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"A Week in the Mill", Anonymous, Lowell Offering, Volume V
1845


Then approaches the sabbath-the day of rest! If the factory girl keeps it well, it must be at church; for there are some in every boarding-house who find an excuse for staying at home half the day at least. One of her room-mates is_indisposed; another says she must write a letter to her friends; another has to work so hard during the week that she thinks she ought to make this literally a "day of rest," so that retirement and meditation are out of the question. But in the sabbath school and sanctuary her time is well spent. No one is more constant at church, or earlier in her seat, than the operative who has been trained to know the value of the institution of the gospel. The instructions which she receives sink deep into her heart, giving her a fund of thought for the coming week. Her pastor and her sabbath school teacher are felt to be her best friends; and their kindness is a strong allurement to her spirit, often keeping her long from her less-favored home. If it is said that many a one has here found a grave, shall it not also be said that many a one has here found the path to Heaven?

The writer is aware that this sketch is an imperfect one. Yet there is very little variety in an operative's life, and little difference between it and any other life of labor. It lies

"half in sunlight--half in shade."

Few would wish to spend a whole life in a factory, and few are discontented who do thus seek a subsistence for a term of months or years.


 

Consider These Questions

Background

 

1. Do you think that the author is giving an accurate portrayal of life in the mills? Do you think that she is exaggerating or softening the real situation in her description? Why?

2. Were you surprised by anything in her description? Do you think that non-millworkers of her time would have been surprised by anything she wrote?




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