Would it not be a noble and encouraging example to see the master propose for public recompense and distinction the workman, deputed by his peers, as amongst the most honest, laborious, and intelligent of his profession? Then one most grievous injustice would disappear, and the virtues of the workman would be stimulated by a generous and noble ambition—he would have an interest in doing well.
Doubtless, the manufacturer himself, because of the intelligence he displays, the capital he risks, the establishment he founds, and the good he sometimes does, has a legitimate right to the prizes bestowed upon him. But why is the workman to be rigorously excluded from these rewards, which have so powerful an influence upon the people? Are generals and officers the only ones that receive rewards in the army? And when we have remunerated the captains of this great and powerful army of industry, why should we neglect the privates?
Why for them is there no sign of public gratitude? no kind or consoling word from august lips? Why do we not see in France, a single workman wearing a medal as a reward for his courageous industry, his long and laborious career? The token and the little pension attached to it, would be to him a double recompense, justly deserved. But, no! for humble labor that sustains the State, there is only forgetfulness, injustice, indifference, and disdain!
By this neglect of the public, often aggravated by individual selfishness and ingratitude, our workmen are placed in a deplorable situation.
Some of them, notwithstanding their incessant toil, lead a life of privations, and die before their time cursing the social system that rides over them. Others find a temporary oblivion of their ills in destructive intoxication. Others again—in great number—having no interest, no advantage, no moral or physical inducement to do more or better, confine themselves strictly to just that amount of labor which will suffice to earn their wages. Nothing attaches them to their work, because nothing elevates, honors, glorifies it in their eyes. They have no defence against the reductions of indolence; and if, by some chance, they find means of living awhile in repose, they give way by degrees to habits of laziness and debauchery, and sometimes the worst passions soil forever natures originally willing, healthy and honest—and all for want of that protecting and equitable superintendence which should have sustained, encouraged, and recompensed their first worthy and laborious tendencies.
We now follow Mother Bunch, who after seeking for work from the person that usually employed her, went to the Rue de Babylone, to the lodge lately occupied by Adrienne de Cardoville.
While the Bacchanal Queen and Sleepinbuff terminated so sadly the most joyous portion of their existence, the sempstress arrived at the door of the summer-house in the Rue de Babylone.