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Newspaper Page Text
ANOTHER SLANT IN THE BRYANT-GXLLETT
CASE SOCIETY IS HUMAN SOMETIMES
The case of Chas. W. Gillett, mil
lionaire pea canner and champion
polo player, has been breaking rec
ords for newspaper space. Newspa
per men say no bedroom scandal- in
years has filled so many columns of
the papers and used up so much
printers' ink. Why? .
One story from Lake Forest is
that Gillett never really and truly
"belonged," never was able to break
his way into the insidest inside of
sassiety. He'& the head of the Wis
consin Pea Canning Co. and there
was always something of a pea-canning
factory about him, so that the
real uppety-ups wouldn't let him in.
His wife, however, was pretty much
on the inside when she married him.
" She had vurry little cash, but plenty
of keys and passwords to inside cir
cles. And he had big money. It all
looked like a go, a most successful
But he was a pea-canner. Hun
dreds of men took orders from him.
During the rush season when the
green peas are hauled in and boiled
and put in cans he. had thousands of
women and girls working for him.
He was the big boss and his under
bosses bought the labor of women.
Before the ten-hour law went into ef
fect at Manitowoc and elsewhere Gil
lett's straw bosses drove women to
their jobs 12, 14, 16 and sometimes
18 hours a day, as state industrial
records of Wisconsin show.
Child labor bills came up in the
Wisconsin legislature. Gillett's com
pany was at the front to block them.
It was the same when the women's
ten-hour law came up. Gillett's com
pany wanted a full and free right to
hire girls of any age and the further
right to work women and girls from
early morning until midnight.
Well, Gillett married Elizabeth
Parker. He was big, broad-shouldered,
bluff and hearty. He had the
lieen rapidity of a first-class polo
player. People liked that about him.
And yet there was something else,
the manner and tone of a woman
driver, an active millionaire pea
canner, that stuck to him.
If he could have gone away for a
few years and let others run the can
ning works for him, free from all
contact with the straw bosses and
understrappers who ran the canning
factories, it might have been differ
ent As it was he couldn't break in
to the insides of sassiety. He could
only get so far. Then the doors
slammed and if was him for the
And now the newspapers have
been taking the roof off his house
and letting the whole Mississippi val
ley look in and see how he lived as a
married man. "Well! well! well!" peo
ple said as they hung on the straps
in the packed trolley cars and read
the questions and answers of law
yers and witnesses.
Gillett, slinging first-class whisky
under his belt at the mahogany bars
of millionaire clubrooms, gets just as
drunk and bawls out his wife the
same way as any low-wage father of
a pea-cannery girl gone crazy from
taking too much cheap and common
booze. Gillett smashes furniture,
tears plastering from the walls and
loosens the bathroom flooring look
ing for proof against his wife. He
jostles her and lays his hand at her
throat He sticks a gun, in her face.
He goes down in the redlight district
and slings the drinks and tells stories
and joins in songs with George M.
Cohan and a bunch of Gohan "regu
lar fellers." That's what the news
stories tell us.
The big point in the Bryant-Gillett
story sticking in the minds of a lot
of people is:
They love and hate and quarrel,
they have beautiful children and they
spit in each other's faces behind the
big doors of the big millionaire