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HILL AND THE VALLEY. - Harriet Martineau, Illustrations of Political Economy, vol. 1 (Life in the Wilds, Hill and the Valley, Brooke and Brooke Farm) 
Illustrations of Political Economy (3rd ed) in 9 vols. (London: Charles Fox, 1832). Vol. 1.
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HILL AND THE VALLEY.
EVERY MAN HIS WHIM.
Among the hills, in a wild district of South Wales, stood a dwelling, known to few and avoided by most of those whose curiosity had led them to inquire concerning the inmates. This cottage was too humble in its appearance to attract frequent notice, and there was so much difficulty in reaching it, that no call but that of business was likely to bring any stranger to its threshold. A narrow path led up the hills to the foot of a steep flight of steps, made of rude stones, placed not very securely. At the top of a slippery bank above these steps was a gate, too high to be easily climbed, and too well tethered to be quickly opened. When one or the other difficulty, however, was overcome, the path lay direct to the porch of the cottage, on the bench of which lay sometimes a newspaper or a tobacco-pipe, and sometimes a ricketty work-basket, full of undarned stockings, according as the master or mistress of the cottage had been sitting there to enjoy the air. No place could be more retired than this porch, for it was nearly surrounded by garden and orchard ground, and was screened by a thick hedge of elder on the side where the gate was placed.
The master of this abode was John Armstrong, a hale man of seventy-nine. Its mistress was Margaret Blake, his housekeeper, a middle-aged woman, but as old-fashioned in her habits and appearance as her venerable companion. They were both very strange people in the eyes of everybody who knew them, being not only unsociable with strangers, but preserving, as it appeared, an almost perpetual silence toward each other. They never sat in the same room, except at meal-times. Old Armstrong avoided the porch unless Margaret was busy within; and she looked out to see that he was gardening, before she brought her work-basket out into the sunshine. It was reported by the only person who had the opportunity by invitation of witnessing their domestic habits, that Armstrong always read the newspaper at breakfast, mused at dinner-time, and studied the Farmer's Journal at supper: so that Margaret did not forget her own language was a wonder to everybody; especially as it was known that she had parted with her parrot because Armstrong had as great a dislike to tame birds as to dogs and cats. There was music enough, however, to break the silence which Margaret's own voice seldom disturbed. The little orchard was full of singing-birds, whose notes were far pleasanter than those of any chattering parrot. Armstrong played the flute too; and it whiled away the time to hear him play airs that she was taught to sing when a child on her mother's knee. Then there were other sounds as agreeable as music—the clinking of the chain when her master was letting down his bucket into the well; and the creaking of the roller on the smooth grass, and the whetting of the scythe in the early morning. Now and then, too, Margaret had to go to the next town for groceries and other things which were wanted; and then it was necessary that she should speak and that people should speak to her; and this practice, though it came very seldom, was enough to prevent her growing dumb.
She generally went twice a year to the town, which was four miles off. By her master's desire, she kept so large a stock of all necessaries by her, that there was no occasion to go oftener. He would not allow the name of “necessary” to whatever would not keep so long as six months. As to their food—he had the baking, and churning, and the rearing and killing of fowls, done at home, that no baker or market-man need come near his dwelling. His garden supplied his table, except that he regularly brought home a joint of meat after morning service on Sundays, the meat having been left for him at the house of an acquaintance on the Saturday. He sometimes went out fishing, and thus varied his fare quite enough for his own satisfaction: for he used to declare to a friend whom he saw occasionally, that he knew not what a prince could have better than good milk in the morning, potatoes, artichokes, peas and cabbages, with sometimes fish, flesh, or fowl for dinner, and a well-seasoned basin of gruel at night.
He was as easily satisfied as to clothing. The same blue coat with its large yellow buttons, the same leather breeches, mottled stockings, shoe-buckles, and cambric stock, had lasted him for many years, for he only wore them on Sundays; and it was quite enough for Margaret to buy his linen and the materials for his labourer's frock when she purchased her own stuff petticoat in the fall of the year, and laid in her stock of winter oil. He would not even have more frequent intercourse with the shoemaker, though he wore many shoes. He sent his worn shoes to town twice a year, and new ones were always ready to be sent back by the same messenger.
When people live so retired as Armstrong and his housekeeper, it is always supposed that they have some reason for dreading intercourse with their neighbours. It was believed, in the present case, that Armstrong was a miser, and that he kept a quantity of gold by him, of which he was afraid of any body getting a sight. It was prophesied, many a time, that he and Margaret would be found some day with their throats cut for the sake of this wealth. This was partly reasonable and partly false. Armstrong did keep money by him, and it was therefore likely that he would be robbed, if not murdered, living in so defenceless a way as his appeared to be. But he was no miser. He had been in trade in early life, and had lost money through the knavery of his partner. He immediately took a disgust to business, turned all he had into hard gold, bought this lone cottage and two acres of ground, and laid by two hundred guineas in a chest which he kept under his bed. Not all the reasonings of his friends about the uselessness of cash thus locked up, not all the hints that his life was not safe, not all the petitions of his only daughter that her husband might be allowed the use of the cash at a fair rate of interest, could induce him to unlock his chest. He declared that he would be cozened out of no more money; that he was resolved to leave his child two hundred guineas, and would not put it into the power even of her husband to lessen the sum; and as for thieves, he knew how to fire a pistol as well as any man, and could undertake to defend himself and Margaret and the cash-chest against more thieves than were likely to attack him. Of course, this was taken to be avarice; but he was by no means so careful in his expenditure as he might have been: he allowed two-thirds of his fruit and vegetables to rot, rather than sell them or let off any of his land; and what was more, he paid a boy for bringing a newspaper every morning as far as the foot of the steps, where he went to fetch it as soon as the lad had turned his back. No miser would have done this. A small yearly income arose from some commercial concern which was charged with an annuity to him. If any of this remained after the expenses of repairs, clothing, &c., were defrayed, he gave it all away the next Sunday to the poor whom he met in his way to the place of worship, except a few shillings which he put into Margaret's hands to answer any sudden occasion.
One fine summer morning Armstrong went to his arbour at the bottom of the garden to read the newspaper, preferring the smell of the honeysuckles to the heat of the porch, where the sun was shining in. He had left Margaret busy within doors, as usual at that time of day; and was surprised, when he had done reading and went in for his fishing-tackle, to find her dressed in her best, with her mob-cap and beaver, such as the Welsh women wear, of the shape of a man's hat. She was putting a clean cloth into the basket which hung on her arm, and preparing to set out.
“Why, Peg, is this the first of the month?”
“What has come to you, John Armstrong, not to know that?” said Margaret, looking alarmed for her master's senses. “That with the almanack hanging there, and the newspaper in your hand, you should not know that it is the first of the month!”
“I've mistaken a day, and I am sorry for it, for I had set my mind on fishing to-day. It is too hot for work, and just the day for good luck beside the pool yonder. You will have a cooler day and be more fit for walking to-morrow, Peg. Suppose you let me go fishing to-day?”
Margaret stared more than ever.
“Did I ever hear such a thing before?” cried she: “I that have never missed the first of the month since I kept your house, John Armstrong! And what will the people in the town think? I shall have them up here to see whether we are murdered; for they will say nothing else would keep me at home on the first of this month. And me to have to tell them that it is all because you have a fancy to go a fishing! And I have never been used to be dressed this way for nothing; but it must be as you please, John Armstrong.”
Margaret stopped to take breath; for she had not made so long a speech since she was in the town six months before. On her master's muttering something about losing such a season for a good bite, she made the exertion, however, to continue.
“If you must fish to-day, you need not keep me at home. You can lock the door and put the key in yon corner of the porch; and then, if I come back first, I shall know where to find it. It was my grandmother taught me that way, when she went out and I did not want to be left behind; for I was not fond of being lonesome then. Says she, ‘Stay at home as your grandfather bids you, like a good girl: but if you must go out, be sure you leave the key in the thatch.’ And so I did often and often, till grandfather came home one day and found out my trick, and then——”
“Ay, Peg; somebody will find out our trick too; and if you come back and find the chest gone, what will you say then? Off with you! but you will have no fish when you come back, that's all.”
Margaret smiled and shook her head and departed.
When she was out of sight, the old man felt restless and uncomfortable. He was not accustomed to be crossed and put out of his way, and he always accomplished, every day, exactly what he planned before breakfast. He had never given up an intention of fishing before. He wandered about the cottage. The beds were made, wand everything was left in such order that he could see nothing to find fault with, which would have been a great relief. He sauntered about the garden, and cut off some faded flowers, and tied up a few more, and wished it was evening, that he might water such as looked drooping. He wiped his brows and said to himself again that it was too hot to work. He got his telescope, and looked seaward; but a haze hung on the horizon, and he could discern no vessels. After a yawn, and a sudden thought that he could not dine for two hours later than usual on account of Margaret's absence, he began to think of taking her advice and going to fish after all. He locked the door, put the key into the hiding-place in the porch, walked round the cottage to see that the windows were fast, tethered the gate doubly, and marched off with his fishing-tackle. He turned to look back two or three times; but no one was in sight the whole length of the little valley. There was no sound of horse or carriage on the road below; and the stream looked so clear and cool as it splashed among the pebbles, that he was tempted to hasten on towards the pool above, where there was shade and an abundance of fish. He thought no more of the heat now that he had let himself have his own way; and proceeded whistling at a pace which would have done credit to a man of half his years. Once more he turned—at the top of the hill which was now to hide his dwelling from him—and fixing his telescope, saw to his great satisfaction that all was quiet; for the poultry were picking their food in a way which they would not have done if a footstep had been within hearing.
The shadows were lying dark and cool upon the water; the trout were unusually ready to be caught, and Armstrong had time for a comfortable nap after he had caught the number he had fixed upon beforehand as good sport. When he awoke, he resolved to hasten home that he might arrive before Margaret and surprise her with a dish of trout, while she supposed he had been at home all the morning. From the top of the hill he looked again through his telescope, and saw a sight which made his limbs tremble under him. The fowls were scudding about the yard in terror of a dog which was pursuing them; which dog was called off by a man who was making the circuit of the house, looking in at the windows and trying at the door. Armstrong threw down all that he was carrying, put his hands to his mouth and hallooed with all his might. But the attempt was absurd. In the stillest midnight, no human voice could have been heard from such a distance. Armstrong was soon sensible of this, and cursing himself for all the follies he had been guilty of that day, he snatched up his goods and ran down the steep path as fast as his old legs would carry him. He caught a glimpse of the man and the dog leisurely descending the steps, but when he arrived there himself, all was as vacant as when he departed. As he stood hesitating whether to follow the enemy, or go home and see what mischief was done, Margaret appeared below. While she toiled up the steps, her master reproached her bitterly with her morning's advice, and said that if his money was gone he should lay the loss to her charge. In the midst of her terrors, Margaret could not help observing that it was rather hard to have one's advice laughed at, and then to be blamed for the consequences of following it. She thought her master should either not have laughed at her, or not have changed his mind; and then she should not have wasted her money in buying him fish that he did not want. Armstrong was duly ashamed when he saw how his housekeeper had tried to console him for being left at home by bringing a dainty for bis dinner. He helped her to open the gate, her trembling bands being unable to untwist the rope, and carried her heavy basket into the porch. The key was safe in its hiding-place, as was the precious chest; and all within doors was in perfect order, No fowls were missing; no flower-beds were trampled; but it was certain that the newspaper had been moved from one bench to the other of the arbour.
“How you flurry yourself for nothing!” said the housekeeper. “I dare say it was nobody but Mr. Hollins come to play the flute with you.”
“He always comes in the evening; and besides he has no dog.”
“He is a likely man to read the newspaper, however, and I do not know anybody else that would sit here and wait for you, as some one seems to have done. Suppose it was your son-in-law come to ask for the money again?”
“He would not have gone away without his errand,” answered the old man with a sour smile; “and besides, you would have met him.”
“That puts me in mind, John Armstrong, I certainly saw a gentleman in the wood just down below, and I remember he whistled to his dog that was rustling among the bushes. A smart, pleasant-looking gentleman he was too; and when I turned to remark him again, he seemed to be watching where I was going.”
“A gentleman! Well, he is the first that ever came here to see me. except Hollins. But now, Peg, what do you mean by a gentleman?”
“A gentleman? Why, you always know a gentleman, do not you? A gentleman looks like a man — like a person — like a gentleman.”
“No doubt,” said Armstrong laughing. “But tell me now, would you call me a gentleman?”
“Why, in as far as you are beholden to no one for your living——”
“No, no, I do not mean that. Look at me and say if I look like a gentleman.”
Margaret hesitated while she said that she did not think any gentleman commonly wore frocks of that sort; but that on Sundays, when she brushed his coat before he went to the town, she always thought he looked very genteel: but that this gentleman was dressed rather differently.
“Differently enough, I dare say,” said Armstrong. “I am sure I hope my best suit will last my time; for there is not a shop within twenty miles that would furnish me with such a waistcoat-piece as I should choose to wear; and I like to button my coat with buttons that one can take hold of, instead of such farthing-pieces as your Birmingham folks make now.”
“It is a pity,” said Margaret as she moved towards the cottage, “that the gentleman did not stay to take a bit of fish, for we have more than we can eat while it is good.”
For a month afterwards, Margaret's prevailing idea was a superfluity of fish. She had great pleasure in making an acceptable present; but she could not bear to throw away money.
So much breath had been spent this day, that the inhabitants of the cottage felt quite weary before night, and scarcely opened their lips for many days, during which there was no further alarm.
One morning early, however, the sound of wheels was heard in the road below—a rare sound; for though the road was good and had formerly been much frequented when there were iron-works a few miles farther on, it was now seldom used but by a solitary traveller. The astonishment of Armstrong and his housekeeper was great to observe that carts laden with materials for building, and attended by a number of workmen, were passing by, and presently stopped at a level place at the foot of a hill full in sight of Armstrong's dwelling. He now, for the first time, perceived that the ground was marked out by stakes driven in at certain distances. Armstrong brought his basin of milk out of doors that he might watch what was doing; and the whole day was one of idleness and lamentation; for it was very evident, from the way that the labourers set to business, that an iron-work was about to be established where the wild heath and the green woods had flourished till now.
The next day made all clear. As the old man was drawing water for his plants at sunset, two gentlemen approached the gate. As one of them was Mr. Hollins, Armstrong advanced to welcome them.
“I have not brought my flute,” said Mr. Hollins, “for I am come on quite a new errand, this evening—to introduce to you a future neighbour, Mr. Wallace, who wishes for the pleasure of your acquaintance.”
Mr. Wallace, the same whom Margaret had seen in the wood, explained that he was a partner in the new iron-work, and that as his business would lead him to be every day within a stone's cast of Armstrong's dwelling, though he was at present inhabiting a house a little way off, he wished to be on a neighbourly footing at once, and had therefore called the week before, and was sorry to find the house shut up.
“I did not believe him at first,” said Mr. Hollins, “when he told me that he read the newspaper for an hour in your arbour, in the hope of somebody appearing. I never knew you and Mrs. Blake both absent at once. How happened it?”
When the story was told, Mr. Wallace praised the garden and the situation of the dwelling to the heart's content of the owner, who was always made eloquent by any allusions to his singular mode of life.
“Sir,” said he, “this plot of ground has produced to me something more valuable than ever grew out of a garden soil. It has gives me health, sir. My own hands have dug and planted and gathered, and see the fruits of my labour! Here I am, at seventy-nine, as strong as at forty. Not a grain of any drug have I swallowed since I came here; not a night's rest have I lost; not a want have I felt: for I pride myself on having few wants which my own hands cannot satisfy. I find no fault with other men's ways while they leave me mine. Let them choke one another up in towns if they choose, and stake their money, and lose their peace in trade. I did so once, and therefore I do not wonder that others try the experiment; but I soon had enough of it. I am thankful that I found a resting-place so early as I did.”
“You are very right, sir,” replied Mr. Wallace, “to judge for yourself only; for while men have different tempers and are placed in different circumstances, they cannot all find happiness in the same way. Even supposing every man possessed of the means of purchasing such an abode as this, your way of life would not suit persons of social dispositions, or those who wish to rise in the world, or those who have families to educate and provide for. I am glad to see you enjoy life; and I am glad that you allow others to enjoy it in a different way.”
“As long as they let me alone, I said, sir. I own I cannot look with any pleasure on what you are doing below; and I never shall, sir. It is very hard that we tenants of the wilderness cannot be left in peace. The birds will be driven from yonder wood, the fishes will be poisoned in the streams, and where my eye has rested with pleasure on the purple heath, I shall see brick walls and a column of smoke. I call this very hard; and though I mean no offence to you, sir, personally, I must say I wish you had carried your schemes anywhere else.”
“I am sorry our undertaking is so offensive to you,” said Mr. Wallace: “but I trust, when you see some hundreds of human beings thriving where there are now only woodcocks and trout, you will be reconciled to the change.”
“Never, sir, never. Let your gangs of labourers go where there is no beauty to be spoiled and no peaceable inhabitants to be injured. There is space enough in the wide world where they will be welcome.”
Mr. Hollins touched the arm of the stranger as a hint to vex the old man no further by opposition. Mr. Wallace therefore changed the course of conversation, and soon won the regard of his host by admiring his flowers and shrubs, and remarking on the fine promise of fruit, all which he could do with perfect sincerity. When he went away, Armstrong invited him to come whenever he liked, if—and here he sighed—he should remain in the neighbourhood.
“What do you think of my old friend?” asked Mr, Hollins, as he descended the hill with his companion.
“It gives one pleasure to see so fine an old man, and there are few who enjoy life so much at his age: but it would not do to have many fall in love with his way of living.”
“O no,” replied Mr. Hollins: “it is very well for one here and there who can afford it to indulge his own fancy as to his mode of life: but I do not know what the world would come to if our young men did no more for society than Armstrong. He takes up more room to much lees purpose than could be afforded to people in general. I really grudge the quantity of food I see rotting in his garden every year; and I am sure if he was aware how many thousands are in want of it, he would give up his peace and quiet for the sake of sharing it among them.”
“It would also be a great misfortune to any but so old a man to be cut off from all the advantages of society. The young would be ignorant and the aged prejudiced in such a state.”
“He is prejudiced,” said Mr. Hollins, “as you perceive. But we must make allowance for him.”
“I can do more than make allowance,” replied his friend. “I sincerely admire the activity and cheerfulness which are so unlike the temper we often meet with at so advanced an age. But while we account for your friend's prejudices by the circumstances of his life, it is no less true that men are not living in the right way who live to themselves alone.”
MUCH MAY COME OF LITTLE.
Under the active management of Mr. wallace, the establishment of the iron-work proceeded rapidly. It was set on foot on rather a small scale at first, there being but one furnace erected. There was a house built for Mr. Wallace and a great many dwellings for the labourers, so that the place presently bore the appearance of a village. It was reported that Mr. Wallace would be married before long, and bring his lady to his new house; and it was observed that if any of the other partners should come to reside, the place would be a thriving and pleasant one to live in. Though old Armstrong groaned at the mention of every new inhabitant, everybody else thought it would be an advantage to have as many people settled there as could be provided with employment.
There were several partners in this concern, though their names did not all appear in the firm. Mr. Leslie, the richest of them, lived in London and was a Member of Parliament. He advanced a great deal of money to carry on the works, but took no trouble in the business, besides signing his name to papers sometimes, and receiving his large profits when the accounts were made up. Mr. Cole was also rich. He held about one-third of the whole concern, and was far more interested in the proceedings than Mr. Leslie. He came now and then to see what was doing, found fault with everything, contradicted Mr. Wallace's orders, and when he had done all he could to put everybody out, went away, promising to repeat his visit by and by, and if he was better satisfied, to send his son to learn business and qualify himself to take a share in time. Mr. Bernard, the third partner, had sons whom he wished to be instructed in the management of an iron-work, and he resolved to settle himself and his whole family an the spot, and to be an acting partner. Mr. Wallace was very glad of this; for he was young and had not had much experience of business, and felt the responsibility of his present situation very great. He had a high opinion of Mr. Bernard in every way, and hoped that if his own zeal and industry were supported by the talent and experience of his partner, the concern would prosper. He was sorry that some time must elapse before the Bernard family could time came but this afforded the better opportunity for getting everything into order before their arrival.
Mr. Wallace was possessed of less property than any of his partners; but he held a good share of the concern in consideration of his devoting his whole time and exertions to business. His great-grandfather had begun the world without a shilling. He was a labourer, and by his skill and industry he managed to earn rather more than was sufficient to feed and clothe his family of four children. He thought within himself whether he should lay He the surplus to set his young people forward in the same way to life with himself, or whether he should give it them in the shape of such an education as he could procure for them. He was too sensible a man to think of spending money in indulgences for himself or them, for no better reason than that he had it by him. He chose the wisest way: he put out at interest a sum sufficient to secure him against want in case of sickness or old age, and employed the rest in giving his children a good plain education, which fitted them for a somewhat higher occupation than his own. His eldest son was first apprentice and then shopman to a linen-draper, and was at last made a partner, and left a little capital to his son, our Mr. Wallace's father, who stocked a shop and rose in the world so as to be able to leave his son a few thousand pounds, which he embarked, as we have seen, in an iron-work which promised large profits.
Mr. Wallace never forgot how his little fortune had come to him. He was accustomed to say to his friend Mr. Bernard, that it arose out of labour and grew by means of saving; and that if it was henceforth to increase, it must be in the same way: so he was not sparing of his labour, and was careful to spend less than his income that his capital might grow.
When he came to establish the iron-work, he did not bring all his own capital or that of his partners in the form of money. Their capital was divided into three parts—the implements of labour, the materials on which labour was to be employed, and the subsistence of the labourers; or—which is the same thing—the money which would enable the labourers to purchase their subsistence. In the first division were comprehended the blast-furnace, the refineries, the forge, and mill, with all their machinery, and the tools of the labourers. All these may be termed instruments of labour. In the second division were reckoned the iron ore, the coal and limestone, which were purchased with the estate. In the third division were included the wages of the work-people. This division of the capital would have remained unaltered whether the people had been paid for their labour in bread and clothes and habitations, or in wages which enabled them to purchase these necessaries. It was merely as a matter of convenience to both parties, that the wages were paid in money; and indeed, in some cases, the men preferred having a cottage and less wages, to more wages and no dwelling. However this matter was settled, Mr. Wallace always considered that his capital consisted of the three parts,—implements of labour, the materials on which labour is employed, and the subsistence of labourers. Capital may exist in one only of these forms, or in two, or, as we have seen, in three; but it cannot exist in any form which does not belong to one of these three divisions.
It gave Mr. Wallace great pleasure to go round the works and see how the employment of this capital afforded subsistence to nearly three hundred people, and to remember that the productions of their labour would promote the comfort and convenience of many hundreds or thousands more in the distant places to which the iron of this district was carried. He made this remark one day to his friend Mr. Hollins, when he was taking him round the works and pointing out what progress had been made since his last visit. “It is indeed rather better employed than if it were locked up in a chest,” said Mr. Hollins.
“I wish we could persuade our old friend on the hill to invest his two hundred guineas in your concern. His daughter would be very glad of the proceeds; you would be glad of the increase of capital; more iron would be prepared for the use of society, more and more labourers provided for here.”
“Two hundred guineas would certainly go some little way towards procuring all these advantages, and the least of them would be preferable to letting the guineas lie by as useless as so many pebbles. Not one of all the owners of capital round us would be guilty of such a waste of the resources by which society must live.”
“And, pray, how many capitalists do you reckon beside yourself?” said a voice near.
The gentleman turned and saw a strange-looking figure standing just behind them, whom Mr. Wallace remembered to have seen repeatedly, within a few days. He was a strong, hearty-looking man of about thirty, with a cheerful countenance, but a most destitute appearance. His clothes hung in tatters about him; he had neither hat, shoes, nor stockings. He had lingered about the place for some time; now seating himself on the hills near and watching the labourers for hours, and then coming down to talk with them till sent away by the overlooker.
“Pray who may you be, friend?” asked Mr. Wallace.
“If it suits you to call me Paul, that name will do as well as another,” said the man. “And if you want to know my profession, I will tell you that I am just about making my choice; and if you further inquire what is my business here, I answer that I am come to suit myself.”
“Indeed! you seem to make very sure of suiting me,” said Mr. Wallace. “But I would have you know we allow no idlers on our premises.”
“Show me the hardest labourer in your works, and I will engage to do more than he.”
“In which department.”?
“Why, it would be bad policy to own oneself ignorant of all; so I came down this morning to find out which sort of labour is best paid; and to that I will swear myself equal. But I think I must begin humbly; so, suppose I take a pick and work at the tunnel? I wilt tell you to-morrow how my new way of life suits me. So good morning.”
“Stop, Sir. Let us hear a little of your old way of life, if you please. I should like to know where you picked up so much assurance. I thought you were a beggar and not a labourer. There is no difficulty in getting employment in this neighbourhood, and the lowest wages that ever were given would find you better clothing than that you have on”
“Very true,” said Paul. “You are right in every particular. I have been idle, as far as the labour of the hands is concerned, for nearly six months; but I have all the time been busy observing and reflecting, in which occupation my neighbours have been kind enough to indulge me, by giving me food as often as I said I was hungry.
“And pray what were you six months ago?”
“That I will leave untold, that you may have the amusement of guessing how it is that I speak so little like either a beggar or a labourer. All that you are concerned with is, what I am now. I am a man with a strong pair of arms to work, and a strong mind to persevere.”
“I am afraid that you are too proud a gentleman to work under the eye of the overlooker, which you must do if you work for me at all.”
“What matters it to me where the overlooker stands, as long as he does not hinder my work? None but knaves fear being watched, and I am an honest man.”
“If your account of yourself be true, it is a pity you should be a beggar. I will call the overlooker and bid him set you to work.”
“First answer me, unless you have any objection, the question with which I introduced myself to you. Remember how many of your inquiries I have answered, and be pleased to observe that the tunnel-workmen are going to dinner, so that I have nearly an hour before me, which might hang heavy as I have no dinner to eat.”
The gentlemen were so amused at the oddity of this man, that they did not walk away, as many would have done after such a speech. Paul's manner, though free, was not disrespectful, and his language testified that he must have held a superior situation to that in which he now appeared.
“Am I to refer your hint about a dinner,” said Mr. Wallace, laughing, “to your old trade, or your new one? Are you begging your dinner, or do you wish for it as wages in advance?”
“Neither the one nor the other, sir. I used to wait for my dinner till seven for fashion's sake; and now I can wait till six for honesty's sake. By that time I hope to have earned my meat; and from the moment you promised me work, I gave up begging. I shall beg no more.”
Mr. Wallace thought, however, it would not be fair play to let Paul begin his labours hungry. He called to Briggs, one of the cokers, and asked if he had more dinner in his basket than he wanted. He had.
“Well, then, give this man some, and he will pay you to-night, and if he does not, I will.”
“And now,” said Paul, after apologizing for eating in the gentleman's presence, “will you tell me who are capitalists here besides yourself?”
“Every man about the works might be so, except perhaps yourself, Paul; and you may be a capitalist six hours hence.”
“That depends upon what we mean by the word,” said Paul, smiling. “Do you mean by capital, something produced with a view to further production, or any production which may be exchanged for some other production? There is a vast difference between the two.”
“A great difference indeed,” observed Mr. Hollins. “Parry, the overlooker, is a capitalist, for he has saved money enough to build yonder cottage, which he lets at a rent of five pounds a year; but is Briggs, the coker, a capitalist? He has property, I know; a bed, a table, and a few chairs, and other articles of furniture; but as these are not instrumental to further production, can they be called capital?”
“In a certain sense they might,” said Mr. Wallace; “for they might be turned into money, which could be employed productively. Furniture is one way of investing capital, though not a profitable one; but when I spoke of all our people being capitalists, I meant that all earned more than is absolutely necessary for them to spend; which is, I believe, the case, in the present prosperous state of our trade. Every man does, I believe, possess more than food for the hour, always excepting Paul: and that possession, whether it be a shilling or fifty pounds, is capital at the time it is received, whether it be afterwards invested in furniture, which might be sold again, or lent out at interest, or made productive in any other way.”
“But if that only is capital which is produced with a view to further production,” said Mr. Hollins, “I hope there are a good many among your three hundred labourers who are capitalists in this sense.”
“Several,” said Mr. Wallace; “and such I reckon benefactors to society; but there are also many who, having a roof over their heads and something to cover them, are satisfied, and spend all their earnings as fast as they get them in a way which brings no return. Such men become, sooner or later, a burden to the community.”
A deep sigh from Paul made the gentlemen look at him, and they were struck with the melancholy expression of his countenance. When he saw that he was observed, he roused himself and put in his word again.
“I have heard people say you may see plants grow in a thunder-shower, and that the sun sees a baby grow in a summer's day; but neither is so easy to be seen as the growth of capital. I should like to be by at the opening of a new iron-work,—not with all the helps that we have about us here,—but where people had only their wits and their hands to depend upon. That would be the place to watch capital from its birth, through all the stages of its nursing till it was full grown like yours.”
“Let us hear your notion of the process, Paul.”
“I suppose it might occur to a shrewd man, finding a lump of the mineral melted in a very hot fire and hardened again, that it would make better tools than wood. He would heat his lump, and beat it with stones while it was hot, and bend it and notch it and sharpen it in a rude way, till he would be so much better off for tools than his neighbours, that they would try to get some like his. If they could not find any more ironstone, he would use his tools to dig or pick it out of the earth for them.”
“Then, Paul, his tools would be his capital.”
“Certainly: his tools would be capital arising from labour, and tending to further production. His neighbours would pay him well in such produce as they could spare for furnishing them with iron, and then they would all set about making tools. They would soon find that they could get on faster and better by dividing their labour; and so one would keep up the fire, and another would see that the ore flowed into the hole as it should do; and another would beat it while soft, and another would notch it into a saw, and another sharpen it into an axe.”
“Very well, then. As there must be labour before capital, there must be capital before division of labour.”
“To be sure. There would be nothing for them to divide their labour upon if they had not the ironstone, which is their capital as, much as the man's first tool is his.—The more tools they make, the more ore they can procure.”
“So the division of labour assists the increase of capital.”
“There is the beauty of it,” replied Paul. “They play into one another's hands. Labour makes capital; capital urges to a division of labour; and a division of labour makes capital grow. When the people we are talking of are all supplied with tools, (which have gone on improving all this time in the quality of the metal as well as the make of the implements,) they begin to traffic with the next district, bartering their manufacture for whatever productions they may agree to take in exchange. As their manufacture improves, they get more wealth; and then again, as they get more wealth, their manufacture improves; they find new devices for shortening their labour; they make machines which do their work better than their own hands could do it, till an iron-work becomes what we see it here,—a busy scene where man directs the engines whose labour he once performed; where earth and air and fire and water are used for his purposes as his will directs; and a hundred dwellings are filled with plenty where, for want of capital, men once wrapped themselves in skins to sleep on the bare ground, and cut up their food with flints. —-So, now that I have given you the natural history of capital as I read it, I will wish you good morning and go to my work.”
“Paul, you astonish me,” said Mr. Wallace. “How is it that one who understands so well the history of wealth should be so destitute?”
“Do not you know,” said Paul, turning once more as he was departing,—“do not you know that the bare-headed pauper understands well what is meant by a kingly crown? Do you not suppose that the hungry children who stand round a fruiterer's door see that a pine-apple is not a turnip? Then why should not I, clothed in rags, be able to speak of wealth? I told you my head had not been as idle as my hands. On yonder crag I have sat for weeks, watching the busy crowd below, as the stray sheep marks from a distance how the flock browses by day and is penned in the fold at night. The stray sheep may come back” experienced in pasturage, and not the worse for its fleece being torn by briar not; and I, for all my tatters, may, by tracing the fortunes of others as on a map, have discovered the best road to my own.”
As he said these last words, he held forth his hands, as if to intimate that they were to be the instruments of his fortune, and then, with a slight bow to the gentlemen, hastened to the tunnel where he was appointed to work, leaving his companions to express to one another their curiosity and surprise.
THE HARM OF A WHIM.
The report that Mr. Wallace was going to be married was true. He disappeared in course of time; and when his agent said he was gone to London on business and would soon be back, everybody guessed that he would not return alone. It was observed that the house appeared to be very elegantly furnished, and the garden laid out as if for a lady's pleasure; and the curricle and pair of ponies, which took their place in the coach-house and stables, were luxuries which Mr. Wallace would not have procured for himself.
A murmur of surprise and pleasure ran through the place one Sunday morning when this curricle was seen standing at Mr. Wallace's door. Nobody knew that he was home except the agent, who was now remembered to have been particularly strict the previous night about having the whole establishment in good order. Before many gazers could gather round the carriage, Mr. Wallace appeared with a lady on his arm. She looked young and elegant, to judge by her figure, but she was closely veiled, and never once looked up to make any acknowledgment of the bows of the men who stood hat in hand, or of the curtseys of the women. Mr. Wallace spoke to two or three who stood nearest, and nodded and smiled at the others, and then drove off, fearing that they should be late for church.
When a turn in the road had hid from them all traces of human habitation, the lady threw back her veil and began to look about her, and to admire the charms of hill, dale, and wood, which her husband pointed out to her. She had much taste for natural beauties of this kind; and to this her husband trusted for the removal of a set of prejudices which gave him great concern. She was very amiable when among persons of her own rank of life; but, from having associated solely with such, she felt awkward and uncomfortable when obliged to have communication with any others. The poor in her neighbourhood, who saw her beautifully dressed and surrounded with luxuries, while she never bestowed a word or a look on them, supposed her to be very proud, and did not love her the more for all the money she gave away in charity; but she was not proud,—only shy. This her husband knew; and as he liked to keep up a good understanding; with everybody about him, and was familiar with the ways of his neighbours, whether high or low, he trusted to bring her round to habits of intercourse with all in turn, and to relieve her from an awkwardness which must be more distressing to herself than to anybody else. While she was standing up in the carriage, pointing out with eagerness the beauty of the situation of the town, her husband checked the horses, and held out his hand to somebody whom they had overtaken on the road. Mrs. Wallace instantly sat down, and drew her veil round her face, and put but little grace into her manner when her husband introduced his friend and neighbour, Mr. Armstrong, to whom he had promised on her behalf that she should pay a visit to his cottage some day. Mr. Armstrong replaced his hat when aware of the coldness of the lady's behaviour, and after one or two civil inquiries about her journey, begged he might not detain her, and returned to the pathway. She was considerably surprised to learn that she should see him again presently at church, as he sat in the same pew. There was a corner in this pew which had been his own for some years; and it was not the intention of Mr. Wallace, or the desire of his lady when she heard the circumstances, that he should be put out of his accustomed place for the sake of a new comer.
The new comer scarcely knew, however, what to think or do when Armstrong took his seat beside her after the service had begun. The clatter of his hob-nailed shoes as he entered, the ease with which he flung down his hat, and then stood a minute to smooth his hair and look round upon the congregation before he composed himself in his snug corner, were all strange to her: but she was most startled by the strength with which he put forth his tremulous voice in the psalm. He was heard far above all the other singers which would have been very well if he had been thirty years younger, for he understood music and bad a good ear; but considering that his voice was cracked and quavering with age, it was desirable that lie should now moderate its power. When the psalm was over, Mrs. Wallace drew a long breath, and hoped that she should grow accustomed to this sort of music in time.
“I wish somebody would give Mr. Armstrong a hint not to sing so loud,” said she, when again in the curricle, after having undergone some bridal introductions.
“It does not disturb those who are used to it, as I am afraid it did you to-day. I should have prepared you for it, but I forgot to mention it. When you hear him play the flute you will pardon his singing.”
“What a wonderful thing for a man of eighty to have breath to play the flute!”
“Every thing belonging to him is extraordinary, as you will see when we pay him a visit, which we will do to-morrow.”
“Why not this evening? The sooner it is over the better, if we must go.”
“He will not be at home till dark this evening; and besides, I want you to visit him and his housekeeper in the midst of their week-day business. You can form no idea of his usual appearance from seeing him in his Sunday trim.”
“I cannot tell what to expect, then, for I am sure he is like nobody else to-day. But what a pleasant countenance he has, when one has presence of mind to observe it!”
“I hoped you would think so.”
“But where will he be this afternoon?”
“Worshipping God after his own fashion, as he says. In the morning he pays his devotions after the manner of society,—the last social custom he has retained. In the afternoon, when the weather is fine, he climbs yonder peak, with a microscope in his pocket and his telescope in his hand, and there he by turns examines the heaths and mosses under foot, and looks out for fleets on the far horizon, repeating at intervals with the full power of his voice, the hundred and fourth-—his favourite psalm.”
“That is beautiful!” cried Mrs. Wallace. “O let us go to-morrow. Let us go very often if he will let us.”
On the next evening, accordingly, they went. Armstrong was employed in his garden, looking less like the owner of so beautiful a spot of ground than the humblest of labourers. His hat was brown and unshapely, and his frock earth-stained. He stretched out his hard hand to the lady when she appeared, and bade her welcome. The housekeeper did not show herself, as her maxim was, that it was time enough to come when she was called.
As Mrs. Wallace was not tired, and as she perceived that the old man was happier in his garden than any where else, she proposed that he should show her on what plan he arranged and tilled it. It proved very unlike any garden she had ever seen, having all the beauty of wildness, but poorly cultivated and laid out in a wasteful manner. It consisted of three distinct portions,— one, half-orchard, half-shrubbery, where lilacs grew luxuriantly out of the turf, and fruit-trees bordered the green walks; another half potato-field, half kitchen-plot; and a third which might have been a lady's pleasure-garden. This part was better taken care of than the rest, and was the old man's pride. It sloped towards the south, and was hedged in so securely that none could overlook it, and it was no easy matter to find its entrance. A well in the midst of a plot of turf, was as picturesque an object as could have been placed in the nook near the entrance. Strawberry beds occupied the sloping bank, and borders crowded with rich flowers completed the beauty of the whole.
“These gravel walks suit a lady's feet better than the grass in the orchard,” said Armstrong. I must find time to mow those paths some day soon.”
“I should think you must be at a loss sometimes,” observed Mrs. Wallace, “to know what task to set about first, as you will let nobody help you.”
“I assure you, madam, I often think of Eve's dilemma of the same kind. But if men had no worse perplexities than how to choose between a variety of pleasant tasks, ours would be a very happy world.”
“But Eve would have been glad of help if she could have had it as easily as you. She would have set one to train the branches, and another to remove the fallen blossoms, and another to water the young shoots, while she tied up the roses as before.”
“Not if she had known, as I know, the mischief that arises as soon as people begin to join their labours. There is no preserving peace and honesty but by keeping men's interests separate. When I look down, sir, upon your establishment there, I say to myself that I had rather live where I am if I had only a tenth part of this ground and one room in my cottage, than own youder white house and be master of three hundred labourers.”
Mr. Wallace smiled, and would have changed the conversation, knowing the uselessness of reasoning about the advantages of society with one whose passion was for solitude; but his wife's curiosity and the old man's love of the subject soon caused them to return to the topic.
“I should like to know,” said Mrs. Wallace, “what is it that shocks you so much in our doings below.”
She could not have made a more welcome inquiry. Armstrong was eloquent upon the inelegance of smoke, and rows of houses, and ridges of cinders, and all the appearances which attend an iron-work, and appealed to his guest as a lady of taste, whether such a laying waste of the works of nature was not melancholy. Mrs. Wallace could not agree that it was. It was true that a grove was a finer object at this distance than a. cinder-ridge, and that a mountain-stream was more picturesque than a column of smoke; but there was beauty of a different kind which belonged to such establishments, and to which she was sure Mr. Armstrong would not be blind if he would only come down and survey the works. There was in the first place the beauty of the machinery. She thought it could not but gratify the taste to see how men bring the powers of nature under their own control by their own contrivances; how the wind and the fire are made to act in the furnace so that the metal runs out in a pure stream below; how, by the application of steam, such a substance as iron is passed between rollers, and compressed and shaped by them as easily as if it were potter's clay, and then cut into lengths like twigs.
Armstrong shook his head, and said this was all too artificial for him; and that granting (as he did not deny) that nature worked as much as man in these processes, she worked in another way which was not so beneficial,— in men's hearts, making them avaricious, deceitful, and envious,”
“I was going to say,” replied Mrs. Wallace, “that there is another sort of beauty in such establishments, which I prefer to that I was speaking of. I know nothing more beautiful than to see a number of people fully employed, and earning comforts for themselves and each other. If people obtain their money as they want it, they are less likely to be avaricious than if it came to them without exertion on their part; because the energy which they give to the pursuit in the one case is likely to fix itself upon its rewards in the other. I do not know of any particular temptation to deceit or envy where all have their appointed labour and a sufficient reward without interfering with one another.”
“I have seen enough of the tricks of trade,” said the old man.
“You have been unfortunate, as I have understood,” said Mr. Wallace; “but it does not follow that there is knavery wherever there is social industry, any more than that every one has such a pretty place as this to retire to in case of disgust with the world. But as I was going to add to my wife's description, there appears to me not less beauty in the mechanism of society than in the inventions of art.”
“That is you being a master, like to survey the ranks of slaves under you.”
“Not so,” said Mr. Wallace mildly, for he was not inclined to resent the petulence of the old man. “There is no slavery, no enforced labour, no oppression, that I am aware of, in our establishment. Masters and men agree upon measures of mutual service, and the exertions of each party are alike necessary to the success of their undertaking.”
“It may be so just now, because your trade is flourishing more than it ever was before, and labour is scarce, and your people are well paid; but they will not be long contented. When prices fall and wages must come down, they will discover that they are slaves.”
“Never,” replied Mr. Wallace, “for this reason: there is no bond of mutual interest between master and slave, as there is between the capitalist and the free labourer. It matters nothing to the slave whether his master employs his capital actively or profitably or not; while this is the all-important consideration between the free labourer and his employer. It is the interest of our men and ourselves that the productiveness of our trade should be increased to the utmost; that we should turn out as much work as possible, and that therefore we should improve our machinery, divide our labour to the best advantage, and bring all our processes to the greatest possible perfection. All our labourers there fore, who understand their own interest, try to improve their industry and skill: while, if they were slaves and their lot did not depend on their own exertions, they would probably be careless and indolent. In such a case, 1 should have no more pleasure than you in surveying our establishment, if indeed such an one could exist.”
“You are the first iron-master, the first master of any kind, whom I ever heard declare that both parties in such a concern had a common interest.”
“I am surprised at that,” replied Mr. Wallace, “for no truth appears to me more evident. How many classes have you been accustomed to consider concerned in production?”
Armstrong laughed, while he pointed significantly to himself, and then looked about him.
“You unite in yourself the functions of Capitalist and Labourer,” replied Mr. Wallace; “but yours is, I am happy to say, an uncommon case.”
“You are happy to say?”
“Yes; for if all men had followed your mode of life to this day, there would have been no iron-work nor any other sort of manufacture in existence, and life would have been barbarous in comparison with what it is, and there would have been few in comparison born to enjoy it. You would yourself have been a sufferer. You would have had no spade and no scythe, no bucket for your well, no chain for your bucket, no newspaper in the morning, and no Farmer's Journal in the afternoon. Since you owe all these things and a thousand others to the co-operation of capitalists and labourers, my dear sir, it seems rather ungracious to despise such a union.”
“Well, sir, you shall have it your own way. How many classes of producers do you reckon?”
“Speaking of manufacturing produce, I reckon two,—the two I have mentioned; and I never listen to any question of their comparative value, since they are both necessary to production.”
“I should have thought Labour more valuable than Capital,” said Mrs. Wallace, “because it must have been in operation first. The first material must have been obtained, the first machine must have been made, by labour.”
“True. Capital owes its origin to labour; but labour is in its turn assisted and improved by capital to such a degree that its productiveness is incalculably increased. Our labourers could no more send ship-loads of bar-iron abroad without the help of the furnace and forge and machinery supplied by their masters, than their masters without the help of their labour.”
“Then the more valuable this capital is, the more abundant the material wrought, the more perfect the machinery, the better for the labourer. And yet all do not think so.”
“Because those who object to machinery do not perceive its true nature and office. Machinery, as it does the work of many men, or that which it would take one man a long time to do, may he be viewed as. hoarded labour. This, being set to work in addition to natural labour, yields a greatly-increased produce; and the gains of the capitalist being thus increased, he employs a yet larger portion of labour with a view to yet further gains; and so a perpetual progress is made.”
“Not without drawbacks, however,” said Armstrong. “Do not forget the consequent failure of demand.”
“That is only a temporary evil: for when the market is overstocked, prices fall; and when the price has fallen, more people can afford to buy than bought before, and so a new demand grows up. If printing and paper-making, for instance, were still unknown, we should have no newspapers; if the machinery were very imperfect, they would be so expensive as to be within reach of none but the wealthy; but, as the produce of both arts is abundant and therefore cheap, we find newspapers in every alehouse, and if it were not for a duty which has nothing to do with their production, we should see them lying in many a cottage window. Thus the public are equally obliged to the owners of printing presses and their workmen. These workmen are obliged to the masters whose capital sets them to work; and the masters are obliged to their men for the labour which sets their presses going. All are gainers by the co-operation of Labour and Capital.”
“I was very near doing a thing the other day,” said Armstrong, “which would have made you suppose that I was going to adopt some of your notions. I had observed a man lingering about the hills———”
“Is his name Paul?”
“I never asked; but he was a beggar, covered with rags who used to sit for hours watching what went on below. I was so persuaded that he was of my opinion about your doings, that I became quite interested in him.”
“You liked him for being neither a labourer nor a capitalist?”
“Not quite so,” said Armstrong laughing; “for I would not have the poor become beggars. I was just going to ask him to help me to get my garden into winter order, when I found he had secured a cell in your hive. I was quite disappointed.”
“That the drone had become a busy bee, or that he had left you to gather in your own stores?”
“My hands are sufficient for my own business, as they have ever been,” said Armstrong. “But I was sorry that the man forfeited his independence, which was the very thing I liked in him.”
“Will you continue to pity him when you see his tatters exchanged for decent clothing, his bare head housed in a snug dwelling, and his independent tastes gratified by the beauty of his flower-beds and the luxury of a book to amuse his winter evenings? Paul seems to me a very extraordinary man. I expect soon to see him circumstanced as I have described, for he works with might and main, and I imagine has rather a different notion of independence from yours.”
In order to give Mrs. Wallace a distinct idea of what his own passion for independence was, Mr. Armstrong invited her into his house, and shewed her all his plans for waiting upon, and employing, and amusing himself. He was not satisfied with her admiring his fishing-tackle, his fowling-piece, his flute, and his books; he wanted her to acknowledge that there was more security and peace in his mode of life than any other;-—a somewhat unreasonable thing to expect from a bride whose husband was so differently engaged. She could not in this respect satisfy him; but she endeavoured to conquer the shyness she felt coming on when Margaret made her appearance, and to converse with her in her own style; and when the lady and gentleman at length departed, they expressed with equal warmth their hopes that the old man would long continue to find his mode of life secure and peaceful. They little imagined, at the moment, what was soon to happen,—they little knew when they discussed his favourite notions over their breakfast-table the next morning, what had already happened, to overthrow his sense of security for ever.
After parting with his guests, Armstrong stood for some time at the top of the rocky steps, watching the two figures winding down the hill in the twilight. Then he recollected that he had been interrupted in watering some choice plants, and hastened to finish his task. When he had hung up his bucket, and put away his tools, and seen that his gate was fastened, he leaned upon it, watching the last fading of the sky, and listening to the brook as it rippled along. His meditations took their character in part from the preceding conversation; for while he repeated to himself how much pleasanter it was to observe and love nature than to gather wealth, he could not drive from his mind the question which had been often asked him, of what use his gold was to him: and when he thanked God for having given him enough for his simple wants, it occurred to him whether he ought not to dispose of the wealth he did not use for the benefit of others; especially as there was a way of doing so,—by putting it out to circulate and bear interest,—by which it might be useful without losing any of its value. While so many were in want, could it be right in him to hoard? While so many could advantageously employ capital, could it be right that any should lie by idle?— Such thoughts were not at all out of place in a religious meditation; for the best part of religion is to imitate the benevolence of God to man; and every study to do this is a religious contemplation.
Armstrong's mind was so full of this subject, that when the darkness sent him in doors, he could not settle, as usual, to the Farmer's Journal. He stirred his evening fire, and played the flute a little, and wound up his watch, and then, supposing he must be very tired with seeing company, he went early to bed. He did not sleep, directly, however; he heard Margaret for some time murmuring to herself, as she often did when darning stockings alone; then she tried the fastenings of the doors and windows, raked out the fire, and went into her own room, where he heard her slip the bolt, as usual. The boasted security of the master of this cottage did not prevent its inhabitants from using as many precautions against enemies as the richest merchant in London. Nor were these precautions needless.
About three hours after, when Armstrong was sound asleep, he began to dream very uncomfortably of strange noises which he took to proceed from the machinery of the iron-work, and of a cold blast which proceeded from the furnace when he expected a hot one. This dream appeared to last very long, though it had in reality passed through his brain in a few moments, at the end of which time he was completely roused by a creak and screech of the latticed window of his room, the cold air having blown upon him as it was opened. He started up and saw a man leaning in at the window as if on the point of entering Armstrong seized the pistol he always kept by him and fired. The man retreated, but apparently not wounded; for after some whisperings without, a dark form again appeared at the lattice, and others moved behind.
“I will shoot as many of you as dare to come to the window,” cried Armstrong with his loudest voice, “I am well armed, so shew yourselves at your peril.”
He fired again, but the figure had the instant before retreated. On listening for a moment, Armstrong thought the thieves were gone round to attack some other point of entrance. He hastily closed the window, and upreared the chimney hoard against it that he might at least hear if they returned to his chamber. He then thundered at Margaret's door; for which there was little occasion, as she was up and crying out to know what was the matter.
“Thieves; but not in the house; so make haste and get a light.”
This was presently done, and it then appeared that Margaret had as much courage as her master. She valiantly brandished the poker while he reloaded his pistols; and they both made so much noise in the intervals of listening, that unless the thieves were well informed that there were only two people in the house, they might have supposed there were half a dozen. It was impossible to find out whether they remained at hand or not. Windows and doors shook and rattled many times before daylight; but whether acted upon by human hands or by the autumn night-wind, was never known. “Hark!” was said by one or the other of the watchers perpetually, and they wandered from window to door and from door to window till dawn, and then very naturally started at their own shadows in the twilight.
Upon examination, which they ventured at sunrise, footsteps were visible all round the cottage; but there were no marks of blood, of which Armstrong was glad, among other reasons, because he detested the idea of a prosecution, and was willing that the thieves should escape punishment, provided he could get over the affair quietly.
“What do you mean to do next?” Margaret ventured to ask when he had done ruminating over his breakfast.
“I have made up my mind,” he replied, “and I do not mean to change it. We are neither of as to say a syllable of what has happened.”
Margaret nodded, for this was what she expected.
“Can you fire a pistol, Margaret?”
She had never tried, but she had no doubt she could.
“Very well; then you will do to stay with me, if you choose to comply with my conditions. If we tell what has happened, it will put it into other people's heads to attack us: and it will do no good to remove the chest, now that I have the reputation of having one. It must be for that they came. You and I will watch by turns this winter, one going to bed at dark to sleep till midnight, and then watching while the other sleeps till dawn. Now, Margaret, will you stay or go?”
Margaret asked a little time for consideration, which was of course given. By dinner-time she was ready with her assent to the plan. Not many women would have given it; but attachment to her master and her office prevailed over the few fears she had, and the condition of silence would not be difficult to observe if, as she expected, she should see nobody for some months, unless indeed it should be the thieves themselves.
Armstrong was again haunted with the idea that it would have been better to allow his gold to circulate so that it would be robbed of none of its value to himself, than to risk its being obtained by others in such a way as that he should lose the whole.
The iron trade continued for some time after this to be so flourishing, that Mr. Wallace found himself at length quite unequal to the pressure of business which rested wholly on him. He wrote so repeatedly and urgently to Mr. Bernard on this subject, that that gentleman hastened the settlement of his affairs, that he might remove himself and his family into Mr. Wallace's neighbourhood. He owned that after his young partner had found the management of an iron-work with one furnace as much as he could manage, it was unreasonable to leave all the business to him when there were four, and when the demand for iron was so brisk that the utmost diligence could not enable them to answer all the orders they received. Instead of three hundred, upwards of eleven hundred labourers were now employed about the works. More and more capital was daily employed in the concern: and it was abundantly supplied as capital always is, where such speedy and profitable returns are made as in the iron trade, at the time we speak of. Many a man who found himself getting on but slowly in a manufacture of another kind, endeavoured to obtain a share in the iron-work. Many a farmer threw up his farm, and went into South Wales to find a more profitable settlement. Many a capitalist withdrew his money from concerns in London, or elsewhere, where he had received moderate interest for it, and invested it where the highest legal interest was willingly given. Even ladies, who had small properties in the funds, transferred them to the hands of any ironmaster they might happen to be acquainted with, and were much delighted with their increase of income. Some experienced people who observed this vast flow of capital towards one point, predicted unpleasant results. The immediate consequences were agreeable enough, they allowed. Iron-works were established, wherever a promising situation could be found. Smokes arose from a hundred places where the hills where all before had been a mountain solitude. The cottages of well-paid labourers multiplied everyday; and prosperity seemed, at last, to have visited the working classes in an equal proportion with their masters. But the quantity of iron prepared was so great, that it seemed scarcely possible that the demand could long remain as brisk as at present. Any one who observed the trains of waggons on the rail-roads of the various works, or the traffic on the canals, or the shipments at Newport and Cardiff, would have wondered where a market could be found for such a quantity of metal; but as long as the masters found it impossible to keep any stock by them, or even to supply their orders, they were very sanguine about the continuance of their prosperity, and went on fearlessly enlarging their works in number and extent, regardless of the warnings offered them that a glut must be the consequence.
Mr. Wallace and his partners were more prudent than most of their neighbours. They were mindful enough of the probability of change to be careful how much they invested as fixed capital, which could not be easily withdrawn or transferred in case of a change of times.
Fixed Capital, that is, money laid out in land, buildings, machinery, and tools, is a necessary part of the property of every one who endeavours to increase his wealth. The farmer must have not only land to produce grain, but ploughs and harrows to prepare the soil, sickles to reap the corn, waggons to carry it away, barns to store it in, &c., if he means to make the utmost profit he can of his produce. He thus increases his wealth by fixing his capital, though his tools and buildings and horses do not directly afford him any profit like his circulating capital. That which is commonly called circulating capital is the wealth laid out with an immediate view to farther production; such as the farmer's seed-corn, and the wages of his labourers. But as nothing is said in the word circulating about this farther production, we had rather find a better word. Reproducible seems to us the right term. Thus, the manufacturer's raw silk and cotton, the farmer's seed-corn, or the sheep and oxen he intends to sell again, the iron-master's coal and iron-stone, and that which is paid by all in the shape, of wages, are reproducible capital, because it comes back to its owner when it has fulfilled its purpose and procured a profit. It is clear that the business which requires the least fixed capital in proportion to the reproducible capital must be the least in danger from a change of times. The wine-merchant, whose fixed capital consists only of cellars, casks, hampers, and a cart and horses, has less of his wealth locked up in a useless form in bad times than the silk or cotton manufacturer, who has his factories, his steam-engine, and all the machinery connected with it. Both may have a large stock, the one of wine, the other of raw or wrought silk or cotton; both may complain of having their reproducible capital made unproductive by a failure of demand; but he is the worst off who has the largest proportion of fixed capital locked up at the same time. On a smaller scale, the basket-maket risks less in bad times than the baker. The one has merely his shed, and his block, and knife for his fixed, and osiers for his reproducible, capital; while the other has his bakehouse, ovens, bins, yeast-pails, and many other articles as his fixed capital; and flour and fuel for his reproducible capital. If a demand for baskets and for bread should ever cease, the baker would have a much larger capital laid by useless than the basket-maker.
A very large fixed capital is necessary in an iron-work, and of a kind too which cannot be turned to any other account in bad times. Land may generally be made to produce something which is in demand; sheds and waggons and horses may be used for a variety of purposes; but blast-furnaces and forges serve no object but that for which they were erected. There is, therefore, a degree of risk in thus investing capital which ought to make reflecting men very watchful in their calculations, and very cautious in extending their works even in the best times. Mr. Wallace and his partners were thus cautious, while some of their neighbours, flushed with the present prosperous state of their trade, erected their works in magnificent style, and to such au extent that one would have thought they had a contract for supplying the world with iron for ever. The firm thought themselves justified in erecting new furnaces to the number we have mentioned; but a judicious economy was consulted in the mode of building; an economy which was smiled at by many who appeared as lavish of money and fond of splendour in respect of their furnaces, as of their dwelling-houses.
Mr. Wallace's impatience that his acting-partner should come and see and approve what was done, was at length gratified. A letter was received one day announcing that Mr. Bernard, his two sons, his three daughters, and their governess, would arrive to a late dinner on the next Wednesday. It was a winter day, and darkness had come on long before there were any tokens of the approach of the party. The housekeeper (who had come some time before) listened to the blustering wind, and then looked at the clock, now trembling for the safety of her young masters and mistresses, and then vexed that her good dinner should be spoiled by the delay. Mrs. Wallace sent more than once to know whether the travellers had arrived. A crowd of little children, who had gathered together, unmindful of the cold, to cheer the carriage as soon as it appeared, were called home to bed by their mothers. The overlooker pronounced that there would be no arrival that evening, and every body at last hoped there would not, as the roads among the hills were very wild and dreary, and morning was the best time to pass along them. The travellers were approaching, however, all this time. The last stage was a very irksome one to horses and driver, and not very pleasant to those inside. No care could keep out the cold wind which obliged the driver to tie on his hat, and which terrified the child of three years old who hid her face in her papa's bosom every time the gust roared among the hills. Another little girl pressed close to her governess, and the lads themselves wished that it had not been so dark; for it was impossible to keep the lamps lighted. Their father and Mrs. Sydney—the lady who educated their sisters—tried to amuse them by talking cheerfully; but whenever they stopped for a moment, some little voice was sure to ask “How far have we to go now?” “Shall we get home to-night?” “How late will it be when we get home?”
“How dark, how very dark it is!” cried Francis. “I cannot make out whether there is a hill on each side of us, or whether it is the black sky.”
“It is the sky,” said his brother John. “I see a fiery flush on this side, which I suppose comes from some iron-work near. How it brightens every moment!”
“Ah ha! we shall have light enough presently,”[said his father. “We are nearer home than I thought. That light comes from behind the hill, and when we reach the turn of the road, we shall see a good fire, though we shall not feet one this half hour.”
In a moment the carriage turned the corner, and the children started up, forgetting cold and hunger and fear, to gaze at the extraordinary scene before them. Strange sounds rose when the gust fell—a roaring] like that of a mighty wind, which their father told them was caused by the blast of the furnaces; and a hissing and rumbling which came from the machinery of the forge and mill. These buildings stood on a level beneath a sort of terrace, faced with stone, on which were placed the kilns where the ironstone is calcined ready to be put in at the top of the furnace. On this terrace also was the coke-hearth, where the coal was burning in a long ridge open to the sky. The flame blazed and flickered, and shot up in red and white spires, and disappeared and kindled again, as the wind rose and fell; and there were black figures of men, brandishing long rakes, sometimes half-hidden by red smoke, and sometimes distinctly marked against a mass of flame. At some distance were rows of twinkling lights almost too faint to be seen after looking at the furnaces. These were in the cottages of the work-people. Farther off was a solitary light, so far raised as to give the idea that it came from a house on a hill. The children eagerly asked if this light shone from their home. No; it must be Mr. Wallace's house; but their own really was near now. Accordingly, when they had passed another reach of the road in utter darkness, and had heard a gate swing, and knew by the crashing sound that the carriage was on a gravel road, they saw an open hall-door, and knew the figure of the housekeeper as she stood ready to welcome them.
The children grew sleepy as they grew warm, and forgot the irksomeness of their journey; and having made a good supper from what was to have been dinner, they crept to their beds and were presently asleep.
Mr. Wallace arrived before breakfast was over the next morning, to welcome his partner and accompany him down to the works. He brought a message from his wife that she hoped to call on Mrs. Sydney and the young ladies during the forenoon. Accordingly, soon after the gentlemen were gone, the little carriage drawn by a brace of sleek ponies, and containing this elegant young personage wrapped up in furs, appeared before the door. Mrs. Wallace's extreme shyness infected the young people, who were just of an age to be reserved with strangers; and Mrs. Sydney, who was always at her ease, found it very difficult to maintain the conversation. Mrs. Wallace had seen no one high or low, in the neighbourhood, except Mr. Armstrong. She did not appear interested in the manufacture going on before her eyes. She admired those parts of the country which remained green and wild, and this appeared the only subject on which she had had thing to say. Mrs. Sydney's chief interest was respecting the eleven hundred people, and the families to which they belonged, who were placed in such near neighbourhood; but she presently found that she must learn all that she wanted to know of them for herself, instead of being guided by the lady who had lived among them for so many months.
While Mrs. Wallace was blushing and rising from her seat preparatory to taking her leave, the gentlemen returned. They had come to propose that, as it was a clear, calm day, the party should, view the works and become acquainted at once with the place and people among whom they were to live. Mrs. Wallace drew back, evidently wishing to be excused; but her husband urged that it was a good opportunity for doing what she could not be expected to do while she had no lady-companion; and Mrs. Sydney seemed to think the proceeding so very desirable as well as pleasant, that it was soon agreed that the whole party should go together and on foot; the curricle being sent away with orders to return for its mistress in two hours.
Mr. Wallace explained how the ironstone, or mine as it is called, is calcined in the kilns upon the terrace which we have described. He shewed how this substance, cleansed in the kiln from clay and other impurities, is put into the furnace at the top with the coke and the limestone which are burned with it, the coke to keep the whole burning, and the limestone to unite with the mixtures of the ironstone, so that the ore may be separated pure. They saw the filler at his stand near the top of the furnace,—at the tunnel head, as it is called, pouring in at the doors the materials which were furnished from the terrace. They saw the furnace-keeper below, as intent upon his work as if his life depended on it, watching the appearance of the cinder as it was thrown off, and regulating the blast accordingly. He took no notice of any body being by, and never looked up or spoke or changed countenance.
“How intent that man is on his business!” said Mrs. Sydney to Mr. Bernard. “I suppose his office is a very important one.”
“Very important indeed. The quality of the iron produced by this furnace depends mainly on his care. It may be, and often is, ruined without his being able to help it or even knowing why; but it would certainly be spoiled without incessant care on his part.
“Is it from pure fear of spoiling his work that he is so engrossed with it, or are his wages regulated by produce of the furnace?”
“We find so much depend on the care of the men who break the limestone and prepare the coke, and burn the mine, and fill and keep the furnace, that they are all paid by the ton of iron produced, in order to secure their mutual help aud the proper regulation of the whole.”
“Well, I should be sorry if this man should suffer by the carelessness of any of the people overhead; for I never saw any thing more perfect than his own attention.”
“He is an extraordinary man,” said Mr. Wallace, who stood within hearing. “I cannot discover the motive to such indefatigable industry and frugality as his. He has worked his way up in a few months from being one of our lowest order of labourers to his present situation. He was a beggar when we first set him to work in excavating the tunnel; and he looks like a beggar still, though he accomplishes more work and lays by more money than any man among our people.”
“I wondered to see him so ill-dressed,” observed Mr. Bernard.
“I told him yesterday,” said Mr. Wallace, “that I expected to see him decently clothed, knowing, as I did, that he earned a great deal of money, and laid it all by in the Monmouth Savings Bank, except what is barely sufficient to procure him shelter and daily food.”
“Has he neither wife nor family to support?”
“He seems not to have a relation or acquaintance in the world. He speaks to nobody but the overlooker and myself.”
“And what sort of intercourse have you with him?”
“I converse with him as often as we can both spare time, and always with pleasure; for he is well, I might say highly, educated, and has the speech and manners of a gentleman.”
“How strange! And do not you know where he comes from, and what brought him?”
“I know nothing of him but that he is a genius and a miser—two characters which are rarely seen united. Paul keeps his own counsel so perfectly as to who he is and whence he comes, that nay curiosity is very strongly excited, and I would take some pains to get at the bottom of the mystery, if I did not feel that every man has a right to his own secret. He is an industrious and faithful servant to me, and that is all I have any business with.”
Mrs. Sydney ventured so far as to put a question to Paul; but he was just going to tap the furnace, i. e. to let out the fused iron,—a very important operation,—and was therefore too busy to answer her.
“I will bring you together after working-hours some day,” whispered Mr. Wallace to her. “If we should meet him taking his ramble on a Sunday, or when, as now and then happens, we put somebody in his place to relieve him for a day, he will be more disposed for conversation than now. He is sociable enough when he falls in with any one whom he thinks worthy of being talked to.”
“I am afraid we shall be quite looked down upon by such a high and mighty personage,” said Mrs. Sydney, laughing. But Mr. Wallace promised to draw him out.
The party then proceeded to the refinery where the pig-iron is refined, and to the forge and mill where it is formed into bars. They saw the refiners take it by turns to run out their moulds of metal; and the weigher who examines their work and keeps an account of it; and the puddler at the forge who improves the quality of the metal by another refining process; and the shingler who hammers the balls of metal into an oblong form for going through the roll; and the roller and his catcher who stand on each side of the rolling machine, and put the bar into a smaller roll every time it is handed from one to the other; and the straighteners who straighten the bars while they are hot, and mark them with the stamp of the wolks where they are made; and the bar-weighers who examine the finished work; and the clerks or superintendents who conduct the whole. The youths were as much struck as the ladies with the graudeur of the scale on which the manufacture was carried on, and with the ingenuity of the contrivances for aiding and saving labour.
“What a sum of money must have been laid out here!” cried Francis.
“And what a quantity of labour that money has brought into operation!” observed Mrs. Sydney.
“Yes, but there is nothing so very remarkable in seeing eleven hundred people at work, as in observing what comes of such aa outlay of capital.”
“It was not merely the labour of eleven hundred pairs of hands that I was speaking of,” replied Mrs. Sydney, “but of the hoarded labour which does what no unassisted human hands could do; the shears and the rollers, and all the complicated machinery which enables us to treat iron as it were wood or clay. I suppose, Mr. Wallace, you are free from complaints about the use of machinery; as your works are of a kind which cannot be done by hand?”
“At present we hear no complaints,” replied Mr. Wallace, “because trade is good and wages are high, and the great object with us all is to prepare as much metal as machines and men can get ready. But if times should change, I am afraid we should suffer as cotton and silk manufacturers do. We should be told of this process, and that, and another, which might be effected with less machinery and more labour. Rolling and clipping must be done by wood and iron, because no bone and muscle are equal to such work; but there is much labour in preparing limestone, stacking and loading the mine, and other processes in which we shall be assisted by machinery hereafter; and then I expect an outery against such an employment of capital, though it must produce good to all in the end.”
“To be sure,” said Mrs. Sydney. “These works would never have existed in their present flourishing state but for the improvements in the manufacture of iron; and if they are to be yet more flourishing a hundred years hence, it must be by further improvements.”
“Such improvements are much wanted, I assure you; for we have much to learn before the iron manufacture becomes nearly as perfect as many others in the kingdom. The silk and cotton manufactures are less difficult and hazardous, and are more improved than ours. So, Francis, you must have your wits about you, and be always thinking what alterations for the better must be made when the times change: for we cannot expect our present prosperity to last for ever.”
“I see great heaps of cinders that appear to be wasted.” said Francis. “Look at that one which is more like a mountain than a pile of furnace-refuse. Can no use be made of it?”
“That is a question which I have asked myself a hundred times,” replied Mr. Wallace: “and I bear the thing in mind to be considered when the demand for iron slackens, as I suppose it will some time or other. Now our attention is fully occupied in supplying our customers by the usual methods, and there is no leisure for trying experiments, and little need of new methods of economy. They will come with a change of times.”
“What is to be done with these people of yours when those days come? “asked Mrs. Sydney. “When I look at the ranges of cottages and see how many children are playing before the doors, I wonder whether it will always be easy to maintain so increasing a population.”
Mr. Wallace told her that it was his constant endeavour to impress upon his people that it is the duty of well-paid labourers to become capitalists if they can, as a security against a reverse of fortune. The difficulty he always found was to persuade them that the earnings which are only enough to maintain them for a few days, may, by being properly disposed of, be made sufficient for the maintenance of years. He wished his labourers to furnish themselves and their families in the first place with food, clothing, and habitation, and then to put out at interest, or invest in some other profitable way, their surplus wages, that they might have something with which to begin a new employment, in case of their present work being taken from them. Some had attended to his advice and some had not. Some had money in the Monmouth Savings Bank, which was a good way. Some laid out their earnings in stocking a little shop at the iron-work, which was kept by their wives and children. This was also a very good plan. Some laid by their notes and silver in a stocking or glove in their own cupboard, which was a safe method enough, but not so good as one which would have made the money profitable. Others spent the whole as it came in, which was the worst plan of all.
Some who had several children growing up, had them taught different trades, that there might be a resource for the family in case of one trade failing. There could be no better way of employing money than this, for it was sure of a return in the profitable industry of the young people, — a return which would be afforded exactly when it was most needed. It also yielded an immediate return, not the less valuable because it could not be estimated in gold and silver, — the peace of mind which arose from the consideration that all the resources of the family could not be cut off at once, and that if some were thrown out of employment, there would be others in a condition to help them.
All that Mrs. Sydney heard made her wish to begin an acquaintance with the families of the work-people. She proposed that the party should return by way of their dwellings. Mr. Wallace gave his arm to his wife, who had been in conversation with Mr. Bernard, and they all set forward. Mrs. Wallace envied Mrs. Sydney the ease and kindness of manner with which she conversed with people of all classes. The difference between them was, that the one was ignorant of the habits and manners of all ranks except her own, and that the other had mixed with each in turn, and was therefore familiar with whatever concerned them. Both were generous and kind-hearted, though they showed their kindness in different ways. Mrs. Wallace would have given away all she had to a neighbour in want; but when her neighbours, as now, were not in want, she was at a loss to express her good-will, while Mrs. Sydney, by merely conversing with them, made herself liked by them without trying to do so, or ever thinking of anything beyond satisfying her own kind interest.
Mr. Wallace had thought that Paul worked too hard; and as he was anxious to make inquiries of Paul's host about his health, he conducted the party to the cottage of John Jones, with whom Paul lodged. Jones was out, but his wife was within, preparing dinner for herself and two of her younger children who were playing beside her. She thought, like Mr. Wallace that Paul had grown thin lately, and was not so strong as formerly; and she did not wonder, considering how little food and sleep he took. She never saw anybody so sparing of both, or so eager after money. She had no reason to complain, she said; for he paid for his lodging exactly and regularly every Saturday night; but it did make her sorry to see him work so hard and allow himself so few comforts.—He was up at four, summer and winter, doing his tailoring and cobbling work, and would sit from six till eleven in the evening, cutting corks when he had nothing more profitable to do.
Mr. Wallace looked astonished, for he had no notion that Paul had been a Jack-of-all-trades.
Mrs. Jones explained that he seemed able to learn any employment he chose when the inducement of money was set before him. With the first wages he had earned at the works, he purchased a tailor's and cobbler's implements, and patched and cobbled for half the neighbourhood at his leisure hours. He still complained” that be had not enough to do, and went to the next town to look for some employment which he might bring home. He brought a package of cork on his back, and a cork-cutter's knife in his pocket, and for many and many a gross had he received payment from the druggists and others of the next town, and even of Newport. The same bench and the same dirty clothes served him for his cobbling and his cork-cutting; and another advantage of the latter employment was, that a very little light would serve his purpose. He usually burned a farthing candle at hours when he could not have the advantage of the Joneses' lamp.
Mrs. Jones shewed her guests how neatly Paul had partitioned off half his little room to serve as a workshop: the inner half, where he slept and kept his few clothes, was as neat and orderly as possible; for Paul always said that there was good economy in cleanliness and order. The workshop also was kept as tidy as the nature of things allowed.
Mr. Wallace was surprised to see a very pretty picture placed against the wall of the inner room, and covered with a piece of muslin to keep it from the dust. It had no frame, but appeared a good painting. It seemed to be the likeness of a boy, handsome and well-dressed, with a hoop in his hand and a greyhound beside him. The back-ground was a park, with deer grazing, and a mansion seen among the trees.
Mrs. Jones said this picture had a very elegant frame when Paul first put it up in his room, but that he had, after looking at it very often and for a long time together, taken off the frame and carried it with him when he went to the fair to sell his cattle.
His cattle! What cattle?
He seemed to be a very good judge of cattle, and had managed to buy a cow and two or three sheep which he had sold to advantage at the last fair. It had been curious to observe his caution in his calculations. He sat on his bench with a piece of chalk beside him, reckoning and reckoning his sums in the intervals of his work, till it seemed as if all his thoughts were engaged on numbers. The same process had begun again now; so the Joneses concluded he was going to buy and sell more cattle.
Mrs. Sydney inquired whether he was a pleasant inmate and a kind neighbour. So far as he was sober and regular, Mrs. Jones replied, he was a valuable lodger; but be did not often speak or smile at the children; which would, she said, have been the best way of gaining her. He took no notice of the neighbours, whether they laughed at him for a miser, or whether he might have laughed in his turn at their petitions for a loan of money. Altogether, those who cared for Paul had as much sorrow as comfort on his account; for if it was a pleasant thing to see one who was once a beggar acquiring property every day, it was a sad thought that he could not enjoy his earnings reasonably, but pinched himself with want and care as much as if he had still been a beggar.
“However,” added Jones's wife, “I have no right to find fault with his way of disposing of his wages any more than my neighbours have with mine. If I complain of their laughing at me and my husband, Paul may complain of my finding fault with him. Only he does not mind these things as I do.”
In explanation of this, Mr. Wallace told his companions that the Joneses were ridiculed by some of their neighbours for not getting employment for all their children at the iron-work, which would make the family quite rich at present. Instead of doing this, at the risk of being all out of work at once by and by, the parents had chosen to apprentice one of their boys to a shoemaker at Newport, and another to a smith, while only one was employed on the works. The neighbours boasted that no expenses of apprenticeship were likely to fall on them, while at the same time they were earning more than Jones's filmily would ever be making at one time; and were continually urging that the young shoemaker should be brought home to bo made a catcher, and the little smith to be a straightener.
“Keep to your own plan, I advise you,” said Mr. Bernard. “If you do not repent it now, you never will; for there can scarcely be better days for our works, and there will probably be Worse.”
Mrs. Wallace had all this time been playing with the children, for she was not afraid of them. She had, let the little one hide its face in her muff, and had listened while the older one told her how mammy let her help to make the bed, and how she was learning to hem her own pinafore, and how she could thread a needle for Mr. Paul when he was mending a coat. Mrs. Wallace bad been laughing with the children, but looked so grave the instant their mother turned round, that Jones's wife thought she was offended with the little ones, and chid them for their freedom, so that they went and hid themselves. This was all a mistake; but it was no fault of Mrs. Jones's, for she could not possibly suppose the lady like to be treated with freedom while she looked so grave upon it and said nothing.
HOW TO USE PROSPERITY.
When the spring advanced, it was observed by many people that Armstrong had not been at church for several Sundays. He had been seen alive and well, during the week-days, by many people; so there were no apprehensions about him; but Mr. Wallace was so curious to know the reason of his absence, that he inquired very particularly of Mr. Hollins, whom he often met.
“He has become a great theologian,” replied Mr. Hollins. “He tells me that he now studies his Bible and religious books for six hours out of the twenty-four. I cannot think how he manages it, for his garden looks as well as usual, and we play the flute as formerly, only he sends me away somewhat earlier in the evenings. I tell him I shall appear at his window some night when the clock strikes twelve, to see if he is at his books then.”
“Take care how you do that, Mr. Hollins. He will shoot you for a thief. But has his study of the Bible made him leave off going to church? Such a pursuit generally leads the other way.”
“He says he was always fond of worshipping in the open air, as Adam and Eve did; and he finds so much in the Bible about the multitudes being collected in the wilderness to hear the word, that having an opportunity just now of doing the same, he is disposed to try this new, or, as he says, very ancient method. Now, there is a company of Ranters near who preach among the hills about two miles off; and he attends their ministry every Sunday morning.”
“One would think,” replied Mr. Wallace, “that he had read nothing of synagogues in the Bible, or of the Christians assembling under a roof for worship. However, it matters little where a pious heart pays its devotions; and Armstrong's worship, pure and sincere, I doubt not, will be acceptable whether it rises from the hill-side or the house of prayer. Do you know how he likes his new practice? “
“He complains terribly of the psalm-tunes being new-fangled and difficult to sing; but he enjoys having so much space to sing in, and likes all the rest of the service very well, except now and then, when he would fain dispute a knotty point with the preachers.”
“And how do the preachers like him?”
“They are no respectors of persons, you know: but they are naturally pleased at having made such a convert, and never forget the observance due to his age. I perceive he is always seated in a sheltered place on a windy day, and that pains are taken to furnish him with the hymns, and to make the service perfectly audible to him. All this is natural, and right enough, mid he has no objection to it.”
“You speak as if you went sometimes.”
“I do; and it would be worth while your going once or twice to witness the Sunday customs of your people; for a great number attend these Ranters.”
It was curious enough that Mr. Wallace's curricle came in sight of the mountain-path which led off from the road to the Ranters' place of meeting, just when Armstrong and Mr. Hollins were turning into it. They stopped at the sound of the carriage.
“I wish,” said Mr. Hollins,” that you would allow me to drive Mrs. Wallace, while you go with our good friend to the church he likes best.”
“Make haste either way,” said Armstrong, “for we are full late, I am afraid.”
In a moment the gentlemen had changed places, and Mr. Wallace was striding along the rough path, trying to keep up with his vigorous old friend.
They were all full late. The silence, preparatory to opening the service, was so profound, that Mr. Wallace was taken by surprise, when a sudden turn brought them into the presence of a thousand people, seated in ranks upon the grass, in a recess between two hills. A few idle boys were playing hide-and-seek among the furze bushes on the ridge of the hill, and some spectators walked slowly round the outskirts of the congregation; but all besides was as still as in a church at the time of prayer. It seemed as if the service had been delayed for Armstrong; for as soon as he and his companion had taken the seat which had evidently been reserved, a movement took place in the waggon which served for a pulpit, and a man stood up to address the assembled hearers.
This man explained that owing to the illness of the preacher who usually conducted the service that duty devolved upon himself, who had hitherto taken only a very humble part in the offices of the day. He trusted that the word of grace would be acceptable, from whatever lips it came; and had, therefore, taken upon him the preacher's office, rather than dismiss them without their accustomed worship.
“This person,” whispered Armstrong, “is more fit to preach than many a trained clergyman, if I may judge by what I have heard. He generally acts only as clerk; but I once heard an address from him, which makes me very glad of an opportunity of hearing him again.”
Mr. Wallace was in too much astonishment to reply, for this man was Paul.
This remarkable fact being once established, nothing very surprising followed; for Mr. Wallace knew enough of Paul to suppose that his service would be, as it proved, very good. He only could not help gucssing what the subject of his sermon would be, and hoping that his text would be, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth.” It was, however, one from which Paul could preach with more propriety, “Thou shalt not steal”.
It was now Armstrong's turn to do something which appeared strange. He started when the text was given out, and listened with extraordinary eagerness for some time. At length, when the preacher began to describe the pangs of conscience which disturb the thief, even while no human eye has seen, and no human heart suspected, his guilt, Armstrong rose, mounted the waggon, took his stand beside the preacher, and looked again and again round the assembled hearers, shading his eyes with his hand, and gazing as if he would read every countenance Paul himself paused for an instant, and looked surprised; but probably supposed, like Mr. Wallace, that it was merely a whim of the old man's. It was no whim; and the accidental choice of this text and subject was a fortunate circumstance for Armstrong's peace of mind; for he was now firmly convinced that none of those with whom he was accustomed to worship on the Lord's-day, were those who had invaded his repose and his property by night. “Prejudiced as he was against all that was done, and against everybody concerned in the iron-works, he had always suspected that the thieves came from a different quarter, and that there were persons better informed than any of Mr. Wallace's labourers of the extent of his wealth and the place where it was deposited.
Mr. Wallace watched what Paul would do when the service was over and the people were dispersing. He took not the slightest notice of anybody by word or sign, but stood leaning against a tree with his arms folded, following the groups with his eyes as they parted off among the bills. As the last of them disappeared, Mr. Wallace and his companion approached the preacher and thanked him for his service, and asked if he was about to proceed homewards. He was, and they took the same path in company.
“You speak so seldom,” said Mr. Wallace to Paul, “that I suppose you think a great deal; and the society we live in gives a reflective man much to think about.”
“Indeed it does,” replied Paul. “We speak of society as one thing, and regard men in the mass; but what a variety of interests there is among them! Scarcely any two find their chief satisfaction in the same pursuit; and it is this which makes it so difficult to get at the hearts of men. For instance, there might be two or three who would be interested in the subject of my sermon, but how many more would feel they had no concern in it! What is the use and what the interest of such an address to yourself and Mr. Armstrong, or to any others who are thoroughly honest or placed out of tim reach of temptation to steal?”
“Its interest seemed to be very great to Armstrong,” observed Mr. Wallace.
“As an observer,” added Paul. “He looked to see how other people were affected by it, which is a very different thing from being himself affected. I was surprised at his eagerness too.”
Armstrong made no other reply than a smile to the inquiring looks of his companions. Paul proceeded:—
“We should each have a sermon to ourselves, and one every day of the week, if preaching is to balance its power against the other powers which act upon us. There is Jones, my host; he is always thinking about establishing his sons well in the world; that is his chief interest. As for his wife, she is taken up with making her husband comfortable and cherishing her babies.”
“What sort of a sermon would you preach to them?”
“I could only tell them what they feel already — that the pure in heart are blessed. If any pursuits are pure, theirs are; and if any people are blessed, they are this day, with their good, promising children about them, and love and comfort within their door. Then there are their neighbours, the Davisons; there pleasures are of a very different kind,—a glass of spirits each at the end of the day, and a debauch at the fair as often as they can get there. I would preach a very short sermon to them. I would send them trooping, bag and baggage, instead of letting them corrupt the morals and laugh at the sobriety of their neighbours, and waste the capital which they ought to employ for the good of society. The money they lay out in gin and gaming would stock a shop.”
“And what sort of a sermon would you preach to me, Paul?” asked Armstrong; “and what is my chief interest?”
“Your chief interest is yourself, and therefore my sermon would be a pretty severe one,” answered Paul. “But it is a harmless, good-natured self, so I would make allowance, gut I can't forgive your Neat sin against society.”
“You mean my living by myself.”
“Live where you please: but how do you justify it to yourself to share the benefits of society when you do nothing in return? You enjoy the fruits of the labour and capital of others,—you drink your tea from the East Indies and your coffee from the West; you read your newspaper, which is the production of a hundred brains and pairs of hands; you—”
“But I pay for all I use.”
“You do, because you could have nothing without; but not a single service do you render to society that you could avoid, while the means are hourly within your reach. Every man in society ought to belong to one class of producers or the other, or to stimulate production by useful though unproductive labour. You are not like the labourer who adds to his employer's capital, nor yet like the capitalist who, assisted by the labourer, increases the resources of society; nor yet like the profession man who, by improving the social state, opens new demands for the comforts and pleasures of life. You would be a better citizen if you were a surgeon in the next town, or a partner in this concern, in the next blest labourer about the works.”
“You would preach to me from the parable of the talents, I suppose?”
“Exactly so. You understand your own case, I see. I should tell you that the unprofitable servant might be a man of very fine tastes. He might be a star-gazer, or a musician, or a politician, or particularly fond of gardening; but he would still be an unprofitable servant while he hid the money committed to him. It matters little whether it was in a napkin under the ground or in a chest under the bed.”
Mr. Wallace seeing that Armstrong looked troubled, asked Paul how he would set about lecturing him.
“I have less fault to find with you than with most people,” replied Paul, who put such perfect good-humour into his manner that it was almost impossible to be offended with his freedom “Your chief earthly interest is,—what it ought to be,—your lady; and next to her, the prosperity of the people about you. This latter you understand well, and manage wisely.”
“And not the former?”
“I think you will wish, some time or other, that rather less of your expenditure had been of the unproductive kind. I know you are too much of a man of principle to spend the whole income of a fluctuating capital in an unproductive manner; but I should like to see fewer ponies and grooms and lady's maids, and furs and cachemires and similar luxuries.”
“Surely,” said Mrs. Wallace, “when my income is the fruit of my own capital, and my own exertions in employing it, I may fairly indulge my wife and myself in a few luxuries which I can well afford.”
“Very fairly. The only question is, to what extent. If you think it probable that you will continue to enrich society by the accumulation of your capital in any proportion whatever, you are justified in laying out the rest of your income as you and your lady please. But if less prosperous days should come, and you must employ more capital for a less return, your lady may find it a harder thing to walk than if she had never had a carriage, and to dress her own hair than if she had kept her hand in all this time.”
Mr. Wallace could not help smiling at Paul's business-like way of speaking of a lady's toilet. Paul saw that he gave no offence and went on.
“Mr. Bernard's family seem to me to have found the right medium. The lads show by the way they set about learning their business that they have been used to put their souls into their pursuits, and the young ladies and Mrs. Sidney were out on foot every day during the winter in their cloth cloaks and stout shoes, and they seldom went back without carrying a blessing with them. Not that they gave alms. Nobody here wants any, thank Heaven! and if any one did, Mrs. Sidney knows there is no real kindness in giving away money as alms. But they attached the people to them, and put them in the way of managing better, and helped to keep up goodwill among neighbours, and incited many a one to industry by proper encouragement. These are the personal services the rich are called upon to render; and to this Mr. Bernard adds an expenditure which can never be repented of. I was in his drawing-room once, and I saw at a glance the nature of his luxuries.”
“What did you see?”
“Every thing that was useful and comfortable in the way of furniture, and all that was handsome and genteel in the dress of the ladies. But I was more struck with the books and the globes and the musical instruments and the pictures.”
“Then you do not object to all luxuries?”
“O dear no. Whatever helps to inform the mind and improve the taste is a proper object of pursuit to those who can afford it. It is a productive expenditure in a very high sense. Mr. Bernard will, I hope, live to see a fine return for the money he spends on his library in the talent and knowledge which his sons will employ in the service of society. And the accomplishments of his daughters will not only increase the domestic pleasures of all connected with them, but stimulate production, if you will have the whole matter before you. Harps and pianos are made up of labour and capital as much as pig-iron.”
“What a romantic lover you would make!” said Mr. Wallace, laughing. “What a strange figure you would cut in high life if you carried your method of reasoning into an exalted station!”
“If more men did so,” said Paul with a deep sigh; “if, while the great are possessed of their grandeur, they thought as much of its sources as when they are stripped of it, there would be a more just gradation of ranks than there is; there would be no starving paupers on the steps of a palace; there would be no excess in the highest or riot in the lowest classes of society. The worst faults of the extremes of society would be done away if those extremes were brought nearer together. If the rich were more thoughtful and the poor more clear-sighted, both might be surrounded with the luxuries most proper for them: the great man might have unreproached his assemblies of the learned and the gay, and the labourer might refresh himself with his newspaper or his flute when the task of the day is over, while the rose and the jessamine bloom beside his cottage door.—And now,” continued Paul, while his companions remained silent, “I have preached five sermons where I promised only one, so you will be glad if I wish you good day.”
“Stay,” said Mr. Wallace, “you must give us our turn. Do you think you need no admonishing?”
“I need it and I have it. My lot is my best admonition.”
“I see no evil in your lot but what you inflict on yourself. Short rest and long toil, scanty food and warmth, solitude and care,—these are severe evils, but they are your own choice.”
“They are, and therefore they are not evils to me. They are means to the attainment of my great end, and that end is—wealth.”
His companions looked astonished at so barefaced a confession. “What can you mean?” “How do you justify it?” “What, then, are the evils of your lot?” they asked impatiently.
“One question at a time,” said Paul quietly. “I mean, that as all the good and all the evil of my life thus far have been connected with wealth, and as I am so made that I must have one great interest, it is natural that I should be passionately devoted to the pursuit of wealth. I mean that I am a miser.”
“And how do you justify yourself for being a miser? for I suppose, as you are not ashamed to own it, you think you can justify it.”
“I do not pretend to justify it, any more than the drunkard pretends to justify the vice he cannot deny. I do not even make the allowance for myself which you would make for me if you knew all that I could tell. My first choice of an object in life was bad. It was snatched from me, and I have chosen another equally bad. Heaven knows whether I shall be baffled here too, and whether I shall have strength enough to make another choice. Meantime, the misery of my lot is warning enough, if all warning were not in vain.—You ask what this misery is. Sleepless nights, when I lie cold and hungry and weary, fancying all the mischances that may happen to my earnings: incessant self-reproach when I think I have lost an opportunity of making profit; teazing thoughts of pounds, shil lings, and pence, when I would now and then think of other things;—all these are evils, are they not? I cannot listen to a running stream, or sit watching the fieldfares in a clear winter day, or follow the sheep-track among the heath on a summer's evening, with the light heart I once had; for I always have the feeling that I am wasting my time, since these things can bring me no gold. If I think of prayer, my lips will say nothing but ‘Thou canst not serve both God and Mammon.’ is not this an evil? Could you preach me a better sermon than God speaks in his word and in the mountain breeze?”
There was a long silence; for Paul looked so deeply moved by his own self-reproaches that neither of his companions ventured to address him. At length, he stopped as if he was about to leave them.
“Beware,” said he to Armstrong, “of despising my hints about your way of life because I have condemned my own. Remember that however much I injure myself, I serve society after a certain manner. Not by example, I own. In this, I can only be of use as a warning,—a humbling thought to a proud man.—But I not only pay my way honestly, like you, but I am providing wealth for others. It benefits them already, for I put it out to use. It will benefit them again when I am dead. May it never more make any one so wretched as it makes me!”
“Are you a man,” said Mr. Wallace solemnly, “and do you yet submit to such bondage? I could not acknowledge such slavery for an hour. Break your habits of care, and enjoy the life a good God has given you. Think of the days when your father's smile was what you loved best, when your mother's voice was your sweetest music, when perhaps there were playmates beside you whom you loved more than you now love gold. Be a child again in heart while you are a man in understanding, and then you will be at ease without and at peace within.”
Paul made no reply, but turned away to hide the workings of his face, and with long strides crossed the ridge of the hill and disappeared.
The change of times of which Mr. Wallace was ever mindful came at last. At the end of three years the price of bar-iron was just half what it had been in the days we have described. There were many perceivable reasons for this change. The political state of various countries was unsettled, and trade in general, therefore, disturbed. The quantity of iron produced by the flow of capital and labour to that department had more than met the immediate demand, and there was a glut in the market, It was hoped that this glut was only temporary; but there was much doubt whether the demand for bar-iron from South Wales would ever again be as extensive as formerly, for the Welsh iron-masters had now rivals abroad. In America and in various parts of Europe, establishments for the preparation of iron were beginning to flourish at the expense of those of longer standing in our own country. Where the iron-stone, coal, and limestone were of good quality, and the works were situated near some navigable river, their produce could be brought into the market at little more than half the price for which the Welsh iron-masters could afford to sell theirs.
This circumstance seemed to destroy the hope that the works in which we are interested could ever more enjoy the prosperity which had been their lot for a few years. Many a sigh escaped from their masters as they were obliged to diminish their profits again and again; and many a curse did the least wise amongst their people vent upon the French or the Americans who took their trade from them; forgetting that as nature had scattered her mineral treasures over various regions of the earth, all their inhabitants have an equal right to use those treasures as the interest of society may prompt. What men have to do is not to refrain, or to expect others to refrain, from using the materials put within the reach of all; but by industry and ingenuity so to improve the resources of art as that the greatest possible number of men may share the benefit; in other words, that the produce may be made as excellent and as cheap as possible. To render any article of production more and more cheap, and more and more excellent, is the only way to create a permanent demand; as the competition among producers which has always subsisted, and always will and ought to subsist, can only be met by bringing the article into more general use. So that Mr. Wallace's labourers, instead of cursing their competitors on the other side of the water, had better have aided their employer in devising means for improving his manufacture, and thus becoming better able to stand a competition which could not be prevented.
The affairs of the concern underwent perpetual and anxious consideration by the partners. They thought apart, they consulted together, they exercised the greatest possible care to promote the interest of all concerned in all their measures. Knowing that it is an unfounded prejudice that the interests of the two parties united in production can be opposed to each other, they wished that their men should understand the reasons of their measures and approve of them, and were therefore ever ready to converse with such as made their complaints or proposed their doubts in a reasonable manner. Some such there were, and some had already informed themselves sufficiently respecting the fluctuations to which trade is liable, to be more sorry than surprised at the present state of things; but there were many more who were ignorant enough to suppose that their earnings were never to be lessened, however the fortunes of their masters might be suffering; and who made as heavy complaints at every mention of a reduction of wages as if they had been treated with injustice. It was hard for the partners, who were as benevolent as they were discreet, to bear these complaints in addition to their own change of fortune; but they would willingly have listened to them, if the grumblers would in turn have heard their reply. This, however, the men were unwilling to do. If they had chosen, they might have known that the affairs of the concern stood thus.
The capital employed in this iron-work was made up, as we have seen, of three parts,—the implements of labour, the material on which labour was to be employed, and the subsistence, or wages, of labourers.—Of these three parts, the first, comprehending the buildings, machinery, and tools, came under the head of fixed capital. The second and third, comprehending the mineral material of the manufacture and the wages of the work-people who carried it on, constituted the reproducible capital of the concern. The fixed capital had not itself brought in any profit; its purpose had been to enable the reproducible capital to bring in a profit: that is, the furnaces and steam-engine had yielded no money themselves, but were necessary to bring the iron-stone into a saleable shape. When the bar-iron sold well, it not only paid the owners the interest of the money they had laid out as fixed capital, and whatever they had spent in iron-stone and in wages, but a great deal over for profit. This profit was called their revenue, and out of it they paid the expenses of living, and then added what remained to their capital, which enabled them to employ more labour, to produce more iron, and therefore to increase again their revenue and their capital. If all had proceeded smoothly, if there had been a continually increasing demand and no foreign competition, it is clear that the wealth of the partners and the prosperity of the concern would have gone on continually increasing; but as it did not, a change in the employment of the capital became necessary.
It is common to speak of two kinds of revenue. That which we have mentioned,—the profits of capital,—is called neat revenue; while the name of gross revenue is given to the whole return made to the capitalist; that is, his reproduced capital and his profits together make his gross revenue, and his profits alone make his neat revenue.
When the price of bar-iron fell, the gross revenue was of course less than it had been; so that when the capital was replaced, a smaller neat revenue than usual remained. The partners immediately did what all wise men do in such a case,—they diminished the expenses of living. Mr. Bernard dismissed two of his household servants, and did not indulge his children with a journey that year, and bought very few books, and left off many luxuries. Mr. Wallace laid down his curricle; and his lady sent away her maid and got her hand in again, as Paul would have said, to dress her hair. These retrenchments did not effect all the partners wished, and, for the first time since they opened their concern, they added nothing to their capital at the end of the year. The next year, though they retrenched still further, their neat revenue was not enough for their family expenses, and they were compelled to consider what retrenchments they could carry into their business as well as their domestic management. They knew that the grand point they must aim at, for the sake of all, was to keep their capital entire; for the less capital they laid out, the less labour they could employ, and the less iron they would send into the market, and their gross and neat revenue would dwindle away year by year.
It was evident that their fixed capital must be left as it was. Whenever any change was made in that department, it must be to add to it; not by building more furnaces, but by substituting machinery,—hoarded labour,—for the labour which demanded wages; but this would not be done till the effect of a reduction of wages had been tried. Whatever change was made, therefore, must be with respect to the reproducible capital. Could any economy be carried into the preparation of the iron-stone? The different parts of the process were pondered frequently with this view; and the result was, that no change could at present be made in the first fusion of the metal, but that the cinder which came from the refinery and the forge might, by being mixed with a particular kind of earth, be made to produce an inferior sort of iron which would sell well for certain purposes. The experiment was tried and succeeded to some extent, though not so triumphantly as was expected by Francis and his brother, who had turned their attention long and industriously to this point. They had hoped that the piles of cinder which formed so ugly an object in their view would disappear by degrees under their new process; but they were obliged to be content with using up that which was daily thrown off in the manufacture of the superior kinds of iron.
What was to be done besides? The outlay of reproducible capital in wages must be lessened. It was so. The first reduction was taken quietly; the second excited murmurs among the ignorant, and fear and sorrow among the clear-sighted of the sufferers; the third occasioned threats of actual rebellion. Some of the men refused to work for such wages. Their masters explained to them the necessity of keeping the works going, and continuing to produce as much iron as possible, at however low a price, in order to retain their stand in the market as long as their capital could be returned entire. The men once more submitted, but were not long quiet.
It became necessary to diminish the cost of production still further, as prices continued to fail. It was found that parts of the work which were now done by hand could be done more cheaply by mechanical contrivances; and some new machinery was therefore introduced, and some men and boys dismissed. This created an outcry; but how could it be helped? There was no other way of preserving the capital of the concern, and on that capital every man belonging to it depended as much as the partners. The work-people to be dismissed were, of course, chosen from among the least industrious and able. It was hoped by their masters and neighbours that they would carry their labour where it was more wanted, and leave the place in peace; but instead of this they remained till their last farthing was spent, trying to persuade others to throw up their work unless higher wages were given, and swearing at the machinery, and abusing the owners, to the great annoyance of all sober people. Some who went away to find work, returned continually to spread discontent wherever they could, and to aggravate the existing distress by adding ill-will to poverty and anxiety. On pay-days especially, they gathered round the doors when the people went to receive their wages, and laughed at them for the smallness of their earnings, and tried to exasperate them by reminding them how much was now done by wood and iron that was till lately wrought by human labour, and how prosperous they had all been once when less machinery was in use. Some were too wise to be taken in by all this, and answered, that the new machinery was the consequence and not the cause of the change of times; and that prosperous as they were three years before, they might have been more so if these mechanical improvements had been then in use. But many more, who were ignorant or so dispirited as to be ready to take up any cause of complaint, allowed themselves to be deceived and persuaded that their employers were conspiring to oppress them.
It soon after happened, most unfortunately, that a boy, who had in charge the management of some part of the new machinery, was careless, and put himself in the way of receiving a blow on the head, which killed him on the spot. There was no more reason to complain of the new machinery than the old on account of this accident. If the filler had allowed himself to fall into the furnace, or the keeper had put himself in the way of being burned when he tapped the hearth, or the catcher had thrust his arm in the way of being crushed by the rollers, no one would have blamed anything but their own carelessness; and so it ought to have been in the present case. But the new invention was now to bear the blame of everything, and people were present when the accident happened, who took advantage of the occasion to work upon the feelings of the discontented. It was a sad scene.
A sudden cry brought the overlooker to the spot. He found four or five people gathered about the boy, who lay quite dead, with his skull fractured and his face distorted, so that he was a terrible object. One man was holding forth in a great passion, demanding whether their lives were to be sported with at the fancy of those who chose to enjoy their luxuries at the cost of the poor; if they must submit, not only to have their work done for them before their faces, but to be liable to be wounded and struck dead by a power which they could not resist? A cool, wary-looking man, who stood by, appeared to check the furious orator, but in reality inflamed his passion.
“You forget, my man,” said he, “that it must be a pleasant thing to our employers to have slaves that want nothing to eat and drink, and ask no wages and make no complaints. They find us very troublesome, because we tell them we and our wives and little ones must live. Wood and iron have no such tales to tell, so no wonder they are preferred to us.”
“They have no such tales to tell; and the saying is, that dead men tell no tales; but this boy,” cried the passionate man, pointing to the body, “shall tell a tale that shall rouse the spirit of all the oppressed within many a mile. I will carry him from one end of the district to the other; and all that want redress shall follow in his funeral train.”
“How will you frame your complaint?” asked the other quietly. “Our masters will laugh and ask if it is their fault that iron breaks bones. They will tell you that if the lad had been out of work, as they want us all to be, this would not have happened. They will tell you that if he had been loitering about the baker's door, longing for the food he could not buy, instead of being quietly at work—”
“O, my boy, my boy!” cried a dreadful voice at this moment. “I will see my boy, I will see who murdered him, I will have revenge on whoever murdered him,! O, you are cruel to keep me away! I will have revenge on ye all!”
It was the unhappy mother, who had heard that her son was killed, but did not know how. She was so possessed by the idea that he had been destroyed by human force, that when she saw him she was not undeceived, and continued to vow revenge.
“Revenge is not so easy to be had,” observed the quiet man. “You may pull the machine to pieces, but it will feel nothing, and so do you no good; and they that put up the machine are too high for the revenge of such as we are.”
“They are not,” cried the passionate man. “If we pull their works to pieces, we only take what is our right as wages; and do you think it will not gall our masters to see us take our own? If it did not, would they not give us our own? As for you, poor creature,” he continued, addressing the mother, who was passionately wailing over the the body, “take your own. Take the cold clay that should have been alive and strong before you this many a year. Close his eyes that always looked bright upon you. Nay, never grasp his hand in that manner. Those hands should have brought you bread when your own are feeble; they should have smoothed your pillow when you could only have raised yours to his head to bless him. Cover up his face, you that stand there! His mother will forget his pretty smile, and this ghastly look of his will haunt her, night and day, till she goes to her grave. It is well he cannot smile again; it would make her forget her revenge.”
“Who dares talk of revenge? Upon whom do you seek revenge? cried a powerful voice from the outskirts of the crowd, which had, by this time, assembled. It was Paul, who had arrived so as to hear the last words, and had more courage than the overlooker to interfere.
“I demand revenge,” shrieked the mother, starting up with clenched hands and glaring eyes, while her hair fell over her shoulders.
“Was it you?” replied Paul in a gentle voice, as he made his way to her. “I thought it had been another voice. Come with me,” he added, drawing her arm within his own; “I will take you home. He will follow,”—seeing that she was going to lay hold of the body. “They will bring him home, and you will be quieter there.”
“Quieter! quiet enough when I shall have no son to speak to me night nor morning,” cried the woman, bursting into another passion of grief.
“She does not want quiet, she wants revenge, and it was my voice you heard say so,” exclaimed the passionate man.
“Then you did not know what you were saying,” replied Paul gravely.
“You shall say the same, you shall be one of us, or I will knock you down,” cried the man.
“I will not say so, for nobody has been injured that I know of—”
Paul could not proceed for the outcry. “Nobody injured! Was it no injury for a widow woman to have her son killed at his work by an unnatural accident like this? She was as much injured as if his throat had been cut before her eyes by the masters' own hands.” Inflamed more than ever by this outcry, the passionate man rushed upon Paul, and tried to knock him down. But Paul had the advantage of being cool, and was besides a very powerful man. He stood the attack, and then floored his adversary. It was a dreadful sight to see the mother, who should by this time have been hiding her grief at home, helping the fight. The flush and sneer of passion were on her face as she tried to raise and encourage the fallen man. Paul had nearly lost his temper on so unprovoked an attack; but one glance at the woman brought tears into his eyes.
At this moment the clatter of a horse's feet was heard, and Mr. Wallace, who had been absent from the works for some hours, rode up. The overlooker now seemed to recover the use of his limbs and his senses. He made way for his employer, who showed by his countenance more than by words how much he was shocked that such a scene should take place on such an occasion. He rode between the two fighters, and desired them to depart by opposite ways, gave the unhappy woman into the charge of the overlooker, and sent the bystanders about their business.
In half an hour, Mrs. Wallace, who had heard of the accident merely from common report, and knew none of the succeeding circumstances, was sitting beside the poor woman, endeavouring to comfort her and to keep her quiet from the intrusions of her neighbours. This was construed into a new offence by the discontented; and when the sufferer was found to have changed her tone, to speak calmly of her loss, and gratefully of the attentions that were paid to her, she was told that the lady only came to speak her fair and make her give up her revenge. One said they had got something by their discontent already, for it was a fine thing to see an elegant lady come on foot to a labourer's cottage and sit down as if she lived in a cottage herself; and another asked what sort of a story she had wheedled the mourner into believing about the new machinery.
The woman replied that it was not the first time by many that Mrs. Wallace had come down among them, to say nothing of the other ladies, who spoke with one or another every day of their live. Mrs. Wallace was a tender-hearted lady, she would say that for her, though she seemed high when nothing happened to make her take particular notice. She had never so much as mentioned the new machinery, and knew nothing about it, seemed. It was not to be supposed that ladies were told all that was going on at the works; and though the offence was not to be forgiven or forgotten, it was to be brought home to the partners and not to their families, to whom she, for one, should never mention it.
“'Tis all the lady's art,” cried one. “She has gained you over by a few soft words,” said another. “I wonder you let yourself be so taken in,” added a third; so that the poor woman, who was of a changeable temper at all times, and now weakened by what had happened, was persuaded to think as ill of Mrs. Wallace as her neighbours would have her.
When the lady came early after breakfast the next morning, she observed that the children ran out to stare at her, and that their mothers looked scornfully upon her from the windows. This was very painful to her; and she passed on quickly till she reached the house of the woman she came to seek. The door was locked, and when she tapped to ask admittance, a lattice above was flung open, and she was told by a saucy voice that the person she wanted did not wish to be interrupted.
“Will you come down, then, and let me speak a few words to you about the funeral?”
The neighbour above drew back as if to repeat what was said. In a moment the mourner (who could not be interrupted) took her place, and screamed out like a virago, as she looked,—
“Let alone me and mine at your peril. They that killed my boy shall not bury him.” And she continued to pour out such a torrent of abuse' that the lady, who had never before heard such language, was ready to sink to the ground. Her servant-boy, who bad stayed a little behind on an errand, now came up, and looked so fierce on those who dared to insult his lady, that her fear of the consequences recalled her presence of mind. When her spirit was once roused, no one had more courage or good sense. Determining instantly what to do, she held up her finger as a sign to John to be quiet, laid her commands on him to make no reply to anything that was said, and stood at the window-sill to write a few words on a slip of paper which she bade him carry to Mr. Bernard or one of his sons, absolutely forbidding him to let her husband know, even if he should meet him, how she was placed.
“I cannot leave you, ma'am, among these wretches,” cried John, looking round on the mob of women and children who were collecting.
“Do not call them wretches, or look as if there was anything to be afraid of,” said his mistress, “but make haste, and then come to me under that tree.”
What she had written was, “Say nothing to my husband, but come and help me to clear up a mistake of some consequence.” When John disappeared with the note, which everybody had seen her write, the cry of abuse rose louder than ever. It was hard to bear; but the lady felt that if she retreated now, she should lose her own and injure her husband's influence for ever among these people. The thought came across her, too, that she might owe some of this to the reserve of her usual demeanour; and as a punishment also she resolved to stand it well. She therefore only made her way to the tree she had pointed out, and sat down under it; a necessary proceeding, for she could scarcely stand. There she waited for John's return with Mr. Bernard, longing to look every instant whether they were coming, but carefully refraining from turning her head that way, lest the people should see her anxiety.
“What is all this?” cried Mr. Bernard, when at length he arrived breathless, with John at his heels, wiping his brows. “Have these people dared to hurt you?”
“No: they have only railed at me, so that I could not make myself heard; and I want you to help me to find out why. Keep your temper, I implore you. I sent for you instead of my husband, because I was afraid he would not command himself.”
John was eager to explain why he had been so long. Mr. Bernard was not at the office, as John expected. Mr. Wallace was, and John had much ado to avoid telling him; but he held his peace and went on his errand. It seemed as if he had been gone for hours, he said, for he did not know what might have happened in his absence.
Mr. Bernard knew more of the present disposition and complaints of the people than Mrs. Wallace, and—what was on this occasion of as much consequence—he had a stronger voice; so that he soon got to the bottom of the matter.
He showed them the folly of supposing that the lady's object was different now from what it had been in many former cases where she had shown kindness; and began to rate them soundly for their ingratitude and savage behaviour, when the lady interceded for them. When he stopped to listen to her, there was a dead silence. She said that she did not wish them to be reproached more than she was sure they would soon reproach themselves; that she did not come among them for the sake of making them grateful to her, but in order to show her good-will at times when good-will is worth more than anything else that can be given. As long as her neighbours were willing to accept this good-will as freely as it was offered, she should come among them, undeterred by the mistakes about her motives which a few might fall into; but that no person was called upon to encounter a second time such treatment as she had met with that day; and therefore, unless she was sent for, she should not appear among them again. If this should be the last time they should ever speak to one another, she hoped they would remember it was not by her wish, but their own.
The people were now in a condition to hear reason, and they believed the lady's assurance, that when she came down the day before, she knew nothing whatever of the cause of the boy's death, and was silent on the subject of the new machinery only because she had no idea how much the people were thinking and feeling on the subject. She was ready henceforth to talk about it as much as they pleased.
When she stood up and took Mr. Bernard's arm to go homewards, nothing could exceed the attention of the people—so changeable were they in their moods. One brought water, which the lady accepted with a kind smile; and glad she was of it, for she was very thirsty. The mourner's door was now wide open; and, with many curtseys, Mrs. Wallace was invited to enter and rest herself. This, however, she declined for the present day. The mothers called their children off as a huntsman calls off his dogs, and the hunted lady was at last left in peace with her friend and her servant. When Mr. Bernard had left her safe at home, her spirits sank. She did not fall into hysterics, nor alarm her household with an account of what she had gone through; but she sat alone in her dressing-room, dropping many a bitter tear over the blindness and folly of the people whose happiness seemed quite overthrown, and unable to keep down a thousand fears of what was to happen next.
The delusion that the improvement in machinery was the cause of a change in the times, and not the consequence of the future remedy for such a change, had become too general and too firmly established in this society to be removed by a few explanations or strong impressions here and there. Discontent grew hourly; and the complaints which had before been divided between the American and French iron-works, the rivals in the neighbourhood, the government of the country, and the whole body of customers who would not give so high a price as formerly for their iron, were now turned full upon the new machinery and those who had set it up. Growlings met the ears of the partners wherever they turned; the young men had to keep a constant restraint upon their tempers, and the ladies directed their walks where they might be out of hearing of threats which alarmed or murmurings which grieved them.
Two days after Mrs. Wallace's adventure, her husband, on rising from the breakfast-table, saw Armstrong coming in at the gate.
“It is a sign of the times that you are here,” said he, as he shook hands with the old man. “How are we to read it?”
“As your discretion may direct when you have heard my story.,” replied the old man gravely.
Mr. Wallace looked doubtfully at him, as if to ask whether they had not better save his wife from alarm by being private. Armstrong understood him.
“Sit down, madam, if you please,” said he. “Women are not often so cowardly as they are said to be, if they are but treated fairly, and given to understand what they are to expect. It is too much to look for courage from such as know that the worst they have to dread is often kept from them. So you shall hear, ma'am, and judge for yourself. Only do not turn pale before I begin, or you will make me look ashamed of having so little to tell.”
Comforted by the end of this speech as much as she had been alarmed by the beginning, Mrs. Wallace smiled in answer to her husband's anxious looks, and drew her chair to listen.
Armstrong related that he had observed from his garden, after working hours the evening before, an unusual number of people sauntering about a field at a considerable distance from his dwelling. He had called his housekeeper out to look and guess what it might be. She had once seen Punch in a field with a crowd; and her only idea, therefore, was that it might be Punch; and when her master sent her for his telescope, she fixed it at the window before she brought it, and was almost sure she saw a stand with a red curtain such as she had seen when Punch appeared to her. Her master, however, who was not apt to see visions through his glass, could make out nothing but that all the people in the field seemed to be now collected in one place, and that one man was raised above the rest, and apparently haranguing them. He instantly resolved to go, partly from curiosity, and partly because he expected to hear complaints of the management of the neighbouring concern, complaints which, kind-hearted as he was, he loved to hear, because they confirmed his prejudices, which were dearer to him than even his friend Mr. Wallace or Mr. Wallace's gentle wife. He did not give the account of his motives exactly as we have given it; but he conveyed it clearly enough by what he said to make Mr. and Mrs. Wallace glance at each other with a smile.
He arrived on the spot only in time for the conclusion of the last speech, from which he gathered that the object of the meeting was to consider what measures should be taken with their employers to induce them to alter such of their plans as were displeasing to their men; and that it was determined that a deputation should wait upon the partners to demand that the quantity of labour which was displaced by machinery should be restored to human hands. In order to try the disposition of the masters, it was also to be demanded that every man, woman, and child in the society, except the few necessary to attend to the furnaces, should be allowed to follow the funeral of the deceased boy the next day. If both requests were refused, the people were to take their own way about attending the funeral, and another meeting was to be held round the boy's grave, as soon as the service was over. Armstrong's description of the vehemence with which this last resolution was agreed to, convinced Mr. Wallace that it was time to take more decided measures for keeping the peace than he had yet thought would be necessary. While he was musing, Armstrong continued,—
“I hate your iron-work, and everything (not everybody) belonging to it, as you know; but I had rather see it quietly given up than pulled to pieces. So, if you will let me, I will go and tell the magistrates in the next town the condition you are in, and bid them send a sufficient force for your safety. I am afraid there is no chance of your giving up your new-fangled machinery.”
“No chance whatever,” replied Mr. Wallace decidedly. “If we give up that we give up the bread of the hundreds who depend on us for employment. By means of this machinery, we can just manage to keep our business going, without laying by any profit whatever. If we give up any one of our measures of economy, the concern must be closed and all these people turned adrift. I shall tell them so, if they send a deputation to-day.”
Armstrong contented himself with shaking his head, as he had nothing wherewith he could gainsay Mr. Wallace. At length he asked what Mr. Wallace chose to do.
“To refuse both demands, stating my reasons. I am sure my partner will act with me in this. As to your kind offer of going to the magistrates, I will, if you please, consult him, and let you know in an hour or two. I have little doubt we shall accept your services; hut I can do nothing so important without Mr. Bernard's concurrence. Where will my messenger find you?”
“At home in my garden. But take care how you choose your messenger. Some of the people saw me in the field last night, and if anybody goes straight from you to me to-day, they may suspect something. I took care to come by a round-about way where nobody could see me; and by the same way I shall go back.”
“But why go back? Why not stay where nobody will be looking for you?”
“Because home is one stage of my journey to the town, and I can slip away quietly from my own gate. By the way, your messenger must be one who will not blab his errand to my housekeeper or to any one he may meet. Peg is silent enough when there is no one for her to speak to; but we cannot tell in these strange days who may cross her path.”
Who should the messenger be? Mrs. Wallace offered her services, thinking that a lady would hardly be suspected; but her husband would not hear of her stirring out that day.
“Why not use a signal?” asked Armstrong at length. “A white handkerchief tells no tales, and I can see your windows plainly enough with any glass from my garden hedge. So hang out your flag and I shall know.”
This was at once pronounced the best plan; and it was agreed that at three o'clock precisely (by which time the temper of the deputation would be known) Armstrong should watch for the signal. If he saw a white handkerchief, all would be well, and he might stay at home; if a red, he was to go to the magistrates and state the case, and leave them to judge what force should be provided for the defence of the works. Mr. Wallace furnished the old man with a written certificate that he was authorised by the firm, and then bidding his wife hope for the best, hastened away to business. Armstrong also took his leave; and the three meditated, as they pursued their different occupations, on the ignorance and weakness through which members of the same society, who ought to work together for the good of each and all, are placed in mutual opposition, and waste those resources in contest which ought to be improved by union.
During the whole morning the partners remained on the spot in expectation of the message they were to receive from the great body of their work people; but none came. All went quietly on with their business as if no unusual proceeding was meditated; so that when two o'clock came, Mr. Wallace went home to comfort his wife with the tidings that she might hang out a white flag. There was no use in speculating on what had changed the plan of the discontented; it was certain that no pretence remained for sending for civil or military protection. Relieved, for the present, of a load of anxiety, the lady ran up stairs to prepare her signal with a step as light as any with which she had ever led off a dance; while, on the distant height, Margaret wondered what had possessed John Armstrong that he could not mind his work this day, but must be peering through his glass every minute, till, after a long, low whistle, he laid it aside and looked no more. She was almost moved to ask him what he had seen; but habit was stronger than impulse with her, and she held her peace.
When Mr. Wallace went down to the works again, he observed that Paul, who, as furnace-keeper, was accustomed to keep his eye on his work as steadily as an astronomer on a newly-discovered star, looked up as his employer's step drew near, and met his eye with a glance full of meaning. Mr. Wallace stopped; but as several people were by, explanation was impossible. “Paul, I want to know——but there is no use in asking you a question while you are busy. You will be meddled with by nobody at this time of day.”
“I had rather be questioned in broad day, when I am about my work,” replied Paul with another quick glance, “than at night when I am snug at home and think it is all over till the next day.”
“O ho!” thought Mr. Wallace, “I understand. Well, but,” he continued, “the question I was going to ask is not about your furnace-work, but one of your other trades. If I came to you in the evening, I suppose you would bolt your door and send me away without an answer.”
“Not so,” said Paul; “for I think every man that asks a fair question should have a plain answer. Such a one I would give with all civility; but when that was done, I should say this was no time for talk, and wish you good evening.”
“And if I would not go till I had got all I wanted, would you call Jones and his lads to turn me out by force?”
“Not the first time; but if you grew angry at being sent away, I should take good care how I let you come near me again in a passion. If you put a finger on my work-bench, I should call the Joneses to rap your knuckles and cry ‘Hands off!’ So you see, sir, what you have to expect.”
“You are a strange fellow,” said Mr. Wallace; “but I thank you for warning me how to behave.”
“It would be well if he behaved himself a little more mannerly,” said one of the workpeople near. “If any of us were to threaten a gentleman in that manner, what an outcry there would be about it!”
“Paul is an oddity, and does not mind being thought so,” observed Mr. Wallace. “But he shows us the respect of doing our work well, and taking as much care of our interests as if they were his own. Blunt speech and fair deeds for me, rather than fair words and rough deeds.”
“What do you think of rough words and deeds together?” said another workman. “They seem likely to be the order of the day.”
“No man is bound to put up with them,” replied his employer. “Here, at least, they shall not be borne.”
The man's companion jogged his elbow, and he said no more.
The partners, in communicating with each other, agreed that it was probable, from what Paul had said, that a tumultuous demand for leave to attend the next day's funeral would be made that night. As it was scarcely likely that the people would proceed to violence before the churchyard meeting they had appointed, it was determined that their absurd demand should be refused.
The gates of both dwellings were early closed that evening, and the doors well fastened. The ladies were not kept in ignorance of what was expected; for their companions had confidence in their courage, and remembered besides that it would add much to whatever confusion might occur to have consternation within the house, at the same time as tumult without.
It must be owned that Mrs. Wallace fell into a reverie more than once while her husband read to her; and that the young ladies at Mr. Bernard's played their duet more by rote than con amore this night. In all the pauses they listened for shouting or the trampling of feet; and when they had done, their father himself opened the shutters, and looked out and commanded silence. The moon had not risen, and there was no light but from the furnace-fires below, which sent up a red cloud into the sky; and there was no sound but the distant roar and rumble of the works. It was a warm evening, and the family stood for some time at the open window, talking little, but some trying to distinguish the stars through the columns of smoke, and others wondering what would have happened by the same hour the next night, while the little ones kept as quiet as possible in the hope that their papa and Mrs. Sydney would forget to send them to bed.
“Father!” cried Frank, “I saw a man leap the hedge,—there,—in that corner.” All had heard the rustling among the shrubs.
” Who is there?” demanded Mr. Bernard.
“Shut your shutters, Sir, I advise you,” said Jones in a low voice. “They are near, and they should not see your lights as they turn the corner. I ran on first, and Paul is gone with the party to Mr. Wallace's. I must make haste and join them again before I am missed. I only came to see that you were fast.”
“Will they proceed to violence to-night?” asked Mr. Bernard before he closed the window.
“No fear if you are decided and civil-spoken; but I won't answer for so much for to-morrow.”
So saying, Jones ran off and climbed the hedge again, that he might drop in at the rear of the party, the glare of whose torches began to appear at the the turn of the road.
“Upstairs, all of you, and let nobody appear at the windows but my lads and myself,” said Mr. Bernard. “And do not be afraid. You heard that there is no fear of violence to-night.”
There was a tremendous knocking and ringing at the door before all the family were up stairs.
“What do you want with me?” asked Mr. Bernard, throwing up a sash of the second story.
“We want, in the first place, your promise to take to pieces the new machinery, which keeps so many people out of work, and never to use it again without the consent of all parties concerned.”
“A reasonable request, truly! I believe there is more to be said, to bring us into the same mind on that point, than can be got through in a short summer's night.”
“Answer us Yes or No,” cried the speaker.
“Tell him the conditions,” said the man next to him. “Let him know what he has to expect either way.”
“No; tell me of no conditions,” said Mr. Bernard; “I deny your right to impose any, and I will Dot hear them. As long as my partners and I are in business, we will keep the management of our own concerns. So say nothing of conditions.”
“Answer us Yes or No, then,” repeated the first speaker. “Will you pull down the machinery, or will you not?”
“I will not. So you have my answer. My reasons are at your service whenever you choose to ask for them in a proper time and manner.”
The crowd murmured at the mention of reasons; but a man who flitted about among them, urged them to bring forward their second demand. This man was Jones; and his object was to shorten the scene, and get the people to disperse.
“Your reply is taken down, Sir——”
“Where it will never be forgotten,” growled a deep voice.
“And we proceed to request that all the people in the works may attend the funeral of James Fry to-morrow, and not return to work till the next day, with the exception of the smallest number necessary to keep the furnaces.”
“For what purpose?”
“For the purpose of expressing their abhorrence of the means by which the boy came by his death.”
“What could make you suppose my partner and I should grant your request?”
“Not any idea that you would like it, certainly. But what should hinder our taking leave, if you will not give it?”
“Hear my answer, and then spend to-morrow as you may choose. I refuse permission to any man to quit the work he has agreed to perform, with the exception of the four named by the boy's mother to attend the funeral. All besides who quit their work to-morrow, quit it for ever.”
“Suppose we make you quit your works?” cried an insolent voice.
“You have it in your power to do so by withdrawing your labour; but the day when yonder furnaces are out of blast will be the day of your ruin. If you force us to choose between two evils, we had rather close our concern, and go whence we came, than carry on the most prosperous business under the control of those who depend on our capital for subsistence,”
Another murmur arose at the last sentence.— “We will soon see what becomes of your capital!” “What is your capital to us, if you are so afraid of having anybody to touch it but yourselves?” “We will carry away our labour, and then much good may your capital do you!”
“Just as much, and no more,” said Mr. Bernard. “than your labour can do without our capital. Remember, it is not our wish that the two powers should be separated to the ruin of us all. If you throw up your work to-morrow, our concern is ruined. If you will have a little patience, and supply your share of our contract, we may all see better days. Judge for yourselves.”
He shut down the window and closed the shutters. The crowd below, after uttering various strange noises, and vehemently cheering sentiments proposed by their leaders, dispersed, and by midnight the shrubbery looked as still in the moonlight as if no intruder's step had been there.
A nearly similar scene, with a corresponding conclusion, had been exhibited at Mr. Wallace's. As soon as the people were gone, that gentleman determined to lose no time in communicating with Armstrong, as it was now evident that protection would be necessary if the people chose to gratify their passions by attending the funeral and subsequent meeting.
Mr. Wallace was little disposed for sleep, and thought a moonlight walk would refresh him, and remembered that he should be his own safest messenger; so when all was silent, he set forth, telling his wife that he should be back within two hours, when he hoped to inform her that Armstrong was gone to bespeak the necessary assistance.
It was just eleven when he reached the steps below Armstrong's gate. As he climbed the gate, the dog barked, growled, and made ready for a spring.
“How now, Keeper!” cried the master from within and his guest without, at the same moment. The dog knew Mr. Wallace's voice, hut was not sure enough of his man, muffled in a cloak as he was, to give over his alarm at once. He leaped and frisked about, still growling while the old man held forth a gleaming pistol in the moonlight from his lattice. “Stand off, or I'll fire,” cried he. But when he heard “Do not be in a hurry to shoot your friend Wallace,” he was in greater alarm than before. He hastened to let in his guest, that he might hear what had happened.
Mr. Wallace observed with some surprise that he had not called the old man from his bed. Armstrong had been sitting, with his labourer's dress on, beside the table, where lay his open Bible, his pistols, his spectacles, and the lamp. Before the visiter had time to ask what kept his friend up so late, the housekeeper put her night-capped head into the room.
“No thieves, Peg,” said her master, and the head withdrew; for Margaret did not see that she had any business with what brought Mr. Wallace there at so strange an hour. Her master was quite of her mind; for, when it was settled what he was to do, he tapped at her door and only said,
“I am going out, and if I should not be back till dinner to-morrow, don't be frightened. Keeper will take good care of you.”
And then he set off to rouse the magistrates, while Mr. Wallace proceeded homewards, pausing now and then to hear whether all was quiet below, and watching how the twinkling lights went out (so much later than usual) one by one in the cottage windows.
Early the next morning a messenger came to the Joneses' door to let them know that the funeral procession would form at the widow Fry's, at eight o'clock, and that punctuality was particularly requested. Paul asked what this message meant, as nobody in that house was going to attend. The messenger was sorry for it. He had been ordered to give notice from house to house, and he believed almost every body meant to go.
“Then, Jones,” said Paul, “the sooner we are off to our work the better. Example may do something in such a case.”
These two and a few others went to their work earlier than usual, for the sake of example. More kept close at home, and only came .forth when the procession was out of sight, creeping quietly to their business, as if they were ashamed or afraid. But by far the greater number followed the coffin to its burial-place in a churchyard among the hills, near the Ranters' place of meeting. These walked arm in arm, four abreast, keeping a gloomy silence, and looking neither to the right hand nor to the left.
It had occurred to Mr. Bernard that the clergyman who was to perform the service might exert a very useful influence in favour of peace over those who were brought together on such an occasion. He therefore sent a letter to him by a man and horse, communicating the present position of affairs.
The clergyman was young and timid; and being unable to determine what he should do, he did the very worst thing of all: he escaped in an opposite direction, leaving no account of where he might be found. He was waited for till the people, already ill an irritable mood, became very impatient; and when a party, who had gone to his house to hasten him, brought news of his absence, the indignation of the crowd was unbounded. They at once jumped to the conclusion that their employers had chosen to prevent the interment taking place, and to delay them thus for the sake of making fools of them. They forgot, in their rage, that their masters' best policy was to get the coffin of the poor lad underground and out of sight as soon as possible, and to conciliate rather than exasperate their people.
Mrs. Wallace kept as constant a watch from her upper windows this day as sister Ann in Blue-beard. Many a cloud of dust did she fancy she saw on the distant road; many a time did she tremble when any sound came over the brow of the opposite hills. All her hopes were fixed on the highway; all her fears upon the path to the churchyard. The safety of the concern, and perhaps of her husband, seemed to depend on whether the civil or rebellious force should arrive first. It was not long doubtful.
The crowd came pouring over the opposite ridge, not in order of march as they went, but pell-mell, brandishing clubs and shouting as if every man of them was drunk. In front was a horrid figure. It was the mother of the lad who had been placed in his grave without Christian burial. The funeral festival seemed likely to be as little Christian as the manner of interment, to judge from the frantic screams of his mother, and the gestures with which she pointed to the works as the scene where the people must gratify their revenge.
They made a sudden halt at the bottom of the hill, as if at the voice of a leader; and then, forming themselves rapidly into a compact body, they marched almost in silence, but with extreme rapidity, till they had surrounded the building they meant first to attack. The labourers in it had but just time to escape by a back way before the doors were down and a hundred hands busy within knocking the machinery to pieces, and gutting the place. This done, they went to a second and a third building, when there arose a sudden cry of “fire!” The leaders rushed out and saw indeed a volume of smoke making its way out of the doors and windows of one of the offices where the books were kept and the wages paid. The least ignorant among the rioters saw at a glance that this kind of destruction would ensure the total ruin of the iron-work and of all belonging to it. With vehement indignation they raised three groans for the incendiary, and hastened to put out the fire and save the books and papers. At the door they met the furious woman they had made one of their leaders, brandishing a torch and glorying in the act she had done. Her former companions looked full of rage, and shook their fists at her as they passed.
“Stop her! Lay her fast, or she will be the ruin of us all,” cried several voices. With some difficulty this was done, and the poor wretch conveyed to her own house and locked in.
It was a singular sight to see the gentlemen and Paul, and a portion of the mob labouring together at the fire, while the rest of the rioters were pushing their work of destruction, unresisted but by the small force of orderly workpeople, which they soon put to flight. It was the aim of the leaders to show that they confined their vengeance to the machinery; but when vengeance once begins, there is no telling where it will stop. The very sight of the fire was an encouragement to the evil-disposed, and many thefts were committed and much violence done which had no connection with machinery.
Paul was among the most active of the defenders. Seeing that as many hands as could assist were engaged at the fire, he bethought himself of a building where there was a great deal of valuable machinery which was likely to fall a sacrifice if undefended. He ran thither and found all quiet. He locked himself in and began to barricade the windows. He had not half done when the rioters arrived, and, finding the door fastened, applied to the window. This was soon forced; but then Paul appeared with a huge iron bar, with which he threatened to break the sculls of all who came within reach. He stood at some height above them, so as to have greatly the advantage over them, and there was a moment's pause. Some were for forcing the door, but they did not know how many iron bars might be ready there to fall on the heads of those who first entered. “Smoke them out!” was the cry at length, and half a dozen lighted torches were presently thrown in. Paul stamped out as many as he could reach with either foot; but while he was trying to do this with one which had already caught some light wood beside it, three men took advantage of his attention being divided to leap up to the window, wrench his bar from him, and fling it down below. Paul lost not his presence of mind for a moment. He snatched up a blazing torch in each hand, and thrust them in the faces of his enemies, who, not much relishing this kind of salute, jumped down again whence they came. “It is my turn to smoke out,” cried he; but this was his last act of defence. The three men had been long enough on the window to perceive that Paul was the entire garrison of the place; and while they kept up a show of attack at the window, the door was forced, and the building filled without resistance. When it was about half gutted, Paul thought he heard a welcome sound without above the crashing and cries within. It was the galloping of horse; and the sabres of soldiers were soon seen glittering in the red light from the fire. They rode up and surrounded the building, making Paul, who was still astride on the window, their first prisoner. He smiled at this, knowing he should soon be set free; but he was presently touched by the earnestness with which some of the guilty protested his innocence and begged his discharge. When one of the masters came up and had him released, he had a painful duty to perform in pointing out which of the people who remained cooped up in the place had been the most guilty. He was, however, sufficiently aware of its being a duty to do it without flinching; and he marked the men who had first broken the window, thrown the first torches, and burst in the door.
The work of destruction was now stopped; but the state of things was little less wretched than if it had continued. The partners were seen in gloomy conference with the commanding officer. The steady workmen, whose means of subsistence had been destroyed before their faces, stood with folded arms gazing on the smoke which slowly rose from the ruins. There was a dull silence in the empty building where the prisoners were guarded by a ring of soldiers, who sat like so many statues on their horses. At the houses of the partners there were sentinels at the gates and before the parlour windows, and the ladies within started every time a horse pawed the gravel walk. The anxious house-keeper, meantime, was trying to keep the frightened servants in order; for they had much to do in preparing refreshments for the soldiers. But, perhaps, the most wretched of all were those who hid their grief within their humble homes. The little children, who were forbidden by their mothers to stray beyond the rows of labourers' cottages, came running in with tidings from time to time, and many times did the anxious wife, or sister, or mother, lift her head in the hope of hearing “Father is coming over the green,” or “John is safe, for here he is,” or “Now we shall hear all about it, for Will is telling neighbour so and so;” and as often was the raised head drooped again when the news was “Neighbour such-a-one is a prisoner,” or “Neighbour Brown is crying because her son is going to jail,” or “Mary Dale is gone down to try and get sight of her husband, if the soldiers will let her; for she won't believe he set fire to any place.”
Again and again the children resolved, “I won't go in to mother any more till she has done crying,” and again some fresh piece of bad news sent them in to make the tears flow afresh.
It was found that the prisoners could not be removed till the next day; and when food, and drink, and straw to sleep on was being supplied to them, it was melancholy to see how the relations of the men wandered about hoping to find means to speak to one or another. Many an entreaty was addressed to the soldiers just to be permitted to step up to the window between the horses, and see whether John, or Will, or George wanted anything or had anything to say. This could not of course be allowed; but it was long after dark before the last lingerer had shut herself into her cheerless home to watch for the morning.
That morning rose fair and bright as a June morning can be. Mr. Wallace opened the shutters of his drawing-room, where, with Mr. Bernard, he had passed the night, arranging plans for their next proceedings, and writing letters to their partners in London respecting the readiest mode of closing their concern; and to their law officers, respecting the redress which they should obtain for the injury done to their property. The crimson light of the dawn, the glittering of the dew on the shrubs, and the cheruping of the waking birds, were so beautiful a contrast to the lamp-light and silence within, that Mr. Wallace felt his spirits rise at once. They were at once depressed, however, when he saw the glancing of weapons in the first rays of the sun, and observed that the furnaces were out, and that all the scene, usually so busy, was as still as if it had been wasted by the plague. Manly as he was, and well as he had sustained himself and everybody about him till now, he could not bear these changes of feeling; and tears, of which he had no reason to be ashamed, rolled down his cheeks.
“You dread the sending off the prisoners,” said his partner. “So do I; and the sooner we can get it done the better.”
They therefore went out and saw that their sentinels were properly refreshed, and that every tiling was prepared for their departure as speedily as might be. No one who walked about the place that morning could think for a moment that any further violence was to be apprehended. The most restless spirits were well guarded; and of those who were at large, all, the injurers and the injured, seemed equally subdued by sorrow and fear.
Just as the great clock of the works struck eight, a waggon drew up to the door of the building where the prisoners were confined. In a few minutes the whole population was on the spot. The soldiers kept a space clear, and obliged the people to form a half-circle, within which stood the partners and the commanding officer; and here the relations of each prisoner were allowed to come as he was brought out. The parting was so heart-breaking a scene that it was found necessary to shorten it; and for the sake of the prisoners themselves, it was ordered that they should only take one farewell embrace. Some took a shorter leave still; for there were wives and sister—though not one mother—who would not own a relation in disgrace, and hid themselves when entreated by the prisoner to come and say “Farewell.” The entreaty was not in one instance repeated. A took of gloomy displeasure was all the further notice taken by the culprit as he mounted to his seat in the waggon.
At length, the last prisoner was brought out; the soldiers formed themselves round the waggon, and it drove off, amidst a chorus of lamentation from the crowd. Almost every face was turned to watch it till it was out of sight; but some few stole into the place which had lately been a prison, and sank down in the straw to hide their shame and their tears.
The partners thought that no time could be fitter than this for explaining to the assembled people the present state of affairs as it regarded them, and the prospect which lay before them. Mr. Wallace, who, as longest known to the people, had agreed to make this explanation, mounted to the window of a neighbouring building, and, while Mr. Bernard and his sons stood beside him, thus addressed the crowd below:—
“It is partly for our own sakes, though chiefly for yours, that we now offer to explain to you the condition and prospects of this concern. We still say, what we have often said, that we are accountable to no man for our manner of conducting our own affairs; but we wish you clearly to understand why we close our iron work, in order that you may see that we cannot help doing so, and that it is through no act of ours that so many industrious and sober labourers are turned out of work in one day. We make this explanation for your sakes; because we hope that those among you who have been guilty of the intention, if not the deed of riot, will learn the folly as well as the sin of such proceedings, and that those who are innocent will train up their children in such a knowledge of facts as will prevent their ever bringing destruction on themselves and others by such errors as have ruined our concern.
“When we came here to settle, an agreement was made, in act if not in words, between the two classes who hoped to make profit out of these works. You offered your labour in return for a subsistence paid out of our capital. We spent the money we and our fathers had earned in buying the estate, building the furnaces, making or improving roads, and paying the wages which were your due. Both parties were satisfied with an agreement by which both were gainers, and hoped that it would long be maintained without difficulty or misunderstanding. No promise was or could reasonably be made as to how long the labour should be furnished on the one side and the capital on the other, in the same proportions; for it was impossible for either party to tell what might happen to the other. It was possible that so great a demand for labour might take place in some other manufacture as to justify your asking us for higher wages, or leaving us if we did not think proper to give them. It was equally possible that the prices of our manufacture might fall so as to justify us in lowering your wages, or in getting a part of our work done without your assistance.
“Nothing was said, therefore, about the length of time that your labour and our capital were to work together: and it was well that there was not; for in time both the changes happened that I have described. First, the demand for labour increased so much that you asked higher wages, which we cheerfully gave, because the prosperous state of trade pointed them out as your due. Alter a while the opposite change took place. Demand declined, prices fell, and we could not afford to give you such high wages, and you agreed to take less, and again less, as trade grew worse. So far both parties were of one mind. Both felt the change of times, and were sorry on account of all; but neither supposed that the other could have helped the misfortune. The point on which they split—unhappily for both— was the introduction of new machinery.”
Here there was a murmur and bustle among the people below, which seemed to betoken that they were unwilling to hear. Some, however, were curious to know what Mr. Wallace would say, and cried “Silence!” “Hush!” with so much effect that the speaker was soon able to proceed.
“As no profit can be made, no production raised from the ground, or manufactured in the furnace or the loom, or conveyed over land and sea, without the union of capital and labour, it is clear that all attempts to divide the two are foolish and useless. As all profit is in proportion to the increase of labour and capital, as all the comforts every man enjoys become more common and cheap in proportion as these two grow in amount, it is clear that it must be for the advantage of everybody that labour and capital should be saved to the utmost, that they may grow as fast as possible. The more capital and labour, for instance, there is spent upon procuring and preparing mahogany, the more cheap will be mahogany tables and chairs, and the more common in the cottages of the working classes. In the same way, broad-cloth was once a very expensive article, because very few attempted to manufacture it; but now, when many more capitalists have set up their manufactories of broad-cloth, and much more labour is spent upon it, every decent man has his cloth coat for Sundays. In like manner the more capital and labour can be saved to be employed in the iron-trade, the cheaper and more common will iron be: and if it can be an evil to us that it is already cheaper,” we must find a remedy in making it more common, more extensively used, so that the quantity we sell may make up for the lowering of the price. It is plain, then, that all economy of capital and labour is a good thing for everybody in the long run. How is this saving to be effected?
“Capital is made to grow by adding to it as much as can be spared of the profit it brings. We all know that if a hundred pounds bring in five pounds' interest at the year's end, and if two of the five pounds only are spent, the capital of the next year will be a hundred and three pounds, and the interest five pounds, three shillings; and so on, increasing every year. This is the way capital grows by saving. Labour does not grow by saving in like manner; but methods of improving and economizing it have been found, and more are invented every year. Labour is saved by machinery, when a machine either does what man cannot do so well, or when it does in a shorter time, or at a less expense, the work which man can do equally well in other respects. This last was the case with our new machinery. It did not, like the furnaces and rollers, do what man could not do; but it did in a quicker and cheaper manner what man had hitherto done. It was a saving of labour; and as all saving of labour is a good thing, our machinery was a good thing.
“You wish to interrupt me, I see. You wish to say that though it is a good thing for us capitalists, it is not for you labourers. Hear me while I show you the truth. If we could have brought back the state of the world to what it was four years ago; if we could have made the foreign iron-works melt into air, and some nearer home sink into the ground; if we could have made the demand what it once was, and have raised the prices to the highest ever known, you would not have cared whether we put up machinery or not, because there would have been employment enough for everybody notwithstanding. You care for it now because it throws some people out of work; but you should remember, that it has also kept many busy who must be idle, now that it is destroyed. We should be as glad as you if there was work enough for all the men and all the machinery together that our concern could contain; but when changes which we could not prevent or repair brought before us the question whether we should employ two-thirds of our people with machinery, or none without, we saw it to be for the interest of all to set up our new labourers in the midst of the grumblings of the old. We tell you plainly that we could not have employed any of you for the last six months, but for the saving caused by the new machinery; and that, now it is gone, we can employ none of you any longer.
“You may say that the county will repair our losses, and that we may soon build up what is destroyed, and go on as before. It is true that the damages must be paid out of the public fund; but it is not so true that a remedy will thus be found for the distress which violence has brought upon you. The state of trade being what it is, and confidence being so completely destroyed between the two parties to the original contract, there is little encouragement to enter on a new one. My partner and his family will depart immediately. I shall remain with a very few men under me to assist in disposing of our stock, and to wind up the concern; and then this place, lately so busy, and so fruitful of the necessaries and comforts of life to so many hundred persons, will present a melancholy picture of desertion and ruin. If, in after years, any of your descendants, enriched by the labours of generations, should come hither and provide the means of enriching others, may they meet with more success than we have done! May they have to do with men informed respecting the rights and interests of society, as happy in their prosperity as you once were, and more patient and reasonable in adversity!
“If these should ever inquire respecting the transactions of this day, it will strike them that the revenge which you have snatched—for I am told you call it revenge—is as foolish as it is wicked. Of all the parties concerned in this outrage, your masters suffer the least—though their sufferings are not small—and yourselves the most. Your occupation is gone; the public resources, to which many here have contributed, must be wasted in repairing the damage intended for us; and worst of all, disgrace and the penalties of the law await many with whom you are closely connected. Having enjoyed from their birth the security and various benefits of the social state, they have thought fit to forfeit their privileges by a breach of the laws; and they must take the consequences. How many of the guilty are now mourning that those consequences cannot be confined to themselves! How many—but I will not pursue this subject further, for I see you cannot bear it. I only entreat those of you who hold your children by the hand, and see them wondering at the mournful solemnities of this day, to impress upon them that the laws must be obeyed, and to assure them from your own experience that, however sad undeserved poverty may be, it is easily endurable in comparison with the thought which will haunt some of you to your dying day— ‘my own hands have brought this misery upon myself, and upon those who look up to me for bread.’
“I have only to add that which it may be a satisfaction to some of you to know, that we freely forgive to such the injury they have meditated against us. We are indeed too deeply concerned for your misfortunes to have much thought to bestrew upon our own. Farewell.”
The people slowly and silently dispersed, and few showed their faces abroad again that day.
ALL QUIET AGAIN.
Paul was one of the very few whom his employer selected to remain with him till the stock should be sold off and the concern closed. The Jones family had been one of the first to depart of the many who were gone to seek employment and a home. They settled in the place where their sons were apprenticed to different trades, and where they had a good name for honesty, industry, and prudence. the fund which they had saved in better days was sufficient to maintain them for some time, if, as was not likely, people so respectable should find it difficult to obtain employment. They left Paul in possession of their cottage, as he was unwilling to shift his work-bench, or leave off cutting corks till the last moment.
As he was thus employed late one evening, Mr. and Mrs. Wallace came to him. Sir. Wallace had heard from a friend of his engaged in a neighbouring iron-work, who wished to know whether an able over-looker could be recommended to him from among those who would be thrown out by the closing concern. Mr. Wallace was glad of this opportunity of securing a good situation for Paul, to whom he felt himself greatly indebted for his conduct during the riots, and whom he knew to be competent to the duties of such an office. Paul was duly obliged by this offer, but requested time to consider of it, as he had already the choice of two modes of investing his little capital,—one in a shop in London, and another in a Birmingham concern.
Mr. Wallace was surprised at the good fortune which placed before one man, in days like these, three employments to choose out of. Paul answered with a stern smile, that he owed it to his reputation of being a miser; misers having two good qualifications for partnership,—the possession of money, and a close attachment to the main chance.
“I wish I could see any aim in this desperate pursuit of money,” said Mr. Wallace, gravely.
Paul answered by going into the inner room and bringing out the picture which hung there.
“Can you guess who that is?” said he.
“It has occurred to me that it might be yourself; but I can trace little or no likeness now.”
“No wonder,” said Paul, looking at his blackened hands and sordid dress. “It is not myself, however, but a brother,—an only, elder brother, who died when I was twenty, and he twenty-one, just entering on the enjoyment of his property.”
“And did that property come to you?” asked Mrs. Wallace, in surprise.
“Every acre of it, with the mansion you see there. I lost it all by gaming and other pleasures-—pleasures indeed!—and in ten years was sitting in rags, without a crust in my wallet, as beggars usually have, on yonder hill where I traced the map of my future fortunes. I have an aim, sir. It is to get back that estate; to plant an oak for every one that has been felled; and to breed a buck for every one that has been slain since the gates were shut upon me for a graceless profligate.”
“Do you think you should be able to enjoy your property if you got it back again?” asked Mr. Wallace. “Or, perhaps, there is some family connexion to whom you wish to restore it by will?”
“Neither the one nor the other,” replied Paul. “I have not a relation in the world; and I see as clearly as you can do, that I shall be by that time too confirmed in my love of money to enjoy the pleasures of a fine estate. I shall screw my tenants, and grudge my venison, and sell all the furniture of the house but that of two rooms.”
“Then do propose to yourself some more rational object?” said Mrs. Wallace, kindly. “Let those have your estate who can enjoy it, and leave off accumulating money before it is too late, As soon as you have enough to buy and furnish a cottage, and afford a small income, give up business, and occupy yourself with books, and politics, and works of benevolence, and country sports and employments; with anything that may take off your attention from the bad pursuit which is ruining your health, and your mind, and your reputation.”
“If you do not,” said Mr. Wallace, “I shall wish, as the best thing that could happen to you, that you may lose all your gains.”
Paul raised his clenched fist, and ground his teeth at the mention of such a possibility. Mrs. Wallace turned pale at such a symptom of passion; but she thought it right to add,—
“You have twice had warning of the fleeting nature of riches. You have lost your own fortune, and seen the prosperity of this place overthrown. If you still make wealth your god, I hope you prepare yourself to find it vanish when you need it most. I hope you picture to yourself what it will be to die destitute of that for which alone you have lived.”
“Yet this,” added her husband, “is a better lot than to live and die miserable in the possession of that for which alone he has lived. Take your choice, Paul; for the one lot or the other will be yours unless you make a grand effort now.”
Paul was not inclined to dispute this; but he was not, therefore, the more disposed to make the effort. He was pronounced by everybody a man of strong character. Whatever pride he had in himself was in his strength of character. Yet he was weak,—weak as an idiot,—in the most important point of all.
He was once seen to smile compassionately on the perseverance of a little child who laboured through a whole sultry day in digging a little pond in his garden. By the time it was finished, and before it could be filled, it was bed-time, and a rainy night rendered it useless.
When Paul despised the labour of this child, he little thought how his own life would resemble that sultry day. He, too, spent his sunshiny hours in laborious preparation; and fell into his long sleep to find on waking that his toil had been in vain.
When the Wallaces at length took their final leave of the place, they alighted at Armstrong's, on their way, to say farewell. The old man was, as usual, in his garden.
“Are you the last, the very last?” said he.
“Except two or three workmen and servants who stay to pack a few things and lock up our house.”
“I hope then they will take down yonder clock which sounds to me like a funeral bell.”
“Can you hear it so far as this?”
“O yes. Hark! It is beginning to strike noon. I used to like its stroke when it brought the work-people flocking from their cottages in the morning, or when they came pouring out as it told their dinner hour. But now it only puts one in mind of days that are gone, and I shall be glad when it is down.”
“You do then see something to regret in the days you speak of?” said Mr. Wallace. “This is more than I expected from you.”
“I might not say so, perhaps,” returned the old man, “if yonder valley could be made what it once was. But that can never be; and there is no comparison between a settlement where art and industry thrive, and a greater number of human beings share its prosperity every year, and a scene like that, where there is everything to put one in mind of man but man himself.”
“And where,” said Mr. Wallace, “we are chiefly reminded of the ignorance and folly to which the change is owing. I should wish for your sake that we could raze all those buildings, and make the ground a smooth turf as it was before, if I did not hope that the works might be reopened,—though not by us,—in happier days.”
“I should be more glad to see such a day than I was to witness that which brought you here,” said the old man. “But my sands are nearly run; and, even if nobody shakes the glass, I can scarcely hope that anything will bring you back within my hour. But come,” he added, swallowing his emotion, “where's your lady?”
“Gone to speak to Mrs. Margaret. Will you gather her a bunch of your flowers before we go?”
“Aye, and a choice one; for she is a choice flower herself,” said the old man. “From the hour that I saw her walking over the heath in the wintry wind in her cloak and thick shoes to show a poor neighbour how to manage a new dropt calf, I pronounced you, sir, a happy man. Whatever fortune betides you, you will find a companion and helper in her.”
Mrs. Wallace appeared in time to put a stop to further praise of herself. She had left Mrs. Margaret engaged in admiration of a painting by the lady's own hands, which she wished to leave as a remembrance, and which henceforth ornamented the chimney-piece of the cottage, and occasioned more discourse than any other possession they had ever had.
Armstrong handed the lady gently down to the chaise. When it was out of sight, he was a long time tethering the gate; and the housekeeper observed that he drew his band across his eyes as he turned into his orchard plot.
Summary of Principles illustrated in this Volume.
Capital is something produced with a view to employment in further production.
Labour is the origin, and
Saving is the support, of Capital.
Capital consists of
Of these three parts, the first constitutes Fixed Capital: the second and third, Reproducible Capital.
Since Capital is derived from Labour, whatever economizes Labour assists the growth of Capital.
Machinery economizes Labour, and therefore assists the growth of Capital.
The growth of Capital increases the demand for Labour.
Machinery, by assisting the growth of Capital, therefore increases the demand for Labour.
In other words, Productive Industry is proportioned to Capital, whether that Capital be fixed or reproducible.
The interests of the two classes of producers, Labourers and Capitalists, are therefore the same; the prosperity of both depending on the accumulation of Capital.
London: Printed by W. Clowes, Stamford-street.