"Thank you, sir," said Little. "And, meantime, I suppose I may feel safe against violence, from the members of your union?"
"Violence!" said Mr. Parkin, turning his eye inward, as if he was interrogating the centuries. Then to Mr. Bayne, "Pray, sir, do you remember any deed of darkness that our Union has ever committed, since we have been together; and that is twelve years?"
"WELL, Mr. Parkin," said Bayne, "if you mean deeds of blood, and deeds of gunpowder, et cetera--why, no, not one: and it is greatly to your honor. But, mind you, if a master wants his tanks tapped and his hardening-liquor run into the shore or his bellows to be ripped, his axle-nuts to vanish, his wheel-bands to go and hide in a drain or a church belfry, and his scythe-blades to dive into a wheel-dam, he has only to be wrong with your Union, and he'll be accommodated as above. I speak from experience."
"Oh, rattening!" said Mr Parkin. "That's is a mighty small matter."
"It is small to you, that are not in the oven, where the bread is baked, or cooled, or burnt. But whatever parts the grindstones from the power, and the bellows from the air, and the air from the fire, makes a hole in the master's business to-day, and a hole in the workman's pocket that day six months. So, for heaven's sake, let us be right with you. Little's is the most friendly and liberal offer that any workman ever made to any Union. Do, pray, close with it, and let us be at peace; sweet--balmy--peace."
Parkin declared he shared that desire: but was not the committee. Then, to Henry: "I shall put your case as favorably as my conscience will let me. Meantime, of course, the matter rests as it is."
They then parted; and Henry, as he returned home, thanked Bayne heartily. He said this second L15 had been a bitter pill at first; but now he was glad he had offered it. "I would not leave Hillsborough for fifteen hundred pounds."
Two days after this promising interview with Mr. Parkin, Henry received a note, the envelope of which showed him it came from Mr. Jobson. He opened it eagerly, and with a good hope that its object was to tell him he was now a member of the Edge-Tool Forgers' Union.