The spindles had disappeared. MONSIEUR DE LA ROCHECOUPÉE, the Prime Minister who, under the feeble King Cloche, governed the kingdom, respected popular beliefs, as all great statesmen respect them. Caesar was Pontifex Maximus, and Napoleon had himself crowned by the Pope. Monsieur de La Rochecoupée admitted the power of the fairies. He was by no means sceptical, by no means incredulous.
He took the kerchief, sat down before the wheel, and grind, grind, grind three times did he grind and the spindle was full: then he put another thread on, and grind, grind, grind, the second was full; so he spun on till morning; when all the straw was spun, and all the spindles were full of gold.
Four cuts were considered a task or day's work, and if any one failed to complete her task she received a whipping from the madam. At night when the spinners brought their work to the big house I would have it to reel. The reel was a contrivance consisting of a sort of wheel, turned on an axis, used to transfer the yarn from the spools or spindles of the spinning wheels into cuts or hunks.
The Republicans of the United States demand a man who knows that prosperity and resumption, when they come, must come together; that when they come, they will come hand in hand through the golden harvest fields; hand in hand by the whirling spindles and the turning wheels; hand in hand past the open furnace doors; hand in hand by the flaming forges; hand in hand by the chimneys filled with eager fire, greeted and grasped by the countless sons of toil.
This will insure an industrious, worthy, patriotic people for the South. One man will make one bale of cotton, others ten; your spindles and looms will be kept running by free men, and slavery will cease forever, as it should do. Slavery is a curse, a crime, a mildew, and must end, or war will blast our fair heritage for all time to come.
It is stated in a report of the Commissioners appointed in 1832 to inquire concerning the employment of women and children in factories, that 'in the cotton-mill of Messrs Houldsworth, in Glasgow, a spinner employed on a mule of 336 spindles, and spinning cotton 120 hanks to the pound, produced in 1823, working 74-1/2 hours a week, 46 pounds of yarn, his net weekly wages for which amounted to 27s. 7d.
In a single year the number of throwing spindles rose from 780,000 to 1,180,000; and, although the commercial crisis of 1825 crippled this branch of industry for the moment, yet in 1827 more was produced than ever, the mechanical skill and experience of the English having secured their twisting machinery the supremacy over the awkward devices of their competitors.
In the wardrobe there were at least thirty dresses, and nearby were the high beds, the cradle, the distaff with its beautiful spindles, and everywhere children's clothes were hanging, presents from the bride's former playmates. "Oh, kind Heaven!" cried Barefoot; "how happy a child of such a house must be!"
Of the mill he was the absolute master, familiar with every process, carrying constantly in his mind how many spindles, how many looms were at work; and if anything untoward happened, becoming aware of it by what seemed to Janet a subconscious process, sending for the superintendent of the department: for Mr.
"Your Majesty will forgive me," replied the Duchess. "It was to ward off the bad luck." The King issued an edict, whereby all persons were forbidden under pain of death to spin with spindles, or even to have spindles in their possession. All obeyed. They still used to say in the country districts: "The spindles must follow the mattock," but it was only by force of habit.