This is a tale of two friends, Henrietta and Louisa. Henrietta’s family had been murdered during the revolution and she was all alone. She left France and made it to London, England to make a better life for herself. Louisa was forced to stay in France by her parents.
When she arrived in England, Henrietta was amazed at all of the different textile factories, water canals and railroads. She was overwhelmed by the huge population of London. Compared to Paris, London was bursting with so many people. There were merchants, tradesmen, workers and members of the aristocrat. She met an American who was delivering a shipment of cotton from South Carolina. She couldn’t believe the vast choices in manufactured clothing.
Henrietta knew that in order to support herself, she would have to work. She went to a factory that was down the street from her small apartment. They immediately put her to work, but her pay was half of her male counterparts. She was saddened by the fact that there were small children working there, too. Every day she had to be wary of the brothel owners who came to the factory to find girls, boys and women for their establishments. She was threatened daily by her overseer of losing her job and her protection if she did not do certain favors for him. She noticed that her health was failing because of the dangerous and dirty environment that she worked. The air outside was no better due to the smoke and coal dust coming from the factory. She knew that she had to get out of this environment, or she would surely die. Henrietta had met a young man, named Nathan. Nathan was the son of an aristocratic landowner. He asked her to come with him back to his family estate and she said yes. While Henrietta was trying to understand all the amazing changes in England, learning to use machinery that she had never envisioned, and trying to make a living for herself, she faithfully wrote to her friend, Louisa. Louisa couldn’t believe what she read. In France, they were still trying to recover from the Revolution and Napoleonic rule. France was without monetary resources and the motivation to become a better place. The peasants still worked on the farms their families worked on before them and they still provided their own food and clothing. Louisa couldn’t believe it when Henrietta had wrote about how there were factories in England that could produce enough clothing in one month to cloth hundreds of people, that in France it would take a year. Henrietta wrote to Louisa and told her how in England; the small farms that once dotted the countryside were now gone and in their place were larger farms to grow enough food for the country and to send to other counties. She told her that if the farm did not grow food, that there were most likely sheep and cows that grazed the land and that there were railways that transported the animals and the crops to different locations for use in the factories or exported to other countries. Henrietta married Nathan and would go with him to London when he conducted business for his father. He was able to do business without anyone of the upper classes looking down on him like they did in France and other countries with a monarchy.
Eventually Louisa was able to talk her parents into…