58 AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF JOHN FRITZ
The time at length arrived when I had to say good-by to the proprietors who had been so good and kind to me, and to the loyal and kind-hearted workingmen, who had ever faithfully performed their duty, and were ready to obey any proper command. During the three long years, which, if measured by the hours I was in the works, compared with the time now spent in a similar position, would surely be over five years, so good and faithful were the employees that I cannot remember having had to discharge a single work¬ man, or having had occasion to severely reprimand one. This was no doubt largely due to the mutual confidence which at all times existed between us; and this kindly and loyal feeling was no doubt estabUshed while I was working at night at the puddUng furnace, gaining aU the knowledge I could from them in regard to the art of puddUng, the most essential branch of the business. During the talks between heats, before referred to, I gained quite a good knowledge of the arrangement of the mills and the methods of manage¬ ment, aU of which was useful to me, and my famiUarity with the workmen doubtless had much to do in bringing about the pleasant relations that ever existed between workmen and myself. I was never happier than when surrounded by them, and I found that if properly treated, they were ever loyal and faithful. I said to one of my good friends that I went to work in Norristown an entire stranger and now I left with a host of friends, to whom I sorrowfully bade good-by to try my fortune in another place and m another branch of the business, which, in my opinion, was des¬ tined to become more and more nnportant. I had made up my mind that I would know something about it, weU knowing it meant a year or more of the hardest and most vexatious class of work ever encountered, but I had no fear of hard work and would gain knowledge that would surely prove valuable in after Ufe.