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The Hand of Ethelberta

14. A Turnpike Road
'We be thinking of coming to London ourselves soon,' said
Sol, a carpenter and joiner by trade, as he walked along at
Christopher's left hand. 'There's so much more chance for a
man up the country. Now, if you was me, how should you set
about getting a job, sir?'
'What can you do?' said Christopher.
'Well, I am a very good staircase hand; and I have been
called neat at sash-frames; and I can knock together doors
and shutters very well; and I can do a little at the cabinet-
making. I don't mind framing a roof, neither, if the rest be
busy; and I am always ready to fill up my time at planing
floor-boards by the foot.'
'And I can mix and lay flat tints,' said Dan, who was a house
painter, 'and pick out mouldings, and grain in every kind of
wood you can mention--oak, maple, walnut, satinwood,
cherry-tree--'
'You can both do too much to stand the least chance of
being allowed to do anything in a city, where limitation is all
the rule in labour. To have any success, Sol, you must be a
man who can thoroughly look at a door to see what ought to
be done to it, but as to looking at a window, that's not your
line; or a person who, to the remotest particular, understands
turning a screw, but who does not profess any knowledge of
how to drive a nail. Dan must know how to paint blue to a
marvel, but must be quite in the dark about painting green. If
you stick to some such principle of specialty as this, you may
get employment in London.'
'Ha-ha-ha!' said Dan, striking at a stone in the road with the
stout green hazel he carried. 'A wink is as good as a nod:
thank'ee-- we'll mind all that now.'
'If we do come,' said Sol, 'we shall not mix up with Mrs.
Petherwin at all.'
 
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