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 It is true in general that if you have a good family you do not have a bad individual. The well-organized family, with property and standing, is in a position both to regulate and gratify the wishes of its members. The boy of good family has no occasion to steal or the girl to practice prostitution. Therefore, when a member of a family shows a tendency to demoralization, good people, benevolent institutions, and the State naturally try to strengthen the family, to save the whole situation of which the boy or girl is a part; and when a family is about to be wrecked they try to strengthen it both for its own sake and for the security of the children. If we examine the following document, which is a specification of the type of family situation described more generally in document No. 58 (p. 100) above, we realize the difficulty of the task of a social agency which attempts to rehabilitate a broken family and to save the children from demoralization by visiting, giving food or money, taking the parents into court, and coming to the rescue in times of crisis. The case represents the patient and heroic work of a charity organization during nearly twenty years. The record extends from the time the oldest child was three months old to a period following her marriage. It is a very long record, and I am able to give only a portion of it. This is an immigrant family, but in the largest cities 152as many as 80 per cent of delinquent children are foreign born or native born of foreign parents.[92]
83. Joseph Meyer, a German Pole born of peasant parents, came to this country at the age of twenty-three.
Mrs. Meyer, an illiterate woman, had been in America six years at the time of her marriage. She had for two years prior to her marriage done housework.... The first application for assistance occurred in 1898 when Mrs. Meyer came to the Relief and Aid Society of Chicago, asking rent. Mr. Meyer had been out of work for three months; there was one child [Mary] 13 months old.... [This was two years after the marriage. There is no further report until the family applied to United Charities in 1908. Meantime other children were born, Tillie in 1899, Theodore in 1903, Bruno in 1908].
January 30, 1908, Mrs. Meyer came to office of United Charities. Husband had not worked for four years; mentally slightly abnormal. She had recently begged, but usually had been working very hard. Mary picking coal from the tracks.... [Helped by United Charities and County Agent.]
January 3, 1909. Visited man at home, says he had to care for children while wife went out to work. Told him he must get work at once as doctor says he is able to work. Family receiving help for a year and a half. Woman working as janitress in United Charities office.
November 1, 1910. Miss Campbell, whose mother has employed Mrs. Meyer for years, in office to ask if man cannot be sent to Bridewell. Says woman has come to work with arms black and blue from beatings.... Mrs. Meyer says man has not worked for more than two months at a time in the 19 years of his married life; says he taunts her with the fact that she must work while he stays at home.
November 3, 1910.... Man given 60 days in Bridewell.
153January 13, 1911. Visitor heard ... that man had taken carbolic acid New Year’s eve. Asked woman about this; at first she did not want to tell, but finally acknowledged it; says he took 20 cents worth of poison while she was at work. The children yelled when he fell and the landlord came in.... Woman says man sleeps during the day and will not sleep at night, annoying her considerably, thus causing her to lose considerable sleep. Quarrels with her and uses vile language in the presence of the children.
January 16, 1911. Man in office asking to be arrested, said he is unable to live with woman any longer. [Jealous of unmarried man who calls.] Also stated that woman took some clothes from office of United Charities, where she is janitress. Mrs. Meyer acknowledged doing this and said man told her to take anything she could lay her hands on, as she did not receive enough salary for the amount of work she did.... While woman was away at work, man burned all the bedding, lace curtains, new veil Mary had received at Christmas, insurance policies, all the woman’s clothes he could get hold of and some of the children’s clothes; also broke a clock and bit up woman’s wedding ring....
January 20, 1911. Visited a neighbor who said at the time the man was in the Bridewell the woman had some man staying with her....
Visited. Mary ironing; does not go to school; said father has not returned; said father has very often abused mother for many years and mother would not tell any one; also says the man who has been coming to the house bought her mother a comb for Christmas, worth about $1.00, which her father also burned.
February 8, 1911. Mary in office to say her mother was sick; told same story as mother regarding Tony R., says he is a brother of Mrs. Meyer’s brother’s wife. [March 7, 1911. Man given a year in Bridewell. August 25, Mrs. Meyer gave birth to a boy. Mary working in the Mary Crane Nursery at $3.00 a week.]
October 21, 1911. Miss C. ’phones to advise office about 154Mary. Says that many small articles have been disappearing since Mary arrived. Finally they deliberately put temptation in her way by leaving money in the nursery room, which disappeared within a half hour and nobody but Mary had entered the room. Mary steadfastly denies everything, and they feel absolutely baffled by the mother; they had found her to be untruthful several times which has complicated matters since she has been working at the nursery.... Later visited and told mother.... She cried and said that Mary did not bring anything home, and said she had warned her before she started to work that she was not to touch anything; said she never brought home any candy or anything which would lead her to suspect her of wrong doing. Mother went to work; Mary stayed home.
February 8, 1912, woman in office; said man had come home the day before at noon ... and the children let him in. When she came home he knelt before her and kissed her hands and begged her to allow him to remain. Because he humbled himself to kneel before her she weakened and told him if he worked he could stay....
March 14, 1912, Mary in office first thing in the morning to say that her father tore good overcoat into strips last night and burned it in the stove; that early this morning when they were all asleep in the house, he tore the curtains down and cut them, cut some of woman’s clothing into strips, poured kerosene over feather beds, slashed the leather seats of the four dining-room chairs and did other damage of this sort. [Threatened to buy pistol and kill Mrs. Meyer.] ... Mrs. Meyer frightened and nervous and broken-hearted over the loss.... [Later Mary ’phones that her father has come home and is sitting quietly in the kitchen.] Visited. Mr. Meyer announced that he had nothing to say for himself except that “the woman got the best of it and had everything her way.” He stated that he knew the patrol was coming for him that day and wished to “fix” things for his wife, that he “had not done much but had done something.” His attitude in the matter was one of spite and the attitude of his 155wife toward him unusually fine. Despite all that had happened she was rather gentle and almost pathetic in her statement of the case....
March 15, 1912, case tried in court. Man had no excuse to give and did not attempt to defend himself before Judge other than to make the statement that “there was a God in Heaven.” Was given $100 costs; sent to House of Correction....
May 3, 1912. Took Mary to Dr. Healy ... he could find nothing wrong with the child.... While she is slow she is normal.... He finds no evidence of kleptomania; he fears that too much temptation was put in the child’s way. [Found new rooms for the family so that man might not find them when released.]
December 12, 1912, a neighbor ’phones, saying Mr. Meyer home, and as Mrs. Meyer wanted to put him out again he beat her unmercifully [with a poker].
December 24, 1912, woman says man was arrested....
February 14, 1913, visited Detention Court. Man was sent to Kankakee [insane asylum]. After sentence was pronounced woman and Mary were hysterical; said they had never wanted him to go and they would not leave the court unless he was released. Woman’s cousin told Mr. Moore that Mary is not working ... and that she is making her mother’s life miserable. Mary ... begins to show something of her father’s temperament.... The child’s confidence has never been gained. She has always taken her father’s side, and her mother is worried over her as she feels she is untrustworthy, is rouging her cheeks and not coming home directly from her work. She is a woman whose enjoyment of household possessions is undiminished by the miseries of her domestic experience, as is a natural coquetry which she has always possessed. We believe that this is an innocent attribute and that all her husband’s accusations of infidelity are the suspicions inevitably resulting from sexual obsession in a man otherwise unoccupied for 20 years. He has, undoubtedly, a diseased mind.
156April 3, 1913, woman says that Mary did not go to work today as the paint made her sick. Asked that we call up the firm and verify this. Mary had been to Miss Farrell to get suit which had been promised her, but failed to see Miss Farrell and insisted upon getting a coat for which she agreed to pay $8 on the installment plan. An agent came to the house to collect for this and Mary behaved so badly, screaming and crying, that woman finally paid him $2. Mary now has the suit from Miss Farrell and woman wishes to return the coat, but she refuses to do so. [Mary discharged from present position because it was proved she stole from one of the girls. Mary refused to take housework offered her.]
June 9, 1913, woman in office in great distress; says Mary has not worked at all at the hat factory [as she had pretended].... Has been going with a girl who worked there. The girls say the employer is an evil man and showed them a check book and said they could draw what they liked.... Mary [refused to let him kiss her but] stole this check book and on the 29th forged a check for $12 which she brought her mother saying it was her pay. On the 2nd she forged another check for $11; $6 of this she gave to her mother and $5 she spent at Riverview Park....
July 29, 1913.... Probation officer says Mary lost her job on the 25th, that one of the girls had loaned Mary a ring and when the time came for Mary to restore it, Mary could not find it.... [A report from Kankakee that Meyer had escaped was followed by a letter saying] “he escaped one evening but returned of his own free will at bedtime and has since been residing in the Institution.”...
January 17, 1914, Mary brought home $6 on the 14th but insisted upon $4 being returned to her, and with this she bought a very elaborate hat of black velvet and gold lace. Talked with Mary. She was very defiant and said that she would spend her money on clothing until she had something to wear. Was not satisfied with the coat that United Charities had given her from second-hand store. Said she would keep her money until she could buy a new-style coat. Told 157her that if she did so the United Charities would not help with food.
January 22, 1914, Mrs. Meyer in tears. The forelady at the shop where Mary works telephoned that Mary had gotten married in court today.... Mary gave the date of her birth as December 18, 1895 [instead of 1896] and signed the affidavit herself....
January 30, 1914, visited. Asked Mrs. Meyer to take a position.... Suggested Mary could stay and take care of the children.... Mary was at first very unwilling to consent to the plan. While the visitor was there Mr. Andersen [her husband] came in. He agreed to the plan at least temporarily.
February 4, 1914, Mrs. Meyer in office. Says the work is too hard at the present situation and she is not earning enough to feed the children. Mary has had to give her money and she is ashamed and sorry. She feels too nervous to work and wants United Charities to get Mr. Meyer out of asylum to support her. Jennie, her niece, took her to visit him and she found him nicely dressed and sober, doing teaming work. He promised never to drink and to support the family.
A letter written by the United Charities June 16, 1914, states “We have found her this spring in a peculiar mental condition due, we think, to sheer discouragement and a feeling of having been defeated in life. All of her home furnishings are dilapidated and of long usage, because of her inability to replace them. She has been a woman who always took a peculiar delight in her home and longed to have it furnished daintily so that it did not compare so poorly with the homes where she has worked. We feel now that if we might help her replenish her linen and some of her household supplies we might be able to tide over their period of discouragement and help her to feel that life was again worth living....”
August 19, 1914, Mrs. Meyer and Mary in office. [Mary very well dressed and living in her own apartment.] Mary says she has been helping her mother continually with food 158and clothing. Her husband makes $19 a week but she has to pay $17 rent and $5 a week for her furniture. She also has to save money because she is now several months pregnant. Her husband wishes her to have a doctor. She is planning to have a midwife because it is cheaper. Advised her not do this.... During a period of unemployment for her husband she refused to seek aid at her mother’s suggestion as she felt too proud....
November 13, 1915. Tillie still earns $4.00 a week.... Must buy new dress [refuses to wear dresses given by charity as being old-fashioned—same as Mary]. For lack of satisfactory dress she has not gone to church for 3 weeks. Mrs. Meyer fears she will slip away from church unless allowed clothes she wants. Her [Mrs. Meyer’s] ideas become more and more erratic. She said she wishes she were dead, had only trouble.
For the past year the church [Irish, not Polish, for the latter always demanded money instead of giving assistance] has had a decided influence over Mrs. Meyer. Her children attend the parochial school and the priest has taken a very active interest in their welfare.... The family lives in a less congested district and although Mrs. Meyer is still very nervous and frequently complains, the whole complexion of the family has changed. She is very interested in a mothers’ cooking class started last winter ... and is also being taught to write by her 12–year-old son.... If the man remains in Kankakee and the children keep well we feel sure the family will eventually become self-supporting. It is surely the highest point as far as the standard of living is concerned.... The present system of County relief cannot but have a debasing effect upon the family, particularly upon the children, who frequently must accompany the mother in order to bring home the dole of inadequate rations.... Mary is a good housewife and a sensible mother. She is contented and happy and her ideals are considerably higher, due directly to her husband.[93]
159In this case the social agency, the charity organization, takes the part formerly played by the large family (kinship group) and the community. The man in the case, the cause of the disorganization, is treated as insane. Pretty certainly he would not have been insane in Europe, in his original community. He would have been difficult, but the pressure of the large family and the community would have kept him within certain bounds. His violent behavior is also due in part to the fact that his wife does not behave as a member of a community or family. She resorts to American institutions, hales him into court and lands him in jail. She must do this because she has no family and community back of her, but she breaks the family solidarity. This and the fact that she practices American freedom in associating with another man and receiving presents from him make him “insane.” The wife in the European community would not have taken such liberties; community gossip would have restrained her.
On the other hand the woman never lost her ideal of a home, and the co?peration of the charity organization enabled her to endure. The removal of the man was a positive benefit. Further, the Irish Catholic Church came into the case at a certain point and played the part of a religious community. Its intervention gave aid, status, and recognition, particularly to the girls. (The Polish Catholic Church in America always exacts payment, and in general Polish organizations here interest themselves only in those members who are worth while; the derelicts it leaves to American institutions.)
Another saving element in the situation is that Mary was treated as a member of a family, not as a 160transgressor against the State. She stole repeatedly and forged checks, but she was never taken into court for it. It was fortunately “overlooked”, as parents overlook such defections. Mary was not betrayed sexually; she did not seem to be so disposed. Perhaps she was lucky in this. Certainly she was fortunate in her marriage, and through it became stabilized and an element of strength in the larger family. Her sister Tillie has a better chance than Mary had. But at the same time a review of the whole case leaves the feeling that Mary’s future was never secure from the date of her birth to the date of her marriage. There were not sufficient formative influences to assure a social organization of her wishes.
The efforts of the federal government during the war to control the behavior of girls who were either wild already or went wild during the excitement resulted in many cases in the attempt to stabilize the girl by improvising good family and community influences for her. The work was in charge of the Girls’ Protective Bureau. The methods used were in the main similar to those of a juvenile court. Families of good standing made it a part of patriotism to take girls into their homes and made extraordinary efforts to influence them. The workers of the Bureau acted both as parents and as community. The result was often very good. Where the girl was not bad but had, for example, run away from a country home to see a boy from her neighborhood, she was eventually returned home without demoralization. But the records show in general that the influence of an extemporized family and community is not usually sufficient to give a new scheme of life to a difficult girl. She does not belong really to the new family and community, 161as in the case of the girl born there. She is placed under discipline. She is not a daughter of the family, to be married like a daughter of a family. She has not a life-long train of memories, making her a part of the situation. She usually appreciates her new security for a time, but presently the desire for new experience, recognition and response return and if possible she runs away. Case No. 84 is typical of the result when a girl of bad habits is placed with a family of good standing which is sentimental about her, patronizes her, treats her half as servant, half as family-member, excludes her as far as possible from the world and exhorts her. On the other hand this girl was not very bad. She needed simply a situation in which she could live, with some response and recognition.
84. Marie Morse, age 16, who first came to our notice on June 15th when one of our protective officers found her at 11 P.M. in front of the Northwestern Station in the company of two sailors.
Marie had then been living with her father for three weeks. It was found that he, in his effort to be what he considered good to her, had given her her own way until she did nothing but “run the streets” from morning until late at night and quite refused to obey him....
Marie claims that her mother “picked up with men” in Riverview, so she could do likewise. The mother does not deny having once spoken to a man she did not know, but explains it by saying that Marie was teasing for a ride in Forest Park and she could not afford to give it to her, so a gentleman volunteered to give them both two rides. Marie stated that her mother had a colored woman living with them, and that she (Marie) was forced to sleep with this colored woman. The mother does not deny this, but said that her church teaches her that color makes no difference, and that Marie 162only slept once with this woman, and that was when Marie chose to do so....
Visited Mr. Morse. He showed visitor every corner of their rooms, which were in good order and clean. He does all the work of the home. Marie refuses to do anything, even very personal things. Mr. Morse’s young married niece (aged 26) came in to cook his Sunday dinner for him. She stated, when Mr. Morse left the room, that Marie had absolutely no moral standard at all and when she and other relatives would advise her, she would say “That’s nothing—mother does it.” She states that Marie has told them absolutely dreadful things and thinks nothing of it; thinks it is all right to “pick up” with and go with any man....
Found a place for Marie with Mrs. R. M. Harriman, Winnetka. Marie will care for two children, under three years of age, will receive $3.00 a week, room and board. She will have her own bathroom and very pleasant surroundings. Mrs. Harriman is a woman of quality who will be able to give Marie personal and home standards.
Mr. Harriman ’phoned. Wants to know a little about Marie, as they already like her but she seems so lonesome; wanted to go to movie and they told her that there were none out there. Marie asked to let her “beau”, a chauffeur, know where she is and Mr. Harriman told her that his daughter of seventeen is not yet old enough to entertain, so he surely would not let Marie have men call on her. Marie said she was a Roman Catholic, and as the Catholic Church is but three blocks from the house, he told Marie he expected her to go every Sunday. There is a splendid girl working next door and he had Marie meet her, as he knows she will not let Marie do anything she should not do. Mrs. Harriman will be very glad to see visitor if she will ’phone first. Mrs. Harriman took Marie out on Monday and bought her some good sensible clothes.
Marie goes to church with Julia, the Catholic maid next door. They often spend the evenings in one another’s yards. This is Marie’s only friend and Mrs. Harriman 163states that she is often quite lonesome. They are interesting her in books and she has nearly finished one. They felt this would keep her mind off her old friends. Mrs. Harriman states that she often keeps her busy unnecessarily “rubbing up the silver or dusting books” just so she won’t become so lonesome and sit looking off into space as she did do much during her first week there.
Mrs. Harriman states that her duties are not heavy. All the washing, including Marie’s, is sent to the laundry and Mrs. Harriman uses the vacuum cleaner herself on the rugs once a week. When Marie was told to put her laundry in, it was found that she had none—wore no underwear but skirt and corset cover. They were too large, so Mrs. Harriman showed Marie how to fix them and let her do this evenings. Mrs. Harriman told how Marie’s eyes beamed when she heard Mr. Harriman talk of a drive they had to Great Lakes, and later in the evening she asked Mrs. Harriman about it.
Marie wanted to bring a chauffeur friend up to the house, but they forbade it telling her she was too young to have company. Mrs. Harriman feels that when her daughter returns from her summer visit with relatives and Marie sees how she is expected to do, Marie will be better satisfied with the program they have mapped out for her....
Mrs. Harriman took visitor in the house to talk with Marie. The girl certainly looks well. She is somewhat stouter and tanned and her cheeks are rosy. She has improved immensely—looks well kept, neat, clean and happy. She showed visitor her room and bath, which are very nice, bright and sunny, well ventilated, clean, and the furniture and carpet were good pieces and in good condition. She stated that Mrs. Harriman was going to put nice curtains and pictures up for her. Marie said that Julia, the girl next door, did not have nearly so nice or large a room and no bath at all. She showed visitor the dresses she was given and said the yellow one which she wears on Sunday “looks fine when it is fresh.” Marie expects to finish reading “Pollyanna” 164tonight, and Mr. Harriman already has another book for her. She liked “Pollyanna” very much. Mr. Harriman also told her there were books of travel there which would teach her as much as if she went three years longer to school, and Marie seems anxious to begin reading them....
August 12, went to Winnetka. Mrs. Harriman says they sent Marie to the Kings’ to ride to Lake Geneva. Mrs. Harriman explained that there are times when friends go on trips with them and when they cannot therefore take Marie as they do not have room enough.
Started out with Marie. We walked down to the bank. On the way Marie stated that she had now worked three weeks and that she had no money except the $1.25 balance paid by Mrs. Johnson this morning and 30 cents. Expressed surprise that she had not at least $5.00 saved. Told her we would deposit this $1.00 in the bank, that hereafter she would deposit $2.00 each week and buy one thrift stamp, and the remaining 75 cents was more than enough to spend. Visitor signed bank slip so that Marie cannot draw without visitor’s signature. Marie was going to buy thrift stamp and visitor explained that she could wait for that until next week as we were going to the doctor down in Chicago and she would need lunch money. Explained also that she should not expect the Harrimans to continue to give her carfare and R. R. fare, etc., that while they did so through kindness, they were under no obligation to do so.... Told her she was no longer a child now and must mold her own character and plan for her future, to support herself, to buy her own clothing, to save something for times of illness or possible accident.
Reached Chicago. Went to Childs for luncheon. Gave Marie bill of fare and advised her to choose good, plain, nutritious food according to what she could afford to spend. She chose well, her luncheon costing her 30 cents. When visitor ordered her own dessert, she ordered ice cream for Marie and paid for same. Marie while on the street passed two Catholic Sisters and remarked to visitor that they were 165from St. Patrick’s, where she went to school when living with her mother....
At County Building and explained case. After examination, Dr. Stanton stated that it is not possible to know if Marie has had improper relations recently on account of [seduction seven years ago]. She questioned Marie very closely and Marie stated that all the sailors and soldiers had asked her to have intercourse with them, but that she positively had not done it.
Took Marie to the Northwestern Station. While going over, Marie said, “I wish I could see my friends.” Told her we had her up there to get her away from the seemingly bad company she had been in; that she was not to come to Chicago except with visitor and never, even with her father, to be out of Mrs. Harriman’s house after 11:30; that she was no longer a child and just must make up her mind to obey the plans of the G.P.B., or it would make it very hard for herself; that she was old enough now to substitute other forms of recreation for the kind she had been indulging in. She could read, write, sew, or rest after her work. Told her visitor would probably call once each month....
Mr. Harriman in office. Saturday Mrs. Harriman gave Marie a pair of shoes. Monday morning, August 19th, she paid her. Marie cleared her room, etc., and at one o’clock told Mrs. Harriman she was going to the bank. Mrs. Harriman told her she was much pleased. Marie left and has not been seen or heard of since.
Mr. Harriman ’phoned. Said Marie told maid next door some time last week that when things had quieted down a little she was going back to her mother, or to her father’s relatives, in Hammond. [Marie went to her mother, but both disappeared and were never located.][94]
In the following case of far-going demoralization the influences are also improvised. The girl’s mother was bad and taught her to be bad. An interesting 166feature in the document is the complete transformation of the girl under the influence of the physician. She had been dirty and disorderly and became clean, orderly, and interested in work. It frequently happens that some particular influence, perhaps the effect of another personality, defines the situation to the demoralized girl, brings a conversion, and she begins to reorganize her life spontaneously. But in this case the life of the girl was so totally unorganized that it is impossible to regard this transformation as anything more than a phase of security between two periods of new experience. Quiescent and orderly periods are in fact the rule in such cases and social workers learn to estimate the length of their duration. The physician himself does not hope that any permanent change of character has been effected. We may suspect also that Helen is mentally inferior, of the moron type, but even so we must speculate as to her character if she had been situated from the beginning like little Calline in document No. 36. A clean and protected moron is not far from corresponding to the ideal woman of the Victorian age.
85. June 12, 1918. Helen Langley. Age 19. Very childlike in appearance and this impression is exaggerated by her yellow bobbed hair, short skirts, etc. Although she has been observed continually in places and always with men, in scarcely any case has the same sailor or civilian been seen with her more than two or three times. She has no fear of the Protective Officers, with whom she is always free in her attitude—runs to greet them, offers them candy, etc. It has been impossible to have any serious conversation with her, as she is irresponsible and heedless.
Visited her brother Mr. Edward Hunt and his wife. They stated that Helen was born at North Chicago, September 16717th, 1899. She was irregular in her attendance at school, did not pass the 4th grade and stopped going altogether when she was 12 or 13 years old. She has never been known to read a book or magazine, not even the “funny” page in the paper, and the brother believes she is unable to write anything beyond her signature. Although the family were known as Swedish Lutheran, Helen had no religious training and did not attend church or Sunday School. According to the brother she was depraved from the time she was 12 years old when she began to “go crazy over the boys”, to attend dance halls and to go out on motor trips with unknown men. When 14 years old she was attacked by a neighbor in a field near her home and since that time her life has been a series of immoral relations with sailors and civilians. Edward Hunt believes these tendencies are inherited from his mother, who gave birth to an illegitimate child before her marriage and whose immorality afterwards broke up the family repeatedly and turned his father into a drunkard and an idler.... From the time Helen was a child her mother encouraged her in every sort of immorality and helped her in deceiving her father or boldly defying him. Mrs. Edward Nelson stated that Helen to her knowledge has brought on several abortions with the assistance of her mother....
On March 23rd, after a three weeks’ acquaintance, Helen married George Langley, a sailor rated as a first class fireman.... She was four months pregnant at the time. She told her relatives and friends that she was marrying Langley in order to secure the allotment and insurance. She and her husband lived for three weeks with Mr. and Mrs. Ed. Hunt and then took a room with Mrs. De Lacey, 147 Sheridan Road. Shortly after her marriage Helen appealed to the Red Cross and was given $14.00 to pay her rent. This money she spent for a pink sweater and a silk skirt....
Visited Mrs. Anna Langley. Talked with her and her son, Bill. The whole family has been crushed over George’s marriage. Their chief concern seems to be the allotment 168and insurance, which George transferred from his mother to Helen. They want, if possible, to prevent her from receiving the first payment, which is due July 1st. On one occasion Helen tried to represent herself at the Post Office as Mrs. Anna Langley in order to secure the allotment. George Langley is under treatment at the Naval Station for disease contracted from his wife. For this reason and because of her continued loose behavior he is trying to secure a divorce before he is sent to sea early in July. Mrs. Langley and her son stated that Helen has been brought before the police several times to their knowledge and spent one night in the County Jail last January. Bill is willing to make a sworn statement giving the names of two Waukegan men who have admitted to him they have contracted disease from Helen....
Visited Chaplain Moore. He sent for George Langley, who stated that he had been in love with Helen from the moment he saw her, and had begged her repeatedly to marry him, which she refused to do although she was having immoral relations with him. Langley knew that she was diseased and was going about with other men, but felt certain that she would behave if she married him. He has tried to live with her, but she was lazy, dirty and disorderly, went out every night with other men, returning at two or three in the morning. He stated that Mr. Hart, with whom they lived in North Chicago, is willing to testify that she brought sailors to her room many times in the absence of her husband....
Telephoned Miss Judson, Superintendent of the Lake Bluff Orphanage. She stated that a baby boy, about one week old, was found in the woods by some school children on October 27th, 1916, and brought to the Orphanage. The child was tagged “Baby Langley” and was in a most advanced stage of syphilis. It was attended by Dr. Brown, city physician. Miss Judson took all the care of the baby herself, as it required constant attention and was so diseased that she would not endanger the nurses. The baby died on January 1st, 1917.
169Visited Helen. She told about the birth of her baby in October, 1916, and of how she disposed of it in the Lake Forest woods. She stated that she has never worked regularly, but has had several factory positions and has done housework for Mrs. Watrous of Waukegan, Mrs. Gerley of Waukegan and for Mrs. Christianson of North Chicago. She stated that she has succeeded eight or ten times in bringing about miscarriage with the use of an instrument which was bought by her mother at Pearce’s Drug Store and which her sister-in-law taught her to use....
Observed Helen at the circus in company with a sailor. She went afterwards to an ice cream parlor and a chop suey restaurant, was followed to North Chicago and was observed in the woods at midnight.
Consulted Judge Pearsons of the County and Juvenile Courts and Assistant States Attorney Welch. They agreed that it was imperative to detain Helen at once and decided that an arrest should be made on a charge of disorderly conduct. The examination will be made immediately so that she can be placed under medical treatment for the three weeks awaiting her trial. In the meantime her age can be verified and a decision made as to whether she will be tried on the grounds of feeble-mindedness or delinquency....
Interviewed Mr. Hart, with whom Helen had rooms with her husband for about two months. Mr. Hart says Helen is a “worthless character”; says he is “in wrong” with the neighbors for having her there. Showed me room and bath occupied by Helen. Both rooms contained a lot of dirty clothes. He said she had not washed while she was there. Trunk filled with rumpled clothes, stained and soiled rags, etc., bedding which was new when she came, was soiled and filthy.
Visited County Jail. Asked to see Helen. Was told by Mr. Griffin, the Sheriff, that Helen was removed by Dr. Brown, County Physician, on June 21. Mr. Griffin said that Helen is not in the County Hospital. He would make no further statement and advised that we go to Dr. Brown for information.
170Interviewed Dr. Brown in his office. He offered to accompany visitor to place in which Helen is kept on condition that the address shall not be made known to any one in Waukegan. He said that he expected Helen to be cured and in condition to be discharged in a very short time as several slides according to his own analysis have proved negative....
Drove with Dr. Brown to County Hospital. Helen is under care in one of the tuberculosis cottages. The tuberculosis nurse, Miss Gean Crawford, was willing to assume the care on condition that Helen’s disease should not be known to the other nurses. Helen has gained several pounds and looks like a new person, is content and happy, sleeps most of the day and said she feels rested for the first time for years. She takes all the care of her own cottage, has become very tidy in her habits, enjoys washing her dishes, etc., and keeping things in order. Helen said that her plan when she is discharged is to find a good place where she can do housework. She intends to have nothing further to do with men, particularly sailors. She loves to do sewing and handwork and showed the most astonishing amount of embroidery which she has done for one of the nurses. She asked for news of her family and said that she has begged to see her mother, but the Doctor and nurse have convinced her that it is best to have no visitors. She is out of doors most of the day, but sees nothing of the other patients.
Helen is now employed in the kitchen at the County Hospital, lives in the servants’ quarters and is to be paid $25.00 a month. She has proved so quick, willing and efficient that Dr. Brown would like to employ her permanently, but he realizes that it will be impossible to hold her after she knows that she is well. He would like to keep her at least through August, as she is a great help with the canning. As long as she continues to be content he will not send the final specimen to the State Laboratory.
Visited Dr. Brown. He refused absolutely to permit Helen to be visited by any of the Protective Workers. Said 171she is doing excellent work, is very content, and begs to remain at the hospital. Although Dr. Brown is unwilling to undertake the responsibility of Court parole, he would like to retain her as a permanent employee, on condition that there is no interference from the Protective Bureau or the courts.
After talking over the matter with the State’s Attorney and Dr. G. G. Taylor of the State Board of Health, it was decided that no better plan can be made for Helen than to allow her to remain in the hospital with the hope that Dr. Brown will change his policy as to visits from the Protective Bureau.[95]
The penitentiary and reformatory, to which offenders are condemned by courts of law, have, as is well known, never been generally successful in reorganizing the attitudes of their inmates on a social basis. They represent the legal concept of crime and punishment and the theological concept of sin and atonement. Where society is not able to organize the wishes of one of its members in a social way it may exterminate him or banish him to a society of the bad, which corresponds to the theological purgatory from which there is a chance to return to a society of the good. The punishment is supposed to atone for the offense and effect the reformation.
The following case was handled by a particularly well equipped reformatory for girls above the juvenile court age. Its staff at the time was large and scientifically trained. It was probably more completely equipped for the psychological study of its inmates than any other institution whatever, and its records are more complete than any I have seen elsewhere. But an institution dealing with a large number of girls 172sentenced by the law courts, many of them hardened and rebellious, has quite as much as it can do barely to maintain order. The situation is the same as in the penitentiaries for men. The present case is not typical; the girl is far from being as demoralized as the average girl in the same institution. I cite it here to indicate what are the attitudes of a girl in this situation, how accessible a girl may be to influences and how unprepared an institution of this type is to employ any organizing influences.
Esther had no previous bad record. She may or may not have had some sex experiences; that is not unusual with girls of this class. It was not shown that she was sexually diseased. Probably she was not but was frightened into thinking so by a doctor who wanted $100.00. Her offense was slight and casual. It might have been passed over with a reprimand, or, as in the juvenile court, with a period of probation; but she was nineteen—above the juvenile court age. The institution recognized, in the statement given first below, that it would not be for her welfare to hold her there, and placed her out on parole.
86. Statement from the Laboratory of Bedford Hills Reformatory for Women:
Esther Lorenz was committed to the institution March 23, 1914, from Special Sessions, N. Y.
Offense: Petit Larceny. She was born in Prag, Bohemia, and educated in Bohemian and German. She has a father and sister living in the old country and an aunt in New Jersey to whom she came three years and a half ago. This aunt and her family are poor and very foreign and unprogressive. Esther worked for them faithfully and gained little knowledge of English or training of any sort while with them. She left them several times and took positions as waitress in private 173families, still helping them out from her meager earnings. Her last position was as waitress in a small restaurant in New York where she met Lilian Marx. She had been there eight months when the restaurant went out of business and the girls were thrown out of work.
It was soon after this that the girls stole from Macy’s store several articles, two pairs of 59–cent stockings, a belt and some cheap manicure articles, apparently on the impulse of the moment, because they saw another girl doing it so easily. In jail they were warned by the other girls not to tell the truth about anything and they were too frightened to think what to tell. Esther’s story was in the main true, but Lilian made up in obedience to the other girl’s suggestion a conflicting tale. The probation officer felt that she was not getting the truth, and as the two girls were so young and so without protection, she advised their commitment to the institution in order that the institution might investigate their case more thoroughly.
Investigation in the case of Esther revealed nothing further against the girl than the one offense for which she was arrested. We have found her to be intelligent, conscientious, and, far beyond other girls, sensitive to fine distinctions of right and wrong. It was the opinion of the Laboratory that she might get more harm from association with the girls than good from a long term in the Reformatory and that it would be well to parole her as soon as she had had some training and a suitable position was in view....
She will not write to her aunt because ... the aunt said she did not know any such girl. Will not write to her father because she does not want him to know anything about the matter. She had heard that we sometimes send girls back to their own country, and she would be glad to go except that she would have to make some excuse to her father for being sent back. When I asked her if she would tell him the truth she said: “Tell him that I was sent home for stealing a pair of stockings?” It seems to strike her as quite ridiculous.
174[The following letters (except the last) were written by Esther to her friend Lilian and show her general attitudes. The letters were written mainly in Bohemian during the seven months she was on parole, and were translated for the institution by a Bohemian woman whose rendering is similar to the few letters written in English by Esther. I have adapted the translations only slightly. About half the letters are printed here.]
October 1, 1914. My dearest Friend: I received your letter with which I was very happy. I am glad to hear that you have a nice place. Dear friend, I apologize not to answer you right away. I have lots of work. I have two people and little baby girl. I have so much work; I haven’t got even time to wash my face.... In the morning I get up at 5 o’clock and I wash porch, then I make breakfast. I had eight to the table and I was the 9th one, so you can immagine what work I had. So then I had to wash dishes, then wash diapers for the baby. I got to clean two ducks and I got to make eight beds as whole first floor and I had to set the table and cooking all alone. No one helps me and everything got to be ready 1 o’clock, so you can imagine how I was dancing in the kitchen. That’s the way it goes, every night I go upstairs half past ten or eleven. When I come up I’m like dead; soon as I lay down I sleep. So imagine how I look worse every day. I have $14 month and she promises me more next month—that what she says. I like to know if I see them [money]. She is very snike [snake?]—every evening when she goes to bed she take me around the neck and kiss me but who knows for what she do that. I work very hard, Dear sweetheart, you ask me to come to see you but how can I do that; I haven’t got no shoes and no money, I am very poor. If you can you come over on Saturday evening and sleep with me. I got big bed. On Sunday we can look for [an Italian friend, not a bad character] and we go in a place where we can have a good time and lots of kissing. We going to look for some nice man but something better, not only working man; we 175shouldn’t have to go to work. I am angry with my aunt, she don’t want to take my lawyer, so they may go on my back [“take the air”] I take him myself when I have that money, don’t you think. She told on me that I have different name and that I am Catholic not a Jew, so now Miss R. will be angry with me that I told her lies but she and Miss T. and all the rest may go on my back. I don’t worry now they know. How we fool, them. Innocent. Friend, aint they fools, aint they fools! She [probation officer] is a good girl. Sunday School. [Term applied derisively by the girls of the officials, the institution and of themselves.] My dearest Friend, I wrote to T. and the letter come back. He isn’t there any more and may be he is in Phila. Wouldn’t be that nice if he knows we are paroled; he be happy, don’t you think so? Dear Friend, all the time I couldn’t come to see you before I have new shoes; and then we go to dance together; they would not know where we were going. If you can, come over. This is such a little country—one house half an hour from the next. Every night when I go to bed I am thinking how I used to have and how I have it now, but when my relatives wouldn’t help me out, God knows what he got to do. Your lady ask you how I like my place, so say I couldn’t have any better place. My nose is always bleeding; I dont know what to do. My lady told me she send for doctor but I don’t want any. So, dear Friend, dont be mad at me I didn’t answer right away. For that I wrote you such a letter that is worth something. And write, Esther. And sleep sweet. And sweet dreams. Love to you from your dear friend.
My dearest Friend: ... I see that you didn’t forget me. True friend. When you want me to answer you always right away, every letter, just the same I expect from you that you should answer my letter like a true friend. Don’t you think I have a right? Friend, dear, what I’m going anyway to do if I have to suffer always so much with my sickness? I suffer so much, you know. Dear girlie, nobody wouldn’t lend you any money. I was asking people and they promised 176me and later they say again that they havn’t got money themselves. So you see how it is, how the people are false.
Doctor told me that if I let go that further that I wouldn’t have never any children, and you know when we get married we would like to have children, but where I should take $100 when I haven’t got them and for the trial too they ask $100, so answer me if I haven’t got [am not] right. I like to help us out but what can I do without any money. I wrote to the lawyer if he can make trial for you and he answer me that he like to talk to me about—he couldn’t make any answer—he said that he wrote letter to Bedford, that they should let us free, that we was working hard enough, that we are long enough in places, and so Miss T. wrote me that I should wait and Miss R. wrote me a letter too, that’s going to be everything all right, and my lady she received a letter from Miss R. that she come to see me next month and I think that I be free. The lawyer wrote letter to him and they are afraid from him, ha, ha. [frightened into this, course]. The lawyer spoke to Judge and Judge he said that we never be free, so lawyer he wrote to me that soon as possible I should come to N. Y., and I should tell him why we want the trial and I tell him that we’re not guilty, that we does that from foolishness [thoughtlessness] and we was nervous, and going to tell that we were invited to the wedding and so that happened; that we was like out of mind, that we didn’t realize what we were doing. Don’t say that we are guilty, otherwise we wouldn’t come out and that would be a shame. We be put in a newspaper when our trial come on and we shouldn’t say “guilty”, but if you wouldn’t listen to me, say anything you like. Still I beg on you don’t say on me. If they ask you, say that you don’t know. Do you understand me? Listen Friend, make yourself stuck up [act proud]. Don’t act like a baby—that way you never come out. What should I do next week; I am supposed to come to N. Y. and I havn’t got fare for train; that cost $8. I come there and like to see you but I wouldn’t have much 177time. The lawyer he going to keep me about one hour and about 4 o’clock I’m through with my work and then till I get to the station and then take two hours till I get to N. Y. and that be about 7; and I want to be back about ten if be possible. I don’t want my lady she should catch on for she never would let me go there. Don’t say anything to your lady that I come to N. Y. because you’re be such a one you never can keep quiet, do you understand me? I’m sometimes so angry at you that I would tear you to pieces cause you never keep your mouth shut. You got too big mouth. I think when you got a sweetheart that your big enough to have more sense. Once in a while you have not got your sense.... Sometimes I have a right to tell you that, so don’t be angry on me and write me right away, and tell you head you should have a good time, but not yet. Wouldn’t you be glad to see me. Its six months since we didn’t see one the other. Maybe we wouldn’t know one the other. I let you know when I come.
November, 1914. Dear Friend: I received your letter and I was very glad to hear from you. I am glad that you don’t forget me. I will forgive you this time, but don’t do that again. I going to lose my patience. You know what that means. I don’t have to wait very long for a letter. Dear friend, I am going to moving pictures every Wednesday and every time when I going out I see the nice young mens. How they love them, the girls, and we can’t help that. I met one nice man and he want to go with me for a good time but I realize maybe he some kind of detective, so I told him. “What do you want, I can’t understand you.” “Oh, you know what I mean,” [he said]. I told him, “You big slob, you leave me alone,” and he left me. He was very nice, and he was a blond. That was a joke. Dear friend, if you could come with me to moving pictures, there we would meet nice mens. Wouldn’t that be nice? I have my hands so hard like a man from hard work, so you can immagine how hard I am working. So the rest of it I am going to write to you next time. I am writing for a call for a lawyer and he 178get one too. My uncle he pay the lawyer so that going to be for sure.
With such a Italians [as T.] we wouldn’t go any more. The lawyer want us to have a witness and I told him we had [the Italian] and now I must tell him we havn’t got any. That’s going to be hard again. I wrote to the Frenchmans and the letter comes back. What can I do and I got to give an answer to the lawyer right away. Good-by. Lots of kisses. Your friend.
Dear Friend: Forgive me that I didn’t answer your right away. Dear Friend I have such a cranky lady. If I stay here another two months with her I think I go crazy. I was very sick the other Sunday. We had 8 people and so you can immagine what work I had. Only if you would see me you would get frightened how I look; I am only bone and skin and pale in face. You would say that I go by and by in grave. Everybody ask me what’s matter with me but you know I can’t tell everybody I come from Bedford. You know when I had these 8 people to table and I have to wait on table and after they was through I get such a cramp like I had in the Tombs. My lady she was so mad at me that I leave the dishes and I went to lay down. Friend you wouldn’t know what it is when we have our home again. When anything hurts you we can get help—but this way we are like dogs—don’t you think I’m right? If you can only see this and how I worry about both of us how we should come free. Friend, I didn’t understand your letter. You want I should write to Miss R. or you do it?
Friend, dear, I am sending you a letter. Be so kind—send it from Brooklyn or New York. You know he [doctor] ask me where I live, so I told him I am a dressmaker from Newark but when the letter going to be sent from Brooklyn or New York, but don’t let you lady see that because that doctor is only for bad sickness [venereal], only for women which are sick from men; otherwise you bring me in a trouble more than I am. He’s known all over. So soon 179as you get the letter, mail it right away. Don’t let the letter lay no place they shouldnt see it. If my lady should know this, so I know its only your fault. My lady told me that you show every letter you get from me to your people and they write one another, so if you be true to me you do what I ask you. He’s the doctor what going to cure me. Dear Friend forgive me that I write such a short letter. I’m very tired. Answer right away will you and then I write to you one long letter and I come to see you soon as possible. With happiness and kisses from your true friend. Esther.
[Note by parole officer: When Esther was asked to translate the original of the foregoing letter ... she omitted the sentence with the word “doctor” in it.... When she had finished the letter I asked her if she had not omitted a sentence, pointing out. She read it again and said: “Oh, yes, he is the doctor what’s going to make me well, that is, my head well.” I reminded her that she had previously said he was the doctor she was keeping company with and also a doctor for women’s sickness. She was evidently quite confused but insisted that she meant all women’s sickness, and that he treated women only, not men.]
Dearest Friend: I am letting you know I received your letter. I was very happy with it. Dear Friend I write to T. where is the lawyer. He went there and told him that he met us on the street, so see how T. is false; so lawyer ask my uncle where did we pick up the two boys, so uncle ask me how is it with the boys—where we met them, so I have trouble yet again.... When T. come to you so you tell him that he meets us on the street but we are not street girls; give him good but tell him we are innocent. Ha, ha, Dear M., Miss R. was here yesterday and ask me about trial, I didn’t know what to say, she had so much to say [knew so much that Esther was surprised]. Friend why did you tell your lady that we going to have trial. I didn’t tell mine nothing. You’ve got to say everything out before there’s any start. You know she going to let it out to Bedford. Miss R. told me your lady wrote to Bedford—that she write there every 180month, so realize how stupid you are. Excuse me that I scold you like that but I can’t help. I am very excited and angry that you must tell everything you know. I asked Miss R. if I can go and see you and she told me “no.” So I ask her if you can come see me and she told me she ask your lady if she let you go. I told Miss R. that I am willing to give you money for train if you havn’t got it. You should come to see me soon as possible and then we going to talk over....
December 1914. Dear Friend: I must say that I like it here, because Miss R. asked me if I like it here. If not she will give me another place, but I would lose my good references and that would make it very bad, as they might say I do not know how to work—or then I could perhaps not come out in the trial.
Tell me what to do. The lawyer always wants money, and I have none now. My uncle gave me some or told him he would give him later, but you know my uncle promised to give it to him right away, if he himself had money, but he poor fellow is in debt yet on account of his business that he had.... I cry every day and pray to God he should help me.
I also went with one young fellow to have a good time and earned $2 and what is that? For that I bought stockings and what I needed and the $2. were gone. I am now the same as you are, everything tires me. I would rather not see myself.
Let me know my dear what I must buy for you for Christmas or else I might buy something what you do not like.
[Note by parole officer: Esther herself translated this ... passage as follows: “I was in town for a good time and I see the young man with the $2.” She then explained: “I don’t mean that as it sounds; it means that before in New York I met a young man when I was getting off the car. I lost the heel from my shoe and slipped and this young man picked me up and gave me $2. which I dropped out of my pocket-book.” Then translates: “I was in town and I spent 181$2. for stockings and other things which I needed.” Explained: “I havn’t meant that I got $2. from the man the way you have taken it up.”]
My dearest friend: I received your letter with happiness. I read letter about five times and I going to read it again. I laugh so much. You wrote, I were only fooling them. Ha, dear I think you know me already, how I know to fix things up. I want to make them jealous, Ha, ha. I go to laugh so much, so much. If you want to marry one of the officers, you know what they are, they are ever the other [army] men. They can’t marry only a poor girl. If they want to marry they got to have a girl with lots of money 20,000 Kronen, and they got to put the money down for guarantee. If happens something to your sweetheart officer, then you get the money back. Do you understand me, Sunday School? But dear we havn’t got the mens yet, we have to wait for them. If we going to get mens like that, cause we not rich. What your boys says? Did you give them the letter to read. Ha. ha we fooled them. All right, my sweetheart, we going to go always together. You have a right just scold him enough, Italian T. Such a Italians! He didn’t have to say that he meet us on the street. Listen friend, if my uncle ask you if that T. is my sweetheart, then tell him the truth. Otherwise he wouldn’t help me out. He could be very mad. Tell that these are merely some acquaintance. Don’t forget. Friend come to me, I am not allowed to go to see you. You come over and we going to have good time together. Here its lots of nice young men. Listen dear, my lady ask me if I’m going to school and where I’m going when I go out and I told her that I go to visit girls which I knows from school, but I’m going to moving pictures and I have three nice young mens, that’s always so, ha? They said, say kid, how much do you want, one dollar? Then when he feels like to have something—and want to go some place, then I tell him $1.00 that is too cheap. I have no time, maybe next time, so I fool the boys there.
To us usually come one man with eggs. He brings me 182eggs Wednesday, in the afternoon and Saturday. Always when he comes we kiss each other, but he isn’t rich; that’s nothing for us but when you can get a kiss from a man, its nice, isn’t it? Ha, ha. I have always a good time with him. I wish you can be here with me, then you see what fun we can have ... Sunday School.
Dear Friend: Just now I was at the P. O. and I get letter from you, so I am very happy again. Dear Friend, would you think that T. has a factory? You think if he is such a rich man he would not write like that. His handwriting is like when a cat scratches. T. he don’t write to me, so I don’t write to him either. So I wrote him today and I told him he would go to see you. Dear, we was in newspapers. My lawyer, he put us in and [it said] there we was innocent, that we forgot to pay it. Ha, ha, so we are innocent, don’t you think so. That was nice newspaper. I got to laugh so much at that. I were laughing so much that I got stomach ache from it. So T. when he comes to see you, tell him enough and tell him about cheap watch what you have and pocket-book they say we took.... And don’t forget to bring me my sweethearts picture and then I am going to put in—and I am going to show that picture to my lady to make her jealous. Don’t forget to get receipt from the ring what I put in the pawn shop. Friend, I want you to pay for the ring. I like you should pay if you can do it for me. I going to send it to you but your sister should not know anything about it. Don’t tell her nor my uncle either. You know what I should get from him. T. is nice, isn’t he? I wrote to the lawyer and he answered me such a nice letter and he isn’t married yet; he is only young yet. Maybe I going to make love to him. Ha, ha, friend, I got new sweetheart again. Ha, that egg man I don’t like him no more. I don’t kiss him any more because he is only egg man. I want something better, don’t you think, friend?... I go home to see uncle and to see the lawyer. I must see him how he looks.
January 1915. My dearest friend: Your letter and present 183I received. I was so happy that we are so good friends always. My dear, how do you like that present what I sent you. You want to know something new. Today I am twenty years old, my birthday. When you going to have your birthday, dear,—I have big trouble about your dress; I didn’t know what to do I should help you out with it. You know that time I put different name, now I couldn’t remember what kind name I put and after while I remember I put a name Reich. So they answer I should send first $4.40 so tomorrow I go to city. So dear I helping you out much as I can.... I send you receipt from that dress you should believe how much I paid. So darling right away tomorrow I take $4. from my lady’s pocket bag and when you send me $4 I going to put them back....
Dear Friend: ... I going to have a trial this month or start of next month, so don’t say anything about the hat, only about the stockings and about the belt. You must go through to see that you know how to speak in the court. Let your sister speak. I don’t want to work for servant always. That going to cost $125. I have two lawyers; one ask $78, so if you come out would you pay half of it or don’t you want to be with me on the trial? So let me know darling, I got to work too, but so much I take time to write to you. I am always so happy when I get letter from you. I got to go, for my letters to get them; to us don’t come no letter-carrier; I got to go on the post-office. I usually go on the evening and no one think of me and you forgotten me too because you got fellow and you don’t want me to know something about it. I have one too in Philadelphia. My lady told me she would not have taken me out from the Institution but she saw I was innocent; so she took, me. Here is nice blond man....
Dear Friend: Just today I opened letter which made me very happy. I always can hardly wait till I can fool them. Dear Friend tell me what I can do. I just received letter from my lawyer that I have to go to N. Y. and he send me bill for $100. When I receive that I din’t know where I am; 184I thought I faint when I saw the bill. Listen dear tell me where I can get the money. On 30th I have to have it. They going to start the trial. My lawyer he told it going to be bad, that we got to say the truth, but don’t say anything about the pocket-book and the little things.... But only the money, what I do about it. My uncle said he hadn’t any and no one to borrow from. I can’t fool any Jew, Ha, ha. I’m all broke down. I am afraid when the day come when I come between those young mens [lawyers] how I going to stand there, I wouldn’t have no money to pay, so I think the day come to take my life. Now answer me what you going to do. I going to wait for your letter. Address, Franz Joseph, C. K. o. f. Wein, Kaiser Palace.
Dear Friend: ... I know something new, if you want to do that. I think you should dress yourself nice and put a veil on your face, nobody should know you, and go to the store where we took the things—that was on 2nd February 1914. That was on Thursday and this time is on a Thursday again and 2nd of February. If I were in your place I would buy one hat for spring and ask for a receipt and then I would buy two pair stockings and belt—and I pay you for it and the stockings and the hat would be yours. And you should keep the receipt and when its our trial you could show the receipt of your lawyer and your sister and me too and those receipts it is going to say second of February, second month, Thursday. That’s the way we going to burn our people. You need hat and I need 59 cents pair stockings. Soon as you send me the receipts, my lady she have a machine, so I going to change it from 1915 to 1914, and then we going to win. We wouldn’t have to be ashamed about it. You know she didn’t see me when I took the belt, so we can say well we have receipts for the stockings and maybe they did not see us to take one belt and hat; and this I going to tell to the lawyer that I thought I paid already and I put that in my pocket-book and he’s going to think that’s how it is. Friend, do that and you going to see how we come out. I was awfully afraid when I received letter from lawyer 185and he say it would be very hard with us but I think [the foregoing story] be very good. With that we come out very nice. I can make another excuse. I can tell that we bought that [altogether] and when we get the receipts I was so nervous from those detectives when they catch us that I couldn’t remember right away what we does with these receipts and I could put the receipts in my cuff of coat.... And I going to put the tickets in my cuff in the toilet—you know how we put our handkerchiefs in—and I going to forget the coat and maybe they going to examine the coat and find the tickets. We can play then innocent. So think over darling. I would do that if I only can have a chance to go to N. Y., like you. You get card from me but its only for fun.
P. S. Was it 4 o’clock in afternoon or 2 o’clock when we were in the store—Thursday, 2nd Feb., and we locked up at 5 o’clock.
Dear Friend:... I received letters from my sister and they were so happy; they want me to come home soon as I get that letter. But you know how can I go. I haven’t got the money and I am not free and I don’t want to ask them about money and now its the war; they need the money themselves. My sweetheart is not killed yet, so I going to take him when I get home. He always asks about me if I’m angry at him. I rather take him than American; they only want to have girl got to have money. The poor girl they don’t want her and those which are not rich they are nothing worth. Don’t you think so friend, I am right? Don’t be angry friend. Love and kisses.
February, 1915: Dear Friend: Scuse me that I didn’t write so long to you. I was so nervous and mad that I didn’t know what to do—when I can’t help you with the money. Friend I have something new to tell you, so now look out. Tonight lad............
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