If Winter Comes eBook

Arthur Stuart-Menteth Hutchinson
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 343 pages of information about If Winter Comes.

However, “England” was going to be something very different.  No one would call “England” a lesson book.  Even Mabel would see that; and in his enthusiasm he spoke of it to her a good deal, until the day when it came up—­of all unlikely connections in the world—­in a discussion with her on the National Insurance Act, then first outraging the country.

One day when English society was first shaken to its depths by the disgusting indignity of what Mabel, in common with all nice people, called “licking stamps for that Lloyd George”, she mentioned to Sabre that, “Well, thank goodness some of us know better than to steal the money out of the poor creatures’ wages.”

She knew that this would please her husband because he was always doing what she called “sticking up for the servants and all that class.”

That it did not please him was precisely an example of his “absolutely un-understandable” ways of looking at things that so desperately annoyed her.

Sabre asked, “How do you mean—­knowing better than to steal the money out of their wages?”

“Why, making them pay their thruppence for those wretched stamps.  I believe Mrs. Castor does.  How she’s got the face to I can’t imagine.”

“Why, aren’t you going to make them pay, Mabel?”

Mabel was quite indignant.  “Is it likely?  I should hope not!”

“Really?  Haven’t you been making High and Low pay their share of the stamps all this time?”

“Of course I’ve not.”

“You’ve been paying their contribution?”

“Of course I have.”

“Well, but Mabel, that’s wrong, awfully wrong.”

She simply stared at him.  “You really are beyond me, Mark.  What do you mean ’wrong’?”

“Well, it’s not fair—­not fair on the girls—­”

“Not fair to pay them more than their wages!”

“No, of course it’s not.  Don’t you see half the idea of the Act is to help these people to learn thrift and forethought—­to learn the wisdom of putting by for a rainy day.  And to encourage their independence.  When you go and pay what they ought to pay, you’re simply taking away their independence.”

She gave her sudden burst of laughter.  “You’re the first person I’ve ever heard say that the lower classes want their independence encouraged.  It’s just what’s wrong with them—­independence.”

He began to talk with animation.  This was one of the things that much interested him.  He seemed to have quite forgotten the origin of the conversation.  “No, it isn’t, Mabel—­it isn’t.  That’s jolly interesting, that point.  It’s their dependence that’s wrong with them.  They’re nearly all of them absolutely dependent on an employer, and that’s bad, fatal, for anybody.  It’s the root of the whole trouble with the less-educated classes, if people would only see it.  What they want is pride in themselves.  They just slop along taking what they can get, and getting so

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If Winter Comes from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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