"Not at all. My orders are to convert you all to Life, Labor, and Capital (Grotait pricked up his ears directly); and, if I succeed, the Devil will be the next to come round, no doubt. Well, Mr. Grotait, Simmons is on that same grindstone you and I condemned. And all for a matter of four shillings. I find that, in your trade, the master provides the stone, but the grinder hangs and races it, which, in one sense, is time lost. Well, Simmons declines the new stone, unless Cheetham will pay him by time for hanging and racing it; Cheetham refuses; and so, between them, that idiot works on a faulty stone. Will you use your influence with the grinder?"
"Well, Mr. Little, now, between ourselves don't you think it rather hard that the poor workman should have to hang and race the master's grindstone for nothing?"
"Why, they share the loss between them. The stone costs the master three pounds; and hanging it costs the workman only four or five shillings. Where's the grievance?"
"Hanging and racing a stone shortens the grinder's life; fills his lungs with grit. Is the workman to give Life and Labor for a forenoon, and is Capital to contribute nothing? Is that your view of Life, Labor, and Capital, young man?"
Henry was staggered a moment. "That is smart," said he. "But a rule of trade is a rule, till it is altered by consent of the parties that made it. Now, right or wrong, it is the rule of trade here that the small grinders find their own stones, and pay for power; but the saw-grinders are better off, for they have not to find stones, nor power, and their only drawback is that they must hang and race a new stone, which costs the master sixty shillings. Cheetham is smarting under your rules, and you can't expect him to go against any rule, that saves him a shilling."
"You might as well ask what the grindstone thinks."
"Well, what does the grinder say, then?"
"Says he'd rather run the stone out, than lose a forenoon."