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LOVE VENTURES IN
Man's life is all a mist, and in the dark
Our fortunes meet us.
John had been thinking about building his own home for some time and he
resolved to begin it at once. Yet this ancient Hatton Hall, with its
large, low rooms, its latticed windows and beautifully carved and
polished oak panelings, was very dear to him. Every room was full of
stories of Cavaliers and Puritans. The early followers of George Fox had
there found secret shelter and hospitality. John Wesley had preached in
its great dining-room, and Charles Wesley filled all its spaces and
corridors with the lyrical cry of his wonderful hymns. There were
harmless ghosts in its silent chambers, or walking in the pale moonlight
up the stairs or about the flower garden. No one was afraid of them;
they only gave a tender and romantic character to the surroundings. If
Mrs. Hatton felt them in a room, she curtsied and softly withdrew, and
John, on more than one occasion, had asked, "Why depart, dear ghosts?
There is room enough for us all in the old house."
But for all this, and all that, it did not answer the spirit of John's
nature and daily life. He was essentially a man of his century. He loved
large proportions and abundance of light and fresh air, and he dreamed
of a home of palatial dimensions with white Ionic pillars and wide
balconies and large rooms made sunny by windows tall enough for men of
his stature to use as doors if they so desired. It was to be white as
snow, with the Ash plantation behind it and gardens all around and the
river washing their outskirts and telling him as he sat in the
evenings--with Jane at his side--where it had come from and what it had
seen and heard during the day.
He went to sleep in this visionary house and did not awaken until the
sun was high up and hurrying men and women to work. So he rose quickly,
for he counted himself among this working-class, felt his
responsibilities, and began to reckon with the difficulties he had to
meet and the appointments he could not decline. He had promised to see
his overseer at half-past nine, and he knew Jonathan would have a few
disagreeable words ready, if he broke his promise--words it was better
to avoid than to notice or discount.
At half-past eight he was ready to ride to the mill. His gig was
waiting, but he chose his saddle horse, because the creature so lovingly
neighed and neighed to the sound of his approaching footsteps, evidently
rejoicing to see him, and pawing the ground with his impatience to feel
him in the saddle. John could not resist the invitation. He sent the
uncaring gig away, laid his arm across Bendigo's neck, and his cheek
against Bendigo's cheek. Then he whispered a few words in his ear and
leaped into the saddle as only a Yorkshireman or a gypsy can leap, and
Bendigo, thrilling with delight, carried his master swiftly away from
the gig and its driver, neighing with triumph as he passed them.
When about halfway to the mill he met Miss Harlow returning home from
her early morning walk. She was dressed with extreme simplicity in a
short frock of pink corduroy, and a sailor hat of coarse Dunstable
straw, with a pink ribbon round it. Long, soft, white leather gauntlets
covered her hands, and she carried in them a little basket of straw,
full of bluebells and ferns. John saw her approaching and he noticed the
lift of her head and the lift of her foot and said to himself, "Proud!
Proud!" but in his heart he thought no harm of her stately, graceful
carriage. To him she was a most beautiful girl, fresh and fair and,
--graceful as the mountain doe,
That sniffs the forest air,
Bringing the smell of the heather bell,
In the tresses of her hair.
They met, they clasped hands, they looked into each other's eyes, and
something sweet and subtle passed between them. "I am so glad, so glad
to see you," said John, and Miss Harlow said the same words, and then
added, "Where have you been? I have missed you so much."
"And, Oh, how happy I am to hear that you have missed me! I have been
away to the North--on the road to Iceland. May I call on you this
evening, and tell you about my journey?"
"Yes, indeed! If you will pleasure me so far, I will send an excuse to
Lady Thirsk, and stay at home to listen to you."
"That would be a miraculous favor. May I come early?"
"We dine early. Come and take your dinner with us. Mother will be glad
to see you and to hear your adventures, and mother's pleasure is my
"Then I will come."
As he spoke, he took out his watch and looked at it. "I have an
engagement in ten minutes," he said. "Will you excuse me now?"
"I will. I wish I had an engagement. Poor women! They have bare lives. I
would like to go to business. I would like to make money. There are days
in which I feel that I could run a thousand spindles or manage a
department store very well and very happily."
"Why do you talk of things impossible? Good-bye!"
"Until seven o'clock?"
He had dismounted to speak to her and, holding Bendigo's bridle, had
walked with her to the Harlow residence. He now said, "Good-bye," and
the light of a true, passionate lover was on his face, as he leaped into
the saddle. She watched him out of sight and then went into her home,
and with an inscrutable smile, began to arrange the ferns and bluebells
in a vase of cream-colored wedgewood.
In the meantime John had reached the Hatton mill, and after his long
absence he looked up at it with conscious pride. It was built of brick;
it was ten stories high; every story was full of windows, every story
airy as a bird-cage. Certainly it was not a thing of architectural
beauty, but it was a grandly organized machine where brains and hands,
iron and steel worked together for a common end. As John entered its big
iron gates, he saw bales of cotton going into the mill by one door, and
he knew the other door at which they would come out in the form of woven
calico. In rapid thought he followed them to the upper floors, and then
traveled down with them to the great weaving-rooms in the order their
processes advanced them. He knew that on the highest floor a devil would
tear the fiber asunder, that it would then go to the scutcher, and have
the dust and dirt blown away, then that carding machines would lay all
the fibers parallel, that drawing machines would group them into slender
ribbons, and a roving machine twist them into a soft cord, and then
that a mule or a throstle would spin the roving into yarn, and the yarn
would go to the weaving-rooms, where a thousand wonderful machines would
turn them into miles and miles of calico; the machines doing all the
hard work, while women and girls adjusted and supplied them with the
It was to the great weaving-room John went first. As soon as he stood in
the open door he was seen and in a moment, as if by magic, the looms
were silenced, and the women and girls were on their feet, looking at
him with eager, pleasant faces. John lifted his hat and said good
morning and a shout of welcome greeted him. Then at some signal the
looms resumed their noisy work and the women lifted the chorus from some
opera which they had been singing at John's entrance, and "t' master's
visit" was over.
He went next to his office, and Jonathan brought his daybook and
described, in particular detail, the commercial occurrences which had
made the mills' history during his absence. Not all of them were
satisfactory, and John passed nothing by as trivial. Where interferences
had been made with his usual known methods, he rebuked and revoked them;
and in one case where Jonathan had disobeyed his order he insisted on an
apology to the person injured by the transaction.
"I told Clough," he said, "that he should have what credit would put him
straight. You, Jonathan, have been discounting and cutting him down on
yarns. You had no authority to do this. I don't like it. It cannot be."
"Well, sir, I was looking out for you. Clough will never straight
himself. Yarns are yarns, and yarns are up in the market; we can use all
we hev ourselves. Clough hes opinions not worth a shilling's credit.
They are all wrong, sir."
"His opinions may be wrong, his life is right."
"Why, sir, he's nothing but a Radical or a Socialist."
"Jonathan, I don't bring politics into business."
"You're right, sir. When I see any of our customers bothering with
politics, I begin to watch for their names in t' bankruptcy list. Your
honorable father, sir, could talk with both Tories and Radicals and fall
out with neither. Then he would pick up his order-book, and forget what
side he'd taken or whether he hed been on any side or not."
"Write to Clough and tell him you were sorry not to fill his last order.
Say that we have now plenty of yarns and will be glad to let him have
whatever he wants."
"Very well, sir. If he fails--"
"It may be your fault, Jonathan. The yarns given him when needed, might
have helped him. Tomorrow they may be too late."
"I don't look at things in that way, sir."
"Jonathan, how do you look at the Naylors' proposal?"
"As downright impudence. They hev the money to buy most things they
want, but they hevn't the money among them all to buy a share in your
grand old name and your well-known honorable business. I told Mr. Henry
"However did the Naylors get at Mr. Henry?"
"Through horses, sir. Mr. Henry loves horses, and he hes an idea that he
knows all about them. I heard Fred Naylor had sold him two racers. He
didn't sell them for nothing--you may be sure of that."
"Do you know what Mr. Henry paid for them, Jonathan?"
"Not I, sir. But I do know Fred Naylor; he never did a honest day's
work. He is nothing but a betting book in breeches. He bets on
everything, from his wife to the weather. I often heard your father say
that betting is the argument of a fool--and Jonathan Greenwood is of the
"Have you any particular dislike to the Naylors?"
"I dislike to see Mr. Henry evening himself with such a bad lot; every
one of them is as worthless as a canceled postage stamp."
"They are rich, I hear."
"To be sure they are. I think no better of them for that. All they hev
has come over the devil's back. I hev taken the measure of them three
lads, and I know them to be three poor creatures. Mr. Henry Hatton
ought not to be counted with such a crowd."
"You are right, Jonathan. In this case, I am obliged to you for your
interference. I think this is all we need to discuss at this time."
"Nay, but it isn't. I'm sorry to say, there is that little lass o'
Lugur's. You must interfere there, and you can't do it too soon."
"Lugur? Who is Lugur? I never heard of the man. He is not in the Hatton
factory, that I know."
"He isn't in anybody's factory. He is head teacher in the Methodist
"Well, what of that?"
"He has a daughter, a little lass about eighteen years old."
"And she is pretty, I suppose?"
"There's none to equal her in this part of England. She's as sweet as a
"And her father is----"
"Hard as Pharaoh. She's the light o' his eyes, and the breath o' his
nostrils. So she ought to be. Her mother died when she was two years
old, and Ralph Lugur hes been mother and father both to her. He took her
with him wherever he went except into the pulpit."
"The pulpit? What do you mean?"
"He was a Methodist preacher, but he left the pulpit and went into the
schoolroom. The Conference was glad he did so, for he was little in the
way of preaching but he's a great scholar, and I should say he hesn't
his equal as a teacher in all England. He has the boys and girls of
Hatton at a word. Sir, you'll allow that I am no coward, but I wouldn't
touch the hem of Lucy Lugur's skirt, if it wasn't in respect and honor,
for a goodish bit o' brass. No, I wouldn't!"
"What would you fear?"
"_Why-a!_ I don't think he'd stop at anything decent. It is only ten
days since he halted Lord Thirsk in t' High Street of Hatton, and then
told him flat if he sent any more notes and flowers to Miss Lugur,
'Miss,' mind you, he would thrash him to within an inch of his life."
"What did Lord Thirsk say?"
"Why, the little man was frightened at first--and no wonder, for Lugur
is big as Saul and as strong as Samson--but he kept his head and told
Lugur he would 'take no orders from him.' Furthermore, he said he would
show his 'admiration of Miss Lugur's beauty, whenever he felt disposed
to do so.' It was the noon hour and a crowd was in the street, and they
gathered round--for our lads smell a fight--and they cheered the little
lord for his plucky words, and he rode away while they were cheering and
left Lugur standing so black and surly that no one cared to pass an
opinion he could hear. Indeed, my eldest daughter kept her little lad
from school that afternoon. She said someone was bound to suffer for
Lugur's setdown and it wasn't going to be her John Henry."
"He seems to be an ill-tempered man--this Lugur, and we don't want such
men in Hatton."
"Well, sir, we breed our own tempers in Hatton, and we can frame to put
up with them--_but strangers_!" and Jonathan appeared to have no words
to express his suspicion of strangers.
"If Lugur is quarrelsome he must leave Hatton. I will not give him house
"You hev a good deal of influence, sir, but you can't move Lugur. No,
you can't. Lugur hes been appointed by the Methodist Church, and there
is the Conference behind the church, sir. I hev no doubt but what we
shall hev to put up with the sulky beggar whether we want it or like it
"It would be a queer thing, Jonathan Greenwood, if John Hatton did not
have influence enough to put a troubler of Hatton town out of it. The
Methodist Church is too sensible to oppose what is good for a
"Sir, you are reckoning your bill without your host. The church would
likely stand by you, but all the women would stand by Lugur. And what is
queerer still, all his scholars would fight anyone who said a word
against him. He hes a way, sir, a way of his own with children, and I
hev wondered often what is the secret of it."
"What do you mean?"
"I'll give you an example, sir. You know Silas Bolton hes a very bad
lad, but the other day he went to Lugur and confessed he had stripped
old Padget's apple-tree. Well, Lugur listened to him and talked to him
and then lifted his leather strap and gave him a dozen good licks. The
lad never whimpered, and t' master shook hands with him when the bit o'
business was over and said, 'You are a brave boy, Will Bolton. I don't
think you'll do a mean, cowardly act like that again, and if such is
your determination, you can learn me double lessons for tomorrow; then
all will be square between you and me'--and Bolton's bad boy did it."
"That was right enough."
"I hevn't quite finished, sir. In two days he went with the boy to tell
old Padget he was sorry, and the man forgave him without one hard word;
but I hev heard since, that t' master paid for the apples out of his own
pocket, and I would not wonder if he did. What do you think of the man
"I think a man like that is very much of a man. I shall make it my
business to know him. But what has my brother to do with either Mister
or Miss Lugur?"
"Mr. Henry hes been doing just what Lord Thirsk did; he has been sending
Lucy Lugur flowers and for anything I know, letters. At any rate I saw
them together in Mr. Henry's phaeton on the Lancashire road at ten
o'clock in the morning. I was going to Shillingworth's factory, and I
stayed there an hour, and as I came back to Hatton, Mr. Henry was just
leaving her at Lugur's house door."
"Where do they live?"
"In Byle's cottage at the top of the Brow."
"That was quite out of your way, Jonathan."
"I know it was. I took that road on purpose. I guessed the little woman
was out with Mr. Henry, because she knew between ten and eleven o'clock
her father was safe in t' schoolroom. Well, I saw Mr. Henry leave her at
her own door, and though I doan't believe one-half that I hear, I can
trust my own eyes even if I hevn't my spectacles on. And I doan't bother
my head about other men's daughters and sweethearts, but Mr. Henry is a
bit different. I loved and served his father. I love and serve his
brother, and t' young man himself is very easy to love."
John was silent, and Jonathan continued, "I knew I was interfering,
"You were doing your duty. I would thank you for it, but a man that
serves Duty gets his wages in the service--and is satisfied."
Jonathan only nodded his head in assent, but there was the pleasant
light of accepted favor on his face and he really felt much relieved
when John added, "I will have a talk with my brother when he comes home
about the Naylors and Miss Lugur. You can dismiss the subject from your
mind. I'm sure you have plenty to worry you with the mill and its
"I hev, sir, that I hev, and all the more because Lucius Yorke hes been
here while you were away and he left a promise with the lads and
lassies to come again and give you a bit of his mind when you bed
finished your laking and larking and could at least frame yourself to
watch the men and women working for you. Yorke is a sly one--you ought
to watch him."
John smiled, dropped his eyes, and began to turn his paper-knife about.
"Well, Jonathan," he answered, "when Yorke comes, tell him John Hatton
will be pleased to know his mind. I do not think, Jonathan, that he
knows it himself, for I have noticed that he has turned his back on his
own words several times since he gave me his mind a year ago."
"Well, sir, a man's mind can grow, just as his body grows."
"I know that--but it can grow in a wrong direction as easily as in a
right one. Now I must attend to my secretary; he sent me word that there
was a large mail waiting."
"I'll warrant it. Mr. Henry hesn't been near the mill since Friday
morning," and with these words the overseer lifted his books and records
and left the room.
John sat very still with bent head; he shut his eyes and turned them on
his heart, but it was not long before his thoughtful face was brightened
by a smile as he whispered to himself, "I must hear what Harry has to
say before I judge him. Jonathan has strong prejudices, and Harry must
have what he considers 'reasonable cause' for what he wishes."
He waited anxiously all morning, going frequently to his brother's
office, but it was mid-afternoon when he heard Harry's quick light step
on the corridor. His heart beat to the sound, he quickly opened his
door, and as he did so, Harry cried,
"John! I am so glad you are here!"
Then John drew the bright handsome lad to his side, and they entered his
office together, and as soon as they were alone, John bent to his
brother, drew him closer, and kissed him.
"I have been restless and longing to see you, Harry. Where have you
been, dear lad?"
It was noticeable that John's tone and attitude was that of a father,
more than a brother, for John was ten years older than Harry and through
all his boyhood, his youth, and even his manhood he had fought for and
watched over and loved him with a fatherly, as well as a brotherly,
love. After their father's death, John, as eldest son, took the place
and assumed the authority of their father and was by right of birth head
of the household and master of the mill.
Hitherto John's authority had been so kind and so thoughtful that Harry
had never dreamed of opposing it, yet the brothers were both conscious
this afternoon that the old attitude towards each other had suffered a
change. Harry showed it first in his dress, which was extravagant and
very unlike the respectable tweed or broadcloth common to the
manufacturers of the locality. Harry's garb was that of a finished
horseman. It was mostly of leather of various colors and grades, from
the highly dressed Spanish leather of his long, black boots to the soft,
white, leather gauntlets, which nearly covered his arms. He had a
leather jockey cap on his head, and a leather whip in his hand, and he
gave John a long, loving look, which seemed to ask for his admiration
and deprecate, if not dispute, his expected dislike.
For John's looks traveled down the handsome figure, whose hand he still
clasped, with evident dismay and dissatisfaction, and Harry retaliated
by striking his booted leg with his riding-whip. For an instant they
stood thus looking at each other, both of them quite aware of the
remarkable contrast they made. Harry's tall, slight form, black hair,
and large brown eyes were a vivid antithesis to John's blond blue-eyed
strength and comeliness. To her youngest son, Mrs. Hatton, who was a
daughter of the Norman house of D'Artoe, had transmitted her quick
temperament, her dark beauty, and her elastic grace of movement.
Harry's beauty had a certain local fame; when people spoke of him it was
not of Henry Hatton they spoke, they called him "t' young master," or
more likely, "that handsome lad o' Hattons." He was more popular and
better loved than John, because his temper and his position permitted
him a greater familiarity with the hands. They came to John for any
solid favor or any necessary information, they came to Harry for help in
their ball or cricket games or in any musical entertainment they wished
to give. And Harry on such occasions was their fellow playmate, and took
and gave with a pleasant familiarity that was never imposed on.
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