In ages they ranged from the eight-year-old little warrior up to Adam and Alice, the two eldest, who were both turned sixteen. School was over at 5 p.m., and then the workers fell to their duties, and the non-workers went forth to play.
There no parasitical non-workers are to be found, eager to eat bread, but in the sweat of other people's brows; no impecunious title-bearers; no importunate bores, nor other similar characters whom the Government there would regard it as their duty "to provide for" by quartering them on the revenues of Colonial dependencies.
The devil take all workers and non-workers in this world!" "I wish somebody would shoot me," he thought. "Kill me, right out, with a shot aimed from behind, so that I should feel nothing. What nonsense, isn't it? Why must somebody else do it? and not I myself? Am I really such a coward that I cannot pluck up courage to end this life which I know to be nothing but misery?
The pensionnaires of the State and of industry have increased with us, whilst in many countries they have almost disappeared. Fewer people are actually earning their living in England than in any other country; more people are just passengers on the economic machine. The working part of the population carries a mass of non-workers on its back all the while.