Manuscripts/Mixed Material [French Canadian Textile Worker]
Each spring and fall, it seems, the older immigrants had a touch of homesickness. Most of them still had farms in old Quebec. "I want to see if it is still where I left it," they'd smilingly tell the boss when they asked permission to be away for five or six weeks. So they went back to Canada twice a year. While there, they visited friends and relatives, that's sure, but their principal reason was a serious one, and they had to make many sacrifices in order to save up enough money to pay railroadffares and other necessary expenses.
At heart, Monsieur, they were still farmers like their ancestors had been, and they wanted to get something out of those farms, some of which had been in the family for many generations. In the spring, they attended to ploughing, harrowing and sowing; in the fall, to the harvesting of the crops. During the summer, some relative or neighbor kindly gave a look once in a while to see that all was well.
While they were absent from the mills--others having to loaf on account of sickness or for some other reason, spare-hands had their chance to work. That's how I got into spinning. The overseer was kept at home by sickness and the second hand hired me. When the boss came back, I was giving all my attention to my work and not losing a minute. We all did that. But the overseer didn't look pleased and he was mad when his assistant told him my name. He wanted to know why I had been hired when he didn't want any Frenchman working there in his mill. The second hand said he'd discharge me right away and I felt that my dream of becoming a fly-spinner was coming to an end quickly. I kept on working. The boss looked at me, seemed to think twice before he spoke and then said: "Don't do it now; wait until Smith comes back to work."
Smith did come back and I was out of a job, but not for long. The boss was sorry to let me go, that was plain. He took my address and said he'd let