BOOK III. WAITING FOR DEATH.
24. CHAPTER XXIV.
His classification of human employments was rather crude, and, like the
categories of more celebrated men, would not be acceptable in these
advanced times. He divided them into "business, politics, preaching,
learning, and amusement." He had nothing to say against the last four;
but he regarded them as a reverential pagan regarded other gods
than his own. In the same way, he thought very well of all ranks,
but he would not himself have liked to be of any rank in which he
had not such close contact with "business" as to get often honorably
decorated with marks of dust and mortar, the damp of the engine,
or the sweet soil of the woods and fields. Though he had never
regarded himself as other than an orthodox Christian, and would argue
on prevenient grace if the subject were proposed to him, I think
his virtual divinities were good practical schemes, accurate work,
and the faithful completion of undertakings: his prince of darkness
was a slack workman. But there was no spirit of denial in Caleb,
and the world seemed so wondrous to him that he was ready to accept
any number of systems, like any number of firmaments, if they did
not obviously interfere with the best land-drainage, solid building,
correct measuring, and judicious boring (for coal). In fact, he had
a reverential soul with a strong practical intelligence. But he could
not manage finance: he knew values well, but he had no keenness
of imagination for monetary results in the shape of profit and loss:
and having ascertained this to his cost, he determined to give up
all forms of his beloved "business" which required that talent.
He gave himself up entirely to the many kinds of work which he could
do without handling capital, and was one of those precious men within
his own district whom everybody would choose to work for them,
because he did his work well, charged very little, and often declined
to charge at all. It is no wonder, then, that the Garths were poor,
and "lived in a small way." However, they did not mind it.