England without and Within

By Richard Grant White; Hamlet | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER VIII.
RURAL ENGLAND.

WHILE I was in England I saw nothing of its factory life. I kept away from mills and mines and everything connected with them,--from all mills except grist-mills and saw-mills, finding very few of the latter. As to factories, I saw only "the black country" around Wolverhampton, as I passed through it; and the sight tempted me to no closer acquaintance. It looked like the valley and shadow of death, "a wilderness, a land of deserts and pits, a land of drought, and of the shadow of death, a land that no man passeth through, and where no man dwelt." And like Christian in the midst of this valley, I perceived the mouth of hell to be there, and it stood hard by the wayside, and ever and anon the flame and smoke would come out in such abundance with sparks and hideous noises, and still the flames would be reaching toward me; also I heard doleful voices and rushings to and fro; and this frightful sight was seen and these dreadful noises were heard by me for several miles together. Poor Christian went through it on foot; I had the advantage of him in doing it by rail, which would have helped him much; but then there would have been no story, and the world would have lost one of the most vivid and stirring descriptions of the terrible and of terror that exists

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