Helen of the Old House
No well informed resident of Millsburgh, when referring to the principal industry of his little manufacturing city, ever says "the mills"-it is ... Show synopsis No well informed resident of Millsburgh, when referring to the principal industry of his little manufacturing city, ever says "the mills"-it is always "the Mill." The reason for this common habit of mind is that one mill so overshadows all others, and so dominates the industrial and civic life of this community, that in the people's thought it stands for all. The philosopher who keeps the cigar stand on the corner of Congress Street and Ward Avenue explained it very clearly when he answered an inquiring stranger, "You just can't think Millsburgh without thinkin' mills; an' you can't think mills without thinkin' the Mill." As he turned from the cash register to throw his customer's change on the scratched top of the glass show case, the philosopher added with a grin that was a curious blend of admiration, contempt and envy, "An' you just can't think the Mill without thinkin' Adam Ward." That grin was another distinguishing mark of the well informed resident of Millsburgh. Always, in those days, when the citizens mentioned the owner of the Mill, their faces took on that curious half-laughing expression of mingled admiration, contempt and envy. But it has come to pass that in these days when the people speak of Adam Ward they do not smile. When they speak of Adam Ward's daughter, Helen, they smile, indeed, but with quite a different meaning. The history of Millsburgh is not essentially different from that of a thousand other cities of its class.