Put Yourself in His Place

Contents:
Author: Charles Reade

Chapter V.

Henry Little began this bust in a fervid hour, and made great progress the first day; but as the work grew on him, it went slower and slower; for his ambitious love drove him to attempt beauties of execution that were without precedent in this kind of wood-carving; and, on the other hand, the fastidiousness of a true craftsman made him correct his attempts again and again. As to those mechanical parts, which he intrusted at first to his pupil, she fell so far short of his ideal even in these, that he told her bluntly she must strike work for the present: he could not have THIS spoiled.

Grace thought it hard she might not be allowed to spoil her own image; however, she submitted, and henceforth her lesson was confined to looking on. And she did look on with interest, and, at last, with profound admiration. Hitherto she had thought, with many other persons, that, if a man’s hand was the stronger, a woman’s was the neater; but now she saw the same hand, which had begun by hewing away the coarse outlines of the model, bestow touches of the chisel so unerring and effective, yet so exquisitely delicate, that she said to herself, "No woman’s hand could be so firm, yet so featherlike, as all this."

And the result was as admirable as the process. The very texture of the ivory forehead began to come under those master-touches, executed with perfect and various instruments: and, for the first time perhaps in the history of this art, a bloom, more delicate far than that of a plum, crept over the dimpled cheek. But, indeed, when love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.

Henry worked on it four afternoons, the happiest he had ever known. There was the natural pleasure of creating, and the distinct glory and delight of reproducing features so beloved; and to these joys were added the pleasure of larger conversation. The model gave Grace many opportunities of making remarks, or asking questions, and Henry contrived to say so many things in answer to one. Sculptor and sitter made acquaintance with each other’s minds over the growing bust.

And then the young ladies and gentlemen dropped in, and gazed, and said such wonderfully silly things, and thereby left their characters behind them as fruitful themes for conversation. In short, topics were never wanting now.

As for Jael, she worked, and beamed, and pondered every word her idol uttered, but seldom ventured to say anything, till he was gone, and then she prattled fast enough about him.

The work drew near completion. The hair, not in ropes, as heretofore, but its silken threads boldly and accurately shown, yet not so as to cord the mass, and unsatin it quite. The silk dress; the lace collar; the blooming cheek, with its every dimple and incident; all these were completed, and one eyebrow, a masterpiece in itself. This carved eyebrow was a revelation, and made everybody who saw it wonder at the conventional substitutes they had hitherto put up with in statuary of all sorts, when the eyebrow itself was so beautiful, and might it seems have been imitated, instead of libeled, all these centuries.

But beautiful works, and pleasant habits, seem particularly liable to interruption. Just when the one eyebrow was finished, and when Jael Dence had come to look on Saturday and Monday as the only real days in the week, and when even Grace Carden was brighter on those days, and gliding into a gentle complacent custom, suddenly a Saturday came and went, but Little did not appear.

Jaet was restless.

Grace was disappointed, but contented to wait till Monday.

Monday came and went, but no Henry Little.

Jael began to fret and sigh; and, after two more blank weeks, she could bear the mystery no longer. "If you please, miss," said she, "shall I go to that place where he works?"

"Where who works?" inquired Grace, rather disingenuously.

"Why, the dark young man, miss," said Jael, blushing deeply.

Grace reflected and curiosity struggled with discretion; but discretion got the better, being aided by self-respect. "No, Jael," said she; "he is charming, when he is here; but, when he gets away, he is not always so civil as he might be. I had to go twice after him. I shall not go nor send a third time. It really is too bad of him."

"Dear heart," pleaded Jael, "mayhap he is not well."

"Then he ought to write and say so. No, no; he is a radical, and full of conceit; and he has done this one eyebrow, and then gone off laughing and saying, ’Now, let us see if the gentry can do the other amongst them.’ If he doesn’t come soon, I’ll do the other eyebrow myself."

"Mayhap he will never come again," said Jael.

"Oh, yes, he will," said Grace, mighty cunningly; "he is as fond of coming here as we are of having him. Not that I’m at all surprised; for the fact is, you are very pretty, extremely pretty, abominably pretty."

"I might pass in Cairnhope town," said Jael, modestly, "but not here. The moon goes for naught when the sun is there. He don’t come here for me."

This sudden elegance of language, and Jael’s tone of dignified despondency, silenced Grace, somehow, and made her thoughtful. She avoided the subject for several days. Indeed, when Saturday came, not a word was said about the defaulter: it was only by her sending for Jael to sit with her, and by certain looks, and occasional restlessness, she betrayed the slightest curiosity or expectation.

Jael sat and sewed, and often looked quickly up at the window, as some footstep passed, and then looked down again and sighed.

Young Little never came. He seemed to have disappeared from both their lives; quietly disappeared.

Next day, Sunday, Jael came to Miss Carden, after morning church, and said, meekly, "if you please, miss, may I go home?"

"Oh, certainly," said Grace, a little haughtily. "What for?"

Jael hung her head, and said she was not used to be long away. Then she lifted her head, and her great candid eyes, and spoke more frankly. "I feel to be drawed home. Something have been at me all the night to that degree as I couldn’t close my eyes. I could almost feel it, like a child’s hand, a pulling me East. I’m afeared father’s ill, or may be the calves are bleating for me, that is better acquaint with them than sister Patty is. And Hillsborough air don’t seem to ’gree with me now not altogether as it did at first. If you please, miss, to let me go; and then I’ll come back when I’m better company than I be now. Oh dear! oh dear!"

"Why, Jael, my poor girl, what IS the matter?"

"I don’t know, miss. But I feel very unked."

"Are you not happy with me?"

"’Tis no fault of yourn, miss," said Jael, rustic, but womanly.

"Then you are NOT happy here."

No reply, but two clear eyes began to fill to the very brim.

Grace coaxed her, and said, "Speak to me like a friend. You know, after all, you are not my servant. I can’t possibly part with you altogether; I have got to like you so: but, of course, you shall go home for a little while, if you wish it very, very much."

"Indeed I do, miss," said Jael. "Please forgive me, but my heart feels like lead in my bosom." And, with these words, the big tears ran over, and chased one another down her cheeks.

Then Grace, who was very kind-hearted, begged her, in a very tearful voice, not to cry: she should go home for a week, a fortnight, a month even. "There, there, you shall go to-morrow, poor thing."

Now it is a curious fact, and looks like animal magnetism or something, but the farm-house, to which Jael had felt so mysteriously drawn all night, contained, at that moment, besides its usual inmates, one Henry Little: and how he came there is an important part of this tale, which I must deal with at once.

While Henry was still visiting Woodbine Villa, as related above, events of a very different character from those soft scenes were taking place at the works. His liberal offer to the Edge-Tool Forgers had been made about a week, when, coming back one day from dinner to his forge, he found the smoky wall written upon with chalk, in large letters, neatly executed:—

"Why overlook the handlers?

"MARY."

He was not alarmed this time, but vexed. He went and complained to Bayne; and that worthy came directly and contemplated the writing, in silence, for about a minute. Then he gave a weary sigh, and said, with doleful resignation, "Take the chalk, and write. There it is."

Henry took the chalk, and prepared to write Bayne’s mind underneath Mary’s. Bayne dictated:

"I have offered the Handlers the same as the Forgers."

"But that is not true," objected Henry, turning round, with the chalk in his hand.

"It will be true, in half an hour. We are going to Parkin, the Handlers’ Secretary."

"What, another L15! This is an infernal swindle."

"What isn’t?" said Bayne, cynically.

Henry then wrote as desired; and they went together to Mr. Parkin.

Mr. Parkin was not at home. But they hunted him from pillar to post, and caught him, at last, in the bar-parlor of "The Packsaddle." He knew Bayne well, and received him kindly, and, on his asking for a private interview, gave a wink to two persons who were with him: they got up directly, and went out.

"What, is there any thing amiss between you and the trade?" inquired Mr. Parkin, with an air of friendly interest.

Bayne smiled, not graciously, but sourly. "Come, come, sir, that is a farce you and I have worn out this ten years. This is the London workman himself, come to excuse himself to Mary and Co., for not applying to them before: and the long and the short is, he offers the Handlers the same as he has the Smiths, fifteen down, and to pay his natty money, but draw no scale, unless disabled. What d’y say? Yes, or no?"

"I’ll lay Mr. Little’s proposal before the committee."

"Thank you, sir," said Little. "And, meantime, I suppose I may feel safe against violence, from the members of your union?"

"Violence!" said Mr. Parkin, turning his eye inward, as if he was interrogating the centuries. Then to Mr. Bayne, "Pray, sir, do you remember any deed of darkness that our Union has ever committed, since we have been together; and that is twelve years?"

"WELL, Mr. Parkin," said Bayne, "if you mean deeds of blood, and deeds of gunpowder, et cetera—why, no, not one: and it is greatly to your honor. But, mind you, if a master wants his tanks tapped and his hardening-liquor run into the shore or his bellows to be ripped, his axle-nuts to vanish, his wheel-bands to go and hide in a drain or a church belfry, and his scythe-blades to dive into a wheel-dam, he has only to be wrong with your Union, and he’ll be accommodated as above. I speak from experience."

"Oh, rattening!" said Mr Parkin. "That’s is a mighty small matter."

"It is small to you, that are not in the oven, where the bread is baked, or cooled, or burnt. But whatever parts the grindstones from the power, and the bellows from the air, and the air from the fire, makes a hole in the master’s business to-day, and a hole in the workman’s pocket that day six months. So, for heaven’s sake, let us be right with you. Little’s is the most friendly and liberal offer that any workman ever made to any Union. Do, pray, close with it, and let us be at peace; sweet—balmy—peace."

Parkin declared he shared that desire: but was not the committee. Then, to Henry: "I shall put your case as favorably as my conscience will let me. Meantime, of course, the matter rests as it is."

They then parted; and Henry, as he returned home, thanked Bayne heartily. He said this second L15 had been a bitter pill at first; but now he was glad he had offered it. "I would not leave Hillsborough for fifteen hundred pounds."

Two days after this promising interview with Mr. Parkin, Henry received a note, the envelope of which showed him it came from Mr. Jobson. He opened it eagerly, and with a good hope that its object was to tell him he was now a member of the Edge-Tool Forgers’ Union.

The letter, however, ran thus:

"DEAR SIR,—I hear, with considerable surprise, that you continue to forge blades and make handles for Mr. Cheetham. On receipt of this information I went immediately to Mr. Parkin, and he assured me that he came to the same terms with you as I did. He says he intimated politely, but plainly, that he should expect you not to make any more carving-tool handles for Mr. Cheetham, till his committee had received your proposal. He now joins me in advising you to strike work for the present. Hillsborough is surrounded by beautiful scenes, which it might gratify an educated workman to inspect, during the unavoidable delay caused by the new and very important questions your case has raised.

"Yours obediently,

"SAML. JOBSON.

"P.S.—A respectable workman was with me yesterday, and objected that you receive from Mr. Cheetham a higher payment than the list price. Can you furnish me with a reply to this, as it is sure to be urged at the trade meeting."

When he read this, Little’s blood boiled, especially at the cool advice to lay down his livelihood, and take up scenery: and he dashed off a letter of defiance. He showed it to Bayne, and it went into the fire directly. "That is all right," said this worthy. "You have written your mind, like a man. Now sit down, and give them treacle for their honey—or you’ll catch pepper."

Henry groaned, and writhed, but obeyed.

He had written his defiance in three minutes. It took him an hour to produce the following:

"DEAR SIR,—I am sorry for the misunderstanding. I did not, for a moment, attach that meaning to any thing that fell either from you or Mr. Parkin.

"I must now remind you that, were I to strike work entirely, Mr. Cheetham could discharge me, and even punish me, for breach of contract. All I can do is to work fewer hours than I have done: and I am sure you will be satisfied with that, if you consider that the delay in the settlement of this matter rests with you, and not with me,

"I am yours respectfully, HENRY LITTLE.

"I furnish you, as requested, with two replies to the objection of a respectable workman that I am paid above the list price.

"1.—To sell skilled labor below the statement price is a just offense, and injury to trade. But to obtain above the statement price is to benefit trade. The high price, that stands alone today, will not stand alone forever. It gets quoted in bargains, and draws prices up to it. That has been proved a thousand times.

"2.—It is not under any master’s skin to pay a man more than he is worth. It I get a high price, it is because I make a first-rate article. If a man has got superior knowledge, he is not going to give it away to gratify envious ignorance."

To this, in due course, he received from Jobson the following:

"DEAR SIR,—I advised you according to my judgment and experience: but, doubtless, you are the best judge of your own affairs."

And that closed the correspondence with the Secretaries.

The gentle Jobson and the polite Parkin had retired from the correspondence with their air of mild regret and placid resignation just three days, when young Little found a dirty crumpled letter on his anvil, written in pencil. It ran thus:

"Turn up or youl wish you had droped it. Youl be made so as youl never do hands turn agin, an never know what hurt you.

(Signed) "MOONRAKER."

Henry swore.

When he had sworn (and, as a Briton, I think he had denied himself that satisfaction long enough), he caught up a strip of steel with his pincers, shoved it into the coals, heated it, and, in half a minute, forged two long steel nails. He then nailed this letter to his wall, and wrote under it in chalk, "I offer L10 reward to any one who will show me the coward who wrote this, but was afraid to sign it. The writing is peculiar, and can easily be identified."

He also took the knife that had been so ostentatiously fixed in his door, and carried it about him night and day, with a firm resolve to use it in self-defense, if necessary.

And now the plot thickened: the decent workmen in Cheetham’s works were passive; they said nothing offensive, but had no longer the inclination, even if they had the power, to interfere and restrain the lower workmen from venting their envy and malice. Scarcely a day passed without growls and scowls. But Little went his way haughtily, and affected not to see, nor hear them.

However, one day, at dinner-time, he happened, unluckily, to be detained by Bayne in the yard, when the men came out: and two or three of the roughs took this opportunity and began on him at once, in the Dash Dialect, of course; they knew no other.

A great burly forger, whose red matted hair was powdered with coaldust, and his face bloated with habitual intemperance, planted himself insolently before Henry, and said, in a very loud voice, "How many more trade meetings are we to have for one ---- knobstick?"

Henry replied, in a moment, "Is it my fault if your shilly-shallying committees can’t say yes or no to L15? You’d say yes to it, wouldn’t you, sooner than go to bed sober?"

This sally raised a loud laugh at the notorious drunkard’s expense, and checked the storm, as a laugh generally does.

But men were gathering round, and a workman who had heard the raised voices, and divined the row, ran out of the works, with his apron full of blades, and his heart full of mischief. It was a grinder of a certain low type, peculiar to Hillsborough, but quite common there, where grinders are often the grandchildren of grinders. This degenerate face was more canine than human; sharp as a hatchet, and with forehead villainously low; hardly any chin; and—most characteristic trait of all—the eyes, pale in color, and tiny in size, appeared to have come close together, to consult, and then to have run back into the very skull, to get away from the sparks, which their owner, and his sire, and his grandsire, had been eternally creating.

This greyhound of a grinder flung down a lot of dull bluish blades, warm from the forge, upon a condemned grindstone that was lying in the yard; and they tinkled.

"---- me, if I grind cockney blades!" said he.

This challenge fired a sympathetic handle-maker. "Grinders are right," said he. "We must be a ---- mean lot and all, to handle his ---- work."

"He has been warned enough; but he heeds noane."

"Hustle him out o’ works."

"Nay, hit him o’er th’ head and fling him into shore."

With these menacing words, three or four roughs advanced on him, with wicked eyes; and the respectable workmen stood, like stone statues, in cold and terrible neutrality; and Henry, looking round, in great anxiety, found that Bayne had withdrawn.

He ground his teeth, and stepped back to the wall, to have all the assailants in the front. He was sternly resolute, though very pale, and, by a natural impulse, put his hand into his side-pocket, to feel if he had a weapon. The knife was there, the deadly blade with which his enemies themselves had armed him; and, to those who could read faces, there was death in the pale cheek and gleaming eye of this young man, so sorely tried.

At this moment, a burly gentleman walked into the midst of them, as smartly as Van Amburgh amongst his tigers, and said steadily, "What is to do now, lads?" It was Cheetham himself, Bayne knew he was in the office, and had run for him in mortal terror, and sent him to keep the peace. "They insult me, sir," said Henry; "though I am always civil to them; and that grinder refuses to grind my blades, there."

"Is that so? Step out, my lad. Did you refuse to grind those blades?"

"Ay," said the greyhound-man sullenly.

"Then put on your coat, and leave my premises this minute."

"He is entitled to a week’s warning, Mr. Cheetham," said one of the decent workmen, respectfully, but resolutely; speaking now for the first time.

"You are mistaken, sir," replied Mr. Cheetham, in exactly the same tone. (No stranger could have divined the speakers were master and man.) "He has vitiated his contract by publicly refusing to do his work. He’ll get nothing from me but his wages up to noon this day. But YOU can have a week’s warning, if you want it."

"Nay, sir. I’ve naught against you, for my part. But they say it will come to that, if you don’t turn Little up."

"Why, what’s his fault? Come now; you are a man. Speak up."

"Nay, I’ve no quarrel with the man. But he isn’t straight with the trade."

"That is the secretaries’ fault, not mine," said Henry. "They can’t see I’ve brought a new trade in, that hurts no old trade, and will spread, and bring money into the town."

"We are not so ---- soft as swallow that," said the bloated smith. "Thou’s just come t’ Hillsborough to learn forging, and when thou’st mastered that, off to London, and take thy ---- trade with thee."

Henry colored to the brow at the inferior workman’s vanity and its concomitant, detraction. But he governed himself, by a mighty effort, and said, "Oh, that’s your grievance now, is it? Mr. Cheetham—sir—will you ask some respectable grinder to examine these blades of mine?"

"Certainly. You are right, Little. The man to judge a forger’s work is a grinder, and not another forger. Reynolds, just take a look at them, will ye?"

A wet grinder of a thoroughly different type and race from the greyhound, stepped forward. He was thick-set in body, freshcolored, and of a square manly countenance. He examined the blades carefully, and with great interest.

"Well," said Henry, "were they forged by a smith, or a novice that is come here to learn anvil work?"

Reynolds did not reply to him, nor to Mr. Cheetham: he turned to the men. "Mates, I’m noane good at lying. Hand that forged these has naught to learn in Hillsbro’, nor any other shop."

"Thank you, Mr. Reynolds," said Henry, in a choking voice. "That is the first gleam of justice that I—" He could say no more.

"Come, don’t you turn soft for a word or two," said Cheetham. "You’ll wear all this out in time. Go to the office. I have something to say to you."

The something was said. It amounted to this—"Stand by me and I’ll stand by you."

"Well, sir," said Henry, "I think I must leave you if the committees refuse my offer. It is hard for one man to fight a couple of trades in such a place as this. But I’m firm in one thing: until those that govern the unions say ’no’ to my offer, I shall go on working, and the scum of the trades sha’n’t frighten me away from my forge."

"That’s right; let the blackguards bluster. Bayne tells me you have had another anonymous."

"Yes, sir."

"Well, look here: you must take care of yourself, outside the works; but, I’ll take care of you inside. Here, Bayne, write a notice that, if any man molests, intimidates, or affronts Mr. Little, in my works, I’ll take him myself to the town-hall, and get him two months directly. Have somebody at the gate to put a printed copy of that into every man’s hand as he leaves."

"Thank you, sir!" said Henry, warmly. "But ought not the police to afford me protection, outside?"

"The police! You might as well go to the beadle. No; change your lodging, if you think they know it. Don’t let them track you home. Buy a brace of pistols, and, if they catch you in a dark place, and try to do you, give them a barrel or two before they can strike a blow. No one of THEM will ever tell the police, not if you shot his own brother dead at that game. The law is a dead letter here, sir. You’ve nothing to expect from it, and nothing to fear."

"Good heavens! Am I in England?"

"In England? No. You are in Hillsborough."

This epigram put Cheetham in good humor with himself, and, when Henry told him he did not feel quite safe, even in his own forge, nor in his handling-room, and gave his reasons, "Oh," said cheerful Cheetham, "that is nothing. Yours is a box-lock; the blackguard will have hid in the works at night, and taken the lock off, left his writing, and then screwed the lock on again: that is nothing to any Hillsborough hand. But I’ll soon stop that game. Go you to Chestnut Street, and get two first-class Bramah locks. There’s a pocket knife forge upstairs, close to your handling-room. I’ll send the pocket-knife hand down-stairs, and you fasten the Bramah locks on both doors, and keep the keys yourself. See to that now at once: then your mind will be easy. And I shall be in the works all day now, and every day: come to me directly, if there is any thing fresh."

Henry’s forge was cold, by this time; so he struck work, and spent the afternoon in securing his two rooms with the Bramah locks. He also took Cheetham’s advice in another particular. Instead of walking home, he took a cab, and got the man to drive rapidly to a certain alley. There he left the cab, ran down the alley, and turned a corner, and went home round about. He doubled like a hare, and dodged like a criminal evading justice.

But the next morning he felt a pleasing sense of security when he opened his forge-room with the Bramah key, and found no letters nor threats of any kind had been able to penetrate.

Moreover, all this time you will understand he was visiting "Woodbine Cottage" twice a week, and carving Grace Carden’s bust.

Those delightful hours did much to compensate him for his troubles in the town, and were even of some service to him in training him to fence with the trades of Hillsborough: for at "Woodbine Villa" he had to keep an ardent passion within the strict bounds of reverence, and in the town he had constantly to curb another passion, wrath, and keep it within the bounds of prudence. These were kindred exercises of self-restraint, and taught him self-government beyond his years. But what he benefited most by, after all, was the direct and calming effect upon his agitated heart, and irritated nerves, that preceded, and accompanied, and followed these sweet, tranquilizing visits. They were soft, solacing, and soothing; they were periodical and certain, he could count on leaving his cares and worries, twice every week, at the door of that dear villa; and, when he took them up again, they were no longer the same; heavenly balm had been shed over them, and over his boiling blood.

One Saturday he heard, by a side-wind, that the Unions at a general meeting had debated his case, and there had been some violent speeches, and no decision come to; but the majority adverse to him. This discouraged him sadly, and his yearning heart turned all the more toward his haven of rest, and the hours, few but blissful, that awaited him.

About 11 o’clock, that same day, the postman brought him a letter, so vilely addressed, that it had been taken to two or three places, on speculation, before it reached its destination.

Little saw at once it was another anonymous communication. But he was getting callous to these missives, and he even took it with a certain degree of satisfaction. "Well done, Bramah! Obliged to send their venom by post now." This was the feeling uppermost in his mind. In short, he opened the letter with as much contempt as anger.

But he had no sooner read the foul scrawl, than his heart died within him.

"Thou’s sharp but not sharp enow. We know where thou goes courting up hill. Window is all glass and ripe for a Peter shall blow the house tatums. There’s the stuff in Hillsbro and the men that have done others so, and will do her job as wells thine. Powders a good servant but a bad master.

"ONE WHO MEANS DOING WHAT HE SAYS."

At this diabolical threat, young Little leaned sick and broken over the handle of his bellows.

Then he got up, and went to Mr. Cheetham, and said, patiently, "Sir, I am sorry to say I must leave you this very day."

"Don’t say that, Little, don’t say that."

"Oh it is with a heavy heart, sir; and I shall always remember your kindness. But a man knows when he is beat. And I’m beat now." He hung his head in silence awhile. Then he said, in a faint voice, "This is what has done it, sir," and handed him the letter.

Mr. Cheetham examined it, and said, "I am not surprised at your being taken aback by this. But it’s nothing new to us; we have all been threatened in this form. Why, the very last time I fought the trades, my wife was threatened I should be brought home on a shutter, with my intestines sweeping the ground. That was the purport, only it was put vernacular and stronger. And they reminded me that the old gal’s clothes (that is Mrs. Cheetham: she is only twenty-six, and the prettiest lass in Coventry, and has a row of ivories that would do your heart good: now these Hillsborough hags haven’t got a set of front teeth among ’em, young or old). Well, they told me the old gal’s clothes could easily be spoiled, and her doll’s face and all, with a penn’orth of vitriol."

"The monsters!"

"But it was all brag. These things are threatened fifty times, for once they are done."

"I shall not risk it. My own skin, if you like. But not hers: never, Mr. Cheetham: oh, never; never!"

"Well, but," said Mr. Cheetham, "she is in no danger so long as you keep away from her. They might fling one of their petards in at the window, if you were there; but otherwise, never, in this world. No, no, Little, they are not so bad as that. They have blown up a whole household, to get at the obnoxious party; but they always make sure he is there first."

Bayne was appealed to, and confirmed this; and, with great difficulty, they prevailed on Little to remain with them, until the Unions should decide; and to discontinue his visits to the house on the hill in the meantime. I need hardly say they had no idea the house on the hill was "Woodbine Villa."

He left them, and, sick at heart, turned away from Heath Hill, and strolled out of the lower part of the town, and wandered almost at random, and sad as death.

He soon left the main road, and crossed a stile; it took him by the side of a babbling brook, and at the edge of a picturesque wood. Ever and anon he came to a water-wheel, and above the water-wheel a dam made originally by art, but now looking like a sweet little lake. They were beautiful places; the wheels and their attendant works were old and rugged, but picturesque and countrified; and the little lakes behind, fringed by the master-grinder’s garden, were strangely peaceful and pretty. Here the vulgar labor of the grindstone was made beautiful and incredibly poetic.

"Ah!" thought poor Little, "how happy a workman must be that plies his trade here in the fresh air. And how unfortunate I am to be tied to a power-wheel, in that filthy town, instead of being here, where Nature turns the wheel, and the birds chirp at hand, and the scene and the air are all purity and peace."

One place of the kind was particularly charming. The dam was larger than most, and sloping grass on one side, cropped short by the grinder’s sheep: on the other his strip of garden: and bushes and flowers hung over the edge and glassed themselves in the clear water. Below the wheel, and at one side, was the master-grinder’s cottage, covered with creepers.

But Henry’s mind was in no state to enjoy these beauties. He envied them; and, at last, they oppressed him, and he turned his back on them, and wandered, disconsolate, home.

He sat down on a stool by his mother, and laid his beating temples on her knees.

"What is it, my darling?" said she softly.

"Well, mother, for one thing, the Unions are against me, and I see I shall have to leave Hillsborough, soon or late."

"Never mind, dear; happiness does not depend upon the place we live in; and oh, Henry, whatever you do, never quarrel with those terrible grinders and people. The world is wide. Let us go back to London; the sooner the better. I have long seen there was something worrying you. But Saturday and Monday—they used to be your bright days."

"It will come to that, I suppose," said Henry, evading her last observation. "Yes," said he, wearily, "it will come to that." And he sighed so piteously that she forbore to press him. She had not the heart to cross-examine her suffering child.

That evening, mother and son sat silent by the fire: Henry had his own sad and bitter thoughts; and Mrs. Little was now brooding over the words Henry had spoken in the afternoon; and presently her maternal anxieties found a copious vent. She related to him, one after another, all the outrages that had been perpetrated in Hillsborough, while he was a child, and had been, each in its turn, the town talk.

It was a subject on which, if her son had been older, and more experienced in her sex, he would have closed her mouth promptly, she being a woman whose own nerves had received so frightful a shock by the manner of her husband’s death. But, inadvertently, he let her run on, till she told him how a poor grinder had been carried home to his wife, blinded and scorched with gunpowder, and another had been taken home, all bleeding, to his mother, so beaten and bruised with life-preservers, that he had laid between life and death for nine days, and never uttered one word all that time, in reply to all her prayers and tears.

Now Mrs. Little began these horrible narratives with a forced and unnatural calmness; but, by the time she got to the last; she had worked herself up to a paroxysm of sympathy with other wretched women in Hillsborough, and trembled all over, like one in an ague, for herself: and at last stretched out her shaking hands, and screamed to him, "Oh, Harry, Harry, have pity on your miserable mother! Think what these eyes of mine have seen—bleeding at my feet—there—there—I see it now"—(her eyes dilated terribly at the word)—"oh, promise me, for pity’s sake, that these—same—eyes— shall never see YOU brought and laid down bleeding like HIM!" With this she went into violent hysterics, and frightened her son more than all the ruffians in the town had ever frightened him.

She was a long time in this pitiable condition, and he nursed her: but at last her convulsion ceased, and her head rested on her son’s shoulder in a pitiable languor.

Henry was always a good son: but he never loved his mother so tenderly as he did this night. His heart yearned over this poor panting soul, so stately in form, yet so weak, so womanly, and lovable; his playmate in childhood; his sweet preceptor in boyhood; the best friend and most unselfish lover he had, or could ever hope to have, on earth; dear to him by her long life of loving sacrifice, and sacred by that their great calamity, which had fallen so much heavier on her than on him.

He soothed her, he fondled her, he kneeled at her feet, and promised her most faithfully he would never be brought home to her bruised or bleeding. No; if the Unions rejected his offer he would go back to London with her at once.

And so, thrust from Hillsborough by the trades, and by his fears for Miss Carden, and also drawn from it by his mother’s terrors, he felt himself a feather on the stream of Destiny; and left off struggling: beaten, heart-sick, and benumbed, he let the current carry him like any other dead thing that drifts.

He still plied the hammer, but in a dead-alive way.

He wrote a few cold lines to Mr. Jobson, to say that he thought it was time for a plain answer to be given to a business proposal. But, as he had no great hope the reply would be favorable, he awaited it in a state bordering on apathy. And so passed a miserable week.

And all this time she, for whose sake he denied himself the joy and consolation of her company, though his heart ached and pined for it, had hard thoughts of him, and vented them too to Jael Dence.

The young are so hasty in all their judgments.

While matters were in this condition, Henry found, one morning, two fresh panes of glass broken in his window.

In these hardware works the windows seldom or never open: air is procured in all the rooms by the primitive method of breaking a pane here and a pane there; and the general effect is as unsightly as a human mouth where teeth and holes alternate. The incident therefore was nothing, if it had occurred in any other room; but it was not a thing to pass over in this room, secured by a Bramah lock, the key of which was in Henry’s pocket: the panes must have been broken from the outside. It occurred to him directly that a stone had been thrown in with another threatening scrawl.

But, casting his eye all round, he saw nothing of the kind about.

Then, for a moment, a graver suspicion crossed his mind: might not some detonating substance of a nature to explode when trodden upon, have been flung in? Hillsborough excelled in deviltries of this kind.

Henry thought of his mother, and would not treat the matter lightly or unsuspiciously. He stood still till he had lighted a lucifer match, and examined the floor of his room. Nothing.

He lighted a candle, and examined all the premises. Nothing.

But, when he brought his candle to the window, he made a discovery: the window had two vertical iron uprights, about three-quarters of an inch in circumference: and one of these revealed to his quick eye a bright horizontal line. It had been sawed with a fine saw.

Apparently an attempt had been made to enter his room from outside.

The next question was, had that attempt succeeded.

He tried the bar; it was not quite cut through.

He locked the forge up directly, and went to his handling room. There he remained till Mr. Cheetham entered the works; then he went to him, and begged him to visit his forge.

Mr. Cheetham came directly, and examined the place carefully.

He negatived, at once, the notion that any Hillsborough hand had been unable to saw through a bar of that moderate thickness. "No," said he, "they were disturbed, or else some other idea struck them all of a sudden; or else they hadn’t given themselves time, and are coming again to-morrow. I hope they are. By six o’clock to-night, I’ll have a common wooden shutter hung with six good hinges on each side, easy to open at the center; only, across the center, I’ll fix a Waterloo cracker inside."

"A Waterloo cracker!"

"Ay, but such a one as you never saw. I shall make it myself. It shall be only four inches long, but as broad as my hand, and enough detonating powder in it to blow the shutter fifty feet into the air: and if there should be one of Jobson’s lads behind the shutter at the time, why he’ll learn flying, and naught to pay for wings."

"Why, sir, you are planning the man’s death!"

"And what is HE planning? Light your forge, and leave the job to me. I’m Hillsborough too, and they’ve put my blood up at last."

While Henry lighted his forge, Mr. Cheetham whipped out a rule, and measured the window exactly. This done, he went down the stairs, and crossed the yard to go to his office.

But, before he could enter it, a horrible thing occurred in the room he had just left; so horrible, it made him, brave as he was, turn and scream like a woman.

Some miscreant, by a simple but ingenious means, which afterward transpired, had mixed a quantity of gunpowder with the smithy-slack or fine cinders of Henry’s forge. The moment the forge was hot, the powder ignited with a tremendous thud, a huge mass of flame rushed out, driving the coals with it, like shot from a gun; Henry, scorched, blackened, and blinded, was swept, as by a flaming wind, against the opposite wall; then, yelling, and stark mad with fright (for nothing drives men out of their wits like an explosion in a narrow space), he sprang at the window, head foremost, and with such velocity that the sawed iron snapped like a stick of barley-sugar, and out he went head foremost; and this it was made Cheetham scream, to see him head downward, and the paving-stones below.

But the aperture was narrow: his body flew through, but his tight arm went round the unbroken upright, and caught it in the bend of the elbow.

Then Cheetham roared, "Hold on, Little! Hold on, I tell you!"

The scared brain of a man accustomed to obey received the command almost without the mind; and the grinders and forgers, running wildly into the yard, saw the obnoxious workman, black as a cinder from head to foot, bleeding at the face from broken glass, hanging up there by one hand, moaning with terror, and looking down with dilating eye, while thick white smoke rushed curling out, as if his body was burning. Death by suffocation was at his back, and broken bones awaited him below.

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Chicago: Charles Reade, "Chapter V.," Put Yourself in His Place, ed. Macaulay, G. C. (George Campbell), 1852-1915 and trans. Evans, Sebastian in Put Yourself in His Place Original Sources, accessed January 22, 2019, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=Q81X7F2ATGJ5M29.

MLA: Reade, Charles. "Chapter V." Put Yourself in His Place, edited by Macaulay, G. C. (George Campbell), 1852-1915, and translated by Evans, Sebastian, in Put Yourself in His Place, Original Sources. 22 Jan. 2019. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=Q81X7F2ATGJ5M29.

Harvard: Reade, C, 'Chapter V.' in Put Yourself in His Place, ed. and trans. . cited in , Put Yourself in His Place. Original Sources, retrieved 22 January 2019, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=Q81X7F2ATGJ5M29.