Charles Dickens on Marion, NC

‘It was a town of red brick, or of brick that would have been red if the smoke and ashes had allowed it; but as matters stood it was a town of unnatural red and black like the painted face of a savage. It was a town of machinery, and tall chimneys, out of which interminable serpents of smoke trailed themselves forever and ever, and never got uncoiled. It had a black canal in it, and a river that ran purple with ill-smelling dye, and vast piles of building full of windows where there was a rattling and a trembling all day long, and where the piston of the steam-engine worked monotonously up and down like the head of an elephant in a state of melancholy madness. It contained several large streets all very like one another, and many small streets still like one another, inhabited by people equally like one another , who all went in and out at the same hours , with the same sound upon the same pavements, to do the same work, and to whom everyday was the same as yesterday and tomorrow, and every year the counterpart of the last and next…….

………You saw nothing in Coketown but what was severely workful. If the members of a religious persuasion built a chapel there, as the members of eighteen religious persuasions had done, they made it a pious warehouse of red brick…….

Charles Dickens Hard Times 1854

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