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Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr.

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" No, I had not. Of course I knew that Joe
must have a mill somewhere near Bradley, and
I was going to speak to you about it. I
thought there was plenty of time."

"There is no time to lose if we build our awn
mill not a day. Now then, tak what I hev
proposed into thy head, and turn it over a bit.
I think ta will see I am right."

" It will need thinking about in many ways."

" Perhaps ta is afraid of annoying Lady
Charlton, for ta sees if we build here thy mill-
chimney will be in sight from all her front win
dows, and when t wind blows from t east, and
it mostly does blow from t east she ll get all
t smoke it can send her."



AMOS MAKES EDITH A PROPOSAL. 277

" I should hardly take Lady Charlton into
consideration, with any of my plans."

" No, I sud say not. She niver hed any con
sideration for thee. This is t varry place for
Joe. A good road can be easily made here,
and his gig will bring him to thee any time in
twenty minutes. And if Kattel suits Joe and
thee, thet s t main thing, I sud say."

" Well, father, I will think of what you have
said."

" Do, Edith, my lass. And don t thee waste
time. We ll hev to be mak ing ready for Joe s
home-coming. If ta will help me, we ll do our
best to mak no mistakes with him this time."

" You are the dearest, noblest, most gener
ous father in the whole world ! It would be a
shame to cross you very far."

"Ay, I try to be. And I hev a famous good
daughter. A father would do a deal for a lass
like thee."

" I will speak to Perkins, if you don t mind.
He may know of some more suitable
place."

"Ay, he may and he may not."

" If we can buy a suitable site not on our own
land, all the better."



278 MASTER OF HIS FATE.

" Mebbe. But speak to Perkins if ta likes.
He s not a bad one to ask ; for if there s a bit
o* land, far or near, in ta market, he generally
knows all about it."



CHAPTER XVIII.

AMOS BRAITHWAITE AND SON.

* Man is his own star, and the soul that can
Render an honest and a perfect man
Commands all light, all influence, all fate.
Nothing to him falls early, or too late.
Our acts our angels are, for good or ill,
Our fatal shadows, that walk by us still."

AMOS had acceded to his daughter s wish to
consult Perkins with apparent satisfac
tion ; and with almost unnecessary haste he
decided privately to follow Edith s intention.
He went early on Monday morning to see the
lawyer, so early that he had to seek him at his
residence. The two men knew each other too
well to attempt deception, and Amos, without
any preparatory explanation, said, " I m before
business hours, Perkins, but I hev a good rea
son for bothering thee. I want to build Joe a
mill on Kattel. Mrs. Braithwaite is afraid o*
spoiling her view and her rural village and



28o MASTER OF HIS FATE.

thinks thou can mebbe find her a better site,
Now, I know thou can t, and if ta could, I
don t want any other site found. Think of it.
Can ta find another place half so suitable?"

There was no ofter of reward made, nothing
approaching the idea of one good turn deserves
another insinuated, and yet Perkins, looking
steadily at Amos, fully understood that an ad
vantageous offer had been made him. He
stroked his chin a few moments, and seemed
lost in a deep reflection on the water-power of
the locality, but his answer was as definite as
Amos could desire.

" I really do not know of any site but Kattel
that could be procured for the purpose of build
ing a mill. There is a bit of land on Thorny
Beck, but it belongs to Lady Charlton, and she
refused to sell it to John Nelson because he
wanted to build a mill on it."

" I want thee to tell Mrs. Braithwaite that.
Don t forget to tell her it, whativer ta does. I
think it will do a deal towards making her settle
on Kattel."

" I don t see how it can."

" Because ta niver studied up women ; they
aren t in thy books. Tell Mrs. Braithwaite



AMOS BRAITHWAITE AND SON. 281

about Thorny Beck, and I sudn t wonder if she
settles at once, just as I want her to."

Having opened the subject, Amos did not
allow it to drop. Whatever Edith thought,
Amos had made up his mind that there ought
to be a mill on Kattel Force. As for the dead
Bradley buying the land purposely to prevent
it, Amos was not deterred by that considera
tion. " He ought to hev hed more sense ";
and so deep and so deceitful above all things
is the heart that he was undoubtedly more
pleased with the notion because it contradicted
a pet prejudice of his old enemy. A fine mill
on that fine eminence would be a pleasant sight
to him. Braithwaite Mill on Kattel Force.
" My word," he thought, " if Luke Bradley can
know it and see it ! "

As for Edith she made as brave a struggle to
preserve her little glen as could be expected.
She spoke to Perkins and directed him, if pos
sible, to find other land, even though the price
was a little extravagant. She told him frankly
that she did not want to destroy the lovely
stream, and transform the quiet hamlet into a
dirty, turbulent mill village.

But Perkins had already settled the matter



282 MASTER OF HIS FATE.

in his own mind. He saw now why Amos had
helped the Wesleyans so liberally to turn the
old mill into a chapel, and he could not help
admiring the forethought of his old client. He
was almost quite sure that the plans Amos had
made for Joe and Edith would be, in the end,
very wise ones, and that he would best serve
her interests by encouraging them. In fact, he
could find no single reason for discovering
another location to please Edith, and he could
find at least a dozen good ones for pleasing
Amos.

So when he visited Bradley on the subject,
he was very regretful, but also very positive.
He had been able to find nothing at all suitable
but a tract on Thorny Beck, and it was three
miles away."

" Is there a good road to it ? "

" Oh, yes, a very good road."

" That might do. Who owns it?"

" Lady Charlton."

" Will she sell ?"

" She was anxious to sell until she heard it
was to build a mill on. Then she flatly re
fused. But I might hev known she would, for
she refused John Nelson, and made some varry



AMOS BRAITHWAITE AND SON. 283

contemptuous remarks about mill gentry, at t
same time, which is neither here nor there. I
thought as you and her were friends she d
mebbe not mind your mill. But she wouldn t
hear of it."

" Oh, indeed ! She wouldn t hear of it ? "

" She says it is so unpleasant to see mills.
They are so suggestive of work and poverty,
and vulgarity, and a deal of other disagreeable
things."

" But, Mr. Perkins, if we build on Kattel
Fell, it seems to me that her ladyship will be
obliged to endure the sight of a mill."

" I m afraid so, Mrs. Braithwaite. But you
see Mr. Joe is to be considered first."

" I should think so."

" And it is your awn land."

" Of course."

"And when you can t do what you want "

41 Then I must do as I can."

"Just so, Mrs. Braithwaite."

And the end of the matter was that Amos
got his own way. Before the spring was quite
over, men began to dig up the blue-bells and
primroses to a level, and grade a wide road, and
then to lay a foundation of mighty strength,



284 MASTER OF HIS FATE.

upon which, month after month, rose gradually
a tall, gigantic pile of masonry, something like
a model prison, a great, vast, empty shell of
enormous strength, into which Joe was to bring
the steam and metal witchcraft of Lancashire.

Nearly ten years had now passed since that
morning when Joe took his father s check for
5000 and left him. If any one had then told
the handsome, rather conceited youth the point
to which he would arrive in ten years, he would
have regarded his life as a failure, and felt
anger at the supposition. But our views of life
up to a certain age constantly change ; the sue-
cess of one decade is not the aim of another,
and Joe, sitting with his godfather, on the last
night of his apprenticeship, was satisfied with
the prospect before him.

" Thou art ready for work, now, Joe. Thou
art a good man, and a good cotton spinner,
and I m proud of thee in both ways. What
wilt ta do with thysen ? Has ta thought of
it?"

" I have been thinking a great deal of it."

"Will ta ask Mrs. Joe to build thee a mill?
Thou could tak her as thy partner, J. & E.
Bradley, Cotton Spinners."



AMOS BRA1THWAITE AND SON. 285

" No, no, my wife is my wife, and I ll not
mix her with my business. I am going to ask
my father to lend me sufficient money to begin
business in a rented mill. If he will not do it,
I shall ask you, godfather."

" Thou ask thy father. He niver said he
would not lend thee money, and if he did the
sooner he breaks a wicked oath the more of a
man he will be. I hev told him that, in so-
many plain words before this. Give thy father
a chance to be a good father, by being a good
son. I m none afraid but what Amos Braith-
waite will do about right for thee."

The next day Joe went home, and Edith,
radiant and beautiful, was waiting for him.
When he stepped from the train to the plat
form, it was with the free, independent air of a
man who knows the cunning in his ten fingers
is good for his fortune, and Edith recognized
his manhood and his authority. He spoke to
the coachman differently and the man answered
him differently. In less than an hour the wife
and the servants understood that he had come
home as master.

The first persons he saw on entering the
Bradley parlor were Martha Thrale and his



286 MASTER OF HIS FATE.

father. Martha was putting the last festival
touches to the tea-table. Amos was serenely
smoking at the window; Joe went straight to
him. He put out his hand, and said frankly,
" Father, I was very wrong not to take your
advice ten years ago. I am very sorry for my
folly. I hope you will forgive me."

"Say no more, Joe. I hev forgiven thee
long since. Sam lies written reg lar to me. I
know all about thee, my lad."

" I m so happy to see you here."

" I lied to come here. When ta left thy wife
I were forced to look after her for thee. Dost
ta think I was going to let Tom, Dick, and
Harry hev leave and license to say this or that
about her ? Not I ! I don t know whativer
she would hev done without me." And Amos
laughed heartily as he said, "Ay, ta may well
kiss that big lad o thine, Martha ; I hev heard
tell that he is as hot a Methodist as thysen
now."

It is not often that anticipated joys realize
their promise, but this reunion did. It was
perhaps the happiest evening in all the -peri-
ence of Amos. He had so much to tell, and
so much to listen to, and Edith s praises of his



AMOS BRAITHWAITE AND SON. 287

kindness and wisdom were exceedingly pleasant
things to listen to.

In the morning he said to Joe, " I want thee
to tak a walk with me, Joe. I hev summat to
show thee." And as they neared Kattel he
asked, " Is ta going to stick to cotton spinning,
my lad ? "

" Yes, I am, father."

" Wilt ta tak me as thy partner ? "

" Father, do you really mean it ? "

" Do I iver talk on both sides o my mouth?
I hed a bit o brass lying idle, so I bought some
land on Kattel, and I hev built a mill on it, for
I tell thee, Joe, it was a sin to see all that water
going to waste. Now, if ta likes, thee and me
will fill that mill with spinning-Jennys. And,
my lad, we ll drive all Wharfdale before us.
Thou can manage t cotton mill, and I ll stick
to t wool and Bevin."

" I never knew I had such a good father.
Why, you have been thinking of me and plan
ning for me all the time I have been away."

" To be sure I was. Does ta think I was
going to let Sam Yorke take my place ? Is it a
bargain? Sail it be Amos Braithwaite and Son,
Cotton Spinners?"



288 MASTER OF HIS FATE.

" I shall be the proudest man in Yorkshire
when that day comes."

"Then thou can begin to be proud this
varry hour. See there! That is our mill,
Joe. It wants naught but t looms and t
hands ; thou can get them as soon as iver ta
likes."

A very happy summer followed this arrange
ment. Amos and Joe were so busy that the
long days were far too short, and Amos often
wished " time were nobbut in t market, so as
he could buy a few hours ivery day at any
quotation." What ridings over to Bevin and
Bradley there were! What consultations, what
extemporized meals in both houses. Martha
and Edith grew really fond of each other, while
they discussed the uncertainty of dinners and
teas, and the necessity of strengthening food
for such busy men.

But time makes all events a little stale, and
ven the opening of the big mill was forgotten
in a newer event of more personal importance,
the advent of Joe s second son. When Martha
Thrale lifted the little crying mite of humanity
in her arms, she forgave Edith every thing.
And there was no hesitation about the name



AMOS BRAITHWAITE AND SON. 289

of this boy. He was called Amos as soon as
he came into the world.

Amos was wonderfully delighted. He gave
all his hands a holiday and a big feast, and he
had again a desire to go into Bradford and buy
a piece of jewelry or silverware ; this time he
did it. And if the newly arrived Amos Braith-
waite, Junior, could have used a full silver din
ner service he would have received it from the
proud and happy grandfather.

Just after making this delightful outlay,
he met Joshua Perkins, coming up Darley
street. " Hes ta heard ? " he asked, in a lofty,
exultant tone. " I told thee my Joe was no fool.
T mill is doing beyond ivery thing. T little
rural village is getting to be a busy town, and
yesterday, Perkins, there was another Amos
Braithwaite arrived in this world."

" It is rather hard for a man to be a fool that
hes got a rich father, a rich wife, and a rich
godfather."

" Stop thy talk, Perkins. There s many a
lad hes hed rich upholders richer than Joe hes,
but there s varry few lads who, if they hed lost
four years and .5,000 in a lawyer s office, would
hev hed spirit enough to kick t law and ivery



290 MASTER OF HIS FATE.

thing about t law to the back-of-beyond, 1
and then go to work like a man."

" Mr. Joe married? "

" I m coming to that. There s a fewer still,
who, when they make a mistake in their wed
ding venture, hev t sense to find out what is
wrong, and then set themselves to put it right.
Why, if my Joe married for love now, he d hev
nobody but Edith Bradley, even if she worked
in a mill and hadn t a sixpenny bit."

" It s a topsy-turvy world, Braithwaite.
We ll see how things are ten years after date.
There ll be changes, changes no doubt, Mr.
Braithwaite."

" There will be one change we won t wait
ten years for, Perkins. We are going to spend
no more money on lawyers. We hev got a
lawyer in t firm now. Good afternoon to
thee."

However, this was but a passing breeze ; for
one morning, more than ten years afterwards,
Perkins went to Bevin Mill to see Amos and
found that he had gone to Bradley. He fol
lowed him there, and was told he was in the
summer-house with the children. There Per
kins soon came upon him, as happr as a boy



AMOS BRAITHWAITE AND SON. i?Z

among Joe s eldest four children. Amos,
Junior, was busy pulling to pieces a bit of toy
machinery, and Jean Braithwaite, aged six, was
examining her grandfather on the history of
Jack-the-Giant-Killer, an examination from
which the self-made man came out with dis
creditable confusion on account of defective
early training.

He put Jean off one knee and Sam off the
other, but it was with difficulty he could get
away from the children, and Perkins wondered
"if they weren t a great trouble to him."

" Not nearly so much as thou art. Whativer
does ta want to-day?"

" Barley-steads is in t market, and Mr. Joe
wants to buy it. I told him he sud know first
of any one."

" Joe is up to t mill."

" My word, Amos, what a change that mill
lies made in Bradley. T village is a big town,
and I hear Mr. Joe is to be mayor."

"Thou hears a deal o nonsense. Joe hes
more sense than to mind ivery body s business.
And I told thee what t mill would do. If owd
Bradley hed hed as much sense as a hank o
wool he would hev turned thet water into gold



292 MASTER OF HIS FATE.

thirty years ago. A man hes no right to let so
much water-power go to waste."

" I heard also thet Mr. Joe was going to run
t Conservative ticket for parliament."

"Joe could do it, but he s far too good a
man for such a job. James Sedbergh left it
because of its irregularities and t bad hours it
kept. My Joe is thet way too."

Here they were interrupted by a glad cry of
" There s grandpapa, there s grandpapa ! " and
Joe and Edith and the children came down the
lilac avenue together. " Thou lt hev to stay
all night, thou sees, Perkins, but thou can talk
Barley-steads over with Joe, and tak thy time
about it. And in t morning thou sail go to
church wi me. Thou needs a good, rousing
sermon I ll be bound."

Joe was now a handsome, portly man, with
the grave look of one who carries the daily
bread of a whole little community in his hands ;
and it was pleasant to see how thoughtful Edith
was of this, and how she quieted the children,
and contrived that Joe and Perkins should get
away unobserved to the library after tea.

Pleasanter still to see the whole family tend
ing churchward next morning, Amos trying to



AMOS BRAITHWAITE AND SON. 293

subdue his usual pompous, bustling way and
set an example to all of grave and serious
attention. He had Edith on his arm, Joe and
the children followed, and Perkins and Martha
Thrale completed the family group. And
though Perkins did not get the rousing sermon
Amos thought he needed, he heard a very
earnest talk on a subject that seemed to him,
when he looked at Joe, singularly appropriate,
"Redeeming the time" redeeming the time
wasted through folly or mistake or misappre
hension, holding it for richest truth

"That men may rise on stepping-stones
Qi their dead selves to higher things."



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