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             BRISTLES AND FLINT.

WHEN the Direct Burygold Railway was
opened, nothing met the eye but clean, new
masses of brickwork; gravelled roads, bright
rails, iron girders, lines of brilliant carriages,
vast stations, solid bridges, armies of porters,
luxurious waiting-rooms, palatial entrance-
halls, endless corridors, encaustic
pavements, and Grecian porticos. What could
be grander? What could be more imposing?
Every director of the Burygold Railway
was a monarch, and the chairman was
the monarch of them all. No troublesome
accounts and balance sheets were there to
damp the joy of a splendid inauguration.
Contractors had not sent in their
supplementary charges; lawyers' bills for
parliamentary conflicts and the purchase of land,
were not even copied out, much less delivered.
Great George Street was waiting to gather
strength for a more effective spring; and
Park Street, for the present, was perfectly
tranquil.

Burygold was one of the most important
manufacturing towns in the country. Its
increase of population, and industrial
development during the last ten years, had
astonished even its most sanguine
inhabitants. Old statists stared, and could
scarcely believe their eyes when they saw
the report of the last census. No equal
example of rapid growth and apparent
prosperity was recorded in the national
annals. It's consumption of raw material was
something fabulous; and it's productions
were known and appreciated in every corner
of the globe. No one could see it,—or rather
visit it, and try to see it,—without being at
once impressed with an overwhelming sense
of its importance. People upon provincial and
metropolitan platforms got up and descanted
loudly upon its "mission," and were
received with the respect due to inspired
unveilers of the future. No town could number
so many factory chimneys; no factory
chimneys were so lofty; no chimneys sent
forth such volumes of smoke. You might
pass near to it on a sunny day, and,
great as it was, be unaware of its existence,
because of the self-created cloud that
enveloped it. From a quiet country road,
a few miles distant, you might observe a
black, dense mass of vapour in the air above
the trees, which any one would tell you was
Burygold. Walking through its streets you
would be struck with the hard, dry, anxious
expression of the men, the absence of women,
and the want of everything that betokened
amusement and recreation. It was work:
nothing but workone ceaseless round of
ever-beginning, never-ending work. Masters
and men shared the same lot together. Men
had homes; but they were never in them,
except for dull, weary, heavy sleep: masters
had carriages and mansions, but they only
used the first to save the precious minutes,
and they were never at ease or happy at
home. What was all this unceasing labour
for?

No one could see any solid product springing
from this world of labour. Capital was
absorbed, and the cry was still for more.
More capital not being forthcoming the
moment the cry was uttered, the Burygold
financiers found fault with the currency system.
The whole thing was out of order.
The bank charter was a worn out measure,
useful in its time, but not adapted to the
wants of a more enterprising age; it was time
to create a new coinage, with paper and a few
strokes of the pen. Some individuals looked
calmly on at Burygold during her struggle;
watched her galvanic industry; accused her,
in company with every town of her kind in
the kingdom, of preferring extension to
soundness of operations, and were stigmatised
as croakers, and men of the past generation.
Her manufacturers strove against each other
individually for quantity without regard to
quality of business; and collectively they
strove against every rival town of a similar
kind.

Many people wondered there had never
been a railroad to Burygold before, and they
were not at all surprised when, in a few
years, the opening of a second line was
announcedthe Great Deadlock Railway. The
estimates upon which this new line was
based were very favourable: perhaps, a trifle
more favourable than those which had
triumphantly placed the Direct Burygold Railway
at the head of its fellow-undertakings in the
stock-markets of this country.

The directors of both companiesthe
Direct Burygold and the Great Deadlock

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