The Midland and Western Railway Company, in consideration of a grant of £264,000, agreed to make the line, and to afterwards run it, whether it paid or not. The contractors were not allowed to import unskilled labour. The Connemarans were to make the line whether they knew the work or not. They had never seen navvy labour. They knew nothing outside the management of small farms.
For some time previous to the summer of 1842, great distress, it will be remembered, prevailed among the manufacturing population of the northern and midland counties.
The Midland had hitherto been excluded from any proper share of the Scotch traffic, but now having secured the right to extend their system to Carlisle, they hoped to join forces with their allies, the Glasgow and South-Western, and secure a fair share of it.
North and south the eye ranges over a vast extent of lovely scenery; and on the west, looking over the town of Chesterfield, with its church and crooked spire, the extensive range of the Derbyshire hills bounds the distance. The Midland Railway skirts the western edge of the park in a deep rock cutting, and the shrill whistle of the locomotive sounds near at hand as the trains speed past.
When Lennard got into the brightly-lighted kitchen, which is really the living-room of small Lancashire houses, he found himself in an atmosphere of modest cosy comfort which is seldom to be found outside the North and the Midland manufacturing districts. It is the other side of the hard, colourless life that is lived in mill and mine and forge, and it has a charm that is all its own.
"The midland route would be all right," he said, "if it weren't for the farmers' boys with their long guns and the ever see a cat, Bub?" "No," twittered Bub nervously. "Don't expect to. I'm for the seaboard." "That would be sense," said the old bachelor, "if it weren't for the Statue of Liberty." "The what?"
I have a book full of newspaper reports of my wife's performances, containing notices of concerts at Malvern repeatedly, Kidderminster, Worcester, at Birmingham under the auspices of the Musical Section of the Midland Institute a very great honour before a highly critical audience Alcester, Pershore, Moreton-in-the-Marsh, Evesham, Broadway, Badsey, Wallingford, and a great many villages in the Evesham district.
The sloping galleries were crowded with all that was noble, great, wealthy, and beautiful in the northern and midland parts of England; and the contrast of the various dresses of these dignified spectators, rendered the view as gay as it was rich, while the interior and lower space, filled with the substantial burgesses and yeomen of merry England, formed, in their more plain attire, a dark fringe, or border, around this circle of brilliant embroidery, relieving, and, at the same time, setting off its splendour.
The captive of Beaulieu and Beaurevoir spent the sad months of her captivity among a population which could have heard of her only by flying rumours coming from hostile quarters. From the midland of France to the sea, near to which her prison was situated, is a long way, and those northern districts were as unlike the Orleannais as if they had been in two different countries.