Chapter 17

           Martinlearnedtodomanythings. Inthecourseofthefirstweek,inoneafternoon,heandJoeaccountedforthetwohundredwhiteshirts. Joeranthetiler,amachinewhereinahotironwashookedonasteelstringwhichfurnishedthepressure. Bythismeansheironedtheyoke,wristbands,andneckband,settingthelatteratrightanglestotheshirt,andputtheglossyfinishonthebosom. Asfastashefinishedthem,heflungtheshirtsonarackbetweenhimandMartin,whocaughtthemupand"backed"them. Thistaskconsistedofironingalltheunstarchedportionsoftheshirts. 

           Itwasexhaustingwork,carriedon,hourafterhour,attopspeed. Outonthebroadverandasofthehotel,menandwomen,incoolwhite,sippediceddrinksandkepttheircirculationdown. Butinthelaundrytheairwassizzling. Thehugestoveroaredredhotandwhitehot,whiletheirons,movingoverthedampcloth,sentupcloudsofsteam. Theheatoftheseironswasdifferentfromthatusedbyhousewives. AnironthatstoodtheordinarytestofawetfingerwastoocoldforJoeandMartin,andsuchtestwasuseless. Theywentwhollybyholdingtheironsclosetotheircheeks,gaugingtheheatbysomesecretmentalprocessthatMartinadmiredbutcouldnotunderstand. Whenthefreshironsprovedtoohot,theyhookedthemonironrodsanddippedthemintocoldwater. Thisagainrequiredapreciseandsubtlejudgment. 

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