After a day of moaning and staring, as he sat amidst his household goods on the bank of the creek, he became animated by a deep rage against the mill-owner. Now more than ever had he a special purpose for enriching himself by means of his treasure across the hill. The coming of two circuses in succession had taken the interest of the boys away from Pop during August and part of September.
The mill-owner was by far the bigger man, and the play of his shoulders showed that his fearful strength was not muscle bound, but he stood ponderously; on the other hand, the Irishman, who, while tall, was not nearly as heavy, only seemed to touch the ground, his step was so light and springy. The Frenchman rushed, swinging as he did so.
The mill-owner, in fact, did not get any farther than the edge of the porch before he wheeled again. "The affair which I have to discuss with you is of a private nature, Mr. Bass," he said. "So I callated," said Jethro. "You may have the place to yourselves, gentlemen," Wetherell put in uneasily, and then Mr.
Owen's first move was to reduce the working-hours from twelve to ten hours. Indeed, he was the first mill-owner to adopt the ten-hour plan. He improved the sanitary arrangements, put in shower-baths and took a personal interest in the diet of his little wards, often dining with them. A special school-building was erected at a cost of thirty thousand dollars. This was both a day and a night school.
Philip knew enough about men to know that the mill-owner was in genuine danger. Most of his assailants were the foreign element in the mills. Many of them were under the influence of liquor. The situation was critical. Mr. Winter clung to Philip with the frantic clutch of a man who sees only one way of escape, and clings to that with mad eagerness. Philip turned around and faced the mob.
Here began a spacious tract of grassy common; around it were houses of pleasant appearance, one or two meriting the name of mansion. In one of them dwelt Mr. Richard Dagworthy, the mill-owner, in whose counting-house James Hood earned his living.
"Sam knows what he's about," said the mill-owner cheerfully, "and as he's regularly buckled down to the work here, and will go his bottom dollar on it, you can safely leave things to him." "He certainly has exhibited great zeal," said the reverend gentleman patronizingly. "Zeal," echoed Sperry enthusiastically, "zeal?
Thackeray's "Esmond," two books which no man or woman ought to read without being the nobler for them. "John Halifax, Gentleman," is simply the history of a poor young clerk, who rises to be a wealthy mill-owner in the manufacturing districts, in the early part of this century.
The minister reached out his hand, and laid it on the other's arm, saying as he did so, "My brother, you certainly did not come into my house to accuse me unjustly of wronging you? I am willing to talk the matter over in a friendly spirit, but I will not listen to personal abuse." There was something in the tone and manner of this declaration that subdued the mill-owner a little.
The second time was when she signed her application for the position of postmistress of the village. The big mill-owner, Hiram Taylor, brought her the paper. "Got to put it all in, Miss Abbie," he said with a laugh. "Shut your eyes and sign it and then forget it. Awful, ain't it? but that's the law, and there ain't no way of getting round it, I guess."