Mary Barton: A Tale of Manchester Life (Version 2) | Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell | Audiobook | 2/9

chapter five of Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell this LibriVox recording is in the public domain the Milan fire gem Wilson to the rescue learn it he was nor bird nor insect flu but he its leafy home and history knew nor wildflower decked the rock namaste well but he its name and qualities could tell Elliott there is a class of men in Manchester unknown even to many of the inhabitants and whose existence will probably be doubted by many who yet may claim kindred with all the noble names that science recognizes I said in Manchester but they are scattered all over the manufacturing districts of Lancashire in the neighborhood of Oldham there are Weaver's common handloom Weaver's who throw the shuttle with unceasing sound though Newton's Principia lie open on the loom to be snatched out in work hours but reveled over in mealtimes or at night mathematical problems are received with interest and studied with absorbing attention by many abroad spoken common-looking factory hand it is perhaps less astonishing that the more popularly interesting branches of natural history have their warm and devoted followers among this class there are botanists among them equally familiar with Eva the linen or the natural system who know the name and habitat at every plant within a day's walk from their dwellings who steal the holiday of a day or two when any particular plant should be in flower and tying up their simple food in their pocket handkerchiefs set off with single purpose to fetch home the humble looking weed there are entomologists who may be seen with a rude looking net ready to catch any winged insect or a kind of dredge with which they rake the green and slimy pools practical shrewd hard-working men who pour over every new specimen with real scientific delight nor is it the common and more obvious divisions of entomology and botany that's alone attract these earnest seekers after knowledge perhaps it may be owing to the great annual town holiday of whitson week so often falling in May or June but the two great beautiful families of a family died and Frigg and I have been so much and so closely studied by Manchester workmen while they have in a great measure escaped general observation if you will refer to the preface to Sir je Smith's life I have it not by me or I would copy you the exact passage you will find that he names a little circumstance corroborative of what I have said sir J Smith being on a visit to Roscoe of Liverpool made some inquiries from him as to the habitat of a very rare plant said to be found in certain places in Lancashire mr. Roscoe knew nothing of the plant but stated that if anyone could give him the desired information it would be a handloom weaver in Manchester whom he named Sir Jay Smith preceded by coach to Manchester and on arriving at that town he inquired of the porter who was carrying his luggage if he could direct him to so-and-so oh yes replied the man it was a bit in my way and on further investigation it turned out that both the porter and his friend the weaver were skilful botanists and able to give Sir J Smith the very information which he wanted such are the tastes and pursuits of some of the thoughtful little understood working men of Manchester and Margaret's grandfather was one of these he was a little wiry looking old man who moved with a jerking motion as if his limbs were worked by a string like a child's toy with dun-colored hair lying thin and soft at the back and sides of his head his forehead was so large it seemed to over balance the rest of his face which had indeed lost its natural contour by the absence of all of the teeth the eye is absolutely gleaned with intelligence so keen so observant he felt as if they were almost wizard-like indeed the whole room looked not unlike a wizard's dwelling instead of pictures were hung rude wooden frames of impaled insects the little table was covered with cabbalistic books and a case of mysterious instruments lay beside one of which job Li was using when his granddaughter entered on her appearance he pushed his spectacles up so us to rest Midway on his forehead and gave Mary a short kind welcome but Margaret he caressed as a mother caresses her firstborn stroking her with tenderness and almost altering his voice as he spoke to her Mary looked round on the odd strange things she had never seen at home and which seemed to her to have a very uncanny look your grandfather a fortune teller whispered she to her new friend no replied Margaret in the same voice but you're not the first as is taken him for such he's only fond of such things as most folks know nothing about and do you know what about them too I know a bit about some of the things grandfather is fond on just because he's fond on him I tried to learn about them well things of these said Mary struck with the weird looking creatures that sprawl around the room in there roughly made glass cases Luke Mary at this horrid scorpion he gave me such a fright I'm all over Twitter yet when I think of it grandfather went to Liverpool on witson week to go strolling about the docks and pick up what he could from the sailors who often brings some queer thing or another from the hot countries that got to and so he sees a chap with a bottle in his hand like a druggist physik bottle and says grandfather what have you gotten there so the sailor holds it up and grandfather knew it was a rare kind of scorpion not common even in the East Indies where the man came from and says he how did you catch this fine fellow for he wouldn't be taken for nothing I'm thinking and the man said as out when they were unloading the ship he'd found him lying behind a bag of rice and he thought the cold had killed him for he was not squashed nor injured a bit he did not like to part with any of the spirit out of his grog to put the scorpion in but slipped him into the bottle knowing there were folks Inoue would give him something for him so grandfather gives him a shilling – shilling interrupted job Lee and a good bargain it was well grandfather came home as proud as punch and pulled the bottle out of his pocket but you see scorpion would double up and grandfather thought I couldn't fairly see how big he was so he shakes him out right before the fire and a good warm one it was four I was ironing I remember I left off ironing and stooped down over him to look at him better and grandfather got a book and began to read oh this very kind were the most poisonous and vicious species oh the bite were often fatal and then went on to read oh people who were bitten got swelled and screamed with pain I was listening hard but as it fell out I never took my eyes off the creature that could not have told I was watching he suddenly it seemed to give a jerk and before I could speak it gave another and in a minute It was as wild as could be running at me just like a mad dog what did you do iced Mary me why I jumped first on a chair and then on all the things I'd been ironing on the dresser and I screamed from grandfather to come up by me we did not hearken to me why if I do come up by the eunuch or the creature I should like to know well I begged grandfather to crush it and add the iron right over it once ready to drop but grandfather begged me not to hurt it in that way so I couldn't think what he'd have for he up round the room as if he were so afraid for all he begged me not so injury at last he goes to the kettle and lifts up the lid and peeps in on earth is he doing that for a thinks I he'll never drink his tea with a scorpion running free and easy about the room then he takes the tongs and he settles his spectacles on his NORs and in a minute he'd lifted the creature up both leg and dropped him into the boiling water and did that kill him said Mary I sure enough it boiled for longer turn and grandfather like though but I was so feared of his coming round again I ran to the public house for some gin and grandfather filled the bottle and then we poured off the water and picked him out of the kettle and dropped him into the bottle and he were there above a twelvemonth what brought him to life at first asked Mary why you see he were never really dead only torpid that is dead asleep with the cold and or a good fire brought him round I'm glad father does not care for such things said Mary are you well I'm often downright glad grandfather is so fond of his books and his creatures and his plants it was me out good to see him so happy sorting them all at all and so ready to go in search or more whenever is a spur a day look at him now come back to his boobs you'll be as happy as a king working away til I make him go to bed it keeps him silent to be sure but so long as I see him earnest and pleased and eager what does that matter then when he has his talking boats can't think how much he has to say deed grandfather you don't know how happy we are Mary wondered if the dear grandfather heard all this but Margaret did not speak in an undertone but no he was far too deep and eager in solving a problem it did not even notice Mary's leave-taking and she went home with the feeling that she had that night made the acquaintance of two of the strangest people she ever saw in her life Margaret so quiet so commonplace until her singing powers were called forth so silent from home so cheerful and agreeable at home and her grandfather so very different to anyone Mary had ever seen Margaret had said he was not a fortune-teller but she did not know whether to believe her to resolve her doubts she told the history of the evening to her father who was interested by her account and curious to see and judge for himself opportunities are not often wanting where inclination goes before and ere the end of that winter Mary looked upon Margaret almost as an old friend the latter would bring her work when Mary was likely to be at home in the evenings and sit with her and Jolie would put a book and his pipe in his pocket and just step round the corner to fetch his grandchild ready for a talk if he found Barton in ready to pull out pipe and book if the girls wanted him to wait and John was still at his club in short ready to do whatever would give pleasure to his darling Margaret I do not know what points of resemblance or dissimilar tude for the one joins people as often as the other attracted the two girls to each other Margaret had the great charm of possessing good strong common sense and do you not perceive how involuntarily this is valued it is so pleasant to have a friend who possesses the power of setting a difficult question in a clear light whose judgment can tell what is best to be done and who is so convinced of what is wisest best that in consideration of the end all difficulties in the way diminish people admire talent and talk about their admiration but they value common sense without talking about it and often without knowing it so Mary and Margaret grew in love one toward the other and Mary told many of her feelings in a way she had never done before to anyone most of her foibles also were made known to Margaret but not all there was one cherished weakness still concealed from everyone it concerned a lover not beloved but favored by fancy a gallant handsome young man but not beloved yet Barry hope to meet him every day in her walks blushed when she heard his name and tried to think of him as a future husband and above all tried to think of herself as his future wife alas poor Mary bitter woe did thy weakness work thee she had other lovers one or two would gladly have kept her company but she held herself too high they said gem Wilson said nothing but loved on and on ever more fondly he hoped against hope he would not give up for it seemed like giving up life to give up thought of Mary he did not dare to look to any end of all this the present so that he saw her touched the hem of her garment was enough surely in time such deep love would beget love he would not relinquish hope and yet her coldness of mana was enough to daunt any man and it made gem more despairing than he would acknowledge for a long time even to himself but one evening he came round by Barton's house a willing messenger for his father and opening the door saw Margaret sitting asleep before the fire she had come in to speak to Mary and worn out by a long working watching night she fell asleep in the genial warmth an old fashioned saying about a pair of gloves came into Jim's mind and stepping gently up he kissed Margaret with a friendly kiss she awoke and perfectly understanding the thing she said for shame of yourself Jen what would Mary say she'd know but say practice makes perfect and they both laughed but the words Margaret had said rankled in Jemez mind would Mary care would she care in the very least they seemed to call for an answer by night and by day and Jem felt that his heart told him Mary was quite indifferent to any action of his still he loved on and on ever more fondly Mary's father was well aware of the nature of Jim Wilson's feelings for his daughter but he took no notice of them to anyone thinking Mary fully on yet for the cares of married life and unwilling to to entertain the idea of parting with her at any time however distant but he welcomed jam at his house as he would have done his father's son whatever were his motives for coming and now and then admitted the thought that Mary might do worse when her time came than Marie jem Wilson a steady workman at a good trade a good son to his parents and a fine manly spirited chap at least when Mary was not by for when she was present he watched her too closely and too anxiously to have much of what John Barton called spunk in him it was towards the end of February in that year and a bitter black frost had lasted for many weeks the key in Eastwind had long since swept the streets clean though on a gusty day the dust would rise like pounded ice and make people's faces quite smart with the cold force with which it blew against them houses sky people and everything looked as if a gigantic brush had washed them all over with a dark shade of Indian ink there was some reason for this grimy appearance on human beings whatever there might be for the dun looks of the landscape for soft water had become an article not even to be purchased and the poor washerwomen might be seen vainly trying to procure a little by breaking the thick grey ice that coated the ditches and ponds in the neighborhood people prophesied a long continuance to this already lengthened Frost said the spring would be very late no spring fashions required no summer clothing purchased for a short and CERN's summer indeed there was no end to the evil prophesied during the continuance of that's bleak east wind merry hurried home one evening just as daylight was fading from miss Simmons with her shawl held up to her mouth and her head bent as if in deprecation of the meeting wind so she did not perceive Margaret till she was close upon her at the very turning into the court bless B marker is that you where are you bound to to nowhere about your own house that is if you'll take me in have a job of work to finish tonight morning as must be in time for the funeral tomorrow and grandfather has been out Moss hunting and will not be home too late oh how charming it will be I'll help you if you're back word have you much to do yes I only got the order yesterday at noon and there's three girls beside the mother and what we trying on and matching the stuff for there was not enough in the piece they chose first I'm above a bit behind hand of the skirts all to make I kept that work till candlelight and the sleeves to say nothing of little bits to the bodies but the missus is very particular and I could scarce keep from smiling while they were crying so really taking on sadlier sure – a first one and then saw the clear up to notice the city ver gown they weren't to be misfits I promise you that there were in such trouble well Margaret you're right welcome as you know and I'll sit down to help me with pleasure though I was tired enough a sewing tonight at miss Simmons by this time Mary had broken up the raking coal and lighted her candle and Margaret settled herself to her work on one side of the table while her friend hurried over her tea at the other the things were then lifted on mass to the dresser and dusting her side of the table with the apron she always wore at home Mary took up some breads and began to run them together who was it all for for if you table have forgotten why from mrs. Ogden as keeps the greengrocers shop in Oxford Road her husband drank himself to death and though she cried over him in his ways all the time it was alive she's fretted sadly for him now he's dead as he left her much to go upon asked Mary examining the texture of the dress this is beautifully fine soft bombazine nor a much afeard there's but little and the several young children besides the three miss Ogden I should have thought girls like them would have made their own gowns observed Mary so I daresay they do many a one but no they seem all so busy getting ready for the funeral where it's to be quite a grand affair well nigh 20 people to breakfast as one of the little ones told me the little thing seemed to like the fuss and I do believe it comforted poor mrs. Ogden to make all the piece of work such a smell of am boiling and Foles roasting while I waited in the kitchen you seem more like a wedding nor a funeral they said she'd spend a matter of sixty pound on burial I thought you said she was but badly off said Mary I know she's asked for credit at several places saying her husband laid hands on every farthing you could get for drink but thunder takers urge your on you see and tell her this things usual and that things only a common mark of respect and that everybody asks other thing till the poor woman has no will ever on I dare say to her art strike sir it always does when a person's gone for many a word and many a slighting deed to him who's stiffened called and she thinks to make up matters as it were by a grand funeral though she and all the children too may have to pinch many a year to pay the expenses if ever they pay them at all this morning too will cost a pretty penny said Mary I for wonder why folks were mourning it's not pretty or becoming and it costs a dealer money just when people can spare at least and if what the Bible tells us to be true we ought not to be sorry when a friend who's been good goes to his rest and as for a bad man ones glad enough to get on him I cannot see what good comes out of wearing mourning I'll tell you what I think fancy was sent for all that his calls everything sent for and I believe she's right it does do good though not as much as it costs that I do believe in setting people as his caste owned by sorrow and feels themselves unable to settle to anything but crying something to do why no I told you how they were grieving for perhaps he was a candle spurned and father in his thoughtless way when he wasn't in liquor but they cheered up wonderful while I was there and I asked him for more directions than usual that they might have something to talk over and fix about and I left him II fashion book though it were two months old just a purpose I don't think everyone would grieve her that way old Alice wooden or valise is one in a thousand I doubt too if she would fret much however sorry she might be she would say it was sent and fall to trying to find out what good it were to do every sorrow in her mind is sent from God did I ever tell you Mary what she said one day when she found me taking on about something no do tell me what were you fretting about first place I can't tell you just now perhaps I may some time when perhaps this very evening if it rises in the art perhaps never it's a fear that sometimes I can't abide to think about and sometimes I don't like to think on anything else well I was fretting about this fear and Alice comes in for something and finds me crying I would not tell her no more than I would you marry so she says well dear you must mind this when you're going to fret and below about anything an anxious mind is never a holy mind Oh Mary I have sought and checked my grumbling sin she said that the weary sound of stitching was the only sound heard for a little while till Mary inquired do you expect to get paid for this morning why I do not much think I shall I've thought it over once or twice and I mean to bring myself to think shan't and to like to do it as my bit towards comforting them I don't think that can pay and yet they're just the sort of fall to have the mind's easier for worrying morning there's only one thing I dislike making black for it does saw her the eyes Margaret put down her work with a sigh and shaded her eyes then she assumed a cheerful tone and said you'll not have to wait long Mary for my secrets on the tip of my tongue Mary do you know I sometimes think I'm growing a little blind and then what would become of grandfather and me oh god help me Lord help me she fell into an agony of tears while Mary Nell by her striving to soothe and to comfort her but like an inexperienced person striving rather to deny the correctness of Margaret's fear than helping her to meet and overcome the evil nor said Margaret quietly fixing her tearful eyes on Mary I know I'm not mistaken I have felt one going some time long before I ever thought what it would lead to and last autumn I went to a doctor and he did not mince the matter but said unless i sat in a darkened room with my hands before me my site would not last me many years longer but how could I do that Mary for one thing grandfather would have known there was something that matter and all will grieve him sore whenever he's told so the later the better and besides Mary with something little enough to go upon and what I earn is a great help but grandfather takes a day here in a day there but botanizing going after insects and he'll think little enough of four or five shillings for a specimen dear grandfather and I'm so loathe to think he should be stinted of what gives him such pleasure so I went to another doctor to try and get him to say something different and he said oh it was only weakness and give me a bottle of lotion but I've used three bottles and each of them costs two shillings and my eye is so much worse not hurting so much but I can't see a bit with it there no Mary continued she shutting one I know you only loot like a great black shadow with the edges dancing and sparkling and you can see pretty well with other yes pretty near as well as ever the only difference is that if I saw a long time together a bright spot like the Sun comes right where I'm looking all the rest are quite clear but just where I want to see up into both doctors again and know they're both the same story and I suppose I'm going dark as fast as maybe plain workpace so bad and morning has been so plentiful this winter I were tempted to take in any black work I could and now I'm suffering from it and yet Margaret you're going on taking it in that's what you'd call foolish in another it is Marie and yet what can I do fault Minh live and I think I should go blind anyway and I daren't tell grandfather Elsa would leave it off but he will saw Fred Margaret rocked herself backward and forward to still her emotion Oh Marie she said I tried to get his face off by art and a steer at him so when he's not looking and and shut my eyes to see if I can remember his dear face there's one thing Mary that serves a bit to come for me you'll averred of old Jacob Butterworth the singing Weaver well I owed him a bit so I went to him and said our wished it teach me the right way of singing and he says of a rare fine voice and a girl once a week and took a lesson for him it's been a grand singer in his day his let's choruses at the festivals and got thanked many a time by London folk and one foreign singer Madame Catalan II turned round and shook him by fan before the old church full of people he says I'm a gay never so much money by singing but I don't know any rate it's sad work being blind she took up her sewing saying her eyes were rested now and for some time they sold on in silence suddenly there were steps heard in the little paved court person after person ran past the curtain'd window something's up said Mary she went to the door and stopping the first person she saw inquired the cause of the commotion ere wench Don you you see the firelight Carson's Milly's blazed in a way like fum and away her informant run come Margaret on with your bonnet and let's go to see Carson's mill it's a fire and they say a burning Millie such a grand sight I never saw one well I think it's a fearful sight besides of all this work to do but Mary coaxed in her sweet manner and with her gentle caresses promising to help with the gowns all night long if necessary nay saying she should quite enjoy the truth was Margaret's secret weighed heavily and painfully on her mind and she felt her inability to comfort besides she wanted to change the currents of Margaret's thoughts and in addition to these unselfish feelings came the desire she and honestly expressed of seeing a factory on fire so in two minutes they were ready at the threshold of the house they met John Barton to whom they told their errand Carson's mill ah there is a mill on fire somewhere sure enough by the light and it'll be a rare blaze there's not a drop of water to be got and much Carson's will care for the well insured and the machines are a food fashion kind see they don't think it's a fine thing for themselves they're not thank them as tries to put it out he gave way for the impatient girls to pass guided by the ruddy light more than by any exact knowledge of the streets that led to the mill they scampered along with bent heads facing the terrible east wind as best they might Carson's mill ran lengthways from east to west along it went one of the oldest thoroughfares in Manchester indeed all that part of the town was comparatively old it was there that the first cotton mills were built and the crowded alleys and back streets of the neighborhood made a fire there particularly to be dreaded the staircase of the mill ascended from the entrance at the western end which faced into a wide dingy looking Street consisting principally of public houses pawnbrokers shops rag-and-bone warehouses and dirty provision shops the other the east end of the factory fronted into a very narrow backstreet not twenty feet wide and miserably lighted and paved right against this end of the factory with the gable ends of the last house in the principal Street a house which from its size its handsome stone facings and the attempt at ornament in the front had probably been once a gentleman's house but now the light which streamed from its enlarged front windows made clear the interior of the splendidly fitted up room with its painted walls its pillared recesses its gilded and gorgeous fittings up it's miserable squalid inmates it was a gin Palace Mary almost wished herself away so fearful as Margaret had said was the sight when they joined the crowd assembled to witness the fire there was a murmur of many voices whenever the roaring of the flames ceased for an instant it was easy to perceive the mass were deeply interested what do they say asked Margaret of a neighbor in the crowd as she caught a few words clear and distinct from the general murmur there never is anyone in the mill surely exclaimed Mary as the sea of upward turned faces moved with one Accord to the east and looking into Dunham Street the narrow back Lane already mentioned the western end of the Mill whither the raging flames were driven by the wind was crowned and turreted with triumphant fire it sent forth its infernal tongs from every window hole licking the black walls with amorous fierceness it was swayed or fell before the mighty Gale only to rise higher and yet higher to ravage and draw yet more wildly this part of the roof fell in with an astounding crash while the crowd struggled more and more to press into Dunham Street for what were magnificent terrible flames what were falling Timbers or tottering walls in comparison with human life there where the devouring flames had been repelled by the yet more powerful wind but where yet black smoke gushed out from every aperture there at one of the windows on the fourth storey or rather a doorway where a crane was fixed to hoist up goods might occasionally be seen when the thick gusts of smoke cleared partially away for an instant the imploring figures of two men they had remained after the rest of the workmen for some reason or other and owing to the wind having driven the fire in the opposite direction had perceived no sight or sound of alarm to long after if anything could be called long in that throng of terrors which passed by in less time than half an hour the fire had consumed the old wooden staircase at the other end of the building I am not sure whether it was not the first sound of the rushing crowd below that made them fully aware of their awful position where are the engines asked Margaret of her neighbor that coming no doubt but bless you I think it's bear ten minutes since we found out fire it rages so with this wind and also dry like is no one gone for a ladder gasp Mary as the men were perceptibly though not audibly praying the great multitude below for help i wilson's son and another man were off like a shot well nigh five minutes are gone but the Masons and Slayers and suchlike have left their work and locked up the yards Wilson then was that man whose figure loomed out against the ever-increasing dull hot light behind whenever the smoke was clear was that George Wilson Mary sickened with terror she knew he worked for Carson's but at first she had had no idea and he lives were in danger and since she had become aware of this the heated air the roaring flames the dizzy light and the agitated and murmuring crowd had bewildered her thoughts all let's us go on Margaret I cannot stay we can't go see oh we were wedged in by folks poor Mary you won't hanker after a fire again hark listen for through the hushed crowd pressing around the angle of the mill and filling up Dunham Street might be heard the rattle of the engine the heavy quick tread of loaded horses thank God said Margaret's neighbor the engines come another pause the plugs were stiff and water could not be got then there was a pressure through the crowd the front rows bearing back on those behind till the girls were sick with the clothes ramming confinement then a relaxation and a breathing freely once more she was young Wilson and a fireman we a ladder said Margaret's neighbor a tall man who could overlook the crowd Oh tell us what you see beg Mary they've gotten it fixed again the gin shop wall one of the many factories fell back days with the smoke I warrant the floors not giving way their God said he bringing his eye lower down flood is too sure it's all with em poor chaps the fires coming slow and Shore to that end and a for they've even gotten water or another ladder they'll be dared outta now lord have mercy on them a sob as if of excited women was heard in the Kush of the crowd another pressure like the former Maori clung to Margaret's armed with a pinching grasp and longs to faint and be insensible to escape from the oppressing misery of her sensations a minute or two they've taken flutter into the Temple of Apollo can't press back with it to the yard it came from a mighty shout arose a sound so wake the dead upon high quivering in the air was seen the end of the ladder protruding out of a garret window in the gable end of the gin Palace nearly opposite to the doorway where the men had been seen though was in the crowd nearest the factory and consequently best able to see up to the garret window said that several men were holding one end and guiding by their weight its passage to the doorway the garret window frame had been taken out before the crowd below were aware of the attempt at length for it seemed long measured by beating hearts though scarce two minutes had elapsed the ladder was fixed an aerial bridge at a dizzy height across the narrow street every eye was fixed in unwinking anxiety and people's very breathing scene stilled in suspense the men were nowhere to be seen but the wind appeared for the moment higher than ever and drove back the invading flames to the other end Mary and Margaret could see now right above them danced the ladder in the wind the crowd pressed back from under firemen's helmets appeared at the window holding the ladder firm when a man with quick steady tread and unmoving head passed from one side to the other the multitude did not even whisper while he crossed the perilous bridge which quivered under him but when he was across safe comparatively in the factory a cheer arose for an instant checked however almost immediately by the uncertainty of the result and the desire not in any way to shake the nerves of the brave fellow who had cast his life on such a die there he is again sprung to the lips of many as they saw him at the doorway standing as if for an instant to breathe a mouthful of the fresher air before he trusted himself to cross on his shoulders he bore an insensible body it's Jim Wilson and his father whispered Margaret but Mary knew it before the people were sick with anxious terror he could no longer balance himself with his arms everything must depend on nerve and I they saw the latter was fixed by the position of the head which never wavered the ladder shook under the double way but still he never moved his head he dared not look below it seemed an age before the crossing was accomplished at last the window was gained the bearer relieved from his burden both had disappeared then the multitude might shout and above the roaring flames louder than the blowing of the mighty wind arose that tremendous burst of applause at the success of the daring enterprise then the shrill cry was heard asking is the old man alive and likely to do I answered one of the firemen to the hushed crowd below he's coming round finally now he's had a dash of cold water he drew back his head and the eager inquiries the shouts the see like murmurs of the moving rolling mass began again to be heard but for an instant though in far less time than even that in which I have endeavored briefly to describe the pause of events the same bold Hiro stepped again upon the ladder with evident purpose to rescue the man yet remaining in the burning mill he went across in the same quick steady manner as before and the people below made less acutely anxious by his previous success were talking to each other shouting out intelligence of the progress of the fire at the other end of the factory telling of the endeavors of the firemen at that part to obtain water while the closely packed body of men heaved and rolled from side to side it was different from the former silent breathless hush I do not know if it were from this cause or from the recollection of peril past or that he looked below in the breathing moment before returning with the remaining person a slight little man slung across his shoulders but Jem Wilson's step was less steady his tread more uncertain he seemed to feel with his foot for the next round of the ladder to waver and finally to stop halfway by this time the crowd was still enough in the awful instant that intervened no one does speak even to encourage many turned sick with terror and shut their eyes to avoid seeing the catastrophe they dreaded it came the brave man swayed from side to side at first as slightly as if only balancing himself but he was evidently losing nerve and even sense it was only wonderful how the animal instinct of self-preservation did not overcome every generous feeling and impel him at once to drop the helpless inanimate body he carried perhaps the same instinct told him that the sudden loss of so heavier weight would of itself be a great and imminent danger help me she's fainted cried Margaret but no one heeded all eyes were directed upwards at this point of time a rope with a running noose was dexterously thrown by one of the firemen after the manner of Alice ooh over the head and round the bodies of the two men Truitt was with rude and slight adjustment but slight as it was it served as a steadying guide it encouraged the sinking heart the dizzy head on small gem stepped on words he was not hurried by any jerk or pull slowly and gradually the rope was hauled in slowly and gradually did he make the four or five paces between him and safety the window was gained and all were saved the multitude in the street absolutely danced with triumph and hazard and yelled till he would have fancied their very throats would crack and then with all the fickleness of interest characteristic of a large body of people pressed and stumbled and cursed and swore in the hurry to get out of Dunham Street and back to the immediate scene of the fire the mighty diapason of whose roaring flames formed an awful accompaniment to the screams and yells and implications of the struggling crowd as they pressed away Margaret was left pale and almost sinking under the weight of Mary's body which she had preserved in an upright position by keeping her arms tight round Mary's waist dreading with reason the trampling of unheeding feet now however she gently let her down on the cold clean pavement and the change of posture and the difference in temperature now that the people had withdrawn from their close neighborhood speedily restored her to consciousness her first glance was bewildered and uncertain she had forgotten where she was her cold hard bed felt strange the murky glare in the sky affrighted her she shut her eyes to think to recollect her next look was upwards the fearful bridge had been withdrawn the window was unoccupied there safe said Margaret all a roll safe Margaret Hari asked young fireman and he'll tell you more about it than I can but I know they're all safe the fireman hastily corroborated Margaret's words why did you let Jim Wilson go twice asked Margaret let why we could not endure him as soon as ever he heard his father speak which he was no longer doing Jim were off like a shot only saying in old better nor us where to find saw the man we'd all have gone if he hadn't have been in such an aura for no one can say as Manchester fireman his ever backward when there's danger so saying he run off and the two girls without remark or discussion turned home words they were overtaken by the elder Wilson pale grimy and blear-eyed but apparently as strong and well as ever he loitered a minute or two alongside of them giving an account of his detention in the mill he then hastily wished goodnight saying he must go home and tell his missus he was all safe and well but after he had gone a few steps he turned back came on Mary side of the pavement and in an earnest whisper which Margaret could not avoid hearing he said Mary if my boy comes across you tonight give him a kind word or two for my sake do bless you there's a good wench Mary hung her head and answered not a word and in an instant he was gone when they arrived at home they found John Barton smoking his pipe unwilling to question yet very willing to hear all the details they could give him Margaret went over the whole story and it was amusing to watch his gradually increasing interest and excitement first the regular puffing abated and ceased then the pipe was fairly taken out of his mouth and held suspended then he rose and at every further point he became a step nearer to the narrator when it was ended he swore an unusual thing for him that if Jim Wilson wanted Mary he should have her tomorrow if he had not a penny to keep her Margaret laughed but Mary who was now recovered from her agitation pouted and looked angry the work which they had left was resumed but with full hearts fingers never go very quickly and I am sorry to say that owing to the fire the two younger miss Ogden's were in such grief for the loss of their excellent father that they were unable to appear before the little circle of sympathizing friends gathered together to comfort the widow and see the funeral set off end of chapter 5 read by Tony Foster Chapter six of Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell this LibriVox recording is in the public domain poverty and death how little can the rich man know of what the poor man feels when want like some dark demon foe nearer and nearer steals he never tramped the weary round a stroke of work to gain and sickened at the dreaded sound telling him twas in vain foot saw heart saw he never came back through the winters wind to a dark cellar there no flame no light no food to find he never saw his darlings lie shivering the flags their bed he never heard that maddening cry daddy a bit of bread manchester song John Barton was not far wrong in his idea that mrs. Carson would not be over much grieved for the consequences of the fire in their mill they were well insured the machinery lacked to the improvements of late years and worked but poorly in comparison with that which might now be procured above all trade was very slack Cotton's could find no market and goods lay packed and piled in many a warehouse the mills were merely worked to keep the machinery human and metal in some kind of order and readiness for better times so this was an excellent opportunity mrs. Carson thought for refitting their factory with first-rate improvements for which the insurance money would amply pay they were in no hurry about the business however the weekly drain of wage is given for labor useless in the present state of the market was stopped the partners had more leisure than they had known for years and promised wives and daughters all manner of pleasant excursions as soon as the weather should become more genial it was a pleasant thing to be able to lounge over breakfast with a review or newspaper in hand to have time for becoming acquainted with agreeable and accomplished daughters on whose education no money had been spared but whose fathers shut up during a long day with calicoes and accounts had so seldom had leisure to enjoy their daughter's talents there were happy family evenings now that the men of business had time for domestic enjoyments there is another side to the picture there were homes over which Carson's fire through a deep terrible gloom the homes of those who would feign work and no man gave unto them the homes of those to whom leisure was a curse there the family music was hungry wails when week after week passed by and there was no work to be had and consequently no wages to pay for the bread the children cried aloud for in their young impatience of suffering there was no breakfast to lounge over their lounge was taken in bed to try and keep warmth in them that bitter March weather and by being quiet to deaden the gnawing wolf within many a penny that would have gone little way enough in oatmeal or potatoes bought opium to still the hungry little ones and make them forget their uneasiness in heavy troubled sleep it was Mother's mercy the evil and the good of our nature came out strongly then there were desperate fathers there were bitter tonged mothers Oh God what wonder there were reckless children the very closest bonds of nature was snapped in that time of trial and distress there was faith such as the rich can never imagine on earth there was love strong as death and self-denial among rude coarse men akin to that of Sir Philip Sidney's most glorious deed the vices of the poor sometimes astound us here but when the secrets of all hearts shall be made known their virtues will astound us in far greater degree of this I am soon as the cold bleak spring came on spring in name alone and consequently as trade continued dead of the mills shortened hours turned off hands and finally stopped work all together Barton worked short hours Wilson of course being a hand in Carson's factory had no work at all but his son working at an engineer's and a steady man obtained wages enough to maintain all the family in a careful way still it preyed on Wilson's mind to be so long indebted to his son he was out of spirits and depressed Barton was morose and soured towards mankind as a body and the rich in particular one evening when the clear light at six o'clock contrasted strangely with the Christmas cold and when the bitter wind piped down every entry and through every cranny Barton sat brooding over his stinted fire and listening for Mary step in unacknowledged trust that her presence would cheer him the door was opened and Wilson came breathless in you've not got a bit of money by you Barton asked he not I who was now I'd like to know what he wants it for I don't know wants you for my cell though we've none to spare it would dunya nor Ben Davenport has worked at Carson's he's down with a fever and near a stick of fire nor a code potato in the house I am got no money I tell you said Barton Wilson looked disappointed Barton tried not to be interested but he could not help it in spite of his gruffness he rose and went to the cupboard his wives pried long ago there lay the remains of his dinner hastily put by ready for supper bread and a slice of cold fat boiled bacon he wrapped them in his handkerchief put them in the crown of his hat and said come let's be going going now they're going to work this time of day no stupid to be sure not going to see the fellow thou spoke on so they put on their hats and set out on the way Wilson said Davenport was a good fellow though not too much of the method II that his children were too young to work were not too young to be cold and hungry that they had sunk lower and lower and pawned thing after thing and then now they lived in a cellar in Barre Street off store Street Barton growled inarticulate words of no benevolence import to a large class of mankind and so they went along so they arrived in Berry Street it was unpaved and down the middle a gutter forced its way every now and then forming pools in the holes with which the street abounded never was the old Edinburgh cry of guard a low more necessary than in this street as they passed women from their doors tossed household slops of every description into the gutter they ran into the next pool which overflowed and stagnated heaps of ashes were the stepping stones on which the passerby who cared in the least for cleanliness took care not to put his foot our friends were not dainty but even they picked their way till they got to some steps leading down into a small area where a person standing would have his head about one foot above the level of the street and might at the same time without the least motion of his body touch the window of the cellar and the damp muddy wall right opposite he went down one step even from the foul area into the cellar in which a family of human beings lived it was very dark inside the window panes were many of them broken and stuffed with ranks which was reason enough for the dusky light that pervaded the place even at midday after the account I have given of the state of the street no one can be surprised that on going into the cellar inhabited by Davenport the smell was so fetid as almost to knock the two men down quickly recovering themselves as those inured to such things do they began to penetrate the thick darkness of the place and to see three or four little children rolling on the damp nay wet brick floor through which the stagnant filthy moisture of the street boozed up the fireplace was empty in black the wife sat on her husband's layer and cried in the dank loneliness see misses and back again old annoys children and don't mire your mummy for bread is a chiapas is god's employer in that dim light which was darkness to strangers they clustered round Barton and tour from him the food he had brought with him it was a large hunch of bread but it vanished in an instant women do summer forum said he to Wilson you stop here and I'll be back in half an hour so he strode and ran and hurried home he emptied into the ever useful pocket handkerchief the little meal remaining in the mug Mary would have her tea at miss Simmons her food for the day was safe then he went upstairs for his better coat and his one gay red and yellow silk pocket handkerchief his jewels his plate his valuables these were he went to the pawn shop he pawned them for five shillings he stopped not nor stayed till he was once more in London Road within five minutes walk of berry Street then he loitered in his gate in order to discover the shops he wanted he bought meat and a loaf of bread candles chips and from a little retail yard he purchased a couple of hundred weights of coals some money yet remained all destined for them but he did not yet know how best to spend it food light and warmth he had instantly seen when necessary for luxuries he would wait Wilson's eyes filled with tears when he saw Barton enter with his purchases he understood it all and longed to be once more in work that he might help in some of these material ways without feeling that he was using his son's money but though silver and gold he had none he gave heart service and love works of far more value nor was John Barton behind in these the fever was as it usually is in Manchester of a low putrid typhoid kind brought on by miserable living filthy neighborhood and great depression of mind and body it is virulent malignant and highly infectious but the poor of fatalists with regard to infection and well for them it is so for in their crowded dwellings no invalid can be isolated Wilson asked Barton if he thought he should catch it and was laughed at for his idea the two men ruff tender nurses as they were lighted the fire which smoked and puffed into the room as if it did not know the way up the damp unused chimney the very smoke seemed purifying and healthy in the thick clammy air the children clamored again for bread but this time Barton took a piece first to the poor helpless hopeless woman who still sat by the side of her husband listening to his anxious miserable mutterings she took the bread when it was put into her hand and broke a bit but could not eat she was past hunger she fell down on the floor with a heavy unresisting bang the men looked puzzled she's well not Clement said Bardon folk do say one mustn't give Clem people too much to eat but blesses she'll eaten out I'll tell you what I'll do said Wilson I'll take these two big lads as doesnäôt will fight on to my missus is for tonight and I'll get a jogger T then women always does best with T and suchlike slop so Barton was now left alone with a little child crying when it had done eating for mummy with a fainting dead-like woman and with the sick man whose mutterings were rising up to screams and shrieks of agonized anxiety he carried the woman to the fire and shaved her hands he looked around for something to raise her head there was literally nothing but some loose bricks however those he got and taking off his coat he covered them with it as well as he could he pulled her feet to the fire which now began to emit some faint heat he looked round for water but the poor woman had been too weak to drag herself out to the distant pump and water there was none he snatched the child and ran up the area steps to the room above and borrowed their only saucepan with some water in it then he began with the useful skill of a working man to make some gruel and when it was hastily made he seized a battered iron table spoon kept when many other little things had been sold in a lot in order to feed baby and with it he forced one or two drops between her clenched teeth the mouth opened mechanically to receive more and gradually she revived she sat up and looked round and recollecting all fell down again in weakened passive despair a little child crawled to her and wiped with its fingers the thick coming tears which she now had strength to weep it was now high time to attend to the man he lay on straw so damp and moldy no dog would have chosen it in preference to flags over it was a piece of sacking coming next to his worn skeleton of a body above him was mustard every article of clothing that could be spared by mother or children this bitter weather and in addition to his own these might have given as much warmth as one blanket could they have been kept on him but as he restlessly tossed to and fro they fell off and left him shivering in spite of the burning heat of his skin every now and then he started up in his naked madness looking like the prophet of war in the fearful plague picture but he soon fell again in exhaustion and Barton found he must be closely watched less in these Falls he should injure himself against the hard brick floor he was thankful when Wilson reappeared carrying in both hands a jug of steaming tea intended for the poor waif but when the delirious husband saw drink he snatched at it with animal instinct with a selfishness he had never shown in health then the two men consulted together it seemed decided without a word being spoken on the subject that both should spend the night with the forlorn couple that was settled but could no doctor be had in all probability no the next day an infirmary order might be begged but meanwhile the only medical advice they could have must be from a druggists so Barton being the moneyed man set out to find a shop in London Road it is a pretty sight to walk through a street with lighted shops the gas is so brilliant the display of goods so much more vividly shown than by day and of all shops a drug looks the most like the tales of our childhood from Aladdin's garden of Enchanted fruits to the charming Rosamund with her purple jar no such associations had Barton yet he felt the contrast between the well filled well lighted shops and the dim gloomy cellar and it made him moody that such contrasts should exist they are the mysterious problem of life – more than him he wondered if any in all the hurrying crowd had come from such a house of mourning he thought they all looked joyous and he was angry with them but he could not you cannot read the lot of those who daily pass you by in the street how do you know the wild romances of their lives the trials the temptations they are even now enduring resisting sinking under you may be elbowed one instant by the girl desperate in her abandonment laughing in mad merriment with her outward gesture while her soul is longing for the rest of the dead and bringing itself to think of the cold flowing river as the only mercy of God remaining to her here you may pass the criminal meditating crimes at which you will tomorrow shudder with horror as you read them you may push against one humble and a noticed the last upon earth who in heaven will forever be in the immediate light of God's countenance errands of mercy errands of sin did you ever think where all the thousands of people you daily meet are bound barton's was an errand of mercy but the thoughts of his heart were touched by sin by bitter hatred of the happy whom he for the time confounded with the selfish he reached a druggist shop and entered the druggist who smooth manners seemed to have been solved over with his own sperma Ceti listened attentively to Barton's description of Davenport's illness concluded it was typhus fever very prevalent in that neighborhood and proceeded to make up a bottle of medicine sweet spirits of niter or some such innocent potion very good for slight colds but utterly powerless to stop for an instant the raging fever of the poor man it was intended to relieve he recommended the same course they had previously determined to adopt applying the next morning for an infirmary order and Barton left the shop with comfortable faith in the physic given him for men of his class if they believe in physic at all believe that every description is equally efficacious meanwhile Wilson had done what he could at Davenport's home it soothed and covered the man many a time he had fed and hushed the little child and spoken tenderly to the woman who lay still in her weakness and her weariness he had opened a door but only for an instant it led into a back cellar with a grating instead of a window down which dropped the moisture from Peaks ties and worse abominations it was not paved the floor was one mass of bad smelling mud it had never been used but there was not an article of furniture in it nor could a human being much less a pig have lived there many days yet the back apartment made a difference in the rent the Davenports paid through pence more for having two rooms when he turned round again he saw the woman suckling the child from her dry withered breast surely the laddies wean exclaimed he and surprised why how old is he going on two year she faintly answered but oh it keeps him quiet when I've now tells tag iam and he'll get a bit of sleep lying there if he's getting out beside we had done our best to give the chill the food however we pinched ourselves and yet no money for it town no ma muster is booking him Chabon and he's feared the town would send him back to his parish if he went to the board so we've just borne on in Opa better times but I think they'll never come in my day and the poor woman began her week high-pitched cry again here suck this drop a gruel and then try to get a bit of sleep John and I'll watch by a master tonight God's blessing be on you she finished the gruel and fell into a deep sleep Wilson covered her with his coat as well as he could and tried to move lightly for fear of disturbing her but they need of be no such dread for her sleep was profound and heavy with exhaustion once only she roused to pull the colt round her little child and now all Wilson's care and barton's to boot was wanted to restrain the wild mad agony of the fevered man he started up he yelled he seemed infuriated by overwhelming anxiety he cursed and swore which surprised Wilson who knew his piety in health and who did not know the unbridled tongue of delirium at length he seemed exhausted and fell asleep and Barton and Wilson drew near the fire and talked together in whispers they sat on the floor for chairs there were none the sole table was an old tub turned upside down they put out the candle and conversed by the flickering firelight and you known this chap long a Spartan better nor three-year each were quick arsons that long and were alway a steady Sibyl spoken fellow though as I said afore somewhat of a method II I wish I'd gotten a letter he sent his missus a week or two were gone when he were on tramp for work did May aren't good to read it for you see I were a bit grumbling micelle he seemed odd to be sponging on Jam and taking a his flesh meat money to buy bread for me and them as I ought to be keeping but you know although I can earn out a money summer well as I tell ye our grumbling when she indicating the sleeping woman by a nod brought me Ben's letter for she could now read a cell it was good as Bible words near a word of repining about God being our Father and that women bear patiently were Airy sends on you think ease must as father to I've been loved two of them four brothers hey John Donna talk so sure there's many and many a master as good or better Norris if you think so tell me this how comes it they're rich and we're poor I'd like to know that and they're done as they'd be done by for us but Wilson was no arguer no speech if I are as he would have called it so Barton seeing he was likely to have it his own way went on you'll say at least many are wonders they in getting capital and wean getting none I say our Labor's are capital and we ought to draw interest on that they get interest on their capital somehow or this time while Arnie's lying idle else how could they all live as they do besides is many on him as as now to begin we this Carson's and Duncan's and Meng Jie's and many another has calmed into Manchester with close to the back and that were all and now they're with the tens of thousands or getting out of our labor why the very land as fetched but 60 pound 20 year are gone is now worth 600 and that too is owing to our labor but look at your and see me and poor Davenport yonder what in better hour then screwed us down to the lowest peg in order to make their great big fortunes and build their great big houses and we why we're just Clem in many and many others can you say there's nowt wrong in this well barn I'll not gainsay ye but mr. Carson spoke to me after the fire and say Zee I shall have to retrench and be very careful in my expenditure during these bad times I assure you so you see masters suffer too and they ever seen a child are there and die for want of food asked Barton in a low deep voice I don't mean continued he to say as I'm so badly off at scorn to speak for myself but when I see such men as Davenport they're dying away for very klemming I cannot stand it I've booked gone Mary and she keeps her cell pretty much I think well had to give up housekeeping but that I don't mind and in this kind of talk the night the long heavy night of watching war away as far as they could judge Davenport continued in the same state although the symptoms varied occasionally the wife slept on only roused by a cry of a child now and then which seemed to have power over when far louder noises failed to disturb her the watches agreed that as soon as it was likely mr. Carson would be open visible Wilson should go to his house and beg for an infirmary order at length the gray dawn penetrated even into the dark cellar Davenport slept and Barton was to remain there until Wilson's return so stepping out into the fresh air brisk and reviving even in that street of abominations Wilson took his way to mr. Carson's Wilson had about two miles to walk before he reached mr. Carson's house which was almost in the country the streets were not yet bustling and busy the shop men were lazily taking down the shutters although it was near 8 o'clock but the day was long enough for the purchases people made in that quarter of the town while trade was so flat one or two miserable looking women were setting off on their days begging expedition but there were few people abroad mr. Carson's was a good house and furnished with disregard to expense but in addition to lavish expenditure there was much taste shown and many articles chosen for their beauty and elegance adorned his rooms as Wilson passed a window which a housemaid had thrown open he saw pictures and gilding at which he was tempted to stop and look but then he thought it would not be respectful so he hastened onto the kitchen door the servants seemed very busy with preparations for breakfast but good-naturedly though hastily told him to step in and they could soon let mr. Carson know he was there so he was ushered into a kitchen hung round with glittering tins where a roaring fire burnt merrily and when numbers of utensils hung round at whose nature and use Wilson amused himself by guessing meanwhile the servants bustle to and fro an outdoor manservant came in for orders and sat down near Wilson the cook broiled steaks and the kitchen made toasted bread and boiled eggs the coffee steamed upon the fire and altogether the odors were so mixed and appetizing that Wilson began to yearn for food to break his fast which had lasted since dinner the day before if the servants had known this they would have willingly given him meat and bread in abundance but they were like the rest of us and not feeling hunger themselves forgot it was possible another might so Wilson's craving turned to sickness while they chatted on making the kitchens free and keen remarks upon the parlour a late you were last night Thomas yes I was right weary awaiting he told me to be in the rooms by 12:00 and there I was but it was two o'clock before they called me in did you wait all that time in the street asked the housemaid who had done her work for the present and come into the kitchen for a bit of gossip my eye is like you don't think I'm such a fool as to catch my death of cold and let the Aussies catch their death too as we should have done if we'd stopped there no I put four C's upping the stables at spread-eagle and went miss Ellen got a glass or two by fire the driving uncle custom then with coachman there were five on us and with many a quarter ale and gin we to keep our cold mercy honest Thomas you'll get a drunkard at last if I do I know whose blame it will be it will be mrs. ease and not mine flesh and blood counts it to be starved to death on a Coach box waiting for folkses don't know their own mind a servant semi up a housemaid semi lady's maid now came down with orders from her mistress Thomas you must ride to the fishmongers and say missus can't give above half a crown a pound for salmon for Tuesday she's grumbling because trade so bad and she'll want the carriage at three to go to the lecture Thomas at the Royal execution you know I I a no and you better all of you mind your P's and Q's but she's very black this morning she's got a bad headache it's a pity miss Jenkins is not here to match her lord how she and mrs. did quarrel which had got the worst headaches it was that miss Jenkins left for she would not give up having bad headaches and mrs. could not abide anyone to have him but herself mrs. will have a breakfast upstairs cook and the cold partridges was left yesterday and put plenty of cream in her coffee and she thinks there's a roll left and she would like it well buttered so saying the maid left the kitchen to be ready to attend to the young ladies Bell when they chose to ring after their late assembly the night before in the luxurious library at the well spread breakfast table SATs the two mr. Carson's father and son both were reading the father and newspaper the solo review while they lazily enjoyed their nicely prepared food the father was a pre possessing looking old man perhaps self-indulgent you might guess the son was strikingly handsome and knew it his dress was neat and well-appointed and his manners far more gentlemanly than his father's he was the only son and his sisters were proud of him his father and mother was proud of him he could not set up his judgments against theirs he was proud of himself the door opened an inn bounded a me the sweet youngest daughter of the house a lovely girl of sixteen fresh and glowing and bright as a rosebud she was too young to go to assemblies at which her father rejoiced for he had little Amy with her pretty jokes and her bird-like songs and her playful caresses all the evening to amuse him in his loneliness and she was not too much tired like Sophie and Helen to give him her sweet company at breakfast the next morning he submitted willingly while she blinded him with her hands and kissed his rough red face all over she took his newspaper away after a little pretended resistance and would not allow her brother Harry to go on with his review and the only lady this morning papa so you know you must make a great deal of me my darling I think you have your own way always whether you're the only lady or not yes papa you're pretty good and obedient I must say that but I'm sorry to say Harry is very naughty and does not do what I tell him do you Harry I'm sure I don't know what you mean to accuse me of Amy I expected praise and not blame but did not I get you that older Portugal from town you could not meet with it use you little ungrateful puss did you oh sweet Harry you're as sweet as Eau de Portugal yourself you're almost as good as Papa but still you know you did go and forget to ask big 'land for that rose that new rose they say is got no Amy I did not forget I asked him and he has got the rose song whoa push but do you know Little Miss extravagance a very small one is half a Guinea oh I don't mind the par we'll give it me won't you dear father he knows his little daughter can't live without flowers and sense mr. Carson tried to refuse his darling but she coaxed him into acquiescence saying she must have it it was one of her necessaries life was not worth having without flowers then Amy said her brother try and be content with peonies and dandelions oh you bitch I don't call them flowers besides you're every bit as extravagant who gave half a crown for a bunch of lilies-of-the-valley at Yates's a month ago and then would not let his poor little sister have them though she went on her knees to beg them answer me that master how not on compulsion replied her brother smiling with his mouth while his eyes had an irritated expression and he went first red then pale with vexed embarrassment if you please sir said of servants entering the room is one of the mill people wanting to see you his name is Wilson he says I'll come to him directly say to tell him to come in here Amy danced off into the conservatory which opened out of the room before the gaunt pale unwashed unshaven Weaver was ushered in there he stood at the door sleeking his hair with the old country habit and every now and then stealing a glance round at the splendor of the apartment well Wilson and what do you want today man where please sir Davenport's ill of the fever and I've come to know if you've got an infirmary order for him Davenport Davenport who is the fellow I don't know the name he's worked in your factory better nor three years sir very likely I don't pretend to know the names of the men I employ that I leave to the Oh Lucca so he's ill a I say he's very bad we want to get him in at the fever wards I doubt if I have an impatience order to spare they're always wanted for accidents you know but I'll give you an out patients and welcome so saying he rose up unlocked to draw pondered a minute and then gave Wilson and outpatients order to be presented the following Monday Monday how many days there were before Monday meanwhile the younger mr. Carson had ended his review and began to listen to what was going on he finished his breakfast got up and pulled five shillings out of his pocket which he gave to Wilson as he passed him for the poor fellow he went past quickly and calling for his horse mounted gaily and rode away he was anxious to be in time to have a look and a smile from lovely Mary Barton as she went to miss Simmons but today he was to be disappointed Wilson left the house not knowing whether to be pleased or grieved it was long to Monday but they had all spoken kindly to him and who could tell if they might not remember this and do something before Monday besides the cook who when she had had time to think after breakfast was sent in had noticed his paleness had had meat and bread ready to put in his hand when he came out of the parlor and a full stomach makes every one of us more hopeful when he reached Berry Street he had persuaded himself he bore good news and felt almost elated in his heart but it fell when he opened the Salladhor and saw Barton and the wife both bending over the sick man's couch with awestruck sudden look come here said Barton there's a change coming over him senior left is the knot Wilson looked the flesh was sunk features prominent bony and rigid the fearful clay color of death was overall but the eyes were open and sensible though the films of the grave were settling upon them he waked for his sleep as you left him in and began to mutter and moan but he soon went off again and we never knew we were awake till he called his wife but now she's here he's gone now to say to her most probably as they all felt he could not speak for his length was faster heading they stood round him still and silent even the wife checked her sobs though her heart was like to break she held her child to her breast to try and keep him quiet their eyes were all fixed on the yet living one whose moments of life were passing so rapidly away at length he brought with jerking convulsive effort his two hands into the attitude of prayer they saw his lips move and bent to catch the words which came in gasps and not in tones Oh Lord God I thank thee that the heart struggle of living is over Oh Ben Ben wailed forth his wife have you no thought for me Oh Ben Ben do say one word to help me through life he could not speak again the Trump of the Archangel would set his tongue free but not a word more would he taught her till then yet he heard he understood and though sight failed he moved his hand gropingly over the covering they knew what he meant and guided it to her head bowed and hidden in her hands when she had sunk in her wall it rested there with a feeble pressure of endearment the face grew beautiful as the soul neared God a peace beyond understanding came over it the hand was a heavy stiff weight on the wives head no more grief or sorrow for him they reverently laid out the corpse Wilson fetching his only spare shirt to array it in the wife still lay hidden in the clothes in a stupor of agony there was a knock at the door and Barton went to open it it was Mary who had received a message from her father through a neighbor telling her where he was and she had set out early to come and have a word with him before her days work but some errands she had to do for miss Simmons had detained her until now come in wench said her father tie if thou canst comfort yon poor poor woman kneeling down there god help her Mary did not know what to say or how to comfort but she knelt down by her and put her arm round her neck and in a little while fell to crying herself so bitterly that the saw of Tears was opened by sympathy in the widow and her full heart was for a time relieved and Mary forgot all purposed meeting with her gay lover Harry Carson forgot miss Simmons errands and her anger in the anxious desire to comfort the poor lone woman never had her sweet face looked more angelic never had her gentle voice seemed so musical as when she murmured her broken sentences of comfort oh don't cry so dear mrs. Davenport pray don't take on so sure he's gone where he'll never know care again yes I know I'll Lance him you must feel but think of your children Oh we'll all out to earn food for him think how sorry he'd be if he sees you fretting so don't cry so please don't and she ended by crying herself as passionately as the poor Widow it was agreed that the town must bury him he had paid to a burial club as long as he could but by a few weeks or mission he had forfeited his claim to a sum of money now would mrs. Davenport and the little child go home with Mary the latter brightened up as she urged this plan but no where the poor fondly loved remains were there would the morning be and all that they could do was to make her comfortable as their funds would allow and to beg a neighbor to look in and say a word at times so she was left alone with her dead and they went to work that had work and he who had none took upon him the arrangements for the funeral Mary had many a scolding from Miss Simmons that day for her absence of mind to be sure miss Simmons was much put out by Mary's non-appearance in the morning with certain bits of muslin and shades of silk which were wanted to complete a dress to be worn that night but it was true enough that Mary did not mind what she was about she was too busy planning how her old black gown her best when her mother died might be sponged and turned and lengthened into something like decent mourning for the widow and when she went home at night though it was very late as a sort of retribution for her mornings negligence she set to work at once and was so busy and glad over her task that she had every now and then to check herself in singing merry ditties that she felt little accorded with the sewing on which she was engaged so when the funeral they came mrs. Davenport was neatly arrayed in black a satisfaction to her poor heart in the midst of her sorrow Barton and Wilson both accompanied her as she led her two elder boys and followed the coffin it was a simple walking funeral with nothing too great on the feelings of any farm or in accordance with its purpose to my mind than the gorgeous hearses and nodding plumes which form the grotesque funeral pomp of respectable people there was no rattling the bones over the stones of the porpoise funeral decently and quietly was he followed to the grave by one determined to end or her woe meekly for his sake the only mark of pauperism attendant on the barrel concerned the living and joyous far more than the dead or the sorrowful when they arrived in the churchyard they halted before a raised and handsome tombstone in reality a wooden mockery of stone respect abilities which adorned the burial ground it was easily raised in a very few minutes and below was the grave in which pauper bodies were piled until within a foot or two of the surface when the soil was shoveled over and stamped down and the wooden cover went to do temporary duty over another hole but little they wrecked of this who now gave up their dead end of chapter 6 read by Tony Foster you Chapter seven of Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell Vox recording is in the public domain Jemm Wilson's ripples how infinite the wealth of love and hope garnered in these same tiny treasure houses and oh what bankrupts in the world we feel when death like some remorseless creditor seizes on all we fondly thought our own the twins the GU light fever was not to be braved with impunity and balked of its prey the widow had reclaimed her children her neighbors in the Good Samaritan sense of the word had paid her little arrears of rent and made her a few shillings beforehand with the world she determined to flit from that cellar to another less full of painful associations less haunted by mournful memories the board not so formidable as she had imagined had inquired into her case and instead of sending her to stoke Claypool her husband's Buckinghamshire perish as she had dreaded had agreed to pay her rent so food for four mouths was all she was now required to find only for three she would have said for herself and the unweaned child were but reckoned as one in her calculation she had a strong heart now her bodily strength had been recruited by a week or two of food and she would not despair so she took in some little children to nurse who brought their daily food with them which she cooked for them without wronging their helplessness of a crumb and when she had restored them to their mothers at night she set to work at plain sewing seam and gusset and band and sat thinking how she might best cheat the factory inspector and persuade him that her strong big hungry Ben was above thirteen her plan of living was so far arranged when she heard with keen sorrow that Wilson's twin lads were ill of the fever they had never been strong they were like many a pair of twins and seemed to have but one life divided between them on life on strength and in this instance I might also say one brain for they were helpless gentle silly children but not the less dear to their parents and to their strong active manly elder brother they were late on their feet late in talking late every way had to be nursed and cared for when other lads of their age were tumbling about in the street and losing themselves and being taken to the police office miles away from home still want had never yet come in at the door to make love for these innocents fly out at the window nor was this the case even now when gem Wilson's earnings and his mother's occasional charring x' were barely sufficient to give all the family their fill of food but when the twins after ailing many days and caring little for their meat fell sick on the same afternoon with the same heavy stupor of suffering the three hearts that loved them so each felt though nanak acknowledged to the other that they had little chance for life it was nearly a week before the tale of their illness spread as far as the court where the Wilsons had once dwelt and the Barton's yet lived Alice had heard of the illness of her little nephew several days before and had locked her cellar door and gone off straight to her brother's house in an coats but she was often absent for days sent for as her neighbours knew to help in some sudden emergency of illness or distress so that occasioned no surprise margaret met Jim Wilson several days after his brothers were seriously ill and heard from him the state of things at his home she told Mary of it as she entered the court laid that evening and Mary listened with saddened heart to the strange contrast which such woeful tidings presented to the gay and loving words she had been hearing on her walk home she blamed herself for being so much taken up with visions of the golden future that she had lately gone but seldom on Sunday afternoons or other leisure time to see mrs. Wilson her mother's friend and with hasty purpose of amendment she only stayed to leave a message for her father with the next-door neighbor and then went off at a brisk pace on her way to the house of mourning she stopped with her hand on the latch of the Wilsons door to steal her beating heart and listen to the hushed quiet within she opened the door softly there sat mrs. Wilson in the old rocking chair with one sick deathlike boy lying on her knee crying without let or pause but softly gently as fearing to disturb the troubled gasping child while behind her old Alice let her fuss dropping tears fall down on the dead body of the other twin which she was laying out on the board placed on a sort of sofa city in a corner of the room over the child which yet breathed the father bent watching anxiously for some ground of hope where hope there was none Mary stepped slowly and lightly across to Alice a poor lad God has taken him early Mary Mary could not speak she did not know what to say it was so much worse than she expected at last she ventured to whisper is there any chance for the other one thank you Alice shook her head and told with a look that she believed there was none she next endeavored to lift the little body and carry it to its old a custom bed in its parents room but earnest as the father was in watching the yet living he had eyes and ears for all that concerned the dead and sprang gently up and took his dead son on his hard couch in his arms with tender strength and carried him upstairs as if afraid of wakening him the other child gasped longer louder with more of effort women get him away from his mother we cannot die while she's wishing him wishing him said Mary in a tone of inquiry I don't know you know what wishing means there's non can die in the arms of those who were wishing them saw to stay on earth the soul of them as olds them won't let the dying soul go free so he said a hard struggle for the quiet of death we won't get him away for his mother all he'll have a hard death Paul I'll fellow so without circumlocution she went and offered to take the sinking child but the mother would not let him go and looking in Alice's face with brimming and imploring eyes declared in earnest whispers that she was not wishing him that she would fain have him released from his suffering Allisyn Mary stood by with eyes fixed on the poor child who struggles seemed to increase till at last his mother said with a choking voice may happen you'd better take him Alice I believe my heart's wishing him or this while for a cannot know I cannot bring myself to let my two children go in one I cannot help longing to keep him and yet he should not suffer longer for me she bent down and fondly Oh with what passionate fondness kissed her child and then gave him up to Alice who took him with tender care nature's struggles were soon exhausted and he breathed his little life away in peace then the mother lifted up her voice and wept her cries brought her husband down to try with his aching heart to comfort hers again Alice laid out the dead Mary helping with reverent fear the father and mother carried him upstairs to the bed where his little brother lay in calm repose Mary and Alice drew near the fire and stood in quiet sorrow for some time then Alice broke the silence by saying it'll be bad news for Jem poor fellow when he comes home where is he asked Mary working over hours at the shop then getting a large order for her foreign parts and you know Jem Mun work or though his heart's well nigh breaking for these poor ladies again they were silent in thoughts and again Alice spoke first I sometimes think the Lord is against planning whenever I plan over much he's sure to send and Mar all my plans as if he would have me put the future into his hands before Christmas time I was full as full could be of going on for good and all Yohann heard how I've wished it this terrible long time and a young lass from behind Burton came into place in Manchester last Martinmas so after a while she had a Sunday out and she comes to me and tells me some cousins of mine bitter find me out and say how glad they should be to have me come to bide wium and look after the children for then get in a big farm and she's a deal to do among cows so many a winter's night did I lie awake and think that please God come summer I'd bid George and his wife goodbye and go home at last little did I think how god almighty would bulk me but not leaving my days in his hands who would led me through the wilderness hitherto here's George out of work and more cast down than ever I seed him wanting every chipper comforta can get even a for this last heavy stroke and now I'm thinking the Lord's finger points very clear to my fit abiding place and I'm sure if George and Jane can say his will be done it's no more than what I am beholden to do so saying she fell to tidying the room removing as much as she could every vestige of sickness making up the fire and setting on the kettle for a cup of tea for her sister-in-law whose low moans and sobs were occasionally heard in the room below Mary helped her in all these little offices they were busy in this way when the door was softly opened and Jem came in all grimed and dirty from his night work his soiled apron wrapped round his middle in guise and apparel in which he would have been sorry at another time to have been seen by Mary but just now he hardly saw her he went straight up to Alice and asked how the little chaps were they'd been a shade better at dinnertime and he had been working away through the long afternoon and far into the night in the belief that they had taken the turn it's stolen out during the half hour allowed at the works for tea to buy them an orange or two which now puffed out his Jackie pocket he would make his aunt speak he would not understand her shakes of the head and fast causing tears above gone said she dead I poor fellows it's worse about two o'clock Joe went first as easy as a lamb and will died hard alike both I'll add both the Lord has taken them from some evil to come or he would know how made Joyce of em you may assure that Jim went to the cupboard and quietly extricated from his pocket the oranges he had bought but he stayed long there and at last his sturdy frame shook with his strong Hagia knee the two women were frightened as women always are on witnessing a man's overpowering grief they cried afresh in company Mary's heart melted within her as she witnessed gem sorrow and she stepped gently up to the corner where he stood with his back turned to them and putting her hand softly on his arm said Oh gem don't give way so I cannot bear to see you gem felt a strange leap of joy in his heart and knew the power she had of comforting him he did not speak as though fearing to destroy by sound or motion the happiness of that moment when her soft hands touch thrilled through his frame and her silvery voice was whispering tenderness in his ear yes it might be very wrong he could almost hate himself for it with death and woe so surrounding him it yet was happiness was bliss to be so spoken to by Mary don't Jem please don't whisper Chi again believing that his silence was only another form of grief he could not contain himself he took her hand in his firm yet trembling grasp and said in tones that instantly produced a revulsion in her mood Mary I almost lost myself when I feel I would not give up this minute when brothers lie dead and father and mother are in such trouble for all my life has passed and gone and Mary as she tried to release her hand you know what makes me feel so blessed she did know he was right there but as he turned to catch a look at her sweet face he saw that it expressed unfeigned distress almost amounting to vexation at dread of him that he thought was almost repugnance he let her hang go and she quickly went away to Alice's side fuller was neigh wretch that I was to let myself take his time of trouble to tell her how I loved her no wonder that she turns away from such a selfish Beast partly to relieve her from his presence and partly from natural desire and partly perhaps from a penitent wish to shared to the utmost his parents sorrow he soon went upstairs to the chamber of death meri mechanically helped Alice in all the duties she performed through the remainder of that long night but she did not see Jem again he remained upstairs until after the early dawn showed Mary that she need have no fear of going home through the deserted and quiet streets to try and get a little sleep before workout so leaving kind messages to George in Jane Wilson and hesitating whether she might dare to send a few kind words to Jem and deciding this she had better not she stepped out into the bright morning light so fresh a contrast to the darkened room where death had been they had another mourn than ours Mary lay down on her bed in her clothes and whether it was this or the broad daylight the poured in through the sky window or whether it was over excitement it was long before she could catch a wink of sleep her thoughts ran on gems manner and words not but what she had known the tale they told for many a day but still she wished he had not put it so plainly oh dear said she to herself I wish she would not mistake me so I never dare to speak a common word of kindness but his eye brightens and his cheek flushes it's very hard on me her father and George Wilson are old friends and Jem and I are known each other since we were quite children I kind of think what possesses me that help must always be wanting to comfort him when he's down caste and that I must come meddling William tonight and sure enough it was his aunt's place to speak to him I don't care for him and yet unless I'm always watching myself I'm speaking to him in a loving voice I think I cannot go right for I either check myself till I'm downright cross to him or else I speak just natural and that's too kind and tender by half and I'm as good as engaged to be married to another and another far handsomer than gem only I think I like gems face best for all that likings liking and there's no help for it well when I'm mrs. Harry Carson may happen I can put some good fortune in gems way but will he thank me for it he's rather savage at times that I can see and perhaps kindness from me when I'm another's will only go against the grain I'll not plague myself with thinking any more about him but I won't so she turned on her pillow and fell asleep and dreamt of what was often in her waking thoughts of the day when she should ride from church in her carriage with wedding bells ringing and take up her astonished father and drive away from the old dim workaday court forever to live in a grand house where her father should have newspapers and pamphlets and pipes and meat dinners every day and all day long if he liked such thoughts mingled in her predilection for the handsome young mr. Carson who unfettered by work hours let scarcely a day pass without contriving a meeting with the beautiful little milliner he had first seen while lounging in a shop where his sisters were making some purchases and afterwards never rested till he had freely though respectfully made her acquaintance in her daily walks he was to use his own expression to himself quite infatuated by her and was Restless each day till the time came when he had a chance and of late more than a chance of meeting her there was something of keen practical shrewdness about her which contrasted very bewitching Lee with the simple foolish on worldly ideas she had picked up from the romances which miss Simmons young ladies were in the habit of recommending to each other yes Mary was ambitious and did not favor mr. Carson the less because he was rich and a gentleman the old leaven infused years ago by her aunt Esther fermented in her little bosom and perhaps all the more for her father's aversion to the rich in the gentle such is the contrariness of the human heart from eve downwards that we all in our old atom state fancy things forbidden sweetest so mary dwelt upon and enjoyed the idea of someday becoming a lady and doing all the elegant nothings uh pertaining to lady hood it was a comfort to her when scolded by miss Simmons to think of the day when she would drive up to the door in her own carriage to order her gowns from the hasty tempered yet kind dressmaker it was a pleasure to her to hear the general admiration of the two elder miss Carson's acknowledged beauties in ballroom and Street on horseback and on foot and to think of the time when she should ride and walk with them in loving sisterhood but the best of her plans the holiest that which in some measure redeemed the vanity of the rest were those relating to her father her dear father now oppressed with care and always a disheartened gloomy person how she would surround him with every comfort she could devise of course he was to live with them till he should acknowledge riches to be very pleasant things and bless his lady daughter everyone who had shown her kindness in her low estate should then be repaid a hundredfold such were the castles in the air' the alma char visions in which Mary indulged and which she was doomed in after days to expiate with many tears meanwhile her words or even more her tones would maintain their hold on gem Wilson's memory a thrill would yet come over him when he remembered how her hand had rested on his arm the thought of her mingled with all his grief and it was profound for the loss of his brothers end of chapter 7 read by Tony Foster

1 thought on “Mary Barton: A Tale of Manchester Life (Version 2) | Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell | Audiobook | 2/9

  1. Mary Barton: A Tale of Manchester Life (Version 2) | Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell | Audiobook | 2/9
    6: [00:44:43] – CHAPTER VI – POVERTY AND DEATH
    7: [01:26:16] – CHAPTER VII – JEM WILSON'S REPULSE

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