- Project Runeberg -  America of the Fifties: Letters of Fredrika Bremer /

(1924) [MARC] Author: Fredrika Bremer
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The following morning I visited the manufactories
and saw the young ladies at their work and
at dinner; saw their boarding-houses, sleeping-rooms,
etc. All was nice and comfortable, as we
had heard it described. Only I noticed that some
of the “young ladies” were about fifty, and some
of them not so very well clad, while others again
were too fine. I was struck by the relationship
between the human being and the machinery.
Thus, for example, I saw the girls standing, each
one between four busily-working spinning-jennies:
they walked among them, looked at them, watched
over and guarded them much as a mother would
watch over and tend her children. Machines are
becoming more and more obedient under the
maternal eye of intelligence. The procession of
the operatives, two and two, in shawls, bonnets,
and green veils, as they went to their dinner,
produced a respectable, imposing effect. And the
dinners which I saw at a couple of tables (they take
their meals at small tables, five or six together)
appeared to be good and bountiful also. I observed
that, besides meat and potatoes, there were
fruit tarts.

The industrious and skillful can earn from six
to eight dollars per week, never less than three,
and so much is requisite for their board each week,
as I was told. The greater number lay by money,

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