LIFE AMONG THE LOWLY 19
child on his knee, he gazed intently on his glorious dark eyes, and passed his hands through his long curls.
" Just like you, Eliza; and you are the handsomest woman I ever saw, and the best one I ever wish to see ; but, oh, I wish I 'd never seen you, nor you me! w
" Oh, George, how can you ! "
" Yes, Eliza, it's all misery, misery, misery ! My life is bitter as wormwood ; the very life is burning out of me. I 'm a poor, miserable, forlorn drudge; I shall only drag you down with me, that's all. What's the use of our trying to do anything, trying to know anything, trying to be anything ? What 's the use of living ? I wish I was dead! "
" Oh, now, dear George, that is really wicked ! I know how you feel about losing your place in the factory, and you have a hard master; but pray be patient, and perhaps something " —
" Patient! " said he, interrupting her ; " have n't I been patient ? Did I say a word when he came and took me away, for no earthly reason, from the place where everybody was kind to me ? I 'd paid him truly every cent of my earnings, — and they all say I worked well."
" Well, it is dreadful,'' said Eliza; " but, after all, he is your master, you know."
" My master ! and who made him my master ? That's what I think of, — what right has he to me ? I 'm a man as much as he is. I 'm a better man than he is. I know more about business than he does ; I am a better manager than he is; I can read better than he can; I can write a better hand, — and I 've learned it all myself, and no thanks to him, — I 've learned it in spite of him ; and now what right has he to make a dray-horse of me ? — to take me from things I can do, and do better than he can, and put me to work that any horse can do ? He tries to do it; he says he '11 bring me down and humble me, and he puts me to just the hardest, meanest, and dirtiest work, on purpose! "