Skip to main content

Full text of "The Manchester man"

See other formats





PICTURES BY 
CHARLESGREEN% 
HEDLEYFITTON 






*- 







Presented to the 
LIBRARY of the 

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO 

by 

REVEREND A.F. POLLEX 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 



1896. 



X 



fell! ""1 il 5 ' 

< * ' ; i ' . . : ' - v . \ i .' 




MRS. G. L. BANKS. 
From a Photograph by Elliott &> fry 



THE 

MANCHESTER MAN 



BY 

MRS. G. LINNUS BANKS, 

Author of " Cod's Providence House" "Bond Slaves," "Glory" "In His Own Hand,' 



Illustrated by Charles Green and Hedley Fitton. 



MANCHESTER: 
ABEL HEYWOOD & SON, 56 & 58 OLDHAM STREET. 

LONDON : 

SIMPKIN, MARSHALL, HAMILTON, KENT & CO., LIMITED. 

1896. 



1 V HafhANlSHESTt*. 



PR 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER 

I. The Flood 

II. No One Knows 

III. How the Rev. Joshua Brookes and Simon 

Interpreted a Shakesperian Text 

IV. Mischief 

V. Ellen Chadwick ... 

VI. To Martial Music 

VII. The Reverend Joshua Brookes 

VIII. The Blue-Coat School 

IX. The Snake 

X. First Antagonism 

XI. The Blue-Coat Boy 

XII. The Gentleman 

XIII. Simon's Pupil 

XIV. Jabez goes out into the World 

XV. Apprenticeship 

XVI. In War and Peace ... 

XVII. In the Warehouse 

XVIII. Easter Monday 

XIX. Peterloo 

XX. Action and Reaction ... 

XXI. Wounded 

XXII. Mr. Clegg 

XXIII. In the Theatre Royal 

XXIV. Madame Broadbent's Fan 



Clegg 



PAGE 

I 

10 

20 
30 

39 
50 
59 
67 

77 

87 

96 

107 

"3 

122 
I 3 2 
142 

152 
l62 
172 

1 86 
196 
205 
214 

222 



VI. 



CONTENTS Continued. 



CHAPTER 

XXV. Retrospective 

XXVI. On the Portico Steps 

XXVII. Manhood 

XXVIII. Once in a Life 

XXIX. On Ardwick Green Pond... 

XXX. Blind 

XXXI. Coronation Day ... 

XXXII. Evening: Indoors and Out 

XXXIII. Clogs 

XXXIV. Birds of a Feather ... 

XXXV. At Carr Cottage ... 

XXXVI. The Lovers' Walk ... 

XXXVII. A Ride on a Rainy Night 

XXXVIII. Defeated 

XXXIX. Like Father, Like Son ... 
XL. With all His Faults... 
XLI. Marriage... 

XLII. Blows 

XLI II. Partnership 

XLIV. Man and Beast 

XLV. Wounds Inflicted and Endured 

XLVI. The Mower with His Scythe ... 

XLVII. The Last Act 



PAGE 
231 
241 
250 
258 
268 
279 
288 
299 

39 
3*9 
327 
337 
347 
357 
3 6 7 
376 
385 
395 
406 

4*7 
428 

438 
447 



INDEX TO ILLUSTRATIONS. 

PORTRAITS. 

(DRAWN BY HEDLEY FITTON.) 

THE AUTHOR (From a Photograph by Elliott & Fry) ... FRONTISPIECE. 

To FACE PAGE. 
THE REV. JOSHUA BROOKES, M.A. (From a Woodbury-type of the 

Oil-painting by Minasi) ... ... ... ... 21 

THE REV. JEREMIAH SMITH, D.D. (From an Engraving in the 

Grammar School Register ... ... ... ... 97 

HUMPHREY CHETHAM, Fundator (From an Engraving) ... ... 130 

JOSEPH NADIN (From an Engraving in Chetham Library) ... 164 

SAMUEL BAMFORD (From an Engraving) ... .., .... 176 

HENRY HUNT (From an Engraving-, after Woolnooth) ... 215 

HENRY LIVERSEEGE (From an Engraving, after Bradley) ... 301 

GEORGE PILKINGTON (From a Photograph)... ... ... 405 

MRS. ABEL HEYWOOD (ttee GRIMES) (From a Photograph) ... 444 

FULL PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS. 

To FACE 
CHAPTER ARTIST. PAGE 

i. THE RESCUE Chas. Green ... 6 

2. THE OLD CHURCH, N.E Hedley Fitton ... 18 

4. " THE SEVEN STARS " INN ... ... ... ,, ,, ... 35 

5. ELLEN CHADWICK WANTS PRINCE WILLIAM... Chas. Green ... 41 

6. MANCHESTER INFIRMARY ... Hedley Fitton ... 54 



viii. INDEX TO ILLUSTRATIONS Continued. 

To FACE 

CHAPTER ARTIST. PAGE 

8. CRUMPSALL HALL, HUMPHREY CHETHAM'S 

BIRTHPLACE Hedley Fitton ... 70 

8. READING-ROOM, CHETHAM LIBRARY ,, ,, ... 73 

8. SNAKE CELLAR ,, ... 81 

10. THE FIGHT IN THE COLLEGE YARD Chas. Green ... 94 

ii. SMITHY DOOR AND CATEATON STREET ... Hedley Fitton ... 106 

12. MARKET PLACE AND EXCHANGE ,, ,, ... no 

13. HUNT'S BANK AND BRIDGE , ,, ... 114 

13. KITCHEN, CHETHAM HOSPITAL , ,, ... 117 

16. MARKET STREET LANE (Lower End) .. ,, ,, ... 144 

16. CLEGG'S ENTRY IN LONG MILLGATE ... ,, ,, ... 147 

16. WHAT WOULD MRS. BROADBENT SAY? ... Chas. Green ... 149 

17. GRAMMAR SCHOOL AND COLLEGE GATE ... Hedley Fitton ... 153 

19. A P'ETERLOO INCIDENT Chas. Green ... 181 

20. " THE STAR " INN Hedley Fitton ... 191 

23. BRAVO, CLEGG ! ... ... ... ... Chas. Green ... 221 

24. WHALEY BRIDGE Hedley Fitton ... 225 

25. CARR COTTAGE ... ... ... ... ,, ,, ... 234 

26. BY THE PORTICO STEPS ... ... ... Chas. Green ... 245 

29. ON ARDWICK GREEN POND , ,, ... 275 

34. BIRDS OF A FEATHER ,, ,, ... 322 

38. THE MIDNIGHT STRUGGLE ,, ... 363 

41. COURTYARD, BARLOW HALL ... Hedley Fitton ... 389 

43. MAN AND WIFE Chas. Green . . 413 

45. BARLOW HALL Hedley Fitton ... 435 

46. NEW BAILEY BRIDGE AND RIVER IRWELL ... ,, ,, ... 441 

APPENDIX. REFECTORY, CHETHAM'S HOSPITAL... ,, ,, ... 471 

Ditto. HUMPHREY CHETHAM'S STATUE ... Elias Bancroft ... 480 

INITIALS. 

i. AN ARK OF SAFETY Chas. Green ... i 

4. "SEVEN STARS" Interior Hedley Fitton ... 30 

6. PRINCELY RECOGNITION ... ... ... Chas. Green ... 50 



INDEX TO ILLUSTRATIONS Continued. 



CHAPTER ARTIST. 



To FACE 
PAGE 



7. COLLEGE OUTLET TO THE RIVER Hedley Fitton ... 59 

8. EXIT FROM COLLEGE YARD ... ... ... ,, ,, ... 67 

10. COLLEGE-GATE AND GRAMMAR SCHOOL ... ,, ,, ... 87 

n. A BLUE-COAT BOY '., ... ,, ... 96 

13. JABEZ ON CELLAR STEPS Chas. Green ... 113 

14. COLLEGE KITCHEN-DOOR Hedley Fitton ... 122 

16. SHAW'S SHOP, MARKET STREET , ... 142 

17. JABEZ TEACHING TOM HULME Chas. Green ... 152 

18. BALANCED Hedley Fitton ... 162 

19. SAM BAMFORD'S COTTAGE ,, ,, ... 172 

20. SHOT DOWN Chas. Green ... 186 

22. HOUSE OF JOSHUA BROOKES Hedley Fitton ... 205 

25. SEDAN CHAIR Chas. Green ... 231 

28. CROWNING JABEZ WITH PUNCH-BOWL .. ,, ,, ... 258 

32. AUGUSTA AT HER HARP ,, ,, ... 299 

33. HOUSE OF GRAMMAR SCHOOL MASTER ... ,, ,, ... 309 

34. " THE PALACE " INN Hedley Fitton ... 319 

35. WHITE HART " SIGN ,, ... 327 

37. A MIDNIGHT ALARM Chas. Green ... 347 

38. ATTEMPTED FLIGHT ,, ,, ... 357 

40. A DYING GIFT Hedley Fitton ... 376 

42. AUGUSTA DRESSING Chas. Green ... 394 

46. THE NEW BAILEY PRISON Hedley Fitton ... 438 

47. EMPTIES ,, ,, ... 447 



MAPS. 

To FACE 

PAGE 

PLAN OF MANCHESTER AND SALFORD taken about 1650 3 

BRITTON'S MAP OF MANCHESTER AND SALFORD, 1807 87 

PIGOT'S NEW PLAN OF MANCHESTER AND SALFORD, 1821 ... ... 288 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 



CHAPTER THE FIRST. 

THE FLOOD. 

HEN Pliny lost his life, and 
Herculaneum was buried, 
Manchester was born. Whilst 
lava and ashes blotted from 
sight and memory fair and 
luxurious Roman cities close 
to the Capitol, the Roman 
soldiery of Titus, under their 
general Agricola, laid the 
foundations of a distant city 
which now competes with the 
great cities of the world. 
Where now rise forests of tall 
chimneys, and the hum of 
whirling spindles, spread the dense woods of Arden ; and from 
the clearing in their midst rose the Roman castrum of Mamutium,* 
which has left its name of Castle Field as a memorial to us. But 
where their summer camp is said to have been pitched, on the 

* Prior to the close of the Fourteenth Century, Manchester was written Mamecester. 




AN ARK OF SAFETY. 



2 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

airy rock at the confluence of the rivers Irk and Irvvell, sacred 
church and peaceful college have stood for centuries, and only 
antiquaries can point to Roman possession, or even to the 
baronial hall which the Saxon lord perched there for security. 

And only an antiquary or a very old inhabitant can recall 
Manchester as it was at the close of the last century ; and 
shutting his eyes upon railway-arch, station, and esplanade, upon 
Palatine buildings, broad roadways, and river embankments, can 
see the Irk and the Irwell as they were when the Cathedral 
was the Collegiate Church, with a diminutive brick wall three 
parts round its ancient graveyard. Then the irregular-fronted 
rows of quaint old houses which still, under the name of Half 
Street, crowd upon two sides of the churchyard, with only an 
intervening strip of a flagged walk between, closed it up on a 
third side, and shut the river (lying low beneath) from the view, 
with a huddled mass of still older dwellings, some of which 
were thrust out of sight, and were only to be reached by flights 
of break-neck steps of rock or stone, and like their hoary 
fellows creeping down the narrow roadway of Hunt's Bank, 
overhung the Irwell, and threatened to topple into it some 
day. 

The Chetham Hospital or College still looks solidly down on 
the Irk at the angle of the streams ; the old Grammar School 
has been suffered to do the same ; and thanks to the honest 
workmen who built for our ancestors the long lines of houses 
known as Long Millgate are for the most part standing, and 
on the river side have resisted the frequent floods of centuries. 

In 1799 that line was almost unbroken, from the College 
(where it commenced at Hunt's Bank Bridge) to Red Bank. 
The short alley by the Town Mill, called Mill Brow, which led 
down to the wooden Mill Bridge, was little more of a gap than 
those narrow entries or passages which pierced the walls like 



fill 

tetii 




d 



O 

a 

UG 

Q 



H 

CO 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 3 

slits here and there, and offered dark and perilous passage to 
courts and alleys, trending in steep incline to the very bed of 
the Irk. The houses themselves had been good originally, and 
were thus cramped together for defence in perilous times, when 
experience taught that a narrow gorge was easier held against 
warlike odds than an open roadway. 

Ducie Bridge had then no existence, but Tanners' Bridge 
no doubt a strong wooden structure like that at Mill Brow 
accessible from the street only by one of those narrow steep 
passages, stood within a few yards of its site, and had a place 
on old maps so far back as 1650. Its name is expressive, and 
goes to prove that the tannery on the rocky banks of the Irk, 
behind the houses of Long Millgate, then opposite to the end 
of Miller's Lane, was a tannery at least a century and a half 
before old Simon Clegg worked amongst the tan-pits, and called 
William Clough master. 

To this sinuous and picturesque line of houses, the streams, 
with their rocky and precipitous banks, will have served in olden 
times as a natural defensive moat (indeed, it is noticeable that 
old Manchester kept pretty much within the angle of its rivers), 
and in 1799, from one end of Millgate to the other, the 
dwellers by the waterside looked across the stream on green 
and undulating uplands, intersected by luxuriant hedgerows, a 
bleachery at Walker's Croft, and a short terrace of houses near 
Scotland Bridge, denominated Scotland, being the sole breaks in 
the verdure. 

Between the tannery and Scotland Bridge the river makes a 
sharp bend ; and here, at the elbow, another mill, with its 
corresponding dam, was situated. The current of the Irk, if not 
deep, is strong at all times, though kept by its high banks 
within narrow compass. But when, as is not unseldom the case, 
there is a sudden flushing of water from the hill-country, it 



4 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

rises, rises, rises, stealthily, though swiftly, till the stream overtops 
its banks, washes over low-lying bleach-crofts, fields, and gardens, 
mounts foot by foot over the fertile slopes, invades the houses, 
and, like a mountain-robber sweeping from his fastness on a 
peaceful vale, carries his spoil with him, and leaves desolation 
and wailing behind. 

Such a flood as this, following a heavy thunder-storm, 
devastated the valley of the Irk, on the i/th of August, 
1799. 

Well was it then for the tannery and those houses on the 
bank of the Irk which had their foundations in the solid rock, 
for the waters surged and roared at their base and over pleasant 
meadows a widespread turbulent sea, with here and there an 
island of refuge, which the day before had been a lofty mound. 

The flood of the previous Autumn, when a coach and horses 
had been swept down the Irwell, and men and women were 
drowned, was as nothing to this. The tannery yard, high as it 
was above the bed of the Irk, and solid as was its embankment, 
was threatened with invasion. The surging water roared and 
beat against its masonry, and licked its coping with frothy 
tongue and lip, like a hungry giant, greedy for fresh food, Men 
with thick clogs and hide-bound legs, leather gloves and aprons, 
were hurrying to and fro with barrows and bark-boxes for the 
reception of the valuable hides which their mates, armed with 
long-shafted hooks and tongs, were dragging from the pits pell- 
mell, ere the advancing waters should encroach upon their 
territory, and empty the tan-pits for them. 

Already the insatiate flood bore testimony to its ruthless 
greed. Hanks of yarn, pieces of calico, hay, uptorn bushes, 
planks, chairs, boxes, dog-kennels, and hen-coops, a shattered 
chest of drawers, pots and pans, had swept past, swirling and 
eddying in the flood, which by this time spread like a vast lake 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 5 

over the opposite lands, and had risen within three feet of the 
arch of Scotland Bridge, and hardly left a trace where the 
mill-dam chafed it commonly. 

Too busy were the tanners, under the eye of their master, 
to stretch out hand or hook to arrest the progress of either 
furniture or live stock, though bee-hives and hen-coops, and more 
than one squealing pig, went racing with the current, now rising 
towards the footway of Tanners' Bridge. 

Every window of every house upon the lower banks was 
crowded with anxious heads, for flooded Scotland rose like an 
island from the watery waste, and their own cellars were fast 
filling. There had been voices calling to each other from window 
to window all the morning ; but now from window to window, 
from house to house, rang one reduplicated shriek, which caused 
many of the busy tanners to quit their work, and rush to the 
water's edge. To their horror, a painted wooden cradle, which 
had crossed the deeply-submerged dam in safety, was floating 
foot-foremost down to destruction, with an infant calmly sleeping 
in its bed ; the very motion of the waters having seemingly 
lulled it to sounder repose ! 

" Good Lord ! It's a choilt 1 " exclaimed Simon Clegg, the 
eldest tanner in the yard. " Lend a hand here, fur the sake o' 
th' childer at whoam.' 

Half a dozen hooks and plungers were outstretched, even 
while he spoke ; but the longest was lamentably too short to 
arrest the approaching cradle in its course, and the unconscious 
babe seemed doomed. With frantic haste Simon Clegg rushed 
on to Tanners' Bridge, followed by a boy ; and there, with 
hook and plunger, they met the cradle as it drifted towards 
them, afraid of over-balancing it even in their attempt to save. 
It swerved, and almost upset ; but Simon dexterously caught his 
hook within the wooden hood, and drew the frail bark and its 



6 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

living freight close to the bridge. The boy, and a man named 
Cooper, lying flat on the bridge, then clutched at it with 
extended hands, raised it carefully from the turbid water, and 
drew it safely between the open rails to the footway, amidst the 
shouts and hurrahs of breathless and excited spectators. 

The babe was screaming terribly. The shock when the first 
hook stopped the progress of the cradle had disturbed its dreams, 
and its little fat arms were stretched out piteously as strange 
faces looked down upon it instead of the mother's familiar 
countenance. Wrapping the patchwork quilt around it, to keep 
it from contact with his wet sleeves and apron, Simon, tenderly 
as a woman, lifted the infant in his rough arms, and strove to 
comfort it, but in vain. His beard of three days growth was 
as a rasp to its soft skin, and the closer he caressed, the more 
it screamed. The men from the tannery came crowding round 
him. 

"What dost ta mean to do wi' th' babby?" asked the man 
Cooper of old Simon. "Aw'd tak' it whoam to my missis, but 
th' owd lass is nowt to be takken to, an' wur as cross as two 
sticks when oi only axed fur mi baggin* to bring to wark wi' 
mi this mornin'," added he, with rueful remembrance of the 
scolding wife on his hearth. 

"Neay, lad, aw'l not trust th' poor choilt to thy Sally. It 
'ud be loike chuckin' it out o' th' wayter into th' fire (Hush-a- 
by, babby). Aw'll just tak it to ar' Bess, and hoo'll cuddle it 
up and gi' it summat to sup, till we find its own mammy," 
answered Simon, leaving the bridge. " Bring the kaytherf alung, 
Jack," (to the boy) "Bess'll want it. We'n noan o' that tackle 
at ar place. Hush-a-by, hush-a-by, babby." 

But the little thing, missing its natural protector, and half 
stifled in the swathing quilt, only screamed the louder ; and 

* Food for a meal, so called from the bag in which it was carried. f Cradle. 







THE RESCUE. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 7 

Simon, notwithstanding his kind heart, was truly glad when his 
daughter Bess, who had witnessed the rescue from their own 
window, met him at the tannery gate, and relieved him of his 
struggling charge. 

" Si thi, Bess ! here's a God-send fur thi a poor little babby 
fur thee to tend an' be koind to, till them it belungs to come 
a-seekin' fur it," said he to the young woman ; " but thah mun 
give it summat better than cowd wayter it's had too mich o' 
that a'ready." 

" That aw will, poor darlin' ! " responded she, kissing the 
babe's velvet cheeks as, sensible of a change of nurses, it nestled 
to her breast. " Eh ! but there'll be sore hearts for this blessed 
babby, somewheere." And she turned up the narrow passage 
which led at once from the tan-yard and the bridge, stilling 
and soothing the little castaway as adroitly as an experienced 
nurse. 

" Neaw, luk thi, lad," Simon remarked to Cooper ; " is na it 
fair wonderful heaw that babby taks to ar Bess ? But it's just 
a way hoo has, an' theere is na a fractious choilt i' a' ar yard 
but'll be quiet wi' Bess." 

Cooper looked after her, nodded an assent, and sighed, as if 
he wished some one in another yard had the same soothing 
way with her. 

But the voice of the raging water had not stilled like that of 
the rescued infant. Back went the two men to their task, and 
worked away with a will to carry hides, bark, and implements 
to places of security. And as they hurried to and fro with 
loads on back or barrow, up, up, inch by inch, foot by foot, 
the swelling flood rose still higher, till, lapping the foot-bridge, 
curling over the embankment, it drove the sturdy tanners back, 
flung itself into the pits, and, in many a swirling eddy, washed 
tan and hair and skins into the common current. 



8 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

Not so much, however, went into its seething caldron as 
might have been, had the men worked with less vigour ; and, 
quick to recognise the value of ready service, Mr. Clough led his 
drenched and weary workmen to the " Skinners' Arms," in Long 
Millgate, and ordered a supply of ale and bread and cheese to 
be served out to them. 

At the door of the public-house, where he left the workmen to 
the enjoyment of this impromptu feast, he encountered Simon Clegg. 
The kind fellow had taken a hasty run to his own tenement, 
"just to see heaw ar Bess an' th' babby get on ;" and he brought 
back the intelligence that it was " a lad, an' as good as goold." 

" Oh, my man, I've been too much occupied to speak to you 
before," cried Mr. Clough. "I saw you foremost in the rescue 
of that unfortunate infant, and shall not forget it. Here is a 
crown for your share in the good deed. I suppose that was the 
child's mother you gave it to ?" 

Simon was a little man, but he drew back with considerable 
native dignity. 

" Thenk yo', measter, all th' same, but aw connot tak' brass 
fur just doin' my duty. Aw'd never ha' slept i' my bed gin 
that little un had bin dreawned, an' me lookin' on loike a 
stump. Neay ; that lass wur Bess, moi wench. We'n no notion 
wheere th' lad's mother is." 

Mr. Clough would have pressed the money upon him, but 
he put it back with a motion of his hand. 

" No, sir ; aw'm a poor mon, a varry poor man, but aw 
connot tak' money fur savin' a choilt's life. It's agen' ma 
conscience. I'll tak' mi' share o' the bread an' cheese, an' drink 
yo'r health i' a sup o' ale, but aw cudna' tak' that brass if aw 
wur deein'." 

And Simon ; giving a scrape with his clog, and a duck of 
his head, meant for a bow, passed his master respectfully, and 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 9 

went clattering up the steps of the " Skinners' Arms," leaving 
the gentleman standing there, and looking after him in mingled 
astonishment and admiration. 




CHAPTER THE SECOND. 

NO ONE KNOWS. 

HEN the scurrying water, thick with sand and mud, 
and discoloured with dye stuffs, which floated in 
brightly-tinted patches on its surface, filled the arch 
of Scotland Bridge, and left only the rails of 
Tanners' Bridge visible, the inundation reached its climax ; but a 
couple of days elapsed before the flood subsided below the level 
of the unprotected tannery-yard, and until then neither Simon 
Clegg nor his mates could resume their occupations. 

There was a good deal of lounging about Long Millgate and 
the doors of the " Queen Anne " and " Skinners' Arms " of 
heavily shod men, in rough garniture of thick hide armoury 
against the tan and water in which their daily bread was 
steeped. 

But in all those two days no anxious father, no white-faced 
mother, had run from street to street, and house to house, to 
seek and claim a rescued living child. No, not even when the 
week had passed, though the story of his "miraculous preservation" 
was the theme of conversation at the tea-tables of gentility 
and in the bar-parlours of taverns ; was the gossip of courts 
and alleys, highways and byways ; and though echo, in the 
guise of a " flying stationer," caught it up and spread it 
broadcast in catchpenny sheets, far beyond the confines of the 
inundation. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. n 

This was the more surprising as no dead bodies had been 
washed down the river, and no lives were reported " lost." Had 
the child no one to care for it ? no relative to whom its little 
life was precious ? Had it been abandoned to its fate, a waif 
unloved, uncared for ? 

The house in which Simon Clegg lived was situated at the 
very end of Skinners' Yard, a cul-de-sac, to which the only 
approach was a dark, covered entry, not four feet wide. The 
pavement of the yard was natural rock, originally hewn into 
broad flat steps, but then worn with water from the skies, and 
from house- wifely pails, and the tramp of countless clogs, to a 
rugged steep incline, asking wary stepping from the stranger on 
exploration after nightfall. Gas was, of course, unknown, but 
not even an oil-lamp lit up the gloom. 

In the sunken basement a tripe-boiler had a number of stone 
troughs or cisterns, for keeping his commodities cool for sale. 
The three rooms of Simon Clegg were situated immediately 
above these, two small bed-rooms overlooking the river and 
pleasant green fields beyond; the wide kitchen window having 
no broader range of prospect than the dreary and not too 
savoury yard. Even this view was shut out by a batting frame, 
resembling much a long, narrow French bedstead, all the more 
that on its canvas surface was laid a thick bed of raw (that is, 
undressed) cotton, freckled with seeds and fine bits of husky pod. 
Bess was a batter, and her business was to turn and beat the 
clotted mass with stout lithe arms and willow-wands, until the 
fibres loosened, the seeds and specks fell through, and a billowy 
mass of whitish down lay before her. It was not a healthy 
occupation : dust and flue released found their way into the 
lungs, as well as on to the floor and furniture ; and a rosy-cheeked 
batter was a myth. Machinery does the work now but this 
history deals with then ! 



12 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

During the week dust lay thick on everything ; even Bessy's 
hair was fluffy as a bursting cotton pod, in spite of the kerchief 
tied across it ; but on the Saturday, when she had carried her 
work to Simpson's factory in Miller's Lane, and came back with 
her wages, broom and duster cleared away the film ; wax and 
brush polished up the old bureau, the pride and glory of their 
kitchen ; the two slim iron candlesticks, fender and poker, were 
burnished bright as steel ; the three-legged round deal table was 
scrubbed white ; and then, mounted on tall pattens, she set 
about with mop and pail, and a long-handled stone, to cleanse 
the flag floor from the week's impurities. 

She had had a good mother, and, to the best of her ability, 
Bess tried to follow in her footsteps, and fill the vacant place 
on her father's hearth, and in his heart. Her mother had been 
dead four years, and Bess, now close upon twenty, had since 
then lost two brothers, and lamented as lost one dearer than a 
brother the two former by death, the other by the fierce demands 
of war. She had a pale, interesting face, with dark hair and 
thoughtful, deep grey eyes, and was, if anything, too quiet and 
staid for her years ; but when her face lit up she had as 
pleasant a smile upon it as one would wish to see by one's 
fireside, and not even her dialect could make her voice otherwise 
than low and gentle. 

Both her brothers had been considerably younger than herself; 
and possibly the fact of having stood in loco parentis to them 
for upwards of two years had imparted to her the air of 
motherliness she possessed. Certain it is that if a child in the 
yard scalded itself, or cut a finger, or knocked the bark off an 
angular limb, it went crying to Bessy Clegg in preference to its own 
mother ; and she healed bruises and quarrels with the same balsam 
loving sympathy. She was just the one to open her arms and 
heart to a poor motherless babe, and Simon Clegg knew it. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 13 

Old Simon, or old Clegg, he was called, probably because he 
was graver and more serious than his fellows, and had never 
changed his master since he grew to manhood ; certainly not 
on account of his age, which trembled on the verge of fifty, 
only. He was a short, somewhat spare man, with a face deeply 
lined by sorrow for the loved ones he had lost. But he had 
a merry twinkling eye, and was not without a latent vein of 
humour. The atmosphere of the tannery might have shrivelled 
his skin, but it had not withered his heart ; and when he 
handed the child he had saved to his daughter, he never 
stopped to calculate contingencies. 

The boy, apparently between two and three months' old, was 
dressed in a long gown of printed linen, had a muslin cap, and 
an under one of flannel, all neatly made, but neither in make 
nor material beyond those of a respectable working-man's child ; 
and there was not a mark upon anything which could give a 
clue to its parentage. 

The painted wooden cradle, which had been to it an ark of 
safety, was placed in a corner by the fireplace ; and an old 
bottle, filled with thin gruel, over the neck of which Bess had 
tied a loose cap of punctured wash-leather, was so adjusted that 
the little one, deprived of its mother, could lie within and feed 
itself whilst Bess industriously pursued her avocations. 

These were not times for idleness. There had been bread 
riots the previous winter ; food still was at famine prices ; and 
it was all a poor man could do, with the strictest industry and 
economy, to obtain a bare subsistence. So Bess worked away 
all the harder, because there were times when babydom was 
imperative, and would be nursed. 

She had put the last garnishing touches to her kitchen on 
Saturday night, had taken off her wrapper-brat,* put on a clean 

* A sort of close pinafore. 



14 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

blue bedgown,* and substituted a white linen cap for the 
coloured kerchief, when her father, who had been to New 
Cross Market to make his bargains by himself on this occasion, 
came into the kitchen, followed by Cooper, who having helped 
to save the child, naturally felt an interest in him. 

The iron porridge-pot was on the low fire, and Bess, sifting the 
oatmeal into the boiling water with the left hand, whilst with 
the other she beat it swiftly with her porridge-stick, was so intent 
on the preparation of their supper, she did not notice their entrance 
until her father, putting his coarse wicker market-basket down on 
her white table, bade Cooper " Coom in an' tak' a cheer." 

Instead of taking a chair, the man walked as quietly as his 
clogs would let him to the cradle, and looked down on the 
infant sucking vigorously at the delusive bottle. Matt Cooper 
was the wwhappy father of eight, whose maintenance was a sore 
perplexity to him ; and it may be supposed he spoke with 
authority when he exclaimed 

"Whoy, he tak's t' th' pap-bottle as nat'rally as if he'n ne'er 
had nowt else ! " 

And the big man quite a contrast to Simon stooped and 
lifted the babe from the cradle with all the ease of long practice, 
and dandled it in his arms, saying as he did so, 

"Let's hev a look at th' little chap. Aw've not seen the 
colour o' his eyen yet." 

The eyes were grey, so dark they might have passed for 
black; and there was in them more than the ordinary inquiring 
gaze of babyhood. 

" Well, thah'rt a pratty lad ; but had thah bin th' fowestf 
i' o' Lankisheer, aw'd a-thowt thi mammy'd ha' speeredj fur 
thi afore this," added he, sitting down, and nodding to the child, 
which crowed in his face. 

* A short loose jacket. f Ugliest. % Inquired, 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 15 

" Ah ! one would ha* reckoned so," assented Bess, without 
turning round. 

"What ar" ta gooin' to do, Simon, toward fandin' th' choilt's 
kin ? " next questioned their visitor. 

Simon looked puzzled. 

"Whoy, aw've hardly gi'en it a thowt." 

But the question, once started, was discussed at some length. 
Meanwhile the porridge destined for two Bess poured into three 
bowls, placing three iron spoons beside them with no more 
ceremony than, "Ye'll tak' a sup wi' us, Mat." 

Mat apologised, feeling quite assured there was no more than 
the two could have eaten ; but Simon looked hurt, and the 
porridge was appetising to a hungry man ; so he handed the 
baby to the young woman, took up his spoon, and the broken 
thread of conversation was renewed at intervals. What they 
said matters not so much as what they did. 

The next morning being Sunday, Cooper called for Clegg 
just as the bells were ringing for church ; and the two, arrayed 
in their best fustian breeches, long-tailed, deep-cuffed coats, 
knitted hose, three-cornered hats, and shoes, only kept for 
Sunday wear, set out to seek the parents of the unclaimed 
infant, nothing doubting that they were going to carry solace to 
sorrowing hearts. 

Their course lay in the same track as the Irk, now pursuing 
its course as smilingly under the bright August sun as though 
its banks were not strewed with wreck, and foul with thick 
offensive mud, and the woeful devastations were none of its 
doing. There were fewer houses on their route than now, and 
they kept closely as possible to the course of the river, questioning 
the various inhabitants as they went along. They had gone 
through Collyhurst and Blakely without rousing anyone to a 
thought beyond self-sustained damage, or gaining a single item 



i6 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

of intelligence, though they made many a detour in quest of it. 
At a roadside public-house close to Middleton they sat down 
parched with heat and thirst, called for a mug of ale each, drew 
from their pockets thick hunks of brown bread and cheese, 
wrapped in blue and white check handkerchiefs, and whilst 
satisfying their hunger came to the conclusion that no cradle 
could have drifted safely so far, crossing weirs and mill dams, 
amongst uprooted bushes, timber, and household chattels, and 
that it was best to turn back. 

In Smedley Vale, where the flood seemed to have done its 
worst, and where a small cottage close to the river lay in ruins, 
a knot of people were gathered together talking and gesticulating 
as if in eager controversy. As they approached, they were 
spied by one of the group. 

" Here are th' chaps as fund th' babby, an' want'n to know 
who it belungs to," cried he, a youth whom they had interrogated 
early in the day. 

To tell in brief what Simon and his companion learned by 
slow degrees the hapless child was alone in the world, orphaned 
by a succession of misfortunes. The dilapidated cottage had 
been for some fifteen months the home of its parents. The 
father, who was understood to have come from Crumpsall with 
his young wife and her aged mother, had been summoned to 
attend the death-bed of a brother in Liverpool, and had never 
been heard of since. The alarm and trouble consequent upon 
his prolonged absence prostrated the young wife, and caused not 
only the babe's premature birth, but the mother's death. The 
care of the child had devolved upon the stricken grandmother, 
who had brought him up by hand, as Matthew's sagacity had 
suggested. She was a woman far advanced in years, and feeble, 
but she asked no help from neighbours or parish, though her 
poverty was apparent. She kept poultry and knitted stockings, 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 17 

and managed to eke out a living somehow, but how, none of 
those scattered neighbours seemed to know she had " held her 
yead so hoigh " (pursued her way so quietly). 

She had been out in her garden feeding her fowls when the 
flood came upon them without warning, swept through the open 
doors of the cottage, and carried cradle and everything else 
before it, leaving hardly a wall standing. In endeavouring to 
save the child she herself got seriously hurt, and was with 
difficulty rescued. But between grief and fright, bruises and the 
drenching, the old dame succumbed, and died on the Thursday 
morning, and had been buried by the parish from which in life 
she had proudly kept aloof that very afternoon, and no one 
could tell other name she had borne than Nan. 

Bess sobbed aloud when she heard her father's recital, which 
lost nothing of its pathos from the homely vernacular in which 
it was couched. 

" An' what's to be done neaw ?" asked Cooper, as he sat on 
one of the rush-bottomed chairs, sucking the knob of his walking 
stick, as if for an inspiration. "Yo canno' think o' keeping th' 
choilt, an' bread an' meal at sich a proice ! " 

" Connot oi ? Then aw conno' think o 1 aught else. Wouldst 
ha' me chuck it i' th' river agen ? What does thah say, Bess?" 
turning to his daughter, who had the child on her lap. 

"Whoi, th' poor little lad's got noather feyther nor mother, 
an' thah's lost boath o' thi lads. Mebbe it's a Godsend, feyther, 
after o', as yo said'n to me," and she kissed it tenderly. 

"Eh, wench!" interposed Matthew, but she went on without 
heeding him. 

" There's babby clooas laid by i' lavender i' thoase drawers 
as hasna seen dayleet sin ar Joe wur a toddler, an' they'll just 
come handy. An' if bread's dear, an' meal's dear, we mun just 
ate less on it arsels, an' there'll be moore fur the choilt. He'll 



i8 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

pay yo back, feyther, aw know, when yo're too owd to 
wark." 

" An' aw con do 'bout 'bacca, lass. If the orphan's granny 
wur too preawd to ax help o' th' parish, aw'll be too preawd to 
send her pratty grandchoilt theer." 

And so, to Matthew Cooper's amazement, it was settled. But 
the extra labour and self-denial it involved on the part of Bess, 
neither Matthew nor Simon could estimate. 

In the midst of the rabid scepticism and Republicanism of 
the period, Simon Clegg was a staunch " Church and King " 
man, and, as a natural consequence, a stout upholder of their 
ordinances. Regularly as the bell tolled in for Sunday morning 
service, he might be seen walking reverently down the aisle of 
the old church, to his place in the free seats, with his neat, 
cheerful-looking daughter following him sometimes, but not always 
so regularly that the stout beadle missed him from his seat 
the Sunday after the inundation, and meeting him in the 
churchyard a week later, sought to learn the why and wherefore. 

The beadle of the parish church was an important personage 
in the eyes of Simon Clegg ; and, somewhat proud of his notice, 
the little tanner related the incidents of that memorable flood-week 
to his querist, concluding with his adoption of the child. 

The official h'md and ha'd, applauded the act, but shook his 
powdered head, and added, sagely, that it was a "greeat charge, 
a varry greeat charge." 

" Dun yo' think th' little un's bin babtised ? " interrogated 
the beadle. 

"Aw conno* tell; nob'dy couldn't tell nowt abeawt th' choilt, 
'ut wur ony use to onybody. Bess an' me han talked it ower, 
an' we wur thinkin' o' bringin' it to be kirsened, to be on th' 
safe soide loike. Aw reckon it wouldna do th' choilt ony harm 
to be kirsened twoice ower ; an' 'twoud be loike flingin' th' 



I 




THE OLD CHURCH, FROM NORTH-EAST. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 19 

choilt's soul to Owd Scrat gin he wur no kirsened at o'. What 
dun yo' thinken'?" 

The beadle thought pretty much the same as Simon, and it 
was finally arranged that Simon should present the young 
foundling for baptism in the course of the week. 



CHAPTER THE THIRD.* 

HOW THE REV. JOSHUA BROOKES AND SIMON CLEGG INTERPRETED 
A SHAKESPERIAN TEXT. 



Q 



ANCHESTER had at that date two eccentric 
clergymen attached to the Collegiate Church. The 
one, Parson Gatliffe, a fine man, a polished gentleman, 

W 

an eloquent preacher, but a bon vivant of whom 
many odd stories are told. The other, the Reverend Joshua 
Brookes, a short, stumpy man (so like to the old knave of clubs 
in mourning that the sobriquet of the " Knave of Clubs " stuck 
to him), was a rough, crusted, unpolished black-diamond, hasty 
in temper, harsh in tone, blunt in speech and in the pulpit, but 
with a true heart beating under the angular external crystals ; 
and he was a good liver of another sort than his colleague. 

He was the son of a crippled and not too sober shoemaker, 
who, when the boy's intense desire for learning had attracted 
the attention and patronage of Parson Ainscough, went to the 
homes of several of the wealthy denizens of the town, to ask 
for pecuniary aid to send his son Joshua to college. The 
youth's scholarly attainments had already obtained him an 
exhibition at the Free Grammar School, which, coupled with the 
donations obtained by his father and the helping hand of Parson 
Ainscough, enabled him to keep his terms and to graduate at 
Brazenose, to become a master in the grammar school in which 
he had been taught, and a chaplain in the Collegiate Church. 

* See Appendix. 




REV. JOSHUA BROOKES, M.A. 
Front a Woodbury-tvpe Photograph by Brothers. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 21 

So conscientious was he in the performance of his sacred 
duties that, albeit he was wont to exercise his calling after a 
peculiarly rough fashion of his own, he married, christened, 
buried more people during his ministry than all the other 
ecclesiastics put together. 

It was to this Joshua Brookes (few ever thought of prefixing 
the " Reverend " in referring to him) that Simon Clegg brought 
" Nan's " orphan grandchild to be baptised on Tuesday, the yth 
of September, just three weeks from the date of his involuntary 
voyage down the flooded Irk. 

It had taken the tanner the whole of the week following his 
conversation with the beadle to determine the name he should 
give the child, and many had been his consultations with Bess on 
the subject. That very Sunday he had gone home from church 
full of the matter, and lifting his big old Bible from its post 
of honour on the top of the bureau (it was his whole library), 
he sat, after dinner, with his head in his hands and his elbows 
on the table, debating the momentous question. 

" Yo' see, Bess," said he, " a neame as sticks to one all one's 
loife, is noan so sma' a matter as some folk reckon. An' yon's 
noan a common choilt. It is na every day, no, nor every year, 
that a choilt is weshed down a river in a kayther, and saved 
from th' very jaws of deeath. An' aw'd loike to gi'e un a 
neame as 'ud mak' it remember it, an' thenk God for his 
mercifu' preservation a' th' days o' his loife." 

After a long pause, during which Bess took the baby from 
the cradle, tucked a napkin under its chin, and began to feed it 
with a spoon, he resumed 

" Yo' see, Bess, hadna aw bin kirsened Simon, aw moight ha' 
bin a cobbler, or a whitster,-f* or a wayver, or owt else. But 
feyther could read tho' he couldna wroite ; an' as he wur a 

t Bleacher. 



22 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

reed-makker, he towt mi moi A B C wi' crookin' up th 1 bits 
o' wires he couldna use into th' shaps o' th' letters ; an' when 
aw could spell sma' words gradely*, he towt me to read out o' 
this varry book ; an aw read o' Simon, a tanner, an* nowt 'ud 
sarve mi but aw mun be a tanner too; so tha sees theer's 
summat i' a neame after o'." 

Bess suggested that he should be called Noah, because Noah 
was saved in the ark ; but he objected that Noah was an old 
greybeard, with a family, and that he knew the flood was 
coming, and built the ark himself; he was "not takken unawares 
in his helplessness loike that poor babby." 

Moses was her next proposition Bess had learned something 
of Biblical lore at the first Sunday school Manchester could 
boast, the one in Gun Street, founded by Simeon Newton in 
1788 but Simon was not satisfied even with Moses. 

"Yo' see, Moses wur put in' th' ark o' bulrushes o' purpose, 
an' noather thee nor mi's a Pharaoh's dowter, an' th' little chap's 
not loike to be browt oop i* a pallis." 

Towards the end of the week he burst into the room ; " Oi 
hev it, lass, oi hev it ! We'n co' the lad ' Irk '; nob'dy'll hev 
a neame loike that, an' it'll tell its own story ; an' fur th' 
afterneame, aw reckon he mun tak' ours." 

Marriages were solemnized in the richly-carved choir of the 
venerable old Church, but churchings and baptisms in a large 
adjoining chapel ; and thither Bess, who carried the baby, was 
ushered, followed by Simon and Matt Cooper, who were to act 
as its other sponsors. 

At the door they made way for the entrance of a party of 
ladies, whom they had seen alight from sedan-chairs at the upper 
gate, where a couple of gentlemen joined them. A nurse 
followed, with a baby, whose christening robe, nearly two yards 

* Properly. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 23 

long, was a mass of rich embroidery. The mother herself, 
a slight, lovely creature, additionally pale and delicate from her 
late ordeal wore a long, plain-skirted dress of vari-coloured 
brocaded silk. A lustrous silk scarf, trimmed with costly lace, 
enveloped her shoulders. Her head-dress, a bonnet with a bag- 
crown and Quakerish poke-brim, was of the newest fashion, as 
were the long kid gloves which covered her arms to the elbows. 

The party stepped forward as though precedence was theirs 
of right even at the church door, heeding not Simon's mannerly 
withdrawal to let them pass ; and the very nurse looked 
disdainfully at the calico gown of the baby in the round arms 
of Bess, a woman in a grey duffle cloak and old-fashioned flat, 
broad-brimmed hat, tied down over the ears. 

Is there any thrill, sympathetic or antagonistic, in baby-veins, 
as they thus meet there for the first time on their entrance into 
the church and the broad path of life? For the first time 
but scarcely for the last. 

Already a goodly crowd of mothers, babies, godfathers and 
godmothers had assembled a crowd of all grades, judging from 
their exteriors, for dress had not then ceased to be a criterion ; 
and all ceremonies of this kind were performed in shoals not singly. 

The Rev. Joshua Brookes, followed by his clerk, came 
through the door in the carven screen, between the choir and 
baptismal chapel, and took his place behind the altar rails. 
And now ensued a scene which some of my readers may think 
incredible, but which was common enough then, and there, 
and is notoriously true. The width of the altar could scarcely 
accommodate the number of women waiting to be churched ; 
and the impatient Joshua assisted the apparitors to marshal 
them to their places, with a sharp " You come here ! You kneel 
there 1 Yon woman's not paid ! " accompanied by pulls and 
pushes, until the semi-circle was filled. 



24 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

But still the shrinking lady, and another, unused to jostle 
with rough crowds, were left standing outside the pale. 

Impetuous Joshua had begun the service before all were 
settled. " Forasmuch as it hath pleased " 

His quick eye caught the outstanding figures. Abruptly 
stopping his exordium, he exclaimed, in his harsh tones, which 
seemed to intimidate the lady, 

" What are you standing there for ? Can't you find a place ? 
Make room here ! " (pushing two women apart by the shoulder), 
" thrutch up closer there ! Make haste, and kneel here ! " (to 
the lady, pulling her forward). " You come here ; make room, 
will you ? " and having pulled and pushed them into place, he 
resumed the service. 

Presently there was another outburst. There had been a 
hushing of whimpering babies, and a maternal smothering of 
infantile cries, as a chorus throughout ; but one fractious little 
one screamed right out, and refused to be comforted. The 
nervous tremor on that kneeling lady's countenance might have 
told to whom it belonged, had Joshua been a skilful reader of 
hearts and faces. His irritable temper got the better of him. 
He broke off in the midst of the psalm to call out, " Stop that 
crying child ! " The crying child did not stop. In the midst 
of another verse he bawled, " Give that screaming babby the 
breast ! " He went on. The clerk had pronounced the " Amen " 
at the end of the psalm ; the chaplain followed, "Let us pray;" 
but before he began the prayer, he again shouted, " Take that 
squalling babby out ! " an order the indignant nurse precipitately 
obeyed ; and the service ended without further interruption. 

Then followed the christenings, and another marshalling (this 
time of godfathers and godmothers, with the infants they 
presented), in which the hasty chaplain did his part with hands 
and voice until all were arranged to his satisfaction. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 25 

It so happened that the tanner's group and the lady's group were 
ranked side by side. The latter was Mrs. Aspinall, the wife of a 
wealthy cotton merchant, who, with two other gentlemen and a lady, 
stood behind her, and this time gave her their much-needed support. 
Indeed, what with the damp and chillness of the church, and 
the agitation, the delicate lady appeared ready to faint. 

" Hath this child been already baptized or no ? " asked 
Joshua Brookes, and was passing on, when Simon's unexpected 
response arrested him. 

" Aw dunnot know." 

" Don't know ? How's that ? What are you here for ? " 
were questions huddled one on the other, in a broader vernacular 
than I have thought well to put in the mouth of a man so 
deeply learned. 

" Whoi, yo' see, this is the choilt as wur weshed deawn th' 
river wi' th' flood in a kayther ; an' o' belungin' th' lad are 
deead, an' aw mun kirsen him to mak' o' sure." 

Joshua listened with more patience than might have been 
expected from him, and passed on with a mere " Humph ! " to 
ask the same question from each in succession before proceeding 
with the general service. At length he came to the naming of 
several infants. 

" Henrietta Burdelia Fitzbourne " was given as the proposed 
name of a girl of middle-class parents. 

" Mary, I baptise thee," &c., he calmly proceeded, handed 
the baby back to the astonished godmother, and passed to the 
next, regardless of appeal. 

Mrs. Aspinall's boy took his name of Laurence with a noisy 
protest against the sprinkling. Nor was the foundling silent 
when, having been duly informed that the boy's name was to 
be " Irk? self-willed Joshua deliberately, and with scarcely a 
visible pause, went on 



26 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

"Jabez, I baptise thee in the name," &c., and so overturned, 
at one fell swoop, all Simon's carefully-constructed castle. 

Simon attempted to remonstrate, but Joshua Brookes had 
another infant in his arms, and was deaf to all but his own 
business. Such a substitution of names was too common a 
practice of his to disturb him in the least But Simon had a 
brave spirit, and stood no more in awe of Joshua Brookes 
" Jotty " as he was called than of another man. When the 
others had gone in a crowd to the vestry to register the 
baptisms, he stopped to confront the parson as he left the altar. 

" What roight had yo' to change the neame aw chuse to gi'e 
that choilt ? " 

" What right had yo' to saddle the poor lad with an Irksome 
name like that ? " was the quick rejoinder. 

" Roight ! why, aw wanted to gi'e th' lad a neame as should 
mak' him thankful for bein' saved from dreawndin' to the last 
deays o' his loife." 

" An Irksome name like that would have made him the butt 
of every little imp in the gutters, until he'd have been ready to 
drown himself to get rid of it. Jabez is an honourable name, 
man. You go home, and look through your Bible till you find 
it." 

Simon was open to conviction ; his bright eyes twinkled as a 
new light dawned upon them. 

The gruff chaplain had brushed past him on his way to the 
robing-room ; but he turned back, with his right hand in his 
breeches pocket, and put a seven-shilling piece in the palm of 
the tanner, saying : 

" Here's something towards the christening feast of th' little 
chap I've stood godfather to. And don't you forget to look in 
' Chronicles ' for Jabez ; and, above all, see that the lad doesn't 
disgrace his name." 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 27 

Joshua Brookes had the character, among those who knew 
him least, of loving money overmuch, and this unwonted exhibi- 
tion of generosity took Simon's breath. 

The chaplain was gone before he recovered from his amaze- 
ment gone, with a tender heart softened towards the father- 
less child thrown upon the world, his cynicism rebuked by the 
true charity of the poor tanner, who had taken the foundling 
to his home in a season of woeful dearth. 

And, to his credit be it said, the Rev. Joshua Brookes never 
lost sight of either Simon or little Jabez. He was wont to 
throw out words which he meant to be in season, but his harsh, 
abrupt manner, as a rule, neutralized the effect of his impromptu 
teachings. Now, however, the seed was thrown in other ground ; 
and, as he intended, Simon's curiosity was excited. The Bible 
was reverently lifted from the bureau as soon as they reached 
home, and after some seeking, the passage was found. 

Simon's reading was nothing to boast of, but Cooper could 
not read at all ; and in the eyes of his unlettered comrades 
Clegg shone as a learned man. He could decipher "black print," 
and that, in his days, amongst his class, was a distinction. 
Slowly he traced his fingers along the lines for his own informa- 
tion, and then still more slowly, with a sort of rest after every 
word, read out to his auditors Bess, Matthew, and Matthew's 
wife (there in her best gown and best temper) with slight 
dialectal peculiarities which need not be reproduced 

And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his 
name Jabez, because she bare him with sorrow. And Jabez called on the God of 
Israel, saying, O that Thou wouldst bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that 
Thine hand might be with me, and that Thou wouldst keep me from evil, that it 
may not grieve me 1 And God granted him that which he requested.* 

" Eh, Simon, mon, owd Jotty wur woiser nor thee. Theer's 
a neame for a lad to stand by! It's as good as a leeapin'- 

* I Chron. iv. 9, 10. 



28 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

pow'* that it is, t' help him ower th' brucksf and rucks J o' th' 
warld." 

Simon sat lost in thought At length he raised his head, 
and remarked soberly 

" Parson Brookes moight ha' bin a prophet ; th' choilt's mother 
did bear him wi' sorrow. The neame fits th' lad as if it had 
bin meade for him." 

"Then aw hope he's a prophet o' eawt, feyther, an' o' th' 
rest'll come true in toime," briskly interjected Bess ; adding 
"Coom, tay's ready;" further appending for the information of 
their visitors "Madam Clough sent the tay an' sugar, an' th' 
big curran'-loaf, when hoo heeard as feyther had axed for a 
holiday fur the kirsenin' ; an' Mester dough's sent some yale 
[ale], an' a thumpin' piece o' beef." 

" Ay, lass ; an' as we'en a'ready a foine kirsenin' feast, we'en 
no change parson's seven-shillin' piece, but lay it oop fur th' 
lad hissen." 

But the christening feast did not proceed without sundry 
noisy demonstrations from Master Jabez. If, as Simon had once 
hinted, he was an angel in the house, he flapped his wings 
and blew his trumpet pretty noisily at times. 

" Eh, lass, aw wish Turn wur here neaw, to enjoy hisself wi' 
us. Aw wonder what he'd say to yo' nursin' a babby so bonnily?" 

Simon was munching a huge piece of currant-cake as he 
uttered this, after a meditative pause. A look of pain passed 
over Bess's face. She rarely mentioned the absent Tom, though 
he was seldom out of her thoughts. 

" Yea, an' aw wish he wur here ! " she echoed with a sigh, 
the fountain of which was deep in her own breast. "Aw wonder 
where he is neaw." 

" Feightin,' mebbe ! " suggested her father. 

* Leaping-pole. f Brooks. $ Heaps impediments. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 29 

" Killed, mebbe !" was the fearful suggestion of her own heart, 
and she was silent for some time afterwards. 

But the feast proceeded merrily for all that, and no wonder 
where Charity was president. And there was quite as happy 
a party under that humble roof in Skinners' Yard as that 
assembled in the grand house at Ardwick, where Master Laurence 
Aspinall was handed about in his embroidered robes for the 
inspection of guests who cared very little about him, although 
they did present him with silver mugs, and spoons, and corals, 
and protest to his pale and exhausted mamma that he was the 
finest infant in Manchester. 



CHAPTER THE FOURTH. 



MISCHIEF. 



T was a time of distress at 
home and war abroad. Glory's 
scarlet fever was as rife an 
epidemic in Manchester as 
elsewhere. The town bristled 
with bayonets ; corps of 
volunteers in showy uniforms, 
on parade or exercise, with 
banners flying, dotted it like 
spots on a peacock's tail ; the 
music of drum and fife 
drowned the murmurs of 
discontented men, the groans 
of poverty-stricken women, 
and the cries of famishing 
children. All nostrums were prescribed for the evils of famine 
except a stoppage of the war. The rich made sacrifices for the 
poor; pastry was banished by common consent from the tables 
of the wealthy in order to cheapen flour ; soup-kitchens were 
established for the poor, and in the midst of the general dearth 
the nineteenth century struggled into existence. 

It was this war-fever which had carried off Bessy Clegg's 
sweetheart, Thomas Hulme, to Ireland, in Lord Wilton's Regiment 




' SEVEN STARS' INTERIOR. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 31 

of Lancashire Volunteers, three years before. The honest, true- 
hearted fellow could not write for himself, postage was expensive 
and uncertain, and in all those three years only two letters, 
written by a comrade, had reached the girl. To her simple, 
uninformed mind, Ireland was as foreign and distant a country 
as Australia is to us in these days. And to be stationed there 
with his regiment amongst those "wild Irishmen," conveyed only 
the idea of battles and bloodshed. Yet she kept a brave heart 
on the matter, and hid her anxieties from her father as well as 
she was able. In some respects little Jabez was a Godsend to 
her. The frequent attention he required, combined with her 
labours at the batting-frame and her household duties, tended 
to distract her mind from the dark picture over which she was 
so much inclined to brood, and to make her, if anything, more 
cheerful. Once more the voice which had been silent tuned up 
in song, for the gratification of the youngster, and in amusing 
him she insensibly cheered and refreshed herself. 

Yet, as she trilled her quaint ballads, or Sabbath-school 
hymns, she little thought her vocalization was to furnish an 
envious mind with a shaft to wound herself, and the one of all 
others dearer than herself. 

Soon after the memorable christening feast, Matthew Cooper 
and his family had removed or "flitted," as they called it 
from Barlow's Yard to Skinners' Yard ; and Sally, that peaceable 
man's termagant wife, was not the most desirable of neighbours. 
The tea, and the currant-cake, and the beef, on that unusually 
well-spread board, had filled her with pleasure for the time, but 
turned to gall and bitterness ere they were digested. Why 
should the Cleggs be so high in the favour of Mr. and Madam 
Clough, and her Matt get nothing better than half-a-crown-piece ? 
He'd quite as much to do in saving the brat's life as Simon 
had, and, with such a family, wanted it a fine sight more. So 



32 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

she argued and argued with herself, quite ignoring, or blind to 
the fact that it was not the mere impulse which saved, but the 
humanity which kept the babe, that Mr. Clough recognized, and 
never lost sight of. 

As Simon grew in favour at the tannery, the more excited 
grew Sally Cooper, until nothing would do but a removal to 
the opposite yard, where she could see for herself the " gooin's 
on o' them Cleggs ; " and once there, she contrived to harass 
Bess by numberless little spiteful acts, as well as by her 
vituperative tongue. 

Nor did little Jabez himself escape. Parson Brookes, grumbling 
loudly at every downward step, found his way to Bess o' Sim's, 
guided by the quick-swishing, regular beat of the batting-wands. 

Mrs. Clough having, by ocular demonstration, satisfied herself 
that Bess was a sufficiently notable house-wife and a kindly 
nurse, had replaced the worn out long-clothes which Jabez 
inherited from " brother Joe," by a set of more serviceable and 
suitable short ones ; had, moreover, sent an embrocation to allay 
Simon's rheumatic pains, and to crown the whole, supplied a 
go-cart for the boy, to help him to walk, and yet leave the 
hands of industrious Bess at liberty. 

As Miss Jewsbury has said, in her exquisite story of "The 
Rivals," that go-cart "was the drop added to the brimming cup, 
the touch given to the falling column." 

Matt's worse-half an inveterately clean woman, be it said 
was occupied with her Saturday's " redding up," when she saw 
the wood-turner carry it in ; and she thereupon trundled her 
mop at the door so vigorously and viciously, that the children 
instinctively shrank into corners, or ran out of the yard altogether, 
beyond reach of her weighty arm. And as, one by one, they 
ventured back, after what they thought a safe interval, creeping 
stealthily over the freshly-sanded floor, and mayhap leaving the 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 33 

impression of wet clogs thereon, jerks, cuffs, and slaps were 
administered with a freedom born of her supposed wrongs. 

When Mat came home, to offer his wages upon the household 
altar, the storm had not subsided, and he was fain to retreat 
to the quiet fireside of Simon to smoke his pipe in peace, and 
escape its pitiless peltings. He could not have selected a worse 
haven. It was a flagrant going over to the enemy. Thither 
she followed him in her wrath, and in her blind fury assailed 
not only him, but Bess, Simon, Mr. Clough, and Joshua Brookes, 
whom she mingled in indiscriminate confusion, casting aspersions 
on the girl, which wounded nobody more than her own husband. 

In the midst and in spite of all this, Jabez grew apace. 
Life was not altogether sweetened for him by Mrs. Clough's 
kindness, only made a little less bitter, and certainly not less 
hard ; since almost his first experience with the go-cart was to 
tilt at the open doorway, and pitch head-foremost down a flight 
of three steps into the stony yard, whence frightened Bess raised 
him, with a bleeding nose and a great lump on his forehead, 
amidst the mocking laughter of Sal Cooper. 

A chair was overturned across the doorway as a barrier, 
until Simon could place a sliding foot-board there. But Jabez 
had still many a knock against chair or table until Bess made 
a padded roll for his forehead, as a protective coronal. Then 
every tooth cost him a convulsion, and any one less patient and 
tender hearted than Bess would have abandoned her self-imposed 
charge in despair, his accidents and ailments made such inroads 
on her rest and on her time. 

But even patience has its limits, and Sally Cooper strained 
the cable until it snapped. At a war of words Bess was no 
match for her antagonist: and, rather than endure a second 
contest, the Cleggs left the fiery serpent behind, and quitted 
the yard. 



34 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

Not willingly, for Simon, contrary to the roving habits of 
ordinary weekly tenants, had not changed his abode since his 
wedding-day, and the river was as a friend to him. He declared 
he "could na sleep o' neets without wayter singin' to him." 
However, he contrived to find a very similar tenement, in just 
such another cul-de-sac, with just such another tripe-dresser's 
cellar underneath, and that, too, without quitting Long Millgate. 
Midway between the College and the tannery this court was 
situated, its narrow mouth opening to the breezes wafting down 
Hanover Street ; they could still look out on the verdure of 
Walker's Croft, and the Irk laved its stony base as at that same 
Skinners' Yard, which Simon lived to see demolished. 

It was May ; bright, sunny, perfumed May. The hawthorn 
hedges on the ridge of the croft were white with scented 
blossoms, and the Irk not the muddled stream which improve- 
ment (?) is fast shutting out of remembrance went on its 
dimpled way, smiling at the promise of the season. The echoes 
of the May-day milkcart bells, and the flutter of their decorative 
ribbons, were dying out of all but infantile remembrance the 
month was more than a fortnight old. 

It was 1802, and Jabez was almost three years old. He was 
running, or rather scrambling, about the uneven court, gathering 
strength of limb and lung from their free use, albeit at the cost 
of dirt on frock and face, and the trouble of washing for 
Bess. 

She was singing at her batting-frame not an unusual thing 
now, for rumour had whispered in her ear that the Lancashire 
Volunteers were on their homeward march. Even as she sang, 
a stout young fellow in uniform stopped at the narrow entrance 
of the court, and questioned two or three gossiping women, who, 
with arms akimbo, blocked up the passage, if they knew the 
whereabouts of Simon Clegg, the tanner, and his daughter Bess, 






THE MANCHESTER MAN. 35 

" What ! th' wench as has the love-choilt ? " answered one of 
the women. 

"The girl I mean had no child when I saw her last," 
responded he, between his set teeth. 

" Happen that's some toime sin', mester, or it's not th' same 
lass. That's her singin' like a throstle o'er her wark at the 
oppen winder." 

"And that's her choilt," said another, ending by a lusty call, 
" Jabez, lad, coom hither." 

Jabez, taught to obey his elders, came at a trot in answer 
to the woman's call. The volunteer looked down upon him. 
The child had neither Bess's eyes nor Bess's features ; but he 
heard the voice of Bess, and over the woman's shoulder he 
caught a glimpse of her face at the distant window. It was 
Bess, sure enough ! 

Sick at heart, Tom Hulme, for it was he, leaned for support 
against the side of the dark entry. These women but confirmed 
what he had heard in Skinners' Yard from Matt Cooper's 
vindictive wife. The deep shadow of the entry hid his change 
of countenance. Without a condemnatory word, without a step 
forward towards the girl whose heart was full of him, he steadied 
himself and his voice, and mustering courage to say, " No, that 
is not the lass I want," strode resolutely out of the entry ; 
and, bending his steps to the right, turned up Toad Lane, and 
so on to the " Seven Stars," in Withy Grove, where he was 
billeted. 

He had come back from Ireland full of hope, and this was 
the end of it ! He had been constant, and she was frail ! She 
whom he had left so pure had sunk so low that, though she 
bore the brand of shame, she could sing blithely at her work, 
unconscious or reckless of her degradation ! Tom had only been 
a hand-loom weaver, and was but a private in his regiment, but 



3 6 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 



he had a soul as constant in love, as sensitive to disgrace, 
as the proudest officer in the corps. He might have doubted 
Sally Cooper's artful insinuations, but for the unconscious con- 
firmation of the other women, and the personal testimony of 
poor little Jabez; the innocent child, borne with sorrow by 
his own dead mother, bringing sorrow to his living maiden-foster- 
mother. 

The little lispings of the child conveyed no impression to 
Bess's understanding, but one of the women bawled out to her 
from the open court 

"Aw say, theer's bin a volunteer chap axin' fur a lass 
neamed Bess Clegg, but he saw thee from th' entry, and said 
yo're not th' lass he wanted ! " 

Her heart gave a great leap, and the blood flushed up to 
her pale face. Could it be possible that there was another 
Bess Clegg of whom a volunteer could be in search ? Yet, had 
that been her Tom, he would have known his Bess again, even 
after five ay, or twenty years. She would know him anywhere ! 
And so all that day, and the next, her heart kept in a flutter 
of expectation and perplexity. She wondered he did not come. 
The regiment was in town ; he surely had not been misled in 
his inquiries because they had "flitted." Yet in all her thoughts 
the grim reality had no place. Her perfect innocence and 
singleness of heart had never suggested such a possibility to 
her. 

The days went by from the i$th to the 22nd, yet he came 
not. After working hours Simon tried to hunt him up ; but 
the billeting system and ill-lighted streets, set his simple tactics 
at defiance. On the latter day, Lord Wilton gave a dinner in 
the quadrangle of the College, to the non-commissioned officers 
and privates in his regiment, to celebrate their return, and the 
peace and plenty then restored to the land, 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 37 

At the first sound of fife and drum, Bess snatched up 
Jabez, and leaving house and batting-frame to take care of 
themselves, rushed along the street to the " Sun Inn " corner, 
where Long Millgate turns at a sharp angle, the old Grammar 
School and the Chetham College gate standing at the outer 
bend of the elbow. The better to see, she mounted the steps 
of the house next to the "Sun" a house kept by a leather- 
breeches maker, and strained her eyes as the gay procession 
wound from the apple-market, passed the handsome black- 
and-white frame-house of the Grammar School's head-master, 
and, with banners flying, and drums beating, marched under 
the ancient arched gateway between a double row of blue-coat 
boys. 

She held Jabez high up in her arms to let him see, and 
his little arms clasped her neck, as she scanned every passing 
soldier's features. Two-thirds of the corps had passed she saw 
the loved and looked-for face, and, radiant with delight, stretched 
forward, and in eager tones called " Tom ! " 

There was a mutual start at recognition; two faces crimsoned 
to the brow ; then one white as ashes, a keen meaning glance 
at the child, teeth clenched, and eyes set with stern resolution ; 
and, without another look, without a word, Tom Hulme went 
on under the Whale's-jawbone gateway ; and Bess, with brain 
bewildered, hands and limbs relaxed, sank on to the breeches- 
maker's steps in a dead faint. 

A lady (Mrs. Chadwick), who had a little girl by the hand, 
caught Jabez as they fell, and putting his hand in her daughter's, 
bade her take care of him she was perhaps a year or two 
older than he whilst she raised the poor young woman's head, 
and applied a smelling-bottle to her nose. 

Strange parting, strange meeting ! How close the founts of 
sweet and bitter waters lie ! How often separate streams of life 



38 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

meet and part again ; some to meet and blend in after years, 
some to meet never more! 

Another week, and Lord Wilton's Lancashire volunteer regiment 
had a man the less, the line had a man the more. Private 
Thomas Hulme had exchanged. 



CHAPTER THE FIFTH* 

ELLEN CHADWICK. 

OHE song of the human throstle was heard no more 
floating across the batting frame out of the window 
of its cage, in the dreary yard on the banks of the 
Irk. The swish of the wands might be heard when 
other sounds were low, but no more snatches of melody flowed 
in between. 

Kind-hearted Mrs. Chadwick had not been content to leave poor 
Bessy at the breeches-maker's when her swoon was over ; but, 
seeing that the girl continued in a dazed kind of stupor, sent 
to the adjoining " Sun Inn " for cold brandy-and-water, to 
stimulate the dormant mind. Bess drank, half unconsciously, and 
Mrs. Chadwick, leaving her little daughter Ellen to amuse astonished 
Jabez, waited patiently until the young woman could collect her 
ideas, and not only tell where she lived, but prepare to walk 
home. 

By that time the road was tolerably clear. Mrs. Chadwick 
thanked the breeches-maker, and bidding Miss Ellen march in 
advance with little Jabez, herself helped Bessy Clegg home- 
ward. 

She never asked herself why or wherefore the girl had fainted, 
or whose the child she carried in her arms. She merely saw a 

* See Appendix. 



40 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

modest-looking young woman stricken down by illness or distress, 
and put out a Christian hand to help her. 

It was past Simon's dinner-hour, and they found him on the 
look-out for the absentees. He was more bewildered than Bess 
when he saw her brought home pale and trembling by a 
stranger, whose dress and manner bespoke her superior station, 
Mrs. Chadwick explained, seeing that Bess was incapable. 

"The poor girl fainted almost opposite to the College gate, 
as she watched Earl Wilton's regiment march past. She recovered 
so slowly, I was afraid to let her come through the streets 
unprotected, especially as she had so young a child in her 
charge." 

Simon thanked her, as well he might. Benevolence will 
relieve distress with money, or passing words of sympathy, but 
it is not often silken skirt and satin bonnet walk through a 
crowded thoroughfare in close conjunction with bonnetless cotton 
and linsey. 

Yet Simon was utterly at a loss to account for her swoon. 
He could only conjecture that she had missed her sweetheart 
from the corps, and that the enquiring volunteer had been a 
comrade sent to announce Tom Hulme's death. Observing how 
much he was confounded, the good lady thought it best to retire, 
and leave them to themselves. 

" Come, Ellen, it is time we went home." 

But Ellen, seated on a low stool in the corner, had her lap 
full of broken toys, which had found their way hither from the 
C lough nursery, and which Jabez displayed to all comers." 

" My daughter appears wonderfully attracted to your little 
grandson." 

" He's noa gran'son o' moine, Missis, though aw think aw 
love th' little lad as much as if he did belung to us. Aw just 
picked him eawt o' th' wayter, i' th' greet flood abeawt two 




ELLEN CHADWICK WANTS PRINCE WILLIAM. 






THE MANCHESTER MAN. 41 

year an' hauve back. Aw dunnot know reetly who th' young 
un belungs to." 

"And you have kept him ever since through all the trying 
time of scarcity ? " 

"Yoi; aw could do no other, an' a little chap like Jabez 
couldna ate much." 

"It does you credit," said the lady. 

" Mebbe. Aw dunnot know. Aw dunnot see mich credit i' 
doin' one's clear duty. But aw think theer'd ha' bin discredit 
an' aw hadna done it." 

" I wish everyone shared your sentiments," replied she. 

By this time the little girl had relinquished the toys, kissed 
the little boy patronisingly, and was by her mother's side, ready 
to depart. A word of sympathy and encouragement from Mrs. 
Chadwick, and father and daughter were left alone with their 
new sorrow. 

Sorely puzzled was Simon to account for Tom Hulme's 
strange conduct. He could only come to the conclusion that he 
had picked up a fresh sweetheart in Ireland, and was ashamed 
to show his face. 

"An' if so, lass, yo're best off without him," said he. 

The stern, troubled look on the young volunteer's face, which 
Bess had seen and her father had not, he could not understand, 
and therefore could not credit. 

One day the girl said, as if struck by a sudden thought 

"Feyther, aw saw Turn look hard at Jabez. D'un yo' think 
as heaw he fancied aw wur wed ? " 

" He moight, lass, he moight," said he, knocking the ashes 
out of his pipe ; " but dunnot thee fret, aw'll look Turn up, 
and set it o' reet, if that's o'." 

But there was no setting it right, for by that time Tom had 
left the corps and the town, and thenceforth Bess's musical 



42 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

pipe was out of tune, and stopped utterly. She worked, it is 
true, but she had no heart in her work ; and though before 
her father she kept up a show of cheerfulness, in his absence 
she shed many and bitter tears. 

Smiles and tears are among a child's earliest perceptions and 
experiences. Of the mother's smile in its full sense Jabez knew 
nothing. With all her winning ways, Bess could never supply 
that want, if want it could be, where it was never missed, 
having so good a substitute. But of the change which came 
over her when she knew that Tom was indeed lost to her, 
even the three years' child could be sensible. He had been 
early taught to show a brave front when he hurt himself, and 
the starting tears would subdue to a whimper; but, for all that, 
tears to him meant pain or disappointment, and as they fell 
and wetted the (not always clean) little cheek laid lovingly 
against hers, a tender chord was struck ; he would press his 
small arm tighter round her neck, and with a sympathetic 
"Don't ky, Beth!" nestle closer, and try to kiss away the 
drops, which only fell the faster. 

Low-spirited nurses do not make lively children, and Jabez, 
after a stout tussle with the whooping-cough, began to droop as 
much as Bess ; so clear-eyed Simon instituted a series of 
Sunday rambles for the three, in search of plants and posies, to 
brighten their dull home, and of bloom to brighten the fading 
cheeks. Sometimes Matt Cooper, with one or two of his 
youngsters, would join them, but not often, Sal was so jealous 
of his friendship with the Cleggs, and the pleasant day was so 
certain to be marred by an unpleasant reception in the evening 
at home. 

These summer walks seldom extended beyond Collyhurst 
Clough and quarries, or Smedley Vale, or through the fields to 
Cheetham Hill, stopping at the "Cow and Calf" to refresh, and 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 4.3 

rest the little ones, before they came back laden with wild 
flowers down Red Bank and over Scotland Bridge, to their 
respective "yards" in Long Millgate. 

At first, whenever they took the pleasant lower road through 
Angel Meadow, they did their best to ferret out the parentage 
and connections of Jabez, hoping by their inquiries even to keep 
alive the memory of his marvellous deliverance, so that in case 
the missing father should return, there might be a mutual 
restoration. 

These Sunday excursions did not drop with the sere autumnal 
leaves. A crisp clear day called them forth surely as sunshine 
had done, Jabez mounting pick-a-back on the shoulders of Simon 
or Matt when his little feet could no longer keep up their trot 
beside the bigger Cooper boys. Frames were invigorated, cheer- 
fulness came back to face and home, and Simon, who had a 
deep-seated love of Nature in his soul, finding her so good a 
physician, kept up the acquaintance through rounding seasons 
and years. And from Nature he drew lessons which he dropped 
as seed into the boy's heart, as unconscious of the great work 
he was doing as was Jabez himself. 

The boy throve and grew hardy. Companionship with older 
and rougher lads, sturdy fellows with wills of their own, made 
him sturdy too ; a lad who would take a blow and give one 
on occasion ; who would run a race and lose, and a second, and 
third, until he could win. But Bess's gentle training was 
something very different from Sal's, and Jabez grew up tender 
as well as strong and bold. 

A persecuted kitten had taken refuge under Bess's batting- 
frame in the foundling's go-cart days, and in care for that 
kitten, and for a wounded brown linnet brought home one 
Sunday, he learned humanity. Matthew's lads were given to 
bird-nesting, and Matt himself saw no harm in it; but when 



44 E MANCHESTER MAN. 

that young linnet's wing was broken in a scuffle for the nest 
stolen from a clump of brushwood, Simon read the robbers 
such a homily they had never heard in their young lives, and as 
a corollary he took the bird home to be fed and nursed by Bess 
and Jabez till it could fly, an event which never came about. 

In hot weather the lads pulled off clogs and stockings (there 
were no trousers to turn up they wore breeches), and waded 
into pools and brooks, and Jabez would be no whit behind. 
On one of these occasions, either the current was too strong 
for the venturesome child, or the gravel slipped from under his 
feet, or his companions pushed him no matter which, but in 
he went, and, but for the presence of Simon, would have been 
drowned. Simon had been born on the river banks, and could 
swim like a fish. At once he resolved that Jabez should learn 
to do the same, and begin at once. 

" Yo' see, Bess, if aw hadna bin theer he'd a bin dreawnded, 
sure as wayter's wet, an' th' third toime pays off fur o' ; so he 
mun larn to tak' care on himsel' th' next toime he marlocks 
[gambols] among th' Jack-sharps." 

Jabez was not six years old when Simon Clegg gave him 
and the young Coopers their first lesson in swimming, in a 
delightful and sequestered part of Smedley Vale, where the Irk 
was clear and bright. He had shown them, nearer home, how 
a frog used its limbs, and then, after a few preliminary evolutions, 
to show how a man used his, took the lad on his back, and, 
after swimming with him awhile, shook him off into the water 
to flounder about for himself. 

Bess was often left at home on Sundays after that ; and Jabez 
was not merely the better for his bath, but by the time he was 
eight years old was a fearless swimmer. 

Yet, although these country rambles had become an institution, 
Simon Clegg never neglected his Sabbath duties. Sunday morning 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 45 

was sure to see him, clean-shaven, in his best suit, with Jabez 
by the hand, and mild-eyed Bess beside, on the free seats of 
the Old Church, under the eye of parsons and churchwardens ; 
and Jabez, if he could understand little of the service, could 
gather in a sense of the beautiful from the grand old architecture, 
from the swell of the solemn organ, the harmonious voices of 
the choristers of the Blue-coat boys in the Chetham gallery 
over the churchwardens' pew, and of the Green-coat children 
farther on. Then the silver mace carried before the parson was 
a thing to wonder at, and fill him with awe ; and no one could 
tell how the clerical robes, and choristers' surplices, transfigured 
common mortals in his admiring eyes. 

Those years of Jabez Clegg's young life had been full of 
history for Manchester and Europe. The town had grown as well 
as the foundling. Invention had been busy. Volunteer regiments 
had been one by one disbanded, a daily newspaper was started, 
and peaceful arts flourished. Then, ere another year expired, 
Napoleon declared the British Isles in a state of blockade; British 
subjects on French soil, whether civil or military, to be prisoners 
of war; British commodities lawful spoil; and so War red-handed 
War broke loose once more. Again Manchester rose up in arms 
to defend country and commerce. A " Loyalty Fund " of 22,000 
was raised for the support of Government. No fewer than nine 
separate volunteer corps sprang from the ashes of the old ones, 
and the town was one huge garrison. The commander of one 
regiment the Loyal Masonic Rifle Volunteer Corps Colonel 
Hanson a remarkable man in many ways was distinguished 
by a command from George III. to appear at Court in full 
regimentals, and with his hat on. 

Messrs. Pickford offered to place at the disposal of Government 
four hundred horses, fifty waggons, and twenty-eight boats. Loyal 
townsmen, with more money than courage of their own, sought to 



46 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

stimulate that of others by sending gold medals flying amongst 
the officers of the volunteer corps. "The British Volunteer" 
came from the press of Harrop in the Market Place, and once 
more the music of drum and trumpet was in the ascendant 

To crown the whole, Manchester, which had never been called 
upon to entertain British Royalty since Henry VII. looked in 
upon the infant town, was visited in 1804 by Prince William, 
Duke of Gloucester, commander of the North-west District, and 
his son, to review this Lancashire volunteer army ; and the 
whole town was consequently in a ferment of excitement 
Nothing was thought of, or talked of, but the visit of the Duke 
and Prince, and the coming review, the more so as reports 
differed respecting the appointed site. 

Market Street, Manchester, which George Augustus Sala has 
commemorated as one of the " Streets of the World," was then 
Market Street Lane, a confused medley of shops and private 
houses, varying from the low and rickety black-and-white tenement 
of no pretensions to the fine mansion with an imposing frontage, 
and ample space before. But the thoroughfare was in places so 
very narrow that two vehicles could not pass, and pedestrians 
on the footpath were compelled to take refuge in the doorways 
from the muddy wheels which threatened damage to dainty 
garments, while the whole was ill-paved and worse lighted. 

At the corner where it opens a vent for the warehouse traffic 
of High Street, then stood a handsome new hotel, the Bridge- 
water Arms, in front of which a semi-circular area was railed 
off with wooden posts and suspended chains. Within this area, 
on the bright morning of April the 12th, two sentinels were 
placed, who, marching backwards and forwards, crossed and 
recrossed each other in front of the hotel door ; tokens that 
the Royal Duke and his suite had taken up their quarters 
within. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 47 

Beyond the semi-circle of chained posts, mounted horsemen 
kept back the concourse of spectators which pressed closely on 
the horses' heels. Among the crowd was Simon Clegg, with 
Jabez mounted on his shoulders, albeit he was a somewhat 
heavy load. Simon was a man of peace, but he was a staunch 
believer in Royalty, and that, quite as much as the spectacle, 
had drawn him thither. 

It was a mild and cheery April morn ; the windows of the 
upper room in which sat the Prince, the centre of a brilliant 
circle, were open, and the loyal multitude feasted their un- 
accustomed eyes with the sight. As Jabez looked on in a 
child's ravishment, a little dark-haired, dark-eyed girl, some six 
or seven years old, turned sharply round the narrow street by 
the side of the hotel on the flags where there was no chain to 
bar ; passing unquestioned the sentinel on guard, who, seeing 
only a well-dressed solitary child in white muslin, with a sash 
and hat-ribbons of pink satin, concluded that she belonged to 
the hotel. Once there, she asked fearlessly 

" Where is Prince William ? I want Prince William ! " 

Then the sentinel began to question ; but the little maid had 
but one reply 

"I want Prince William!" 

The soldier would have turned her back, but the disputation 
had attracted attention in the room above. 

An officer's head was thrust out. 

"What's the matter?" asked he. 

" I want to see the Prince. I want to know " 

' Bid the little lady come up hither." 

And the little lady went up, all unconscious of state etiquette 
or ceremonial. 

An officer in rich uniform, with jewels on his breast, took her 
on his knee, and asked what she wanted with Prince William. 



48 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

" Oh, mamma and my aunts are wanting ever so to know if 
the review is going to be on Camp Field or on Sale Moor ; 
and Aunt Ellen says it's to be in one place, and mamma thinks 
it's the other ; and so, as I was dressed first, I just slipped out 
at the back door and ran here to ask Prince William himself, 
for I thought he would be sure to know. 

The gentleman laughed heartily, and the others followed 
suit. 

"And who is your mamma, my dear?" 

" My mamma is Mrs. Chadwick, and I'm Ellen Chadwick ; 
and we live in Oldham Street." 

" Oh, indeed ! And why are the ladies so anxious to know 
where the Prince holds the review?" asked the officer on whose 
knee she sat 

"Ah that's just it. If he reviews at Sale Moor he will go 
past our house ; and then we shall see all the soldiers from 
our own windows. Won't it be fine ? " 

Another gentleman asked what the ladies were doing when 
she left ; and I'm afraid Ellen made more revelations anent 
their toilettes than were strictly necessary, for the laughter was 
prolonged. 

She did not, however, lose sight of her self-imposed mission. 
Struggling from her seat, she said 

" Oh, please do tell me where is Prince William ; I must go 
home, and I do so want to know." 

"Tell your mamma, Miss Ellen," said he, smiling, "that the 
Prince will review at Sale Moor ; and take this, my dear, for 
yourself," putting a shilling (shillings at that time were perfectly 
plain from over-long use) in her hand. 

" Oh, thank you ! But are you sure quite sure it is Sale 
Moor?" 

"Quite sure." 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 49 

The little damsel set off, as much elated with her news as 
with her shilling. As she ran briskly down the broad steps, 
and beyond the barrier, she came in contact with Simon, who 
made way for her exit ; and, as she looked up smiling to thank 
him, her glance rested for a moment on the boy he carried ; 
but no spark of recognition flashed into the eyes of either, and 
no one in all that crowd saw any connection between that 
dainty, white-frocked, pink-slippered, pink-sashed miss, and the 
rough lad in the patched suit (a Clough's cast-off) and wooden 
clogs. 



CHAPTER THE SIXTH. 



TO MARTIAL MUSIC. 

SECOND time Jabez and 
Ellen saw each other ere 
the day was out. 

She had rushed home 
with eager feet and eyes, 
through back streets, to 
startle Mrs. Chadwick, her 
newly-married sister, Mrs. 
Ashton, and a bevy of 
friends, with the confident 
assurance that the review 
would be at Sale, and to 
confirm it by a display of 
the plain shilling, which 
"an osifer had given her." 
New Cross, where the volunteers assembled, was not then a 
misnomer. A market cross occupied the centre space between 
the four wide thoroughfares, of which Oldham Street is one; 
and the open area was considerable. 

The trumpets' bray, the tramp of troops, were heard long 
before the brilliant cavalcade was set in motion ; and every 
window every house in Oldham Street (all good private residences 
of the Gower Street stamp) held its quota of heads and eyes 
and costumes as brilliant as the eyes. 




PRINCELY RECOGNITION. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 51 

The house of Mr. Chadwick was situated near the lower end, 
and commanded a good view of the Infirmary, its gardens, and 
pond in Piccadilly. To-day, however, the royal party and the 
volunteers, many of whom had friends looking out for them, were 
the only prospect worth a thought ; and as they marched proudly 
on, to the gayest of gay tunes, kerchiefs waved, heads nodded, 
and eyes sparkled with delight and pleasure. 

As the Duke of Gloucester and his suite rode by, their charges 
prancing to the music, Ellen, mounted on a chair by the window, 
between Mrs. Ashton and her mother, suddenly pointed to an 
officer in their midst, resplendent with stars and orders, and in 
an ecstasy of delight screamed out 

" Mamma, mamma! that's the gentleman that gave me the shilling!" 

The little treble voice pierced even through the clamorous 
music. A noble head was bowed, a plumed hat was raised, and 
lowered until it swept the charger's mane, 

" Why, child, that is Prince William ! " was the simultaneous 
exclamation, as all the eyes from all the houses across the street 
were turned in wonderment to see the Chadwicks so distinguished ; 
and Simon, who, still carrying Jabez, was trying to keep pace 
with the troops, wondered too. Moreover, he recognised the lady 
and the little girl, though seen but once; for he earned his own 
living, such as it was, and had been too proud to call on the 
Chadwicks to say how his daughter fared, lest they should think 
he sought charity. 

"Jabez, lad, si thi; yon's th' lady and little lass as browt yo' 
whoam, when yo' went seein' the sodgers afore ! " 

And Jabez, from his shoulder-perch, looked up at the little 
bright-eyed brunette, to remember the white frock and pink 
ribbons he had seen at the Bridgewater, but nothing beyond. 

The man's exclamation and attitude had at the same time 
attracted Mrs. Chadwick, who, smiling down on him and Jabez, 



c 2 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

spoke to Ellen ; and she, reminded of the little baby who had 
been saved from drowning in a cradle, looked down and, in the 
fulness of her new importance, nodded too. 

The momentary stoppage called forth a loud objurgation, as 
a reminder, from Sally Cooper, who was in advance with Matthew 
and such of her bigger lads as could step out; and Simon, 
equally anxious not to lose sight of the royal party, hurried on. 
But Sale Moor is beyond the confines of Lancashire, and Simon 
found the five miles stiff walking, with a child nearly six years 
old on his shoulders, and Master Jabez had to descend from his 
seat, and trudge on his own feet. This caused them to lag 
behind their friends, Sally insisting on Matt's keeping up with 
the soldiers, in order that they might get a good place on the 
Moor, and they were thus separated. Bess had remained at 
home. Never again could she look on marching troops without 
a pang. 

Sale Moor was alive with expectant sightseers. Stands and 
platforms had been erected for the accommodation of those who 
could afford and cared to pay ; there was a sprinkling of heavy 
carriages, and a crowd of carts, but the mass of spectators were 
on foot, vehicular locomotion being of very limited capacity. 

Of these latter were the Coopers and Cleggs, of course. Sally, 
with the elders of her turbulent brood, had reached the ground 
in time to be deafened by the score of cannon Lord Wilton's 
artillery fired as a salute to princedom. She had planted herself 
firmly against one of the supports of an elevated platform, where 
the crowd of hero-worshippers was densest. She was tightly 
jammed and crushed against the woodwork ; but what matter ? 
she had a fine sight of the field, and as she watched the 
evolutions of the volunteers, congratulated herself and Matthew 
on having left "that crawling Clegg an' the brat so far 
behint." 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 53 

Almost as she spoke, there was a faint crackle, then another, 
and a yielding of the post against which she leaned a loud 
crash, a chorus of shrieks, half drowned by music and musketry, 
and the whole platform was down, with the living freight it had 
borne ; and she was down with it. 

The fashion, wealth, and beauty of Cheshire and South 
Lancashire had their representatives amongst that struggling 
swooning, writhing, shrieking, groaning mass of humanity, heaped 
and huddled in indiscriminate confusion, with up-torn seats, posts, 
and draperies. Strange to say, only one person was killed 
outright that is, on the spot for in its downfall the stand bore 
with it many of the throng beneath. But of the injured and 
the shaken, those who went to hospital and home to linger long 
and die at last, history has kept no record. 

Amongst these, this story tells of two two differing in all 
but sex. Mrs. Aspinall, ever frail and delicate, was borne to 
her carriage with whole limbs, but insensible, her husband and 
their son Laurence both uninjured by her side. Physicians were 
in attendance, and never left her until she was safely lodged 
in her own luxurious chamber, overlooking Ardwick Green, and 
could be pronounced out of immediate danger. Sally Cooper, 
with a sprained ancle, a dislocated shoulder, and many internal 
bruises, was placed in a light cart on a bed of straw procured 
from a neighbouring farm, with another of the injured, and 
carried to the Manchester Infirmary, to try the skill and the 
patience of the doctors and nurses. 

Neither recovered. The unwounded lady, sorely shaken, 
succumbed to the shock her nervous system had received ; and 
Master Laurence, already petted and wilful, was left to be 
still further spoiled by his widowed father and Kitty, his 
mother's old nurse. Sally, strong of frame and will, impatient 
of pain and of restraint, was restive under the surgeons' 



54 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

hands, and defeated their efforts to ascertain her injuries. 
She exhausted herself with shrieks and cries, tossed about and 
disturbed bandages, rejected physic, which she called "poison," 
and soon put her case beyond the cure of physicians. Too late 
she became sensible of her own folly. Then, when recovery 
was impossible, she repented of many misdeeds, and of none 
more than her slander of poor Bess. 

And thus it was. When the mother was taken from the 
head of Cooper's home, Bess's kind heart yearned to help the 
disconsolate man and his troop of children. Fortunately, the 
eldest was a girl of sixteen, and there was a younger girl of 
ten. Both of these had gone out to work, but now Molly had 
to stay at home and try to keep all right and tight there. 
And here Bess came to her aid. Without scolding or brawling, 
she put the girl into the way of doing things quickly and 
quietly. She encouraged her to persevere, so that her cleanly 
mother should detect no eyesores when she came home restored. 
She tried to persuade the boys to be less refractory to help, 
not to irritate, their sister; and somehow Cooper's home began 
to miss Sail, much as one misses a whirlwind. 

The kindness of Bess o' Sim's was duly reported to the 
Infirmary patient, and at first chafed her sorely. She "hated to 
be under obligations, and to that lass o' a' others." But Bess, 
leaving her own work and the loss of an hour meant the loss 
of an hour's earnings herself went to see Sally ; and such was 
the influence of her gentle voice and touch, that Sally's chagrin 
imperceptibly wore away. 

Towards the last she grew delirious, raved of Bess and Tom 
Hulme and forgiveness, and in the short calm preceding dissolution, 
confessed to Matt Cooper and the attendant nurse that she had 
cast a slur on Bess Clegg's good name. Had made Tom Hulme 
believe that Simon had taken the lass from Skinners' Yard to 







.i ' l<r.~.77/A::".M ^fErSg i ' \ 




W 
K 
H 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 55 

hide her shame. That everybody in the yard knew that Bess 
had a child. And that she had bade him inquire for himself. 
And almost her last word was a hope that Bess would forgive her. 

Matthew Cooper himself hardly forgave his dead wife. How, 
therefore, should he carry this confession to Bess, and ask her 
to forgive ? He took a medium course ; and after a few days' 
consideration, while they and the rest of the tanners were eating 
their " baggin " (a workman's luncheon, so called from the bag 
it is, or was, usually carried in), sat down beside Simon on a 
bundle of thick leather, and told him as well as he was 
able. 

Simon was troubled ; but he was not vindictive. He would 
have been less than a man had he not been bitter against the 
cruel woman who had causelessly wrecked his good daughter's life. 
But he was sorry for Matt, and broke out into no revilings. The 
woman was dead. The ill she had done had been fearfully 
punished, and neither curses nor reproaches could affect her or 
undo the mischief. 

He left his cheese and jannock on the hides untasted, drew his 
hand across his forehead, and went down to the river-side and 
across the wooden bridge for a breath of fresh air and a waft of 
fresh thought. He was only a rugged tanner, but he had a heart 
within his breast ; he had a daughter on his hearth with a great 
wound in her heart, a blast on her good name, and he was called 
upon to forgive the author of this mischief ! 

Simon had long been used to commune with his own heart. 
He had built up a wall round it with the leaves of that one book 
on his bureau ; and whenever he was in doubt or difficulty, he read 
the precepts inscribed upon that wall. He went back to Cooper, 
whose appetite had been no better than his own. 

"Aw mun think this ower, Matt. Aw connot say aw furgive 
yo'r Sail o' at a dash. Hoo's done that as may niver be undone 



56 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

whoile thee an' me's alive; an' aw connot frame to say as aw 
furgive her loike o' on a sudden. An' aw mun think it ower before 
eawt be said to eawr Bess, poor wench ! " 

A week elapsed before the subject was broached again. Then 
Simon spoke to Matthew as they were leaving the tannery-yard. 

" Coom into th' ' Queen Anne ' " (he called it quean), " Matt, 
and have a gill ; aw've summat t' say to thee." 

There was nobody in the taproom. They sat down to their 
half-pint horns of ale times were too hard to afford deeper 
draughts and Simon said : 

"Aw've bin thinkin' o' this week, an' as aw connot furgive yo'r 
Sail, gradely loike, aw'll no put th' same temptation i' th' way of 
eawr Bess. Hoo'd better think Turn's takken oop wi' some other 
wench, than ha' th' shame o' knowin' th' lad's toorned her up i' 
disgrace. Hoo's getten ower th' worst o' her trouble, an' awm not 
gooin to break her heart outreet, and mebbe set her agen little 
Jabez into th' bargain." 

Matthew could but assent to Simon's proposition. But Simon 
had not said all his say. 

" But aw'm not gooin' to sit deawn wi' my honds i' mi' lap, 
an' that great lump o' dirty slutch stickin' to moi lass. Yo' 
mun help me t' find eawt wheer Tom Hulme's getten to, an' 
help to set o' straight afore aw forgive yo'r Sail, tho' hoo be 
dead an' gone." 

" Wi' o' my heart ! " responded Matt ; and he gave his huge 
hand to Simon in token thereof. 

When the Duke of Gloucester inspected the volunteers at 
Ardwick on the 3Oth of September that same year, not one of 
the people I have linked together witnessed the show. 

The blinds were down at Mr. Aspinall's to shut out a sight the 
like of which had made him a widower ; and within the darkened 
nursery, wilful, obstreperous Laurence fought and kicked and bit 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 57 

at old Kitty, because she kept him within doors and from the 
windows at his father's command. 

There was a christening party in Mosley Street, at the Ashtons', 
at which not only the Chadwicks, but the Rev. Joshua Brookes 
who had that day named the infant Augusta were present. They 
had selected a public occasion for their private festival. It was a 
grand affair. Mr. Ashton was a small-ware manufacturer in an 
extensive way of business, his house and warehouse occupying a 
large block of buildings at the corner of York Street. And the 
baby Augusta, born the previous month, was a first child, his wife 
being younger than himself considerably. Miss Ellen, too, was 
there, her wonderful shilling, through which a hole had been 
drilled, suspended from her neck like an amulet. 

Simon and Matt had given up their holiday to fruitless inquiries 
after Tom Hulme ; and Jabez, after a stand-up fight with a boy 
in the yard in defence of his kitten, had come to have his bleeding 
nose and bruised forehead doctored by Bess, who shed over him 
the tears long gathering in their fountains for Tom Hulme's 
defection And somehow at that stylish christening feast, where the 
baby Augusta was a personage of importance almost as great as 
the celebrated Miss Kilmansegg, the orphan Jabez and his fosterers 
came on the table for discussion along with the dessert ; Mrs. 
Chadwick, Mr. Clough, and Joshua Brookes concurring in the opinion 
mooted by the lady that something should be done to relieve the 
worthy tanner and his daughter of the cost and trouble of main- 
taining the boy as he grew older and would want educating. That 
they should talk of the cost of maintenance when bread was a 
shilling a loaf, was no marvel; but that "education" should be 
named as a necessity for one of " nobody's children," can only be 
cited as a proof that either the boy's strange introduction to 
Manchester, or Simon's strange generosity, had excited an interest 
in both beyond the common run. 



58 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

Yet that something was vague. The only definite and practicable 
view of the subject was held by Joshua Brookes, and he kept his 
opinion to himself. 



CHAPTER THE SEVENTH.* 



THE REVEREND JOSHUA BROOKES. 

OSHUA BROOKES had a 
child's love for toffy and other 
sweetmeats. These he pur- 
chased or obtained without 
purchase from an old woman 
as odd and eccentric as him- 
self, a Mrs. Clowes, who 
occupied a bow-windowed shop 
in Half Street, which literally 
overlooked the churchyard, three 
or four steps having to be 
mounted by her customers. 

And how numerous were her 
customers, and how great the 
demand for her toffy, lozenges, 
and "humbugs" may be judged 
from the fact that her work- 
men and apprentices used up 
eight or nine tons of sugar every 
week. Yet she was apparently 
only a shop-keeper, and had 
begun business in a very humble way ; but she was persevering 
and industrious, and success followed. She was active and 

* See Appendix. 




COLLEGE OUTLET TO THE RIVER. 



60 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

energetic, and expected those around her to be the same. Yet 
she was kind to them, as may be supposed, for she gave every 
Sunday a good dinner to fourteen old men and women on 
whom fortune had looked unkindly, waiting upon them herself, 
and never tasting her own dinner until her pensioners had 
dined. 

Regular in her own attendance at the old Church, she 
required her household to be regular too, though she left them 
little enough time to dress possibly because her own toilette 
was so scant. The dress in which she presented herself at church 
was certainly unique for a woman of wealth. Her gown of sober 
stuff was well worn ; a mob-cap (a fashion which came in with 
the French Revolution) adorned her head, over which, by way 
of bonnet, a brown silk handkerchief was tied. On rare very 
rare occasions, an old black silk bonnet covered all. 

Joshua Brookes,' at odds with his clerical brethren, with his 
pupils, and half the world besides, was on good terms with 
Mrs. Clowes. Rough, prompt, and uncompromising was she ; 
rough ; irritable and unmannerly was he ; both unpromising hard- 
husked nuts, with sweet and tender kernels. So rough, few ever 
suspected the soft heart ; yet the woman who fed the poor 
before herself, and the learned clergyman who had a fancy for 
pigeons, and who cherished the drunken and abusive old crippled 
shoemaker, his father, to the last, must have intuitively known 
the inner life of each other. 

The day following Augusta Ashton's christening, it fell within 
the round of the Reverend Joshua's duty to read the burial 
service over a dead townswoman in the churchyard. And now 
occurred one of those incidents in which the ludicrous and the 
profane blended, and brought impulsive Joshua into disfavour. 
As was not unfrequently the case, he broke off in the midst of 
the service, left the mourners and the coffin beside the open 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 61 

grave, threw his legs over the low wall, and, mounting the steps 
into the confectioner's shop, said: 

" Here, quick, dame ? Give me some horehound drops for 
my cough." 

On his entrance Mrs. Clowes broke off a narrative over which 
she and her shopwoman were laughing heartily, in order to reach 
the required drops, which went into a paper without weighing, 
and for which no payment was tendered. Back he strode over 
the churchyard wall to resume the interrupted ceremonial. 

It must here be observed that Joshua had remarkably shaggy 
eyebrows, overhanging his quick eyes like pent-houses, and that 
it was the wont of the schoolboys and others to annoy him 
by drawing their fingers significantly over their own. A young 
sweep sat upon the churchyard wall to witness the funeral, and 
young imp of Satan that he was ! he could not forbear drawing 
a thumb and forefinger over each brow, full in Joshua's sight, 
just as he reached the passage " I heard a voice from heaven 
saying " 

The shaggy eyebrows contracted ; he roared out 

"Knock that little black rascal off the church wall!" 

The mischievous little blackamoor was off, with a beadle 
after him ; and the eccentric chaplain, whom no sense of 
irreverence seemed to strike, concluded the ceremony with no 
further interruption. 

At its close, Mr. Aspinall and another mourner took the 
clergyman to task for his disrespect to the remains of the deceased 
Mrs. Aspinall, whose obsequies had been so irregularly performed. 
They said nothing of disrespect to the Divinity profaned ; their 
own feelings and importance had been outraged, and they forgot 
all else even by the dust and ashes in the gaping grave ; and 
little Laurence, cloaked and hooded, forgot his grief in watching 
the chase after the sweep. 



62 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

" How dare you, sir, give way to these indecencies at the 
funeral of my wife? It has been most indecorous and insulting, 
both to the dead and her afflicted relatives." 

"She's had Christian burial, hasn't she?" gruffly interrogated 
Joshua. 

"Hardly," was the hesitating answer. 

" She's been laid in consecrated ground, and I've read the 
burial service over her ; what more would you have ? Some 
folk are never satisfied." 

Emptying half his horehound drops into the hand of Master 
Laurence, Joshua turned on his heel, went to the chapter-house 
to disrobe, and then back over the wall to Mrs. Clowes. 

" I say, dame, you were not at church on Sunday." 

" No, Parson Brookes ; I was in Liverpool." 

"Oh!" grunted he, "in Liverpool. Sugar-buying, I suppose?" 

"Yea; an' a fine joke I've had." 

" Joshua pricked up his ears ; he did not object to a little fun. 

"You mun know I thought I'd give Branker, the new sugar- 
broker, a trial, an' I went there an' asked to see samples ; but 
the young whipper-snapper of a salesman looked at me from 
top to toe, an', I suppose, reckoned up the value of my old 
black bonnet, my kerchief an' mutch, an' my old stuff dress, 
and fancied my pockets must match my gown, for he was barely 
civil, and didn't seem to care for the trouble o' shovvin' th' 
samples. So I bade my young man good day, an' said I'd call 
again." 

" And didn't, I suppose. Just like a woman," put in Joshua. 

"Oh, yea, I did. I borrowed my landlady's silk gown and 
fine satin bonnet, and put on my lady's manners ; and then Mr. 
Whipper-snapper could show his samples, and his best manners, 
too. But when I gave my orders by tons, and not hundred- 
weights, he looked at me, and looked again, as if he thought 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 63 

I'd escaped from a madhouse ; an' at last he began to h'm an' 
ah, an' talk of large orders, an' cash payment, an' references ; 
an' I told him to make out th' invoice and bring it. An' 
when I pulled out this old leather pocket-book, and counted 
the bank-notes to pay him down on the nail, good gracious ! 
how the fellow stared ! I reckon I'll not need to borrow a 
silk dress when I give my next order. It was as good as a play." 

" Um ! You women-folk think yourselves wonderfully clever. 
But come, I can't waste my time here. (Joshua had heard all 
he went for.) Give me quarter-a-pound of humbugs ; I threw 
half the other things away," said he. 

"I don't think it's much you'll throw away, Jotty," replied the 
old confectioner, with independent familiarity, as she weighed and 
parcelled the sweets, for which this time he put down the money. 

" It's much you know about it, Mother Clowes," he jerked 
out, as if throwing the words at her over his shoulder, as he 
turned to leave the shop, putting the package in one of the 
large pockets of his long flap waistcoat as he went. 

His own house, not more than three hundred yards away, 
adjoined the Grammar School, a red brick building, with stone 
quoins, now darkened by time and smoke, one gable of which 
overhung the Irk ; the other, pierced for four small-paned 
windows, almost confronting the antique Sun Inn, at the acute 
angle of Long Millgate, and quite overlooking an open space, 
flanked by the main entrance to the College. From this, the 
east wing of the College, it is separated by a plain iron gateway 
and palisades on the Millgate side, and by a low wall which 
serves as a screen from the river on the other side ; the enclosed 
space between rails, wall, College, and the front of the school 
serving as a playground for such scholars as were willing to keep 
within bounds. It was divided into upper, middle, and lower 
schools, the last being in the basement, and designed for elementary 



64 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

instruction. The high and middle schools together occupied the 
same long room above this. Joshua Brookes, as second master, 
presided over the middle school, and surely never M.A. had so 
thankless an office. He was placed at a terrible disadvantage in 
the school, not altogether because he had risen from its lowest 
ranks not altogether because a drunken, foul-mouthed cripple 
interfered with their sports, or went reeling to his son's domicile 
next door not because he was unduly severe ; other masters were 
that but because his own eager thirst for knowledge as a boy 
had made him intolerant towards indolence, incredulous of 
incapacity; and his constitutional impatience and irritability 
made his harsh voice seem harsher when he reproved a 
dullard. He lost his self-command, and with that went his 
command over others. Meaning to be affable to the poor, 
from whose ranks he sprang, he became familiar ; and they 
reciprocated the familiarity so fully as to draw down the 
contempt of his confreres. He was a man to be respected, and 
they slighted him ; a man to be honoured, and they snubbed 
him. What wonder, then, that eccentricities grew like barnacles 
on a ship's keel, or that the boys failed in obedience and 
respect to a master when their elders set them the example ? 

This defence of a misunderstood man has not taken up a 
tithe of the time he gave to his refractory class, to whom he 
went straightway from the confectioner's, whose "humbugs" had 
melted considerably, not wholly down his own throat, before the 
hour when the boys closed their Latin Grammars and Greek 
Lexicons, and poured as if they were mad down the steps, and 
through the gate, to the road. Yet even the sweets he gave to 
the attentive did not conciliate ; they only made the intractable 
more defiant ; and the recipients felt they were bribed. 

Warned by the uproar of a large school in motion, as well 
as by the long-cased clock, Tabitha, his one servant, had her 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 65 

master's tea ready for him the instant he came in from the 
school,^'as he generally did, fagged and jaded, with the growl 
of a baited bear. 

That day he simply put his head into the house, and bawled, 
"Tea ready, Tab?" and without waiting for an answer, went 
on, "Keep it hot till I get back;" then, closing the door, took 
his way eastwards down Long Millgate. His journey was not 
a long one. It ended at the bottom of a yard where a sad, 
pale-faced young woman was switching monotonously at a mass 
of downy cotton, and listening at the same time to the equally 
monotonous drawl of a youngster in the throes of monosyllabic 
reading. 

" Get laming, lad ! get laming ! Larning's a great thing. 
Yo' shan read i' this big picture-book when you can spell 
gradely, ' had been Simon's precept and inducement ; and Jabez, 
to whom that big pictorial Bible was a mysterious, unexplored 
crypt, did try with all his little might. 

"J-a-c-k Jack, w-a-s was, a g-o-o-d good, b-o " 

"And I hope you're a good boy, as well as Jack," said 
Joshua Brookes abruptly, as he put his head into the room, and 
put a stop to the lesson at the same time. " But, hey-day " 
(observing the swollen nose and bruised forehead), " You've been 
in the wars. Good boys don't fight." 

" Then what did Bill Barnes throw stones at ar pussy for ? 
Good boys dunnot hurt kittlins," said Jabez, nothing daunted. 

Bess explained. 

" Um ! " quoth Joshua, when she had finished, " he's fond of his 
kitten, is he?" and drawing Jabez towards him by the shoulder, 
with one finger uplifted as a caution, he looked down on the 
shrinking child, and said, impressively 

" Never fight if you can help it, Jabez ; but if you fight to save 
a poor dumb animal from ill-usage, or to protect the weak against 



66 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

the strong, Jotty Brucks is not the man to blame you. Here, 
lad," and into the pinafore of Jabez went the remainder of the 
"humbugs." 

He patted the boy on the head, bade him get on with his 
reading, he did not know what good fortune might come of it, told 
him to come regularly to church, to love God and God's creatures, 
and went away, leaving Bess to prepare her father's porridge (tea was 
from twelve to sixteen shillings a pound, and beyond their reach). 

Almost on the threshold he encountered Simon. 

" Can't you keep that young sprig out of mischief ? If he 
begins fighting and quarrelling at six years old, what will he do 
when he is sixteen ? " he cried, gruffly, as he brushed past the 
tanner, and was far up the yard before the man could think of 
a reply. 

A couple of young pigeons were sent for Jabez about a week 
after, with a large bag of stale cakes and bread to feed them 
with. The name of the sender was unknown, but anyone 
acquainted with the habits of Joshua Brookes (who contracted for 
Mrs. Clowes' waste pastry, to fill the crops of his own feathered 
colony) would not have been troubled to guess. 

Simon stroked his raspy chin, and seemed dubious, cost of 
keep being a question ; but Jabez looked so wistful, his foster- 
father borrowed tools and answered the appeal by making a 
triangular cote for them, and Jabez found fresh occupation in 
their care. Yet occupation was not lacking, young as he was. 
He could fetch and carry, run short errands, and help Bess to 
clean. Their living-room no longer waited a week to be swept 
and dusted, Jabez did it every day, standing on a chair to reach 
the top of the bureau, where lay the cynosure of his young eyes. 
He still took his Sunday lessons in field or stream with Simon, 
and through the week clambered up from monosyllables to 
dissyllables with Bess, 



CHAPTER THE EIGHTH. 



THE BLUE COAT SCHOOL. 

HE children of the poor 
begin early to earn their 
bread. Legislature has 
stepped in to regulate the 
age and hours for labour 
in manufacturing districts, 
and to provide education 
for the humblest. Jabez 
Clegg was not born in 
these blissful times, and he 
only narrowly escaped the 
common lot. 

He was not eight years 
old, yet Simon, on whom 
war-prices pressed as 
heavily as on his neigh- 
bours, began to discuss with Bess the necessity for sending the lad 
to Simpson's factory (where Arkwright's machinery was first 
set in motion). 

" He mun goo as sune as the new year taks a fair grip," 
decided Simon, and 1805 was at its last gasp as he said it. 

But the new year brought Jabez a reprieve by the uncoflrtly 
hands of Joshua Brookes.- Meeting Simon and Jabez at a stall 




EXIT FROM COLLEGE YARD. 



68 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

in the Apple Market, where, the better to bargain, he had laid 
down a pile of old classical school-books (Joshua was a collector 
of these, which he retailed again to the boys at prices varying 
with his mood, or his estimate of the purchaser's pocket), he 
accosted the former. 

" Well, old Leathershanks, what are you going to make of young 
Cheat-the-fishes there? I suppose he's to follow your own trade, 
he began to tan hides so early?" And the glance which shot 
from under his shaggy brows caused the boy to blush, and shrink 
behind his protector. 

Simon's eyes twinkled, but he shook his head as he answered : 

"Nay, Parson Brucks, we'n thowt o' sendin' him t' th' cotton 
fac'try ; but it fair goos agen th' grain to send th' little chap 
through th' streets to wark Winter an' Summer, weet or dry, 
afore th' sun's oop an' abeawt his wark. But we conno' keep 
him bout it toimes are so bad." 

" H'm ! Then what a stupid old leather-head you must be not 
to think of the College, where he'd be kept and fed and clothed 
and educated ! educated^ man, do you hear ? " 

Simon heard, and his eyes again twinkled and winked at the 
new idea presented to him. 

"And 'prenticed!" he echoed, with a long-drawn, gasping breath. 

"Ay, and apprenticed." 

The parson, cramming his pockets with apples, for which he had 
higgled with much persistence, handed one to Jabez with the 
question 

" How would you like to be a College boy, Jabez, and wear a 
long blue coat, like that fellow yonder " (pointing to a boy then 
crossing the market on an errand), " and learn to write and cypher, 
as well as to read ? " 

* If you please'n, aw'd loike it moore nor eawt." His animated 
face was a clearer answer than his words. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. gg 

Joshua then read the lad a brief homily to the effect that only 
good and honourable boys could find admission, winding up with 

"If you're a very good lad, I'll see what can be done for 
you." 

He interrupted thanks with 

"Easter's very near, Sim, so you'll have to stir your stumps to 
prove that our honourable young friend came honourably into the 
world. I'll get the forms and fill them up for you, and his 
baptismal register too." 

He snatched up his books and was off, the tassel of his 
collegiate cap and the cassock he wore flying loose as he hurried 
away muttering to himself 

" What an old fool I am to bother about the lad ! I daresay 
he'll turn round and sting me in the end, like the rest of the snakes 
I have warmed. As great an idiot as old Dame Clowes ! " 

Chetham's College, or Hospital, is a long, low, ancient stone 
edifice, built on the rock above the mouth of the Irk, with two 
arms of unequal length, stretching towards church and town, and 
embracing a large quadrangle used as a playground, which has 
for its fourth and southern boundary a good useful garden. 

It is needless to grope upward from the time when the Saxon 
Theyn built a fortified residence on its site; sufficient for us 
that Thomas de la Warr, youngest son of the feudal baron of 
Manchester, was brought up to the Church, and in the fourteenth 
century inducted into the Rectory of Manchester, his father being 
patron. His elder brother dying at the close of the century, 
the rector (a pious Churchman) became baron. And then he 
put his power and wealth to sacerdotal uses. He petitioned the 
king, obtained a grant to collegiate Christ Church, erected the 
College, endowed it with lands ; and here at his death the 
Warden of the Collegiate Church had his residence. Of these 
wardens, the celebrated Dr. Dee, whose explorations into alchemy 



70 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

and other occult sciences brought him into trouble with Queen 
Elizabeth, was one ; and Dr. Dee's room is still extant in 
occupation of the governor. 

In 1580, at Crumpsall Hall, Humphrey Chetham was born; 
and he, a prosperous dealer in fustians, never marrying, at his 
own expense fed and clothed a number of poor boys ; and, by 
his will, not only bequeathed a large sum of money to be 
expended in the foundation and endowment of a hospital for 
the maintenance, education, and apprenticing of forty poor boys 
for ever, but one thousand pounds to be expended in a library, 
free to the public the first free library in Britain. 

The estate was vested in feoffees, and with them lay the 
power alike to elect boys and officials. From the townships of 
Manchester, Droylsden, Crumpsall, Bolton-le-Moors, and Turton, 
the boys were to be elected between the ages of six and ten, 
and were required to be of honest, industrious parents, and 
neither illegitimate nor diseased ; and baptismal registers had to 
be produced. They had to be well maintained, well trained, 
and carefully apprenticed at fourteen, a fee of four pounds (a 
large sum in Humphrey Chetham's time) being given with them. 
The churchwardens and overseers were to prepare lists of boys, 
doubling the number of vacancies, stating their respective claims, 
which lists they had to sign. 

Easter Monday was the period for election, after which the 
feoffees dined together in Dr. Dee's quaintly-carved room. 

Joshua Brookes was as good as his word. He procured a 
blank form from the governor, and, Simon being no great 
scholar, filled it in for him. He found him the baptismal 
register without charging the regulation shilling, got the name 
of Jabez inserted in the churchwardens' list, and such influence 
as he had with feoffees he exerted to the utmost, for the case 
was one involving doubt and difficulty. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. ji 

Nor had Simon Clegg been idle. He and his crony, Matthew, 
scoured Smedley and Crumpsall, and more successful than in 
their quest for Tom Hulme, discovered the nurse who presided 
at the birth of Jabez. Her testimony, so far as it went, was 
important. He had interested both Mr. and Mrs. Clough in 
the election of the foundling, and where the influence of the 
gentleman failed, that of the lady prevailed ; so that when the 
important Easter Monday arrived, two-thirds of the feoffees were 
fully acquainted with his peculiar case, and more or less impressed 
in his favour. 

It was on the i8th of April, bright, sunny, joyous. Compared 
with its present proportions, Manchester then was but as a cameo 
brooch on a mantle of green ; and that green was already starred 
with daisies, buttercups, primroses, and cowslips. By wells and 
brooks, daffodil and jonquil hung their heads and breathed out 
perfume. Bush and tree put out pale buds and fans of promise. 
The tit-lark sang, the cuckoo to use a village phrase had 
" eaten up the mud ; " and the town was alive with holiday- 
makers from all the country round about. 

It was the great College anniversary, not only election day, but 
one set apart for friends to visit Blue-coat boys already on the found- 
ation, and for the curious public to inspect the Chetham Museum. 

The main entrance in Millgate (said to be arched with the 
jaw-bone of a whale) and the smaller gate on Hunt's Bank, 
were both thrown open. A stream of people of all grades, in 
festival array, poured in and out, and College cap and gown 
seemed to be ubiquitous. 

The pale, sad widow or widower, holding an orphan boy by 
the trembling hand, the uncle or next of kin to the doubly- 
orphaned candidate, were there, standing in a long line ranged 
against the building, and representing hopes and fears and 
eventualities little heeded by the shifting stream of gazers. 



73 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

For the previous week Mrs. Clowes and her assistants had been 
working night and day; her shop was in a state of siege. Every 
boy, and every boy's friend, seemed to have pocket-money to 
spend, and to want to spend it over her counter. Then it was 
the great wedding-day of the year, and the churchyard swarmed 
like a hive ; from every one of the many public-houses round 
College and Church, music and mirth, clattering feet, and loud- 
voiced laughter issued. "The Apple Tree," "The Pack Horse," 
"The Ring o 1 Bells," "The Blackamoor's Head," were filled to 
repletion with wedding guests ; whilst " The College Inn " and 
the old " Sun Inn " held a less boisterous quota of the 
Collegians' friends and relatives. 

On those wet days when outdoor play was impossible, the 
boys, besides darning their stockings, occupied their spare hours 
in carving spoons and apple-scrapers out of bone, in working balls and 
pincushions in fanciful devices with coloured worsted, and a stitch 
locally known as " colleging ; " and with these, on Easter Monday 
and at Whitsuntide, they reaped a harvest of pocket-money, having 
liberty to offer them for sale. And when it is remembered that our 
notable female ancestors, poor and rich, wore indoors a pincushion 
and sheathed scissors suspended at their sides, it is not to be 
wondered that these found ready purchasers as memorials of the visit. 

But in that College Yard were anxious and expectant as well 
as buoyant faces. And there in that line, waiting to be called 
when their turn came, stood Jabez between Simon Clegg and Bess, 
with Matthew and the nurse on either hand. And ever and anon 
their eyes went up to the oriel window which faced the main 
entrance, for in the room it lighted the arbiters of the boy's 
destiny sat in judgment on some other orphan's claim. At length 
the summons came for "Jabez Clegg." 

With palpitating hearts for any body of men with irresponsible 
powers is an awful tribunal they passed under the arched portal 




^x 

READING ROOM, CHETHAM LIBRARY. 



1 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 73 

at the western angle of the building, following their guide past the 
doors of the great kitchen on the right hand, and the boys' refectory 
and Dr. Dee's room on the left, up the wide stone staircase, 
with its massive carved oak balusters, along the gallery, at once 
library and museum, where gaping holiday-folk followed a Blue- 
coat cicerone past shelves and glass cases, and compartments 
separated for readers' quiet study by carven book-shelf screens, 
hearing, but heeding little of the parrot-roll the boys checked off: 
" Here's Oliver Crummle's sword ; theer's a loadstone ; theer's a 
hairy mon ; theer's the skeleton of a mon ; " and so forth, but 
following their own guide to the nail-studded oaken door of the 
feoffees' room that door which might open to hope, only to close 
on disappointment. 

The feoffees' room now the reading-room of the library 
deserves more than a passing notice. It is a large, square, antique 
chamber, with a deeply-recessed oriel window, opposite the door, 
containing a table and seats for readers. There are carved oak 
buffets of ancient date, ponderous chairs, and still more ponderous 
tables, one of which is said to contain as many pieces as there 
are days in the year. Dingy-looking portraits of eminent 
Lancashire divines stare at you from the walls ; but the left- 
hand wall contains alone the benevolent presentment of Humphrey 
Chetham, the large-hearted, clear-headed founder. Its place is 
over the wide chimneypiece, which holds an ample grate ; and on 
either hand it is flanked by the carved effigy of a bird, the one a 
pelican feeding its young brood with its own blood, the other 
a cock, which is said (and truly) to crow when it smells roast 
beef. 

But we smell the feoffees' dinner, and must not delay the 
progress of Jabez and his friends. A large body of feoffees 
were present, many in the uniforms of their special volunteer 
regiments. 



74 ^HE MANCHESTER MAN. 

" So this is the little fellow who was picked up asleep in a cradle 
during the flood of August, 1799," observed rather than inquired 
one of the gentlemen, who appeared as spokesman. 

"Yoi, yo'r honours," answered Simon, making a sort of 
bow. 

" Who can bear witness to that ? " 

"Aw con" "An" aw con," responded Simon and Matt Cooper 
in a breath. "It wur uz as got him eawt o' th' wayter." 

"Anyone else?" 

Bess stepped forward modestly. 

" He wur put i' moi arms on Tanners' Bridge, an' aw've browt 
him oop ivver sin'." 

" Have you never sought for his parents ? " 

"Ay, mony a toime. Matt an' me have spent mony a day i' 
seekin' 'em," said Simon promptly, an' we could fand no moore 
than that papper tells" referring to a sheet in the questioning 
feoffee's hand. 

" Then how do you date the boy's age with such precision ? '' 

The nurse now sidled confidently to the front. 

"If it please your honour's worship, aw wur called to stiff- 
backed Nan's dowter in the last pinch, when hoo wur loike to die, 
an' that little chap wur born afore aw left, an' that wur o' th' 
fifth o' May, seventeen hunderd and nointy-noine. Aw know it, 
fur aw broke mi arm th' varry next day." 

" And the mother died ? " 

"Yea! afore the week wur eawt." 

"And you think she was lawfully married? Where was her 
husband ? " 

" Ay ! that's it ! Hoo had a guinea-goold weddin'-ring on ; 
an' owd Nan said it wur a sad thing th' lass had ever got 
wedded, an' moore o' the same soort. An' aw geet eawt o' her 
that they'n bin wedded at Crumpsall, an' a' th' neebors knew 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 75 

as th' husbant had had a letter to fatch him to Liverpool, an' 
had niver come back. Onybody i' Smedley knows that!" 

"And you think they were honest, industrious people?" 

" Ay ! that they were, but rayther stiff i' th' joints, yo' know 
seemed to think theirsel's too good to talk to folk like ; or, 
mebbe we'd ha' known th' lad's neame an' o' belongin' to 
him. They owed nobbody nowt, an' aw wur paid fur moi 
job." 

Jabez was called forward and examined, and he came pretty 
well out of the fire. They found that he could read a little, 
knew part of his catechism, and they saw that he was a well- 
behaved, intelligent boy, with truthful dark grey eyes and a 
reflective brow. 

There was a long and animated discussion, during which the 
boy and his friends were bidden to retire. It was contended 
that the marriage of the boy's parents was not proven that his 
very name was dubious, and that the founder's will was specific 
on that head. 

Then one of Mrs. Clough's friends rose and grew eloquent. 
He asked if they were to interpret the will of the great and 
benevolent man, whose portrait looked down upon them, by the 
spirit or by the letter? If they themselves did not feel that the 
boy was eligible, as the nurse's testimony went to prove ? That 
this was a case peculiarly marked out for their charitable 
construction. And he wound up by inquiring if they thought 
Humphrey Chetham would expect his representatives to be less 
humane, less charitable, less conscientious in dealing with a bounty 
not their own, than that poor struggling, hard-working tanner and 
his daughter, who had maintained and cherished the orphan in 
spite of cruelly hard times, and still more cruel slander. And 
then he told, as an episode, what Sally Cooper had confessed, 
and how and why Bess had lost her lover. 



76 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

This turned the quivering scale. "Jabez Clegg and his friends" 
were called in ; the verdict which changed the current of his life 
was pronounced Jabez Clegg was a Blue-coat boy ! 

Before the night was out, while the flood-gates or all their 
hearts were open, Matthew Cooper, though nearly twenty years 
her senior, asked Bess to be his wife! 



CHAPTER THE NINTH. 

THE SNAKE. 

*W * OWEVER ambitious either Jabez or his kind fosterers 

Ir ^ had been to see him a Blue-coat boy, the parting 

J^^ between them was a terrible wrench. They were to 

him all the friends or parents he had ever known. 

Then there were his playmates in the yard, with liberty to 
run in and out at will ; and lastly, there were his dumb pets 
his kitten (grown to a cat), his pigeons, and the lame linnet, 
hopping from perch to finger, and paying him for his love with 
the sweetest of songs. 

He was not more stunned by the noise and Easter Monday 
bustle in the College Yard, or more awed by the imposing 
presence of Governor Terry and the feoffees, than by the magnitude, 
order, and antique grandeur of the building henceforth to be his 
home. Nevertheless, wide open as the gates were for the day, 
he felt that they would close, and shut him in among the cold 
strong walls and strangers, never to see his pets or his loving 
friends again until Whitsuntide should bring another holiday. 

They older, more experienced, with a better knowledge of all 
the boy would gain all the privation and premature labour he 
would escape felt only how dull their humble home would be 
without the willing feet and hands, the smiling face, and the 
cheerful voice of the sturdy little fellow who for more than seven 
years had been as their own child. 



78 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

He had given his last charge respecting his furry and 
feathered brood, exchanged the last clinging embrace under the 
dark arch, then tore away in quest of a deserted corner, where 
he could hide the tears he could not wholly restrain. 

At first the new dress of which he was so proud, the yellow 
stockings and clasped shoes in place of clogs, the yellow baize 
petticoat, the long-skirted blue overcoat or gown, the blue 
muffin-cap, the white clerical band at the throat (all neat, 
and fresh, and unpatched as they were), felt awkward and 
uncomfortable the long petticoat especially incommoded him. 
But in a few days this wore off. There were other lads equally 
strange and unaccustomed to robes and rules. Fellow-feeling 
drew them towards each other, and with the wonderful adaptability 
of childhood, they fell into the regular grooves, and were as 
much at home as the eldest there in less than a fortnight. And 
from the Chetham Gallery in the Old Church he could see and 
be seen by Simon and Bess on Sabbath mornings from the free 
seats in the aisle, and that contented them. 

The training and education of the Chetham College boys 
was, and is, conducted on principles best adapted for boys 
expected to fight their way upwards in the world. They were 
not encumbered with a number of " ologies " and " isms " (the 
highest education did not stand on a par then with the moderate 
ones of this day) ; their range of books and studies was limited. 
Reading, writing, and arithmetic, sound and practical information 
alone were imparted, so much as was needed to fit the dullest 
for an ordinary tradesman, and supply the persevering and 
intelligent with a fulcrum and a lever. Nor did their education 
end with their lessons in the schoolroom, nor was it drawn from 
books and slates alone. 

Their meals were regular, their diet pure and ample, but 
plain. They rose at six, began the day with prayer, and retired 






THE MANCHESTER MAN. 79 

to rest at eight. Besides their duties in the schoolroom, they 
darned their own stockings, made their own beds, helped the 
servants to keep their rooms clean, and six of the elder boys 
were set apart to run errands and carry messages beyond the 
precincts of the College. 

Strength of muscle and limb were gained in the open courtyard 
in such games as trap and football ; patience and ingenuity had 
scope in the bead purses, the carved apple-scoops and marrow- 
spoons, the worsted balls and pincushions they made to fill their 
leisure hours indoors. There was no idleness. Their very play 
had its purpose. 

Let us set Jabez Clegg under the kind guardianship oi 
Christopher Terry, the Governor, and under the direct supervision 
of the Reverend John Gresswell, the schoolmaster, to con his 
Mavor, and make pothooks-and-ladles, on a form in the large 
schoolroom at the east end of the College, and to rise, step by 
step, up the first difficult rungs of that long ladder of learning 
which may indeed rest on our common earth, but which reaches 
far above the clouds and human ken. 

Christmas and Midsummer vacations came and went, so did 
those red-letter days of his College life, Easter and Whitsuntide, 
when he was free to rush to the old yard, so near at hand, and 
after hugging Bess and Simon, whom he astonished with his 
learning, could assure himself his dumb family had been well- 
cared for. 

And if those passing seasons traced deeper lines on Simon's 
brow, gave more womanly solidity to Bess's form and character, 
they brought no change the foundling could mark. Tom Hulme's 
whereabouts was still undiscovered. Matt Cooper was still a 
widower. But they and his masters could note the steady progress 
he made, and his chivalrous love of truth and sense of honour 
shown in many ways in little things. Yet there was one event a 



8o THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

grief to him. His little brown linnet pined for its young friend, 
and died before the first Whitsunday came. 

He was not much over ten years old when he was proved to 
possess courage, as well as truth and honour. 

For some time Nancy, the cook, had observed that the cream 
was skimmed surreptitiously from the milk-pans in the dairy, that 
the milk itself was regularly abstracted, and she was loud in 
complaint. She could scarcely find cream enough to set on the 
governor's table, and servants and schoolboys were in turn accused 
of being the depredators. 

Complaints were made to Mr. Terry, servants and boys were 
alike interrogated and watched, and punished on suspicion, but 
nothing could be proved, and no precautions could save the milk. 
The lofty and spacious kitchen had its entrance almost under the 
porch, and close beside it was a flight of stone steps leading to the 
dairy, a cellar below the kitchen, lit by a small window high up 
on the side towards the river, and of course opposite to the steps. 

Stone tables occupied the two other sides, on which were 
ranged a number of wide, shallow pans of good milk. In the 
extreme corner, at right angles with the door at the head of 
the stairs, was another entrance, a small oaken door in a Gothic 
frame, which opened on another and shorter flight of steps, cut 
in the rock and washed by the river, which sometimes rose 
and beat against the cellar-door for admission, beat so oft and 
importunately as to wear away the oak where it met the floor. 

It was nearly breakfast time. Long rows of wooden bowls 
and trenchers were ranged on the white kitchen-table. The 
oatmeal porridge was ready to pour out. The cook ran short of 
milk. Through a window overlooking the yard she espied Jabez, 
whip in hand, driving a biped team of play-horses. 

"Jabez, Jabez Clegg!" she called out at the pitch of her 
voice, "come hither." 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. gi 

Down went the reins, and the prancing steeds proceeded 
without a driver. 

" Fetch a can of milk from the cellar, Jabez ; an' look sharp, 
An' see as yo' dunna drink none!" 

"I never do," said Jabez, not overpleased at the imputation. 

"Well, see as yo' don't, for some on yo' do." 

Jabez took the bright tin can, without putting down the whip, 
and descended the unguarded cellar-stairs, whistling as he went. 
He gave a jump down the last few steps, and to his utter 
surprise, I cannot say dismay, saw that he had disturbed a great 
greenish-brown snake, spotted with black and having a yellowish 
ring round its neck. It lay coiled on the stone table opposite 
to him, and with its head elevated above the rim of a milk-pan, 
was taking its morning draught, and in so doing reckoning 
without its host. 

"Oh! you're the thief, are you, Mr. Snake? It's you've robbed 
us of our milk, and got us boys thrashed for it!" cried Jabez, 
without a thought of danger, planting himself between the culprit 
and the small postern door, as the snake, gliding from the slab, 
turned thither for exit, putting out its forked tongue and hissing 
at him as it came. 

Without thought or consideration without a cry of alarm to 
those above, he struck at the threatening foe with his whip ; and 
as the resentful snake darted at him, jumped nimbly aside, and 
struck and struck again ; and as the angry snake writhed and 
twisted, and again and again darted its frightful head at him with 
distended jaws, he whipped and whipped away as though a top 
and not a formidable reptile had been before him. 

Cook, out of patience, called "Jabez Clegg!" more than 
once, in anything but satisfactory tones ; and then, patience 
exhausted, came to the top of the dairy stairs. Then she heard 
Jabez, as if addressing some one, say : ' Oh ! you would, would 



82 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

you?" and the commotion having drawn her so far down the 
steps that she could peer into the cellar and see what was going 
on, she set up a prolonged scream. This was just as Jabez, 
shifting the position of his whip, brought the butt-end down 
on the head of the snake with all the force of his stout young 
arm, and his exhausted foe dropped, literally whipped to death. 

The woman's screams brought not only the governor and the 
school-master, but Dr. Stone, the librarian, to the spot. And there 
stood Jabez, all his prowess gone, with his back towards them, 
his head down on his arms, which rested on the stone slab, 
sobbing violently for the very life he had just destroyed. 

" Oh, he's bin bitten he's bin bitten ! The vemonous thing's 
bitten the lad 1 He'll die after it ! " cried the cook in an ecstasy 
of terror. 

" Stand aside, Nancy," said Dr. Stone ; " that snake is not 
venomous. If I mistake not, the brave boy's heart is wounded, 
not his skin." 

And, coming down, the kind, discerning librarian lifted the snake 
with the one hand, and took hold of Jabez with the other, simply 
saying to him 

"Come into the governor's room, Jabez, and tell us all about 
it." 

And Jabez, drying his red eyes on the cuff of his coat, was 
ushered before the Doctor up the stairs, and into the governor's 
room, where breakfast was laid for the three gentlemen. There he 
briefly told how he had found the snake drinking the milk ; and 
having intercepted the reptile's retreat, had been obliged, in self- 
defence, to fight with it until he had whipped it to death a 
consummation as unlocked for as regretted, 

He had not, as at first surmised, escaped unwounded in the 
contest ; but, as Dr. Stone had said, and the surgeon who dressed 
the bites confirmed, the terrible-looking reptile was but the common 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 83 

ringed-snake, which takes freely to the water ; and its bite was 
harmless. From the dais in the refectory both snake and whip 
were exhibited to the boys after breakfast. 

" My lads," said the governor, " I daresay you will all be glad 
to know that the thief who stole the milk has been taken." 

There was a general shout of assent, with here and there a 
wondering glance at the vacant seat of Jabez, who, having his 
wounds washed and bound up, had not sat down with them, but 
had a sort of complimentary breakfast with the servants in the 
kitchen. 

"And I daresay you would like to see the thief, and know 
how he was caught." 

There was another general " Ay, ay, sir ! " 

"Well, here he is" (and he held the snake aloft); "but I 
don't think any of you will be thrashed on his account again. 
Jabez Clegg, here " (and he pulled the reluctant boy forward 
by the shoulder), "caught the sly robber drinking the milk, 
and, with nothing but this whip and a fearless, resolute arm, put 
a stop to his depredations, and restored the lost character of 
the school." 

There was a loud hurrah for Jabez Clegg, who for the time 
being was a hero. Then, the snake being carried to the 
schoolroom, the Rev. John Gresswell improved the occasion by 
a lesson on snakes in general, and that one in particular. But 
when he dissipated the popular belief that all snakes were 
venomous, and assured the boys that the bite of this was 
innocuous, more than one of the Blue-coated lads thought Jabez 
was not such a hero after all. 

The heads of the College thought otherwise. The snake, and 
whip also, were placed high up against a wall in the College 
museum, close beside the " woman's clog which was split by a 
thunderbolt, and hoo wasn't hurt." They made part of the 



84 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

catalogue of the Blue-coat guides nay, even Jabez may have 
run the rapid chronicle from the reel himself; but the pain 
and shock of having wilfully killed a living creature neutralised 
and prevented the harm which might have followed self- 
glorification. 

The long unknown secret spoiler of the dairy had been such 
a blemish on the spotless character of the Chetham Hospital 
such a scandal in its little world that its capture became of 
sufficient importance for Dr. Thomas Stone to communicate to 
the Reverend Joshua Brookes on his next visit to the library, 
Jabez being considered a sort of prot/gJ of his. 

Before the day was out the parson found his cough troublesome, 
and, of course, went to Mrs. Clowes for horehound-drops. 

" Well, what do you think of young Cheat-the-fishes now ? " 
came raspily from his lips, as he leaned on the counter, evidently 
prepared for a gossip, shop-chairs being unheard-of superfluities 
in those days. 

Mrs. Clowes knew perfectly well whom the parson meant by 
" young Cheat-the-fishes " ; indeed, the boy, on his rare holidays, 
had been a customer, as were the boys of College and Grammar 
School generally. 

"Now? Why, what's th' lad been doing? Naught wrong, I 
reckon ? " 

You see she had faith in the boy's open countenance. 

" Humph ! that's as folk think," he growled, keeping his own 
opinion to himself. " I don't suppose I need to tell you the 
hubbub there's been over there " (jerking his finger in the 
direction of the College) " about the stolen milk ? That tale's 
old enough." 

Mrs. Clowes nodded her mob-cap in assent. 

"Well, that lad Jabez found a snake, four feet long, with 
its head in the milk pans the other morning, The sly thief 



*THE MANCHESTER MAN. 85 

turned spiteful, and the two had a battle-royal all to themselves 
in the cellar. The pugnacious rapscallion had a whip in his 
hand, and he lashed the snake to death ! " 

Mrs. Clowes echoed his last words, and uplifted her hands in 
amazement. A snake was a terrible reptile to her. 

" Ah ! and then blubbered like a cry-a-babby because he had 
killed it! What do you think of that, Dame Clowes?" 

" Eh ! I think he was a brave little chap to face a sarpent, 
but I think a fine sight more of his blubbering, as you call it," 
said she, taking a tin canister from a shelf, and putting it on 
the counter with an emphatic bounce. 

" Ah ! I thought I could match the young fool with an old 
one," said he derisively, to hide his own satisfaction, as he took 
his short legs to the door. 

But Mrs. Clowes called him back, put a large paper parcel 
in his hand, and said 

" Here, Jotty, see you give these sweetmeats to your cry-a- 
babby, and tell him an old woman says there's no harm in 
fighting in self-defence with any kind of a snake, or for his 
own good name, or to protect the helpless ; but, if he fights 
just to show off his own bravery, he's a coward. And you tell 
him from me never to be ashamed of tears he has shed in 
repentance for injury he may have done to any living thing. 
Now see you tell him, parson ; and maybe my preachment may 
be worth more to him than my cakes or toffy, or your sarmons." 
And she nodded her head till her cap-border flapped like a 
bird's wings. 

" Ugh ! dame, you'll be for wagging that tongue and mutch 
of yours in my pulpit next," said he, gruffly. 

But he delivered the parcel and the " preachment " both 
faithfully, and, moreover, turned over his stores of old school 
books for a Latin grammar, which he put into the hand of 



86 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

Jabez, with a promise to instruct the boy in the language, if he 
would like to learn. 

Forthwith Jabez, not caring to seem ungracious, though 
without any special liking for the task, had to encroach upon 
his play hours for a new study, under-rated by the pupil, over- 
rated by the teacher. 

Could Joshua Brookes have put mathematical instruments 
within his reach, or given him pencils and colours, the boy's 
eyes would have sparkled, and study been a pleasure. 




Dnmn aitdSiynired under Ac, iteration of J.JSrian. 



red fyJJtaper iffv/n a Jun-ty Jfr- Thi'nUan 



f.amlt>/i~fiihfisfit,i far tfte 'Avpne&miiy Vernor,&<ied Jt Jharpc, foul&y. -Ip '? 




flnant antlSiyntred under die ^nation ffJCJMOfM. 



Penurr,Sft^ Jt J^arpt.fffuloy, Apr. 



tv accompany <%e Beouluf 



CHAPTER THE TENTH. 



FIRST ANTAGONISM. 

HE extensive oblong enclosure 
. known as Ardwick Green, 
situated at the south-eastern 
extremity of the town, on the 
left-hand side of the highway 
to Stockport and London, was, 
in 1809, part of a suburban 
village, and from Piccadilly to 
a blacksmith's forge a little 
beyond Ardwick Bridge, fields 
and hedges were interspersed 
with the newly-erected houses 
along Bank Top. 

The Green, studded here 
and there with tall poplars 
and other trees, was fenced round with quite an army of stumpy 
wooden posts some six feet apart, connected by squared iron 
rods, a barrier against cattle cnly. A long, slightly serpentine 
lake spread its shining waters from end to end within the soft 
circlet of green ; and this grassy belt served as a promenade 
for the fashionable inhabitants. And there must have been such 
in that village of Ardwick early in the century, as now, for the 
one bell in the tiny turret of St. Thomas's small, plain, red- 




COLLEGE GATE AND GRAMMAR SCHOOL. 



88 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

brick chapel rang a fashionable congregation into its neat pews, 
to listen to the well-toned organ and the devoutly-toned voice 
of the perpetual curate, the Reverend R. Tweddle, if we may 
credit an historian of the time. 

Red-brick church, red-brick houses, hard and cold outside, 
solid and roomy and comfortable within, as Georgian architecture 
ever was, overlooked green and pond, but, luckily, overlooked 
them from a reasonable distance, and, moreover, did not elbow 
each other too closely, but were individually set in masses of 
foliage, which toned down the staring brickwork. Time and 
smoke have done so more effectually since. 

One of the best, and best-looking of these houses, near the 
church, was the one in which the delicate Mrs. Aspinall had 
presided for a few brief years. An iron palisade, enclosing a 
few shrubs and evergreens, separated it from the wide roadway, 
but behind the screen of brick ran a formal but extensive garden 
and orchard, well-kept and well-stocked, with a fish-pond as 
formal in the midst. 

Fish-ponds encourage damp, and damp encourages frogs, efts, 
and their kin. Here they abounded, and Master Laurence had a 
sort of instinctive belief that they were created solely for his sport 
and amusement. Mr. Aspinall, his father, immersed in business 
during the day, and occupied with friends at home or abroad until 
late hours at night, saw very little of his son, who was thus . con- 
signed to servants during those hours not spent, or supposed to be 
spent, at a preparatory school close at hand. 

The boy was quick and intelligent, had his mother's amber curls 
and azure eyes, her delicate skin and brilliant colour, but the 
handsome face had more of the father therein, and was too 
unformed to brook description here. 

What he might have been with other training is not to be told, 
but under the supposition that he inherited his mother's fragile 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 89 

constitution, he had been woefully spoiled and pampered. Opposition 
to his will was forbidden. 

" Bear with him, Kitty, for my sake, and do not thwart him, or 
you will break his fine spirit," had been Mrs. Aspinall's dying 
charge to her old nurse ; and as every demonstration of temper 
was ascribed by both parents to this same " fine spirit," what 
wonder that he grew up masterful and worse ? 

His imperious disposition early ingratiated him into the favour 
of Bob, his father's groom ; and this man, thinking no evil, ignoran-tly 
sowed the seeds of cruelty in his young heart. 

When the horses were singed, the boy was allowed to be a 
spectator ; if a whelp had his ears cropped, or the end of its tail 
bitten of, he was treated to a sight. If a brood of kittens or a 
litter of puppies had to be drowned, Master Laurence was sure to 
be in at the death. He was taken to surreptitious cock-fights and 
rat hunts ; and though, when too late, Mr. Aspinall turned the man 
away for inclining his son to "low pursuits," nothing was said or 
done to counteract these lessons of cruelty ! No wonder, then, that 
to him the sight of pain inflicted brought pleasure, or that inhumanity 
went hand-in-hand with self-will. 

One incident a real one will suffice to show what Laurence 
Aspinall was, when Jabez Clegg shed tears over the snake he had 
killed perforce. 

Kitty was in the kitchen alone. The maids were in other parts 
of the house. She was sitting close to a blazing fire on account of 
her " rheumatics," and was in a dose. The evening was drawing in. 
Master Laurence, coming direct from the garden and the fish-pond, 
burst open the kitchen door with a whoop which made Kitty start 
from her nap in a fright. Thereupon he set up a loud laugh as the 
poor old woman held her hand to her side, and panted for breath. 
In his hand was his pocket-handkerchief, tied like a bundle, in 
which something living seemed to move and palpitate. They were 



90 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

young frogs in various stages ot development " Now, Kitty," said 
he, " I'll show you some rare sport " and taking one of the live 
frogs out of the handkerchief, deliberately threw it into the midst 
of the glowing fire, 

" There, Kitty ; did you hear that ? " cried he in rapture, as the 
poor animal uttered a cry of agony almost human, whilst he danced 
on the hearth like a frantic savage round a sacrificial fire. 

"Oh, Master Laurence! Master Laurence! don't do that don't 
be so cruel ! " appealed Kitty, piteously. 

But he had drawn another forth, and crying, " Cruel ! It's fun, 
Kitty fun ! " tore it limb from limb, and threw it piecemeal into 
the blaze. 

" There's another ! and there's another ! " he shouted in glee, as 
the rest followed in swift succession ; and Kitty, shrieking in pain 
and horror, ran from the kitchen, bringing the cook and housemaid 
downstairs with her cries. 

For the first time in his life Mr. Aspinall administered a sound 
castigation to his son, regretting that he had not done it earlier. 

No more was said of his son's fine spirit; but, prompt to act, 
he lost no time in seeking his admission into the Free Grammar 
School ; and either to spare him the long daily walk, in tenderness 
for his health (Ardwick was more than a mile away), or to place 
him under strict supervision, boarded Laurence with one of the 
masters. 

Yet he gave that master no clue to his son's besetting sin ; 
so he was left free to tantalise and torment every weaker creature 
within his orbit, from the schoolmaster's cat, which he shod with 
walnut-shells, to the youngest school-boy, whose books he tore and 
hid, whose hair he pulled, whose cap and frills he soused in the mud. 

It was a misfortune for himself and others that his pocket 
money was more abundant than that of his fellows. Never had the 
apple-woman or Mrs, Clowes a more lavish customer, or one who 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 91 

distributed his purchases more freely. Boys incapable of discrimina- 
ting between generosity and profusion dubbed him generous ; and 
that, coupled with his handsome face and spirited bearing, which 
they mistook for courage, brought him partizans. 

Thus, long before his first year expired, and he was drafted 
from the lower school to the room above, where he came under 
the keen eye and heavy ferule of Joshua Brookes, he had a 
body of lads at his beck (many older than himself), ready for 
any mischief he might propose. 

As well may be supposed, there was a natural antagonism 
between the boys of the Grammar School and of Chetham's 
Hospital. As at the confluence of two streams the waters chafe 
and foam and fret each other, so it is scarcely possible for two 
separate communities, similar, yet differing in their constitutions, 
to have their gateways close together at right angles without 
frequent collision between the rival bodies. 

In the great gate of the College, only open on special 
occasions, was a small door or wicket, for ordinary use ; and 
some of the Grammar School boys, under pretence of shortening 
their route homeward, finding it open, would make free to cross 
the College Yard at a noisy canter, and let themselves out at 
the far gate on Hunt's Bank. It was a clear trespass. They 
were frequently admonished by one official or another ; their 
passage was disputed by the Blue-coat boys ; but they persisted 
in setting up a right of road, and opposition only gave piquancy 
to their bravado. 

That which began with individual assumption soon attained 
the character of boldly-asserted party aggression, and, as the 
Blue-coat boys were as determined to preserve their rights as the 
others were to invade them, many and well-contested were the 
consequent fights and struggles. And thus the two boys, Jabez 
Clegg and Laurence Aspinall, brought together first at the church 



go THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

young frogs in various stages of development. " Now, Kitty," said 
he, " I'll show you some rare sport " and taking one of the live 
frogs out of the handkerchief, deliberately threw it into the midst 
of the glowing fire. 

"There, Kitty; did you hear that?" cried he in rapture, as the 
poor animal uttered a cry of agony almost human, whilst he danced 
on the hearth like a frantic savage round a sacrificial fire. 

" Oh, Master Laurence ! Master Laurence ! don't do that don't 
be so cruel ! " appealed Kitty, piteously. 

But he had drawn another forth, and crying, " Cruel ! It's fun, 
Kitty fun ! " tore it limb from limb, and threw it piecemeal into 
the blaze. 

" There's another ! and there's another ! " he shouted in glee, as 
the rest followed in swift succession ; and Kitty, shrieking in pain 
and horror, ran from the kitchen, bringing the cook and housemaid 
downstairs with her cries. 

For the first time in his life Mr. Aspinall administered a sound 
castigation to his son, regretting that he had not done it earlier. 

No more was said of his son's fine spirit; but, prompt to act, 
he lost no time in seeking his admission into the Free Grammar 
School ; and either to spare him the long daily walk, in tenderness 
for his health (Ardwick was more than a mile away), or to place 
him under strict supervision, boarded Laurence with one of the 
masters. 

Yet he gave that master no clue to his son's besetting sin ; 
so he was left free to tantalise and torment every weaker creature 
within his orbit, from the schoolmaster's cat, which he shod with 
walnut-shells, to the youngest school-boy, whose books he tore and 
hid, whose hair he pulled, whose cap and frills he soused in the mud. 

It was a misfortune for himself and others that his pocket 
money was more abundant than that of his fellows. Never had the 
apple-woman or Mrs. Clowes a more lavish customer, or one who 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 91 

distributed his purchases more freely. Boys incapable of discrimina- 
ting between generosity and profusion dubbed him generous ; and 
that, coupled with his handsome face and spirited bearing, which 
they mistook for courage, brought him partizans. 

Thus, long before his first year expired, and he was drafted 
from the lower school to the room above, where he came under 
the keen eye and heavy ferule of Joshua Brookes, he had a 
body of lads at his beck (many older than himself), ready for 
any mischief he might propose. 

As well may be supposed, there was a natural antagonism 
between the boys of the Grammar School and of Chetham's 
Hospital. As at the confluence of two streams the waters chafe 
and foam and fret each other, so it is scarcely possible for two 
separate communities, similar, yet differing in their constitutions, 
to have their gateways close together at right angles without 
frequent collision between the rival bodies. 

In the great gate of the College, only open on special 
occasions, was a small door or wicket, for ordinary use ; and 
some of the Grammar School boys, under pretence of shortening 
their route homeward, finding it open, would make free to cross 
the College Yard at a noisy canter, and let themselves out at 
the far gate on Hunt's Bank. It was a clear trespass. They 
were frequently admonished by one official or another ; their 
passage was disputed by the Blue-coat boys ; but they persisted 
in setting up a right of road, and opposition only gave piquancy 
to their bravado. 

That which began with individual assumption soon attained 
the character of boldly-asserted party aggression, and, as the 
Blue-coat boys were as determined to preserve their rights as the 
others were to invade them, many and well-contested were the 
consequent fights and struggles. And thus the two boys, Jabez 
Clegg and Laurence Aspinall, brought together first at the church 



94 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

the deep gateway until all were within, rushed, with vociferous 
shouts, from under cover, and tore across the large yard in the 
direction of the other gate, daring anyone to check them. 

The College boys, just emerging from their school-room door 
in the corner, were, for the moment, taken aback. Then, from 
the mouth of Joshua Brookes' new Latin scholar, rang, clear 
and distinct, Humphrey Chetham's motto "Quod tuum tene!" 
(What you have, hold!) and the Blue -coat boys, with one George 
Pilkington for their leader, threw themselves, at that rallying cry, 
like a great wave, headlong upon the intruders. 

They met the shock as a rock meets a wave, and down went 
many a gallant Blue-coat in the dust Up they were in an 
instant, face to face with the besiegers ; and then, each singling 
out an opponent, fought or wrestled for the mastery with all the 
courage and animosity, if not the skill, of practised combatants. 
Ben Travis and George Pilkington fought hand to hand, and Jabez 
not for the first time measured his strength with Laurence. 

Heavier, stronger, older by a few months, Jabez might have 
overmatched his antagonist; but Laurence had profited by the 
lessons of Bob, the discarded groom, and every blow was planted 
skilfully, and told. Then Bob's teaching had been none of the 
most chivalrous, and Laurence took unfair advantage. He "struck 
below the belt," and then tripping Jabez up, like the coward that 
he was, kicked him, as he lay prostrate, with the fury of a 
savage. 

Governor, schoolmaster, librarian, and porter had hastened to 
the scene; but the assailants nearly doubled the number of the 
College boys, and set lawful authority at defiance, hurling at 
them epithets such as only schoolboys could devise. 

Fortunately, their own Blue-coat boys were amenable to 
discipline, and, called off, one by one retreated to the house, 
often with pursuers close at their heels. Then the Grammar 




THE FIGHT IN THE COLLEGE YARD. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 95 

School tribe set up a scornful, triumphant shout, and, with Ben 
Travis and Laurence Aspinall at their head, marched out of the 
College Yard at the Hunt's Bank gate, exulting in their victory, 
even though they left one of their bravest little antagonists 
insensible behind them 



CHAPTER THE ELEVENTH. 



THE BLUE-COAT BOY. 




HOSE were rough days, when 
an occasional brawl was sup- 
posed essential to test the 
mettle of man or boy, so 
that bruises and black eyes 
(the result of an encounter 
for the honour of the school) 
were passed over with much 
lighter penalties than would 
be dealt out now-a-days if 
young gentlemen in a public 
academy descended to black- 
guardism. 

At that time, too, the 
pupils of the Grammar School 
assembled at seven in the 

morning, and sure punishment awaited the laggard who failed 
to present himself for prayers. There were few loiterers on that 
drear October morning. Conscience, and perhaps a dread of 
consequences, had kept the preceding day's war-party sufficiently 
awake, even where sore limbs did not But, with the exception 
of a few smart raps with the ferule, to warm cold fingers, and 



A BLUE-COAT BOY. 




THE REV. JEREMIAH SMITH, D.D. 
From an EtlflwVlttf. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 97 

a general admonition little heeded the early hours of the 
morning passed quietly enough, more congratulatory than prophetic. 

That day went by, and the next. Laurence Aspinall, whose 
"science" had saved his head from more damage than a cut 
lip, was especially boastful ; and, after his own underhand fashion, 
strove to stir big Ben Travis to fresh demonstrations. 

Then a cloud loomed in the horizon and darkened every 
master's brow. Another whisper was in circulation that Governor 
Terry had been seen to enter the head-master's ancient black 
and white old house, and had been closeted with Dr. Smith for 
more than an hour. Still the quiet was unbroken, and, to the 
wise, the very calm was ominous. 

The second of November brought a revelation. On the 
slightly-raised floor of the high school, at the Millgate end of 
the room, sat, not only Dr. Jeremiah Smith, but the trustees of 
the school, the Reverend Joshua Brookes, and the assistant 
masters ; and with them was Governor Terry, of the Chetham 
Hospital all grave and stern. Dr. Smith's mild face was 
unusually severe, and Joshua's shaggy brows loured menacingly 
over his angry eyes. The senior pupils, chiefly young men 
preparing for college, were ranged on either side. 

As the last of these awful personages filed in through the 
two-leaved door, and took his place, the palpitating hearts of 
the delinquents beat audibly, and courage oozed from many a 
clammy palm. 

The boys were summoned from the lower school, and one by 
one, name by name, Ben Travis and his followers were called to 
take their stand before this formidable tribunal, Laurence Aspinall 
shrinking edgeways, as if to screen himself from observation. 

There was little need for Dr. Smith to strike his ferule on 
the table to command attention, silence was so profound. Even 
nervous feet forgot to shuffle, Dr. Smith's commanding eye 



9 8 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 



swept the trembling rank from end to end, as he stood with 
impressive dignity to address them. 

After a brief exordium, in which he recounted the several 
charges brought against the boys by Governor Terry, he proceeded 
to say that the good character of the Manchester Grammar 
School was imperilled by lawless conduct such as the boys 
before him had exhibited the previous Tuesday, in forcibly 
entering, and then rioting within, the College Yard. 

One of the youths most likely Ben Travis blurted forth that 
they had a right to go through the College Yard, and that the 
College boys stopped them. 

"You mistake," said the doctor, sternly; "there is no public right 
of road through the College Yard. Permission is courteously 
granted, but there is no right. There is a right for the public to 
pass to and from the College and its library on business, within the 
hours the gates are open ; but even that must be in order and 
decency. Your conduct was that of barbarians, not gentlemen." 

At this point of the proceedings Jabez Clegg came into the 
school-room, leaning on the arm of George Pilkington. The face 
of the latter was bruised and swollen, but Jabez looked deplorable. 
His long blue overcoat was rent in more than one place ; he walked 
with a limp ; a white bandage round his head made his white face 
whiter still, showing more distinctly the livid and discoloured 
patches under the half-closed eyes. In obedience to a nod from 
Governor Terry, George Pilkington led his Blue-coat brother to a 
seat beside him ; but Dr. Smith, drawing the boy gently to his 
side, removed the bandage, and showed Jabez to the school with 
one deeply-cut eyebrow plaistered up. 

" What boy among you has been guilty of this outrage ? " he 
asked, sternly. 

There was no answer. Some of the little ones took out their 
handkerchiefs and began to whimper, fearing condign punishment 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 99 

The doctor repeated his question. The boys looked from one to 
another, but there was still no reply. Laurence Aspinall edged 
farther behind his coadjutor, but he had not the manliness either 
to confess or regret. His only fear was detection, or betrayal 
by a traitor. There was little fear of that ; grammar-school boys 
have a detestation of a "sneak." 

"Boys, we cannot permit the perpetrator of such an outrage 
to remain in your midst ; he must be expelled ! " 

Still no one spoke. 

"Do you think you could recognise your assailant the boy 
who kicked you after you were down ? " (a murmur ran round 
the school as the classes were ordered to defile -slowly past Dr. 
Smith's desk). 

Ben Travis walked with head erect he would have scorned 
such a deed and Laurence tried to do the same, but his cruel 
blue eyes could not meet those of his possible accuser, 

There was a struggle going on in the heart of Jabez. It was 
in his power to revenge himself for many taunts and sarcasms, 
and much previous abuse. He called to mind for thought is 
swift that Shrove Tuesday when Laurence and his friends 
caught him as he descended Mrs. Clowes' steps with a penny- 
worth of humbugs in his hand, and snatching his cap from his 
head, kicked it about Half Street and the churchyard as a 
football, And he seemed to feel again the twitch at his dark 
hair and the dreadful pain in his spine and loins, as they bent 
him backwards over the coping of the low wall, in order to 
wrest his sweets from him, and held him there perforce till 
stout Mrs. Clowes, armed with a rolling-pin, came to his rescue, 
laying about her vigorously, and kept him in her back parlour 
until he revived. 

" Forgive and forget " are words for the angels, and Jabez 
was not an angel, but a boy with quick-beating pulses, and a 



ioo THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

vivid memory. There was a fight going on in his breast fiercer 
than either that in Half Street or that in the College Yard. 
His sore, stiff limbs, and smarting brow, urged him like voices 
to " pay him off for all," and revenge began to have a sweet 
savour in his mouth. 

As he hesitated, watching the slow approach of his foe among 
his nobler mates, a harsh voice behind him called out, " Jabez, 
why do you not answer Dr. Smith ? " 

The emphasis Joshua Brookes had laid upon the " Jabez " 
recalled the boy's better self. The oft-repeated text flashed across 
his mind, "Jabez was an honourable man," and it shaped his 
reply. 

"Well, sir, it was almost dark, and and" he was going to 
add too dark to distinguish features, but he recollected that that 
would be a falsehood, and lying was no more honourable than 
malice. 

" And you could not recognise him, you mean ? " suggested 
Dr. Smith. 

His lip- quivered. 

"No, sir, I do not mean that. It was very dark, but I 
think I should know him again. But, oh ! if you please, sir, 
I should not like to turn him out of school. You see, we were 
all fighting together, and we were all in a passion, and and it 
would be very mean of me to turn him out of school because he 
hurt me in a fight" (Jabez did not say a fair fight). 

" Ah ! " said Dr. Smith, and, turning to Mr. Terry, asked, 
"Are all the Chetham lads reared on the same principle?" 

Then there was a low-voiced discussion amongst trustees and 
masters. Finally, Dr. Smith turned round. His clear eye had 
detected the culprit as he winced beneath the gaze of Jabez. 
But the injured boy had forgiven, and it was not for him to 
condemn. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. lot 

Again he spoke proclaimed how Jabez had magnanimously 
declined to single out his cowardly antagonist ; and that the 
boy, whoever he might be, had to thank his most honourable 
victim that he was not ignominiously expelled. Then quietly, 
but emphatically, he pronounced the decision of the trustees that 
instant expulsion should follow any or every repetition of the 
offence which had called them together not only the expulsion 
of the ringleaders, but of all concerned ; and that even a fair fight 
between a Grammar School and a Blue-coat boy should be visited 
with suspension pending enquiry, the offender to be expelled, 
whether from School or College. 

" Good lad, Jabez good lad ! " said Joshua Brookes to him, as 
George Pilkington helped his limping steps from the room. 

On the broad flat step outside the door they encountered big 
Ben Travis, who caught the hand of Jabez in a rough grip, with 
the exclamation, " Give us your fist, my young buck ! You've 
more pluck in your finger than that carroty Aspinall has in his 
whole carcase, the mean cur! An' look you, my lad, if any of 
them set on you again, I'll stand by and see fair play ; or I'll 
fight for you if it's a big chap, or my name's not Ben Travis." 

"Who talks of fighting? Haven't you had enough for one 
while, you great raw-boned brute? You'd better keep your ready 
fists in your pockets, Travis, if you don't want to be kicked 
out of school!" After which gruff reminder Joshua left them, 
and Jabez went back to the College with one more friend in the 
world ; but that friend was not Laurence Aspinall. 

He, smarting under a sense of obligation, shrunk away to bite 
his nails and vent his spleen in private, conscious that he "was 
shunned by his classmates, and despised by honest Ben Travis. 

As months and seasons sped onwards, they plucked the hairs 
from Simon Clegg's crown, and left a bald patch to tell of care 
or coming age ; they stole the roundness from Bess's figure, the 



102 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

hope from her heart and eyes. There was less vigour in the beat 
of her batting-wand, less elasticity in her step. The periodical 
holidays and cheering visits of Jabez were the only pleasant 
breaks in the monotonous life of the Cleggs. Beyond the 
knowledge obtained at the billeting office in King Street that 
Tom Hulme had entered the army and gone abroad with his 
regiment, no tidings of the self-exiled soldier had come to them. 
In the great vortex of war his name had been swallowed up and 
lost. But she never said "Ay" to Matthew Cooper, though he 
waited and waited, smoking his Sunday pipe by the fireside even till 
his own Molly was old enough to have a sweetheart, and to want 
to leave her father's crowded hearth for a quieter one of her own. 

Those same months and years added alike to the stature and 
attainments of Jabez Clegg and Laurence Aspinall, though in very 
unequal ratio. The former, though he had long since astonished 
Simon with his fluent rendering of the big Bible, was but a 
plodding scholar of average ability, the range of whose studies was" 
limited, notwithstanding Parson Joshua's voluntary Latin lessons. 
The latter had an aptitude for learning, which made his masters 
press him forward; and Joshua Brookes forgave the tricks he 
played, his translations were so clear and so correct. Yet, when 
he wrote stinging couplets or "St. Crispin" on the Parson's door, 
or put cobblers'-wax on the pedagogue's chair, the covert reference 
to his parentage stung the irascible man more than the damage to 
kerseymere, and in his wrath he birched his pupil into penitence. 

His penitence took a peculiar form. A discovery was made 
that a general dance in the school-room would shake the pewter 
platters and crockery down from dresser and corner cupboard in 
Joshua's house adjoining. Whenever the dominie had growled over 
bad lessons with least cause, Laurence was sure to propose a grand 
hornpipe after school hours. Back would rush Joshua fast as his 
short legs would carry him, spluttering with passion ; but the 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 



103 



nimbler lads disappeared when they heard the crash, and, as a 
rule, Joshua's temper cooled before morning. 

Laurence Aspinall's chief source of amusement from his first 
entrance into the Grammar School had been the crippled father 
of Joshua Brookes. As the old fellow staggered home drunk, the 
street boys would hoot at him, pull him about, pelt him with mud, 
and mock at him, till his impotent fury found vent in a storm of 
vile and opprobrious language. Laurence was sure to enjoy a 
scene of this kind, but he was generally sly enough to act as 
prompter, not as principal. 

The old man was a great angler; and that he might enjoy 
unmolested his favourite pastime, his son had obtained from Colonel 
Hansom permission for him to fish in Strangeways Park ponds. 
Thither he had an empty hogshead conveyed, and the crippled old 
cobbler, with a flask of rum for company, sat within it, often the 
night through, to catch fish. The Irk had not then lost its repute 
for fine eels, and old Brookes who, by the way, wore his hair in 
a pigtail was likewise wont to plant himself, with rod and line, on 
what was the Waterworth Field, on the Irwell side of Irk Bridge, 
to catch eels. 

Returning one afternoon (Joshua was busied with clerical duties), 
Laurence Aspinall and his fellows met the old man staggering along 
with his rod over his shoulder and a basket of eels in one hand. 

He had called at the "Packhorse" for a dram, and went on, as 
was his wont, talking noisily to himself. He had steered 
round the corner in safety; but hearing one lively voice call 
out, "Here's Old Fishtail;" and another, "Here's St. Crispin's 
Cripple ;" and a third, " Make way for Diogenes," as he was 
passing the high-master's ancient house he gave a lurch, meaning 
to reprove them solemnly the top of his rod caught in the 
prominent pillar of the doorway, and was torn from his insecure 
grasp. Striving to recover it, he pitched forward, and in falling 



1 



104 TH E MANCHESTER MAN. 

dropped his basket in the mud, and set the writhing, long-lived 
fish at liberty to swim in the gutter swollen with recent rain. 

The lounging lads at once set up a shout ; but Laurence, 
with a timely recollection that the front of Dr. Smith's was 
scarcely the most convenient place for his purpose, winked at 
his companions, and, with an aspect of mock commiseration, 
politely assisted the old man to rise, begged the others to 
capture the eels and carry the basket for him, and, under 
pretence of putting the angler's rod in order, contrived to fasten 
the hook to the end of his old-fashioned pigtail. 

Then he helped his unsteady steps until they were fairly out 
of Dr. Smith's sight and hearing ; but they did not suffer him 
to reach his son's house before they showed their true colours. 
Loosing his hold, Laurence snatched at the rod, and, darting 
with it towards the College gate, cried out in high glee, "I've 
been fishing; look at the fine snig (eel) I've caught!" And, 
as he capered about, he dragged the poor old cripple hither 
and thither backwards by his pigtail, to which hook and line 
were attached. 

Old Brookes screamed in impotent rage and pain ; the boys 
laughed and shouted the louder. The one with his basket set it 
on his head, and paraded about, crying, " Who'll buy my snigs ? 
Fine fresh snigs!" with the nasal drawl of a genuine fish-seller. 

Once or twice the old man fell down, uttering awful threats 
and imprecations ; but Laurence only laughed the more, and 
jerked him up again with a smart twitch of the line, which 
was a strong one, and the other three or four young ruffians 
put up their shoulders, and limped about singing 

" The fishes drink water, 

Old Crispin drinks gin ; 
But the fishes come out 

When the hook he throws in. 
Tol de rol." 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 105 

It may be wondered that none of the neighbours interfered. 
But it must be remembered that they were accustomed, not only 
to the uproar of a boyish multitude, but to the drunken ravings 
of old Brookes, who was an intolerable nuisance. Public traffic 
then was not as now, and policemen were unborn. 

The satisfaction of Laurence was at its height, He kept 
hold of the line ; one of his comrades, named Barret, lashed the 
persecuted man with an eel for a whip, and their mirth was 
boisterous, when Jabez (now thirteen) came quietly through the 
wicket on an errand from the governor. 

He took in the scene at a glance. He could not stand by 
and see injustice done. His dark eyes flashed with indignation 
as he dashed forward, pulling the line from the hand of 
Laurence, and tried to disentangle the cruel hook from the 
unfortunate pigtail. 

"Who asked you to interfere? you petticoated jackanapes!" 
bawled Laurence, darting forward, his face as red as his hair, at 
the same time" dealing Jabez a heavy blow on the chest. 

"My duty!" answered Jabez, stoutly, taking no notice of the 
sneer at himself. " How could you gentlemen torment a poor 
old cripple like that?" 

" He's a drunken old sot !" cried Barret. 

"It's downright cruel!" continued Jabez, as he stood between 
the jabbering drunkard and his tormentors. 

" We're no more cruel than he is ! He's been catching 
fishes all day. We've only given him a taste of his 
own hook ; and we'll have none of your meddling !" and 
out went the pugilistic arm of Laurence straight from the 
shoulder to deal another blow, when it was caught from 
behind by the bony hand of Ben Travis, bigger and stronger 
by two years' growth, whilst the other hand gripped his jacket 
collar. 



io6 THE MANCHESTER MAN 

"So you're at your cowardly tricks again, Aspinall ?" exclaimed 
he, holding the other as if in a vice. But if I see you lay 
another ringer on that lad, I'll report you to Dr. Smith." 

"Oh! you'd turn sneak, would you?" sneered Laurence, 
striving to twist himself loose, and disordering his broad white 
frill in the endeavour. 

" I'd think I did the Grammar School a service to turn 
either you or Barret out of it, I would ! Think of you setting 
on that noble chap who wouldn't turn tell-tale, though he'll 
carry the mark of your boot to his grave with him !" 

Pointing with outstretched hand to Jabez, who, by this time, 
was handing old Brookes over to the grumbling care of Tabitha, 
and whose right eyebrow yet showed a red seam, Travis relaxed 
his hold of Laurence, and he shook himself free. 

Some warm altercation followed. There was a scowl of sullen 
defiance on Aspinall's face, and an evil glance towards Jabez, 
which Travis observing, with a significant nod he linked his arm 
in that of the Blue-coat boy, and never left him till he reached 
his destination, Mr. Hyde's ancient and picturesque tea-shop, in 
Market-street Lane. Yet it meant a detour by Cateaton Street, 
to leave an important note from Dr. Stone at the shop of Ford, 
the dealer in rare books, and a stretch up Smithy Door to the 
Market Place, where the office of Harrop the printer confronted 
them, and the trusty messenger had to wait. 




SMITHY-DOOR AND CATEATON STREET 



CHAPTER THE TWELFTH. 

THE. GENTLEMAN. 

OHAT afternoon a gentleman who had witnessed part 
of the foregoing scene from the breeches-maker's 
window, whither he had gone for a pair of buckskin 
riding-gloves struck by the dauntless manner of 
Jabez, related what he had seen to his wife, Mrs. Ashton, the 
stately sister of Mrs. Chadwick; whilst Augusta, their eight-year-old 
daughter, sat on a footstool by her side, hemming a bandana 
handkerchief for her father, an inveterate snuff-taker occasionally 
putting in a word, as only spoiled daughters did in those days. 

" Mamma, I daresay that's the little boy Cousin Ellen told 
me about," 

" Pooh, pooh ! Augusta," said Mr. Ashton, tapping the lid of 
his snuff-box, and then, from force of habit, handing it to his 
wife, the wave of whose hand put it back "pooh, pooh ! child. 
Do you think there's only one Blue-coat boy in the town ? 
Besides, he was not such a little boy. I know I thought 
something of myself when I was his size," said Mr. Ashton, 
dusting the snuff from his ruffles as he spoke. 

" But he would be a little boy when Ellen knew him first. 
She says it was before I was born." 

" He could not be a Blue-coat boy then, my dear," observed 
Mrs. Ashton; "he was too young," 



io8 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

" But Ellen showed him to me when we went to the College 
at Easter; and she says he has killed a snake a real live 
snake, papa. And Aunt Chadwick bought Ellen such a pretty 
pincushion he had worked, and, oh ! such a handsome bead 
purse ! " 

Mr. Ashton smiled at his daughter's enthusiasm. 

" Ah ! I think I have heard of him before ; he is a sort of 
protigt of Parson Brookes." 

"He is a very honest boy," appended Mrs. Ashton, as she 
examined Augusta's hemming by the light of the nearest wax 
candle. "Ellen lost Prince William's shilling that same day. 
You know she always wears it dangling from her neck, absurd 
as it is for a great girl of fifteen." 

" Well ? " said Augusta, looking up inquiringly. 

" Well, my dear, the very next afternoon, the boy Jabez Clegg 
knocked at the door in Oldham Street, bearing the shilling, 
which he said he had found in sweeping the library, and 
remembered seeing it on Miss Chadwick's neck. Many a boy, 
at Easter, would have spent it in cakes or tony." 

" I suppose, to use one of your favourite maxims, he must 
have thought 'honesty the best policy,'" remarked her husband. 

" Yes ; and ' duty its own reward ' for he refused the 
half-crown that Sarah offered him." 

Mr. Ashton took another pinch of snuff, with grave consideration, 
then put the box, after some deliberation, into his deep waistcoat 
pocket, and again flapped the snuff off ruffles and neck-cloth ends. 

" Wouldn't take the money, you say ? " 

" Would not take it," his wife repeated, folding up the finished 
handkerchief. 

After a pause, Mr. Ashton said, with his head on one side, 

" I think I shall look after that younker. What is he 
like?" 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 109 

" Oh ! that I cannot tell ; I was not with them. But I think 
Sarah said he had got an ugly scar on one of his eyebrows." 

Mr. Ashton brought down his hand with a clap on that of 
Augusta, resting on his knee. 

"Then, my little Lancashire witch, the poor cripple's champion 
and Ellen's hero of romance will be one and the same. I must 
certainly look after that lad." 

But even as Mr. Ashton came to that conclusion Jabez was 
in mortal peril, and his romance and theirs threatened to end 
at the beginning. 

Laurence Aspinall was not of a temper to brook interference 
with his sport, or to be treated as the inferior of a " common 
charity boy." Since the hour that Jabez had declined to single 
him out for punishment, he had resented the sense of his own 
inferiority, which conscience pressed upon him. In refusing to 
tender either thanks or apology at Ben Travis's instigation, he 
lost caste in the school, and the knowledge rankled in his breast. 
Against the debt of gratitude he owed to Jabez he laid up a 
fund of envy and spite, out of which he meant to pay him in 
full the first opportunity. That opportunity had arrived. There 
were some birds of his own feather, who stuck by him, of whom 
Ned Barret was one. 

Old Brookes had been too drunk to swear positively who 
had molested him, or to obtain credence if he did ; but the 
inopportune arrival of Jabez and Ben Travis had made detection 
certain, and nothing was Joshua Brookes so sure to punish with 
severity as an attack on the father who made his life a burden 
to him. 

On the principle that they might "as well be hanged for a 
sheep as a lamb," the noble five resolved to waylay the Blue- 
coat boy on his return, and either extract from him a promise 
of secrecy, or give him a sound drubbing for his pains. 



no THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

They were too like-minded for long conference. To put the 
old breeches-maker off the scent, all dispersed but one, Kit 
Townley, who pulled a top from his pocket and whipped away 
at it with as much energy as ever did his Anglo-Saxon ancestors. 
Perhaps he thought he had a meddlesome College boy under 
his lash. 

After a time, the others sauntered back one by one, from 
contrary directions ; there was more top-whipping, and some ot 
the whips and tops were new, Then when they saw they were 
unobserved, they adjourned to the school-yard, and laying a cap 
on the broad step, two or three of them sat down to a game 
at cob-nut, so that if any unlikely straggler did come that way 
there might be an apparent reason for their presence. 

It was late in the year. The breeches-maker was seated at 
early tea, and so were most of his neighbours. The twilight 
was coming gently down, and the boys, tired of waiting, were 
about to go home to their own Aspinall expecting a reprimand 
for being late. Jabez, who had been delayed at the office of 
Harrop the printer in the Market Place, came briskly up with 
a parcel in his hand just as they reached the gate. One of 
them snatched the parcel from him and ran with it into the 
school-yard. As a natural consequence Jabez followed to regain 
his property. 

That was just what they wanted. The light iron gate was 
pushed-to, and there they were, shut in and screened from 
observation, between the deserted Grammar School on the one 
hand, and the College School-room on the other, which with 
the dormitory above, was equally sure to be empty at that hour. 
They were free to torment him as they pleased. The parcel 
was tossed from hand to hand with subdued glee, and their 
whip-lashes and strung cob-nuts cut at his arms and shoulders, 
as Jabez sprang forward and darted hither and thither, perplexed 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. m 

and baffled in his efforts to recover it. Once or twice it went 
down on the damp ground, and gained in grime what it lost 
in shape. 

" Oh ! dear, dear ! do give me my parcel ! " cried Jabez, in 
perplexity. " Our governor will think I've been loitering." 

"And so you have, you canting yellow-skirt. You stopped 
to put your long finger in our pie!" was the swift retort of 
Laurence, as he interposed his body between Jabez and the boy 
who held his lost charge. 

" Eh ! and you went off with Travis, wasting your time ! " 
added Kit Townley. 

" I never waste my time on an errand." 

" Oh ! Miss Nancy never wastes time on an errand," mimicked 
Ned Barret ; and still they kept the boy on the run, until he 
leaned, out of breath, against the wall which served as a parapet 
above the river. 

Then, the disputed prize being kept by Kit Townley at a 
respectable distance, Laurence advanced to parley with him, offer 
ing to restore his parcel and let him go if he would take 
a solemn oath, which he dictated, to maintain silence on all 
which had transpired that afternoon. 

" I cannot ; I must account for my time," firmly answered 
Jabez, "and I must account for that dirty parcel." 

"Tell them you tumbled down and hurt yourself," suggested 
Aspinall. 

" I cannot ; it would be untrue ! " 

At this the lads set up a loud guffaw, as if truth were 
somewhat out of fashion ; but the one who stood nearest 
the gate with the parcel looked restless, as if beginning to 
be tired of the whole business. Just then Laurence went 
blustering up to the College boy, and, thrusting his face forward, 
said 



H2 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

" If you don't go down on your marrow-bones this instant, 
and swear to tell no tales, \ve'll pitch you over the wall." 

" You dare not ! " boldly retorted Jabez, with a set face. 

"Oh! daren't we? We'll see that! Lend a hand." 

" No, you dare not ! " repeated he, planting himself firmly 
against the wall. 

There was a sudden rush ; they closed round him, more in 
bravado than with any intent to do him bodily harm ; sliding 
him up against the smooth-worn brickwork, they hoisted him 
above their shoulders, meaning to hold him there. But in their 
eagerness they had thrust him too far, and crowding on each 
other, one, being jostled, let go, and Jabez toppled over the 
precipice ! 

There was a scream ; a splash in the water. Tabitha, taking 
clothes from a line in the back-yard, cried out, " What is 
that ? " Parson Brookes' startled pigeons flew from their dove- 
cote, and wheeling round in widening circles, cooed affrightedly. 

The white-faced boys stood aghast. Unless his fall had been 
seen from the opposite croft, their victim would be drowned 
before any aid they could bring was available ; a wide circuit 
must be taken before a bridge could be reached. Buildings 
blocked up that side of the river. They looked at each other 
and spoke in whispers ; then, with an animal instinct of self- 
preservation, sneaked off in silence and terror, leaving him to 
his fate. 

Not all. Kit Townley, who held the parcel, had drawn near 
to remonstrate. With a shriek he threw down the paper, and, 
hardly conscious what he did, tore wildly through the gates, 
and across the College Yard, to startle the first he met with 
the alarm that a College boy was drowning in the Irk ! 



CHAPTER THE THIRTEENTH. 

SIMON'S PUPIL. 

T was fortunate for Jabez 
that the late rains had 
raised the level of the 
Irk ; otherwise, that being 
the shallowest part of the 
stream, there would not 
have been sufficient depth 
of water to buoy him up 
when he was pitched over 
the wall ; and had his 
head come in contact with 
rock or stone, falling from 
such an elevation, his 
history would have closed 
with the last chapter. It 

was doubly fortunate that sensible Simon had taught him that 
without which no boy's education nor, indeed, any girl's either 
is complete, and that Jabez, from very love of the water, had 
kept himself in practice whenever a holiday had given him 
opportunity. 

He had gone over the wall backwards, turning a somersault 
as he fell, and so clearing the rock, but not altogether unprepared ; 
and to him head first, heels first, forward or backward, were all 




JABEZ ON CELLAR STEPS. 



H4 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

as one. Like a cork he rose, and struck out across the river. 
The slimy stone embankment seemed to slip from his touch ; 
there was no hold for his hand ; it was too steep and smooth 
to climb ; and he felt that the river, swift in its fulness, was 
bent on bearing him to the Irvvell, so dangerously near. 

He raised his voice for " Help ! " Tabitha, listening, answered 
with a scream and a shout, and, bolting into the house, disturbed 
the Parson and his besotted father "at their tea" by the outcry 
she made, as she rushed on into the street with the alarm of 
" A lad dreawndin ! " just as the conscious culprits slunk past to 
their own quarters. 

Doctor Stone, the first recipient of terrified Kit Townley's 
incoherent intelligence, was simultaneously racing at full speed, 
with a troop of College boys at his heels, down towards Hunt's 
Bank and the outlet of the Irk, with the swift consciousness 
that the only hope of saving life was in the chance of reaching 
the confluence of the rivers first. He thought the dusk never 
came down so rapidly. A lamplighter, with ladder and flaring 
long-spouted oil-can light, was going his rounds. 

"Turn back, my man, with ladder and light," he called out, 
without stopping ; and the man, seeing something unusual was 
astir or amiss, followed at a canter without question. 

At Irk Bridge the librarian took the light from the man, and 
swung it to cast its reflection over the Irwell ; but nothing was 
to be seen or heard but the full river, and the wash of its 
waters. To cross the bridge, in fear that the boy was beyond 
help, was but the work of a moment. 

Slower, along the wooden railing of the Irk embankment, he 
held the lamp low. There was neither eddy or bubble on the 
water to tell where a drowning mortal had gone down. 

" Jabez ! Jabez Clegg ! " he cried, but there was no response. 
Again and again he [raised his voice " Jabez ! Jabez ! " The 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 115 

only answer was from an advancing crowd, with Parson Brookes 
and Tabitha in their midst, who had rushed to the rescue with 
ropes and poles down the bridge at Mill Brow. 

" I fear it's no use, Parson Brookes," said the librarian sadly ; 
" the river's high, and poor Jabez may have been drifting past 
Stannyhurst before we were out of the College Yard." 

" Jabez ? " exclaimed Joshua aghast, " you cannot mean that 
Jabez Clegg is the boy drowned ! " and he staggered as if some 
one had struck him. 

" Indeed, Parson, if this boy speaks truth, I fear it is so," 
and he turned to question his informant ; but Kit Townley, 
seeing his impulsive schoolmaster approach, had edged away, 
and was gone. 

Gruff Joshua drew the back of his hand across his shaggy 
brows. 

" And so the greedy river has swallowed the bright lad at 
last ! He was a boy of promise, Dr. Stone, and his untimely 
fate is a a trouble to me ; " and the rough Parson's harsh 
voice shook with emotion. " I baptised him, Doctor, and I hoped 
to see him grow up a credit to us all." 

They, and the dispersing crowd, seeing the uselessness of 
longer stay, were moving on towards Mill Brow as he spoke. 

" Who's this ? " he cried, as they neared the bridge, and a 
working woman, her hair flying loose from the kerchief on her 
head, rushed across it with an impetus gained in the steep 
descent. 

It was Bess, with Simon at her heels, close as his stiff 
rheumatic limbs would carry him. She wrung her hands bitterly. 

"Is it true?" she cried in anguish, "is it true? Oh, Parson 
Bracks, is it true that ar Jabez is dreawnded ? '' 

There was the same choking in his voice as he answerecj 
"I'm afraid so, Bess." 



n6 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

Simon's voice now broke in. 

" But are yo' sartain, Parson ? Ar Jabez couldn swim loike 
a duck. An' how cam' he i' th' wayther, aw shouldn loike to 
know?" 

" Swim, did you say ? " interrogated Dr. Stone. " Then there 
may be hope yet. If the eddies would not let him land at 
Waterworth Field, he might swim ashore at Stannyhurst." 

"Pray God it be so!" ejaculated Bess, from a full heart. 

Dr. Stone, hurrying forward, continued 

" Follow me to the College for lanterns to renew the search/' 
And no second invitation was needed. 

And where was Jabez ? He heard Tabitha's cry, but it came 
from the wrong side, and he had sense to know was useless to 
save, unless he could withstand the current till help came round. 
But the strong stream was bearing him on against his will. 
Suddenly he bethought him of the dairy steps, and, with a 
stroke of his left arm, swerved towards the hoary building 
looming through the twilight. One moment later, and the steps 
had been passed, not to be recovered, for the current was 
stronger than he ; but that providentially abrupt turn, and a few 
skilful strokes brought him upon them. Literally upon them, for 
the water was within a few steps of the door. With difficulty 
he obtained a footing, they were so slippery. Once above the 
water, he hammered at the door and called, but his voice was 
weakened by exertion and the shivering consequent on cold, 
wet, clinging garments. Again and again he knocked and called, 
but everyone was out in the quadrangle, or away in search of 
him, and no one heard. 

He had been excited and over-heated in his prolonged 
struggle with his persecutors, and, short as was the distance he 
swam, his efforts to stem the overmastering current had exhausted 
him, Cold and exposure did the rest. He sank on the topmost 







I ' '- 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 117 

step with his head against the door, in the angle it formed 
with the wall, his feet in the water ; and there he lay, too 
faint to respond when Dr. Stone's voice fell on his ear as on 
that of a dreamer. His dark robe, his position, the jutting 
wall all contributed to hide him from the poor rays of the 
one oil-lamp which was flashed along the stream to find 
him. 

And there he might have lain and died had not Nancy, for 
lack of a boy at hand to wait on her, gone down to the cellar 
for milk for the boys' supper. As she filled the wooden piggin 
she had taken with her, she fancied she heard a moan, and, 
listening breathless, heard another, and another, from the outside 
of a door which was (to her thought) inaccessible to mortal. 

Down went the piggin and the milk (she was not a strong- 
minded woman, and it was a superstitious age), up the steps 
she stumbled in her fright, crying 

" Oh, theer's a boggart in th' dairy ! theer's a boggart ! " 

Dr. Stone and his companions came in at the porch as she 
fled upwards towards the kitchen. The firelight gleaming on her 
frightened face caught his attention. Half- fainting she repeated 
her exclamation, adding 

" It moaned like summut wick." 

"Moaned, did you say? Goodness! If it should be " 

Not stopping to finish his sentence, he snatched a light from 
the table, and was unbolting the cellar-door before the governor 
or anyone else could comprehend his movements. They 
understood well enough when he came back into their midst, 
burdened with the limp, dripping form of Jabez, white and 
insensible, and depositing him on a settle near the kitchen fire, 
cried out for restoratives. 

That was a terrible next morning, when the young miscreants, 
as much afraid to play truant as to face possibilities at school, 



n8 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

sneaked to their places and set to their studies with industry 
out of the common. Laurence Aspinall, boarding with a master, 
had no choice in the matter. 

How Jabez got into the water was not clear ; he was too ill 
to be questioned over-night, and was in a fever and delirious by 
noon the next day. But he had never been known to loiter or 
go astray when sent on an errand. Kit Townley's impulsive cry 
of alarm had suggested foul play, and neither Joshua Brookes nor 
Governor Terry had let the night pass without an effort to dive 
into the truth. 

Dr. Stone had conjectured Kit Townley to be a Grammar 
School boy, although personally unknown to him ; and that 
conjecture recalled to Joshua his father's ravings of ill-usage, which 
he had at the time regarded as drunken maudling. It was 
ascertained that the boy had been at Ford's and at Harrop's. 
Inquiry, and the search for the missing parcel, resulted in the 
discovery of a trampled playground, broken whiplashes, a string 
of cobnuts, and, neatly marked in red cotton with his initials, 
one of Laurence Aspinall's cambric ruffles, torn and muddy as 
the parcel. 

There was a conference with Dr. Jeremiah Smith before the 
night was out. A messenger was sent to Mr. Aspinall in Cannon 
Street the next morning, as well as to the trustees of the 
school. 

The following day saw such another conclave as before in the 
Grammar School. Dr. Stone, who was present, picked out the 
boy who had given the alarm; and Kit Townley, trembling for 
himself, told all he knew. Ben Travis, at the outset, in his 
indignation, proffered his evidence, which went to prove malice 
prepense. 

The boys, asked what they had to say for themselves, simply 
answered they had done it for "sport" that they did not mean 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 



iig 



to throw him over, but only to frighten him to "hold his tongue," 
and excused their running home on the plea that they were 
"afraid," Laurence Aspinall boldly said that he knew the boy 
could swim and did not think a ducking would do him much 
harm, and offered to jump off the wall and swim down the river 
himself. Liar as well as boaster, he received a summary check 
from Dr. Smith, apart from the reprimand administered to him 
as the proven ring-leader. 

In these days such a case of outrage would have been brought 
before a magistrate, and the offenders' names sent flying through 
newspaper paragraphs. Then, whether to spare the parental feelings 
of such influential men as Mr. Aspinall, or to save from tarnish 
the fair fame of the school, or to avert the further debasement 
of the boys from prison contact, and give them a chance to 
amend, the school tribunal was allowed to be all-sufficient. 

Ignominious expulsion was dealt out not only to Laurence 
Aspinall and to Ned Barret, but to each of the conspirators 
Kit Townley, honourably acquitted by them of participation in the 
final attack, alone escaping with a caution, a severe reprimand, and 
as severe a flogging ; which special immunity he had purchased 
by running white-faced to give the alarm. It is possible he 
scarcely estimated the value of that immunity at the time. 

But the loud hurrahs which hailed this sentence testified how 
the Grammar School boys valued their honour as a school, and 
how proud they were to be purged of such offenders. 

Mr. Aspinall, too much agitated to witness his son's public 
disgrace, waited the result of the inquiry in the head-master's 
house ; and if ever Laurence Aspinall felt ashamed of his own 
misconduct, it was when his father refused to take his unworthy 
hand as they left the door-step, and he heard Dr. Smith's closing 
words of reproof mingled with compassion for the father, in 
whose eyes were signs of tears a bad son had drawn. 



120 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

Long before Jabez was able to resume his own place in the 
school, Laurence Aspinall had been removed to an expensive 
boarding-school at Everton, near Liverpool ; and this time the 
merchant laid stress on his tendency " for vicious and low 
pursuits," and begged that no efforts or expense might be spared 
to make him a gentleman in all respects. Still he tampered 
with the truth, lest the school-master (he would be called a 
Principal in these factitious days) should refuse to admit a pupil 
with such antecedents, and decline the task of eradicating cruelty 
and ingratitude. 

Here Laurence certainly mixed only with boys of his own 
class, from whom money could buy neither flattery nor favour, 
and where only his own merits could procure either. And here 
we must leave him, to pursue the fortunes of the boy whose 
life he had wantonly imperilled. 

Had anything been wanting to bespeak Joshua Brookes's 
good-will, Jabez supplied it when he interfered to protect the 
elder Brookes from the derisive indignities of others. Not only 
to Mrs. Clowes did he rehearse in his own peculiar manner the 
story, as told by Ben Travis, with its supplementary drama which 
had so nearly proved a tragedy, but at such tables as he 
frequented Mr. Chadwick's among the rest. 

Mr. Ashton, who was present, spoke of being himself a witness 
to the former scene, and, whilst presenting his inevitable snuff- 
box to the eccentric chaplain, repeated his previous observation 
' I must look after that boy I must indeed ! " 

If the parson had been commonly observant he would have 
noticed a pair of black eyes fixed in eager attention on his, as 
he, who rarely uttered a commendation, held forth in praise of 
his father's champion, the Blue-coat boy; the said black eyes 
being matched by the black hair, and somewhat dark skin, of 
the plain but intelligent daughter of his host. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 



121 



But girls of fifteen were then counted in the category of 
children, and were taught only to "speak when spoken to," so 
Ellen Chadwick passed no other commentary on the actions of 
Jabez than was expressed by her glowing cheeks and eloquent 
eyes. 







CHAPTER THE FOURTEENTH. 



JABEZ GOES INTO THE WORLD. 

SHARP illness followed the 
precipitation of Jabez into the 
Irk ; but he was young, had 
a strong constitution, and, to 
the satisfaction of all in the 
College, and many out of it, 
was able to take his place in 
the refectory, and clear the beef 
or the potato-pie from his 
wooden trencher before the 
month expired. Prior to this, 
he was allowed an afternoon, 
ere he was well enough to 
resume fully his routine duties, 
to show himself to the kind 
friends who had exhibited most 
anxiety for his recovery. 

Mrs. Clowes was one of 
these. Jam, jelly, and cakes, 
never concocted within the area of the College, had found their 
way to his bedside. Grateful for kindness from so unlikely a 
quarter, Jabez paid his first visit to the shop in Half Street, to 




KITCHEN DOOR. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 123 

thank the queer old lady. But not one word of thanks would 
she hear. 

" Eh, lad, say naught about it ; you did your duty, and I 
did mine, and so we're quits ; " and shook her open hand a few 
inches in advance of her face, as if she were shaking a disclaimer 
out of it "And where are you taking your white face to 
now ? " she asked quickly, the better to turn the tide of his 
stammering thanks. 

"To Aunt BessV 

" Why, lad, Bess Clegg'll have naught to give thee fit for 
sick folk to eat. It's much to me if she'll have either a potato 
or a drop of milk. If she's a bit of jannock, or oat-cake, it's 
as much as the bargain. War may be glorious for kings and 
generals, but it's awful for poor folk ; Mesters can't sell their 
goods, and can't pay wages bout money ; and I've heard that, 
since th' potato riots in Shudehill last spring, the folk have been 
so clemmed that some on them couldna be known by their 
friends who hadna seen them for awhile ; they were naught but 
skin and bone, poor things!" 

Whilst indulging in this tirade against war and its concomitants, 
to distract his attention, she bustled about, often with her back 
to him ; then dived into her parlour, and returned with a basket, 
which she was handing to him with a charge to " take that to 
Bess, and be sure to bring the basket back safe," when she found 
that Joshua Brookes was standing behind Jabez, amongst waiting 
customers, with a sharp eye on her proceedings. 

"I say, young Cheat-the-fishes, what have you got to say for 
yourself? A nice young ragamuffin you are, to go a-bathing 
without leave, spoiling your clothes, and giving yourself cold ! 
I hope they gave you plenty of physic, to teach you better," 
said Joshua roughly, taking the boy by the shoulder, and turning 
him sharply round to confront him, 



. 



124 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

"Yes, sir they gave me plenty of physic," said Jabez, doffing 
his cap respectfully. "But I did not go bathing; I got into the 
water by accident." 

"By what? Do you call that an accident?" growled the parson, 
to get at the boy's meaning. 

"An accident done a-purpose," chimed in Mrs. Clowes, whilst 
her scales jingled, and she and her helper weighed out her 
commodities for the people at the counter. 

"Yes, sir," answered Jabez, composedly: "it must have been 
an accident. I don't think they really could mean to push me 
over. I think they only meant to frighten me " 

" Well ? " queried Joshua, seeing that he hesitated. 

"I think one of them slipped, and let go, and then I slipped 
too, sir," he replied, modestly. 

" Slipped, indeed ! You'd very nearly slipped into the next 
world!" exclaimed the parson "I suppose you'll say next that 
my poor old father was dragged about by the young wretches 
by accident, too?" 

The colour of Jabez rose. 

" No, sir ; that was very cruel." 

"Oh! you do call some things by their right names (here, let 
that woman pass out). I suppose you're glad enough the rascals 
have got their deserts?" 

A dubious change came over the boy's face. He did not 
answer at once ; he hardly knew his own feelings on the subject, 
The question was repeated. 

" Well, sir, I'm glad they won't be there to torment me any 
more, but it must be a very dreadful thing for a young gentleman 
to be turned out of school in disgrace, and I don't think I ought 
to be glad of that. I should never get over it, if it was me." 

" Here, take your basket, and be off with you ! " said Joshua 
Brookes, hurrying him out of the shop, that he might stay and 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 125 

rate the old woman for "spoiling young Cheat-the-fishes," conscious 
all the while that he had been doing his best to get the lad a 
good home in the future. 

Bess and Simon received him with open arms, glad not only 
to see him well again, but thankful he had been placed where he 
was secure from the bitter want which pinched both their stomachs 
and their faces. To them Mrs. Clowes' basket brought what they 
had not seen for months a white loaf and a good lump of cold 
meat, to say nothing of a tiny paper of tea, and some sugar 
those luxuries of the rich and half-a-crown in another paper. 

How those half-famishing hard-workers, whose home had been" 
denuded of their goods to keep life within them, thanked old 
Mrs. Clowes ! She had made it a festival to them indeed, and 
all for the sake of the boy they had kept. 

There were no pigeons these had been sold long ago, to pay 
for provisions, though much against Simon's will. The cat was 
there, lean and gaunt ; it managed to pick up a subsistence some- 
how ; and the big bible was there Simon had not parted with 
that, though the bright bureau was gone, ay, and the cradle which 
had been an ark to the orphan. 

The change touched Jabez sorely. Snugly housed and fed 
within the College, rumours of outer poverty made no lasting 
impression ; but here he saw its grim reality, and sitting down on 
the three-legged stool, he covered his face with his hands to hide 
the tears called up by that insight into their impoverished condition. 
Yet they had some alleviation of their pain. Poverty appeared 
to have lost half its bitterness for Bess. She had had a letter 
from her long-mourned Tom, and the joyful news served to 
brighten up the visit for Jabez and all. 

It was a long and deeply repentant letter, of course, written 
by a comrade. It was dated from Badajoz, and had been a weary 
while in reaching them. He had been wounded in that brilliant 



126 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

assault, and while in hospital had fallen in with another Lancashire 
lad, also wounded no other than the boy who had lent a hand 
to rescue the infant Jabez, and who had been driven to enlist by 
the sharp pangs of hunger, only two years before. From this 
young fellow, Private John Smith (Tom was himself a Corporal), 
he had learned how grievously his Bess had been slandered ; but 
with that knowledge had come the conviction that he had con- 
demned her hastily and harshly on mere hearsay, and the letter 
was incoherent in its remorseful contrition. In his soldier-life he 
had been tossed hither and thither known pain, and thirst, and 
famine ; and said he owed it all to his own jealous credulity, when 
he ought to have known so much better. He told of marchings 
and counter-marchings, battles and bloodshed ; but of never one 
wound to himself, though he had not " cared a cast of the shuttle " 
for his life until that bayonet-thrust which had laid him side by 
side with John Smith, who had lost an eye. But he wound up 
with a prayer for Bess and himself, and a hope for their re-union, 
if the war should ever end. He " was sick of it." 

All that letter was to Bess and Simon, Jabez could not com- 
prehend ; but he took Mrs. Clowes her empty basket, and went 
back to the College satisfied that one ray of sunshine lit up the 
poor home of his friends. 

And Matthew Cooper's last chance was gone. 

***** 

Mr. Ashton was what is known in trade as a small-ware manu- 
facturer that is, he was a weaver of tapes, inkles, filletings ; silk, 
cotton, and worsted laces (for furniture) ; carpet bindings, brace-webs, 
and fringes. Moreover, he manufactured braces and umbrellas, for 
which latter his brother-in-law supplied the ginghams. He had 
at work, both in Manchester and at Whaley-Bridge, a number of 
swivel -engines, the design of which came from those unrivalled 
tape-weavers, the Dutch, and which would weave twenty-four 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 



127 



lengths of tape or bed-lace at one time. Otherwise, the bulk of 
his workpeople winders, warpers, brace, fringe, and umbrella- 
makers carried away materials to their own homes, and brought 
back their work in a finished state. 

Mr. Chadwick, as we have mentioned, was a manufacturer of 
ginghams this included checks and fustians ; but much of his 
trade being foreign, the war had locked up his resources, and 
his anxieties preyed on his health. 

Mr. Ashton had suffered less in this particular, not having 
disdained to take his sensible wife's advice "Never put too 
many eggs in one basket." Mrs. Ashton, be it said, had a 
leaning towards "proverbial philosophy" more homely and terse 
than Tupper's, which, vulgar as it is accounted now, was 
in esteem when our century was young; and, had it been 
otherwise, would have been equally impressive from her deliberately 
modulated utterance. This same lady had, moreover, an aptitude 
for business. Mr. Ashton employed a number of young women, 
and Mrs. Ashton might be found most days in the warehouse, 
either " putting out " or inspecting the work brought in by them, 
with a gingham wrapper over her "silken sheen." If the footman 
announced visitors, the wrapper was thrown aside in a moment, 
and she stepped into her drawing-room as though fresh from 
her toilette, and with no atmosphere of dozens, grosses, or great- 
grosses about her. 

She was wont to say, " The eye of a master does more work 
than both his hands;" accordingly in house or warehouse her 
active supervision kept other hands from idling, and she certainly 
dignified whatever duties she undertook, whether she used hands 
or eyes only. 

In those days a seven-years' apprenticeship to any trade or 
business was deemed essential ; apprentices were part and parcel 
of commercial economy, and when Mr, Ashton spoke of "looking 



128 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

after that boy," it was that he thought Jabez Clegg bade fair 
to be a fitter inmate and a more reliable servant than others 
whose terms were about to expire. 

Through his friend the Rev. Joshua Brookes he ascertained 
the boy's age and other particulars, and sought the House- 
Governor, Mr. Terry, and laid before him a proposition to take 
Jabez Clegg as his apprentice, on very fair terms. He then 
learned that Mr. Shaw, the saddler at the bottom of Market- 
street Lane, was also desirous to obtain the same Blue-coat boy 
as an apprentice, his friend the leather-breeches maker having 
named the lad to him. 

At the Easter meeting of feoffees both proposals were laid 
before them Simon Clegg, as standing in loco parentis to Jabez, 
being present. After some little discussion Mr. Ashton's proposal 
was accepted, to the great satisfaction of the tanner, and in a 
few days Jabez was transferred to his new master for mutual 
trial until Ascension Day, when, if all parties were satisfied, 
his indentures would be signed. As the Governor said, it had 
"been but the toss of a button" whether he had gone to Mr. 
Shaw or Mr. Ashton, yet upon that toss of a button the whole 
future of Jabez depended. 

The boy entered on his new career under good auspices 
that is, he bore with him a good character for steadiness and 
probity, though nothing was said of brilliant parts, or any special 
talent which he possessed. Indeed, his schoolmaster had said 
that only his indomitable perseverance had enabled him to keep 
pace with others. If he had any latent genius any particular 
vocation, no one had discovered it ; his faculty for disfiguring 
doors and walls with devices in coloured chalks, picked up 
amongst the gravel, had been matter for punishment, not praise, 
and none but the College-boys themselves cared to know where 
the fresh patterns for purses and pincushions came from, 



THE MANCHESTER MAN, 



129 



Steadiness, perseverance, probity they were good materials out 
of which to manufacture a tradesman (so Mr. Ashton thought), 
and congratulations were mutual. 

Jabez Clegg went, with his new outfit, to his new home under 
good auspices, inasmuch as both master and mistress were pre- 
possessed in his favour, and they stood in the foremost rank of 
those who began to recognise that English apprentices were not 
bondslaves in heathendom. Instead of being crammed to sleep like 
dogs in holes under counters; left to wash at a pump and wipe 
themselves where they could ; obliged to sit at a table in a 
back kitchen, and dip their spoons into one common dish of 
porridge, or potatoes and buttermilk ; to eat such scraps and 
refuse as sordid employers, or ill-disposed cooks, chose to set 
before their primitive Adamite forks instead of a system like 
this, from which apprentices (of whatever grade) only emerged 
at the beginning of this century, the Ashtons' apprentices had a 
comfortable dormitory in the attic, there was a coarse jack-towel 
by the scullery-sink for their use, they had their meals with the 
servants in the kitchen, where was an oak settle by the fire for 
them when work was over. 

But work did not end with the close of the warehouse. They 
were expected to keep their attic clean and in order, to cleanse 
the wooden or pewter platters, or porringers, from which they 
had dined or supped ; to rinse the horns which had held their 
table-beer ; to fetch and carry wood, coals, and water, for 
servants too lazy to do their own work ; and it was not much 
rest any apprentice had from five or six in a morning until 
eight or nine at night, when he went to his bed. 

As the youngest apprentice, the roughest of this work fell on 
Jabez, but, luckily, his training had made him equal to the 
occasion ; though Kezia, the red-faced cook, set herself steadfastly 
to dislike him, because Mr. Ashton had bespoken her favour for 



130 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

him. In the warehouse, too, the evident goodwill of principals 
roused the jealousy of underlings, so that " good auspices " had 
their corresponding drawbacks. 

It was not much of a pleasure to Jabez to find Kit Townley 
also seated as an apprentice on the kitchen settle ; but the 
youth seemed disposed to be friendly, and Jabez forbore to 
create a grievance by recalling unpleasant reminiscences. With 
Kit Townley, who was his senior by a year, a heavy premium 
had been paid, and on this he was inclined to presume. But 
neither Mr. nor Mrs. Ashton made any social distinction between 
the twain, and Jabez was strong enough to hold his own. 

During the few weeks' probation, Jabez was transferred from 
department to department, alike to test his capacity and his 
own liking for the business. Both proved satisfactory. 

On Ascension Day, 1813, there was another appearance in 
that ancient room before the College magnates, many of whom, 
as officers in volunteer regiments, were in full-dress uniform (a 
dinner pending). The indentures had to be signed, the premium 
of 4. (returnable to the boy when his term expired) had to be 
paid. 

Simon Clegg's best clothes had long been lost in the 
pawnbroker's bottomless pit ; but some one unknown (mayhap 
Mrs. Clowes or Mrs. Clough) had sent him overnight a suit of 
fresh ones, pronounced by him and Bess " welly as good as 
new ;" and he presented himself for the important ceremony 
(overlooked by the painted face of the orphan's benevolent 
friend, Humphrey Chetham) as proud almost of his own restored 
respectability as of the part he was about to perform. When 
it came to his turn to sign the document, the little man took 
the pen with a flourish, as if he were a hero about to perform 
some mighty action. He stooped to the heavy oaken table, 
bent his head low, alternately to the right and left, and with 




HUMPHREY CHETHAM. 
Fro tn ait Engraving, 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. ^j 

his fingers in an unaccountable crump, imprinted his self-taught 
signature in Roman capitals thereon, then handed back the quill, 
as if to say "The deed is done!" 

Governor, schoolmaster, and feoffees congratulated Mr. Ashton 
and Jabez both. Simon, with moist eyes, shook Jabez by the 
hand, and holding the boy's shoulder with his left to look the 
better in his clear, dark eyes, said, with deliberate emphasis 

"Jabez, lad, aw'm preawd on yo' this day. But moind 
thah's an honourable neame ; do nowt to disgrace it, an' yo'r 
fortin's made !" 

Jabez was too abashed to make reply at the time ; but at 
the supper given in the Mosley Street kitchen to mark his 
installation at Mr. Ashton's to which Bess and Simon were both 
invited Jabez contrived to whisper, 

" You needn't clem any more, Bess ; I'll give you all my 
wages." 



CHAPTER THE FIFTEENTH. 

APPRENTICESHIP. 

TABEZ now began his work in earnest, in the packing- 
room the very lowest rung of the ladder. Not long 
did he remain there. The bright colours in the rooms 
for brace-webs and upholsterers' trimmings had an 
attraction for him, and he argued with himself that the better 
he did the rough work assigned him the sooner he should mount 
above it. And Jabez, the plodding Blue-coat boy, was ambitious. 
That ambition had a threefold stimulus. 

Manchester people were then, as a rule, steady church and 
chapel-goers. Mr. Ashton had two pews at the Old Church : 
one for his family, the other for servants and apprentices, the 
attendance of the latter being imperative. Jabez thus came in 
frequent contact with his old-time friends, from the Blue-coat 
boys in the Chetham Gallery to the Cleggs, to whom went 
every penny of his earnings ; their distress, like that of others, 
having deepened with the continuation of the Napoleonic war. 

Sometimes old Mrs. Clowes, meeting him in the churchyard, 
would grasp him by the hand, and leave something in it, as, 
in her old black stuff dress and a coloured kerchief tied over her 
mob-cap, she hurried home to scold dilatory handmaids, and put 
her Christianity in practice amongst her pensioners. 

Now and then Joshua Brookes crossed his path, and if he 
did not put his hand in his breeches' pocket for Jabez now a 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 133 

well-grown youth he gave him more than sterling coin in 
sterling advice, though, unfortunately, in so abrupt and grotesque 
a manner its effect was frequently lost. Yet one day when the 
Blue-coat boy had been barely two years at the Mosley Street 
manufacturer's, he put a spur into the sides of his ambition. 

"Young Cheat-the-fishes, were you ever in Mrs. Chad wick's 
green parlour?" 

" Yes, sir I was there once for half-an-hour." (The day he 
took back Miss Ellen's shilling.) 

"Well, did you read the sermons on the walls?" 

Jabez answered respectfully 

" I did not see any sermons, sir. I saw some pictures in 
black frames with gilt roses at the corners." 

"And didn't look at them, I suppose?" in a harsh grunt. 

" Yes, sir, I did ! I was waiting till Mrs. Chad wick had done 
dinner. They were about two boys a good and a bad apprentice." 

"Oh, then, you did use your eyes? The next time they let 
you inside that room, just use your understanding, too. William 
Hogarth, the artist, from his grave preaches a sermon to you 
and your fellows as good as Parson Gatliffe preached from the 
pulpit this morning, mark that ! " and he turned on his heel 
with an emphasising nod to fix his sermon on the boy's 
mind. 

The opportunity came before long. It was customary when 
an apprentice went with a message to leave him in the hall, or 
send him into the kitchen; but Jabez, being sent by Mrs, Ashton 
with several samples of furniture-binding and fringes for her 
sister's use, he was shown with his parcel into the parlour, where 
Mrs. Chadwick, neatly attired in a brown stuff dress, with a 
French cambric kerchief lying in folds under the square bodice, 
sat at work with an upholsteress, in the midst of a mass of chintz 
and moreen, preparing for the new home of Ellen's elder sister 



134 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

Charlotte ; for, in spite of war, distress, or famine, people will 
marry and give in marriage. And had not a glorious peace 
just been concluded ? 

Ellen, a comely but not pretty girl, about seventeen, whose 
black eyes and hair were her chief attractions, sat there in a 
purple bombazine dress, with her sheathed scissors and College 
pincushion suspended by a chain from her girdle, plying her 
needle most industriously. He was not accustomed to parlours, 
and no doubt his bow was as awkward as his blush ; but he 
had a message to deliver, and he did that in a business-like 
manner. He had to wait until pattern after pattern was tried 
against the chintz, and calculations made. Mrs. Chadwick, seeing 
his eyes wander wistfully from picture to picture, courteously 
gave him permission to examine them. 

At. once Ellen, who was sitting close under one, rose to act 
as interpreter. She was recalled by the mild voice of her mother. 
" Sit down, Ellen. Jabez Clegg does not require a young lady's 
help to understand those pictures they explain themselves." 

Ellen went back to her seat and her sewing with a raised 
colour, and a private impression that the rebuke was uncalled 
for, though she spoke never a word. Perhaps Mrs. Chadwick 
thought condescension should have its limits, and did not believe 
in a lady's impulsive civility to an apprentice Blue-coat boy, Yet 
that was not like Mrs. Chadwick. 

Miss Augusta had been staying with her aunt. Part of his 
commission was to convoy her home; she was an only child, and 
too precious to be trusted out alone, though she was in her 
eleventh year, and the distance was nothing. But so many 
desperadoes had been let loose by the termination of the war, 
that crime and violence was rampant, footpads infested highways 
and byways, and Cicily, Augusta's maid ex-nurse was no longer 
deemed a protection. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 135 

He stood before the last engraving when Augusta in no awe 
of her father's apprentice came dancing into the room in a 
nankeen dress and tippet, a hat with blue ribbons, long washing- 
gloves which left the elbows bare, and blue shoes tied with a 
bunch of ribbons. 

Bright, beautiful, buoyant she was a picture in herself; and 
Jabez turned from the dingy engraving to think so. She often 
came tripping into the warehouse or the kitchen, and exchanged 
a bright word with one or other, and away again ; but Jabez had 
thought of her only as a pretty playful child until that afternoon. 
Joshua Brookes pointing Hogarth's lessons had given the one 
spur; that lovely brown-eyed, brown-haired maiden, with her 
simple, "Come, Jabez I'm ready," had given another. 

She put her little gloved hand in his, after bidding her aunt 
and cousin good-bye, and went dancing, skipping, and chattering 
by his side down Oldham Street, and let him lift her over the 
muddy crossing to Mosley Street, unconscious of the chimerical 
dreams floating through his apprentice brain all the while. His 
original ambition to make a home for Simon and Bess, where 
neither penury nor care should trouble them, dwarfed before the 
new ideas crowding upon his mind. He had read the sermon 
on the wall, but the old " Knave of Clubs," as Joshua was called, 
little thought how that pretty, piquant little fairy, the " master's 
daughter," would point it with something higher than ambition. 

There were at that period in Manchester two schools for 
young ladies, which, being celebrated at the time, deserve to be 
mentioned. The one was situated at the extreme end of Bradshaw 
Street, looking through its vista across Shudehill to the gaps in 
brickwork called Thomas Street and Nicholas Croft, where, in 
highly genteel state Mrs. (or Madame, as she insisted on being 
called) Broadbent superintended the education of a large and very 
select circle. 



136 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

Education must have been at a low ebb when the chief manu- 
facturers of the town consigned their daughters to this pompous, 
pretentious woman, who could not speak correctly the language 
she professed to teach. In her attempt to appear the print 
and pattern of a lady, she "clipped the King's English," 
and made almost as glaring errors as Mrs. Malaprop. Yet, 
strange to say, she turned out first-class pupils (for the period). 
The fact is, she was shrewd enough to know her own deficiencies, 
and relegated her duties to others who were in all respects 
efficient. 

Then she was a wonderful trumpeter of her own fame ; made 
frequent visitations at houses where she was well-entertained, and 
her bombast was listened to for the sake of her young charges; 
held half-yearly recitations, and also exhibitions of the plain sewing, 
embroidery, knitting, knotting, filigree, tambour, and lace work of 
her pupils ; and matrons, proud of their own daughters' achieve- 
ments, seldom paused to reckon up the tears, the headaches, the 
heartaches, the sore fingers which those minutely-stitched shirts, 
those fine lace aprons and ruffles, those pictures and samplers, had 
cost. For Madame Broadbent, besides being a martinet rigid in 
her rule having a numbered rack for pattens and slippers, numbered 
pegs for cloaks and hats, book-bags and work-bags, safe-guards 
(receptacles for sewing, &c., like a huckster's pocket) and slates, 
all numbered likewise was not of too mild a temper, and had 
a penchant for pinching her pupils' ears until the blood tinged 
her nails ; while stocks for the feet, backboards for the shoulders, 
and dry bread diet were her prescriptions for the cure of such 
delinquencies as an unauthorised word, an omitted curtsey, a bag 
or garment on the wrong hook, a dropped stitch in knitting, a 
blotted copy, a puckered seam ; and work had to be done and 
undone until stitches were almost invisible, and little eyes almost 
blind. She had other peculiarities, had Madame Broadbent but 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 137 

my portrait is growing too large for its frame, and she was not 
a large personage at all. 

It was to this delectable individual's school ("establishments" 
had not been invented then, or her's would have been one) 
that Miss Augusta Ashton was consigned for conversion into a 
well-behaved, well-informed, useful, and accomplished young 
lady. 

Her cousins, the Misses Chadwick, had in their turns escaped 
from this penitentiary for the manufacture of ladyhood. But in 
Piccadilly was a school of a very different description, where 
young ladies of talent and fortune went to qualify for ivifehood ; 
and here at this time Ellen Chadwick was finishing her education, 
with many others, in learning the culinary art in all its branches. 

How came it that Madame Broadbent's school flourished and 
survived the decay of its neighbourhood, being in existence when 
the writer of this was a child, and the other had died and been 
forgotten, save by the antiquary, before she was born ? 

To fetch Miss Ashton home from Madame Broadbent's on 
dark or stormy afternoons, was the understood duty of one or 
other of the apprentices ; but Kit Townley, having no more 
liking for wet weather than a cat, generally contrived to be out 
of earshot when his services were required. It devolved on Jabez, 
therefore, to carry the grey duffel hooded-cloak with which to 
cover the dainty one of scarlet kerseymere, to tie the pattens on 
the tiny feet, to carry the school-bag, and hold the brilliant blue 
gingham umbrella over the head elevated by the pattens so much 
nearer to his shoulder, and to be thanked by one of the sweetest 
voices in the world. 

It was dangerous work, though no one knew it, least of all 
Jabez. True, she was only a child, but she was tall for her 
age, And was he much more than a boy ? A boy let out from 
the seclusion of an almost monastic institution, to whom her little 



138 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

airs and graces, her pretty vanities, her very waywardness and 
caprice, only made her beauty more piquant. 

Madame Broadbent's infallibility being taken for granted, all 
attempts to make known school troubles and grievances were met 
with " Never tell tales out of school," from Mrs. Ashton, but they 
were poured fresh and warm into the ear of Jabez, as she trotted 
by his side ; and he, his school-days unforgotten, listened with 
ready sympathy. And this went on as months and years went 
by, adding to her stature, narrowing the space between them ; 
and he still did duty as her humble escort, unless when Kit 
Townley was especially told off for the service, and went 
reluctantly, grumbling at being made " lackey to a school miss." 

Yet Kit Townley did not think it any degradation to play 
practical jokes on Jabez, or on Kezia, leaving the younger appren- 
tice to bear the blame. Billets of wood, scuttles of coal, 
pails of water brought in for her use by Jabez, were dexterously 
removed to doorways and other unsuspected places, where " cook " 
was sure to stumble over them, and then cuff Jabez for his 
carelessness or wilfulness, all protestations on his part being 
disregarded. Creeping behind the settle where Jabez sat watching, 
and perhaps basting the roast for the master's table for late 
dinners on company days, he would steal his sly arm round the 
corner, himself unseen, and lifting the wheel of the spit out of 
the smoke-jack chain, bring spit and all thereon into the 
dripper, with a splash which brought the irate Kezia down on 
astounded Jabez with whatsoever weapon of offence came nearest 
to her hand, from the paste-pin to the basting-ladle, or even a 
saucepan lid it was all one to Kezia. 

From Kezia, however, these frequent chances and mischances 
went to Kezia's mistress ; and, appearances being against him, 
the very steadiness of denial, unaccompanied with any accusation 
of another (other waggeries of Kit Townley in the warehouse 






THE MANCHESTER MAN. 139 

being also laid on his shoulder), Mrs. Ashton's faith in the youth 
was somewhat shaken, and he was conscious of being under a 
cloud. But he still kept on his way, and looked to the 
end 

The cloud dispersed after a while. Kit Townley was something 
of a glutton, with a very boy's love of pastry and sweets. It 
so happened that on a special occasion (rejoicing for peace or 
something) Kezia had set aside in her roomy pantry, the door 
of which fastened only with a button, a tray of tartlets, custards, 
a trifle, moulds of jelly and blanc-mange, and other dainties for 
a large party. Kit's mouth watered to get at these things. 
Often and often had he stolen the fruit from under a pie-crust, 
and sat silent while Jabez bore the blame, but now he meditated 
a more sweeping raid. There was a fine young retriever in the 
yard. Watching Kezia out of the way, he crammed mouth and 
pockets with the pastry, and made an inroad into the trifle. Then 
he whistled to Nelson, raised the dog on his hind feet, and printed 
the forepaws on the pantry-shelf, dishes, and tart-tray, and round 
the button of the door. 

But he was compelled to wait until bedtime to fairly enjoy 
his spoil, and then could not manage it unknown to his 
companion. Hoping to close the other's mouth literally and 
figuratively, he offered him a share, but Jabez told him he was 
not a receiver of stolen goods, and left him to digest that with 
his feast. It was a harder morsel than even Jabez knew. 

The next morning before breakfast they were in the warehouse, 
when there was heard a terrible commotion in the yard. From 
the back windows Kezia was seen belabouring Nelson with a 
broomstick, her face redder than ordinary, whilst the poor beast 
whined piteously. 

Jabez ran down to interpose, and the infuriated woman turned 
on him, then ran in her rage to fetch her mistress to witness 



140 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

the damage done, and the footprints of the depredator, and to 
own that punishment was just. 

But as Mrs. Ashton ascended the warehouse stairs that 
afternoon, she heard Jabez and Kit loud in altercation, and 
before they were aware she possessed a clue to much that had 
gone before. 

Something Jabez had said was answered by a loud guffaw 
from Kit, and the words 

" Let them laugh that win. I call it a deuced good 
joke." 

"And I call it cowardly and dishonourable to let the poor 
beast suffer for your greediness," Jabez answered, indignantly. 

"Now don't you put in your oar, young yellow-skirt. I'll 
let no charity-boy hector over me," blustered Kit. 

Jabez put down a bundle of umbrella whalebones he had on 
his shoulder, to confront the other, then counting ferules into 
dozens. Umbrellas used to have brass ferules, like elongated 
thimbles, on the sticks. 

" Look you, Kit, I've borne many a scurvy trick of yours 
without saying a word, but I will not even give the sanction 
of silence to dishonesty, and will not see a noble animal ill-used 
to screen a coward." 

" Won't you ? " sneered Kit, " then we'll see whose word 
weighs heaviest" 

Mrs. Ashton came into the room. 

"Townley," said she, "your word will not weigh down a 
feather henceforth," adding in the same dignified tone, " Are 
those ferules counted 1 Jackson is waiting for them." 

No further notice was taken, but Jabez soon found he stood 
on a firmer footing in house and warehouse. Mrs. Ashton 
remarked to her husband, as she finished dressing for their 
dinner party 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 141 

"It was a slight circumstance, William, but straws show 
\yhich way the wind blows." 

And he tapped his silver snuff-box, and said, " Just so ; " 
then courteously offering his hand to his fine-looking wife, led 
her from the room, her purple velvet robe trailing after her, 
the plumes on her head nodding as they went. 



CHAPTER THE SIXTEENTH. 



IN WAR AND PEACE. 

CLAP of thunder burst over 
Europe, and the great war- 
eagle flapped his monstrous 
wings again. Napoleon had 
escaped from Elba ere crops 
had had time to grow on his 
trampled battle-fields ; yet crops 
of men rose ripe for the sickle, 
and home expectations were 
dashed to the ground. 

How many an anxious 
parent, how many a longing, 
love-sick maiden, looked for 
her warrior back from Canada 
or the Continent, if only on 
furlough or sick-leave ! How many a weary soldier, sated with 
blood, looked for discharge with pension or reward, and thirsted 
for the fountain of home joys ! 

And from how many lips was the cup of delight dashed when 
the cry "To arms!" rang out from mount to vale, from peak to 
peak, from town to town, and the sheathed sword flashed forth 
to light, and forges belched forth flame through day and night, 
preparing for fresh holocausts in the new carnival of blood ! 




SHAW'S SHOP, MARKET STREET. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN 143 

Trade centres at all such times are most convulsed, as being 
also centres of humanity depots whence fresh relays are drafted 
from the ranks of men whose peaceful work is at a sudden 
standstill. But that war-blast came like a fiery flash, and 
commerce, only then a feeble convalescent, sank crushed and 
hopeless. 

Mr. Chadwick felt it keenly, and, but that his more cautious 
and wealthy brother-in-law came to his help with hand as open 
as his snuff-box, his credit must have gone. His two eldest sons 
had gone from him, drawn away by the phantom, "Glory." One, 
Richard, was a midshipman upon Collingwood's ship; the other, 
Herbert, a lieutenant in the /and, or Manchester Volunteers, had 
departed with his regiment to fight in the Peninsula. A third 
son, John, had been left to do his quiet duty in the counting- 
house, but Death had laid its clutches upon him soon after his 
sister Charlotte's marriage, and Ellen alone kept the house from 
utter desolation. 

She was a girl of strong feelings and quick impulses, but 
pursued her way with so little show or pretence, she was hardly 
accredited with all the comfort she brought to the hearth; and 
scarcely her mother even suspected how that hidden heart of 
hers could throb how intense were her emotions. 

Her love for every member of the family was deep, but when 
her brother John died, after the first terrible outburst of grief 
she dried her tears, and by mere force of will set herself to 
soothe those who had lost a son. The prolonged absence of the 
others had been fruitful of pain, and the blighted prospect of 
Herbert' return came to her, as to father and mother, with a 
shock like a stab. 

There was another hearth we have ere-while visited a hearth 
which, thanks to Jabez and a few months' regular employment 
for the batting-rods and the tanner's plunger, was less poverty- 



144 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

stricken than it had been and where Hope had held out 
delusive banners to herald a soldier's return, only to furl them 
again for another march, before eye could meet eye, or lip 
meet lip. 

Thirteen years had come and gone since last Tom Hulme 
and Bessy Clegg had looked woefully upon each other thirteen 
years of unrecorded trial and suffering yet still they were apart. 
The home in which he had known her first, Tanner's Bridge, on 
which he had first made love to her, had been swept away to 
make room for Ducie Bridge and a new high-road ; and the 
best years of her womanhood were passing too. Would he ever 
come back whilst grey-haired Simon could bless their union? 
Would he ever come back again? Tears fell on Bess's batting; 
and Simon had not one word of comfort to give her. Even 
Matt Cooper, who had long since resigned himself to his 
widowhood, was magnanimous enough to be sorry. 

The new war between the "Corsican Vampire" and allied 
Europe was fortunately of short duration ; but how much of 
carnage and misery was compressed into that campaign which 
had its brilliant close at Waterloo! 

In the onset of that terrible conflict, Herbert Chadwick and 
a cousin, fighting side by side, fell in a storm of grape-shot like 
green corn under an untimely shower of hail, and their blood 
went to fertilise the Belgian farmer's future crops of wheat. 

Herbert was his father's favourite son. Not a mail-morning 
passed but the old man made one of the crowd hurrying down 
the narrow way called Market-street Lane to the Exchange, to 
catch a sight of whatever bulletins might be posted up; and, 
his own mind relieved, sent an apprentice from the Fountain 
Street warehouse with the words, "All's well!" to cheer up 
those at home. That dreadful morning when his fearful eye ran 
down the black list of the killed at Waterloo, and rested on 






rs=<"^slsC^ " r ~iSF ;'i -~^-~'>~- > ' 

- 




MARKET STREET LANE. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 145 

Lieutenant Chadwick's name, the letters seemed to turn blood- 
red ; he shrivelled up like a maple-leaf in a blighting wind 
his face and limbs began to twitch, and he fell forward into 
the arms of a bystander, in a fit. 

He was carried by compassionate hands to the nearest house, 
that of John Shaw, the saddler. A merchant on 'Change (Mr. 
Aspinall) undertook to break the doubly-calamitous intelligence to 
Mrs. Chadwick. Dr. Hardie, whom the general excitement had 
drawn to the spot, was with him in an instant, his white 
neckcloth was loosened, and, whipping out a lancet, the doctor 
bled him in the arm without delay. He rallied sufficiently to 
bear lifting into a carriage, kindly placed at the doctor's disposal 
to convey him home. 

Dr. Hull was already in waiting. All that their united skill 
could suggest was tried. His recovery was slow and imperfect ; 
he dragged his right leg after him ; he was paralysed for life. 
He was not a young man, and the supreme shock, coming as 
it did above a pressure of commercial difficulties, had been too 
much for him. 

It was an overwhelming disaster ; but in anxiety and active 
care for the stricken one, whose life was in imminent peril, the 
sharp edge of the keener stroke was blunted for Ellen and her 
mother. 

The Ashtons were, as ever, kind and thoughtful. 
" William," said Mrs. Ashton, meditatively, to her husband over 
the tea-urn, the day after Mr. Chadwick's attack, "we must not 
forget that if John is not related to us, Sarah [Mrs. Chadwick] 
and Ellen are. 'Blood is thicker than water,' and it will not 
do, for their sakes, to let John's business go to rack and ruin 
for want of supervision." 

"Just so, just so," he replied, reflectively, taking his snuff-box 
out of his pocket mechanically, and putting it back again 



146 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 



unopened, as contrary to tea-table propriety ; " I have been 
thinking the same myself. I will go round to the warehouse 
to-morrow, and see how matters stand ; we must keep things 
ship-shape somehow till John is himself again." 

And he was as good as his word, though he had really never 
thought about it until prompted by his clear-headed wife. He 
had a habit of thus falling in with her suggestions, though had 
anyone hinted that he followed the lead of a woman, so much 
younger than himself, too, he would have rejected the imputation 
with scorn. 

With returning peace came joyful restorations to many homes, 
humble as well as lofty. 

Before the time of their extreme privation, before even Simon 
was out of work, he had taken one of the smallest of the 
garden plots on the higher ground on the opposite side of the 
Irk, and cultivated it in what little leisure he had, Bess giving 
him a helping hand occasionally, and by the sale of penny 
posies to Sunday ramblers from the town, and herbs and salad 
to the market women in Smithy-door, he did his best to beat 
back the gaunt wolf when the wolf came. 

Bess had laid by her batting-wands, put a turf in the grate 
to kindle up a handful of cinders and slack to boil their 
supper-porridge, for, though autumn was striding on, they could 
not waste fuel on a mid-day fire ; Simon was away working in 
his garden whilst the daylight held, and she sat, as she 
frequently did now, on a low stool in front of the grate, her 
elbows on her knees, and her head on her hands, watching, in 
a kind of hazy dream, the red glow creeping through the heart 
of the turf, when a footstep on the threshold caused her to 
turn round. 

Like a picture framed by the doorway, stood the tall figure 
of a bronzed soldier, with his left arm in a sling. Before the 








Vk\ 



<=. - v -* 

- Jr. ^ 

' v =3*1 

A-rft 



t f /h 




ENTRY TO CLEGG S YARD, MILLGATE. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 147 

sharp cry of joy had well parted her lips, his other arm was 
around her both hers around his neck ; their lips met in a 
long kiss, which told of pain and trouble past, and love through 
all ; and then her head fell on his shoulder in a fit of 
convulsive sobbing such as had not shaken her frame for years. 

Sorrow and joy have alike their baptism of tears ! 

It was a glad sight for Simon to see them sitting with 
their hands locked in each other's, side by side on an old box, 
which served them for a seat all Simon's lost furniture had 
not come back silent from excess of happiness, yet radiant as 
though the glow of youth were returning in the Midsummer of 
their lives. 

In the roughest war-time the common requirements of life 
have to be satisfied, and peaceful trades and arts are of 
necessity carried on, albeit they flourish not. And the farther 
from the seat of war, and the less private interest is involved, 
the less business and household routine is infringed on. 

Thus Mr. Ashton, whose large capital had enabled him to 
bide the issues of the Continental and American stoppage of 
trade, and who had no nearer relatives in danger than his wife's 
nephews, pursued his way in comparative quiet. Indeed, he was 
an easy-going man, with much less vigour of character than his 
wife ; and she bore little resemblance to her own sister. 

So we may carry our readers away from the poorly-furnished 
room in a dreary Long-Millgate yard, leaving the re-united lovers 
to the enjoyment of the present and their reminiscences of the 
past, and look in upon the Ashtons in their cosy tea-room 
before Waterloo cast a black shadow over the family. 

It was a spacious apartment (as were most of the rooms in 
that habitation), the walls above the surbase (a wooden moulding 
some two feet above the skirting-board) were painted a warm 
dove colour, the surbase and all below in two shades of light 




148 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

blue. The window-tax a result of war laid an embargo on 
light, by restricting size and number, so the house, like most in 
the neighbourhood, having been built subsequently to "Billy 
Pitt's" obnoxious impost, there were only two windows, and those 
were narrow. They were draped with heavy curtains, and 
festooned valances of dove-coloured moreen, trimmed with blue 
orris-lace, and worsted-bullion fringe, with spiral silken droplets 
here and there to shimmer in the rays of sun or chandelier. 
For there was a chandelier, of fanciful device, pendent from the 
wonderfully moulded ceiling, a septenary of lacquered serpents, 
whose interlaced and twisted tails met upwards, separated below 
in graceful coils, and branching out their seven heads, turned up 
their gaping jaws to close them on wax-lights. The chandelier 
was no misnomer ; but the fiery serpents kept their flames for 
state occasions, when the serpent branches on each side the long 
Venetian looking-glass, between the windows, were on duty 
likewise. There was another Venetian glass above the high, 
painted chimney-piece, so elaborately carved, but here the serpent 
candelabra lit the room for common use, and were supplemented 
with lights in tall silver candlesticks upon the centre table. 

Spanish mahogany alike were chairs and tables, and Miss 
Augusta's grand piano ranged against the wall from the door, 
so that the window light should fall upon the keys and chairs 
and tables were alike club-footed, massive, and plain ; there were two 
folded card tables, a cellaret, and a work-table, all with tapering 
legs and club-feet ; and there was a ponderous sofa on the 
flower-besprent Brussels carpet, which, without the adventitious 
aid of artificial steel springs, was elastic and soft, and wooed the 
weary to rest aching limbs or aching head upon its cushions. 
There were no antimacassars hair-seating did not soil readily. 

The air was odorous with rose, lavender, and jessamine, for 
the windows were both open, and what little air there was 




" WHAT WOULD MRS. BROADBENT SAY ? 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 149 

stirring swept over a large summer nosegay in a china vase 
between the windows. The mahogany teaboard was set with 
miniature unhandled cups and saucers of china, more precious 
than the fragrant decoction they were designed to hold ; the 
brass tea-urn hissed and spluttered ; Mrs. Ashton, in a rich dress, 
sat at the table to infuse the tea; Mr. Ashton had drawn his 
softly-cushioned easy-chair nearer ; it was past five by the tall 
clock in the hall, and Miss Augusta had not presented her- 
self. 

As a thorough business woman, Mrs. Ashton was punctuality 
itself. She expected her family to be punctual also. Five 
o'clock, the Manchester hour for tea, and no Augusta! 

" James ! " (to the footman), " inquire for Miss Ashton ; she is 
not kept in at school it is a holiday." 

As the man retired, Augusta, in a white cambric frock heavy 
with tambour-work, tripped in at the door, her diaper pinafore 
not so clean as it might have been, her hands full of something 
which she set down on a side table. 

" It is past five o'clock, Augusta ; where have you been 
until now ? And how came Cicily to send you in to tea with 
a soiled pinafore?" asked Mrs. Ashton, with the quiet dignity 
which seldom relaxed. 

"Is it? I did not hear the clock strike, I was so busy; 
and Cicily has not seen my pinafore," was Augusta's light, 
consecutive reply. 

"So busy! Cicily not seen you!" her mother exclaimed in 
surprise. "Let me look at your hands. I am shocked, Augusta! 
What would Mrs. Broadbent say?" (The hands were worse 
than the pinafore.) "Have I not told you repeatedly that 
'cleanliness is next to godliness?' Go to Cicily and be washed 
immediately, or you can have no tea." 

Augusta pouted. 




-- '.^,, 



150 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 



"Must I, papa ?" 

The management of this child was the only point on which 
Mr. and Mrs. Ashton differed. 

" Well, my dear, your mamma says so ; but I think for this 
once it may be overlooked, if you will be more careful another 
time," said he, willing to excuse and temporise. 

"'Only this once/ William, 'is the parent of thrice,'" responded 
Mrs. Ashton, gravely, as she poured out the tea, giving some- 
thing like milk-and-water to Miss Augusta. "You will spoil that 
child ; and if you spoil her to-day, she will spoil herself to-morrow. 
However, as you are inclined to tolerate that which I think 
disrespectful to us, and wanting in self-respect on the child's 
part, I can say no more." 

Thus Mrs. Ashton yielded against her judgment ; Mr. Ashton 
took out his snuff-box, to put it back like a culprit ; and Miss 
Augusta sat down to the table, not knowing whether to be more 
pleased or sorry that she had got her own way. 

To turn the subject, Mr. Ashton asked 

" What is that you put on the card-table, my dear ? " 

" Oh ! I'll show you," and away the young lady was running, 
only to be recalled by her mother's decided 

" After tea, Augusta." 

So after tea it was that Miss Augusta brought her treasure 
to her father sundry sheets of paper, on which scraps of variously- 
coloured leather had been arranged and pasted in ornamental 
patterns, floral and geometrical, aided by the stamps employed 
in piercing brace-ends for the embroiderers, and in cutting stars 
to cover the umbrella-wheels inside. 

" Who did those ? " asked mother and father in a breath. 

" Jabez Clegg, in the warehouse. Aren't they pretty ? " was 
Augusta's ready reply, as she looked admiringly on her curious 
pictures. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 151 

" Oh ! then that accounts for your being late, and in that 
condition at the tea-table," said Mrs. Ashton, as she glanced from 
the rich designs before her to the sullied hands and pinafore. 

"And so Jabez Clegg has been wasting our leather to make 
playthings for you ? " remarked Mr. Ashton interrogatively, in a 
not unkindly tone of voice. 

<f No, he hasn't ! " answered little miss, briskly. " He only 
used the waste tiny bits. I wanted to take a big piece to make 
a housewife" (a case for thread and needles), "and he would not 
let me have it. He said he had no right to give it, and I had 
no right to take it. Was he right, mamma ? " 

[Along with many other vain fashions, " papa " and " mamma " 
had come over from France to supersede our more sterling "father" 
and "mother," as refugees from the Revolution.] 

" Yes, my dear, quite right ; but I wish my little daughter 
would not run so much into the kitchen and warehouse among 
the apprentices," said the mother, kindly, smoothing down the 
light brown hair, in which the sunbeams seemed to weave golden 
threads. " It is not becoming in a young lady." 

Mr. Ashton, who had been all the while examining the glowing 
devices before him, interrupted her with 

" I think I have discovered a new faculty in our apprentice. 
I shall buy Jabez Clegg a box of colours to-morrow. We are 
sadly in want of fresh patterns, and I think he can make them." 
Mr. Ashton took a large pinch of snuff on the strength of his 
discovery. 

And Jabez, for the first time in his life the possessor of 
paints and brushes, became valuable to his master. 



CHAPTER THE SEVENTEENTH. 



IN THE WAREHOUSE. 

UTABILITY is the epitaph 
of worlds. Change alone is 
changeless. People drop out 
of the history of a life as 
of a land, though their work 
or their influence remains. 
A passing word may suffice 
to dismiss such from our 
pages. 

The Reverend John Gress- 
well had been taken by 
Death from the Chetham 
College schoolroom before 
more than half the term 
of Jabez Clegg's pupilage had run. Dr. Stone's resignation of 
his librarianship followed closely on his discovery of the half- 
drowned boy on the dairy steps. After a long engagement with 
a young lady who refused many eligible offers, and withstood 
much parental persuasion for his sake, he the curate of St. 
John's Church accepted the first vacant living in the gift of 
the College whereof he was Fellow. A bridal closed their almost 
Jacob's courtship, and the constant couple retired to the seclusion 
of Wooton Rivers, where his learning and eloquence had seldom 




JABEZ TEACHING TOM HULME, 







GRAMMAR SCHOOL AND COLLEGE GATE. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 153 

more appreciative auditory than smock-frocked Wiltshire rustics 
and their families. 

About the same time, or not long after, old Brookes was 
missed from the Packhorse, and the Ring-o'-Bells, and the 
Apple Tree, and the Sun Inn the breeches-maker and his 
neighbours ceased to hear his foul and offensive maunderings 
and imprecations as he staggered past to his son's home, there 
to test his endurance. He had gone home to his mother-earth, 
sober and silent for evermore. And Parson Brookes, left to his 
books and his pigeons, sent in his resignation, and the Grammar 
School knew him no more as a master. So the boys felt 
themselves free to take greater liberties with him than ever 
and kept his hot blood for ever on the simmer. 

As all these changes preceded the change which converted 
Jabez from a Blue-coat boy into Mr. Ashton's apprentice, so 
were they anterior to the changes wrought by war in the homes 
of the Chadwicks and the Cleggs changes differing even more 
widely than did the two homes. 

Poverty had made sad havoc amongst Simon Clegg's household 
goods ; but Tom Hulme had not come home empty-handed, 
and soon their furniture came back, or was replaced, and the 
three rooms brightened up wonderfully. Though Simon's flowers 
brought pence to his pocket as well as the other produce of 
his garden, he had always a spare posy for the broken jug on 
window-sill or mantel-shelf; and Bess, full-hearted, if not full of 
work, sent her voice quivering through that unmusical yard in 
songs of gladness and rejoicing. 

Very little fresh wooing was necessary. To people who had 
been so stinted as they had been, in common with others, Tom's 
pension seemed more than it was ; and no sooner was he able to 
discard his sling than he talked of immediate marriage, and was 
wonderfully sanguine about obtaining work as soon as his left arm 




154 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

regained its old power which it never did. It was no use setting 
up a loom ; he could no longer throw the shuttle back. He 
would have to seek some other employment. But thousands of 
other men were seeking employment too men with the full use 
of all their limbs men who had not disqualified themselves for 
peaceful arts by "going soldiering," and Tom Hulme stood little 
chance. Mr. Clough would have taken him on as a timekeeper, 
but lack of penmanship was a barrier in the way. 

Lamenting this in the presence of Jabez, the youth offered to 
be his instructor ; and with the permission of Mr. Ashton, who 
granted leave of absence, set him copies and gave him lessons 
on Sunday afternoons, at first on an old slate, to save the cost 
of paper, which was dear. And then, at Mr. Ashton's suggestion, 
Jabez superadded arithmetic, thus keeping himself in practice, 
besides helping one dear to those who had helped him. 

Of course, a weekly or fortnightly lesson was not much ; but 
the disabled soldier was a persevering pupil, and brought a clear 
head and an eager desire to his task. The maintenance of a 
better home for Bess depended on it. 

About this time a matter occurred at the Ashtons' which 
had a material influence on the fortunes of the Cleggs. Though 
the house of Mr. Ashton was in Mosley Street, the premises 
extended as far as Back Mosley Street, where was the warehouse 
door. The workpeople entered at a side door under a gateway 
which led to the stable, gighouse, and courtyard between house 
and warehouse, guarded by the black retriever, Nelson. 

You may look in vain for house and warehouse now. A 
magnificent block of stone warehouses, having threefold frontage, 
occupies the site. 

More than once Jabez Clegg, frequently entrusted with outdoor 
business requiring promptitude and accuracy, came upon Kit 
Townley, and one or other of the tassel-makers or fringe weavers, 



THE MANCHESTER MAN, 



155 



in close conference under the dim gateway at closing-time on 
Saturdays, or in the still darker doorway at the stairfoot of the 
workmen's entrance. The first time they moved aside to let him 
pass, afterwards they separated hastily ; but not before Jabez, 
who had quick ears, caught the chink of money as it passed 
from one to the other. 

On the first of these occasions his attention was barely 
arrested ; it was the repetition and the avoidance which struck 
him with its air of secrecy, and set him pondering what business 
his fellow-apprentice could have with the hands out of proper 
place and time. He knew him to be not over-scrupulous. He 
had seen him at Knott Mill Fair and Dirt Fair (so called from 
its being held in muddy November), or at Kersal Moor Races, 
with more money to spend in pop, nuts, and gingerbread, shows 
and merry-go-rounds, flying boats and flying boxes, fighting 
cocks and fighting men, than he could possibly have saved out 
of the sum his father allowed him for pocket-money, even if he 
had been of the saving kind ; and, coupling all these things 
together, Jabez was far from satisfied. He was aware that of 
late years stock-taking had been productive of much uneasiness 
to both Mr. and Mrs. Ashton. There were deficiencies of raw 
material in more than one department, for which it was impossible 
to account, save that the quantity accredited to " waste " was 
far out of reasonable proportion. 

Mr. Ashton, suspecting systematic peculation or embezzlement 
(of which many masters were complaining) had privately com- 
municated with Joseph Nadin, the deputy constable, a gnarled 
graft from Bow Street, who bore the official character of 
extraordinary vigilance and smartness. He was supposed to set 
a watch on workpeople and others, but nothing came to light. 
Perhaps he was too busy manufacturing political offences, or 
hunting down political offenders, to look after the interests of 



156 ^THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

private manufacturers. Sure it is that silk, worsted, webs, and 
gingham once gone were not to be traced. Jabez was also aware 
that a shade rested on the establishment of which he was an 
item, and felt that it behoved him to clear it away for his own 
sake, if possible. 

Since the discovery of his faculty for design, much of his 
time had been occupied at a desk with pencils and colours, 
making patterns for the wood-turner, the mould-coverer, the 
tassel-maker, the fringe-weaver ; for bell-ropes, brace-webs, carpet 
and furniture bindings ; and although some of these things 
admitted but of little variety, there was plenty found for him 
to do. 

This was well-pleasing enough to Jabez, but the College 
officials, who never lose sight of the boys they apprentice, 
demurred. His indentures provided that he should learn small- 
ware manufacturing in all its branches ; and pattern-designing, 
if part and parcel, was only one branch. Mr. Ashton was too 
just not to assent, and Jabez went to his active employment 
again. But he had a love for his new art, and an interest in 
his master's interest, which prompted him to say 

" If it would be all the same to you, sir, I could draw 
patterns before breakfast, or in the dinner-hour, or in an evening, 
if Kezia had someone else to wait on her." 

The inevitable snuff-box came out, Mr. Ashton's head went 
first on one side, then on the other, as he took a long pinch 
before he answered. 

" No, my lad, it won't be all the same to me, nor to you 
either," he said, at length, and Jabez began to look rueful. 
"You're a lad of uncommon parts, and I'm willing enough to 
find them employment. But if you work extra hours, apprentice 
or no apprentice, you must have extra pay. So you see, Jabez, 
it won't be the same to either of us You shall have the little 



THE MANCHESTER MAM. 157 

room at the end of the lobby to yourself, and there you may 
earn all you can for your own friends and for me." 

" Oh, thank you, master ! " interjected Jabez, his thoughts 
flying at once to the old yard in Long Millgate. 

"And let Kezia wait upon herself if there are no other idle 
folk about;" concluded Mr. Ashton, and the business was 
settled. 

This was about the time Jabez first began to suspect Kit 
Townley of unfair dealing ; and being once more in frequent 
contact with him in the warehouse, he could not shut his eyes 
or his ears. 

Kit was then assistant putter-out in the fringe and tassel 
department, counted out the moulds, weighed out silk and worsted, 
and called out the quantities each hand took away, for a young 
booking-clerk to enter. 

Jabez was still in the brace and umbrella room, but there was 
a wide door of communication between the two, and he had 
frequently to pass through the former with finished goods for the 
ware and show-rooms on the lower floors, and had to go cautiously 
past the large scale, lest he should tilt the beam with his 
ungainly burdens. Now and then it occurred to him that the 
bulk of silk or worsted in the scale was large in proportion to 
the weight, as called out by Kit Townley, and once he was 
moved to say 

"Is that balance true? or have you made a mistake, Townley?" 

" Mind your own business, Clegg, and don't hinder mine. 
Naught ails the scales, and I know better than make mistakes." 

"Well, I only thought," persisted Jabez. 

"I wish you'd think and keep those umbrellas clear of tne 
beam. You're always thrutching past with great loads on your 
shoulder when I am weighing out," interrupted Kit, testily, and 
Jabez held his peace. 



158 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

But if he went on his way quietly, he was equally observant, 
and saw the same thing happen again too often to be the result 
of accident. Moreover, from the window of the little room 
where he had a broad desk for designing, he saw Kit meet the 
same men and women stealthily after hours under the opposite 
gateway. 

"Kit," said he, one night, when they went to their attic, "what 
do you meet Jackson, Bradley, and Mary Taylor under the gate- 
way for so often ? " 

Kit, arrested with his warehouse jacket half on and half of 
asked sharply 

" Who says I meet them under the gateway ? " 

" I say so. I have seen you myself." 

" And what if you have ? " Kit retorted, snappishly. " There's 
no harm in saying a civil word to poor folk that I know 
off." 

"No harm, if that were all," returned Jabez, seriously, sitting 
down on the edge of his truckle-bed to take off his blue 
worsted stockings (knitted by himself), " but I have seen them 
give you money." 

"And what of that, you Blue-coat spy ? If they're kind enough 
to call at old mother Clowes' shop for toffy and humbugs for 
me, and give me the change back, what's that to you ? " he 
blustered, coming up to Jabez with a defiant air. 

" I know you've a sweet tooth, Townley," replied Jabez, unmoved, 
" but I fear nothing half so good as Mrs. Clowes' toffy takes 
you there so stealthily." 

"Perhaps, Mr. Wiseacre, you know my business better than I 
do myself?" returned Kit, bold as brass, though he did begin to 
feel qualmish. 

''Perhaps I do, for I suspect you of double-dealing, and I 
know what the end of that must be ; and I warn you that I 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 159 

cannot stand by and see our good master robbed. I should be 
as bad as you if I did." 

Townley, enraged, struck at him, and there was a scuffle in 
the dark, the bit of candle in their horn lantern having burnt out. 

Kezia, who slept in the adjoining attic, rated them soundly 
the next morning for the disturbance they had made, threatening 
to tell Mrs. Ashton. Had she done so, inquiry would have 
followed. 

Jabez, troubled and perplexed, the very next Sunday consulted 
old Simon Clegg as to the course he should pursue, being alike 
unwilling to tell tales on suspicion, or to see his kind master 
wronged. 

" Eh, lad," quoth Simon, rubbing down his knees as he sat, 
" aw've manny a time bin i' just sich a ' strait atween two ; ' but 
aw allus steered moi coorse by yon big book, and tha' mun 
do t' seame. Thah munriot think what thah loikes, or what 
thah dunnot loike ; but thah mun do reef, chuse what comes or 
goes. It is na reet to steeal ; and to look on an' consent to a 
thief is to be a thief. Thi first duty's to thi God, an' thi next 
to thi payrents (if tha' had anny), an' thi next to thi measter. 
Thah's gi'en the chap fair warnin', an' if he wunnot tak it th' 
faut's noan thoine." 

It so happened that the "putter-out" in the brace and umbrella- 
room was an old man named Christopher, who had been in the 
employment of the Ashtons (father and son) for thirty years. He 
professed to be very pious and very conscientious, but lamented 
that increasing years brought with it many ailments and infirmities, 
such, for instance, as headaches, dizziness, sudden weakness of the 
limbs, and attacks of spasms for the cure of which he kept a 
bottle of peppermint in a corner cupboard. 

It was into this room Augusta used to come dancing, to 
coax old Christopher out of bits of waste leather, and other odds 



106 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

and ends, for which only a child could find use. She was fond 
of cutting and snipping, and, with an eye to his own advantage, 
the cunning old fellow had taught her how to use the stamps, 
so that she might amuse herself by helping him. Then he 
bespoke her compassion for his aches and pains, and often, on 
holiday afternoons, was troubled with one or other ailment, 
which a pull at the bottle and a nap on the bundles of leather, 
or gingham, alone could relieve "if Miss Augusta would be so 
obleeging an' so koind as to stamp out a few tabs or straps for 
him, or count out umbrella ferules, or wheels, or handles," for him. 

And she, full of the superabundant energy of youth, did it, 
nothing loth ; though as her own years increased, and with them 
her ability to help, came a sharp sense that old Christopher was 
a hypocrite knowledge she confided to Jabez one day, when the 
sanctimonious putter-out was resting his aching head and uncertain 
legs, as usual ; and in order to convince him, she drew a bottle 
of gin, not peppermint, from under a pile of white kid. 

Jabez, too, had been sorry for the old fellow, and often added 
a good part of Christopher's work to his own, to relieve him. It 
was this fact which brought both Christophers to book. The old 
cant was so grievously afflicted on the Monday afternoon, that 
Jabez, seeing him quite incapable of doing his work properly (he 
was putting out umbrellas), undertook to do it for him, though it 
was no business of his and so Mrs. Ashton would have told 
him, had she been there. 

He measured off what he knew to be sufficient gingham for 
two dozen umbrellas (a workwoman standing by in waiting), and 
was about to cut off the length when the woman arrested his hand. 

" Yo're furgettin 1 th' weaste, mi lad ; Mester Christopher allus 
alleaws fur weaste." 

He looked at the woman, aware there could be no waste in 
cutting umbrella-gores. She winked at him. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 161 

"Oh!" said Jabez, conscious he was learning something not 
down in his indentures. "And how much does he allow?" 

"Abeawt a yard an' a hauve th' dozen," she replied. 

"And how do you contrive to waste it?" Jabez asked. 

She winked again. 

"Eh, but yo're a young yorney. Yo'd best ax Mester 
Christopher that." 

"I think I'd best ask Mrs. Ashton that, if she's in the 
warehouse," rejoined he, sending his scissors through the gingham 
at the proper place. 

"Yo'd better not, or yo'n cut off yo'r nose to spite yo'r own 
feace;" and the woman nodded her head knowingly. "T'other 
'prentice knows whatn weaste means, if thah dunnot ; an 1 manny's 
th' breet shillin' it's put in his breeches pocket, my lad." 

"Oh, that's it, is it?" said Jabez, whilst he was counting over 
the already bundled up whalebone, sticks, &c., to complete the 
umbrella fittings. "As our mistress would say, 'We may live 
and learn.' " 

He found the whalebone, ferrules, handles, leathers, wheels, 
were all in excess. An extra umbrella might be made from the 
superabundant materials. Thereupon he wakened Christopher to 
do his own work, simply remarking that he thought the bundles 
of sticks, &c., had been miscounted. 

" Oh, no, Clegg, they're a' reet ; we're obleeged to put in 
moore fur fear some on 'em shouldn' split in makkin' oop," said 
old Christopher, cunningly, as if for his information. 

Jabez took no further notice then, but shouldering a great 
bundle of large umbrellas, carried them through the fringe room, 
and there noticed that, despite the caution he had given, his 
fellow-apprentice was dexteriously manipulating silk and scales to 
falsify the weights he called out. 



CHAPTER THE EIGHTEENTH. 



EASTER MONDAY. 





BALANCED. 



JHAT evening Jabez, a clear- 
eyed, open-browed youth in 
his seventeenth year, upright, 
well-knit, and firmly built for 
his age, knocked at the parlour- 
door after Miss Augusta had 
been sent to bed. There was 
some trouble on his countenance, 
as though he was bent on an 
errand utterly repugnant to him. 
He was truly sorry to be the 
means, however remotely, of 
bringing disgrace on both an old man and a young one ; but 
Simon had led him to the conclusion that if there was little 
honour in turning informer, there would be absolute dishonesty 
in keeping silence whilst he saw his master robbed. 

Yet he hesitated, and lingered with his hand on the handle 
of the door, after the clear voice of Mr. Ashton had twice 
invited him to " come in." 

Mr. Ashton therefore opened the door, and saw Jabez with 
a design for a bell-rope tassel in his hand. 

"Well, Jabez, what is it? Something special you have to 
show us?" 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. I ^^ 

" No, sir ; I only brought this lest any of the servants should 
be curious about my errand here." 

Mrs. Ashton, who was reading a romance from Mrs. Edge's 
circulating library in King Street, lifted up her head at this ; 
and Jabez came in, closing the door. 

" Then what is the errand which needs such precaution ? " 
asked Mr. Ashton, resuming his seat and looking up at the 
clear face of Jabez. 

" I think t sir," and he laid an emphasis on the " think " 
" I have found out how you are being robbed, and who it is 
that robs you." 

" You what ? " exclaimed Mr. Ashton, placing his hand on 
the elbows of his chair, and bending forward inquiringly. 

Jabez repeated his statement, adding, " I think, sir, some of 
your putters-out and workpeople are in league to defraud 
you." 

Out came Mr. Ashton's snuff-box, down went Mrs. Ashton's 
romance, whilst Jabez told succinctly how his suspicions had 
been first aroused, and how they had been confirmed that 
day. 

" I did not tell my suspicions to Christopher, sir, thinking I 
had best not interfere, or put the the them on their guard 
until I had spoken to you. I feared lest I should defeat your 
plans," said Jabez, modestly. 

" Just so, Jabez, just so ; you were quite right, Jabez," said 
his master, whilst a shower of snuff fell on neckcloth ends 
and shirt frills. 

"Yes, quite right!" assented Mrs. Ashton, with customary 
dignity. " ' A still tongue shows a wise head ; l but we seldom 
see an old head on such young shoulders." 

No active steps were taken for a few days, but Mrs. Ashton 
was in the warehouse, and doubly observant; and Mr. Ashton 



164 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

was also on the alert They saw enough to convince them 
that Jabez was correct, and, acting on first impulses, Nadin was 
again communicated with. 

From the window of Jabez Clegg's little room, Kit Townley 
was seen to receive payment from a fringe-weaver for his share 
of the spoil ; and then Nadin, who knew all about it quite 
well enough before, followed up the clue to a waste dealer's who 
bought at his own price workpeople's "waste" (*>., warp, weft, 
silk, &c., remaining after work was completed), and found trades- 
people willing enough to re-purchase, well knowing that commodities 
so varied, and so far below market value, were not honestly 
come by. 

Nadin, big and blustering when there was nothing to be 
gained by silence, was for hauling the whole lot off to prison 
the two Kits, the waste dealer, and sundry workpeople and the 
criminal code was a very terrible dispensation then. 

But Mr. Ashton was more merciful ; he was for milder 
measures. Besides, Mr. Townley was an old friend of his, and 
for the sake of the father he forbore to drag the son into a 
court of justice; and unless he prosecuted all, he could not 
prosecute any. 

The sight of Nadin and his rough men, in their red-cuffed, 
red-collared brown coats, with their staves and handcuffs ready 
for use, was sufficiently terrifying. The distress of old Mr. 
Townley was painful to witness. As for Kit himself, he seemed 
less conscious of his guilt than ashamed of being found out, 
openly declaring that he "did no more than was customary" 
and no more than old Christopher, who had led him into it, 
had done for years. 

That old hypocrite went down on his knees with many 
whining protestations of his innocence; but, finding proof too 
strong, he made a clean breast of it, and on learning that, 







JOSEPH NADIN 
From a Print in the Chetha.ui Library. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 165 

through the generosity of his employer, he was about to escape 
prosecution, which would have led to transportation, he begged 
piteously to be allowed to retain the situation he had held for 
so many years. 

" No, Kit," said Mrs. Ashton ; " ' there is no rogue like an old 
rogue ;' you have not only robbed us yourself, but taught 
others the trick. Think well you have escaped the New 
Bailey," (the Manchester and Salford prison). 

At that period the constable who apprehended a criminal 
received a bonus on each conviction, called " blood-money," so 
large a proportion of felons were executed ; and Nadin, gruff 
and uncourteous even to his superiors, was disposed to resist 
Mr. Ashton's amiable " interference with the course of justice." 
A liberal douceur from the elder Mr. Townley's well-stocked 
purse was potent to allay his zeal. His runners were dismissed, 
and his friend the waste-dealer had a longer lease. 

The clearance of rogues paved the way for honest men, 
besides suggesting measures to prevent like embezzlement in 
future. The Ashtons rightly thought that the best way to 
reward Jabez was to serve his friends. A situation as putter-out 
to the weavers was offered to Tom Hulme, Mr. Ashton having 
had his eye on him for some time, and old Simon, being sent 
for, went home delighted with commendations of Jabez, and the 
consciousness that the only barrier to Bess's marriage was now 
removed, and that through the foundling's instrumentality. 

The only bar, that is, save the double fees of Lent, and the 
" ill-luck " supposed to follow a couple united during the 
penitential forty days. Tom put up the banns, however, and 
Easter Monday was chosen as the day of days for the ceremony. 
Tom Hulme's parents had been married on an Easter Monday, 
Simon had been tied to his wife on an Easter Monday, Jabez 
had been made a Blue-coat boy on an Easter Monday, and 



1 66 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

apprenticed on an Easter Monday ; it was consequently an 
anniversary to be observed and respected. 

Early marriages prevail amongst the class made early self- 
dependent by earning their own living. Matt Cooper had long 
been a grandfather, Molly and his three eldest boys having been 
married and settled. A brisk young butcher coming to the 
tannery with hides had met Martha, the other girl, bearing her 
father's dinner, and been so taken with her sharp, active gait, 
and saucy answers, that he proposed to transfer her to his shop 
beyond Ancoats Lane canal bridge, and to make his offer more 
palatable, suggested an amalgamation of the two households, 
and to take the youngest lad Matthew, aged fourteen as his 
apprentice. 

So ardent and promising a lover was not to be despised. 
Martha did not say "No," and Matt, beginning to stoop in the 
shoulders, rejoiced at the prospective haven for his declining 
years. 

It was arranged that they should be married along with Bess 
and Tom Hulme ; and so Matthew Cooper went with the Cleggs 
to church, not as a gallant bridegroom, but, more suitably, to 
give away a bride. 

And now, how shall I describe the scene at the Old Church 
on Easter Monday, to convey anything like an idea to modern 
readers, unacquainted with the locality, the period, and the 
habits of the people ? 

It must be borne in mind that registrars' offices did not 
exist ; that there was no marrying at dissenting chapels ; that 
few, if any, churches were licensed for the solemnisation of 
matrimony ; and that the collegiate parish church of Manchester 
was the nucleus towards which the marriageable inhabitants of 
all the surrounding townships and villages turned at the most 
important epoch of their lives. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 167 

The venerable pile (now being doctored by restorers) was 
set, as it were, in a ring-fence of old houses, with an inner 
ring of low wall encircling the churchyard, which, as grave-stones 
testified, had once extended to the very house steps. As I have 
elsewhere said, the path between this wall and the houses was 
known as Half Street, a portion of which, containing Mrs. 
Clowes' old shop, still remains ; and did I enumerate all the 
public-houses in this ring-fence which offered accommodation to 
wedding and christening parties, only a future generation of 
antiquaries would thank me ; and even they might doubt the 
facts set down in a work of fiction. 

Nevertheless, on Easter Monday not one of these hostelries 
had a spare foot of room. Every window and every door 
stood wide open. Men and women, gaily dressed as their own 
means or friendly wardrobes would allow, went in and out, filled 
rooms and passages, leaned from the windows with ribbons flying 
loose, or with pipes and ale-pots in their hands, calling to their 
friends below, whilst rival fiddlers (almost every party having its 
own) scraped away in anything but harmony. Horses and carts 
blocked up every avenue, and the churchyard itself was thronged 
with an excited crowd. 

Only the parties immediately interested were admitted into the 
sacred edifice, but to reach the doors they had to force their 
way, and could only return in couples through a dense avenue of 
humanity, amid a shower of jests, many not the most seemly. 

Bess wore only a white cambric gown, and a straw bonnet 
crossed with white ribbon, both of which Mrs. Ashton had 
provided; but somewhere in Tom's Peninsular campaigns he had 
picked up a bright-coloured scarf, which made her glorious to 
behold, and the envy of many a country bride. His old uniform 
had been kept for the occasion, and they looked grand together; 
but the quiet content on Bess's face was better than the grandeur. 



168 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

Nat Bradshaw, the butcher-bridegroom, was of a jovial turn, 
and nothing would do but the whole double wedding-party, Jabez 
included, should turn into the Ring-o'-Bells to drink health and 
happiness to the brides, and give them spirit to go through the 
ceremony befittingly. Bess and Martha hung back blushing like 
peonies ; but Nathaniel was not to be gainsaid, and in they went ; 
and whilst the brides sipped, he quaffed, and pressed the others 
to do likewise. 

At length Jabez, who had been brought up temperately, cried 
out they would be too late Parson Brookes had been gone into 
the church half-an-hour. 

There was a general rush from the room, and in the scramble 
to get first the party got separated; Matthew pulling his daughter 
along and leaving the bridegroom to follow. They elbowed their 
way into the church, and reached the choir just as Joshua 
pronounced the benediction over some twenty couples closely 
packed around the altar. Then there was a jostle and a scramble 
for "first kisses," amidst which rose the rough voice of the 
chaplain. 

"Now clear out, clear out! Do your kissing outside. There 
are other folks waiting to be wed. Do you think I want to be 
kept here all day tying up fools?" 

That instalment of the married having been hustled away to 
sign the church books, with their attendant witnesses, Joshua 
called out impatiently to the waiting couples, amongst which were 
Bess and Tom 

'Come, come! How long do you mean to keep me standing 
here? Do you intend to be married or not? Oh! it's thee, is 
it? [to Bess.] Well, thah's waited long enough, See that you 
make her a good husband [to Tom.] Kneel down here," and he 
placed them, not roughly, almost in the centre of the altar, 
pulling others to their knees beside them, with scant ceremony. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 169 

"What do you want here?" in his harshest tones he asked a 
very youthful-looking couple. 

"To be wed," was the prompt answer of the young man. 

"Ugh!" grunted the Parson, "what's the world coming to? I 
used to marry men and women now I marry children! Here, 
you silly babies, take your places." 

Another file of candidates for matrimony being ranged (after 
some pushing and pulling) in pairs round the altar, Joshua took 
his book, and the service began. 

So long as it was general, all went tolerably smoothly women 
and men alike were too bashful and confused to know much 
what was said, or what they responded, and certainly they rarely 
looked in each other's faces. At length there was a slight stir 
and a whispering from the quarter where Matt Cooper stood 
beside his daughter. 

"Silence there!" roared Joshua, in a voice which set a row ot 
hearts in a flutter, and there was silence. 

But he had come to the troth-plight, and again the same 
commotion was apparent as he approached the Coopers. 

"What's wrong here?" he demanded, pausing before Martha, 
who was all in a tremble. 

"Moi lass is waitin' fur her mon," answered Matthew from 
behind. 

"Ugh! I can't wait for laggards. Here, you [addressing Tom 
Hulme], answer for him. What's his name?" [to Martha.] 

"Nathaniel," she faltered. 

"I, Nathaniel, take thee, Martha, to be my " he went on, 

insisting on the response of Tom, who looked aghast at the 
prospect of marrying the wrong woman, and being told "to pair 
as they went out," as Joshua had summarily adjusted a like 
mistake heretofore; or, what was worse, of being saddled with 
two wives* 



170 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

On imperturable Joshua went with the ceremony, bent on a 
marriage by proxy. His experience having taught him that women 
of the working class, as a rule, took charge of their wedding-rings, 
he asked Martha for hers, which was duly produced, and without 
further ado he directed Tom Hulme to place it on Martha's finger, 
as he had previously put one on Bess's, and with the same 
formula. 

They had got as far as "With this ring I thee wed," when the 
missing bridegroom came in hot haste through the side door into 
the chancel, closely followed by Jabez, who had been in quest of 
him. 

He was flushed with ale and excitement, but was clear-headed 
enough to perceive what was going forward, and to the chaplain's 
chagrin, plucked the young woman back from the altar and his 
proxy, and the ring rolled to the ground. 

Then ensued an altercation between the butcher and Joshua 
Brookes, the latter insisting that what was good enough for princes 
might be good enough for him, and refusing to go over the 
ceremony again. But an apparitor drew the tardy bridegroom 
aside, and whispered to him a few mollifying words, whilst Joshua 
concluded the ceremonial, and then hurried from the altar with 
hardly a look at either Jabez or Simon as he passed out of 
the chancel, chafed and angry. Another clergyman took his 
place, and in the next group Nat Bradshaw and the half-married 
Martha took theirs. The lost ring had a substitute provided by 
the clerk for such emergencies ; and this time they were as surely 
married as Bess and Tom had been. 

Jabez had found the truant bridegroom at the " Ring-o'-Bells," 
oblivious of the flight of time, or of his party. The story having 
got wind, there was a general rush in their direction. 

" Here's th' mon wur too late to be wed ! " " Tak' care thi woife 
hasna two husbants ! " " Hoo's getten two husbants o'ready I ' 






THE MANCHESTER MAN. 



171 



"See thah's tied up gradely, lass ! " " Thah'rt a pratty fellow!" 
and much more which might have provoked a man less good- 
humoured in his cups. 

As it was the new brides clung to their husbands, half afraid 
of those noisy demonstrations, and were not sorry to get clear of 
the crowd, and thread their way to Ancoats Lane, where the 
thriving butcher, assisted by Mrs. Ashton, Mrs. Clowes, and Mrs. 
dough, had prepared a dinner which bore no proportion to the 
" short commons " of every-day' fare. 



CHAPTER THE NINETEENTH. 



PETERLOO. 

EOPLE had been naturally san- 
guine that the conclusion of 
peace would inaugurate pros- 
perity, that commerce would 
flourish with the flourish of 
pens on the parchments of 
a treaty. But the war had 
been of too long continuance, 
too universal, too destructive 
of life and property and crops. 
When grounds lie untilled for 
years ; when swords reap har- 
vests that should have been 
left for the sickle; when cattle 
are slaughtered wholesale for unproductive soldiery, or for lack of 
provender ; when orchards and vineyards which have taken years 
to mature are given to the flames, there can be no sudden 
re-adjustment of commercial matters. Food products are the staple 
of trade, which is only a system of exchange facilitated by coin 
and paper. 

What could a food-producing continent, down-trod by the iron 
hoof of war, have to offer in exchange for our textile fabrics and 
hardware ? 




SAM BAMFORD'S COTTAUB, 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 173 

Trade could not revive until there was food to sustain it. Yet 
the mass of the people in 1816, still further impoverished by a 
deficient home harvest, imputed the evil to defective legislation, 
and the exclusion of foreign corn, save at famine prices, and 
discontent became universal. 

Strangely enough, the agricultural districts which the Corn 
Laws were supposed to protect, were the first to cry out against 
them, and to break out into riot not Manchester, Oldham, 
Nottingham, and the manufacturing centres. 

This year closed on a popular demand for Parliamentary 
reform, but not a riotous one. Sunday schools had created readers 
on humble hearths, and William Cobbett supplied them with books 
and pamphlets bearing on their own rights and wrongs. They 
were read with avidity, and he became a power. He counselled 
peaceful persistence, not armed resistance. Hampden Clubs were 
formed all over the country, in which the political questions of 
the day were discussed with as much freedom as stringent 
law permitted. Public speakers and poets, of whom Samuel 
Bamford was one, arose from the ranks of the working classes ; 
and the men banded together under such leadership called 
themselves Radical Reformers, a title which soon degenerated into 
Radicals. 

The members of these rapidly-spreading clubs subscribed a 
penny a week each. Delegates were sent to meet and debate 
together; and on the 4th November, 1816, a large meeting was 
held in St. Peter's Field, Manchester (strangely enough, the site 
of the present Free Trade Hall), "to take into consideration the 
distressed state of the country." 

Other meetings were held by the Reformers and their delegates; 
and on the 13th January, 1817, their political opponents held a 
counter-meeting, to consider the "necessity of adopting measures 
for the maintenance of the public peace;" for certainly the 



174 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

meeting of large masses of disaffected people, however peacefully 
disposed in the outset, and individually, becomes threatening in 
the aggregate. No one cares much for a grain of gunpowder ; 
but mass the grains into pounds, and the pounds into tons, and 
there is certainly need of precaution in dealing with it. 

Amongst the precautionary measures deemed necessary for the 
protection of the peace, and the suppression of seditious meetings, 
were the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, and the enrolment 
of the Manchester and Cheshire Yeomanry Cavalry, under the 
command of Sir T. J. Trafford ; Laurence Aspinall, Ben Travis, 
and John Walmsley joining the corps. 

On the 24th of March since known as Blanket Monday a 
large number of men assembled in St. Peter's Field, with blankets 
upon their shoulders, with the openly-expressed design of walking 
to London, to lay their grievances before George, the Prince 
Regent, in person. The blankets were intended for coverlets on 
the wayside beds Mother Earth alone would spread for them. 
The meeting was dispersed by military, the newly-formed Yeomanry 
distinguishing themselves by trapping a number of the Blanketeers 
who had prematurely set out, and who had not got farther than 
Stockport. 

This was the signal for widespread alarm, and for Joseph 
Nadin to prove his discrimination and vigilance by scenting out 
imaginary plots, and arresting suspected plotters, whom he tied 
together, handcuffed, ill-used, and hauled to prison, or before 
magistrates (whether for acquittal or conviction), for little other 
reason than the dangerous power given by the suspension of the 
Habeas Corpus Act. He was a big, blustering, overbearing 
fellow, with a large grizzled head, closely set on strong, broad 
shoulders, with overhanging brows drawn close, and a sallow skin ; 
and his officious zeal in arresting such persons as Samuel Bamford, 
the weaver-poet, Thomas Walker, and the amateur actors he had 



THE MANCHESTER MAN, 175 

earlier laid hands on at a public-house in Ancoats Lane, laying 
to their charge plots which had their origin in his own brain, 
did more to embitter the people against their rulers than those 
dust-blinded rulers suspected. 

The Radical agitation reached its climax in 1819, when our 
friend Jabez was a well-formed, well-favoured young man of 
twenty, high in the estimation of his master and mistress. 
Popular rights had found a fresh champion in Henry Hunt, the 
son of a well-descended Wiltshire yeoman, a man of gentlemanlike 
bearing and attire, agreeable features, mobile in expression, and 
dull grey eyes which lit like fiery stars when in the fervour of 
his speech his soul shone out of them. 

" Orator Hunt," as he was ironically dubbed by those who 
loved him not, was the very man to move the people as he 
himself was moved ; his energy and fervid eloquence carried his 
hearers with him, and as he was wont to lash himself to a fury 
which streaked his pale eyes with blood, and forced them 
forward in their sockets, no wonder the Manchester magnates 
were afraid of his influence on the multitude, or that the Prince 
Regent should issue a proclamation against seditious meetings 
and writings, or the military drilling of the populace, then carried 
on with so fervid an orator to inflame them. 

When Henry Hunt made a public entry into Manchester, and 
attended the theatre the same evening, a disturbance ensued ; he 
was expelled, and the next evening the theatre was closed to 
preserve peace. Then a Watch-and-Ward, composed of the chief 
inhabitants, was established ; a meeting called by the Radicals 
was prohibited; but that did not deter the calling of another 
on St. Peter's Field, on the i6th of August, when a couple of 
large waggons were boarded over to serve as temporary hustings, 
whence Orator Hunt from the midst of his friends might address 
the assembled multitude. 



176 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

Augusta Ashton had just passed her fifteenth birthday. She 
was slim, graceful, and tall beyond her age, and was surpassing 
lovely. She was still under Mrs. Broadbent's care, and went to 
school that morning as usual, other meetings having passed off 
quietly, and no apprehension of disorder being entertained until 
long after nine oclock. 

About that hour the people began to assemble from all 
quarters on the open ground near St. Peter's Church not blood- 
thirsty roughs, but men, women, and children, drawn thither for 
a sight of a holiday spectacle. True, of the collective eighty 
thousand, though there were many thousands of earnest, thinking 
men who went to grapple with important questions, yet no such 
mighty gathering could be without its leaven of savagery and 
mischief. 

But those who went from the mills and the workshops, the 
hills and the valleys around Manchester, walking in procession, 
with bugles playing and gay banners flying, though they might 
look haggard, pinched and careworn, made no attempt to look 
deplorable, or excite compassion. They wore their Sunday suits 
and clean neckties ; and by the side of fustian and corduroy 
walked the coloured prints and stuffs of wives and sweethearts, 
who went as for a gala-day, to break the dull monotomy of 
their lives, and to serve as a guarantee of peaceable intention. 

Such at least was the main body, marshalled in Middleton 
by stalwart, stout-hearted Samuel Bamford, which passed in 
marching order, five abreast, down Newton Lane, through Oldham 
Street, skirted the Infirmary Gardens, and proceeded along Mosley 
Street, each leader with a sprig of peaceful laurel in his hat. 
Women and little ones preceded them, or ran on the footway, 
singing, dancing, shouting gleefully in the bright sunshine, as at 
any other pageant to which the music of the bugle gave life and 
spirit, and waving flags gave colour. 




SAMUEL BAMFORD. 
From a Photograph. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 177 

Such, too, were the bands which, with banners and music, fell 
in with them on their route, and together parted the dense 
multitude as a wedge, on their way to the decorated platform. 
Thence Samuel Bamford observed that other leaders had been 
less temperate. There were to be seen black banners and 
placards inscribed with seditious mottoes and emblems: caps of 
liberty, skull and crossbones " Bread or Blood," " Liberty or 
Death," " Equal Representation or Death ; " this last with an 
obverse of clasped hands and heart, and the one word "Love," 
but all of the same funereal black and white. 

But ere he could well note or deplore this, the scattered 
bands struck up " God Save the King," and " Rule, Britannia," 
deafening shouts rent the air, and Henry Hunt, drawn in an 
open barouche by white horses, made his way slowly to the 
hustings amidst the enthusiastic cheering of the multitude. A 
Mrs. Fildes, arrayed in white, with a cap of liberty on her head, 
and a red cap borne on a pole before her, sat on the box-seat. 
It is said she had been hoisted there from the crowd. Be this 
as it may, she paid dearly for her temerity before the day 
was out. 

Barely had Henry Hunt ascended the platform, taken off his 
white hat, and begun to address his attentive auditory, when 
there was a startling cry, " The soldiers are upon us ! " and the 
I5th Hussars, galloping round a corner, came with their spare 
jackets flying loose, their sabres drawn, and threw themselves, 
men and horse, upon the closely-packed mass, without a note 
of warning. All had been preconcerted, pre-arranged. 

From the early morning, magistrates had been sitting in 
conclave at the "Star Inn," and there Hugh Birley, a cotton- 
spinner, was said to have regaled too freely the officers and 
men of his yeomanry corps, so soon to be let loose on the 
"swinish multitude," as they called them. 



17^ THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

A cordon of military and yeomanry had been drawn round 
St. Peter's Field, like a horde of wolves round a flock of sheep. 
The boroughreeve and other magistrates issued their orders from 
a house at the corner of Mount Street, which overlooked the 
scene ; and thence (not from a central position, where he could 
be properly seen and heard) a clerical magistrate read the Riot 
Act from a window in an inaudible voice. 

Then Nadin, the cowardly bully, having a warrant to apprehend 
the ringleaders although he had a line of constables thence to 
the hustings, declared he dared not serve it without the support 
of the military. 

His plea was heard ; and thus through the blindness, the 
incapacity, the cowardice, or the self-importance of this one man, 
soldiery hardened in the battle-field, yeomanry fired with drink, 
were let loose like barbarians on a closely-wedged mass of un- 
armed people, and one of the most atrocious massacres in history 
was the result. 

Amid the shouts and shrieks of men and women, cries of 
"Shame! shame!" "Break! break!" "They are killing them 
in front ! " " Break ! break ! " Hussars, infantry, yeomanry rushed 
on the defenceless people. They were sabred, stabbed, shot, 
pressed down, trampled down by horse and infantry ; and in less 
than ten minutes, the actual field was cleared of all but mounds of 
dead and dying, severed limbs, torn garments, pools of blood, pawing 
steeds and panting heroes (?). Men and maidens, mothers and babes, 
had been butchered by their own countrymen for no crime. 

Hunt had been taken, Bamford had escaped to be arrested 
afterwards and Mrs. Fildes, hanging suspended by a nail in 
the platform which had caught her white dress, was slashed 
across her exposed body by one of the brave cavalry. 

But the butchery and the panic had spread from the deserted 
Aceldama over the whole town, and ere long the roar of cannon 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 



179 



began to add its thunder to the terrors of the day. As the 
first shrieking fugitives rushed for their lives down Mosley 
Street, with the Manchester and Cheshire Yeomanry in swift 
pursuit, Mrs. Ashton, for the first time alarmed for the safety 
of Augusta, hurried through the warehouse in search of Mr 
Ashton, who was nowhere to be found. On the stairs she me f 
Jabez, in a state of equal excitement. 

" Miss Augusta ! Is she at school ? Had I not better " 

"Oh, yes! Run! run!" cried the mother, anticipating him. 
"Go through the back streets, and take her to her aunt's. It 
is not safe to bring her home." 

He was gone before she concluded. (His master's daughter 
was the very light of his young eyes.) From Back Mosley 
Street he tore down Rook Street and Meal Street, into Fountain 
Street, across Market Street already in a ferment and onward 
down High Street without a pause. 

By good fortune he met the young girl and a schoolfellow 
on their usual homeward route, at the Corner of Church Street, 
almost afraid to proceed, the distant firing had so scared them. 

" This way, this way, Miss Ashton !" was his impetuous cry, 
as he hurried them from the main thoroughfare (into which a 
stream of terror-stricken people was flowing), through by-streets, 
and a private entry to the back door of Mr. Chadwick's house, 
which they found unfastened ; and then he thanked God in his 
heart of hearts that she at least was safe. 

Upstairs rushed Augusta, followed by her young friend, in 
search of her aunt and cousin, whom she found in the drawing- 
room in a state of the greatest trepidation and alarm. 

Dolly, a stout woman-servant, had gone to Fountain Street, 
as was her custom, to assist her paralysed master home to 
dinner. From the windows, meanwhile, they had seen men, 
women, and children flying along, hatless, bonnetless, shoeless, their 



180 tHB MANCHESTER MAN. 

clothes rent, their faces livid and ghastly, cut and bleeding, shrieking 
in pain and terror as they ran or dropped in the path of 
pursuing troopers; and their hearts throbbed wildly with affright 
as they pictured the helpless old man caught in that whirlpool 
of horror and destruction, with only a woman's arm to protect 
him. 

" Jabez will go and meet them," cried Augusta ; " he is 
below !" 

"Jabez!" exclaimed Ellen, starting to her feet, her white face 
flushed for a brief moment. "Oh, no! no!" 

But without waiting to hear her cousin's exclamation, or to 
note her change of colour, Augusta had run downstairs to Jabez, 
waiting in the long kitchen, and communicated her aunt's fears 
to him. 

Personal danger was unthought of when Augusta Ashton 
pointed to needful service. The lobby door closed after him 
with a bang before she had well explained her wishes ; and 
when Augusta re-appeared in the drawing-room, Ellen Chadwick's 
head was stretched from the window, watching the sturdy young 
man stem the on-rushing tide of humanity the only one in all 
that crowd with his face turned towards the danger from which 
the rest fled in desperation. 

The sights and sounds that met her eyes and ears were 
terrible ; gashed faces and maimed limbs ; appeals and impre- 
cations mingled with the roar of a surging crowd ; the dropping 
fire of musketry ; the coarse shouts of the yeomanry, drunk with 
wine and blood ! 

As her fearful eyes followed Jabez, a man rushed past whose 
hand had been chopped off at the wrist. With the remaining 
hand he held his hat to catch the vital stream which gushed 
from the bleeding stump ; and as he ran, he cried " Blood for 
blood ! blood for blood !" in a tone which made her shudder. 




A PETERLOO INCIDENT. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 181 

Faint and sick she drew back her head ; but open 
apprehension for her dear father, and secret fear for the 
apprentice who had gone so readily to pilot him through that 
surging human sea, caused her to look forth once more. 
Augusta and her friend, with blanched cheeks and lips, were 
also at the window, fascinated as it were with that which 
chilled them. 

Jabez turned the corner into Piccadilly, where one or two good 
brick houses had been converted into shops without lowering the 
floors or removing the original palisades, which enclosed bold 
flights of steps leading to doors with respectable shop-windows 
on each side. A confectioner of some standing named 
Mabbott occupied the second of these. He and his neighbour 
were hurriedly putting up their shutters as Jabez, crushing his 
way through the thickening crowd, saw Molly and Mr. Chadwick 
jammed up against the palisades, a young mounted yeomanry 
officer, in all his pride of blue and silver, brandishing his sabre, 
urging his unwilling steed upon them, and shouting 

" Move on, you rebels, move on ! or I'll cut you down !" 

Strong of nerve and will, Jabez thrust the impending throng 
aside, and grasped the horse's reins to force it back, crying as 
he did so 

" Shame, you coward ! to attack a woman and a paralysed 
man!" 

"Come in here, quick, Mr. Chadwick!" cried Mr. Mabbott at 
that instant, opening his closed gate and drawing the feeble 
gentleman and his attendant within, as the sabre, raised either to 
terrify or strike the old man, came down on the outstretched arm 
of Jabez, gashing it frightfully. 

Another of the corps riding past, with his eyes full upon them, 
stopped his horse at the gallop, as if to interpose, but he was 
too late. 



!8 2 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

"My God! Aspinall, what have you done?" he exclaimed, and 
throwing his own reins over the palisades, he dismounted hastily, 
caught at Jabez, who had staggered back, and drew him too 
within the iron screen, and helped him also into the confectioner's, 
as the other, with a derisive laugh which ill-became his handsome 
face, turned at a hand-gallop up Oldham Street, where he over- 
took a confrere, and with him sneered at "that soft-hearted 
Ben Travis." 

Ellen and Augusta had not lost sight of Jabez many minutes 
when two of the Manchester Yeomanry, their dripping sabres 
flashing in the August sun, wheeled their panting charges round, 
and rode (heedless of the shrinking wretches beneath their hoofs) 
across the footway, and made the brute beasts rear and plunge 
against the area-rails. 

"Shut your windows, or we'll fire upon you!" they shouted. 

Nothing daunted, Ellen called back indignantly 

"John Walmsley, I'm ashamed of you!" 

Not sober enough to distinguish friends from foes, again the 
pair launched their threat, "Shut the window, or we fire!" and 
Ellen, seeing pistols advanced, drew the window down, Mrs. 
Chadwick, in much trepidation, closing the other. 

"Who was that handsome officer with John?" asked Augusta, 
as they drew back; "he's a perfect Adonis." (Augusta dipped 
surreptitiously into Mrs. Edge's novels at times, and a handsome 
man in uniform was, of course, a hero in her eyes.) 

"Oh, Augusta, how can you talk of handsome officers at such 
a fearful time?" remonstrated Ellen. "I think them hideous, 
every one!" 

"But who is he? Do you know him?" she asked, even through 
the tears drawn by the scenes she beheld. 

"Oh, yes; know him? yes. He's a friend of John Walmsley. 
He's too wild to please either Charlotte or me ! Oh, mother! I 



THB MANCHESTER MAN. 183 

do wish father had come home!" and Ellen turned a worried 
look towards Mrs. Chadwick, whose rigid face and clasped hands 
betrayed the anxiety which kept her silent. 

Augusta, though not naturally void of feeling, longed to know 
more of the handsome yeomanry officer who had so captivated 
her young fancy; but that was not the season for such inquiries, 
and she was conscious of it. 

"Hark! what is that?" burst from Mrs. Chadwick, some half- 
hour later, as the sound of feet was heard from below ; and 
Ellen, rushing to the stairs, came back followed by her father 
leaning on the arm of a big muscular man, in the blue and silver 
uniform of the yeomanry cavalry, a red cord down his pantaloons, 
hessian boots, and, to make assurance sure, M.Y.C. upon the 
shako which his height compelled him to doff ere he entered 
the doorway. 

"Where is Jabez Clegg?" faltered Ellen, as she pressed to her 
father's side, led him to his chair, and placed his cushions to his 
liking, Augusta bringing a buffet on which to rest his foot. 

The stalwart young fellow's eyes followed the attentive 
daughter, as he answered 

"We have left Jabez Clegg at Mr. Mabbott's, Miss Chadwick," 
with an inclination of his head. " He was afraid you would be 
anxious for your father's safety, and I offered to see Mr. Chadwick 
home in his stead." 

Ellen's black eyes expanded questioning, and Mrs. Chadwick's 
mild voice, in accents indicative of some fear, asked 

"I hope not of necessity, sir?" 

" Well, yes, madam ; and I must hasten back ; he has received 
a sabre-cut on Eh, dear!" 

Ben Travis, for he it was, darted forward to catch Ellen 
Chadwick, just as he had previously caught Jabez at Mabbott's 
gate : AspinalPs sabre had wounded two instead of one Ellen 



184 !THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

Chadwick, who that day had seen what sabre-cuts meant, had 
fainted; Ben Travis bore her to the sofa, Mr. Chadwick pulled 
the bell-rope, Augusta ran for water, Mrs. Chadwick called for 
vinegar and burnt feathers, and in the midst of the commotion 
Mr. Ashton burst into the room in a state of excitement very 
foreign to his nature, which was tolerably easy-going. 

" Thank God, Augusta, you are here ! " he exclaimed. " Your 
mother is almost distracted about you Why, what is the matter 
with Ellen ? The whole world seems gone mad to day or hell 
has set its demons loose. I've just seen our friend Captain 
Hindley's horse take fright in Mosley Street at the firing, and 
dash with him against those half-built houses at the corner of 
Stable Street. He was pitched off amongst the bricks and 
scaffolding, and the horse dropped. Old Simon Clegg happened 
to be there, and he helped me and another to raise Hindley, 
who had fared better than his horse, for it was stone-dead, and 
he is only badly hurt." 

He had gone on talking, though hardly anyone had listened 
to him. Ellen's fainting fit engrossed feminine attention, and 
the yeoman, seeing her revive, was saying to Mr. Chadwick, 
"You will excuse me now, sir. I must look after our poor 
friend Jabez." 

" Eh ! what ! Jabez ? You don't mean to say anything has 
happened to Jabez Clegg?" exclaimed Mr. Ashton, pausing in the 
act of drawing forth his snuff-box. 

Travis was gone, but Mr. Chadwick, whose tongue now was 
none of the readiest, stammered out 

" Yes, William, w-we le-ft him at Mab-bott the confectioner's. 
In try-ying to-o save me he got b-badly wounded. I'm v-very 
s-sorry, for he is a n-noble y-young man." 

"The wretches! I'd almost as soon they'd wounded me! 
Stay here, Augusta ; " and with that Mr. Ashton was off after 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 185 

Ben Travis. The main streets were unsafe, so he also took the 
back way, and across Back-Piccadilly to Mr. Mabbott's, with a 
celerity scarcely to have been expected, for he was not a young 
man. But his apprentice had won upon him not only by his 
integrity and business qualifications, but by his manifest interest 
in the family he served, especially the daughter. Let me not be 
misunderstood. Augusta was the cynosure of Mr. Ashton's eyes ; 
the homage of the apprentice to the school-girl, he estimated as 
the homage of an apprentice merely, and was gratified thereby, 
but his imagination never travelled beyond. 

He found Jabez on a chintz-covered couch in Mr. Mabbott's 
sitting-room, his arm bound tightly with a towel, through which 
the blood would force its way. He was pale and exhausted 
from excessive haemorrhage, but seemed more concerned about 
the fate of the multitude outside than for his own. 

Ben Travis, discovering that no one had dared to venture in 
quest of a doctor, threw himself across his horse, which he found 
where he had left it, and was off up Mosley Street and thence 
back to Piccadilly, intent on bringing either Dr. Hull or Dr. Hardie. 
His undform was a protection, and so the doctors told him ; 
Dr. Hardie plainly saying that black cloth was not plate-armour, 
and that his friend, whosoever he might be, must wait until the 
tumult had somewhat subsided. 

But Jabez was only a couple of hours without attention. There 
were hundreds wounded that day, who had to skulk into holes 
and corners to hide themselves and their agony as best they 
might, afraid of seeking surgical aid, lest Nadin and his myrmidons 
should pounce upon them, and haul them to prison as rebels. 



CHAPTER THE TWENTIETH.* 



ACTION AND RE-ACTION. 




HE August sun had looked 
down in its noontide splen- 
dour when the events I 
have attempted to describe 
took place , but the tide of 
terror and destruction swept 
beyond the limits I have 
covered, and after the fierce 
onslaught, as if the carnage 
had been insufficient, artil- 
lery went rattling and thun- 
dering through the streets, 
to awe the peaceful and 
terrified inhabitants. As the 
flying crowd, dispersing, left bare St. Peter's Field, pressing outward 
and onwards through all accessible ramifications, the main thorough- 
fares thinned, and the scene of action took a wider radius. 

Still the gallant hussars and yeomanry went prancing through 
these thoroughfares, dashing hither and thither, slashing at strag- 
glers, shouting to the rebels, and to each other, to "clear the 
way"; driving curious and anxious spectators from doors and 
windows, and firing at refractory outstretched heads. 

* See Appendix. 



SHOT DOWN. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 187 

To clear the streets more effectually, cannon were planted at 
the entrances of the leading outlets from the town, and, as if 
that were not enough, the artillery had orders to fire. 

At New Cross two of these guns (which went rattling up 
Oldham Street, to the dismay of Augusta and the Chadwicks, 
as well as their neighbours) were posted, one with its hard iron 
mouth directed up Newton Lane, the other set to sweep Ancoats 
Lane, not then so wide as at present. 

Nathaniel Bradshaw's butcher's shop was situated at the nar- 
rowest part of Ancoats Lane, a little beyond the canal bridge. 
The shutters had been closed precipitately on the first alarm, but 
Martha Bradshaw and her young brother Matthew opened the 
window of the room above, and had their heads stretched out 
to watch and question the white-faced people scurrying past in 
disorder, when Matt Cooper, who lived with his genial son-in-law, 
came hurriedly home for dinner. His route from the tannery lay 
in a straight line up Miller's Lane, past Shude Hill Pits, and 
the New Cross, into Ancoats Lane, where he crossed only just 
before the cannon lumbered up. 

His clogs had rattled as swiftly over the pavement as his 
stiffening, hide-bound, long legs would carry them, and observing 
the heads of Martha and Matthew advanced from the window, 
he waved his hand in gesticulation for them to withdraw from a 
post so fraught with peril. But youth is wilful, and woman 
curious. They either did not understand, or did not heed his 
warning. They did not know all he had seen at New Cross, 
or how narrow an escape he had had from Aspinall's flashing 
sabre. 

"Do goo in, childer!" he cried, as he drew near, "if yo' 
wantn to kep the yeads on yo'r shoulders. Wenches and lads 
shouldna look on such soights." 

" Han yo' seen Nat ? " the wife asked, anxiously. 



i88 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

" Nawe." 

" He's gone t' see what o' th* mob and feightin's abeawt. Aw 
wish he wur whoam ! " 

Matt wished the same, but went in at the unfastened door, 
and passed on to the room beyond, where he found the untended 
lobscouse boiling over into the fire. He took the lid off the 
pot; then went to the stair-foot, and called "Martha!" 

There being no answer, he strode back through the shop, 
saying as he went 

" Dang it, hoo'll not be content till hoo's hurt ! " 

He stepped out on the rough pavement, and, looking up, 
called out 

" Do put yo'r yeads in ; yo'll " 

A musket-shot, splintering a corner of the stone window-sill 
on which they leaned, was more effective than his adjuration. 
The cannon boomed simultaneously a shriek recalled the hastily- 
withdrawn heads; and there, on the rough, sun-baked ground 
before their eyes, lay weltering in blood, a doubled-up form, 
which a minute before had been their father, Matt Cooper the 
tanner, the preserver of Jabez, the friend of Simon and 
Bess. 

This harrowing event was the last of the painful incidents 
of that fatal day coming within the scope of this history, which, 
isolated as they are, the writer knows to be true, even though 
they may not be chronicled elsewhere. 

The streets grew silent and deserted, save by the military 
and medical men, as the day and the night advanced ; but 
within the houses of poor and rich there were loud complaints 
and groans, and murmurings, which did not sink to silence with 
the day that called them forth. 

The town was, as it were, in a state of siege ; and men of 
business, whether Tories or Radicals, alike felt the stoppage of 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 189 

trade and commerce in their pockets, whether they felt the cruelty 
and injustice to the injured in their hearts or not. 

But chiefly those who had friends wounded by design or 
accident in the melee were loud in their denunciation of the whole 
proceedings ; and of these neither Mr. Chadwick nor Mr. Ashton 
was the least prominent, even though the one was paralysed, and 
they were of contrary shades of politics, the former being what he 
himself called "a staunch and true out-and-out Tory," the latter 
having a leaning towards Liberal not to say Radical opinions, 
and at county elections voting with the Whigs. 

The stiff ' Church and King " man, whose sons had dis- 
tinguished themselves in the Army and Navy, and whose son- 
in-law, Walmsley, might also be said to have distinguished himselt 
in the loyal Manchester Yeomanry he who had been a member 
of John Shaw's Club in the Market Place, and called for his 
P. or his Q. bowl of punch even before the aroma of Jacobitism 
ceased to flavour the delectable compound, and while yet John 
Shaw himself lived to draw his silver spoon from its particular 
pocket to concoct the same, and (inexorable autocract that he 
was) could crack his whip in his poky bar-parlour in the ears 
of even noble customers who lingered after his imperative " Eight 
o'clock, gentlemen ; eight o'clock ! " or summon his sturdy factotum 
Molly, with mop and pail, to drive thence with wetted feet 
those whom the whip had failed to influence he who had stuck 
to the club even after John Shaw, Molly, and the punch-house 
itself had gone to the dust he, Charles Chadwick, whose Toryism 
had grown with his growth, was foremost in condemning the 
proceedings of Peterloo. 

In his own person he had witnessed how the actual breakers 
of the peace were those commissioned to preserve it. In the 
wanton attack on himself, an unarmed, defenceless, disabled old 
man, he recognised the general characteristics of the whole affair, 



igo THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

and entered his protest against so lawless an exposition of the 
law. He was himself a peaceable man, a loyal subject, going 
quietly about his own business when Jabez intercepted, to his 
own hurt, the sabre destined for his grey head ; Matthew Cooper, 
his tenant's father-in-law, was as peaceable and well-disposed ; 
and, if so, might not the bulk of the so-called rebels have been 
the same ? In his gratitude to Jabez he denounced the mounted 
yeoman who had sabred him as " a drunken, blood-thirsty 
miscreant," though in the hurry, excitement, and agitation 
attending his own withdrawal from the press by Mr. Mabbott, 
he had failed to identify his pursuer with John Walmsley's 
dashing friend, and the exclamation of Ben Travis had not 
reached his ear in the confusion. 

Easy-going Mr. Ashton also seemed transformed by the event. 
He had certainly lost the valuable services of his apprentice for 
some time to come ; but that was the very least ingredient in 
the cup of his wrath. By faithful, intelligent service ; by per- 
severing industry, by a thousand little actions which had shown 
his interest in his employers, and his devotion to his old friends, 
Jabez had. won a place in his master's esteem and affection no 
other apprentice of any grade had ever attained. 

And now that Jabez had risked the dangers of the soldier- 
ridden streets to bear his beloved daughter to a place of safety, 
and had braved the storm of foot and horse, and fire and steel, 
to rescue his brother-in-law by endangering his own life or limbs, 
his admiration and gratitude rose to their highest, and in 
proportion his denunciation of an outrage which called for such 
a sacrifice was strong and vehement all the more that he 
sympathised with the objects of the meeting. 

When he and Simon Clegg (who had been drawn to the 
scene in his dinner-hour with others, like moths to a candle) 
picked up his cavalry friend, Robert Hindley, from amongst the 




J.-l 






m nis 



STAR INN. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 19I 

building materials, and disengaged him from his dead horse, he 
could not refrain from telling the disabled warrior, with all a 
friend's frankness, that " it served him right ! " 

Open expression of private opinion on the conduct of rulers 
was dangerous at that period, as may be supposed ; but private 
opinion became public opinion, too strong and too universal to 
be put in fetters. 

Mr. Tyas, the Times reporter, had been taken prisoner on 
the hustings, and it was imagined that only a one-sided account 
forwarded by the magistracy in justification of their conduct 
would reach London. But other intelligent reporters were at 
large, the garbled statements sent to the Government press were 
confuted by the truth-telling narratives of Messrs. Archibald 
Prentice and John Edward Taylor, which appeared the following 
day, and roused the indignation of the realm. These statements 
being more than substantiated by the Times reporter on his 
liberation, national indignation rose to a ferment. 

This alarmed the Manchester magistrates ; a meeting was 
hurriedly arranged to take place on Thursday, the igth (the third 
day from Peterloo), at the Police Station ; thence adjourned to 
the " Star Inn " in Deansgate ; and, as though the meeting had 
been a public one, resolutions were passed thanking magistrates 
and soldiers for their services on the previous Monday. 

Then Manchester rose, as it were, en masse, to vindicate its 
own honour, and reject participation in a disgraceful deed. 

"A declaration," says one historian, "was issued, protesting 
against the 'Star Inn' resolutions, which, in the course of two or 
three days, received close upon five thousand signatures," in 
obtaining which none were more active than Mr. Ashton and 
(despite his paralysis) Mr. Chadwick. Old Mrs. Clowes talked 
her customers into signing, and Parson Brookes was not idle. Mr. 
William Clough, whose old servant Matthew Cooper had been shot 



192 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

down at his own door, gave the tanners a holiday, that they might 
influence their fellows ; and Simon Clegg, Tom Hulme, and 
Nathaniel Bradshaw seemed ubiquitous, they went to work with 
such determined zeal. They did not feel " thankful " to the 
magistrates for the blood shed on Peterloo Monday. 

Neither did the bulk of the inhabitants; and an energetic 
protest against the proceedings and representations of the magistracy 
was the result. 

To counteract this, the Prince Regent, through his mouthpiece, 
Lord Sidmouth, sent his thanks to the magistrates and the military 
leaders for "their prompt, decisive, and efficient measures." But 
this, instead of calming, lashed the public mind to frenzy. 
Meetings to remonstrate with the Regent and to petition for 
inquiry were held in all the large towns, Sir Francis Burdett 
presiding at one held in Westminster. 

Subscriptions were also got up for the relief of such wounded 
and disabled persons as had crept into holes and corners to hide 
themselves and their wounds from Nadin and his constabulary; 
and here, too, William Ashton and William Clough worked 
hand-in-hand to bring relief to sufferers not in the Infirmary ; and 
Parson Brookes, to the disgust of some of his clerical brethren, 
lent his aid in ferreting out the miserables, if he did not 
ostentatiously flourish his subscription in their service ; and I 
rather think a certain " J. S." in the subscription list represented 
the mite of the Grammar School head-master, but I could not 
take an affidavit on the subject. But when the wounded, as far 
as ascertained, amounted to six hundred, irrespective of the killed, 
subscriptions had need to be many and ample. 

Another token of the change in public sentiment was 
shown in the satires and pasquinades which appeared on the 
walls, or were distributed from hand to hand. Previously to 
Peterloo a set of anonymous verses in ridicule of the popular 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. jg* 

leader had been distributed. They began and were headed as 
follows : 

ORATOR HUNT. 



i. 

Blithe Harry Hunt was an orator bold 

Talked away bravely and blunt ; 
And Rome in her glory, and Athens of old, 
With all their loud talkers, of whom we are told, 

Couldn't match Orator Hunt ! 

II. 

Blithe Harry Hunt was a sightly man- 
Something 'twixt giant and runt ; 
His paunch was a large one, his visage was wan, 
And to hear his long speeches vast multitudes ran, 
O rare Orator Hunt ! 



VI. 

Orator Hunt was the man for a riot 

Bully in language and front 

And thought when a nation had troubles to sigh at, 
'Twas quite unbecoming to sit cool and quiet, 

rare Orator Hunt ! 



VIII. 

How Orator Hunt's many speeches will close - 

Tedious, bombastic, and blunt 
In a halter or diadem, God only knows : 
The sequel might well an arch-conjurer pose. 

O rare Orator Hunt ! 

Sufficient has been given to show the nature of the lampoon 
without repeating its scurrility. The following, of which we 
only quote the first two stanzas, is of pretty much the same 
order, though emanating from the other side, and after terrible 
provocation had been given : 



194 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

THE RENOWNED ATCHIEVEMENTS OF PETERLOO, 
ON THE GLORIOUS i6TH OF AUGUST, 1819. 

BY SIR HUGO BURLO FURIOSO DI MULO SPINNISSIMO, Bart., 
M.Y.C. AND A.S.S. 

The music by the celebrated DR. HORSEFOOD ; to be had at the " Cat and Bagpipes?' 
St. Mary's Gate, Manchester. 

RECITATIVE. 

When fell sedition's stalking through the land, 
It then behoves each patriotic band 

OF NOBLE-MINDED YEOMAN CAVALIERS 
To sally forth and rush upon the mob, 
And execute the MAGISTERIAL JOB 

Of cutting off the ragamuffins' ears. 

AKIA BRAVURA. 

Forte. How valiantly we met that crew 
Of infants, men, and women too, 
Upon the plain of Peterloo: 
And gloriously did hack and hew 

The d d reforming gang. 

Our swords were sharp, you may suppose, 
Some lost their ears some lost a nose ; 
Our horses trod upon their toes 
Ere they could run t' escape our blows : 

With shouts the welkin rang. 
Andante. So keen were we to rout these swine, 
Whole shoals of constables in line 
We galloped o'er in style so fine, 
By orders of the SAPIENT NINE 

First friends, then foes, laid flat. 
By Richardson's best grinding skill 
Our blades were set with right good will, 
That we these rogues might bleed or kill, 
And " give them of Reform their fill ! " 

And what d'ye think of that? 

And so on the satire ran, in mock-bravura style, through the 
whole course of piano, sotto voce, pianissima-mento, and con baldanza, 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 



'95 



with foot-notes to strengthen or elucidate the text. And that the 
writer remained undiscovered and unprosecuted spoke loudly for 
the re-action which had taken place in men's minds. 




CHAPTER THE TWENTY-FIRST. 

WOUNDED. 

T the extreme end of Mr. Mabbott's long double- 
countered shop was an expansive archway, closed in 
general by folding doors, through which entrance 
was afforded to a narrow sitting-room, the length of 
which was just by so much less than the width of the shop as 
was required for a passage and staircase. Once a year the open 
archway revealed a shimmering mass of snowy sugar-work, the 
towers and turrets of a castle on a rock, or the illuminated 
windows of a magnificent palace, fit for any princess of fairyland, 
with pleasure-gardens and lake, or fountain and pond, wherein 
stately swans floated, and were overlooked by dames and cavaliers 
created by the confectioner and his satellites. 

For the fifty other weeks it was simply a snug parlour, 
comfortably furnished according to the fashion of the time. 

And it was in this room we left Jabez, whilst good-natured 
Ben Travis, leaving his more patriotic comrades to "hack and 
hew" at their pleasure, galloped hither and thither in search of 
a surgeon to dress the wounded arm. 

Every doctor in the Infirmary had his hands full ; Dr. Hull, 
from his windows in Mosley Street, and Dr. Hardie from his in 
Piccadilly, had been satisfied that if they ventured forth they 
might soon need doctoring themselves and they both pleaded 
"medical etiquette" in excuse for their lukewarmness. They were 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 197 

"physicians, not surgeons." He bethought himself of Mr. Huertley, 
in Oldham Street, but even he had more than one wounded 
patient in his surgery, and was loth to encounter the danger 
outside. Ben Travis, however, would take no denial. He waited 
until sundry gaping wounds were closed, cuts plaistered and 
bandaged, a broken limb set, and a bullet extracted, even lending 
a hand himself where unskilled help could be available, being less 
bemused with liquor than many of his cavalry corps. Then, 
although they were almost within a stone's throw of their des- 
tination as Oldham Street was not safe for a civilian to cross 
on foot, with loaded cannon in such close proximity Travis 
mounted the surgeon behind him, the latter not sorry to have 
the yeoman's capacious body in its conspicuous uniform for a 
shield, as they dashed across into Back-Piccadilly to Mabbott's 
back door. 

Ere they rode off the younger man cast a sharp glance of 
scrutiny at Chadwick's drawing-room windows, and bowed low 
in recognition of the face for which he was looking the face he 
had seen so pale and pitiful, bending over an afflicted father, and 
so shocked to hear of even an apprentice wounded in that father's 
behalf. 

Ben Travis had a big body and a big heart, but he had little 
knowledge of the hearts of womankind, or he might have found 
another solution for Ellen Chadwick's fainting fit. He did not 
know how she had trembled for another on seeing him dismount 
at Mr. Huertley 's door, nor how she had watched, too sick and sad 
to descend to the dining-room, when the spoiled dinner was at 
length set on the table watched eagerly and anxiously, her heart's 
pulsations counting each second a minute, as hours elapsed 
before she saw them mount and ride away, and noted the direction 
they took. And she saw no admiration in the low bow of the 
fine soldierly young gentleman only the polite salutation of a 



igS THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

stranger introduced casually by the untoward events of the day, 
albeit, having rendered her father a service, and professed himself 
the friend of Jabez, she was bound to recognise him as he passed. 

To Jabez himself, lying faint and exhausted with loss of blood 
on kind Mr. Mabbott's chintz-covered squab-sofa, everything was a 
haze, and the people around him little more than voices. He was 
perfectly conscious when Mr. Mabbott hastily cut away the sleeve 
of his jacket, and bound the wounded arm as tightly as towels 
could bind. When Mr. Ashton put his troubled face into the con- 
fectioner's small parlour, Mr. Mabbott was in the act of reaching 
from a corner-cupboard a small square spirit decanter, and an 
engraved wine-glass, in order to administer a dose of brandy to 
the young man, then rapidly sinking into unconsciousness. 

Under its influence he revived for awhile ; but, as the blood 
gradually soaked through the towelling, he grew fainter, in spite 
of brandy, and by the time Ben Travis (who had surely kept the 
promise made in school-boy days) brought Dr. Huertley to his aid, 
he had lapsed into a stupor from which the manipulations of the 
surgeon barely aroused him. 

"You should have tied a ligature tightly as possible round the 
arm above the wound, first thing," said the surgeon, addressing 
those around him " a bit of tape, a strip of linen, a garter any- 
thing narrow to stop the haemorrhage. Had this been done, there 
would have been less effusion of blood, and our patient would not 
have been so utterly prostrated." 

"Just so, just so," assented Mr. Ashton, adding, "but Mr. Mabbott 
had " 

"Done his best no doubt," interrupted the surgeon, "or our 
young friend might have bled to death. But the tight, narrow 
ligature would have been better ; and many a valuable life may 
have been saved or lost this day through that bit of knowledge 
or the want of it." 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 199 

Mr. Ashton's " Just so, just so ; I daresay you are right," was 
followed up by " Shall we be able to remove him to-night, Mr. 
Huertley? He is my apprentice, and has been injured whilst 
bravely protecting your opposite neighbour, Mr. Chadwick, my 
brother-in-law. I should like to get him home, to be under Mrs. 
Ashton's care, as well as to relieve Mr. Mabbott, to whom, I am 
sure, we all feel greatly indebted." 

" Don't name it, I beg ; at fearful times like this," said Mr. 
Mabbott, with a shudder, "it does not do to think of trouble or of 
ceremony. But I do not imagine the doctor would counsel the 
young man's removal to-night, even if the road were clear and 
safe." 

"Certainly not," replied Mr. Huertley, as he packed up his lint 
and instruments. " And in my opinion, if you remove him to-morrow 
you must do it carefully on every account, and will have to smuggle 
him away in a hackney-coach, lest he should be pounced upon as 
a wounded rebel." 

Two days, however, elapsed before Mr. Mabbott's sofa lost its 
occupant, and even then the strong arm of Tom Hulme and the 
loving care of Bess were needed to help Jabez, feeble and wan, 
to the hackney-carriage brought up to the back door, which bore 
him slowly away, avoiding the main streets until they passed 
under the arched gateway in Back Mosley Street, whence he had 
last emerged at a headlong pace to prevent Miss Augusta getting 
into danger. 

Some remembrance of this flashed through the brain of Jabez 
as the coach stopped in the courtyard, and on the house doorsteps 
he beheld Mrs. Ashton, Augusta, and Ellen Chadwick, all three 
waiting to receive him as if had been a wounded relative returning 
from far-off victories to his own hearth. Nay, the very servants 
hovered in the background, even cross Kezia pressing to have a 
first look at him. 



300 TEE MANCHESTER MAM. 

Mrs. Ashton herseifi with the graceful dignity which sat so 
well upon her, went down the steps to lead him op and into 
the boose, and, as she touched his left hand and unwounded 
arm, sae said impressively, 

"Jabez Clegg, I understand we owe our brother's life to TOOT 
self-abnegation, if not that of our daughter aba I icgiel that 
your noble intervention should have cost you so dear; but I 
thank you most truly, and shall not forget U." 

The stately lady's eyes were humid as she led Jabez into their 
common parlour (the room in which Augusta had displayed his 
specimens of incipient artistryX and there placed him on the 
large soft sofa, already prepared with pillows for his reception. 
The attention touched him to the heart ; the humble apprentice, 
feeling himself honoured, raised the lady's hand to his lips as 
gracefully and reverently as ever did knight of old romance. 

And then he would have closed his eyes for very weariness ; 
but a little soft, warm hand stole into his feeble one, and, thrilling 
through him, a faint tinge chased the deathly pallor from his 
face as Augusta's voice, full of commiseration, said apologetically, 
* I had no idea, Jabez, that I was sending you into danger when 
I asked you to look for Uncle Chadwick; I am so sorry yon 
have been hurt" 

He held the little hand of his master's daughter for one or 
two delicious minutes, while he answered feebly, "Never mind, 
Miss Ashton ; I was only too glad to be there in time ; " and 
lapsed into so ethereal a dream as he released it, that the low, 
broken, grateful thanks of Ellen Chadwick left but the impression 
on his mind that she was very much in earnest, and had called 
him Mr. CUgg. 

Mr. Clegg: When had the College-boy the Blue-coat 
apprentice been anything but Jabez Clegg? Mr. Clegg! It 
was from such lips social recognition, and so blent strangely with 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 201 

his dream. Ah! could he but have known how much of latent 
tenderness was embodied in those incoherent expressions of a 
daughter's gratitude, or that the speaker dared not trust her 
faltering tongue with his Christian name ! 

Mrs. Ashton called the young ladies away. 

"My dears, you had better resume your occupations, and leave 
Jabez to repose ; it is not well to crowd about an invalid on so 
sultry a day as this." 

So Miss Chad wick went, with her tatting-shuttle, back to her 
seat by the one window where the friendly shade of the dove- 
coloured curtains screened from observation any glances which 
might chance to stray from the tatting to the sofa; and Miss 
Ashton went back to her music-stool, where the sunbeams, falling 
through the other window, lit up her lovely profile, shot a glint of 
gold through her hair, and showed the dimples in her white 
shoulder to the half-shut, dreaming eyes of Jabez, who listened, 
entranced, as she practised scales and battle-pieces, waltzes and 
quadrilles, totally unconscious that she was feeding a fever in the 
soul of the apprentice more to be feared than the stroke of 
AspinalTs sabre, though it had cut into the bone. 

Not that she was a simple school-girl, and ignorant of the 
power of beauty. She was pretty well as romantic as any girl 
of that romantic age who, being fifteen, looked a year older, and 
learned the art of fascination from the four-volume novels of 
the period. Mrs. Ashton herself subscribed to the fashionable 
circulating library of the town, but she was somewhat choice in 
her reading, and had Miss Augusta stopped where her mother did 
she would have done welL But it so happened that, after feasting 
on the wholesome peas her mother provided, she fell with avidity 
on husks obtained surreptitiously elsewhere. Kisses from Augusta 
could always coax coins from papa, and as a Miss Bohanna kept 
open a well-known, well-stocked circulating library in Shudehill, 



202 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

albeit in a cellar, its contiguity to Bradshaw Street and 
Mrs. Broadbent's enabled Miss Ashton (or Cicely for her) to 
smuggle in amongst her school-books ether fictions, such as 
Elizabeth Helme and Anna Maria Roche used to concoct, 
and Samuel Richardson provided, to delight our grandmothers 
with. 

So Miss Ashton was quite prepared to be admired and play 
the heroine prematurely ; but she had been reared in the same 
house with Jabez, had been caressed and waited upon by him 
as a child, and anything so absurd as her father's apprentice 
falling in love with her had never dawned upon her apprehension. 
Then not even his wounded arm could make him handsome 
enough for a hero, so she plunged through the " Battle of 
Prague," and " Lodoiska," and glided into the " Copenhagen 
Waltz," with no suspicion of a listener more than ordinary. 

Mrs. Ashton, who was back-stitching a shirt-wristband (family 
linen was then made at home), imagined that Jabez was dozing, 
and, unwilling to disturb him, only spoke when a false note, or 
a passage out of time, called for a low-voiced hint to her 
daughter, or when she found occasion to make some slight 
observation to the equally silent Ellen. 

Presently the clock in the hall proclaimed " five." Miss 
Ashton closed music-books and piano ; Miss Chadwick completed 
a loop, then put her tatting away in a small, oblong, red 
morocco reticule ; Mrs. Ashton laid the wristband in her work- 
basket, which she put out of sight in a panelled cupboard 
within the wall, sheathed the scissors hanging from her girdle, 
and folded up the leather housewife containing her cut skeins of 
thread, &c. James brought in the tea-board, with its genuine 
China tea-service, plates with cake and bread-and-butter, and 
whilst he went back to Kezia for the tea-urn, in walked Mr. 
Ashton, and with him the Reverend Joshua Brookes. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 



203 



One might have supposed his first salutation would have 
been to the lady of the house. Nothing of the kind ! With 
a passing nod to Mrs. Ashton, who had extended her hand, 
he marched straight to the sofa, and greeted its occupant 
with 

"Well, young Cheat-the-fishes, so you've been in the wars 
again?" 

"Yes, sir," said Jabez, attempting to rise. 

" Lie still, lad ! And so you thought a velveteen jacket 
defensive armour against sharpened steel ? " 

" I never thought about it, sir." 

" Ugh ! Then I suppose you reckoned a young man's arm 
worth less than an old man's head ! Eh ? " 

Jabez smiled. 

"Certainly, sir." 

" Humph ! I thought as much ! " Then darting a keen 
inquisitive glance from under his shaggy eyebrows at the prostrate 
young fellow, he added, in his very raspiest tones, "And I 
daresay you've no notion whose sabre carved the wing of the 
goose so cleverly ? " 

What little blood was left in his body seemed to mount to 
the face of Jabez, the old scar on his brow which every year 
made less conspicuous purpled and grew livid. Old Joshua 
needed no more. 

" Ah, I see you do ! Well, are you inclined to forgive the 
fellow this time ? " 

All ears were on the alert. Jabez caught the quick turn of 
his kind master's head. He hesitated, paled, and flushed again. 
Joshua Brookes waited. There was some indecision in the reply 
when it did come. 

" I am not sure, sir. But he was very drunk. I don't think 
he would have done it if he had been sober." 



204 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 



"Just so, Jabez just so!" assented Mr. Ashton with evident 
satisfaction, and a tap on his snuff-box lid. 

Ben Travis had revealed the name of Mr. Chadwick's assailant 
to the manufacturer, and he to the chaplain. 

" Oh ! that's your opinion, is it ? " cried the latter, crustily, 
wheeling sharply round to disguise a smile. " Here, madam, 
let's have a cup of sober tea after that ! " 

" I think, Mr. Brookes," said Mrs. Ashton, as she seated 
herself, "with all due deference to you I think you ask too 
much from Jabez. I do not consider drunkenness any excuse 
for brutality." 

" No excuse for the brute, madam, certainly ; but a reason 
why a reasoning man should forgive the brute incapable ot 
reason." 

" Just so, Parson ! " chimed in Mr. Ashton, laying his Barcelona 
handkerchief across his knee. 

" I don't see it, sir," argued Mrs. Ashton, handing a willow- 
patterned cup and saucer, with his tea, to her interlocutor ; " a 
man who is a brute when intoxicated should keep sober. For my 
own part, I should be loth to let the same stick beat me twice. 
Our apprentice has borne quite too much from that fellow " 
(she waxed indignant), "and there is a limit to forgiveness." 

" Yes, madam," answered the Parson snappishly, " there is a 
limit to forgiveness ; but the limit is ' not seven times, but 
seventy times seven ! ' " 

There was no more to be said. The rough chaplain spoke 
with authority, and from experience, and Jabez knew it. 



CHAPTER THE TWENTY-SECOND. 

MR. CLEGG ! 

OWEVER grateful Mrs. Ashton 
might be she never lost sight 
of her personal dignity, and 
had no idea of admitting 
Jabez on terms of equality 
after that first reception. 

In his helpless condition 
he required attention, which 
she could not condescend to 
render personally; yet she was 
as little inclined to delegate the 
duty to Kezia, who was never 
over well-disposed towards him, 
and might have resented the 
call to "wait on a 'prentice 
lad," or to Cicily, who was 
too young to have the run ot a young man's chamber. It was 
like herself to hit on a happy mean, and invite Bess Hulme at 
once to satisfy her own longings, and meet the requirements of 
the case, by waiting on her foster-child in his helplessness, 
bringing with her her own boy, now two years old, to be 
committed to willing Cicily's care when the mother was herself 
engaged. 




HOUSE OF JOSHUA BROOKES. 



206 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

Yet the apprentice never again sank into the old ruts. His bed 
in the attic was turned over to his successor. From that parlour 
where he had lain and listened to Augusta's music, and Parson 
Brookes' dictum ; where Mrs. Ashton had placed his pillows, and 
Ellen Chadwick had supplied his wants with such intuitive perception 
at tea-time; from that room he went to a chamber on an upper 
floor, furnished neatly but plainly, with due regard to comfort. 

There was a mahogany camp-bedstead, draped with chintz of 
most extraordinary device. The bed was of feathers not flock. 
An oak chest of drawers, which did duty for a dressing-table, 
stood by the window, which itself overlooked the yard, and on the 
top stood a small oval swing looking-glass. There were small 
strips of carpet along the two sides of the bed which did not 
touch the wall ; an almost triangular washstand in one corner, 
and near the middle of the room a rush-bottomed chair and a 
small tripod table. There was also a cushioned easy-chair, which 
had a suggestiveness of being there for that special occasion only; 
and Jabez, who, on his first glance around, began to speculate 
whether the whole would not vanish with his convalescence, was 
reassured when he saw that his wooden box had been brought 
from the attic and stood against the wall. 

The six-foot, bronzed, bearded man of forty remains a child to 
the mother who bore him, or the woman who nursed him. And 
as she had laid him in his cradle when a baby, Bess helped 
Jabez to his _new bed, fed him with the beef-tea which Kezia had 
prepared (for a wonder, without a grumble), gave him the cooling 
draught Mr. Huertley had sent in, smoothed his pillows for repose, 
and kissed his brow, with a " God bless thee 1" much as she had 
done when he was an ailing child, but with all the access of 
motherliness her own maternity had given. 

Nevertheless he did not sleep readily. Neither Bess's soothing 
hand nor the soft bed superinduced slumber. He was modest, 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 207 

and " Mr. Clegg " haunted him. He could not see the connection 
between his impulsive rush forward to check the yeoman's 
plunging steed, and his employer's recognition of the service 
rendered. 

" I only did my duty," he debated with himself, as he lay there, 
with a mere streak of light from the glimmering rushlight showing 
between the closely-drawn curtains " I only did my duty. Any- 
one else would have done the same in my place. If I had once 
thought of consequences and grasped the reins deliberately, there 
would have been some bravery in that. But I never thought of 
the sword, not I. I only thought of poor old Mr. Chadwick and 
Molly; and I'm sure Mr. Mabbott's ready hand did as good 
service as mine. Only, I happened to get hurt. Yes, that's it! 
And they are sorry for me. I wonder if that ruffianly fellow 
did know whom he was striking at? I hardly think he did, he 
was so very tipsy. If I fancied he did, I but he could not. He 
was just blind drunk. What a pity, for such a handsome fellow, 
not older than I am, and a gentleman's son, too! Forgive him! 
I don't think I've much to forgive. I'd bear the pain twice over 
for all the kind things that have been said and done since! 
Tea in the parlour with Parson Brookes and all! And this 
handsome bed-room [handsome only in untutored eyes]. And all 
the thanks I have had for so little. And, oh ! the bliss of holding 
Augusta's delicate hand in mine, and hearing the music those 
white fingers made. It's worth the pain three times over. And 
Mr. Clegg, too ! Mr. Clegg ! How like a gentleman it does sound ! 
Will anybody call me Mr. Clegg besides Miss Chadwick? How 
fond she must be of her father, from the way she thanked 
me!" 

(Ah, Jabez ! what oculist can cure blindness such as thine ?) 
If less consecutive, still in some such current ran the young 
man's thoughts, until chaos came, and his closed eyes saw 



2o8 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

innumerable Mr, Cleggs written on walls, and floor, and curtains, 
and a delicious symphony seemed to chorus the words, and "lap 
him in Elysium." 

After that, once each day, Mrs. Ashton paid him a brief 
visit of inspection and inquiry, generally timed so as to meet 
the surgeon. Mr. Ashton, with less of ceremony, dropped in 
occasionally, to bring him a newspaper, book, or pamphlet to 
beguile the hours, and was not above loitering for a pleasant 
chat on matters indoors and out, the state of political feeling, 
and of business, in a manner so friendly Jabez was at a loss 
to account for it. Once or twice Augusta tapped at the door, 
to ask if Jabez was better, and to "hope he would soon be 
well," and the simple words ran through his brain with a thousand 
chimerical meanings. 

Joshua Brookes paid him a couple of visits, brought him papers 
of sweetmeats and messages from Mrs. Clowes, and a Latin 
Testament and a worn ^Eneid from his own stores, as a little 
light reading. Mrs. Chadwick, too, made her appearance at his 
bedside, with kindly and grateful words from her husband ; and 
amongst them he was in a fair way of becoming elevated into 
a hero to his own hurt. 

Simon Clegg (who pulled off his thick Sunday shoes in the 
kitchen, and went up-stairs in his stocking feet, lest he should 
make a clatter and spoil the carpets) counteracted the mischief, 
and somewhat clipped the pinions of soaring imagination. 

Jabez, his arm bandaged and sustained by a sling, lay with 
his head against the straight, high back of his padded chair, 
between the window and the fireplace, which glowed, not with 
live coals, but a beau-pot of sunflowers and hollyhocks from 
Simon's garden. At his feet lay little Sam, fast asleep, with his 
fat arms round the neck of Nelson, the black retriever, which 
had somehow contrived to sneak past Kezia with his tail 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 



209 



between his legs, and to follow Bess up-stairs, where he had 
established himself in perfect content. 

Simon greeted his foster-son with bated breath, awed no doubt 
by the lamp-bearing statues in the hall and on the staircase, and 
hardly raised his voice above a whisper while he stayed. He had 
much to tell which the reader already knows, but he took his 
leave with quite a long oration, impressed no doubt by the comfort 
in that chamber, as well as by the grandeur in rooms of which 
he had caught a glimpse through open doors. Jabez, himself, 
being still feeble, had spoken but little. 

" Moi lad," said he, " this is a grand place, but dunnot yo' 
let it mak' yo' preawd ; an' aw hope as yo'r thenkful yo'han 
fallen among sich koind folk." 

"Indeed I am." 

"Yo' did nowt but whatn wur yo'r duty, moi lad, as aw 
trust thah allays wilt ; and thah's getten a mester an' missis i* 
ten theawsand, to mak' so mich on a cut in a 'prentice's arm 
ay, tho it wur got i' savin' one o' theer own kin ! Luk yo', 
Jabez : o' th' mesters aw ever saw afore thowt as 'prentices, 
body an' soul, wur theer own ; an' yo've lit on yo'r feet, aw con 
tell yo'. An' yo' conno' do too mich for sich folk. Aw see 
they're makkin' a man on yo', an' dunnot yo' spoil o' by thinldn' 
yo' han earnt it, an' han a reet to it. We're unprofitable 
sarvants, th' best on us. An' dunnot yo' harbour anny malice 
agen th' chap as chopped at yo'. Them Yowmanry Calvary wur 
as drunk as fiddlers, an' as blind as bats. Thah tuk* thi chance 
wi' the ruck, an' came off better than some folk. So thenk God 
it's no waur, an' bear no malice ; an' thenk God as sent yo' 
theer i' the nick o' time." 

In little more than a fortnight Jabez was downstairs again, 
although his arm, not being thoroughly healed, yet needed 
support, and he was not hurried into the warehouse. Neither 



2io THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

was he again invited to join the family, Mrs. Ashton having 
objected to Mr. Ashton's proposition. 

" It would lift the young man out of his sphere, William, and 
do him more harm than good. Only very strong heads can 
stand sudden elevation; and it is well to make no more haste 
than good speed." 

But Mr. Ashton's " Just so " was less definite than ordinary, 
and he took a second pinch of snuff unawares, with a prolonged 
emphasis, which supplied the place of words. To the observant, 
Mr. Ashton's snuff-box contained as much eloquence as did Lord 
Burleigh's celebrated wig. He had taken a liking to the lad 
from the first, paid very little deference to Mrs. Grundy, and 
gave Jabez credit for a stronger head than did his more cautious 
and philosophic lady. 

Yet, Jabez, to his surprise, found that his little room down 
stairs had undergone a transformation. It was no longer a bare 
office, fitted only with a desk and stool. Desk and stool were 
there still, but a carpet, hanging shelves, a few useful books, and 
other furniture had been introduced, the result being a compact 
parlour. Mrs. Ashton had her own way of showing good- 
will. 

His previous application to work in that room, when his fellow- 
apprentices in over hours were cracking jokes on the kitchen settle, 
lounging about the yard, tormenting or being tormented by Kezia, 
had served somewhat to isolate and lift him above them, albeit 
he took his meals in the kitchen with the rest. This separation 
was now confirmed by orders Kezia received to " serve Clegg's 
dinner in his own room," orders which Kezia resented with 
asperity, and at least three days' ill-humour, and which James 
declined to execute. He was " not goin' to disgrace his cloth by 
waitin' on 'prentice lads!" Ready-handed Cicily came to the 
rescue, and took the office on herself, amid the banter of the 






THE MANCHESTER MAN. 211 

kitchen, which the quick-witted maid returned with right good 
will and right good temper. 

Permission to receive his friends in his own room occasionally 
had been graciously accorded by Mrs. Ashton herself, with the 
characteristic observation 

"They are worthy people, Jabez Clegg, and you owe them a 
son's duty ; besides, you need some relaxation ' The over-strained 
bow is apt to snap,' and 'All work and no play makes Jack a 
dull boy.'" 

Altogether he was more than satisfied. He was not demon- 
strative, but his heart swelled as he felt within himself that all 
these little things were stepping stones upwards ; and he mentally 
resolved to mount them fairly. He recognised that he was rising, 
and ere the week was out he found that others recognised it also. 

His blood-stained garments had been removed, whither he knew 
not, and he had to fall back on his grey frieze Sunday suit. Be 
sure he began to calculate the chances of getting a fresh one. 

As he was able to go out, he was employed on out-door 
business until his arm should regain its full vitality, and one of 
his errands was with a note to Mr. Chadwick's tailor, in King 
Street. At first he thought there was some mistake when the 
fraction of a man proceeded without more ado to take his measure. 

Saturday night proved there had been no mistake. On his 
bed, accompanied by a very kind note from Mr. Chadwick 
(written with his left hand), lay not only a well-cut, well-made 
suit of clothes, but a hat, white linen shirts, neck-cloths, and hose. 

Did ever a young girl turn up her back hair, or young man 
assume his first coat indifferently? To Jabez the foundling the 
Blue-coat apprentice, this was not merely a first coat, not merely 
a badge of approaching manhood, the whole outfit, provided 
as it was by his master's brother-in-law, seemed a recognition of 
the station he was henceforth to fill. No clerk in the counting- 



212 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

house was so well equipped as he, when he stood before his oval 
swing-glass (for the first time far too small), and endeavoured to 
survey himself therein, that fine September Sunday morning. 

I will not presume to say that he looked the conventional 
gentleman in that suit of glossy brown broadcloth, and beaver 
hat ; I will not say that he did not feel stiff in them. Only use 
gives ease; but this I will say, that a more manly figure never 
gave shape to garments, or a more noble head to a hat, albeit 
there was more of strength than beauty in the face it shaded. 

His forehead was broad and well developed ; the reflective as 
well as the perceptive faculties were there. There was just a 
slight defensive rise on the else straight nose ; the eyebrows were 
full save where a scar broke the line of one. Firm but pleasant 
were mouth and dimpled chin, and the lower jaw was somewhat 
massive ; but his full grey eyes, dark almost to blackness, and 
standing far apart, were clear and deep as wells where truth lay 
hid, though deep emotion had power to kindle them with the 
luminosity of stars. 

I am afraid he was not the only one on whom Parson Gatliffe's 
eloquence was thrown away that Sabbath morning. If he looked 
up at the Blue-coat boys in the Chetham Gallery with their quaint 
blue robes and neat bands, to throw memory back and imagination 
forward, others were doing likewise, from old Simon in his free 
seat to his envious fellow-'prentices in the pew, whose mocking 
grimaces drew upon them the sharp censure of the beadle. 

Party spirit was then at a white heat. Had Peterloo been 
written on his forehead it could not have marked him out for 
curious eyes more surely than his sling. 

Greetings, not altogether congratulatory, followed him through 
the churchyard. But old Simon caught his left hand in a 
tremulous grasp, his eyes moist with proud emotion. Tom Hulme 
beamed upon him, and Mrs, Clowes, energetic as ever, overtook 



THB MANCHESTER MAN. 213 

them a few yards from the chapter-house, just as Joshua Brookes 
emerged from the door. 

" Well, my lad, I'm glad to see you at church again ! " she 
exclaimed, shaking him warmly by the left hand. " I hardly knew 
you in your fine clothes. They've made quite a gentleman of 
you. We shall have to call you Mr. Clegg now, I reckon." 

"Now, Mother Clowes, don't you give Jabez humbug of that 
sort ; it's sweet, but not wholesome. ' Fine feathers make fine 
birds.' He's as proud as a peacock already, Mr. Clegg, indeed! 
and him a 'prentice lad not out of his time ! Let him stick to 
the name we gave him at his baptism it's worth all your fine 
Misters." And Joshua turned off, muttering, " Mr. Clegg, indeed ! " 
as he went away. 

Neither the old woman in her antiquated gown and kerchief- 
covered mutch, nor the old parson in his cassock and square cap, 
modulated their loud voices. Jabez blushed painfully. Both had 
touched sensitive chords. 

But others had heard the "Mr. Clegg," and he heard it again, 
from Kezia and the apprentices, in every tone of mockery and 
derision. Thence it travelled into the warehouse. He bore it 
with set teeth through many a painful week, until the title stuck 
to him, and the taunt was forgotten in the force of habit. 



CHAPTER THE TWENTY-THIRD.* 

IN THE THEATRE ROYAL. 

IT has been said that Madame Broadbent had various 
subtle ways of advertising' her "Academy" (as the 
directory has it), by which she generally contrived to 
"kill two birds with one stone." One of these would 
scarcely have been practicable in any but a theatrical town like 
Manchester, where not even the fierceness of party politics could 
close the theatre doors. She was particularly fond of a good 
play, and as particularly careful of her own pocket. So she 
watched for such occasions as a special benefit or "Bespeak ' 
night, to engage one of the dress-boxes, and take tickets for a 
select party of her pupils. The young ladies apart from all 
natural love of amusement and display were taught to regard 
their admission to Mrs. Broadbent's train as a high honour a 
mark of exceeding distinction ; and few were the parents so stern 
or so niggardly as to refuse the four shillings for a box-ticket 
when Madame invited and Miss pleaded. 

The then Theatre Royal, in Fountain Street, which was opened 
in 1807, under Macready's management, and brought to the 
ground by fire in 1844, was, in 1820, a building so capacious so 
solidly built it might not fear comparison with Drury Lane. 
Stage, scene-rooms, dressing-rooms, were all on an extensive scale. 

* See Appendix. 




HENRY HUNT. 
Front an Engraving. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 



215 



There were three tiers of boxes, a large pit, and an immense 
gallery breaking the line of the third tier. With the exception of 
the large side boxes, which were partially on the stage, all these 
boxes were open to the view, having only a divisional barrier the 
height of the parapet, light iron pillars supporting the weight 
above. There were no chairs only narrow, baize-covered benches, 
innocent of backs. And the theatre was lighted by sperm-oil lamps, 
those round the auditorium being suspended by cords over pulleys, 
so as to be lowered for lighting, trimming, &c. But the glory of 
that theatre, of which it was shorn at a later date, was its box- 
lobby a lofty, open promenade, wide as a street, and long in 
proportion, for its one grand entrance was in Fountain Street, 
the other in Back Mosley Street. Only for the step or two at 
either end, carriages might have driven through, or, depositing their 
living loads within at the saloon doors, have turned easily and 
driven back. 

This lobby was naturally a lounge, as well as a waiting-place 
for servants and others with wraps and pattens, neither carriages 
nor hackney-coaches being numerous, and the streets being well, 
not quite so clean or well-paved as at present. 

The ten days' trial of Henry Hunt and his compatriots at 
York had, as is well known, resulted in sentence of imprisonment 
for different terms, to the discomfiture of one party, the exultation 
of the other. Close upon the promulgation of this sentence came 
Easter week, at the beginning of April, 1820, when Jabez had 
little more than a month to serve of his apprenticeship. Edmund 
Kean was then playing at the Theatre Royal, supported by Sophia 
M'Gibbon daughter of Woodfall, the memorable printer of 
"Junius" a favourite on the Manchester "boards." 

Either to mark their satisfaction at the result of the trial, or 
their admiration of the great tragedian, the officers of the 
Manchester Yeomanry Cavalry bespoke "Othello" for the 



2i6 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

Wednesday evening, and Mrs. Broadbent made the most of the 
glorious opportunity. She engaged a box close to the centre of 
the dress-circle, on terms well understood, and as small people 
take less room than large ones, and her front row was very 
juvenile, she contrived to make it a profitable investment, even 
though she took a teacher with her (at a lower rate). The 
young ladies assembled at the school, and made quite a 
procession to the theatre, where Mrs. Broadbent's own maid took 
charge of hats and cloaks, and waited drearily in the saloon. 
Then, duly marshalled by Madame Broadbent and Miss Nuttall, 
they filed into the box decorously and took their seats, the 
youngest in the van the whole programme having been rehearsed 
and re-rehearsed for a day or two beforehand. 

A bouquet of white rosebuds they might have been called, 
white muslin was so general ; but one young lady blushed in pink 
gauze, and Augusta Ashton's lovely head and shoulders were set 
off by delicate blue crape. There were round necklaces of coral 
or pearl, long loose gloves of cambric or kid, and every damsel 
in her teens had her fan. But of fans, commend me to Madame 
Broadbent's. It was no light trifle of ivory or sandal-wood, but 
of strong green paper, spotted with gold, with ribs and frame of 
ebony, and it measured nearly half-a-yard when closed. Her 
well-saved, long-waisted, stiff brocaded robe and petticoat might 
have been her wedding-dress kept for state occasions ; but that 
fan, slung by a ribbon from her wrist, was part of her 
individuality the symbol of her authority inseparable from her 
walking self. A relic of her younger days, she employed it 
citing Queen Charlotte as her examplar to arrest attention, to 
admonish, to chastise ; and woe to the luckless little lady on 
whom it came in admonition ! 

The box was filled to the very door, where Miss Nuttall kept 
guard. Madame Broadbent displayed her own important person 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 217 

on the third row above the curly heads of the smaller fry, and to 
Augusta Ashton being a profitable pupil of whom she had reason 
to be proud was allotted a seat next to herself. 

The house was full and fashionable, both stage boxes being 
occupied by members of the Manchester Yeomanry, resplendent in 
silver and blue. Laurence Aspinall, John Walmsley, and Ben 
Travis were of the party. In the pit were the critics, pressing 
as closely as possible to the stage. Nods and smiles from friends 
in different quarters of the theatre greeted the component parts 
of Madame Broadbent's bevy of innocents, and smiles responded. 

Then rose the green curtain upon Edmund Kean's Othello 
and Mrs. M'Gibbon's Desdemona. The audience was enthralled. 
Act by act the players kept attention fixed, and all went well 
until the last scene. But, as Othello pressed the murderous pillow 
down, one of Madame Broadbent's white-frocked misses in the 
front row, with whose relatives Desdemona lodged when she was 
not Desdemona, started up, and cried out piteously 

"He's killing Mrs. M'Gibbon ! He's killing Mrs. M'Gibbon !" 

The clear voice rang through the house to the consternation of 
the actors, the amusement of some, and the annoyance of the 
audience. Some of the officers laughed outright in the very face 
of the tragic Moor ; but Madame Broadbent was furious, all the 
more that she was bound to suppress her passion then and 
there. 

For the credit of her "Academy" she, however, felt bound to 
resent so flagrant a breach of decorum. Tapping the tearful culprit 
on the shoulder with her ready fan, in a stern whisper, scarcely less 
audible than the child's impulsive tribute to the great tragedian, 
she asked, "How can you bemean yourself so far, miss, to the 
disgrace of the school?" and beckoning the child forth, she was 
passed to Miss Nuttall at the very back of the box, sobbing more 
for Mrs. M'Gibbon than for Mrs. Broadbent. 



218 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

This caused a change of places, which brought Miss Ashton 
more prominently into view. Laurence Aspinall, an ardent 
admirer of beauty, put his hand on the shoulder of the officer 
before him, and said " Good heavens, Walmsley ! Do you see 
that lovely creature in Mother Broadbent's box?" 

"Which?" was the obtuse answer. 

"Which!" (contemptuously echoed.) "The divine beauty in 
celestial blue. Who is she?" And his admiring gaze brought a 
conscious blush to the young lady's forehead, although the 
querist was beyond her hearing. 

"In blue?" And Walmsley lazily scanned the group. "Oh! 
that's Charlotte's cousin, Augusta Ashton ! Yes, she is rather 
pretty ; " and the married man turned away to the stage. 

" Rather pretty ! She's an angel ! You must introduce me !" 

" Well, well ! : ' answered the other testily, anxious to end a 
colloquy which distracted his attention from the tragedy, "I'll 
see. But she's only a schoolgirl not yet sixteen !" 

" Egad ! but she looks seventeen, and she'll mend of that 
disqualification every day ;" and still he kept his eyes on 
Augusta in a manner extremely disconcerting, though her romantic 
little heart fluttered, for in him she recognised the " Adonis " 
who had reared his horse so threateningly in front of her Uncle 
Chadwick's house, 

The green curtain came down amid universal plaudits. Ladies 
rose to rest themselves and chat, as was the custom. Gentlemen 
quitted their seats to join friends elsewhere, to lounge in saloon 
or box-lobby, or to take a hasty glass at the " Garrick's Head " 
adjoining. 

Amongst the latter were Walmsley and Aspinall ; but they 
did not return when the prompter's bell rang the curtain up. 
There was a pas de deux of Tyrolean peasants by the chief 
dancers of the company. Then followed an interlude, and then 



THB MANCHESTER MAN. 

a comic song, all before the last piece ; but the comrades did 
not return ; and Augusta found herself wondering whether the 
handsome officer, with the rich copper-coloured hair, would come 
back at all. 

They did make their appearance during the progress of the 
drama (Monk Lewis's "Castle Spectre," in which Mrs. M'Gibbon 
gave ocular demonstration that she was not killed), both seemingly 
exhilarated, but they left again before the drama concluded. 

Well drilled as were Madame Broadbent's pupils, they could 
not quit their box in the same order they entered it big people 
so seldom recognise the right of little ones to precedence. They 
straggled into the saloon, separated by the crowd. There Madame 
Broadbent, assisted by Miss Nuttall, collected her brood, and 
passing on to the box lobby, they looked around for their 
respective attendants. 

There was one a fine young man, in height some five feet 
ten who sprang forward with shawl and calesh for Miss Ashton, 
at the same time bowing deferentially to the pompous dame with 
the big fan. He proceeded to adjust the shawl round the dimpled 
shoulders so very precious to him, and said 

"I hope you have had a pleasant evening, Miss Augusta." 

Then bowing again to Mrs. Broadbent, he offered his hand 
respectfully to the young lady to conduct her home. 

On the instant they were intercepted by Aspinall and Walmsley, 
neither so sober as he might have been. 

" Augusta, here's my friend, Aspinall ; deuced good fellow 
quite struck with you," was Captain Walmsley's unceremonious 
introduction at a time, too, when introductions were somewhat 
formal. 

" Quite, Miss Ashton," he assented. " Ton my soul, I am ! 
Your charming face has quite captivated me, and those eyes 
pierce my heart like bullets. Permit me to escort you home." 



22O THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

There was an amusing consciousness of his own attractions in 
this free expression of his admiration. A woman of the world, 
with her weapons ready, might have dismissed him either with 
hauteur, badinage, or cool indifference; but to Augusta Ashton, 
almost a child in years, it was bewildering and disconcerting. 

Her eyes fell her colour rose. She stood silent, abashed, and 
confused. Native modesty took alarm. 

Jabez came to her relief. 

" Miss Ashton is under my protection, sir ; she requires no 
other escort." 

The words were cool as those of a man who, having his 
temper well under control, did not choose to quarrel, though his 
pulses were beating like drums. With cool effrontery his old 
antagonist looked him full in the face. 

" So it's you again, yellow-skirt ! A nice fellow to protect a 
pretty girl : a fellow without skill to defend himself, or spirit 
to resent an insult ;" and the speaker's red lips curled with 
derision. 

The eyes of Jabez kindled and his teeth set. There was no 
lack of spirit, but not the spirit of which common brawls are 
made. He was anxious to get the trembling Augusta away 
from the gathering crowd. 

Madame Broadbent, shorn of half her pretty train, came up 
aghast. 

" Young lady ! Miss Ashton ! What is " 

A wave of the silver-braided sleeve set her aside, chafed and 
indignant at the freedom and impertinence. 

"Keep out of the way, Mother Broadbent. Look after the 
rest of your lambkins. Miss Ashton's cousin and I propose to 
see your pupil home." 

" All right, Augusta," said Walmsley, thickly ; " we'll see you 
home." 




" BRAVO CLEGG ! 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 221 

But she clung in dismay to the arm of Jabez, and not 
Hercules himself could have torn her from him. Ignoring the 
coarse taunt of Lieutenant Aspinall, he endeavoured to lead her 
past them, simply saying to Captain Walmsley 

" Mr. Ashton committed his daughter to my care. I am 
answerable for her safety," 

Aspinall, mistaking his calmness for pusillanimity, again 
intercepted their passage, and would have taken Augusta's hand. 
But a will strong as his own an arm strengthened by lifting 
and carrying heavy burdens was opposed to him. Jabez struck 
no blow ; he thrust out an arm with muscles like leather, swept 
the offensive lieutenant aside, and down he went on the stone 
pavement of the lobby. 

"Bravo, Clegg!" exclaimed a voice from the rear, and the 
burly form of Ben Travis parted the curious crowd, as leviathan 
parts the waves, before the infuriated Aspinall could rise or 
Walmsley interpose. " That's right ; take the young lady away, 
and leave these gallant bucks to me. I'll guard the honour of 
our corps." 

The terrified young lady and the inebriated young bully were 
alike in sure hands. But consequential Madame Broadbent, 
ignored, forgotten, had received a blow to her importance she 
was not likely to forget or overlook. 



CHAPTER THE TWENTY-FOURTH. 

MADAME BROADBENT'S FAN. 

OHEY had made their exit from the Fountain Street 
end of the box-lobby to avoid the rush from the 
gallery door in Back Mosley Street, which somewhat 
lengthened the short distance Jabez had to convey 
his precious charge, who appeared more apprehensive of offending 
Madame Broadbent by scant and unceremonious leave-taking 
than troubled by the impertinence of the young officers. 

Truth to tell, the whole adventure had a savour of Miss 
Bohanna's circulating library about it, and she felt herself 
elevated into a heroine by the occurrence. But her appearance 
before Madame Broadbent in the morning would be very real 
and unromantic, that lady resenting nothing so much as 
disrespect. 

"You see, Jabez, I did not even make a curtsey to her as 
we came away. I am afraid she will be displeased." 

" If you think so, Miss Ashton," he replied, respectfully, " I 
will hasten back as soon as I have seen you safely home, and 
bear your apologies to Madame Broadbent. She may not have 
left the theatre. Besides, I feel that I also owe an apology for 
leaving a lady of her age unprotected in the midst of such a 
scene. It was very remiss on my part," he added, " but, indeed, 
at the time I thought only of placing you beyond reach of 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 223 

further insult ;" and Augusta could hear him mutter between his 
teeth, "The impertinent puppy!" 

The distance even from Fountain Street was very inconsiderable, 
and they had reached the broad steps of the door in Mosley 
Street, and his hand was on the lion-headed knocker when this 
ejaculation escaped him. 

Service from Jabez was so much a matter of course that 
Augusta regarded his care for herself, and his proffer to run 
back at her bidding, only in the light of apprentice-duty; but 
that muttered exclamation spoke of smothered passion, and 
before James was roused from his doze in front of the far-away 
kitchen fire by that peal on the knocker, and sleepily opened 
the door, she had added a caution as an addendum to her 
message to Madame Broadbent. 

" I hope, Jabez, you are not going back to to interfere or 
quarrel with Mr. Walmsley and the other officer. If they are 
not quite sober, you must remember they are gentlemen." 

" I will forget nothing I should remember, Miss Ashton," 
said he, as James unclosed the door for her entrance, and he 
darted off, the emphasis she had laid on her closing words 
having stung him keenly with a sense of his social inferiority 
in her sight. " She evidently thinks the apprentice College-boy 
has no right to raise his hand against gentility in uniform, how- 
ever drunk or disorderly it may be," he thought, as he ran along, 
spurred by a manly desire to show that it was not cowardice 
which had caused him to leave his prostrate enemy in the 
hands of a deputy. 

He was not three minutes in reaching the box-entrance in 
Back Mosley Street ; but for all that, the short walk home, and 
the brief delay caused by sleepy-headed James, had given ample 
time to empty and close the theatre, from which more than 
half the audience had dispersed before they left. Even the oil 



224 THE MANCHESTER MAN, 

lamps over the doors were extinguished ; and though a few 
stragglers loitered about the natural hangers-on to histrionic skirts 
and there were brawlers in the neighbourhood, he saw none 
of those he went to seek. 

The fact was, Captain Travis had hauled Lieutenant Aspinall 
from the ground with little ceremony, and with a sharp reproof 
for "the disgrace he was bringing on their corps by insulting a 
young lady in a public place, as if sufficient odium did not 
attach to the Yeomanry already," forced him into a waiting 
hackney-coach, giving the driver orders to bear him home to his 
father's house on Ardwick Green, heedless of the young officer's 
remonstrance to the contrary. But Jehu, who knew his fare 
drove him instead to the " George and Dragon " on the opposite 
side of the Green, and Mr. Aspinall saw nothing of his hopeful 
son that night. 

Nor would Charlotte Walmsley have seen much more of her 
husband, had not kind-hearted Ben gone far out of his own way 
to land John safely at home. Perhaps it would be hardly fair 
to calculate too nicely how far he was influenced to that by the 
relation of the Walmsleys to Ellen Chadwick, since the secret 
springs of action often lie too far down even for self-knowledge. 
As for Madame Broadbent, no sooner had Miss Nuttall disposed 
of the last of the budding misses than she hid her indignation 
in the deep shadow of her large calesh, and with an access of 
importance, left the theatre, slightly in advance of her humble 
dependants, and made her fearless way through Fountain Street 
and High Street, with a step which augured unpleasantness for 
all beneath her roof if her supper were not done to a turn and 
served to a nicety. 

Augusta was somewhat loth to leave her pillow in the morning, 
after the night's unusual dissipation, and was still more reluctant 
to encounter her lessons and Mrs. Broadbent ; and she for the 




WHITE HART, WHALEY BRIDGE. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 225 

first time remarked to Cicily that she thought she was "quite 
too old to go to school." As if the world was not one huge 
school, wherein the dunces get punished most severely, and 
even the best and brightest do not escape the rod. But Augusta 
Ashton, buoyant, blooming, cherished, admired, adored, could not 
see that her real schooling would begin when Madame Broadbent's 
reign ceased. 

No doubt Mr. Ashton would have been coaxed into granting 
an extension of his darling daughter's Easter holiday, and suffered 
her to remain at home that Thursday morning, but he was at 
Whaley-Bridge ; and mamma met her request with : 

" No, my dear, you have had quite holiday enough. It would 
be setting a bad example to infringe Madame Broadbent's rules. 
Go, my dear, and go cheerfully. I will send Cicily for you at 
noon. The streets will be rather rough this week." 

She went, though not cheerfully, and Cicily was duly despatched 
to bring her home ; but neither Cicily nor Miss Ashton had 
returned when dinner was put upon the table at half-past 
twelve o'clock. Then Mrs. Ashton recalled her own words 
respecting the rough streets, and the insult offered as unwelcome 
tribute to Augusta's beauty over-night ; and, though by no means 
a nervous woman, the mother grew restless and apprehensive 
a lovely daughter who is an only child is so very anxious a 
charge. As she sat down to her solitary meal, another thought 
crossed her mind. 

"James, ask Mr. Clegg to oblige me by stepping this 
way." 

Mr. Clegg was with her in an instant : the summons was 
unusual. 

"Jabez, I'll thank you to ascertain why Miss Ashton has 
not returned from school at the usual time. Cicily has been 
gone almost an hour. Should Madame be keeping her in for 



226 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

any breach of etiquette last night, pray offer an apology for me 
and my daughter also, but at the same time politely insist on 
Miss Ashton's immediate return to dinner." 

" I believe I owe Madame Broadbent an apology myself," 
answered Jabez, smiling. " I shall be glad of an opportunity to 
discharge the debt." 

The schoolroom door was midway down the dark, narrow, 
arched entry. Groups of girls, with slates and bags in their 
hands, loitering on the pathway at the entrance and in the 
passage, made way for him, with curious looks and whispers 
among themselves (Jabez was not unknown to some of the senior 
pupils). The schoolroom door stood ajar ; the whole place was 
in a commotion unprecedented in that precise establishment. 

Madame Broadbent, holding by the copy-slip axiom, 
"Familiarity breeds contempt," preserved her dignity and that 
of her high office by avoiding personal contact with her pupils, 
save at stated hours. Her assistant-governesses were at their 
posts from nine until twelve, from two until four ; but Madame 
herself only sailed into the long room from the house door 
across the entry at eleven o'clock to receive, reports, inspect 
work, dispense rewards, or administer reproof and chastisement. 
"Spare the rod and spoil the child " had not been abolished 
from the educational code fifty-five years back. 

The double shock her importance had received at the theatre 
sent her home to quarrel with her supper ; and, as a meal 
despatched in an ill-humour does not easily digest, Othello and 
the Castle Spectre haunted her pillow, and broke her rest with 
nightmares. 

She rose late, and stepped into her schoolroom later than 
usual, to visit her accumulation of disagreeables on minor 
delinquents, as well as on the primary offenders. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 227 

Let us be just. Madame Broadbent had gracious smiles and 
approving words to dispense to the ultra-good, and their very 
rarity made them valuable. But if she rewarded any that day, 
it was only that severity might stand out in contrast. Little 
hearts beat, little fingers plied industrious needles, little eyes 
bent over work, when Madame's step was heard in the entry ; 
but when her august presence fairly filled the room, every little 
damsel rose simultaneously, and saluted her entrance with a low, 
formal, deferential curtsey. 

Two rooms had evidently been thrown into one to give 
required space, the back portion being curiously lit by a narrow 
small-paned window extending along the side, high above the 
rows of racks and pegs. It was the writing end of the room. 
Madame Broadbent occupied a seat in the front portion, almost 
opposite to the door ; and as she marched towards it with more 
than ordinary loftiness, and beat her fan on her table with one 
peremptory tap, instead of a short rapid quiver, to enforce her 
command, " Attention, ladies ! " the very youngest of those ladies 
could interpret the signs portentously. Lucky was the young lady 
whose work passed muster that morning; so many were condemned 
to stocks, backboard, columns of spelling, recitations from the 
" Speaker " and Thomson's " Seasons," lengths of open hem, back- 
stitching, or seaming ! 

At length Madame Broadbent, having dismissed ordinary 
business, rapped her fan upon the table, and, in a sharp, 
peremptory tone, called " Miss Ashton ! " and Miss Ashton, who 
had been expecting the summons all the morning, came forward 
at her bidding, but not with the ordinary alacrity of pupilage. 
She had left her childhood (I had almost said her girlhood) 
behind her in the box-lobby of the Theatre Royal. 

" Miss Brookes ! " cried the same sharp voice ; and, with a 
painful start, the little girl who had committed such a terrible 



228 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

breach of decorum before a whole theatre as to utter her 
impromptu commentary on the tragedian's art, rose, trembled, 
burst into tears, but was too agitated to obey with sufficient 
promptitude. Her seat was on a low front form. Madame took 
a step forward, stretched out her arm, and dragged the child 
by the ear to the side of Augusta, then gave her a smart cuff 
as an admonition to more prompt obedience another time. 

Then with another rap of her fan on the table, which set all 
hearts palpitating, she began an inflated harangue to the mite 
of a child and the budding woman, in which she reproached 
them both with bringing disgrace on the "Academy," hitherto so 
irreproachable. The one had drawn the attention of a whole 
theatre to her ill-breeding and want of proper training; the 
other by " boldness of look and manner had licensed the free 
speech of loose men ; " and, as if that were not enough, had 
"been the cause of an unpardonable insult to herself." She, 
Madame Broadbent, so highly honoured and respected by the 
chief people in the town, to be called " Mother Broadbent ! " it 
was an outrage not to be endured ! 

Her temper interrupted her oration ; she shook Augusta 
violently, and condemned her to remain in school until she 
had learned one of Mrs. Chapone's letters by heart. Then 
she darted on the smaller Miss as the primary cause of all, 
shook her till the little teeth chattered, and dragged her by the 
lobe of the ear towards a dark closet, set apart for heinous 
offenders. 

Something akin to rebellion had been growing in Augusta's 
breast all the morning. She was a girl of quick impulses and 
sympathies, and was not only struck by the disproportion of 
punishment meted out, but by the terror on the little one's 
face. She threw herself in their path, and to the utter astonish- 
ment alike of pupils and teachers laid hold of the child to 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 229 

release her, exclaiming as she did so, "You shall not lock her 
in the dark! you will kill her with fright, you cruel Madame 
Broadbent!" 

If Madame Broadbent had been wrathful before she was 
furious now. Never in her long experience had she been so 
braved. Without thought, without premeditation, she raised her 
heavy fan and struck sharply at Augusta. The blow fell on her 
beautiful bare neck, the collar-bone snapped, as it will do with 
a very slight matter, and Augusta dropped ! 

Cicily, waiting outside at the time, heard Madame's raised 
voice and Augusta's impetuous remonstrance; then a thud, a fall, 
and a suppressed scream from the girls ; and without pausing 
to knock, she pushed open the door. Cicily had been too long 
the recipient of Augusta's school-girl confidence to stand in much 
awe of Mrs. Broadbent at best of times. Now she darted 
forward to raise her young mistress, whom she almost worshipped, 
and certainly did not consult either Madame's feelings or dignity 
in the epithets she launched at her. 

No one had been more electrified at the effect of that stroke 
with the fan than Mrs. Broadbent's self. She seemed petrified, 
and Cicily's indignant outburst fell on deaf ears ; but as Miss 
Nuttall ran for water, and Cicily cried out for a doctor, she 
roused to self-consciousness, and closed the school-room door as 
if to keep the outer world in ignorance of what was going on 
inside. 

A wide latitude was then allowed for school discipline; but 
even Madame Broadbent was sensible that the blow which had 
felled Mr. Ashton's only daughter was a blow to imperil her 
seminary. 

Augusta did not revive. Miss Nuttall suggested that the 
school should be dismissed, and a doctor fetched ; and, before 
either could be effected, Jabez was on the spot. He took in 



230 THE MANCHESTEk MAN. 

the scene at a glance ; Augusta, white as her frock, her hair 
all in disorder, lay extended on a form, her head supported by 
the kneeling Cicily, whilst excited girls and teachers flocked 
helplessly around. 

" Good heavens ! what is the matter ? What has happened to 
Miss Ashton?" was his hurried and agitated inquiry. 

One said one thing, one another. Wrathful Cicily came 
nearest to the mark. "That old wretch has struck ar darlin' wi 1 
her great fan. A'm afeared her neckbone's brokken ! " 

" Impossible ! She could not be so heartless ! " he cried, as 
the group made way for him to pass, and he knelt down 
opposite to the sobbing Cicily, on the other side of the form, 
and sprinkled the pallid face so dear to him with water some 
one had brought in. 

There was no sign of revival. " My God ! this is terrible ! 
Oh, madam, how could you do it ? Mrs. Ashton will be 
distracted ! " and he started to his feet, inexpressible anguish in 
every feature. "But this is no time for revilings. Where is the 
nearest doctor?" 

" There is Mr. Campbell in Hanover Street and " 

Brushing unceremoniously past his informant, he was with the 
Scotch surgeon before Miss Nuttall had recovered from her 
surprise, or Madame from her stupor. 

Mr. Campbell was quickly on his way to attend this new 
patient, and Jabez speeding towards the top of Market Street. 
There he hired a hackney coach from the stand, close as he 
was to home, and drove straight to Dr. Hull's. He bore the 
doctor from his unfinished dinner with impetuosity, brooking no 
delay. They found Augusta Ashton faint, pale, but restored to 
consciousness, in Madame's own dingy parlour, where the author 
of the mischief was doing her best to put a favourable colour 
on the disaster. 



CHAPTER THE TWENTY-FIFTH. 



RETROSPECTIVE. 

HE collar-bone was broken ; 
there was no mistake about 
that ; but Jabez, mindful of 
Mrs. Ashton's protracted 
anxiety, lingered no longer 
where he would fain have 
remained than to see the 
surgeon prepare under Dr. 
Hull's supervision to reduce 
the fracture ; a delicate 
process, since to the collar- 
bone no splints can be 
applied. 

Augusta's affection for 
her mother overcame her pain. 

" You will be careful how you tell mamma, Jabez, I know ; 
do not frighten her ^more than you can help ; she will be so 
terribly distressed," faintly murmured she, as he again departed. 
With all his haste and care, so much time had been spent, 
Mrs. Ashton's fears had already conjured up all manner of evils, 
all, of course, wide of the mark. That something was wrong 
she felt assured, and he found her dressing to follow her 
dilatory messengers. The stoppage of the coach and his evident 




SEDAN CHAIR. 



232 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

agitation were confirmatory ; but the absolute facts roused as 
much indignation as grief. 

Yet Mrs. Ashton never forgot herself; and though the waiting 
coach bore her to Bradshaw Street to add her maternal 
reproaches to the wrathful utterances of Cicily, the rough 
rebukes of Dr. Hull, and the prickings of Madame Broadbent's 
own conscience, the natural dignity of her manner more overawed 
and impressed the resentful schoolmistress than all which had 
gone before. She was as profuse in apologies as in extenuating 
pleas, but she was not prepared to combat Mrs. Ashton's 
proverbial argumentation. 

"Facts are stubborn things, madam, and she who cannot 
govern herself is not fit to govern others." 

Neither coach-making nor road-making had reached the acme 
of perfection, and Augusta's removal home, without the 
displacement of the bone, had to be considered. 

A sedan chair one of the last in the town was still kept for 
invalid use behind the Infirmary. Jabez was aware of this, and 
before Dr. Hull could make the suggestion, he had proposed to 
go for it, and was back with the black, brass-nailed sedan long 
before the doctors thought their patient fit to be removed. 

As the unfamiliar vehicle waited at the " Academy " door, 
it attracted the notice not only of neighbours and returning 
schoolgirls, but of passers-by, until Madame Broadbent was in a 
fever. The reputation of her school was at stake, and she felt 
that every extra moment that hand-carriage and wheel-carriage 
remained standing there, the bruit of the lamentable occurrence 
was spreading farther afield. 

There had been no cessation of afternoon school duties, albeit 
the teachers alone presided, and discipline was somewhat relaxed. 
But when patient, doctors, friends, and vehicles had gone their 
way, and the school was soon after dismissed, the harassed, 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 233 

agitated, and prescient disciplinarian surrendered herself to 
alternate fits of hysteria, passion, lamentation, and overweening 
assumption. 

That first outburst over, the self-important dame stood on her 
" right to maintain discipline," even when confronted by Mr. 
Ashton, no longer the easy-going, pleasant parent of a paying 
pupil, but the angry father of an injured only child, who had 
posted from Whaley Bridge on the first intelligence of the 
mischance, leaving his business incomplete. 

Not alone to the inmates of the house in Mosley Street was 
Augusta Ashton precious. Notwithstanding her sometime 
waywardness (the result of her father's over-indulgence), she had 
endeared herself, by her affectionate heart and winsome ways, 
to a wide circle of friends ; even Joshua Brookes was less grim 
with Augusta ; so no wonder Jabez was secretly devoted to her 
heart and soul. Great and general was the sympathy expressed 
on the occasion. 

Mrs. Chadwick and Ellen were with Mrs. Ashton before the 
afternoon was out, and at Augusta's eager desire her cousin 
remained behind, not only for companionship, but as chief nurse' 
an office for which Ellen had that peculiar fitness observable in 
some women, coupled with the deftness and experience gained 
in long attendance on her father. 

And now, leaving Augusta in the hands of love and skill, 
with all that affection and wealth can lavish upon her in 
furtherance of recovery, let us step backwards to the previous 
September, when Peterloo was fresh, and Jabez yet wore his 
left arm in a sling. 

Whaley Bridge has been mentioned more than once, for in 
that village, near the high road from Manchester to Buxton, Mr. 
Ashton possessed a water-mill on the picturesque banks of the 
river Goyt, which there divided the counties of Cheshire and 



234 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

Derbyshire. It had been established in the previous century, 
together with another in the contiguous vale of Taxal, by a 
speculative ancestor of Mrs. Ashton, whose old hall was in the 
locality. The two places had been chiefly colonised by his 
workpeople, many of whom had been pauper apprentices from 
Manchester and Warrington. 

Besides the mill, Mr. Ashton owned the "White Hart" Inn, 
close to the bridge, where the Buxton coaches stopped ; and 
Carr Cottage, a long, low, rough-cast building, nestling under the 
shadow of a fine old farmhouse which crowned the elevated 
ridge of Yeardsley-cum-Whaley, lang-syne the Gothic stone Hall 
of the warlike Yeardsleys. 

From this farmhouse Carr Cottage was separated by a retired 
walk at the back, which itself a wilderness of nettles, gave access 
to the cellarage and a clear well led the adventurer away 
up the hill between the cottage grounds and the farmer's tall 
high-banked hedges, which almost overtopped the cottage roof. 
And on the left of the cottage (as viewed from the high road) 
spread the granaries, stabling, and farmyard, enclosed by remains 
of the ancient wall, and entered by a step or two through an 
ancient Gothic doorway, over which ivy and honeysuckle clambered 
in luxurious rivalry. 

The cottage, which on each floor contained four capacious 
rooms in its length, was on the ground divided in the middle 
by a respectable lobby the house-place and kitchen lying on 
the left, the parlours to the right as you entered. There were 
two staircases, one at each end of the building, the one running 
upwards in the kitchen itself, the other from a small enclosed 
space at the back of a parlour, containing also a china closet 
door, and lit by a low window close to the foot of the staircase, 
whence it was possible to step out into the garden, unseen by 
anyone in the house. Otherwise, both chambers and parlours 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 235 

had doors of communication from end to end of the building, 
the two middle chambers being only accessible through the 
others. 

The lower windows in the front at least, those of the large 
parlours were brought close to the ground, and overlooked a 
charming landscape ; descending, at first suddenly, from the 
widespread flower garden (with its one great sycamore to the 
right of the cottage for shade), then with a gradual slope to a 
beanfield below, to a meadow crossed by a narrow rill ; then, 
after a wider stretch of grass, the alder and hazel fringe of a 
trout stream, skirting the high road, on the far side of which 
tall poplars waved, and in autumn shed their leaves in the wider 
waters of the Goyt fresh from the bridge, where the road bends. 
Rivulets, road, and river ran parallel. And from the road a 
broad wooden gate gave access (over a bridge across the trout 
stream) to a wide, steep avenue between trim hedges, rising 
to the level of the cottage, in itself as delightful a retreat as 
any wearied denizen of town could desire. To Mr. Ashton it 
was necessary as an adjunct to his factory; an occasional home 
for his family in the summer, a lodge for himself when a visit 
of inspection was desirable. 

Hearing that the general discontent was spreading amongst 
his own workpeople at Whaley Bridge, Mr. Ashton, without 
waiting for the stage coach, put himself into a long-skirted drab 
overcoat, with high collar and small double cape, ordered reluctant 
James to "find another for Clegg," and having stowed away a 
carpet bag and a case of pistols, lest they should be molested 
on the road, he mounted his high gig, with Jabez by his side, 
and set off to "take the bull by the horns," as Mrs. Ashton 
had advised. 

Away they drove through the mild September air, up London 
Road (where houses had been growing in the years since we 



236 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

scanned it last) and past Ardwick Green Pond, where a dashing 
young buck, booted and spurred, lounged at the door of the quaint 
" George and Dragon," and followed them curiously with his eyes ; 
yet not so swiftly but Jabez had time to recognise with 
accelerated pulse his former assailant, Laurence. 

Longsight, Burnage, Fallowfield left behind ; Stockport Bridge 
gained, they went walking by their horse's head up the steep hill, 
between frowning houses, to the " Pack Horse " in the Market 
Place, where the beast was baited, and the travellers dined at 
the same table, Jabez not for one moment forgetting the social 
distance between his master and himself. 

Again seated, they quickly left the smoke-begrimed, higgledy- 
piggledy mass of brick and mortar called 'Stockport' behind, and 
were away on country roads, where yellow leaves were blown 
into their faces, where brown-faced, white-headed cottage children 
were stripping blackberries from the wayside brambles, or ripe 
nuts from the luxuriant hazels which have since changed the very 
name of the Bullock Smithy, through which they drove at a 
gallop, to Hazel Grove. 

It was a glorious treat for Jabez, was that drive, and Mr. 
Ashton, conversing with him as they went, was surprised to 
discover his love of Nature, and his knowledge of her secrets. 
This induced reminiscences of the early years of Jabez when 
Simon took him pick-a-back into the fields on Sundays ; and Mr. 
Ashton led him on to dilate on his childhood among his first 
friends, until he had a closer insight into the young man's heart 
than in all the years he had served them. 

But the object of their journey had not been forgotten ; and 
at Disley, hearing Mr. Ashton remark that they were but three 
miles from Whaley Bridge, Jabez ventured to suggest 

''Do you not think, sir, as I am unknown in Whaley Bridge, I 
might make enquiries, and ascertain the feeling of the people 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 237 

better if I went on foot, having no apparent connection with you?" 

" That is a wise thought of yours, young man. Just so. I will 
put you down at the next milestone. Here is a guinea for your 
expenses at the 'White Hart.' But country people are inquisitive; 
what do you propose to be?" 

"Well, sir, I took the liberty to bring a sketch-book with me 
I don't get many such opportunities I could represent myself 
as an artist ; or I could cram my pockets with plants and roots 
as I went along, and say I was a botanist in search of specimens." 

" Stick to the artist, Jabez ; our country botanists would soon 
floor you on their own ground they know more of plants than 
pencils, I'll warrant." And Mr. Ashton, handing the reins to 
Jabez, took a pinch of snuff on the strength of it 

Mr. Ashton, putting up the collar of his topcoat, drove direct 
to Carr, much to the surprise of his unprepared overlooker and 
wife, who had charge of the cottage. He said nothing of any 
companion ; and Jabez some twenty minutes later walked into 
the bar of the "White Hart," dusty and weary, as if with long 
walking ; called for bread-and-cheese and ale ; intimated his 
intention to remain the night, if he could have a bed ; talked of 
the scenery, and led the host to tell of the best points for 
sketching. 

Professing fatigue, he kept his seat in the bar-parlour the 
remainder of the day. The sling, not yet wholly discarded, drew 
attention, as he expected it would. The incomers, eyeing him 
askance, talked politics before him, and finding him less glib than 
themselves, whispered that he was a refugee from Peterloo, and, 
to show their sympathy with the party to which he was supposed 
to belong, freely discussed the political aspect of the district 
before him. 

He was young, free with his money, and they were not reticent. 
He found that the overlooker had made himself, and his master 



238 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

through himself, obnoxious to his weavers, and that only prompt 
measures would prevent an outbreak. 

The next morning Mr. Ashton put his head into the inn, 
greeted " Mr. Clegg " as some one he was surprised to meet in so 
remote a spot, and invited him to Carr Cottage. 

Jabez accepted the invitation for the afternoon, saying he could 
not spare the morning. Under pretence of sketching, he took his 
way by the Goyt to the neighbourhood of the mill with pencils 
and sketch-book ; women and children flocked inquisitively round 
him in their dinner-hour, and talked to him; then he rested in a 
weaver's cot, and when he found his way to Carr in the afternoon, 
and sat with Mr. Ashton for privacy under the dropping keys of 
the sycamore, he had brought with him the key to the prevailing 
discontent. 

Mr. Ashton listened, took an enormous quantity of snuff, 
dropped an occasional "Just so," and, knowing the sore, set about 
healing it. He drove back to Manchester, leaving Jabez as his 
temporary deputy high honour for so young a man and the 
overlooker was required to render up his accounts. 

A fortnight later, as Jabez was midway up the avenue to Carr 
in the afternoon, he turned, hearing the blithe bugle of the coming 
Buxton coach, and watched its dashing progress along the road. 
To his astonishment it stopped at the gate. He himself reached 
the spot at a run. 

His eyes had not played him false. Simon Clegg, in his 
best clothes, was there on the box seat ; Tom Hulme and 
Bess and little Sim sat close behind him. Mr. Ashton was himself 
an inside passenger. 

In the bustle and confusion of alighting, and dragging boxes 
from the boot and from the top, curiosity was kept on the stretch. 
It was not until the entire party were under the roof of the cottage 
that Jabez was enlightened. Tom Hulme was the new overlooker, 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 239 

Bess the new caretaker of Carr Cottage, which was henceforth 
their rural rent-free home ; and to Simon, long disqualified by 
rheumatism for the wet and slush of the tannery, was given the 
charge of the garden, with a boy under him. And of all the 
group old Simon and little Sim were most delighted. 

Some eight months before, Sim (then about two years old) had 
slipped on the frosty stones in the old Long Millgate Yard, and, 
rolling down its rugged declivity, was supposed to have injured 
his spine, and he had been too delicate ever since to run about 
freely. To the child, therefore, whose shoulders seemed unnaturally 
high, the change from the stifling court was something too 
exuberant for expression. To Simon Clegg, who, in losing his 
crony Matt, had felt the old haunts oppressive, the bountiful 
expanse of nature before him, and the comfortable fragrant home, 
were matters for deep thankfulness. 

"Moi lad," said he to Jabez, when the latter was about to 
depart with Mr. Ashton, after they were fairly inducted, " ar 
Bess said thah would be a Godsend to us, an' thah has bin. 
This Paradise o' posies has o' grown eawt o' thy cradle. God 
bless thee!" 

" I think, my dear, the experiment will succeed. There is a 
matronly air of respectability about Mrs. Hulme that will help 
to uphold her husband's position amongst the workpeople, and 
I can trust his soldierly discipline for keeping the rebellious in 
order." 

Thus said Mr. Ashton to his good lady, sitting by the fireside 
after supper, the night of his return home. Then, after a little 
pondering and trifling with his snuff-box, he added, as if 
reflectively 

" It is all very well, my dear, to serve the young man's 
friends and ourselves at the same time, but I should like to do 
something for Jabez himself. It is entirely to his clear head 



240 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 



and his tact that we owe the preservation of peace at Whaley 
Bridge. I should like to give him a rise." 

" My dear William, make no more haste than good speed, 
and never do things in a hurry," replied his calm proverbial 
philosopher. "We must not excite the envy of his fellow-clerks, 
or we shall surround him with enemies from the first. In 
removing his humble friends you have cleared one barrier to his 
advancement." 

Mr. Ashton did not say "Just so!" for a wonder; he turned 
his gold box round and round in his fingers, and at length 
gave utterance to a thought which took Mrs. Ashton by surprise. 

"If we remove all the young man's old associations, don't 
you think we ought to provide him with new ones ? " 

" I think, William, we ought to ' leave well alone ; ' smooth 
paths are slippery paths. The young man will be out of his 
time in six months ; you can then advance him if you think 
proper in the warehouse but I do not feel disposed to open 
our drawing-room to him, if that is what you are driving at ; " 
and she drew herself up as if her dignity had received a blow. 

" We-11, no not exactly ! " and Mr. Ashton, unable to express 
what he did mean exactly, shuffled and fidgeted till he upset 
his snuff on the Brussels carpet. 




CHAPTER THE TWENTY-SIXTH. 

ON THE PORTICO STEPS. 

ETWEEN that expedition to Whaley Bridge, with its 
terminal connubial conversation, and the breakage of 
Augusta Ashton's collar-bone, rather more than six 
months intervened six months during which Mr. 
Clegg, as his good master had anticipated, felt the solitary 
state of his trim sitting-room somewhat oppressive, the permission 
to receive his old friends becoming a nullity on their removal. 
He occupied a position midway between parlour and kitchen 
above his old associates of the porringers, the fireside settle, and 
the sanded stone floor, and beneath the family seated round 
the tea-urn on cushioned chairs and Brussels carpet. Towards 
the former he cast few backward looks of regret he had put 
his past behind him but, oh ! who shall tell his unuttered 
longings for the "Open Sesame I" to that paradise of which he 
had had one rapturous glimpse, and one only that paradise 
where his master's daughter, so high above him, moved like a 
seraph, and filled the air with harmony ! 

I am afraid that at this time he brooded over his 
orphanhood and that unknown father who had disappeared so 
mysteriously, and strained his soaring thoughts in their flight 
towards possibilities more than was good for him. He was too 
much alone for one of his years, and there were times in those 
long, candle-lit winter evenings when books and pencils dropped 



242 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

from his wearied hands, and for lack of a companion he held 
dreamy converse with the fire. 

Of course his library was restricted, and there were no 
institutions in Manchester at that time where young men of 
his class could meet for mutual improvement, or that mental 
polish caused by the attrition of mind upon mind. Occasionally, 
at long intervals, and at first to the utter confusion of James, 
Captain Travis had inquired for "Mr. Clegg," and been shown 
into the little sitting-room with a disregard to " caste " very 
creditable to both of them ; and now and then Mr. Chadwick 
and Mr. Ashton would drop in together for half-an-hour's chat, 
the gratitude of the former being deeper than the surface. 

But rarely did a feminine face save Cicily's brighten up his 
solitude, and she, devoted to her young mistress, had always 
something to say about Augusta, if only what she wore or how 
she looked, which sent him off into dreamland immediately. 

Sunday was a very chequered day ; when he missed his old 
friends most. True, he followed the family to church, perhaps 
carried Augusta's prayer-book, exchanged a word of kindly 
greeting with old Mrs. Clowes and Parson Brookes, who was not 
as hale as he had been ; but there was no old Simon to grip 
his hand, no Bess to give him a motherly smile, and unless 
the weather was fine enough for a ramble in the fields with 
Nelson for companion, the rest of the day was very dull indeed. 

The fan which broke Augusta's collar-bone broke down a 
barrier for Jabez. No personal sacrifice attended the service he 
rendered. He but went and came as an active messenger. 
But he went and came with intelligence and promptitude, and 
exercised for mother and daughter both the care and forethought 
of a much older man. 

In the father's absence the father was not missed. What 
came under Mrs. Ashton's own eye Mrs, Ashton could appreciate. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 



243 



and the commendation of Dr. Hull was not without its weight. 
He had said 

" Capital fellow to send for a doctor, that messenger of yours, 
Mrs. Ashton ! A determined, persistent fellow ! Would see 
me and haul me off with only half a dinner, though I protested 
and he had already got a surgeon there before me ! " 

His thought about the sedan chair, which he had accompanied 
to Mosley Street to insure care on the part of the chair-men, 
and had ordered into the very lobby of the house, the cautious 
manner in which he had lifted Augusta thence and borne her 
to the ready couch, coupled with his protection of her daughter 
in the theatre the night before, weighed down the scale already 
trembling in the balance, and Mrs. Ashton's " Jabez, I am 
deeply indebted to you," was not mere words. He was her 
messenger to the Chadwicks, her amanuensis to Mr. Ashton, and 
when Ellen and her mother arrived somewhere about tea-time 
for the second occasion he was invited to join their party ; and 
one, if not two, pair of cheeks burned as the invitation was given. 

Then, the night Mr. Ashton returned home, to find Augusta 
an invalid, he was gratified to see Jabez again at the tea-table, 
and after that at odd times, until the restraint upon him 
gradually wore away, and he would read to Augusta and Ellen, 
as the latter sat at work, and do his best to make the time 
pass pleasantly. 

Next Mr. Ashton took it into his head to teach him 
backgammon and cribbage, to help to make his own evenings 
at home more lively. 

And Mrs. Chadwick, who for some occult reason had resisted 
her husband's desire to show courtesy to his preserver, could 
scarcely be less gracious than her grander sister, who owed him so 
much less ; so now the green-parlour door in Oldham Street 
was opened to him, and as Jabez refreshed his memory with 



244 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

Hogarth's prints, he felt that he had made another step up the 
ladder. 

Those were halcyon days ; while Augusta, too tall to be robust, 
recovered so slowly, and was so much gratified by his attempts 
to entertain her. Halcyon days for more than one. 

Yet, ere Jabez was out of his apprenticeship, or Augusta had 
left her pillowed sofa, a pebble was thrown into the stream 
which broke the surface of the tranquil waters, and disturbed 
them for ever. 

Mr. Ashton was one of the original shareholders in the Portico, 
a classic stone building erected in 1806 as a library and reading- 
room, on the other side of Mosley Street, which, with its pillared 
facade and flight of steps, like an Ionic temple, looked down on 
the plain red-brick front of the Assembly Rooms, though its 
opposite neighbour stood quite as high in repute, and was equally 
exclusive in its constitution. 

Mr. Aspinall, the Cannon Street cotton-merchant (who dined 
with the Scramble Club, instituted by business men whose 
homes were in the suburbs), was likewise a shareholder in the 
Portico ; and from constant meeting at the long tables within 
the book-shelved, galleried walls of its lofty reading-room, he 
and Mr. Ashton had a tolerably lengthy acquaintance, although 
it had never ripened into intimacy the men were so dissimilar. 

Charlotte Walmsley was naturally troubled by the result of 
Madame Broadbent's notions of discipline, and not unnaturally 
(considering the condition in which Ben Travis had taken him 
home) blamed her husband as the primary cause. As naturally 
he shifted the onus to the shoulders of Laurence Aspinall, and, 
taking him to task, plainly told him he ought to apologise. 
Laurence snatched at the proposal. 

" My dear Jack, nothing would please me better ! I'll make a 
thousand apologies, if you'll only introduce me." 




BY THE PORTICO STEPS. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 245 

John Walmsley had had quite enough of introductions ; 
besides, he stood in some awe of Mrs. Ashton, and did not know 
how she might take it, especially as his friend Aspinall had 
acquired the character of a " wild spark." He emphatically 
declined. But if Laurence Aspinall once set his mind on a 
thing he would attain it, if within the range of possibility, 
whether by fair means or foul, whatever might be the con- 
sequences. 

For a few days he was on his best behaviour at home ; and 
having won his father over by expressions of deep contrition, 
and promises of reformation, and the assurance that he would 
never again do anything " unbecoming a gentleman," he prevailed 
on him to introduce him to Mr. Ashton, with a view to making 
his own apologies in person. 

'Well, Laurence, you can go with me to the Portico to-morrow 
morning, and if Mr. Ashton is there we will see what can be 
done ; " the tone in which this was said clearly implying, " If we 
seek an introduction to the Ashton's for the purpose of making 
the amende honorable as befits gentlemen, there can be no doubt 
of its acceptance. 

But when they met Mr. Ashton on the steps of the Portico 
the following morning; the self-complacence of the lofty gentleman 
received a slight but uncontemplated check. Mr. Ashton nodded 
to Mr. Aspinall with a beaming face, and would have passed 
his acquaintance with a mere " Good morning," but the other 
stopped, and after shaking hands, and remarking that trade was 
slack, presented, with due formality, the handsome, elegant, six 
feet of dandyism who bore him company. 

" Mr. Ashton, let me make you acquainted with my son, sir 
Mr. Ashton, my son Laurence ; Laurence, Mr. Ashton." 

The young gentleman raised his stylish beaver from his rich 
coppery curls, and bowed with courtly grace in acknowledgment 



246 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

of Mr. Ashton's formal bow, whilst his father continued, almost 
in the tone of one who confers an honour 

"The fact is, my son, sir, desires an opportunity of expressing 
to Miss Ashton his deep regret for the indiscretion of which he 
was guilty in the lobby of the Theatre Royal, some ten days back." 

The smile faded from the face of Mr, Ashton, who, with a 
reserve very foreign to him, put his hand into his pocket for his 
snuff-box instead of extending it to the young man, and, tapping 
it with a little impatience, caught at his words. 

"Indiscretion, sir? What you are pleased to call 'indiscretion' 
has placed my daughter in the doctor's hands with a broken 
collar-bone." 

Before Mr. Aspinall could reply, Laurence, better skilled to 
temporise, interposed. 

"So, to my infinite regret, my friend Mr. Walmsley has already 
informed me, sir. And I assure you, I take shame to myself that 
any word or action of mine should have led to consequences so 
lamentable. No one, sir, can deplore the injury Miss Ashton has 
sustained, more than myself the unhappy cause. It is this, Mr. 
Ashton, which impels me to seek an opportunity to express the 
sensibilty of my grave offence, and my extreme regret, to Mrs. 
Ashtcn and Miss Ashton in person. I cannot rest until I have 
implored their pardon !" 

The tones in which this apolegetic speech was delivered were 
at once so suave, remorseful, and sympathetic that Mr. Ashton, 
whose sternness was seldom of long duration, was considerably 
mollified. He looked at the handsome, dashing blade before him, 
whose blue eyes seem full of gentleness and pity, and felt as 
though the boy he had seen torturing old Brookes, and the 
yeomanry officer who had slashed at Mr. Chadwick and Jabez 
Clegg, could never be one and the same. He reverted to the 
latter circumstance 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 247 

" I think, young sir, you owe an apology to someone else under 
my roof the young man who received the sabre-cut you designed 
for my brother-in-law, Mr. Chadwick." 

Aspinall's handsome face flushed. His father's quick reply 
gave him time to think. 

"You surely, Mr. Ashton, would not expect my son to 
apologise to an apprentice-lad, a mere College-boy." 

"Just so! I would expect him to apologise to anyone he had 
injured, were it a beggar!" 

Here the son interposed : " My good sir, do not remind me of 
the horrors of that dreadful day ! I shudder when I recall it. We 
acted under orders, and I swear I was utterly unconscious and 
irresponsible for my actions throughout the whole affray." 

And Laurence seemed desirous to wash his hands of the 
responsibility. 

"The fact is," said Mr. Aspinall, coming to his son's rescue, 
"Laurence had taken more wine than his young head would stand 
on both occasions. It takes years to season a cask, you know, 
Mr. Ashton, and we must not be too hard on young fellows, if 
they slip sometimes. We have all had some wild oats to sow." 

This was a platitude of the period, but Mr. Ash ton's "Just so!" 
was not a cordial assent; and Laurence, fearing the conversation 
was taking an unfortunate turn, led it back to its original request. 
But Mr. Ashton tapped his box, and, offering it to his interlocutors, 
took a pinch himself, and then a second, before he came to a 
decision. It was evidently a debatable question. 

" I will mention your request to Mrs. Ashton, young gentleman, 
and if I find her agreeable to receive you, I can take you across 
with me to-morrow morning, provided you meet me here. 
Good day." 

Mr. Aspinall's "Good day" was somewhat stiff. He had held 
his head very high all his life, metaphorically as well as physically, 






248 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

and was not disposed to be snubbed by one whose status he 
considered scarcely on a par with his own. He was disposed to 
look on his son's peccadilloes as some of those " wild oats " which 
young gentlemen of spirit were expected to sow, and considered 
his fine figure and beautiful features, his education, accomplishments, 
and prospects, passports to any society ; and that Mr. Ashton 
should for one moment hesitate to open his heart and his doors 
to his son, was an indignity not to be borne. 

" The fact is, Laurence, that, if you make an apology to those 
people after this, you have less spirit than I take you to have!" 
was his conclusion. 

" Never you mind, father, I know what I'm about. I want 
to get my foot in there," answered subtle Laurence. And he 
managed it 

Mr. Ashton went home to dinner full of his conversation on 
the Portico steps, and set his romantic daughter's heart in a flutter 
by mooting the point at issue in her presence. 

" Oh, papa ! do bring him ; I want to see him again, he is so 
handsome!" 

"'Handsome is that handsome does,' Augusta," was Mrs. 
Ashton's commentary on that young lady's impulsive exclamation. 

"Charlotte says he is very wild," remarked Ellen, "and I feel 
as if I should shudder at the sight of him, after his conduct at 
Peterloo." 

"You don't shudder when Captain Travis calls, and you don't 
shut the door in John Walmsley's face, and they may have done 
things just as bad, if you did but know it, Ellen," retorted 
Augusta, standing on the defensive for the absent "Adonis." 

"Just so my dear, so they might," admitted Mr. Ashton, whilst 
Ellen held her peace, silenced by something in her cousin's retort. 

"Yes, William, but look on the poor bandaged neck and 
shoulders of our child, and think of that ruffian's cruelty to 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 249 

Jabez and others when a schoolboy. I don't think either John 
Walmsley or Mr. Travis could have done anything so bad." 

" Well, but, mamma," argued spoiled Augusta, " Jabez forgave 
him ; and I think Madame Broadbent is more to blame than 
Mr. Aspinall he only offered to bring me home." 

Mrs. Ashton shook her head as she rose from table. 

" Besides, mamma, he says he only wants to apologise, and 
you know you need not invite him again unless you like. It 
would be so rude to refuse. 

"Just so, just so," assented Mr. Ashton, willing to humour 
his pet in her invalid state, and perhaps it might do the young 
fellow good to see the consequences of his folly. 

As usual, where Augusta enlisted her father on her side, 
Mrs. Ashton's dissent grew feebler, 

The next day Mr. Ashton made at least one false step in his 
life, and brought over his own threshold a blight. 

Faultless were the curves of the stylish hat, faultless the fit of 
pantaloons, and coat, and Hessian boots, and York-tan gloves ; 
graceful the figure they adorned; graceful the apology tendered 
so adroitly more to the mother than to the daughter but if 
ever a graceless good-for-nothing cast a shadow on a good man's 
hearth, it was the wolf in sheep's clothing whose hungry jaws 
were watering for the pet lamb of the fold, and who made so 
courtly an exit full in the sight of Jabez, as he crossed the end 
of the hall to his solitary dinner in his own room. 



CHAPTER THE TWENTY-SEVENTH. 

MANHOOD. 



yOUNG as he was, Laurence Aspinall was wont to say 
he "wouldn't give a fig for any man who could 
not be anything in any society;" and the Laurence 
Aspinall of the cock-pit, the ring, and the bar-parlour, 
was a very different being from the Laurence Aspinall of the 
Assembly or drawing-room. He could be a blackguard amongst 
blackguards, a gentleman amongst ladies. 

Nature had done much for him, art had done more. Nature 
had given him at twenty-one a symmetrical figure, and art an 
easy carriage. Nature had given him the clear pink-and-white 
complexion which so often accompanies ruddy hair, and art had 
trained his early growth of whisker to counteract effeminacy of 
skin. Nature had given him a lofty forehead, art had clustered 
his bronze curls so as to hide how much that brow receded. 
Nature had given an aquiline nose, eyes of purest azure, flexile 
lips with curves like Cupid's bow; and art had taught that eyes 
set so close, whose hue was so apt to change as temper swayed 
him, and lips so cruelly thin, might be tutored to obey volition, 
and contradict themselves, if so their owner willed. To crown 
all, Nature had gifted him with a flexible voice, and art had set 
it to music. 

The Liverpool schoolmaster had obeyed Mr. Aspinall's instruc- 
tions to the letter; all that education and accomplishments could 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 



251 



do to polish and refine the physical man into the gentleman, as 
the word was then understood, had been done for him ; but 
under the stucco was the rough brickwork Bob the groom had 
heaped together, and which no trained or loving hand had 
removed. 

Be sure Laurence Aspinall did not carry this analysis into 
society, written on his forehead. Instead, he had cultivated the 
art of fascination ; and in the brief space occupied by that 
apologetic introductory visit in Mosley Street, he not only 
contrived to dazzle the romance-beclouded eyes of Augusta, but, 
what was almost as much to his purpose, to win over Mr. 
Ashton, and to weaken the prejudice of Miss Augusta's less 
pliant mamma. Ellen Chadwick was the only one on whom he 
made no impression, the only one who retained a previous 
opinion confirmed. Possibly, as Charlotte Walmsley's sister, she 
knew something of his life below the surface, and had imbibed 
that sister's notion that he "led John Walmsley away." Possibly, 
too, as Charles Chadwick's daughter, she contrasted the silken 
speech of the drawing-room dandy with the hectoring, sword-in- 
hand, yeomanry cavalry lieutenant who, in striking at her father, 
had wounded Jabez, his deliverer, instead. 

At all events, she met the enthusiastic admiration of Augusta 
after his departure, the gratified encomiums of her uncle, and 
the more subdued approbation of her aunt, with the unvarying 
expression, " He would have murdered my dear father but for 
Jabez Clegg, and Mr. Clegg is worth a hundred of him." 

Mr. Laurence knew better than to presume on that introduction 
all at once. From their gardens and greenhouses at Ardwick 
and Fallowfield, he sent small baskets of early flowers and fruit 
to Mrs. Ashton, for her daughter, with courteous inquiries ; but 
he allowed several days to elapse before he presented himself 
in person, and then his call was of the briefest, 




252 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 



He knew he had prejudice to overcome, and worked his way 
gradually. Meanwhile Augusta progressed favourably ; and if 
Aspinall grew in favour with the family, so did Jabez. 

May, sweet-scented month of promise, brought to Jabez Clcgg 
in 1820 his natural and legal heritage manhood and manhood's 
freedom. He was no longer an apprentice bound to a master 
by the will of others. He had a right to think and act for 
himself, subject only to the laws of God and of the realm. 
True, that free agency brought with it a train of responsibilities, 
but the new man was not the one to overlook or ignore the fact. 
He had thought long and keenly of the coming change, and all 
it might involve, months before it came. 

His fixed wages as an indoor apprentice, according to 
indenture, were no great matter ; but, supplemented by coin he 
extracted from his paint-box after business hours, he had found 
a margin for saving, besides contributing to the humble wants of 
his early fosterers. The latter duty he had never neglected, but 
Simon was as sternly just as the lad had been gratefully 
generous, and, even when poverty bit the hardest, would never 
accept the whole of his earnings. 

" Si thi, Jabez, if thah dunnot keep summat fur thisel' to put 
by fur a nest-egg, thah'll ne'er see the good o' thi own earmn's, 
an' thah'll lose heart in toime," the old tanner had been wont 
to say, when sturdily limiting the extent to which his foster-son 
should open his small purse. 

So Jabez, leading a steady, industrious life, spending little- on 
personal gratification, save what he invested in books, had quite 
a little store laid by the result of very small savings against 
the time when he might have to shift for himself. Two things 
had troubled him the possibility of having to find a situation 
elsewhere (Mr. Ashton having said no word of retaining him, 
though, on the contrary, he had said nothing of his removal), 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 253 

and the necessity for quitting the house which had been to him 
a home so long that even the grumbling cook and the affectionate 
dog had welded themselves into his daily life, how much more the 
kind master and mistress, and that beatific vision, their beautiful, 
bewitching daughter, who had held him in vassalage from the very 
day of his apprenticeship, and tyrannised over him as only a 
wayward, spoiled beauty child or woman could. 

The bright morning of the fifth of May set this at rest. He 
was called into the inner counting-house, and passed the high 
stools of inquisitive-eyed, quill-driving clerks, with a palpitating 
heart, conscious how much depended on the issue of that 
interview. 

As he opened the curtained glass door, to his surprise he 
found himself confronted by, not only Mr. Ashton, but Mr. 
Chadwick, and Simon Clegg, who had been brought from Whaley 
Bridge for the occasion. 

Business men, as a rule, are not demonstrative over business, 
and, after the first salutations and surprised greetings, the 
congratulations of the day were soon said, and the stereotyped 
"And now to business" put sentiment to flight. And yet not 
entirely so, as will be seen. 

There was nothing luxurious in that counting-house of the past. 
Besides the high desk and stool, it contained an oilcloth-topped 
hexagon table, with a deep rim of partitioned drawers, three 
wooden chairs, a sort of fireguard fender, and a poker ; but there 
was neither carpet nor oilcloth on the floor, and the walls had but 
a dim recollection of paint. 

Mr. Ashton, snuff-box in hand, occupied one of these chairs ; 
Mr. Chadwick, resting hands and chin on a stout walking-stick, 
another; the third, a little apart, had been assigned to old 
Simon, now on the shady side of seventy). Jabez remained 
standing. 



254 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

Mr. Ashton, as was his manner, tapping his fingers on his 
snuff-box lid whilst he spoke, opened fire, " No doubt, Jabez, 
you have been expecting me to say something respecting your 
prospects and position when your indentures are given up ? " 

"Well, sir," answered Jabez with a frank smile, "I believe I 
have." 

" Just so ! I knew you would. It was but likely. And I 
should have spoken to you some time since, but for brother 
Chadwick here. Both Mrs. Ashton and myself have watched your 
conduct and progress, during the whole term of your apprentice 
ship, with entire satisfaction." 

Here a pinch of snuff emphasised the sentence, and both 
Simon and Jabez felt their cheeks begin to glow. 

"You have been unusually steady and persevering have not 
been merely obedient, but obliging, and your rectitude does 
full credit to the * honourable ' name Parson Brookes gave to 
you." 

This was quite a long speech for Mr. Ashton ; he paused to 
take breath ; and old Simon, proud of the young man as if he 
had been his own son, feeling the encomium as some sort of 
halo round his own grey head, exclaimed 

"Aw'm downreet preawd to yer [hear] yo' say it, sir. It'll 
mak' ar Bess's heart leap wi' joy." 

But Jabez, blushing, half ashamed of hearing his own praises 
rung out as from a belfry, could only stammer forth 

" I've endeavoured to do my duty, that is all, sir." 

" A 11 ! " interjected Mr. Chadwick, in his imperfect speech, 
"Nelson sa said du u ty was all Engla and expected of 
ev ev'ry man, but it w won the b battle of Tr Trafalgar ! " 

"Duty wins the battle of life, brother," put in Mrs. Ashton, 
who had quietly entered the counting-house by the door behind 
Jabez. 



MANCHESTER MAN. 255 

" Just so, just so ! " assented Mr. Ashton, as he rose and 
handed his chair to the lady whose stately presence seemed to 
fill the room ; " and Jabez has only to continue doing his duty 
to win his battle of life, I take it. But to our business. You 
have hitherto served us well, Jabez, in the warehouse and out of 
it ; you have been doubly useful to me as a designer and as a 
detector of the roguery and mismanagement of others. Then, to 
my daughter, who is far dearer than either warehouse or trade, 
you have rendered more than one service," 

"Oh, sir, do not name it, I beg. It has been my highest 
pleasure to serve Miss Ashton or yourself," Jabez exclaimed, 
the two last words rising to his lips simultaneously with the 
thought that his sudden outburst might fail of appreciation by 
Miss Ashton's wealthy relatives. 

" Just so ! but I must name it, Jabez, as a reason for my proposal 
to retain you in my employ, and for assigning to you a situation 
and salary higher than is usually accorded to an apprentice just 
out of his time. But as you have shown stability and judgment 
beyond your years, and I know you to be honourable in all 
respects, I feel I am justified in making the offer." 

Mr. Ashton then stated, with a little seasoning of snuff, the 
salary he proposed to give the young man, and the duties he 
required as an equivalent, if Jabez accepted his proposition. 

The eyes of Jabez sparkled and his cheeks glowed. As for 
Simon, he seemed dumb with delight and astonishment at the 
good fortune of the foundling. 

"IF !" cried Jabez, "there can be no 'if,' sir; you overpower me with 
an offer so far above my deserts. I accept it most gratefu " 

"Stay, Mr. Clegg," interrupted Mrs. Ashton, as Mr. Chadwick 
raised his head from its rest on his hands and stick, and made 
an ineffectual effort to speak. "'Think twice before you speak 
once/ my bro " 



256 fuE MANCHESTER MAN. 

" Oh, madam ! there is no need," Jabez began, but she silenced 
him with a mere gesture of her raised hand ; and Mrs. Ashton, 
acting as interpreter for her slow-tongued brother-in-law, 
resumed 

"You have done us some services, Mr. Clegg, but 'a man will 
give all he possesses for his life,' and Mr. Chadwick : r eels that 
his debt to you is greater than ours." 

Jabez looked from one to another, bewildered. 

Mr. Ashton took up the thread " Just so ! and that brings me 
to the point we have been driving at. You see, Jabez, Mr. 
Chadwick is not so capable of managing his business as he used 
to be ; things go wrong he scarcely knows how, and he is 
desirous to bring some one into his warehouse on whom he can 
rely. He therefore offers to take you at a higher salary than I 
think at all suitable for so young a man, and if you prove your 
competence to take the management within a reasonable time, 
to give it over into your hands, and ultimately it may be in a 
very few years to give you a small partnership interest in the 
concern." 

It is difficult to say whether Jabez or Simon was the most 
completely stunned. 

"You must not look on this altogether as a testimony to 
your business qualifications, Jabez, I think," continued Mr. 
Ashton, "but as the outflow of a grateful heart, and the 
proposition of a man who has no son capable of keeping his 
trade together. Is not that so?" turning to Mr. Chadwick. 

" Cer certainly ! " 

Jabez looked from one to another, then to Simon, but no 
help was forthcoming from that quarter. 

Mrs. Ashton came to his relief : " I think, Mr. Clegg, you 
had better 'look before you leap.' Whatever decision you make 
will equally satisfy us. But I see you need time to consider. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 257 

Suppose you consult your foster-father, and give Mr Ashton 
your decision at the outcome-supper to-night" 

The hesitation of Jabez was only momentary. We are told 
that all the marvels and glories of Paradise were revealed to 
Mahomet before a single drop of water had time to flow from 
a pitcher overturned in his upward flight ; and even whilst Mrs, 
Ashton spoke, Jabez had time to think. 

"Thank you, madam," said he, "but I need no deliberation. 
I know not for whose kindness to be most grateful ; but I do 
know that I should be most ungrateful if I were to quit the 
master and mistress to whom both myself and my dear friends 
owe so very much for the first tempting offer made to me. 
Mr. Chadwick overrates my service ; Mr. Mabbott rendered quite 
as efficient aid ; besides, I have no acquaintance with the 
manufacture of piece-goods, and have no right to take advantage 
of Mr. Chadwick's extreme generosity, knowing my own 
disqualifications. And, pardon my saying so, if Mr. Chadwick 
has no mercantile son, he may some day have a son-in-law 
better fitted in every way for the office and promise held out to 
me. I trust, Mr. Chadwick, you will not consider me ungracious 
in declining your liberal offer, but, indeed, I have been trained 
to the smallware manufacture, and here lies my duty, for here I 
feel I may be able to render something of a quid pro quo? 

Before anyone had time for reply, the Infirmary clock struck 
twelve, and, as if simultaneously, there was a rush from the 
warehouse into the yard, an outcry and a din, as if Babel had 
broken loose, the sacred precincts of the counting-house was 
invaded, and Jabez was carried off vi ct armis. 



CHAPTER THE TWENTY-EIGHTH. 



ONCE IN A LIFE. 

USTOMS change with the 
manners of the times, and as 
the apprentice is no longer 
the absolute bond-slave of 
his master, release from the 
seven years bondage is now 
seldom accompanied by the 
active and noisy demonstra- 
tion which of old marked 
that epoch of a tradesman's 
or artisan's career. 

But if the sudden uproar, 
which chased quiet from the 
CROWNING JABKZ WITH PUNCH-BOWL, precincts of Mr. Ashton's 

warehouse and manufactory when the Infirmary clock told noon, 
broke prematurely upon the conference in the counting-house, it 
was not unexpected. Every apprentice had been similarly 
greeted at the same period of his life. Until the clock 
proclaimed twelve, business routine had been undisturbed, but 
those twelve beats of the timekeeper's hammer had been the 
signal for every apprentice and workman on the premises to 
rush pell-mell into the yard, each bearing with him some 




THE MANCHESTER MAN. 259 

implement or symbol of his trade, anything which would clash 
or clang being preferred. Remnants of fringe, bed-lace, and 
carpet-binding waved and fluttered like streamers from the hands 
of the women ; umbrella sticks were flourished ; strings of waste 
ferrules, brass wheels, brace buckles, button and tassel moulds, 
cops, and spindles were jingled and jangled together; tin cans 
were beaten with picking-rods, punches, hammers, leather stamps, 
and other tools by apprentices and men ; whilst Jabez himself, 
hoisted on the shoulders of the two smallware-weavers who had 
seized and borne him from his master's presence, claiming him 
as one of their own body, a recognised lawful member of their craft, 
was paraded round and round that inner court-yard with the 
crowd in extemporised procession, amid shouts, hurrahs, songs, 
and that peculiar instrumental accompaniment which was noise 
not music. 

The household servants had crowded to the scullery door ; 
clerks stood aloof under the gateway, where Simon Clegg kept 
them in company in an ecstasy of satisfaction ; Mr. and Mrs. 
Ashton and Mr. Chadwick surveyed the proceedings from the 
counting-house window, whilst even Ellen and Augusta were 
curious enough to look on from those back hall steps where they 
had once before received the hero of that scene, wounded from 
a very different one. 

More than six years had elapsed since the last indoor 
apprentice had been borne in triumph round that yard (Kit 
Townley's indentures had been prematurely cancelled), and Jabez 
may be pardoned if he contrasted the two occasions, and construed 
the wilder excitement and enthusiasm of this in his own favour, 
when his employers and their daughter noticed it also. 

"It is easy to tell what a favourite Jabez must be in the 
warehouse, by the uproar. The last outcome, I remember, was 
quite tame beside this." 




260 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

" Well, Augusta," answered Ellen, " I believe he deserves it. 
I know my father thinks there is not such another young man 
as Mr. Clegg in all Manchester." 

"Yes, he's very kind, and obliging, and clever, and persevering, 
and all that, and I like him very well ; but then you know, 
Ellen, he is not a gentleman, and he is not handsome by any 
means," responded Augusta, in quite a patronising tone. 

Ellen looked grave. 

" He is all that is good and noble, if he was not born a 
gentleman ; and 7 think him handsome. He has a frank, open, 
expressive countenance, and a good figure, and good manners, 
and what more would you have?" 

Augusta turned her head sharply, and looked up archly in her 
cousin's face. 

"It's well Captain Travis does not hear you, Ellen, or he might 
be jealous of the prentice-knight," she said, banteringly. 

Ellen coloured painfully. 

"When shall I make you understand that Mr. Travis is nothing 
to me?" asked she. 

"When my cousin makes me understand that she is nothing 
to Mr. Travis," was the quick reply, as Jabez was being borne 
past for the last time, and the young ladies once more waved 
their handkerchiefs in salutation. 

It may be very gratifying and very triumphant to be borne 
aloft on other men's shoulders, but it is neither dignified, nor 
graceful, nor comfortable ; and Jabez, being carried off bare-headed, 
had neither hat nor cap to wave in return. He made the best 
use of his right hand, his left being required to steady himself, 
yet I am afraid he was more desirous to make a good impression 
on the romantic young lady muffled in a shawl to hide the 
swathing bandages than on his less-attractive and elder champion 
by her side. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 261 

It was half-past twelve ; the dinner-bell rang, Jabez was 
lowered to terra firma, and there was a general rush to the 
packing-room, which had been cleared out to receive tressels and 
planks for the tables, and an abundant supply of cold meat, cheese, 
bread, and ale, provided by the master. 

And then and there, before a mouthful was cut, Mr. Ashton, 
standing at the head of the table, having Mr. Chadwick by his 
side, and Simon Clegg close at hand, presented Jabez with his 
indentures, with many expressions of his good will and his good 
opinion, and an intimation to those assembled that Mr. Clegg 
would in all probability continue in his employ, an announcement 
which was received with loud acclaim ; and the hungry operatives 
set to at the collation with right good will. 

This was the master's feast ; that of the apprentice, for which 
it was customary to save up long in advance, was at night, and 
held at the neighbouring "Concert-Hall Tavern" in York Street, 
opposite to the then " Gentleman's Concert-Hall," 

Prior to that, however, Mrs. Ashton had somewhat to say to 
the young man, and she chose his own sitting-room to say it in. 
Of course, his apprenticeship over, it behoved him to shift his 
quarters ; and he had looked forward to his abdication with regret 
undreamed of by Mrs. Ashton, or she would certainly have 
hesitated ere she made the proposal she did. 

As it was, she kindly and thoughtfully considered that Jabez 
had no good parental home to return to; that she had no other use 
for the rooms he occupied, so she proposed to him that he should 
continue to occupy them whilst he thought fit, since he had 
elected to remain in their service. 

He had already looked at lodgings in Charlotte Street, close 
at hand ; but this unexpected proposal came like a reprieve to an 
exile, and he was as prompt in his acceptance as he had been in 
that previous decision which had so thoroughly swamped all 



262 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

Mr. Chad wick's plans for his advancement. His eager "Oh, 
madam, you cannot mean it! You overwhelm me with kindness. 
Remain under this roof! It is a privilege I had not anticipated, 
and I shall be proud to embrace it!" sent Mrs. Ashton away 
well pleased. 

It was doubly satisfactory to find the comforts of their home 
appreciated after seven years' experience, and to be able to 
refute Mr. Ashton's theory that "all young men like to shake 
a loose leg, and Jabez would be too glad to escape from 
grumbling Kezia's jurisdiction to accept the offer." 

Mr. Ashton, however, did not abandon the opinion he had 
formed. " I'll wager my gold snuff-box against a button-mould," 
asserted he, " that Clegg only said ' Yes ' because gratitude would 
not let him say ' Nay ! ' It's not likely a young man would 
care to be always under the eyes of a master or mistress, 
however steady he may be." 

Ah, but neither Mr. nor Mrs. Ashton knew there was a 
magnet under their roof, stronger than all the ordinary 
inducements which might otherwise have drawn him away and 
perhaps it was as well for him they did not. 

Simon, who was present at the time, seemed literally 
overpowered with gratitude for all the good which was falling 
into the lap of the child of his adoption. He, however, took 
his own views of the matter, views not calculated to puff Jabez 
up in his own esteem, and when Mrs. Ashton was gone he broke out 

" Eh, Jabez, lad ! but thah's lit on thi feet ! Thah's bin -a 
good lad, aw reckon, an' thah's sarved thi master gradely ; but 
thah sees many a lad does that as never gets a lift such as 
thah's getten. An' aw canno' but thenk it o' comes o' that 
prayer o' thy Israelite namesake, as aw towt thee when thou 
were no bigger than sixpenn'orth o' copper. Yo' hanna furgetten 
it, aw hope ? " 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 263 

No, Jabez had not forgotten it! It would be strange if he 
had. Nay, only that morning, in the flush of success he had 
carried from the counting-house, with the buoyant presumption 
of youth, a conviction that it was not so much a prayer as a 
prophecy nearing fulfilment. 

Simon brought his soaring pinions down from their Icarian flight. 
"Well, lad, it may be 'the Lord has enlarged thi coast,' but 
if so be He han, thah sees theer's moore room fur thee to slip 
as well as to stond, and theer's moore rayson whoi thah shouldn 
be thenkful and humble ! for the big book says, ' Let him that 
stondeth tak' heed lest he fall,' an' aw shouldna loike t' see thi 
young yead torned wi proide." 

His lecture was somewhat of a cold shower-bath to Jabez in 
his hour of triumph, but no doubt it was salutary in its 
ultimate effects. At all events, it kept the vaulting ambition of 
the new man a little in check. 

People especially work-people then observed early hours. At 
seven o'clock the outcome supper was on the tables at the 
" Concert Hall Tavern ;" and the elder apprentices, and all such 
of the workmen as were absolutely engaged on the premises, 
were there to partake when Jabez found old Simon a seat, 
himself taking the head of the table, with the two senior 
apprentices on his right hand and left. 

The cost of such suppers usually fell on the apprentice, but 
sometimes, as in this case, the master added his quota. If 
plain, the provision was substantial and ample. Rounds of beef 
and legs of mutton, piles of floury potatoes, and red cones of 
carrot on pale beds of mashed turnip, smoked on the board, and 
the two-pronged forks and horn-hafted knives were flanked with 
earthenware jugs and horns of ale. 

It was ^..-"ITrsi; essay of Jabez in the art of carving, and no 
doubt he made rather an unskilled president. But in the then 



264 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

condition of the lower classes a large joint of meat was a rare 
sight to a working-man, and so he cut away with no fear of 
critics. Amidst the rattle of cutlery and crockery, and the rapid 
play of jaws, beef and mutton disappeared, and were succeeded 
by a tremendous plum-pudding the contribution of old Mrs. 
Clowes and half a cheese, which came to the table in the then 
common japanned receptacle locally known as a cheese-biggin. 

Appetite and the viands fled together, the noise of tongues 
succeeded to the noise of knives and forks, and Lancashire 
humour vented itself in jest and repartee, sometimes coarse, but 
seldom mischievous. Old Simon enjoyed it immensely. It seemed 
like a renewal of his own youth. 

It was not, however, until the supper- table was cleared that 
the chief ceremonial of the evening took place. Then an arm-chair 
was mounted upon the table, in which Jabez was enthroned, the 
two eldest apprentices standing also on the table on either hand 
as supporters. An immense bowl of steaming punch was brought 
in, which was held over the head of Jabez by the one apprentice 
(when he was said to be crowned), whilst the other, wielding the 
punch-ladle as a symbol of authority, with many a theatrical 
grimace, began to ladle the odorous compound into the glasses 
of the guests ; and the head overlooker of the manufactory, from 
the opposite end of the table, prepared to propose the health of 
the late apprentice, as a new member of their craft. 

At this juncture in walked their master, Mr. Ashton, closely 
followed by Mr. Chadwick, leaning on the arm of the Rev. 
Joshua Brookes, who with many a " pish " and " pshaw ! " and 
" pooh ! " had professed to come reluctantly " to see a sensible 
lad make a fool of himself." Their entrance, and the volley of 
cheers which greeted it, made a momentary pause in the 
proceedings. Then Mr. Ashton, being duly supplied with a 
ladleful of punch, took his overlooker's place, and, the glass 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 



265 



serving as a substitute for his snuff-box, he proposed and drank 
" Mr. Clegg's health and prosperity," and welcomed him among 
the confraternity of small-ware weavers. 

This was succeeded by a prolonged cheer, and then, as one 
by one each man's glass was filled, ere he touched it with his 
lips he sang separately (with whatsoever voice he might happen 
to have, musical or otherwise) the following toast to proclaim 
the released apprentice a freeman of the trade, the chorus being 
taken up afresh after every repetition of the quatrain : 

Here's a health to he that's now set free, 

That once was a 'prentice bound, 
And for his sake this merriment we make, 

So let his health go round ; 
Go round, go round, go round, brave boys, 

Until it comes to me ; 
For the longer we sit here and drink, 

The merrier we shall be. 

Chorus Go round, go round, &c. 

Mr. Ashton had ordered up another bowl of punch, and that 
being distributed with like ceremony over the new small-ware 
monarch's head, Jabez, from his temporary throne, with all the 
warmth of freshly-stimulated gratitude, delivered a very genuine 
oration on the excellence of the master then present, and 
proposed, as a toast, " Mr. and Mrs. Ashton, our worthy and 
esteemed master and mistress." 

Nowadays I'm afraid the master would have been dubbed a 
" governor," and the mistress ignored altogether ; but, though it 
is only fifty-five years since, servants were not ashamed to own 
they had masters and mistresses, and, consequently, were not 
above being amenable to rule. 

During this digression, at a hint from someone (I believe old 
Simon), Jabez, whose eloquence must surely have come from the 
punch-bowl, dilated on the spiritual relation between the reverend 



266 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

chaplain and the party assembled, there being scarcely an 
individual present who had not been either baptised or married 
by the Rev. Joshua Brookes ; and he wished " health and long 
life to him " with much sincerity. 

A general shout rose in response, but Joshua made no other 
reply than to turn on his heel (the better to hide his face), and 
growl out, " Long life, indeed ! Ugh ! pack of tomfoolery ! " as 
he hurried from the room, before either Mr. Ashton or his 
paralysed brother-in-law could follow. Yet, in spite of his gruff 
disclaimer, he added another bowl of punch to the "tomfoolery" 
at least, one was brought in soon after, and no one there was 
called upon to pay for it. 

Relieved from the restraining presence of the gentlemen, 
tongues wagged freely, long pipes were introduced, song, jest, 
and toast succeeded each other, and, as the fun grew and the 
smoke thickened, they mingled confusedly, until at length clear- 
headed Simon drew his arm through that of the novice, and, 
watching his opportunity, led him unnoticed into the open air, 
with his head spinning like a teetotum. 

Jabez awakened the next morning with a terrible headache, 
and a dim recollection of having encountered stately Mrs. Ashton 
in the hall overnight, when the very statues had seemed to shake 
their heads at him, and her mild, " Fie, Jabez ! " followed him 
upstairs, apparently carpeted with moss or indiarubber for the 
nonce. It was his first dissipation, and his last. He never forgot 
it. And if anything was wanting to destroy the germs of self- 
sufficiency and elation, it was found in the consciousness of his 
own frailty, and the sense of shame and self-reproach it 
engendered. 

Experienced heads knew that the surrounding fumes of liquor 
and tobacco had been more potential than the small quantity 
of punch he had imbibed. But he did not know it, and by the 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 



267 



hail-fellow-well-metishness of those workmen who were most 
inclined at all times to keep Saint-Monday, and who came to 
their work, or stayed from their work, unfit for their work, was 
a sensitive chord of his nature struck, far more than by the 
quiet caution of Simon, the light badinage of Mr. Ashton, or the 
jeers of captious Kezia. 

In making light of it, Jabez felt they made light of him, 
and he was long after afraid lest those whose opinion he held 
in esteem should make light of him also Augusta Ashton chief 
of these. 




CHAPTER THE TWENTY-NINTH.* 

ON ARDWICK GREEN POND. 

T was in vain Madame Broadbent waited on Mrs. and 
Mr. Ashton and solicited Miss Ashton's return to her 
establishment on her ultimate recovery. The pupil 
was not more shudderingly reluctant to be replaced 
under her despotic rule than the parents were peremptory in 
their refusal. 

When her plea for the " maintenance of discipline " failed, 
and she tried cajolery as ineffectually, she gave way to the 
expression of her natural fears that it would "be the ruin of 
the Academy" if Mr. Ashton did not reverse his decision. He 
loved his daughter too well to yield, and Mrs. Broadbent went 
back to Bradshaw Street to find, as years rolled on, that she 
had been a true prophetess. 

The injury done to Miss Ashton's collar-bone had been bruited 
about, and slowly but surely it helped to sap the foundation 
of the once-flourishing seminary, It continued to exist for some 
years, but its prestige was gone, its glory departed. Yet she 
maintained her personal importance to the last, and exhibited 
her flock in the "lower boxes" of the Theatre Royal on Mrs. 
M'Gibbon's benefit nights with undiminished dignity through 
successive seasons. 

* See Appendix, 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 269 

The rapidly-ripening young lady had her will ; she had done 
with the schoolroom for ever, and her lessons on the harp from 
Mr. Horobin, and on the piano from George Ware, the leader 
of the Gentlemen's Concerts, came under quite another category. 
Nor did she think it beneath her aspirations to retain her place 
in Mrs. Eland's fashionable dancing-room, where she practised 
cotillons, quadrilles, and the newly-imported waltz, with partners 
on a par with herself. But these were accomplishments, and we 
all know, or ought to know by this time, that accomplishments 
require much more prolonged and arduous application than the 
merely useful and essential branches of knowledge, theorists for 
the higher education of women notwithstanding. 

Miss Augusta was desirous to be captivating and shine in 
society, and so proud was Mr. Ashton of his beautiful daughter 
that he fell in readily with the expansive views of the incipient 
belle, and new steps or new melodies were paraded for his 
gratification week by week. But Mrs. Ashton, telling her 
daughter that "knowledge was light of carriage," sent her to 
Mr. Mabbott's to take lessons in cookery and confectionery, and 
into the kitchen to put them in practice under the eye of 
Kezia; and, exercise being good for health, according to the 
same sensible mother, she was required to assist in bed-making, 
furniture polishing, dusting, and general household matters, for 
which the young lady had little liking, and was not to be 
spurred into liking by any citation of her cousin Ellen's 
qualifications in these respects. She preferred to dress with all 
the art at her command to make her beauty more bewildering, 
and to take her place at harp or piano, or embroidery frame, 
ready to receive visitors either with or without her mother, and 
to be as fascinating as possible, especially when Laurence 
Aspinall was the caller; or she would sit in d6shabi!16 in the 
retirement of her own chamber and read Moore and Byron 



270 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

because they were tabooed, and the handsome lieutenant quoted 
them so enchantingly, whilst Cicily, who had something to 
answer for in this respect, bustled about and overworked herself 
to spare her darling Miss Augusta, who, with all her faults, 
must have been a loving and lovable creature to win such 
devotion from a dependent. 

It happened that the young lady received visitors alone more 
frequently than was desirable, Mrs. Ashton being usually tied to 
the warehouse in consequence of the interest Mr. Ashton took 
in the establishment of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce 
and in the project for the widening of Market Street and other 
of the cramped thoroughfares of the growing town, which 
necessarily took him much from home and his private business, 
to say nothing of the excitement consequent on the trial of 
Queen Caroline during its long progress. 

But the year 1820, which had opened only to close the long 
volume of George the Third's life, and to open that of George 
the Fourth's reign at a chapter of regal wife persecution which 
has few parallels, had itself grown old and died, and 1821 had 
thrust itself prominently forward. 

It came with a white robe and a frost-bitten countenance, 
which grew sharper and more pinched as weeks and months went 
by. It looked down on the currents of rivers and canals, on the 
secluded still waters of Strangeways Park, the oblong pond in 
front of the Infirmary, and the leech-shaped lakelet within the 
area of Ardwick Green, until their ripples curdled under the 
chilling glance of the New Year. 

Sterner grew its aspect as the shivering weeks counted them- 
selves into months, and the shrinking waters spread first a thin 
film, then a thick and a thicker barrier of ice between them and 
the freezing atmosphere. Every gutter had its slide, along which 
clattering clogs sped noiselessly; every pool its vociferous throng 






THE MANCHESTER MAN. 271 

of boys, and every pond its mingled concourse of skaters and 
sliders. Of these, the Infirmary and Ardwick Green waters were 
most patronised ; the former having the more numerous, the latter 
having the more select body of skaters, and consequently the 
more fashionable surrounding of spectators. 

The amusements of the town were then on so limited and 
exclusive a scale that long frost was quite a boon to the younger 
portion of the community ; and during the sixteen weeks of its 
continuance, the Green became a promenade gay with the warm 
hues of feminine attire, as ladies flocked to witness and extol the 
feats of husbands, brothers, cousins, or particular friends. There 
was no fear of vulgar overcrowding (except on Sundays) ; working- 
hours were long, and there were no Saturday half-holidays, so 
that only those whose time was at their own disposal could share 
the sport or overlook it. 

Amongst these, much to the annoyance of Mr. Aspinall, his 
son Laurence chose to enrol himself, with less regard to the 
fluctuation of the cotton market, or the comparative value of 
American or East Indian staples than the Cannon Street merchant 
thought necessary to fit him for his future partner or successor. 
The younger man had chosen to construe liberally the word 
" gentleman," which had been the be-all and end-all of his training, 
and to regard elegant idleness as its synonym. What availed 
his fine figure and proficiency in arts and athletics, if he had no 
opportunity for the display of his person or his skill? And to 
throw away the rare chance the winter had provided was clearly 
to scorn the gift of the gods. 

Accordingly he spent more time on Ardwick Green Pond than 
in the counting-house, varied occasionally with a visit to the 
Assembly Billiard-room in Back Mosley Street, or a morning 
promenade in the Infirmary Gardens, from the open gates of 
which he generally contrived to emerge as Miss Ashton descended 



272 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

the steps from Mr. Mabbott's, and just in time to hand her 
courteously and daintily across the roadway, and bear her 
company to her own door, discoursing of recent assemblies or 
concerts, from the former of which she had hitherto been 
debarred, and of the last occasion on which he had the "exquisite 
pleasure of seeing her at Ardwick Green " occasions which were 
seldom reported at home, any more than the chance meetings 
on her way from Mr. Mabbott's; and the reticence, be sure, 
boded no good. 

Dr. Hull had long ago advised "out-door exercise" for the 
rapidly-growing girl, and there was no embargo on her walks 
abroad, Mrs. Ashton suspecting no danger, and no surreptitious 
meetings. Her visits to the Green during the long skating 
season were quite as unrestrained, except that an escort became 
a necessity. Occasionally her mother accompanied her, sometimes 
Mrs. Walmsley and John (then there was generally a nurse and 
baby in the rear), sometimes Ellen and Mrs. Chadwick ; and 
Augusta had always returned so exhilarated by her country walk, 
and so delighted with all she had seen, that once or twice, when 
imperative business withheld Mrs. Ashton from bearing her 
daughter company, as promised, rather than disappoint, the lady 
had made Mr. Clegg her deputy, an honour on which he perhaps 
set far too high a value. 

Mrs. Ashton would have drawn herself up with double dignity, 
and repudiated as an insult the suggestion of any other of their 
salesmen or clerks as an escort for her beautiful daughter ; but 
Jabez lived in the house, had lived there so long, had even from 
her childhood been the girl's frequent guardian, and proved 
himself so worthy of the trust, that she committed her to his 
care now much as of old, and perhaps all the more readily 
because she saw, or fancied she saw, a disinclination on Miss 
Augusta's part to be so accompanied. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 273 

In March the cold was as intense as in January, and Miss 
Ashton as eager to watch the skaters. One afternoon towards 
the close of the month, when the breaking-up of the frost was 
anticipated, quite a family party had gone to the Green, wrapped 
n fur-trimmed pelisses of velvet or woollen, with fur-rimmed 
hats and Brobdignagian muffs. 

It was not yet closing time when Mr. Ashton, always disposed 
to be friendly with Jabez, accosted him. 

"The ladies are gone to the Green, Clegg. Suppose you 
lend me an arm along the slippery roads, and we go to meet 
them, eh?" 

The sparkling eyes of Jabez confirmed his ready tongue's 
"With pleasure, sir," as, sensible of the honour done him, he left 
the sale-room, whistled his black friend Nelson from the yard, 
and they set off at a brisk pace, to keep the blood in circulation, 
the dog leaping, bounding, and barking before them, in token of 
good fellowship. As they passed the Infirmary pond, Jabez 
remarked that the ice began to look watery, to which Mr. 
Ashton replied, 

" Yes ; I think Jack Frost's long visit is near its end, and 
there must be some truth in the old saw that 'a thaw is colder 
than a frost.'" 

At that moment Mr. Aspinall's carriage rolled past them, 
bearing the merchant homewards in distinguished state (private 
carriages were by no means common), whereat Mr. Ashton 
observed with a shrug, 

"How pride punishes itself! Fancy a tall fellow like Mr. 
Aspinall cramped up in a stifling box upon wheels on a day 
like this, when he has the free use of his limbs ! " 

Contrary to expectation, they did not come in sight of the 
ladies until they gained the Green, which they found a scene of 
wild hubbub and commotion ; skaters and spectators gathering 



274 THB MANCHESTER MAN. 

towards the centre of the Green, whence came a confused noise 
of voices, shouting, crying, and screaming. 

The quick eye of Jabez was at once arrested by the figure of 
Augusta on the opposite bank, the centre of an appalled group, 
wringing her hands in the very impotence of terror, and as he 
penetrated the excited crowd, he saw the hatless head of a 
man, whose body was submerged, resting with its chin upon a 
ledge of the ice, which had apparently broken under him. At 
the first glance he failed to distinguish the head from the distance, 
and rushed forward, apprehensive lest it should be that of either Mr. 
Walmsley or his friend Travis, whom he knew to be of the party. 

Recognition came, accompanied by a shock that staggered him. 
If the ice had attractions for Aspinall and Walmsley, Ellen 
Chadwick had certainly as great attractions for Ben Travis ; but 
it is certain that neither cousins, nor mother, nor aunt were 
sensible that they had been drawn thither simply as a sort of 
decorous train to Miss Augusta Ashton, whose inspiriting had in 
turn been the fascinating lieutenant, the most graceful and 
accomplished skater on the pond. Perhaps she hardly knew it 
herself, not being given to searching her own heart for its motives. 
But a hint from him had set her longing for "another sight of 
the skating before the chance was gone," and her imperative will 
no less than her persuasive voice had swayed the rest. 

Laurence had made the most of the occasion, glad of an 
opportunity to cultivate the acquaintance of the whole family, 
and display his graceful figure, and his skill to the best advantage. 
Now and then he joined the Chadwicks and the Ashtons on 
the bank, anon darted off) wheeling hither and thither, so swift 
in his evolutions, the eye could scarcely follow him. 

Amongst the skaters the man and his feats stood out. He 
was the observed of all observers, and not vainer was he of his 
accomplishments than was Augusta at being singled out for 




ON ARDWICK GREEN POND. 




THE MANCHESTER MAN. 275 

attention in the face of so many damsels of his acquaintance, all, as 
she foolishly supposed, equally desirous to bask in the sun of his smile. 

A small match will kindle a large flame if combustibles be 
there. Fired by her too apparent satisfaction, and Mrs. Ashton's 
presence, his excessive vanity induced him to perform what, with 
the imperfect skates of the period, was a distinguished feat. He 
was ordinarily proud of his calligraphy. Now, he wound and 
twisted, lifted his skates or dashed them down, until he had 
scored upon the ice an alphabet in bold capitals ; but whether 
he had miscalculated his space, or the strength of the ice 
broken into for the use of cattle at the upper end or the crowd 
of inquisitive or envious followers had been too great for its 
resistance, as he made the last curl of the letter Z, the ice 
gave way, and he was plunged in up to the neck, amid the 
shrieks of women and the shouts of men. His chin had caught 
upon the ice with a stunning blow ; but it rested there, and, 
aided by the buoyancy of the water beneath, upheld him until, 
with returning sense, he struggled to bring his shoulders above 
the surface, and upheave himself. He trod the water, and it 
sustained him, but the ice would not. He was forced to content 
himself with the use of his hands beneath as paddles, to relieve 
the pressure on his chin, and wait for help, which seemed an 
eternity in coming. 

He had been in the water some time when Jabez and Mr. 
Ashton appeared on the scene, amongst women shrieking with 
affright, and men rushing about without presence of mind, or 
paralysed to powerlessness. Mr. Travis alone appeared to have a 
thought, and he had sent for ropes and hatchets to cut a way 
to him through the ice itself. But there was a question, would 
his strength hold out? 

"Will no one save him? Will no one save him?" cried 
Augusta, piteously. 



276 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

" Fifty pounds to him who will save my son ! " was the cry 
of the frantic father, who had witnessed the accident from his 
own carnage window. " A hundred ! two hundred pounds ! five 
hundred pounds to anyone who will save him ! " 

" It's noan a bit o' use, measter," said a working man, with 
a shake of his head. " Men wunna chuck their lives aweay fur 
brass ; an' yon ice is loike a pane o 1 glass wi' a stone through it." 
Unfortunately, impulsive Ben Travis had darted forward to 
his rescue at the outset, and his ponderous weight had cracked 
the already broken ice in all directions. He had himself retreated 
with difficulty ; and now no offers of reward would tempt men 
to put their own lives in peril, though Kit Townley was there, 
urging others to the attempt, and Bob, the ex-groom, had rushed 
for ropes they had neither pluck nor skill to use, since a noosed 
cord, flung like a lasso, would have strangled him. 

" Oh ! save him ; save him, Jabez ! " implored Augusta, as he 
and her father came up. 

Jabez looked at her strangely. His head seemed to spin. 
His face went livid as that on the ice. Had his secret devotion 
no other end than this ? True, she had called him " Jabez," but 
so she had called him in his servitude. She had appealed to him 
as one she trusted in implicitly ; but the appeal sounded as 
made for one she loved, and that was not himself, but he who, 
as boy and man, had wounded him in soul and body. The 
very tone of her cry was as a knell to his hopes and himself. 
It was his foe and his rival who was perishing ! Was he called 
upon to risk his life to warm a serpent to sting him again? 
The conflict in his breast was sharp and terrible. "If thine 
enemy hunger, give him food," seemed to float in his ears. 

There was a small gloved hand on his arm, a pale, sweet face 
looking up into his. The moments were flying fast. 

" Oh ! Jabez, Jabez, do try ! " 



TKB MANCHESTER MAN. 277 

" I will," said he, hoarsely. 

Had he not often declared in his secret heart that he would 
give his life to serve her ? and should he be ungenerous enough 
to shrink now ? 

" It is folly to attempt. I forbid it ! " exclaimed Mrs. Ashton, 
laying her hand on his arm. And Ellen Chadwick, pale as 
Augusta, tried to stop him with "You must not! you must 
not ! You will perish ! " 

Even strangers from the crowd warned him back. But he 
was gone ere Mrs. Chadwick softly recalled her daughter to 
herself. "Hush, Ellen! This is not seemly. Mr. Clegg will 
attempt nothing impossible." 

He hurried to the side nearest Laurence ; called to him, 
"Keep up; help is coming!" asked for ladders; gave a word 
or two of instruction to Mr. Ashton and Travis ; sent Nelson on 
the ice to try its strength ; secured a rope round his own waist ; 
then, lying flat on the cold ice, cautiously felt his way to the 
farther side of Aspinall, whose eyes were closed, and whose 
strength was ebbing fast. He hardly heard the words of cheer 
addressed to him." 

Two long ladders had been lashed side by side to give 
breadth of surface. These, by the help of cords and Nelson, 
whose sagacity was akin to reason, he drew across the cracked 
and gaping ice ; and crept slowly from rung to rung, watched 
from the land breathlessly, until he reached his almost insensible 
rival. With rapidly benumbing ringers he secured strong ropes 
beneath each shoulder, sending Nelson back to the bank with 
the main line, in case his own strength was insufficient to lift 
the dead weight of Laurence, or that the ice should yield beneath 
the double weight. 

Someone sent a brandy-flask back by the dog. 

"Can you swallow?" he asked. There was no answer, but a gurgle. 



278 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

He moistened the blue lips, while the head bent slightly back, 
introduced a small quantity of the potent spirit between his set 
teeth ; and, having warmed himself by the same means, essayed 
to lift the freezing skater, who was almost powerless to aid. But 
the latter with an extreme effort raised an arm above the ice, 
and grasped recumbent Jabez. And now Nelson proved his worth. 
He set his teeth in Aspinall's high coat-collar, and tugged until 
their united strength drew him upwards and across the ladder 
sledge, almost as stiff and helpless as a corpse. 

To lessen the weight, Jabez crept from the ladders ; they 
were drawn to the side with their living freight before he himself 
was out of danger ; for the heavy pressure and the swift motion 
set the ice cracking under him, and with extreme difficulty he 
dragged himself to the bank to sink down on the hardened 
snow, overcome by the strain of mind and muscle, whilst the 
approving crowd set up a shout, and Augusta Ashton thanked 
him tremulously. 

" I'm afraid, Clegg, you've spent your strength for a dead 
man," said Travis, grasping his hand warmly, "and Aspinall was 
scarcely worth it, alive or dead." 

But Jabez made no reply. He rose slowly and painfully, 
shook off the congratulatory crowd of strangers and friends on 
the plea of needing to "warm and dry himself," refused point 
blank to accept the grateful hospitality of Mr. Aspinall, and, 
taking the proffered arm of Travis, turned towards the " George 
and Dragon," as little like one who had done a noble action as 
could be imagined. 

Mr. Ashton followed, tapping his gold snuff-box in wonder 
and perplexity. He saw that something was wrong, but knew 
not that Augusta's hasty thanks had closed the young man's 
heart against all but its own pain. 



r 




CHAPTER THE THIRTIETH. 

BLIND ! 

O white, so cold, so still was the rigid figure borne 
fr m the pond to Mr. Aspinall's house, Travis might 
well count him "a dead man," as the rumour ran 
concerning him, and feeble old Kitty sent up a 
lamentation as over the dead. 

Mrs. Ashton, who knew that to be a home without a thinking 
woman at its head, volunteered her services, and entered the 
house with the bearers, leaving the trembling Augusta with their 
friends. She gently put the old woman aside, and felt pulse and 
heart. 

"There is life," said she, "and while there is life there is hope. 
Keep tears until there is time to shed them ; now we must act." 
Then, turning to the scared and scurrying servants, she gave her 
orders much as though she had been in her own warehouse, and 
with a stately authority there was no disputing. 

The butler was bidden to " bring brandy, quick ! " The footman 
was required to " wheel this sofa to the fire and pile up the coals !" 
A maid was asked for "hot blankets without delay!" and moaning 
Kitty was set to work to "help to strip her young master and 
chafe his limbs." And so promptly were her clear, cool orders 
obeyed, that when the doctor arrived in hot haste with Mr. 
Aspinall, half his work was done. The pulse had quickened and 
the limbs began to glow, though the eyelids remained closed. 



280 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

Most grateful then was Mr. Aspinall for the efficient matronly 
service rendered to his motherless boy by the stately lady, who 
was drawn nearer to him in his helplessness by her own kindly act 
than by all the conciliatory visits and peace-offerings with which 
Laurence had himself sought to propitiate her. And for once Mr. 
Aspinall accepted a kindness as a favour, not as a tribute to his 
personal importance, and he placed his carriage at the disposal 
of Mr. Ashton and herself for their return home without a sign 
of his usual self-inflation. 

His importance received a considerable shock, however, when 
he called at the house in Mosley Street the following day to 
report progress, and relieve himself of his obligation to his son's 
preserver by paying over the five hundred pounds he had in 
his extremity offered as a reward. 

"I do not think Mr. Clegg will accept a reward," said Mr. 
and Mrs. Ashton in a breath. 

"Not accept it!" and the portly figure seemed to swell! "five 
hundred pounds is a large sum for a young man in his position; 
only a fool or a madman would refuse it." 

"Just so, just so," replied Mr. Ashton, offering his open snuff- 
box to his visitor, whilst Mrs. Ashton stirred the fire as a sort 
of dubious disclaimer; "but I think, for all that, you will find 
we are right ; Mr. Clegg is not a common man, and is not 
actuated by common motives. My dear?" He nodded, and 
Mrs. Ashton pulled the bell-rope. 

Mulberry-suited James answered on the instant. 

"Mr. Clegg is wanted." 

Mr. Clegg, labouring under the disadvantage of a cold caught 
the previous afternoon, to which any huskiness of voice might 
be attributed, obeyed the summons. He was presented duly to 
Mr. Aspinall, and much to that gentleman's surprise, was invited 
to take a seat. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 2 8i 

"Absolutely invited to take a seat;" as he afterwards recounted 
in indignation to a friend ; " these Whigs have no respect for a 
gentleman's feelings." 

Nor had Jabez. He was pale enough when he entered, but 
his face flushed, his lips compressed, and the scar on his brow 
showed vividly, as Mr. Aspinall drew forth a roll of crisp bank- 
notes from his pocket-book, and loftily offered to him the reward 
he had "earned by his bravery." 

He flushed, put back the notes with a movement of his hand, 
and said, coldly : " You owe me nothing, sir. The meanest 
creature on God's earth should have freely such service as I 
rendered to your son. I cannot set a price on life." 

But I offered the reward, and the fact is, I must discharge 
the debt. Reconsider, young man, it is a * large sum ; many a 
man starts the world with less." 

"A large sum to pay for your son's life, or for mine, sir?" 
interrogated Jabez, drawing himself up stiffly ; adding, without 
waiting for reply, " I do not sell such service, sir. You owe me 
nothing. Let your son thank Miss Ashton for his life ; he is 
her debtor, not mine." 

The words seemed to rasp over a nutmeg-grater, they came 
so hoarsely, as did his request for leave to withdraw ; and he 
closed the door on the five hundred pounds, and on the smiles 
of husband and wife, before the rebuffed cotton merchant could 
master his indignation to reply. 

The notes in his palm were light enough, but lying there they 
represented liberality contemned ; a debt unpaid ; an undischarged 
obligation to an inferior; and not thrice their value in gold 
could have pressed so heavily on Mr. Aspinall as that last 
consideration. The frigid manner of Jabez he construed into 
Radical impudence ; he resented the salesman's repudiation of 
reward as a personal affront, and did not scruple to express his 



282 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

views openly, then and there, winding up with a question which 
startled his interlocutors. 

"What did the singular young man mean by his reference to 
Miss Ashton?" 

Had they followed the " singular young man " across the hall 
to the sanctuary of his own sitting-room, seen him dash himself 
down into a chair, and bury his head in his hands on the table 
with unutterable anguish on his face, and heard burst from his 
lips more as a groan than embodied thought "Oh, Augusta, 
adored Augusta, what a presumptuous madman I have been ! " 
they would but have had half the answer. But had they 
mounted the polished oaken stairs to the dainty chamber where 
Augusta Ashton lay in bed with a " cruel headache," brought on 
by the fright, and eyes red with weeping at the catastrophe 
which had befallen her adorable admirer, the gallant lieutenant, 
and heard her half-audible lamentations, the answer might have 
been complete. 

Mrs. Ashton had heard Augusta's frantic appeal to Jabez at 
the pond, had seen him stagger and turn livid as if shot, noted 
the inward struggle ere he said, " I will ;" but she had ascribed 
it to old and unforgiven injuries, and thinking it hard that he 
should be called upon to hazard his life for his known enemy with 
chances so heavy against him, had herself forbidden the attempt. 
This was all the solution she had to offer Mr. Aspinall. In the 
excitement of the accident and the rescue, she had overlooked 
Augusta's excessive emotion, but now her mother's heart took 
alarm. Could it be that the younger eyes of Jabez had seen a 
preference for the handsome scapegrace which she had not? 

The matter was talked over by husband and wife long after 
Mr. Aspinall had left ; and the anxious mother questioned the 
maiden in the privacy of her own room, to come thence with 
the sad conviction that Augusta had prematurely been led captive 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 283 

by a handsome face and a dashing air, irrespective of worth or 
worthlessness. Yet she consoled herself and Mr. Ashton with the 
reflection, "It is, after all, only a girlish fancy, and will die out." 

"Just so, and as the young rake is laid by the leg for one 
while, there is all the more chance," assented Mr. Ashton. 

"If his immersion does not convert him into a hero," added 
the matron, with a clearer knowledge of her daughter. Yet 
neither asked themselves how the intuitive perception of Jabez 
came to be more acute than their own, nor what power impelled 
him to risk his life for an enemy at the mere bidding of Augusta. 
Indeed, they set the hazardous exploit down to the score of 
magnanimity and bravery only. 

Equally unobservant were they of Ellen Chadwick's remonstrance, 
or her feverish watch of every perilous turn Jabez and Nelson 
had taken on the ice, or of the caresses she lavished on the dog 
when all was over. Only Mrs. Chadwick had seen that, as she 
had seen fainter signs years before ; but she held her peace, and, 
having a leaven of her sister's pride, "hoped she was mistaken." 

There were three young hearts consumed by the same passion 
that which lies at the root of the happiness or misery of the world, 
one nursing the romance, two fighting against its hopelessness in 
silence and concealment; but "the race is not always to the 
swift, nor the battle to the strong." 

Jabez Clegg could not tell when he had not loved Augusta 
Ashton, from the time wherfshe was young enough to play about 
the ware-rooms, or to be lifted across the muddy roadways in his 
strong apprentice arms, when it was his pleasant duty to protect 
her to and from school. But he could trace back the time when 
Hogarth's prints gave to that love a definite shape, and he began 
to look upon his master's daughter as a prize to be attained. 
All things had tended to confirm his belief in its possibility, and 
love and ambition had gone hand in hand, and fed each other. 



284 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

The child had come to him for companionship and entertainment, 
the girl under his protection had confided to him her school-day 
troubles, and come to him for help in difficulties, with lessons on 
slate or book. She had looked up to him, trusted him, clung 
to him ; and though she was as a star in his firmament, he 
had had a sort of vague impression that the star which shone 
upon him from afar would draw nearer, and, as he rose to it, 
come down to meet him. 

His first sharp awakening was her reminder that the pair of 
intoxicated officers who had insulted her in the theatre were 
"gentlemen," and so not to be chastised by him. His second 
and then jealousy added a sting was meeting Aspinall face to 
face in the hall, when the latter smilingly bowed himself out 
on his first visit. And now he brooded in despair over the final 
dissipation of his dream beneath the icicle-hung boughs on Ardwick 
Green ; for the first time conscious that she belonged to another 
sphere. . 

Never by look or word had he done himself, or her, or her 
parents, the dishonour of giving expression to his ambitious 
love ; and now another had looked on his divinity, and won he 
for himself. It came upon him like a flash when that white- 
faced agony, that piteous cry, called him to imperil his own life, 
worthless in the scale against another, and that other. It 
came upon him with a flash that scathed like lightning. He 
had forgiven the boy Aspinall long ago ; and the man well, 
Augusta's happiness demanded the sacrifice, and he had made 
it. Out of his very love for Augusta he had saved the rival's 
life she had prayed for. And he had been offered money for 
the act which wrecked his own life. Thank God he had rejected 
it with scorn ! 

A kind hand laid on his shoulder interrupted a reverie which 
had induced torpor* 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 285 

"Mr. Clegg, you are ill your cold requires attention. You 
had better seek repose : you are quite feverish." 

Repose! The man's soul was on fire, as well as his body. 
Yet from his chamber a fortnight later emerged a grave 
business man, without an apparent thought beyond the warehouse. 
And what of Laurence Aspinall, whom we left with closed 
eyes, wrapped in blankets, on a sofa? He had hung suspended 
in the water for an hour by the clock in the tower of St. 
Thomas' ivy-clad church ; and, notwithstanding he had kept his 
limbs and the water in motion so long as he had power, the 
chill had extended upwards, and though life had been called 
back, sight and reason were in abeyance. 

Shorn of his rich curls, for weeks he raved and struggled in 
the grasp of brain fever ; and old Kitty, forgetting everything 
but her promise to his dead mother, watched and tended him 
night and day, albeit nurses from the Fever-Ward relieved each 
other in their well-paid care of him. 

The frost was gone ; vegetation, bound so long, had leapt 
upwards from its chains. Lilacs and may buds greeted him 
with perfume through the open windows, and even the daffodil 
and narcissus sent up their incense from the brim of the garden 
pond when he began to show signs of amendment. 

" Better," " Much better," were the answers to inquirers (among 
whom may be 'cited Kit Townley, and Bob, their sometime 
groom) ; but the lilac and the hawthorn ripened and faded, and 
the daffodils gave place to the wallflower and carnation, and the 
rosebuds opened their ripe lips to June, yet the rich cotton 
merchant's son saw nothing of the glow. 

Over the blue eyes of Laurence the lids were closed, and not 
an oculist in the town had skill to open them. Dr. Hull, the 
consulting physician of the Eye Institution, and his surgical 
colleagues, Messrs. Wilson and Travers, had laid their heads 



286 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

together over a case peculiar in all its bearings, but the lids 
remained obstinately shut. 

At length, when Hope had folded her drooping wings in 
despair, and Mr. Aspinall was borne down with grief for his 
sightless son, someone suggested that, as water had done the 
mischief, water in action might cure it. 

" Can he swim ? " asked rough Dr. Hull curtly of Kitty. 

" Swim ? ay, he can do owt he shouldna do," replied the old 
woman, having no faith in the value of her charge's peculiar 
accomplishments. 

" Is he a good swimmer ? " 

" Aw reckon so ! He used to swim fur wagers i' Ardy 
(Ardwick) Green Pond when he wur quoite a little chap." 

"That will do." 

Mr. Aspinall was conferred with, and the next day's mail 
coach took the blind patient, his father, Kitty, and one of the 
surgeons to Liverpool. After a night's rest at the York Hotel, 
they were driven down to St. George's Pier, a very humble 
presentment of what it is in this our day. Like Manchester, 
Liverpool has vastly swelled in size and importance within the 
last fifty years, and her docks have grown with the shipping 
needing shelter. The Mersey was not the crowded highway it 
is now there were fewer ships and no steamers to cross each 
other's track, and set the waters in commotion, defying wind 
and tide. 

Mr. Aspinall had engaged a boat to be in readiness. The 
sightless athlete was rowed a short distance from curious spectators 
on the pier, and then, his face being turned towards Birkenhead, 
he plunged into the swelling river, which he breasted like a 
Triton, so welcome and native seemed the element to him. And 
as the salt wave buoyed him up, or dashed over his cropped 
head, he appeared to gain fresh strength with every stroke. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 287 

Anxiously his three attendants followed in his wake, lest 
cramp should seize him, or his impaired strength give out before 
the river there rather more than a mile in breadth could be 
crossed. Yet not a yard of the distance bated he. 

By instruction he had bent his course slightly down stream, 
so as to meet the opposing tide, then rolling in with a freshet. 
He struck out boldly, the very dash of the salt waves invigorating 
him as they broke over his bare poll, or laved his naked limbs. 
Still well in advance of the boat, he seemed at last to cross 
the current as a conqueror. He touched the shore at Rock 
Ferry, and miracle of miracles ! his eyes were opened. Laurence 
Aspinall, who for weeks had cursed his darkened existence, could 
once more see ! 




Q 



CHAPTER THE THIRTY-FIRST.* 

CORONATION DAY. 

ISFORTUNE binds closer than prosperity. The 
calamity which tied Laurence Aspinall down in a 
strait-waistcoat to a bed of fever, with shaven head 
and sightless eyes, touched the Ashtons in a tender 
point. Themselves the parents of an only child, the very crown 
and glory of their lives, their sympathies went forth to Mr. 
Aspinall in spite of his haughty assumption. Indeed, distress 
brought him down to the common level of humanity, and having 
neither sister, aunt, nor cousin to undertake the care of his sick 
son for love, and not for fee, he learned the comparative 
powerlessness of wealth, and hailed with all the gratitude in his 
nature the occasional visits of Mrs. Ashton, in whose stately 
bearing, no doubt, he recognised a sort of kinship. 

It was, however, not Mrs. Ashton the business woman, not 
Mrs. Ashton the lofty lady, but Mrs. Ashton the mother who 
laid her cool hand on the young man's fevered forehead, 
questioned the nurses, made suggestions for the benefit of the 
invalid, and by means of a " Ladies' Free Registry " in Chapel 
Walk, found a staid woman of experience to act as housekeeper 
and bring the disorganised household into order without treading 
on the toes of attached but incapable Kitty. 

The head of Antinous shorn of its glorious locks, swathed 
in lotion-cloths, tossing in delirium, would scarcely appear so 

* See Appendix. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 289 

attractive as to fill the most timid mother with fears for a 
romantic daughter's heart, and so, whilst sympathy was awake, 
vigilance slumbered. Yet never need vigilance have been more 
awake. She saw him as he was Augusta, as he had been. 
Through other channels than the maternal she heard of his 
condition from day to day, and how in his delirium he had 
mixed up her name with the slang of the cock-pit, the race- 
course, and the prize-ring; but with strange infatuation she 
ignored all that should have warned, and clung to all that was 
pleasant to her own self-love. Never had she been so assiduous 
in her visits to her aunt Chadwick and her cousin Walmsley, 
and her smiling "I've brought my work and come to sit with 
you this afternoon," should have been translated, " I hope John 
or Mr. Travis will drop in. They are sure to have something 
to say about Mr. Laurence ; it is so dreadful not to know how 
he is going on." 

And pretty generally her calculations were correct. The two 
gentlemen were interested in Aspinall as a member of their 
yeomanry corps, apart from private friendship, and were constant 
in their inquiries, even finding their way to his bedside ; and 
Mr. Benjamin Travis, who could not very well every day manage 
to meet Mr. Chadwick accidentally on his way from the 
warehouse and lend his stout arm as a support, appeared only 
too glad to be the bearer of bulletins from Ardwick as an 
excuse for calling in Oldham Street and hovering about the 
chair or the window where Ellen Chadwick sat at her sewing or 
knitting and grew silent on his entrance, blushing when she 
heard his footstep or his voice in the hall, from motives sadly 
misinterpreted. 

There was no mistaking the true purport of his frequent 
visits and assiduous attention to the crippled old gentleman, so 
Augusta, having settled in her own mind that Ellen was either 



2go 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 



too reserved or too shy to give her big, good-natured, but timid 
lover proper encouragement, took upon herself to play into his 
hands and make opportunities for his wooing. 

"What a delightful afternoon for a walk!" Whether he or 
she made the observation, the other was sure to assent, and 
then wilful Miss Augusta, unaccustomed to be gainsaid, and 
seconded by her aunt, also a secret ally of Ben Travis, would 
drag her cousin forth in defiance of any excuse or protestation, 
to the undisguised satisfaction of their magnificent cavalier. 

It was remarkable that on these occasions, whether they took 
their way up Ancoats, or Dale Street, or Piccadilly, or Garret 
Road, they would eventually be led so near to Ardwick Green 
that it would have been unkind had not Mr. Travis " just 
stepped across to see how Mr. Laurence progressed." 

And so, too, whenever she went abroad with Cicily at her 
heels, or when Cicily was sent on errands, nothing would 
content her imperative young mistress but that she should hasten 
(whether in her way or out of it), with "Mrs. Ashton's 
compliments," to ascertain the condition of the invalid scapegrace. 

Many a scolding did breathless Cicily get in consequence 
from angry Kezia, the queen of the kitchen, which Augusta 
paid her messenger for with coins, or ribbons, or kerchiefs, or 
smooth words, as might be most convenient at the time. And 
Mrs. Ashton was accredited by the Aspinalls with a degree of 
attention never contemplated by herself. 

But there was one person in the house Augusta avoided 
from that afternoon at the end of March, when her fascinating 
hero would have lost his life but for a much humbler hero, of 
less pretension and fewer attractions. She might have been blind 
as father and mother to his attachment until that afternoon ; but 
that one wild, impassioned, agonized look of Jabez into her eyes 
had opened them for ever : she felt she had tasked him beyond 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 291 

human endurance, and was ashamed to look him in the 
face. 

The presumption of the ex-apprentice paled before his devotion 
and self-abnegation, but, self-conscious, after that first outburst of 
thanks on the Green, she had shrunk from meeting him in hall or 
on staircase, and had always a reason ready why he should not be 
invited to their own tea-table when father or mother proposed it. 

Public events march on irrespective of private joys or sorrows, 
and no individual goes out into the world after three months' 
seclusion to find things just as he left them. The first use 
Laurence Aspinall made of his eyes was to look at himself in a 
mirror ; the second, on his return to Manchester, to select a 
substitute for the clustering curls of which he had been despoiled. 
Closely shut in the carriage which Mr. Ashton had lightly designated 
a box, he was driven down Market Street, to discover that the 
Spirit of Improvement, "fell bane of all that's picturesque," had 
touched the ancient, many-gabled, black-and-white houses with 
which his earliest recollections were associated, and they were 
crumbling into dusty ruins before the potent incantation " Space." 
It was the beginning of a very necessary widening of the main 
thoroughfares of the growing commercial metropolis ; but the 
blanks in the narrow street took Laurence by surprise. 

There was a newspaper the more for his restored sight to 
scan, albeit the Manchester Guardian, which Jeremiah Garnett 
and John Edward Taylor first gave to the world on the fifth 
of May, was scarcely likely to take his view of party politics, 
or of his share in the " Peterloo massacre," which was still a 
disturbing element in the town. Just now the paper, which he 
found at the perruquier's, was given over to the discussion of 
the approaching coronation of George IV., which likewise formed 
the theme of conversation, not only at the wig-maker's, but 
whithersoever he turned when once more presentable. 



292 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

Somehow, though he found his way to the warehouse, and the 
Cockpit, and the Assembly Billiard Club, and to Tib Street, where 
Bob the groom had a pretty daughter very much at the young 
man's disposal, he did not present himself at his Mosley Street 
friend's as soon as might have been expected, considering all 
things ; and Augusta, in the most becoming of morning robes, 
watching with eager expectation for his coming, began to pant 
and chill with the sickness of hope deferred. He was by no 
means the only admirer of the lovely heiress, and was sufficiently 
desirous to complete his conquest before other competitors were 
fairly in the field ; but he was in perplexity how to deal with 
Jabez Clegg, who stood in his way after another sort. He was 
grateful after a fashion for the preservation of his life ; but 
ungrateful, inasmuch as Jabez was the preserver. 

" Hang it ! " said he, in conference with himself, as he tied on a 
neck-cloth at the glass, " if the fellow had but taken the five 
hundred pounds, there'd have been an end of it ; and one could 
have wiped one's hands of him. What right had the beggarly 
charity-boy to refuse a reward, as if he were a gentleman, I should 
like to know ? I wonder what Kit Townley and Walmsley were 
about the cowardly ninnies to let an upstart like that pull me 
out of the hole. I'd almost as lief have been drowned." 

And away went a spoiled cravat across the room in his 
temper, and he rummaged for a fresh one, to the detriment of 
linen, as he went on 

"There's one thing positive, I must either bring down my 

pride or give up the girl, and be d d to it! That old 

Ashton, with his 'Just so!' like a cuckoo, would certainly shut 
the door in my face if I neglected to make a set speech and 
thank his precious protege, who knocks you down with one hand 
and picks you up with the other. Well, I don't feel inclined 
to surrender the finest girl in Lancashire, and with such a 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 293 

fortune as she'll have, so I'm in for it. I must make a virtue 
of necessity. Egad ! I'll write to this Mr. Clegg. No, I won't. 
It would be a feather in his cap to have a thanksgiving letter 
of mine to exhibit." 

Having at length determined his course, Mr. Laurence betook 
himself to Mosley Street, made his bow duly and gracefully to 
Mrs. Ashton and the young lady, keeping the hand of the latter 
as long within his own as etiquette would permit, and sending 
the warm blood mantling to her cheek, with a supplicating 
glance of devotion as potent as words. Then, with some little 
prolixity, he professed his desire to "thank his noble preserver" 
for the life he had saved ; and at his request Mr. Clegg (whom 
he might just as well have thanked in the warehouse without 
ceremony) was sent for. Coming into the parlour all unwittingly 
as he did, to find Laurence Aspinall, handsome as ever, and 
more interesting from illness, standing under the lacquered-serpent 
chandelier in close proximity to Augusta, sparkling with animation, 
and blushing like the rose he had just offered her with a 
pretty simile, his emotions so overmastered him that the 
polished gentleman had him at a disadvantage, and shone in 
comparison. 

Both Augusta and her mother noted the contrast between the 
elegant manner, suave tones, and rounded periods of Laurence 
Aspinall's thanks and the curt disclaimer of Jabez, though their 
deductions were different. Augusta was in raptures with the 
rose-giver.' 

" Ah ! my dear, all is not gold that glitters. There is more 
sterling metal in your father's salesman, mark my words, than 
in the tinselled lieutenant," was the summing-up of the elder, 
as she replaced cake and wine in sideboard and cellaret. She 
was clearly no friend to Aspinall now that he had recovered 
sense and sight. 



294. THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

The town, which had been strong and outspoken in its 
condemnation of the new king during the trial of Queen Caroline, 
was now all alive with preparations to celebrate his coronation 
with befitting magnificence, one branch of trade vicing with 
another which should make the greatest display in the coming 
procession to the Green, the like of which never had been, and 
never would be again. And this competition, productive of 
marvellous results due, in a great measure, to trade rivalry and 
an ambitious desire to outshine was set down by historians, 
rightly or wrongly, as a proof of the excessive loyalty of the 
Mancestrians. 

In all classes, from the highest to the lowest, something was 

being done, and nothing was talked of, thought of, dreamed of, 

but the coronation and the procession. In courts and alleys 

there were making, and mending, and washing; and no little 

pinching was undergone by hard-working fathers and mothers to 

provide the girls with white cambric frocks, tippets, and net caps, or 

the lads with fresh jackets and breeches and shoes, so as not to 

disgrace the Sunday schools under whose banners they were to walk. 

The finest horses of the Old Quay Company and Pickford's 

were put into new harness and the finest condition, and every 

lurry (a long, flat, sideless waggon) was called into requisition. 

Smiths, saddlers, sign and scene painters, were at work day and 

night for weeks ; and such was the request for banners that 

ladies undertook the work when skilled labour was not to be found. 

The important ceremony was fixed for the iQth of July. On 

the 1 7th a deputation of small-ware weavers waited on Mr. Ashton 

in despair. They could get neither flag nor banner ; the painter 

had thrown over the order at the last moment. 

"An' Tummy Worthington's getten a foine un, measter. It'll 
be a sheame an' a disgrace to us o' if we let Worthington's 
cut us eawt." 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 295 

[The said Worthington was a rival small-ware manufacturer.] 

Mr. Ashton had recourse to his snuff-box, and then to his 
wife. 

"My dear, what is to be done? There will be no flag. The 
painters cannot execute the jobs in hand. Worthington's have a 
fine one I hear." 

" No flag ! That will never do. We must have a flag. Let 
me consider." 

Ellen Chadwick was busy helping Augusta to make favours 
for the men. She looked up. 

"Do you not think Mr. Clegg could paint you one?" she 
suggested. 

Mr. Ashton brightened, but his "Just so!" was nipped in the 
bud by the recollection that there was no time. 

"Where there's a will there's a way," said Mrs. Ashton, and 
sought out Jabez. 

" It is quite out of my line, but I can try. It would be a 
pity to disappoint the men," answered he. 

" And nothing beats trying but doing," added Mrs. Ashton. 

Silk and colours were procured. There was no leisure for 
complex design or elaboration. At that time the dark blue 
covers of the Dutch tapes in gross bore the symbolic device of 
the flax plant within a rude scroll. This Jabez transferred in 
colours to his silk on a colossal scale, both sides bearing the 
same emblem of their trade, more effective on its completion 
than any elaborate work. He had bargained to be left without 
interruption. The men fidgeted about the warehouse in a state 
of nervous trepidation (it was an important matter to them), but 
at dawn on the ipth it was finished, and borne off by the 
weavers in triumph and exultation. 

Market Street Lane being in ruins at one end, and a narrow 
gully at the other, Mosley Street became the natural course for 



296 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

the procession (two miles and a half in length) from Peter's Field 
to the Green, where a royal salute was to be fired ; and like 
every other house on the line of route, Mr. Ashton's was filled 
with guests, and from garret to basement every window had its 
streamer, and was crowded with gaily-dressed spectators, mostly 
feminine, the gentlemen of the town taking part in the procession, 
officially or otherwise. The Chadwicks and Mrs. Walmsley were 
there of course, and Mrs. Clough amongst others ; and on another 
floor Jabez who being above the warehousemen, and not a 
master, did not walk had as a companion good Bess Hulme, 
who with her husband had come over from Whaley Bridge, where 
there was, of course, a holiday. To Tom had been assigned the 
honour of chief standard bearer. 

In all such processions the military element, with its brilliant 
uniforms and stirring music, prevails. But here (where every item 
of the cavalcade had its own brass band) were also all the 
dignitaries of the church, with every silver badge of office 
resplendently burnished for the occasion ; the borough-reeve, and 
other magistrates, and constabulary, in new uniforms ; the lamp- 
lighters with new smocks, carrying their ladders and cans ; the 
firemen and fire-engines, bright as paint and polish could make 
them ; the gentlemen of the town, all with favours ; the Sunday- 
school children, marshalled under their respective banners or 
tablets, walking six abreast; the Ladies' Jubilee School; the 
Green-Coat School; and the Blue-Coat School, on which Jabez 
looked down with curiously-mingled feelings. 

But the marked feature of the magnificent procession was the 
display made by the trades, with their banners, a lurry accompanying 
each, bearing well-dressed workmen and machines in full operation. 

At the head of these came two figures, representing Adam and 
Eve, in a perfect bower of greenery, as representatives of the 
primitive condition before dress was invented. They were followed 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 297 

by a lurry, on which tailors (whose art is the first on record) sat 
cross-legged, and stitched and pressed, as if on a shopboard, 
whilst a select band of journeymen walked after, bearing minature 
garments on wands, or ferruginous geese and sleeveboards. 

The blacksmiths wrought on their anvil, and carried also on 
long poles, horse-shoes, &c. The brass and copper smiths, likewise 
at work, had a bright array of kettles, candlesticks, and a mounted 
man in armour, as had also the tin-plate workers. The glass- 
blowers made a goodly array, and gave away tokens as they 
went. The men wore hats and caps brittle and brilliant, with 
wavy plumes of spun glass, whilst birds, ships, goblets, and 
decanters on their poles glistened in the beams of the hot sun. 
A printing-press distributed appropriate verses, worked off in the 
course of the procession. And St. Crispin's followers waxed their 
threads and plied their awls on boots and shoes as they and 
their benches were borne along, followed by their leather-aproned 
fraternity, holding aloft their productions, from the most gigantic 
of Wellingtons to the tiniest infant's slipper. 

All branches of the cotton trade were represented. There was 
cotton in bags ; twist in bales ; carding, roving, spinning, weaving, 
all going on under the eyes of the onlookers, with the workpeople 
following in their best and brightest. 

Shouts and hurrahs attended the whole line of march, not 
wholly unaccompanied by hisses ; but as the small-ware weavers 
passed Mr. Ashton's the cheers were deafening. A loom was at 
work weaving lengths of binding for garters, on which was 
inwoven "God save King George IV.," with the date, and these 
were lifted on long wands to the ladies at the windows on their 
way, or scattered to others in the street ; and as Tom Hulme 
caught the eye of Jabez, he pointed proudly to their banner, 
which had no rival in all the elaborately painted flags waving in 
the wind, and the impromptu artist was well satisfied. But the 



298 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

brightest day has its cloud. As the Manchester Yeomanry went 
prancing past, Travis and Walmsley alike saluted the ladies at 
the drawing-room window, but to the pain of Jabez and the 
indignation of Mrs. Ashton, Lieutenant Aspinall had the audacity 
to kiss his hand to Augusta. 



CHAPTER THE THIRTY-SECOND. 



EVENING : INDOORS AND OUT ! 




HE two-miles-and-a-half-long pro- 
cession was not the only popular 
demonstration which made the 
Coronation of George IV. 
memorable in the annals of 
Manchester. There were no 
telegraph wires to flash intelli- 
gence to the supporters of 
Queen Caroline that she had 
been repulsed from the Abbey 
gates, and driven thence to die 
broken-hearted and uncrowned. 
So, in the absence of a cause 
for indignation, loyalty, or its 
substitute, contrived to add a pendant of disorder and excess 
only to be recorded as the dung-heap out of which grew flowers 
of promise. 

As in most of the private houses along the line of route, a 
cold collation had been prepared for the refreshment of the 
friends who crowded Mr. Ashton's open windows. But no 
calculation had been made of the space the unwonted pageant 
would cover, or the time it would occupy in passing ; and Mrs. 
Ashton, having discovered that sight-seeing in the dust and glare 



AUGUSTA AT HER HARP. 



300 THB MANCHESTER MAN. 

of July was parching and fatiguing, issued orders for tea to be 
handed round when the last banner had disappeared, and before 
her less intimate friends should rise to depart. 

In giving these orders, she unwittingly stirred the kitchen fire 
into a white heat. Lavish hospitality was a characteristic of the 
time, and when a family of good position professed to keep 
"open house," it was generally equal to the most extravagant 
demands. As a rule, Mrs. Ashton had little leaning towards 
impromptu parties, and Kezia considerably less, preferring those 
grand and formal receptions which involved elaborate preparation, 
and placed imaginary feathers in the caps of mistress and maids. 

Kezia herself considered the honour of the house involved in 
everything under her control being " in apple-pie order ; " and the 
surprise which put her on her mettle, put her also in a fume. 

Recalled from the window whence her head had been poked 
far as the farthest to provide tea and its concomitants for an 
indefinite number of strangers, she accompanied her erratic 
movements about her domain with explosive outbursts of spleen 
at " bein' takken unawares when nowt's ready to hand." 

" Here's missus bin an' ordered tay fur the whole boilin' of 
folk up-stairs ; an' theer's Cicily and t'other wenches a' agog ower 
th' crownation, an' not worth 'toss of a pancake ! " 

She jerked out her anger in the ears of Bess Hulme, who, 
seated on the settle, had just lulled to sleep Mrs. Walmsley's 
crying baby, which (neglected by its gaping nurse) had 
commemorated the day by a fall from a high bed. 

Bess made a temporary couch for the baby in a snug corner, 
and quietly came to Kezia's assistance; then Ellen Chad wick, 
intuitively perceptive of kitchen troubles, busied herself in bringing 
reserves of china, glass, plate, linen, and sweetmeats from closets 
and store-room ; Cicily and Dolly came down in due time ; and 
the credit of the establishment lost nothing in Kezia's hands, 




HENRY LIVERSEEGE. 
From an Engraving. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 301 

even though there was an additional influx of visitors, and a 
supper also to provide. 

That was Mr. Ashton's affair. He had tired of his processional 
march in the broiling sun by the time they had skirted Ardwick, 
and defiled into Chancery Lane. The two friends by his side, 
Mr. John McConnell and Mr. John Green (both cotton-spinners 
with whom he dealt), being of the same mind, they had fallen 
out of the line in Ancoats Lane, and turned down Canal Street 
to the house of the latter, to refresh themselves with something 
less dry than snuff or road-dust. 

Mr. Green was the uncle of Henry Liverseege the artist, fragile 
of form and spiritual of face, but the latter was then only a 
genius in his nineteenth year with fame and an early grave 
dimly foreshadowed. They found him on the doorstep, with his 
fusssy and fidgety, though kind-hearted aunt, just back from 
Mr. Gore's in Piccadilly, whence they had seen the show. The 
gentlemen's requirement, a "draught of ale," was soon supplied, 
accompanied by a spasmodic comment on the "gand display," 
and the exhibition of a pair of the loyally inscribed fillets she 
had secured as the smallware-weavers passed. 

"By-the-bye, that was a wonderfully effective banner of yours, 
Mr. Ashton," interposed the thin voice of Liverseege. "Who 
painted it?" 

A young fellow in my employ, who occasionally designs 
for us," answered Mr. Ashton, handing his snuff-box to the group 
in rotation " quite a self-taught artist ! " 

" Indeed ! It was not much like an amateur's brush. I should 
like to know him. You see I do something in that way myself." 
The young painter, conscious of his own latent power, was 
sensitively alive to undeveloped art in another. 

" Would you ? Just so ! Then you shall. Come along, all of 
you, and finish the day with us. Mrs. Ashton will find us a 



302 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

dish of tea, and I am sure, Mrs. Green, she will be proud to 
see you also." Turning to the gentlemen, who had by this time 
emptied their talboy glasses, he added, "And I think I have a 
few bottles of rare old port waiting among the cobwebs for us 
to drink the King's health." 

It was a period of much pressing and many excuses, but the 
excitement of the day had so far destroyed ceremony that even 
Mrs. Green, who was somewhat punctillious, after a little nervous 
trepidation anent the fitness of her last new cap for company, 
consented, and accepted the arm Mr. Ashton gallantly offered to 
pilot her across the crowded street, along which the tail of the 
procession had only just trailed. 

Graciously, though with her natural stateliness, Mrs. Ashton 
received the new comers ; Mrs. Green, finding the company 
generally in morning visiting dress, was at ease about her cap ; 
the tea was exhilarating, the viands toothsome, the wines 
excellent ; there was one common topic for discussion ; the ice 
of ceremony had thawed hours before; and genial Mr. Ashton, 
having locked the doors to prevent the escape of a guest before 
the supper he had bespoken was demolished, was thoroughly in 
his element. 

Mrs. Ashton was not quite so much at ease, though she was 
too well-bred to manifest her disquiet, which had two sources. 
In the first place, the presumptious salutation of Augusta by 
Lieutenant Aspinall had jarred a sensitive nerve. In the second, 
Mr. Ashton, generously impulsive, had introduced Mr. Clegg to 
their friends, and as a friend of whom he was himself proud. She 
thoroughly appreciated Jabez, and equally contemplated his 
advancement ; but she was for " making no more haste than good 
speed," and considered it more prudent to raise him by insensible 
degrees. And as she watched her husband, radiant with goodwill, 
cross the room with Jabez (discomposed at the very doorway by 



THB MANCHESTER MAN. 



33 



the wondering eyes of Augusta), and present him to Mr. Green 
and Mr. Liverseege, thus ran her thoughts : 

" Dear me ! William is very inconsiderate ! He will turn the 
young man's head, and insult our visitors at the same time. I 
hope Mrs. Clough will not recognise him. How indignant she 
would be if she thought we expected her to associate with one 
who once wore her son's cast-off clothes ! Certainly he is well- 
conducted, and worthy in all respects, but people don't forget such 
things ! If Mr. Green and Mr. McConnell only knew William was 
introducing our Blue-coat apprentice, what would they say ? I am 
glad, however, to see young Mr. Liverseege so affable with Jabez." 

To her surprise, at this juncture Mr. McConnell drew his chair 
close to Jabez and Mr. Liverseege, and, attributing the evident 
embarassment of the former to the newness of his position, 
endeavoured to dissipate it by taking part in the conversation, 
to which quiet Mr. Green occasionally added a word. The lady, 
who was so afraid of touching the dignity of her friends, had 
not heard her less exclusive lord whisper to the two cotton- 
spinners, " I'm afraid I've committed a grave misdemeanour in 
Mrs. Ashton's sight by bringing young Clegg among our party ; 
but kings are net crowned every day, and I thought it a good 
opportunity to bring a worthy lad out. You and I" and he 
tapped his snuff-box "know what Manchester men are made of, 
and that young fellow has good stuff in him ! He was made 
to rise, sirs." 

Mr. Ashton's friends nodded in acquiescence, and willing to 
humour their kindly host, and perhaps desirous to test the calibre 
of an aspirant so introduced, wittingly or unwittingly did their 
part in helping him to " rise " by the very distinction of their 
prolonged attention. It was an act quite in the way of John 
McConnell, who had already given a lift to his rising young 
countryman, Fairbairn, the engineer. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

Presently Mr. Chadwick, beckoning attentive Ellen to his side, 
and using her shoulder as a support, involuntarily seconded his 
brother-in-law by joining the group, and, putting out his hand 
to Jabez (who rose at his approach, and offered his own seat to 
the paralytic gentleman), said : 

"Wha-at inter-rests yo-you so m-much, M-Mr. Clegg, th-that 
you f-forget old f-friends ? " 

" No, sir, I had not forgotten you, nor Miss Chadwick either " 
(Ellen coloured), "but Mr. Ashton having honoured me with an 
introduction to Mr. Liverseege and these gentlemen" (bowing to 
them), "I was not at liberty to break away, had I felt so 
disposed." 

"We were discussing the influence of art on our local 
manufactures," added Henry Liverseege, and thereupon the subject 
was resumed, Ellen, necessarily in close attendance on her father, 
standing there with sparkling black eyes, an animated and 
attentive listener, well pleased that Mr. Clegg's merits (as seen 
by her) had at length found recognition. 

Meanwhile Augusta, the centre of a group of young people, 
indulged in sentimental chit-chat, and, trifling with her fan and 
human hearts, completed the enslavement of her last admirer, a 
fair-haired Mr. Marsland ; while Jabez, from his distant seat, 
looked and longed in vain. 

Cards were, as a matter of course, proposed for the amusement 
of this extemporised party, and in filling up tables for whist or 
loo, Mrs. Ashton's fears for the sensibility of her friends were 
forgotten. They were utterly put to the rout by a loud 
rat-tat-tat at the street door, followed by the entrance of Mr. 
Clough and the Reverend Joshua Brookes, the latter less vigorous 
than of yore, but in a state of unusual excitement. His loud 
voice was heard before he was seen. " Hogs, sir, hogs ! They 
are no better than hogs, sir!" he was saying even as he came 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 305 

into the drawing-room. He appeared too much ruffled to 
respond composedly to the kindly greetings of his many friends ; 
even Augusta, who put forth her little white hand with her 
most winning smile, attracted no more attention than a hurried 
"How d'ye do, lass? How d'ye do?" 

" What is the matter, Mr. Brookes ? You seem " 

He interrupted Mr. Ashton's inquiry with 

" Matter, sir ? Waste and riot, intemperance and indecency, 
are the matter. These old eyes have seen that which is enough 
to bring a curse upon the coronation and a blight upon the 
town." 

Conversation was arrested, flirtation forgot its part, cards were 
laid down, save by three or four inveterate players, and young 
and old were alike on the qui mve, crowding round the speaker. 

" Permit me," said Mr. Clough, commencing an explanation. 
" I suppose you are all aware that the new market in Shude Hill 
is the chief station of the nine appointed for the distribution of 
meat, bread, and ale to the populace ? " 

" Populace, indeed ! the very scum and dregs of the town 
say rather the lowest, roughest rabble ! " broke in old Joshua. 

"Well, Parson, for the credit of our working population, let us 
hope so," chimed in Mr. Clough, resuming "Whilst Mr. Brookes 
and I were at tea in his sanctum, Tabitha ran in breathless to 
tell us that the platform erected for recipients in front of the 
storehouse had given way, that several persons were injured, and 
one had been killed on the spot." 

" Ah ! " said the Parson, drawing a long breath between his 
teeth, while Jabez, unobserved by either, drew nearer to listen, and 
the ladies put up their hands in horror. 

" It was not our most direct route, but either curiosity or 
compassion took us round by Shude Hill Market on our road 
hither, and never shall I forget the scene we witnessed. Loaves 



306 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

and junks of meat were being pitched high and far amongst the 
crowd from the warehouse doors and windows, as if flung to 
hounds." 

" Hounds, sir ! " burst in impatient Joshua, " don't slander the 
better animal. Only the commonest curs would have yelped, and 
scrambled, and struggled, and fought for their rations, as did the 
human beasts we saw clutching and gripping from weaker women 
and children that which had fallen within their reach, or trampling 
in the mud underfoot the food they were too greedy or too drunk 
to devour. Ay, mud, for the very kennels ran with ale thrown in 
pitchers-full amongst the people, to be caught in hats, and bonnets, 
and hollowed hands, as if it were rain in an African desert. Ale ! 
the atmosphere reeked of ale ! Men, women, and children of all 
ages carried it away, or drank it from all sorts of vessels ; reeled, 
hiccoughed, and staggered under their burden, or sank down by 
the wayside ; whilst others, shouting like maniacs, drained the 
half-empty mugs. I tell you, sirs, Captain Cook never fell in with 
greater savages. Even death and disaster in their midst had not 
awed them ! Ugh ! I say again they are hogs, absolute hogs ! " 

As Joshua paused to take breath, and sank into a chair, Jabez 
modestly put the question to the excitable chaplain 

"Do you not think the distributors are most to blame for this 
wanton waste and excess, to say nothing of the loss of life ? 
Surely the arrangements of the committee must have been 
defective." 

The Parson's harsh tones softened as he put out his hand to 
grasp the speaker's. 

"Ay, Jabez, lad, is that thee? I'm glad to see thee here" 
and he laid emphasis on the word "Ay, the distributors are 
answerable for " 

But the personal recognition had created a diversion. The 
question Jabez had mooted was talked over by separate knots 



TKB MANCHESTER MAN. 307 

of individuals in different quarters of the large room, whilst 
Mr. Clough, to Mrs. Ashton's amazement yes, and gratification 
also shook the salesman warmly by the hand, and congratulated 
him on his apparent success. Moreover, he bore him away to 
Mrs. Clough, at the loo-table, and called her attention to the 
change time had effected in the old tanner's foster-child, in the 
most cordial manner. 

Thanks to Mr. Ashton, Mr. Clegg had truly got his first foot 
into Manchester society that coronation-day, and his old hopes 
might have revived, had not a disturbing element crept into the 
room during the denunciatory oration of his clerical friend. 

John Walmsley, not finding his wife at home when released 
from yeomanry duty, had come in quest of her, bringing two of 
his comrades ; and when Mr. Clegg retired from the loo-table 
with a bow, his eye fell first on the conspicuous figure of 
Captain Travis, in the silver-and-blue glory of uniform, bending 
deferentially to address Miss Chadwick ; and in another moment 
on the elegant Adonis he had dragged from icy death, toying 
with Miss Augusta's carved ivory fan, and whispering low to her, 
whilst she hid her Indian-muslin robe and too eloquent face 
behind the screen of her convenient harp, and drew her flexible 
fingers lightly across the chords. 

The lustre of that evening's introduction was dimmed for Jabez. 
Augusta scarcely looked at him as she brushed past to supper, 
leaning on the arm of Lieutenant Aspinall, her white dress in 
strong contrast to his dark uniform ; and no doubt his pain was 
pictured on his face, for Ellen Chadwick sighed, as she too passed 
him with her martial cavalier, and half turned to look pitifully 
as she went. 

There was no lack of ladies, so Mrs. Ashton paired Mr. Clegg 
off with a chatty damsel of thirty or thereabouts, and he did his 
best to listen and make himself agreeable, but not even the novelty 



308 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

of his situation could keep his thoughts or his eyes from wandering 
where they should not. 

Along the whole course of the procession the Manchester 
Yeomanry had been greeted with more hisses and groans than 
cheers. This had chafed their noble spirits, and on disbanding 
they had sought consolation in the wine-cup, which temperate 
Jabez was not slow to observe, although their degree oi 
exhilaration was not then considered a disqualification for the 
drawing-room or for the society of ladies. 

Mr. Ashton's strong home-brewed supper-ale was not a sedative, 
yet still Augusta smiled on Laurence, in spite of her mother's 
frowns, driving Mr. Marsland to desperation, and Jabez to despair. 

Indeed, he was glad when the repast was over, for then 
Joshua Brookes rose to depart, sober as when he sat down, and 
the Chadwicks also. He had thus an opportunity of escaping 
from his torment, by offering his escort to tottering Mr. Chadwick 
and the Parson in succession, if the latter did not object to the 
slight detour. Jabez foresaw that Mr. Travis was ready to do 
Miss Chadwick suit and service ; but in offering his arm to assist 
the slow feet of the disabled father, he little dreamed how gladly 
the daughter would have made an exchange ; nor, had he been 
wiser, would he have thrust himself in big Ben's way, any more 
than would Mrs. Chadwick, who openly favoured the "personable 
and unimpeachable" captain. 



CHAPTER THE THIRTY-THIRD. 



CLOGS. 



EAVING the Chadwicks at 
their own door, where 
Captain Travis would fain 
have lingered had he been 
encouraged, Jabez and he 
fell back as guards to 
their reverend friend, whose 
excitability might other- 
wise have involved him 
in some unpleasantness, 
so disorderly a riff-raff 
occupied the streets. 

Turning down Church 
Street, they pursued their 
dimly-lighted way along 
Cannon Street (so named from dismounted cannon said to be 
captured from " rebels " which served as corner posts), through 
Hanging Ditch to Hyde's Cross, thence past the deserted Apple 
Market and Dr. Smith's ancient labyrinth of a house, to the 
Parson's less antiquated domicile in the corner by the Grammar 
School and those College gates which had been the portals of 
peace and promise to Jabez, and not only to him, but to 
hundreds besides. 




[AR-SCHOOL MASTER. 



3 io 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 



The excitement of old Joshua had been toned down amongst 
the wax-lights and pleasant faces around the Ashton's well-spread 
supper table, and at first he was disposed to be conversable, 
after his own peculiar manner. They had purposely avoided 
Shudehill Market by an ample circuit ; but stragglers of both 
sexes from the scene of riot lay maundering or asleep in their 
path, or crossed it at every turn, in all stages of inebriation and 
disorder, until the natural irritability of the chaplain (increased 
by failing health) broke forth in loud-voiced indignation, ending 
in a wail that he was "getting old and powerless," or he would 
"rise like another John Knox and denounce the wickedness 
rampant in the land." 

"A good man lives there, Jabez," said he, pointing to the 
black-and-white home of the head-master-, where lighted windows 
told of hospitality awake, "a good man, but for whom I should 
not be alive to tell you ; but there are those in the pulpit, my 
lads, whom the Church ought to spew out, lest they poison the 
flocks it is their duty to feed. Can the stream be pure if the 
fountain be polluted ? And how shall we rebuke the gross 
excesses of the untaught rabble whilst chambering, gluttony, and 
drunkenness defile the high places of the land ? Ugh ! There 
wants another flood to wash Europe sweet and clean. The sin 
on the earth was not greater in the days of Noah !" 

They were crossing the space before the two closed gates 
when he paused for lack of breath, and Travis, with no thought 
but to change the subject, observed to Jabez, over the head of 
the panting Pastor 

" How quiet this little nook of ground is now ! Yet to me, and 
no doubt to you, Mr. Clegg, it is haunted by ghosts of old times!" 

That set Joshua off again. 

" Ugh ! to hear a lad of five-and-twenty talk of old times ! 
What's the world coming to? Ghosts, indeed! It had like to 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 311 

have been haunted by ghosts of something more than old times, 
as Jabez and I know to our cost. I've never been right since 
the young ruffians had me in their clutches ! And mark you, 
my lads, and think of it when you have young ones of your 
own to rear : there's no worse sign for a country or a family 
than when the young jibe and jeer, mock and scorn their 
elders. When grey hairs fail to command respect, virtue, 
principle, and religion are at their lowest ebb." 

He stood within his own gate as he said this, and as 
Tabitha opened the door for her master, he checked all reply 
with 

" There ! you've had a sermon for nothing. Ugh ! you'll forget 
it when the old man's back turns. Good night, lads ! See 
you steer clear of brawls, and give drunken fools a wide berth." 

Leaving the young men so abruptly dimissed to retrace their 
steps towards Hyde's Cross, it may be as well if we throw a 
light on some of Parson Brookes's dark allusions. Time had 
not smoothed the old man's eccentricities, nor modified the 
antagonism between the Grammar School boys and the ex-master. 
They were always at war, and there never was wanting a cams 
belli. The previous September he had been more than usually 
irritated by a lampoon which began 

" O Jotty, you dog, 

Your house we well know 
Is headquarters of prog " 

the purport of which was to fix on him the stigma of inviting 
a friend to dine, and regaling him with a black-pudding only. 

Lashed to fury, he burst into the Grammar School when the 
first and second-form boys were assembled in the afternoon to 
rehearse the speeches which, according to custom, they were to 
deliver in public at the annual commemoration in October. He 
braved them in his hottest style, winding up with, "You are a 



312 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

set of blockheads ! I would not come to hear your speeches if 
you would pay me for it!" 

There was a general cry, " Turn him out ! Turn him out ! " 
But Jotty would not be turned out. He stuck himself in the 
doorway with his legs against the door-post, and his back against 
the door itself, to the extreme risk of broken limbs, whilst his 
young and vigorous opponents brought their strength to bear 
upon the door to force him out. 

With such odds he was sure to be overcome ; but, driven into 
the yard, he fought with his antagonists like a mastiff at bay, 
and they, like the cowards they must have been, to have assailed 
in a body an old man (under any provocation), by sheer force of 
numbers, bore him backwards to the wall, and, but for the 
opportune arrival of Dr. Smith, would have repeated the outrage 
perpetrated on Jabez Clegg eight years before. 

He might well say Dr. Smith had saved his life. Such a fall, 
whether in high or low water, to so old a man, would have 
been certain destruction. They broke his heart, I think, if they 
did not break his limbs, for he never was the same man afterwards. 
Even old Mrs. Clowes used to rally him on his frequent "fits 
of the dumps." 

Whether Jabez and Ben Travis had, or had not, lost sight of 
the Parson's homily, they were linked arm in arm, the rich 
yeomanry officer and the unpretending smallware-salesman, just 
as, nearly nine years previously, the big, raw-boned youth, with 
a heart large enough to match his frame, had linked his arm in 
that of the poor Blue-coat boy, as a friend and protector, when 
as yet his admittance into society was undreamed of. 

Where the four roads met at Hyde's Cross, a staggering Charlie 
(as the watchmen were called, much as, at this day, they are 
Bobbies) passed them, with his horn lantern and staff, and his 
rattle in his belt, proclaiming 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 



313 



"Past ten o'clock!" (hiccup). "And a foin moonleet 
neet ! " 

The two stood for a moment ; then, animated by a desire to 
ascertain if Joshua Brookes had spoken sooth, or, in his spleen 
exaggerated, they turned up Shudehill, all alive with people who 
were ordinarily at that hour in bed, and made their way to 
the market. 

Exaggerate ! Joshua Brookes had seen but in part, and painted 
but in part. Every avenue to the market was a scene of 
debauchery. Hogarth's print of " Gin Lane " was feeble beside 
it. The distribution of food was over, but that of drink 
continued. The oil lamps of the street, the dying illumination 
lamps, and the misty moonlight showed a picture of unimaginable 
grossness ; whilst their ears were assailed with foulness which 
would have shocked a hardened man of the world how much 
more these inexperienced young friends ! 

Children, men, and women, their clothes torn or disarrayed, lay 
singly, or in groups, on the paths, or in the gutters, asleep or 
awake, drunk, sick, helpless, exposed ; there was fighting and 
cursing over the ale yet procurable ; there were loaves in the 
gutters, and meat trampled in the mire ; food which, properly 
distributed, would have gladdened many a poor, hard-working 
family, too self-respecting to join that clamorous mob. 

The two young men turned away sick and disgusted. 

" Henry Hunt, in advocating the disuse of excisable liquors," 
said Jabez, thoughtfully, " may only have designed to cripple the 
Government ; but surely no one could witness scenes like these, 
whether Whig or Tory, without feeling that some restriction on 
drink is absolutely necessary for the safety of the State and 
.the comfort of the people." 

" You are right, Mr. Clegg," responded Travis, heartily. " Men 
of all politics ought to meet on this ground. I shall see how 



314 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

far my little influence goes to check intemperance henceforth. 
Something must be done, and that promptly." 

"Whatever I can do to second you, you may depend on, 
though beyond our own warehouse my opportunities are small," 
said Jabez ; " still, if I can influence one within our walls, that 
one may act on two outside, and so we may prevail in the 
end." 

''Yes," added Travis, "and if this night be not eloquent in its 
protest against drink, all humanity must be equally debased and 
brutalised." 

Some caution had been necessary to cross the Market, so as 
to avoid insult, the captain's bulk and uniform rendering him 
conspicuous, and his corps being in anything but good odour. 
They had kept well within the shade of the pillared piazza 
which extended along the side to their right, and, stunned by 
the uproar of brawling and fighting crowds, picked their way 
between degraded humanity in heaps on the pavement, crushed 
hats and bonnets, torn caps and shawls, boots and shoes which 
had done duty as drinking vessels, sodden meat and bread, and 
had much ado to avoid splashing through puddles of ale and 
other abominations. They had emerged into Oak Street, glad 
to have got tolerably clear of the clamour and brutality, when 
a cry from the direction of Tib Street, " Watch ! Help ! Watch ! " 
fell on their ears in tones which had a strangely familiar ring 
to Jabez. 

Hastening on at a run, they came upon a decently-dressed 
man struggling against three or four drunken ruffians with heavy 
clogs on their feet. They had got the man down, and were 
vociferating with oaths not to be repeated here. 

"Gie him a lick wi' thi clog!" " Punce him well!" "Shut 
up his tater-trap fur him ! " " Purr him i' th' bread-basket ! " 
" Fettle his mug wi' thi clog ! " 



MANCHESTER MAN. 315 

Before Jabez and his companion could prevent it, a heavy 
thud, followed by a groan, told of a brutal kick; the two only 
dashed among them in time to arrest the other clogs, already on 
the backward swing for force ; and saved the prostrate man by 
turning the fury of the savages on themselves. The cowardly 
brutes, however, stood little chance against sobriety and skill, 
backed by the muscular frame of Jabez and the herculean one of 
Travis, even though they carried weapons of offence on their 
feet, and plied them vigorously; and before a droning watchman 
hove in sight to spring his rattle for assistance, they were over- 
mastered or put to the rout. 

Most thankful was Jabez for the impulse which had directed 
their steps that way when, on raising the fallen man, the light 
of an adjacent oil-lamp projecting from the wall fell on his 
blood-stained face, and revealed Tom Hulme, who had been drawn 
into that unusually disorderly neighbourhood by like curiosity 
with their own, and had been set upon without provocation. He 
walked with pain, and they supported his steps to the Infirmary, 
not finding Mr. Huertley, on whom they called, at home. But 
so fertile had that evening been of serious injuries, he was some 
time before he could obtain attention. Thirteen far more urgent 
cases had preceded his. At length his head and cut lip were 
plaistered up, a reviving draught administered, and after some 
examination of bruises, and poking and pressing of his body, three 
of his ribs were pronounced "broken." His defenders were 
disposed to smile at the surgeon when, besides an embrocation 
for bruises, he prescribed " a succession of oatmeal poultices applied 
internally" in other words, a cushion of as much oatmeal porridge 
as the patient could consume, to press the crushed ribs gently 
into position. 

It was, however, not much of a laughing matter to Tom Hulme, 
or to loving Bess, who looked aghast at this deplorable termination 



316 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

of a day's jollity. Nor was there a trace of mirth on the face 
of Jabez when, at parting with Ben Travis on the Mosley Street 
door-step, he gripped, more in pain that pleasure, the big hand 
extended so cordially. 

It was after midnight, but from the open windows of the 
still-lighted drawing-room the thin quick ears of Jabez had caught 
the sound of Augusta's melodious voice blending with that of 
Laurence Aspinall in a popular duet, although the notes of the 
latter were neither so clear nor so steady as they might have been. 
The pallor on her foster-son's face Bess attributed to tender- 
hearted sympathy for her injured husband; but Jabez hurried 
away from her oppressive thanks to the solitude of his own 
chamber, where he could bury his face in his quivering hands, 
and unseen wrestle with emotions of which she had no conception. 

Never had he known a day so chequered. The same sun 
which had looked down at noontide on the triumph of his 
amateur brush, had beamed on Augusta Ashton's conscious cheeks, 
as she accepted his rival's familiar act of gallantry without so 
much as a frown. The evening had made a man of him lifted 
him into a new sphere brought him, so to speak, nearer to his 
divinity, within the radius of her smiles, the music of her voice. 
She had put her small white hand within his, and blessed him 
with a word or two of shy recognition ; but Laurence Aspinall 
had again come like a cloud between him and his sunbeam ; her 
sweetest smiles, her softest tones, were for the intruder; her arm 
had rested willingly on his, her voice had blent with his in 
sentimental song, and darkness once more shut out hope from 
Jabez. 

"Common sense might have taught me that my love was 
folly, presumption, madness!" he argued with himself; that the 
heiress of a wealthy man would not stoop to her father's Blue- 
coat apprentice. But oh ! " he groaned, " I had hoped to raise 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 317 

myself step by step nearer to her level to make myself worthy 
of her as a man, if I had not riches to lay at her feet. She 
is young, and what might I not accomplish with industry ere 

she came of age ? but now " 

He tore his neckcloth off, and cast it from him, stripped off 
coat and vest, and flung them aside, as though they held his 
passionate folly, and he had done with it, then sank into a chair, 
the very impersonation of listless hopelessness. He had gone 
through all this struggle once before, and thought he had overcome 
his weakness ; but at the touch of the enchanter's wand love 
had blazed up afresh, and was not to be smothered. 

His reverie was broken into by the tread of many feet on the 
staircase below, and the murmur of voices calling one to another ; 
the hall-door shut with a clang, and then a light foot came 
tripping up the stair alone, and from heart and lips dropped 
unconsciously the soft refrain of that too well-known duet. She, 
too, was carrying to her chamber memories of the night, and 
bearing the burden lightly. 

He listened until a door closed upon step and song. Then, as 
if its echoes pierced his soul he set his teeth and clenched his 
outstretched hands in mute agony. There was more than hopeless 
love in this there was jealousy also. Then he murmured half 
audibly, "If he were only worthy of her I could bear it better; 
but to see her cast her heart at the feet of one who will trample 
on it, is beyond mortal endurance." 

He started to his feet. A bright thought irradiated his face. 
" Coward that I am ! I am quitting the battle without striking 
a blow. I am myself unworthy of Augusta if I surrender her to 
a heartless profligate without an effort to save her. ' Faint heart 
never won fair lady.' Women have stooped lower, and lowly men 
have looked higher ere now. I am making way, but I must make 
money too, if I would look above me. Father and mother look 



3*8 THB MANCHESTER MAN. 

on me with favour, and why not the daughter? She may learn 
the worthlessness of the fine gentleman in time. Courage, Jabez ! 
Work with a will ; do your duty. Miss no opportunity, and the 
gold and the goddess may both be yours in the end, and 
honestly won." 

He sprang into bed fresher and lighter than he had been all 
day, the prayer of that other Jabez rising from his heart with the 
fervour of old times. 



CHAPTER THE THIRTY-FOURTH. 



BIRDS OF A FEATHER. 

HE "Palace Inn" on the north 
side of Market Street Lane 
was the last relic of that 
cramped thoroughfare to dis- 
appear at the bidding of 
Improvement. Possibly, be- 
cause its many eyes and bald 
dark-red-brick face looked out 
on a space so much beyond 
the twenty-one yards assigned 
by Act of Parliament to the 
regenerated street that the 
Improvement Committee had 
no powers to meddle with it, for surely its historic associations 
were not sufficient to protect it. Prince Charles Edward had been 
hospitably lodged and entertained beneath its roof by its owner, 
Mr. Dickenson, long ere it became an inn ; he had harangued his 
devoted followers from the stone plateau of its double flight of 
steps, with his hand perchance on its smooth rail of unornamented 
iron ; but in isolated dignity rather than palatial pretensions lay 
its chief safeguard. Be that as it may, fourteen or fifteen years 
elapsed between the first act of demolition for widening (at the 
shop of a Mr. Maund), and that last feat of narrowing, which 




PALACE INN. 



320 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

blocked up and darkened history (as represented by the Palace) 
with common stone warehouses for every-day merchandise. Alas ! 
Clio and all her sister muses must succumb when Mammon is on 
the march ! 

But Mammon had only got his first foot in the street on that 
Thursday morning in July, which blushed at the doings of the 
Coronation night, and the "Palace Inn" yet held its head high as 
beseemed its historic state. The open space in front was 
enlivened by the newly-painted London stage-coach, the "Lord 
Nelson," the fresh scarlet coats of coachmen and guards, the 
assembling of passengers and luggage, the shouting and swearing 
of half-awake ostlers and porters, the grumbling of the first- 
comers (shivering in the raw air) at the unpunctuality of the stage, 
the excuses of the booking-clerk, the self-gratulations of the last 
arrival that he was "in time," the dragging of trunks and 
portmanteaus on to the top, the thrusting of bags and boxes 
into the boot, the harnessing of snorting steeds the horsing of 
the vehicle, the scrambling of the "outsiders" to the top by the 
ladder and wheel, the self-satisfied settlement of the " insides " 
in the places they had "booked for," the crushing and thrusting 
of friends with last messages and parting words, the crack of the 
whip, the sound of the bugle, the prancing of horses, the rattle 
of wheels, and the dashing off up Market Street Lane of the 
gallant four-in-hand, amid the hurrahs of excited spectators. 

Every morning witnessed a somewhat similar scene of bustle 
and excitement at five o'clock, when the London coach started, 
but every morning did not see Jabez mounted on the box-seat 
with the coachman. Nor did every morning see the coach an 
hour behind time, or the driver's face quite so red, or the 
spectators so heavy-eyed, or so much handing up of horns and 
glasses to the passengers, to be returned empty, or leave Mr. 
Ashton standing there when the "Lord Nelson" had bowled away. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 321 

That Coronation Day had much to answer for. 

When Tom Hulme should have risen at four o'clock to 
return home, his bruised limbs were so stiff and sore that the 
soldier, who had borne the fatigue of many a campaign, who had 
bivouacked on the battle-field, after a forced march, and being 
ready with the sun for the day's duties, had to confess himself 
" fettled " by Lancashire clogs, and unable to stir. There was no 
alternative but to acquaint Mr. Ashton. The mill could not be 
left without a manager. 

After the night's unwonted dissipation, Mr. Ashton slept 
heavily, and was with difficulty aroused. When once he com- 
prehended the state of affairs, he was on the alert. 

" It's a bad business ! " said he to his wife, as he dressed in 
haste. 

" ' There is nothing so bad, but it might be worse,' " was her 
consolatory reply. " Never bewail a loss till you have done 
your best to repair it. Can you not send Mr. Clegg to Whaley 
Bridge for a few days?" 

" My dear, your counsel is invaluable, but I fear there is not 
time to catch the coach ; it is twenty minutes past four now." 

"It is sure to be late this morning^ and Jabez will catch it 
if it is to be caught," was her quick rejoinder. 

Bess had already awakened Jabez, and he, fully dressed, met 
Mr. Ashton at his bedroom door with " Can I be of any service, 
sir?" A prompt commentary on Mrs. Ashton's declaration. 

A few necessaries hastily crammed into a carpet bag ; a bowl 
of milk and a crust of bread as hastily swallowed ; and Jabez, 
accompanied by Mr. Ashton, was on his way to the Palace 
coach-office confident they were in time, not having heard the 
guard's bugle, or met the coach. There was, however, barely 
time to claim for Mr. Clegg the place already booked for " Mr. 
Hulme" (Mrs. Hulme's seat was forfeited), and for him to take 



322 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

his seat, before they were off in a canter, and Mr. Ashton's 
business mind was relieved. 

As the manufacturer, satisfied that the mill-hands at Whaley 
Bridge would not be left altogether to their own devices, stood 
within a short distance of the high steps looking after the 
vanishing coach, a party of roysterers came swaggering out of the 
inn, hallooing with all their tipsy might. One in advance of the 
rest, observing an elderly gentleman below, pointed him out to 
his companions as fair game, and leaning over the rail to steady 
himself, cried out 

" Halloo, old fogey ; are you a Tory or a Radical ? D me, 

take your hat off before gentlemen!" and, suiting the action to 
the word, extended a riding-whip he carried, and jerked Mr. 
Ashton's hat off into the dust; whereupon his worthy comrades 
set up a loud guffaw in admiration of the feat. 

Naturally Mr. Ashton, his brief reverie disturbed, stooped to 
pick up the fallen beaver, and making due allowance for the 
unwonted occasion, turned to remonstrate good-humouredly with 
an excited stranger who had evidently drunk the king's health 
too frequently. 

It was not with more surprise than annoyance that he recognised 
four of the hilarious party in the doorway and on the steps of 
the inn, which had apparently been open the night through. Not 
one of the four was in a condition to recognise him, although 
two of them, John Walmsley and Laurence Aspinall, had supped 
overnight at his own table, although the third, Kit Townley, had 
good reason for remembrance, and Ned Barret was anything but 
a stranger. 

Loud laughter hailed the fall of the hat. A second attempt to 
" uncover the obstinate old fogey " was made, but dexterously 
avoided by Mr. Ashton, in his absolute astonishment, stepping 
backward beyond range. 




BIRDS OF A FEATHER. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 323 

"Young gentlemen, do you know whom you are insulting?" 

There was another laughing chorus. Aspinall almost toppled 
over the rail as he leaned forward, impotently striking out with 
his whip. 

" I protest the old rad's demnibly li-ke the lovely Augusta's 
snuffy old dad," drawled out he, in a sort of tipsy wisdom. 

"Just so!" appended Walmsley, mimicking the old gentleman's 
peculiarity. 

Mr. Ashton, though a reasonably temperate man himself, was 
not so greatly shocked at these young carousers as we might 
be. Long usage blunts sensibilities. It was a glorious distinction 
to be a three-bottle man ; the inability to drink a solitary bottle 
of wine at a sitting was a sort of disqualification for good 
fellowship ; and it was considered a fine thing for a boy of 
seven to " toss off a glass like a man ; " so the genial old 
gentleman was inclined to allow some latitude for the special 
occasion. But they had touched him on a tender point. The 
light mention of his darling daughter's name roused his blood. 

" John Walmsley," he cried angrily, looking up, " what brings 
you, a married man, with these young rakes at this hour of 
the morning ? " 

" Pray wha-at brought y-you here, old fogey ? " hiccoughed 
Aspinall, answering for the other. 

One of the ostlers Bob, the ex-groom squeezed between the 
rollicking fellows to whisper in the ear of Laurence. He was 
impatiently thrust back with an elbow. 

" Tchut ! don't believe it. Old snuff-an'-tuppeny's fast 'shleep 
in bed shuresh a gun. I know b-better. I say, you " 

But " old snuff-an'-tuppeny " had turned on his heel, too wise 
to enter into contention with a set of inebriated boobies, though 
not proof against the disrespectful epithets of Laurence, or the 
derisive laughter of his boon companions. His irritation half 



324 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

emptied his snuff-box before he got home, so often he tapped 
smartly on its golden lid, and so often his ringer and thumb 
travelled between it and his nose with a touch of ruminant 
displeasure. 

Neither he nor Mrs. Ashton was disposed to overlook the 
fact that Kit Townley and Ned Barret scapegraces by repute 
were of the party, nor that Augusta's name had been familiarly 
used in their midst. 

" ' Birds of a feather flock together,' " said the lady ; " and if 
Mr. Aspinall's son associates with that reckless and dishonest 
Kit Townley, he is a very unfit friend for John Walmsley, and 
still worse for our dear Augusta." 

"Just so; for a dashing blade with a handsome face, who 
sports a uniform, talks poetry, and sings sentimental songs, is just 
the fellow to take a silly girl's fancy, before she is old enough 
to think. I know I regret I ever brought him here? said Mr. 
Ashton seriously, as Augusta came in the room to breakfast, 
entering at the door behind her mother's back. 

"Well, William," observed Mrs. Ashton loftily, her hand on 
the china coffee-pot, "you can imagine my annoyance when John 
and Mr. Laurence walked in arm-in-arm last night, after the 
liberty he had taken in the morning kissing his hand to our 
daughter from the public procession in the face of all our friends, 
as if Augusta had been a flaunting barmaid. I was most 
indignant!" 

Augusta said " Good morning," and took her seat with a 
heightened colour. Such a construction of the gallant officer's 
salute had not occurred to her, and native delicacy took 
alarm. 

Mrs. Ashton continued to pour out her thoughts along with 
the coffee. It was fit Augusta should know her sentiments on 
this head. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 325 

" It would have been a breach of hospitality to resent it 
before our friends, and not good policy either. But I shall put 
a stop to his visits henceforth." 

" Oh ! mamma," exclaimed Augusta dropping her hands at 
this climax, " you cannot mean that ? " 

"Yes, my dear, I do. If Mr. Aspinall has depraved associates, 
he must be depraved himself; and I am sure my daughter" 
she drew herself up proudly "would not choose her friends from 
those of Christopher Townley." 

Augusta's colour suffered no decrease. She paused as she 
was taking her dry toast from the silver rack, and half-hesitatingly 
remonstrated. 

" Of course I should not wish to associate with Mr. Townley's 
friends. But papa may be mistaken. I do not think Mr. 
Aspinall would mix with them. People meet and mingle at 
coach-offices who are strangers." 

"Just so, my dear; but " interposed her father. 

" Why, mamma," the persistent young lady went on, " no more 
perfect gentleman enters our doors than Mr. Laurence Aspinall. 
His manners are most refined. Then he talks enchantingly, and 
sings divinely. And " this she thought conclusive " is he not 
intimate with Charlotte and John ? " 

"Just so," quickly answered Mr. Ashton, glancing across the 
table at his attentive wife, "and all the worse for Charlotte and 
John. I shall have a word with them on the subject. I 
called in Marsden Square on my way home, and found Charlotte 
with red eyes. John had not been home all night." And Mr. 
Ashton battered the top of an egg whilst delivering what he 
regarded as a crushing argument. 

Breakfast and the discussion were unusually prolonged, the 
only impression left on the young lady's romantic, impressible, 
and inexperienced mind being that her parents were unaccountably 



326 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

harsh to her and unjust to Mr. Laurence, in her eyes the 
beau-ideal of a man. Such a figure and such a face could 
only enshrine divinity, And if he was a little wild, so were 
all heroes at his age. 

Let not the inexperienced young girl be over-much condemned 
for this. The opinion generally prevailed in her day ; she had 
heard the sentiment expressed in farces on the stage, in society 
at home and elsewhere ; even her own father's hospitality 
trended in the same direction. 

Mrs. Ashton was a woman of her word. The door in Mosley 
Street was closed against Mr. Laurence Aspinall, and James 
was incorruptible. 

But the teaching of Miss Bohanna's library being that Love 
was far-seeing and parents were blind, it followed that Miss 
Augusta (who would have resented any supposition of wilful 
disobedience or intentional disrespect towards the good father 
and mother she loved so dearly) met the fascinating gentleman 
(always by chance) either at her cousin's in Marsden Square or 
in her walks abroad, and scented billet-doux came and went 
between the leaves of four-volumed romances which Cicily carried 
to and from the library. One of these fell into Mrs. Ashton's 
hands, when, finding her advice contemned, she took measures 
to check this premature and clandestine love-making, as she 
thought, effectually. 



CHAPTER THE THIRTY-FIFTH. 



AT CARR COTTAGE. 

OM HULME was most 
anxious to get back to 
Whaley Bridge and the 
mill, and motherly Bess 
was equally uneasy to re- 
turn to her poor little Sim, 
afraid lest he should tax 
his grandfather's strength 
over-much, or meet with 
some fresh accident. Yet 
more than a week elapsed 
before her husband was fit 
to travel, and in the interim 
Mr. Ashton had himself 
"WHITE HART" SIGN OK EASEL. gone thither to ascertain 

how the new substitute filled the post. 

He was still at Carr Cottage when the "Lord Nelson" stopped 
at the end of the avenue, and Jabez, with fragile Sim mounted 
on his shoulder, trotted down to the gate to welcome Bess and 
her invalid home. They had travelled inside, but John Loudon 
MacAdam had not yet been appointed "Surveyor of Roads," 
and Tom Hulme had suffered severely from the jolting of the 
coach. 




328 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

Bess clasped her child tenderly, and held him up for his 
father's kiss ; but she put him down to waddle on before them 
(he could not run), whilst she and Jabez helped the injured 
corporal to ascend the steep incline. Old Simon, who seemed 
to have got a new lease of life from the invigorating country air 
and occupation, had already breakfasted, and was in the bean- 
field gathering the first ripe pods for a dinner of beans and bacon. 

"Eh, Turn, lad," said he, as he entered the house-place, and 
saw his son-in-law's pale face against the blue-and-white check 
cover of the arm-chair, " whoi, thi feace is as whoite as a clout ! 
Tha'll noan be fit to wark fur one whoile. Thah's nobbut fit fur 
t' sit under th' sycymore tree, an' look at th' fleawers, an' watch 
me put th' garden i' fettle." 

"Just so," said Mr. Ashton, bringing his pleasant face in at 
the door ; " I think Mr. Clegg will have to do duty for you a 
while longer. And don't distress yourself about it, Mr. Hulme, 
for I fancy a little fresh air will do him no harm this hot weather ; 
he has been overworking lately, and does not look too brisk." 

"You are very kind, sir," responded Jabez, "but I trust a few 
days' rest will set Mr. Hulme on his feet again." He said nothing 
of himself. 

But Tom Hulme had received unsuspected internal injuries, 
and many weeks went by before he was stout as before weeks 
pregnant with fate for Jabez ; and not Jabez alone. 

Factory hours were long, but the summer days were longer, 
and he was glad after work was over to ramble away through 
the valley of the Goyt, following the winding of the stream, or 
over the larch-clad hills above Taxal, whence he would return 
with the rising moon, bringing pockets full of the crisp-brown 
fir-cones for Sim to play with. In the pine-woods, alone with 
nature, he could give vent to his emotions, or indulge in meditation 
at his will. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 329 

Mr. Ashton, however, found him other occupation for his spare 
hours. The landlord of the "White Hart," bearing in mind that 
Mr. Clegg had come under his roof first as a travelling artist, 
had expatiated to Mr. Ashton with much pathos on the deplorable 
condition of the inn sign, not without sundry broad hints that 
Mr. Clegg's temporary residence on the spot was a glorious 
opportunity not to be neglected. Mr. Ashton had smiled, said 
"Just so," taking a pinch from the immense snuff-box lying on 
the bar-parlour chimney-piece, then falling back upon his own, 
had gone away, and forgot the dingy sign altogether, until 
another hint from his tenant refreshed his memory. 

As he stood at the inn door waiting for the Manchester coach, 
an upward sly glance of the jolly host's caused him to say to the 
young man by his side, "Do you think you could manage to paint 
a new sign for the 'White Hart,' to oblige Chapman and me?" 

Jabez hesitated, not from unwillingness. 

"I'm afraid, sir, to attempt. It's not in my line, and " 

" Oh ! you can do it well enough. Remember the banner." 

" I've no materials here, sir, else " 

" If that is all, you shall have them in a day or two." 

In a few days an easel, a new sign-board, and colours were sent 
by the Manchester and Buxton carrier, and Jabez set to work, 
to the especial wonder and admiration of little Sim, who delighted 
to stand by his side, and grew rebellious when " bedtime " was 
announced. Jabez was, however, but an untaught artist, and his 
painting hours were few; the couchant hart was rubbed in and 
wiped out over and over again before he was satisfied even with 
the outline ; but then it grew in fair proportion under his brush, 
until he felt there was something in him beyond the region of 
tapes and braces. 

The graceful animal, resplendent in golden collar and chain, 
looked mildly out from the easel in the parlour nearest to the 



33 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

passage (used, when the family was there, as an eating-room), 
and little Sim gravely reported to his elders it only wanted "gass, 
an' tee, an' ky," when the inmates of Carr Cottage were startled 
by the arrival of unexpected visitors. 

It was the second week in August ; the air was heavy with 
the perfume of clove carnations, honeysuckle, mignonette, lavender, 
musk, and mint. Golden sunflower and crimson hollyhock were 
in their glory; bees and wasps hovered over balsams and china 
asters, or hid themselves in the blue Canterbury bells or the 
amber nectary of the stately white lily. Fruits were ripe for the 
gatherer, grain was falling under the sickle. Bess, in a fair white 
muslin cap, a large check apron over her dark chocolate-and-white- 
print gown (her blue bedgown days were over), was moving quietly 
about the house-place, preparing their early breakfast, no longer 
restricted to oatmeal porridge. 

Tom, looking worn, but clean and neat as loving hands could 
make him, leaned back in his soft arm-chair, and watched her 
with well-satisfied eyes. Little Sim was already in the garden 
with his grandfather, helping to gather raspberries and currants 
for preserving. 

The tall oak-cased clock struck seven, and then, true to time, 
the guard's bugle announced the coming of the coach from 
Manchester. Instinctively Bess went to the door, as was her 
wont, when the coach came in. She uttered an exclamation 
of surprise. 

" Eh, Turn ! aw declare t' coach is stoppin' at ar gate. Happen 
theer's a parcel or summat for ar Jabez." 

And off she set past the kitchen window and the farm-yard 
Gothic doorway, and down the avenue, with the light foot of 
a younger woman. Before she reached the avenue gate, the 
stuffy vehicle had yielded up three ladies and two bandboxes, 
and the guard having unlocked the capacious boot (a kind of 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 331 

closet at the back), dragged thence, with much superfluous 
puffing and straining, two hair trunks of moderate dimensions. 
Yes, there stood Mrs. Ashton, grandly calm ; bright-haired 
Augusta, tall, slim, and, it must be added, unamiably silent ; 
and Ellen Chadwick, whose black eyes had an absolute glow 
of expectancy in their depths. Bess put up her hand in 
amazement. 

" Eh, Mrs. Ashton, madam ! Yo' han takken us unawares ! 
An' theer is na a bit o' flesh meat i' th' heause, an' th' butcher's 
cart wunna be reawnd agen till Setterday ! But awn downreet 
glad to see yo' an' th' young ladies (she dropped a respectful 
curtsey) an' a' lookin' so weel. Aw wur afeard yo' wur no' 
comin' this summer." 

" Never mind the butcher's meat, Mrs. Hulme ; having come 
to Carr, we must do as Carr does. I do not doubt we shall 
fare very well," said the stately lady, reassuringly. " I trust we 
shall find your good husband free from pain, and Mr. Clegg and 
your family in health." 

Bess thanked Mrs. Ashton for her kind inquiries, but somehow 
she boggled over the "Mr. Clegg." She was proud enough of 
his advancement, but to her he was still "Jabez," and he did 
not seek to be otherwise. 

There was a difficulty about the luggage, no men being about. 
By this time old Simon was nearly down the hill, little Sim following 
at his heels, his face, hands, and pinafore stained with fruit. 

"I run for Joe," cried crippled Sim, as Bess tried the weight 
of a trunk, and Ellen interposed. Run, indeed ! It was the 
very travestie of a run ! 

"Well, yo' see as heaw o' Moore's folk are eawt i' th' fields 
cuttin' whoats [oats]. Feyther an' me con carry one on 'em 
atween us. They're noan so heavy," said Tom, who had 
followed in the wake of Bess. 



332 THB MANCHESTER MAN. 

Mrs. Ashton would not hear of it. Just then little Sim came 
back with Joe his most particular friend, to whom he was chief 
patron a drivelling idiot, a man in frame, a child in heart and 
brain. He was a pitiable object, the scoff of the rabble, but 
he had sense enough to know his protectors. At the instance 
of the four-year-old child he shouldered the box with a vacant 
chuckle, and Sim, loaded with an oval pasteboard bandbox half 
as big as himself, waddled after him as fast as his deformity 
would permit. 

Before the travellers could reach the top of the avenue Jabez 
Clegg was with them, the other trunk upon his shoulder. He 
had heard at the "White Hart" of their arrival, and had almost 
sacrificed the dignity of his position in his desire to run. 

There were more greetings, accompanied by a cordial shaking 
of hands, and Bess and Simon looked on with pleasure, not 
unmixed with pain, that the foundling they had adopted and 
reared had mounted far above their heads, albeit in rising he 
had drawn them up too. 

He breakfasted not with them in the house-place, but with 
the new-comers in the parlour, and Bess herself waited upon 
them, Meg, her little maid, being off in the harvest field 
gleaning for a bed-ridden mother. 

She heard him conversing freely, if deferentially, with the 
lofty Mrs. Ashton on topics, and in a language her provincial 
tongue could never compass. She saw him turn to answer the 
arch sallies of Miss Ashton, and the quieter observations of 
Miss Chadwick, and noted that the dark eyes of the latter 
kindled when he spoke, and her cheeks had a warmer glow, as 
if they caught their hue from the flushed face of Jabez. 

Breakfast over little Sim had sat on the doorstep to share 
his with Crazy Joe, whilst Ellen and Augusta retired to unpack 
Mrs. Ashton graciously accepted the escort of Mr. Clegg to the 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 333 

mill, and they trod the avenue and the high-road side by side, 
discussing business matters, her dignity losing no whit by the 
companionship. Mrs. Ashton was one of those who could lift up 
without stooping. 

Clouds never lingered on Augusta's face ; she had been 
transported thither, as she said, "with no more ceremony than 
a bale of twist," but she put off her displeasure with her 
travelling bonnet, and danced into the kitchen airily as a sylph, 
to help Bess out of the quandary caused by their advent. 

" I am afraid our arrival has been very inauspicious," Augusta 
said, " but I can assure you I was not consulted, and am not 
to blame." (She had certainly not been consulted blame was 
another matter.) " And now what can I do for you, Mrs. 
Hulme?" 

Augusta tucked up the sleeves of her peach-coloured gingham 
dress, borrowed a linen apron from Bess, who confessed to 
being " rayther a heavy hond at paste," and soon the matron 
was at ease respecting pies, and tarts, and custards. Simon 
Clegg brought in a dish of trout fresh from the stream, the 
larder supplied savoury ham and eggs, the garden furnished 
peas, so Mrs. Ashton was not far wrong. 

It was but a spurt on Augusta's part ; her tender im- 
pressionable heart had melted at Mrs. Hulme's first look of dismay, 
but, the impulse over, there was no more tucking up of sleeves 
or handling of paste pins. Fortunately for their digestion, Ellen 
Chadwick had no less skill, since, quiet as she was, she seemed 
to lack an outlet for superabundant energy, and, obtrusively 
restless, helped Bess she hardly knew how, or how much. 

Augusta wandered about cottage and garden, or sat for hours 
under the shade of the great sycamore tree, singing low-voiced 
plaintive ditties ; feeling herself the most ill-used and wretched 
being in existence, separated from her adorable lover ; and the 



334 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

more she brooded, the more discontented and melancholy she 
became. It was all very real and very much to be deplored. 
No knife cuts so keenly at the heart-strings as the sharp edge 
of a first love turned in upon itself; and Augusta was as much 
in love as ever was maiden of seventeen. 

Mrs. Ashton went daily to the mill, but a casual remark of 
Mrs. Hulme's on " Miss Ashton's mopin' an' malancholy " aroused 
the attention of the energetic mother, and she did her best to 
counteract morbid fancies with long sharp walks in the early 
morning (extending, on one occasion, as far as Shawcross Hall, 
where she astonished her relatives by an informal visit), and a 
repetition of the dose in the evening, when Mr. Clegg made 
one of the party, thus unconsciously adding fuel to the fires 
which, unknown to her, consumed alike her niece and her 
warehouseman. 

At the end of ten days, Mrs. Ashton returned to Manchester, 
leaving the girls behind. She had extorted a promise from 
Augusta that she would not write to Mr. Laurence Aspinall, and 
relied on that promise being faithfully kept Moreover, after 
some debate with herself, as they walked from the mill together 
on the last afternoon of her stay, she committed her daughter 
and niece to Jabez Clegg's care. 

" You are a very young man for so important a charge," she 
said, " but you are steady as old Time, and of your integrity 
and fidelity we have had many proofs. Miss Ashton's health 
demands a prolonged stay on this breezy hill-side, but I fear 
she feels it dull after Manchester. If you will endeavour to 
amuse her when you see her drooping, I shall consider myself 
your debtor, sir ; and should anything unusual attract your notice, 
I depend on your calling our attention to it." 

" I feel honoured by the trust you repose in me, madam," 
replied he, a grave consciousne5S of his own danger stirring at 



THE MANCHESTEP MAN. 335 

his heart ; " you may depend on my watchfulness over Miss 
Ashton and her cousin." 

But of any danger to Miss Ashton beyond that arising from 
a sensitively delicate frame, which might need the sudden 
summons of Dr. Hull to allay the fears of parents anxious for 
their only child, he had no suspicion or perception. He had no 
more clue to Mrs. Ashton's hidden meaning than she to his 
secret emotions. It had been wiser to have been more explicit. 
Without that charge he might have made it a point of honour, 
if not of duty, to hold aloof from the young ladies, lest he 
should be obtrusive ; as it was, the more he pondered, the more 
he became satisfied that it was only a delicate way of giving 
sanction to a companionship he might otherwise have regarded 
as presumptuous. 

Accordingly, he constituted himself their cavalier after business 
hours, fulfilling to the letter his instructions to endeavour to amuse 
Augusta whenever he found her drooping, well rewarded if he 
could win back a smile or a peal of the rippling laughter he had 
heard so oft in her school-girl days. His attentions to Miss 
Chadwick were tinctured with the profoundest respect, but there 
was no effort to entertain or be agreeable ; on the contrary, it 
was Miss Chadwick who kept the light shafts of her cousin's 
wit within bounds when they were likely to wound as they did 
sometimes. 

The "White Hart," to Sim's disquiet, would have suffered long 
from dearth of herbage, had not thunderous clouds emptied their 
reservoirs amongst the hills, until brooks became rivers, and roads 
almost impassable. Then Jabez resumed his brush, Sim clapped 
his thin little hands with delight, whilst the sedate young lady of 
twenty-four, and the bewitching damsel of sweet seventeen, varied 
the monotony of piano, book, or embroidery-frame, with an occa- 
sional criticism of his work, 



336 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

It was a time fraught with intoxicating delight, but ol terrible 
temptation to Jabez. The frequent fits of languor which bowed 
Augusta down like a drooping lily, made her only more dangerously 
dear to him, and it needed all his strength to remember that she 
was his master's daughter, and confided to his care. If he now 
thought of Laurence Aspinall and his fascination, it was only as 
a butterfly beau, for whom no sensible maiden could entertain a 
permanent liking. Not even when, turning back one forenoon 
for something in the closet which he had forgotten, he found her 
in tears on the low ledge of the open window at the foot of 
the staircase. 

"Good heavens! Miss Ashton, what is the matter? Are you 
ill ? Is anything troubling you ? " 

"Nothing," sobbed she, the clear drops falling faster. 

"Nothing! oh, Miss Ashton, this cannot be for nothing," and 
he sat down on the window-ledge beside her, not daring so much 
as to touch her hand, his own were in such a quiver. 

" Miss Ashton Augusta you told me your troubles when you 
were a school-girl, am I less worthy your confidence now ? Can 
I do anything to serve you ? I would lay my life down to save 
you from pain ; " and the earnest tenderness of his voice spoke 
volumes. 

She had subdued her emotion. Gathering herself up with a 
reflex of her mother's stateliness, she said haughtily, " It is nothing, 
sir, I am better," and swept past him up the staircase, leaving him to 
set his teeth and turn away with clenched hands, alike exasperated 
at his own loss of self-command and grieved for her grief. 

On the narrow landing which ran parallel with the staircase 
like a balcony, Augusta found her cousin Ellen, with one hand 
on her side, leaning against the chamber door-post, as if for 
support, with closed eyes and pale lips. She had been "over- 
come by the heat" so she said. 



CHAPTER THE THIRTY-SIXTH. 

THE LOVERS' WALK. 

TABEZ held a responsible post, and had no more leisure 
than other business men for emotional indulgence. He 
hurried out of the cottage, and down the avenue, shutting 
up his bitter feelings within the door of his heart as he 
went. But the process closed his eyes and ears to external 
sounds, and the old postman, with his long tin horn, which had 
been echoing through the straggling village a full quarter of an 
hour, passed him in the avenue and said, " Good day," without so 
much as arresting his attention. 

At the mill he found letters waiting one, which had been 
post-paid as a double letter, conspicuous amongst the wafered 
business communications, not only because of its thick, gilt-edged 
paper, and crimson disk of crested wax, but from its curious folding, 
as if to baffle prying eyes. 

It was signed " Ben Travis," and was so long, it went into a 
pantaloon pocket, to be read when his multifarious duties allowed 
him more leisure. 

When the hands were dismissed at noon, and the one clerk 
had left the counting-house, he took out the voluminous epistle, 
which was dated September loth, and certainly found therein 
matter of interest. Amongst a few preliminary items of news, he 
learned that the excesses of the Coronation night had created 
so much disgust in the minds of thinking men that many of 



338 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

those who had denounced Henry Hunt's advocacy of abstinence 
and at the public expense had formerly disseminated printed 
laudations of good brown ale, the " old English beverage," as " a 
cheering and strengthening drink," no longer branded the water- 
drinkers as " enemies to the corporeal constitution of Englishmen," 
but had given their countenance to social gatherings whence 
intoxicating liquors were excluded. Travis himself was doing what 
he could to promote these temperate meetings, and looked for the 
earnest co-operation of Mr. Clegg on his return to Manchester. (And 
reformers saw in advance how universal would become the 
temperance movement of which this was the unpretending 
precursor. 

The letter went on to say 

"Miss Chadwick and her fair cousin were spirited aivay 
mysteriously. At first I blamed myself as the unhappy cause. I 
have since discovered my mistake, through a quarrel betiueen Mr. 
Walmsley and Mr. Laurence Aspinall, when both were slaves to 
Bacchus "/# vino veritas /" I suppose, you know that Mr. Aspinall 
the elder is a martyr to the gout, and has been driven by his enemy 
to the Buxton baths. The cause, I have heard, was a gentlemanly 
debauch in a fit of passion or wounded pride. His son joins him to- 
day. I scarcely think he will call on your young ladies after what 
has occurred!' 

"What has occurred?" repeated Jabez, "what can he mean 
by that ? I wish correspondents would be more explicit ! " 

He pondered over this sentence, but could make nothing of 
it, and after reading a little way, came to the real object of 
the letter, prefaced as it was with much circumlocution. 

"// may seem strange that a great, big, burly fellow like myself 
should be such a booby as to seek the intervention of a third person 
in an affair of the heart. Yet, if I have any insight into your 
nature, 1 think I may confide in you, and defend on your good 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 339 

offices. After so many months' 1 dangling, and craven hesitation, I 
summoned up courage to make my pretensions known to Miss 
Chadwick. I know I did it clumsily and ungracefully ; the very 
strength of my passion fettered my tongue. I shall never forget the 
pitiful look of the sweet girl as she burst into tears, assiired me of 
her esteem, but declined my suit. Her tears unnerved me, and I had 
not power to plead my oivn cause. Do not despise me, Clegg ; neither 
Samson nor Hercules was any stronger. I cannot resign myself to 
that verdict. I would throw myself again at Ellen's feet, and 
beseech her pity, but that I dread its repetition. Can I count on 
your good offices to move her in my behalf? I knoiv the value 
Miss Chadwick sets on your opinion, and how highly she esteems you, 
or I should not think of asking this. The trust I repose in you is 
the best proof I can give of friendship. Do not hesitate to tell 
me the ivorst. I hope I am brave enough to bear my fate when I 
know it. Mrs. Chadwick does not believe her daughters decision final." 

This was a disquieting letter. Mr. Travis had been his firm, 
true friend, in spite of difference in position and fortune. He 
had overlooked that difference from the first, but would Miss 
Chadwick, his employer's niece, overlook it, if he stepped beyond 
privileged bounds? From the depths of his own conscious heart 
he felt grieved for his friend, but how to approach so delicate 
a subject to serve him was perplexing. He never thought of 
shirking the trust. 

It was late when he got home to dinner. Ellen and Bess 
were both on the look-out for him. He quickened his pace, 
fearing some evil to his beloved Augusta, whom he had last 
seen in tears. 

" What an anomaly is woman ! " he thought, as he found 
her fingers rattling over the keys of her piano in accompaniment 
to the merriest ditty he had heard from her lips since she was 
a child, 



340 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

There was a strange sparkle in her eyes, a vivacity in her 
manner so opposed to her sadness that he asked himself if he 
had been dreaming before, or was dreaming then. She blushed 
over her willow-pattern plate as she took her seat, but, after 
that first token of susceptibility, chatted with a volubility unusual 
to her, and curiously in contradistinction to the silence and reserve 
of Ellen Chadwick. In the morning he had debated whether 
that secret trouble came within the category of " unusual " things 
Mrs. Ashton required to be informed of, and, behold ! it was 
gone! 

She rallied both Jabez and Ellen on their gravity, and at 
length, as if on a sudden inspiration, asked, playing with her 
green-handled, two-pronged fork 

" Shall you be very busy at the mill this afternoon, Mr. 
Clegg?" 

It was an unusual question. He answered 

"Rather. Some bales of twist have come in from Messrs. 
Evans, of Darley-Abbey Mills. I must see them unpacked, and 
compare the twist with samples. But your motive for asking ? " 

" Oh, if you are busy Well, perhaps after tea will be better ; 

it will be cooler. I wish you would just take Ellen a good long 
walk ; I found her fainting with the heat this morning." 

Ellen coloured vividly. 

"Augusta!" she remonstrated. 

" And yourself, Miss Ashton ? " questioned he. 

"Oh, I have a heap of clear-starching to do. My frills and 
laces are in a woeful plight. I shall be clap, clap, clap, all the 
afternoon, and this sultry weather prohibits ironing until there 
is a cool evening breeze to fan me through the window. Without 
it I should be as likely to faint as Ellen." 

Miss Chadwick made light of her faintness, and objected, if 
not too strenuously, to be so disposed of; but Augusta, in her 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 341 

old wilful way, insisted, and Jabez, with his friend's letter on 
his mind, was not likely to throw opposition in the way. So, 
notwithstanding his recent rebuff, he was once more " Miss 
Ashton's humble servant to command." 

After an early tea, which was but a fiction to all three, 
Augusta was left behind, busy with her box-iron and her lady- 
like laundry of lace and muslin in the house-place, whilst Ellen 
Chadwick and Jabez went rambling with the winding waters of 
the translucent Goyt, under umbrageous trees on pleasant 
mountain slopes, where foxgloves nodded and horsetail grasses 
bent before them, and only an occasional reaper or gleaner 
crossed their path. 

Had these two been incipient lovers, no more embarrassing 
silence could have fallen upon them. If Jabez, her junior by 
two years, had had a tussle to keep his love within bounds, 
there had at least been a glimmer of hope in the distance, and 
the struggle was upwards. Ellen had been trained from her 
childhood to keep her naturally strong feelings under control, 
but there was a war in her breast between maidenly shame 
and unsought, hopeless love, and the two hacked at each other 
and at her heart in the rayless dark, and the struggle was 
downwards. 

Here she was, for the first time, alone with the man she 
loved with all the strength of a strong heart, with the newly- 
gained knowledge that he " would die to save her cousin pain ;" 
and he, conscious of a sacred and delicate mission, all unaware 
of her secret love for himself, was perplexed how best to 
approach the subject and take advantage of the opportunity 
so afforded him. At length 

"I had a letter from my friend Captain Travis to-day," he 
began. 

With little perceptible emotion, she replied 






342 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

" Indeed ! I hope he was in good health. You are honoured 
in your friendship, sir. Mr. Travis is a noble gentleman, and I 
esteem him highly." 

This paved the way for him to expatiate on Ben Travis's many 
good qualities. He told the story of the big, raw-boned youth's 
first patronage of himself, and found an attentive listener as he 
traced the growth of their friendship upwards, and related 
favourable anecdotes which have no place in this history. But 
no sooner did he begin to plead his friend's cause with all the 
warmth of young friendship, than her manner entirely changed. 
Her colour came and went ; she panted as if for breath, and, 
gasping out, " Oh h ! Mr. Clegg, for mercy's sake, don't don't !" 
was seized with a sudden faintness for the second time that 
day. 

A lichen-covered old tree trunk, shattered and uptorn in the 
late thunderstorms, was at hand ; he seated her upon it, 
bringing water to revive her from a runnel near; but any 
attempt to renew the subject only seemed to give her exquisite 
pain, and he desisted on her telling him, in a suffocating 
voice 

" Honour forbids that I should listen to Mr. Travis ; I I 
love another." 

Something in her tone or manner told him that her love 
was as hopeless as his own for Augusta, and nothing could be 
more respectful and gentle than his bearing towards her on their 
homeward way, thus adding fuel to the fire which consumed 
her. 

The evening shadows were fast closing in when they reached 
the cottage, and she, with a simple inclination of the head, left 
Jabez on the threshold, and, passing through the parlours, carried 
her overmastering emotions upwards to her room, to be grappled 
with in the silence of the night. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 343 

"Wheere's Miss Ashton?" asked Bess. " Hoo said it wur 
too hot to bide i' th 1 heawse, and hoo put her irons deawn, an' 
after tittivatin' herseP oop a bit, went eawt a-seekin' yo'." 

In some surprise, not unmixed with alarm, for the hour was 
late as times and country went and the harvest brought rough 
strangers into the neighbourhood, Jabez set off at full speed 
down the avenue, and ere he had reached the first brook, saw 
her lithe figure advancing buoyantly, and, if his eyes and the 
gathering mist did not deceive him, a second figure parted from 
her at the gate. 

She was the first to speak. "Whichever way did you people 
ramble off?" 

" Oh ! down by the Goyt, Taxal way, Miss Ashton," answered 
Jabez. 

" Ah ! and I went up the Buxton Road ; we were certain 
to miss." 

" I thought I saw you part from some one at the gate ? Could 
I be mistaken?" half-questioned her interlocutor. 

"Oh, Crazy Joe! that was all!" and he took her reply in all 
sincerity, not believing Augusta Ashton capable of untruth. 

A day or two went by, during which Jabez wrote to tell Ben 
Travis he " must arm himself with fortitude " that " the world 
was full of disappointments" that "Miss Chadwick loved 
elsewhere" but there was "something more for men to do than 
die of disappointments or blighted love." 

And yet another day or two, during which Augusta's moods 
were as variable as the gusty shadows of the sycamore, changing 
from wild exuberance which rallied Ellen on her depression, 
and condescended to play or dance for Sim, to a moping, moody 
melancholy, enlivened by frequent showers. She was given to 
snatch up her hat and " run out into the garden for a breath of 
fresh air," but she generally came in panting, as if the "run" had 



344 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

been literal ; and sometimes she would be found in the house 
when supposed out of it, and vice versa. 

The "White Hart" had not yet walked away, although Jabez 
considered it complete. It waited Mr. Ashton's coming and his 
verdict, and stood on the easel in the dining-room. 

The morning post had brought a message to Simon Clegg 
concerning fruit and vegetables for the Manchester home, and 
having sought him in the kitchen-garden to deliver it, Jabez 
entered the house at dinner-time by the lower staircase window 
(frequently used for entrance and exit). His passage through the 
best parlour was arrested by voices in the room beyond, one of 
which he knew too well. It was that of Laurence Aspinall. His 
painting was evidently under free criticism, and had been for 
some time. There was some jesting at the sign-painter. 

"You see, Miss Ashton, what a few touches can effect!" 

The speaker had apparently made free with Clegg's colours 
and brushes, and there was a murmured sound of assent from 
Miss Ashton. 

"Well, Barret, Nee scire fas est omnia ; Ne sutor idtra crepidam. 
What say you?" 

" Yes ; let the cobbler stick to his last. If this Clegg would 
be an artist, let him stick to his brush; if a tradesman, let him 
stick to his trade. If a man means to succeed, he must never 
Sirt with either art or trade. It's just as bad as wooing two 
women at once." 

Jabez heard no more. The blow which had been aimed at 
his art-pretensions drove him back by the way he came, and he 
paced the long terrace parallel with the "Lovers' Walk" for fully 
half-an-hour. When he turned the corner of the cottage, and 
went in at the front door, the critics were gone, but Aspinall's 
"few touches" remained. They had indeed given life to the "White 
Hart.'* Henceforth the "cobbler" resolved to "stick to his last." 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 345 

Ellen Chadwick had been away, with little Sim by the hand, 
to take some substantial comforts to Meg's bedridden mother. 
She appeared annoyed when she heard of their masculine visitors 
from Buxton. Her evident displeasure set Jabez wondering what 
Travis meant by " after what has occurred," and he wrote that 
afternoon for enlightenment, sending his letter as a packet by 
coach, there being no second post. 

It has been said that the cellarage of the cottage was only 
accessible by flights of steps in the portion of the weed-grown 
" Lovers' Walk " which lay at the windowless back of the long 
low building, where nettles grew so thick and rank that even the 
square unused trap over one set of steps was half hidden by 
them. The path was rarely used, the farmer having made a 
nearer cut from the farmyard to his ancient dwelling. 

Tom Hulme was slowly recovering, under the care of a Buxton 
doctor who came thrice a week. He could walk about the garden 
with a stick, but there was no sending him to the dark cellar for 
anything. The doctor had ordered him port wine, and Bess, who 
kept the key, had asked Mr. Clegg to fetch a couple of bottles 
from the cellar. 

Tea was over, but he fancied there was sufficient light to guide 
him without a lantern. He had got the wine, and was approaching 
the cellar door at the foot of the sunken steps when he heard the 
sound of voices coming along the walk from the direction of 
the moor. 

Every pulse in his body seemed to grow still as he recognised 
the tones of Augusta Ashton and Laurence Aspinall, and 
heard with deepening anguish the unmistakable sound of kisses 
interchanged. They had apparently paused close to the stair- 
head for that embrace ; and then he heard and thanked God 
that he was there to hear, though that hearing blighted every 
hope he had his rival, with every argument which passionate 



346 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

love or skilful sophistry could employ, persuade her to elope with 
him the following night. 

Backwards and forwards they walked in the gathering dusk, 
but never beyond the length of the premises ; and now and then 
they stopped, and drove him mad with their caresses. The place 
was so retired and lonely, precaution was neglected ; and Jabez, 
chained to the spot as it were, gathered that proposals for her 
hand, made by Laurence himself, had been peremptorily rejected 
by Mr. Ashton, who was set down as a despot and a tyrant for 
refusing to surrender a silly girl of seventeen to a rake of two-and- 
twenty. He heard her tell that Jabez Clegg had found her sobbing 
at the separation, even whilst her darling's letter was at the gate. 
And he heard it said that the elder Aspinall not only 
countenanced this secret courtship, but had furnished funds for 
the proposed elopement. This generosity was set against the 
cruelty of her own parents ; her affection, her pride, the romance 
in her nature were appealed to, but still Augusta's better angel 
held her safe, until, coward that he was, Laurence terrified her 
with a threat to "blow his brains out" if she refused him. 

She wept her assent upon his breast, and then Jabez, already 
half-stunned, heard the details of evidently previously concocted 
arrangements for their elopement and marriage at Gretna Green, 
professedly with his father's sanction. 



CHAPTER THE THIRTY-SEVENTH. 



A RIDE ON A RAINY NIGHT. 

A B E Z, bottles in hand, his 
mind a chaos, had walked 
in at the wash - kitchen 
door precisely as Augusta, 
^ stealthily creeping through 
^ a gap in the privet hedge, 
made her way to the con- 
venient staircase window, 
shivering more from fright 
than from the chill drizzling 
rain which had begun to 
fall. Putting her head in 
at the parlour-door, where 
Ellen was sewing, with a 
brief " I'm off to bed," she hurried upstairs in the dusk to lave 
her flushed face, smooth her disordered hair, crush it under a 
nightcap, and place her head on a pillow, to still her heart's 
flutterings under the screening counterpane, and hide her emotions 
from her cousin under the semblance of sleep, though sleep was 
an absolute impossibility, 

In 1821 the village of Gretna Green, on the Scottish border, 
was the general resort of runaway lovers, who, being in their 
minority, could not be married legally in England without 




A MIDNIGHT ALARM, 



348 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

parental consent, whereas in Caledonia a mere promise to marry 
made in the presence of witnesses was held binding. At Gretna 
a man not in holy orders, but metaphorically called "the 
blacksmith," because he riveted the chains of matrimony, lived in 
the first house beyond the bridge which spanned the river Sark, 
and, with a ceremonial as unseemly as it was brief, married all 
comers, often with pursuers at his very doors ; and the marriages 
so contracted were not to be set aside. For more than half a 
century Gretna Green weddings had figured largely in the 
literature of the stage and of the circulating library ; and there 
is no doubt that the halo of romance thrown around an elope- 
ment to Gretna blinded to the impropriety of the prenuptial 
flight many a foolish or headstrong girl whom the actual ceremony 
shocked and startled. 

Augusta Ashton, with all her sentimental romance, all her 
petulant wilfulness, all her resentment at being exiled from home 
and her Adonis, yet loved her parents well, although her reverence 
and filial obedience had been gradually undermined by the 
plausible sophistry and impassioned eloquence of her ardent 
lover. But if she loved them much, she unfortunately, loved 
Laurence more. He was, to do him justice, terribly in earnest ; 
and in the inexperience of her seventeen years she could not be 
expected to sift and analyse that passionate earnestness for its 
many components. With her all was love, and love was all. 

His proposition had, nevertheless, come upon her with a shock. 
She was not prepared to ignore the prudent teaching of her 
mother, or to brave the indignation of her indulgent father, or 
to forfeit her own self-respect, and nothing could have moved 
her to consent but that appalling threat of suicide, and he knew 
her tender heart well when he made it? 

But neither that threat nor her promise could reconcile her to 
the rash step, and she lay in bed shuddering with her own fears, 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 349 

and, strangely enough, her first thought was "What would Jabez 
say if he knew it ? " Not her father, not her mother, but the 
Jabez whom she had rebuffed only a week before, yet of whose 
opinion she somehow slood more in awe than of all else 
besides. 

What did Jabez think, seeing that he did know ? Think ? 
He scarcely could think. Feeling seemed to overpower thought, 
reason, perception. When after a stagnant time he emerged from 
the stairhead, it was more as a culprit than Jabez Clegg. He 
put down the bottles and escaped again into the open air, cowed 
alike by the knowledge which had overpowered him, and by a 
sense oi dishonour at having played the unworthy part of a 
listener, albeit the listening had been involuntary, seeing that the 
shock of his discovery had stunned him like a blow from a 
sledge-hammer, crushing his own long-cherished hopes to death. 
His next thought was of intense thankfulness that by any means 
the schemes of Aspinall had been bared to him, and in time to 
attempt the rescue of his idolised Augusta from the clutches of 
a villain. 

Unacquainted with the events which had preceded Augusta's 
removal to Carr unaware that the Mosley Street doors had been 
closed against Laurence, or that a formal proposal for the young 
lady's hand had been made by the elder Aspinall on behalf of 
his son, and peremptorily declined by the Ashtons ; ignorant 
that imperious Mr. Aspinall, in his gouty wrath, had sworn 
" upon his honour " that his son should " marry the girl in spite 
of the paltry beggars'-inkle-weaver," and having no faith in the 
man himself, Jabez regarded the use of the father's name only 
as a proof of his greater perfidy, and gave him no credit even 
for an honourable intention or an honest emotion. The time was 
past for Clegg to find excuses for the wrong-doing of his 
adversary 



350 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

Now, with every nerve unstrung, he was required to act, and 
that promptly. To-morrow would be too late. What if he should 
take Miss Chadwick into his confidence? But no, he could not 
lower Augusta in the eyes even of her own cousin ; and neither 
she nor anyone there had authority to detain Miss Ashton 
against her will even if her foot were on the step of the post- 
chaise. It was imperative that he should reach Manchester 
immediately, yet how to do so without exciting alarm perplexed 
him. There was a horse in the stable at the mill, but as he 
had a bed in Simon's room, and could neither leave it nor return 
to it in the night without passing through the Hulmes' sleeping 
apartment, there was a difficulty in quitting the house un- 
known. 

"I must be at the mill before daybreak to-morrow, having 
something of importance to attend to, so I will sleep on the 
squab in the house-place, Mrs. Hulme. If I am not in for 
breakfast, do not wait for me," said he ; and no one questioned 
him, although Mrs. Hulme and her husband were of joint opinion 
that "Jabez looked terribly put eawt," and wondered what business 
he could have on hand of so much consequence. 

No one thought of locking country cottage doors. By nine 
o'clock all the inmates were in bed and asleep. Before ten 
Jabez, sad at heart, had quietly left the cottage for the mill, 
had saddled Peveril, and, though no great horseman, was speeding 
past the "White Hart" along the highway to Manchester, fast 
as the steady-going roadster would travel. The wind had risen, 
and the rain came down persistently ; but, heedless of discomfort 
or danger, with the one thought paramount in his mind the 
preservation of his master's daughter he set his teeth and rode 
on with feverish impatience, which at length communicated itself 
to Peveril, and quickened the beat of the sensible animal's hoof; 
impatience which would have sent him flying over the toll-gates, 



THE MANCHESTER MAN, 351 

had either he or his steed been equal to the exploit, and which 
could barely brook the delay of drowsy tollkeepers. 

Nevertheless as he turned from Piccadilly into Mosley Street, 
the muffled-up old watchman, catching the echoes of the 
Infirmary clock, bawled out, to mark his own vigilance, "Just 
one o'clock, an' a dark, rainy neet!" and the Ashton household 
had closed its eyelids and its account with the day at least a 
couple of hours. 

It is never pleasant to be the bearer of ill-tidings, so no 
wonder Jabez hesitated with the lion-headed knocker in his hand 
ere he sent its reverberations growling through the silent house. 
His hesitation must have influenced the knocker, for the lion had 
to roar again, and louder, before he heard the window above 
unclose, and saw Mr. Ashton's night-capped head thrust out, to 
ask, in alarm, "Who's there? What's the matter?" 

Jabez stepped back to the kerbstone to let the dull rays of 
an oil lamp fall upon his face. 

" It is I, Jabez Clegg, sir ; I have a matter of importance to 
communicate." 

" Good heavens, Clegg, you ! Surely the mill's not been 
burned down?" 

" No, sir, all's right at the factory. There's no harm done 
anywhere at present. If you will please to come down, I hope 
there may be time to prevent that which is threatened." 

" Just so ; I'll be down directly." 

There were no lucifer matches with which to procure 
instantaneous light, but during this brief colloquy Mrs. Ashton 
had been groping on the tall chimney-piece for their precusors, 
the Prometheans, and having found them, by dipping a -small 
chemically prepared match into a tiny bottle of fluid, she 
obtained a light as soon as the window was closed and the 
draught shut out, 



352 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

Too uneasy to waste much time in dressing, before many 
minutes had flown Mr. and Mrs. Ashton, whose fears had 
equally pointed to their daughter the one in a roquelaire, and 
the other in her warehouse overall were both listening with 
agitated and anxious faces to Mr. Clegg's communication, made 
with a discomposure great as their own. 

" Elope !" both parents exclaimed, simultaneously. 

"Elope!" reiterated the mother. "Our daughter consent to 
elope, and with a reprobate like him ? It is not possible ! " 

" So I should have said, madam, yesterday," rejoined Jabcz, 
sadly, as he sank on a chair, overpowered more by the strain on 
his feelings than by the fatigue of his long, wet, midnight ride, 
" and I would have given the world to have been able to doubt 
the evidence of my own ears." 

Mrs. Ashton, with clasped hands up, sat opposite to Jabez ; 
Mr. Ashton, lacking the consolation and inspiration of his snuff- 
box, walked about the room with one hand to his head in a 
state of distressing perturbation. He stopped in his walk to 
ask, "What's to be done?" as Jabez made this declaration, 
unconscious of its force. 

The light of the chamber candle fell upon the haggard face 
and drenched garments of the young man. The elder one 
looked full at him, paused, then drawing near and laying his 
right hand heavily on the other's wet shoulder, asked in a 
troubled voice, with an inquisitorial, but not unkind manner 

"My lad, did no other motive than duty to your employers 
bring you eighteen miles through the rain this dark night to 
save Miss Ashton from an imprudent marriage?" 

Jabez had not stopped to analyse his own motives. Thus 
questioned, it was not without embarrassment that he answered, 
"Mrs. Ashton desired me, sir, to watch over Miss Ashton, and 
acquaint you with any matter affecting her welfare. But apart 



THB MANCHESTER MAN. 353 

from that, sir, I could not see Miss Ashton in the toils of a 
libertine without an attempt to rescue her. I should have been 
a dastard to sit passive, and even now I feel we are losing 
time." 

"Just so, just so," assented Mr. Ashton. "That reminds me, 
Peveril is in the street, and you are soaked to the skin. My 
dear" turning to his wife "will you arouse the servants, and 
see that neither horse nor rider suffers in our service more than 
we can help ?" 

Having thus got rid of his wife, of whom he stood somewhat 
in awe, he resumed his searching catechism of Jabez. 

"And so, Clegg, you have no motive beyond a chivalrous 
desire to save your master's daughter, no interest to serve beyond 
your duty to us?" 

The ordeal was terrible. Jabez rose, his features working 
convulsively. 

"Mr. Ashton, you are torturing me. Humble as I am, I 
love Miss Ashton with my whole life and soul. But knowing 
the distance between us, I have striven to keep the secret in 
my own breast. And I protest I had no double motive in my 
journey hither." 

The genial smallware manufacturer, to whom that night had 
brought two revelations, looked Jabez steadfastly in the face as 
he made his avowal ; then, taking him kindly by the hand, 
said his eyes swimming 

" Just so, just so, my lad ! I believe you. And, Jabez 
Clegg, let me tell you that I would rather give my daughter 
to an upright, persevering man like you, without a penny, than 
to a spendthrift like Laurence Aspinall, though he rolled in riches. 
But it is no use saying that now? 

Indeed there was no use, and time was flying. A glance of 
grateful attachment, and a mute pressure of his liberal master's 

AA 



354 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 



hand, were the sole acknowledgment of Jabez. But a new bond 
was established between the twain. 

Mrs. Ashton had come back to discuss with her husband and 
Jabez the best mode of procedure. She was not less shrewd 
than her lord, and had not failed to perceive that the young 
man's heart was in the service he now rendered them. The blow 
dealt by Augusta to her pride dashed down the impalpable 
barrier between them and she took counsel with him as a tried 
and true friend. 

Mr. Clegg pointed out the necessity for his return to the mill 
before it should open, and he be missed ; and taking a proffered 
glass of brandy and water to avert cold, he hurried, whilst hot 
coffee was preparing, to change his soaked garments preparatory 
to the ride back; his elders also taking the opportunity to dress 
and prepare for departure with the morning coach. 

Not a moment was wasted, but though Peveril had been well 
groomed and fed, he was not so fresh to the road as he had 
been ; still the journey was homeward, the rain had abated ; day 
began to dawn as he left Stockport behind, and without much 
use of the whip, Jabez had his horse back in the stable before 
the factory bell began to ring. And then the beast was allowed 
to rest. The jaded man had to rouse himself to another day's 
work, another day's trial and excitement, without a moment for 
repose. 

To everybody's astonishment, Mr. and Mrs. Ashton stepped 
out of the " Lord Nelson " coach that morning at the bottom of 
the avenue, with a carpet-bag for luggage. The difference of 
their reception by daughter and niece was palpable, and they 
could not fail to observe how much the former was disconcerted 
by their arrival. 

"Oh, aunt and uncle, this is a pleasant surprise!" exclaimed 
Ellen, running down the avenue to meet them. 



TKB MANCHESTER MAN. 355 

" You do not appear very well pleased to see us, Augusta," 
remarked Mrs. Ashton, as she met her lazily sauntering through 
the garden towards them, as captivating in her printed morning 
dress as a sleepless night, an anxions headache, and her unmis- 
takable confusion would permit the recognised beauty to be. 

" Oh, yes, I am pleased enough, but I should have been better 
pleased if you had written instead of coming upon one so 
suddenly. It is quite startling!" and the petulance of her tone 
gave effect to the pettish frown on her brow. 

"My dear, ill thoughts make ill looks," said Mrs. Ashton, 
gravely, with a searching glance. "What is the matter with you 
this morning ? Nothing serious, I hope." 

The very inquiry apparently annoyed her. 

"Oh, I've got a headache, that's all. I heard a man's foot 
on the gravel-walk long after everyone was in bed, and I got 
a fright." 

"I think it was only Crazy Joe he hangs about at all hours," 
put in Ellen, who had not heard the crunch of Mr. Clegg's heel 
on the gravel, as he stood for a moment under their window, to 
breathe a prayer for the safety and well-being of the supposed 
sleeper, before he turned away swiftly on his errand. 

Almost Mr. Ashton's first inquiry was for Mr. Clegg. 
" He's at the mill, sir. He was off afore any on us was up ; 
an' he said happen he mightna git whome fur breakfast, he wur 
so busy," was the reply of Bess. 

But Mr. Ashton, setting off towards the factory, encountered 
Jabez on the way, and they returned together to breakfast, as if 
they had met for the first time that morning. On Mrs. Ashton's 
suggestion, Augusta was neither questioned nor accused. 

" We should only tempt her to deny, and perhaps provoke 
ill-will towards our informant, with no good end," she said. " Better 
wait and ascertain beyond question what her intentions are," 



356 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

Jabez would fain have spared her the pain and shame of 
exposure, but the matter was out of his hands. 

The day passed unmarked save by Augusta's restless look-out 
for Crazy Joe, and the way she hung about her mother, as if 
half afraid of the rash step she contemplated. 

Mr. Ashton meanwhile, to cover his distress and agitation, 
busied himself about the transfer of the "White Hart" (which he 
pronounced " admirable ") to its place over the inn-door, and 
managed to elicit from Chapman, the gossiping landlord, without 
direct inquiry, that a fine young spark in hunting gear had put 
up his horse there several times within the past week, and was 
ike to make the fortune of Crazy Joe, he gave the poor softy 
so many half-crowns; but Joe was "deep, and never let on 
what he got them for." 



CHAPTER THE THIRTY-EIGHTH. 



DEFEATED. 




ATTEMPTED PLIGHT. 



which 



'. ABEZ CLEGG and the 
young ladies occupied ad- 
joining chambers (the two 
inner rooms of the suite), 
but the door of communi- 
cation was locked, and 
they were attained by 
different staircases. Thus, 
as he was compelled to 
pass through the Hulmes' 
sleeping apartment, so 
Ellen and Augusta were 
constrained to go back- 
wards and forwards through 
that of Mr. and Mrs. 
long use had probably 



Ashton an arrangement to 
reconciled them. 

It was this fact which had so much disconcerted Augusta, 
since she foresaw a difficulty in escaping unheard ; and not 
meeting with Joe (that most unpromising of Cupids), she was as 
equally unable to convey a message to her expectant lover. 
She repented her rash promise, and would fain have availed 
herself of a pretext for delay, but the night came, and, haunted 



358 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

by imaginary pictures of Laurence with a pistol to his head, she 
dared not disappoint him. She had promised to meet him at 
that entrance of the Lovers' Walk which opened below Yeardsley 
Hall Farm into Moor Lane, whilst, the lane being a steep 
declivity, he was to keep the post-chaise in waiting at the 
foot. 

Her headache served as an excuse for retiring to bed earlier 
than her cousin, and scarcely could her father and mother 
restrain themselves as she kissed them lingeringly before she 
went. Indeed, Mr. Ashton would much have preferred to "have 
it out with the girl at once, and have done with it," there not 
being much " waiting " blood in his veins. 

He had kept out of her sight most of the day, fidgeting over 
one thing and another, whilst his waistcoat and shirt-frill bore 
testimony to the constant raid on his snuff-box. 

" I don't like to see my poor lass trapped like a bird in a 
cage," he said in confidence to Jabez, whose opinion he already 
knew agreed with his own, as did the desire to "thrash the 
infernal scoundrel within an inch of his life." 

The last straw had broken the camel's back, and Jabez was 
no longer inclined to be passive. 

Laurence had bid Augusta take no care for her wardrobe ; 
his purse was ample, and he would dress her like a queen if she 
would only consent to fly with him. So, after collecting a few 
immediate necessaries and trinkets, and placing the reticule which 
contained them out of sight, she crept into bed, to lie and listen 
for the household to follow her example. How lazily the hours 
lagged ! She heard old Simon shuffling about, and the creaking 
of his camp-bedstead as he settled his old rheumatic bones for 
the night, but the firm foot of Jabez she did not hear, though 
the house clock struck nine, and Ellen came up with the last 
stroke. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 359 

In answer to a question, Ellen said that Mr. Clegg was asleep 
on the squab, and that she understood he had slept there the 
previous night, to be able to go to the mill very early without 
disturbing anyone else. 

" I saw him as he lay there, where he had fallen asleep 
shortly after tea, and I have been speaking to my uncle about 
him ; he looks so dreadfully worn and jaded, I am sure he is 
either killing himself with overwork or has some great trouble 
on his mind," and a deep sigh followed this expression of opinion. 

Augusta was silent. Something within her secret heart 
whispered that the trouble of Jabez Clegg would be intensified 
sevenfold by her act of that night, and, haughty as she was 
betimes, she pitied him. And whatever were her compunctions, 
fears, or emotions, Jabez certainly shared with her parents in 
her thoughts. 

Ellen slept. The clock struck ten. Father and mother 
entered their room, and through the door which Augusta had 
artfully requested Ellen to " leave open on account of the heat " 
came the sound of their voices in low but earnest converse 
"You leave her to me, William," spoken with decision, being 
the only words she could distinguish, though she heard her 
father walk about for some time. Indeed, she thought he would 
never go to bed. 

Eleven ! She slipped stealthily from the side of her sleeping 
cousin, and by the light of the moon, clear enough to-night, 
dressed as noiselessly and rapidly as her trepidation would 
permit. From habit she knelt to pray, but as she came to the 
passage, " Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil," 
a new meaning seemed to flash through the words, and she 
half wavered in her purpose. 

" Poor Jabez ! " she murmured to herself, as she caught up 
her shoes and reticule, and listened in the open doorway for 



360 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

the deep breathing which came from behind the dimity curtains 
of the four-post bed. Re-assured, she stepped lightly across the 
room in her stocking-feet, turned the drop-handle of that chamber 
door as silently as the squeaking latch would permit, and fled 
swiftly down the stairs, sitting down at the bottom to put on 
her shoes. 

She had raised the sash, and was in the very act of stepping 
over the low window-sill, when a foot was heard on the stair, 
and, turning her head, she saw her mother fully dressed, 
close by her side, and felt her slight wrist grasped as in a 
vice. 

" Is this your filial love and obedience, misguided girl ? Is 
this the result of Madame Broadbent's training ? Have you no 
more sense of honour and decency than to elope at midnight 
with any man, least of all with the worthless reprobate who 
has caught your silly fancy ? Could you not think that chastity 
is the brightest jewel in a woman's crown, and the soonest 
dimmed, that you were ready to leave your character at the 
mercy of every gossip who had a tongue to wag ? " 

She had drawn Augusta, too much stunned to speak, into the 
parlour close at hand, and had shut the doors a needless 
precaution, seeing how remote were all sleepers. A few words 
of gentle motherly inquiry might have softened impulsive, tender- 
hearted Augusta to tears, and turned the whole current of her 
life ; but Mrs. Ashton's stateliness had become sternness, and, 
fresh from the evil teaching of Laurence Aspinall, her daughter's 
proud spirit rose in rebellion, and answered her. 

"We are going to be married. And I was not going with 
Laurence alone. Cicily was to travel with us. Laurence himself 
proposed it." 

" Infatuated girl ! " exclaimed Mrs. Ashton, " Cicily was in 
Mosley Street last night." 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 361 

" And so were you, mother," was the smart retort, " but the 
coach which dropped you here carried her to Buxton. Outside 
passengers were muffled up, but she waved her handkerchief as 
she passed, as a sign to me." 

" Sign to you, indeed ! I marvel you are not ashamed of 
yourself and your hero, who is not content with corrupting my 
daughter, but must corrupt our servants also ! A fine hero indeed, 
whose qualifications are all external ! I cannot see what there is 
to admire in him." 

" Not see what there is to admire in that exquisite figure and 
beautiful face ? Why, I shall be the envy of half the girls in 
Manchester when I marry him ! " Augusta exclaimed, with anything 
but the air of a culprit just detected. 

"But you are not likely to marry him, you forward chit. 
You go back to Manchester to-morrow, and I will take good 
care you don't marry either clandestinely or openly a man so 
sure to make your heart ache, if he were thrice as hand- 
some !" 

" But I WILL marry him, mamma Vll please my eye, if 1 
plague my heart !" 

" Then as you make your bed, so must you lie, miss" answered 
Mrs. Ashton, gravely and deliberately. " But take my word for 
it, neither your papa nor myself will give our consent. And now 
go to your room, Augusta, and thank God you have been saved 
from disgrace this night, and thank us that we have kept you 
from open exposure. Not even your cousin has a notion of this 
last folly. Our daughter's honour is dearer to us than to herself," 
and the mother's tone softened as she spoke. 

"Your daughter's honour has never been in any danger," said 
Augusta, haughtily, as she swept from the room, to encounter at 
the foot of the stairs, flooded by moonlight through the open 
window, her father and Jabez. 






362 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

Up to that moment she had stood on the defensive, her 
wayward spirit upholding and arming her for retort. The sight of 
the father who had indulged her every whim, and of Jabez, whose 
esteem she valued more than she herself knew, gave a sudden 
shock to her overwrought nerves, and she fell forward into the 
arms of Jabez in a deep swoon. 

Tenderly, respectfully, sadly, he bore her into the parlour, and 
placing her on the sofa, relinquished her to her mother, divesting 
himself of his shoes in order to procure water to restore her 
without creating alarm. 

When she recovered he was gone ; she was alone with the 
parents whose counsels she had despised, whose love she had 
wounded ; herself detected and humiliated. 

A greater humiliation had fallen to the lot of elate, enamoured, 
and self-satisfied Laurence Aspinall, when, leaving his friend 
Barret with the post-chaise, their saddle-horses, and Cicily at 
the bottom of Moor Lane, he mounted the hill and whistled 
softly at the entrance of the Lovers' Walk, to call forth 
not a blushing maiden, half afraid of her own temerity, but two 
justly incensed and indignant men. His low-voiced "Augusta " 
died upon his lips ; he recoiled, stammered 

" You ! I I did not expect D nation ! What brought 

you here? I thought " 

"Just so, you atrocious scoundrel, you thought God had left 
our pet lamb to the fangs of the wolf, and that neither father 
nor friend was near to protect the innocent ! " exclaimed Mr. 
Ashton, raising the stout bamboo with which he was provided. 

"If that infernal Cicily has betrayed us, I'll " 

The threat was not completed, for Jabez interrupted him 
with 

" No, sir, it was not Cicily. You betrayed yourself. You 
laid bare your whole scheme in this walk within my hearing, 




THE MIDNIGHT STRUGGLE. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 363 

Mr. Laurence Aspinall, and the sophistry which misled a 
simple, confiding girl could not delude one who knew you as I 
do." 

" D nation ! " hissed Laurence between his teeth. " You 
infernal charity-school whelp ! Am I to meet you at every turn ? 
I suppose you want Miss Ashton for yourself, but I'll baulk 
you yet ! " and, but that Jabez had a quick eye and hand, his 
riding-whip would have seamed the latter's manly face. 

Jabez dexterously caught the light whip, and wrenched it 
from him, a simultaneous sharp blow of Mr. Ashton's bamboo on 
Aspinall's shoulders tending to loosen his grasp. And then the 
two young men, with all the fever of jealousy added to old 
animosity, closed and grappled with each other as might a lion 
and a tiger in the arena. And Mr. Ashton, his love of fair play 
yielding to his exasperation, made good use of his bamboo 
whenever he could deal a blow without harming Jabez. 

The two combatants were not unequally matched ; there was 
little difference in size and weight, but the scientific skill of 
Laurence had more than a counterpoise in the nerve and 
muscle of Jabez, strengthened by exercise and a temperate life, 
whilst vicious courses had somewhat impaired his own athletic 
frame. 

The struggle on the steep hill-side was too deadly for noise. 
At length Laurence himself booted and spurred in striving to 
take an unfair advantage and rip the unprotected calves of Jabez 
with the rowels of his spurs, lost his foothold, and was borne 
to the earth, falling heavily. He lay on the ground stunned and 
motionless. At once Jabez, with a swift revulsion of feeling, 
knelt down by the side of his prostrate foe, and raised his head, 
Mr. Ashton bending over them inquiringly, just as Barret, whom 
curiosity and impatience had drawn from his post below, came 
on the scene. A stifled groan, and a muttered curse, having 



364 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

assured Clegg that his rival was not mortally injured, he called 
to Barret 

" Here, sir, take charge of your worthy principal ; and be 
careful, when next you plan an elopement, that you have not a 
man to deal with instead of a credulous girl." 

Mr. Ashton's " Just so ! " coming sharply in as chorus, the 
young man put his arm in that of the elder and drew him away, 
leaving Barret and the postilion to restore Laurence Aspinall, 
and assist him into the post-chaise by the side of Cicily, whose 
trepidation would have been very much increased could she have 
seen how the blood was trickling down from a wound in his 
head, staining still more the torn, miry coat, and the disordered 
shirt-frill over which he was usually so fastidious. 

Barret, leading his companion's horse, rode on in advance of 
the vehicle, to prepare the pompous gentleman, laid up with the 
gout in Buxtpn Crescent, for the reception of his gentlemanly 
son in a highly gentlemanlike condition hatless, wigless, dirty, 
dilapidated, bruised, bloody and unsuccessful. The hat had rolled 
downhill, to be crushed under the wheels of the chaise; the wig 
and broken whip were found the next morning by Crazy Joe, who 
exercised his witless head respecting them and the trampled ground 
to small purpose ; then brought them to his friend Sim as 
playthings. Had they fallen into the hands of a reasoning mortal, 
much more perplexity, and a very serious mystery, might have 
been the result. 

Buxton being only five miles from Whaley Bridge, Barret again 
made his appearance in the neighbourhood of the "White Hart," 
whilst the new sign still attracted rustic admirers; and, finding no 
rumours current respecting the occurrence of the preceding night, 
he rode off again, having first committed to Crazy Joe a scarcely 
decipherable missive from the discomfited lover to the not less 
disconsolate damsel. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 365 

The evening coach bore the Ashtons and Ellen back to 
Manchester ; Augusta, still in a rebellious mood, the cause of 
which, being hidden from her cousin, occasioned the latter no little 
perplexity. There was something, too, in the manner of her 
uncle and aunt to Jabez, and of Jabez to all, which, being 
undefmable and impalpable, struck her as peculiar. He seemed 
suddenly to have risen to another footing. How was it they 
had taken him into their confidence ? 

Not until the last moment when attention was distracted by 
the bustle at the inn-door, the disposal of the luggage, and the 
taking of seats could Crazy Joe (with cunning worthy a better 
cause) contrive to slip the billet-doux into Miss Ashton's reticule 
unseen by all but herself. 

Not until she reached her own room in Mosley Street, could 
she scan its characteristic contents, which ran as follows : 

" Crescent, Buxton, 

"September , 1821. 

"Adored Augusta, 

"Excuse this scrawl; I can scarcely hold my pen in 
consequence of a ruffianly attack made upon me by your father's 
favourite factotum, Jabez Clegg, in Moor Lane last night. Can 
you disclose to me the strange fatality which kept you from my 
expectant arms, and revealed our plans to that upstart foundling? 
Had not Mr. Ashton also struck at me with a stick, I could 
readily have disposed of his assistant ; but my foot tripped over 
a stone, and falling, I lay at their mercy. Yet, sweet Augusta, 
if my blood flowed it was for thy sake, and for thy sake I 
endure. 

'Be constant, be firm; let no tyranny coerce you, and I will 
make a ivay for our union, if I steal you from their very midst. 
I have a dislocated ankle, a bruised and swollen hand, a 
plaistered crown, and I write painfully. I shall feel every hour 



366 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 



a year until I hold you m my arms again. But if my angelic 
Augusta be only true to fur promise, she will soon, in spite of 
spies artii informers, be tfte adored wife of her 

"Most devoted 

" Laurence? 



CHAPTER THE THIRTY-NINTH. 

LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON. 

IT is no uncommon thing for a woman to gild a block, 
wreathe it with flowers, and then fall down and 
worship the idol she has adorned. Augusta's hero 
needed no outward embellishment, so she fitted the 
fair exterior with the perfections and virtues of the high-spirited, 
noble, generous Mortimers and Mowbrays, whose acquaintance she 
had made in print, and had set him on a very elevated pedestal, in 
spite of all warnings. With that misleading letter of his before 
her, no wonder if the "blood shed for her sweet sake" converted 
the hero into the martyr, and placed Jabez and her father in the 
category of cruel persecutors. It did more, It erected a barrier 
against reconciliation. In vain her placable father held out a 
flag of truce ; she kept aloof resentfully, though in the solitude 
of her own chamber she gave way, and wept at her isolation 
from all who loved her. 

Mrs. Ashton, whose sense of propriety had been outraged, 
whose maternal pride had received a terrible shock, was less 
readily disposed to condone her daughter's offence; and, being a 
better business woman than a psychologist, her tactics showed 
none of her ordinary shrewdness. 

The failure of Augusta's banishment to Carr should have taught 
her that romance is nursed in solitude, and that conciliation is 



368 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

better than coercion. Had she spared a few hours from the 
warehouse to arrange a dance, or a gipsy -party to Dunham Park; 
chaperoned her lovely daughter to assembly, theatre, or concert- 
room ; invited her companionship in a stroll through St. Ann's 
Square and King Street, calling at Mrs. Edge's fashionably- 
frequented library by the way ; joined the after-morning-church 
promenaders in the Infirmary Gardens, or given a little time to 
morning calls, she would have brought Augusta into contact with 
young people of her own age, and with the attractive of the 
opposite sex, and so have supplied an antidote for the poison 
Laurence and ultra-sentimental literature had instilled. 

Instead, never was the golden fruit of the Hesperides more 
vigilantly guarded. She was kept much within doors. There 
was no Cicily to sympathise or convey clandestine billet-doux. 
The modern notion that a daily airing is indispensable had not 
been promulgated, or had not become the creed of the 
manufacturing community. Mrs. Ashton had "no leisure for 
gadding," and Augusta cared little to drive in the gig with only 
James for her charioteer, or even to walk with Ellen, so long 
as the mulberry-coloured livery was in attendance. (It might 
have been otherwise, had not the said James held it as much 
" beneath his dignity " to accept a bribe as he had formerly done 
to wait upon Mr. Clegg.) From her old bedroom, which 
overlooked Mosley Street, she was relegated to one in the rear, 
which commanded no wider prospect than their own courtyard, nor 
anything more interesting than Nelson and his kennel by-the-bye, 
Nelson had been in favour since the sad accident on the ice. 
Then, visits to Marsden Square were prohibited, lest she should 
there meet John Walmsley's undesirable friend ; and, altogether, her 
escapade had converted home into a cage, in spite of its gilding. 

As might have been expected, the high-spirited wayward girl, 
so long her father's pet, so long indulged in her caprices, chafed 



f'HB MANCHESTER MAN. 369 

and rebelled against every fresh token of restraint, and contrasted 
the dull monotony of her life with the freedom and gaiety 
promised so frequently by Laurence as the certain concomitants 
of wifehood with him. 

With all her haughty spirit, she had a clinging, affectionate 
nature, tinged though it was with poetry and romance, and now 
that her father looked so unusually grave, and her mother so 
frigid, and she felt herself an alien from both their hearts, 
instead of bewailing her premeditated flight as a crime, the 
tendrils of her love only clung closer to him who professed so 
much, and the more she was isolated from them, the more she 
brooded on the ill-used and maligned Laurence, his manly beauty 
and accomplishments, his lavish generosity, his fascinations of 
voice and manner, and the fervour of his passion for her. 

Meanwhile, Tom Hulme had resumed his duties at Whaley 
Bridge Mill, and Jabez returned home to his. Much to 
Augusta's surprise, he was not only invited to dine with them 
on the day of his return, but to take his place henceforth at 
their board as one of the family. 

With Laurence's misrepresentations fixed in her mind as truths, 
she construed the daily association thus thrust upon her as a 
deliberate affront, and resented it with a silent scorn which cut 
Jabez to the soul. He knew nothing of AspinalFs letter, or 
that he was accused of a "ruffianly attack ;" he only felt that 
he would have died to serve her, and had done what he had 
to save her from life-long misery, without a single thought of 
keeping her for himself. 

A few more days, and back to Manchester came Mr. Aspinall, 
senior, having left a little of his portliness with his gout in the 
Buxton Baths. Back with him came his son, and his son's 
congenial companion, Mr. Edmund Barret ; the former still 
smarting under his defeat at Carr, and all the more resolutely 



370 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

determined to carry off Augusta, jealousy adding a new element 
to his love, a new aliment to his hate. 

Sitting idly by the parlour window on the third of October, 
with her head leaning against the frame, meditating on her own 
unhappiness and her parents' harshness, Augusta suddenly started 
to her feet with a suppressed cry of delight, a vivid glow upon 
her cheeks, a brilliant sparkle in her eye. Laurence Aspinall, 
mounted on Black Ralph, his favourite hunter, was riding up the 
street, the dislocated ankle apparently not affecting his enjoyment 
of equestrian exercise. As he raised his new beaver in graceful 
salutation, even the flutter into which she was thrown could not 
prevent her missing his glorious curls. He had not deemed it 
necessary to replace his wig, and the poll shorn during fever 
_had not yet grown a fresh crop ripe for harvest. The 
unfavourable impression passed with the moment, as he brought 
his obedient steed on the flagged pavement close under the 
window, and, without a moment's hesitation, she raised the sash, 
and leaned forward to speak with him, glad of the opportunity. 

"Oh, Laurence!" 

" My own Augusta, this is indeed fortunate ! " 

Their hands clasped upon the window-sill the elevation of 
the house raising her to his level her tearful eyes looked up in 
his for traces of suffering after the " ruffianly attack," and found 
there, mingled with the fierce light of violent love, a bitter sense 
of defeat, a resolve to obtain her by fair means or foul. 

Each had the separate experience of that memorable 
September night to relate, coloured as passion or prejudice 
prevailed ; but neither could fully enlighten the other as to the 
share Mr. Clegg had had in preventing the elopement. 

He could tell her that Jabez had avowed overhearing their 
conversation in the Lovers' Walk, though where he could have 
been to overhear, or what strange fatality could bring Mr. and 



MANCHESTER MAN. 371 

Mrs. Ashton to Carr in time to become the recipients of his 
eavesdropping and defeat their plans, was a puzzle to both. 

Be sure Laurence put the worst colour on the encounter in the 
lane, and urged all he had himself endured to strengthen his 
claims upon her claims she was quite willing to admit, had she 
the power to concede to them. 

Having shown with very evident annoyance, how impossible 
it was for her to meet or give him a private interview, he 
exclaimed with indignation 

" What ! not allowed to visit a relation, or to go abroad 
without a gaoler ! My dearest Augusta, this is a cruel state of 
captivity. But my bird must not be allowed to fray her beautiful 
plumage in beating against the bars of her cage. I must devise 
a better plan for her escape. Any means are justifiable to obtain 
release from tyranny' like this. What says my love? Is she still 
willing to trust her Laurence ? " 

" To the death ! " she whispered, emphatically. 

" You are alone here every morning ? " 

Her lips could barely frame a "Yes," when a voice and step 
in the hall warned her to close the window with a hurried 
gesture to him ; and before Mrs. Ashton, who had lingered to 
give an order to James, could enter the room, Black Ralph was 
cantering towards the Portico, and Augusta occupied with the 
third volume of "Alinda, or the Child of Mystery." 

Very little escaped Mrs. Ashton's eye. The clatter of hoofs 
on the flags, audible through the thick front door, had left no 
sensible impression on her brain, but the heightened colour of 
Augusta attracted her attention at once. She brought her 
work-basket from the panel-cupboard, took thence a strip of 
cambric muslin, and handed it to her daughter. 

" My dear," said she, quietly, " ' all play makes no hay.' 
Your eyes are younger than mine, and I think it will do you 



372 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

more good to hem your father's shirt-frills than to pore over 
sentimental books from morning until night. So much romance 
reading is not good for you. I see that you are quite flushed 
and excited over the one you are perusing now." 

There was a sharp rat-tat on the lion's head, and in burst 
Mr. Ashton, much more flushed and excited than his daughter. 
He had met Mr. Laurence on Black Ralph just as he was 
quitting the Portico, after an angry discussion with Mr. Aspinall 
the elder. 

"You are quite right, my dear, in saying, 'Like father, like 
son,' " cried he, " for I'll swallow my snuff-box if that pompous 
old cotton-merchant did not justify his scapegrace son in his 
attempt to carry off our Augusta ! He said that ' the end 
justified the means," that we 'ought to be proud of such an 
alliance ' " Mrs. Ashton's lip curled " that ' he was glad Miss 
Ashton had more discernment than her parent,' that 'his boy 
had set his heart upon her, and should not be thwarted in his 
choice by any beggar's-inkle-weaver in England.' And no sooner 
had I left him in the reading-room, to digest my opinion on the 
subject, and put my foot on the steps of the Portico, than up 
rode young Hopeful, and took off his hat to me, bowing down 
to his black horse's mane." 

Having delivered himself of this explosive intelligence, Mr. 
Ashton walked about, and sought a sedative in his snuff-box ; 
and Augusta, who, folding the hem of the frill, had not lost 
one word, said, drily, 

"I think Mr. Aspinall's justification of his son's design may 
at least be taken as a vindication of Mr. Laurence's honourable 
intentions, of which so many doubts have been expressed. And 
the bow equally absolves Laurence from a charge of malice." 

With a proud toss of her shapely head, she walked towards 
the dining-room, rejecting the proffered arm of Jabez, who had 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 373 

entered the parlour whilst Mr. Ashton was speaking, and thus 
closed a discussion which could not be continued in the presence 
of servants. 

****** 

Jabez, on his return from Carr, had found his rough old 
clerical friend confined to his room seriously ill. Tabitha was 
worn out with his humours and eccentricities, and was glad 
when the young man offered to relieve her twice or thrice a 
week ; and old Joshua welcomed him as a relief from the 
monotonous garrulity of an unlettered old woman. Jabez could 
bring him news of another stamp. Through Ben Travis (who 
had discovered that activity was the best antidote to melancholy), 
he kept him informed of the progress of the incipient temperance 
movement, in which the Parson took uncommon interest; through 
Mr. Ashton, he kept him an courant of town politics, and for 
general intelligence he brought newspapers with him to be read, 
interrupted by many and unique commentaries. In order that 
Tabitha might obtain repose, Mr. Clegg usually remained until 
a late hour, Mrs. Ashton herself entrusting him with a latch-key 
on these occasions. 

One night, towards the middle of October, when Joshua had 
been more than ordinarily crusty, and Jabez did not quit the 
classic corner until the " wee short hour ayont the twal," he was 
struck as he turned the corner from Market Street into Mosley 
Street to find Mr. Aspinall's carriage in waiting with four horses 
and postilions. 

He stood still for a moment to re-assure himself, but carriages 
were not so common that he should mistake that particular one; 
and his heart drummed an alarm within his breast. 

Hurrying on with sad misgivings, he passed two tall figures 
muffled in cloaks, whom he had no difficulty in recognising, from 
build and walk, to be the Aspinalls, father and son ; and increasing 



374 TtiB MANCHESTER MAN. 

his speed he gained the door, inserted his key in the latch, and 
was on the stairs before the cloaked individuals had finished 
their speculations respecting his being a robber escaped from a 
constable. 

Formerly, Augusta had to pass his room door to reach her 
own, on the opposite side of the long corridor. Her new chamber 
was next to his own, and nearer to the staircase. A thin stream 
of light shot through the key-hole, and a bright narrow line cast 
upon the opposite wall showed the door ajar. He stood still in 
his surprise. 

As if a tipsy, musically-disposed man were going past, the 
refrain of a rollicking song was trolled out in the street ; and then 
Augusta, equipped as for a journey, came forth from her chamber 
to descend the stairs. She had calculated on the signal an hour 
earlier, and expected Jabez an hour later. As she stole on tiptoe 
down the stairs Jabez confronted her and barred her progress. 
Her silver candlestick dropped from her hand, with the one word 
" Again !" and rolling down with a clang, awakened Mr. and 
Mrs. Ashton, the only sleepers on that floor, and set Nelson 
barking furiously. They were in the dark, but he had caught 
her hand. 

" Miss Ashton, this is infatuation madness." 

"No matter, sir, let me pass; you have no right to detain 
me!" 

"But I have, miss," said her father coming behind, guided by 
their voices, his scant apparel as invisible in the gloom as himself. 
"Is this another attempt to disgrace us by eloping? Oh, my child, 
my child, you are breaking your poor old father's heart!" 

"And mine!" floated like the echo of despair's last sigh from 
the lips of Jabez. 

But the utter hopelessness of the old man's tone touched a 
sensitive chord of Augusta's soul, and turning, she fell upon his 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 375 

neck crying tearfully, " Oh, forgive me, father, forgive me. I did 
not think you would take it so much to heart." 

The appeal of affection to affection had accomplished what 
reason and authority had failed to effect. 



CHAPTER THE FORTIETH. 




WITH ALL HIS FAULTS. 

UGUSTA'S penitence exhaled like 
dew from a flower. In the 
light of her mother's lofty 
displeasure her tears dried, 
and self-will once more exerted 
its pre-eminence. She locked 
herself in her own room, and 
resolutely refused to come 
forth. 

" So long as that odious 
meddler, Jabez Clegg, remains 
under our roof, I will stay here ; 

and if you will not consent to my marriage with Laurence 
Aspinall, I will starve myself to death ! " was her angry declaration, 
as she closed the door and turned the key. 

"Leave her alone," said Mrs. Ashton, "she will want her food 
before her food wants her ; and a little wholesome solitude is 
good for reflection. She will change her mind before the day 
closes." 

This was at mid-day; but night came, and another noon, yet 
there was no sign of Miss Ashton's appearance ; and Mrs. Ashton 
had made no overtures to her refractory daughter. The tender- 
hearted father was in a pitiable state of perturbation. In and 



A DYING GIFT. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 377 

out the warehouse he was twenty times in the day as Kezia 
observed, "For a' th' world like a hen on a hot griddle;" and 
his snuff-box was hardly ever out of his hand. Business seemed 
altogether beyond his grasp ; he answered questions at random, 
or was unconscious when addressed. 

To this state of trouble Jaber unintentionally contributed his 
quota. Over the tea-table, unenlivened by Augusta's sparkling 
presence, though she was the one sole topic of conversation he 
said, and not without an effort 

" It has occurred to me, and I have thought the matter well 
over, that since my unfortunate position in relation to late events 
has made my very presence obnoxious to Miss Ashton it might 
be better for all concerned if I were to shift my quarters without 
delay. There are lodgings vacant close at hand ; and I have no 
right to linger here and disturb the peace of any one member of 
your kind family." 

"Jabez Clegg," remonstrated Mr. Ashton, with wide-open 
eyes. 

" Have you any other reason to be dissatisfied with present 
arrangements ? " asked Mrs. Ashton stiffly. 

" Oh ! Mrs. Ashton, how can I have ? This house has been my 
home for years, and such a home as rarely falls to the lot of 
the fatherless. To you, my benefactors, I owe everything 
almost myself; and I should ill repay your uniform kindness by 
remaining to create discord." 

" If your only desire to remove is to gratify Miss Ashton's 
whims, you will oblige me, Mr. Clegg, by remaining," replied 
Mrs. Ashton, with grave decision ; whilst Mr. Ashton, looking the 
very picture of consternation, laid his hand upon the young man's 
sleeve, and said slowly 

" My lad, you have been one of the household for many years ; 
do not be the first to make a breach in the family. If the child 



378 THE MANCHESTER MAM. 

of our blood and our affections goes forth to strangers wilfully, 
and repudiates us, do not let the son of our adoption leave us 
to lament her loss in solitude." 

This was strong language, but Mrs. Ashton did not gainsay 
it, and Mr, Clegg could not longer press the point, though his 
own pain was intensified by the fear of adding to the distress of 
Augusta, who, he was confident, regarded him as an interloper 
and a mischief-maker. 

Little had been seen of Ellen since the return from Carr 
Cottage. A message despatched by Mrs. Ashton to her sister, 
in her dilemma, was answered by another to pray them to "excuse 
Miss Chadwick, who was not well enough to go out." 

This somewhat disconcerted Mrs. Ashton, who, more alarmed 
than she would admit, and disturbed by the restless uneasiness of 
her husband, had looked for Ellen to act as a mediator without 
any compromise of her own dignity. 

At the close of the second day, as Augusta pertinaciously 
refused to open the door, at the instance of Jabez the lock was 
forced; and even then a barrier of chairs and boxes had to be 
thrust back by sheer strength. She was exhausted from want 
of food, but her will was indomitable, and neither her father's 
entreaties, nor her mother's commands could induce her to partake 
of the viands spread before her. 

Jabez was in agony. Delicacy and her obvious dislike had 
kept him from intruding upon her privacy, but as hour after 
hour was added to the night, and Augusta persistently dashed 
aside the food placed to her lips, he joined his prayers to those 
of her father, and neither availing, rushed out of the house, 
and in less than a quarter of an hour returned with Dr. Hull. 
He was not a man to stand any nonsense. 

"Here, sir," to Jabez "you are young and strong. Hold 
the silly child's arms whilst her teeth are forced apart. If she 



THB MANCHESTER MAN. 379 

will no take food, she shall take physic, and see which she 
likes the best." 

But the struggle to nourish her frame through set teeth was 
prolonged and painful, and the parents were likely to yield 
before the child. 

Servants may be faithful, but they have eyes and ears, and 
not always discreet tongues. Family matters discussed freely 
in the kitchen before apprentices found their way into the 
warehouse and beyond it, and Mrs. Ashton's nerves tingled when 
she became acquainted with the rumours afloat. 

From Tim, the Ashton stable-boy, Aspinall's emissary (Bob 
the groom, once more in his old service) had no difficulty in 
obtaining all the information his young master required. 

Laurence waylaid Mr. Ashton, inquired anxiously after the 
obstinate girl's health, and, having paved the way by as much 
contrition as he thought necessary, called at the house the 
following morning, in company with his father, to renew proposals 
for Miss Ashton's hand. 

Worn out by Augusta's obstinacy, which she and Laurence 
agreed to call "constancy," father and mother were in a 
different frame of mind to receive this proposition than when 
they had given their former peremptory rejection. They were 
not one whit more convinced by Mr. Laurence's assurance that 
he meant to " reform," or Mr. Aspinall's quotation of the adage, 
" A reformed rake makes the best husband ; " but, rather than 
see their child starve herself to death before their very eyes, 
they yielded, and Laurence Aspinall, profuse alike in thanks and 
professions, was permitted by aching hearts and reluctant lips to 
introduce Augusta to his father then and there as his bride- 
elect. 

It was a moment ot triumph for Laurence when Augusta 
refused to come down stairs without an assurance under his own 



380 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

hand. He pencilled on a card, " My Augusta, I wait for you, 
Laurence." And presently, supported by a maid-servant, she 
entered the room, her dress of purple poplin serving to show 
how wan and transparent her fair skin had grown, how unnatural 
was the brilliance of her eyes, 

She would have fallen, as much from weakness as emotion, 
on her entrance into the parlour, but that Laurence darted 
forward and caught her in an embrace which brought back 
somewhat of her lost colour ; and if anything could have softened 
the pain of that hour to her parents, it was the apparent ardour 
and sincerity of the lover, the hope that a genuine passion might 
tend to wean him from his old habits and associates. 

Mr. Aspinall's reception of Augusta was characteristic. 

" My charming Miss Ashton, I see my son has brought back 
the roses to your cheeks. May they never fade again, but 
bloom perennially without a thorn ! I rejoice to kiss your hand 
paternally on this auspicious occasion, and to assure you that I 
shall be proud to welcome such beauty, and such constancy, as 
the wife of my noble son." 

Consent once obtained, the Aspinalls were as eager to press 
forward the marriage as the Ashtons were to retard it, neither 
her father nor mother affecting a satisfaction they did not feel. 

"My dear," said the latter to Augusta one day, when her 
eyes were sparkling over a costly present just received from 
Laurence, "your father was in hopes you would have fixed your 
heart on some good steady man like Jabez Clegg, who would 
have been a comfort and a credit to all of us, and have kept 
the business in the family after we were in our graves." 

" Pshaw, mamma ? how preposterous ! I am surprised at my 
father's infatuation for that young man. I esteem him quite 
sufficiently for a friend, but" and she locked an emerald earring 
in her delicate ear "I could not exist with a husband whose 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 381 

heart was in his business. My husband's heart must hold me, 
and me only ; and I must have something to look at as well 
as to love." 

" Ah ! Augusta, it must be a very small heart indeed which 
cannot find room both for a wife and a business to maintain 
her fittingly. The sheen of a dress which must last a life is of 
less consequence than its durable texture." 

" Well, mamma, so long as the material pleases my eyes, I 
will take the wear upon trust. And do not be surprised that 
your daughter prefers a fine man and a gentleman to one whose 
fortune is in the clouds, and whose origin is so obscure he has 
not even a name to call his own:' 

She was standing to admire herself and her new jewellery in 
the Venetian glass between the windows as she said this, and her 
mother's figure filling in the frame, Jabez Clegg came and went 
unseen, a pang in his heart and an intensified resolve to make 
both fortune and name for himself even though his master's 
daughter vanished from his vision. 

Nothing would induce Mr. Ashton to part with his child until 
she was at least eighteen; and in that particular he was proof 
against the importunities of Laurence and the cajoleries of Augusta. 
So for ten months (during which the lawyers had ample time to 
quarrel over the settlement of Augusta's 18,000, so that too 
much or too little should not be tied down on the lady) the 
dashing young blade was on his trial, so to speak, and contrived 
to beguile both father and mother of their prejudices; whilst to 
Augusta a new world of gaiety was opened out. 

As her daughter's chaperon, Mrs. Ashton renewed her acquaint- 
ance with the yellow satin cushions of the Assembly Rooms, the 
Gentlemen's Concerts discoursed sweet music in their ears, Miss 
Ashton could take her seat in the boxes of the Theatre Royal 
without fear of Madame Broadbent's fan, and Kezia was in her 



382 TUB MANCHESTER MAN. 

glory, so many balls and parties had to be catered for ; and Mr. 
Laurence Aspinall was in the ascendant. 

All this was inexpressibly painful to Jabez, but as he had 
written to Ben Travis that "there was something more for men 
to do than die of disappointment or blighted love," so he set his 
face like a rock against the breakers, and gave himself entirely 
to business. He said to himself it would be cowardice to flee 
from that which must be borne and mastered, so never another 
word was heard of his seeking a home elsewhere. If he was 
brave, he was not foolhardy enough to court pain in the sight of 
his rival's triumph, and though in his determination to " stick to 
his last," he had eschewed all art which came not within the 
scope of pattern designing, to that he turned with redoubled 
assiduity after business hours, having found a profitable market 
apart from Mr. Ashton's firm, as his account with the Savings 
Bank in Cross Street had borne witness from the date of its 
establishment in January, 1818. 

But for a brief space, and that whilst the wound was raw and 
new, his ministrations to the dying chaplain of the Old Church 
not only carried him out of sight and hearing, but in a measure 
drew his thoughts away from his own sorrow. 

Once only did Joshua scarify the sore. In an interval of pain 
he said with his customary abruptness 

"And so that pretty lass of thy master's is going to throw 
herself away on the wild rascal who pitched thee over the 
wall?" 

Jabez could not trust himself to answer save by a movement 
of his head. 
"Ugh! she'd better ha' takken a fancy to thee!" 

Half-an-hour or more elapsed. Waking from a doze, he said 

" Dost thou remember my telling thee to look at ' Hogarth's 
Apprentice' in Chadwick's parlour?" 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 383 

" Indeed, I do ! Those pictures have influenced my life," answered 
Mr, Clegg with a sigh, pouring out a dose of medicine as he spoke. 

"More physic, eh? Ugh! doctors kill more than they cure 
with their stuff! Ay, lad, thah'st mounted up, thou'lt be a master 
thyself some day, if thou dost not forget that Jabez must be an 
honourable man !" 

" I never did forget it sir, even though the apprentice boy was 
mad enough to aspire to his master's daughter! But losing her, 
I have learned a new lesson. The prayer of the clden Jabez, 
which has been mine night and morn from boyhood, was a prayer 
for self, and self only, and I had no right to look for an answer 
to all the hopes I based upon it. If I have not been 'kept from 
evil/ and it has 'grieved me,' I prayed for myselt alone, and in 
grief I have my answer. Prayer should take a wider range." 

" Right, lad, right ! now let me sleep." 

When he waked again he remarked 

" It's time for thee to be off, Jabez ; but time is running faster 
with me than thee, lad. Here, reach yon "Terence" from the 
bureau. It is the Edinburgh edition. Keep it for the sake of 
the rough old Parson who gave thee thy name. And take care 
of it. Good night. How thick the fog is!" He had lost the 
sight of one eye, and the other was rapidly going. 

That was the ninth of November. When Jabez came again 
on the eleventh, the fog had cleared away from Joshua Brookes's 
sight for ever; and fountains of tears ran freely from many eyes 
for the hot, hasty, single-minded, and learned Parson whose name 
was a household word in the town, and who had ever been a 
kind friend to Jabez. In his life he had been at war with 
huckster-women, street-urchins, school-boys, and his ecclesiastical 
brethren. In his death the wide parish, and more than the parish, 
united to reverence his memory, those who had laughed loudest 
at his eccentricities being foremost to bewail him, 



384 THB MANCHESTER MAN. 

Even the November clouds hung thick and heavy as a pall 
over the Old Church and churchyard, crowded with mourners, 
when his silent remains were carried to their bed in the cross 
aisles his feet had trodden so many active years, and if others 
besides Jabez shed tears over the open and honoured grave, 
there was many an old creature mourning in solitude, besides 
the queer old woman, in kerchief and mutch, who sat amongst 
her sweets in a closed shop, and lamented that so young a 
man as Parson Brookes should be carried off before her. 

" Well-a-day ! and only sixty-seven ! He'll want no more 
humbugs, and no more cakes for his pigeons. Poor Jotty ! " 

There was no mention of Jabez in his will, but when the 
young man took the old worn " Terence " sadly and reverently 
down from the shelf where he had first placed it, on turning 
over its leaves he found a banknote for ^"300 pinned to the 
fly-leaf, on which was inscribed his own name and that of the 
eccentric donor. 



CHAPTER THE FORTY-FIRST. 

MARRIAGE ! 

E.D Jabez been vindictive, the opportunity, or at least 
the promise of revenge on his successful rival was 
not wanting. Various efforts had been made to 
call the Manchester Yeomanry to account for their 
doings at Peterloo, and many had been the overtures and 
suggestions to Jabez Clegg by members of the Radical party 
to join in the prosecution of the offenders. But he resolutely 
refused to identify the trooper who struck him, saying 

" I forgave the man at the time, believing him to be drunk, 
and incapable of discrimination. If I have since had reason to 
think otherwise, I cannot be so mean as to allow private 
feelings to influence a public act." 

It would be false to say there never was a tug at his 
heart-strings when the tempters were again at his elbow, before 
they made their final attempt in 1822. But he said to 
himself 

" If it would have been revengeful at the time when the 
bodily injury was fresh, it would be doubly revengeful, mean, 
and dishonourable now that he has supplanted me in love. And in 
striking at him I should wound Augusta, and that must never 
be." 

The temptation to expose his adversary was set aside, and 
thus it was that Laurence Aspinall's name was not added to 

cc 



386 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

those of the four defenders on the record of the trial at Lancaster 
in April ; and as that trial, after the examination of nearly a 
hundred witnesses of all ranks, terminated unsuccessfully for the 
prosecution, the forbearance of our friend Jabez spared him at 
least the mortification of defeat. 

The year rolled on. At the instance of Mr. Ashton, Jabez 
withdrew the bulk of his deposits from the Savings Bank, and 
adding to Joshua Brookes's gift the 200 he had accumulated 
by working late and early, and saving small sums even during 
his apprenticeship, placed all in his master's hands to be invested 
in the business and so return him a higher rate of interest. 
And this was the first absolute start of Jabez as a capitalist. 

The joyous excitement attending Augusta's own preparations 
for her approaching nuptials was somewhat damped by the 
unaccountable condition of Ellen Chadwick, whose health, instead 
of improving during her visit to Carr Cottage, had appeared to 
decline still more perceptibly. A constant pain at her chest, 
frequent headaches, uncertain spirits, and increasing langour gave 
Mr, and Mrs. Chadwick real cause for uneasiness ; but Ellen 
would not hear of a doctor, and maintained that it was "nothing 
to trouble about," she would " be better soon." 

She did not get "better soon," and when the first August 
sun shone on Augusta's birthday and bridal, it taxed her powers 
to the utmost to sustain efficiently her part as bridesmaid. 

Had Captain Travis accepted his lieutenant's invitation to be 
groomsman, she would have found it still more difficult ; but a 
comparative stranger, a Mr. Joseph Bennett, of Gorton, filled the 
post, the bride's father having objected very decidedly to bold 
Ned Barret. 

Yet Ben Travis and Jabez Clegg were both among the guests, 
albeit it cost each a struggle. The two had mutually 
strengthened each other as such friends should, arriving at the 



THE MANCHESTER MAN, 387 

Spartan decision to "suffer and be silent, facing their fate like 
men." And indeed, old Mr, Ashton had wrung the hand of 
Jabez at least a week before, and said 

" I'm sorry for you, Clegg ; I am, upon my soul ; and I'm 
sorry for our poor lass, too, for she's made a mistake. But 
keep a brave heart, and don't let that slashing yeomanry fellow 
crow over you. As Mrs. Ashton would say, ' What can't be 
cured must be endured,' and we must all of us show the best 
face at the wedding that we can." 

If that meant elaborate display in dress and decorations, and 
provision for the bridal breakfast and dinner, then the face 
exhibited was a shining one. Mrs. Hodgson, the fashionable 
mantua-maker and milliner, of Oldham Street (where two or 
three of the private houses had already been converted into 
shops), had kept her apprentices at work almost night and day 
for weeks, executing bridal orders from the Ashtons and their 
friends. A very snowstorm might have passed through the 
workroom, such heaps of white French crape and satin, lace 
and organdi, lute-string and gauze, littered and covered available 
space, putting matronly brocade, velvet, and llama quite into the 
shade. 

The warehouse saw little of Mrs. Ashton for a week or ten 
days previously. Cicily, who had gone over to the Aspinalls, 
had begged to be allowed to help Kezia for that occasion, and 
she roasted her own face in spinning gold and silver webs 
and baskets from sugar for the table, making "floating islands," 
syllabubs, trifles, jellies, and blanc-mange to supplement the solid 
dishes Kezia dressed with so much skill. And Mr. Mabbott 
sent in a sugary "Temple of Hymen" and a bride's cake 
prepared six weeks in advance. 

The bride, alternately radiant and tearful like an April day, 
veiled with laqe and crowned with white rosebuds and orange- 



388 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

blossoms, wore a low-bodiced dress of white satin, festooned 
round the narrow skirt with costly lace, whilst on neck and 
arms, and in her tiny ears, were neglig6, bracelets, and earrings 
of pearl, the gift of the gallant bridegroom's gallant father. 

The bridegroom was scarcely less resplendent in his high- 
collared blue coat and gold buttons, his white waistcoat buttoned 
to match, his glossy white trousers, and low shoes tied with a 
bunch of silk ferret. An oblong brooch set with a rim of 
pearls held down his broad fine shirt-frills; from his fob hung 
a huge bunch of gold seals pendant from a flat gold watch 
chain ; and in his hand (not crushing his elaborate curls, now 
clustering richly as ever) he carried a hat of white beaver of 
the newest shape. 

To Mr. and Mrs. Ashton it was a matter of open regret that 
Joshua Brookes, who had christened Augusta, should not have 
lived to marry her also ; but Mr. Aspinall, whose reminiscences 
of the old chaplain were of another order, was much better 
satisfied to see his own personal friend, Parson Gatliffe, the bon 
vivant, behind the altar rails. 

If the bride was tall and graceful, with sunshine in her eyes 
and in her classic curls, tall and stately was the bride's mother, 
whose long train of purple silk velvet swept the aisles, though 
trains had ceased to be general. There was no faltering over 
the responses. There was a glow of modest pride on the cheek 
of Augusta; a look of mingled ardour and exultation on the 
face of Laurence ; his " I will " was pronounced with a force 
which was almost fierce, yet, as she faintly promised to "obey," 
he pressed her hand with smiling significance. 

The ceremony over, the bride did not faint, but turning to 
her tearful-eyed father, threw her arms around his neck and clung 
to him, whispering how grateful she was that he had given her 
the man of her choice, and that he should see what a good wife 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 389 

she would make ; and the impromptu embrace sent a shower of 
snuff over white satin and lace. 

Yet some one fainted, whom Ben Travis caught in his strong 
arms and carried to the church door for air ; a dark-haired, black- 
eyed bridesmaid, whose face was white and skin transparent as 
her own robe. 

Custom had not set its imperative seal on the wedding tour 
as a necessity, but after a magnificent solid dinner, to which the 
party did full justice, and an elaborate dessert, during which the 
cake was cut, and Mr. Aspinall proposed the health of the bride 
in an inflated toast, demanding that it should be drunk in 
bumpers, "and no heel-taps," the wedded pair drove off in Mr. 
Aspinall's carriage to the family mansion at Fallowfield, there 
to spend the honeymoon. 

" Good-bye, Jabez," said Augusta, putting her small soft hand 
into his as they left the house ; " you will comfort my father and 
mother, will you not ? I trust them to you." 

And he replied with the fervency of truth, " I accept the 
trust willingly. Good-bye, Mrs. Aspinall" (how the word choked 
him !) " May God bless you, and the marriage you have 
contracted. Good-bye!" 

He did not kiss her hand, had not taken the common liberty 
of guests to kiss the bride's lips in church ; he did but press her 
hand as any old friend who had grown up with her under the 
same roof might have done ; but before the carriage had well 
dashed from the door, or the bridegroom had fairly settled 
himself on his seat, Laurence turned to the fair young wife, 
whose prophetic tears were now falling fast, with the sharp 
rebuke 

"What was that foundling fellow mumbling over your hand? 
You will please to remember that that hand is mine now, Mrs, 
Aspinall. You have promised to love and obey me ME your LORD 



3go THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

and MASTER. And MASTER I mean to be. I have borne the 
fooling of your friends and your own pretty caprices long enough. 
It is my turn now ; and if any man so much as dares to look at 
you I'll pound him to a jelly! And now dry your eyes and 
give me a kiss!" 

And that was the inauguration of Augusta ApinalPs married 
life. 

It has been said that the bridesmaid fainted. Every lady 
carried a smelling bottle, and means to revive her were not far 
to seek. She soon recovered, and with a sensitive blush withdrew 
from the arms which had been so proud to sustain her, casting 
her eyes round as if in search of some other whose service might 
have been more acceptable. But she suffered no relapse. She 
was ready to wait upon the bride, to sign " Ellen Chadwick " in 
the church register, and to assist a Mr. Joseph Bennett in cutting 
up the cake for distribution, with cards and gloves, to friends not 
present. It was an arduous task, and she succumbed before it 
was half completed. 

" Miss Chadwick, you are not well ; let me relieve you," said 
Jabez, coming to her assistance after the " happy pair " had driven 
off, and whilst peals of laughter, shouts, and hurrahs came from 
the dining-room, where gentlemen were honouring the bridal by 
drinking themselves senseless and speechless. 

Ellen remained with her aunt a few days longer, during which 
Jabez, exceedingly pained to see the ravages hidden disease had 
made in so estimable a young lady, was pitifully attentive. 

He could not, however, fail to see that his attentions distressed 
her ; and, on the whole he was not sorry when Augusta's parents 
and he were left to themselves, to talk of their own dear one 
and speculate on her future. 

Weeks went by. Mrs. Aspinall visited her old home, but 
never without her husband ; and seldom was she allowed to 






THB MANCHESTER MAN. jgi 

remain more than an hour. Her spirits seemed exuberant, but 
somehow her unusual vivacity jarred on her mother's nerves, and 
she suspected that her spirits were forced. 

Meanwhile Ellen Chadwick faded. Dr. Hardie, called in at 
last, watched his patient with curious and attentive eye, perplexed 
and dubious. He had been friend as well as physician since Mr. 
Chadwick's attack of paralysis, and was a close observer. Now 
he came and went in a gossiping sort of way, to put his patient 
at ease, and off her guard. He was there one day when Jabez 
was announced, and saw a sudden spasmodic action of the face, 
a dilation of the pupils, a scarcely perceptible pant and parting 
of the lips, and then he watched her closer. He introduced Mr. 
Clegg's name, as if casually, whilst his ringers were on her pulse. 
The result of his observations were told to Mr. Chadwick the 
same day. 

"Your daughter has no specific disease, Mr. Chadwick, she is 
simply love-sick" 

" L-love-s-sick?" 

" Yes ; and her secret passion is consuming her. Medicine 
cannot save the patient's life if her affection be not returned, 
and that right speedily." 

Mr. Chadwick was aghast. 

"I feared as much," said Mrs. Chadwick, with a sigh. 

" Then you will have an inkling who is the desired object ? " 
said the doctor. 

"I think so." 

" Does your maternal instinct point to Mr. Clegg ? " he asked, 
with a curious look. 

" It does ; but he himself has no suspicion, and I am sure 
regards Ellen only as a friend a friend elevated a little above 
him." 

" Is the young man courting ? 



3g2 YHB MANCHESTER MAN. 

"I believe not." 

" Then," said the doctor, sententiously, " the sooner he is, the 
better for Miss Chadwick. Her life is not worth a month's 
purchase unless Mr. Clegg become the buyer. But let not Miss 
Ellen hear a whisper of my opinion. Good day." 

And, snatching up his hat, the doctor departed, leaving them 
to their reflections. 

Here was a delicate subject to be dealt with, and that 
without either loss of time or the sacrifice of their beloved 
child's sensitiveness and reserve. 

Unknown to Ellen, a family conclave assembled under the 
Mosley Street roof, to discuss the momentous question, and 
deliberate what was best to be done. Long and grave were 
their deliberations. At length, taking Mr. Chadwick's imperfect 
speech into consideration, Mr. Ashton consented to lay the case 
before Jabez, and leave his brother-in-law to supplement it, if 
necessary ; though opinions were divided as to the result. 

It was after business hours, and Mr. Ashton found Jabez in 
his own room, doing his best to dissipate thought by hard work, 
mind and hand being busy with a chintz pattern for calico- 
printing. 

There was a nervous plunge into the gold snuff-box, and a 
consequent flourish of a gay bandana, and some time spent in 
examining the incomplete design on the desk before Mr. Ashton 
could fairly enter on his embassy. After a little prelude, in 
which, whilst enlarging on the serious nature of his niece's illness, 
he elicited from Jabez that he held the young lady in the very 
highest esteem, and was deeply grieved to hear of her perilous 
state, he put down his snuff-box on the table before him, and 
drawing up his chair so as to bring their heads closer together, 
looked steadfastly into the other's clear eyes as he put the 
question 



THB MANCHESTER MAN. 393 

"And what should you think of love as the cause of her 
malady ? " 

" LOVE ! " echoed Jabez, his mind running off to the agonised 
confession made to him on the Taxal hillside. 

"Yes, love, and for the very man whose merits my foolish 
child failed to see." 

Jabez looked at him vaguely. 

"Surely, not Mr. Marsland ! " 

" Pah ! no ! " exclaimed Mr. Ashton, as if disgusted at his 
obtuseness. " Yourself, man Jabez Clegg." 

Jabez fixed his eyes on his informant in blank amazement, a 
monosyllabic long-drawn " Me ! " being his sole response. 

" Just so ! " assented Mr. Ashton, and he took a pinch of 
snuff on the strength of it. 

" Oh, sir, there must be some mistake ! How has this been 
ascertained ? Has Miss Chadwick made " 

" No, Clegg, the poor lass has never said one word, except 
with her eyes and pulse. Dr. Hardie has made the discovery 
now, and it turns out Mrs. Chadwick suspected it long ago." 

"Oh, dear! dear 1 this is very terrible!" 

He was estimating the pain in Ellen's heart by that in his own. 

" Very terrible indeed, Clegg, for Hardie says the lass's life 
is not worth so much as a yard of filleting if her love meet 
no return." 

The head of Jabez sank in his open hands upon the table. 
What would his friend Travis think of all this ? Presently he 
raised his face, over which a strange change had passed. 

" Mr. Ashton, what would you have me do ? " 

"Whatever Jabez Clegg thinks he ought to do," he answered 
steadily, adding in another tone, "I would have been glad to 
have given thee my own child ; my brother-in-law implores thee 
to take his child, to save her life," 



394 THB MANCHESTER 

After a prolonged silence Jabez spoke. 

" Mr. Ashton, I hold that love alone can sanctify marriage ; 
my love has blossomed and died fruitless. Yet so highly do I 
esteem Miss Chadwick, and so proud am I of the great honour 
she has done me in her preference, that I place myself in your 
hands. If I can spare so amiable a young lady the pain I 
suffer from rejected love, I should be a brute and a savage to 
refuse her the remnant of a valueless life. We may at least 
soften its asperities for each other." 

The Chadwicks went home with minds relieved, but Jabez 
had stipulated that nothing should be said to Ellen of their 
overtures to him, no hint given which could alarm her shrinking 
modesty. 

The following day he called to inquire about her health, 
made his genuine anxiety apparent, and noted, as he had never 
done before, how her lip trembled and her eyelid drooped. 
Gradually, as his attentions became more marked, her health 
and spirits rose, and when at last he proposed to her calmly, 
quietly, as though he sought a haven when the frothy waves of 
a first passion had subsided, she accepted him as God's best 
gift, all unaware that his offer was not spontaneous, or that her 
cousin Augusta was yet deeply shrined in his secret heart. 

He had been at first greatly concerned about Ben Travis, 
but the generous fellow, to whom he felt in honour bound to 
explain his conduct, only wrung his hand, and said 

" I could not resign her to a worthier." 






CHAPTER THE FORTY-SECOND. 



BLOWS. 

ICHARD CHADWICK, who 
had served as a midshipman 
under Admiral Collingwood, 
and shared in the victory of 
Trafalgar, was a midshipman 
still, and his vessel had long 
been away on a foreign 
station. Few, brief, and far 
between had been his oppor- 
tunities to visit home and 
friends. Ships had been paid 
off, but he had been ex- 
changed, several years had 
elapsed since he had set foot 
in Manchester, and the hearts 

of his kin yearned towards their sailor. 

His very whereabouts was unknown to them, and when 

written communication was necessary, letters had to be forwarded 

through the Admiralty. 

Ellen's engagement and prospective marriage called forth a 

voluminous epistle, crossed and recrossed like a trellis, from Mrs. 

Chadwick to her son, whose presence she craved, if leave of 

absence could possibly be obtained. The letter was a singular 




AUGUSTA DRESSING. 



39$ THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

compound of gratulation and apology, through which a thin 
undercurrent of dissatisfaction meandered like a stream. His 
sister's strange malady and infatuation for a man of apparently 
low origin, whose name and parentage were alike unknown, were 
set forth to be deplored. Still, since the sole remedy for Ellen's 
ailment rested with this obscure Mr. Clegg, whose career upwards, 
from his floating cradle to his honourable position in the 
Ash ton house and warehouse, was circumstantially detailed, his 
personal worth was a matter for congratulation ; and the deep 
obligation of the whole family to him for the service rendered 
on Peterloo Day seemed dragged in as a sort of extenuating 
circumstance. Clearly the Mr. Travis, whose name and pre- 
tensions cropped up here and there throughout the letter would 
have been a more acceptable son-in-law in the sight of Mrs. 
Chad wick and his other sister, Charlotte Walmsley, and just as 
clearly it was made apparent that his paralysed father (hale 
and strong in all other respects) was as much infatuated with the 
young man as was Ellen, having " positively offered to take 
him into partnership on his entrance into the family." And 
even there Mrs. Chadwick felt " constrained to admit that the 
clear head, business tact, and energy of Mr. Clegg would be a 
great acquisition." 

This item of news closed the missive, which must have gone 
a circuitous round of red tape it was so long upon its travels. 
Months came and went ; Father Christmas shook his snowy locks 
over the town ; but neither the midshipman nor a written substitute 
put in an appearance. 

Meanwhile Jabez, who had crushed down in the garden of his 
heart those roots of his love for Augusta which mocked his 
strength to eradicate, did his best to plant and foster above 
them a grateful affection for the one who had chosen him, and 
hoped in time that the newer growth might utterly extinguish 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 397 

the old, His attentions to Ellen were more assiduous than, under 
the circumstances, might have been expected , but he argued with 
himself 

"I must endeavour to atone to her for a proposal in which 
love had no part She must never have occasion to suspect the 
truth. I should be a brute did I remain insensible to the 
unconquerable love she has so long cherished in secret for me. 
Augusta's face, alas ! was more divinely fair, her manner more 
enchanting ; but Ellen, though she is older than myself, will 
doubtless make the better wife for a business man who has to 
carve his way to fortune, and she loves me!" 

Ellen, too, had her seasons of doubt and perplexity. She 
had been so sensitively alive to the silent homage of Jabez 
Clegg to her younger and fairer cousin that at first her mind 
had refused to realise the fact that he desired to marry her, 
even though his proposal had been preceded by direct and 
palpable attention. She had been at first inclined to attribute 
his many acts of kindness and courtesy to friendship and 
compassion for her failing health. And when he had spoken 
of being won by her many estimable qualities to seek her for 
a wife, she had listened incredulously ; then, overpowered by 
contending emotions, sank back amongst her cushions in a 
state of insensibility. Even her tremulous acceptance had been 
uttered as in a blissful dream, which might vanish all too 
soon. From time to time she perplexed herself with questions 
of the motive for so sudden a change in one so steadfast as 
Jabez, and at last wavered between the two suppositions that 
Augusta's wilfulness had wearied him, or that she owed her 
lover to pique. Of the real state of the case she had no inkling. 

She was not alone in her latter supposition. 

"A happy new year to you, Mrs. Clowes!" said our friend 
Jabez to his friend the old confectioner, as at one stride he took 



398 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

the two steps to her confined shop on the bright frosty second 
of January, 1823, and extended his hand to her across the counter, 
where she still kept up a show of activity in spite of age and 
wrinkles. 

"Same to you, Mr. Clegg." 

She had been one of the first to recognise his right to the 
prefix, and, with all her old-fashioned familiarity, never dropped 
it. 

"Eh, but now I look at thee, thah doesn't look ower bright 
an* happy ; " and she peered into his face inquiringly. 

He smiled. 

" Looks are not always to be relied on. I ought to be 
happy, for I am about to be married, and my errand hither is 

to " 

She interrupted him with 

"So I've heard. But what o' that? Is she th' reet un ? 
For I wouldna give a mince-pie for thi' happiness if she isna." 

The blood mounted painfully to his forehead. 

" Miss Chadwick is all that is estimable and amiable, Mrs. 
Clowes," he answered steadily, "and if I am not happy with her 
it will be my own fault." 

The old dame was not satisfied. The white linen lappets of 
her antiquated mutch flapped like a spaniel's ears as she shook 
her head. 

"Eh, well!" sighed she, opening and shutting a drawer in the 
counter abstractedly, "you should know best, but both me and 
Parson Brookes (dead and gone as he is) thought you'd set your 
mind on th' lass that rantipollin lad Aspinall snapped up. I hope 
thah's not goin' to wed th' cousin out o' spite," and she looked 
up in his face, over which a cloud had swept. " It would be 
the worst day's work you ever did, either for her or you." 

He had mastered his emotion, and answered cheerfully 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 399 

" Make your mind easy, Mrs. Clowes. I am not marrying from 
any unworthy motive, and I think our prospect of happiness is 
about the average. I came to ask you, as the oldest friend I 
have in the town, to be present on the occasion." 

Mrs. Clowes was overpowered. 

"What! Mr. Clegg ! Me, in my old black stuff gown and 
mutch, among your grand folk ? Nay, nay ; I'm too old to don 
weddin' garments. But I tell you what " and her face puckered 
with pride and pleasure " you shall have the finest wedding-cake 
that ever was baked i' Manchester, and the old woman will 
mebbe look on the weddin' from some quiet nook, out o' the 
way. It's a thousand pities Jotty is not alive to marry you." 

" There will be no grand folk, Mrs. Clowes ; I am but a poor 
man struggling upwards, and Miss Chadwick has not had good 
health of late ; so we shall be married very quietly on Wednesday 
week. Only very near relatives or old friends are invited." 

Customers interrupted the colloquy. When the shop was clear 
she asked where he was going to live after marriage, and was 
told with his bride's parents. 

" Eh ! but that's a bad look out. Now, I've built some 
houses in a new street off Oxford Road as they call Rosamond 
Street, an' I'll tell you what, you shall have one to live in at 
a peppercorn rent, and I'll lend you the money to furnish it. 
Young folk are best by themselves." 

Clear and bright were the eyes that met hers in reply. 

"Thank you, Mrs. Clowes, thank you heartily for your kind 
offer; but I think you lose sight of Mr. Chadwick's infirmity. 
He has acted very liberally towards me in fact, has offered to 
take me into partnership and I should ill repay him by 
removing from his hearth the good daughter on whom he 
relies. It is rather my duty to add to the comfort of his 
declining years," 



4co THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

" Oh ! " said she, sharply, " if that's how you raise your crust 
I'd best keep my fingers out of your pie." 

Jabez was going. The shop was full. 

" Stay, Mr. Clegg," said she, beckoning him into her parlour, 
and closing the door. " It's hard cheese for a man to owe 
everything to his father-in-law. I've got 500 hanging on hand. 
It's not much, but the least bit of capital would make you feel 
independent, and it's heartily at your service ; and if you don't 
like to take it without interest you can pay me one per cent, 
and repay me when you've made a fortune ; and if that doesn't 
come till I lay under a stone bed-quilt, you can hand it over 
to my first godchild." 

That same evening Augusta Aspinall stood before a large 
oval swing-glass in her luxurious dressing-room, the blazing fire 
shed its warm glow on polished furniture, amber silk hangings, 
bright fireirons, costly mirrors, and expensive toilet ware (of 
execrable shape). She was robing for a ball at the Assembly 
Rooms, and Cicily, who, although cook, insisted on retaining her 
post as lady's-maid on such occasions, had just fastened the last 
hook of a delicate lilac figured silk as soft as it was lustrous, 
with swansdown fringing skirt, sleeves, and bodice, as if to show 
how fair was the symmetrical neck of the wearer to stand such 
test 

In came Laurence fresh from the Spread Eagle in Hanging 
Ditch, where he, a newly-elected member of the Scramble Club, 
had spent the afternoon with one or two others, forgetful that 
the origin of the club was the fourpenny pie and glass of ale, 
or at most the slice from a joint despatched in a hurry or 
" scramble " by business men to whom time was money. 

Neither time nor money seemed of much value to Mr. Laurence, 
who was equally lavish with both, taking as much from his father's 
business and adding as little as could well be imagined. His step 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 401 

on the threshold caused Augusta to turn round, beaming and 
beautiful, and dart towards him, exclaiming 

" I'm so glad you've come ! " simultaneously with his " Clear 
out, Cis ! " and a warm embrace which somewhat disarranged the 
dainty dress. His wife was yet a new toy, and his passion had 
not had time to evaporate. She was a something to admire and 
exhibit for admiration as a possession of his own ; and though 
her love had received one or two rude shocks, he was still a 
glorified being in her eyes, and she clung to him as a true 
wife should cling. She was still but a girl in her teens, proud 
of the admiration she excited. Disengaging herself, she cried 

"Oh, Laurence, see how you have crushed my swansdown! 
and now, dear, do make haste and dress, we shall be so late," 
and putting the fluffy trimming in order, she unlocked a small 
jewel case on the table, and took thence the pearls she had worn 
on her wedding-day. 

" What will you say for these, Augusta ? " cried he, dangling 
before her eyes a gossamer scarf and an exquisite ivory fan, 
whilst his other arm thrown over her white shoulders again 
threatened the elastic down. 

" Oh, Laurence, you are a darling ! Where did those beautiful 
things come from ? " and she gave him more than one kiss in 
payment. 

India, my love ; they are ' far-fetched and dear-bought,' and 
so must be good for you, my lady. I met your uncle Chadwick 
with an old sea-captain, from whom I bought them. By the 
way, matrimony seems catching. We are invited to a wedding," 
and he began leisurely to undress as he spoke. 

" A wedding ! Whose ? " 

He laughed. 

"Ah, woman all over! I thought I had news for you. 
Guess ! " 

PO 



402 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

In small things as well as great it was his delight to 
tantalise, so he kept her guessing whilst he proceeded with his 
toilet, and she began to clasp her pearls on arms and neck, and 
in her pretty ears. 

"Well," said he at length, "who but your cousin Ellen!" 

" Ellen ?" She had gone so little near her own family that 
this was indeed news for her. 

"Yes; I thought she meant to die an old maid, but it seems 
she's not too proud to wear your cast-off slippers." 

"My cast-off slippers ? What do you mean?" and she paused 
whilst clasping her bracelet with a look of bewildered interrogation. 

"Now, Augusta, pray don't look so innocent! Your father's 
favourite fetch-and-carry, that sneaking, canting fox, Jabez Clegg, 
finding that Miss Ashton was a sour grape, has straightway 
gone wooing to Miss Ashton's cousin as fruit ripe enough and 

near enough to drop into his vulpine jaws, and, by G , the 

girl has had no more spirit than to drop when he shook the 
boughs, rather than hang on untasted !" 

The speaker's lip and nose had curled with contempt as he 
began, then his nostril dilated, and he struck his wet hand on 
the washstand with a force which threatened the earthenware 
and set it jingling. 

Augusta was not yet schooled to silence ; her generous spirit 
rose to repel these allegations. 

" Oh, Laurence, how can you ? Ellen has had plenty of 
admirers ; she has no need to wear anyone's cast-off shoes. 

And as for Mr. Clegg ! He is no cast-off slip " she checked 

herself; a thousand trivial and forgotten things flashed across 
her mind at once ; there was no doubt that Jabez had aspired 
to her own hand he must have offered himself to Ellen in 
pique, to look as if he didn't care ; she could not add the "of 
mine," which should have rounded her sentence ; she substituted, 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 403 

with barely a moment's pause, " He is neither a sneak nor a 
cant, and if Ellen marries him she will have a good husband ;" 
adding with marvellously little tact or knowledge of her own 
husband, " I am sure, Laurence, dear, you have no right to 
speak ill of the man who saved your life in the very pond that 
is frozen over now before our doors ! And you cannot really 
think him mercenary, when he refused the 500 your father 
offered as a reward for his bravery." 

Not lightning was more quick and scathing than the fury 
which flashed from her husband's eyes and almost paralysed 
his tongue as the last words fell from her lips. With the 
damp towel in his hand he struck across her beautiful bare 
shoulders with a force which traced red lines upon their snow ; 
then marked her round arm with a band as red by tearing away 
the suspended fan and scarf, which he threw behind the fire 
without one thought of either " far-fetched " or " dear-bought." 

"Soh, madam!" he hissed, rather than spoke, whilst Augusta 
shrank from him in affright, " soh ! you dare defend the wretch 
who played the spy on us at Carr attacked me, an unarmed 
man, with a stick, like a coward, and left me bleeding there for 
dead, hoping to win the heiress for himself!" 

From her father and Cicily both she had gathered the truth 
of that night's exploits. His misrepresentations no longer 
misled ; but for very fear she held her peace. He went on 

" Madam, that night's savage attack cancelled every debt of 
gratitude I owed the calculating knave who turned his back on 
my father's 500, thinking to multiply it by thousands from 
your father !" 

"It is not true!" she dared to say, her sense of justice and 
her spirit of resistance rising in defence of one she knew to be 
foully aspersed. Not because he was Jabez Clegg, but because 
he was an absentee maligned, 



404 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

A shriek rang through the big house, and servants came 
scurrying up, with Mr. Aspinall in their midst; and Cicily, the 
first to dash between them, caught on her well-covered back the 
blow from the madman's brace, which would else have fallen 
afresh on the naked shoulders of his wife, already scored by it 
with livid welts. 

Carry away the fainting lady soothe the infuriated savage 
apply raw beef to shoulders as red, if not as raw let the brute 
steep himself in brandy unto stupefaction. The morning will 
come, when the fumes of passion and brandy will alike have 
passed away, and the man will repent him of his cruelty. But 
the sting of groundless jealousy will remain, and the broad livid 
stripes across the white shoulders. Time and care will efface 
those marks, but neither kisses, nor caresses, nor presents, nor 
time itself can obliterate the hieroglyphics stamped with that 
buckskin brace on the young wife's heart. He has fixed the name 
of Jabez Clegg there, and in conjunction " brute " and " liar," as 
equivalent to his own. 

It might have been expected after this that the Aspinalls 
would have been conspicuous by their absence from the cousin's 
wedding, or that Augusta might have laid her wrongs before 
her mother. But, no ; your jealous man never spares himself a 
pang if he hopes to inflict one ; and the wilful woman who finds 
she has made a mistake in marriage is the last to confess it. 

Cold weather and recent indisposition served as an apology 
for the violet velvet spencer which, worn above the pale lilac silk, 
covered bust and neck ; and it was far from unbecoming to the 
young matron or the occasion. 

Old Mrs. Clowes who had kept her word anent the cake, 
which was a triumph of confectionery skill from some long- 
closed coffer brought forth a stiff brocade of ancient make and 
texture, placed a bonnet on her unaccustomed head, and from a 




GEORGE PILKINGTON. 
From a Photograph. 






THE MANCHESTER MAN. 405 

far seat in the choir watched Jabez Clegg enter with his college 
friend and groomsman, stalwart George Pilkington, though she 
did not see them linger to read the inscription over the grave 
of Joshua Brookes, or look up with grateful remembrance to the 
Chetham Gallery, where they had worshipped together. But she 
remembered them as boys in long blue gowns and yellow under- 
skirts, and could not help contrasting the college dress of the 
past with the high-collared bright blue coats, the gilt buttons, 
lemon-coloured vests, light trousers, and white kid gloves, in which 
they found their way to her to shake hands, whilst waiting for 
the trembling white-robed bride and her friends. 

And there Mrs. Clowes sat and listened to the irrevocable 
words which bound Jabez to " love and cherish " the woman who 
loved him with her whole soul; whilst in spite of himself his very 
brain was reeling with memories of that other wedding-day, 
when Laurence Aspinall and Augusta Ashton, now standing calm 
and beautiful in the background, had breathed the selfsame vows 
before that altar; and somehow the old dame had a secret 
misgiving when all was 'over that it was " not the reet one 
after all." 

"All over!" had been the cry from the heart of Jabez then. 
"All over!" was the echo now, as the last "Amen" sounded, 
and he registered a silent oath, not down in the rubric, to keep 
the troth he had plighted, although no electric thrill answered 
the shy touch of Ellen's hand, or the dumb devotion of her glance, 
and although Augusta's greeting of her new " cousin " jarred a 
still sensitive nerve. 

All over! so men delude themselves. "All over!" they say, 
when disappointment closes the door of the past, and veils their 
eyes to the vista of the future. "All over!" when the curtain 
falls on the prologue of life's drama. Yet it rises again, and they 
find that the play has but just begun. 



CHAPTER THE FORTY-THIRD. 




PARTNERSHIP. 

Y dint of persuasion old Mrs. Clowes was induced to 
place her well-saved brocade at the table graced by 
the wedding-cake she had manufactured ; though, as 
she afterwards said confidentially to Jabez, " I must 
have had as much brass in my face as I had i' my pocket to 
sit down cheek-by-jowl wi' grand folks with foine manners, who 
might come into my shop th' next day to be served with a 
pound o' gingerbread ; but I'd not ha' missed Mester Ashton's 
toast for summat. And I don't know as annybody turned up a 
nose bout it wur that spark Aspinall, who owes me for manny 
a quarter a pound of humbugs." 

Round that hospitable and substantial wedding breakfast, 
which owed much of its success to the bride's own deft fingers, 
also gathered the Cloughs, who had watched the career of the 
bridegroom with interest from his cradle Miss Clough as 
bridesmaid ; Mr. John M'Connell and Henry Liverseege, who had 
cultivated his friendship from their first introduction ; John 
Walmsley and Charlotte, who privately chafed at his reception 
into the family ; and Augusta, whose brilliancy was somewhat 
dimmed by the overt watchfulness of too courteous and attentive 
Laurence ; but there was no Ben Travis, and missing him, Jabez 
was disposed to gravity. But though there were uncongenial 
elements present, George Pilkington's cheery voice and lively 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 407 

sallies sufficed to set mirth afoot and keep her dancing ; whilst 
Mrs. Ashton, stately and proverbial, seemed to share some 
pleasant secret with which Mr. Chadwick and her husband were 
on the qui vive. 

It was the age for toasts and sentiments. Some smart and 
witty things had been uttered, but not until the cake was cut 
and commended, and a post-chaise at the door waited to convey 
the newly-married pair to Carr Cottage and the earliest friends 
of the bridegroom, did Mr. Ashton rise to his feet, snuff-box 
in hand, and, with a merry twinkle in his eye, propose 

" Success to the new partnership ! " 

" Stop, my friends ! " said he, as glasses were elevated in 
honour of the toast ; perhaps I had better explain what is meant 
by the new partnership." 

" I should think that was pretty obvious," whispered 
Laurence to his friend Walmsley across the table, but he 
changed his opinion presently. 

" There are partnerships for life," continued Mr. Ashton, 
"where the contract is attested in church, as we have had the 
pleasure of witnessing to-day, and, I am sure, with the best of 
wishes for its success ; and there are partnerships in business, 
which are usually signed, sealed, and attested in a lawyer's 
office ; and it is to such a one I now refer, in conjunction with 
the former." 

He paused to consult his snuff-box, and smiled to see 
how suddenly inattentive heads were eagerly bent forward to 
listen. 

" It may not be generally known that my dear nephew Jabez, 
at the close of his honourable apprenticeship, declined an eligible 
offer from brother Chadwick, in order to remain with us." 

(Walmsley and Aspinall exchanged glances. Mrs. Clowes looked 
knowing.) 



408 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

"It may not be generally known that he has a small amount 
of capital invested in our concern at present." 

(" Small enough, I should say," muttered Laurence.) 

" Now, there being no likelihood that his son Richard will 
ever leave his ship for a warehouse, Mr. Chadwick proposed to 
take his son-in-law Jabez into equal partnership, considering his 
integrity, his business tact, and energy to be equivalent to 
capital." 

" Hear ! hear ! " in which Mr. Chadwick's stumbling tongue was 
loudest, and "Success to the new partnership!" 

(The snuff-box closed, the bandana was disposed of, the speaker's 
beaming face was all in a glow.) 

" Stop ! stop ! gentlemen ! not so fast, You will have to fill 
your glasses afresh. We have not yet got to the new partnership." 

("What the d 1 is he driving at?" was Aspinall's polite 

query to Walmsley, who shook his head in token of ignorance.) 

"Brother Chadwick had concluded that Mr. Clegg was wholly 
without capital, whereas he happens to have more than a 
thousand pounds at his disposal." 

(Broadcloth made sudden acquaintance with chair backs. 
George Pilkington grasped his friend's hand ; there was a 
puckering of Mrs. Clowes's wrinkles ; there were lowering brows 
from Laurence and John.) 

"And Mr. Clegg being perfectly satisfied with his present 
investment, and anxious to join the gingham manufacturer without 
quitting the smallware manufacturer, proposed "pinch of snuff 
"that the two concerns should be amalgamated, and he have a 
share. Gentlemen and ladies, the proposal was hailed as an 
inspiration; and, as soon as the change can be legally effected, 
the firm will be gazetted as ' Ashton, Chadwick, and Clegg!' 
And now let us drink ' Success to the new partnerships, 
matrimonial and commercial ! " 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 409 

Aspinall's voice alone remained silent amongst the enthusiastic 
cheers with which the toast was drunk. Ellen, with humid eyes, 
escaped to change her garments, and Augusta also rose; but as 
she passed the new Manchester man, around whom friends 
crowded with congratulations, she put out her hand with a smile, 
and said, "Cousin Jabez, I wish success to both your partnerships 
with all my heart." 

Laurence was at her elbow, apparently to lead her with 
courteous ceremony from the room, and whilst offering one hand 
with a graceful inclination of his head, he contrived with the 
other to pinch the upper part of her arm, and to whisper in her 
ear, between his set teeth 

" D n you, madam ! You shall smart for this ! " 

An irrepressible ejaculation of pain burst from her. More 
than one turned round. There was real concern on the brow 
of Jabez as he asked 

"What is the matter, Mrs. Aspinall? Are you hurt?" 

She made light of it. 

" Oh, nothing, nothing. I struck my foot against a chair 
that was all." 

But Jabez saw the white, frightened face, and felt there was 
something more ; and that scared look haunted him for many a day. 

Laurence attended his wife to the staircase, smiling blandly 
whilst within sight or earshot. Ere he left her at the stairfoot 
he gripped her tiny hand till her jewelled rings cut the flesh ; 
and the smile became satanic as he whispered 

"You are discreet, madam. I charge you to remain so for 
your life ! " 

Once in Ellen's crowded bedchamber she became hysterical, 
to her cousin's great grief. But she overmastered her emotion 
by a violent effort, excused it on the plea of recent indisposition, 
and was consoled by her mother and other sagacious matrons 



410 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

with the remark that such affections might be expected. The 
newly-married pair were whirled away down Oldham Street and 
up Piccadilly ; old Mrs. Clowes took her departure, and then 
Augusta, acting on Mrs. Clough's advice, lay on the drawing- 
room sofa to rest. 

Not until night did the guests depart, Mr. Liverseege being 
the first to retire. There was a late dinner at six o'clock, and 
when the gentlemen rose from their post-prandial wine, and 
sought the drawing-room, all considerably elevated, Laurence 
Aspinall was too intoxicated to move. The Aspinall carriage 
had been waiting an hour. The coachman and Bob the groom 
grew anxious and impatient about the horses. 

" Mr. Laurence drunk ? Eh ! that matters nowt ! " exclaimed 
the latter. " Steve an' me '11 manage him." And taking the 
limp young Hercules between them, they somehow hauled him 
to the carriage, and ensconced him in one corner, with his head 
drooping on his breast. 

Augusta shrank from joining him, afraid lest he should awake 
to malicious consciousness on the road. 

" Oh ! I dare not go home with him ! Indeed, I dare not go 
home with him ! " 

" My dear," said her mother gravely, " I am afraid you must. 
A wife cannot absent herself from home because her lord and 
master indulges in too much wine, even though he may 
occasionally make a beast of himself. It is too late to think 
of this now. What cannot be cured must be endured. As you 
made your own bed, you will have to lie on it to the end. 
Those who leave the spring for the stream must expect muddy 
water. However, there is nothing so bad but it might be worse. 
Once is not always, and love overlooks lapses." 

Augusta's persistence that she dared not be "shut up with 
him alone," caused Mrs. Ashton to say 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 411 

" Well, my daughter, the occasion has been so unusual that 
even your own father has taken more wine than his wont, or he 
might bear you company. That groom seems a steady man ; 
suppose he rides inside to support his master ; and, whatever 
you do, remember when wine is in wit is out; silence is a wife's 
safeguard, and you will have to make the best of a bad bargain." 

A month back Augusta would have tossed her head, and 
laughed lightly at her mother's pet philosophy. That night she 
rode home from Jabez Clegg's wedding feast with a groom and a 
drunken man, pondering whether spirited resentment or tame 
submission was her best course. The morning dawned on a wife 
pinched black and blue, with hardly strength or spirit to sob. 

Then followed a reaction, and a period of remorseful uxorious 
penitence, during which Laurence submitted with a tolerable 
grace to a lecture from Mr. Aspinall, senior, who saw that something 
was amiss ; and chivalrous gallantry towards woman being part 
of this gentleman's creed, he did not spare his son. 

Nor did Laurence spare himself. He knelt at his wife's feet, 
called her "an angel," and himself "a savage," implored her 
forgiveness, excused his jealousy on the ground of passionate 
love, lavished his means on extravagant gifts for her, and 
exhausted language in fair promises. But so proud was he of 
his wife's beauty, that he must needs exhibit at theatre and 
assembly the jewel he had won; whilst the admiration she excited 
set his jealous brain on fire, and she paid the penalty in the 
silence of night, or even in the close carriage driving home. 

But his contrition and the old plea of "excessive love" for his 
jealous infirmity won her over, and not even Cicily more than 
suspected half his cruelty. 

****** 

Great preparations had been made at Whaley Bridge for the 
reception of Mr. and Mrs. Clegg ; the factory windows were extra 



4 12 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

burnished; the landlord of the "White Hart" hoisted a flag; 
the mill-hands lined the road to greet them ; the avenue gate 
was thrown open that the chaise might drive on to the cottage; 
somebody had put Crazy Joe into a new suit of clothes for the 
occasion, and he stood by the side of little Sim on the step of 
the Gothic arch (the greater child of the twain) to laugh and 
chuckle a welcome, as sincere in its way as the homely greetings 
of the orphan's fosterers. 

It was a fine stalwart young man, of open but grave 
countenance, around whom Bess threw her motherly arms, 
while Tom Hulme helped the bride to alight, and marshalled 
the way for the pair, who followed arm-in-arm into the 
house-place, where Simon, stiff with age and rheumatism, 
kept possession of the padded chair set apart for the sick or 
aged. 

In some way the knowledge that Mr. Clegg came as a master, 
and not as a servant, had preceded him. 

" Eh, Jabez, lad," exclaimed Simon, tears of joy coursing down 
his cheeks, " that aw should ever live to see this day ! Would 
annyone ha' thowt as th' little lass at' played wi' ar Jabez an' 
his toys, an 1 kissed him when he wur a babby, would come to 
wed him when he wur a mon an' a gentlemen into th' bargain ! 
An' neaw let thi wife goo an* tak' off her pelisse while thah talks 
to me ; hoo'll be tired wi' th' lung journey, aw reckon. Theere's a 
fire i' th' best parlour, that's th' place fur gentlefolk, an' yo'r 
supper's laid theer." 

Old Simon naturally concluded that young lovers wanted no 
society but each other. On five-year-old Sim such a consciousness 
had not yet dawned, and so he penetrated into the "best parlour," 
and, much to the relief of the bridegroom, broke into that first 
domestic tete-a-tete to exhibit some wonderful pictures he had drawn 
with red ruddle picked from the gravel-path. 




MAN AND WIFE. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 413 

They had been at Carr Cottage little more than ten days or a 
fortnight, the first week being wet ; Jabez, without neglecting 
Ellen, busied himself with contemplated changes and improvements 
at the mill, and thus the great bane of the modern honeymoon 
was avoided. The occupation thus found for the mind and hand 
of Jabez at that particular epoch of his life was a blessing for 
which Ellen had need to be thankful in after years, if she had 
but known it. 

As it was, she did fancy he might have given her a little 
more of his time, and not have needed her suggestion to re-visit 
Taxal and the spot where he had wooed her for another, and 
not for himself. Yet a very slight hint was sufficient, and, taking 
advantage of a clear, dry day, the two re-trod the old path by 
the Goyt, which awoke reminiscences that could but be flattering 
to that self-love of which every human being has a share. 

Sitting down as man and wife on the lightning-scathed tree- 
trunk, which had never been removed, he remembered the 
confession wrung from her agony on that very spot. His arm 
stole round her waist in the pitiful compassion it evoked. A 
new emotion stirred within his breast. He folded his wife in 
his arms, and pressed upon her answering lips his first spon- 
taneous kiss of dawning affection. 

Half-way home they were met by Crazy Joe, who had been 
sent to seek them. A consecutive message was beyond his 
grasp. All they could make out was, "Back! Sharp! Quick!" 
And, hastening on in alarm, they at length discerned Mr. Ashton 
at the gate, on the look-out. His pleasant nod was reassuring. 

" My dear," he cried to Ellen, as they advanced, " Dick has 
got his promotion at last ; Lieutenant Chadwick has been duly 
gazetted. Here is his letter to your mother, dated from Mai 
Stop, my dear!" Ellen had put out her hand for the thick, 
heavy missive "A communication which called your old uncle 



4H THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

Ashton out of his way to act as courier is not to be dealt 
with lightly. And before it is read I must know whether you 
would rather be Mrs. Clegg or Mrs. Travis ?" 

Closer she clung to the arm of Jabez. 

"Oh, uncle! How can you ask?" 

There was a sly gleam in the corner of his eye. 

"Ah! just so. That's it. How can I ask?" 

But his face sobered. He handed the letter to his new nephew. 

"Jabez, I think you had better carry it to your own room 
for private perusal. I will communicate its contents to all 
whom it may concern besides." 

Jabez had deep feelings, though he was not demonstrative, 
and long before he had mastered its contents he was thankful 
for the delicacy which had spared him an open display of 
irrepressible emotion. 

The writer, who was stationed at Malta, after dwelling on 
his own promotion, and answering sundry maternal questions 
relative to himself, went on to say 

" And so our Nell's going to be married. Well, it's about 
time she'll be twenty-six next April, or I've lost my reckoning. 

"And so she was fretting herself to fiddle-strings for a fellow 
younger than herself, and without a shilling or a name, when 
she might have had a finer fellow, with name and shiners to 
boot. Bravo ! Nell, for choosing a brave lad instead of a 
money-bag! She's the sister for a sailor, whatever Charlotte 
may think. 

"But your story of the flood and the cradle, and your mention 
of Mr. Travis, coming both together, recall a story I had 
forgotten, which may perhaps furnish a name for Nell's hero of 
the Irk and Peterloo. 

"We had a broad-set sailor on board the Royal Sovereign, 
who was always getting into scrapes for chalking caricatures of 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 4*5 

the officers on the bunks and cabin-doors ; but there wasn't a 
man fore or aft that hadn't at some time or other coaxed a 
picture or portrait out of him, to send to mother or sweetheart, 
and never a Jack Tar amongst them would split on good- 
natured Ben Travis." 

Down dropped the shaking hand that held the letter. Ben 
Travis ! What strange coincidence was this ? 

" His father had been a Liverpool shipbroker, and Ben took 
to me because I was a Lancashire lad like himself, though he 
was old enough to be my father. He had been pressed, and 
as I was the youngest middy, and he the master of the 
forecastle, many a time had he told me the sad story of his 
life. His father had died without a will, and Ned, his eldest 
brother, had laid his clutches on everything but a hundred 
pounds or so, which had been the mother's. Ben turned his 
back on Liverpool and his brother, and being smart with his 
pencil, took to that to get a living. He wandered about to 
pick up bits of scenery, and at Crumpsall fell in with a widow 
and her daughter, both named Ann Crompton, and went to 
lodge with them. After a while he married the lass, and 
thinking if he meant to earn a living for his wife and the 
child that was coming he'd best seek a large town, he removed 
to Manchester, and took an old cottage in Smedley Vale, where 
he hoped to turn his talent to account." 

The paper rattled, and Jabez leaned against the window- 
frame, as much for support as light, as he read on with panting 
lips. 

*' He tried portrait-painting, but lacked a patron ; he turned 
his head to pattern-designing, but no one would employ a raw 
beginner. His money was dwindling, and a birth was near at 
hand. He doted on his wife, and for her sake wrote to his 
brother, who was married when their father died. Ned wrote 



416 THE MANCHESTER MAN, 

back enclosing a bank-note, and begging to see him at once. 
His wife had died, leaving a baby-boy, whom he had christened 
Ben, after his runaway brother. Ned said her loss was killing 
him, and he wished to leave his boy in his brother's care before he 
died. Poor Ben Travis kissed his wife, and went by coach to 
Liverpool. Before he could reach his brother's office in Castle 
Street, near the docks, he was pounced upon by a pressgang, 
dragged on board a ship in the Mersey, and never saw 
brother, or wife, or home again. I have seen Ben's tears roll 
down his weather-beaten cheeks many a time as he told this. He 
was one of the first sent down to the cock-pit at the battle of 
Trafalgar, and when Admiral Nelson's glorious remains went home 
to be buried, Ben went likewise, to hospital, and I lost sight of 
him. When I was exchanged to the Excellent, Ben turned up 
again, hearty, but aged with grief. He had sought his dear ones, 
but a flood had swept through Smedley Vale in 1799, and left 
no trace of his home. A man at the dye-works remembered 
something about an old woman they called stiff-backed Nan 
being killed by the falling house in trying to save a baby ; but 
Ben could learn no more, and his own impression was that wife, 
child, and mother-in-law had perished in the same catastrophe, 
He went to Liverpool. Death had swept off his brother ; executors 
swept off the son Ben, his namesake. He went back to sea, and 
I saw the brave Ben Travis drowned in trying to save a bumboat 
woman, who fell overboard off Spithead. 

" And now, mother, you used to be a good hand at patchwork 
piece my story and your story together, and see if Ellen's poor 
cradle-friend is not near of kin to your rich friend, Mr. Benjamin 
Travis, with quite as good a right to be called Mr. Travis too. 

"I should have a rough sketch of the old sailor, drawn with 
a quid of 'bacca on the fly-leaf of his Prayer-book, I'll look it 
up for Nell." 



CHAPTER THE FORTY-FOURTH. 

MAN AND BEAST. 

OHE January twilight had deepened into dusk, and from 
dusk to dark, before Jabez was sufficiently master of 
himself to descend into the light of the rooms below. 
Whatever of surprise or satisfaction Richard 
Chadwick's letter had held for him, a wave of sorrow had passed 
over soul and countenance for the sad fate of the parents whom 
he had never known. As his footstep was heard overhead, Ellen 
flew to meet him at the foot of the staircase, and threw herself 
into his arms. 

"My love! my own husband!" was all she said, but such an 
intensity of devotion and sympathy was in the act and tone that 
he felt he had indeed a true heart beating with his as he held 
her close, and his lips touched her forehead as a seal to a 
new bond. 

It was but a single step to the parlour door, which opened on 
a room all aglow with light, and radiant faces. On Mr. Ashton's 
inspiriting, Simon's easy chair had been wheeled in from the 
house-place, there being no stately Mrs. Ashton at hand to demur 
at the innovation, or to whisper a syllable of class distinctions. 
And surely that was not yes, it was Ben Travis himself standing 
by the rheumatic old tanner, with both hands outstretched, to 
greet a new cousin in his long-time friend. And there was Bess, 
proudly glancing from his face to a piece of yellow paper. " It's 

EE 



418 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

as like as two peas," she cried for the twentieth time, handing 
to her tall foster-son a sketch which, though little more than a 
succession of brown smears, was a ludicrous resemblance to 
himself. 

"Well, Jabez," said Mr. Ashton, sitting by the fire, with his 
handkerchief over his knee, after the first hubbub of congratulation 
had subsided, "it is as well our new partnership has not been 
gazetted. I suppose there will have to be a change of name, 
and Ellen there will be Mrs. Travis after all." 

This was but a playful sally on his part, but Ben Travis 
visibly winced, and quick-eyed Jabez saw it. 

" No, sir," replied Jabez, calmly, with his hand on his wife's 
shoulder, " there will be no change. I bear the name of the kind 
friends who saved my infant life ; fed, clothed, and kept me 
through evil report and good report, through pinching poverty, 
privation, and pain" (he glanced towards Bess); "as Jabez Clegg 
I was enrolled as a Blue-coat boy ; as Jabez Clegg I was 
apprenticed to you, sir ; as Jabez Clegg I married my wife ; as 
Jabez Clegg I have been honoured with a place in your firm ; 
and Jabez Clegg shall go with me to the grave. I had no 
name when that good man " (pointing to Simon) " lent me his ; 
time has made it mine, and I mean to keep it as honourable 
as it came to me." He looked down : " Mrs. Clegg are you 
content ? " 

"Perfectly, Jabez." 

A long-sustained pinch of snuff spoke Mr. Ashton's approbation, 
whilst Simon could only reiterate, " Eh, lad, when aw tuk thee 
eawt o' the wayter, aw little thowt whatn a blessin' theaw'd 
be to us, or the credit theaw'd bring on ar neame ! Aw nobbut 
wish Parson Brucks wur aloive neaw to yer thee." 

"Our relationship will only bind our friendship closer, whatever 
name you bear," put in Ben Travis, warmly, in spite of himself 



TUB MANCHESTER MAN. 419 

pleased with the decision which would spare him the pain of 
addressing Ellen as Mrs. Travis. 

"An* meals come reawnd whatever neame yo' ca' them by." 
supplemented Bess, who, like Martha, troubled with much serving, 
had been running in and out during the colloquy, whilst a 
combination of savoury odours, and a clatter of knives and 
plates, came from the adjoining room ; " it's supper toime neaw, 
an' nobbody's had even theer tay yet." 

" Just so, just so, Mrs. Hulme. But never mind the tea," said 
Mr. Ashton ; " here comes your good husband in from the cellar, 
with a bottle or two of generous wine to drink to new 
relationships." 

" I think I shall go abroad for a few months, Cousin Jabez," 
said Travis to him, as Mr. Ashton mounted first into the gig 
to return home next day. " I require to dissipate thought. If 
I were occupied as you are from morning until night there might 
be less necessity. But I say, Chapman the landlord here tells 
me you painted his sign. I think the faculty must run in the 
blood, for I do a bit in that line myself sometimes. How is it 
I have not seen a brush in your hands latterly ? " 

" Well, I got a hint, through painting that very sign, that 
trade and art were incompatible, and seeing the force of the 
remark, as counselled ' the cobbler has stuck to his last.' " 

"Look you, Cousin" (Travis seemed fond of the word), "the 
fabled shield had two sides stick to your trade if you like, but 
don't let your trade absorb you. A business man who allows 
himself no leisure, and has no resource out of his business, is 
apt to degenerate into a money-grubber. I hope better things 
of you." 

A nod, a shake of the hand, the gig rolled off with its 
occupants, and Jabez stood looking after them, hesitating whether 
to go back to the mill or to the cottage, The casual word of 



420 THB MANCHBSTBR MAN. 

warning had come not one whit too soon. That which was 
sending Travis abroad had kept Jabez close to business. He had 
not sought so much to dissipate thought as to circumvent it by 
substitution. If he had given his leisure to the cultivation of art, 
it had of late been art only as connected with manufacture and 
money-making. Even his honeymoon he was casting into the 
X mill as grist. He was ever ready to take a hint. He turned 

his steps towards Carr with something like a sigh. 

"Well, perhaps, I might as well give my afternoons to Ellen 
whilst we are here. I did not come to work, and the poor thing 
does need some compensation for the lack of a lover's ardour. 
God forbid that she should ever suspect that I married her out 
of pity, or that I should become a money-grubber. I wonder if 
Travis thought I was likely to neglect her ? It is a thousand 
pities she should set her mind on me instead of him. And why 
she should passes my comprehension. He has every advantage of 
face, figure, and fortune, to say nothing of his evident devotion. 
Ah ! women are strange creatures, and men are not much better. 
I fear I am very ungrateful not to reciprocate her attachment more 
fully. Why, here she is running down the avenue to meet me, 
as if I had been gone a month. I really ought to love her 
better than I do. But love can neither be forced nor crushed. 

Heigho ! " 

***** 

Back to Manchester they went, rather sooner than expected ; 
and then, though Jabez threw himself into business with a will, he 
bore in mind the parting words of Ben Travis. 

The contemplated amalgamation was effected, not without 
extra draughts on Jabez and his leisure. But as partner of a 
large firm ; even though a junior, it was obvious he could not 
work as designer for calico-printers, or for any other than their 
own house. Consequently, not being a man of pleasure, his 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 421 

evenings hung rather heavily on his hands, especially as neither 
Ellen nor he cared for the card-parties which formed the visiting 
staple. His very marriage had driven away his closest friend, 
and broken in upon plans and schemes which otherwise would 
have found sufficient occupation for his spare hours. Other friends, 
however, dropped in for an occasional chat, notably George 
Pilkington (to whom the wine trade had opened a road to 
fortune), with his reminiscences and jocularity, broke in on the 
monotony of married life, that monotony which is as much to 
be dreaded by young couples as is a first quarrel. 

Ellen knew it not, but Augusta's image often and often rose 
up between husband and wife, and would not be driven back ; 
whilst Ellen's very caresses were a source of pain to him, so 
much he felt himself a debtor to her love. There was a void 
in his breast which she could never wholly fill ; he himself 
complained of a dearth of intellectual recreation, and when Henry 
Liverseege suggested a return to painting, he fell back upon his 
advice. 

The fact is he needed to be alone, to have a place where 
he could shut himself up with himself, whether to indulge in 
day-dreams or to discipline his soul, or to think out the ideas 
of art, trade, or social economy which floated through his brain, 
and were dispersed by actual business or fireside chat ; such a 
sanctum as had been his so many years in Mosley Street ; but, 
self-conscious, he had shrunk from making the proposal, afraid 
to wound his devoted wife by showing a desire to isolate himself. 
The young artist's open remark was enough for Ellen. At once 
a small room, or rather closet, partitioned off from a large one, 
at the top of the house, was set apart for his use. He shelved 
one wall for books, set up an office-desk, carried thither easel, 
papers, and painting materials ; enclosed the fly-leaf of his father's 
Prayer-book within glass and a black frame, suspending it on the 



422 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

wall before him as a sacred relic, and there, after warehouse 
hours, he was wont to shut himself in, and almost forget that he 
was a married man. But this room acted as a safety-valve. 

Luckily, in Ellen's eyes, Jabez could do no wrong ; he was 
gentleness itself in all his comportment towards her, and the love 
which had sprung to life unsought, and lived so long without 
encouragement, asked but slight return to sustain it. It was 
treason for Mrs. Chadwick to hint that Jabez was " unsocial," or 
gave them " too little of his company." She was ever ready to 
resent it with the reply that 

" If he is not dull shut up there by himself, I am sure we 
three have no right to complain of dulness down here together ; " 
yet if we analysed her heart very closely there were longings 
and yearnings for his society known only to herself. 

It was judged advisable, for the further introduction and 
extension of Ashton, Chadwick, and Clegg's business, that one of 
the partners should travel occasionally as their commercial repre- 
sentative ; and naturally this duty devolved upon the active junior, 
whose capacity for the undertaking revealed itself not only in 
heavy remittances and a full order-book, but in a paucity of bad 
debts. Of course he travelled with a horse and gig for the 
carriage of samples, and now and then he would take Ellen with 
him on a short journey, an indulgence which appeared to fill 
the cup of her delight. And altogether the marital yoke in a few 
months adjusted itself to their shoulders very naturally. 

It was during their absence on one of the earliest of these 
journeys that an event occurred which set the indignant blood 
of Jabez on the boil, and showed there was a fire smouldering, 
not extinguished. 

The Aspinall home at Fallowfield was an ancient, many- 
gabled grange, with mullioned windows, recessed window-seats, 
expansive two-leaved entrance arched above; noble hall, with 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 423 

trophies from the hunting-field ; grand staircase, with massive 
carved oak balusters, flights of broad low steps, and wide square 
landings ; long corridors, three or four rooms of magnificent 
proportions, and clusters of little ones grouped around unsuspected 
passages and stairs ; open fire-places recently enclosed, and double 
doors to the chief chambers. Antiquity had set its seal upon the 
place, and filled the panelled rooms with quaint or obsolete 
furniture and adornments, as each successive generation had left 
its quota. High-backed chairs, sofas of grotesque device with dim 
worsted-work cushions and covers, heavy draperies of silk or velvet, 
and tables with legs of all possible patterns. 

It had come to the former Mrs. Aspinall from her ancestors, 
and from her to her son on his marriage ; consequently this was 
the home proper of Laurence and his wife, although they had 
a suite of rooms set apart for them at Ardwick, and Mr. 
Aspinall would fain have had his fascinating daughter-in-law abide 
there always, instead of making his house a mere convenience for 
visiting in town. 

Stabling and other outhouses were attached, the gardens 
were well laid out, there was a good quantity of grass land, all 
enclosed within a high wall, and it lay away from the main 
road. Mr. Aspinall's carriage was a close one, for service as 
well as show. Mr. Laurence, on his accession to his mother's 
property and his wife's dowry, added to other extravagances not 
a like carriage, but a new Tilbury, and astonished the crowd by 
driving tandem. 

Whitsuntide is the great annual festival of Manchester. It 
is the race week, the time when the Sunday-school children 
dress in their best to walk in procession and have excursional 
treats into the country. In 1823 Whit-Sunday fell on the i8th 
of May, when the hawthorn scented the air, and cherry-blossom 
snowed on the carriage which Mr. Aspinall sent for his daughter- 



424 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

in-law, that she might witness from his drawing-room windows 
the interesting spectacle on the Green, and preside over the 
hospitalities of his open house during the week. At that time, 
as now, Monday was the day set apart for the children of all 
the Established Church Schools to assemble at the Collegiate 
Church, sing anthems, and thence defile in long procession six 
abreast, attended by their respective clergy and teachers, until 
they reached the Green, where the girls, in their white caps and 
frocks, were ranged within the enclosure round the Pond, the boys 
forming a dark cordon around them, and the crowd a motley 
one beyond. And then from the multitudinous young throats 
poured forth anthems of praise in a volume of swelling harmony 
which hushed to silence the listening birds above them. 

Augusta, not in robust health, lay on a couch by the window 
and looked on, her father-in-law watching her and anticipating 
her wants with the homage of old-world gallantry, for young 
Mrs. Aspinall was becoming an important person in his eyes. 

Nor was Laurence much less attentive. He had been on 
his best behaviour for some time, and would scarcely let the 
wind of heaven blow too roughly upon her. 

At that period Manchester races were held on Kersal Moor, 
an extensive tract of land generously set apart for the purpose 
by the owner, Miss Byrom. 

" The glass of fashion and the mould of form," was the 
handsome man who patted Augusta's shoulders and stooped 
down to kiss her on Wednesday, the first race day ; but it was 
with something more than a shade of anxiety she saw him 
draw on his buckskin gloves, take the long reins, and mount 
his high Tilbury, with Bob beside him, and dash round the 
lower end of the Green at a canter. 

Evening came to verify her fears. Back from Kersal Moor 
came the tandem and the tandem's master, but the biped was 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 425 

cbrius. He was in that stage of self-satisfied elation which a 
contradictory word would change to fierceness, and the whim of 
the hour was to drive his wife to Fallowfield, and show her how 
dexterous a whip he was, and that not Ducrow could manage 
a tandem better than he. 

It was in vain she or his father pleaded her delicate health, 
the height of the vehicle, the shaking she would sustain ; he 
laughed at her fears, then fiercely insisted, and not daring to 
disobey, she was hoisted to her perilous seat. 

In much alarm, Mr. Aspinall mounted Bob on a saddle- 
horse to follow. The roads were dotted with vehicles and 
people, the latter shouting and singing, or muttering tipsy oaths, 
as the fortune of the day inclined them. Laurence proved his 
dexterity in guiding his far-off leader through all intricacies, but so 
close did wheel often come to wheel that Augusta's heart seemed to 
leap into her throat, and her teeth chattered, although it was May. 

After they turned off from the Stockport Road at Longsight, 
they " spun along at a rattling pace," as he said ; but she had to 
hold by the rail to keep her seat, notwithstanding which, at the 
sharp angle by Birch Fold, the vehicle gave a lurch which almost 
pitched her off. At their own gate there was an abrupt stoppage 
for opening, their return being unexpected. Then the foremost 
horse refused to obey the rein and canter up the drive. Laurence 
plied his whip, which did not mend the matter, and but that Bob 
and the gardener were there to soothe the animals, and lead them 
to the house, worse might have followed. 

As it was, Mrs. Laurence Aspinall was half-dead with fear 
and the shaking. She was lifted down and carried, almost 
insensible, into the house. Cicily and one of the maids got her 
to bed, whilst Aspinall himself, calling groom and gardener from 
the stables into the drawing-room, sat down to have a drinking 
bout with them. 



426 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

Presently Cicily put a white face in at the door, and beckoned 
forth Bob, whom no drink seemed to affect, and sent him off as 
fast as four legs could carry him, to bring back a doctor, and 
acquaint Mr. Aspinall and the Ashtons that his young mistress 
was very ill. 

In less time than might have been expected, Mr. Aspinall's 
carriage brought to the Grange that gentleman, Mrs. Ashton, 
and Mr. Windsor, a young Quaker practitioner from Piccadilly. 
A competent nurse from the Infirmary was on the box. 

There was no doubt she was in a critical state, but the 
immediate danger was warded off; and though Augusta was not 
able to leave her room in the interim, the scent of June's roses 
came in at the open windows before her baby was born, when 
penitent Laurence went into raptures over wife and son. 

For two or three days he hovered about the house, nervously 
anxious lest any sound should disturb the young mother. He 
saw that every domestic was shod with list, stopped the great 
hall clock, and had the rolled-up carpets laid down on the 
polished oaken stairs. 

Four days sufficed. On the fifth he rode off to town on 
Black Ralph on a pretence of business ; but very little did 
Cannon Street see of Mr. Laurence that day. With every 
acquaintance he met was a glass to be drunk, "to wet the 
child's head." At the Scramble Club, where he dined, he paid 
for two or three bottles of wine, also " to wet the child's head," 
according to the practice of the club. Riding home, he stopped 
at the "George and Dragon," Ardwick Green, and went through 
the same process. 

There some one remarked that he was too drunk to stand, 
much less ride home, when he swore with an oath that he would 
show them how he could ride ; he and Black Ralph were equal 
to anything. And then, amid roars of derisive laughter, he flung 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

out another oath, and laid a wager which was regarded merely 
as the boasting of drunken braggadocio. 

He had kissed his wife's pale lips on leaving in the morning, 
and she faintly implored him to be home early she did not dare 
add, "and sober." Towards nightfall she began to listen for his 
return. Hour after hour went by, and at one in the morning 
she heard the great gates and the door thrown open for their 
impatient master by the watching servants, and the strong steed 
come tearing up the gravel ay, and on up the broad, flat steps, 
clattering through the great oaken hall, and, urged with whip 
and spur, and a madman's voice, mount the freshly-carpeted 
stairs, cross the landing at a stride, and driving back the affrighted 
nurse, enter that sick chamber where, with her baby at her side, 
lay the fair young wife, gasping and shrinking with terror, and 
there stand with quivering flanks and panting nostrils, as the 
reckless rider on his back cried in exultation 

"By G d, I've done it!" 

He had done it. No matter what noise accompanied the 
removal of horse and rider, the wife, whom in his sober hours 
he professed to love so passionately, lay insensible to sight or 
sound, and wakened only to a morrow of delirium. 



CHAPTER THE FORTY-FIFTH. 

WOUNDS INFLICTED AND ENDURED. 

OH E spark lies cold in the flint until it is struck ; and 
Ellen had not believed her quiet husband capable of 
so much passionate indignation as burst from him on 
the receipt (at Sheffield) of the details just given. 

"Brute! ruffian!" burst from his lips, as the letter he had 
crushed in his grasp fell to the floor ; and with a stamp he rose 
to his feet, pressed one hand across his knitted brows, and paced 
the dingy carpet from end to end in a state of restless perturbation, 
his wrath finding vent in epithets and invectives foreign to his 
tongue. 

"Whatever is the matter, Jabez, love?" Ellen asked in 
amazement. 

"Oh, Ellen, dear! that brute Aspinall ." He could get no 

further. Feeling choked his utterance. 

She picked up the crumpled letter, and with almost equal 
exasperation and pain made herself mistress of its contents, in her 
womanly indignation and love for her cousin losing sight of her 
husband's excessive emotion. 

Jabez left his journey unfinished, and drove back home with 
all speed. Ellen shared with Mrs. Ashton and her own mother 
the anxious watch in that large dim room, where the favourite 
of the family tossed her head from side to side, and muttered 
incoherent words. 



TUB MANCHESTER MAN. 429 

In the sudden emergency, Bob the old groom's recommen- 
dation of his own daughter as a wet-nurse for the poor frail baby 
passed without cavil. Not until long afterwards was it known 
that Sarah Mostyn was the last woman to have entered that 
house, and on such a footing. 

One month, two months wore out before Augusta rallied, and 
Mr. Windsor, whose medical creed was to "let nature take its 
course," pronounced her out of danger, and fit for the removal 
contemplated by her friends, and resisted by Laurence. Double 
doors, however, could not exclude outer sounds, and so long as 
she shrank and shuddered at every crunch on the gravel, every 
echo of his raised voice, recovery was retarded. So the elder 
Mr. Aspinall, exasperated with his son, and most solicitous for 
the welfare of his son's charming wife, added his dictum to that 
of the doctor, offered his own carriage for her conveyance, and 
threatened to disinherit Laurence if he interfered. 

Once in her childhood's home she amended rapidly, but with 
increasing strength came maternal yearnings for her infant, still 
in charge of the wet-nurse at Fallowfield. A hackney-coach was 
sent to bring Sarah Mostyn with the child to its mother ; but not 
a step would the nurse budge. She had no orders from her 
master, and the master paid her wages, and she " shouldna tak' 
orders from annybody else." Messages were sent, and notes were 
written to Laurence, which he tore to shreds ; but he kept away 
from his wife, and kept back the child. 

At length she pined so much for her " dear babe," that Mr. 
Ashton and Jabez together sought Laurence out in one of his 
haunts (a tavern near Cockpit Hill), to prevail on him to let 
Augusta have her boy with her. 

" Mrs. Aspinall herself deserted her child," he replied, all the more 
haughtily, seeing that Jabez was Mr. Ashton's seconder. " When 
Mrs. Aspinall thinks fit to return home to her maternal and wifely 



43 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

duties, she will find the nursery door open, and her son in 
trustworthy care. A true wife's place is by her husband's hearth." 

"Yes, sir, when the husband is a true man," replied Jabez, with 
decision. 

"And who dares to say I am not a true man?" retorted 
Laurence boldly. 

"I do!" promptly answered the other. "No true man would 
have imperilled his wife's life by a reckless drive in the dark 
night in a tandem Tilbury ! Only a reckless madman or a ruffian 
would have forced a horse into a wife's sick-chamber, to drive 
her delirious with terror!" 

"And pray, sir," haughtily responded the other, "how long has 
Mrs. Aspinall made you her confidant ? " 

" I have not the honour of Mrs. Aspinall's confidence," answered 
Jabez sturdily, looking him full in the face ; " such facts are 
trumpet-tongued." 

"Just so," put in Mr. Ashton, drawing his arm through that 
of his junior partner. "And the fact that Augusta shrinks at 
your name has spoken so loudly to us that if ever she sits on 
your hearth again it won't be with my consent. Come away, 
Clegg." 

After this declaration, Aspinall changed his tactics. He 
wrote to his wife, requesting her return ; then entreating it ; 
and finally went in person to beseech her to " come back," 
vowing to "atone for the past with the devotion of a life." 

The young mother yearned for her babe, the tender-hearted 
wife could not resist the appeal of the husband whom, with all 
his faults, she yet loved ; and, regardless of the previsions of 
her mother, or the entreaties of her father, she allowed him to 
drive her home again to the Grange. 

Her first thought was the nursery. There she found, in 
Addition to her own boy, drawing its sustenance from the nurse's 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 431 

breast, a well-dressed child, some two years old, playing with a 
wooden milkmaid rattle on the rug. Something in the child's 
face and auburn curls made her ask, " Sarah, whose child is 
that ? " 

" Mine. Whose should it be ? " was the pert answer ; and 
the boldness of the woman's manner checked further inquiry. 
But Augusta's heart had received a shock -which shook the 
pedestal on which her idol sat enthroned. 

For a short space Laurence kept terms with his wife, and 
before her father or strangers he was her most devoted slave, 
but she underwent a species of slow torture in secret. 

She soon found that Sarah Mostyn was mistress of the house 
as well as of the nursery, and that Sarah Mostyn's child was ot 
as much importance as her own baby-boy. 

Then Laurence filled the Grange with his riotous associates, 
and compelled his wife to do the honours of his table, though 
their oaths and conversation overpowered her with disgust. And 
if one, flushed with wine, or more bold than the rest, paid her 
a compliment, or looked too warm an admiration, he was sure 
to find his way to her side with his common undertone threat 

"D n you, madam, you shall smart for this!" a threat 

always accompanied with sly pinches, which left their marks 
beneath her sleeves. Then, straightway, " my dear," or " my 
love," would be asked, in the blandest of tones, to sing a song, 
play a rondo, or perform some act of courtesy for the very 
guest who had excited his jealousy. 

They had few lady visitors. The neighbourhood was remote 
from town, and sparsely inhabited. Mr. Laurence Aspinall's 
reputation was as a yellow flag to warn gentlewomen who had 
daughters or husbands to lose against close intimacy with their 
neighbours of the Grange. Pitying the isolation of one so 
formed to adorn society, Mr. Aspinall gave mixed parties at 



43 2 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

Ardwick Green in the name of Mrs. Laurence, when the splendour 
of her attire and the assiduous attention of her husband set 
rumour to contradict rumour. But save on an occasional family 
gathering, she saw few of her own sex at Fallowfield. 

And her position in her own home was rendered intolerable 
by the continued presence of Sarah Mostyn, who, at first 
familiar, then impertinent, had become at last openly defiant. . 

It was not until all efforts to keep the nurse in her proper 
place had failed, that Augusta appealed to Laurence to discharge 
her, the woman having refused to take a dismissal from anyone 
but her master. 

"Tchut!" said he, "I'll soon settle that business!" and 
forthwith stalked to the nursery, whence his voice was heard in 
loud command ; but the result was not the woman's removal, 
only a temporary submission, to be followed by fresh rebellion, 
and the confirmation of Augusta's worst suspicions. How often 
did the aggrieved wife then recall her thoughtless declaration to 
her mother, that her " husband's heart must hold her and her 
only" not even business to share in its possession ! And how 
thankful she would have been to have had no rival then but 
business ! She was finding the bed she had made for herself a 
woefully hard one ; but she did not succumb readily, she had high 
spirits and a buoyant nature, and would hardly admit to herself 
how much she suffered or how great a mistake she had made. 

But Cicily, that most faithful of faithful followers, cognisant of 
her mistress's wrongs long before her mistress, paid Sarah Mostyn 
off in her own coin on various occasions, and took care that 
through one means or other the Ashtons should know what a life 
their darling led. 

Amongst his other little peculiarities Mr. Laurence was an 
epicure, and one of his favourite tit-bits was that spongy lining of 
a goose's frame known as the soul. It chanced at a family dinner, 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 433 

rather more than a year after Augusta's return home, that a fine 
stubble goose formed part of the bill of fare, and Cicily, who had 
long owed him a grudge for his heartless treatment of her young 
mistress, determined to pay him off, and expose him before the 
whole company. A good caterer for a dainty palate, Cicily knew 
her power and privileges, but in this case she overshot the mark. 

One of the accomplishments of that generation was dexterous 
carving, and Laurence prided himself on being able to dismember 
a large fowl without once shifting his fork. The goose was set 
before himself, and duly helped, but, lo ! when his knife would fain 
have extracted his favourite morsel it scraped bare bones. 

The flat bell-rope was pulled violently. Cicily was summoned, 
and Cicily, in clean linen cap and apron, stood in the doorway 
curtseying respectfully. 

" What have you done with the soul of this goose ?" he 
demanded, in a tone of suppressed passion. 

Cicily came a step or two forward with an aspect of marvellous 
innocence. " Eh, sir, it's not a goose, it's a gonder, and ganders 
have no souts." 

Scarcely an individual present but took the covert innuendo, and 
glances were exchanged across the board ; but the look he shot 
at the woman as, incapable of speech, he waved her to retire, 
was one never to be forgotten, so much demoniac wrath was 
concentrated therein. 

From the time when Jabez was acknowledged on 'Change as a 
Manchester man, was admitted into Manchester "society," and had 
absolutely become a member of the same family as his son, Mr. 
Aspinall punctiliously invited him with his wife; and Laurence, 
with widely different feelings, followed suit. 

It was not until after the noble exploit to which Augusta so 
nearly fell a sacrifice that Mr. Clegg could be induced so far to 
listen to Ellen's desire for conciliation, " now that they were all 

FF 



434 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

of one family," as to accept one of these invitations. After that 
event he was of Mrs. Ashton's mind that "as offenders never 
pardon," Augusta needed a friend to watch over her. So he left 
his books, and his brushes, and his schemes for the class amongst 
whom he had been reared, and (believing his growing affection 
for his wife, and the babe she had borne him, a sufficient 
guarantee to his own heart for his own good faith) when the 
Aspinalls next invited, he accepted. 

As previously stated, Augusta had not dropped into tame 
submission all at once ; her old wilfulness would have way at 
times, and the light shafts of her satire were frequently aimed 
with effect against her recalcitrant lord. More than once Jabez 
had averted disastrous consequences by checking her vivacity ere 
it went too far. But never had he been so thankful for his self- 
appointed guardianship as on the night when Cicily thought to 
pay back her darling's wrongs. 

To his surprise and pleasure, Ben Travis, just returned from 
the Continent, was of the party. He had not yet called on the 
family in Oldham Street, and Jabez never asked him wherefore 
The cousins had much to talk over, and whilst Laurence Aspinall 
was pouring wine on his wrath, they discussed a project in which 
Jabez took an interested part, and which eventuated the following 
year in the Manchester Mechanics' Institution. But through all 
their discussion Jabez never once lost sight of Laurence, and from 
his excessively polite manner to her augured ill for Augusta when 
the restraining presence of friends was removed. He communicated 
his fears to Travis, and when the good-byes were said, and the 
various conveyances rolled out between the great gates, a fee to 
Luke the gardener, who was also gatekeeper, kept them open. A 
whispered word was sufficient for those who had seen the look 
Laurence directed across the dinner-table from Cicily to his wife, 
and who knew the character and disposition of the man, 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 435 

Mr. Travis's gig and the Ashton's hackney-coach were kept in 
waiting close at hand, Mrs. Ashton and Ellen, well wrapped up 
within, waiting anxiously for they knew not what. 

Back towards the closed house went Mr. Ashton and the 
cousins, treading carefully over the gravel. There was a flagged 
footway round the building, and from the windows of dining and 
drawing rooms light was still streaming. The last owner had 
lowered the middle window of the drawing-room as a door of 
access to the lawn. 

As if by accident the curtains had been dragged a little aside 
in each apartment, and now there were watchers at the apertures. 
The elder Mr. Aspinall had made an excuse and retired to bed 
early. Augusta, with a shawl wrapped round her, sat weeping 
on a sofa in the drawing-room, afraid to go to bed. High words 
had evidently passed whilst those outside had made their 
arrangements at the gate. 

Presently, into the dining-room sauntered Laurence, with his 
arm round the shoulders of Sarah Mostyn, the shameless nurse. 
They sat down to the supper-table ; he poured out wine into a 
goblet, and they drank from the same glass ; he fed her with 
delicacies, and kissed and caressed her with an assured familiarity 
which told it was no new experience. 

Long they lingered drinking and dallying, and the watchers 
might have thought no danger need be apprehended. Suddenly a 
word of the woman's, like a match to petroleum, set the whole 
man ablaze. He rushed from the room with a loud oath, the 
woman after him, apparently in alarm. The movement her friends 
made outside in gaining the other window caused Augusta to 
raise her beautiful head, and at that moment her husband stood 
before her, brandishing his cavalry sabre, and with his eyeballs 
glaring, fiercely vociferating, " I'll teach you, madam, to set my 
servants to insult meT he made a fearful slash at her. 



436 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

As she sprang aside with a terrified shriek, the old woodwork 
of the glass-door gave way, and before the tipsy madman could 
recover his guard to strike a fresh blow, his sabre was wrenched 
from him, and himself struggling in the grasp of three powerful 
men, his own gardener being one. 

Poor Mr. Ashton's care was his stricken child, whose white 
shoulders, bathed in blood, were washed by a father's tears. 
Thankful then was Jabez to have been at hand, and on the alert, 
with so powerful an ally as Travis ; thankful to have saved 
Augusta's life at any sacrifice of personal feeling ; and only 
himself could tell what his presence under that roof cost him. 

Even Laurence had no inkling of it ; the marriage of Jabez 
had closed his jealous eyes. But now, finding in his old opponent 
an unseen watcher over his wife her defender when he had least 
expected his baffled rage was something terrible to look upon. 
He fought, struggled, vociferated, threatened, and foamed at the 
mouth ; and Mr. Aspinall, coming thither in his dressing-gown, 
aroused by the uproar, could barely master his indignation and 
disgust as he ordered the men-servants, crowding in half-dressed, 
to " help to bind that murderous maniac down ! " 

It was well, too, that Mrs. Ashton and Ellen were close at 
hand, and a vehicle ready to despatch for a surgeon, for Augusta 
needed all their care. 

Before three days were over there was a little coffin in the 
house, holding a still-born child, and there was a young mother, 
with a plaistered shoulder, lying, white as her pillow, in a state 
of coma. 

Dr. Windsor having exercised his best skill, as was his wont, 
left nature to do the rest, and youth and nature between them, did 
their work effectually. 

Fain would Mr. Ashton have removed his child once and for 
all. He offered to set up a carriage for her, if she would but 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 437 

leave her husband, and seek a legal separation, insisting that 
she owed a duty to herself, as well as to her husband. Mr. 
Aspinall himself begged that she would take up her abode with 
him, at Ardwick, if only for her own security. He had ceased 
to find excuses for his son, and his son's charming wife stood 
high in his esteem. 

But Laurence had been beforehand, and with plausible 
promises and penitential tears, and an adroit parade of her little 
Willie, also in tears '' for mamma," won her over to pardon, and 
to give him another trial ; and not all Mr. Ashton's eloquence, 
nor Mrs. Ashton's proverbial battery, could win her from her 
decision. 

"My dear mother," said she, "remember you told me 'what 
could not be cured must be endured,' and that 'as I made my 
bed so must I lie.' ' It is a long lane,' mother, ' that has never a 
turn,' I have heard you say many a time ; and who knows but 
Laurence may take a turn now, and reform ? At all events, it is 
my duty to give him a fair trial, and keep my own wayward 
nature in check, so as not to provoke him ; and I must not leave 
Willie alone with that woman. I think Mr. Clegg would say I 
am right." 

I am afraid she overrated Mr. Clegg's magnanimity much as 
she overrated her wild husband's promised reformation, for her 
decision struck a pang into the heart of Jabez, little dreamed of by 
Ellen. Indeed, it cost him a sore struggle to subdue his concern 
for Augusta within the bounds of duty to his own wife, whose 
many virtues were gradually winning their way into his heart, 
and towards whom his attention never relaxed. 



CHAPTER THE FORTY-SIXTH. 



THE MOWER WITH HIS SCYTHE. 




NEW BAILEY PRISON. 



EARS went by Laurence had 
promised to remove Sarah 
Mostyn, but the woman 
laughed, refused to stir, and 
he let her remain a thorn 
in his wife's side training 
up the boy she had nursed, 
and whom he idolised, to 
scorn and jeer at his own 
mother; whilst her red-haired 
girl ran about the place wild 
as a young hare. He broke 
out from time to time, and 
his wife was the sufferer ; he 
horse-whipped her, shot at 
way that malignity could 



her, and tortured her in every 
devise. 

No wonder that so many tiny coffins of immature babes should 
be carried from the gates of the Fallowfield Grange. No wonder 
if Augusta began to compare her lot with Ellen's, and to repent 
her scorn of a true heart because of its plebeian origin. 

Meanwhile, the firm of Ashton, Chadwick, and Clegg prospered 
beyond expectation, the business tact and integrity of the junior 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 439 

partner alike aiding the extension and stability of the firm. To 
make way for its expansion more warehouse room was required. 
The Ashtons, not without a sigh for old association, relinquished 
their house, and removed to another close at hand in George 
Street, little less commodious, however much Kezia might grumble 
at it. This was when Ben Travis, lacking employment for time, 
mind, and money, offered them to the growing establishment, and 
his influence as "Co." was accepted. This combination of capital 
and energy, as Jabez had foreseen, worked wonders for them 
commercially, enabling them to tide over the trade distress of 1826 
with security and advantage. Long before then Jabez had offered 
to pay Mrs. Clowes her loan, with interest ; but she told him she 
was going to render up her account where, not the coin she 
had, but that which she had given away, would be put to her 
credit ; and so, as at first proposed, she made it over to her little 
godson, Joshua Clegg, before she was gathered to the great 
garner. 

But the universal mower reaped a heavier harvest in 1828, when 
he swept his keen scythe over the bed of the river. 

In 1822 Mr. Ashton (one of the first promoters of the Chamber 
of Commerce), notwithstanding his advancing years, took an active 
part in the formation of a New Quay Company, for the better 
navigation of the river Irwell. The company was established, 
quays were constructed, warehouses erected, boats built, traffic 
was extended, and the town generally benefited. 

In the February of 1828, the axe, the adze, and the hammer 
made a busy noise in the boat-building yard of the company, and 
sail-makers were active with their needles ; for a flat or barge, 
destined to convey cargoes of merchandise to and from Liverpool, 
was to be ready for the launch on the 26th, a day destined to 
send a thrill of horror tingling through the veins of Manchester, 
so sad was the catastrophe it closed upon. 



44 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

The launch of the Emma was an event in the annals of the 
company, and of the town ; consequently a large number of 
spectators assembled, a goodly proportion being admitted to the 
yard to take part in the ceremony, and to go with the flat on her 
trial trip under Captain Gaudy. 

Mrs. Ashton, saying, "that when the cat's away the mice will 
play," had decided on remaining at home to watch the mice, but 
Mr. Ashton compensated himself by taking Ellen and her two 
elder boys, leaving baby with its grandma ; Jabez, detained by 
business in the counting-house, promising to overtake them before 
they were on board. Mr. Aspinall, too, was there, and on his 
arm was his son's wife, and Laurence, with his boy Willie, close 
beside them. He was too jealous of the admiration she excited, 
to permit her to go into company, even with his father, unless 
he had also his own eye upon her, especially where there was a 
chance of meeting Jabez Clegg. He brought the boy for a treat. 

It was quite a gala-day, and as the pleasant company mounted 
the deck, peered into the low cabin, and chatted gaily to one 
another, they little thought to how many that would be a launch 
into eternity. 

The boat, a large flat, fully rigged, painted white above the 
water-line, and black below, with sails set and flags flying, 
rested in well-greased cradles, her head down ; the shipwrights 
stood ready with their daggers ; painters with their cans and 
brushes to dab her sides as she slid past them ; a band upon the 
quay played lively tunes, and (fatal mischance) the people on deck 
flocked to one side to listen. The sponsor, a Miss Grimes, with 
her sister and our friends, advanced to the bows. The word was 
given ; the ready daggers struck away the shores ; the boat began 
to move ; Miss Grimes caught firmly the bottle (suspended by a 
ribbon), and shattered it upon the vessel, proclaiming, with that 
baptism of wine, the boat was henceforth the Emma. Hurrahs 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 44 1 

and exclamations followed. The bows touched the water, which 
first splashed the faces, then lifted from their feet the christeners 
and the Ashton party. The flat had dipped too deeply, it heeled 
over on her crowded side, and sank with her living cargo clinging 
and fettering each other in the swirling waters, whilst shrieking 
spectators looked on helpless from bridge and bank, watching 
others braver and bolder, or better skilled, rush to the rescue to 
their own risk. 

Who shall picture the horror and confusion of that moment, 
when some scores of holiday people men, women, children were 
precipitated at one fell swoop into the water, shrieking and clinging 
to one another with that tenacity of grip proverbial with the 
drowning ? 

The bridge, the Old Quay, the open space in front of the New 
Bailey Prison railed off at an elevation far above the stream the 
steep steps, and the towing-path beneath, were all lined with 
spectators, though the fatal launch was made from a yard lower 
down the river on the Manchester side. (The New Bailey was in 
Salford.) 

As the vessel struck the ground, shuddering from stem to 
stern, before turning over on her side, and the final catastrophe 
was imminent, Laurence (sober for once) snatched his darling boy 
up in his arms, whispered a hasty word of instruction and 
confidence, and, regardless of aught besides, sprang with him into 
the water in the contrary direction, far as possible beyond the eddy 
and suction, and keeping clear of the struggling wretches who were 
pulling each other down, swam with him to the towing-path. But 
not until he had placed Willie under safe charge, beyond danger 
from the scurrying throng, did he hasten back to attempt the 
rescue of wife or father ; and then neither was to be seen. 

Mr. Aspinall had been an able swimmer in his day, and made 
a bold effort for self-preservation; but cramp seizing his gouty 



4 1-2 THB MANCHESTER MAN. 

limbs, he was one of the first to disappear and perish, though boats 
and swimmers had put out to the general rescue. 

It was vain to search for individuals; though well was his son's 
prowess tested that day ; more than one drowning wretch he 
clutched from behind by clothes or hair, and urged forward to the 
bank, where the Humane Society's men, with ropes and grapnels, 
were ably seconded by volunteer humanity, and strong hands were 
outstretched to haul the helpless up. 

Ben Travis had waited for Jabez, detained in the warehouse 
by courtesy to Mr. Gregson, the buyer for Messrs. Leaf, of London, 
and the two, hurrying to make up for lost time, only reached the 
New Quay with Nelson at their heels as the hurrahs died out in 
appalling screams, and the waters of the Irwell closed over all 
the twain held dearest in life. 

With the celerity of light, coats were doffed and shoes cast off, 
and the two leaped from the stone quay in hope and dread, but 
the good old dog was before them, its teeth in a child's coat, 
swimming to the shore. Almost as Jabez touched the water, a 
sinking woman clutched his legs. With a plunge he freed himself, 
then catching at her long hair, towed her behind him to the side, 
and swam back to seek and save his own wife and little ones, if 
that were possible. 

A floating scarf, a mass of matchless brown curls, a hand and 
arm above the water, and Jabez knew that Augusta Aspinall was 
sinking there before him. A few strokes brought him to the spot; 
he dived ; a youth was clinging to her skirts, and held her down. 
One or both must have drowned. With a blow which went to his 
heart, he freed her, and, catching her beneath the armpit, held her 
well from him as he made for shore. To the Humane Society's 
men he yielded her. So far gone, the men shook their heads 
over the lovely woman, as though she were beyond help. But 
they bore the dripping lady to the sail-room close at hand, whilst 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 443 

Jabez, taking the precaution to secure a rope to his waist, plunged 
boldly into the midst of the entangled mass in quest of his own. 

It was a vain search; he brought one strange child, and then 
another to bank, and then a man ; but he was again laid hold of 
when his strength was exhausted ; and only for the precautionary 
rope, he would have given to the greedy river the life Simon Clegg 
had saved from it. 

Travis had the good fortune to rescue Mr. Ashton, but he had 
been some time in the water, and the old man was far spent; but 
there was no trace of Ellen or her boys, even though he dived close 
by the sunken flat, and brought up lifeless bodies in their stead. 

Jabez and he could only hope some other of the brave men, 
putting their own lives in peril, had saved them. 

The governor of the gaol had opened his house doors, the 
recovered dead were carried into the gaol itself, the sail-maker's 
room was crowded, every tavern near was filled, but no trace was 
found of Ellen or their sons, and Jabez was like one distraught. 

He was but one agitated atom in that seething, surging, frantic 
crowd, where women shrieked for their husbands, parents for their 
children, children for their parents ; where passing strangers threw 
themselves into the water to save life, and lost their own ; where 
ignorance lifted the hapless by the heels " to pour the water out " 
and extinguished the last spark of vitality; and where yelping 
dogs astray were caught and slaughtered, that medical skill might 
transfuse the warm blood of the lesser animal into the veins of 
the human, as a last resource to restore suspended animation. 
Even gallant old Nelson narrowly escaped falling a sacrifice to 
the surgeons. 

Jabez entered the room where Augusta Ashton was lying, to 
all appearance, dead ordinary means of resuscitation having 
failed, and a surgeon was about so to operate on her from a 
bleeding spaniel on the ground. Jabez shrank with a strange 



444 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

loathing ; in an instant bared his arm to the doctor's lancet ; 
and if he did not give his life to serve her, as he had once said, 
he gave his life's blood to save her; and as the warm fluid 
passed from his quick veins to hers, he saw the blue, quivering 
lids tremble, light pass into the brown eyes, breath part the blue 
lips once more, and from the depths of his anguished heart he 
thanked God as a faint "Jabez" indicated recognition as well as 
returning animation. 

He had restored a wife to thankless Aspinall ; but who should 
restore to him the darling boys who had crept about his knees 
and round his heart, and the good wife who had won a place 
there, in spite of fate, by her own patient, but intense, love? 

The Emma was raised and floated, so little damaged that 
she was speedily ready for use, and continued so for many 
years. In her cabin were found the remains of Ellen and her 
sons, where the childish curiosity of the elder one had doubtless 
led all three ; but they were raised from the water only to 
be committed to the earth, and covered up out of sight and 
hearing for evermore ; and never did Jabez know fully all she 
had become to him until he stood with Travis by the side of an 
open grave, and heard the clods rattle on the coffin lid. She 
was all as one then to the man who had worshipped her, and 
the man she had worshipped ; and though the babe she had left 
behind was nearer to the one, it would be hard to say to which 
little Nelly was the dearer in the aftertime. 

Including the bodies found beneath the flat and those laid out 
in the gaol and elsewhere for inquest, thirty-three lives were 
sacrificed on the altar of the Emma; and of these must be 
reckoned the brave men who cast their lives away to rescue 
others. 

Among the early saved were the Captain, Miss Grimes, and 
her sister, the two latter being hastily conveyed home in a 




MRS. ABEL HEYWOOD (MISS GRIMES). 
From a Photograpli. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 445 

private carriage (mayhap Mr. Aspinall's), with coats and cloaks 
wrapped around their saturated garments. 

Good, kind, genial Mr. Ashton never recovered from the effects 
of his long immersion. He was a man far advanced in years, 
and the shock was too much for him. He hobbled about the 
warehouse, snuff-box in hand, a few months, and then dropped 
asleep in his easy chair after a game of cribbage with Jabez 
never to wake again. 

And then the excitement and agitation consequent on the loss 
of his dear Ellen and her romping boys having brought on Mr. 
Chadwick a fresh attack of paralysis, which left him still more 
helpless (though he survived many years to pet and spoil Ellen's 
baby-girl), Mrs. Ashton, lonely in her large house, proposed that 
her sister's family (Jabez included) should join her in George 
Street ; but when she would have said " the more the merrier," the 
words died on her lips. Who were they but the survivors of two 
wrecked households ? 

After a little hesitation the offer was accepted, and the whole 
family gathered in their shorn proportions under one roof. But 
there was another proposition from another quarter, to which there 
was considerably more demur. Mrs. Hulme, in a warm, grey- 
duffle-cloak, for the preservation of her new mourning, travelled 
from VVhaley Bridge, to ask as a favour that baby Nelly should 
be committed to her care. 

"You see, Mrs. Chaddick, th' poor little babby'll thrive better 
yond than here i' th' smooak ; an' aw'd fain do summat for 
Mester Clegg, he have done so much fur feyther an " 

Jabez interrupted her. 

" Hush ! Mrs. Hulme. I owe life, and all that life has given, 
to your father and yourself. What little I have done in return 
has been but dust in the balance. Yet as it is your desire, and 
I know baby would be best in your hands, if grandmother will 



446 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

consent to part with her, Nelly and her nurse shall go back with 
you for the coming summer months." 

And so, though parting with Ellen's baby seemed parting 
with Ellen over again, the little blossom went away to other 
blossoms on the healthy 'hill-side. 

Tom Hulme was no longer overlooker, but responsible manager 
at the Whaley Bridge Mill, with a good salary ; and if Jabez 
gratefully traced his fortune back to his cradle, so too did the 
Hulmes trace their amended position to the same source. But Bess 
more immediately referred to the benefit Simon Clegg had derived 
from the Buxton Baths, whither Jabez had sent him year after 
year, for the relief of his rheumatism, and to his care of steadfast 
little Sim. He had first placed the crippled lad with a doctor 
celebrated for his treatment of bodily deformities, under whom the 
boy's bent body had strengthened and straightened considerably, 
and then removed him for education to the house of a married 
clergyman, where there were no rough boys to torment him. 
Jabez knew well what were the amenities of public schools. 



CHAPTER THE FORTY-SEVENTH. 



THE LAST ACT. 

HE catastrophe which deprived 
Laurence Aspinall of a father, 
and had almost robbed him 
of a loving, patient wife, would 
have steadied any man less 
reckless and selfish than he. 
But that he should rescue 
strangers, and Jabez save his 
wife, and that through trans- 
fusion the blood of Jabez 
should course through Au- 
gusta's veins, formed a com- 
bination of mischances beyond 
EMPTIES . parallel, and the honey was 

changed to gall. Nay, he was 

graceless enough to exclaim, in the first burst of his jealous 
rage, " I would rather she had died outright than have that 

fellow triumph in her restoration through his means. D 

him!" 

And yet there were times when in his uxorious fondness he 
wholly persuaded himself, and half persuaded her, that his very 
extravagances arose from excess of love! 




448 THE MANCHESTER MAN, 

His fancied wrongs culminated when first the will of his father, 
and after a brief period that of Augusta's father, were read 
and proved. 

The former set forth that, disgusted with the ungentleman-like 
excesses of his son, and convinced that his course of lavish 
extravagance would end in penury, he had determined to settle 
on his son's wife, Augusta Aspinall, for her sole use and benefit, 
the house and premises on Ardwick Green, with all therein 
contained, together with a sufficient sum in the funds to maintain 
a befitting state; in the event of her decease, the reversion to 
pass to any child or children she had or might hereafter bear 
to his son Laurence. To him he left the residue of his means, 
and the old business in Cannon Street, with a charge to apply 
himself to merchandise. 

The latter will, though equally stringent, was a much more 
prolix affair. After a number of legacies, of which Jabez came in 
for one, Mr. Ashton bequeathed to his wife all other properties 
whatsoever he died possessed of, together with half his share in 
the firm of Ashton, Chadwick, Clegg, and Co. ; the other half to 
his beloved daughter, limiting the annual sum she was to draw 
from the firm, and which was in nowise to pass into the hands 
of her depraved husband ; and Jabez Clegg and Benjamin Travis 
were appointed executors for the due performance of its provisions. 

Imagine the excitement and jealous fury of Laurence Aspinall 
on thus being set aside even by his own father and superseded 
by his wife ; and as if that were not sufficient degradation, to 
have Jabez Clegg, whose charity-school face yet bore the impress 
of his foot, set as his wife's executor, to dole out what he called 
a " pittance " where he had anticipated a fortune ! 

It so happened that the early duties of his executorship called 
Jabez once or twice unexpectedly to Fallowfield, and that on each 
occasion the master of the mansion was from home, 



THE MANCHESTER MAN, 44.9 

It might be that the river had washed the roses from Augusta's 
cheeks so effectually that her complexion had never regained its 
tone ; or it might be that her skin looked white in contrast with 
the blackness of her bombazine and crape ; certain it was that 
Jabez was struck with the pallor of her countenance, and his inquiry, 
"Are you not well, Mrs. Aspinall ?" was tinctured with alarm. 

As a light flush tinged her cheek, then faded away again, and 
she received him with a timid indecision very unlike her former 
girlish freedom, a sense of her almost supernal loveliness brought 
something of the old ache into his heart, and out of respect for 
himself and her, he hurried over his business, and having obtained 
the signatures for which he came, mounted his horse and rode 
back to town, haunted by look, and voice, and manner. 

Yet in the integrity of his own heart he had no conception 
that her embarrassment was the result of fear fear of the 
interpretation her jealous madman of a husband would put on so 
unwonted a visit. 

He thought he saw a smile of malice in the corners of the 
mouth of the bold woman who met him in the hall, and nodded 
to him so freely as he passed her on his way out ; but no 
prescient spirit whispered in his ear that his twenty minutes' visit 
on absolute business would furnish envy and jealousy with a 
pretext for foul-mouthed slander, for coarse vituperation, for the 
use of a whip, and for calumnious accusations which cut deeper 
than its lash. 

Cicily, who intervened to save her mistress, might have conveyed 
some inkling of this to Mrs. Ashton, but Augusta absolutely 
forbade her sympathetic servant's interference. 

" You would do no good, Cicily," she said ; " the evil is beyond 
earthly remedy; you would only distress my dear mother to no 
purpose, and she has suffered too much on my account already. 
It cannot last for ever!" 

GG 



45 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

On the next occasion Jabez was accompanied by his joint- 
executor, but even that fact did not save Augusta from her 
husband's wrath, and his vile aspersions went far to drive out the 
last lingering sentiment of affection or regard she had for him. 
But she clung to her child, and that bound her to her home and 
him whom in an evil hour she had chosen ; though tears fell 
bitterly on Willie's curly head, when he, like his father, gave her 
back blows for kisses. And if at times her conscience smote her 
for her haughty repulse of Jabez by the stair-foot window at Carr 
Cottage, what wonder ? Had not Laurence himself scored his 
rejected rival's name on her heart with his braces and whip-lash? 

She shut the obtrusive memory out with a shudder, and, 
dropping on her knees, prayed earnestly for strength to bear and 
to forbear. 

Yet much of the cruelty of Laurence at this time arose from 
another source than causeless jealousy. He had been living far 
beyond his private means, and was greatly involved. He had 
calculated on laying his hand on a good round sum, and was 
disappointed. In order, however, to raise the needful, he sold his 
father's old-established concern to their head clerk, far below its 
value. On the Fallowfield estate his friend Barret held a 
mortgage, and, had it been possible, he would similarly have 
disposed of Augusta's possessions. Here, however, he was doubly 
baffled, and he turned on her as the primary cause. 

The old law which preserved the woman's absolute right over 
properties legally settled upon herself, by strange anomaly did not 
secure to her one guinea of the coin those properties produced. 

Well did Jabez watch over Augusta's interest, but his heart 
ached as he saw her sad countenance, and the greedy triumphant 
eyes of ever-present Laurence when her dividends were paid 
in. For, before his very face, Laurence laid his hand upon the 
money, to squander it as he had squandered his own on Sarah 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 451 

Mostyn and other dissolute companions, leaving his wife without 
so much as would purchase a pocket-handkerchief. 

Then, lest she should make her wrongs known, he kept her 
a close prisoner at Fallowfield, and, for all the pleasure she had 
of her Ardwick mansion, she might as well have been without 
it. 

No wonder if each fresh act of personal violence snapped 
some bond between them, until the only one link to bind her to 
life and her husband was her boy Willie ; whilst the only human 
trait of Laurence was his fondness for his son, whom he was 
rapidly ruining with false indulgence, as he himself had been 
ruined. 

It was customary, when the hay-making season came round, 
for Laurence to gather such friends as his wife or he retained 
the married with their children for a frolic in the hayfields, and 
the bringing home the last waggon-load in triumph to crown or 
inaugurate a feast. 

On these occasions he had the grace, or the diplomacy, to keep 
Sarah Mostyn in the background, though she flaunted boldly 
enough about the house in the presence of his wife, and her 
child mingled with the children. 

The harvest-home of 1831 was attended with the customary 
festivities, Willie, a rough playmate, was half smothering Nelly 
Clegg in the hay, or chasing the Walmsleys amongst the haycocks, 
until the last load was ready, and then the boy insisted that he 
and his companions should be mounted atop. Shouts and cheers 
announced their coming to the party in the drawing-room ; they 
came crowding to the windows, and, the glass-door being open, 
one or two sauntered out on to the flagged walk. Merrily they 
came along the gravelled drive, under the hot sun, dreaming of 
no danger, Willie clapping his hands and calling, "Look at us 
papa," when, right in front of the drawing-room window, the pin 



45 2 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

which held the body of the cart down, by some means became 
displaced, the cart tilted up, and hay and children were sent 
flying. 

Beyond a few bruises, none of the children were injured but 
one ; they had fallen amongst hay, or on the spongy lawn ; but 
Willie, the one jewel in the Aspinall casket, pitched with his head 
on the flagged pavement, and was killed on the spot. 

Draw we the curtain over consternation and bereavement, and 
pass on to results. If a change came over Laurence, it was not 
for the better. He drank incessantly, became alternately moody 
and defiant, and added a coping-stone to his offences by placing 
Sarah Mostyn at his table by the side of his wife, and boldly 
avowing that her child was his child also. 

Then all the woman rose within Augusta, so long cowed and 
dispirited. She left the table, and, the insult being repeated, 
again retired in indignation. 

Of the servants none had pitied her so much as Cicily, but 
for whom communication with her friends had been cut off. 
Often had the former waxed savage over indignities she could 
neither check nor prevent ; but in many little ways the faithful 
domestic was enabled to ameliorate the condition of her mistress. 
Now that Mrs. Aspinall more lovely in her sad womanhood 
than in her brilliant girlhood was virtually supplanted, a prisoner 
under torture in her husband's house, with no tie of motherhood 
to bind her there, her old nurse, as the mouthpiece of Mrs. 
Ashton and her aunt Chadwick, had urged upon her once more 
the necessity for legal separation, and she no longer turned a 
deaf ear. 

When Jabez came to hand over the next quarter's dividends 
Travis accompanied him, and then Augusta, in the presence of 
both her executors, demanded and claimed her right to a legal 
separation from her husband. 



THE MANCHESTER MAN, 453 

Laurence, taken by surprise, started to his feet, then, resuming 
his seat, said, with a scowl and a contemptuous sneer 

"You had better obtain a divorce, madam, whilst you are 
about it. Mr. Clegg will not object to the cost, if you can only 
be made Mrs. Clegg by Act of Parliament." 

It was a cruel and uncalled-for sneer, and Travis, firing up, 
resented it for his friend, who appeared dumbfounded by the 
suggestion. 

" If she had been Mrs. Clegg, sir, instead of Mrs. Aspinall, 
there would have been no necessity now for the interference of 
friends for her protection ! " 

" Of course not," sneered Aspinall. " Mr. Clegg is the white 
hen that never lays away ; and now, having favoured you with 
one of Mrs. Ashton's pithy proverbs, perhaps, gentlemen, you will 
favour me by taking your departure ; this house and this lady are 
alike my property." 

The value he set upon the latter article of property was 
testified by an immediate application of a horsewhip, so savagely 
applied that even Bob, and Luke the gardener, drawn thither 
by Augusta's screams, wrenched the whip from him, and 
covered her escape, the latter declaring he would " no longer 
stay an' witness sich wark." 

To this man, who was also gatekeeper, Cicily crept at nightfall, 
and offered him a goodly sum down, out of her own savings, 
promising a much larger one from Mrs. Aspinall, with the offer 
of a new situation at Ardwick, if he would only suffer her ill-used 
mistress to "get clear o' that brute's violence." 

The man, to his credit be it told, refused the money, but 
opened the gate ; and, when Laurence wakened from his sodden 
sleep at noon the next day, wife, cook, and gardener were missing. 

The three had walked to Ardwick, and once there, though 
Augusta found sad havoc had been made in the place, all was 



454 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

her own, carnage included, and the domestics in charge welcomed 
her with gladness. 

Without waiting for even the show of a breakfast, Augusta 
hurried like a frightened bird to her mother's nest in George 
Street, where alone she felt secure. 

Jabez and Travis were summoned, and when Aspinall, recovering 
from his stupor, sought his human property at Ardwick, he found 
the trustee under his father's will a Mr. Lillie holding the place 
for Augusta in right of his trust. And in George Street he was 
refused admission, Mrs. Ashton justifying her daughter's flight 
with "self-preservation is the first law of nature. A good Jack 
makes a good Jill. It is the last straw breaks the camel's back. 
If you sow the wind, you must reap the whirlwind. He who 
beats his friend makes an enemy." 

He threatened, and she answered 

"Threatened folk live long. You had best, Mr. Aspinall, keep 
your breath to cool your porridge. Augusta's friends will defend 
her from her only enemy. Pending separation you see her no 
more." 

He never saw her more. The deed of separation was sealed 
but never signed. 

With Augusta, all good angels seemed to have flown from 
Fallowfield. In his demoniac passion, he strove to blacken her 
character, to find himself met with laughter his own life had 
been so chaste ! Whilst, as if to refute him, when she took refuge 
with her mother, Jabez deemed it a point of honour to retreat. 
Accordingly he took up his temporary abode with Travis, in 
delicacy towards her, and as a check upon himself. No act, or 
thought, or word of his must give an evil tongue a chance to foul 
that spotless woman with its slime. 

In the midst of all this, Aspinall's embarrassments increased. 
Creditors pressed ; writs showered in upon him ; Barret foreclosed, 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 455 

and men were put in possession of the Grange. He flew to his 
old remedy, and it drove him mad, Lancaster Gaol for debtors 
loomed upon him. From his chamber window he beheld a sheriffs 
officer approach with a warrant. His cavalry-pistols were in his 
dressing-room. A sharp report rang through the house. Laurence 
Aspinall, in the prime of life, delirious with drink, driven to 
desperation by his own profligate excess, set a blood-red seal on 
the deed of separation. 

***** 

Ten years had passed from the partnership of Ashton, 
Chadwick, and Clegg years in which money well employed had 
multiplied itself. Jabez was a rich man a man of influence in 
the town ; no longer the amateur artist, but the patron of art, as 
well Henry Liverseege and others could have told. As he had 
been one of the first promoters and directors of the Manchester 
Mechanics' Institution, so was he now the supporter of the Royal 
Institution for the Advancement of Art ; and seeing farther than 
Mr. Ashton, who, as a member of the New Quay Navigation 
Company, had opposed the Act for a railway between Manchester 
and Liverpool, he threw his energy into the project, and helped 
to carry it out, his cousin Travis working with him. 

His widowerhood had cast a gloom over him for a time, but 
he left himself small leisure for morbid reflection, and that was 
cheered by the prattle of his little Nelly. Then came the crash 
at Fallowfield, and when darkness set upon Aspinall and his deeds, 
light broke upon the path of Jabez Clegg at first a mere ray, 
but he worked the more cheerfully in its light. It was not hope 
for himself; it was merely a joyful consciousness that there was 
hope and calm in the sky over the head of their fluttering and 
wounded dove, and that Augusta could now rest in peace with 
her mother in the house at Ardwick, with no dread of a brutal 
husband bursting on them unawares. 



456 fHB MANCHESTER MAN. 

He came and went as friend and executor, but it was long 
before it flashed across his comprehension that the fearful ordeal 
through which Augusta had passed but brought his old master's 
daughter closer to him ; or that the prayer old Simon had taught 
was being answered to the full. That which was " above rubies " 
had blessed his life, and kept his human heart warm whilst his 
" coast had enlarged ; " he had been kept from the evil of a 
wilful and capricious wife ; and at last when he had resigned all 
prospect of setting the purified pearl as a star on his own breast, 
it dropped into his hand, unsought, unsolicited. 

He had schooled his heart, we know. He had married from 
a sense of duty and grateful compassion. He was a faithful 
husband to a true wife, and when he lost her he mourned her 
as a valued friend. But though all the early love of his being 
had been kept alive and in a ferment by the sufferings of 
Augusta, as an honourable man he suffered no word or look to 
betray more than a friend's sympathy. And still he kept as 
strong a guard over himself, though the tragic end of Laurence 
had set her free once more. 

The last fatal act struck a sensitive chord in Augusta's nature. 
There was no exultation at release. For a time she lost sight 
of his profligacy and cruelty, and accused herself of having 
hastened the catastrophe by leaving him to his own unbridled 
will and the temptress by his side. She wept for the handsome 
lover who had captivated her young fancy ; she mourned for the 
besotted soul gone to its account with all its imperfections rampant. 

" Let her alone," said Mrs. Ashton to her sister ; " the sharpest 
shower wears itself out soonest ; she will come to her senses 
long before her crape is worn out." 

Mrs. Ashton was a true prophetess. For a long time the 
Fallowfield tragedy cast a shadow over the house at Ardwick, 
and they led very retired lives. Then harp and piano were 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 457 

heard once more, visitors were admitted, and the mansion that 
Kezia and Cicily united in declaring " worse than a nunnery," 
grew bright and cheerful, though the widow's weeds were not 
cast aside. (Kitty had been laid under the mould whilst 
Augusta was yet a bride.) 

Almost two years had elapsed. Suitors in plenty had been 
attracted by the wealthy young widow's many charms, her old 
admirer, Mr. Marsland, among the rest, yet Mrs. Aspinall showed 
no disposition to change her state ; and the one man who had 
loved her longest and best was not of the number at her feet. 
He scorned to importune now in his widowerhood for the love 
withheld when they were both young. He counted age by 
events, not years. 

It was for Augusta noiv, she who had been taught by her 
very husband's taunts and sneers to think upon the true man 
she had set aside, to think of him daily and hourly with rapidly 
strengthening attachment, and think of him as one who had 
dropped her from the book of his life for ever. Her whole 
thought was how could she become worthy the love of such a 
man ; yet every day and hour the fear pressed heavily upon her 
that the quiet virtues of Ellen had driven her out of his heart 
altogether. Of all her guests he was the one most welcome, 
most desired, but he was the one she received with most reserve, 
the one whose stay was briefest, whose visits fewest. " Business " 
appeared to have more imperative claims on him than when he 
had his way to make ; and Augusta, whose sables had long 
since been cast aside, seemed to wear them on her heart. The 
vivacity which had never wholly forsaken her in all her trials, 
forsook her now she grew listless and melancholy. 

Meanwhile Captain Richard Chadwick had come home on half- 
pay to brighten up the somewhat dull house in George Street, 
and comfort the old folk to say nothing of astonishing Sim and 



45^ THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

Nelly with his long yarns and adventures. Sim always spent 
part of his vacations with Mr. Clegg, who well paid back to Bess 
all her early care for him. He indulged the boy's craving for 
books and pencils, first implanted by himself, and in which he 
saw the dawn of his future career. That which in his own case 
had been repressed and subordinated to trade and money-making, 
should not be so checked in that boy ; and old Simon, to whom 
the lad appeared a marvel, never ceased to pride himself on his 
forecast in pronouncing Jabez a "Godsend." 

It was during the second summer of her widowhood, when 
Augusta accompanied her mother (not a whit the less stately 
than of yore) to Carr Cottage for the first time since her 
attempted elopement, that the feeling of all she had cast from 
her, and all that she had brought upon herself, all that might 
have been, and now never would be, pressed heaviest upon her. 
She had gone thoughtfully over the old ground, had trod the 
nettle-grown Lovers' Walk, and sat down on the open window- 
ledge at the stairfoot as once before, and wept tears of penitent 
bitterness. How long she sat there she could not tell ; she was 
weeping for a life lost and a love rejected. As once before, ths 
voice of Jabez (whom she imagined eighteen miles away) broke 
upon her solitude, but now it thrilled through her. 

There was a light touch upon her shoulder. 

"Mrs. Aspinall?" 

She shuddered. 

" Oh 1 don't call me by that name here ! " broke from her, 
imploringly. 

"What name shall I call you by?" half wonderingly ; then, in 
in a lower semi-smothered tone of entreaty "Augusta?" 

Lower sank her head in her hands ; but there was no answer 
save her sobs. It was thus he had addressed her there once 
before, 



THE MANCHESTER MAN. 459 

"Augusta!" and this time the hand on her shoulder shook 
"Augusta dear Augusta, once on this very spot I found you 
weeping thus, and I begged to be allowed to share your 
grief. I told you I would give my life to serve you what I 
said then I repeat now I would give my life to serve you, 
and you know it!" He gently drew one hand from her 
agitated face. " Tell me your trouble, as you would tell it to 
a brother!" 

A brother ah, that was it! She drew her hand back, but she 
did not rise, and her sobs seemed to choke her. 

Again he took her hand, and his other arm went round her 
soothingly, protectingly. "Oh, Augusta, this is inexpressibly 
painful to me. I love you, as never man loved woman. Can you 
not tell me what troubles you?" and the earnest tenderness of 
his voice made strange music in her ears. 

He had seated himself on the narrow window-ledge beside her, 
and now he thought she was about to punish his presumption 
and quit him haughtily as before. 

But no! She only slid from his arm to his very feet, and 
cried, with still covered face 

" Oh, Jabez dear Jabez, forgive me all I made you suffer here ; 
for oh! I have repented bitterly." 

He was stunned, bewildered. His passionate declaration of 
love was made as a claim to her confidence, not to her affection ; 
and now "dear Jabez!" Did he hear aright? For an instant 
he was silent from very incapacity to speak. Her bent head 
touched his knees. 

Slowly, reverently, as if she had been a saint, with every 
nerve of his strong frame trembling with emotion, he raised her 
from the ground ; but no arm went round her now. He held 
both her hands in his, and looked steadfastly down upon her ; 
but no answer made he to her plea for pardon. Constraint in 



460 THE MANCHESTER MAN. 

voice and words was apparent and painful, but emotion grew 
too strong for control. 

"Augusta, what is the meaning of this? For God's sake do 
not mislead me ! I seem on the threshold of Heaven or madness. 
Is it possible that I, plain Jabez Clegg, can be 'dear' to you?" 
"Dearer than life!" 

Clear, full, and earnest came the words from her soul, clear 
and truthful were the eyes that now sought his. 

"Thank God!" 

He held her in his arms with a straining clasp, which told 
how long they had quivered to embrace her so. His eyes lit up 
with an intensity of love she knew not he could feel, and never 
had his lips met woman's in such fond kisses as he pressed 
on hers. 

The concentrated love of years seemed gathered to a focus 
then. "Life of my life!" he called her, and she knew and felt 
it was so. 

If the shade of the departed Ellen could have looked upon 
them there, remembering how she had rushed to his embrace in 
that very spot, and how different had been the kiss imprinted on 
her wifely brow, would she have reproached him? I wis not. 

Is it needful to add that, before the summer waned, the 
Manchester Man, rapidly rising into public note and favour, 
entered into another partnership ; or that Jabez Clegg, in right 
of Augusta his wife, took possession of the mansion at Ardvvick, 
to the satisfaction of Mrs. Ashton, who said, " Better late than 
never!" Or to tell how the trade of Ashton, Chadwick, Clegg 
and Co. continued to extend ? Or that Travis remained Co. to 
the end of the chapter the children's Co. never taking a wife 
unto himself, 

THE END. 



APPENDIX No. I. 



T N the foregoing story of the :t Manchester Man," I have in a great measure 
* dealt with history, recorded and unrecorded, with absolute people, events, 
and places. 

I have not thought it advisable to break the narrative with cumbrous foot-notes 
calculated to disturb the general reader; but I consider an elucidating Appendix clue 
alike to myself and to all those who, in perusing a work of this kind, care to dis- 
criminate fact from fiction. 

Little of the Manchester I have depicted remains intact, a whirlwind of 
improvement (!) has swept over the town, but old inhabitants will, I think, 
recognise the faithfulness of my descriptions, as they will remember many of the 
persons who come and go incidentally throughout. 

CHAP. I. After writing this chapter, I learned that a cradled infant was washed 
down the Irwell from the Broughton, not the Smedley and Irk side, in the flood 
of 1837. I was familiar with the incident I relate when I was quite a child 
myself, and I am now fifty-four. 

The two cases are therefore distinct, yet equally facts. In 1771, during the 
floods which swept away Tyne Bridge, Newcastle, a vessel took up at sea a cradle 
in which was a child alive and well. 

CHAP. III. The Rev. Joshua Brookes comes into my pages naturally no story 
of Manchester life at the commencement of this century would be complete without 
him. I have endeavoured to do justice to a little-understood man. Many of his 
eccentricities are on record. At my own baptism and my mother's churching, 
occurred the scene which I have endeavoured to reproduce; the delicate lady pushed 
and pulled about was a stranger to my mother and sponsors. A characteristic 
anecdote, which I have not met with in print, may not be out of place here. 

A printer, of Republican tendencies, named Cowdroy, took his son to the font, 
and on the child's name being required, answered "Citizen!" "Citizen?" growled. 
Joshua, " that's no name. I shall not give the child a name like that ! " " I've 
a right to call my child what name I please, and I dare you to baptise him 
otherwise," boldly asserted Mr. Cowdroy. " Oh, you may call him Beelzebub 
if you like," testily responded the chaplain, and Citizen the boy was accordingly 
baptized; and the large signboard of C. Cowdroy, Printer, overlooked the Old 
Churchyard long years after Joshua Brookes was laid low in dust and ashes. 



462 APPENDIX I. 

His odd friendship with old Mrs. Clowes is matter of fact. Similar scenes to those I 
have described took place at funerals and weddings when he officiated; and his last 
contest with the Grammar School boys may be found in Har^and's " Collectanea," 

CHAPS. IV. and V. The little girl who made her way into the presence ot 
Prince William, sat on his knee and amused him and his suite with details of 
toilettes in progress at home, to be rewarded with a plain shilling, the required 
information, and a bow as the cortlge passed down Oldham Street, was Amelia 
Daniel, in after years my own mother. The incident of the falling platform on 
Sale Moor is noted in history. 

CHAP. VII. Mrs. Clowes was as eccentric in her way as Parson Brookes ; but 
beyond her dealings with the chaplain and school-boys, her journey to Liverpool, 
her Sabbath dinners to the poor, and her attire, her place in this story belongs to 
the region of fiction. Her shop passed to a relative, but the date of her death is 
unknown to the writer. 

CHAPS, XVIII. and XIX. Peterloo is rapidly passing out of remembrance, and 
those who were not themselves eye-witnesses may accuse me of exaggeration. To 
such I can only say that I have had my details from actors or spectators. The 
house I have assigned to Mr. Chadwick in Oldham Street, was occupied by my 
maternal grandfather, John Daniel, and he was the paralysed old gentleman in 
charge of his servant Molly, who, but for the timely interposition of a young man 
named Tomlinson, one of his own weavers, and Mr. Mabbott, would have been cut 
down. His daughters, anxious for his safety, looking out for his return home from 
the warehouse, saw from their open window more than I describe ; for one thing 
a woman passed with her breast cut off; the two vaunting officers who reared 
their steeds against the house with threats were a cousin and a f.anci\ the man 
who was shot down in Ancoats Lane, whilst bidding fit's girls to retire, was, I 
believe, my grandfather's tenant. The female sabred on the hustings was a Mrs. 
Fildes when I knew her. Her son, Henry Hunt Fildes, was in my father's 
employ ; and his nephew is now an artist not altogether unknown to the world. 
From Miss Hindley I had nine years ago the story of her father's fall. The 
author of the satire on the yeomanry was my paternal grandfather, James Varley, 
of Pendleton. 

CHAP. XXXIII. For the purpose of my narrative, I have antedated an occurrence 
in the Theatre Royal. I was myself the little miss who cried out in alarm that 
Edmund Kean was >; killing Mrs. McGibbon," but it was a few years later. Mrs. 
Broadbent's school occupied the next box to our party on that occasion. I need 
scarcely add that I have drawn that lady, her schoolroom, &c., from information and 
observation. The broken collar-bone is not an invention. 

CHAPS. XXIX. and XXX. The skating incident on Ardwick Green Pond was an 
episode in the early life of the same John Daniel before-named. Blindness followed 
his long immersion, and when all remedies known in the last century failed, he 
regained his sight by swimming across the Mersey, as related. I owe it to his 
memory to say that he must not otherwise be confounded with the man whom I 
have called Laurence Aspinall. 



APPENDIX I. 463 

CHAP. XXXII. The Act for widening Market Street was obtained in 1821 ; but 
I find that the ancient houses did not begin to l! crumble into dust " until the 
following year. 

CHAP. XXXVIII. " I'll please my eye if I plague my heart," with its 
answer and consequences, formed the original base of this story ; the wilful girl and 
her handsome savage of a husband being in all respects but their names' realities 
They were both in their graves before the period I assign to their union. The 
old Hall which witnessed so many outrages and such sad catastrophes may be 
found in the map of Hardwick's History of Preston under its true name. 

CHAP. XLVI. For much information respecting the fatal launch of the Emma, I 
am indebted to the courtesy of the Secretary of the Bridgewater Navigation Com- 
pany, and also to Mrs. Abel Heywood, who has just presented to Manchester a statue 
of Oliver Cromwell, in the name ot her former husband, Mr. Goadsby, who had 
been Mayor of the city. Mrs. Heywood was originally the Miss Grimes who 
christened the luckless flat. 

I cannot close this Appendix without acknowledging much kind assistance from 
literary and antiquarian friends in my researches. Of these the late John Harland, 
Esq , antiquary and historian; the late Thomas Jones, Esq., librarian of Chetham 
Hospital; and the Rev. J. Finch Smith, M.A., R.D., must be placed foremost. 

ISABELLA BANKS. 
London, January, 1876. 



APPENDIX No. II. 



SINCE the publication of the last edition of "The Manchester Man," the following 
letter has appeared in the Sheffield Daily Telegraph, April 5th, 1879. It is 
here reproduced in the hope that for some of my readers it may have interest, 
since it adds a new feature to my portrait of Madame Broadbent : 
To the Editor of the "Sheffield Daily Telegraph." 

"Sir, In your advertisement of the new tale by Mrs. Linnseus Banks, about to 
appear in the pages of your journal, you quote some critiques on ' The Manchester 
Man,' by the same author. One of the characters is true to the very life. Hers 
was the first school I ever attended, and I have a vivid recollection of the venerable, 
stately, little dame a rigid martinet, exacting the utmost deference from all who 
approached her, and invariably addressed as ' Madam ' Broadbent. I have often 
since recalled my feelings of delight when for the first time I went with her and 
my schoolfellows in great state to the theatre, as described in her novel. She 
educated the daughters of most of the leading Manchester merchants of that day, the 
wife of a recent Mayor being one of them. 

" Madame Broadbent did not profess the innumerable subjects now required, but 
all that was attempted was well taught. She inculcated habits of the strictest 
order, neatness, and regularity. The needlework was very beautiful, and would excite 
astonishment in these sewing machine days. The punishment for talking was very 
ludicrous. The delinquent was required to sit with her face to the wall a hideous 
contrivance of red cloth called the ' red tocgue ' hanging down her back ; it was 
considered a great disgrace. She succeeded in teaching a deaf and dumb girl to 
speak a feat of which she was justly proud. 

" If you think the above remarks on a character well known in Manchester during 
the early part of the present century are of interest, they are at your service. 

"C. B. 

"Rotherham, March 30th, 1879." 

I regret that at the time this letter- of so much interest to me appeared, I was 
too ill to communicate with the writer through the medium of the newspaper, and 
so the opportunity for thanks or correspondence was lost. 

It is also possible that some of those who have followed the Rev. Joshua Brookes 
through this narrative may be amused by the following category of the books in his 
library, as advertised for sale after his decease, it not only affordine; some insight 



APPENDIX II, 465 

into the inner self of the man, but being characteristic of the advertising of the 
period : 

"Library of the late Rev. Joshua Brookes, consisting of nearly six thousand volumes. 

"To be Sold by Auction, by Mr. Thomas Dcdd, at his auction repertory, No, 28, King- 
street, Manchester, on Monday, May 1 3th, 1822, and nine following days, Saturday 
and Sunday except eel. To commence precisely at half- past ten in the forenoon, and 
at three in the afternoon of each day. 

" The interesting Collection of Books is replete in the most valuable works in 
Divinity and Ecclesiastical History, Classics, Lives, Memoirs, History and Important 
Events, Voyages, Travels, Tours, Poetry, Education, Bibliography, Magazines, Reviews, 
Tracts, and a profusion of Miscellaneous Facetia of the most enlivening and entertaining 
description, abounding in Prophetic Admonitions, Solid Remarks, Comfortable Treatises, 
Learned Compendiums, Solid Discourses, Pious Devotions, Moral Emblems, Profound 
Researches. Happy Thoughts, Gospel Treasures. Choice Gleanings, Unerring Guides, 
Divine Parables, Pleasant Reflections, Poetical Blossoms, Flowers of Literature, 
Wonderful Predictions, Notable Discoveries, Desirable Acquisitions, Remarkable Adven- 
tures, Profitable Pursuits, Diverting Anecdotes, Lively Sallies, Singular Occurrences, 
Chronological Details, Curious Paradoxes, Astonishing Conjurations, Strange Bubbles, 
Elegant Epistles, Select Letters, Acute Criticisms, Charming Themes, Delightful Novels, 
Old Romances, Comical Works, Droll Transactions, Exquisite Epigrams, Smart 
Repartees, Fairy Tales, Facetious Puns, Humourous Stories, Merry Lucubrations, Love 
Stratagems, Ingenious Enigmas, Revealed Mysteries, Useful Hints, Magical Tricks, 
Whimsical Customs, Odd Freaks, Queer Jokes, Flim Flams, Entertaining Recreations, 
Experimental Philosophy, Classical Odes, Delphic Oracles, Eloquent Orations, Keen 
Satires, Striking Incidents, Happy Intelligence, Tea Table Chat ; and, lastly. Wine 
and Oil for Drooping Souls. 

" The Books may be viewed on Thursday, May 9th, and previous to the Days of 
Sale, when Catalogues may be had at one shilling each." 

It is only honest to add that I am indebted to a correspondent of the Manchester 
City News "Notes and Queries" for the above. 

I. B. 

London, April, 1881. 



FINAL APPENDIX (HISTORICAL.) 



The lapse of years since this novel was penned, the sweeping demolition of the 
town it describes, and the birth of generations who cannot recall it, not only furnish 
reasons for the issue of this pictorial edition, but for the author to add somewhat to 
her former communications with her readers, before she, too, is swept away, and further 
annotation from her pen is impossible. 

THE RIVER IRK AND HUNT'S BANK BRIDGE CHAPTERS I. AND XIII. I have said 
that only an antiquary or a very old inhabitant "could recall Manchester as it was 
at the close of the last century ; " and time has since removed most of the old people 
who, leaning over the stout wooden railing along the embanked river-side, had stood to 
watch the Irk chafe its swift waters against the rocky base of Grammar School and 
College, or rush along in flood under the arch of Hunt's Bank Bridge to "join the 
brimming" Irwell ; for this must have been before the Lancashire and Yorkshire 
Railway shut it out of sight and memory. And I question if any but myself can 
remember to have seen the ancient cannon-ball imbedded in the rock below the College, 
for that may also have been covered up and buried. It is more than sixty years since 
my brother pointed it out to me as a memorial of the siege. The maps introduced into 
the volume will show at least where the river ran, and where Simon had his garden- 
plot on Walker's Croft above the embankment, along with others. 

CHAP. III. THE SEVEN STARS INN is still in existence. It is said to be the most 
ancient inn in Lancashire. At all events, it has been a licensed house since the reign 
of Edward III., the first licence having been granted A D. 1356. Being a county licence, 
the record was preserved in the Record Office, Lancaster Castle, but along with other 
documents relating to the Duchy of Lancaster has since been removed to London. 

There is a tradition that the workmen engaged in building the Parish Church, 
afterwards the Collegiate Church, and now the Cathedral, were paid a penny a day 
(or a peck of meal), and got their dinners at the " Seven Stars Inn." Sixty or more 
years ago it was a noted resort for country carriers, " Seven Stars Yard," in the rear 
(through which there was a convenient thoroughfare) never being without its complement 
of their covered carts and waggons from outlying or distant places. The ' Boar's 
Head" at Hyde's Cross was another rendezvous of the kind, chiefly affected by the 
Cheshire carriers, who brought occasional passengers as well as baskets, boxes, and 
parcels, and never asked inconvenient questions in the interest of the Post Office. 



FINAL APPENDIX. 467 

CHAPS. IV. V. THE SUN INN. I am not aware of any ancient record of this 
inn, either as a licensed house or a private abode. It was brought into prominence 
when Mr. William Earnshaw, a native of Colne, one of my father's old friends, and 
the father of one of my pupils, migrated from Cheetham to become the landlord, 
drew round him the literary men of the town, and inscribed the legend on the front, 
"Poets' Corner." This was in the early forties, when John Critchley Prince was in 
the ascendant, and lived over the way. A glimpse of the inn may be seen through 
the College Gateway initial, and again, in the larger view ot the Old Grammar 
School, comes a shoulder of antiquarian interest where a narrow strip of window 
marks the sometime " Poets' Fratorium." 

The leather-breeches maker next door, whose name I have forgotten, was one of 
the old inhabitants when I was young. A railed area, and a descent into one of 
the cellar dwellings common at the time, necessitated an ascent of three or four steps 
to what was evidently the shop and workshop both. When buckskin-breeches were in 
vogue he had done a flourishing trade there, but in my time it was only kept alive 
by a few old customers, and those chiefly for making and cleaning buckskin gloves 
and braces. 

CHAP. V. THE BRIDGEWATER HOTEL. This hotel must have disappeared in 
the general onslaught on Market Street Lane, but I believe that the curious may 
still discover remains of the old stabling of Bridgewater Yard in a little back street 
leading out of High Street. 

CHAP. V. COLONEL HANSON was extremely popular with the working people, 
who dubbed him " the weavers' friend." His politics landed him in prison. On 
his release a gold cup, purchased by the united pence of 32,000 weavers, was 
presented to him at his residence, Strangeways Hall. His tenancy followed that of 
John Varley, my father's uncle, to one ol whose daughters he was engaged. For 
some private reason the match was abruptly broken off; whether on account of a 
duel he fought or for prudential reasons was not known. 

CHAPS. VI. AND XXL MANCHESTER INFIRMARY. This valuable institution has 
undergone many changes since it was originally founded by Mr. Joseph Bancroft and 
Mr. Charles White, the eminent and eccentric surgeon of King Street. At that time 
an ordinary dwelling-house in Garden Street, Salford, was obliged to suffice for the 
sick poor. It was but the experiment of two Samaritans. But so forcibly did it 
justify its existence in its utter inadequacy to meet the pressing claims upon it, that 
outer benevolence was stimulated : friends rallied round the first promoters, donations 
were ready, and Sir Oswald Mosley, Lord of the Manor, executed a conveyance of 
the waste land around, and including, the old Daub Hole, as a site for a more 
commodious building. Of this new Infirmary Mr. Miles Brown laid the first stone, 
and it was opened for patients in 1755, at a cost of ^4,000, Mr. James Massey 
being the first President. The Daub Hole (clay pit) where the ancient ducking-stool 
had served to cool the hot blood of cantankerous scolds, became a long pond railed 
in along with a still wider area devoted to shrubs and healing herbs. Ten years 
later a Lunatic Asylum rose in line with the Infirmary, though structurally apart. 
Such they remained for many years, the broad gravelled walk in front, with wide 



468 FINAL APPENDIX. 

stretches of emerald grass on either hand, becoming the recognised promenade for 
Manchester merchants' and tradesmen's families after Divine service on Sunday 
mornings, albeit it was not called "Church Parade." I may here mention that in 
1766 simultaneous sermons inaugurated by Warden Peploe were preached in all the 
Manchester churches in aid of this great institution, realising about ^164, thus creating 
a precedent for "Hospital Sunday" a century in advance of the modern movement. 
It was not until 1781 that Public Baths were erected within the Infirmary area, close 
to the expansive triple gates, confronting the gardens, and turning a high blank wall 
to that end of George Street. 

Such was the Infirmary as it was connected with my narrative, and as it existed in 
1820, and as Mr. Fitton has depicted. I personally remember the lighting up of the 
clock with gas in 1825, and various later alterations in the building, such as the 
filling in of the gap between the Asylum aud the Infirmary proper. Then the 
fronting of the whole with stone, when a noble pillared portico was added to the 
fa9ade, having an imposing ascent of several steps to the vestibule door. Within 
this vestibule was kept an old sedan chair which I recollect once seeing in use, and 
only once. 

And such, too, was the Infirmary through successive decades, until the sluggish 
pond which in 1851 welcomed the visit of Queen Victoria with the spray from 
three upspringing fountains was voted a nuisance, was dried up, as had been the 
chalybeate springs of the superseded baths, and its site was converted into a flagged 
esplanade, adorned with statues, and supplied with seats for the wear}'. But it is 
no longer the Infirmary of my childhood, or of my story, and no wilful Augusta 
could within its area find the convenient shrubbery in which to keep clandestine 
appointments with any " darling Laurence." And now this is to be re-built. 

CHAPS. VIII. to XII. CHETHAM'S HOSPITAL OR COLLEGE. The word hospital has 
for many years been associated with institutions for the reception and treatment of 
the sick or disabled. But when the benevolent merchant, Humphrey Chetham, made 
his will, and suggested the purchase of this stronghold on the Irk the site of the 
Roman Proetorium as a home for poor and parentless boys, the word retained its 
monastic meaning of a guest-house, or hospitium, for the shelter and entertainment of 
way-worn or belated travellers, irrespective of rank or condition, hence its legal 
application to this foundation. Yet, for two previous centuiies the building had been 
a College attached to Christ's Church, the pious priest-lord, Thomas de la Warr, 
having surrendered his baronial hall for the reception of the Warden and Fellows 
when he obtained Royal permission to collegiate the church, then newly-built of stone 
to replace an earlier structure of wood. The name of " College " stuck to the building, 
and very properly so, considering its two-fold dedication to learned and pious uses, 
whether as a home and school for the training of deserving boys, or as the repository 
of Chetham's unique library of rare and priceless books, open and free to the students 
of the world. 

It was thus the boys on Humphrey Chetham's foundation became, known as "College 
Boys." And long may they be so designated, albeit "Owens College" at the Chorlton 
end of the town now claims to be the Manchester College per se, having University rank. 



FINAL APPENDIX. 469 

Since the bygone days when Dr. Stone was librarian, and the present writer admitted 
Jabez Clegg to the privileges of the " College," many changes and alterations have 
taken place in and around the citadel on the rock. These call for notice in this 
historical appendix, not only for the preservation of memorials swept away within the 
past half-century, but for the behoof of readers of the present generation. 

The first marked innovation began in 1844-5 with the Manchester and Leeds 
Railway Company (now the Lancashire and Yorkshire) when the directors, who had 
already made havoc of Walker's Croft, and the Cholera Burial-ground, lacking space 
for the extension of offices, arched over the Irk from Hunt's Bank all along beneath 
the College, which they would fain have absorbed likewise, had it been possible. 
Prior to that intrusion, the College had possessed several outlets to the river, at one 
time well stocked with fish. There were the Dairy-steps (initial I), the steps to 
the old Pump-court (initial J), others to the Boat-house, and a long flight which 
must still be visible clinging to the outer wall, and only terminating at the upper 
level of what is now known as the Governor's Garden. This I am informed by the 
present courteous Governor, Mr. Walter T. Browne, was formerly called the Scurvy 
Garden. He says : " The reason it obtained this name is because in the early days 
of the school, the boys afflicted with zymotic diseases were confined here apart like 
the lepers of old. They also slept apart in the three small cells adjoining, now used 
for other purposes." All these steps rose from a narrow platform of rock slightly 
raised above the river at low water, and more or less covered in stormy or showery 
weather. 

It is just thirty years ago 1866 since I visited the College for the purposes of 
this story, and, after a brief chat with my old friend, Mr. James Crossley, the 
bibliographer, and Mr. Thomas Jones, the librarian, Mr. Richard Hanby, the gentle 
and genial house-governor, conducted me over the building, from cellerage to dormitory. 
I then discovered that "change," under the name of " Progress." had begun its work 
internally. To provide more room tor the library, the old museum had been displaced, 
and the bulk (or the " rubbish," according to Mr. John Plant, curator) transferred to 
the Peel Park Museum, where its significance was lost. The dingy curios, there of 
no account, were part of the antiquity of the College, telling of a time before steam 
brought the ends of the world into contact, when an alligator or a porpoise was a 
curiosity to be prized and exhibited, and science had not made the human skeleton 
familiar to the young. To me it seemed as if a leaf had been violently rent from 
the archives of the Hospital and of my memory. How often had I in my childhood 
followed, with open ears and eyes alert, some Blue-coat cicerone as he ran over, like 
a parrot's roll, the list of curios ranged on shelves protected by a network of brass- 
wire, or mounted high on walls or over doorways, when I had wished he would not 
gabble on so fast, but leave time for closer inspection. There was generally another 
guide with a separate party close on his heels, and no doubt this frequent iteration 
would be annoying to studious readers who had only the holiday time for research, 
for one of these committed his irritation to print, and so preserved an inventory of 
an earlier date than that of Mr. John Rylance (himself an "old boy") or that the 
Rev. John Henn has included in his :; Memoir of Richard Hanby;' In producing 



470 FINAL APPENDIX. 

this catalogue, for which I am indebted to another " old boy," Mr. John Lea, of 
Sale, I am omitting a splenetic prelude little to the purpose, and beg leave to say 
it is otherwise precisely given as I have heard, and can recall, 

"TIM BOBBIN'S 
' Choice Oratorical Catalogue ' of the rare and valuable Curiosities in the 

College Library, Manchester. 
Printed by J. PRATT, Bridge Street, 1827." 



[Enter BOY and BOOBIES.] 

BOY. " That's th' Skeleton of a Man that's a Globe that's a Telescope that's a 
a Snake over the snake's back's two Watch-Bills those are four ancient swords 
that with a white haft once belonged to General Wolfe that's the Whip that the 
Snake was kilt with that topmost's a Crocodile that bottomost's an Alligator that 
boot once belonged to Queen Elizabeth that's an Indian Pouch that's an ancient 
Stiletto that's part of Humphrey Chetham's Armour - that with the white face is a 
Monkey side o 1 th' monkey's a Green Lizard side o' th' lizard's a Porpus's Skull 
under th' porpus's skull's an Alligator under the alligator's a Turtle - those Bows and 
Arrows belonged to the Indians that's a Porpus's Head those are various kinds of 
Adders, Worms, Snakes, Fishes, and venomous Creatures those are a pair of Eagle's 
Claws that Arrow belonged to one o' th' legions that fought under the Duke of 
Richmond, at the Battle of Bosworth Field, in the year 1485, when King Richard 
the 3rd, King of England, was slain those Arrows once belonged to Robin Hood 
that's a Sea Hen that's a Sea Weed that's a Unicorn Fish that's part of an 
Indian's Skull that's th' top part of it that's part of Oliver Cromwell's Stone 
Tankard those Balls are took out of a Cow that's part of a Loadstone those two 
Pieces of Wood was Almanacks before printing was found out that's a Hairy Man 
under the hairy man's a Speaking Trumpet side o' th' speaking trumpet's Oliver 
Cromwell's Sword that's a Leathern Bag side o' th' leather bag's two Cokey Nut 
Shells side o' th' porpus's skull's a pumkin side o' th' pumkin's an American Cat 
over th' pumkin's a Turtle side o' th' turtle's a Sea Weed that top one's a Crocodile 
under the crocodile's an Alligator under the alligator's a Woman's Clog that was split 
by a thunderbolt, and hoo wasn't hurt side o' th' crocodile's tail's a Sea Hen side 
o' th' sea hen's a Laplander's Snow Shoe that in a box is the Skeleton of a 
Nightingale that Table has as many pieces in it as th' days in the year this Clock 
only strikes once a year that's the Cock that crows when it smells roast beef and 
that's the way out!" 

I may add, as does the spurious Tim Bobbin, that the boy, who never asked, but waited, 
here expected a trifle for his services, and well deserved it. No pictures then dis- 
puted precedence with that of the Founder above the fireplace, at least on that side of the 
room That of Humphrey Chetham's brother above the doorway, and those of 
Bradford, the Martyr, and Hugh Oklham by its side, were unseen by the "boobies" 
who stood with awe upon the threshold, and they had no place in the vocal category. 
Consequently the pictures included in the catalogues of Mr. Rylance and Mr. Henn, 




REFECTORY, CHETHAM HOSPITAL. 



FINAL APPENDIX. 471 

along with other articles they include, belong to a period beyond the range of ' ' The 
Manchester Man." 

Yet in justice to myself and those who may expect to find the College exactly 
as I pourtrayed it, I must add that between my explorations under the guidance of 
Mr. Hanby and my last visit, when a Mr. Tinkler did the honours, years had 
slipped by, and many had been the changes, even structurally. My new guide 
omitted to say that the improvements he vaunted had been made, when in 1882-4 
Oliver Heywood Esq., one of the Feoffees, had munificently furnished funds for the 
repair of the entire building, but he exultingly pointed to the discovery of a large 
recess and a fine raftered ceiling in the refectory, previously concealed under lath 
and plaster. I was shown how the removal of the ancient and effete museum had made 
the library more commodious, how fresh portraits had been admitted to the com- 
panionship of the Founder in the renovated reading-room, and where a secret door 
had been discovered in the oak-panelling by a boy, a door leading by a private 
staircase to the Minstrel's gallery and to the cloisters. 

I admitted the undoubted improvements, but I felt as if old memories had been 
disturbed. The cellarage I did not ask to see. The changes there have only 
recently been revealed to me. But when Mr. Tinkler led me forth into the play- 
ground to inspect a brand new schoolroom, and I beheld a troop of boys in common 
suits of corduroy, the shock overpowered me, I waxed indignant, and if I did not 
say all I thought of the change, I certainly asked how the boys came to be clad 
otherwise than in the reputable long blue-coat prescribed by Humphrey Chetham's 
will, the mercantile style of his period? Some shuffling apology of insufficient 
iunds was made, but I left the old building full of ire at the paltry disregard of 
the Founder's will, and his motto. " Quad tuum tene." 

I have, however, lately been much gratified by hearing from Mr. W. T. Browne 
that measures were on foot for the restoration of the time-honoured uniform, and 
that probably before these lines are in print the College yard may be again 
traversed by Blue-coat boys, as proud of their attire as are those of Christ Church 
School, London. And respecting the costume, let me say that in this edition I 
have given the boys yellow stockings at the instance of an individual much my 
elder, and I believe an " Old Boy." Those of the Christ Church boys are yellow. 
But Baines, in his ' History and Gazetteer," date 1825, describes Chetham's as blue. And 
dark blue they were as I remembered and described them originally, probably the 
result of an innovation prior to the historian's date. 

CHAP. XXIX. ARDWICK GREEN POND. Like the Infirmary pond, this has ceased 
to be a memory to any but persons of middle age, it has been so long filled up, the 
Green being now an acknowledged public recreation ground. It was always so more 
or less, within my recollection and many years before that. The pond, shaped something 
like the London " Serpentine," was surrounded by a broad border of grassy turf, here 
and there planted with trees and bushes. With the exception of a small paved space 
at the upper end, in form like a horse-shoe, bounded by a stone coping, and which 
was set apart for the watering of horses and cat^e, the whole Green was surrounded 
by stout wooden posts, connected by thick bars of wrought iron, the entire enclosure 



472 FINAL APPENDIX. 

being traditionally reputed to measure a mile round. School boys and girls, who had 
holidays, made it a recreation ground (there were no holidays then for the children of 
the poor), and the horizontal bars from frequent use by amateur gymnasts became warped 
and distorted. The bars gave place to chains, which served quite as well to swing upon. 
At Whitsuntide and other grand processional celebrations, the Sunday-school children 
were ranged within this enclosure to sing hymns and the National Anthem ; and the 
girls being mostly dressed in white, with white caps and tippets, it was a very pretty 
and interesting sight. In winter, when frost bound the lakelet, it was taken possession 
of by boys and men as an established skating ground, and nobody said them nay. So 
that it was a recognised recreation ground before the Green was formally made over 
to the Corporation, and robbed of its chief attraction. The pond could scarcely have 
been stagnant, if it was true a brooklet ran through its length and kept it fresh. 
In the old maps it is styled a " Canal." Certainly soot might accumulate on its 
surface in these later days ; but sixty years ago the young angler might find more 
than jack-sharps there, for horse-mussels were abundant. And at least one old 
Lancashire conchologist added to his collection from its depths, since specimens of 
Planorbis, Spherium and Limnsea, collected by the hand now dead, have been added 
to my collection by a kind Manchester scientific friend as historical relics of a pond 
which has also ceased to exist. The pond was not altogether without its tragedy, 

for when I was about nine years old a fine young woman, named Eliza , 

summarily dismissed from her situation close by, drowned herself by bending over the 
coping at the watering-place. She had formerly been my baby-sister's nurse. 

CHAPS. V., VI., XII., c. OLDHAM STREET. This thoroughfare, so closely con- 
nected with the incidents of this story, and the history of the town, had no 
existence until 1772, when the highway through Newton to Oldham was selected by 
members of the Newton family and others, for the erection of good Georgian houses 
of red brick suited to the requirements of merchants and private gentlemen. They 
were houses of which Gower Street, London, may stand as a type, having similar 
pillared doorways and fanlights, similar steps of broad flags, and, in most cases, areas 
railed in to protect the steps descending to the basement kitchens. Such they were 
when the main events recorded in these pages passed into history. In a very few 
years shops began to invade the residential street ; then the areas and the basements 
became tenanted by working craftsmen, who made there the goods they had for sah, 
and executed repairs, in some cases living there entirely ; otherwise they served as 
workshops or storehouses for the ground-floor tradesmen whose goods demanded 
space. At the corner of Dale Street was a many-pinnacled Wesleyan Chapel, 
celebrated for its connection with John Wesley, who had preached therein, notably 
at its opening. Now, the chapel has gone the way of private abodes, projecting 
steps and areas, and from end to end the busy thoroughfare has been given up 
to enterprising shopkeepers, who have remodelled and extended frontages so that 
the Oldham Street in which the "Manchester Man" is published is not to be recog- 
nised as that in which the writer was born in 1821. 

CHAPS. VI. AND XX. NEW CROSS. This Cross, which may be found marked on 
the map for 1807. at the junction of the four wide thoroughfares - Oldham Street, 



FINAL APPENDIX. 473 

Ancoats Lane, Newton Lane (now Oldham Road), and Swan Street (then New Cross 
Street) was the centre round which clustered an open-air market and shambles in 
the early years of this century. It was known as " New Cross Market," and long 
years after the wholesale fruit and vegetable markets had been removed for 
centralisation to the wide area of Smithfield and Shudehill, and the butchers removed 
to newly-built shambles lying between Swan Street and Smithfield, where dealers in 
pottery, tinware, baskets, toys, and cast-off clothes, had been drawn as into a focus, 
the name remained, though the Cross had been taken down in 1821, and New Cross 
Market it continued to be called for years afterwards, to my knowledge, whatever it 
might be officially. Even the stall-keepers were loth to quit their old ground, and 
edged into Swan Street, until the shopkeepers rose against their intrusion as a 
nuisance, and they were peremptorily " moved on," What became of the Cross, or 
what was its architectural appearance, I could never ascertain, though I asked many 
questions about it when I was young and its removal recent ; and unless it was 
in a ruinous condition I think it might have been allowed to remain, since it marked 
a place of sepulture, for there, twenty years later, were unearthed the skeletons of 
suicides a cruel law had denied more sacred ground. However, if Laurent's plan 
may be trusted, it was more a monument than a cross, and consisted of an elongated 
tone or spire, on a square, fluted pedestal, having a low step cr two round the base, 
and a light fane surmounting the spire. It has, anyway, left its name on the locality. 

CHAPS. I AND XIII. THE IRK AND ITS BRIDGES. Of these, the one at Hunt's 
Bank, where the Irk debouches into the Irwell (though under cover) must be the most 
ancient, since here by the Prcetorium was the Roman Road to Ribchester, and a 
biidge becomes a foregone conclusion, though it might not be the precise one 
Mr. Fitton has depicted as coeval with College and old Houses of Correction, and which 
we find marked on maps as Irk Bridge or Hunts Bank Bridge indiscriminately. 
Farther up the river, beyond the Grammar School and a short row of dwelling-houses, 
the steep descent of a narrow alley under the frowning walls of the Town Mill, 
landed your footsteps on a strong wooden erection, having an earthen floor, and known 
as Mill Brow Bridge. It was the common footway from Millgate to Walker's Croft, 
and overlooked the first mill-dam on the Irk. Still higher up the stream, and closed 
in by the Millgate line of houses, was the very ancient pile denominated Tanners' 
Bridge, which had been swept away long ere the houses opposite to Millers' Lane 
were demolished to make way in 1814 for the wide arch of Ducie Bridge, and the 
new highway through Cheetham to the North. Prior to this the only route had been 
through narrow Long Millgate to an abrupt turn and steep descent just by Pinmill 
Brow to Scotland Bridge (the last of the Irk bridges within our scope), and thence 
up the twice-lowered acclivity of Red Bank, toilsome to the pedestrian, and for 
vehicular traffic intolerable. Travellers to Scotland no longer use the bridge or the 
road cut through the red sandy hill, and the obvious nomenclature of the bridge itself 
has become a puzzle for the curious. 

CHAP. XVI. SIMON'S GARDEN PLOT. A glance at the map for 1807 will show 
where a number of such plots were grouped together. It was then quite a practice 
for a tradesman confined all the week to shop or warehouse to have a garden plot and 



474 .b'lXAL APPENDIX. 

summer-house outside the town where he and his family might take their ease on 
Sunday afternoons in summer time. It must be remembered that business hours were 
long ; there were no weekly half-holidays for employers or employed, whilst suburban 
residences were few and far between, and tenanted by the well-to-do. No wonder 
then that tradespeople and artizans betook themselves to the green fields on Sunday 
afternoons, or that tea-gardens came into existence, while humbler caterers cultivated 
garden plots, as did Simon Clegg, and purveyed posies and summer fruits. 

CHAPS. XVIII. AND XLVI. THE NEW BAILEY. Until 1790 the only gaol in 
Manchester was the House or Correction on Hunt's Bank, under the very shadow ot 
the College. But this, notwithstanding re-building, became so utterly inadequate for 
the growing needs of the town (partly owing to the blood-money system for the 
manufacture of criminals), that after an Act oi Parliament had been obtained, the 
New Bailey Prison was erected on the Salford side of the Irwell, with its frontage 
to the river. Its appearance on completion may be seen in the initial to Chapter 
XLVI. But though it was opened in 1790 for the admission of prisoners, many years 
elapsed before its completion. Its nucleus was a central building constructed on 
John Howard's plan, and shaped so as to permit a warder at the centre to have 
the whole four wards or alleys within his view, a system of signalling by 
tablet allowing the prisoners to communicate with the gaoler. It was three storeys 
high, but manifestly too small for the requirements of Manchester and Salford in those 
unsettled times, although offenders beyond magisterial jurisdiction were carted off to 
Lancaster for trial. However, a wider area had to be walled in, and gradually other 
accommodation provided under the shadow of the newly- extended southern wall. And 
in time, even before the passing of the Prisons Act in 1823, workshops were set up 
along the south-eastern wall, where the prisoners were usefully employed in batting, 
tailoring (for prison wear), shoe, mat, rug, or basket making, instead of herding 
together like cattle, as had been the case in too many common gaols. And I have 
little doubt the horrors and abuses in Ilchester Gaol, brought to light by Henry Hunt's 
demand for a Commission to inquire into its condition during his incarceration there as 
a political offender, had no little influence in the amendment of the law. At all 
events, the treadmill invented in 1817 was not set up in the New Bailey Prison 
until 1824, and the first person sent to it was a woman-servant who had robbed my 
parents very extensively. This treadmill ground dyewoods for manufacturers, and was 
therefore made to pay its expenses. I saw it in use when, with this novel in 
contemplation, and armed with a sufficient order, I was shown over the prison, 
which I had previously contemplated only from its exterior. But as the whole 
edifice has long been razed to the ground, a few words anent that exterior may not 
be out ot place. I need not tell middle-aged people that its frontage and entrance 
were in Satnley Street, high up above the Irwell, which it frowned down upon. 
Strong iron gates gave access to a space a few yards wide, bounded by as strong an 
iron gate or grating. (It was within this narrow space the bodies recovered after the 
wreck of the Emma were laid out for identification.) As at Newgate (the Old Bailey), 
the symbolic fetters or leg-irons were suspended above the entrance, and conveyed no 
idle threat when the century was in its teens. The Governor's house, slightly recessed 



FINAL APPENDIX. 475 

beyond this entrance, was situated above the ground floor and magisterial offices, and 
was approached by a double flight of steps with a very needful handrail. It may, 
perhaps, be remembered that the square outer walls of the prison were exceedingly 
high and massive, with bastions at the four corners, pierced with loop-holes for 
musketry, as were the upper walls. 

It was not thus originally. Twice within my own recollection had those walls been 
raised and strengthened. In the first instance, above the original wall of rustic masonry, 
surmounted by a chevaux-de-frise, rose a course of brick-work to a higher level, to which 
the revolving chevaux-de-frise was transferred as an additional security. Rioting and tumult 
had apparently rendered the precaution necessary. Later riots, turn-outs, incendiary 
fires, and other acts of violence still more menacing, caused the authorities again to 
increase the elevation of the walls with brick-work, adding the loop holes and bastions 
to awe the threatening multitude. I was not of an age to specialize these separate 
riots, having unfortunately known so many, but I could not pass the New Bailey to 
visit my Grandfather Varley without observing these changes, and inquiring the reason. 

MOSLEY STREET. There were no warehouses in this street during the period covered 
by this narrative. If other manufacturers there were, they had their business premises 
in the rear, with entrances in the narrow back streets, as had my Ashton prototype. 
It was essentially a residential quarter for private families and physicians of repute, 
It was, moreover, studded with public buildings. The Royal Hotel occupied the 
corner at the Piccadilly end, with an outlook across the Infirmary pond. A few 
yards beyond rose an unobtrusive Unitarian Chapel, having a very small burial-ground 
wedged in between the chapel and other premises. I remember the outcry made 
against the desecration of this cramped-up place of sepulture, when the site of the 
chapel was required for a warehouse ; an outcry which only subsided when the 
purchasers agreed to arch over the place of the dead, and build above the arched 
foundation. Higher up, cornering Charlotte Street, the plain not to say ugly 
Assembly Rooms gave to Mosley Street something of an aristocratic status, confronted 
as it was with the pillared fa$ade of the Portico. A large and well-attended 
Independent Chapel occupied the third corner of Charlotte Street, beyond the Assembly 
Rooms. Higher up still, abutting on Princess Street, was an exclusive "Academy 
for young gentlemen," and close beyond that, like two prim and antiquated spinsters 
retiring from the obtrusive crush of modern society, two quaint and neat two-storey 
houses stood back as it were in a recess, railed in behind a flagged forecourt, as 
clean as the windows and bright brass knockers. But the second decade of the 
century had worn itself out before St. Peter's solitary Church (guiltless of dome, or 
spire, or steeple) looked down an unbroken vista of brick and stone. It stood "a 
thing apart" for many years after the fugitives from Peterloo rushed past, pursued by 
horsemen with flashing sabres. Yet the church had been completed, and commerce 
had taken full possession of Mosley Street long ere a line of the " Manchester Man " 
was penned, and tram-cars have now usurped the place where private carriages rolled 
in state on great occasions. 

CHAP. XIX. AND XX. PETEULOO. By one of Time's strange ironies the Free Trade 
Hall now occupies a portion of the extensive plot of waste ground known in 1819 as 



476 FINAL APPENDIX. 

St. Peter's Fields, from its proximity to St. Peter's Church, and which in that year 
obtained unenviable notoriety as Peterloo Fields. At that date Waterloo was so 
recent an event that the mental association of the two names was a natural sequence 
when the atrocious attack of armed cavalry on a defenceless multitude of men, women, and 
children converted the ground into another Aceldama. By whomsoever originated the 
woful catastrophe was by common consent spoken of as the "Peterloo Massacre," the 
" Battle of Peterloo," and the designations passing from fathers to sons have so come 
down to us. 

An objection has been raised to my introduction of artillery, as untrue to history. 
I described what my near relations saw and knew. Further, it is stated by Edward 
Baines, who, I believe, was one of the reporters present "The military, consisting 
of the Manchester and Cheshire Yeomanry Cavalry, the I$th Hussars, a detachment 
of the 83th Regiment of Foot, and some pieces of royal artillery, were all in 
readiness, but they were not then seen by the persons forming the meeting." And 
again, "The panic-struck reformers, with all the banners and emblems, fled in all 
directions, while some of those at a distance threw stones and brick-bats at the 
Yeomanry, who galloped over the field in triumph, chasing the fugitives. The Cheshire 
Yeomanry, and the I5th Hussars, who had now reached the ground, followed by two 
pieces of flying artillery ', assisted to clear the field," &c. Wheeler, in his "History 
of Manchester," also says, "Thanks were sent 'officially' to persons who had rendered 
active service in maintaining order, which comprised the Manchester and Cheshire 
Yeomanry, the I51h Hussars, detachments of the 88th and the 3ist Foot, with pieces 
of artillery" &c. The statement of Mr. Archibald Prentice was "Near to the field, 
ready the moment their services were required, were six troops of the I5th Hussars, 
a troop of horse aitillery with two guns" &c. 

This combined testimony, I think, dispels all doubt of my accuracy. And these 
historians testify something more, namely, that the onslaught was made before the 
Riot Act was read, and that solely to enable Nadin to execute his warrant for the 
arrest of the speakers, his force of 200 constables being (according to his representations) 
insufficient to support him. The Magistrate who read the Riot Act was, I believe, 
Parson Wray, as he was called in my time. 

The memory of this inhuman outrage was not soon permitted to die out of the 
Manchester mind ; for so surely as Peterloo Day came round, it was commemorated 
by a long procession of working-men, headed by an immense banner on which the 
scene of the massacre was represented with startling effect, if not with consummate 
art. Year after year I beheld the long procession and its ponderous banner until 
I had outgrown my childhood and any likelihood of forgetfulness. But when these 
annual processions were abandoned, or what became of the scenic banner, I have no 
means of ascertaining. For a long while I have been under the impression that Mr. 
Henry Whaite, of Bridge Street (who went over to the majority six-and-twenty years 
back), was the painter, as well as the producer of the banner. And I fear, in my 
endeavours to assure myself of the fact and establish the identity of the Peterloo 
picture (there being a second in existence), that I have been troublesome 
to his descendants, both of the first and second generation, who have courteously 



FINAL APPENDIX. 477 

endeavoured to recover " the missing link " for me. Mr. Whaite made the banner, 
that I knew, whosoever painted it ; and I have come to the conclusion, taxing my 
own memory, that the crude engraving bearing the signature of Jas. Wroe a Radical 
of the Radicals and disseminated so freely during the "Old Manchester" Exhibition, 
is simply a reduction in black and white of the highly-coloured scene upon the 
banner ; and is not truly representative. 

There is another and much superior picture of Peterloo extant, an engraving of 
which was published with the following dedication : 

"TO HENRY HUNT, ESQ., 

as Chairman of the Meeting assembled on St. Peter's Field, Manchester, on the 
l6th of August, 1819, and to the Female Reformers of Manchester and the adjacent 
Towns, who were exposed to and suffered from the Wanton and Furious Attack 
made on them by that brutal armed force, THE MANCHESTER AND CHESHIRE 
YEOMANRY CAVALRY, 

This plate is dedicated 

by their Fellow Labourer, 

RICHARD CARLILE." 
"(Published Aug. i, /<? (indistinct) ly Rd. Carlilf t 53, Fleet St., London.)" 

Of this which is evidently a faithful representation of the awful scene -I have 
been most anxious to preserve a copy here, and only relinquish my proposal with extreme 
reluctance on my publisher's assurance that the fine lines of the old photograph 
possessed by Mr. Fitton are too faint for reproduction by modern processes. 

No artist's signature is distinguishable, yet it is with scarcely a doubt a fac-simik of the 
oil-painting by Mr. Thomas Whaite, and formerly in the possession of his nephew, 
Mr. Frederick A. Whaite, of Bridge Street, whose pictures were unfortunately dispersed 
nearly a dozen years ago, and all clue to its whereabouts lost. Wherever it may be, 
it is a picture of historic value, and should belong to the City. 

It is no fancy sketch. It has certainly been painted by an eye-witness, who mastered 
all the details upon the spot. And the brothers Henry and Thomas Whaite, with a 
brother-in-law named Richardson, were all upon the field as adherents of the cause 
of Radical reform, and of Henry Hunt as its exponent. 

According to Bradley, the artist, Thomas Whaite was the best portrait painter in 
Manchester, and that the principal individuals in even the faint photo are portraits any 
old inhabitant of the town might testify, as I can. Not only may the clerical magistrate 
at the open window on the left be readily identified, but Henry Hunt and his 
supporters upon the waggon-platform, with horror depicted in every feature. The whole 
scene is realistic ; from the lady sabred in the barouche, to the panic-stricken fugitives 
trampling on their fallen fellows, regardless of all but the instinct of self-preservation ; 
husbands dragging at their wives ; women clasping their babes ; the wounded lying 
unheeded underfoot; the deserted child imploring mercy from the mounted barbarian 
about to smite ; the meagre, half-famished man turning in his flight to clench his fist 
and curse the slashing cavalry ; it has all the impress of truth. The uniforms are as 
real as their reckless wearers: and there can be no mistaking the multitude for anything 



478 FINAL APPENDIX. 

but Lancashire operatives of all grades, clad after the manner of the period, as fortune 
or misfortune had the upper hand. 

This is really the picture of Peterloo. And I am truly sorry no reproduction can 
be offered to my readers of an historic relic of so much interest. I am equally sorry 
that a portrait of Mrs. Broadbent, also by Thomas Whaite. could not be given, 
being also lost. 

CHAP. XIX. THE STAR INN. This inn, which obtained so much notoriety from 
its connection with Peterloo, was then the principal coaching-house at the Deansgate 
end of the town, and the -'Star Inn" yard was like the " Bridgewater," noted for 
its capacity to accommodate horses and vehicles without count. At that time it was 
not altogether detached. Across what is now an open street, an arched roof extended 
from the side door of the inn to the dingy brick wall of Bridge Street Market (or 
shambles), and this, which was called the Arcade, formed the covered way to the 
stabling in the rear. The Market, which has disappeared, might be commodious 
within, but it was enclosed in as unlovely a wall of brick-work as ever disgraced a 
town. Each alley of the square market had a separate entrance about the width of 
a respectable doorway, and as if to prevent the intrusion of any four-footed beast 
larger than a sheep dog, an iron post was set up under each archway, so that a 
buyer of robust proportions would need to rest her basket on the post to obtain an 
entrance. But no doubt the market brought country customers to the " Star Inn " 
and the inn yard, long before it aspired to rank as the " Star Hotel." The Arcade 
had vanished before my day. 

CHAP. XVI. c. THE ASSEMBLY ROOMS. The original shareholders, with a desire 
to render these rooms exclusive and aristocratic, laid down a law that no tradesman 
or manufacturer, whatever might be his wealth, should obtain admission under the charmed 
roof. Any puppy in uniform, any member of one of the three black-coated learned 
professions, was eligible, and the ladies they might present, but their lordships ignored 
trade. And so long as private gentry, with or without titles, resided within the town 
or in the immediate suburbs, the law was strictly kept. But as the town advanced, 
and a new type of manufacturers came to the Iront, the stringent rule, which 
threatened the Assembly Rooms with dissolution, had to be modified, otherwise neither 
the Aspinalls nor the Ashtons could have penetrated the exclusive circle. 

CHAP. XXXIX. "ALINIJA; OR, THE CHILD OF MYSTERY." This was one of four 
novels written by Sophia M 'Gibbon, the actress, a great favourite on the Manchester 
boards. She was the daughter of Woodfall, the reporter to the House of Commons, 
and the printer of "The Letters of Junius." At that time Parliamentary reporters 
were not permitted to take notes. Yet Woodfall's newspaper, The Advertiser, was 
sure to have verbatim reports of the speeches on the morning after a debate. The 
secret was this : His daughter Sophia, then only about thirteen, sat up waiting for 
him until whatever hour the House closed. Then, with a flying pen, she set down 
the speeches as they fell verbatim .rom his lips, and "copy" was ready for the 
printer. It was this faculty procured him the soubriquet of "Memory Woodfall." 
AS with most fluent writers, her penmanship was execrable. 



FINAL APPENDIX. 479 

CHAP. XLIV. BARLOW HALL. By the kind intervention of Mr. Thomas Letherbrow, 
and the gracious permission of Sir William Cunliffe Brookes, I am enabled for the 
first time to name and to present views of the old hall at Fallowfield in which those 
incidents in Augusta Ashton's married life which formed the original basis of my 
novel absolutely took place. As I named to Mr. Letherbrow the real prototype of 
Aspinall, there was no difficulty in identifying his home, and to both the former 
gentlemen my thanks are clue. 

CHAP. XXIII CLOGS. I find that much misapprehension exists respecting the 
Lancashire clogs, and that they are confounded in the popular mind with the sabots 
or wocden shoon of France and Holland. They differ in this respect. The sabots 
are entirely of wood. Of the clogs only the thick soles are of wood, to which 
stout upper leathers are closely nailed round. 

CHAP. XLVI. THE IRWELL AT NEW BAILEY BRIDGE. This was the scene of 
the fatal launch of the Emma. On the right of Mr. Fitton's sketch is the New 
Quay, where the flat (or barge) was built. On the left is the oM towing path. A 
long steep flight of steps clinging to the higher embankment, below the visible 
railings, and guarded by such another hand-rail, gave access to this path, and served 
passengers going to and from the Warrington and Runcorn packet-boats which there 
found a landing stage. They were something like elongated and flat-topped Noah's 
arks ; the flat roofs serving for outside passengers as on our present tram-cars and 
omnibuses. The house-boat is a glorified imitation. Samuel Bamford has said, "Venice 
hath its Bridge of Sighs, Manchester hath its Bridge of Tears," and this is appro- 
priately so named, not merely on account of the Emma catastrophe, but on account ot 
the numbers who had crossed it on their way to the prison frowning down upon the 
stream, crossed it to their doom ; for when it was built the death-penalty was exacted 
for very light offences. 

CHAP. IV. LONG MILLGATE AND CLEGG'S YARD. There is a shadowy suggestion 
of a factory at the right of Mr. Fitton's picture, which locates the old houses. The 
factory looked up Hanover Street, and the entry to the yard I have assigned to 
Simon Clegg was there when I was a girl in my teens. But by that time the 
two houses nearest the entry had given place to others less tumble-down, though 
the yard and the narrow tunnel which gave access to it were still in evidence, and 
the old tripe-dealer did a busy trade among his cool stone tanks. 

CHAP. XI. THE MARKET PLACE AND EXCHANGE. There has been such a wholesale 
destruction of ancient houses and thoroughfares, and an opening out of more imposing new 
ones in the centre of what is now the " City of Manchester," that I fear, but for the foot 
of Market-street Lane coming into Mr. Fitton's picture, readers of the present generation 
will scarcely be able to locate or realise it without reference to a map. Yet here, 
for centuries, had been the principal market of the town, spreading its open stalls 
down narrow Smithy Door on the left, and Short Millgate on the right as far as the 
obscurely covered-in poultry mart and shambles. And here, in the last century, when 
the stocks and pillory were institutions as venerable as the Market Cross beside them, 
there stood, not the handsome circular-fronted Exchange here depicted, but a small 
erection more like a country market-hall than the commercial building it professed to be, 



480 FINAL APPENDIX. 

whereon were spiked the decapitated heads ot three Manchester Jacobites to overawe 
their fellow -townsmen. In 1792 this first Exchange having been abandoned and 
become a foul lazaretto was taken down, and its site remained unoccupied save by 
a stone pillar and posts. The fine circular-fronted Exchange was quite a new 
erection when Jabez, with Ben Travis as companion, went his errand to Harrop, the 
printer's, next door to the Post Office, which had not yet been removed to the back 
of the new Exchange. The stocks, pillory, and cross were still in situ, and I had 
hoped Mr. Fitton might have included them in his picture, had the same courtesy 
been extended in this direction which we found elsewhere. But now the Market has 
been shifted, and even the second Exchange, notwithstanding its extension towards St. 
Ann's Square, is itself a thing of the past, so far forgotten that a writer in the Queen's 
Jubilee year ignored its existence altogether, and accredited the scenic representation 
of the first Exchange in the " Old Manchester " Exhibition as that of the only predecessor of 
the immense pile where merchants most do congregate in this day, which presents 
its frontage to Cross Street, takes a long slice out of Market Street, and rejoices in 
being the Exchange of a great city and sea-port, not a mere town. 

CHAPS. X., XL, &c. GEORGE PILKINGTON. I cannot close this historical and 
topographical appendix without a few words anent the genial old acquaintance of my 
girlhood. I used to meet him at the house of intimate friends, before I had any 
foreshadowing of my career as a novelist, or any inkling of the great good there 
was in the man it was my proud privilege to chat with so pleasantly. Indeed. I 
had introduced him into my novel simply as a Blue-coat boy, before I knew how 
modestly, yet how effectively, he had testified his gratitude to his benefactor, 
Humphrey Chetham, to whose foundation he was indebted for the training 
which had paved his way to fortune. A grateful and a generous heart only 
could have prompted such an expression of reverence for his Alma-Mater, as 
he has stamped in marble and placed in the sacred house of God, where 
he, the Blue-coat boy, sang and worshipped with his schoolmates. There was 
no monument to the far seeing, liberal merchant, until George Pilkington raised 
to his memory, and that of his foundation, the statue of which an engraving is here 
presented, and did it without any parade of his own name whatsoever. This book may 
pass to readers who have never entered our city, or its Cathedral, so I think I do 
well to preserve the memory of one Blue-coat boy one true Manchester man who 
combined the three virtues of gratitude, modesty, and generosity. 

And lest I should be deemed wanting in the first of these attributes, I hasten to 
thank all those who in any way have furthered my endeavours to preserve an historical 
picture of the Manchester which existed when I was young, but which has passed 
away from the sight and memory of the present generation. Of these I can only name 
gratefully, Sir William Cunliffe Brookes, Mr. Walter T. Browne, Mr. John Lea, Mr. 
Thomas Letherbrow, Mr. Albert Nicholson, Mr. Chas. Sutton, librarian, and his 
brother, Mr. Albert Sutton, Mr. Clarence Whaite, P.R.C.A., and his nephew, Mr. 
Herbert Whaite . 

ISABELLA BANKS. 

London, November I4th, 1896. 




HUMPHREY CHETHAM S STATUE. 



PLEASE DO NOT REMOVE 
CARDS OR SLIPS FROM THIS POCKET 

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO LIBRARY 



PR Banks, Isabella Varley 

6003 Tne Manchester man 

A54M3 
1896 



B 

<