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Next morning Mrs. Little gave her son the benefit of her night's reflections.
"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 for me."
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 like this."
"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 curtains?'
"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 the room.
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 other.
The ladies courtesied with grace, but a certain formality, for they both felt the importance of the proceeding, and were a little on their guard.
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 not now."
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 taste, Harry."
"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," said she.
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 by this."
"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 hesitated.
"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 all."
"Miss Carden, I'm affronted. You shall smart for this. Henry, take her directly and show her the cactus, and clear your mother's character."
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 five minutes--gossip."
"And how many--flirtation?"
"Ah, my dear, YOU know better than I do. What do you say? Five-and-twenty?"
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 is Coventry."
"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 little.
"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 jardenia."
"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 unprecedented."
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 met her."
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 she.
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 tenderness.
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 solitary."
"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 her.
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 her.
He came straight from the station to his mother. She was upstairs. He threw himself into a chair, and there she found him, looking ghastly.
"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 Coventry."
* * * * * * *
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 of it.
"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 law.
"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."
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