'Yes; the fools will have a strike. Let them. It suits us well enough. But we gave them a chance. They think trade is flourishing as it was last year. We see the storm on the horizon and draw in our sails. But because we don't explain our reasons, they won't believe we're acting reasonably. We must give them line and letter for the way we choose to spend or save our money. Henderson tried a dodge with his men, out at Ashley, and failed. He rather wanted a strike; it would have suited his book well enough. So when the men came to ask for the five per cent. they are claiming, he told 'em he'd think about it, and give them his answer on the pay day; knowing all the while what his answer would be, of course, but thinking he'd strengthen their conceit of their own way. However, they were too deep for him, and heard something about the bad prospects of trade. So in they came on the Friday, and drew back their claim, and now he's obliged to go on working. But we Milton masters have to-day sent in our decision. We won't advance a penny. We tell them we may have to lower wages; but can't afford to raise. So here we stand, waiting for their next attack.'
'And what will that be?' asked Mr. Hale.
'I conjecture, a simultaneous strike. You will see Milton without smoke in a few days, I imagine, Miss Hale.'
'But why,' asked she, 'could you not explain what good reason you have for expecting a bad trade? I don't know whether I use the right words, but you will understand what I mean.'
'Do you give your servants reasons for your expenditure, or your economy in the use of your own money? We, the owners of capital, have a right to choose what we will do with it.'
I have SO MANY ISSUES with this discussion still being relevant.
Edit (finished chapter): Let me correct: I raged (as in, almost teary from frustration, wanted to be part of that debate raged). This is too close to reality today for comfort.
And yet, yo see, North and South has both met and made kind o' friends in this big smoky place.
So, I got to the title drop and though to post a progress, and... Huh... Hell, how does this keep happening to me? There I was, thinking I might leisurely shadow-read this mammoth while bingo progresses and then 80 pages go by.
The picks for the writing-women reading project are turning brilliant this year.