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“For never any thing can be amissWhen simpleness and duty tender it.”Midsummer Night’s Dream. Mr. Thornton went straight and clear into all the interests of the following day. There was a slight demand for finished goods; and as it affected his branch of the trade, he took advantage of it, and drove hard bargains. He was sharp to the hour at the meeting of his brother magistrates,—giving them the best assistance of his strong sense, and his power of seeing consequences at a glance, and so coming to a rapid decision. Older men, men of long standing in the town, men of far greater wealth—realised and turned into land, while his was all floating capital, engaged in his trade—looked to him for prompt, ready wisdom. He was the one deputed to see and arrange with the police—to lead in all the requisite steps. And he cared for their unconscious deference no more than for the soft west wind, that scarcely made the smoke from the great tall chimneys swerve in its straight upward course. He was not aware of the silent respect paid to him. If it had been otherwise, he would have felt it as an obstacle in his progress to the object he had in view. As it was, he looked to the speedy accomplishment of that alone. It was his mother’s greedy ears that sucked in, from the womenkind of these magistrates and wealthy men, how highly Mr. This or Mr. That thought of Mr. Thornton: that if he had not been there, things would have gone on very differently,—very badly, indeed. He swept off his business right and left that day. It seemed as though his deep mortification of yesterday, and the stunned purposeless course of the hours afterwards, had cleared away all the mists from his intellect. He felt his power and revelled in it. He could almost defy his heart. If he had known it, he could have sang the song of the miller who lived by the river Dee:— “I care for nobody—Nobody cares for me.”
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Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

Renowned English novelist, biographer and short story writer

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