Chicago Tribune

Court Woman Finds They Are Largely From Rural Regions, Rather than City.


Where do the girls who fill the world below the social level come from?

According to the observations of Mrs. Grace Greeneich, probation officers of the Morals court, they come from the high ways and byways of small towns and country sides. For the most part they are not the cityís native daughters.

They are the girls, oftentimes of defective mentality, who, tiring of the narrow limits of their youthful environment, set out for the big town for work. And they find it, of sorts.

"Pure Laziness."

"Itís pure laziness in the majority of cases," asserted Mrs. Greeneich, whose duty is to talk with such of the girls at court as Judge Fisher refers to her and to direct the subsequent probation orders for offenders.

"They want pretty clothes and easy times, and they deliberately chose this method of getting them," continued Mrs. Greeneich. "They can do real work, if they want to. I donít find many are driven to the live by economic conditions. They can live in safe surroundings, if they choose. A while ago we had a girl here belonging to a wealthy Wisconsin family, a girl who had been in society. She was living here in a cheap loop hotel. No right minded girl would have chosen such a home. It lies almost entirely with the girls themselves.

"Often they are well educated. The girls from the small towns are sometimes high school people, having gone through the second or third year, perhaps. They speak well.

Work for a Time

"When they come they work for a time at almost anything, the less intelligent as maids and waitresses, usually. Some find work in manicure parlors. Here the girls reach rich men on a familiar plane, and the advantageous offers they receive are hard to refuse for girls of that are easily lead.

"The steps that follow are easily taken, and the girls may keep the truth from their home people without difficulty, writing merely that they have work. Sometimes we send them home — but they get off at Englewood.

"In other cases, the girls have been married and are slighted or neglected by their husbands. Angry, they fling out on any kind of adventure. They donít care what comes, and they are soon gone too far to go back.

"Sometimes these girls have one child., never any more. This child is always cared for by some one, the mother paying for it, and seeming to love it devotedly.

Hardened Offenders

"When they are brought into this court they are usually hardened offenders, and it is difficult to do much with them. What you say rolls off of them.

"But they do fear probation now. It used to be they didnít, thinking that sentence an easy way out of their arrest. However, now a violation means a sure consignment to the bridewell, and that they donít like at all.

"They are difficult to keep track of. On cannot watch them every minute. We get them work, but if we go to their rooms and find them in , they can plead illness, and we have no way of disproving that. The probations officers, however, drop in on them at any and all times, without any warning whatever, so if they do fall back in their old ways they are running a dangerous risk.

"They are clever girls, many of them the most skillful prevaricators. They will stand up here and swear things to be false that we absolutely know are true — we have the records on the cards— or things we donít know they well afterwards admit they fibbed to us about.

Noisy Duds

"And they do wear such clothes. You can fairly hear them coming down the corridor. Thatís not when they are brought in on trial; then they are shrewd and dress as quietly as their wardrobes permit. They wear their real clothes when they come in later to see one about something. They are clever, futile creatures; they do a lot of harm and make a serious problem."

"There, through the clear eyed woman who has looked searchingly at the raw edges of the seamy side of life, comes the answer, in part, to those poignant questions, "Where do the girls in the underworld come from?" and "what happens to the girls who go away from their homes and their little home towns and are swallowed up evermore in the city?"


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