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Newspaper Page Text
poor man. I never did until ! was
"Didyou want to tell me something
about the department stores,"
asked, anxious to change the sub-.
"No, I just wanted to talk about
myself. I am in a terrible hole and
I don't know how to get out of it.
I am so worried" I can not sleep and
somehow I thought you might help
me, or that I would feel better by
talking to you.
"Yousee," she continued, as I did
not answer her, "when my father
died a little less than a year ago, and
just eight month's after" mother's
death, he left me an insurance of a
thousand dollars, and nothing else,
Our home and what other assets he
had went to the creditors.
"And out of thatvthousand dollars
. I had to pay his doctor bill and fu
neral expenses. I had eight hundred
dollars left" ,
"Somehow when Jthe people at
home knew I wasn't an heiress they
were unfriendly, so I left immediately
and came to Chicago.
"I realized that I couldn't live long
on that money and I did try to perfect
myself in some special way.
"I took a course iri shorthand and
typewriting and I tried hard enough
to learn. They kept me in the school
six months, but I heard so many tales
of the big salary I would get when
working that I didn't economize,
though I was living in a. very different
manner than when at home:
"At the. end of the six months,
when I should have graduated, the
teacher told me I hadn't tried to
learn, that I would never be a com
petent stenographer, and they didn't
feel they should take my money any
"I knew I had tried, but the sys
tem was so complicated-.and I could
not read what I had written.
"I was almost crazy that day. I
bought some' laudanum, pretending I
wanted it for-a toothache, andlocked j
myself in my rojbm. But it takes too
much courage to kill oneself I just
couldn't do it
"The next day I went down to the
different State street stores, and, be
cause I have good style and am fairly
pretty, I got a position as saleslady
in the millinery department at. 's.
They pay me $7 a week.
"Do you knowwhat it costs me
just to exist?" she asked with a
vehemence that showed the strain
she was under. I haven't anything
worth while; I eat ten-cent break
fasts; I get a fifteen-cent lunch and
a 'thirty-cent table d'hote dinner.
"This room costs me three dollars
a week and my landlady forever re
minds me how cheap it is. I couldn't
live in anything smaller, and I
couldn't share a room with some girl
with whom I had nothing in com
mon, so altogether it costs me be
tween $il.50 and $12 a week just to
keep my heart beating.
"And that doesn't include the forty-dollar
gown I bought for opening
week, and have not used since. -
"Figure itup," she -said harshly..
"I have forty dollars left of my
father's money and I am earning
$4.50 less than I spend. That gives
me about nine weeks of existence
and then what?"
I vainly tried to answer her. Even
if I could help, her with stenography,
beginners only get $7. The cheaper
way of Existing by living in so-called
philanthropic homes was a method
I would not adopt myself, so could
not recommend to another.
She is a girl afraid to "kill herself,
afraid t6 starve to death and, I be
lieve, tod proud to take the third al
ternativethe "easiest way."
I am afraid that only the vice com
mission can answer this girl's ques-' ,
tion, and they must answer" it by a
$12 minimum wage, not the $8 that
the greedy employers are endeavor-
ing to convince them a girl may
live on. y . t
In the meantime well?