No one who has had any personal experi- ence of typists and typewriting could have boen surprised at the remarks made by his Honor Judge Murray recently about the all-pervading carelessness displayed in type- written documents. Although typewriting has been in almost universal use for several years, it is the exception rather than, the rule to get a piece of work copied without an error. And though carelessness is in a large measure responsible for such mistakes, there is another reason, which is even harder to fight against, and that is ignorance.
Typewriting is not the mere mechanical business that many people think It. If all the matter to be copied were printed, or even legibly written, it would be no; but in a gene- ral typewriting office a much wider knowledge is required than the outsider can imagine. Work of every kind and description comes in to be copied. There are plays and poems, doctors- treatises, architects' specifications, balance-sheets and accounts, and lawyers' documents of all descriptions. Abbreviations are used freely, and in nearly every case the writing is almost illegible to the lay person. To turn such badly prepared and often ap- parently unmeaning sheets into clear, clean pages of readable matter requires something more than mere mechanical proficiency. A girl may be able to break all records for speed, but if she has not at least a nodding acquaintance with literature, art, science, and law, she will never make a really successful typist. Tho girl who wrote "Mellon's Para- dise Lost" nil through a university prize es- say because the student had a habit of not crossing his t's or dotting his i's, was not by any means an exception. An educated typ- ist simply could not have made the mistake; but, then, how many are really educated?
A few years ago a girl did not think of taking up typewriting as a profession unless she had at least a fair education; but now- adays every little girl ' who thinks herself
too fine for domestic service and does not want to go into a shop takes it up, and the trams and boats are full of girls with short skirts and pigtails, on their way to the type- writing school. ' Many of them are bright enough, and soon gain proficiency in their work and win prlzes for writing so many words a minute. They then fool themselves qualified to take positions, and rush, to an- swer the advertisements for competent typ- ists. Any man who has ever so advertised knows how numerous are the answers re- ceived; girls o£ every age and size present themselves for the position, and offer to come at all kinds of ridiculous salaries. Many would accept seven or eight shillings a week, while some poor things would be glad of even less. It is a pretty safe rule for the employer to turn down all applications on such terms. The average typist can always demand fifteen shillings a week and more if she can do shorthand, and- in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred the girl who offers to take a position for seven or eight shillings
Is not worth that much.
But, unfortunatey, there is a large class of the community who like cheap labour, no matter how bad it is, and these people give the inefficient a chance to inflict themselves on the public, with the consequence that the public has to put up with and, pay for such work as is only fit for the wastepaper basket.