Bayne stared at him, and then laughed in his face, but without the gayety that should accompany a laugh. "Cheetham's reply to Balaam! And where would he send it? To Mr. Beor's lodgings, No. 1 Prophet Place, Old Testament Square. My poor chap, nobody writes replies to these letters. When you get one, you go that minute to the secretary of whatever Union you are wrong with, and you don't argue, or he bids you good-morning; you give in to whatever he asks, and then you get civility; and justice too, according to Trade lights. If you don't do that, and haven't learned what a blessing Peace is, why, you make up your mind to fight the Trade; and if you do, you have to fight them all; and you are safe to get the worst of it, soon or late. Cheetham has taken no notice of these letters. All the worse for him and you too. Read that."
"DEAR SIR,--I take the liberty of addressing you on the subject of your keeping on this knobstick, in defiance of them that has the power to make stones of Hillsborough too hot for you and him. Are you deaf, or blind, or a fool, Jack Cheatem? You may cheat the world, but you don't cheat the devil, nor me. Turn cockney up, with no more ado, or you'll both get kicked to hell some dark night by
Henry was silent; quite silent. When he did speak, it was to ask why Mr. Cheetham had kept all this from him.
"Because you shouldn't take fright and leave him," was the unhesitating reply.
"For that matter they threaten him more than they do me."
"They warn the master first; but the workman's turn is sure to come, and he gets it hottest, because they have so many ways of doing him. Cheetham, he lives miles from here, and rides in across country, and out again, in daylight. But the days are drawing in, and you have got to pass through these dark streets, where the Trades have a thousand friends, and you not one. Don't you make any mistake: you are in their power; so pray don't copy any hot-headed, wrong-headed gentleman like Cheetham, but speak them fair. Come to terms--if you can--and let us be at peace; sweet, balmy peace."
"Peace is a good thing, no doubt," said Henry, "but" (rather bitterly) "I don't thank Cheetham for letting me run blindfold into trouble, and me a stranger."
"Oh," said Bayne, "he is no worse than the rest, believe me. What does any master care for a man's life? Profit and loss go down in figures; but life--that's a cipher in all their ledgers."