
no disbelieving it; the terms were so cold, precise, and business-
"Ah, doctor," said he, "you have made a man of me; for this is your
doing, I know."
"Of course I used my influence. I was stimulated by two spurs,
friendship and my hobby. Now shake hands over it, and no fine
speeches, but tell me when you can begin. 'My soul's in arms, and
eager for the fray.'"
"Begin? Why as soon as I get the money."
"That will come down directly, if I telegraph that you accept the
terms. Call in a witness, and sign the agreement."
Jael Dence was called in, and the agreement signed and witnessed,
and away went the doctor in high spirits, after making an
appointment with Henry in Hillsborough for the next day.
Henry and Jael Dence talked eagerly over his new prospects. But
though they were great friends, there was nothing to excite Grace's
jealousy. No sooner was Little proved to be Raby's nephew than Jael
Dence, in her humility, shrank back, and was inwardly ashamed of
herself. She became respectful as well as kind; called him "the
young master" behind his back, and tried to call him "Sir" to his
face, only he would not let her.
Next day Little went to his mother and told her all. She was deeply
interested, but bitterly disappointed at Henry's refusal of Raby's
offer. "He will never forgive us now," she said. "And oh, Henry,
if you love Grace Carden, that was the way to marry her." This
staggered him; but he said he had every reason to hope she would
marry him without his sacrificing his independence, and waiting with
his hands in his pockets for dead men's shoes.
Then he went to Dr. Amboyne, and there were the five hundred pounds
waiting for him; but, never having possessed such a sum before, he
begged the doctor to give him only L100 at a time. To finish for
the present with this branch of the story, he was lucky enough to
make an excellent bargain, bought the plant and stock of a small
master-grinder recently deceased. He then confined the grinding to
saws and razors; and this enabled him to set up his own forge on the
premises, and to employ a few file-cutters. It was all he could do
at starting. Then came the important question, What would the
Trades say? He was not long in suspense; Grotait called on him,
expressed his regret at the attack that had been made on him, and
his satisfaction that now the matter could be happily arranged.
"This," said he, "is the very proposal I was going to make to you
(but you wouldn't hear me), to set up as a small master, and sell
your carving-tools to London instead of to Hillsboro'."
"What! will that make me right with the trade?"
"Pretty near. We protect the workmen from unfair competition, not
the masters. However, if you wish to cure the sore altogether, let
your own hands grind the tools, and send them out to be handled by
Parkin: he has got men on the box; trade is dull."
"Well, I don't object to that."
"Then, I say, let by-gones be gone-byes."
They shook hands over this, and in a very few hours it was known
that Mr. Little was right with the trade.
His early experiences as a philanthropic master were rather curious;
but I shall ask leave to relate them in a series of their own, and
to deal at present with matters of more common interest.
He called twice on Grace Carden; but she was out. The third time he
found her at home; but there was a lady with her, talking about the
ball Mr. and Miss Carden were about to give. It was a subject
calculated to excite volubility, and Henry could not get in a word
edgewise. But he received some kind glances that made his heart
The young lady sat there and gabbled; for she felt sure that no
topic imported by a male creature could compete in interest with
"the ball." So, at last, Henry rose in despair. But Grace, to whom
her own ball had been a bore for the last half hour, went with him
to the door; and he seized the opportunity to tell her he was a
workmen no longer, but a master, having workmen under him.
Grace saw he was jubilant, so she was glad directly, and said so.
But then she shook her pretty head, and hoped he would not have to
regret Mr. Raby's offer.
"Never," said he, firmly; "unless I lose you. Now I'm a master,
instead of a man, won't you wait two years for me?"
"No," said Grace, archly. Then, with a look that sent him to
heaven, "Not two, but TWENTY, sooner than you should be unhappy,
after all you and I--"
The sentence was never completed. She clapped one hand swiftly
before her scarlet face, and ran away to hide, and think of what she
had done. It was full five minutes before she would bring her face
under the eye of that young gossip in the drawing-room.
As for Henry, he received the blow full in his heart, and it quite
staggered him. He couldn't believe it at first; but when he
realized it, waves and waves of joy seemed to rise inside him, and
he went off in such a rapture he hardly trod the earth.
He went home, and kissed his mother, and told her, and she
sympathized with him perforce, though she was jealous at bottom,
The next day Grace received an unexpected visitor--Jael Dence.
Grace stared at sight of her, and received her very coldly.
"Oh, miss," said Jael, "don't look so at me that love you dearly;"
and with this threw her arms round her neck, and kissed her.
Grace was moved by this; but felt uncomfortable, and even struggled
a little, but in vain. Jael was gentle, but mighty. "It's about
your letter, miss."
"Then let me go," cried Grace. "I wish I had never written it."
"Nay; don't say so. I should never have known how good you are."
"What a fool I am, you mean. How dare you read my letter? Oh! did
he show it you? That was very cruel, if he did."
"No, miss, he never showed it me; and I never read it. I call it
mean to read another body's letter. But, you know, 'tisn't every
woman thinks so: and a poor lass that is very fond of me--and I
scold her bitterly--she took the letter out of his pocket, and told
me what was in it."
"Very well, then," said Grace, coldly, "it is right you should also
read his answer. I'll bring it you."
"Not to-day, miss, if you please. There is no need. I know him: he
is too much of a man to marry one girl when he loves another; and
'tis you he loves, and I hope you will be happy together."
A few quiet tears followed these brave words, and Grace looked at
her askant, and began to do her justice.
"Ah!" said she, with a twinge of jealousy. "you know him better
than I. You have answered for him, in his very words. Yet you
can't love him as I do. I hope you are not come to ask me to give
him up again, for I can't." Then she said, with quick defiance,
"Take him from me, if you can." Then, piteously, "And if you do,
you will kill me."
"Dear heart, I came of no such errand. I came to tell you I know
how generous you have been to me, and made me your friend till
death; and, when a Dence says that, she means it. I have been a
little imprudent: but not so very. First word I said to him, in
this very house, was, 'Are you really a workman?' I had the sense
to put that question; for, the first moment I clapped eyes on him, I
saw my danger like. Well, he might have answered me true; but you
see he didn't. I think I am not so much to blame. Well, he is the
young squire now, and no mate for me; and he loves you, that are of
his own sort. That is sure to cure me--after a while. Simple folk
like me aren't used to get their way, like the gentry. It takes a
deal of patience to go through the world. If you think I'll let my
heart cling to another woman's sweetheart--nay, but I'd tear it out
of my breast first. Yes, I dare say, it will be a year or two
before I can listen to another man's voice without hating him for
wooing of me; but time cures all that don't fight against the cure.
And YOU'LL love me a little, miss, now, won't you? You used to do,
before I deserved it half as well as I do to-day."
"Of course I shall love you, my poor Jael. But what is my love,
compared with that you are now giving up so nobly?"
"It is not much," said Jael, frankly; "but 'a little breaks a high
fall.' And I'm one that can only enjoy my own. Better a penny roll
with a clear conscience, than my neighbor's loaf. I'd liever take
your love, and deserve it, than try to steal his."
All this time Grace was silently watching her, to see if there was
any deceit, or self-deceit, in all this; and, had there been, it
could not have escaped so keen and jealous an eye. But no, the
limpid eye, the modest, sober voice, that trembled now and then, but
always recovered its resolution, repelled doubt or suspicion.
Grace started to her feet, and said, with great enthusiasm. "I give
you the love and respect you deserve so well; and I thank God for
creating such a character now and then--to embellish this vile
Then she flung herself upon Jael, with wonderful abandon and grace,
and kissed her so eagerly that she made poor Jael's tears flow very
She would not let her go back to Cairnhope.
Henry remembered about the ball, and made up his mind to go and
stand in the road: he might catch a glimpse of her somehow. He told
his mother he should not be home to supper; and to get rid of the
time before the ball, he went to the theater: thence, at ten
o'clock, to "Woodbine Villa," and soon found himself one of a motley
group. Men, women, and children were there to see the company
arrive; and as, among working-people, the idle and the curious are
seldom well-to-do, they were rather a scurvy lot, and each satin or
muslin belle, brave with flowers and sparkling with gems, had to
pass through a little avenue of human beings in soiled fustian,
dislocated bonnets, rags, and unwashed faces.
Henry got away from this class of spectators, and took up his
station right across the road. He leaned against the lamp-post, and
watched the drawing-room windows for Grace.
The windows were large, and, being French, came down to the balcony.
Little saw many a lady's head and white shoulders, but not the one
Presently a bedroom window was opened, and a fair face looked out
into the night for a moment. It was Jael Dence.
She had assisted Miss Carden to dress, and had then, at her request,
prepared the room, and decked it with flowers, to receive a few of
the young lady's more favored friends. This done, she opened the
window, and Henry Little saw her.
Nor was it long before she saw him; for the light of the lamp was
full on him.
But he was now looking intently in at the drawing-room windows, and
with a ghastly expression.
The fact is, that in the short interval between his seeing Jael and
her seeing him, the quadrilles had been succeeded by a waltz, and
Grace Carden's head and shoulders were now flitting at intervals,
past the window in close proximity to the head of her partner. What
with her snowy, glossy shoulders, her lovely face, and her exquisite
head and brow encircled with a coronet of pearls, her beauty seemed
half-regal, half-angelic; yet that very beauty, after the first
thrill of joy which the sudden appearance of a beloved one always
causes, was now passing cold iron through her lover's heart. For
why? A man's arm was round the supple waist, a man's hand held that
delicate palm, a man's head seemed wedded to that lovely head, so
close were the two together. And the encircling arm, the passing
hand, the head that came and went, and rose and sank, with her, like
twin cherries on a stalk, were the arm, the hand, and the head of
Mr. Frederick Coventry.
Every time those two heads flitted past the window together, they
inflicted a spasm of agony on Henry Little, and, between the spasms,
his thoughts were bitter beyond expression. An icy barrier still
between them, and none between his rival and her! Coventry could
dance voluptuously with her before all the world; but he could only
stand at the door of that Paradise, and groan and sicken with
jealous anguish at the sight.
Now and then he looked up, and saw Jael Dence. She was alone. Like
him, she was excluded from that brilliant crowd. He and she were
born to work; these butterflies on the first floor, to enjoy.
Their eyes met; he saw soft pity in hers. He cast a mute, but
touching appeal. She nodded, and withdrew from the window. Then he
knew the faithful girl would try and do something or other for him.
But he never moved from his pillar of torture. Jealous agony is the
one torment men can not fly from; it fascinates, it holds, it
Jael came to the drawing-room door just as the waltz ended, and
tried to get to Miss Carden; but there were too many ladies and
gentlemen, especially about the door.
At last she caught Grace's eye, but only for a moment; and the young
lady was in the very act of going out on the balcony for air, with
She did go out, accompanied by Mr. Coventry, and took two or three
turns. Her cheek was flushed, her eye kindled, and the poor jealous
wretch over the way saw it, and ascribed all that to the company of
While she walked to and fro with fawn-like grace, conversing with
Mr. Coventry, yet secretly wondering what that strange look Jael had
given her could mean, Henry leaned, sick at heart, against the lamp-
post over the way; and, at last, a groan forced its way out of him.
Faint as the sound was, Grace's quick ear caught it, and she turned
her head. She saw him directly, and blushed high, and turned pale,
all in a moment; for, in that single moment, her swift woman's heart
told her why he was so ghastly, and why that sigh of distress.
She stopped short in her walk, and began to quiver from head to
But, after a few moments of alarm, distress, and perplexity, love
and high spirit supplied the place of tact, and she did the best and
most characteristic thing she could. Just as Mr. Coventry, who had
observed her shiver, was asking her if she found it too cold, she
drew herself up to her full height, and, turning round, kissed her
hand over the balcony to Henry Little with a sort of princely
grandeur, and an ardor of recognition and esteem that set his heart
leaping, and his pale cheek blushing, and made Coventry jealous in
his turn. Yes, one eloquent gesture did that in a moment.
But the brave girl was too sensitive to prolong such a situation:
the music recommenced at that moment, and she seized the
opportunity, and retired to the room; she courtesied to Little at
the window, and this time he had the sense to lift his hat to her.
The moment she entered the room Grace Carden slipped away from Mr.
Coventry, and wound her way like a serpent through the crowd, and
found Jael Dence at the door. She caught her by the arm, and
pinched her. She was all trembling. Jael drew her up the stairs a
"You have seen him out there?"
"Yes; and I--oh!"
"There! there. Think of the folk. Fight it down."
"I will. Go to him, and say I can't bear it. Him to stand there--
while those I don't care a pin for--oh, Jael, for pity's sake get
him home to his mother."
"There, don't you fret. I know what to say."
Jael went down; borrowed the first shawl she could lay her hand on;
hooded herself with it, and was across the road in a moment.
"You are to go home directly."
"Who says so?"
"What, does she tell me to go away, and leave her to him?"
"What does that matter? her heart goes with you."
"Won't you take my word for it? I'm not given to lying."
"I know that. Oh, Jael, sweet, pretty, good-hearted Jael, have pity
on me, and tell me the truth: is it me she loves, or that Coventry?"
"It is you."
"Oh, bless you! bless you! Ah, if I could only be sure of that,
what wouldn't I do for her? But, if she loves me, why, why send me
away? It is very cruel that so many should be in the same room with
her, and HE should dance with her, and I must not even look on and
catch a glimpse of her now and then. I won't go home."
"Ah!" said Jael, "you are like all the young men: you think only of
yourself. And you call yourself a scholar of the good doctor's."
"And so I am."
"Then why don't you go by his rule, and put yourself in a body's
place? Suppose you was in her place, master of this house like, and
dancing with a pack of girls you didn't care for, and SHE stood out
here, pale and sighing; and suppose things were so that you couldn't
come out to her, nor she come in to you, wouldn't it cut you to the
heart to see her stand in the street and look so unhappy--poor lad?
Be good, now, and go home to thy mother. Why stand here and poison
the poor young lady's pleasure--such as 'tis--and torment thyself."
Jael's own eyes filled, and that proof of sympathy inclined Henry
all the more to listen to her reason.
"You are wise, and good, and kind," he said. "But oh, Jael, I adore
her so, I'd rather be in hell with her than in heaven without her.
Half a loaf is better than no bread. I can't go home and turn my
back on the place where she is. Yes, I'm in torments; but I see.
They can't rob my EYES of her."
"To oblige HER!"
"Yes; I'll do anything to oblige HER. If I could only believe she
"Put it to the proof, if you don't believe me."
"I will. Tell her I'd much rather stay all night, and catch a
glimpse of her now and then; but yet, tell her I'll go home, if she
will promise me not to dance with that Coventry again."
"There is a condition!" said Jael.
"It is a fair one," said Henry, doggedly, "and I won't go from it."
Jael looked at him, and saw it was no use arguing the matter. So
she went in to the house with his ultimatum.
She soon returned, and told him that Miss Grace, instead of being
angry, as she expected, had smiled and looked pleased, and promised
not to dance with Mr. Coventry nor any body else any more that
night, "if he would go straight home and consult his beautiful
mother." "Those were her words," said the loyal Dence. "She did
say them twice over to make sure."
"God bless her!" cried Henry, warmly; "and bless you too, my best
friend. I'll go this moment."
He cast a long, lingering look at the window, and went slowly down
When he got home, his mother was still up and secretly anxious.
He sat down beside her, and told her where he had been and how it
had all ended. "I'm to consult my beautiful mother," said he,
"What, does she think I am like my picture now?"
"I suppose so. And you are as beautiful as ever in my eyes, mother.
And I do consult you."
Mrs. Little's black eyes flashed; but she said, calmly,
"What about, dearest?"
"I really don't know. I suppose it was about what happened tonight.
Perhaps about it all."
Mrs. Little leaned her head upon her hand and thought.
After a moment's reflection, she said to Henry, rather coldly, "If
she is not a very good girl, she must be a very clever one."
"She is both," said Henry, warmly.
"Of that I shall be the best judge," said Mrs. Little, very coldly
Poor Henry felt quite chilled. He said no more; nor did his mother
return to the subject till they parted for the night, and then it
was only to ask him what church Miss Carden went to--a question that
seemed to be rather frivolous, but he said he thought St. Margaret's.
Next Sunday evening, Mrs. Little and he being at tea together, she
said to him quietly--"Well, Harry, I have seen her."
"Oh mother! where?"
"At St. Margaret's Church."
"But how did you know her? By her beauty?"
Mrs. Little smiled, and took a roll of paper out of her muff, that
lay on the sofa. She unfolded it, and displayed a drawing. It
represented Grace Carden in her bonnet, and was a very good
The lover bounced on it, and devoured it with astonishment and
"Taken from the bust, and retouched from nature," said Mrs. Little.
"Yes, dear, I went to St. Margaret's, and asked a pew-opener where
she sat. I placed myself where I could command her features; and
you may be sure, I read her very closely. Well, dear, she bears
examination. It is a bright face, a handsome face, and a good face;
and almost as much in love as you are."
"What makes you fancy that? Oh, you spoke to her?"
"Certainly not. But I observed her. Restless and listless by
turns--her body in one place, her mind in another. She was so taken
up with her own thoughts she could not follow the service. I saw
the poor girl try very hard several times, but at last she gave it
up in despair. Sometimes she knitted her brow and a young girl
seldom does that unless she is thwarted in her love. And I'll tell
you a surer sign still: sometimes tears came for no visible reason,
and stood in her eyes. She is in love; and it can not be with Mr.
Coventry of Bollinghope; for, if she loved him, she would have
nothing to brood on but her wedding-dress; and they never knit their
brows, nor bedew their eyes, thinking of that; that's a smiling
subject. No, it is true love on both sides, I do believe; and that
makes my woman's heart yearn. Harry, dear, I'll make you a
confession. You have heard that a mother's love is purer and more
unselfish than any other love: and so it is. But even mothers are
not quite angels always. Sometimes they are just a little jealous:
not, I think, where they are blessed with many children; but you are
my one child, my playmate, my companion, my friend, my only love.
That sweet girl has come, and I must be dethroned. I felt this,
and--no, nothing could ever make me downright thwart your happiness;
but a mother's jealousy made me passive, where I might have assisted
you if I had been all a mother should be."
"No, no, mother; I am the one to blame. You see, it looked so
hopeless at first, I used to be ashamed to talk freely to you. It's
only of late I have opened my heart to you as I ought."
"Well, dear, I am glad you think the blame is not all with me. But
what I see is my own fault, and mean to correct it. She gave you
good advice, dear--to consult your mother. But you shall have my
assistance as well; and I shall begin at once, like a zealous ally.
When I say at once--this is Sunday--I shall begin to-morrow at one
Then Henry sat down at her knee, and took her white hand in his
"And what shall you do at one o'clock, my beautiful mother?"
"I shall return to society."
Next morning Mrs. Little gave her son the benefit of her night's
"You must let me have some money--all you can spare from your
business; and whilst I am doing something with it for you, you must
go to London, and do exactly what I tell you to do."
"Exactly? Then please write it down."
"A very good plan. Can you go by the express this morning?"
"Why, yes, I could; only then I must run down to the works this
minute and speak to the foreman."
"Well, dear, when you come back, your instructions shall be written,
and your bag packed."
"I say, mother, you are going into it in earnest. All the better
At twelve he started for London, with a beautiful set of carving-
tools in his bag, and his mother's instructions in his pocket: those
instructions sent him to a fashionable tailor that very afternoon.
With some difficulty he prevailed on this worthy to make him a
dress-suit in twenty-four hours. Next day he introduced himself to
the London trade, showed his carving-tools, and, after a hard day's
work, succeeded in obtaining several orders.
Then he bought some white ties and gloves and an opera hat, and had
his hair cut in Bond Street.
At seven he got his clothes at the tailor's, and at eight he was in
the stalls of the opera. His mother had sent him there, to note the
dress and public deportment of gentlemen and ladies, and use his own
judgment. He found his attention terribly distracted by the music
and the raptures it caused him; but still he made some observations;
and, consequently, next day he bought some fashionable shirts and
sleeve studs and ribbon ties; ordered a morning suit of the same
tailor, to be sent to him at Hillsborough; and after canvassing for
customers all day, telegraphed his mother, and reached Hillsborough
at eleven P.M.
At first sight of him Mrs. Little exclaimed:
"Oh! What have you done with your beautiful hair?"
He laughed, and said this was the fashion.
"But it is like a private soldier."
"Exactly. Part of the Volunteer movement, perhaps."
"Are you sure it is the fashion, dear?"
"Quite sure. All the swells in the opera were bullet-headed just
"Oh, if it is the fashion!" said Mrs. Little; and her mind succumbed
under that potent word.
She asked him about the dresses of the ladies in the opera.
His description was very lame. He said he didn't know he was
expected to make notes of them.
"Well, but you might be sure I should like to know. Were there no
ladies dressed as you would like to see your mother dressed?"
"Good heavens, no! I couldn't fancy you in a lot of colors; and your
beautiful head deformed into the shape of a gourd, with a beast of a
chignon stuck out behind, made of dead hair."
"No matter. Mr. Henry; I wish I had been with you at the opera. I
should have seen something or other that would have become me. She
gave a little sigh.
He was not to come home to dinner that day, but stay at the works,
till she sent for him.
At six o'clock, Jael Dence came for him in a fly, and told him he
was to go home with her.
"All right," said he; "but how did you come there?"
"She bade me come and see her again--that day I brought the bust.
So I went to see her, and I found her so busy, and doing more than
she was fit, poor thing, so I made bold to give her a hand. That
was yesterday; and I shall come every day--if 'tis only for an hour--
till the curtains are all up."
"The curtains! what curtains?"
"Ask no questions, and you will hear no lies."
Henry remonstrated; Jael recommended patience; and at last they
reached a little villa half way up Heath Hill. "You are at home
now," said Jael, dryly. The new villa looked very gay that evening,
for gas and fires were burning in every room.
The dining-room and drawing room were both on the ground-floor; had
each one enormous window with plate glass, and were rooms of very
fair size, divided by large folding-doors. These were now open, and
Henry found his mother seated in the dining-room, with two
workwomen, making curtains, and in the drawing-room were two more,
sewing a carpet.
The carpet was down in the dining-room. The tea-table was set, and
gave an air of comfort and housewifely foresight, in the midst of
all the surrounding confusion.
Young Little stared. Mrs. Little smiled.
"Sit down, and never mind us: give him his tea, my good Jael."
Henry sat down, and, while Jael was making the tea, ventured on a
feeble expostulation. "It's all very fine, mother, but I don't like
to see you make a slave of yourself."
"Slaving!" said Jael, with a lofty air of pity. "Why, she is
working for her own." Rural logic!
"Oh," said Mrs. Little to her, "these clever creatures we look up to
so are rather stupid in some things. Slave! Why, I am a general
leading my Amazons to victory." And she waved her needle gracefully
in the air.
"Well, but why not let the shop do them, where you bought the
"Because, my dear, the shop would do them very badly, very dearly,
and very slowly. Do you remember reading to me about Caesar, and
what he said--'that a general should not say to his troops "GO and
attack the enemy," "but COME and attack the enemy"?' Well, that
applies to needle-work. I say to these ladies, 'COME sew these
curtains with me;' and the consequence is, we have done in three
days what no shop in Hillsborough would have done for us in a
fortnight; but, as for slaves, the only one has been my good Jael
there. She insisted on moving all the heavy boxes herself. She
dismissed the porter; she said he had no pith in his arms--that was
your expression, I think?"
"Ay, ma'am; that was my word: and I never spoke a truer; the useless
body. Why, ma'am, the girls in Cairnhope are most of them well-
grown hussies, and used to work in the fields, and carry full sacks
of grain up steps. Many's the time I have RUN with a sack of barley
on my back: so let us hear no more about your bits of boxes. I wish
my mind was as strong."
"Heaven forbid!" said Mrs. Little, with comic fervor. Henry
laughed. But Jael only stared, rather stupidly. By-and-by she said
she must go now.
"Henry shall take you home, dear."
"Nay, I can go by myself."
"It is raining a little, he will take you home in the cab."
"Nay, I've got legs of my own," said the rustic.
"Henry, dear," said the lady, quietly, "take her home in the cab,
and then come back to me."
At the gate of Woodbine Villa, Jael said "it was not good-night this
time; it was good-by: she was going home for Patty's marriage."
"But you will come back again?" said Henry.
"Nay, father would be all alone. You'll not see me here again,
unless you were in sorrow or sickness."
"Ah, that's like you, Jael. Good-by then, and God bless you
wherever you go."
Jael summoned all her fortitude, and shook hands with him in
silence. They parted, and she fought down her tears, and he went
gayly home to his mother. She told him she had made several visits,
and been cordially received. "And this is how I paved the way for
you. So, mind! I said my brother Raby wished you to take his name,
and be his heir; but you had such a love of manufactures and things,
you could not be persuaded to sit down as a country gentleman.
'Indeed,' I said, his 'love of the thing is so great that, in order
to master it in all its branches, nothing less would serve him than
disguising himself, and going as a workman. But now,' I said, 'he
has had enough of that, so he has set up a small factory, and will,
no doubt, soon achieve a success.' Then I told them about you and
Dr. Amboyne. Your philanthropic views did not interest them for a
single moment; but I could see the poor dear doctor's friendship was
a letter of introduction. There will be no difficulty, dear. There
shall be none. What society Hillsborough boasts, shall open its
arms to you."
"But I'm afraid I shall make mistakes."
"Our first little parties shall be given in this house. Your free
and easy way will be excused in a host; the master of the house has
a latitude; and, besides, you and I will rehearse. By the way,
please be more careful about your nails; and you must always wear
gloves when you are not working; and every afternoon you will take a
lesson in dancing with me."
"I say, mother, do you remember teaching me to dance a minuet, when
I was little?"
"Perfectly. We took great pains; and, at last, you danced it like
an angel. And, shall I tell you, you carry yourself very
gracefully?--well, that is partly owing to the minuet. But a more
learned professor will now take you in hand. He will be here
tomorrow at five o'clock."
Mrs. Little's rooms being nearly square, she set up a round table,
at which eight could dine. But she began with five or six.
Henry used to commit a solecism or two. Mrs. Little always noticed
them, and told him. He never wanted telling twice. He was a genial
young fellow, well read in the topics of the day, and had a natural
wit; Mrs. Little was one of those women who can fascinate when they
choose; and she chose now; her little parties rose to eight; and as,
at her table, everybody could speak without rudeness to everybody
else, this round table soon began to eclipse the long tables of
Hillsborough in attraction.
She and Henry went out a good deal; and, at last, that which Mrs.
Little's good sense had told her must happen, sooner or later, took
place. They met.
He was standing talking with one of the male guests, when the
servant announced Miss Carden; and, whilst his heart was beating
high, she glided into the room, and was received by the mistress of
the house with all that superabundant warmth which ladies put on and
men don't: guess why?
When she turned round from this exuberant affection, she encountered
Henry's black eye full of love and delight, and his tongue tied, and
his swarthy cheek glowing red. She half started, and blushed in
turn; and with one glance drank in every article of dress he had on.
Her eyes beamed pleasure and admiration for a moment, then she made
a little courtesy, then she took a step toward him, and held out her
hand a little coyly.
Their hands and eyes encountered; and, after that delightful
collision, they were both as demure as cats approaching cream.
Before they could say a word of any consequence, a cruel servant
announced dinner, to the great satisfaction of every other soul in
Of course they were parted at dinner-time; but they sat exactly
opposite each other, and Henry gazed at her so, instead of minding
his business, that she was troubled a little, and fain to look
another way. For all that, she found opportunity once or twice to
exchange thoughts with him. Indeed, in the course of the two hours,
she gave him quite a lesson how to speak with the eye--an art in
which he was a mere child compared with her.
She conveyed to him that she saw his mother and recognized her; and
also she hoped to know her.
But some of her telegrams puzzled him.
When the gentlemen came up after dinner, she asked him if he would
not present her to his mother.
"Oh, thank you!" said he, naively; and introduced them to each
The ladies courtesied with grace, but a certain formality, for they
both felt the importance of the proceeding, and were a little on
But they had too many safe, yet interesting topics, to be very long
at a loss.
"I should have known you by your picture, Mrs. Little."
"Ah, then I fear it must be faded since I saw it last."
"I think not. But I hope you will soon judge for yourself."
Mrs. Little shook her head. Then she said, graciously, "I hear it
is to you I am indebted that people can see I was once--what I am
Grace smiled, well pleased. "Ah," said she, "I wish you could have
seen that extraordinary scene, and heard dear Mr. Raby. Oh, madam,
let nothing make you believe you have no place in his great heart!"
"Pray, pray, do not speak of that. This is no place. How could I
bear it?" and Mrs. Little began to tremble.
Grace apologized. "How indiscreet I am; I blurt out every thing
that is in my heart."
"And so do I," said Henry, coming to her aid.
"Ah, YOU," said Grace, a little saucily.
"We do not accept you for our pattern, you see. Pray excuse our bad
"Oh, excuse ME, Mrs. Little. In some things I should indeed be
proud if I could imitate him; but in others--of course--you know!"
"Yes, I know. My dear, there is your friend Mr. Applethwaite."
"I see him," said Henry, carelessly.
"Yes; but you don't see every thing," said Grace, slyly.
"Not all at once, like you ladies. Bother my friend Applethwaite.
Well, if I must, I must. Here goes--from Paradise to Applethwaite."
He went off, and both ladies smiled, and one blushed; and, to cover
her blush, said, "it is not every son that has the grace to
appreciate his mother so."
Mrs. Little opened her eyes at first, and then made her nearest
approach to a laugh, which was a very broad smile, displaying all
her white teeth. "That is a turn I was very far from expecting,"
The ice was now broken, and, when Henry returned, he found them
conversing so rapidly and so charmingly, that he could do little
more than listen.
At last Mr. Carden came in from some other party, and carried his
daughter off, and the bright evening came too soon to a close; but a
great point had been gained: Mrs. Little and Grace Carden were
acquaintances now, and cordially disposed to be friends.
The next time these lovers met, matters did not go quite so
smoothly. It was a large party, and Mr. Coventry was there. The
lady of the house was a friend of his, and assigned Miss Carden to
him. He took her down to dinner, and Henry sat a long way off but
on the opposite side of the table.
He was once more doomed to look on at the assiduities of his rival,
and it spoiled his dinner for him.
But he was beginning to learn that these things must be in society;
and his mother, on the other side of the table, shrugged her
shoulders to him, and conveyed by that and a look that it was a
thing to make light of.
In the evening the rivals came into contact.
Little, being now near her he loved, was in high spirits, and talked
freely and agreeably. He made quite a little circle round him; and
as Grace was one of the party, and cast bright and approving eyes on
him, it stimulated him still more, and he became quite brilliant.
Then Coventry, who was smarting with jealousy, set himself to cool
all this down by a subtle cold sort of jocoseness, which, without
being downright rude, operates on conversation of the higher kind
like frost on expanding buds. It had its effect, and Grace chafed
secretly, but could not interfere. It was done very cleverly.
Henry was bitterly annoyed; but his mother, who saw his rising ire
in his eye, carried him off to see a flowering cactus in a hot-house
that was accessible from the drawing-room. When she had got him
there, she soothed him and lectured him. "You are not a match for
that man in these petty acts of annoyance, to which a true gentleman
and a noble rival would hardly descend, I think; at all events, a
wise one would not; for, believe me, Mr. Coventry will gain nothing
"Isn't driving us off the field something? Oh, for the good old
days when men settled these things in five minutes, like men; the
girl to one, and the grave to t'other."
"Heaven forbid those savage days should ever return. We will defeat
this gentleman quietly, if you please."
"Well, whenever he does this sort of thing, hide your anger; be
polite and dignified; but gradually drop the conversation, and
manage to convey to the rest that it is useless contending against a
wet blanket. Why, you foolish boy, do you think Grace Carden likes
him any the better? Whilst you and I talk, she is snubbing him
finely. So you must stay here with me, and give them time to
quarrel. There, to lessen the penance, we will talk about her.
Last time we met her, she told me you were the best-dressed
gentleman in the room."
"And did she like me any better for that?"
"Don't you be ungracious, dear. She was proud of you. It gratified
her that you should look well in every way. Oh, if you think that
we are going to change our very natures for you, and make light of
dress--why did I send you to a London tailor? and why am I always at
you about your gloves?"
"Mother, I am on thorns."
"Well, we will go back. Stop; let me take a peep first."
She took a peep, and reported,
"The little circle is broken up. Mr. Coventry could not amuse them
as you did. Ah! she is in the sulks, and he is mortified. I know
there's a French proverb 'Les absens ont toujours tort.' But it is
quite untrue; judicious absence is a weapon, and I must show you how
and when to use it."
"Mother, you are my best friend. What shall we do next?"
"Why, go back to the room with me, and put on an imperturbable good
humor, and ignore him; only mind you do that politely, or you will
give him an advantage he is too wise to give you."
Henry was about to obey these orders, but Miss Carden took the word
out of his mouth.
"Well! the cactus?"
Then, as it is not easy to reply to a question so vague, Henry
"There, I thought so," said Grace.
"What did you think?" inquired Mrs. Little.
"Oh, people don't go into hot-houses to see a cactus; they go to
flirt or else gossip. I'll tell Mrs. White to set a short-hand
writer in the great aloe, next party she gives. Confess, Mrs.
Little, you went to criticise poor us, and there is no cactus at
"Miss Carden, I'm affronted. You shall smart for this. Henry, take
her directly and show her the cactus, and clear your mother's
Henry offered his arm directly, and they went gayly off.
"Is she gone to flirt, or to gossip?" asked a young lady.
"Our watches must tell us that," said Mrs. Little. "If they stay
"And how many--flirtation?"
"Ah, my dear, YOU know better than I do. What do you say? Five-
The young ladies giggled.
Then Mr. Coventry came out strong. He was mortified, he was
jealous; he saw a formidable enemy had entered the field, and had
just outwitted and out-maneuvered him. So what does he do but step
up to her, and say to her, with the most respectful grace, "May I be
permitted to welcome you back to this part of the world? I am
afraid I can not exactly claim your acquaintance; but I have often
heard my father speak of you with the highest admiration. My name
"Mr. Coventry, of Bollinghope?" (He bowed.) "Yes; I had the
pleasure of knowing your mother in former days."
"You, have deserted us too long."
"I do not flatter myself I have been missed."
"Is anybody ever missed, Mrs. Little? Believe me, few persons are
welcomed back so cordially as you are."
"That is very flattering, Mr. Coventry. It is for my son's sake I
have returned to society."
"No doubt; but you will remain there for your own. Society is your
place. You are at home in it, and were born to shine in it."
"What makes you think that, pray?" and the widow's cheek flushed a
"Oh, Mrs. Little, I have seen something of the world. Count me
amongst your most respectful admirers. It is a sentiment I have a
right to, since I inherit it."
"Well, Mr. Coventry, then I give you leave to admire me--if you can.
Ah, here they come. Two minutes! I am afraid it was neither gossip
nor flirtation, but only botany."
Grace and Henry came back, looking very radiant.
"What do you think?" said Grace, "I never was more surprised in my
life, there really is a cactus, and a night cereus into the bargain.
Mrs. Little, behold a penitent. I bring you my apology, and a
"Oh, how sweet! Never mind the apology. Quarrel with me often, and
bring me a jardenia. I'll always make it up on those terms."
"Miss White," said Grace, pompously, "I shall require a few dozen
cuttings from your tree, please tell the gardener. Arrangements are
such, I shall have to grow jardenias on a scale hitherto
There was a laugh, and, in the, middle of it, a servant announced
Miss Carden's carriage.
"What attentive servants you have, Miss White. I requested that man
to be on the watch, and, if I said a good thing, to announce my
carriage directly; and he did it pat. Now see what an effective
exit that gives me. Good-by, Miss White, good-by, Mrs. Little; may
you all disappear as neatly."
Mr. Coventry stepped smartly forward, and offered her his arm with
courteous deference; she took it, and went down with him, but shot
over his shoulder a side-glance of reproach at Little, for not being
so prompt as his rival.
"What spirits!" said a young lady.
"Yes," said another; "but she was as dull as the grave last time I
So ended that evening, with its little ups and downs.
Soon after this, Henry called on Miss Carden, and spent a heavenly
hour with her. He told her his plans for getting on in the world,
and she listened with a demure complacency, that seemed to imply she
acknowledged a personal interest in his success. She told him she
had always ADMIRED his independence in declining his uncle's offer,
and now she was beginning to APPROVE it: "It becomes a man," said
From the future they went to the past, and she reminded him of the
snow-storm and the scene in the church; and, in speaking of it, her
eye deepened in color, her voice was low and soft, and she was all
If love was not directly spoken, it was constantly implied, and, in
fact, that is how true love generally speaks. The eternal "Je vous
aime" of the French novelist is false to nature, let me tell you.
"And, when I come back from London, I hope your dear mother will
give me opportunities of knowing her better."
"She will be delighted; but, going to London!"
"Oh, we spend six weeks in London every year; and this is our time.
I was always glad to go, before--London is very gay now you know--
but I am not glad now."
"No more am I, I can assure you. I am very sorry."
"Six weeks will soon pass."
"Six weeks of pain is a good long time. You are the sunshine of my
life. And you are going to shine on others, and leave me dark and
"But how do you know I shall shine on others? Perhaps I shall be
duller than you will, and think all the more of Hillsborough, for
being in London."
The melting tone in which this was said, and the coy and tender
side-glance that accompanied it, were balm of Gilead to the lover.
He took comfort, and asked her, cheerfully, if he might write to
She hesitated a single moment, and then said "Yes."
She added, however, after a pause, "But you can't; for you don't
know my address."
"But you will tell me."
"Never! never! Fifty-eight Clarges Street."
"When do you go?"
"The day after to-morrow: at twelve o'clock."
"May I see you off at the train?"
She hesitated. "If--you--like," said she, slowly: "but I think you
had better not."
"Oh, let me see the last of you."
"Use your own judgment, dear."
The monosyllable slipped out, unintentionally: she was thinking of
something else. Yet, as soon as she had uttered it, she said "Oh!"
and blushed all, over. "I forgot I was not speaking to a lady,"
said she, innocently: then, right archly, "please forgive me."
He caught her hand, and kissed it devotedly.
Then she quivered all over. "You mustn't," said she with the
gentlest possible tone of reproach. "Oh dear, I am so sorry I am
going." And she turned her sweet eyes on him, with tears in them.
Then a visitor was announced, and they parted.
He was deep in love. He was also, by nature, rather obstinate.
Although she had said she thought it would be better for him not to
see her off, yet he would go to the station, and see the last of
He came straight from the station to his mother. She was upstairs.
He threw himself into a chair, and there she found him, looking
"Oh, mother! what shall I do?"
"What is the matter, love?"
"She is false; she is false. She has gone up to London with that
EXTRACT FROM HENRY LITTLE'S REPORT.
"This is the largest trade, containing about three thousand men, and
several hundred women and boys. Their diseases and deaths arise
from poisoning by lead. The file rests on a bed of lead during the
process of cutting, which might more correctly be called stamping;
and, as the stamping-chisel can only be guided to the required
nicety by the finger-nail, the lead is constantly handled and
fingered, and enters the system through the pores.
"Besides this, fine dust of lead is set in motion by the blows that
drive the cutting-chisel, and the insidious poison settles on the
hair and the face, and is believed to go direct to the lungs, some
"The file-cutter never lives the span of life allotted to man.
After many small warnings his thumb weakens. He neglects that; and
he gets touches of paralysis in the thumb, the arm, and the nerves
of the stomach; can't digest; can't sweat; at last, can't work; goes
to the hospital: there they galvanize him, which does him no harm;
and boil him, which does him a deal of good. He comes back to work,
resumes his dirty habits, takes in fresh doses of lead, turns dirty
white or sallow, gets a blue line round his teeth, a dropped wrist,
and to the hospital again or on to the file-cutter's box; and so he
goes miserably on and off, till he drops into a premature grave,
with as much lead in his body as would lap a hundredweight of tea."
A. What the masters might do.
"1. Provide every forge with two small fires, eighteen inches from
the ground. This would warm the lower limbs of the smiths. At
present their bodies suffer by uneven temperature; they perspire
down to the waist, and then freeze to the toe.
"2. For the wet-grinders they might supply fires in every wheel,
abolish mud floors, and pave with a proper fall and drain.
"To prevent the breaking of heavy grinding-stones, fit them with the
large strong circular steel plate--of which I subjoin a drawing--
instead of with wedges or insufficient plates. They might have an
eye to life, as well as capital, in buying heavy grindstones. I
have traced the death of one grinder to the master's avarice: he
went to the quarry and bought a stone for thirty-five shillings the
quarry-master had set aside as imperfect; its price would have been
sixty shillings if it had been fit to trust a man's life to. This
master goes to church twice a Sunday, and is much respected by his
own sort: yet he committed a murder for twenty-five shillings.
Being Hillsborough, let us hope it was a murderer he murdered.
"For the dry-grinders they might all supply fans and boxes. Some
do, and the good effect is very remarkable. Moreover the present
fans and boxes could be much improved.
"One trade--the steel-fork grinders--is considerably worse than the
rest; and although the fan does much for it, I'm told it must still
remain an unhealthy trade. If so, and Dr. Amboyne is right about
Life, Labor, and Capital, let the masters co-operate with the
Legislature, and extinguish the handicraft.
"For the file-cutters, the masters might--
1st. Try a substitute for lead. It is all very well to say a file
must rest on lead to be cut. Who has ever employed brains on that
question? Who has tried iron, wood, and gutta-percha in layers?
Who has ever tried any thing, least of all the thing called Thought?
"2d. If lead is the only bed--which I doubt, and the lead must be
bare--which I dispute, then the master ought to supply every gang of
file-cutters with hooks--taps, and basins and soap, in some place
adjoining their work-rooms. Lead is a subtle, but not a swift,
poison; and soap and water every two hours is an antidote.
"3d. They ought to forbid the introduction of food into file-
cutting rooms. Workmen are a reckless set, and a dirty set; food
has no business in any place of theirs, where poison is going.
"B. What the workmen might do.
"1st. Demand from the masters these improvements I have suggested,
and, if the demand came through the secretaries of their Unions, the
masters would comply.
"2d. They might drink less and wash their bodies with a small part
of the money so saved: the price of a gill of gin and a hot bath are
exactly the same; only the bath is health to a dry-grinder, or tile-
cutter; the gin is worse poison to him than to healthy men.
"3d. The small wet-grinders, who have to buy their grindstones,
might buy sound ones, instead of making bargains at the quarry,
which prove double bad bargains when the stone breaks, since then a
new stone is required, and sometimes a new man, too.
"4th. They might be more careful not to leave the grindstone in
water. I have traced three broken stones in one wheel to that
abominable piece of carelessness.
"5th. They ought never to fix an undersized pulley wheel. Simmons
killed himself by that, and by grudging the few hours of labor
required to hang and race a sound stone.
6th. If files can only be cut on lead, the file-cutters might
anoint the lead over night with a hard-drying ointment, soluble in
turps, and this ointment might even be medicated with an antidote to
the salt of lead.
7th. If files can only be cut on BARE lead, the men ought to cut
their hair close, and wear a light cap at work. They ought to have
a canvas suit in the adjoining place (see above); don it when they
come, and doff it when they go. They ought to leave off their
insane habit of licking the thumb and finger of the left hand--which
is the leaded hand--with their tongues. This beastly trick takes
the poison direct to the stomach. They might surely leave it to get
there through the pores; it is slow, but sure. I have also
repeatedly seen a file-cutter eat his dinner with his filthy
poisoned fingers, and so send the poison home by way of salt to a
fool's bacon. Finally, they ought to wash off the poison every two
hours at the taps.
"8th. Since they abuse the masters and justly, for their
greediness, they ought not to imitate their greediness by driving
their poor little children into unhealthy trades, and so destroying
them body and soul. This practice robs the children of education at
the very seed-time of life, and literally murders many of them; for
their soft and porous skins, and growing organs, take in all poisons
and disorders quicker than an adult.
C. What the Legislature might do.
"It might issue a commission to examine the Hillsborough trades,
and, when accurately informed, might put some practical restraints
both on the murder and the suicide that are going on at present. A
few of the suggestions I have thrown out might, I think, be made
"For instance, the master who should set a dry-grinder to a trough
without a fan, or put his wet-grinders on a mud floor and no fire,
or his file-cutters in a room without taps and basins, or who should
be convicted of willfully buying a faulty grindstone, might be made
subject to a severe penalty; and the municipal authorities invested
with rights of inspection, and encouraged to report.
"In restraint of the workmen, the Legislature ought to extend the
Factory Acts to Hillsborough trades, and so check the heartless
avarice of the parents. At present, no class of her Majesty's
subjects cries so loud, and so vainly, to her motherly bosom, and
the humanity of Parliament as these poor little children; their
parents, the lowest and most degraded set of brutes in England,
teach them swearing and indecency at home, and rob them of all
decent education, and drive them to their death, in order to squeeze
a few shillings out of their young lives; for what?--to waste in
drink and debauchery. Count the public houses in this town.
"As to the fork-grinding trade, the Legislature might assist the
masters to extinguish it. It numbers only about one hundred and
fifty persons, all much poisoned, and little paid. The work could
all be done by fifteen machines and thirty hands, and, in my
opinion, without the expense of grindstones. The thirty men would
get double wages: the odd hundred and twenty would, of course, be
driven into other trades, after suffering much distress. And, on
this account, I would call in Parliament, because then there would
be a temporary compensation offered to the temporary sufferers by a
far-sighted and, beneficent measure. Besides, without Parliament, I
am afraid the masters could not do it. The fork-grinders would blow
up the machines, and the men who worked them, and their wives and
their children, and their lodgers, and their lodgers' visitors.
"For all that, if your theory of Life, Labor, and Capital is true,
all incurably destructive handicrafts ought to give way to
machinery, and will, as Man advances."
"Heaven forbid! Why, mother, I didn't say she was alone with him;
her father was of the party."
"Then surely you are distressing yourself more than you need. She
goes to London with her papa, and Mr. Coventry happens to go up the
same day; that is really all."
"Oh, but, mother, it was no accident. I watched his face, and there
was no surprise when he came up with his luggage and saw her."
Mrs. Little pondered for a minute, and then said, "I dare say all
her friends knew she was going up to London to-day; and Mr. Coventry
determined to go up the same day. Why, he is courting her: my dear
Henry, you knew before to-day that you had a rival, and a determined
one. If you go and blame her for his acts, it will be apt to end in
his defeating you."
"Will it? Then I won't blame her at all."
"You had better not till you are quite sure: it is one way of losing
a high-spirited girl."
"I tell you I won't. Mother!"
"When I asked leave to come to the station and see her off, she
seemed put out."
"Did she forbid you?"
"No; but she did not like it somehow. Ah, she knew beforehand that
Coventry would be there."
"Gently, gently! She might think it possible, and yet not know it.
More likely it was on account of her father. You have never told
him that you love his daughter?"
"And he is rather mercenary: perhaps that is too strong a word; but,
in short, a mere man of the world. Might it not be that Grace
Carden would wish him to learn your attachment either from your lips
or from her own, and not detect it in an impetuous young man's
conduct on the platform of a railway, at the tender hour of
"Oh, how wise you are, and what an insight you have got! Your words
are balm. But, there--he is with her for ever so long, and I am
here all alone."
"Not quite alone, love; your counselor is by your side, and may,
perhaps, show you how to turn this to your advantage. You write to
her every day, and then the postman will be a powerful rival to Mr.
Coventry, perhaps a more powerful one than Mr. Coventry to you."
Acting on this advice, Henry wrote every day to Grace Carden. She
was not so constant in her replies; but she did write to him now and
then, and her letters breathed a gentle affection that allayed his
jealousy, and made this period of separation the happiest six weeks
he had ever known. As for Grace, about three o'clock she used to
look out for the postman, and be uneasy and restless if he was late,
and, when his knock came, her heart would bound, and she generally
flew upstairs with the prize, to devour it in secret. She fed her
heart full with these letters, and loved the writer better and
better. For once the present suitor lost ground, and the absent
suitor gained it. Mrs. Little divined as much from Grace's letters
and messages to herself; and she said, with a smile, "You see 'Les
absents n'ont pas toujours tort.'"
I must now deal briefly with a distinct vein of incidents, that
occurred between young Little's first becoming a master and the
return of the Cardens from London.
Little, as a master, acted up to the philanthropic theories he had
put forth when a workman.
The wet-grinders in his employ submitted to his improved plates, his
paved and drained floor, and cozy fires, without a murmur or a word
of thanks. By degrees they even found out they were more
comfortable than other persons in their condition, and congratulated
themselves upon it.
The dry-grinders consented, some of them, to profit by his improved
fans. Others would not take the trouble to put the fans in gear,
and would rather go on inhaling metal-dust and stone-grit.
Henry reasoned, but in vain; remonstrated, but with little success.
Then he discharged a couple: they retired with mien of martyrs; and
their successors were admitted on a written agreement that left them
no option. The fan triumphed.
The file-cutters were more troublesome; they clung to death and
disease, like limpets to established rocks; they would not try any
other bed than bare lead, and they would not wash at the taps Little
had provided, and they would smuggle in dinners and eat with
Little reasoned, and remonstrated, but with such very trifling
success, that, at last, he had to put down the iron heel; he gave
the file-cutters a printed card, with warning to leave on one side,
and his reasons on the other.
In twenty-four hours he received a polite remonstrance from the
secretary of the File-Cutters' Union.
He replied that the men could remain, if they would sign an
agreement to forego certain suicidal practices, and to pay fines in
case of disobedience; said fines to be deducted from their earnings.
Then the secretary suggested a conference at the "Cutlers' Arms."
Little assented: and there was a hot argument. The father of all
file-cutters objected to tyranny and innovation: Little maintained
that Innovation was nearly always Improvement--the world being
silly--and was manifestly improvement in the case under
consideration. He said also he was merely doing what the Union
itself ought to do: protecting the life of Union men who were too
childish and wrong-headed to protect it themselves.
"We prefer a short life and a merry one, Mr. Little," said the
father of all file-cutters.
"A life of disease is not a merry one: slow poisoning is not a
pleasant way of living, but a miserable way of dying. None but the
healthy are happy. Many a Croesus would give half his fortune for a
poor man's stomach; yet you want your cutlers to be sick men all
their days, and not gain a shilling by it. Man alive, I am not
trying to lower their wages."
"Ay, but you are going the way to do it."
"How do you make that out?"
"The trade is full already; and, if you force the men to live to
threescore and ten, you will overcrowd it so, they will come to
Little was staggered at this thunderbolt of logic, and digested the
matter in silence for a moment. Then he remembered something that
had fallen from Dr. Amboyne; and he turned to Grotait. "What do you
say to that, sir? would you grind Death's scythe for him (at the
list price) to thin the labor market?"
Grotait hesitated for once. In his heart he went with the file-
cutter: but his understanding encumbered him.
"Starvation," said he, "is as miserable a death as poisoning. But
why make a large question out of a small one, with rushing into
generalities? I really think you might let Mr. Little settle this
matter with the individual workmen. He has got a little factory,
and a little crochet; he chooses to lengthen the lives of six file-
cutters. He says to them, 'My money is my own, and I'll give you so
much of it, in return for so much work plus so much washing and
other novelties.' The question is, does his pay cover the new labor
of washing, etc., as well as the old?"
"Mr. Grotait, I pay the highest price that is going."
"In that case, I think the Unions are not bound to recognize the
discussion. Mr. Little, I have some other reasons to lay before my
good friend here, and I hope to convince him. Now, there's a little
party of us going to dine to-morrow at 'Savage's Hotel,' up by the
new reservoir; give us the pleasure of your company, will you? and,
by that time, perhaps I may have smoothed this little matter for
you." Little thanked him, accepted the invitation, and left the
pair of secretaries together.
When he was gone, Grotait represented that public opinion would go
with Little on this question; and the outrages he had sustained
would be all ripped up by the Hillsborough Liberal, and the two
topics combined in an ugly way; and all for what?--to thwart a good-
hearted young fellow in a philanthropical crotchet, which, after
all, did him honor, and would never be imitated by any other master
in Hillsborough. And so, for once, this Machiavel sided with Henry,
not from the purest motives, yet, mind you, not without a certain
mixture of right feeling and humanity.
On the Sunday Henry dined with him and his party, at "Savage's
Hotel," and the said dinner rather surprised Henry; the meats were
simple, but of good quality, and the wines, which were all brought
out by Grotait, were excellent. That Old Saw, who retailed ale and
spirits to his customers, would serve nothing less to his guests
than champagne and burgundy. And, if the cheer was generous, the
host was admirable; he showed, at the head of his genial board,
those qualities which, coupled with his fanaticism, had made him the
Doge of the Hillsborough trades. He was primed on every subject
that could interest his guests, and knew something about nearly
everything else. He kept the ball always going, but did not
monologuize, except when he was appealed to as a judge, and then did
it with a mellow grace that no man can learn without Nature's aid.
There is no society, however distinguished, in which Grotait would
not have been accepted as a polished and admirable converser.
Add to this that he had an art, which was never quite common, but is
now becoming rare, of making his guests feel his friends--for the
time, at all events.
Young Little sat amazed, and drank in his words with delight, and
could not realize that this genial philosopher was the person who
had launched a band of ruffians at him. Yet, in his secret heart,
he could not doubt it: and so he looked and listened with a
marvelous mixture of feelings, on which one could easily write pages
of analysis, very curious, and equally tedious.
They dined at three; and, at five, they got up, as agreed
beforehand, and went to inspect the reservoir in course of
construction. A more compendious work of art was never projected:
the contractors had taken for their basis a mountain gorge, with a
stream flowing through it down toward Hillsborough; all they had to
do was to throw an embankment across the lower end of the gorge, and
turn it to a mighty basin open to receive the stream, and the
drainage from four thousand acres of hill. From this lake a sixty-
foot wear was to deal out the water-supply to the mill-owners below,
and the surplus to the people of Hillsborough, distant about eight
miles on an easy decline.
Now, as the reservoir must be full at starting, and would then be
eighty feet deep in the center, and a mile long, and a quarter of a
mile broad, on the average, an embankment of uncommon strength was
required to restrain so great a mass of water; and this was what the
Hillsborough worthies were curious about. They strolled out to the
works, and then tea was to come out after them, the weather being
warm and soft. Close to the works they found a foreman of engineers
smoking his pipe, and interrogated him. He showed them a rising
wall, five hundred feet wide at the base, and told them it was to be
ninety feet high, narrowing, gradually, to a summit twelve feet
broad. As the whole embankment was to be twelve hundred feet long
at the top, this gave some idea of the bulk of the materials to be
used: those materials were clay, shale, mill-stone, and sandstone of
looser texture. The engineer knew Grotait, and brought him a
drawing of the mighty cone to be erected. "Why, it will be a
mountain!" said Little.
"Not far from that, sir: and yet you'll never see half the work.
Why, we had an army of navvies on it last autumn, and laid a
foundation sixty feet deep and these first courses are all bonded in
to the foundation, and bonded together, as you see. We are down to
solid rock, and no water can get to undermine us. The puddle wall
is sixteen feet wide at starting, and diminishes to four feet at the
top: so no water can creep in through our jacket."
"But what are these apertures?" inquired Grotait.
"Oh, those are the waste-pipes. They pass through the embankment
obliquely, to the wear-dam: they can be opened, or shut, by valves,
and run off ten thousand cubic feet of water a minute."
"But won't that prove a hole in your armor? Why, these pipes must
be in twenty joints, at least."
"Say fifty-five; you'll be nearer the mark."
"And suppose one or two of these fifty-five joints should leak?
You'll have an everlasting solvent in the heart of your pile, and
you can't get at them, you know, to mend them."
"Of course not; but they are double as thick as ever were used
before; and have been severely tested before laying 'em down:
besides, don't you see each of them has got his great-coat on?
eighteen inches of puddle all the way."
"Ah," said Grotait, "all the better. But it is astonishing what big
embankments will sometimes burst if a leaky pipe runs through them.
I don't think it is the water, altogether; the water seems to make
air inside them, and that proves as bad for them as wind in a man's
"Governor," said the engineer, "don't you let bees swarm in your
bonnet. Ousely reservoir will last as long as them hills there."
"No, doubt, lad, since thou's had a hand in making it."
The laugh this dry rejoinder caused was interrupted by the waitress
bringing out tea; and these Hillsborough worthies felt bound to
chaff her; but she, being Yorkshire too, gave them as good as they
brought, and a trifle to spare.
Tea was followed by brandy-and-water and pipes: and these came out
in such rapid succession, that when Grotait drove Little and two
others home, his utterance was thick, and his speech sententious.
Little found Bayne waiting for him, with the news that he had left
"How was that?"
"Oh, fell between two stools. Tried to smooth matters between
Cheetham and the hands: but Cheetham, he wants a manager to side
with him through thick and thin; and the men want one to side with
them. He has sacked me, and the men are glad I'm going: and this
comes of loving peace, when the world hates it."
"And I am glad of it, for now you are my foreman. I know what you
are worth, if those fools don't."
"Are you in earnest, Little?"
"I hear you have been dining with Grotait, and he always makes the
liquor fly. Wait till tomorrow. Talk it over with Mrs. Little
here. I'm afraid I'm not the right sort for a servant. Too fond of
'the balmy,' and averse to the whole hog." (The poor fellow was
"The very man I want to soothe me at odd times: they rile me so with
their suicidal folly. Now, look here, old fellow, if you don't come
to me, I'll give you a good hiding."
"Oh! well, sooner than you should break the peace--. Mrs. Little,
I'd rather be with him at two guineas a week, than with any other
master at three."
When he had got this honest fellow to look after his interests,
young Little gave more way than ever to his natural bent for
invention, and he was often locked up for twelve hours at a stretch,
in a room he called his studio. Indeed, such was his ardor, that he
sometimes left home after dinner, and came back to the works, and
then the fitful fire of his forge might be seen, and the blows of
his hammer heard, long after midnight.
Dr. Amboyne encouraged him in this, and was, indeed, the only person
admitted to his said studio. There the Democritus of Hillsborough
often sat and smoked his cigar, and watched the progress toward
perfection of projected inventions great and small.
One day the doctor called and asked Bayne whether Henry was in his
studio. Bayne said no; he thought he had seen him in the saw-
grinders' hull. "And that struck me; for it is not often his
lordship condescends to go there now."
"Let us see what 'his lordship' is at."
They approached stealthily, and, looking through a window, saw the
inventor standing with his arms folded, and his eyes bent on a
grinder at his work: the man was pressing down a six-feet saw on a
grindstone with all his might and Little was looking on, with a face
compounded of pity, contempt, and lofty contemplation.
"That is the game now, sir," whispered Bayne: "always in the clouds,
or else above 'em. A penny for your thoughts, sir!"
Henry started, as men do who are roused from deep contemplation;
however, he soon recovered himself, and, with a sort of rude wit of
his own, he held out his hand for the penny.
Amboyne fumbled in his pocket, and gave him a stamp.
Little seized it, and delivered himself as follows: "My thoughts,
gentlemen, were general and particular. I was making a reflection
how contented people are to go bungling on, doing a thing the wrong
way, when the right way is obvious: and my particular observation
was--that these long saws are ground in a way which offends the
grammar of mechanics. Here's a piece of steel six feet long, but
not so wide as the grindstone:--what can be plainer than that such a
strip ought to be ground lengthwise? then the whole saw would
receive the grindstone in a few seconds. Instead of that, on they
go, year after year, grinding them obliquely, and with a violent
exertion that horrifies a fellow like me, who goes in for economy of
labor, and have done all my life. Look at that fellow working.
What a waste of muscle! Now, if you will come to my studio, I think
I can show you how long saws WILL be ground in the days of
His eye, which had been turned inward during his reverie, dullish
and somewhat fish-like, now sparkled like a hot coal, and he led the
"Pray humor him, sir," said Bayne, compassionately.
They followed him up a horrid stair, and entered his studio and a
marvelous place it was: a forge on one side, a carpenter's bench and
turning-lathe on the other and the floor so crowded with models,
castings, and that profusion of new ideas in material form which
housewives call litter, that the artist had been obliged to cut
three little ramified paths, a foot wide, and so meander about the
room, as struggles a wasp over spilt glue.
He gave the doctor the one chair, and wriggled down a path after
pencil and paper: he jumped with them, like a cat with a mouse, on
to the carpenter's bench, and was soon absorbed in drawing.
When he had drawn a bit, he tore up the paper, and said, "Let me
"The request is unusual," said Dr. Amboyne; "however, if you will
let us smoke, we will let you think."
No reply from the inventor, whose eye was already turned inward, and
Dr. Amboyne and Bayne smoked peaceably awhile. But presently the
inventor uttered a kind of shout.
"Eureka," said the doctor calmly, and emitted a curly cloud.
Little dashed at the paper, and soon produced a drawing. It
represented two grindstones set apparently to grind each other, a
large one below, a small one above.
"There--the large stone shall revolve rapidly, say from north to
south; the small one from south to north: that is the idea which has
just struck me, and completes the invention. It is to be worked,
not by one grinder, but two. A stands south, and passes the saw
northward between the two grindstones to B. The stones must be hung
so as just to allow the passage of the saw. B draws it out, and
reverses it, and passes it back to A. Those two journeys of the saw
will grind the whole length of it for a breath of two or three
inches, and all in forty seconds. Now do you see what I meant by
the grammar of mechanics? It was the false grammar of those
duffers, grinding a long thing sideways instead of lengthways, that
struck my mind first. And now see what one gets to at last if one
starts from grammar. By this machine two men can easily grind as