"Oh, how wise you are, and what an insight you have got! Your words are balm. But, there--he is with her for ever so long, and I am here all alone."
"Not quite alone, love; your counselor is by your side, and may, perhaps, show you how to turn this to your advantage. You write to her every day, and then the postman will be a powerful rival to Mr. Coventry, perhaps a more powerful one than Mr. Coventry to you."
Acting on this advice, Henry wrote every day to Grace Carden. She was not so constant in her replies; but she did write to him now and then, and her letters breathed a gentle affection that allayed his jealousy, and made this period of separation the happiest six weeks he had ever known. As for Grace, about three o'clock she used to look out for the postman, and be uneasy and restless if he was late, and, when his knock came, her heart would bound, and she generally flew upstairs with the prize, to devour it in secret. She fed her heart full with these letters, and loved the writer better and better. For once the present suitor lost ground, and the absent suitor gained it. Mrs. Little divined as much from Grace's letters and messages to herself; and she said, with a smile, "You see 'Les absents n'ont pas toujours tort.'"
I must now deal briefly with a distinct vein of incidents, that occurred between young Little's first becoming a master and the return of the Cardens from London.
Little, as a master, acted up to the philanthropic theories he had put forth when a workman.
The wet-grinders in his employ submitted to his improved plates, his paved and drained floor, and cozy fires, without a murmur or a word of thanks. By degrees they even found out they were more comfortable than other persons in their condition, and congratulated themselves upon it.
The dry-grinders consented, some of them, to profit by his improved fans. Others would not take the trouble to put the fans in gear, and would rather go on inhaling metal-dust and stone-grit.
Henry reasoned, but in vain; remonstrated, but with little success. Then he discharged a couple: they retired with mien of martyrs; and their successors were admitted on a written agreement that left them no option. The fan triumphed.