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The Master's Apprentice

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  • I have four more years to serve my master at a shop in Williamsburg, Virginia. I’m 17. I’m an apprentice.

  • Three years ago when I was 14, my father paid my master to train, feed, clothe, and house me. They signed an apprenticeship contract for seven years. I work in the master’s shop six days a week.

  • Unloading crates of goods, assisting customers, weighing coins, and keeping accounts are a few of the jobs that I have learned. I find all of them duller and more painstaking than I imagined they could be.

  • The master insists that during my evenings at home I practice penmanship and that I read the Bible. He’s strict.

  • Williamsburg, as the capital, has many attractions for me. The actors, or players, are in town with new comedies and songs, and the taverns are filled with legislators, attorneys, and travelers talking about politics and strange lands beyond the western mountains. I long for a break from the monotony of working and living with my master.

  • I complained to my father, but it did no good. My father sides with the master.

  • Do I have to work in someone else’s shop all my life? Will I become skilled enough to make a living on my own? How would your life be changed if you had to live and work away from your family for seven years? If you were an apprentice, what things would you miss the most from your life now?

 

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