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Newspaper Page Text
WOULD BIG EMPLOYERS BE SO WdiPfMeNT '
IF THEIR GENTLE SEX RELATIVES WORKED? i
BY JANE WHlTAKER 1
It was positively heartbreaking' to listen to the testimony of the fetate t
street employers before the Vice .Commission" a few weeks ago, but when I
left the LaSalle hotel yesterday, after listening to 'the "sweat shop" men
speak with brutal indifference as to what happens to a girl on starvation '
wages, I came home, and did something I am a .little ashamed to confess,
because it is so long since I have done such a thing I cried. '
The 'trust newspapers are handling this" wage question so . prettily.. ;
One- of their women. wWters is talking to working girls as. thought they were '
some sort of ! stupid children to be led a crust of bread with a smear of
' They are loud in their acclamations that-no girl ever goes wrong be
cause of lack of money and they are comfortably telling you fhat if you
do not get your minimum wage just starve to death;'! '
But don't'-be blinded by that "coddly" talk. Life is not a chromo to-be '
put in a gilt frame and called, a masterpiece it Is cold, drab.' hajd facts.
And I got the uncompromising truth today when Mr. Rubens, of
Rubens & Marble, told not only that he paid less than an existence wage, but
the Vice Commission forced the tact
that one-girl had gone to' California
into a life 'of delinquency because a
man .had promised to better her con
dition," to give her enough to eat and
not because she loved him.
.Girls", I know you . are not like that,
except in the very rare cases. I know
how you fight, I know how you suf
fer, I know how you hope when hope
seems a mockery?
Youare good girls, for the girls
who suffer the, most cling hardest to
the one thing left them, their .fair
names but the point I want to force
home is that one girl even if it is
only one girl tobk the "easiest way"
because she was propaised enough to
. eat and enough to wear!'
What do I care that'she is only .one
weak girl while, there are a million
strong girls? She is-a girl. And we
are girls, too. And am just as sick
at heart.because one" girl iwent wrong
as I shpuld'be if it had, been my mil
lion good girls.
' Xam (forced to see a' lot of things
you5 do not. I have' watched w"eak
srirls fiehtine "for a while, to exist
upthe battle and taking the wrong
lam not drawing from fancy, and
I am not feeding you a crust of bread
with honey smeared on it I know
positively of not one but three girls
who are leading a delinquent life
-while they still retain their positions
and cling to the respectability that-is "
so dear to them.
And to watch the one girl out of ka
million do that thing is worse ian
watching the million girls i slowly
starve to death because you cannot
help that one girl. Even when she
knows' that you know what she is'
doing she shrinks from you and will
not let you help her. .
It was air. Rubens who said we had
three-ways ,of escape and he didn't
include the minimum wage in those
three avenues. 4. .
In the first place, we might marry;
Some of us have a splendid chance,
don't we? How many girls'are there
who. are loved by , men they cannot
marry -because" the man is unable to
while tbev lived miserable lives arid L ' And the men. who could support us
I haye'watched them gradually .giving rarely see "beneath our lack of at-