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Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr.

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Master of
Fat .

By

AMELIA E. BARR



New York
Dodd, Mead & Company




P






Copyright 1888

by
DODD, MEAD & COMPANY



CONTENTS.



CHAPTER I. THE OWNER OF BEVIN MILL, - i
CHAPTER II. JOE, - 17
CHAPTER III. A GREAT CHANGE, - 33
CHAPTER IV. THUS RUNS THE WORLD AWAY, 49
CHAPTER V. JOE PLEASES HIS FATHER, - 67
CHAPTER VI. MASTER AND MISTRESS OF BRAD
LEY, - 8 1
CHAPTER VII. THINGS THAT TROUBLE, - 97
CHAPTER VIII. LIFE AT BRADLEY COURT, - 114
CHAPTER IX. JOE S FORTHPUT, - - 129
CHAPTER X. EDITH S HARD BLOW, - - 145
CHAPTER XI. EDITH WINS TWO VICTORIES, 161
CHAPTER XII. AT BRADLEY, - - 181
CHAPTER XIII. JOE RISES IN ESTEEM, - 199
CHAPTER XIV. CALUMNY, - - 217
CHAPTER XV. AMOS MAKES MORNING CALLS, 233
CHAPTER XVI. JOE HAS A SURPRISE, 252
CHAPTER XVII. AMOS MAKES EDITH A PRO
POSAL, - - 265
CHAPTER XVIII. AMOS BRAITHWAITE AND SON, 279



MASTER OF HIS FATE

A TALE OF THE WEST RIDING.



CHAPTER I.

THE OWNER OF BEVIN MILL.

The day was made

To number out the hours of busy men ;
Let them be busy still, and still be wretched,
And take their fill of anxious drudging day.

DRYDIN.

So sullenly addicted still
To his one principle, his will,
That whatsoe er it chanced to prove,
No force of argument could move ;
For obstinacy s ne er so stiff

As when tis in a wrong belief.

HUDIBRAS.

THE tree God plants no wind hurts. It is
shaken by tempests and drenched with
rains. The dew and the sunshine nourish it.
It grows to fair proportions, and brings forth
fruit in its season. So also is the man whom
God makes. He is chastened by sorrow. He



2 MASTER OF HIS FATE.

has the discipline of patience and of disappoint
ment. He has the comforts of love and the
sweet surprises of godsends. All the capabil
ities of his nature are drawn out and perfected.
He turns his face to the sunshine, and is gra
cious and blessed in all his ways.

The self-made man, as the word is generally
understood, is different. He has built up a
great business, but he has neglected himself.
He has made beautiful his dwelling, but for
gotten to ennoble the man who is to inhabit
the splendid rooms. He is stunted in all his
senses but those necessary for making money.
His nature remains incomplete, and there is
small hope of any grander development, be
cause he is perfectly satisfied with his own
work.

Sooner or later, however, if God be merciful
to them, these architects of a special manhood
find out the magnitude of their limitations.
Reluctantly they are forced to admit that,
though they control money, they can not con
trol things not to be bought with money, love,
respect, and obedience. They discover that
the honor of the market-place does not include
that far more impartial judgment of their own



THE OWNER OF BEVIN MILL. 3

households, where they are weighed in a truer
balance, and found often to be grievously
wanting.

Amos Braithwaite was a self-made man, and
he asserted the circumstance whenever he could
with a consequential satisfaction. Every one
who knew him, and many who did not know
him, had heard the little bluster of affected
humility in which he was wont to complacently
state his own case.

" I weren t born wi a silver spoon i my
mouth, not I ! When I wer a lad I sell d
papers i Bradford Market, and I m proud of it
to-day, I am that ! I d no father or mother to
advise me, and I niver hed a day s schooling ;
but I wer determined to git on, and I did git
on. All I know I learn d mysen. All t money
I hev I made mysen. And look at me now f
There s many a swell as thinks himsen summat
extra wi his fine schooling as I could buy out
and out to-day. And thou knows it s so, eh,
Martha?"

He was delivering his favorite oration to his
sister-in-law, Miss Martha Thrale, a shrewd,
handsome Yorkshire woman, who had man-
aeed his household affairs ever since the death



4 MASTER OF HIS FATE.

of her sister, nearly twenty years previous.
She was quite familiar with it in all its vari
ations, yet when he said, " And look at me
now! " she lifted her eyes a moment from her
knitting and looked at him.

What she saw was a tall, stout man with a
head whose chief strength and mass was in the
hinder part, a man strong, rough, elemental,
with a firm will, a choleric temperament, and a
great energy for self-service. His dexterity of
mind and acuteness of judgment were indica
ted, not only by his keen gray eyes, but by the
way in which their lids were drawn horizon
tally over them. Still, though the large cor
neas gave an animal expression to the face, the
whole head indicated nobler possibilities of
character, for the mid-region was well arched,
and it was not unlikely that, under favorable
circumstances, feeling would rule intellect, and
the calculating selfish element vanish before an
earnest a<nd fervent affection

He stood upon the handsome Hearthrug with
his legs planted well apart, as firm on the
broad basis of his self-complacency as the pyra
mids on the desert ; and his hands were clasped
beneath his own coat-tails. This coat was of



THE OWNER OF BEV1N MILL. 5

cloth of his own manufacture, good, substan
tial cloth, made in a manner as uncompromis
ing and unfashionable as its wearer. A stolid,
solid, upright, downright man, with plenty of
sinew and bone to carry out whatever his
mind planned or his will determined.

" And look at me now ! "

So Martha Thrale looked at him for a
moment ere she answered : " Some folks do
think as thou hest done varry well to thysen,
Amos."

" So I hev. Varry well, indeed ! I hev niver
wanted either friends or enemies ; and I ll tell
thee what, Martha, one sort hes happen helped
me, just as much as t other sort. I ve niver
counted friends and I ve never feared enemies.
And I sud like our Joe to do just as I hev done,
and to be just such a man as his father is."

" I sud think thou would like to bring up a
son as could show there could be somebody a
bit better than thee."

Amos looked angrily at her. He had often
said that " Martha Thrale wasn t like t rest o
women folk, made o wax, or some such stuff; "
and he saw and understood the settled look
upon her large, calm face.



6 MASTER OF HIS FATE.

"So our Joe hes been trying to get round
thee, hes he ? Sure-ly to goodness, thou isn t
going to help t lad in his folly ! As ta never
did such a thing before, I m surprised as thou
sud do it now ; I am that, Martha! "

" Thou hesn t reckoned up our Joe correctly.
There is a deal in Joe that niver was in thee,
Amos."

" I sud hope not. Now, then, hear what I
hev to say. I ll hev none o his rubbishy, ro
mancing books. He s a deal better among t
wool-bags than spoiling good paper wi bad
poetry. There s all t poetry anybody need
hev in that Wesleyan hymn-book o thine. I
know our Joe, and I know there is no more
poetry in his head than there is in Bradshaw s
Railway Guide. / // not hev it there anyhow !
Let him stick to t mill. I reckon nowt o a
man that talks against what brings in good
money. It s mean as mean can be. Thou
knows that."

"I think our Joe sud hev a chance to follow
out his own inclinations. Ivery bird flies best
with its awn feathers."

"Joe hesn t got any feathers of his awn.
He ll hev to come to me for t ways and means



THE OWNER OF BE FIN MILL. 7

to do his flying. But I tak notice that young
fellows in these days can allays read their title
clear to whativer t old man hes that takes their
fancy."

" Most fathers would be proud of a fine lad
like our Joe. In t way of study, nothing beats
him. He is all for learning t French language
now, and he s found out somebody that can
teach him how to talk it, and help him a bit
with his violin beside. Joe tak s to music like
a bird to its song. He does that, Amos."

" Whativer are we getting to, Martha ? Thou
fair caps me ! I ll hev no French and fiddling
in my house ; mind that now ! French indeed !
I wonder to goodness who educates them foreign
creatures ? I could not mak sense o a word
the man spoke when I met him wi Joe."

" And he didn t understand thee, I ll be
bound."

" I speak good Yorkshire, and that s the best
o good English going. Joe s mother wer
allays reading poetry. It s bad for a lad when
he has hed a mother given to poetry and non
sense. T lad might hev done varry well but
for her heving a bee in her bonnet."

" I think thou hed better say nothing at a 1



MASTER OF HIS FATE.

of Joe s mother, Amos. Thou knew varry
little about her. That Avas thy loss, not hers."

" I sud think I know summat about my awn
wife, Martha."

" Thou knew nothing of her. How could
ta ? Thou wert that throng- making money that
thy home was nobbut a place to eat and sleep
in, while t engine stopped. I ll say this for my
sister Ann : if ta hed known her thou would
hev thought more of her."

" We wer speaking o Joe, and not of thy
sister Ann. And as for Joe Braithwaite, I ll
hev no high-flown ideas put into his head by a
lot o women and schoolmasters. It is more
than a bit thy fault, and thou knows it, Martha.
Before t lad hed his first breeches on, thou
wert telling him all sorts o lies about fairy folk :
thet s so ! " and Amos looked reproachfully into
Martha s face.

The look upon that face w as something
new to him. It meant rebellion on his own
hearthstone. In twenty years he had seen
nothing like it. If a thunderbolt had fallen at
his feet it could scarcely have amazed him
more. There was a spirit of revolt in Martha s
very silence. The click of her knitting-needles



THE OWNER OF BE VIA 7 MILL. 9

seemed to be contradicting him, and he felt
the necessity of instantly asserting himself.

Under such circumstances he naturally took
his stand upon his success in business. That
was a subject a woman ought naturally to feel
snubbed by. She could not emulate him.
And she could not criticise him, at least with
any show of propriety or justice. So he added
with a fine tolerance, " Thou lies been too soft
wi Joe. Thet is a woman s way. But it s a
wrong. When Joe puts himsen rayther too
for ard, I wonder thou didn t say a few words
that would hev taken t sharp edge off his fine
talk. Nobody can do that better than thee.
Thou sud hev said "

"What, sud I hev said?

" Look at thy father, Joe ! See what a big
fortune he hes made !

" One would think, Amos, that thou hed done
some great and good action in making thy awn
fortune. Laying up money for thysen ! Does
ta think that entitles thee to t love and grati
tude of thy fellow-creatures? I don t believe
they think so, my lad."

" Don t thee try to be sarcastic wi me, Mar
tha. I don t mind thy words. I hev made



10 MASTER OF HIS FATE.

nearly half a million o pounds. What is a few
words to figures like them, eh?"

" Half a million o pounds ! they are noth
ing if thou puts them against real goodness and
knowledge."

"Nothing!" gasped Amos; then, with the
contempt such a statement, in his opinion, de
served, he answered : " Thou art talking for
talking s sake. Women are a foolish lot. Is
there aught i this world better than honestly
earned money? "

" Ay, there is ; and what s more, t Bible up
holds me in saying so. For it makes out that
wisdom is better than gold, and knowledge
better than rubies and fine gold."

" I niver heard such things."

"How could ta hear them? Thou niver
goes to church or to chapel, and thou niver
reads aught but t newspapers. If anybody
sud quote t New Testament to thee it would
be so unlike any o thy notions that thou would
be sure to think t words were written by some
one as wanted to turn t world upside down
with their foolishness."

" Say no more, Martha ; say no more ! It s
fair nonsense arguing wi women. T long and



THE OWNER OF BEVIN MILL. II

t short of it is, I ll hev Joe think as I think,
and do as I do. Tell him that."

"Tell him thysen."

"Ay, I will."

Then he left the room with an air of injury
that for a few moments half imposed upon
Martha. She had to have a conversation with
her own conscience before she felt quite at ease
again about her position. Siding with a son
who was inclined to set himself up against the
wishes of his father was no light thing in her
eyes, and only to be justified by circumstances
indisputably warranting such opposition.

She thought such circumstances existed, and
whether her judgment was right or wrong, she
was, at least, actuated by the most sincere re
gard for the highest interests of her nephew.
Her affection for him was almost maternal in
character, for since the death of his mother, in
his third year, she had been a mother to him.
She loved him wisely and well, and beyond this
tie there was a sisterly bond that neither the
changes of life nor the great change of death
had been able to weaken. Joe was not only
Joe, he was also " Sister Ann s dear bairn."
And Sister Ann was a memory to Martha, hold-



12 MASTER OF HIS FATE.

ing all other memories of their short, happy
youth together.

After Amos had left her in such high dud
geon she sat very still, remembering. Her
knitting dropped from her hands, her eyes
looked far beyond the dreary village, straggling
up to the park-gates. She saw the old rectory
among the low, curving hills. She was with
her sister in its pleasant rooms and garden.
She heard her voice filling the dim spaces of
the ancient church with the joyful Sabbath
psalms. She clasped her hand over their
father s grave. She recalled all their struggles
and privations together, until Ann married
Amos Braithwaite. What for? She would not
ask herself the question. She believed fully in
the purity and kindness of Ann s motives ; and
if her good intentions did not turn out well,
Ann was not to be blamed for the failure ; for
alas ! mistakes are punished in this life quite
irrespective of good intentions.

The marriage had not been a happy one ; and
after the birth of her child, Ann never rallied.
She was ill for three years, and then she went
quietly away one night, when all the household
were asleep. Amos was relieved by her depar-



THE OWNER OF BEVIN MILL. 13

ture. He had outlived his fancy for the frail
beauty, and the expense and trouble of her
long sickness had been a great trial to him.
Yet, after it was over, he forgave the poof
woman fully, in consideration of, " t fine little
lad she hed left him."

On this child all his hopes settled themselves.
It was his ambition to make money, and to buy
land, and to call the land after his own name.
Therefore, a son to carry on his name was of
the first importance to his project. Martha
thought of all these things, but she did not
think of them as Amos did. She looked on
Joe as an individual soul, and not as a link in a
family chain. She did not believe his welfare
ought to be sacrificed either for the plans of his
father or the good of a posterity as yet mythi
cal and uncertain.

She had made some solemn promises to her
sister regarding the boy, and she meant to
fulfil them if it were possible for her to do so.
" But there are so many ifs in all human calcu
lations," she thought; "and we are ready
enough to pick out t* varry worst we can find.
Deary me ! Human hearts are just nests o 1
fear. They are that !"



14 MASTER OF HIS FATE.

Then she rose and put away her knitting, and
going to the window looked down at the great
mill in the valley. Excepting for its water
privileges, and its nearness to the chief wool
markets the situation of Market Bevin was not
desirable. No scenery in England could be
sadder or wilder than the bleak range of hills
girdling it on two sides, bare hills partitioned
into fields by leagues of stone walls, here and
there a dreary village where quarrymen lived,
here and there a desolate mansion standing for
lornly in the midst of fields that were not
green or pleasant looking.

Bevin Hall, the residence of Amos Braith-
waite, was a much finer place than the situation
warranted. It had been built centuries before
mills had been dreamt of. Then the lonely
mansions had been the homes of country
squires, and the whole valley a secluded agri
cultural locality. When the spinners began to
build mills on the banks of the stream, and the
quarrymen to break up the hill sides, then the
Bevins abandoned their old home, and Amos
bought the place at what he considered "a varry
low figure."

He did not dislike the sight of the smoking



THE OWNER OF BEVIN MILL. 15

mill. He thought, when the hundreds of win-
dows in its five stories were all alight, it was a
really grand piece of architecture. It did not
trouble him that the agricultural inhabitants,
with their simple, old-fashioned manners and
customs, were obliged to make way for the
vivacious, alert, arrogant mill hands. He rather
liked matching his own tongue and his own ar
rogance against theirs. He had been an opera
tive, he knew all the resentment of labor, and
he often told himself " that there wasn t varry
much they could say, or do, he wasn t up to."

But the restless, disputatious life did not
seem to Martha Thrale a good life. She knew
how often Amos and his hands were in
open and very vigorously expressed dissent.
She knew that their good will was merely a
cessation of hostilities, and when Joe expressed
his dislike to the mill work, and to the mill it
self, with its stony yard, its black dust, its sul
phury clouds of smoke, its inky water, its loath
some smells of heated oil, soap-suds, and cess
pools, Martha was in sympathy with him, and
thought his reluctance a very reasonable one.

How Joe s own desires were to be gratified
she hardly knew ; and her thoughts at this



1 6 MASTER OF HIS PATE.

hour brought her no nearer the solving of the
question than they had done many a time be
fore. But there was at least no great hurry.
Amos had talked in the same way for years.
There was nothing special in his attitude. She
did not reflect that as a rule tne great events of
life dawn with no rro-e note of preparation
than the sun rises.



CHAPTER II.

JOE.

Grief seldom joined with blooming youth is seen ;
Can sorrow be, where knowledge scarce has been ?

ROWE,

The world s a wood in which all lose their way,
Though by a different path each goes astray.
The world s a labyrinth, where unguided men
Walk up and down to find their weariness ;
No sooner have they measured with much toil
One crooked path, in hope to gain their freedom,
But it betrays them to a new affliction."

BEAUMONT.

JOE BRAITHWAITEwas a very handsome
young fellow, one of those fresh, blonde
Englishmen whose magnificent physique and
perfect health are a promissory note for any
amount of probable success. His figure was
tall and spare, his aspect strikingly winning and
manly, and a quick, undaunted spirit looked
out of his clear blue eyes.



1 8 MASTER OF HIS FATE.

With a slightly poetic temperament, he in
herited also from his mother a love of elegant
surroundings and a disposition to take life
pleasantly. But such tastes were not domi
nant ; the gay, pleasure-loving young man had
in him the stuff of which heroes are made, indif
ference to pain, perfect self-reliance, indefatiga
ble perseverance, and a simple resolution, which,
when it was called into action, would march
straight forward through fire and water to its
goal.

He had been to various schools, and under
various teachers learned many things whose
very names suggested nothing to the unlettered
Amos. Indeed, the father had rather tolerated
than acquiesced in some of his son s studies; and,
perhaps with good reason, he declared that, as
regarded Joe s bringing up, " he had been bam
boozled by a parcel o women and school
masters." And yet, when Joe quoted Pliny or
Aristotle with an air of " that settles the ques
tion," or rolled out a couplet of musical, though
very likely imperfect Greek, as an illustration,
the old man had a certain sense of pride in his
clever son, although, feeling himself to be in a
dark and unknown territory, he answered



JOE. 19

only with a doubtful and contemptuous
"Humph!"

In Joe s earliest childhood, the practical
father had given strict orders regarding " fairy
tales, and giants, and suchlike lies and non
sense." But to say that his aunt and nurse
constantly and strictly disobeyed these orders,
is only to say that they were women. And
one Sunday night, when Joe was seven years
old, he had been so completely dumfounded
and routed upon this very subject that it was
not at all remarkable he should prefer avoid
ing, for the future, any allusion to personages
o far out of his experience and knowledge.

It was a wet Sunday evening in spring ;
too wet to walk over his park and gardens,
very much too wet to permit Martha Thrale
and Joe the use of the fine carriage-horses to
carry them to the Wesleyan chapel a mile
away. He had slept all he could ; his ledger
was at the mill ; another meal was out of the
question for a couple of hours : so he bethought
himself of little Joe as a means of passing the
tedious time.

He found the boy at his aunt s side. She
was reading to him, and Joe s bright, hand-



20 MASTER OF If IS FATE.

some face expressed nothing but delight and
wonder. Amos listened also for a few minutes.
It was a marvellous story of the killing of a
giant by a little lad with a sling and a stone.
In the father s opinion it was an altogether
improbable affray ; and he speedily interrupted
it, saying, with an angry decision, " Hev done,
Martha ! Hev done wi such nonsense ! Of
all t lies that iver were invented, that one is a
topper, I sud say."

" I d know what I was talking about, if I
was thee, Amos Braithwaite. I reckon to do
my duty by t little lad, and I m only teaching
him his Bible lesson."

Then she quietly opened the Holy Book and
placed before the disconcerted father the
objectionable history. He was troubled and
annoyed by the circumstance. Before this
untoward confirmation of his opinions, he had
had an impression that the Bible was a book
only suitable for chapels and churches and the
Sabbath day ; and after it, he was more than
ever convinced that there was more radical
incompatibility between it and the big book
vhich lay upon the high desk in the counting-
room of Bevin Mill.



JOE.



21



When Joe began to go to school, Amos
soon found out that a self-made man is not at
all points a match for a self-willed boy. His
positive instructions to the schoolmaster had
been, " Solid reading, writing, arithmetic and
chemistry. None o* your rubbishy Latin and
Greek and poetry." But the school was not
in any measure dependent upon Amos Braith-
waite. It had a noble foundation, and the
master did not think it necessary to vary the
prescribed routine to meet the taste of one
patron. So Joe s inclinations towards poetry
and literature were fully encouraged, and he
took some prizes in the very studies which his
father had forbidden.

But this was almost a venial offence com
pared with the audacity of Joe s latest prop
osition, to bring a Frenchman into the very
parlors of Bevin Hall, in order that he might
learn to speak a language which Amos declared
" nobody could mak a word o sense of," and
which he always associated with every thing
that was immoral and extravagant, with foppery
and atheism and anarchy.

And now that Martha Thrale had actually
set herself against him, he felt that a crisis had



22 MASTER OF HIS FATE.

come in the relationship between himself and
his son. It was just as well, he thought ; things
long undecided would now be brought to a
settlement. And Amos was glad of it; for,
though he expected trouble and opposition, he
was prepared to meet it with all the stubborn
will of a strong but narrow mind.

He was very fond of Joe, and, in an unac
knowledged way, very proud of him. Though
he would not have admitted it, he was also
vain of the young man s beauty and stylish air;
and whenever Joe strolled into his presence
with his thoroughly-at-ease, satisfied manner,
Amos always looked at him with a curious mix
ture of admiration and disapproval.

Hitherto there had been no serious disagree
ment between them, for Joe had shown no very
decided symptoms of rebellion. There had
certainly been one prolonged dispute about his
desire to go to Cambridge, and another equally
positive when he requested permission to travel
for two years ; but Amos had put his foot
firmly down on both requests, and that had
been the end of them. Joe had given in before,
and the self-confident father did not think he



JOE. 23

would make any firmer stand about any other
disputed question.


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Online LibraryAmelia Edith Huddleston BarrMaster of his fate → online text (page 1 of 13)