OCR Interpretation


The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, March 04, 1916, LAST EDITION, Image 7

Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1916-03-04/ed-1/seq-7/

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"POISON TONGULS" SEND MINISTER TO THE
HOSPITAL GOSSIP CAUSES BREAKDOWN
The Rev. R. H. Fortesque Gairdner,
Episcopal rector of St. Martin's, is se
riously ill with nervous prostration as
a result of the gossip in his parish be
cause he went bail for pretty Anna
Stearns and later took her to his par
ish house and placed her in the care
A of his housekeeper.
The rector, who is 60 and a widow
er, became interested in the girl
through the newspaper stories of her
plight. He went to Harrison street
' police station and offered himself as
a bondsman for her, and, there being
no place that she could go that night,
he took her to the parish house in
Austin.
When the story of his befriending
the girl was made public he was del
uged .with letters criticizing him, and
the gossip spread so that he broke un
der the strain of defending his action.
He is in the West Suburban hospi
tal battling for his life.
Narrow-minded religionists have
existed since before Christ wrote His
message on the sand: "Let he who is
among you without sin cast the first
stone." They are taken so much for
granted that they form the basis of
a lot of successful dramas.
In Barrie's play, "The Little Minis
ter," religionist narrow-minds almost
destroy the romance of the minister
and Babbie but that was a romance.
In the story of the narrow-minded
religionists who have attacked the
rector of St. Martin's, the minister,
Rev. R. H. Fortesque Gairdner, is 60,
and there is no element of romance
except that romance of the good man
who attempts to shield and succor the
fallen woman.
w Anna Stearns was arrested as a
thief. Her story interested Mrs. Leo
nora Z Meder, for it was the story of
a girl without a chance. Daughter of
a drunken father, thrown out by a
step-father, stealing a little finery
that tempted her and thrown into the
place provided by the state for little
girls who steal, she graduated from
there with a knowledge of all the vic
iousness her companions, old in sin,
knew, and without a chance. Her at
tempts to get jobs that would keep
her honestly were defeated by her
record as a former inmate of a state
home for incorrigible girls, and socie
ty drove her back to stealing.
Mrs. Meder saw no possible element
of scandal in the fact that the min
ister went bail for Anna Stearns, nor
in the fact that since there was no
other place where Anna Stearns
could go for the night he took her to
the parish house and turned her over
to his housekeeper's care.
But the narrow-minded religionists
did see an element of scandal in it,
and the scandal broke in a short
while. Anna was re-arrested and she
refused bail the second time, and the
girl who had found the hand of soci
ety so turned against her that she
had no choice but to starve or steal,
spoke with bitterness of -the narrow
minded religionists.
"That minister treated me as if I
were a human being, not a dog," she
said to a Day Book reporter. "He is
the first good man that has treated
me with respect in a long, long
while."
Her blue eyes hardened. "Those
people who are writing him letters
roasting him for taking in a girl like
me, wonder why girls like me don't
turn to religion, so we could go
straight even if we had to starve.
They could get their answer from
me. I would simply refer them to
the letters they are writing to Mr.
Gairdner because he got me out of a
filthy jail and took me into the house
they gave him to live in for doing
God's work.
"It's no wonder that girls who get
down never get up again. How can
they? What chance have they got?
A minister can preach from his pul
pit on Sunday that Christ told the
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