Hugh’s Story

Hugh McNair illustration


Somewhat nervously, you post your letter to Uncle Robert. A short time later, you get the reply: Pleased to see that you’ve finally learned some sense. Will expect you at the office in three days’ time.

With your parents’ instructions to “please, please don’t play the fool” ringing in your ears, you dutifully turn up on the appointed day. All goes well until your uncle shows you how to typeset. As you look over the movable type, you can’t help but ask, “What three-syllable word contains all twenty-six letters?”

“Hugh …”


You’re quite sure that family duty is the only thing standing between you and the door.

One day, your friend John pulls you aside. “Hugh, do you want to join the Toronto Typographical Society?”

“That’s awfully blunt,” you reply, thinking fast.

Uncle Robert doesn’t like unions. Says they’re good for nothing but causing trouble. But from what you’ve heard, they fight to give their workers fairer conditions and better wages. That’s important to you — you wish your parents had a union to protect them — but you know Uncle Robert will be angry if you join.

“You could come to a meeting, Hugh.”

Do you go or not?