Half a Century eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 352 pages of information about Half a Century.

In the summer of 1852 the editor visited the World’s Fair, held in New York, and on her return found the office machinery at a stand-still.  She had a contract with two printers, who, in making it, had given no notice that they were the irresponsible agents of a union, and therefore had no right to dispose of their own labor.  They professed to be entirely satisfied with their work and wages, and loath to leave them; but Mars’ Union had cracked his whip, and disobedience was ruin, if not death.  For these poor Pennsylvania self-made slaves the Visiter had no pity, although they plead for it.  It advertised for women to take their places, stating that its editor was in its composing-room.  Other, if not all other city papers, did likewise, and there was a rush of women to the printing offices; but ninety out of a hundred had not passed that stage of development in which women live by wheedling men.  Those who wheedled most winningly got the places, and the result in less than two months was such a mess of scandal, as drove them, like whipped curs, back to their kennels; but the editor of the Visiter took a good look at each of the hundred applicants, and from them selected three, who had heads, not hat pins, on their shoulders.

Mr. Riddle was a partner in the Visiter, and engaged a woman.  The editor refused to give her a case, when he indignantly said: 

“Women have no mercy on each other.  There is that poor woman who has been trying to make a living at her trade making vests, and is now on the point of starvation.  I have mercy on her, but you have none.”

The answer was: 

“A woman who cannot make a living at one good trade already learned, will not mend matters by learning another.  I do not propose to turn this office into an eleemosynary establishment.  I want the women whom the work wants, not those who want the work.  How long could that weak woman maintain her respectability among all these men?  Would it be any kindness to put her in a place she is incapable of filling, and where she must inflict incalculable injury on herself, and the general cause of woman’s right to labor?  Do not let your generosity run away with your judgment.”

My three typos came to be the main stay of the Journal, as well as the only typos of the Visiter, for they were the nucleus of an efficient corps of female type-setters, who held their places until Mr. Riddle’s last illness broke down his establishment.

Soon after the opening of the Pa.C.R.R., there was a bad accident, one train running into another in a deep cut, at night; commenting on it the Visiter suggested a red light on the rear of every train.  The suggestion was accepted immediately, and this is the origin of the red light signal.



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Half a Century from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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