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Industrial Revolution Postcard

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3 October 1778 Delivered from Manchester

To be delivered to 6th Street, Charles Road, EdinburghTo dearest mother Edna, sister Isadora, and uncle Seth,Life here is horrid. It is worse than anything I could ever imagine, and every moment I recall the distant and fond memories of my ‘true’ home, a tear is shed.Edinburgh’s lowly, dark streets and living conditions seem golden to what I am experiencing here. Every day is a dark and gloomy one, regardless of the actual weather outside. Upon waking in the overcrowded slums that I now call ‘home’, I cannot help but cough up lungfuls of dust and soot, inhaled from the previous days’ work in the factories.

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Even for what should be a ripe and somewhat healthy13-year-old that I am, I have this dreading feeling of impending sickness that seemingly promises neither a very long, nor plentiful life ahead of me. Even after waking up after a cold, rough and essentially sleepless night and nearly coughing up my lungs, we are forced herded like sheep into our fields, thefactory. We are given a breath of ‘fresh’ air before heading in – our leaders seem oblivious to the fact that any air around the factory is riddled and contaminated with soot – and our fingers are greased for the tiny pickings that the day’s work shall command.The factory is a mess of a workplace, nothing like what I that my past’s mind thought would be my first workspace.

Where I once thought to be herds of animals lay grinding machines, in flourishing fields of crops, sooty floors that demand cleaning. What I had once thought to be a ‘fatal’ wound back at my truehome now seem like mere inconveniences here in the factory. Friendship is very different here. Every so often a newly-made friend will slide away into the machines, splintering bones echoing through the factory and a scream ricocheting around the metal parts of the ‘fabulous inventions’. And then,after the loss has had no time to sink in, a new friend comes. He is well and trying to be excited, trying to embrace his new life ahead of him. Soon he will know. Know of the missteps turned to deaths and losses, the scratches and bruises turned fatal wounds, the sneezes and runny noses turned diseases. I washim once.It is so horrible, too horrible. It takes every muscle in my body, every drop of courage and bravery, every ounce of willpower to keep on going and push through the pain and sorrow. And for what?My love goes to you with this letter, in case it is my last.Caleb


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