Put Yourself in His Place
Part 8 out of 13
many big saws as twenty men could grind on single stones: and
instead of all that heavy, coarse labor, and dirt, and splashing, my
two men shall do the work as quietly and as easily as two printers,
one feeding a machine with paper, and his mate drawing out the
printed sheet at the other end."
"By Jove," said Dr. Amboyne, "I believe this is a great idea. What
do you say, Mr. Bayne?"
"Well, sir, a servant mustn't always say his mind."
"Servant be hanged!" said Little. "THAT for a friend who does not
speak his mind."
"Well, then, gentlemen, it is the most simple and beautiful
contrivance I ever saw. And there's only one thing to be done with
"No; hide it; lock it up in your own breast, and try and forget it.
Your life won't be worth a week's purchase, if you set up that
machine in Hillsborough."
"Hillsborough is not all the world. I can take it to some free
country--America or--Russia; there's a fortune in it. Stop; suppose
I was to patent it at home and abroad, and then work it in the
United States and the Canadas. That would force the invention upon
this country, by degrees."
"Yes, and then, if you sell the English patent and insure the
purchaser's life, you may turn a few thousands, and keep a whole
Little assured Bayne he had no intention of running his head against
the Saw-grinders' Union. "We are very comfortable as it is, and I
value my life more than I used to do."
"I think I know why," said Dr. Amboyne. "But, whatever you do,
patent your invention. Patent them all."
Henry promised he would; but soon forgot his promise, and, having
tasted blood, so to speak, was soon deep in a far more intricate
puzzle, viz., how to grind large circular saws by machinery. This
problem, and his steel railway clip, which was to displace the
present system of fastening down the rails, absorbed him so, that he
became abstracted in the very streets, and did not see his friends
when they passed.
One day, when he was deeply engaged in his studio, Bayne tapped at
the door, and asked to speak to him.
"Well, what is it?" said the inventor, rather peevishly.
"Oh, nothing," said Bayne, with a bitter air of mock resignation.
"Only a cloud on the peaceful horizon; that is all. A letter from
"SIR,--Four of your saws are behindhand with their contributions,
and, being deaf to remonstrance, I am obliged to apply to you, to
use your influence.
"Well," said Henry, "Mary Anne is in the right. Confound their
dishonesty: they take the immense advantages the Saw-grinders' Union
gives them, yet they won't pay the weekly contribution, without
which the Union can't exist. Go and find out who they are, and blow
"What! me disturb the balmy?"
"Bother the balmy! I can't be worried with such trifles. I'm
"But, Mr. Little, would not the best way be for YOU just to stop it
quietly and peaceably out of their pay, and send it to Grotait?"
Little, after a moment's reflection, said he had no legal right to
do that. Besides, it was not his business to work the Saw-grinders'
Union for Grotait. "Who is this Mary Anne?"
"The saw-grinders, to be sure."
"What, all of them? Poor Mary Anne!"
He then inquired how he was to write back to her.
"Oh, write under cover to Grotait. He is Mary Anne, to all intents
"Well, write the jade a curt note, in both our names, and say we
disapprove the conduct of the defaulters, and will signify our
disapproval to them; but that is all we can do."
This letter was written, and Bayne made it as oleaginous as language
permits; and there the matter rested apparently.
But, as usual, after the polite came the phonetic. Next week Henry
got a letter thus worded:--
"MISTER LITL,--If them grinders of yores dosent send their money i
shall com an' fech strings if the devil stans i' t' road.
Mr. Little tossed this epistle contemptuously into the fire, and
Two days after that he came to the works, and found the saw grinders
standing in a group, with their hands in their pockets.
"Well, lads, what's up?"
"Mary Anne has been here."
"And two pair of wheel-bands gone."
"Well, men, you know whose fault it is."
"Nay, but it is ---- hard my work should be stopped because another
man is in arrears with trade. What d'ye think to do, Governor? buy
some more bands?"
"Certainly not. I won't pay for your fault. It is a just claim,
you know. Settle it among yourselves."
With this he retired to his studio.
When the men saw he did not care a button whether his grindstones
revolved or not, they soon brought the defaulters to book. Bayne
was sent upstairs, to beg Mr. Little to advance the trade
contributions, and step the amount from the defaulters' wages.
This being settled, Little and Bayne went to the "Cutlers' Arms,"
and Bayne addressed the barmaid thus, "Can we see Mary Anne?"
"He is shaving."
"Well, when she is shaved, we shall be in the parlor, tell her."
In a moment or two Grotait bustled in, wiping his face with a towel
as he came, and welcomed his visitors cordially. "Fine weather,
Bayne cut that short. "Mr. Grotait, we have lost our bands."
"You surprise me."
"And perhaps you can tell us how to get them back."
"Experience teaches that they always come back when the men pay
"Well, it is agreed to stop the sum due, out of wages."
"A very proper course."
"What is it we have got to pay?"
"How can I tell you without book? Pray, Mr. Little, don't imagine
that I set these matters agate. All I do is to mediate afterward.
I'll go and look at the contribution-book."
He went out, and soon returned, and told them it was one sovereign
contribution from each man, and five shillings each for Mary Anne.
"What, for her services in rattening us?" said Little, dryly.
"And her risk," suggested Grotait, in dulcet tones.
Little paid the five pounds, and then asked Grotait for the bands.
"Good heavens, Mr. Little, do you think I have got your bands?"
"You must excuse Mr. Little, sir," said Bayne. "He is a stranger,
and doesn't know the comedy. Perhaps you will oblige us with a note
where we can find them."
"Hum!" said Grotait, with the air of one suddenly illuminated.
"What did I hear somebody say about these bands? Hum! Give me an
hour or two to make inquiries."
"Don't say an hour or two, sir, when the men have got to make up
lost time. We will give you a little grace; we will take a walk
down street, and perhaps it will come to your recollection."
"Hum!" said Grotait; and as that was clearly all they were to get
out of him just then they left and took a turn.
In half an hour they came back again, and sat down in the parlor.
Grotait soon joined them. "I've been thinking," said he, "what a
pity it is we can't come to some friendly arrangement with
intelligent masters, like Mr. Little, to deduct the natty money
every week from the men's wages."
"Excuse me," said Bayne, "we are not here for discussion. We want
"Do you doubt that you will get them, sir? Did ever I break faith
with master or man?"
"No, no," said the pacific Bayne, alarmed at the sudden sternness of
his tone. "You are as square as a die--when you get it all your own
way. Why, Mr. Little, Cheetham's bands were taken one day, and,
when he had made the men pay their arrears, he was directed where to
find the bands; but, meantime, somebody out of trade had found them,
and stolen them. Down came bran-new bands to the wheel directly,
and better than we had lost. And my cousin Godby, that has a water-
wheel, was rattened, by his scythe-blades being flung in the dam.
He squared with Mary Anne, and then he got a letter to say where the
blades were. But one was missing. He complained to Mr. Grotait
here, and Mr. Grotait put his hand in his pocket directly, and paid
the trade-price of the blade--three shillings, I think it was."
"Yes," said Grotait; "'but,' I remember I said at the time, 'you
must not construe this that I was any way connected with the
rattening.' But some are deaf to reason. Hallo!"
"What is the matter, sir?"
"Why, what is that in the fender? Your eyes are younger than mine."
And Mr. Grotait put up his gold double eyeglass, and looked with
marked surprise and curiosity, at a note that lay in the fender.
Mr. Bayne had been present at similar comedies, and was not polite
enough to indorse Mr. Grotait's surprise. He said, coolly, "It will
be the identical note we are waiting for." He stooped down and took
it out of the fender, and read it.
"'To Mr. LITTLE, or MR. BAYNE.
"'GENTLEMEN,--In the bottom hull turn up the horsing, and in the
trough all the missing bands will be found. Apologizing for the
little interruption, it is satisfactory things are all arranged
without damage, and hope all will go agreeably when the rough edge
is worn off. Trusting these nocturnal visits will be no longer
necessary, I remain,
"'THE SHY MAIDEN.'"
As soon as he had obtained this information, Bayne bustled off; but
Mary Anne detained Henry Little, to moralize.
Said she, "This rattening for trade contributions is the result of
bad and partial laws. If A contracts with B, and breaks his
contract, B has no need to ratten A: he can sue him. But if A,
being a workman, contracts with B and all the other letters, and
breaks his contract, B and all the other letters have no legal
remedy. This bad and partial law, occurring in a country that has
tasted impartial laws, revolts common sense and the consciences of
men. Whenever this sort of thing occurs in any civilized country,
up starts that pioneer judge we call Judge Lynch; in other words,
private men combine, and make their own laws, to cure the folly of
legislatures. And, mark me, if these irregular laws are unjust,
they fail; if they are just, they stand. Rattening could never have
stood its ground so many years in Hillsborough, if it had not been
just, and necessary to the place, under the partial and iniquitous
laws of Great Britain."
"And pray," inquired Little, "where is the justice of taking a
master's gear because his paid workman is in your debt?"
"And where is the justice of taking a lodger's goods in execution
for the house-tenant's debt, which debt the said lodger is helping
the said tenant to pay? We must do the best we can. No master is
rattened for a workman's fault without several warnings. But the
masters will never co-operate with justice till their bands and
screws go. That wakes them up directly."
"Well, Mr. Grotait, I never knew you worsted in an argument: and
this nut is too hard for my teeth, so I'm off to my work. Ratten me
now and then for your own people's fault, if you are QUITE sure
justice and public opinion demand it; but no more gunpowder,
"Heaven forbid, Mr. Little. Gunpowder! I abhor it."
There came a delightful letter from Grace Carden, announcing her
return on a certain evening, and hoping to see Henry next morning.
He called accordingly, and was received with outstretched hands and
sparkling eyes, and words that repaid him for her absence.
After the first joyful burst, she inquired tenderly why he was so
pale: had he been ill?
"No trouble nor anxiety, dear?"
"A little, at first, till your sweet letters made me happy. No; I
did not even know that I was pale. Overstudy, I suppose. Inventing
is hard work."
"What are you inventing?"
"All manner of things. Machine to forge large axes; another to
grind circular saws; a railway clip: but you don't care about such
"I beg your pardon, sir. I care about whatever interests you."
"Well, these inventions interest me very much. One way or other,
they are roads to fortune; and you know why I desire fortune."
"Ah, that I do. But excuse me, you value independence more. Oh, I
respect you for it. Only don't make yourself pale, or you will make
me unhappy, and a foe to invention."
On this Mr. Little made himself red instead of pale, and beamed with
They spent a delightful hour together, and, even when they parted,
their eyes lingered on each other.
Soon after this the Cardens gave a dinner-party, and Grace asked if
she might invite Mrs. Little and Mr. Little.
"What, is he presentable?"
"More than that," said Grace, coloring. "They are both very
superior to most of our Hillsborough friends."
"Well, but did you not tell me he had quarreled with Mr. Raby?"
"No, not quarreled. Mr. Raby offered to make him his heir: but he
chooses to be independent, and make his own fortune, that's all."
"Well, if you think our old friend would not take it amiss, invite
them by all means. I remember her a lovely woman."
So the Littles were invited; and the young ladies admired Mr. Little
on the whole, but sneered at him a little for gazing on Miss Carden,
as if she was a divinity: the secret, which escaped the father,
girls of seventeen detected in a minute, and sat whispering over it
in the drawing-room.
After this invitation, Henry and his mother called, and then Grace
called on Mrs. Little; and this was a great step for Henry, the more
so as the ladies really took to each other.
The course of true love was beginning to run smooth, when it was
disturbed by Mr. Coventry.
That gentleman's hopes had revived in London; Grace Carden had been
very kind and friendly to him, and always in such good spirits, that
he thought absence had cured her of Little, and his turn was come
again. The most experienced men sometimes mistake a woman in this
way. The real fact was that Grace, being happy herself, thanks to a
daily letter from the man she adored, had not the heart to be unkind
to another, whose only fault was loving her, and to whom she feared
she had not behaved very well. However, Mr. Coventry did mistake
her. He was detained in town by business, but he wrote Mr. Carden a
charming letter, and proposed formally for his daughter's hand.
Mr. Carden had seen the proposal coming this year and more; so he
was not surprised; but he was gratified. The letter was put into
his hand while he was dressing for dinner. Of course he did not
open the subject before the servants: but, as soon as they had
retired, he said, "Grace, I want your attention on a matter of
Grace stared a little, but said faintly, "Yes, papa," and all manner
of vague maidenly misgivings crowded through her brain.
"My child, you are my only one, and the joy of the house; and need I
say I shall feel your loss bitterly whenever your time comes to
"Then I never will leave you," cried Grace, and came and wreathed
her arms round his neck.
He kissed her, and parting her hair, looked with parental fondness
at her white brow, and her deep clear eyes.
"You shall never leave me, for the worse," said he: "but you are
sure to marry some day, and therefore it is my duty to look
favorably on a downright good match. Well, my dear, such a match
offers itself. I have a proposal for you."
"I am sorry to hear it."
"Wait till you hear who it is. It is Mr. Coventry, of Bollinghope."
Grace sighed, and looked very uncomfortable.
"Why, what is the matter? you always used to like him."
"So I do now; but not for a husband."
"I see no one to whom I could resign you so willingly. He is well
born and connected, has a good estate, not too far from your poor
"He speaks pure English: now these Hillsborough manufacturers, with
their provincial twang, are hardly presentable in London society."
"Dear papa, Mr. Coventry is an accomplished gentleman, who has done
me the highest honor he can. You must decline him very politely:
but, between ourselves, I am a little angry with him, because he
knows I do not love him; and I am afraid he has made this offer to
YOU, thinking you might be tempted to constrain my affections: but
you won't do that, my own papa, will you? you will not make your
child unhappy, who loves you?"
"No, no. I will never let you make an imprudent match; but I won't
force you into a good one."
"And you know I shall never marry without your consent, papa. But
I'm only nineteen, and I don't want to be driven away to
"And I'm sure I don't want to drive you away anywhere. Mine will be
a dull, miserable home without you. Only please tell me what to say
"Oh, I leave that to you. I have often admired the way you soften
your refusals. 'Le seigneur Jupiter sait dorer la pillule'--there,
"Well, I suppose I must say--"
"Let me see what HE says first."
She scanned the letter closely, to see whether there was any thing
that could point to Henry Little. But there was not a word to
indicate he feared a rival, though the letter was any thing but
Then Grace coaxed her father, and told him she feared her
inexperience had made her indiscreet. She had liked Mr. Coventry's
conversation, and perhaps had, inadvertently, given him more
encouragement than she intended: would he be a good, kind papa, and
get her out of the scrape, as creditably as he could? She relied on
his superior wisdom. So then he kissed her, and said he would do
He wrote a kind, smooth letter, gilding and double-gilding the pill.
He said, amongst the rest, that there appeared to be no ground of
refusal, except a strong disinclination to enter the wedded state.
"I believe there is no one she likes as well as you; and, as for
myself, I know no gentleman to whom I would so gladly confide my
daughter's happiness," etc., etc.
He handed this letter to his daughter to read, but she refused. "I
have implicit confidence in you," said she.
Mr. Coventry acknowledged receipt of the letter, thanked Mr. Carden
for the kind and feeling way in which he had inflicted the wound,
and said that he had a verbal communication to make before he could
quite drop the matter; would be down in about a fort-night.
Soon after this Grace dined with Mrs. Little: and, the week after
that, Henry contrived to meet her at a ball, and, after waiting
patiently some time, he waltzed with her.
This waltz was another era in their love. It was an inspired whirl
of two lovers, whose feet hardly felt the ground, and whose hearts
bounded and thrilled, and their cheeks glowed, and their eyes shot
fire; and when Grace was obliged to stop, because the others
stopped, her elastic and tense frame turned supple and soft
directly, and she still let her eyes linger on his, and her hand
nestle in his a moment: this, and a faint sigh of pleasure and
tenderness, revealed how sweet her partner was to her.
Need I say the first waltz was not the last? and that evening they
were more in love than ever, if possible.
Mr. Coventry came down from London, and, late that evening, he and
Mr. Carden met at the Club.
Mr. Carden found him in an arm-chair, looking careworn and unhappy,
and felt quite sorry for him. He hardly knew what to say to him;
but Coventry with his usual grace relieved him; he rose, and shook
hands, and even pressed Mr. Carden's hand, and held it.
Mr. Carden was so touched, that he pressed his hand in return, and
said, "Courage! my poor fellow; the case is not desperate, you
Mr. Coventry shook his head, and sat down. Mr. Carden sat down
"Why, Coventry, it is not as if there was another attachment."
"There IS another attachment; at least I have too much reason to
fear so. But you shall judge for yourself. I have long paid my
respectful addresses to Miss Carden, and I may say without vanity
that she used to distinguish me beyond her other admirers; I was not
the only one who thought so; Mr. Raby has seen us together, and he
asked me to meet her at Raby Hall. There I became more particular
in my attentions, and those attentions, sir, were well received."
"But were they UNDERSTOOD? that is the question."
"Understood and received, upon my honor."
"Then she will marry you, soon or late: for I'm sure there is no
other man. Grace was never deceitful."
"All women are deceitful."
"Let me explain: all women, worthy of the name, are cowards; and
cowardice drives them to deceit, even against their will. Pray bear
me to an end. On the fifth of last December, I took Miss Carden to
the top of Cairnhope hill. I showed her Bollinghope in the valley,
and asked her to be its mistress."
"And what did she say? Yes, or no?"
"She made certain faint objections, such as a sweet, modest girl
like her makes as a matter of course, and then she yielded."
"What! consented to be your wife?"
"Not in those very words; but she said she esteemed me, and she knew
I loved her; and, when I asked her whether I might speak to you, she
"But that was as good as accepting you."
"I am glad you agree with me. You know, Mr. Carden, thousands have
been accepted in that very form. Well, sir, the next thing was we
were caught in that cursed snow-storm."
"Yes, she has told me all about that."
"Not all, I suspect. We got separated for a few minutes, and I
found her in an old ruined church, where a sort of blacksmith was
working at his forge. I found her, sir, I might say almost in the
blacksmith's arms. I thought little of that at first: any man has a
right to succor any woman in distress: but, sir, I discovered that
Miss Carden and this man were acquaintances: and, by degrees, I
found, to my horror, that he had a terrible power over her."
"What do you mean, sir? Do you intend to affront us?"
"No. And, if the truth gives you pain, pray remember it gives me
agony. However, I must tell you the man was not what he looked, a
mere blacksmith; he is a sort of Proteus, who can take all manner of
shapes: at the time I'm speaking of, he was a maker of carving
tools. Well, sir, you could hardly believe the effect of this
accidental interview with that man: the next day, when I renewed my
addresses, Miss Carden evaded me, and was as cold as she had been
kind: she insisted on it she was not engaged to me, and said she
would not marry anybody for two years; and this, I am sorry to say,
was not her own idea, but this Little's; for I overheard him ask her
to wait two years for him."
"Little! What, Raby's new nephew?"
"That is the man."
Mr. Carden was visibly discomposed by this communication. He did
not choose to tell Coventry how shocked he was at his own daughter's
conduct; but, after a considerable pause, he said, "If what you have
told me is the exact truth, I shall interpose parental authority,
and she shall keep her engagement with you, in spite of all the
Littles in the world."
"Pray do not be harsh," said Coventry.
"No, but I shall be firm."
"Insanity in his family, for one thing," suggested Coventry,
scarcely above a whisper.
"That is true; his father committed suicide. But really that
consideration is not needed. My daughter must keep her engagements,
as I keep mine."
With this understanding the friends parted.
Grace happened to have a headache next morning, and did not come
down to breakfast: but it was Saturday, and Mr. Carden always
lunched at home on that day. So did Grace, because it was one of
Little's days. This gave Mr. Carden the opportunity he wanted.
When they were alone he fixed his eyes on his daughter, and said
quietly, "What is your opinion of--a jilt?"
"A heartless, abominable creature," replied Grace, as glibly as if
she was repeating some familiar catechism.
"Would you like to be called one?"
"Is there nobody who has the right to apply the term to you?"
"I hope not." (Red.)
"You encouraged Mr. Coventry's addresses?"
"I am afraid I did not discourage them, as I wish I had. It is so
hard to foresee every thing."
"Pray do you remember the fifth day of last December?"
"Can I ever forget it?" (Redder.)
"Is it true that Mr. Coventry proposed for you, that day?"
"And you accepted him."
"No; no. Then he has told you so? How ungenerous! All I did was,
I hesitated, and cried, and didn't say 'no,' downright--like a fool.
Oh, papa, have pity on me, and save me." And now she was pale.
Mr. Carden's paternal heart was touched by this appeal, but he was
determined to know the whole truth. "You could love him, in time, I
"Now tell me the truth. Have you another attachment?"
"Yes, dear papa." (In a whisper and as red as fire.)
"Somebody of whom you are not proud."
"I AM proud of him. He is Mr. Coventry's superior. He is
everybody's superior in everything in the world."
"No, Grace, you can hardly be proud of your attachment; if you had
been, you would not have hidden it all this time from your father."
And Mr. Carden sighed.
Grace burst out crying, and flung herself on her knees and clung,
sobbing, to him.
"There, there," said he, "I don't want to reproach you; but to
"Oh, papa! Take and kill me. Do: I want to die."
"Foolish child! Be calm now; and let us talk sense."
At this moment there was a peculiar ring at the door, a ring not
violent, but vigorous.
Grace started and looked terrified: "Papa!" said she, "say what you
like to me, but do not affront HIM; for you might just as well take
that knife and stab your daughter to the heart. I love him so.
Have pity on me."
The servant announced "Mr. Little!"
Grace started up, and stood with her hand gripping the chair; her
cheek was pale, and her eyes glittered; she looked wild, and
evidently strained up to defend her lover.
All this did not escape Mr. Carden. He said gently, "Show him into
the library." Then to Grace as soon as the servant had retired,
"Come here, my child."
She knelt at his knees again, and turned her imploring, streaming
eyes up to him.
"Is it really so serious as all this?"
"Papa, words cannot tell you how I love. But if you affront him,
and he leaves me, you will see how I love him; you will know, by my
grave-side, how I love him."
"Then I suppose I must swallow my disappointment how I can."
"It shall be no disappointment; he will do you honor and me too."
"But he can't make a settlement on his wife, and no man shall marry
my daughter till he can do that."
"We can wait," said Grace, humbly.
"Yes, wait--till you and your love are both worn out."
"I shall wear out before my love."
Mr. Carden looked at her, as she knelt before him, and his heart was
very much softened. "Will you listen to reason at all?" said he.
"From you, I will, dear papa." She added, swiftly, "and then you
will listen to affection, will you not?"
"Yes. Promise me there shall be no formal engagement, and I will
let him come now and then."
This proposal, though not very pleasant, relieved Grace of such
terrible fears, that she consented eagerly.
Mr. Carden then kissed her, and rose, to go to young Little; but,
before he had taken three steps, she caught him by the arm, and
said, imploringly, "Pray remember while you are speaking to him that
you would not have me to bestow on any man but for him; for he saved
my life, and Mr. Coventry's too. Mr. Coventry forgets that: but
don't you: and, if you wound him, you wound me; he carries my heart
in his bosom."
Mr. Carden promised he would do his duty as kindly as possible; and
with that Grace was obliged to content herself.
When he opened the library door, young Little started up, his face
irradiated with joy. Mr. Carden smiled a little satirically, but he
was not altogether untouched by the eloquent love for his daughter,
thus showing itself in a very handsome and amiable face. He said,
"It is not the daughter this time, sir, it is only the father."
Little colored up and looked very uneasy.
"Mr. Little, I am told you pay your addresses to Miss Carden. Is
"You have never given me any intimation."
Little colored still more. He replied, with some hesitation, "Why,
sir, you see I was brought up amongst workmen, and they court the
girl first, and make sure of her, before they trouble the parents;
and, besides, it was not ripe for your eye yet."
"Because I'm no match for Miss Carden. But I hope to be, some day."
"And she is to wait for you till then?"
"She says she will."
"Well, Mr. Little, this is a delicate matter; but you are a
straightforward man, I see, and it is the best way. Now I must do
my duty as a parent, and I am afraid I shall not be able to do that
without mortifying you a little; but believe me, it is not from any
dislike or disrespect to you, but only because it IS my duty."
"I am much obliged to you, sir; and I'll bear more from you than I
would from any other man. You are her father, and I hope you'll be
mine one day."
"Well, then, Mr. Little, I always thought my daughter would marry a
gentleman in this neighborhood, who has paid her great attention for
years, and is a very suitable match for her. You are the cause of
that match being broken off, and I am disappointed. But although I
am disappointed, I will not be harsh nor unreasonable to you. All I
say is this: my daughter shall never marry any man, nor engage
herself to any man, who cannot make a proper settlement on her. Can
YOU make a proper settlement on her?"
"Not at present," said Little, with a sigh.
"Then I put it to you, as a man, is it fair of you to pay her open
attentions, and compromise her? You must not think me very
mercenary; I am not the man to give my daughter to the highest
bidder. But there is a medium."
"I understand you, sir, so far. But what am I to do? Am I to leave
off loving, and hoping, and working, and inventing? You might as
well tell me to leave off living."
"No, my poor boy; I don't say that, neither. If it is really for
her you work, and invent, and struggle with fortune so nobly as I
know you do, persevere, and may God speed you. But, meantime, be
generous, and don't throw yourself in her way to compromise her."
The young man was overpowered by the kindness and firmness of his
senior, who was also Grace's father. He said, in a choking voice,
there was no self-denial he would not submit to, if it was
understood that he might still love Grace, and might marry her as
soon as he could make a proper settlement on her.
Then Mr. Carden, on his part, went further than he had intended, and
assented distinctly to all this, provided the delay was not
unreasonable in point of time. "I can't have her whole life
"Give me two years: I'll win her or lose her in that time." He then
asked, piteously, if he might see her.
"I am sorry to say No to that," was the reply; "but she has been
already very much agitated, and I should be glad to spare her
further emotion. You need not doubt her attachment to you, nor my
esteem. You are a very worthy, honest young man, and your conduct
does much to reconcile me to what I own is a disappointment."
Having thus gilded the pill, Mr. Carden shook hands with Henry
Little, and conducted him politely to the street door.
The young man went away slowly; for he was disconsolate at not
But, when he got home, his stout Anglo-Saxon heart reacted, and he
faced the situation.
He went to his mother and told her what had passed. She colored
with indignation, but said nothing.
"Well, mother, of course it might be better; but then it might be
worse. It's my own fault now if I lose her. Cutlery won't do it in
the time, but Invention will: so, from this hour, I'm a practical
inventor, and nothing but death shall stop me."
Grace Carden ran to the window, and saw Henry Little go away slowly,
and hanging his head. This visible dejection in her manly lover
made her heart rise to her throat, and she burst out sobbing and
weeping with alarming violence.
Mr. Carden found her in this state, and set himself to soothe her.
He told her the understanding he had come to with Mr. Little, and
begged her to be as reasonable and as patient as her lover was. But
the appeal was not successful. "He came to see me," she cried, "and
he has gone away without seeing me. You have begun to break both
our hearts, with your reason and your prudence. One comfort, mine
will break first; I have not his fortitude. Oh, my poor Henry! He
has gone away, hanging his head, broken-hearted: that is what you
have DONE for me. After that, what are words? Air--air--and you
can't feed hungry hearts with air."
"Well, my child, I am sorry now I did not bring him in here. But I
really did it for the best. I wished to spare you further agitation."
Agitation!" And she opened her eyes with astonishment. "Why, it is
you who agitate me. He would have soothed me in a moment. One kind
and hopeful word from him, one tender glance of his dear eye, one
pressure of his dear hard hand, and I could have borne anything; but
that drop of comfort you denied us both. Oh, cruel! cruel!"
"Calm yourself, Grace, and remember whom you are speaking to. It
was an error in judgment, perhaps--nothing more."
"But, then, if you know nothing about love, and its soothing power,
why meddle with it at all?"
"Grace," said Mr. Carden, sadly, but firmly, "we poor parents are
all prepared for this. After many years of love and tenderness
bestowed on our offspring, the day is sure to come when the young
thing we have reared with so much care and tenderness will meet a
person of her own age, a STRANGER; and, in a month or two, all our
love, our care, our anxiety, our hopes, will be nothing in the
balance. This wound is in store for us all. We foresee it; we
receive it; we groan under it; we forgive it. We go patiently on,
and still give our ungrateful children the benefit of our love and
our experience. I have seen in my own family that horrible mixture,
Gentility and Poverty. In our class of life, poverty is not only
poverty, it is misery, and meanness as well. My income dies with
me. My daughter and her children shall not go back to the misery
and meanness out of which I have struggled. They shall be secured
against it by law, before she marries, or she shall marry under her
Then Grace was frightened, and said she should never marry under her
father's curse; but (with a fresh burst of weeping) what need was
there to send Henry away without seeing her, and letting them
comfort each other under this sudden affliction? "Ah, I was too
happy this morning," said the poor girl. "I was singing before
breakfast. Jael always told me not to do that. Oh! oh! oh!"
Mr. Carden kept silence; but his fortitude was sorely tried.
That day Grace pleaded headache, and did not appear to dinner. Mr.
Carden dined alone, and missed her bright face sadly. He sent his
love to her, and went off to the club, not very happy. At the club
he met Mr. Coventry, and told him frankly what he had done. Mr.
Coventry, to his surprise, thanked him warmly. "She will be mine in
two years," said he. "Little will never be able to make a
settlement on her." This remark set Mr. Carden thinking.
Grace watched the window day after day, but Henry never came nor
passed. She went a great deal more than usual into the town, in
hopes of meeting him by the purest accident. She longed to call on
Mrs. Little, but feminine instinct withheld her; she divined that
Mrs. Little must be deeply offended.
She fretted for a sight of Henry, and for an explanation, in which
she might clear herself, and show her love, without being in the
least disobedient to her father. Now all this was too subtle to be
written. So she fretted and pined for a meeting.
While she was in this condition, and losing color every day, who
should call one day--to reconnoiter, I suppose--but Mr. Coventry.
Grace was lying on the sofa, languid and distraite, when he was
announced. She sat up directly, and her eye kindled.
Mr. Coventry came in with his usual grace and cat-like step. "Ah,
Miss Carden rose majestically to her feet, made him a formal
courtesy, and swept out of the room, without deigning him a word.
She went to the study, and said, "Papa, here's a friend of yours--
"Dear me, I am very busy. I wish you would amuse him for a few
minutes till I have finished this letter."
"Excuse me, papa; I cannot stay in the same room with Mr. Coventry."
"Why not, pray?"
"He is a dangerous man: he compromises one. He offered me an
engagement-ring, and I refused it; yet he made you believe we were
engaged. You have taken care I shall not be compromised with the
man I love; and shall I be compromised with the man I don't care
for? No, thank you."
"Very well, Grace," said Mr. Carden, coldly.
Shortly after this Mr. Carden requested Dr. Amboyne to call; he
received the doctor in his study, and told him that he was beginning
to be uneasy about Grace; she was losing her appetite, her color,
and her spirits. Should he send her to the seaside?
"The seaside! I distrust conventional remedies. Let me see the
He entered the room and found her coloring a figure she had drawn:
it was a beautiful woman, with an anchor at her feet. The door was
open, and the doctor, entering softly, saw a tear fall on the work
from a face so pale and worn with pining, that he could hardly
repress a start; he did repress it though, for starts are
unprofessional; he shook hands with her in his usual way. "Sorry to
hear you are indisposed, my dear Miss Grace." He then examined her
tongue, and felt her pulse; and then he sat down, right before her,
and fixed his eyes on her. "How long have you been unwell?"
"I am not unwell that I know of," said Grace, a little sullenly.
"One reason I ask, I have another patient, who has been attacked
somewhat in the same way."
Grace colored, and fixed a searching eye on the doctor. "Do I know
"No. For it happens to be a male patient."
"Perhaps it is going about."
"Possibly; this is the age of competition. Still it is hard you
can't have a little malady of this kind all to yourself; don't you
At this Grace laughed hysterically.
"Come, none of that before me," said the doctor sternly.
She stopped directly, frightened. The doctor smiled.
Mr. Carden peeped in from his study. "When you have done with her,
come and prescribe for me. I am a little out of sorts too." With
this, he retired. "That means you are to go and tell him what is
the matter with me," said Grace bitterly.
"Is his curiosity unjustifiable?"
"Oh no. Poor papa!" Then she asked him dryly if he knew what was
the matter with her.
"I think I do."
"Then cure me." This with haughty incredulity.
"I'll try; and a man can but do his best. I'll tell you one thing:
if I can't cure you, no doctor in the world can: see how modest I
am. Now for papa."
She let him go to the very door: and then a meek little timid voice
said, in a scarce audible murmur, "Doctor!"
Now when this meek murmur issued from a young lady who had, up to
this period of the interview, been rather cold and cutting, the
sagacious doctor smiled. "My dear?" said he, in a very gentle
"Doctor! about your other patient!"
"Is he as bad as I am? For indeed, my dear friend, I feel--my food
has no taste--life itself no savor. I used to go singing, now I sit
sighing. Is he as bad as I am?"
"I'll tell you the truth; his malady is as strong as yours; but he
has the great advantage of being a man; and, again, of being a man
of brains. He is a worker, and an inventor; and now, instead of
succumbing tamely to his disorder, he is working double tides, and
inventing with all his might, in order to remove an obstacle between
him and one he loves with all his manly soul. A contest so noble
and so perpetual sustains and fortifies the mind. He is
indomitable; only, at times, his heart of steel will soften, and
then he has fits of deep dejection and depression, which I mourn to
see; for his manly virtues, and his likeness to one I loved deeply
in my youth, have made him dear to me."
During this Grace turned her head away, and, ere the doctor ended,
her tears were flowing freely; for to her, being a woman, this
portrait of a male struggle with sorrow was far more touching than
any description of feminine and unresisted grief could be: and, when
the doctor said he loved his patient, she stole her little hand into
his in a way to melt Old Nick, if he is a male. Ladies, forgive the
"Doctor," said she, affecting all of a sudden a little air of small
sprightliness, very small, "now, do--you--think--it would do your
patient--the least good in the world--if you were to take him this?"
She handed him her work, and then she blushed divinely.
"Why, it is a figure of Hope."
"I think it might do him a great deal of good."
"You could say I painted it for him."
"So I will. That will do him no harm neither. Shall I say I found
you crying over it?"
"Oh, no! no! That would make him cry too, perhaps."
"Ah, I forgot that. Grace, you are an angel."
"Ah, no. But you can tell him I am--if you think so. That will do
him no great harm--will it?"
"Not an atom to him; but it will subject me to a pinch for stale
news. There, give me my patient's picture, and let me go."
She kissed the little picture half-furtively, and gave it him, and
let him go; only, as he went out at the door, she murmured, "Come
Now, when this artful doctor got outside the door, his face became
grave all of a sudden, for he had seen enough to give him a degree
of anxiety he had not betrayed to his interesting patient herself.
"Well, doctor?" said Mr. Carden, affecting more cheerfulness than he
felt. "Nothing there beyond your skill, I suppose?"
"Her health is declining rapidly. Pale, hollow-eyed, listless,
languid--not the same girl."
"Is it bodily do you think, or only mental?"
"Mental as to its cause; but bodily in the result. The two things
are connected in all of us, and very closely in Miss Carden. Her
organization is fine, and, therefore, subtle. She is tuned in a
high key. Her sensibility is great; and tough folk, like you and
me, must begin by putting ourselves in her place before we prescribe
for her, otherwise our harsh hands may crush a beautiful, but too
"Good heavens!" said Carden, beginning to be seriously alarmed, "do
you mean to say you think, if this goes on, she will be in any
"Why, if it were to go on at the same rate, it would be very
serious. She must have lost a stone in weight already."
"What, my child! my sweet Grace! Is it possible her life--"
"And do you think your daughter is not mortal like other people?
The young girls that are carried past your door to the churchyard
one after another, had they no fathers?"
At this blunt speech the father trembled from head to foot.
"Doctor," said Mr. Carden, "you are an old friend, and a discreet
man; I will confide the truth to you."
"You may save yourself the trouble. I have watched the whole
progress of this amour up to the moment when you gave them the
advantage of your paternal wisdom, and made them both miserable."
"It is very unreasonable of them, to be miserable."
"Oh, lovers parted could never yet make themselves happy with
"But why do you say parted? All I said was, 'No engagement till you
can make a settlement: and don't compromise her in the meanwhile.'
I did not mean to interdict occasional visits."
"Then why not say so? That is so like people. You made your
unfavorable stipulation plain enough; but the little bit of comfort,
you left that in doubt. This comes of not putting yourself in his
place. I have had a talk with him about it, and he thinks he is not
to show his face here till he is rich enough to purchase your
daughter of you."
"But I tell you he has misunderstood me."
"Then write to him and say so."
"No, no; you take an opportunity to let him know he has really
rather overrated my severity, and that I trust to his honor, and do
not object to a visit--say once a week."
"It is a commission I will undertake with pleasure."
"And do you really think that will do her bodily health any good?"
Before Doctor Amboyne could reply, the piano was suddenly touched in
the next room, and a sweet voice began to sing a cheerful melody.
"Hush!" said Doctor Amboyne. "Surely I know that tune. Yes, I have
heard THE OTHER whistle it."
"She has not sung for ever so long," remarked Mr. Carden.
"And I think I can tell you why she is singing now: look at this
picture of Hope; I just told her I had a male patient afflicted with
her complaint, and the quick-witted creature asked me directly if I
thought this picture would do him any good. I said yes, and I'd
take it to him."
"Come, doctor, that couldn't make her SING."
"Why not? Heart can speak to heart, even by a flower or a picture.
The separation was complete; sending this symbol has broken it a
little, and so she is singing. This is a lesson for us ruder and
less subtle spirits. Now mind, thwarted love seldom kills a busy
man; but it often kills an idle woman, and your daughter is an idle
woman. He is an iron pot, she is a china vase. Please don't hit
them too hard with the hammer of paternal wisdom, or you will dent
my iron pot, and break your china vase to atoms."
Having administered this warning, Dr. Amboyne went straight from
Woodbine Villa to Little's factory; but Little was still in London;
he had gone there to take out patents. Bayne promised to send the
doctor a line immediately on his return. Nevertheless, a fortnight
elapsed, and then Dr. Amboyne received a short, mysterious line to
tell him Mr. Little had come home, and would be all the better of a
visit. On receipt of this the doctor went at once to the works, and
found young Little lying on his carpenter's bench in a sort of
gloomy apathy. "Hallo!" said the doctor, in his cheerful way, "why
what's the matter now?"
"I'm fairly crushed," groaned the inventor.
"And what has crushed you?"
"The roundabout swindle."
"There, now, he invents words as well as things. Come, tell me all
about the roundabout swindle."
"No, no; I haven't the heart left to go through it all again, even
in words. One would think an inventor was the enemy of the human
race. Yes, I will tell you; the sight of you has revived me a bit;
it always does. Well, then, you know I am driven to invention now;
it is my only chance; and, ever since Mr. Carden spoke to me, I have
given my whole soul to the best way of saw-grinding by machinery.
The circular saws beat me for a while, but I mastered them; see,
there's the model. I'm going to burn it this very afternoon. Well,
a month ago, I took the other model--the long-saw grinder--up to
London, to patent the invention, as you advised me. I thought I'd
just have to exhibit the model, and lodge the description in some
Government office, and pay a fee, of course, to some swell, and so
be quit of it. Lord bless you--first I had to lay the specification
before the Court of Chancery, and write a petition to the Queen, and
pay, and, what is worse, wait. When I had paid and waited, I got my
petition signed, not by the Queen, but by some go-between, and then
I must take it to the Attorney-general. He made me pay--and wait.
When I had waited ever so long, I was sent back to where I had come
from--the Home Office. But even then I could not get to the Queen.
Another of her go-betweens nailed me, and made me pay, and wait:
these locusts steal your time as well as your money. At last, a
copy of a copy of a copy of my patent got to the Queen, and she
signed it like a lady at once, and I got it back. Then I thought I
was all right. Not a bit of it: the Queen's signature wasn't good
till another of her go-betweens had signed it. I think it was the
Home Secretary this time. This go-between bled me again, and sent
me with my hard-earned signatures to the Patent Office. There they
drafted, and copied, and docketed, and robbed me of more time and
money. And, when all was done, I had to take the document back to
one of the old go-betweens that I hoped I had worn out, the
Attorney-general. He signed, and bled me out of some more money.
From him to the other go-betweens at Whitehall. From them to the
Stamp Office, if I remember right, and oh Lord, didn't I fall among
leeches there? They drafted, they copied, they engrossed, they
juggled me out of time and money without end. The first leech was
called the Lord Keeper of the Seal; the second leech was called the
Lord Chancellor; it was some go-between that acted in his name; the
third leech was the Clerk of the Patents. They demanded more
copies, and then employed more go-betweens to charge ten times the
value of a copy, and nailed the balance, no doubt. 'Stand and
deliver thirty pounds for this stamp.' 'Stand and deliver to me
that call myself the Chancellor's purse-bearer--and there's no such
creature--two guineas.' 'Stand and deliver seven, thirteen, to the
clerk of the Hanaper'--and there's no such thing as a Hanaper.
'Stand and deliver three, five,' to a go-between that calls himself
the Lord Chancellor again, and isn't. 'Stand and deliver six,
naught, to a go-between that acts for the deputy, that ought to put
a bit of sealing-wax on the patent, but hasn't the brains to do it
himself, so you must pay ME a fancy price for doing it, and then I
won't do it; it will be done by a clerk at twenty-five shillings a
week.' And, all this time, mind you, no disposition to soften all
this official peculation by civility; no misgiving that the next
wave of civilization may sweep nil these go-betweens and leeches out
of the path of progress; no, the deputy-vice-go-betweens all
scowled, as well as swindled: they broke my heart so, often I sat
down in their antechambers and the scalding tears ran down my
cheeks, at being pillaged of my time as well as my money, and
treated like a criminal--for what? For being, in my small way, a
"Ay," said the doctor, "you had committed the crime of brains; and
the worse crime of declining to be starved in return for them. I
don't rebel against the fees so much: their only fault is that they
are too heavy, since the monopoly they profess to secure is short-
lived, and yet not very secure; the Lord Chancellor, as a judge, has
often to upset the patent which he has sold in another character.
But that system of go-betweens, and deputy-go-betweens, and deputy-
lieutenant-go-betweens and nobody doing his own business in matters
of State, it really is a national curse, and a great blot upon the
national intellect. It is a disease; so let us name it. We doctors
are great at naming diseases; greater than at curing them.
"'Let us call it VICARIA,
This English malaria.'
Of this Vicaria, the loss of time and money you have suffered is
only one of the fruits, I think."
"All I know is, they made my life hell for more than a month; and if
I have ever the misfortune to invent any thing more, I'll keep it to
myself. I'll hide it, like any other crime. But no; I never will
invent another thing: never, never."
"Stuff! Methinks I hear a duck abjure natation. You can't help
"I will help it. What, do you think I'll be such an ass as to have
Brains in a country where Brains are a crime? Doctor, I'm in
"Then it is time to cast your eyes over this little picture."
The inventor turned the little picture listlessly about. "It is a
woman, with an anchor. It's a figure of Hope."
"Beautifully painted, is it not?"
"The tints are well laid on: but, if you'll excuse me, it is rather
flat." He laid the picture down, and turned away from it. "Ah,
Hope, my lass, you've come to the wrong shop."
"Not she. She was painted expressly for you, and by a very
"Oh, doctor, not by--"
"Yes; she sends it you."
"Ah!" And he caught Hope up, and began to devour her with kisses,
and his eyes sparkled finely.
"I have some good news, too, for you. Mr. Carden tells me he never
intended to separate you entirely from his daughter. If you can be
moderate, discreet, old before your time, etc., and come only about
once a week, and not compromise her publicly, you will be as welcome
"That IS good news, indeed. I'll go there this very day; and I'll
patent the circular saw."
"There's a non-sequitur for you!"
"Nothing of the kind, sir. Why, even the Queen's go-betweens will
never daunt me, now I can go and drink love and courage direct from
HER eyes; and nothing can chill nor discourage me now. I'll light
my forge again and go to work, and make a few sets of carving-tools,
and that will pay the go-betweens for patenting my circular-saw
grinder. But first I'll put on my coat and go to heaven."
"Had you not better postpone that till the end of your brilliant
career as an inventor and a lover?"
"No; I thirst for heaven, and I'll drink it." So he made his
toilet, thanked and blessed the good doctor, and off to Woodbine
Grace Carden saw him coming, and opened the door to him herself, red
as scarlet, and her eyes swimming. She scarcely made an effort to
contain herself by this time, and when she got him into the drawing-
room all to herself, she cried, for joy and tenderness, on his
shoulder; and, it cost him a gulp or two, I can tell you: and they
sat hand in hand, and were never tired of gazing at each other; and
the hours flew by unheeded. All their trouble was as though it had
never been. Love brightened the present, the future, and even the
past. He did not tell Grace one word of what he had suffered from
Vicaria--I thank thee, doctor, for teaching me that word--it had
lost all interest to him. Love and happiness had annihilated its
true character--like the afternoon sun gilding a far-off pig-sty.
He did mention the subject, however, but it was in these terms:
"And, dearest, I'm hard at work inventing, and I patent all my
inventions; so I hope to satisfy your father before two years."
And Grace said, "Yes; but don't overwork your poor brain and worry
yourself. I am yours in heart, and that is something, I hope. I
know it is to me; I wouldn't change with any wife in Christendom."
At the end of two months the situation of affairs was as follows:
Grace Carden received a visit every week from Henry, and met him now
and then at other houses: she recovered her health and spirits, and,
being of a patient sex, was quite contented, and even happy.
Frederick Coventry visited her often, and she received his visits
quite graciously, now that the man she loved was no longer driven
from her. She even pitied him, and was kind to him and had
misgivings that she had used him ill. This feeling he fostered, by
a tender, dejected, and inoffensive manner. Boiling with rage
inside, this consummate actor had the art to feign resignation;
whereas, in reality, he was secretly watching for an opportunity to
injure his rival. But no such opportunity came.
Little, in humble imitation of his sovereign, had employed a go-
between to employ a go-between, to deal with the State go-betweens,
and deputy-go-betweens, that hampered the purchase--the word "grant"
is out of place, bleeding is no boon--of a patent from the crown,
and by this means he had done, in sixty days, what a true inventor
will do in twenty-four hours, whenever the various metallic ages
shall be succeeded by the age of reason; he had secured his two saw-
grinding inventions, by patent, in Great Britain, the Canadas, and
the United States of America. He had another invention perfected;
it was for forging axes and hatchets by machinery: but this he did
not patent: he hoped to find his remuneration in the prior use of it
for a few months. Mere priority is sometimes a great advantage in
this class of invention, and there are no fees to pay for it nor
deputy-lieutenant-vice-go-betweens' antechambers for genius to cool
its heels and heart in.
But one thing soon became evident. He could not work his inventions
without a much larger capital.
Dr. Amboyne and he put their heads together over this difficulty,
and the doctor advised him in a more erudite style than usual.
"True invention," said he, "whether literary or mechanical, is the
highest and hardest effort of the mind. It is an operation so
absorbing that it often weakens those pettier talents which make
what we call the clever man. Therefore the inventor should ally
himself with some person of talent and energy, but no invention.
Thus supported, he can have his fits of abstraction, his headaches,
his heartaches, his exultations, his depressions, and no harm done;
his dogged associate will plow steadily on all the time. So, after
all, your requiring capital is no great misfortune; you must look
out for a working capitalist. No sleeping partner will serve your
turn; what you want is a good rich, vulgar, energetic man, the
pachydermatouser the better."
Henry acted on this advice, and went to London in search of a
moneyed partner. Oh, then it was he learned--
"The hell it is in suing long to bide."
He found capitalists particularly averse to speculate in a patent.
It took him many days to find out what moneyed men were open to that
sort of thing at all; and, when he got to them, they were cold.
They had all been recently bitten by harebrained inventors.
Then he represented that it was a matter of judgment, and offered to
prove by figures that his saw-grinding machines must return three
hundred per cent. These he applied to would not take the trouble to
study his figures. In another words, he came at the wrong time.
And the wrong time is as bad as the wrong thing, or worse.
Take a note of that, please: and then forget it.
At last he gave up London in despair, and started for Birmingham.
The train stepped at Tring, and, as it was going on again, a man ran
toward the third-class carriage Little was seated in. One of the
servants of the company tried to stop him, very properly. He
struggled with that official, and eventually shook him off.
Meantime the train was accelerating its pace. In spite of that,
this personage made a run and a bound, and, half leaping, half
scrambling, got his head and shoulders over the door, and there
oscillated, till Little grabbed him with both hands, and drew him
powerfully in, and admonished him. "That is a foolhardy trick, sir,
begging your pardon."
"Young man," panted the invader, "do you know who you're a-speaking
"No. The Emperor of China?"
"No such trash; it's Ben Bolt, a man that's bad to beat."
"Well, you'll get beat some day, if you go jumping in and out of
trains in motion."
"A many have been killed that way," suggested a huge woman in the
corner with the meekest and most timid voice imaginable.
Mr. Bolt eyed the speaker with a humorous voice. "Well, if I'm ever
killed that way, I'll send you a letter by the post. Got a
"I've got a good husband, sir," said she, with mild dignity, and
pointed to a thin, sour personage opposite, with his nose in a
newspaper. Deep in some public question, he ignored this little
"That's unlucky," said Bolt, "for here am I, just landed from
Victoria, and money in both pockets. And where do you think I am
going now? to Chester, to see my father and mother, and show them I
was right after all. They wanted me to go to school; I wouldn't.
Leathered me; I howled, but wouldn't spell; I was always bad to
beat. Next thing was, they wanted to make a tanner of me. I
wouldn't. 'Give me fifty pounds and let me try the world,' says I.
THEY wouldn't. We quarreled. My uncle interfered one day, and gave
me fifty pounds. 'Go to the devil,' said he, 'if you like; so as
you don't come back.' I went to Sydney, and doubled my fifty; got a
sheep-run, and turned my hundred into a thousand. Then they found
gold, and that brought up a dozen ways of making money, all of 'em
better than digging. Why, ma'am, I made ten thousand pounds by
selling the beastliest lemonade you ever tasted for gold-dust at the
mines. That was a good swop, wasn't it? So now I'm come home to
see if I can stand the Old Country and its ways; and I'm going to
see the old folk. I haven't heard a word about them this twenty
"Oh, dear, sir," said the meek woman, "twenty years is a long time.
I hope you won't find them dead an' buried."
"Don't say that; don't say that!" And the tough, rough man showed a
grain of feeling. He soon recovered himself, though, and said more
obstreperously than ever, "If they are, I disown 'em. None of your
faint-hearted people for me. I despise a chap that gives in before
eighty. I'm Ben Bolt, that is bad to beat. Death himself isn't
going to bowl me out till I've had my innings."
"La, sir; pray don't talk so, or you'll anger them above, and, ten
to one, upset the train."
"That's one for me, and two for yourself, ma'am."
"Yes, sir," said the mild soul. "I have got my husband with me, and
you are only a bachelor, sir."
"How d'ye know that?"
"I think you'd ha' been softened down a bit, if you'd ever had a
"Oh, it is because I speak loud. That is with bawling to my
shepherds half a mile off. Why, if I'm loud, I'm civil. Now, young
man, what is YOUR trouble?"
Henry started from his reverie, and looked astonished.
"Out with it," shouted Mr. Bolt; "don't sit grizzling there. What
with this lady's husband, dead and buried in that there newspaper,
and you, that sets brooding like a hen over one egg, it's a Quaker's
meeting, or nearly. If you've been and murdered anybody, tell us
all about it. Once off your mind, you'll be more sociable."
"A man's thoughts are his own, Mr. Bolt. I'm not so fond of talking
about myself as you seem to be."
"Oh, I can talk, or I can listen. But you won't do neither. Pretty
company YOU are, a-hatching of your egg."
"Well, sir," said the meek woman to Henry, "the rough gentleman he
is right. If you are in trouble, the best way is to let your tongue
put it off your heart."
"I'm sure you are very kind," said Henry, "but really my trouble is
one of those out-of-the-way things that do not interest people.
However, the long and the short is, I'm an inventor. I have
invented several things, and kept them dark, and they have paid me.
I live at Hillsborough. But now I have found a way of grinding long
saws and circular saws by machinery, at a saving of five hundred per
cent labor. That saving of labor represents an enormous profit--a
large fortune; so I have patented the invention at my own expense.
But I can't work it without a capitalist. Well, I have ransacked
London, and all the moneyed men shy me. The fools will go into
railways, and bubbles, and a lot of things that are blind chance,
but they won't even study my drawings and figures, and I made it
clear enough too."
"I'm not of their mind then," said Bolt. "My rule is never to let
another man work my money. No railway shares nor gold mines for Ben
Bolt. My money goes with me, and I goes with my money."
"Then you are a man of sense; and I only wish you had money enough
to go into this with me."
"How do you know how much money I've got? You show me how to turn
twenty thousand into forty thousand, or forty thousand into eighty
thousand, and I'll soon find the money."
"Oh, I could show you how to turn fifteen thousand into fifty
thousand." He then unlocked his black bag, and showed Bolt some
drawings that represented the grinders by hand at work on long saws
and circular saws. "This," said he, "is the present system." He
then pointed out its defects. "And this," said he, "is what I
propose to substitute." Then he showed him drawings of his machines
at work. "And these figures represent the saving in labor. Now, in
this branch of cutlery, the labor is the manufacturer's main
expense. Make ten men grind what fifty used, you put forty
workmen's wages in your pocket."
"That's tall talk."
"Not an inch taller than the truth."
Mr. Bolt studied the drawings, and, from obstreperous, became quite
quiet and absorbed. Presently he asked Henry to change places with
him; and, on this being complied with, he asked the meek woman to
read him Henry's figures, slowly. She stared, but complied. Mr.
Bolt pondered the figures, and examined the drawings again. He then
put a number of questions to Henry, some of them very shrewd; and,
at last, got so interested in the affair that he would talk of
As the train slackened for Birmingham, he said to Henry, "I'm no
great scholar; I like to see things in the body. On we go to
"But I want to talk to a capitalist or two at Birmingham."
"That is not fair; I've got the refusal."
"The deuce you have!"
"Yes, I've gone into it with you; and the others wouldn't listen.
Said so yourself."
"Well, but, Mr. Bolt, are you really in earnest? Surely this is
quite out of your line?"
"How can it be out of my line if it pays? I've bought and sold
sheep, and wool, and land, and water, and houses, and tents, and old
clothes, and coffee, and tobacco, and cabs. And swopped--my eye,
how I have swopped! I've swopped a housemaid under articles for a
pew in the church, and a milch cow for a whale that wasn't even
killed yet; I paid for the chance. I'm at all in the ring, and
devilish bad to beat. Here goes--high, low, Jack, and the game."
"Did you ever deal in small beer?" asked Henry, satirically.
"No," said Bolt, innocently. "But I would in a minute if I saw
clear to the nimble shilling. Well, will you come on to
Hillsborough and settle this? I've got the refusal for twenty-four
hours, I consider."
"Oh, if you think so, I will go on to Hillsborough. But you said
you were going to see your parents, after twenty years' absence and
"So I am; but they can keep; what signifies a day or two more after
twenty years?" He added, rather severely, as one whose superior age
entitled him to play the monitor, "Young man, I never make a toil of
"No more do I. But how does that apply to visiting your parents?"
"If I was to neglect business to gratify my feelings, I should be
grizzling all the time; and wouldn't that be making a toil of a
Henry could only grin in reply to this beautiful piece of reasoning;
and that same afternoon the pair were in Hillsborough, and Mr. Bolt,
under Henry's guidance, inspected the grinding of heavy saws, both
long and circular. He noted, at Henry's request, the heavy, dirty
labor. He then mounted to the studio, and there Henry lectured on
his models, and showed them working. Bolt took it all in, his eye
flashed, and then he put on, for the first time, the coldness of the
practiced dealer. "It would take a good deal of money to work this
properly," said he, shaking his head.
"It has taken a good deal of brains to invent it."
"No doubt, no doubt. Well, if you want me to join you, it must be
on suitable terms. Money is tight."
"Well, propose your own terms."
"That's not my way. I'll think it over before I put my hand to
paper. Give me till to-morrow."
On this Mr. Bolt went off as if he had been shot.
He returned next day, and laid before Henry an agreement drawn by
the sharpest attorney in Hillsborough, and written in a clerk's
hand. "There," said he, briskly, "you sign that, and I'll make my
mark, and at it we go."
"Stop a bit," said Henry. "You've been to a lawyer, have you? Then
I must go to one, too; fair play's a jewel."
Bolt looked disappointed; but the next moment he affected
cheerfulness, and said, "That is fair. Take it to your lawyer
"I will," said Henry; but, instead of a lawyer, he took it to his
friend Dr. Amboyne, told him all about Ben Bolt, and begged his
advice on the agreement. "Ought he to have the lion's share like
"The moneyed man generally takes that. No commodity is sold so far
beyond its value as money. Let me read it."
The purport of the agreement was as follows:--New premises to be
built by Bolt, a portion of the building to be constructed so that
it could be easily watched night and day, and in that part the
patent saw-grinding machines to be worked. The expenses of this
building to be paid off by degrees out of the gross receipts, and
meanwhile Mr. Bolt was to receive five per cent. interest for his
outlay and two-thirds of the profits, if any. Mr. Little to dispose
of his present factory, and confine his patents to the joint
Dr. Amboyne, on mature consideration, advised Little to submit to
all the conditions, except the clause confining his operations and
his patents. They just drew their pen through that clause, and sent
the amended agreement to Bolt's hotel. He demurred to the
amendment; but Henry stood firm, and proposed a conference of four.
This took place at Dr. Amboyne's house, and at last the agreement
was thus modified: the use of the patents in Hillsborough to be
confined to the firm of Bolt and Little: but Little to be free to
sell them, or work them in any other town, and also free, in
Hillsborough, to grind saws by hand, or do any other established
operation of cutlery.
The parties signed; and Bolt went to work in earnest. With all his
resolution, he did not lack prudence. He went into the suburbs for
his site and bought a large piece of ground. He advertised for
contracts and plans, and brought them all to Henry, and profited by
his practical remarks.
He warned the builders it must be a fortress, as well as a factory:
but, at Henry's particular request, he withheld the precise reason.
"I'm not to be rattened," said he. I mean to stop that little game.
I'm Ben Bolt, that's bad to beat."
At last the tender of Mr. White was accepted, and as Mr. Bolt,
experienced in the delays of builders, tied him tight as to time,
he, on his part, made a prompt and stringent contract with Messrs.
Whitbread, the brickmakers, and began to dig the foundations.
All this Henry communicated to Grace, and was in high spirits over
it, and then so was she. He had a beautiful frame made for the
little picture she had given him, and hung it up in his studio. It
became the presiding genius, and indeed the animating spirit, of his
Both to him and Grace the bright and hopeful period of their love
had come at last. Even Bolt contributed something to Little's
happiness. The man, hard as he was in business, was not without a
certain rough geniality; and then he was so brisk and bustling. His
exuberant energy pleased the inventor, and formed an agreeable
relief to his reveries and deep fits of study.
The prospect was bright, and the air sunny. In the midst of all
which there rose in the horizon a cloud, like that seen by Elijah's
servant, a cloud no bigger than a man's hand.
Bolt burst into the studio one day, like a shell, and, like a shell,
"Here's a pretty go! We're all at a standstill. The brickmakers
"Why, what is the matter?"
"Fourpence. Young Whitbread, our brickmaker's son, is like you--a
bit of an inventor; he altered the shape of the bricks, to fit a
small hand-machine, and Whitbreads reckoned to save tenpence a
thousand. The brickmakers objected directly. Whitbreads didn't
want a row, so they offered to share the profit. The men sent two
of their orators to parley; I was standing by Whithread when they
came up; you should have heard 'em; anybody would have sworn the
servants were masters, and the masters negro slaves. When the
servants had hectored a bit, the masters, meek and mild, said they
would give them sixpence out of the tenpence sooner than they should
feel dissatisfied. No; that wouldn't do. 'Well, then,' says young
Whitbread, 'are you agreed what will do?' 'Well,' said one of the
servants, 'we WILL ALLOW YOU TO MAKE THE BRICKS, if you give us the
"That was cool," said Henry. "To be sure, all brainless beggars try
to starve invention."
"Yes, my man: and you grumbled at my taking two-thirds. Labor is
harder on you inventors than capital is, you see. Well, I told 'em
I wondered at their cheek; but the old man stopped me, and spoke
quite mild: says he, 'You are too hard on us; we ought to gain a
trifle by our own improvement; if it had come from you, we should
pay you for it;' and he should stand by his offer of sixpence. So
then the men told them it would be the worse for them, and the old
gentleman gave a bit of sigh, and said he couldn't help that, he
must live in the trade, or leave it, he didn't much care which.
Next morning they all struck work; and there we are--stopped."
"Well," said Henry, "it is provoking; but you mustn't ask me to
meddle. It's your business."
"It is, and I'll show you I'm bad to beat." With this doughty
resolve he went off and drove the contractors; they drove the
brickmakers, and the brickmakers got fresh hands from a distance,
and the promise of some more.
Bolt rubbed his hands, and kept popping into the yard to see how
they got on. By this means he witnessed an incident familiar to
brickmakers in that district, but new to him. Suddenly loud cries
of pain were heard, and two of the brickmakers held up hands covered
with blood, and transfixed by needles. Some ruffian had filled the
clay with needles. The sufferers were both disabled, and one went
to the hospital. Tempered clay enough to make two hundred thousand
bricks had been needled, and had to be cleared away at a loss of
time and material.
Bolt went and told Henry, and it only worried him; he could do
nothing. Bolt went and hired a watchman and a dog, at his own
expense. The dog was shot dead one dark night, and the watchman's
box turned over and sat upon, watchman included, while the
confederates trampled fifty thousand raw bricks into a shapeless
The brickmasters, however, stood firm, and at last four of the old
hands returned to him, and accepted the sixpence profit due to the
master's invention. These four were contribution-men, that is to
say, they paid the Union a shilling per week for permission to make
bricks; but this weekly payment was merely a sort of blackmail, it
entitled them to no relief from the Union when out of work: so a
three-weeks' strike brought them to starvation, and they could
cooperate no longer with the genuine Union men, who were relieved
from the box all this time. Nevertheless, though their poverty, and
not their will, brought them back to work, they were all threatened,
and found themselves in a position that merits the sympathy of all
men, especially of the very poor. Starvation on one side,
sanguinary threats on the other, from an Union which abandoned them
in their need, yet expected them to stick by it and starve. In
short, the said Union was no pupil of Amboyne; could not put itself
in the place of these hungry men, and realize their dilemma; it
could only see the situation from its own point of view. From that
intellectual defect sprang a crime. On a certain dark night, Thomas
Wilde, one of these contribution-men, was burning bricks all by
himself, when a body of seven men came crawling up to within a
little distance. These men were what they call "victims," i.e., men
on strike, and receiving pay from the box.
Now, when a man stands against the fire of a kiln, he cannot see
many yards from him: so five of the "victims" stood waiting, and
sent two forward. These two came up to Wilde, and asked him a
favor. "Eh, mister, can you let me and my mate lie down for an hour
by your fire?"
"You are welcome," said honest Wilde. He then turned to break a
piece of coal, and instantly one of those who had accepted his
hospitality struck him on the back of the head, and the other five
rushed in, and they all set on him, and hit him with cartlegs, and
kicked him with their heavy shoes. Overpowered as he was, he
struggled away from them, groaning and bleeding, and got to a shed
about thirty yards off. But these relentless men, after a moment's
hesitation, followed him, and rained blows and kicks on him again,
till he gave himself up for dead. He cried out in his despair,
"Lord, have mercy on me; they have finished me!" and fainted away in
a pool of his own blood. But, just before he became insensible, he
heard a voice say, "Thou'll burn no more bricks." Then the
"victims" retired, leaving this great criminal for dead.
After a long while he came to himself, and found his arm was broken,
and his body covered with cuts and bruises. His house was scarcely
a furlong distant, yet he was an hour crawling to it. His room was
up a short stair of ten steps. The steps beat him; he leaned on the
rail at the bottom, and called out piteously, "My wife! my wife! my
wife!" three times.
Mrs. Wilde ran down to him, and caught hold of his hand, and said,
"Whatever is to do?"
When she took his hand the pain made him groan, and she felt
something drip on to her hand. It was blood from his wounded arm.
Then she was terrified, and, strong with excitement, she managed to
get him into the house and lay him on the floor. She asked him, had
he fallen off the kiln? He tried to reply, but could not, and
fainted again. This time he was insensible for several hours. In
the morning he came to, and told his cruel story to Whitbread, Bolt,
and others. Bolt and Whitbread took it most to heart. Bolt went to
Mr. Ransome, and put the case in his hands.
Ransome made this remark:--"Ah, you are a stranger, sir. The folk
hereabouts never come to us in these Union cases. I'll attend to
it, trust me."
Bolt went with this tragedy to Henry, and it worried him; but he
could do nothing. "Mr. Bolt," said he, "I think you are making your
own difficulties. Why quarrel with the Brickmakers' Union? Surely
that is superfluous."
"Why, it is them that quarreled with me; and I'm Ben Bolt, that is
bad to beat." He armed himself with gun and revolver, and watched
the Whitbreads' yard himself at night.
Two days after this, young Whitbread's wife received an anonymous
letter, advising her, as a friend, to avert the impending fate of
her husband, by persuading him to dismiss the police and take back
his Hands. The letter concluded with this sentence, "He is
generally respected; but we have come to a determination to shoot
Young Whitbread took no apparent notice of this, and soon afterward
the secretary of the Union proposed a conference. Bolt got wind of
this, and was there when the orators came. The deputation arrived,
and, after a very short preamble, offered to take the six-pence.
"Why," said Bolt, "you must be joking. Those are the terms poor
Wilde came back on, and you have hashed him for it."
Old Whitbread looked the men in the face, and said, gravely, "You
are too late. You have shed that poor man's blood; and you have
sent an anonymous letter to my son's wife. That lady has gone on
her knees to us to leave the trade, and we have consented. Fifteen
years ago, your Union wrote letters of this kind to my wife (she was
pregnant at the time), and drove her into her grave, with fright and
anxiety for her husband. You shall not kill Tom's wife as well.
The trade is a poor one at best, thanks to the way you have ground
your employers down, and, when you add to that needling our clay,
and burning our gear, and beating our servants to death's door, and
driving our wives into the grave, we bid you good-by. Mr. Bolt, I'm
the sixth brickmaster this Union has driven out of the trade by
outrages during the last ten years."
"Thou's a wrong-headed old chap," said the brickmakers' spokesman;
"but thou canst not run away with place. Them as takes to it will
have to take us on."
"Not so. We have sold our plant to the Barton Machine Brickmaking
Company; and you maltreated them so at starting that now they won't
let a single Union man set his foot on their premises."
The company in question made bricks better and cheaper than any
other brickmaster; but, making them by machinery, were ALWAYS at war
with the Brickmakers' Union, and, whenever a good chance occurred
for destroying their property, it was done. They, on their part,
diminished those chances greatly by setting up their works five
miles from the town, and by keeping armed watchmen and police. Only
these ran away with their profits.
Now, when this company came so near the town, and proceeded to work
up Whitbread's clay, in execution of the contract with which their
purchase saddled them, the Brickmakers' Union held a great meeting,
in which full a hundred brickmakers took part, and passed
extraordinary resolutions, and voted extraordinary sums of money,
and recorded both in their books. These books were subsequently
destroyed, for a reason the reader can easily divine who has read
this narrative with his understanding.
Soon after that meeting, one Kay, a brickmaker, who was never seen
to make a brick--for the best of all reasons, he lived by blood
alone--was observed reconnoitering the premises, and that very night
a quantity of barrows, utensils, and tools were heaped together,
naphtha poured over them, and the whole set on fire.
Another dark night, twenty thousand bricks were trampled so
noiselessly that the perpetrators were neither seen nor heard.
But Bolt hired more men, put up a notice he would shoot any intruder
dead, and so frightened them by his blustering that they kept away,
being cowards at bottom, and the bricks were rapidly made, and
burnt, and some were even delivered; these bricks were carted from
the yard to the building site by one Harris, who had nothing to do
with the quarrel; he was a carter by profession, and wheeled bricks
for all the world.
One night this poor man's haystack and stable were all in flames in
a moment, and unearthly screams issued from the latter.
The man ran out, half-naked, and his first thought was to save his
good gray mare from the fire. But this act of humanity had been
foreseen and provided against. The miscreants had crept into the
stable, and tied the poor docile beast fast by the head to the rack;
then fired the straw. Her screams were such as no man knew a horse
could utter. They pierced all hearts, however hard, till her burnt
body burst the burnt cords, and all fell together. Man could not
aid her. But God can avenge her.
As if the poor thing could tell whether she was drawing machine-made
bricks, or hand-made bricks!
The incident is painful to relate; but it would be unjust to omit
it. It was characteristic of that particular Union; and, indeed,
without it my reader could not possibly appreciate the brickmaking
Bolt went off with this to Little; but Amboyne was there, and cut
his tales short. "I hope," said he, "that the common Creator of the
four-legged animal and the two-legged beasts will see justice done
between them; but you must not come here tormenting my inventor with
these horrors. Your business is to relieve him of all such worries,
and let him invent in peace."
"Yes," said Little, "and I have told Mr. Bolt we can't avoid a
difficulty with the cutlers. But the brickmakers--what madness to
go and quarrel with them! I will have nothing to do with it, Mr.
"The cutlers! Oh, I don't mind them," said Bolt. "They are angels
compared with the brickmakers. The cutlers don't poison cows, and
hamstring horses, and tie them to fire; the cutlers don't fling
little boys into water-pits, and knock down little girls with their
fists, just because their fathers are non-Union men; the cutlers
don't strew poisoned apples and oranges about, to destroy whole
families like rats. Why, sir, I have talked with a man the
brickmakers tried to throw into boiling lime; and another they tried
to poison with beer, and, when he wouldn't drink it, threw vitriol
in his eyes, and he's blind of an eye to this day. There's full
half a dozen have had bottles of gunpowder and old nails flung into
their rooms, with lighted fuses, where they were sleeping with their
families; they call that 'bottling a man;' it's a familiar phrase.
I've seen three cripples crawling about that have been set on by
numbers and spoiled for life, and as many fired at in the dark; one
has got a slug in his head to this day. And, with all that, the
greatest cowards in the world--daren't face a man in daylight, any
two of them; but I've seen the woman they knocked down with their
fists, and her daughter too, a mere child at the time. No, the
cutlers are men, but the brickmakers are beasts."
All the more reason for avoiding silly quarrels with the
brickmakers," said Little.
Thus snubbed, Mr. Bolt retired, muttering something about "bad to
beat." He found Harris crying over the ashes of his mare, and the
man refused to wheel any more machine-made bricks. Other carters,
being applied to, refused also. They had received written warning,
and dared not wheel one of those bricks for their lives.
The invincible Bolt bought a cart and a horse, hired two strangers,
armed them and himself with revolvers, and carted the bricks
himself. Five brickmakers waylaid him in a narrow lane; he took out
his revolver, and told them he'd send them all to hell if one laid a
finger on him; at this rude observation they fled like sheep.
The invincible carted his bricks by day, and at night rode the horse
away to an obscure inn, and slept beside him, armed to the teeth.
The result of all which was that one day he burst into Little's
studio shouting "Victory!" and told him two hundred thousand bricks
were on the premises, and twenty bricklayers would be at work on the
foundations that afternoon.
Henry Little was much pleased at that, and when Bolt told him how he
had carted the bricks in person, said, "You are the man for me; you
really are bad to beat."
While they were congratulating each other on this hard-earned
victory, Mr. Bayne entered softly, and said, "Mr. White--to speak to
"That is the builder," said Bolt. "Show him up."
Mr. White came in with a long face.
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