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Fontenoy smiled rather gloomily, and the and planning at Ferth! His face flushed and two walked on in silence.
hardened as he thought of their many wrangles « I say, Tressady, will you pair till eleven?» during the past fortnight, her constant drag cried a man swinging bareheaded along the upon his purse, his own weakness, the annoyterrace with his hat in his hand. «I want an ance and contempt that made him yield rather hour or two off badly, and there will be no than argue. big guns on till eleven or so.»
What was that fellow Harding Watton George exchanged a word or two with Fon- doing in the house at all hours, beguiling tenoy, then stood still and thought a moment. Letty, by his collector's airs, into a hundred A sudden animation flushed into his face. foolish wants and whims? And that brute Why not?
Cathedine! Was it decent, was it bearable, « All right,» he said; « till eleven.»
that a bride of three months should take no Then he and Fontenoy went back to dine. more notice of her husband's wishes and disAs they mounted the dark staircase leading likes in such a matter than Letty had shown from the terrace another man caught Tres- with regard to her growing friendship with sady by the arm.
that disreputable person? It seemed to « The strike notices are out,” he said. «I George that he called most afternoons.
» have just had a wire. Every one leaves work Letty laughed, excused herself, or abused to-night.»
her visitor as soon as he had departed; but George shrugged his shoulders. He had the rebuff which George's pride would not let been expecting the news at any moment, and him ask of her directly, while yet his whole was glad that the long shilly-shallying on manner demanded it, was never given. both sides was at last over.
He sat solitary in the brilliantly lighted car« Good luck to them!” he said. «I'm glad. riage, staring at the advertisements opposite, The fight had to come.»
his long chin thrust forward, his head, with its « Oh, we shall be in the middle of arbitra- fair curls, thrown moodily back. And all the tion before a fortnight 's up. The men won’t time his mind was working with an appalling stand.
clearness. This cold light in which he was George shook his head. He himself believed beginning to see his wife and all she did-it that the struggle would last on through the was already a tragedy. autumn.
What was he flying to, what was he in « Well, to he sure, there 's Burrows,» said search of, there in the East End? His whole his informant, himself a large coal-owner in being flung the answer. A little sympathy, a the Ferth district; « if Burrows keeps sober, little heart, a little tenderness and delicacy and if somebody does n't buy him, Burrows of soul! Nothing else. He had once taken it will do his worst.»
for granted that every woman possessed them « That we always knew,” said George, in some degree; or was it only since he had laughing, and passed on. He had only just found them in this unexampled fullness and time to catch his train.
wealth that he had begun to thirst for them
in this way? He made himself face the quesHe walked across to the underground station, tion. «One need n't lie to one's self! » and by the time he reached it he had clean At Aldgate, as he was making his way out forgotten his pits and the strike, though as of the station, he stumbled upon Edward he passed the post-office in the House a sheaf Watton. of letters and telegrams had been put into « Hullo! You bound for No. 20, too ? » his hands. Rather, he was full of a boy's «No; there is no function to-night. Lady eagerness and exultation. He had never sup- Maxwell is at a meeting. It has grown rather posed he could be let off to-night till the suddenly from small beginnings, and two days offer of Dudley's pair tempted him. And now ago they made her promise to speak. I came in half an hour he would be in that queer down because I am afraid of a row. Things Mile End room, watching her-quarreling are beginning to look ugly down here, and I with her.
don't think she has much idea of it. Will you A little later, however, as he was sitting come?» quietly in the train, quick composite thoughts « Of course.) of Letty, of his miners and his money diffi
Watton looked at him with an amused and culties, began to clutch at him again. Per- friendly eye. haps, now that the strike was a reality, it It was another instance of her power-that might even be a help to him and a bridle to she had been able to bind even this young his wife. Preposterous, what she was doing enemy to her chariot-wheels. He hoped Letty
had the sense to approve. As a matter of For it was the direct fruit of an agitation fact, Watton had never, by his own choice, that, as Tressady knew, was in particular become well acquainted with his cousin Letty, Fontenoy's agitation. The Free Workers' and had always secretly marveled at Tres- League, which had called upon the tradesady's sudden marriage.
unionists of Mile End to summon the meeting, and to hear therein what both sides had
to say, was, in fact, Fontenoy's creation. It XIV.
had succeeded especially in organizing the « BETTER get down here, I think,» said Wat- women home-workers of Mile End and Poplar. ton, signaling to the tram-conductor, « and Two or three lady speakers employed by the find out whether they have really gone or league had been active to the point of frenzy not.»
in denouncing the bill, and shrieking « LibThey stopped, half-way down the Mile End erty! » in the frightened ear of Mile End. Road, before a piece of wall with a door in it. Watton could not find a good word for any of A trim maiden of fifteen, in a spotless cotton them-was sure that what mostly attracted frock and white apron, opened to them. them was the notoriety of the position, in
Inside was a small flagged courtyard and volving, as it did, a sort of personal antagothe old-fashioned house that Marcella Max. nism to Lady Maxwell, who had, so to speak, well a year before-some time after their made Mile End her own. And to be Lady first lodging in Armingford's house had been Maxwell's enemy was, Watton opined, the given up-had rescued from demolition and next best thing, from the point of view of the builder, to make an East End home out advertisement, to being her friend. of it. Somewhere about 1750 some City « Excellent women, I dare say,» said Trestradesman had built it among fields, and sady, laughing, « talking excellent sense. taken his rest there; while, somewhat later, But tell me, what is this about Naseby-why in a time of Evangelical revival, a pious widow Naseby-on all these occasions ? »
a had thrown out a low room to one side for « Why not, indeed?» said Watton. « Ah, you class-meetings. In this room Marcella now don't know? It seems to be Nase by that's held her gatherings, and both Tressady and going to get the egg out of the hat for us.» Watton knew it well.
And he plunged eagerly into the description The little handmaid bubbled over with will- of certain schemes wherewith Naseby had ing talk. Oh, yes; there was a meeting up lately astonished the Maxwell circle. TresManx Road, and her ladyship had gone with sady listened languidly at first, then with a Lord Naseby and Lady Madeleine and Mr. kind of jealous annoyance that scandalized Everard the inspector, and, she thought, one himself. How well he could understand the or two besides. She expected the ladies back attraction of such things for her quick mind! about ten, and they were to stay the night. Life was made too easy for these « golden
« And they do say, sir,” she said eagerly, lads.» People attributed too much importance looking up at Watton, whom she knew, « as to their fancies. there'll be a lot o' rough people at the Naseby, in fact, – but so much George almeetin'.»
ready knew,- had been for some months now «Oh, I dare say,” said Watton. «Well, the comrade and helper of both the Maxwells. we 're going up, too, to look after her.» His friends still supposed him to be merely
As they walked on they talked over the the agreeable and fashionable idler. In realgeneral situation in the district, and Watton ity, Naseby for some years past had been explained what he knew of this particular spending all the varied leisure that his commeeting. In the first place, he repeated, he mission in the Life Guards allowed him upon could not see that Lady Maxwell understood the work of a social and economic student. as yet the sort of opposition that the bill was He had joined the staff of a well-known rousing, especially in these East End districts. sociologist who was at the time engaged in The middle-class and parliamentary resistance an inquiry into certain typical East London she had always appreciated; but the sort of trades. The inquiry had made a noise, and the rage that might be awakened among a de- evidence collected under it had already been graded class of workers by proposals that largely used in the debates on the Maxwell seemed to threaten their immediate means of bill. Tressady, for instance, had much of it living he believed she had not yet realized in by heart, although he never knew, until he anything like its full measure and degree; and became a haunter of Lady Maxwell's circle, he feared that this meeting might be a dis- that Naseby had played any part in the gathagreeable experience.
ering of it.
At the same time, as George had soon ob- of different sorts, hundreds of sallow women, served, Naseby was no blind follower of the representing the home-workers of Mile End, Maxwells. In truth, under his young gaiety Bow, and Stepney, -poor souls, bowed by toil and coolness he had the temper of the student and maternity, whose marred fingers labor who is more in love with his problem itself day and night to clothe the colonies and the than with any suggested solution of it. As he army; their husbands and brothers too, Enghad told Lady Betty, he had « no opinions » - lish slop-tailors, for the most part, of the
. would himself rather leave the sweated trades humbler sort, – the short side street was alone, and trust to much slower and less vio- packed with them. It was an anxious, sensilent things than law-making. All this the tive crowd, Tressady thought, as he elbowed Maxwells knew perfectly, and liked and his passage through it. A small thing might trusted him none the less.
inflame it, and he saw a number of rough lads Now, however, it seemed there was a new on the skirts of it. development. If the bill passed, Naseby had Jews, too, there were in plenty. For the a plan. He was already a rich man, indepen- stress of this bill had brought Jew and Gentile dently of the marquisate to come. His grand- together in a new comradeship that amazed mother had left him a large preliminary the East End. Here were groups representfortune, and through his friends and connec- ing the thrifty, hard-working London Jew of tions besides he seemed to command as much the second generation, small masters for the money as he desired. And of this money, sup- most part, pale with the confinement and posing the bill passed, he proposed to make «drive » of the workshop; men who are exoriginal and startling use. He had worked out pelling and conquering the Gentile Eastthe idea of a syndicate, furnished with, say, a Ender, because their inherited passion for quarter of a million of money, which should business is not neutralized by any of the come down upon a given district of the East common English passions for spendingEnd, map it out, buy up all the existing busi- above all, by the passion for drink. Here, too, nesses in its typical trade, and start a system were men of a far lower type and grade-the of new workshops proportioned to the popu- waste and refuse of the vast industrial mill. lation, supplying it with work just as the Tressady knew a good many of them by sightboard schools supply it with education. The sullen, quick-eyed folk, who buy their « greennew scheme was to have a profit-sharing ele- ers » at the docks, and work them day and ment: the workers were to be represented in night at any time of pressure; whose workthe syndicate, and every nerve was to be shops are still flaring at two o'clock in the strained to secure the best business manage- morning, and alive again by the winter dawn; ment. The existing middlemen would be either who fight and flout the law by a hundred arts, liberally bought out or absorbed into the new and yet, brutal and shifty as many of them machine. It was by no means certain that they are, have a curious way of winning the Genwould show it any strong resistance. tile inspector's sympathy, even while he fines
Tressady made a number of unfriendly and harasses them, so clearly are they and comments on the scheme as Watton detailed their «hands » alike the victims of a huge it. A bit of amateur economics, which would world-struggle that does but toss them on its only help the bill to ruin a few more people surge. than would otherwise have gone down.
These gentry, however, were hard hit by « Ah, well,» said Watton, « if this thing more than one clause of the Maxwell bill, and passes there are bound to be experiments, they were here to-night to protest, as they and Naseby means to be in ’em. So do I, only had been already protesting at many meetI have n't got a quarter of a million. Here's ings, large and small, all over the East End. our road. We 're late, of course; the meet. And they had their slaves with them, -raging 's begun. I say, just look at this!» ged, hollow-eyed creatures, newly arrived
For Manx Road, as they turned into it, was from Russian Poland, Austria, or Rumania, already held by another big meeting of its and ready to shout or howl in Yiddish as they own. The room in the board school which were told, -men whose strange faces and crossed the end of the street must be full, eyes, under their matted shocks of black or and this crowd represented, apparently, those reddish hair, sụggested every here and there who had been turned away.
the typical history and tragic destiny of the As the two friends pushed their way race which, in other parts of the crowd, was through, Tressady's quick eye recognized in seen under its softer and more cosmopolitan the throng a number of familiar types. Well- aspects. to-do «pressers and machinists, factory girls » ,
As the two men neared the door of the
school, where the press was densest, they ing, it was to turn upon Watton with impawere recognized as probably belonging to the tience. How long was this thing going on? Maxwell party, and found themselves a good The British workman spoke with deplorable deal jeered and hustled, and could hardly fluency. Could n't they push their way make any way at all. However, a friendly through to the platform? policeman came to their aid. They were Watton looked at the crowd, and shrugged passed into a lobby, and at last, with much his shoulders. elbowing and pushing, found themselves in- « Not yet. I say, who's this they've put side the school-room.
up? Come, my dear fellow, that looks like the So crowded was the place, and so steaming real thing.» the atmosphere, that it was some minutes be- Tressady turned, and saw an old man, a fore Tressady could make out what was going Jew with a long grayish beard, coming slowly on. Then he saw that Naseby was speaking to the front of the platform. His eyes were -Naseby, looking remarkably handsome and black and deep sunk under white brows; he well curled, and much at his ease, besides, in was decently but poorly dressed; and he began the production of a string of Laodicean com- to speak with a slight German accent, in an ments on the bill, his own workshop scheme, even, melancholy voice, rather under-pitched, and the general prospects of East End labor. which soon provoked the meeting. He was He described the scheme, but in such a way vociferously invited to speak up or sit down, as rather to damn it than praise it; and as for and at the first interruption he stopped the bill itself, which he had undertaken to timorously and looked toward the chair. compare with former factory bills, when he An elderly, gray-haired woman was presidsat down he left it, indeed, in a parlous case ing, no doubt to mark the immense impor-a poor, limping, doubtful thing, quite as tance of the bill for the women of the East likely to ruin the East End as to do it a End. She came forward at the man's appeal. hand's turn of good.
« My friends,» she said quietly, «you let Just as the speaker was coming to his this man speak, and don't you be hard on him. peroration Tressady suddenly caught sight of He's got a sad story to tell you, and he a delicate upraised profile on the platform won't be long about it. You give him his behind Naseby. The repressed smile on it set chance. Some of you shall have yours soon. him smiling, too.
The speaker was the paid secretary of one «What on earth do they make Naseby of the women's unions; but she had been a speak for?» said Watton, indignantly. «Idi- tailoress for years, and had known a tragic ocy! He spoils everything he touches. Let life. Once, at a meeting where some flippant him give the money, and other people do the speaker had compared the reality and fretalking. You can see the people here don't quency of «starvation » in London to the realknow what to make of him in the least. Look ity and frequency of the sea-serpent, Tressady at their faces. Who 's he talking to?» had seen her get up, and, with a sudden pas-.
« Lady Madeleine, I think,» said Tressady. sion, describe the death of her own daughter «What amazing red hair that girl has, and from hardship and want, with the tears runwhat queer, scared eyes! It is like an animal – ning down her cheeks. one wants to stroke her.»
Her appeal to the justice of the meeting « Well, Naseby strokes her,” said Watton, succeeded, and the old man was allowed to laughing. «Look at her; she brightens up go on. It soon appeared that he had been put directly he comes near.»
up by one of the tailoring unions to denounce Tressady thought of the tale Fontenoy had the long hours worked in some of the Whitejust told him, and wondered. Consolation chapel and Spitalfields workshops. His facts seemed to come easy to maidens of quality. were appalling. But he put them badly, with
Meanwhile various trade-unionists, sturdy, a dull, stumbling voice, and he got no hold capable men in black coats, were moving and on the meeting at all till suddenly he stepped seconding resolutions; flinging resentful com- forward, paused, his miserable face working, ments, too, at Naseby whenever occasion of- his head turning from side to side, and finally fered. Tressady heard very little of what said, with a sharp change of note: they had to say. His eyes and thoughts were « And now, if you please, I will tell you busy with the beautiful figure to the left of how it was about Isaac-my brother Isaac. the chair. Its dignity and charm worked upon It was Mr. Jacobs » — he looked round, and him like a spell-infused a kind of restless pointed to the trade-union secretary who had happiness.
been speaking before him—«Mr. Jacobs it When he woke from his trance of watch- was that put it in my mind to come here and
tell you about Isaac. For the way Isaac died opened his eyes once, and groaned. And he
treading on another, and if you don't do it He stopped, grinning feebly. The trade- some one else will. It's the law as 'll have unionists about the platform shouted or to do it. You may take that and smoke it! groaned in response. The masters round the You won't get nothing else. Why,» — his door, with their « greeners,» stood silent. hoarse voice trembled, — « why, they use us
« And about Wednesday in the third week,” up cruel in the sort of shop I work for. Ten he went on, « he come to the master, and he or twelve years, and a man 's all to pieces. says, -- Isaac was older than me, and his chest It's the irons and the heat and the sittingit would be beginning to trouble him pretty you know what it is. I've lasted fifteen year, bad, -so he says: "I'm done, he says; (I but I'm breaking up now. If my master give must go home. You can get another chap to me the sack for speaking here, I 'll have do my bastes to-night; will you?' And the nothing but the Jewish Board of Guardians master says to Isaac, “If you don't do your to look to. All the same, I made up my mind bastes overtime, if you 're too high and as I'd come and say how they served Isaac.» mighty, he says, “why, there 's plenty as He stopped abruptly, and stood quite still will, and you don't need to come to-morrow a moment, fronting the meeting, as though neither. And Isaac had his wife Judith at appealing to them through the mere squalid home, and four little uns; and he stopped and physical weakness he could find no more done his bastes, of course. And next night he words to express. Then, with a sort of could n't well see, and he'd been dreadful shambling bow, he turned away, and the main sick all day, and he says to the master again, body of the meeting clapped excitedly, while he says as he must go home. And the master at the back some of the «sweaters » grinned he says the same to him; and Isaac stops. and chatted sarcastic things in Yiddish with And on Friday afternoon he come home. And their neighbors. Tressady saw Lady Maxwell the shop had been steamin' hot, but outside rise eagerly as the old man passed her, take it was a wind to cut you through. And his his hand, and find him a seat. wife Judith says to him, "Isaac, you look « That, I suppose, was an emotion,» said starved, and she set him by the fire. And Tressady, looking down upon his companion. he sat by the fire, and he did n't say nothing. « Or an argument,» said Watton, « as you Then his hands fell down sudden like that -» like.»
The old man let his hands drop heavily by his side, with a simple dramatic gesture. By ONE other « emotion » of the same kind-the this time there was not a sound in the human reality at its simplest and cruelestcrowded room. Even the wildest and most Tressady afterward remembered. wolfish of the greeners were staring silently, A « working-woman » was put up to second craning brown necks forward.
an amendment condemning the workshops « And his wife ran to him, and he falls clause, which had been moved in an angry against her, and he says, "Lay me down, speech by one of « Fontenoy's ladies," a shrillJudith, and don't you let 'em wake me--not voiced fashionable person, the secretary to the young uns, he says, not for nothing the local branch of the Free Workers' League. and nobody. For if it was the trump of the Tressady had yawned impatiently through the Most High, he says, -and Isaac was a reli- speech, which had seemed to him a violent gious man, and careful in his speech, - (I must and impertinent performance; but as the have my sleep. And she laid him down, and speaker sat down he was roused by an exthe children and she watched, and by mid- clamation from a man beside him. night Isaac turned himself over. He just « That woman!» cried a tall curate, strain