Mary Barton: A Tale of Manchester Life (Version 2) | Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell | English | 3/9

chapter 8 of Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell this LibriVox recording is in the public domain Margaret's debut as a public singer deal gently with them they have much endured scoff not at their fond hopes and earnest plans though they may seem to the wild dreams and fancies perchance in the rough school of stern experience they've something learned which theory does not teach or if they greatly uh deal gently still and let their error but the stronger plead give us the light and guidance that we need love thoughts one Sunday afternoon about three weeks after that mournful night Jim Wilson set out with the ostensible purpose of calling on John Barton he was dressed in his best his Sunday suit of course while his face glittered with the scrubbing he had bestowed on it his dark black hair had been arranged and rearranged before the household looking-glass and in his buttonhole he stuck a narcissus a sweet Nancy as it's pretty Lancashire name hoping it would attract Mary's notice so that he might have the delight of giving it her it was a bad beginning of his visit of happiness that Mary saw him some minutes before he came into her father's house she was sitting at the end of the dresser with the little window blind drawn on one side in order that she might see the passers-by in the intervals of reading her Bible which lay open before her so she watched all the greeting a friend gave Jim she saw the face of condolence the sympathetic shake of the hand and had time to arrange her own face and manner before Jim came in which he did as if he had eyes for no one but her father who sat smoking his pipe by the fire while he read an old northern star borrowed from a neighboring public house then he turned to Mary who he felt by the sure instinct of love by which almost his body thought was present her hands were busy adjusting her dress a forced and unnecessary movement gem could not help thinking her accost was quiet and friendly if grave she felt that she reddened like a rose and wished she could prevent it while gem wondered if her blushes arose from fear or anger or love she was very cunning I'm afraid she pretended to read diligently and not to listen to a word that was said while in fact she heard all sounds even two gems long deep sighs which wrung her heart at last she took up her Bible and as if their conversation disturbed her went upstairs to her little room and she had scarcely spoken a word to gem scarcely looked at him never noticed his beautiful sweet Nancy which only awaited her least word of praise to be hers he did not know that pang was spared that in her little dingy bedroom stood a white jug filled with a luxuriant bunch of early spring roses making the whole room fragrance and bright they were the gift of her richer lover so gem had to go on sitting with John Barton fairly caught in his own trap and had to listen to his talk and answer him as best he might there's the right stuff in this year's star and no mistake such a writedown piece for sure ours at the same rate of wages as now us Jim I I else where's the use it's only taking out of the Masters pocket what they can well afford did I ever tell you what thin thermally chapped let me in too many a year again no sir gem listless Lee well you must know our infirmary for a fever and times were rare and bad and there be good chaps there to a man while he's wick what air they may say about cutting him apart after so when I were better at fever but weak as water this says to me says they if you can write you may stay in a week longer and help our surgeon we sought in his papers and we'll take care of your belly full of meat and drink you'll be twice as strong in a week so they're wanted but one word to that bargain so I was set to writing and copy and writing I could do well enough but they'd such queer ways of spelling I've never been used to that add to look at first it's copy and then at me letters for all the world like a picking up grains at corn but one thing startled me and then and I thought I'd make bold to ask the surgeon the meaning I've gone no ed for numbers but this I know that by far greater part at f– accidents us come din happened in Flast two hours of work when fault getting tired and careless 13 said across who and he were going to bring that factor light gem was pondering Mary's conduct but the Poor's made him aware he ought to utter some civil listening noise so he said very true I it's true enough my lad that was sadly over born and worse will come of it for long block printers is going a strike and getting a bang-up Union as won't let him be put upon but there's many a thing that will happen a for long was folk don't expect you may take my word for that gem gem was very willing to take it but did not express the curiosity he should have done so John Barton thought he'd try another hint or two working folk won't be ground to the dust much longer we now had as much to bear as human nature can bear so if masters can't do was no good and they say they can't women shire-folk still gem was not curious he gave up hope of seeing Mary again by her own good free will and the next best thing would be to be alone to think of her so muttering something which he meant to serve as an excuse for his sudden departure he hastily wished John good afternoon and left him to resume his pipe and his politics for three years past trade had been getting worse and worse and the price of provisions higher and higher this disparity between the amounts of the earnings of the working classes and the price of their food occasioned in more cases than could well be imagined disease and death whole families went through a gradual starvation they only wanted a Dante to record their sufferings and yet even his words would fall short of the awful truth they could only present an outline of the tremendous facts of the destitution that surrounded thousands upon thousands in the terrible years 1839 1840 and 1841 even philanthropists who had studied the subject were forced to own themselves perplexed in their endeavor to ascertain the real causes of the misery the whole matter was of so complicated in nature that it became next to impossible to understand it thoroughly it need excite no surprise then to learn that a bad feeling between working men and the upper classes became very strong in this season of privation the indigenous and sufferings of the operatives induced a suspicion in the minds of many of them that their legislators their magistrates their employers and even the ministers of religion were in general their oppressors and enemies and were in league for their prostration and enthronement the most deplorable and enduring evil that arose out of the period of commercial depression to which I refer was this feeling of alienation between the different classes of society it is so impossible to describe or even faintly to picture the state of distress which prevailed in the town at that time that I will not attempt it and yet I think again that surely in a Christian land it was not known even so feebly as words could tell it or the more happy and fortunate would have thronged with their sympathy and their aid in many instances the sufferers wept first and then they cursed their vindictive feelings exhibited themselves in rabid politics and when I hear as I have heard of the sufferings and privations of the poor of provision shops where hate births of tea sugar butter and even flour was sold to accommodate the indigent of parents sitting in their clothes by the fireside during the whole night for seven weeks together in order that their only bed and bedding might be reserved for the use of their large family of others sleeping upon the cold hearthstone for weeks in succession without adequate means of providing themselves with food or fuel and this in the depth of winter of others being compelled to fast for days together uncheered by any hope of better fortune living moreover or rather starving in a crowded garret or damp cellar and gradually sinking under the pressure of want and despair into a premature grave and when this has been firmed by the evidence of their careworn looks they're excited feelings and their desolate homes can I wonder that many of them in such times of misery and destitution spoke and acted with ferocious precipitation an idea was now springing up among the operatives that originated with the Chartists but which came at last to be cherished as a darling child by many and many a want they could not believe that government knew of their misery they rather chose to think it possible that men could voluntarily assume the office of legislators for a nation ignorant of its real state as who should make domestic rules for the pretty behavior of children without caring to know that those children had been kept for days without food besides the starving multitudes had heard that the very existence of their distress had been denied in Parliament and though they felt this strange and inexplicable yet the idea that their misery had still to be revealed in all its debts and that then some remedy would be found soothe their aching hearts and kept down their rising fury so a petition was framed and signed by thousands in the bright spring days of 1839 imploring Parliament to hear witnesses who could testify to the unparalleled destitution of the manufacturing districts nottingham sheffield Glasgow Manchester and many other towns were busy appointing delegates to convey this petition who might speak not merely of what they had seen and had heard but from what they had borne and suffered life worn gaunt anxious hunger stamped men were those delegates one of them was John Barton he would have been ashamed to own the flutter of spirits his appointment gave him there was the childish delight of seeing London that went a little way and but a little way there was the vain idea of speaking out his notions before so many grand folk that went a little further and last there was the really pure gladness of heart arising from the idea that he was one of those chosen to be instruments in making known the de-stresses of the people and consequently in procuring them some grand relief by means of which they should never want or care anymore he hoped largely but vaguely of the results of his expedition an Argosy of the precious hopes of many otherwise despairing creatures was that petition to be heard concerning their sufferings the night before the morning on which the Manchester delegates were to leave for London Barton might be said to hold a live a so many neighbors came dropping in Jolie had early established himself in his pipe by John Barton's fire not saying much but puffing away and imagining himself of use in adjusting the smoothing ions that hung before the fire ready for Mary when she should want them as for Mary her employment was the same as that of beau Tibbs wife just washing her father's two shirts in the pantry back kitchen for she was anxious about his appearance in London the coat had been redeemed though the silk handkerchief was forfeited the door stood open as usual between the house place and back kitchen so she gave her greeting to their friends as they entered so John you bound for London Dyer said one I suppose among go and said John yielding to necessity as it were well there's many a thing I'd like you to speak on to the Parliament people they'll not spare them John I hope Shalamar minds I was thinking we've been Clem long enough and we donít see what and good then been doing if the can't give us what we're all crying force in the day we were born I I I'll tell him that and much more to it when he gets to my turn but there knows there's many will have their word for me well they'll speak at last bless thee lad do ask him to make masters break machines has never been good times since spinning Jenny's came up machines is through enough poor folk chimed in several voices for my part said a shivering half-clad man who crept near the fire as if a you stricken I would likely to tell him to pass short hours bill flesh and blood gets wearied with so much work why should factory hands work so much longer now the trades just ask him that Barton Willie Barton was saved the necessity of answering by the entrance of mrs. Davenport the poor Widow he had been so kind to she looked half fed and eager but was decently clad in her hands she brought a little newspaper parcel which she took to Mary who opened it and then called out dangling a shirt collar from her soapy fingers see father what a dandy you'll be in London mrs. Davenport has brought you this made new cut all after the fashion thank you for thinking on him hey Mary said mrs. Davenport in a low voice once all I can do to what he's done for me and mine but Mary sure I can help you well you'll be busy with this journey just help me ring these out and then I'll take him to the mangle so mrs. Davenport became a listener to the conversation and after a while joined in I'm sure John Barton if you're taking messages to the Parliament folk you're not subject to telling him what a sore trial it is this law there's keeping children for factory work whether they be weekly or strong there's our Ben why porridge seems to go no way we M he eat so much and I ain't got no money to send him school as I would like there he is rampaging about the streets all day getting angrier and angrier and picking up a manor of bad ways and thin Spectre won't let him in to work in factory because he's not right age though is twice as strong as sank his little rippling of a lad as work still he cries for his legs aching so though he is right age and better I've one plan I wish to tell John Barton said a pompous careful speaking man and I should like him to tour too late afore the Honourable house my mother come doubt of Oxfordshire and were under laundry maid in Sir Francis Dashwood's family and when we were little ones she tell us stories of their grandeur and one thing she named were that Sir Francis wore two shirts a day now he were all as one as a parliament man and many on a mire no doubt sir like extravagant just tell him John do that they'd be doing frankish of Weaver's a great kindness if they'd have assurance I made a calico would make trade brisk that would we power asurs they wear Joe bleah now put in his word taking the pipe out of his mouth and addressing the last speaker he said I'll tell you what Bill and no offense mind you there's but hundreds of them Parliament wear so many shirts to their back but there's thousands and thousands of poor Weaver's as an only gotten one shirt in world I and don't know where to get another when that rags done though they're turning out miles a calico everyday and many a mile oh it's lying in warehouses stopping up trade for one two purchases you take my advice John Barton and ask Parliament to set trade free so as workman can earn a decent wage and buy their two I and three shirts a year that would make weaving brisk he put his pipe in his mouth again and redoubled his puffing to make up for lost time I'm afeared neighbors said John bond I've not much chance of telling him all you say well I think on his just speaking out about the distress that they say isn't out when he had children born on wet flanks without a rag to cover him or a bit of food forth mother when he had a folk lying down to die streets or I'd in there ones it's a mole or a cellar till death come to set them free and when the year all this plague pestilence and famine they'll surely do somewhat wiser for us than we can guess out now how where I am no objection if so be there's an opening to speak up for what you say anyhow I'll do my best and you see now if better times don't come after Parliament knows all some shook their heads but more looked cheery and then one by one dropped off leaving John and his daughter alone Desalle mark out poorly Jane Wilson looked as he as they wound up their hard day's work by a supper eaten over the fire which glowed and glimmered through the room and formed their only light no I can't say as I did but she's never rightly held up her head since the twins died and all along she's never been a strong woman never seen her accident before that I mind a looking as fresh and likely a girl as erawan in manchester what accident father she cost her side again a wheel it would have four wheels were boxed or it were just when she were to have been married and many are one thought George would have been off his bargain but I knew he weren't the chap for that chick pretty near the first place she went to when she were able to go about again was though Church poor wench all pale and limping she went up the aisle George old in her oppas tender as a mother and walking slow as air he could not Toria though there were plenty in our rude lads to cast that gesture Timoner her face were white like a sheet when she came in church but before she got to 'the altar she were all one flush but for all that it's been a happy marriage and george's stuck by me through life like a brother he'll never hold up his head again if he loses Jane I didn't like her looks tonight and so he went to bed the fear of forthcoming sorrow to his friend mingling with his thoughts of tomorrow and his hopes for the future Mary watched him set off with her hands over her eyes to shade them from the bright slanting rays of the Morning Sun and then she turned into the house to arrange its disorder before going to her work she wondered if she should like or dislike the evening and morning solitude for several hours when the clock struck she thought of her father and wondered where he was she made good resolutions according to her lights and by-and-by came the distractions and events of the broad full day to occupy her with the present and to deaden the memory of the absent one of Mary's resolutions was that she would not be persuaded or induced to see mr. Harry Carson during her father's absence there was something crooked in her conscience after all for this very resolution seemed an acknowledgment that it was wrong to meet him at any time and yet she had brought herself to think her conduct quite innocent and proper for although unknown to her father and certain even if he did know it to fail of obtaining his sanction she esteemed her love meetings with mr. Carson as sure to end in her father's good and Happiness but now that he was away she would do nothing that he would disapprove of no not even though it was for his own good in the end now amongst miss Simmons young ladies was one who had been from the beginning a confidence in Mary's love affair made sole by mr. Carson himself he had felt the necessity of some third person to carry letters and messages and to plead his cause when he was absent in a girl named Sally led bitter he had found a willing advocate she would have been willing to have embarked in a love affair herself especially a clandestine one for the mere excitement of the thing but her willingness was strengthened by sundry half sovereigns which from time to time mr. Carson bestowed upon her Sally led bitter was vulgar minded to the last degree never easy unless her talk was of love and lovers in her eyes it was an honor to have had a long list of wars so constituted it was a pity that Sally herself was but a plain red-haired freckled girl never likely one would have thought to become a heroine on her own account but what she lacked in beauty she tried to make up for by a kind of witty boldness which gave her what her betters would have called piquancy considerations of modesty or propriety never checked her utterance of a good thing she had just talent enough to corrupt others her very good nature was an evil influence they could not hate one who was so kind they could not avoid one who was so willing to shield them from scrapes by any exertion of her own who's ready fingers would at any time make up for their deficiencies and whose still more convenient tongue would at anytime invent for them the Jews or muhammadans I forget which believe that there is one little bone of our body one of the vertebra if I remember rightly which will never decay and turn to dust but will lie in corrupt and indestructible in the ground until the last day this is the seed of the soul the most depraved have also their seeds of the holiness that shall one day overcome their evil their one good quality lurking hidden but safe among all the corrupt and bad Sally seed of the future soul was her love for her mother an aged bedridden woman for her she had self-denial for her her good nature rose into tenderness to cheer her lonely bed her spirits in the evenings when her body was often wofully tired never flagged but were ready to recount the events of the day to turn them into ridicule and to mimic with admirable fidelity any person gifted with an absurdity who had fallen under her keen eye but the mother was lightly principled like Sally herself nor was their need to conceal from her the reason why mr. Carson gave her so much money she chuckled with pleasure and only hoped the wooing would be longer doing still neither she nor her daughter nor Harry Carson liked this resolution of Mary not to see him during her father's absence one evening and the early summer evenings were long and bright now Sally met mr. Carson by appointment to be charged with a letter for Mary imploring her to see him which sally was to back with all her powers of persuasion after parting from him she determined as it was not so very late to go at once to Mary's and deliver the message and letter she found Mary in great sorrow she had just heard of George Wilson's sudden death her old friend her father's friend James father all his claims came rushing upon her though not guarded from unnecessary sight or sound of death as the children of the rich are yet it had so often been brought home to her this last three or four months it was so terrible thus to see friend after friend depart her father too who had dreaded Jane Wilson's death the evening before he set off and she the weekly was left behind while the strong man was taken at any rate the sorrow her father had so feared for him was spared such were the thoughts which came over her she could not go to comfort the bereaved even if comfort were in her power to give but she had resolved to avoid gem and she felt that this of all others was not the occasion on which she could keep up a studiously cold manner and in this shock of grief Sally led bitter was the last person she wished to see however she rose to welcome her betraying her tears swollen face well I shall tell mr. Carson tomorrow how you fretting for him it's no more nor he's doing for you I can tell you for him indeed said Mary with the toss of her pretty head I miss for him you've been signed as if you're out would break now for several days over your work though aren't you a little goose not to go and see one who I'm sure loves you as his life and whom you love how much Mary this much as the children say opening her arms very wide nonsense said Mary pouting I often think I don't love him at all and I'm to tell in that time I next time I see him asked Sully if you like replied Mary I'm sure I don't care for that or anything else now weeping afresh but Sally did not like to be the bearer of any such news she saw she had gone on the wrong tack and that Mary's heart was too full to value either message or letter as she ought so she wisely paused in their delivery and said in a more sympathetic tone than she had heretofore used do tell me Mary what's fretting you so you know I could never abide to see you cry George Wilson's dropped down dead this afternoon said Mary fixing her eyes for one minute on Sally and the next hiding her face in her apron as she sobbed anew dear dear all flesh is grass here today and gone tomorrow as the Bible says still he was an old man and not good for much there's better folk than him left behind it's the canting old maid as was his sister alive yet I don't know who you mean said Mary sharply for she did know and did not like to have her dear simple Alice so spoken of come Mary don't be so innocent it's miss Alice Wilson alive then will that please you I haven't seen her near abouts lately no she's left living here when the twins died she thought she could maybe be of use to her sister who was sadly cast down and Alice thought she could cheer her up at any rate she could listen to her when her heart grew overburdened so she gave up her cellar and went to live with them well gods go with her at no fancy for her and at no fancy for a making my pretty marry into a method II she wasn't a method II she was cheer to England well well Mary a very particular you know amend Luke who is this letter from holding up Henry Carson's led I don't know and don't care said Mary turning very red my eye as if I didn't know you did know and did care well giving me said Mary impatiently and anxious in her present mood for her visitors departure Sally relinquished it unwillingly she had however the pleasure of seeing Mary dimple and blush as she read the letter which seemed to say the writer was not indifferent to her you must tell him I can't come said Mary raising her eyes at last I have said I won't meet him while father is away and I won't but Mary he just so look for you you'd be quite sorry for him his soul put out about not seeing you besides you go when your father's at home without letting on to him and what arm would there be in going now well Sally you know my answer I won't and I won't I'll tell him to come and see you himself some evening instead of sending me it may be find you not so hard to deal with Mary flashed up if he dares to come here while my father's away I'll call the neighbors in to turn him out so don't be putting him up to that mercy on us one would think you were the first girl that ever had a lover and he never heard what other girls do and think no shame of hush Sally that's Margaret Jennings at the door and in an instant Margaret was in the room Mary had begged Joe Lee to let her come and sleep with her in the uncertain firelight you could not help noticing that she had the groping walk of a blind person well I must go Mary said Sally and that's your last word yes yes good night she shut the door gladly on her unwelcome visitor unwelcome at that time at least Oh Margaret have you heard this sad news about George Wilson yes that I have poor creatures they've been sort ride lately not that I think sudden death so bad a thing it's easy and there's no terrors for him as dies for them as survives it's very hard poor George it was such a hearty looking man Margaret said Barry who had been closely observing her friend that very blind tonight aren't though it is it with crying your eyes are so swollen and red yes dear but not crying for sorrow and you heard where I was last night no where look here she held up a bright golden sovereign Mary opened her large gray eyes with astonishment I'll tell you all her and about it you see there's a gentleman lecturing on music earth mechanics and he wants folk to sing his songs well last night's counter got a sore throat it couldn't make a note so they sent for me Jacob Butterworth had said a a good word for me and they asked me would I sing you may think I was frightened but I thought no or never and said I'd do my best so I tried all other songs with lecturer and then managers told me if I were to make myself decent and be there by 7:00 and what did you put on Hoss Mary oh why didn't you come in for my pretty pink gingham I didn't think on it but you hadn't come on then no I put on memory know as was turned last winter and my white shawl and did my air pretty tidy it did well enough well but as I was saying I went at seven I couldn't see to read my music but I took the paper in whimmy to has somewhat to do with my fingers folks heads danced as I stood as right of forum us as I had been going to play at ball wium you may guess I felt squeamish but mine weren't the first song earth music sounded like a friend's voice telling me to take courage so to make a long story short when it were all over flexure if thanked me and the managers said as oh there never was a new singer so applauded for the clapped and stamped after I've done till I began to wonder how many pair of shoes that get through a week at that rate let alone their hands so I'm to sing again a Thursday and I got a sovereign last night and I'm to have half a sovereign every night lecturer is at the mechanics well Margaret I'm right glad to area and I don't think you've heard the best bit yet know that a way seemed opened to me of not being a burden to anyone though it did please God to make me blind I thought a tell grandfather I only tell him about the singing in the sovereign last night for I thought I'd not send him to bed we're heavy heart but this morning I tailed him all and how did he take it he's not a man of many words and it took him by surprise like I wonder at that I've noticed it in your ways ever since she tells me I that's it if I'd not tell you and you'd seen me every day you'd not a noticed the little mite a difference for a day to day well but what did your grandfather say why Mary said Margaret's half smiling up a bit love to tell you for unless you knew grandfather's ways like me you'd think it's strange he would take him by surprise and he said damn you then he began looking at his book as it were and were very quiet while I tell him all about it who had feared and how downcast had been and how I will now reconcile to it if it was Lord's will and who I hope to earn money by singing and while I were talking I saw a great big tears come dropping off book but in course I never let on that a sorum dear grandfather and all day long he's been quietly moving things out of my way as he thought might chip me up and putting things in my way as he thought I might want never knowing I saw and felt what he were doing for you see he thinks I'm out and out blind a guess as I shall be soon Margaret's side in spite of her cheerful and relieved tone though Mary caught the sigh she felt it was better to let it pass without notice and began with the tact which true sympathy rarely fails to supply to ask a variety of questions respecting her friends musical debut which tended to bring out more distinctly how successful it had been why Margaret at length she exclaimed thou become as famous maybe as that Grund lady for London as we seed one night driving up to the concert room door in a carriage it looks very like it said Margaret with a smile and be sure Mary I'll not forget to give thee a lift now and then when that comes about nay who knows if that's a good girl but may happen I may make thee my lady's maid wouldn't that be nice so Eileen sing to myself beginning of one of my songs and he shall walk in silk attire and Silla hay to spare they don't stop or else give me something a bit more new for somehow I never quite liked that part about thinking a Donald Mayer well though I'm a bit tired I don't care if I do before I come I would practising well nigh upon two hours this one out which I'm to sing a Thursday the lecturer said he was sure it would suit me and I should do justice to it and I should be right sorry to disappoint him they were so nice and encouraging like to me hey Mary what a pity there isn't more that way and less scolding and rating its world it would go a vast deal further beside some of the singers said they were almost certainly where a song though his own because he was so fidgety and particular about it and so anxious I should giveth proper expression and that makes me care still more first verse he said which should be some tenderly but joyously I'm afraid I don't quite it that but I'll try what a single word can do thrilling all the heartstrings through calling forth fond memories raining round hopes melodies steeping all in one bright view what a single word can do no it falls into the minor key it must be very sad like I feel as if I could do that better than t'other what a single word can do making life seem all untrue driving joy and hope away leaving not one cheering ray blighting every flower that grew what a single word can do Margaret certainly made the most of this little song as a factory worker listening outside observed she spun it read fine and if she only sang it at the mechanics with half the feeling she put into it that night the lecturer must have been hard to please if he did not admit that his expectations were more than fulfilled when it was ended Mary's looks told more than words could have done what she thought of it and partly to keep in a tear which would fain have rolled out she brightened into a laugh and said sir carriages coming so let us go and dream on it end of chapter 9 read by Tony Foster you chapter nine of Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell revokes recording is in the public domain Barton's London experiences a life of self-indulgence is for us a life of self-denial is for them for us the streets broad built and populous for them on healthy corners Garrett's din and cellars where the Water Rat may swim for us green paths refreshed by frequent rain for then dark alleys where the dust lies grim not doomed by us to this appointed pain God made us rich and poor of what do these complain mrs. Norton's child of the islands the next evening it was a warm pattering incessant rain just the rains awakened up the flowers but in Manchester where alas there are no flowers the rain had only a disheartening and gloomy effect the streets were wet and dirty the drippings from the houses were wet and dirty and the people were wet and dirty indeed most kept within doors and there was an unusual silence of footsteps in the little paved courts Mary had to change her clothes after her walk home and had hardly settled herself before she heard someone fumbling at the door the noise continued long enough to allow her to get up and go and open it there stood could it be yes it was her father drenched and wayworn there he stood he came in with no word to Mary in return for her cheery and astonished greeting he sat down by the fire in his wet things on heeding but Mary would not let him so rest she run up and brought down his working day clothes and went into the pantry to rummage up their little bit of provision while he changed by the fire talking all the while as gaily as she could though her father's depression hung like LED on her heart for Mary in her seclusion at miss Simmons where the chief talk was of fashions and dress and parties to be given for which such and such gowns would be wanted varied with a slight whispered interlude occasionally about love and lovers had not heard the political news of the day that Parliament had refused to listen to the working men when they petitioned with all the force of their roof untutored words to be heard concerning the distress which was riding like the Conqueror on his pale horse among the people which was crushing their lives out of them and stamping woe marks over the land when he had eaten and was refreshed they sat in silence for some time for Mary wished him to tell her what oppressed him so yet does not ask in this she was wise for when we are heavy-laden in our hearts it falls in better with our humor to reveal our case in our own way and our own time Mary sat on a stool at her father's feet in old childish guise and stole her hand into his while his sadness infected her and she caught the trick of grief inside she knew not why Mary women speak to our God sue eros for man will not hearken no not now when we weak tears of blood in an instance Mary understood the fact if not the details that so weighed down her father's heart she pressed his hand with silent sympathy she did not know what to say and was so afraid of speaking wrongly that she was silent but when his attitude had remained unchanged for more than half an hour his eyes gazing vacantly and fixedly at the fire no sound but now and then the deep drawn sigh to break the weary ticking of the clock and the drip drop from the roof without Mary could bear it no longer anything to rouse her father even bad news father do you know George Wilson's dead the hunt was suddenly and almost violently compressed he dropped down dead in Oxford Road yes terminan it's very sad isn't it father her tears were ready to flow as she looked up in her father's face for sympathy still the same fixed look of despair not varied by grief for the dead best for him to die he said in a low voice this was unbearable Mary got up under pretence of going to tell Margaret that she need not come to sleep with her tonight but really to us job Lee to come and cheer her father she stopped outside their door Margaret was practicing her singing and through the still night air her voice rang out like that of an angel comfort she comfort II my people save your God the old Hebrew prophetic words fell like Dew on Mary's heart she could not interrupt she stood listening and comforted till the little buzz of conversation again began and then entered and told her errand both grandfather and granddaughter rose instantly to fulfill her request east hist side out Mary said old job he'll be a different man tomorrow there is no describing the looks and tones that have power over an aching heavy laden heart but in an hour or so John Barton was talking away as freely as ever though all his talk ran as was natural on the disappointment of his fond hope or the forlorn hope of many I London's a fine place said he and find a folk live in it that I ever thought ah no ever hear tell on accepted storybooks they're having their good things now and afterwards they may be tormented still at the old parable of divas and Lazarus does it haunt the minds of the rich as it does those of the poor do tell us all about London dear father asked Mary who was sitting at her old post by her father's knee how can I tell you about it when I never seed one-tenth of it it's as big as six Manchester's they tailed me 1 6 may be made up of grand palaces and three six a middling kind and thrust halls at iniquity and filth such as Manchester knows nowt on I'm glad to say well father but did you see the Queen I believe I didn't but one day I thought I'd seen her many a time you see said he turning to job Lee there were a day appointed for us to go to Parliament House we were most honest biding a public house in Holborn where they did very well for us the morning had taken our petition with such a spread for breakfast as Queen a Selma is sitting down to I suppose they thought we wanted putting in art they were mutton kidneys and sausages and broiled AM and fried beef and onions more like a dinner nor a breakfast many on our chaps though I could see could eat but little food stuck in their throats when they thought of a matome wives and little ones as add maybe at that very time now to eat well after breakfast we were all set to walk in procession and a time it took us to put us an order to and to and the petitioners was yards long carried by for most pairs and then looked grave enough you may be sure and such a set earth in one wretched looking chaps as they were yourself is not so boast on I but our fat and rosy to many a want well we walked on and on through many as Street much the same as Deansgate we had to walk slowly slowly for the carriages and cabs as thronged the streets I thought by-and-by we should maybe get clear on him but as streets grew wider they grew worse and at last we were fairly blocked up at Oxford Street we're getting across at last though and my eyes the grand streets we were in then the sadly puzzled out of build houses though in London there'd be an opening for a good steady masterbuilder there as an oldies business for you see the houses are many on and built without any proper shape for her body to live in some on I mean though afterthought would fall down so they've stuck great ugly pillars out before him and some on him who thought they must be the tailor's sign at getting stone men and women as wanted clothes stuck on him I were like a child I forgot all my errand in looking about me by this it would dinnertime or better as we could tell both son right above our heads and we would dusty and tired go in a step now and a step then well at last we getting into a Street Grandin are all leading to the Queen's palace and there it were a thought assault Queen you've seen Thirsty's with white plumes job-job assented well then undertaker Foulke having a pretty trade in London well-nigh every lady we saw in a carriage at I had one of them plumes for the day and I did middle modeling on her ed it with Queens drawing-room they said of carriages went bowling along toward her house some we dressed up gentlemen like circus folk in him and rooks a ladies in others carriages themselves were great shakes to some of the gentlemen us couldn't get inside um gone behind we nosegays to smell up and sticks to keep off folk as might splash the silk stockings I wondered why they didn't hire a cab rather than hang on like a whip behind boy but I suppose they wish to keep with their wives Darby and John like coachman were little squat men we wigs like food fashion Parsons well we couldn't get on for these carriages though we Wade and Wade forces were too fat to move quick they'd never known want a food or might sell by the sleek coats and police pushed us back when we tried to cross one or two on them struck with the sticks and coachman laughed and some officers are stood nigh put the spy glasses in their eye and left him stick in there like mountebanks one of the police struck me one business of you to do that I said I you're frightening them arses says he in his mincing way for Londoners are mostly all tongue-tied and can't say they raised and eyes properly and it's our business to keep you from molesting the ladies and gentlemen going to a Majesty's drawing-room and why are we to be molested a sty decently going about our business which is life and death to us and many a little one klemming at all in Lancashire which businesses of most consequence excites a god finger honor them grand ladies and gentlemen as you think so much on but some may as well as Elm it peace for the only laughed john ceased after waiting a little to see if he would go on of himself job said well but that's not all your story man tell us what happened when you got to the Parliament house after a little pause John answered if you please neighbor I'd rather say nowt about that it's not to be forgotten or forgiven either by me or many another but I cannot tell of our damned casting just as a piece of London news as long as I live our rejection that day will bide in my heart and as long as I live I shall curse them as so cruelly refused to eros but I'll not speak of it no more so daunted in their inquiries they sat silent for a few minutes old job however felt that someone must speak else all the good they had done in dispelling John Barton's gloom was lost so after a while he thought of a subject neither sufficiently dissonant from the last to jar on the full heart nor too much the same to cherish the continuance of the gloomy train of thought did you ever eat l said he to Mary that I were in London once no said she with surprise and looking at job with increased respect I Butterworth o and PEG there too though she Minds note about a poor wench you must know I had but one child and she were Margaret's mother I loved her above a bit in one day when she came standing behind me for that I should not see her blushes and stroking my cheeks in her own coaxing way and Tobey she of Frank Jennings as was a joiner lodging near us should be so happy if they were married I could not find it in my art say an a though I went sick at the thought of losing her away from my arm how era she were of my only child and I never said no to what I felt the fear of grieving her young art but I tried to think at the time when I had been young miss L and had loved her a blessed mother and a we'd left father and mother and gone out into the world together and I'm no right thankful I held my peace and in a fretter with telling her how sure I was at parting where that were the light of my eyes but said Mary you said the young man were a neighbor I saw we were and his father afore him but were rather slack in Manchester and Frank's uncle sent him word a London work in London wages so we were to go there and it were there Margaret was to follow him well my heart aches yet at thought of those days she saw happy and II saw happy only the poor father has fretted sadly behind their backs they were married and stayed some days with me a for setting off and I've often thoughts in my guts are failed him any attire those few days and she would feign a spoken– but I knew from a cell it were better to keep it pent up and I never let on what I was feeling I knew what she meant when she came kissing and all them hand and all are all childish ways are loving me well they went at last you know them two letters Margaret yes sure replied his granddaughter well them two were the only letters I ever had for a poor lass she said in them she were very happy and I believe she were and Frank's family early were in good work in one of her letters poor thing she ends we saying farewell granddad we align John under granddad and throw that and other in a new she were in the family way and I said note but screwed up a little money then King Kong wits inside a TECA holiday and go and see her and little one but one day towards wit's inside come Jennings we a grave face and says he a year a Franken your Margaret's both getting fever you might have not Mead only a straw for it seemed as if God told me what thought shot would be all Jennings had gotten a letter you see for the landlady the lodge we a well penned letter asking if they'd no friends to come and nurse them she caught it first and Frank who was as tenderer as her own mother could have been at nursed her till it caught it himself and she was expecting her down lying every day well to make a long story short old Jennings and I went up by that night scorch so you see Murray that was the way I got to London but how was your daughter when you got there asked Mary anxiously she were a rest poor wench and saw a Frank I guessed as much when I see that lady's face all swelled we crying when she opens the door to us we said where are they and I knew they were dead for a look what Jennings didn't as I take it for when she showed us into a room we a white sheet off the bed and underneath it plain to be seen two still figures he screeched out as if he'd been a woman yet seed all the children Adnan there lay my darling my only one she were dead and there were no one to love me no not one i disremember rightly what i did but i know i were very quiet while my our were crushed within me Jennings could now stand beneath room at all so flung Lili took him down and now we're glad to be alone it glued out while I sat there and at last flung lady come up again and said come here so I got up and walked into the light but after all both stir rails that was so weak and dizzy she led me into a room where Jennings lay on a sore for fast asleep we his pocket handkerchief over his head for a nightcap she said he'd cried himself fairly off to sleep they would see on the table already but she were a kind outed body but she still said come here and took hold of me arm so I went round the table and there were a clothes basket by fire we assure pour TOI lift that up says she and I did and there lay a little wee babby fast asleep my R gave a leap and tears come to rushing into my eyes first time that day is ITER's I said I thought knew it were yes said she she would get in a bit better of the fever and Bobbie were born and then the poor young man took worsen died and she were not many hours behind little mite of a thing and yet he seen her angel come back to comfort me I were quite jealous of Jennings whenever he went near the bubby I thought it will more my flesh and blood than isn't and yet our afeard he would claim it however that were far enough for his thoughts he'd plenty of the childer and as I found out after he'd all along been wishing me to take it well we buried Margaret and her husband in a big crowded lonely churchyard in London our lot to leave them there as I thought when they rose again they'd feel so strange at first away from Manchester and all old friends but it couldn't be helped well God watches over the grave there as well as here that funeral cost them into money but Jennings and I wish to do thing decent then with the stout little Bobbie to bring gone would not over much money left but it would fine weather and we thought we'd take the coach to bring him and walk on he were a bright a morning when last I saw London tone Luke came back from a big hill a mile or two off and in that big Maseo a place I were leaving my blessed child asleep in her last sleep well God's will be done she's gotten to Evan afore me but I shall get there at last please God though it's a long while first the Bobbie had been fair de for we set out and the coach moving kept it asleep bless its little art but when coach stopped for dinner it were awakened crying for its poppies so we asked for some bread and milk and Jennings took it first for to feed it but he made his mouth like a square and let it run out at each of four corners shakey Jennings says I that's the way they make water run through a funnel when it's or full and a child's mouth his broad endeth funnel and food gullet the narrow one so he shook it but it only cried more let me have he says I thinking he were an awkward old chap but it were just as bad with me by shaking for Bobby we got better nor a Jill into its mouth but more nor that came up again wetting her off nice dry clothes landlady had put on well just as we gotten to the dinner table and helped ourselves and eaten two mouthful came in through guard and a fine chat we have sample a calico flourishing in his aand coaches ready says 1-alpha crone your dinner says father well we thought it's a deal for both our dinners when we'd hardly tasted him but bless your life it were our faq rona peace and a shilling for the bread and milk as were posited all over bubbies clothes we spoke up again but everybody said it were the rule so what could two poor old chaps like us do again e well poor Bobby cried without stopping to take breath for that time till we got to brummagem through the night my heart ached firts little thing it caught we it's we ma that our coat sleeves and at our mouths when we tracked comforted by talking to me poor little wench he wanted its mummy s were lying calling for grave well says I it could be Clem to death if it lets out its supper as it did it's dinner let's get some woman to feed it comes natural to women to do for bubbies so we asked the chambermaid at the inn and she too quite kindly to it and we got a good supper and grew rare and sleepy what with warmth and we are long riding Thorpe an era the chambermaid said she would like to have to sleep we're only missus would scold so but it looks so quiet and smiling like as it lay in her arms that we thoughts would be no trouble to have it wheels I says see Jennings Oh women fog Duke wine bubbies it's just as I said he looked grave he were always thoughtful Lucan though I never heard him say anything very deep at last say Z young woman have you gotten a spare a nightcap missus always keeps night caps for gentlemen as does not like to unpack say she rather quick i but young woman it's one of your night caps I want the Bobby seems to have taken a mind to you and maybe if dark it might take me for you we've had getting you a nightcap on the chambermaid smirked and went for a cap but I laughed outright at third bearded chap thinking he'd make he sell like a woman just by putting on a woman's cap however he'd not be laughed out on it so I elf bub you till he were in bed such a night as we add on it Bobby began to scream at third fashion and we took it turn and turn about to sit up and rocky my art were very sore fat little one as it groped about we smoked but for all that I could scarce keep for a smiling at the thought of us two old chaps wrong we a woman's nightcap on sitting on our I endure ends for after night or Sabina Bobby as wouldn't be OSHA bide toward morning poor little wench it fell asleep fairly tired out we crying but even in his sleep it gave such pitiful sobs quivering author of the very bottom of its little art that once or twice I almost wished it lay on its mother's breast at peace forever Jennings fell asleep too but I began to reckon opera money it were little enough we had left our dinner the day before attained so much I didn't know what our reckoning would be for that night lodging and supper and breakfast doing a psalm always sent me asleep ever sinned I were a lad to a fell sound in a short time and we're only wakened by a mermaid tapping at the door to say she dressed the bubby a foreigner missus would hope if we liked but bless her we'd never thought on dressing its night afore I know it was sleeping soul sound and we were so glad of the peace and quietness that we thought it were no good to waking it up to screech again well there's Mary asleep for a good listener I suppose you gets him weary of Matteo so I'll not be long over ending it reckoning left us very bur and we thought we'd best warm for it were only 60 mile they tailed us and not stop again for note save victuals so we left brom again which is as black a place as manchester without looking soul a comb and walked or that day carrieandbob a turn and turn about it were well fed by a chambermaid a for we left and today were fine and folk began to have some knowledge of proper way of speaking and we were more cheery at thought so on though mine God knows were lawn summing up we stopped non for dinner but at bagging time we're getting a good meal at a public house and fed Barbie as well we could but that were about purely we got across to for it to sulk chambermaid puts us up to that that night whether we were tired or what and I don't know but it would rework and poor wench at slept out of sleep and began to cry as warm a heart out again says Jennings says he should now set out saw like gentle folk at supper the courts yesterday nay lad we should have had more to walk if we hadn't have ridden and I'm sure both you and I as weary at ramping so we were quiet a bit but he were one of them as were sure to find out so much had been done amiss when they were no going back to undo it so presently a coughs as if he were going to speak and I says to myself at it again my lad says he iooks pardon neighbour but it strikes me would have been better for my son if he had never begun to keep company with your daughter well that put me up and my art got very full and thought that I would carry in her Bobby I think I should have struck him at last I could old in no longer and says I better say at once it would have been better for God never to and made world but then we do never been in it so I've had fairy arts we have no well he said that were ranked blasphemy but I thought is where casting up against events God pleased to send were worse blasphemy however I said no more angry for the little Bobby's sake as were Charlie's dead son as well am i dead daughter flung ghyslain will have a turn in and that night came to an end at last and we were footsore and tired enough and to my mind Bobby were getting weaker and weaker and it room my artery Ritz little whale I'd have given my right an for one of yesterday's hearty cries we were wanting our breakfasts and so were it to motherless Bobby we could see no public house so about six o'clock only we thought it were later we stopped at a cottage where a woman were moving about near open door says I good woman may we rest us a bit come in says she wiping a chair has looked Brighton offer for we are apron it were a cheery clean room and we were glad to sit down again though I thought my legs would never Bend atthenes in a moment she fella noticing Bobby and took it in her arms and kissed it again and again missus says I we're not without money and if you'd give us someone for breakfast with pay honest and if you would wash and dress that poor Bobby and get some poppies down his throat but it's well nigh clammed at praevia to my dying day so she said no will give me 'the Bubbe back and a for you could say Jack Robinson she'd a pan on fire and bread and cheese on stable when she turned around her face look red and her lips were tight pressed together well we were right down glad on our breakfast and God bless and reward that woman for a kindness that day she fed poor Bobby is gently and softly and spoke to it as tenderly as its own poor mother could Adam they seemed as if that stranger and it had known each other of for maybe in Evin where forks spirits come from they say Bobby looked up saw lovingly in her eyes and made little noises more like a dove than hotels then she undressed it poor darling it would time touching it saw softly and washed it from it to fort and as many on its things were dirty and what bits of things its mother had gotten ready for it had been both carrier for London she put him aside and rapping little naked Bobby in her apron she pulled out a key as were fastened to a black ribbon along donor breast and unlocked a drawer in the dresser I was sorry to be praying but I couldn't help seeing in that drawer some little child's claws of strewed with lavender and lime by him a little whip in a broken rattle I began to have an insight into that woman's art then she took out a thing or two and locked the drawer and went on dressing Bobby just about then come her husband owned a great big fellas didn't look half awake though it were getting late but he did all as had been said downstairs as were plain to be seen but he were a gruff job we'd finished our breakfast and Jennings will look in Ardath woman as she would get in the Bobby off to sleep Weah sorts a rocking way at length says he I alone thwe know it's too jiggets in a shake to jiggets in a shake I can get that Bobby asleep no Michele the man had nodded crossing off to us and had gone to the door and stood there whistling we his hands in his breeches pockets looking abroad but at last he turns and says quite sharp I say missus I'm so have no breakfast today are spores so with a she kissed the child a long soft kiss and Lucan in my face to see if I could take her meaning gave me a be without a word I were Loftus turbot I saw it were better to go so giving Jennings a sharp nudge where it fallen asleep I says missus watch to pay pulling out my money we a jingle that she might have guess we were at all borough cash so she looks at her husband who said near a word but we're listening we all his ears nevertheless and when she saw he would not say she said hesitating as if pulled to ways by her fear of him should you think sixpence over much it was so different to públicos reckoning for we'd eaten a main deal before the chap came down so says I and missus what should we give her the bubbies bread and milk and it wants in my mind to say and for all your trouble we but my art wouldn't let me say it or I could read in her ways how it had been a worker love so says she quite quick and still Linna luca two husbands barça's luke tall the heir if ever a buck did or we could take no for the little bobbies food if it had eaten twice as much bless it with a tea looked at her with such a scowling Luke she knew what he meant and stepped softly across the floor to him and put her hand on his arm he seemed as I shake it off by a jerk of his elbow but she said quite low for poor little Johnny's saying Richard he did not move or speak again and after Lucan in his face for a minute she turned away swallowing deep in her throat she kissed sleeping Bobbie as she passed when I paid her to quieten thousand and stop him if he rated her I couldn't help slipping another sixpence under the loaf and then we set off again last Luke I added that woman she worked quietly wiping her eyes with a corner of her apron as she went about her husband's breakfast but I shall know her in heaven he stopped to think of that long ago May morning when he had carried his granddaughter under the distant hedgerows and beneath the flowering sycamores there's not more to say a wench said he to Margaret as she begged him to go on that night we reach Manchester and our foe know that Jennings would be glad enough to give up Bobbie to me so I took her home at once the blessing she's been to me they were all silent for a few minutes each following out the currents of their thoughts then almost simultaneously their attention fell upon Mary sitting on her little stool her head resting on her father's knee and sleeping as soundly as any infant her breath still like an infant's came and went as softly as a bird steals to her leafy nest a half-open mouth was as scarlet as the winter berries and contrasted finely with the clear paleness of her complexion where the eloquent blood flushed carnation at each motion her black eyelashes lay on the delicate cheek which was still more shaded by the masses of her golden hair that seemed to form a nest like pillow for her as she lay her father in Fond pride straightened one glassy curl for an instant as if to display its length and silkiness the little action awoke her and like 9 out of 10 people in similar circumstances she exclaimed opening her eyes to their fullest extent I'm not sleep I've been awake all the time even her father could not keep from smiling and Jolie and Margaret laughed outright come when she said job don't look so glum because thus fallen asleep while her no chap like me was talking ah no times he will lack enough to send me to sleep try if thou canst keep thine eyes open while I read their father a bit on a poem as he's written by a weaver like a cell a rich Abbe he'll be boned is who could weave verse like this so adjusting his spectacles on nose cocking his chin crossing his legs and coughing to clear his voice he read aloud a little poem of Samuel Bamford's he had picked up somewhere god help the poor who on this windy morn come forth from alleys dim and courts obscure God l beyond poor pale girl who droops full on and me clear affliction doth injure God L / o Cass l'm she trembling stands all one her lips and frozen redder hands her sunken eyes are a modestly dome cast her night black her streams on the fitful blast her bosom pussing fur is half revealed an or saw cold the snow lies there congealed her feet been under shoes all Wrentham warned god l vo casa l'm who stands for lorne god help the poor god help the poor an infant's feeble wail comes from your narrow gateway and behold a female crouching there so deathly pale huddling her child to screen it from the cold her vesture scant her bonnet crushed and torn a thin shawl daughter baby deer and falled and so she bides the ruthless gale of morn which almost to her art hath sent it's called a no she sudden Darce a ravening Luke as one with new hot bread goes past the new and as the tempting load is onward born she weeps God help the helpless one forlorn god help the poor God help the poor behold yon famished lad no shoes nor all's his wounded feet protect with limping gait and Luke's or dreamy sad he wanders onward stopping to inspect each window stored with articles of food he yearns but to enjoy one cheering meal or to the hungry palate viens rude would yield a zest the famished only feel he no devours a crust of moldy bread with teeth and hands the precious boon is torn unmindful of the storm that round his head impetuous sweeps god help the child forlorn god help the poor god help the poor another I have found abode and venerable man is he has Sloat's hat with faded crepe is boned his court is gray and threadbare – I see the rude winds seemed to mock his hoary hair his shirtless bosom – the blast is burr anon he turns and casts a wistful eye and with scant napkin wipes the blinding spray and Luke's around as if he fain would spy friends he had feasted in his better day ah summer dead at some have longed for born to know the poor and he is left for Lorne God helped the poor god help the poor who inland valleys dwell all by far hills where wind and Heather grow theirs is a story sad indeed to tell yet little cares the world and lest would know about the toil and want men undergo the wearying loomed off call them up at morn they work till war now nature sinks to sleep they taste but are not fed the snowdrifts deep around the fireless cot and blocks the door the night's storm holes a dirge across the moor and shall they perish thus oppressed and lorn shall toil and famine hopeless still be born no God will yet arise help the poor Amen said Barton solemnly and sorrowfully berry wench could start copy me them lines does think us to save job there has no objection not I more there'd and read the better say I saw Mary took the paper and the next day on the blank half sheet of a Valentine all bordered with hearts and darts a Valentine she had once suspected to come from gem Wilson she copied Bamford's beautiful little poem end of chapter 9 read by Tony Foster you chapter 10 of Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell this LibriVox recording is in the public domain return of the prodigal heart one soft as woman's tear is null with gloating on the ills I cannot cure Elliot then guard and shield her innocence let her not fall like me to a better Oh a thousand times she in her grave should be the outcast dispair settle down like a heavy cloud and now and then through the dead calm of sufferings came piping's of stormy winds foretelling the end of these dark prognostics in times of sorrowful or fierce endurance we are often soothed by the mere repetition of old proverbs which tell the experience of our forefathers but now it's a long lane that has no turning the weariest day draws to an end etc seemed false and vain sayings so long and so weary was the pressure of the terrible times deeper and deeper still sank the poor it showed how much lingering suffering it takes to kill men that so few in comparison died during those times but remember we only miss those who do men's work in their humble sphere they aged the feeble the children when they die are hardly noted by the world and yet to many hearts their deaths make a blank which long years will never fill up remember too that though it may take much suffering to kill the able-bodied and effective members of society it does not take much to reduce them to worn listless diseased creatures who thence forward crawl through life with moody hearts and pain stricken bodies the people had thought the poverty of the preceding years hard to bear and had found its yoke heavy but this year added sorely to its weight former times had chastised them with whips but this chastised them with scorpions of course Barton had his share of mere bodily sufferings before he had gone up to London on his vain errand he had been working short time but in the hopes of speedy redress by means of the interference of parliament he had thrown up his place and now when he asked leave to resume work he was told they were diminishing their number of hands every week and he was made aware by the remarks of fellow workman that a Chartist delegate and a leading member of a trade union was not likely to be favored in his search after employment still he tried to keep up a brave heart concerning himself he knew he could bear hung for that power of endurance had been called forth when he was a little child and had seen his mother hide her daily morsel to share it among her children and when he being the eldest had told the noble lie that he was not hungry could not eat a bit more in order to imitate his mother's bravery and still the sharp wail of the younger infants Mary too was secured of two meals a day at miss Simmons though by the way the dressmaker to feeling the effect of bad times had left off giving tea to her apprentices setting them the example of long abstinence by putting off her own meal until work was done for the night however late that might be but the rent it was half a crown a week nearly all mary's earnings and much less room might do for them only two now came the time to be thankful that the early dead were saved from the evil to come the agricultural laborer generally has strong local attachments but they are far less common almost obliterated among the inhabitants of a town still there are exceptions and Barton formed one he had removed to his present house just after the last bad times when little Tom had sickened and died he had then thought the bustle of a removal would give his poor stunned wife something to do and he had taken more interest in the details of the proceeding than he otherwise would have done in the hope of calling her forth to action again so he seemed to know every brush headed nail driven up for her convenience one only had been displaced it was Esther's bonnet nail which in his deep revengeful anger against her after his wife's death he had torn out of the wall and cast into the street it would be hard work to leave that house which yet seemed hollowed by his wife's presence in the happy days of old but he wasn't Loren to himself though sometimes a bad fear slaw and he resolved to give the rent collector notice and look out for a cheaper abode and tell Mary they must flit poor Mary she looked the house – it was wrenching up her natural feelings of home but it would be long before the fibers of her heart would gather themselves about another place this trial was spared the collector of himself on the very Monday when Barton planned to give him notice of his intention to leave lowered the rent three pence a week just enough to make Barton compromise and agree to stay on a little longer but by degrees the house was stripped of its little ornaments some were broken and the odd two Pence's and three princes wanted to pay for their repairs were required for the fast learner necessity of food and by-and-by merely began to part with other superfluities at the pawn shop the smart tea tray and tea caddy long and carefully kept went for bread for her father he did not ask for it or complain but she saw hunger in his shrunk fierce animal look then the blankets went but it was summertime and they could spare them and their sale made a fund which Mary fancied would last till better times came but it was soon all gone and then she looked around the room to crib it of its few remaining ornaments to all these proceedings her father said never a word if he fasted or feasted after the sale of some article on an unusual meal of bread and cheese he took all with a sullen indifference which depressed Mary's heart she often wished he would apply for relief from the Guardians relieving office often wondered the trades union did nothing for him once when she asked him as he sat grimed unshaven and gaunt after a days fasting over the fire why he did not get relief from the town he turned round with grim wrath and said I don't want money child damn their charity and their money I won't work and he's my right I won't work he would bear it all he said to himself and he did bear it but not meekly that was too much to expect real meekness of character is called out by experience of kindness and few had been kind to him yet through it all with Stern determination he refused the assistance his trade union would have given him it had not much to give but with worldly wisdom thought it better to propitiate an active useful member to help those who were uh netic though they had large families to provide for not so thought John Barton with him need was right give it to Tom Derbyshire he said he's more claim on it than me but he's more need of it with his seven children now Tom Derbyshire was in his listless grumbling way a backbiting enemy of John Barnes and he knew it but he was not to be influenced by that in a matter like this Mary went early to her work but her cheery laugh over it was now missed by the other girls her mind wandered over the present distress and then settled as she stitched on the visions of the future where yet her thoughts dwelt more on the circumstances of ease and the Pomp's and vanities awaiting her than on the lover with whom she was to share them still she was not insensible to the pride of having attracted one so far above herself in station not insensible to the secret pleasure of knowing that he whom so many admired had often said he would give anything for one over her sweet smiles her love for him was a bubble blown out of vanity but it looked very real and very bright Sally led bitter meanwhile keenly observed the signs of the times she found out that Mary had begun to a fix a stern value to money as the purchaser of life and many girls had been dazzled and lured by gold even without the betraying love which she believed to exist in Mary's heart so she urged young mr. Carson by representations of the one she was sure surrounded Mary to bring matters more to a point but he had a kind of instinctive dread of hurting Mary's pride of spirit and does not hint his knowledge in any way of the distress that many must be enduring he felt that for the present he must still be content with stolen meetings and summer evening strolls and the delight of pouring sweet honeyed words into her ear while she listened with a blush and a smile that made her look radiant with beauty no he would be cautious in order to be certain for marry one way or another he must make his he had bailed out of the effect of his own personal charms in the long run for he knew he was handsome and believed himself fascinating if he had known what Mary's home was he would not have been so much convinced of his increasing influence over by her being more and more ready to linger with him in the Suites Amer for when she returned for the night her father was often out and the house wanted the cheerful look it had had in the days when money was never wanted to purchase soap and brushes black LED and pipe clay it was dingy and comfortless for of course there was not even the dumb familiar home friend of fire and Margaret too was now so often from home singing at some of those grand places and Alice Oh Mary wished he had never left her cellar to go and live at anko's with her sister-in-law for in that matter Mary felt very guilty she had put off and put off going to see the widow after George Wilson's death from dread of meeting Jem Oh giving him reason to think she wished to be as intimate with him as formerly and now she was so much ashamed of her delay that she was likely never to go at all if her father was at home it was no better indeed it was worse he seldom spoke less than ever and often when he did speak they were sharp angry words such as he had never given her formerly her temper was high too and her answers not over mild and once in his passion he had even beaten her if Sally led bitter or mr. Carson had been at hand at that moment Mary would have been ready to leave home forever she sat alone after her father had flung out of the house bitterly thinking on the days that were gone angry with her own hastiness and believing that her father did not love her striving to heap up one painful thought on another who cared for her mr. Carson might but in this grief that seemed no comfort mother dead father so often angry so lately cruel for it was a hard blow and blistered and reddened Mary soft white skin with pain and then her heart turned round and she remembered with self-reproach how provokingly she had looked and spoken and how much her father had to bear and oh what a kind and loving parents he had been till these days of trial the remembrance of one little instance of his fatherly love thronged after another into her mind she began to wonder how she could have behaved to him as she had done then he came home and but for very shame she would have confessed her penitence in words but she looked sullen from her effort to keep down emotion and for some time her father did not know how to begin to speak at length he gulped down pride and said Mary I'm not above saying I'm very sorry I be they they'll were too bit aggravating and I'm not the man I was but it were wrong and I'll try never to lay hands on me again so he held out his arms and in many tears she told him her repentance for her fault he never struck her again still he often was angry but that was almost better than being silent then he sat near the fireplace from habit smoking or chewing opium oh how merry loathed that smell and in the dusk just before it merged into the short summer night she had learned to look with dread towards the window which now her father would have kept on curtain'd for there were not seldom seen nights which haunted her in her dreams strange faces of pale men with dark glaring eyes peered into the inner darkness and seemed desirous to ascertain if her father were at home or a hand and arm the body hidden was put within the door and beckoned him away he always went and once or twice when Mary was in bed she heard men's voices below in earnest whispered talk there were all desperate members of trade unions ready for anything made ready by want while all this change for gloom yet struck fresh and heavy on Mary's heart her father startled her out of a reverie one evening by asking her when she had been to see Jane Wilson from his manner of speaking she was made aware that he had been but at the time of his visit he had never mentioned anything about it now however he gruffly told her to go next day without fail and added some abuse of her for not having been before the little outward impulse of her father's speech gave Mary the push which she in this instance required and accordingly timed her visit so as to avoid Jemez hours at home she went the following afternoon to anko's the outside of the well-known house struck her is different for the door was closed instead of open as it once had always stood the window plants George Wilson's pride in her special care looked withering and drooping they had been without water for a long time and now when the widow had reproached herself severely for neglect in her ignorant anxiety she gave them too much on opening the door Alice was seen not stirring about in her a bitch away but knitting by the fireside the room felt hot although the fire burnt grey and dim under the bright rays of the afternoon Sun mrs. Wilson was siding the dinner things and talking all the time in a kind of whining shouting voice which Mary did not at first understand she understood at once however that her absence had been noted and talked over she saw a constrained look on mrs. Wilson's sorrow stricken face which told her a scolding was to come dear Mary is that you she began why would a dreamt of seeing you we thought you'd clean forgotten us and gem is often wondered if he should know you if he met you in the street now poor Jane Wilson had been sorely tried and to present her trials had had no outward effect but that of increased acerbity of temper she wished to show Mary how much she was offended and meant to strengthen her cause by putting some of her own sharp speeches into gems mouth mayor he felt guilty and had no good reason to give as an apology so for a minute she stood silent looking very much ashamed and then turned to speak to Aunt Alice who in her surprised hearty greeting to Mary had dropped her ball of worsted and was busy trying to set the threads to right before the kitten had entangled a past redemption once round every chair and twice round the table you must speak louder than that if you mean it to hear she's become as deaf as a post this last few weeks I had told you that I remember how long it was since it Xena yes my dear I'm getting very hard a hearing of late said Alice catching the state of the case with her quick glancing eyes I suppose it's the beginning of the end don't talk that way screamed her sister-in-law we've had annoyance and death without forecasting more she covered her face with her apron and sat down to cry he was such a good husband said she in a less excited tone to Mary as she looked up with tears streaming eyes from behind her apron no one can tell what I've lost in him but no one knew his worth like me Mary's listening sympathy softened her and she went on to unburden her heavy laden heart it dear dear no one knows what I've lost when my poor boys went I thought for my tea a crush me to the ground but I never thought of losing George I didn't think I could have borne to lived without him and yet I'm here and he's a fresh burst of crying interrupted her speech Mary beginning to speak again did you ever hear what a poor creature I were when he married me and he such a handsome fellow gems nothing to what his father were at his age yes Mary had heard and so she said but the poor woman's thoughts had gone back to those days and her little recollections came out with many interruptions of Sighs and tears and shakes of the head they werenäôt about me for him to choose me I was just well enough for for that accident but after I would downright playing and there was Bessie Witter as would have given her eyes for him she is his mrs. Carson now for she were her hands laughs although I never could see her beauty then and Carson wants a much above her as they're both above us all now Mary went very red and wished she could help doing so and wished also that mrs. Wilson would tell her more about the father and mother of her lover but she does not ask and mrs. Wilson's thoughts soon return to her husband and their early married days if you'll believe me Mary it never was such a bond goose at housekeeping as I were and yet he married me I had been in a factories in five years old the most and I knew nowt about cleaning or cooking let alone washing and suchlike work the day after we were married he goes to his work at after breakfast and says he Jennie will have cold beef and potatoes and that's a dinner fit for a prince our anxious to make him comfortable God knows how anxious and yet had no notion how to cook a potato and no they were boiled and I knowed the skins were taken off and that we're all so a tide in my house in a rough can away and then I looked at that very clock up yonder pointing at one that hung against the wall and I seed it would nine o'clock so thinks I potatoes she'll be well boiled at any rate and against them on fire in a jiffy that's to say as soon as I could peel em which were a tough job at first and then I felt oh unpacking my boxes and at 20 minutes past 12:00 he comes home and a thief's ready on the table and I went to take the potatoes out of the pot but Oh merits water had boiled away and there were all a nasty brown mass a smelt through all the house he said nowt and we're very gentle but Oh Mary I cried so that afternoon I shall never forget it no never I made many a blunder at after but none that fretted me like that father does not like girls to work in factories said Mary no I know he doesn't and reason good they ought to go out after they're married that's I'm very clear about I could reckon up counting with her fingers I nine men I know as has been driven at four public houses by having wives as worked in factories good folk too as thought there was no harm in putting the little ones nurse and letting that house go all dirty and their fires all out and that was a place as was tempting for her husband to stay was it he soon finds out gin shops where all is clean and bright and where fire blazes cheerily and gives a man a welcome as it were Alice who was standing near for the convenience of hearing had caught much of this speech and it was evident the subject had previously been discussed by the women for she chimed in I wish our gem could speak a word that's Queen about factory work for moneyed women yeah but he comes it strong when once you get him to speak about it why for Hisle never work away from home I said it's Prince Alberta's ought to be asked how he'd like his missus to be from home when he comes in tired and worn and wanting someone to cheer him and maybe her to come in by-and-by just as tired and down in South and now he'd like for her never to be at home to seat at the cleaning of his house or to keep a bright fire in his great let alone his meals been all hugger-mugger and comfortless I'd be bound Prince as he is if his missus served him so he'd be off to a gin Palace or summer to that kind so why can't he make a law again poor folks wives working in factories Mary ventured to say that she thought the Queen and Prince Albert could not make laws but the answer was poop don't tell me it's not the Queen as makes laws and isn't she a bound to obey Prince Albert and if he said they mustn't why she say there mustn't and then all four would say oh no we never shall do any such thing no more gems get none rarely said Alice who had not heard her sisters last burst of eloquence and whose thoughts were still running on her nephew and his various talents he's found out somewhat about a crank or a tanker forget rightly which it is but the masters made him Foreman and all the while turning off hands but he said he couldn't apart we gem know how he's good wage now I tell him he'll be thinking of marrying soon and he deserves a write down good wife that he does merely went very red and looked annoyed although there was a secret spring of joy deep down in her heart at hearing gem so spoken of but his mother only saw the annoyed look and was peaked accordingly she was not over and above desirous that her son should marry his presence in the house seemed a relic of happier times and she had some little jealousy of his future wife whoever she might be still she could not bear anyone not to feel gratified and flattered by gems preference and full well she knew how above all others he preferred Mary now she had never thought Mary good enough for gem and her late neglect in coming to see her still rankled a little in her breast so she determined to invent a little in order to do away with any idea Mary might have the gem would choose her for his write down Good Wife as Aunt Alice called it high a bit for taking a wife soon and then in a lower voice as if confidentially but really to prevent any contradiction or explanation from her simple sister-in-law she added it will not be long afore mana Gibson that's her at the provision shop around the corner will hear a secret as will not displease her I'm thinking she's been casting sheeps eyes at our gem this many a day but he thought her father would not give her to a common working man but now he's as good as her every bit I thought once he'd her fancy for thee Mary but they don't think you'd ever a suited so as best as it is by an effort Mary managed to keep down her vexation and to say she hoped he'd be happy with mana Gibson she was very handsome for certain I and a notable body to how to step upstairs and show the patchwork quilt she gave me but last Saturday Mary was glad she was going out of the room her words irritated her perhaps not the less because she did not fully believe them besides she wanted to speak to Alice and mrs. Wilson seemed to think that she as the widow ought to absorb all the attention dear Alice began Mary I'm so grieved to find you so death it must have come on very rapid yes dear it's a trial I'll not deny pray God give me strength to find out it's teaching I felt it saw one fine day when I thought I'd go gather some meadowsweet to make tea for Jane's cough and the field seemed so dry and still and at first I couldn't make out what one team and then it struck me with song of the birds and that I never should hear their sweet music no more and I could no help crying in a bit but have much to be thankful for I think I'm a comfort to Jane if I'm only someone to scold now and then poor body it takes off her thoughts from her sore losses when she can scold a bit if my eyes are left I can do well enough I can guess at what folk is saying the splendid red and yellow patch quilt now made its appearance and Jane Wilson would not be satisfied unless Mary praised it all over border centre and groundwork right side and wrong and Mary did her duty saying all the more because she could not work herself up to any very hearty admiration of her rivals present she made haste however with her commendations in order to avoid encountering gem as soon as she was fairly away from the house and Street she slackened her pace and began to think did gem really care for Molly Gibson well if he did let him people seemed all to think he was much too good for her Mary's own self perhaps someone else far more handsome and far more grand would show him one day that she was good enough to be Mrs Henry Carson so temper or what Mary cold spirit led her to encourage mr. Carson more than she had ever done before some weeks after this there was a meeting of the trades union to which John Barton belonged the morning of the day on which it was to take place he had lain late in bed for what was the use of getting up he had hesitated between the purchase of a meal or opium and had chosen the latter but its use had become a necessity with him he wanted it to relieve him from the terrible depression its absence occasioned a large lump seemed only to bring him into a natural state or what had been his natural state formerly eight o'clock was the hour fixed for the meeting and at it were red letters filled with details of woe from all parts of the country fierce heavy gloom brooded over the assembly and fiercely and heavily did the men separate towards eleven o'clock some irritated by the opposition of others to the desperate plans it was not a night to cheer them as they quitted the glare of the gas lighted room and came out into the street unceasing soaking rain was falling the very lamp seemed obscured by the damp upon the glass and their light reached but to a little distance from the posts the streets were cleared of passers-by not a creature seemed stirring except here and there a drenched policeman in his oilskin cape Barton wish the others goodnight and set off home he had gone through a street or two when he heard a step behind him but he did not care to look and see who it was a little further in the person quickened step and touched his arm very lightly he turned and saw even by the darkness visible of that badly lighted Street that the woman who stood by him was of no doubtful profession it was told by her faded finery all unfit to meet the pelting of that pitiless storm the gauze bonnet once pink now dirty white the muslin gown all draggled and soaking wet up to the very knees the gay colored beresch shawl closely wrapped around the form which yet shivered and shook as the woman whispered hard to speak to you he swore an oath and bade her begone I really do don't send me away I'm so out of breath I cannot say what I would all at once she put her hand to her side and caught her breath with evident pain I tell thee I'm not the man for thee adding an opprobrious name stay said he as a thought suggested by her voice flashed across him he gripped her arm the arm he had just before shaken off and dragged her faintly resisting to the nearest lamppost he pushed her bonnet back and roughly held the face she would fain have averted to the light and in her large unnaturally bright gray eyes her lovely mouth half open as if imploring the forbearance she could not ask for in words he saw at once the long-lost ester she who had caused his wife's death much was like the gay creature of former years but the glaring paint the sharp features the changed expression of the whole but most of all he loathed the dress and yet the poor thing out of her little choice of attire had put on the plane as she had to come on that nights errand so easy is it it's the exclaimed John as he ground his teeth and shook her with passion I've looked for the longer corners of streets and suchlike places I knew I should find it at last they'll maybe bethink thee as some words I spoke which put me up at the time so what about Street walkers but no there are none of them noughts no one thinks thou art who sees their fine dragon tail dress and I pretty pink cheeks stopping for very want of breath oh mercy JA mercy listen to me for Mary's sake she meant his daughter but the name only fell on his ear as belonging to his wife and it was adding fuel to the fire in vain did her face grow deadly pale round the vivid circle of paint in vain did she gasp for mercy he burst forth again now names that name to me and now thinks the thought of her will bring the mercy does that no it was they who killed her Ashur has ever Cain killed Abel she loved thee as her own when she trusted me as her own and when they were gone she never Ella pet again but died in Leicester a three week and at the judgment day she'll rise and points of thee as a murderer or if she don't I will he flung her trembling sickening fainting from him and strode away she fell with a feeble scream against the lamppost and lay there in her weakness unable to rise a policeman came up in time to see the close of these occurrences and concluding from Esther's unsteady reeling fall that she was tipsy he took her in her half unconscious state to the lockups for the night the superintendent of that abode of vice and misery was roused from his dozing watch through the dark hours by half delirious wails and moanings which he reported as arising from intoxication if he had listened he would have heard these words repeated in various forms but always in the same anchor muttering way he would not listen to me what can I do he would not listen to me and I wanted to warn him Oh what shall I do to save Mary's child what shall I do how can I keep her from being such a wall as I am such a wretched loathsome creature she was listening just as I listened and loving just as I loved and the end will be just like my end how shall I save her she won't Harkins a warning or he did more than I did and who loves so well enough to watch over as she should be watched God keep her from harm and yet I won't pray for her sinner that I am can my prayers be heard no they'll only do harm how shall I save her he would not listen to me so the night wore away the next morning she was taken up to the new Bailey it was a clear case of disorderly vagrancy and she was committed to prison for a month how much might happen in that time end of chapter 10 read by Tony Foster you

1 thought on “Mary Barton: A Tale of Manchester Life (Version 2) | Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell | English | 3/9

  1. Mary Barton: A Tale of Manchester Life (Version 2) | Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell | English | 3/9
    10: [01:11:47] – CHAPTER X – RETURN OF THE PRODIGAL

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