Manuscripts/Mixed Material [French Canadian Textile Worker]
The next day, he came to me and, still with a doubting expression spread all over his face, said he'd try me for six months. But I didn't want six months, I answered back. I wasn't going to clog up that spinning department. Either I was the man for the job, I said, or I wasn't. If I was, it wouldn't take six months to find it out. If I wasn't, I'd get out in a hurry. No six months for me. One month, that's all I wanted to show what I could do. The super seemed to be wondering again but answered it was all right with him just as I said. So I became the over-seer of No. 1 Spinning where I had made my shaky debut in 1875.
That was another step ahead for the French Canadians, wasn't it? But this time, it was an awful scandal. The sad news didn't take long to spread. Americans and Irish were mad clean through. They looked at me and spoke to me only when they were strictly obliged to, but as far as friendship was concerned, there was no more, you bet. I, a Frenchman, had jumped over the heads of others who thought themselves the only ones entitled to the job of overseer; here was a sin that could not be forgiven, and what was the world coming to, anyway?
My disappointed former friends had another shook of the same kind two years later when Theophile Marchand--we called him Tofil--was named overseer of weaving, and he was included with me in their hate. Tofil, who had been a first class weaver, was then a first class loomfixer, a big job in those days. His promotion, like mine, became the talk of "Milltown" and was a terrible scandal.