Loom & Spindle

by Harriet H. Robinson. Press Pacifica, $7.95; $4.50 paper. In 1835, at the age of ten, Harriet Robinson went to work in a cotton mill in Lowell, Massachusetts. Sounds terrible, does it not? Yet this memoir, which she published fifty years later, is full of humor and the high spirit of accomplishment. She became one of those literary mill girls admired by Dickens, and she is eloquent on the freedom and broadening of interest that cash wages brought to young women who would otherwise have stagnated on backwoods farms. She also had a shrewd understanding of the value of mill help in the early days and the reasons for the decline in their status and living conditions that developed as the century wore on. The book is well worth this reprinting.