Relates to School Lecture on Post-Civil War Industrialism
I was only another girl in the room at the dress factory. I was the only girl who had kept my hair long; ever since Nellie had gotten her hair caught in the machine, it was not a wise idea. Still, I enjoyed tossing my hair over my shoulder and rolling my eyes when the superintendent and the superintendent's toadies bellowed out my name with disapproval. The room we worked in was stifling. The dust coated the floors and the machines, and the window-sills, and the boxes. I straightened my goggles, thick, bulky things, dark and covered in several films of dust. We stitched and hemmed with our eyes glazed over. It was boring work, the whir-whir of the machines boring into our skulls. Every so often the superintendent's toady, a thin-faced, aquiline-nosed woman named Miss Prim, would swoop down upon the unfortunate Irish or Scandinavian or Finnish girl and upbraid her for chatting. The only chat was in the latrine, and the latrine was no pleasure. Each stall was divided only by splintery wood, and the cramped room stank of sweat and mold and waste. Miss Brownish stood guard in the latrine, in any case, with a long, tall cane in her hand that resembled a spear, and she'd jab at our legs underneath the stall if she heard us talking.