Hugh’s Story

Hugh McNair illustration


Working with Uncle Robert has its advantages. The work is good for quick minds and quick fingers.

One dismal day, you’re setting type for the latest article: Messrs MacDonald, Brown, and Cartier are off to Charlottetown to discuss joining the colonies together.

“Goodness,” Uncle Robert says, startling you. “It’s raining cats and dogs out there. Is there anything worse?”

“Certainly, Uncle,” you reply. “Hailing carriages.”

“Hugh, be serious.” Uncle Robert hesitates. “I know there’s been rumblings around the shop. Most of your friends support the nine-hour workday, don’t they?”

You shrug. Your friend John has been very vocal about it.

“This is good, honest work, Hugh. They’re being selfish.” Uncle Robert pauses. “What do you think about it?”

How should you answer? “I —”

“Because I can tell you, I only employ sensible workers. If you don’t agree with that, I think you should look for a job elsewhere.”

A steady job would be nice, after all this time. But you don’t think it’s fair to work longer than nine hours a day.

Do you stay quiet and keep your job? Or stand up for workers’ rights and leave Uncle Robert’s newspaper?