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title: 'The Day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, April 11, 1913, Image 21',
meta: 'News about Chronicling America - RSS Feed',
Image provided by: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL
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A COUNTRY GIRL TRIED MAKING HER LIVING
IN chicAgo-hs BACK ON THE FARM NOW
BY JANE WHITAKER
A girl so badly frightened that her eyes looked wild, trapped by the f
connivance of starvation wages and a cunning' man, unable to seea loop- 1
hope of escape and dreading the price, she must 'pay that was the girl I
interviewed a few nights ago.,
She lived in the kind of neighborhood I have grown accustomed to and' J
yet would once have hesitated to enter at night. The landlady' opened the .
door, but she did not take me up to the girl's room. She simply indiffer- n
ently .ordered me to go up two flights and I would find her in the rear.
. Trie hall was ridt lighted and I stumbled up in the dark. The first door 5
I knocked.-at brought a mansumpatient, "What do you want?" But before
I had time to reply another? door- opened and my name was called '
"You are Miss Whitaker?" . 3
I answered affirmatively,'- though I felt a little timid of the girl who
stood in tne,qoorway. iiereyes were
swollen arid" redand her hair jvravery
much rumpled. ' f.-
"Come in and sit down," she in
There was only one chair and the
girlsat on the edge oft the bed. I
covered the- whole room in one
glance. It was so small that we were
crowded in it there was no clothes
closet and the girlte lew garments
hung on nails without protection
against the dust.-
A cracked water pitcher and a dirty
wash bowl stood on a stand that had
no cover. There was a chest of
drawers in plage of a bureau, and a
small looking-glass hung on the walL
The bed was a single couch affair,
only it had not even a, white spread
over the blankets.
The girl's eyes followed mine as I
swept the room, and when I looked
back at her she smiled wanly.
"Like it?" she asked. y
" v"Not very well," I said simply, "but
I am not seeing anything I am not
already familiar with. I 'spent two-
years in an attic room where the
walls sloped down so that I had to
bend to move around, and I had to
chop the ice out of the waterpitcher
in the, morning. We don't do it be
cause we like it, tio we?"'
"'But you had something to look
ahead to, and I. have nothing;" then
phe paused. -
Did you ever have a friend who
was in great trouble arid -wanted to ,
confide in you, yet was afraid to trust '
you and did you ever sit silently by '
hoping you might in some way touch i
the right chord and' win that confi- r
dence? " , 1
It is a very trying experience. Yfe
were not friends, just strangers, and
the very fact that I was ho longer
livirig In such a room placed a tiar-
rier between us. " x
To break the tenseness I asked: -"Do
you work?" "
"Yes, I work in 's candy
factory. I get $3.50 a week' wrapping; ?
caramels." ' ' '-
"Pretty hard work fo $.50 a 1
week, isn't it?"- 1
"You just keep-on wrapping nine i
hours a day as many thousand asn
you can do an hour. Can you
"How do you live on $3.50?' Isn't '
it rather tough?" T
She lost her control then. "I don't, 1
I dori't, I don't," 'she sobbed, arid
buried her head in the 'pillow.
"What's the use of crying?" I
asked after a few 'moments "You
never 'solve-a problem that way. Just
imagine I- am. your older sister and
tell me, the whole story. It may riot t
be half as bad as you "think. Our
troubles-riever are' -
It was hard to hear what she said. 5