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Patience Wins War in the Works   By: (1831-1909)

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Patience Wins; or, War in the Works, by George Manville Fenn.

The boy hero of the book, his father and his three uncles live in Canonbury, London, and run a factory in Bermondsey, the other side of the Thames in London. But they feel they need to expand, and they buy a steel working business in the North of England. Here they try to introduce various profitable practices, such as improved methods for working the steel, and various ingenious and new items of factory equipment.

But these new ideas are objected to by the Trades Unions, and the despicable behaviour of the work force is due to this attitude. All sorts of the most dreadful and wicked deeds are perpetrated, and unpleasant things are done to the few workmen who seem to be coming round to sense. The Uncles reflect on how much more amenable and sensible a London workforce would have been in the same circumstances. But eventually various incidents occur in which it can be seen what excellent people the hero and his Uncles really are, and the whole town starts to welcome them. Hence the title of the book "Patience Wins".

It's not a long book, but there is plenty of action. It is not in the general tradition of Manville Fenn books, but it is a very good read.




"I say, Uncle Dick, do tell me what sort of a place it is."

"Oh, you'll see when you get there!"

"Uncle Jack, you tell me then; what's it like?"

"Like! What, Arrowfield? Ask Uncle Bob."

"There, Uncle Bob, I'm to ask you. Do tell me what sort of a place it is?"

"Get out, you young nuisance!"

"What a shame!" I said. "Here are you three great clever men, who know all about it; you've been down half a dozen times, and yet you won't answer a civil question when you are asked."

I looked in an ill used way at my three uncles, as they sat at the table covered with papers; and except that one would be a little darker than the other, I could not help thinking how very much they were alike, and at the same time like my father, only that he had some grey coming at the sides of his head. They were all big fine looking men between thirty and forty, stern enough when they were busy, but wonderfully good tempered and full of fun when business was over; and I'm afraid they spoiled me.

When, as I say, business was over, they were ready for anything with me, and though I had a great feeling of reverence, almost dread, for my father, my three big uncles always seemed to me like companions, and they treated me as if I were their equal.

Cricket! Ah! Many's the game we've had together. They'd take me fishing, and give me the best pitch, and see that I caught fish if they did not.

Tops, marbles, kite flying, football; insect and egg collecting; geology, botany, chemistry; they were at home with all, and I shared in the game or pursuit as eagerly as they.

I've known the time when they'd charge into the room at Canonbury, where I was busy with the private tutor for I did not go to school with "Mr Headley, Mr Russell would like to speak to you;" and as soon as he had left the room, seize hold of me, and drag me out of my chair with, "Come along, Cob: work's closed for the day. Country !"

Then away we'd go for a delicious day's collecting, or something of the kind.

They used to call it slackening their bands, and mine.

Time had glided on very happily till I was sixteen, and there was some talk of my being sent to a great engineer's establishment for five or six years to learn all I could before being taken on at our own place in Bermondsey, where Russell and Company carried on business, and knocked copper and brass and tin about, and made bronze, and gun metal, and did a great deal for other firms with furnaces, and forges, and steam engines, wheels, and lathes.

My father was "Russell" Alexander and Uncle Dick, Uncle Jack, and Uncle Bob were "Company... Continue reading book >>

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