"Life in The Iron Mills" is a short story set in the beginning of the industrial revolution where the protagonist, Hugh Wolfe and his cousin, Deborah Wolfe live in poverty. Hugh works long hours in the iron mills turning pig iron into wrought iron by puddling. In his off hours from the furnace Hugh chips away at blocks of korl which is a delicate waxen of flesh colored tinge. He sculpts strangely beautiful figures. One figure is a statue of a woman that is noticed by some conventional visitors at the iron mill that don't really respect his art. Hugh knows he's talented and realizes that there could be an improved life for him. One of the men, Doctor May, raises his hopes, but offers no tangible aid. Thus, Hugh eventually takes problems into his own hands-literally. Deborah is a hunchback that works as a cotton picker. She loves her cousin incredibly and wishes to free him from his slaving life in the iron mills. Deborah also notices her cousins artistic talent and desperately desires a better life for him, perhaps as an artist, which ironically leads to the despair and yet worsened hardship. She ends up stealing a wallet for Hugh and they end up paying for it for it for nineteen years. The iron that once had a restrain on him back at the iron mills now restrains him in a cell. Only now he can't carve those beautiful sculptures he once took for granted, all that is left to carve is the jail bars with a piece of tin in hope to free himself but again from another misfortune. Greed drove them to what seemed like the worse life into overall a worse life lacking the only things they ever loved and appreciated in the first place.