ALL SAINTS', UPLANDS,
( i .....: ..... ...... ..........................
CONCERNING MR. G. MANVILLE FENN
THE PRESS SAYS:
"Our boys know Mr. Fenn well, his stories having won for him a fore-
miost place in their estimation."-Pall Mall Gazette.
"Mr. Manville Fenn may be regarded as the successor in boyhood's
affections of Captain Mayne Reid."-Academy.
Who can write a better boy's book, or who can point a finer moral, than
George Manville Fenn? "-Schoolmaster.
"Mr. George Manville Fenn is amongst the few authors who can write
such books as strike the fancy of intelligent lads. lHe has a bright, cheery,
manly style, which takes with the youngsters; his stories are never dull,
and he never 'preaches,' or if he does it is in such a fashion that the lads
do not detect it."-Nottingham Journal.
"lMr. Feno has much of the inventiveness of the well-known French
writer Jules Verne; indeed, he is in the front rank of writers of stories for
boys. Parents specially ought to be very thankful to himl for providing
their sons with so muccch wholesome and fascinating amlctusc:ent in the way
of literature."- Liverpool Mercury.
"LUCKY YOW WEERN'T THEER," SAID STEVENS.
OR WAR IN THE WORKS.
G. MANVILLE FENN
Author of Bunyip Land;" "The Golden Magnet;" "Menhardoc;" "Drownsmith's Boy;
"In the King's Name;" Nat tile Naturalist;" &c. &c.
WITH SIX PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS.
i ... ,- a
BLACKIE & SON, LIMITED, 49 OLD BAILEY, E.C.
GLASGOW, EDINBURGH, AND DUBLIN.
I. A FAMILY COUNCIL, ... . 9
II. A FIERY PLACE, ... . . 17
III. A BAD BEGINNING, .. . . 27
IV. OUR ENGINE, ... . . 40
V. A NIGHT OF ANXIETY, . . 53
VI. "Do LET ME COMEl," .. . .... 66
VII. A USEFUL ALLY, . . . 82
VIII. ON GUARD, . .. .. 991
IX. DROWNING AN ENEMY, . . .. 106
X. "'NIGHT, MATE,". . . 116
XI. PANNELL'S PET, .. . . .122
XII. PANNELL'S SECRET, .. .. . 133
XIII. ONLY A GLASS OF WATER, . . 142
XIV. UNCLE BOB'S PATIENT,. . .. 152
XV. I HAVE AN IDEA,... .. . 175
XVI. SOMETHING FOR ME . .. .... 184
XVII. MY TRAVELLING COMPANION, . .. 194
XVIII. AGAINST THE LAW . . 207
XIX. PANNELL SAYS NOTHING, . . ... 222
XX. A COMPANION IN TROUBLE, . . 234
XXI. WHAT I CAUGHT AND HEARD, . . .251
XXII. STEVENS HAS A WORD WITH ME, ... ... 270
XXIII. I START FOR A WALK, . . 283
XXIV. UNCLE JACK AND I HAVE A RUN,. . 298
XXV. A TERRIBLE RISK, . ... 316
XXVI. FIRE AND WATER, .. . . 333
XXVII. EIGHT YEARS LATER, . . 345
"LUCKY YOW WEERN'T THEER," SAID STEVENS, F'rotis. 275
"PITER MADE A DASH AT THEIR LEGS," . 87
A TALK WITH PANNELL THE SMITH, ... . .. 140
COB's ADVENTURE ON THE RAILWAY, .. ,. 202
A PLUNGE INTO TIE WHIEEL-PIT, .. . . 233
COB HUNTED BY THE ARROWFIELD MVOB, . .287
OR WAR IN THE WORKS.
A FAMILY COUNCIL.
B" SAY, Uncle Dick, do tell me what sort of a
place it is."
"Oh, you'll see when you get there!"
"Uncle Jack, you tell me then; what's
Like! What, Arrowfield? Ask Uncle Bob."
"There, Uncle Bob, I'm to ask you. Do tell me
what sort of a place it is?"
Get out, you young nuisance!"
"What a shame!" I said. "Here are you three great
clever men, who know all about it; you've been down
half a dozen times, and yet you won't answer a civil
question when you are asked."
I looked in an ill-used way at my three uncles, as
they sat at the table covered with papers; and except
that one would be a little darker than the other, I
could not help thinking how very much they were
alike, and at the same time like my father, only that
he had some gray coming at the sides of his head.
They were all big fine-looking men between thirty
and forty, stern enough when they were busy, but
wonderfully good-tempered and full of fun when
business was over; and I'm afraid they spoiled me.
When, as I say, business was over, they were ready
for anything with me, and though I had a great feeling
of reverence, almost dread, for my father, my three big
uncles always seemed to me like companions, and they
treated me as if I were their equal.
Cricket! Ah! many's the game we've had together.
They'd take me fishing, and give me the best pitch,
and see that I caught fish if they did not.
Tops, marbles, kite-flying, football; insect and egg
collecting; geology, botany, chemistry; they were at
home with all, and I shared in the game or pursuit as
eagerly as they.
I've known the time when they'd charge into the
room at Canonbury, where I was busy with the private
tutor-for I did not go to school-with Mr. Headley,
Mr. Russell would like to speak to you;" and as soon
as he had left the room, seize hold of me, and drag me
out of my chair with, Come along, Cob: work's closed
for the day. Country!"
Then away we'd go for a delicious day's collecting,
or something of the kind.
They used to call it slackening their bands, and
Time had glided on very happily till I was sixteen,
and there was some talk of my being sent to a great
engineer's establishment for five or six years to learn
all I could before being taken on at our own place in
Bermondsey, where Russell & Company carried on
business, and knocked copper and brass and tin about,
and made bronze, and gun-metal, and did a great deal
for other firms with furnaces, and forges, and steam-
engines, wheels, and lathes.
My father was "Russell"-Alexander-and Uncle
Dick, Uncle Jack, and Uncle Bob were "Company."
The business, as I say, was in Bermondsey, but we lived
together and didn't live together at Canonbury.
That sounds curious, but I'll explain:-We had two
houses next door to each other. Captain's quarters,
and the barracks.
My father's house was the Captain's quarters, where
I lived with my mother and sister. The next door,
where my uncles were, they called the barracks, where
they had their bed-rooms and sitting-room; but they
took all their meals at our table.
As I said before things had gone on very happily till
I was sixteen-a big sturdy ugly boy.
Uncle Dick said I was the ugliest boy he knew.
Uncle Jack said I was the most stupid.
Uncle Bob said I was the most ignorant.
But we were the best of friends all the same.
And now after a great deal of discussion with my
father, and several visits, my three uncles were seated
at the table, and I had asked them about Arrowfield,
and you have read their answers.
I attacked them again.
"Oh, I say," I cried, don't talk to a fellow as if he
were a little boy! Come, Uncle Dick, what sort of a
place is Arrowfield?"
"Land of fire."
"Oh!" I cried. "Is it, Uncle Jack ?"
"Land of smoke."
Land of fire and smoke!" I cried excitedly. "Uncle
Bob, are they making fun of me?"
12 NOT BOYS' BUSINESS.
Land of noise, and gloom, and fog," said Uncle Bob.
"A horrible place in a hole."
"And are we going there?"
"Don't know," said Uncle Bob. "Wait and see."
They went on with their drawings and calculations,
and I sat by the fire in the barrack room, that is, in
their sitting-room, trying to read, but with my head
in a whirl of excitement about Arrowfield, when my
father came in, laid his hand on my head, and turned
to my uncles.
"Well, boys," he said, "how do you bring it in?
What's to be done?"
"Sit down, and let's settle it, Alick," said Uncle
Dick, leaning back and spreading his big beard all
over his chest.
"Ah, do!" cried Uncle Jack, rubbing his curly head.
Once and for all," said Uncle Bob, drawing his
chair forward, stooping down, taking up his left leg
and holding it across his right knee.
My father drew forward an easy-chair, looking very
serious, and resting his hand on the back before sitting
down, he said without looking at me:
Go to your mother and sister, Jacob."
I rose quickly, but with my forehead wrinkling all
over, and I turned a pitiful look on my three uncles.
"What are you going to send him away for?" said
Because this is not boys' business."
"Oh, nonsense!" said Uncle Jack. "He'll be as
interested in it as we are."
"Yes, let him stop and hear," said Uncle Bob.
"Very good. I'm agreeable," said my father. "Sit
I darted a grateful look at my uncles, spreading it
DEBATING THE CAMPAIGN.
round so that they all had a glance, and dropped back
into my seat.
"Well," said my father, "am I to speak?"
This was in chorus; and my father sat thinking for
a few minutes, during which I exchanged looks and
nods with my uncles, all of which was very satisfactory.
"Well," said my father at last, "to put it in short,
plain English, we four have each our little capital
embarked in our works."
Here there were three nods.
"We've all tried everything we knew to make the
place a success, but year after year goes by and we
find ourselves worse off. In three more bad years we
shall be ruined."
And Jacob will have to set to work and keep us
all," said Uncle Dick.
My father looked round at me and nodded, smiling
sadly, and I could see that he was in great trouble.
Here is our position, then, boys: Grandison & Co.
are waiting for our answer in Bermondsey. They'll
buy everything as it stands at a fair valuation; that's
one half. The other is: the agents at Arrowfield are
waiting also for our answer about the works to let
Here he paused for a few moments and then went
We must look the matter full in the face. If we
stay as we are the trade is so depreciating that we
shall be ruined. If we go to Arrowfield we shall have
to begin entirely afresh; to fight against a great many
difficulties; the workmen there are ready to strike, to
turn upon you and destroy."
Uncle Dick made believe to spit in his hands.
THE RISKS TO RUN.
"To commit outrages."
Uncle Jack tucked up his sleeves.
"And ratten and blow up."
Uncle Bob half took off his coat.
"In short, boys, we shall have a terribly hard fight;
but there is ten times the opening there, and we may
make a great success. That is our position, in short,"
said my father. "What do you say ?"
My three uncles looked hard at him and then at one
another, seemed to read each other's eyes, and turned
back to him.
"You're oldest, Alick, and head of the firm," said
Uncle Dick; "settle it."
"No," said my father, "it shall be settled by you
"I know what I think," said Uncle Jack; "but I'd
rather you'd say."
"My mind's made up," said Uncle Bob, "but I don't
want to be speaker. You settle it, Alick."
"No," said my father; "I have laid the case before
you three, who have equal stakes in the risk, and you
shall settle the matter."
There was a dead silence in the room, which was so
still that the sputtering noise made by the big lamp
and the tinkle of a few cinders that fell from the fire
sounded painfully loud. They looked at each other,
but no one spoke, till Uncle Dick had fidgeted about
in his chair for some time, and then, giving his big
beard a twitch, he bent forward.
I heard my other uncles sigh as if they were relieved,
and they sat back farther in their seats listening for
what Uncle Dick, who was the eldest, might wish to
"Look here," he cried at last.
"LET'S ALL GO.
Everybody did look there, but saw nothing but
Uncle Dick, who kept tugging at one lock of his beard,
as if that was the string that would let loose a whole
shower-bath of words.
"Well!" he said, and there was another pause.
"Here," he cried, as if seized by a sudden fit of
inspiration, "let's hear what Cob has to say."
"Bravo! Hear, hear, hear!" cried my two uncles in
chorus, and .Uncle Dick smiled and nodded and looked
as if he felt highly satisfied with himself; while I, with
a face that seemed to be all on fire, jumped up ex-
citedly and cried:
"Let's all go and begin again."
"That's it-that settles it," cried Uncle Bob.
"Yes, yes," said Uncle Dick and Uncle Jack. "He's
quite right. We'll go."
Then all three beat upon the table with book and
pencil and compasses, and cried, "Hear, hear, hear!"
while I shrank back into my chair, and felt half
ashamed of myself as I glanced at my father and
wondered whether he was angry on account of what I
"That is settled then," he said quietly. "Jacob has
been your spokesman; and now let me add my opinion
that you have taken the right course. What I propose
is this, that one of us stays and carries on the business
here till the others have got the Arrowfield affair in
full swing. Who will stay?"
There was no answer.
"Shall I?" said my father.
"Yes, if you will," they chorused.
"Very good," said my father. "I am glad to do so,
for that will give me plenty of time to make arrange-
ments for Jacob here."
JACOB IS TO GO.
"But he must go with us," said Uncle Dick.
"Yes, of course," said Uncle Jack.
"Couldn't go without him."
"But his education as an engineer?"
"Now, look here, Alick," said Uncle Dick, don't
you think he'll learn as much with us down at the new
works as in any London place?"
My father sat silent and thoughtful, while I watched
the play of his countenance and trembled as I saw how
he was on the balance. For it would have been terrible
to me to have gone away now just as a new life of
excitement and adventure was opening out.
Do you really feel that you would like Jacob to go
with you?" said my father at last.
There was a unanimous "Yes!" at this, and my
heart gave a jump.
"Well, then," said my father, "he shall go."
That settled the business, except a general shaking
of hands, for we were all delighted, little thinking, in
our innocence, of the troubles, the perils, and the
dangers through which we should have to go
A FIERY PLACE.
0 time was lost. The agreements were signed,
and Uncle Dick packed up his traps, as he
called them, that is to say, his books, clothes,
and models and contrivances, so as to go
down at once, take possession of the works, and get
apartments for us.
I should have liked to go with him, but I had to
stay for another week, and then, after a hearty fare-
well, we others started, my father, mother, and sister
seeing us off by rail; and until I saw the trees, hedges,
and houses seeming to fly by me I could hardly believe
that we were really on our way.
Of course I felt a little low-spirited at leaving home,
and I was a little angry with myself for seeming to be
so glad to get away from those who had been so patient
and kind, but I soon found myself arguing that it
would have been just the same if I had left home only
to go to some business place in London. Still I was
looking very gloomy when Uncle Jack clapped me on
the shoulder, and asked me if I didn't feel like begin-
ning to be a man.
"No," I said sadly, as I looked out of the window
at the flying landscape, so that he should not see my
MY FIRST COAL-PIT.
face. "I feel more as if I was beginning to be a great
"Nonsense!" said Uncle Bob; "you're going to be a
man now, and help us."
"Am I?" said I sadly.
"To be sure you are. There, put that gloomy face
in your pocket and learn geography."
They both chatted to me, and I felt a little better,
but anything but cheerful, for it was my first time of
leaving home. I looked at the landscape, and the
towns and churches we passed, but nothing seemed to
interest me till, well on in my journey, I saw a sort of
wooden tower close to the line, with a wheel standing
half out of the top. There was an engine-house close
by-there was no doubt about it, for I could see the
puffs of white steam at the top, and a chimney. There
was a great mound of black slate and rubbish by the
end; but even though the railway had a siding close
up to it, and a number of trucks were standing waiting,
I did not realize what the place was till Uncle Jack
"First time you've seen a coal-pit, eh?"
Is that a coal-pit?" I said, looking at the place more
"Those are the works. Of course you can't see the
shaft, because that's only like a big square well."
"But I thought it would be a much more interesting
place," I said.
"Interesting enough down below; but of course there
is nothing to see at the top but the engine, cage, and
mouth of the shaft."
That brightened me up at once. There was some-
thing to think about in connection with a coal-mine-
the great deep shaft, the cage going up and down, the
THE LAND OF FIRE.
miners with their safety-lamps and picks. I saw it all
in imagination as we dashed by another and another
mine. Then I began to think about the accidents of
which I had read; when men unfastened their wire-
gauze lamps, so that they might do that which was
forbidden in a mine, smoke their pipes. The match
struck or the opened lamp set fire to the gas, when
there was an awful explosion, and after that the terrible
dangers of the after-damp, that fearful foul air which
no man could breathe for long and live.
There were hundreds of thoughts like this to take
my attention as we raced on by the fast train till, to
my surprise, I found that it was getting dark, and the
day had passed.
"Here we are close to it," said Uncle Jack; "look,
I gazed out of the window on our right as the train
glided on, to see the glare as of a city on fire: the glow
of a dull red flickered and danced upon the dense clouds
that overhung the place. Tall chimneys stood up like
black stakes or posts set up in the reflection of open
furnace doors. Here a keen bright light went straight
up through the smoke with the edges exactly defined
-here it was a sharp glare, there a dull red glow, and
everywhere there seemed to be fire and reflection, and
red or golden smoke mingled with a dull throbbing
booming sound, which, faintly heard at first, grew
louder and louder as the train slackened speed, and the
pant and pulsation of the engine ceased.
"Isn't something dreadful the matter?" I said, as I
gazed excitedly from the window.
"Matter!" said Uncle Jack laughing.
"Yes, isn't the place on fire? Look! look! There!
I pointed to a fierce glare that seemed to reach up
into the sky, cutting the dense cloud like millions of
golden arrows shot from some mighty engine all at
"Yes, I see, old fellow," said Uncle Jack. "They
have just tapped a furnace, and the molten metal is
running into the moulds, that's all."
"But the whole town looks as if it were in a blaze,"
I said nervously.
"So did our works sometimes, didn't they? Well,
here we are in a town where there are hundreds upon
hundreds of works ten times as big as ours. Nearly
everybody is either forging, or casting, or grinding.
The place is full of steam-engines, while the quantity
of coal that is burnt here every day must be prodigious.
Ahal here's Uncle Dick."
He had caught sight of us before we saw him, and
threw open the carriage door ready to half haul us out,
as he shook hands as if we had not met for months."
That's right," he cried. "I am glad you've come.
I've a cab waiting. Here, porter, lay hold of this bag-
gage. Well, Cob, what do you think of Arrowfield?"
"Looks horrible," I said in the disappointed tones of
one who is tired and hungry.
"Yes, outside," said Uncle Dick; "but wait till you
see the inside."
Uncle Dick was soon standing in what he called the
inside of Arrowfield-that is to say the inside of the
comfortable furnished lodgings he had taken right up
a hill, where, over a cosy tea-table with hot country
cakes and the juiciest of hot mutton chops, I soon for-
got the wearisome nature of our journey, and the dis-
mal look of the town.
"Eat away, my boys," cried Uncle Dick. "Yeat, as
they call it here. The place is all right; everything
ready for work, and we'll set to with stout hearts, and
make up for lost time."
"When do we begin, uncle-to-morrow?"
No, no: not till next Monday morning. To-morrow
we'll have a look over the works, and then we'll idle
a bit-have a few runs into the country round, and see
what it's like."
"Black dismal place," I said dolefully.
Says he's tired out and wants to go to bed," said
Uncle Jack, giving his eye a peculiar cock at his
I didn't," I cried.
"Not in words, my fine fellow, but you looked it."
"Then I won't look so again," I cried. "I say, don't
talk to me as if I were a little boy to be sent to bed."
"Well, you're not a man yet, Cob. Is he, boys?"
Uncle Dick was in high spirits, and he took up a
candle and held it close to my cheek.
"What's the matter?" I said. "Is it black? I
"Not a bit, Cob," he said seriously. "You can't even
see a bit of the finest down growing."
Oh, I say," I cried, "it's too bad! I don't pretend
to be a man at sixteen; but now I've come down here
to help you in the new works, you oughtn't to treat
me as if I were a little boy.
"Avast joking!" said Uncle Dick quietly, for the
comely landlady came in to clear away the tea-things,
and she had just finished when there was a double
knock at the front door.
We heard it opened, and a deep voice speaking, and
directly after the landlady came in with a card.
"Mr. Tomplin, gentlemen," she said. He's at the
WELCOMEE TO YORKSHIRE!"
door, and I was to say that if it was inconvenient for
you to see him to-night, perhaps you would call at his
office when you were down the town."
Oh, ask him in, Mrs. Stephenson," cried Uncle Dick;
and as she left the room-"it's the solicitor to whom I
brought the letter of introduction from the bank."
It was a short dark man in black coat and waistcoat
and pepper-and-salt trousers who was shown in. He
had little sharp eyes that seemed to glitter. So did
his hair, which was of light-gray, and stood up all over
his head as if it was on white fire. He had not a par-
ticle of hair on his face, which looked as if he was a
very good customer to the barber.
He shook hands very heartily with all of us, nodding
pleasantly the while; and when he sat down he took
out a brown-and-yellow silk handkerchief and blew
his nose like a horn.
"Welcome to Yorkshire, gentlemen!" he said. "My
old friends at the bank send me a very warm letter of
recommendation about you, and I'm at your service.
Professional consultations at the usual fee, six and
eight or thirteen and four, according to length. Friendly
consultations-Thank you, I'm much obliged. This is
a friendly consultation. Now what can I do for you?"
He looked round at us all, and I felt favourably im-
pressed. So did my uncles, as Uncle Dick answered
"Nothing at present, sir. By and by we shall be
glad to come to you for legal and friendly advice too."
"That's right," said Mr. Tomplin. "You've taken
the Rivulet Works, I hear."
"Yes, down there by the stream."
What are you going to do?-carry on the old forg-
ing and grinding?"
SUGGESTIONS OF DANGER.
"Oh, dear, no!" said Uncle Dick. "We are going in
for odds and ends, sir. To introduce, I hope, a good
many improvements in several branches of the trades
carried on here, principally in forging."
Mr. Tomplin drew in his lips and filled his face
Going to introduce new inventions, eh?" he said.
"Yes, sir, but only one at a time," said Uncle Jack.
"And have you brought a regiment of soldiers with
"Brought a what?" said Uncle Bob, laughing.
Regiment of soldiers, sir, and a company of artil-
lerymen with a couple of guns."
"Ha! ha! ha!" laughed Uncle Dick, showing his
white teeth. "Mr. Tomplin means to besiege Arrow-
"No, I don't, my dear sir. I mean to turn your
works into a fort to defend yourselves against your
My dear sir," said Uncle Jack, "we haven't an
enemy in the world."
"Not at the present moment, sir, I'll be bound," said
Mr. Tomplin, taking snuff, and then blowing his nose
so violently that I wondered he did not have an acci-
dent with it and split the sides. "Not at the present
moment, gentlemen; but as soon as it is known that
you are going to introduce new kinds of machinery,
our enlightened townsmen will declare you are going
to take the bread out of their mouths and destroy
everything you make."
"Take the bread out of their mouths, my dear Mr.
Tomplin!" said Uncle Jack. "Why, what we do will
put bread in their mouths by making more work."
"Of course it will, my dear sirs."
A CHEERFUL PLACE.
"Then why should they interfere?"
"Because of their ignorance, gentlemen. They
won't see it. Take my advice: there's plenty to be
done by clever business men. Start some steady manu-
facture to employ hands as the work suggests. Only
use present-day machinery if you wish to be at peace."
"We do wish to be at peace, Mr. Tomplin," said
Uncle Bob; "but we do not mean to let a set of igno-
rant workmen frighten us out of our projects."
Hear, hear!" said Uncle Dick and Uncle Jack; and
I put in a small hear at the end.
Well, gentlemen, I felt it to be my duty to tell
you," said Mr. Tomplin, taking more snuff and making
more noise. You will have attacks made upon you
to such an extent that you had better be in the bush
in Queensland among the blacks."
"But not serious attacks?" said Uncle Jack. "At-
tempts to frighten us?"
"Attempts to frighten you! Well, you may call
them that," said Mr. Tomplin; "but there have been
two men nearly beaten to death with sticks, one factory
set on fire, and two gunpowder explosions during the
past year. Take my advice, gentlemen, and don't put
yourself in opposition to the workmen if you are going
to settle down here."
He rose, shook hands, and went away, leaving us
looking at each other across the table.
"Cheerful place Arrowfield seems to be," said Uncle
"Promises to be lively," said Uncle Jack.
"What do you say, Cob?" cried Uncle Bob. "Shall
we give up, be frightened, and run away like dogs
with our tails between our legs?"
"No!" I cried, thumping the table with my fist.
AN ALARM OF FIRE.
"I wouldn't be frightened out of anything I felt to be
"Bravo! bravo! bravo!" cried my uncles.
"At least I don't think I would," I said. "Perhaps
I really am a coward after all."
"Well," said Uncle Dick, I don't feel like giving up
for such a thing as this. I'd sooner buy pistols and
guns and fight. It can't be so bad as the old gentle-
man says. He's only scaring us. There, it's ten
o'clock; you fellows are tired, and we want to break-
fast early and go and see the works, so let's get to
We were far enough out of the smoke for our bed-
rooms to be beautifully white and sweet, and I was
delighted with mine, as I saw what a snug little place
it was. I said "Good-night!" and had shut my door,
when, going to my window, I drew aside the blind, and
found that I was looking right down upon the town.
"Oh!" I ejaculated, and I ran out to the next room,
which was Uncle Dick's. "Look!" I cried. "Now
you'll believe me. The town is on fire."
.He drew up the blind, and threw up his window,
when we both looked down at what seemed to be the
dying out of a tremendous conflagration-dying out,
save in one place, where there was a furious rush of
light right up into the air, with sparks flying and
flickering tongues of flame darting up and sinking
down again, while the red and tawny-yellow smoke
On fire, Cob!" he said quietly. "Yes, the town's
on fire, but in the proper way. Arrowfield is a fiery
place-all furnaces. There's nothing the matter, lad."
"But there! there!" I cried, "where the sparks are
roaring and rushing out with all that flame."
26 THE BESSEMER STEEL.
"There! Oh! that's nothing, my boy. The town is
always like this."
"But you don't see where I mean," I cried, still
doubting, and pointing down to our right.
"Oh, yes! I do, my dear boy. That is where they
are making the Bessemer steel."
A BAD BEGINNING.
THOUGHT when I lay down, after putting
out my candle, that I should never get a
wink of sleep. There was a dull glow upon
my window-blind, and I could hear a dis-
tant clangour and a curious faint roar; but all at once,
so it seemed to me, I opened my eyes, and the dull glow
had given place to bright sunshine on my window-
blind, and jumping out of bed I found that I had slept
heartily till nearly breakfast time, for the chinking of
cups in saucers fell upon my ear.
I looked out of the window, and there lay the town
with the smoke hanging over it in a dense cloud, but
the banging of a wash-jug against a basin warned me
that Uncle Dick was on the move, and the next mo-
ment tcap, tap, tap, came three blows on my wall, which
I knew as well as could be were given with the edge
of a hair-brush, and I replied in the same way.
"Ha, ha!" cried Uncle Bob, "if they are going to
give us fried ham like that for breakfast-"
"And such eggs!" cried Uncle Jack.
"And such bread!" said Uncle Dick, hewing off a
"And such coffee and milk!" I said, taking up the
A LOOK AT THE NATIVES.
idea that I was sure was coming, "we won't go back
"Right!" said Uncle Dick. "Bah! just as if we were
going to be frightened away by a set of old women's
tales. They've got police here, and laws."
The matter was discussed until breakfast was over,
and by that time my three giants of uncles had de-
cided that they would not stir for an army of discon-
tented workmen, but would do their duty to them-
selves and their partner in London.
"But look here, boys," said Uncle Dick; "if we are
going to war, we don't want women in the way."
"No," said Uncle Jack.
"So you had better write and tell Alick to keep on
the old place till the company must have it, and by that
time we shall know what we are about."
This was done directly after breakfast, and as soon
as the letter had been despatched we went off to see
"I shall never like this place," I said, as we went
down towards the town. "London was smoky enough,
but this is terrible."
"Oh, wait a bit!" said Uncle Dick, and as we strode
on with me trying to take long steps to keep up with
my companions, I could not help seeing how the people
kept staring at them. And though there were plenty
of big fine men in the town, I soon saw that my uncles
stood out amongst them as being remarkable for their
size and frank handsome looks. This was the more
plainly to be seen, since the majority of the workpeople
we passed were pale, thin, and degenerate looking little
men, with big muscular arms, and a general appearance
of everything else having been sacrificed to make those
THE SOUNDS OF LABOUR.
The farther we went the more unsatisfactory the
town looked. We were leaving the great works to
the right, and our way lay through streets and streets
of dingy-looking houses all alike, and with the open
channels in front foul with soapy water and the refuse
which the people threw out.
I looked up with disgust painted on my face so
strongly that Uncle Bob laughed.
"Here, let's get this fellow a bower somewhere by a
beautiful stream," he cried, laughing. Then more
seriously, "Never mind the dirt, Cob," he cried. "Dirty
work brings clean money."
"Oh, I don't mind," I said. "Which way now?"
"Down here," said Uncle Dick; and he led us down a
nasty dirty street, worse than any we had yet passed,
and so on and on, for about half an hour, till we were
once more where wheels whirred, and we could hear
the harsh churring noise of blades being held upon
rapidly revolving stones. Now and then, too, I caught
sight of water on our right, down through lanes where
houses and works were crowded together.
"Do you notice one thing, Cob?" said Uncle Dick.
"One thing!" I said; "there's so much to notice that
I don't know what to look at first."
"I'll tell you what I mean," he said. "You can hear
the rush and rumble of machinery, can't you?"
"Yes," I said, "like wheels whizzing and stones rolling,
as if giant tinkers were grinding enormous scissors."
"Exactly," he said; "but you very seldom hear the
hiss of steam out here."
"No. Have they a different kind of engines?"
"Yes, a very different kind. Your steam-engine goes
because the water is made hot: these machines go with
the water kept cold."
"Oh, I see! by hydraulic presses."
"No, not by hydraulic presses, Cob; by hydraulic
power. Look here."
We were getting quite in the outskirts now, and on
rising ground, and, drawing me on one side, he showed
me that the works we were by were dependent on
"Why, it's like one of those old flour-mills up the
country rivers," I exclaimed, "with their mill-dam, and
"And without the willows and lilies and silver but-
tercups, Cob," said Uncle Jack.
"And the great jack and chub and tench we used to
fish out," said Uncle Bob.
"Yes," I said; "I suppose one would catch old sauce-
pans, dead cats, and old shoes in a dirty pool like
"Yes," said Uncle Dick, "and our wheel-bands when
the trades'-union people attack us."
"Why should they throw them in here?" I said, as
I looked at the great deep-looking piece of water held
up by a strong stone-built dam, and fed by a stream
at the farther end.
Because it would be the handiest place. These are
I looked at the stone-built prison-like place in dis-
gust. It was wonderfully strongly built, and with
small windows protected by iron bars, but such a deso-
late unornamental spot. It stood low down by the
broad shallow stream that ran on toward the town in
what must once have been the bed of the river; but
the steep banks had been utilized by the builders on
each side, and everywhere one saw similar-looking
places so arranged that their foundation walls caught
and held up the water that came down, and was
directed into the dam, and trickled out at the lower
end after it had turned a great slimy water-wheel.
"This is our place, boys; come and have a look at it."
He led us down a narrow passage half-way to the
stream, and then rang at a gate in a stone wall; and
while we waited low down there I looked
at the high rough stone wall and the two- Entry of
storied factory with its rows of strong iron- the stream.
barred windows, and thought of what Mr.
Tomplin had said the night before, coming
to the conclusion that it was a pretty strong
fortress in its way. For here was a stout
high wall; down along by the stream
from the stones over which the water S
trickled to the double row of little .
windows; while from the top cor- -
ner by the water-wheel, which was /u,
fixed at the far end of the
works, there was the dam of
deep water, which acted the
part of a moat, running off
almost to a point where
the stream came in, so
that the place was about
the shape of the annexed triangle: the works occupy-
ing the whole of the base, the rest being the deep
"I think we could keep out the enemy if he came,"
I said to Uncle Bob; and just then a short-haired, pale-
faced man, with bent shoulders, bare arms, and an ugly
squint, opened the gate and scowled at us.
"Is your master in ?" said Uncle Dick,
A ROUGH CUSTOMER.
No-ah," said the man sourly; "and he wean't be here
"That's a bad job," said Uncle Dick. Well, never
mind; we want to go round the works."
"Nay, yow wean't come in here."
He was in the act of banging the gate, but Uncle
Dick placed one of his great brown hands against it
and thrust it open, driving the man back, but only
for a moment, for he flew at my uncle, caught him by
the arm and waist, thrust forward a leg, and tried to
throw him out by a clever wrestling trick.
But Uncle Dick was too quick for him. Wrenching
himself on one side he threw his left arm over the
fellow's neck, as he bent down, the right arm under
his leg, and whirled him up perfectly helpless, but
kicking with all his might.
"Come inside and shut that gate," said Uncle Dick,
panting with his exertion. "Now look here, my fine
fellow, it would serve you right if I dropped you into
that dam to cool you down. But there, get on your
legs," he cried contemptuously, "and learn to be civil
to strangers when they come."
The scuffle and noise brought about a dozen work-
men out of the place, each in wooden clogs, with a
rough wet apron about him, and his sleeves rolled up
nearly to the shoulder.
They came forward, looking very fierce and as if they
were going to attack us, headed by the fellow with the
squint, who was no sooner at liberty than he snatched
up a rough piece of iron bar and rolled up his right
sleeve ready for a fresh attack.
Give me that stick, Cob," said Uncle Dick quickly;
and I handed him the light Malacca cane I carried.
He had just seized it when the man raised the iron
A QUEER RECEPTION.
bar, and I felt sick as I saw the blow that was aimed
at my uncle's head.
I need not have felt troubled though, for, big as he
was, he jumped aside, avoided the bar with the greatest
ease, and almost at the same moment there was a
whizz and a cut like lightning delivered by Uncle
Dick with my light cane.
It struck the assailant on the tendons of the leg be-
neath the knee, and he uttered a yell and went down
as if killed.
Coom on, lads!" cried one of the others; and they
rushed towards us, headed by a heavy thick-set fellow;
but no one flinched, and they hesitated as they came
"Take that fellow away," said Uncle Jack sternly;
"and look here, while you stay, if any gentleman
comes to the gate don't send a surly dog like that."
"Who are yow? What d'ye want? Happen yow'll
get some'at if yo' stay."
"I want to go round the place. I am one of the
proprietors who have taken it."
"Eh, you be-be you? Here, lads, this is one o'
chaps as is turning us out. We've got the wheels ti'
Saturday, and we wean't hev no one here."
"No, no," rose in chorus. "Open gate, lads, and
hev 'em out."
"Keep back!" said Uncle Dick, stepping forward;
" keep back, unless you want to be hurt. No one is
going to interfere with your rights, which end on
"Eh! but if it hedn't been for yow we could ha'
"Well, you'll have to get some other place," said
Uncle Dick; "we want this."
A SHOWER-NOT RAIN.
He turned his back on them and spoke to his bro-
thers, who both, knowing their great strength, which
they cultivated by muscular exercise, had stood quite
calm and patient, but watchful, and ready to go to
their brother's aid in an instant should he need assis-
Come on and look round," said Uncle Dick coolly;
and he did not even glance at the squinting man, who
had tried to get up, but sank down again and sat
grinning with pain and holding his injured leg.
The cahn indifference with which my three uncles
towered above the undersized, pallid-looking fellows,
and walked by them to the entrance to the stone
building had more effect than a score of blows, and
the men stopped clustered round their companion, and
talked to him in a low voice. But I was not six feet
two like Uncle Bob, nor six feet one like Uncle Jack,
nor six feet three like Uncle Dick. I was only an
ordinary lad of sixteen, and much easier prey for their
hate, and this they saw and showed.
For as I followed last, and was about to enter the
door, a shower of stones and pieces of iron came whiz-
zing about me, and falling with a rattle and clangour
upon the cobble stones with which the place was
Unfortunately, one piece, stone or iron, struck me
on the shoulder, a heavy blow that made me feel sick,
and I needed all the fortitude I could call up to hide
my pain, for I was afraid to say or do anything that
would cause fresh trouble.
So I followed my uncles into the spacious ground-
floor of the works, all wet and dripping with the water
from the grindstones which had just been left by the
men, and were still whizzing round waiting to be used.
"Plenty of room here," said Uncle Dick, "and plenty
of power, you see," he continued, pointing to the shaft
and wheels above our heads. Ugly-looking place
this," he went on, pointing to a trap-door at the end,
which he lifted; and I looked down with a shudder to
see a great shaft turning slowly round; and there was
a slimy set of rotten wooden steps going right down
into the blackness, where the water was falling with a
curiously hollow echoing sound.
As I turned from looking down I saw that the men
had followed us, and the fellow with the squint seemed
to have one of his unpleasant eyes fixed upon me, and
he gave me a peculiar look and grin that I had good
reason to remember.
This is the way to the big wheel," said Uncle Dick,
throwing open a door at the end. They go out here
to oil and repair it when it's out of gear. Nasty spot
too, but there's a wonderful supply of cheap power."
With the men growling and muttering behind us,
we looked through into a great half-lit stone cham-
ber that inclosed the great wheel on one side, leaving
a portion visible as we had seen it from the outside;
and here again I shuddered and felt uncomfortable, it
seemed such a horrible place to fall into and from which
there would be no escape, unless one could swim in
the surging water below, and then clamber into the
wheel, and climb through it like a squirrel.
The walls were dripping and green, and they echoed
and seemed to whisper back to the great wheel as it
turned and splashed and swung down its long arms,
each doubling itself on the wall by making a moving
The place had such a fascination for me that I stood
with one hand upon the door and a foot inside looking
THE GRINDING SHOP.
down at the faintly seen black water, listening to the
echoes, and then watching the wheel as it turned, one
pale spot on the rim catching my eye especially. As
I watched it I saw it go down into the darkness with
a tremendous sweep, with a great deal of splashing and
falling of water; then after being out of sight for a
few moments it came into view again, was whirled
round, and dashed down.
I don't know how it was, but I felt myself thinking
that suppose anyone fell into the horrible pit below
me, he would swim round by the slimy walls trying
to find a place to cling to, and finding none he would
be swept round to the wheel, to which in his despair
he would cling. Then he would be dragged out of
the water, swung round, and-
"Do you hear, Cob?" cried Uncle Jack. What is
there to attract you, my lad? Come along."
I seemed to be roused out of a dream, and starting
back, the door was closed, and I followed the others as
they went to the far end of the great ground-floor to
a door opening upon a stone staircase.
We had to pass the men, who were standing about
close to their grindstones, beside which were little
piles of the articles they were grinding-common
knives, sickles, and scythe blades, ugly weapons if the
men rose against us as they seemed disposed to do.
They muttered and talked to themselves, but they
did not seem inclined to make any farther attack;
while as we reached the stairs I heard the harsh
shrieking of blades that were being held upon the
stones, and I knew that some men must have begun
The upper floor was of the same size as the lower,
but divided into four rooms by partitions, and here
WE COMPLETE THE INSPECTION.
too were shafts and wheels turning from their connec-
tion with the great water-wheel. Over that a small
room had been built supported by an arch stretching
from the works to a stone wall, and as we looked out
of the narrow iron-barred window down upon the deep
dam, Uncle Bob said laughingly:
"What a place for you, Cob! You could drop a line
out of the window, and catch fish like fun."
I laughed, and we all had a good look round before
examining the side buildings, where there were forges
and furnaces, and a tall chimney-shaft ran up quite a
"Plenty of room to do any amount of work," cried
Uncle Jack. I think the place a bargain."
"Yes," said Uncle Bob, "where we can carry out
our inventions; and if anybody is disagreeable, we can
shut ourselves up like knights in a castle and laugh at
"Yes," said Uncle Dick thoughtfully; "but I wish
we had not begun by quarrelling with those men."
"Let's try and make friends as we go out," said
It was a good proposal; and, under the impression
that a gallon or two of beer would heal the sore place,
we went into the big workshop or mill, where all the
men had now resumed their tasks, and were grinding
away as if to make up for lost time.
One man was seated alone on a stone bench, and as
we entered he half turned, and I saw that it was
Uncle Dick's opponent.
He looked at us for a moment and then turned
My uncles whispered together, and then Uncle Dick
stepped forward and said:
A WASTED APOLOGY.
"I'm sorry we had this little upset, my lads. It all
arose out of a mistake. We have taken these works,
and of course wanted to look round them, but we do
not wish to put you to any inconvenience. Will you-"
He stopped short, for as soon as he began to speak
the men seemed to press down their blades that they
were grinding harder and harder, making them send
forth such a deafening churring screech that he paused
quite in despair of making himself heard.
"My lads!" he said, trying again.
Not a man turned his head, and it was plain enough
that they would not hear.
"Let me speak to him," said Uncle Bob, catching
his brother by the arm, for Uncle Dick was going to
address the man on the stone.
Uncle Dick nodded, for he felt that it would be
better for someone else to speak; but the man got up,
scowled at Uncle Bob, and when he held out a couple
of half-crowns to him to buy beer to drink our health
the fellow made a derisive gesture, walked to his stone,
and sat down.
"Just as they like," said Uncle Dick. "We apologized
and behaved like gentlemen. If they choose to behave
like blackguards, let them. Come along."
We turned to the door, my fate, as usual, being to
come last; and as we passed through not a head was
turned, every man pressing down some steel implement
upon his whirling stone, and making it shriek, and, in
spite of the water in which the wheel revolved, send
forth a shower of sparks.
The noise was deafening, but as we passed into the
yard on the way to the lane the grinding suddenly
ceased, and when we had the gate well open the men
had gathered at the door of the works, and gave vent
MY FIRST WOUND.
to a savage hooting and yelling which continued after
we had passed through, and as we went along by the
side of the dam we were saluted by a shower of stones
and pieces of iron thrown from the yard.
"Well," said Uncle Bob, "this is learning something
with a vengeance. I didn't think we had such savages
in Christian England."
By this time we were out of the reach of the men,
and going on towards the top of the dam, when Uncle
Dick, who had been looking very serious and thought-
"I'm sorry, very sorry this has happened. It has
set these men against us."
"No," said Uncle Jack quietly; "the mischief was
done before we came. This place has been to let for a
"Yes," said Uncle Bob, "that's why we got it so
"And," continued Uncle Jack, "these fellows have
had the run of the works to do their grinding for
almost nothing. They were wild with us for taking
the place and turning them out."
"Yes," said Uncle Dick, 'tihit' the case, no doubt;
but I'm very sorry I began by hurting that fellow all
"I'm not, Uncle Dick," I said, as I compressed my
lips with pain. They are great cowards or they would
not have thrown a piece of iron at me;" and I laid my
hand upon my shoulder, to draw it back wet with
--RAVO, Spartan!" cried Uncle Bob, as he
stood looking on, when, after walking
some distance, Uncle Dick insisted upon
my taking off my jacket in a lane and
having the place bathed."
"Oh, it's nothing," I said, "only it was tiresome for
it to bleed."
"Nothing like being prepared for emergencies," said
Uncle Jack, taking out his pocket-book, and from one
of the pockets a piece of sticking-plaster and a pair of
scissors. "I'm always cutting or pinching my fingers.
Wonder whether we could have stuck Cob's head on
again if it had been cut off?"
I opined not as I submitted to the rough surgery
that went on, and then refusing absolutely to be treated
as a sick person, and go back, I tramped on by them,
mile after mile, to see something of the fine open coun-
try out to the west of the town before we settled down
We were astonished, for as we got away from the
smoky pit in which Arrowfield lay, we found, in follow-
ing the bank of the rivulet that supplied our works,
that the country was lovely and romantic too. Hill,
dale, and ravine were all about us, rippling stream,
THE FIRST GROUSE.
hanging wood, grove and garden, with a thousand
pretty views in every direction, as we climbed on to
the higher ground, till at last cultivation seemed to
have been left behind, and we were where the hills
towered up with i .,__ .1 stony tops, and their slopes all
purple heather, heath, and moss.
"Look, look!" I cried, as I saw a covey of birds
skim by; "partridges!"
"No," said Uncle Bob, watching where they dropped;
"not partridges, my lad-grouse."
"What, here!" I said; "and so near the town."
"Near! Why we are seven or eight miles away."
But I thought grouse were Scotch birds."
"They are birds of the moors," said Uncle Bob; "and
here you have them stretching for miles all over the
hills. This is about as wild a bit of country as you
could see. Why, the country people here call those
"But are they mountains?" I said; "they don't look
"Higher than you think, my lad, with precipice and
ravine. Why, look-you can see the top of that one
is among the clouds."
"I should have thought it was a mist resting upon
"Well, what is the difference?" said Uncle Bob,
Just then we reached a spot where a stream crossed
the road, and the sight of the rippling water, clear as
crystal, took our attention from the hills and vales
that spread around. My first idea was to run down to
the edge of the stream, which was so dotted with great
stones that I was soon quite in the middle, looking
after the shadowy shapes that I had seen dart away.
OUT ON THE MOORS.
My uncles followed me, and we forgot all about the
work and troubles with the rough grinders, as we
searched for the trout and crept up to where we could
see some good-sized, broad-tailed fellow sunning him-
self till he caught sight of the intruders, and darted
away like a flash of light.
But Uncle Dick put a stop to our idling there, lead-
ing us back to the road and insisting upon our con-
tinuing along it for another mile.
"I want to show you our engine," he said.
"Our engine out here!" I cried. "It's some trick."
"You wait and see," he replied.
We went on through the beautiful breezy country
for some distance farther, till on one side we were
looking down into a valley and on the other side into
a lake, and I soon found that the lake had been formed
just as we schoolboys used to make a dam across a ditch
or stream when we were going to bale it out and get
"Why," I cried, as we walked out on to the great
embankment, "this has all been made."
"To be sure," said Uncle Dick. "Just the same as
our little dam is at the works. That was formed by
building a strong stone wall across a hollow streamlet;
this was made by raising this great embankment right
across the valley here and stopping the stream that ran
through it. That's the way some of the lakes have
been made in Switzerland."
"What, by men?"
"No, by nature. A great landslip takes place from
the mountains, rushes down, and fills up a valley, and
the water is stopped from running away."
We walked right out along what seemed like a vast
railway embankment, on one side sloping right away
THE GREAT DAM.
down into the valley, where the remains of the stream
that had been cut off trickled on towards Arr@wfield.
On the other side the slope went down into the lake of
water, which stretched away toward the moorlands for
quite a mile.
"This needs to be tremendously strong," said Uncle
Jack thoughtfully, as we walked on till we were right
in the middle and first stood looking down the valley,
winding in and out, with its scattered houses, farms,
and mills, and then turned to look upward towards the
moorland and along the dammed-up lake.
Why, this embankment must be a quarter of a mile
long," said Uncle Jack thoughtfully.
"What a pond for fishing!" I cried, as I imagined it
to be peopled by large jack and shoals of smaller fish.
"How deep is it, I wonder?"
Did you ever know a boy yet who did not want to
know how deep a piece of water was, when he saw it?
"Deep!" said Uncle Dick; "that's easily seen. Deep
as it is from here to the bottom of the valley on the
other side: eighty or ninety feet. I should say this
embankment is over a hundred in perpendicular height."
"Look here," said Uncle Jack suddenly; "if I know
anything about engineering, this great dam is not
"Not safe!" I said nervously. "Let's get off it at
"I daresay it will hold to-day," said Uncle Dick
dryly, but you can run off if you like, Cob."
"Are you coming?"
"Not just at present," he said, smiling grimly.
I put my hands in my pockets and stood looking at
the great embankment, which formed a level road or
path of about twelve feet wide where we stood, and
UNCLE DICK'S ENGINE.
then sloped down, as I have said, like a railway em-
bankment far down into the valley on our left, and to
the water on our right.
"I don't care," said Uncle Jack, knitting his brows
as he scanned the place well, "I say it is not .. H-ere
is about a quarter of a mile of earthen wall that has
no natural strength for holding together like a wall of
bonded stone or brick."
"But look at its weight," said Uncle Bob.
"Yes, that is its only strength-its weight; but look
at the weight of the water, about a mile of water
seventy or eighty feet deep just here. Perhaps only
sixty. The pressure of this water against it must be
"Of course," said Uncle Dick thoughtfully; "but you
forget the shape of the wall, Jack. It is like an elon-
gated pyramid: broad at the base and coming up nearly
to a point."
"No," said Uncle Jack, "I've not forgotten all that.
Of course it is all the stronger for it, the wider the
base is made. But I'm not satisfied, and if I had made
this dam I should have made this wall twice as thick
or three times as thick; and I don't know that I should
have felt satisfied with its stability then."
"Well done, old conscientious!" cried Uncle Bob,
laughing. "Let's get on."
"Stop a moment," I cried. "Uncle Dick said he would
show us our engine."
"Well, there it is," said Uncle Dick, pointing to the
dammed-up lake. "Isn't it powerful enough for you.
This reservoir was made by a water company to supply
all our little dams, and keep all our mills going. It
gathers the water off the moorlands, saves it up, and
lets us have it in a regular supply. What would be
I'M ONLY A COWARD." 45
the consequences of a burst, Jack?" he said, turning to
"Don't talk about it man," said Uncle Jack frowning.
"Why, this body of water broken loose would sweep
down that valley and scour everything away with it-
houses, mills, rocks, all would go like corks."
"Why, it would carry away our works, then," I cried.
"The place is right down by the water side."
"I hope not," said Uncle Jack. "No I should say the
force would be exhausted before it got so far as that,
eight or nine miles away."
"Well, it does look dangerous," said Uncle Bob.
"The weight must be tremendous. How would it go
if it did burst?"
"I say, uncle, I'm only a coward, please. Hadn't we
better go off here?"
They all laughed, and we went on across the dam.
"How would it go!" said Uncle Jack thoughtfully.
"It is impossible to say. Probably the water would eat
a little hole through the top somewhere and that would
rapidly grow bigger, the water pouring through in a
stream, and cutting its way down till the solidity of
the wall being destroyed by the continuity being
broken great masses would crumble away all at once,
and the pent-up waters would rush through."
"And if they came down and washed away our
works just as we were making our fortunes, you would
say I was to blame for taking such a dangerous place."
"There, come along," cried Uncle Bob, "don't let's
meet troubles half-way. I want a ramble over those
hills. There, Cob, now we're safe," he said, as we left
the great dam behind. Now, then, who's for some
This last question was ti._.- .1- by the sight of a
IN MOUNTAIN LAND.
snug little village inn, where we had a hearty meal
and a rest, and then tramped off to meet with an un-
expected adventure among the hills.
As soon as one gets into a hilly country the feeling
that comes over one is that he ought to get up higher,
and I had that sensation strongly.
But what a glorious walk it was! We left the road
as soon as we could and struck right away as the crow
flies for one of several tremendous hills that we saw in
the distance. Under our feet was the purple heath
with great patches of whortleberry, that tiny shrub
that bears the little purply gray fruit. Then there was
short elastic wiry grass and orange-yellow bird's-foot
trefoil. Anon we came to great patches of furze of a
dwarf kind with small prickles, and of an elegant
growth, the purple and yellow making the place look
like some vast wild garden.
"We always seem to be climbing up," said Uncle
"When we are not sliding down," said Uncle Jack,
"I've been looking for a bit of level ground for a
race," said Uncle Bob. "My word! what a wild place
"But how beautiful!" I cried, as we sat down on
some rough blocks of stone, with the pure thyme-
scented air blowing on our cheeks, larks singing above
our heads, and all around the hum of insects or bees
hurrying from blossom to blossom; while we saw the
grasshoppers slowly climbing up to the top of some
strand of grass, take a look round, and then set their
spring legs in motion and take a good leap.
"What a difference in the hills!" said Uncle Jack,
looking thoughtfully from some that were smooth of
A WILD WALK.
outline to others that were all rugged and looked as if
great jagged masses of stone had been piled upon their
Yes," said Uncle Dick. "Two formations. Moun-
tain limestone yonder; this we are on, with all these
rough pieces on the surface and sticking out every-
where, is millstone grit."
Which is millstone grit?" I cried.
"This," he said, taking out a little hammer and
chipping one of the stones by us to show me that it
was a sandstone full of hard fragments of silica.
"You might open a quarry anywhere here and cut
millstones, but of course some of the stone is better for
the purpose than others."
"Yes," said Uncle Jack thoughtfully. "Arrowfield
is famously situated for its purpose-plenty of coal for
forging, plenty of water to work mills, plenty of quar-
ries to get millstones for grinding."
"Come along," cried Uncle Bob, starting up; and
before we had gone far the grouse flew, skimming
away before us, and soon after we came to a lovely
mountain stream that sparkled and danced as it
dashed down in hundreds of little cataracts and falls.
Leaving this, though the sight of the little trout
darting about was temptation enough to make me
stay, we tramped on over the rugged ground, in and
out among stones or piled-up rocks, now skirting or
leaping boggy places dotted with cotton-rush, where
the bog-roots were here green and soft, there of a deli-
cate pinky white, where the water had been dried
To a London boy, accustomed to country runs among
inclosed fields and hedges, or at times into a park or
upon a common, this vast stretch of hilly, wild unculti-
vated land was glorious, and I was ready to see any
wonder without surprise.
It seemed to me, as we tramped on examining the
bits of stone, the herbs and flowers, that at any moment
we might come upon the lair of some wild beast; and
so we did over and over again, but it was not the den
of wolf or bear, but of a rabbit burrowed into the sandy
side of some great bank. Farther on we started a hare,
which went off in its curious hopping fashion to be out
of sight in a few moments.
Almost directly after, as we were clambering over a
steep slope, Uncle Bob stopped short, and stood there
"What is it?" I cried.
"Fox," he said, looking round.
"Nonsense!" cried Uncle Dick.
"You wouldn't find, eh? What a nasty, dank, sour
odour!" cried Uncle Jack, in his quiet, thoughtful
"A fox has gone by here during the last few
minutes, I'm sure," cried Uncle Bob, looking round
searchingly. "I'll be bound to say he is up among
those tufts of ling and has just taken refuge there.
Spread out and hunt."
The tufts he pointed to were right on a ridge of the
hill we were climbing, and separating we hurried up
there just in time to see a little reddish animal, with
long, drooping, bushy tail, run in amongst the heath
fifty yards down the slope away to our left.
That's the consequence of having a good nose," said
Uncle Bob triumphantly; and now, as we were on a
high eminence, we took a good look round so as to
make our plans.
"Hadn't we better turn back now?" said Uncle
THE DOME TOR
Jack. "We shall have several hours' walk before we
get to Arrowfield, and shall have done as much as Cob
"Oh, I'm not a bit tired!" I cried.
"Well," said Uncle Dick, "I think we had better go
forward. I'm not very learned over the topography of
the district, but if I'm not much mistaken that round
hill or mountain before us is Dome Tor."
"Well?" said Uncle Jack.
"Well, I propose that we make straight for it, go
over it, and then ask our way to the nearest town or
village where there is a railway-station, and ride
"Capital!" I cried.
Whom will you ask to direct us?" said Uncle Jack
"Ah! to be sure," said Uncle Bob. "I've seen
nothing but a sheep or two for hours, and they look
so horribly stupid I don't think it is of any use to ask
"Oh! we must meet some one if we keep on," said
Uncle Dick. "What do you say? Seems a pity not
to climb that hill now we are so near."
"Yes, as we are out for a holiday," said Uncle Bob.
"After to-day we must put our necks in the collar and
work. I vote for Dick."
So do I," said Uncle Jack.
Come along then, boys," cried Uncle Dick; and
now we set ourselves steadily to get over the ground,
taking as straight a line as we could, but having to
deviate a good deal on account of streams and bogs
and rough patches of stone. But it was a glorious
walk, during which there was always something to
examine; and at last we felt that we were steadily
going up the great rounded mass known as Dome
We had not been plodding far before I found that it
was entirely different to the hills we had climbed that
day, for, in place of great masses of rugged, weather-
worn rock, the stone we found here and there was
slaty and splintery, the narrow tracks up which we
walked being full of slippery fragments, making it tire-
These tracks were evidently made by the sheep, of
which we saw a few here and there, but no shepherd,
no houses, nothing to break the utter solitude of the
scene, and as we paused for a rest about half-way up
Uncle Dick looked round at the glorious prospect,
bathed in the warm glow of the setting sun.
"Ah!" he said, "this is beautiful nature. Over
yonder, at Arrowfield, we shall have nature to deal
with that is not beautiful. But come, boys, I want a
big meat tea, and we've miles to go yet before we can
We all jumped up and tramped on, with a curious
sensation coming into my legs, as if the joints wanted
oiling. But I said nothing, only trudged away, on and
on, till at last we reached the rounded top, hot, out of
breath, and glad to inhale the fresh breeze that was
The view was splendid, but the sun had set, and
there were clouds beginning to gather, while, on looking
round, though we could see a house here and a house
there in the distance, it did not seem very clear to
either of us which way we were to go.
We are clever ones," said Uncle Dick, "starting out
on a trip like this without a pocket guide and a
map: never mind, our way must be west, and sooner
A SUDDEN MIST.
or later we shall come to a road, and then to a
"But we shall never be able to reach a railway-sta-
tion to-night," said Uncle Bob.
"Not unless we try," said Uncle Jack in his dry
"Then let's try," said Uncle Dick, "and-well, that
As we reached the top the wind had been blowing
sharply in our faces, but this had ceased while we had
been lying about admiring the prospect, and in place
a few soft moist puffs had come from quite another
quarter; and as we looked there seemed to be a cloud
of white smoke starting up out of a valley below us.
As we watched it we suddenly became aware of
another rolling along the short rough turf and over
the shaly paths. Then a patch seemed to form here,
another there, and these patches appeared to be stretch-
ing out their hands to each other all round the moun-
tain till they formed a gray bank of mist, over the top
of which we could see the distant country.
"We must be moving," said Uncle Dick, "or we shall
be lost in the fog. North-west must be our way, but
let's push down here where the slope's easy, and get
beyond the mist, and then we can see what we had
He led the way, and before we could realize it the
dense white steamy fog was all around us, and we
could hardly see each other.
"All right!" said Uncle Dick; "keep together."
"Can you see where you are going, Dick?" said
"No, I'm as if I was blindfolded with a white crape
"No precipices here, are there?" I cried nervously,
for it seemed so strange to be walking through this
"No, I hope not," cried Uncle Dick out of the mist
ahead. "You keep talking, and follow me, I'll answer
you, or else we shall be separated, and that won't do
now. All right!"
"All right!" we chorused back.
"All right!" cried Uncle Dick; "nice easy slope here,
"All right!" we chorused.
We stopped short in horror wondering what had
happened, for Uncle Dick's words seemed cut in two,
there was a rustling scrambling sound, and then all
was white fog and silence, broken only by our panting
"Dick! where are you?" cried Uncle Jack taking a
"Mind!" cried Uncle Bob, catching him by the arm.
It was well he did, for that was the rustling scram-
bling noise again falling on my ears, with a panting
struggle, and two voices in the dense fog seeming to
utter ejaculations of horror and dread.
A NIGHT OF ANXIETY.
LOOKED in the direction from which the
sounds came, but there was nothing visible,
save the thick white fog, and in my excite-
ment and horror, thinking I was looking in
the wrong direction, I turned sharply round.
I looked in another direction.
Then I seemed to lose my head altogether, and hur-
ried here and there with my hands extended, completely
It only took moments, swift moments, for all this to
take place, and then I heard voices that I knew, but
sounding muffled and as if a long way off.
"Cob! where are you, Cob?"
"Here," I shouted. "I'll try and come."
"No, no!"-it was Uncle Jack who spoke-"don't
stir for your life."
"But," I shouted, with my voice sounding as if I was
covered with a blanket, "I want to come to you."
"Stop where you are," he cried. "I command you."
I stayed where I was, and the next moment a fresh
voice cried to me, as if pitying my condition:
THE HORRIBLE PRECIPICE.
"Yes," I cried.
"There is a horrible precipice. Don't stir.
It was Uncle Bob who said this to comfort me, and
make me safe from running risks, but he made me turn
all of a cold perspiration, and I stood there shivering,
listening to the murmur of voices that came to me in a
At last I could bear it no longer. It seemed so
strange. Only a minute or two ago we were all together
on the top of a great hill admiring the prospect. Now
we were separated. Then all seemed open and clear,
and we were looking away for miles: now I seemed
shut in by this pale white gloom that stopped my sight,
and almost my hearing, while it numbed and confused
my faculties in a way that I could not have felt pos-
"Uncle Jack!" I cried, as a sudden recollection came
back of a cry I had heard.
"He is not here," cried Uncle Bob. "He is trying to
find a way down."
"Where is Uncle Dick?"
"Hush, boy! don't ask."
"But, uncle, I may come to you, may I not?" I cried,
trembling with the dread of what had happened, for in
spite of my confused state I realized now that Uncle
Dick must have fallen.
"My boy," he shouted back, "I aren't say yes. The
place ends here in a terrible way. We two nearly went
over, and I dare not stir, for I cannot see a yard from
my feet. I am on a very steep slope too."
"But where has Uncle Jack gone then?"
"Ahoy!" came from somewhere behind me, and
"Ahoy! Uncle Jack," I yelled.
THE PERIL INCREASES.
"Ahoy, boy! I want to come to you. Keep shouting
I did as he bade me, and he kept answering me, and
for a minute or two he seemed to be coming nearer.
Then his voice sounded more distant, and more distant
still; then ceased.
"Cob, I can't hear him," came from near me out of
the dense gloom. "Can you?"
"No!" I said with a shiver.
"Ahoy, Jack!" roared Uncle Bob.
"Ahoy-y!" came from a distance in a curiously
"Give it up till the fog clears off. Stand still."
There was no reply, and once more the terrible
silence seemed to cling round me. The gloom increased,
and I sank on my knees, not daring to stand now, but
listening, if I may say so, with all my might.
What had happened? What was going to happen?
Were we to stay there all night in the darkness,
shivering with cold and damp? Only a little while
ago I had been tired and hot; now I did not feel the
fatigue, but was shivering with cold, and my hands
and face were wet.
I wanted to call out to Uncle Bob again, but the
sensation came over me-the strange, wild fancy that
something had happened to him, and I dared not speak
for fear of finding that it was true.
All at once as I knelt there, listening intently for the
slightest sound, I fancied I heard some one breathing.
Then the sound stopped. Then it came nearer, and
the dense mist parted, and a figure was upon me,
crawling close by me without seeing me; and crying
"Uncle Bob!" I started forward and caught at him
as I thought. My hands seized moist wool for a
moment, and then it was jerked out of my hands, as,
with a frightened Baa! its wearer bounded away.
"What's that?" came from my left and below me,
in the same old suffocated tone.
"A sheep," I cried, trembling with the start the
creature had given me.
"Did you see which way it went?"
"Then it must be safe your way, Cob. I'll try and
crawl to you, lad, but I'm so unnerved I can hardly
make up my mind to stir."
"Let me come to you," I cried.
"No, no! I'll try and get to you. Where are you?"
"Here," I cried.
"All right!" came back in answer; but matters did
not seem all right, for Uncle Bob's voice suddenly
seemed to grow more distant, and when I shouted to
him my cry came back as if I had put my face against
a wall and spoken within an inch or two thereof.
"I think we'd better give it up, Cob," he shouted
now from somewhere quite different. It is not safe to
I did not think so, and determined to make an
attempt to get to him.
For, now that I had grown a little used to the fog,
it did not seem so appalling, though it had grown
thicker and darker till I seemed quite shut in.
"I'll stop where I am, Cob," came now as if from
above me; "and I daresay in a short time the wind
I answered, but I felt as if I could not keep still. I
had been scared by the sudden separation from my
companions, but the startled feeling having passed
away I did not realize the extent of our danger. In
I GROW BOLDER.
fact it seemed absurd for three strong men and a lad
like me to be upset in this way by a mist.
Uncle Dick had had a fall, but I would not believe
it had been serious. Perhaps he had only slipped
down some long slope.
I crouched there in the darkness, straining my eyes
to try and pierce the mist, and at last, unable to re-
strain my impatience, I began to crawl slowly on hands
and knees in the direction whence my uncle's voice
seemed to come.
I crept a yard at a time very carefully, feeling round
with my hands before I ventured to move, and satis-
fying myself that the ground was solid all around.
It seemed so easy, and it was so impossible that I
could come to any harm this way, that I grew more
confident, and passing my hand over the rough shale
chips that were spread around amongst the short grass,
I began to wonder how my uncles could have been so
timid, and not have made a brave effort to escape from
I kept on, growing more and more confident each
moment in spite of the thick darkness that surrounded
me, for it seemed so much easier than crouching there
doing nothing for myself. But I went very cautiously,
for I found I was on a steep slope, and that very little
would have been required to send me sliding down.
Creep, creep, creep, a yard in two or three minutes,
but still I was progressing somewhere, and even at
this rate I thought that I could join either of my com-
panions when I chose.
I had made up my mind to go a few yards further
and then speak, feeling sure that I should be close to
Uncle Bob, and that then we could go on together and
find Uncle Jack.
A NARROW ESCAPE.
I had just come to this conclusion, and was thrusting
out my right hand again, when, as I tried to set it
down, there was nothing there.
I drew it in sharply and set it down close to the
other as I knelt, and then passed it slowly from me
over the loose scraps of slaty stone to find it touch the
edge of a bank that seemed to have been cut off per-
pendicularly, and on passing my hand over, it touched
first soft turf and earth and then scrappy loose frag-
ments of shale.
This did not startle me, for it appeared to be only a
little depression in the ground, but thrusting out one
foot I found that go over too, so that I knew I must
be parallel with the edge of the trench or crack in the
I picked up a piece of shale and threw it from me,
listening for its fall, but no sound came, so I sat down
with one leg over the depression and kicked with my
heel to loosen a bit of the soil.
I was a couple of feet back, and as I kicked I felt
the ground I sat upon quiver; then there was a loud
rushing sound, and I threw myself down clinging with
my hands, for a great piece of the edge right up to
where I sat had given way and gone down, leaving me
with my legs hanging over the edge, and but for my
sudden effort I should have fallen.
"What was that?" cried a voice some distance above
"It is I, Uncle Bob," I panted. "Come and help
I heard a fierce drawing in of the breath, and then
a low crawling sound, and little bits of stone seemed
to be moved close by me.
"Where are you, boy?" came again.
COLD AND DAMP.
"Can you crawl to me? I'm close by your head."
"No," I gasped. "If I move I'm afraid I shall fall."
There was the same fierce drawing in of the breath,
the crawling sound again, and a hand touched my face,
passed round it, and took a tight hold of my collar.
"Lie quite still, Cob," was whispered; "I'm going to
draw you up. Now!"
I felt myself dragged up suddenly, and at the same
moment the earth and stones upon which I had been
lying dropped from under me with a loud hissing
rushing sound, and then I was lying quite still, cling-
ing to Uncle Bob's hand, which was very wet and
"How did you come there?" he said at length.
"Crawled there, trying to get to you," I said.
"And nearly went down that fearful precipice, you
foolish fellow. But there: you are safe."
"I did not know it was so dangerous," I faltered.
"Dangerous!" he cried. "It is awful in this horrible
darkness. The mountain seems to have been cut in
half somewhere about here, and this fog confuses so
that it is impossible to stir. We must wait till it
blows off. I think we are safe now, but I dare not
try to find a better place. Dare you?"
"Not after what I have just escaped from," I said
"Are you cold ?"
"Ye-es," I said with a shiver. "It is so damp."
Creep close to me, then," he said. "We shall keep
each other warm."
We sat like that for hours, and still the fog kept as
dense as ever, only that overhead there was a faint
light, which grew stronger and then died out over and
THE BREEZE AT LAST.
over again. The stillness was awful, but I had a com-
panion, and that made my position less painful. He
would not talk, though as a rule he was very bright
and chatty; now he would only say, "Wait and see;"
and we waited.
The change came, after those long terrible hours of
anxiety, like magic. One moment it was thick dark-
ness; the next I felt, as it were, a feather brush across
"Did you feel that ?" I said quickly.
"Feel what, Cob?"
"Something breathing against us?"
"No-yes!" he cried joyfully. "It was the wind."
The same touch came again, but stronger. There
was light above our heads. I could dimly see my
companion, and then a cloud that looked white and
strange in the moonlight was gliding slowly away from
us over what seemed to be a vast black chasm whose
edge was only a few yards away.
It was wonderful how quickly that mist departed
and went skimming away into the distance, as if a
great curtain were being drawn, leaving the sky spark-
ling with stars and the moon shining bright and clear.
"You see now the danger from which you escaped?"
said Uncle Bob with a shudder.
"Yes," I said; "but did-do you think- "
He looked at me without ,, .-. i;- and just then
there came from behind us a loud "Ahoy!"
"Ahoy!" shouted back Uncle Bob; and as we turned
in the direction of the cry we could see Uncle Jack
waving his white handkerchief to us, and we were
soon after by his side.
They gripped hands without a word as they met,
and then after a short silence Uncle Jack said:
A HUNT FOR THE LOST.
"We had better get on and descend on the other
"But Uncle Dick!" I cried impetuously; "are you
not going to search for Uncle Dick ?"
The brothers turned upon me quite fiercely, but
neither of them spoke; and for the next hour we went
stumbling on down the steep slope of the great hill,
trying to keep to the sheep tracks, which showed
pretty plainly in the moonlight, but every now and
then we went astray.
My uncles were wonderfully quiet, but they kept
steadily on; and I did not like to break their com-
munings, and so trudged behind them, noting that
they kept as near as seemed practicable to the place
where the mountain ended in a precipice; and now
after some walking I could look back and see that the
moon was shining full upon the face of the hill, which
looked gray and as if one end had been dug right
On we went silently and with a settled determined
aim, about which no one spoke, but perhaps thought
all the more.
I know that I thought so much about the end of
our quest that I kept shuddering as I trudged on, with
sore feet, feeling that in a short time we should be
turning sharp round to our left so as to get to the foot
of the great precipice, where the hill had been gnawed
away by time, and where the loose earth still kept
It was as I expected; we turned sharp off to the
left and were soon walking with our faces towards the
gray-looking face, that at first looked high, but, as we
went on, towered up more and more till the height
U2 THE WEARY SEARCH.
It was a weary heart-rending walk before we reached
the hill-like slope where the loose shaly rock and earth
was ever falling to add to the debris up which we
"There's no telling exactly where he must have come
over," said Uncle Jack, after we had searched about
some time, expecting moment by moment to come
upon the insensible form of our companion. "We must
spread out more."
For we neither of us would own to the possibility of
Uncle Dick being killed. For my part I imagined that
he would have a broken leg, perhaps, or a sprained
ankle. If he had fallen head-first he might have put
out his shoulder or broken his collar-bone. I would
not imagine anything worse.
The moon was not so clear now, for fleecy clouds
began to sail across it and made the search more diffi-
cult, as we clambered on over the shale, which in the
steepest parts gave way under our feet. But I deter-
minedly climbed on, sure that if I got very high up I
should be able to look down and see where Uncle Dick
To this end I toiled higher and higher, till I could
fairly consider that I was touching the face of the
mountain where the slope of debris began; and I now
found that the precipice sloped too, being anything
"Can you see him, Cob?" cried Uncle Jack from below.
"No," I said despondently.
"Stay where you are," he cried again, "quite still."
That was impossible, for where I stood the shale
was so small and loose that I was sliding down slowly;
but I made very little noise, and just then Uncle Jack
uttered a tremendous-
There was a pause and he shouted again:
"Ahoy!" came back faintly from somewhere a long
"There he is!" I cried.
"No-an echo," said Uncle Jack. "Ahoy!"
"Ahoy!" came back.
There, you see-an echo."
"Ahoy!" came again.
"That's no echo," cried Uncle Bob joyfully. "Dick!"
He shouted as loudly as he could.
"There! it was no echo. He's all right; and after
falling down here he has worked his way out and
round the other side, where we went up first, while we
came down the other way and missed him.
"Dick, ahoy!" he shouted again; "where away?"
"Ahoy!" come back, and we had to consult.
"If we go up one way to meet him he will come
down the other," said Uncle Bob. "There's nothing
for it but to wait till morning or divide, and one of
us go up one side while the other two go up the
Uncle Jack snapped his watch-case down after ex-
amining the face by the pale light of the moon.
"Two o'clock," he said, throwing himself on the loose
shale. "Ten minutes ago, when we were in doubb, I
felt as if I could go on for hours with the search.
Now I know that poor old Dick is alive I can't walk
I had slipped and scrambled down to him now, and
Uncle Bob turned to me.
"How are you, Cob?" he said.
The skin is off one of my heels, and I have a blister
on my big toe."
And I'm dead beat," said Uncle Bob, sinking down.
"You're right, Jack, we must have a rest. Let's wait
till it's light. It will be broad day by four o'clock, and
we can signal to him which way to come."
I nestled down close to him, relieved in mind and
body, and I was just thinking that though scraps of
slaty stone and brashy earth were not good things for
stuffing a feather-bed, they were, all the same, very com-
fortable for a weary person to lie upon, when I felt a
hand laid upon my shoulder, and opening my eyes
found the sun shining brightly and Uncle Dick look-
ing down in my face.
"Have I been asleep?" I said confusedly.
"Four hours, Cob," said Uncle Jack. "You lay
down at two. It is now six."
"But I dreamed something about you, Uncle Dick,"
I said confusedly. "I thought you were lost."
"Well, not exactly lost, Cob," he said; "but I slipped
over that tremendous slope up yonder, and came down
with a rush, stunning myself and making a lot of
bruises that are very sore. I must have come down a
terrible distance, and I lay, I suppose, for a couple of
hours before I could get up and try to make my way
But you are not-not broken," I cried, now thor-
oughly awake and holding his hand.
"No, Cob," he said smiling; "not broken, but starv-
ing and very faint."
A three miles' walk took us to where we obtained a
very hearty breakfast, and here the farmer willingly
drove us to the nearest station, from whence by a
roundabout way we journeyed back to Arrowfield, and
MRS. STEPHENSON'S IMPRESSION.
found the landlady in conference with Mr. Tomplin,
who had come to our place on receiving a message from
Mrs. Stephenson that we had gone down to the works
and not returned, her impression being that the men
had drowned us all in the dam.
"DO LET ME COME."
HE rest of the week soon slipped by, and my
uncles took possession of the works, but not
The agent who had had the letting went
down to meet my uncles and give them formal posses-
When he got there he was attacked by the work-
people, with words first, and then with stones and pails
The consequence was that he went home with a cut
head and his clothes soaked.
"But what's to be done?" said Uncle Dick to him.
"We want the place according to the agreement."
The agent looked up, holding one hand to his head,
and looking white and scared.
Call themselves men!" he said. "I call them wild
Call them what you like," said Uncle Dick; "wild
beasts if you will, but get them out."
"But I can't," groaned the man dismally. "See
what a state I'm in! They've spoiled my second best
Very tiresome," said Uncle Dick, who was growing
PREPARING FOR THE EXPEDITION.
impatient; "but are you going to get these people out?
We've two truck-loads of machinery waiting to be
"Don't I tell you I can't," said the agent angrily.
"Take possession yourself. There, I give you leave."
Very well," said Uncle Dick. You assure me that
these men have no legal right to be there."
"Not the slightest. They were only allowed to be
there till the place was let."
"That's right; then we take possession at once, sir."
"And good luck to you!" said the agent as we went
"What are you going to do?" asked Uncle Bob.
"To-night. Will you come?"
"Will I come?" said Uncle Bob with a half laugh.
"You might as well ask Jack."
It may mean trouble to-morrow."
"There's nothing done without trouble," said Uncle
Bob coolly. I like ease better, but I'll take my share."
I was wildly excited, and began thinking that we
should all be armed with swords and guns, so that I
was terribly disappointed when that evening I found
Uncle Dick enter the room with a brown-paper parcel
in his hand that looked like a book, and followed by
Uncle Jack looking as peaceable as could be.
"Where's Uncle Bob?" I said.
"Waiting for us outside."
"Why doesn't he come in?"
I wondered what Uncle Bob was busy about; but I
noticed that my uncles were preparing for the ex-
pedition, putting some tools and a small lantern in a
travelling-bag. After this Uncle Jack took it open
down-stairs ready for starting.
"Look here, Cob," said Uncle Dick; "we are going
down to the works."
"Yes, my lad, to-night."
"But you can't get in. The men have the key."
"I have the agent's keys. There are two sets, and
I am going down now. Look here; take a book and
amuse yourself, and go to bed in good time. Perhaps
we shall be late."
"Why, you are going to stop all night," I cried, "so
as to be there before the men?"
I confess," he said, laughing in my excited face.
And I sha'n't see any of the fun," I cried.
"There will not be any fun, Cob."
"Oh, yes, there will, uncle," I said. "I say, do let
He shook his head, and as I could make no impres-
sion on him I gave up, and slipped down to Uncle
Jack, who was watching Mrs. Stephenson cut some
huge sandwiches for provender during the night.
"I say, uncle," I whispered, "I know what you are
going to do. Take me."
"No, no," he said. "It will be no work for boys."
He was so quiet and stern that I felt it was of no
use to press him, so I left the kitchen and went to the
front door to try Uncle Bob for my last resource.
I opened the door gently, and started back, for there
was a savage growl, and I just made out the dark form
of a big-headed dog tugging at a string.
"Down, Piter!" said Uncle Bob. "Who is it? You,
Cob? Here, Piter, make friends with him. Come out."
I went out rather slowly, for the dog was growling
A GARRISON FOR THE FORT.
ominously; but at a word from Uncle Bob he ceased,
and began to smell me all round the legs, stopping
longest about my calves, as if he thought that would
be the best place for a bite.
"Pat him, Cob, and pull his ears."
I stooped down rather unwillingly, and began pat-
ting the ugliest head I ever saw in my life. For Piter
-otherwise Jupiter-was a brindled bull-dog with an
enormous head, protruding lower jaw, pinched-in nose,
and grinning teeth. The sides of his head seemed
swollen, and his chest broad, his body lank and lean,
ending in a shabby little thin tail.
"Why, he has no ears," I said.
"They are cut pretty short, poor fellow. But isn't
he a beauty, Cob?"
"Beauty!" I said, laughing. "But where did you get
"Mr. Tomplin has lent him to us."
"But what for?"
"Garrison for the fort," my boy. "I think we can
I commenced my attack then.
"I should so like to go!" I said. It isn't as if I was
a nuisance. I wasn't so bad when we were out all
night by Dome Tor."
"Well, there, I'll talk them over," he said. "Here, you
stop and hold the dog, while I go in."
"What, hold him?"
"Yes, to be sure. I won't be long."
"But, uncle," I said, "he looks such a brute, as if he'd
eat a fellow."
"My dear Cob, I sha'n't be above a quarter of an
hour. He couldn't get through more than one leg by
"Now you're laughing at me," I said.
"Hold the dog, then, you young coward!"
"I'm not," I said in an injured tone; and I caught at
the leather thong, for if it had been a lion I should
have held on then.
I wanted to say, "Don't be long," but I was ashamed,
and I looked rather wistfully over my shoulder as he
went in, leaving me with the dog.
Piter uttered a low whine as the door closed, and
then growled angrily and gave a short deep-toned
This done, he growled at me, smelled me all round,
making my legs seem to curdle as his blunt nose
touched them, and then after winding the thong round
me twice he stood up on his hind-legs, placing his
paws against my chest and his ugly muzzle between
My heart was beating fast, but the act was so
friendly that I patted the great head; and the end of
it was, that I sat down on the door-step, and when
Uncle Bob came out again Piter and I had fraternized,
and he had been showing me as hard as he could that
he was my born slave, that he was ready for a bit of
fun at any time, and also to defend me against any
enemy who should attack.
Piter's ways were simple. To show the first he
licked my hand. For the second, he turned over on his
back, patted at me with his paws, and mumbled my
legs, took a hold of my trousers and dragged at them,
and butted at me with his bullet head. For the last,
he suddenly sprang to his feet as a step was heard,
crouched by me ready for a spring, and made some
thunder inside him somewhere.
This done, he tried to show me what fun it was to
A TOWN DOG.
tie himself up in a knot with the leather thong, and
strangle himself till his eyes stood out of his head.
"Why, you have made friends," said Uncle Bob,
coming out. "Good dog, then."
"May I go?" I said eagerly.
"Yes. They've given in. I had a hard fight, sir, so
you must do me credit."
Half an hour after, we four were on our way to our
own works, just as if we were stealing through the
dark to commit a burglary, and I noticed that though
there were no swords and guns, each of my uncles
carried a very stout heavy stick, that seemed to me
like a yard of bad headache, cut very thick.
The streets looked very miserable as we advanced,
leaving behind us the noise and roar and glow of the
panting machinery which every now and then whistled
and screamed as if rejoicing over the metal it was cut-
ting and forming and working into endless shapes.
There behind us was the red cloud against which the
light from a thousand furnaces was glowing, while
every now and then came a deafening roar as if some
explosion had taken place.
I glanced down at Piter expecting to see him startled,
but he was Arrowfield born, and paid not the slightest
heed to noise, passing through a bright flash of light
that shot from an open door as if it were the usual
thing, and he did not even twitch his tail as we walked
on by a wall that seemed to quiver and shake as some
great piece of machinery worked away, throbbing and
"Here we are at last," said Uncle Dick, as we reached
the corner of our place, where a lamp shed a ghastly
kind of glow upon the dark triangular shaped dam.
The big stone building looked silent and ghostly in
PROCEEDINGS IN BURGLARY.
the gloom, while the great chimney stood up like a
giant sentry watching over it, and placed there by the
men whom it was our misfortune to have to dislodge.
We had a perfect right to be there, but one and all
spoke in whispers as we looked round at the buildings
about, to see in one of a row of houses that there were
lights, and in a big stone building similar to ours the
faint glow of a fire left to smoulder till the morning.
But look which way we would, there was not a soul
about, and all was still.
As we drew closer I could hear the dripping of the
water as it ran in by the wheel where it was not
securely stopped; and every now and then there was
an echoing plash from the great shut-in cave, but no
light in any of the windows.
"Come and hold the bag, Jack," whispered Uncle
Dick; and then laughingly as we grouped about the
gate with the dog sniffing at the bottom: "If you see
a policeman coming, give me fair warning. I hope that
dog will not bark. I feel just like a burglar."
Piter uttered a low growl, but remained silent.
while Uncle Dick opened the gate and we entered.
As soon as we were inside the yard the bag was put
under requisition again, a great screw-driver taken out,
the lantern lit, and with all the skill and expedition of
one accustomed to the use of tools, Uncle Dick un-
screwed and took off the lock, laid it aside, and fitted
on, very ingeniously, so that the old key-hole should
do again, one of the new patent locks he had brought
with him in the brown-paper parcel I had seen.
This took some little time, but it was effected at
last, and Uncle Dick said:
"That is something towards making the place our
own. Their key will not be worth much now."
TAKING POSSESSION BY NIGIT.
Securing the gate by turning the key of the new
lock, we went next to the door leading into the works,
which was also locked, but the key the agent had
supplied opened it directly, and this time Uncle Dick
held box and lantern while Uncle Jack took off the
old and fitted on the second new lock that we had
It was a curious scene in the darkness of that great
stone-floored echoing place, where an observer who
watched would have seen a round glass eye shedding
a bright light on a particular part of the big dirty
door, and in the golden ring the bull's-eye made, a pair
of large white hands busy at work 6.' i. turning a
gimlet, putting in and fastening screws, while only
now and then could a face be seen in the ring of
There," said Uncle Jack at last, as he turned the
well-oiled key and made the bolt of the lock play in
and out of its socket, "now I think we can call the
place our own."
"I say, Uncle Bob," I whispered-I don't know why,
unless it was the darkness that made me speak low
-" I should like to see those fellows' faces when they
come to the gate to-morrow morning."
"Especially Old Squintum's," said Uncle Bob laugh-
ing. "Pleasant countenance that man has, Cob. If
ever he is modelled I should like to have a copy.
Now, boys, what next?"
"Next!" said Uncle Dick; "we'll just have a look
round this place and see what there is belonging to
the men, and we'll put all together so as to be able to
give it up when they come."
The small grindstones are theirs, are they not?"
said Uncle Bob.
BY BULL'S-EYE LIGHT.
"No; the agent says that everything belongs to the
works and will be found in the inventory. All we
have to turn out will be the blades they are grinding."
Uncle Dick went forward from grindstone to grind-
stone, but only in one place was anything waiting to
be ground, and that was a bundle of black-looking,
newly-forged scythe blades, neatly tied up with bands
He went on from end to end, making the light play
on grindstone, trough, and the rusty sand that lay
about; but nothing else was to be seen, and after
reaching the door leading into the great chamber
where the water-wheel revolved, he turned back the
light, looking like some dancing will-o'-the-wisp as he
directed it here and there, greatly to the puzzlement
of Piter, to whom it was something new.
He tugged at the stout leather thong once or twice,
but I held on and he ceased, contenting himself with
a low uneasy whine now and then, and looking up to
me with his great protruding eyes, as if for an ex-
Now let's have a look round upwards," said Uncle
Dick. "I'm glad the men have left so few of their
traps here. Cob, my lad, you need not hold that dog.
Take the swivel off his collar and let him go. He
can't get away."
"Besides," said Uncle Bob, this is to be his home."
I stooped down and unhooked the spring swivel, to
Piter's great delight, which he displayed by scuffling
about our feet, trying to get himself trodden upon by
all in turn, and ending by making a rush at the bull's-
eye lantern, and knocking his head against the round
Pretty little creature!" said Uncle Bob. "Well, I
should have given him credit for more sense than a
Piter growled as if he were dissatisfied with the
result, and then his hideous little crinkled black nose
was seen as he smelt the lantern all round, and, ap-
parently gratified by the odour of the oil, he licked his
Now then, upstairs," said Uncle Dick, leading the
way with the lantern, But as soon as the light fell
upon the flight of stone stairs Piter went to the front
with a rush, his claws pattered on the stones, and he
was up at the top waiting for us, after giving a scratch
at a rough door, his ugly countenance looking down
curiously out of the darkness.
"Good dog!" said Uncle Dick as he reached the
landing and unlatched the door.
Piter squeezed himself through almost before the
door was six inches open, and the next moment he
burst into a furious deep-mouthed bay.
"Someone there!" cried Uncle Dick, and he rushed
in, lantern in hand, to make the light play round,
while my uncles changed the hold of their stout sticks,
holding them cudgel fashion ready for action.
The light rested directly on the face and chest of a
man sitting up between a couple of rusty lathes, where
a quantity of straw had been thrown down, and at the
first glimpse it was evident that the dog had just
aroused him from a heavy sleep.
His eyes were half closed, bits of oat straw were
sticking in his short dark hair, and glistened like frag-
ments of pale gold in the light cast by the bull's-eye,
while two blackened and roughened hands were ap-
plied to his eyes as if he were trying to rub them
Piter's was an ugly face; but the countenance of an
ugly animal is pleasanter to look upon than that of an
ugly degraded human being, and as I saw the rough
stubbly jaws open, displaying some yellow and black-
ened teeth that glistened in the light as their owner
yawned widely, I began to think our dog handsome by
The man growled as if not yet awake, and rubbed
away at his eyes with his big fists, as if they, too, re-
quired a great deal of polishing to make them bright
enough to see.
At last he dropped his fists and stared straight
before him-no, that's a mistake, he stared with the
range of his eyes crossing, and then seemed to have
some confused idea that there was a light before him,
and a dog making a noise, for he growled out:
Then, bending forward, he swept an arm round, as
if in search of something, which he caught hold of at
last, and we understood why he was so confused. For
it was a large stone bottle he had taken up. From this
he removed the cork with a dull Fop! raised the bottle
with both hands, took a long draught, and corked the
bottle again with a sigh, set it down beside him, and
after yawning loudly shouted once more at the dog,
"Get out! Lie down!"
Then he settled himself as if about to do what he
had bidden the dog, but a gleam of intelligence ap-
peared to have come now into his brain.
There was no mistaking the man: it was the squint-
ing ruffian who had attacked us when we came first,
and there was no doubt that he had been staying there
to keep watch and hold the place against us, for a
candle was stuck in a ginger-beer bottle on the frame
of the lathe beyond him, and this candle had guttered
down and gone out.
We none of us spoke, but stood in the black shadow
invisible to the man, who could only see the bright
light of the bull's-eye staring him full in the face.
"Lie down, will yer!" he growled savagely. "Makin'
shut a row! Lie down or- "
He shouted this last in such a fierce tone of menace
that it would have scared some dogs.
It had a different effect on Piter, who growled
"Don't, then," shouted the man; "howl and bark-
make a row, but if yer touch me I'll take yer down
and drownd yer in the wheel-pit. D'yer hear? in the
This was said in a low drowsy tone and as if the
fellow were nearly asleep, and as the light played upon
his half-closed dreamy eyes he muttered and stared at
it as if completely overcome by sleep.
It was perfectly ridiculous, and yet horrible, to see
that rough head and hideous face nodding and blink-
ing at the light as the fellow supported himself on
both his hands in an ape-like attitude that was more
animal than human.
All this was a matter of a minute or so, and then
the ugly cross eyes closed, opened sharply, and were
brought to bear upon the light one after the other by
movements of the head, just as a magpie looks at a
young bird before he kills it with a stroke of his
Then a glimpse of intelligence seemed to shoot from
them, and the man sat up sharply.
"What's that light?" he said roughly. "Police!
What do you want?"
ARMED WITH A PISTOL
"What are you doing here?" said Uncle Jack in his
"Doing, p'liceman! Keeping wetch. Set o' Lonnoners
trying to get howd o' wucks, and me and my mates
wean't hev 'em. Just keeping wetch. Good night!"
He sat up, staring harder at the light, and then
tried to see behind it.
"Well," he cried, "why don't you go, mate? Shut
door efter you."
"Hold the dog, Cob," said Uncle Jack. "Bob, you
take the lantern and open the door and the gate. Lay
hold of one side, Dick, I'll take the other, and we'll
put him out."
But the man was wide awake now; and as I darted
at Piter and got my hands in his collar and held him
back, the fellow made a dash at something lying on
the lathe, and as the lantern was changed from hand
to hand I caught sight of the barrel of an old horse-
"Take care!" I shouted, as I dragged Piter back.
"Yes, pistol, do yer hear?" roared the fellow starting
up. "Pistol! and I'll shute the first as comes anigh
There was a click here, and all was in darkness, for
Uncle Bob turned the shade of the lantern and hid it
within his coat.
"Put that pistol down, my man, and no harm shall
come to you; but you must get out of this place
"What! Get out! Yes, out you go, whoever you
are," roared the fellow. "I can see you, and I'll bring
down the first as stirs. This here's a good owd pistol,
and she hits hard. Now then open that light and let's
A DANGEROUS AFFAIR.
see you go down. This here's my place and my mates',
and we don't want none else here. Now then."
I was struggling in the dark with Piter, and only
held him back, there was such strength in his small
body, by lifting him by his collar and holding him
against me standing on his hind legs.
But, engaged as I was, I had an excited ear for what
was going on, and I trembled, as I expected to see the
flash of the pistol and feel its bullet strike me or the
As the man uttered his threats I heard a sharp
whispering and a quick movement or two in the dark,
and then all at once I saw the light open, and after
a flash here and there shine full upon the fellow, who
immediately turned the' pistol on the holder of the
"Now then," he cried, "yer give in, don't yer? Yes
or no 'fore I fires. Yah!"
He turned sharply round in my direction as I strug-
gled with Piter, whom the sight of the black-looking
ruffian had made furious.
But the man had not turned upon me.
He had caught sight of Uncle Jack springing at him,
the light showing him as he advanced.
There was a flash, a loud report, and almost pre-
ceeding it, if not quite, the sound of a sharp rap given
with a stick upon flesh and bone.
The next instant there was a hoarse yell and the
noise made by the pistol falling upon the floor.
Hurt, Jack?" cried Uncle Dick, as my heart seemed
to stand still.
"Scratched, that's all," was the reply. Here, come
and tie this wild beast's hands. I think I can hold
LIKE FIGHTING A BULL.
It almost sounded like a rash assertion, as the light
played upon the desperate struggle that was going on.
I could see Uncle Jack and the man, now down, now
up, and at last, after wrestling here and there, the man,
in spite of Uncle Jack's great strength, seeming to have
the mastery. There was a loud panting and a crushing
fall, both going down, and Uncle Jack rising up to
kneel upon his adversary's chest.
"Like fighting a bull," panted Uncle Jack. "What
arms the fellow has! Got the rope?"
"Yes," said Uncle Dick, rattling the things in the
bag. "Can you turn him over?"
No sooner said than done. The man heard the
order, and prepared to resist being turned on one side.
Uncle Jack noted this and attacked the other side so
quickly that the man was over upon his face before he
could change his tactics.
"Keep that dog back, Cob, or he'll eat him," said
Uncle Bob, making the lantern play on the prostrate
man, whose arms were dexterously dragged behind
him and tightly tied.
"There," said Uncle Jack. "Now you can get up
and go. Ah, would you, coward!"
This was in answer to a furious kick the fellow
tried to deliver as soon as he had regained his feet.
"If he attempts to kick again loose the dog at him,
Cob," cried Uncle Dick sharply.
Then in an undertone to me:
"No: don't! But let him think you will."
"You'll hev it for this," cried the man furiously.
"Right," said Uncle Jack. "Now, then, have you
anything here belonging to you? No! Down you
He collared his prisoner, who turned to kick at him;
but a savage snarl from Piter, as I half let him go,
checked the fellow, and he suffered himself to be
marched to the door, where he stopped.
"Ma beer," he growled, looking back at the stone
"Beer! No, you've had enough of that," said Uncle
Dick. "Go on down."
The man walked quietly down the stairs; but when
he found that he was to be thrust out into the lane he
began to struggle again, and shout, but a fierce hand
at his throat stopped that and he was led down to the
gate in the wall, where it became my task now to hold
the lantern while Uncles Dick and Bob grasped our
prisoner's arms and left Uncle Jack free to untie the
"Be ready to unlock the gate, Cob," whispered Uncle
Jack, as he held his prisoner by one twist of the rope
round his arms like a leash. "Now, then, ready! Back,
Piter shrank away, and then at a concerted moment
the gate was thrown open, the three brothers loosed
their hold of the prisoner at the same moment, and
just as he was turning to try and re-enter, a sharp
thrust of the foot sent him flying forward, the gate
was banged to, and locked, and we were congratulating
ourselves upon having ridded ourselves of an ugly
customer, when the gate shook from the effect of a
tremendous blow that sounded as if it had been dealt
with a paving-stone.
A USEFUL ALLY.
." i .\11, E no notice," said Uncle Dick.
'\ We listened, and I laughed as I heard the
1,f i1:,tling noise made by a key as if our
friend was trying to get in, after which
he seemed to realize what had been done, and went
away grumbling fiercely.
"Now for a quiet look round upstairs," said Uncle
Dick; and all being quiet and we in possession we
turned in at the dark door to inspect our fort.
There was something creepy and yet thoroughly
attractive in the business. The place looked dark and
romantic in the gloom; there was a spice of danger in
the work, and the excitement made my blood seem to
dance in my veins.
"Hallo!" I cried, as we were entering the door;
"there's something wrong," for I heard a rustling noise
and a dull thud as if someone had jumped down from
a little height.
At the same moment we found out how useful Piter
was going to be, for he started off with a furious rush,
barking tremendously, and as we followed him to the
end of the yard we were in time for a scuffle, a savage
burst of expressions, and then my heart, which had
IN THE DAM.
been throbbing furiously, seemed to stand still, for
there was a howl, a tremendous splash, then silence.
"Quick, boys!" cried Uncle Jack. "Here, join
hands. I'll go in and fetch him out. Take the light,
I gladly seized the lantern and made the light play
on the surface of the water where it was disturbed,
and as I did so Piter came up from the edge whining
softly and twitching his little stump of a tail.
Then a head and shoulders appeared, and the surface
of the dam was beaten tremendously, but so close to the
edge that by standing on the stonework and holding
by Uncle Bob's hand Uncle Jack was able to stretch
out his stick to the struggling man, to have it clutched
directly, and the fellow was drawn ashore.
He gave himself a shake like a dog as soon as he
was on dry land, and stood for a moment or two growl-
ing and using ugly language that seemed to agree with
Then he turned upon us.
"Aw right!" he said, "I'll pay thee for this. Set
the dawg on me, you did, and then pitched me into the
water. Aw right! I'll pay thee for this."
Open the gate, Bob," said Uncle Jack, who now
took the fellow by the collar and thrust him forward
while I held the light as the man went on threatening
and telling us what he meant to do.
But the cold water had pretty well quenched his
fierce anger, and though he threatened a great deal he
did not attempt to do anything till he was by the gate,
where a buzz of voices outside seemed to inspirit
"Hey, lads!" he cried; "in wi' you when gate's
A TAP ON THE KNUCKLES.
Take care," whispered Uncle Dick. Be ready to
bang the gate. We must have him out. Here, Piter."
The dog answered with a bark, and then our invader
being held ready the gate was opened by me, and the
three brothers thrust the prisoner they were going to
set at liberty half-way out.
Only half-way, for he was driven back by a rush of
his companions, who had been aroused by his shout-
The stronger outside party would have prevailed
no doubt had not our four-footed companion made a
savage charge among the rough legs, with such effect
that there was a series of yells from the front men,
who became at once on our side to the extent of driv-
ing their friends back: and before they could recover
from the surprise consequent upon the dog's assault,
the gate was banged to and locked.
"Show the light, and see where that fellow came
over the wall, Cob," whispered Uncle Dick; and I made
the light play along the top, expecting to see a head
every moment. But instead of a head a pair of hands
appeared over the coping-stones-a pair of great black
hands, whose nails showed thick and stubby in the
"There, take that," said Uncle Dick, giving the
hands a quick tap with his stick. "I don't want to
hurt you, though I could."
By that he meant do serious injury, for he certainly
hurt the owner of the hands to the extent of giving
pain, for there was a savage yell and the hands dis-
Then there was a loud scuffling noise and a fresh
pair of hands appeared, but they shared the fate of
the others and went out of sight.
THE ATTACK CONTINUED.
"Nice place this," said Uncle Bob suddenly. "Didn't
take return tickets, did you?"
"Return tickets! no," said Uncle Jack in a low
angry voice. "What! are you tired of it already?"
"Tired! Well, I don't know, but certainly this is
more lively than Canonbury. There's something cheer-
ful about the place. Put up your umbrellas, it hails."
I was nervous and excited, but I could not help
laughing at this, for Uncle Bob's ideas of hailstones
were peculiar. The first that fell was a paving-stone
as big as a half-quartern loaf, and it was followed by
quite a shower of the round cobbles or pebbles nearly
the size of a fist that are used so much in some coun-
try places for paths.
Fortunately no one was hit, while this bombardment
was succeeded by another assault or attempt to carry
the place by what soldiers call a coup de main.
But this failed, for the hands that were to deal the
cojup received such ugly taps from sticks as they ap-
peared on the top of the wall that their owners dropped
back and began throwing over stones and angry words
Only one of our assailants seemed to have the cour-
age to persevere, and this proved to be our old friend.
For as I directed the light along the top of the wall
a pair of hands appeared accompanied by the usual
Uncle Dick only tapped them, but possibly not hard
enough, for the arms followed the hands, then ap-
peared the head and fierce eyes of the man we had
Coom on, lads; we've got un now," he shouted, and
in another minute he would have been over; but Uncle
Dick felt it was time for stronger measures than tap-
ping hands, and he let his stick come down with such
a sharp rap on the great coarse head that it disappeared
directly, and a yelling chorus was succeeded by another
shower of stones.
We went into shelter in the doorway, with Piter
playing the part of sentry in front, the dog walking
up and down looking at the top of the wall growling
as he went, and now and then opening and shutting
his teeth with a loud snap like a trap.
On the other side of the wall we could hear the
talking of the men, quite a little crowd having appa-
rently assembled, and being harangued by one of their
"So it makes you think of Canonbury, does it,
Bob ?" said Uncle Jack.
"Well, yes," said my uncle.
"It makes me feel angry," said Uncle Jack, "and as
if the more these scoundrels are obstinate and interfere
with me, the more determined I shall grow."
"We must call in the help of the police," said Uncle
"And they will be watched away," said Uncle Jack.
"No, we must depend upon ourselves, and I dare say
we can win. What's that?"
I listened, and said that I did not hear anything.
"I did," said Uncle Jack. "It was the tap made by
a ladder that has been reared against a house."
I made the light play against the top of the wall
and along it from end to end.
Then Uncle Jack took it and examined the top, but
nothing was visible, and saying it was fancy he handed
the lantern to me, when all at once there was a double
thud as of two people leaping down from the wall;
and as I turned the light in the direction from which
PITElR 'MADE A 1ASII AT T1HEIR LEGS."
the sounds came there was our squinting enemy, and
directly behind him a great rough fellow, both armed
with sticks and charging down upon us where we stood.
I heard my uncles draw a long breath as if pre-
paring for the fight. Then they let their sticks fall to
their sides, and a simultaneous roar of laughter burst
It did not take a minute, and the various little
changes followed each other so quickly that I was
confused and puzzled.
One moment I felt a curious shrinking as I saw the
faces of two savage men rushing at us to drive us out
of the place; the next I was looking at their backs as
they ran along the yard.
For no sooner did Piter see them than he made a
dash at their legs, growling like some fierce wild beast,
and showing his teeth to such good effect that the men
ran from him blindly yelling one to the other; and
the next thing I heard was a couple of splashes in the
"Why, they're trying to swim across," cried Uncle
Dick; and we at once ran to the end of the yard to
where it was bounded by the stone-bordered dam.
"Show the light, Cob," cried Uncle Jack; and as I
made it play upon the water there was one man swim-
ming steadily for the other side, with Piter standing at
the edge baying him furiously, but the other man was
Then the surface of the water was disturbed and a
hand appeared, then another, to begin beating and
"Why, the fellow can't swim," cried Uncle Jack;
and catching his brother's hand he reached out, holding
his stick ready for the man to grasp.
SAVING AN ENEMY.
It was an exciting scene in the darkness, with the
ring of light cast by the lantern playing upon the dark
surface of the water, which seemed to be black rippled
with gold; and there in the midst was the distorted
face of the workman, as he yelled for help and seemed
in imminent danger of drowning.
He made two or three snatches at the stick, but
missed it, and his struggles took him farther from the
edge into the deep water close by, where the wall that
supported the great wheel was at right angles to where
It was a terribly dangerous and slippery place, but
Uncle Jack did not hesitate. Walking along a slippery
ledge that was lapped by the water, he managed to
reach the drowning man, holding to him his stick; and
then as the fellow clutched it tightly he managed to
guide him towards the edge, where Uncle Dick knelt
down, and at last caught him by the collar and drew
him out, dripping and half insensible.
"Down, dog!" cried Uncle Dick as Piter made a
dash at his enemy, who now lay perfectly motion-
Piter growled a remonstrance and drew back slowly,
but as he reached the man's feet he made a sudden
dart down and gave one of his ankles a pinch with his
The effect was instantaneous. The man jumped up
and shook his fist in our faces.
"Yow'll get it for this here," he roared. "Yow threw
me in dam and then set your dawg at me. Yow'll hev
it for this. Yow'll see. Yow'll- "
"Look here," said Uncle Bob, mimicking the fellow's
broad rough speech, "hadn't yow better go home and
take off your wet things?"
"Yow pitched me in dam and set dawg at me," cried
the fellow again.
"Go home and get off your wet things and go to
bed," said Uncle Jack, "and don't come worrying us
again-do you hear?"
"Yow pitched me in dam and set dawg at me," cried
the man again; and from the other side of the pool
the man who had swum across and been joined by
some companions yelled out:
Gi'e it to un, C' -i i i--gi'e it to un."
"Yow pitched me in dam and set dawg- "
"Look here," roared Uncle Bob, "if you're not out
of this place in half a minute I will pitch you in the
dam, and set the dog at you as well. Here, Piter."
Give's leg over the wall," growled the man.
"No. Go out of the gate," said Uncle Jack; and
standing ready to avoid a rush we opened the gate in
the wall and let the fellow go free.
We got him out and escaped a rush, for the little
crowd were all up by the side of the dam, whence they
could see into the yard; but as we sent Chawny, as he
was called, out through the gate, and he turned to
stand there, dripping, and ready to shake his fist in
our faces, they came charging down.
Uncle Bob banged the door to, though, as our enemy
repeated his angry charge:
"Yow pitched me in dam and set dawg at me."
Then the door was closed and we prepared for the
next attack from the murmuring crowd outside.
But none came, and the voices gradually grew fainter
and died away, while, taking it in turns, we watched
till morning began to break without any farther de-
monstration on the part of the enemy.
"We're safe for this time, boys," said Uncle Dick.
90 AT REST.
"Now go and have a few hours' rest. I'll call you
when the men come."
We were only too glad, and ten minutes later we
were all asleep on some shavings and straw in the
upper workshop, while Uncle Dick and Piter kept
T seemed as if it had all been a dream when
I awoke and found Uncle Bob was shaking
"Come, young fellow," he cried; "break-
I did not feel ready for my breakfast if it was,
especially a breakfast of bread and meat with no chair,
no table, no cloth, no tea, coffee, or bread and butter.
Such a good example was shown me, though, that I
took the thick sandwich offered to me, and I was soon
forgetting my drowsiness and eating heartily.
We were not interrupted, and when we had ended
our meal, went round the place to see what was to be
The first thing was placing the property that could
be claimed by the men close by the gate ready for them,
and when this was done Piter and I walked up and
down the yard listening to the steps outside, and wait-
ing to give a signal if any of the men should come.
No men came, however, and there was not a single
call till afternoon, when a sharp rapping at the gate
was answered by two of my uncles, and the dog, who
seemed puzzled as to the best pair of legs to peer
between, deciding at last in favour of Uncle Bob's.
AN OMINOUS SILENCE.
To our surprise, when the gate was opened, there
were no men waiting, but half a dozen women, one of
whom announced that they had came for their masters'
"traps," and the said "traps" being handed to them,
they went off without a word, not even condescending
to say Thank you."
Come," said Uncle Bob, after the various things had
been carried off, and Piter had stood looking on twitch-
ing his ears and blinking at them, as if he did not war
with women, Come, we've won the game."
"Don't be too sure, my boy," said Uncle Dick.
"But they have given up."
"Given up expecting to use the works. But what
are they going to do in revenge?"
"Yes. You may depend upon it we are marked men,
and that we shall have to fight hard to hold our own."
As the day went on-a day busily spent in making
plans for the future of our factory, we had one or two
applications from men who were seeking work, and if
we had any doubt before of how our coming was to be
received, we realized it in the yells and shootings that
greeted the men who came in a friendly spirit.
Uncle Dick went off directly after breakfast to see
about the machinery waiting at the railway being
delivered, and it was late in the afternoon before he
One of us will have to stay always on the premises
for the present," he said, "so I have ordered some
furniture and a carpenter to come and board up and
make that corner office comfortable. We must make
The matter was discussed, and finally it was settled
that two of our party were to be always on the pre-
MAKING A BEGINNING. 93
mises, and until we were satisfied that there was no
more fear of interference, one was to keep watch half the
night with the dog, and then be relieved by the other.
"We shall have to make a man of you, Cob," said
Uncle Jack. "You must take your turn with us."
"I'm ready," I replied; and very proud I felt of being
Of course I felt nervous, but at the same time rather
disappointed, for everything went on in the most busi-
ness like way. Carpenters and fitters were set to work,
and, helped by the indomitable perseverance and energy
of my uncles, a great deal of fresh machinery was soon
in position. New shafts and bands, a new furnace for
preparing our own steel after a fashion invented by
Uncle Dick. New grindstones and polishing wheels,
new forges with tilt hammers, and anvils.
By degrees I found what was going to be our chief
business, and that was the production of cutlery of a
peculiar temper especially for surgical instruments and
swords, Uncle Dick having an idea that he could
produce blades equal to Damascus or the finest Spanish
The days glided by with the works growing more
complete, and each night half our party on guard at
Fort Industry, as Uncle Bob christened the place. And
though the couple who had slept at the lodgings went
down to the place every morning feeling nervous, and
wondering whether anything had happened in the
night, it was always to find that all was going on per-
fectly smoothly, and that there was nothing to mind.
Piter had a kennel just inside the entry, and as each
new hand was engaged he was introduced to the dog,
who inspected him, and never afterwards so much as
AFTER A MONTH.
Uncle Dick took the lead, and under his orders the
change rapidly took place.
There was one hindrance, though, and that occurred
in connection with the furnaces, for the chimney-shaft
needed some repair at the top. This, however, proved
to be an easy task, scaffolding not being necessary,
projecting bars answering the purpose of the rounds
of a ladder having been built in when the shaft was
erected, with this end in view.
At last everything was, as Uncle Dick called it, com-
plete for the present. There was a good supply of water,
and one morning the furnace was lit, so were the forges,
and step by step we progressed till there was quite a
busy scene, the floors and rafters in the forge and fur-
nace building glowing and seeming turned to gold;
while from out of the chimney there rose every
morning a great volume of smoke that rolled out
and bent over, and formed itself into vast feathery
I could hardly believe it true when it was announced
that we had been down in Arrowfield a month: but so
But little had been done beyond getting the machinery
at the works ready for work to come; now, however,
some of the projects were to be put in action.
For," said Uncle Dick, if we should go on forging
and grinding as other manufacturers do, we only enter
into competition with them, and I dare say we should
be beaten. We must do something different and better,
and that's why we have come. To-morrow I begin to
make my new tempered steel."
Uncle Dick kept his word, and the next morning
men were at work arranging fire-bricks for a little
furnace which was duly made, and then so much
WEARY OF WATCHING.
blistered steel was laid in a peculiar way with so much
iron, and a certain heat was got up and increased and
lowered several times till Uncle Dick was satisfied.
He told me that the colour assumed by the metal was
the test by which he judged whether it was progressing
satisfactorily, and this knowledge could only come by
Everything was progressing most favourably. The
men who had been engaged worked well; we had seen
no more of those who had had to vacate the works,
and all was as it should be. In fact our affairs were
so prosperous that to me it seemed great folly for watch
to be kept in the works night after night.
I thought it the greatest nonsense possible one night
when I had been very busy all day, and it had come
to my turn, and I told Uncle Jack so.
"Those fellows were a bit cross at having to turn
out," I said. "Of course they were, and they made a
fuss. You don't suppose they will come again?"
"I don't know, Cob," said Uncle Jack quietly.
"But is it likely?" I said pettishly.
"I can't say, my boy-who can? Strange things
have been done down in Arrowfield by foolish work-
men before now."
"Oh, yes!" I said; "but that's in the past. It isn't
likely that they will come and annoy us. Besides,
there's Piter. He'd soon startle any one away."
"You think then that there is no occasion for us to
"Yes," I cried eagerly, "that's just what I think.
We can go to bed and leave Piter to keep guard. He
would soon give the alarm."
Then you had better go to bed, Cob," said Uncle
And of course you won't get up when it comes to
"No," he said; "certainly not."
That's right," I cried triumphantly. "I am glad
we have got over this scare."
"Are you?" he said dryly.
"Am I, Uncle Jack! Why, of course I am. All is
locked up. I'll go and unchain Piter, and then we'll
go and get a good night's rest."
"Yes," he said; "you may as well unchain Piter."
I ran and set the dog at liberty, and he started off
to make the circuit of the place, while I went back to
Uncle Jack, who was lighting the bull's-eye lantern
that we always used when on guard.
"Why, uncle," I said wonderingly; we sha'n't want
"I shall," he said. Good night!"
"No, no," I cried. We arranged to go to bed."
"You arranged to go to bed, Cob, but I did not.
You don't suppose I could behave so unfairly to my
brothers as to neglect the task they placed in my
He did not say any more. It was quite sufficient.
I felt the rebuff, and was thoroughly awake now and
ashamed of what I had proposed.
Without a word I took the lantern and held out my
"Good night, Uncle Jack!" I said.
He had seemed cold and stern just before. Now he
was his quiet old self again, and he took my hand,
nodded, and said:
"Two o'clock, Cob. Good night!"
I saw him go along the great workshop, enter the office
and close the door, and then I started on my rounds.
It was anything but a cheerful task, that keeping
watch over the works during the night, and I liked the
first watch from ten to two less than the second watch
from two to six, for in the latter you had the day break-
ing about four o'clock, and then it was light until
For, however much one might tell oneself that there
was no danger-no likelihood of anything happening,
the darkness in places, the faint glow from partly ex-
tinct fires, and the curious shadows cast on the white-
washed walls were all disposed to be startling; and,
well as I knew the place, I often found myself shrink-
ing as I came suddenly upon some piece of machinery
that assumed in the darkness the aspect of some hor-
rible monster about to seize me as I went my rounds.
Upon the other hand, there was a pleasant feeling of
importance in going about that great dark place of a
night, with a lantern at my belt, a stout stick in my
hand, and a bull-dog at my heels, and this sensation
helped to make the work more bearable.
On this particular night I had paced silently all
about the place several times, thinking a good deal
about my little encounter with Uncle Jack, and about
the last letters I had had from my father. Then, as
all seemed perfectly right, I had seated in .-. lI by the
big furnace, which emitted a dull red glow, not suffi-
cient to light the place, but enough to make it pleasantly
warm, and to show that if a blast were directed in the
coals, a fierce fire would soon be kindled.
I did not feel at all sleepy now; in fact, in spite of
the warmth this furnace-house would not have been a
pleasant place to sleep in, for the windows on either
side were open, having no glass, only iron bars, and
those on one side looked over the dam, while the others