In Felix Holt, The Radical
(1866), Mary Ann describes the industrial revolution that she
had witnessed at Griff - the way that the Newdigates had transformed
Mary Ann's country home into a hive of industrial activity:
"...as the day wore
on the scene would change: the land would begin to be blackened
with coal-pits, the rattle of handlooms to be heard in hamlets
and villages. Here were powerful men walking queerly with knees
bent outward from squatting in the mine, going home to throw themselves
down in their blackened flannel and sleep through the daylight,
then rise and spend much of their high wages at the ale-house
with their fellows of the Benefit Club; here the pale eager faces
of handloom-weavers, men and women, haggard from sitting up late
at night to finish the week's work, hardly begun till the Wednesday.
Everywhere the cottages and the small children were dirty, for
the languid mothers gave their strength to the loom."