"And that just reminds me," continued Minnie, after a moment's pause, "that I have not yet told you the new idea I have been so longing to have your opinion upon, since ever it came into my head."
"Well, you must make haste," Mabel answered, "you see its quite late already.
"O, it won't take long! I'll just tell you about it, and we can go into it some other time, its only a project, you know, and of course I wanted to have your opinion and advice first, and your help afterwards."
"All of which you may count on," said Mabel smiling.
"Well, then, I must ask you in the first place, if you know the row of houses down beside the pit which papa built for the miners?"
"Yes, I pass it every day coming to school."
"Then you will probably have noticed how ill-kept and dirty the houses are, and how untidy the women and children are, who continually lounge and romp about the doors."
"Indeed I have," returned Mabel, "and I have often thought what a pity it was tha
This stiffly written piece of propaganda just goes to show that Thatcheristic union smashing and Fox News-like political spin are nothing new.
A well-to-do young girl, who has recently become an earnest Christian, resolves to make her own "mission" to the miners who work for her father and live with their families in cottages he provides. The pointedly Roman Catholic tenants, "drunken men and untidy women," despite their "pretty picturesque-looking little red brick houses with their white-coppiced windows and green-painted sashes" and "every sort of convenience and facility for the promotion of health and order," live in "squalor and misery," the "carelessness and disorder which reigned within ... reflected without in the neglected plots of ground attached to each cottage, in the dirty window-panes, and in the untidy women and children, and occasionally begrimed men who seemed to have no other object in life than to hang about and complete the disgrace they had wrought on the fair face of nature."
Our heroine enlists a friend, who is moved to bitter, envious tears by her profession of religious faith, and they begin a series of entertainments for the miners' children, supplemented by earnest sermonizing, hymn singing and contests for gardening and window cleaning.
When "discontent among the miners is stirred up by a few men who, not content with bringing poverty and hardship upon themselves, seek to draw others into it also, and seem never to be so happy as when raising strife of one kind or another," and a strike threatens (although most mine workers are "perfectly well aware that they receive good wages for their work, and would be content enough if it were not for these vampires"), the walkout is averted because of gratitude for the saintly young ladies' efforts.