By Glenway Wescott

This robust brief novel describes the occasions of a unmarried afternoon. Alwyn Tower, an American expatriate and someday novelist, is staying with a pal outdoor of Paris, while a well-heeled, itinerant Irish couple drops in—with Lucy, their informed hawk, a stressed, sullen, disturbingly totemic presence. Lunch is ready, drink flows. A masquerade, immediately harrowing and farcical, starts off.

A paintings of classical splendor and concision, The Pilgrim Hawk stands with Faulkner’s The endure as one of many finest American brief novels: a superbly crafted tale that also is a poignant evocation of the implacable strength of affection.

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Different fabrics required the use of different heddles, and only merchants could afford to keep an assortment of them. Weavers thus received from the merchants weft yarns and already mounted warps which they placed onto their own loom frame. Preparing warp was women’s work, and this was often done by the merchant’s wife. The fabric was subsequently sent to finishers in Lille for dying, fulling or calendering (Lille had also secured a monopoly on finishing country fabric). It was then sold on the local market or to négociants (wholesale general traders) who sold it on the national or international markets.

Merchants began to use machines to lower costs and resist this competition. The more productive mull-jenny was introduced in the arrondissement at the turn of the century. Machine spinning was an indirect beneficiary of the Revolution. The closing of the convents and the confiscation of aristocratic country houses put on the market buildings large enough to accommodate mechanized workshops. 4 The abolition of the guilds and of privileges of all sorts in 1790 made it possible for a greater number of people to engage in textile production and trade, and more importantly to carry those activities as they saw fit.

Merchant-manufacturers (marchands-fabricants) put out the yarn they had purchased to village and country weavers. By the late eighteenth century, the bulk of country weavers were pieceworkers, who did not even own the most important part of the loom, the heddle (the part through which the warp is threaded). Only in the Lys valley could one still find weavers who purchased their own yarn and sold their linen fabric (toile) on the local markets. The region’s specialization in novelty fabric had made this development almost inevitable.

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