The Project Gutenberg eBook of Chicago and its cess-pools of infamy

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Title: Chicago and its cess-pools of infamy

Author: Samuel Paynter Wilson

Release date: April 14, 2020 [eBook #61836]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Turgut Dincer, Christian Boissonnas and the
Online Distributed Proofreading Team at
(This file was produced from images generously made
available by The Internet Archive)





Author of “Chicago by Gas Light”, “Wilson’s Epitome
of Historical and Chronological Facts” and
“Wilson’s Concise History.”

[Pg 3]



[Pg 4]

Chicago, Ill.

My Dear Friend:—

I have read your book with great interest. It tells the truth, though no book can tell all the truth. You have been a great help to our community by the practical and useful service you have rendered in the investigation of vice and the bringing of those responsible for it to justice. Our city is the better for your work.

I hope your book will do much good. If parents but knew the dangers that confront their boys and girls in our great cities, they would at least take some ordinary precautions before turning children adrift amid these perils.

Very sincerely yours,

President of the Douglas Neighborhood Club.

[Pg 5]


Dedication 3
Hartzell’s Letter 4
Preface 7-11
Chicago 13-22
Chicago Society 23-34
The White Slave Traffic 35-58
Smashing The Traffic 59-74
Why Girls Go Astray 75-85
More About the Traffic in Shame 86-90
Crime in Chicago 91-103
The Police 105-119
The Lost Sisterhood 121-140
Chicago’s Crowning Curse 141-148
Gambling Hells 149-160
Criminal Operations 161-163
Life Under the Shadows 165-173
The Pawnbrokers 175-184
Pacific Garden Mission 185-191
Churches 193-196
Concert Saloons and Damnation 197-201
Divorces 203-215
Tramps’ Paradise 217-219
Theatres 220-223

[Pg 7]


Chicago is to the West what New York is to the East. It is not only the Great Metropolis of the western states, but is the chief attraction upon this continent, the great center to which our people resort for business, and pleasure, and as such, is a source of never-failing interest.

This being the case, it is natural that every American should desire to visit Chicago, to see the city for himself, behold its beauties, its wonderful sights, and participate in the pleasures which are to be enjoyed only in the metropolis. Thousands avail themselves of this privilege every year; but the great mass of our people know our chief city only by the description of friends and the brief accounts of its sights and scenes which occur from time to time in the newspapers of the day. Even those who visit the city bring away but a superficial knowledge of it, as to know Chicago requires months of constant study and investigation. Strangers see only the surface;[Pg 8] they cannot penetrate into its inner life, and examine the countless influences at work every day in shaping the destiny of the beautiful city. Few even of the residents of the metropolis, have either the time or means for such investigation. Few have a correct idea of the terrible romance and hard reality of the daily lives of a vast portion of the dwellers in Chicago, or of the splendors and luxury of the wealthier classes.

One of the chief characteristics of Chicago is the rapidity with which changes occur in it. Those who were familiar with the city in the past will find it new to them now. The march of progress and improvement presses on with giant strides, and the city of today is widely separated from that of a few years ago. Only one who has devoted himself to watching its onward career, in prosperity, and magnificence or in misery and crime, can form any idea of the magnitude and character of the wonderful changes of the past twenty-five years.

The volume now offered to the reader aims to be a faithful and graphic pen picture of Chicago and its countless sights, its romance, its mysteries, its nobler and better efforts in the cause of[Pg 9] humanity, its dark crimes, and terrible tragedies. In short, the work endeavors to hold up to the reader a faithful mirror in which shall pass all the varied scenes that transpire in Chicago by sunlight and by gaslight. To those who have seen the great city, the work is offered as a means of recalling some of the pleasantest experiences of their lives; while to the still larger class who have never enjoyed this pleasure, it is hoped that it will be the medium of acquiring an intimate acquaintance with Chicago in the quiet of their homes.

This volume is not a work of fiction, but a narrative of well-authenticated, though often startling facts. The darker sides of Chicago life are shown in their true colors, and without any effort to tone them down. Foul blots are to be found upon the life of the great city. Sin, vice, crime and shame are terrible realities there, and they have been presented here as they actually exist.

Throughout the work, the aim of the author has been to warn those who wish to see for themselves the darker side of city life, of the danger attending such undertaking. A man who seeks the haunts of vice and crime in Chicago takes his[Pg 10] life in his hand and exposes himself to dangers of the most real kind while in quest of knowledge.

Enough is told in this volume to satisfy legitimate curiosity, and to convince the reader that the only path of safety in Chicago is to avoid all places of doubtful repute. The city is bright and beautiful enough to occupy one’s time with its wonderful sights and innocent pleasures. To venture under the shadows is to covet danger in all its forms. No matter how “Wise in his own conceit” a stranger may be, he is but a child in the hands of the disreputable classes of the great city.

In the preparation of this work the author has drawn freely upon his experiences, the result of a long and intimate acquaintance with all the various phases of Chicago life. He ventures to hope that those who are familiar with the subject will recognize the truthfulness of the statements made and that the book may prove a source of pleasure and profit to all who may honor it with a perusal.

But to destroy the pitfalls, and to blot out forever the vicious places that yawn for the[Pg 11] youths of our land, is the chief aim in spreading in plain view the picture here presented.

The monsters may snort and foam, and clap their chubby hands for a while, and laugh at the destruction they have wrought, but we say to them, the ship is not wrecked yet, and in the lull of the storm, we bid our readers to be of good cheer.

The publication of any book must deal largely in facts and if in presenting these dreadful pictures to the public they may be the means of saving some mother’s boy or girl from the “brands of eternal burning,” we shall feel that we have accomplished that which money cannot buy—a clear conscience.


[Pg 13]


Twenty-five years in Chicago! What amazing tragedies, and heart-rending scenes have been cast to the winds in that quarter of a century! Could a departed spirit of the earlier days be transported to modern Chicago, the grand panorama would amaze it, even though it be endowed with universal wisdom.

Many historical landmarks have given way to multitudinous mountains of brick and mortar. Where once stood the “low grocery,” now are erected monuments of commerce. Vicious places, where lips have touched wine sweetened by vile and despicable men, are now splendid buildings, churches, temples of learning and other great structures.

The growth and development of Chicago is without parallel, and without precedent. Its future has been often prophesied, but not always understood. When we undertake to trace the causes that have led to its commercial supremacy,[Pg 14] and those that are now operating to increase its prosperity, we are met by singular and fatuous circumstances, which it was impossible to foresee and not easy to comprehend. One thing is, however, certain, that the anticipations of the most sanguine have always been more than realized, while the prognostications of the doubtful have only been remembered for their fallacy.

The progressive growth of the city has been often capricious, so far as locality is concerned, but the important factor of topography has always asserted itself, in spite of all efforts to ignore it in the interests of individual projects.

The people of Chicago represent every nationality upon the Globe, and thus give to the city the cosmopolitan character which is one of its most prominent features. But no city on the continent is so thoroughly American as this. The native population is the ruling element, and makes the great city what it is, whether for good or for evil. The children and grandchildren of foreigners soon lose their old world ideas and habits and the third generation sees them as genuine and devoted Americans as any in the city.

The besetting sin of the foreign born citizen is[Pg 15] their race for wealth; the very struggle for existence is so eager and intense here, that the people think little of public or religious affairs, and leave their city government, with all its vast interests, in the hands of a few politicians. They pay dearly for this neglect of such important interests. They are taxed and plundered by political tricksters, and are forced to bear burdens and submit to losses which could be avoided by a more patriotic and sensible treatment of their affairs.

The race for wealth is a very exciting one in the great city. The interests at stake are so vast, the competition so constant and close, that men are compelled to be on the watch all the time, and to work with rapidity and almost without rest. Every nerve, every muscle, every power and faculty of body and mind, is taxed to the utmost to discharge the duty of the day. Go into any of the large establishments of the city during business hours and you will be amazed at the ceaseless rush and push of clerks and customers. It is one of unending drive. They cannot always stand the strain upon them, and die off by the hundreds.[Pg 16] at a time of life when they ought to be looking forward to a hearty old age.

A gentleman once said to the writer of these pages:

“I came to Chicago at the opening of the World’s Fair to seek employment. I came up the Mississippi River as far as St. Louis, full of hope and confidence. The trip up the river gave new life to this feeling. I knew I was competent, and I was resolved to succeed. I landed at one of the nearby depots and taking up my valise started up town. I turned into State Street, and as I did so, found myself in a steady stream of human beings, each hurrying by as if his life depended upon his speed, taking no notice of his fellows, pushing and jostling them, and each with a weary, jaded, anxious look upon his face. As I gazed at this mighty torrent I was dismayed, I got as far as State and Madison Streets, and then I put my valise upon the pavement, and leaning against a convenient lamp-post, watched them as they passed me by; they came by hundreds, thousands, all with eager, restless gait that I now know so well; all with the weary, anxious, careworn expression I have mentioned, as if trying to reach[Pg 17] some distant goal within a given time. They seemed to say to me, 'we would gladly stop if we could, and rest by the way, but we must go on and on and know no rest.’ I asked myself what chance have I here? Can I keep up with this mighty, eager, restless throng, or will they pass me, and leave me behind?” “Well,” he added, with a sad smile, “I have managed to keep up with them, but I tell you it’s a hard strain. We are all living too fast; we are working too hard, we grind, grind at our treadmills all day and we grind too hard, we break down long before we should, this haste, this furious pace at which we are going, at business, at pleasure, at everything, is the great curse of Chicago life.”

Now, my friend’s opinion is shared in by hundreds, thousands of the most sensible men of the city, but they are powerless to save themselves from the curse they know to be upon them. So they must join the crowd, and rush on and on, seeking the glittering prize of wealth and fame.

The common opinion that Chicago is the paradise for humbugs and tricksters is somewhat overdrawn. These people do abound here, beyond a doubt; but they are short-lived. They flourish[Pg 18] today and are gone tomorrow, they take no root, and have no hold upon any genuine interests; they attain no permanent success. It is only genuine merit that succeeds in the great city. Men are here subjected to a test that soon takes the conceit out of them. They are taken for just what they are worth, and no more, and he must show himself a man indeed, who would take his place among the princes of trade, or among the leaders of thought and opinion. He may bring with him from his distant home the brightest of reputations, but here he will have to begin at the very bottom of the ladder and mount upward again. It is slow work, so slow that it tries every quality of true manhood to its utmost.

It is said that Chicago is the wickedest city in the country. It is the second largest, and vice thrives and reigns supreme in crowded communities. How great this wickedness is we may see in the subsequent portions of this work. If it is the wickedest city, it is also one of the best on the continent. If it contains thousands of the worst men and women in our land, it contains also thousands of the brightest and best of Christians. In point of morality, it will compare favorably[Pg 19] with any city in the world. It is unhappily true that the devil’s work is done here upon a large scale; but so is the work of God upon an even greater scale. If the city contains the gaudiest, the most alluring, and the vilest haunts of sin, it also boasts of the noblest and grandest institutions of religion, of charity, and virtue.

I have spoken of the energy of the people in matters of business; they are, in all respects the most enterprising in the Union. They are bold and self-reliant; they take risks in business from which others shrink, and carry their ventures forward with a resolution and vigor that cannot fail of success. It is this that has made Chicago great; its people take a large, liberal view of matters; they are cosmopolitan in all things.

As a place of residence to those who have the means to justify it, Chicago is a most delightful city. Its attractions are many and it possesses a peculiar charm, which all who have dwelt within its borders feel.

To the dweller in Chicago, State Street is what the Boulevards are to the Parisians. It is the center of life, gayety and business; the great artery through which flows the strong life-current[Pg 20] of the metropolis. From the Chicago River to Twelfth Street it is thronged with a busy crowd of workers, restless pleasure-seekers, the good and the bad, the grave and the gay, all hurrying on in eager pursuit of the “show street” of the city, and certainly no more wonderful sight can be witnessed than this grand thoroughfare at high noon. As night comes on the great hotels, restaurants and business emporiums, send out a blaze of light, and are alive with visitors. The crowd is out for pleasure at night, and many and varied are the forms which the pursuit of it takes. Here is a family—father, mother and children—out for a stroll to see the sights they have witnessed a hundred times, and which never grow dull; there is a party of theatre-goers, bent on an evening of innocent amusement; here is a “gang of roughs,” swaggering along the sidewalks, jostling all who come within their way; here a party of young bloods, out on a lark, are drawing upon themselves the keen glances of the stalwart policeman, as he slowly follows them.

[Pg 21]

All sorts of people are out and the scene is enlivened beyond description. Moving rapidly through the throng, sometimes in couples, sometimes alone, and glancing swiftly and keenly at the men they pass, are a number of flashily-dressed women, generally young and prepossessing. One would never take them for respectable women, as they do not intend that you shall. These are the most degraded of the “lost sisterhood.” The men of the city shun them; their prey is the stranger, and should they succeed in attracting the attention of a victim they dart off down the first side street, and wait for their dupes to join them.

Woe to the man who follows after one of these creatures. The next step is to some of the low dives which still occupy too many of the so-called “hotels” in the business district or perchance to the back room of some pretentious saloon, where bad or drugged liquor steals away the senses of the luckless victim, and robbery or even worse violence, too often ends in the adventure. These women have gone so far down into the depth of sin, that they scruple at nothing which will bring them money.

The throng fills the street until a late hour of the night, then the theatres pour out their audiences to join in, and for an hour or more the restaurants[Pg 22] and cafes are filled to their utmost capacity; then as midnight comes on, the street becomes quieter and more deserted. The lights in the buildings are extinguished, and gradually upper State Street becomes silent and deserted—Chicago has gone to bed.

[Pg 23]

Chicago Society

Good and Bad.

Society in Chicago is made up of many parts, a few of which we propose to examine.

The first-class is unfortunately smallest, and consists of those who set culture and personal refinement above riches. It is made up of professional men and their families, lawyers, clergymen, artists, authors, physicians, scientific men and others of kindred pursuits and tastes. Compared with the other classes, it is not wealthy, though many of its members manage to attain competency and ease. Their homes are tasteful and often elegant, and the household graces are cultivated in preference to display, the tone of this class is pure, healthy and vigorous, and personal merit is the surest passport to it. It furnishes the best types of manhood and womanhood to be met with in the metropolis and its homelife is simple and attractive. In short, it may[Pg 24] be said to be the saving element of society in the city, and fortunately it is a growing element, drawing to it every year new members, not only from the city itself, but from all parts of the country. It is this class which gives tone to the moral and religious life of the city. Its members are generally sufficiently well-off in this world’s goods to render them independent of the forms to which others are slaves; they are always ready to recognize and lend a helping hand to struggling merit, but sternly discountenance vulgarity and imposture. They furnish the men and women who do the best work and accomplish the greatest results in social and business life and their names are honored throughout the city.

The second-class consists of those who have inherited large wealth for one or more generations of ancestors. They are generally people of culture, nothing of shoddyism or snobbery about them. Their houses are filled with valuable works of art and mementoes. Having an abundance of leisure they are free to cultivate the graces of life, and they constitute one of the pleasantest patrons of society in the city. The class is not large, but it is constantly receiving new members[Pg 25] in the children of men who have made their way in the world, and have learned to value money at its true worth. They make good citizens, with the exception of an easy going indifference to political affairs, are proud of their city and country, and do not ape the airs or costumes of foreign lands.

The third largest class, that which may be said to give Chicago’s fashionable society its peculiar tone, consists of the “newly rich.” These are so numerous, and make themselves so conspicuous, that they are naturally regarded as the representative class of Chicago society. They may be known by their coarse appearances, and still coarser manners, their loud style and ostentatious display of wealth. Money with them is everything, and they judge men, not by their merits, but by their bank account. They are strangers to the refinements and small, sweet courtesies of life, and for them substitute a hauteur and a dash that lay them open to unmerciful ridicule. Some of them are without education or polish, and look down upon those who are less fortunate than themselves, and fawn with cringing servility upon the more aristocratic portion of[Pg 26] society. To be invited to an entertainment of some family of solid repute in the fashionable world, to be on visiting terms with those whose wealth and culture rank them as the true aristocracy, is the height of their ambition. This they generally accomplish, for money is a passport to all classes of Chicago society. The better elements may laugh at the “newly rich,” but they invite them to their houses, entertain them, are entertained in return, and so do their share in keeping the “newly rich” firm in its position on the Avenues and Lake Shore Drive.

The “newly rich” look down with supreme contempt upon the institutions which have enabled them to rise so high in the social scale. It is from them one hears so many complaints of the degeneracy of society, and it is the frown from them that chills the ambitious hopes of rising merit; lacking personal dignity themselves, they ridicule it in others.

Some strange changes of names are brought about by a translation to the upper circles. Plain John Smith becomes John Smythe, and perhaps Smyythe. Sam Long, who began life by driving a dray, is now Mr. Samuel Longue. A coat of[Pg 27] arms suddenly makes its appearance, for the establishment in the city which deals in such matters is equal to any emergency, and often a pedigree is manufactured in the same way.

A mansion on Lake Shore Drive or in any of the more pretentious avenues, newly acquired wealth is liberally expended in fitting up the new house; and then the fortunate owners of it suddenly burst upon society as stars of first magnitude. They are ill-adapted to their new position, it is true, rude and unrefined, but they have wealth and are willing to spend it, and money is supposed to carry with it all the virtues and graces of fashionable life. This is all society requires, and it receives them with open arms, flatters and courts them, and exalts them to the seventh heaven of fashionable bliss.

Lucky are they who can manage to retain the positions thus acquired. It too often happens that this suddenly gotten wealth goes as rapidly as it came. Then the star begins to pale and finally the family drops out of the fashionable world. It is not missed, however; new stars take their places, perhaps to share the same fate, thus this class of society is not permanent as regards its[Pg 28] members. It is constantly changing. People come and go, and the leaders of one season may be conspicuous the next only by their absence.

Sometimes even this class of society takes a notion to be exclusive, and then it is hard to enter the charmed circle.

Some years ago, a gentleman, a man of brains and sterling merit, who had risen slowly to fortune feeling himself in every way fitted for social distinction, resolved to enter society, and to signalize his entree by a grand entertainment. At that time he lived in a not very fashionable street, but he did not regard this as a drawback. He issued his invitations and prepared his entertainment upon a scale of unusual magnificence, and at the appointed time his mansion was ablaze with light, and ready for the guests. Great was his mortification, not one of those invited set foot within his doors. In his anger he swore a mighty oath that he would yet compel Chicago society to humble itself to him. He kept his word, became one of the wealthiest men in the city, indeed one of the merchant princes of the land, and in the course of a few years, society, which had scorned his first invitations, was begging for admission to[Pg 29] his sumptuous fetes. He became a leader of society, and his mandates were humbly obeyed by those who had presumed to look down upon him. It was a characteristic triumph; his millions did the work.

Poverty is always a misfortune. Chicago brands it as a crime; consequently no poor man, or even one of moderate means, can hold a place in Chicago society. Indeed it would be impossible for any one not possessed of great wealth to maintain a position in what is termed “high-toned” society here. To do this it requires an almost fabulous outlay of money. As money opens the doors of the charmed circle, so money must keep one within it. Thus Chicago (as in most large cities) has become the most extravagant in the world. In few cities on the globe are such immense sums spent.

Extravagance is the besetting sin of metropolitan social life. Immense sums are expended annually in furnishing the aristocratic mansions, in dress, in entertainments, and all sorts of folly and dissipation. It is no uncommon thing for a house and its contents to be heavily mortgaged to provide the means of keeping its occupants in[Pg 30] proper style. The pawnbrokers drive a thriving trade with the ladies of position who pledge jewels, costly dresses, and other articles of feminine luxury, to raise the money for some functional folly. Each member of society strives to outshine or outdress, his or her acquaintances, and to do so requires a continual struggle and a continual drain upon the bank account. Men have been led to madness and even suicide and women to sin and shame, by this constant race for social distinction, but the mad round of extravagances and folly goes on and on, the new comers failing to profit by the sad experiences of those who have gone before them.

The love of dress is a characteristic of the Chicago woman of fashion. To be the best dressed woman at a ball, the opera, a dinner, or on the street, is the height of her ambition. To outshine all other women in the splendor of her attire or her jewels, is to render her supremely happy. Dresses are ordered without regard to cost, and other articles of luxury are purchased in proportion.

Now this is well enough for those who can afford it, but the majority of the Chicago fashionables[Pg 31] cannot stand the strain long. As we have said, their great wealth melts steadily under such demands upon it, until there is nothing left but bankruptcy and ruin and of the eternal grind. From time to time the business community is startled by the failure, perhaps the suicide of some normally well-to-do merchant or banker. The affair creates a brief sensation and is soon forgotten. The cause is well-known, “living beyond his means,” or “ruined by his family’s extravagance.” Men suffer the tortures of the damned in their efforts to maintain their commercial standing, and at the same time to provide their families with the means of keeping their place in society. They are driven to forgery, defalcation, and other crimes, yet they do not achieve their object. Ruin lays its heavy hand upon them and the game is played out.

As for Madame, she must have money. The husband may not be able to furnish it, and there may be a limit even to the pawnbroker’s generosity; but money she must have. Fashionable life affords her the means. She sells her honor for filthy lucre; she finds a lover with a free purse, and willing to pay for the favors. She acts with[Pg 32] her eyes open, and sins deliberately, and from the basest of motives. She wants money and she gets it. Sometimes the intrigue runs on without detection and Madame shifts from lover to lover, according to her needs. Again there is an unexpected discovery; an explosion follows. Madame’s fine reputation goes to the winds, and there is a gap in society.

No wonder so many fashionable women look jaded, have an anxious, half-startled expression, and seem weary. They are living in a state of dread lest their secrets be discovered and the inevitable ruin overtake them.

Some strange things happen at these fashionable gatherings. Let your memories run back to the early eighties and you will recall an incident of a robbery in the very midst of festivities. In most instances the articles taken are of value that can be easily secreted, the criminal as a rule, is no vulgar thief, but is one of society’s privileged and envied members. The papers of that date recorded the following:

“In the dingy back room of a renowned detective was the scene of an impressive spectacle several weeks ago. In the presence of the gentlemen,[Pg 33] one a well-known detective, the other a prominent merchant—knelt a fashionably dressed man of middle age, confessing a shameful story of crime, and imploring mercy.

“I admit all,” he cried. “I stole the property, but I cannot restore it, I was driven to the deed in order to maintain my position in society. My means had largely left me, and I could not resist temptation.”

“This statement fell like a thunderbolt upon the merchant, who had known the speaker long and favorably. To the detective, however, it was not at all unexpected, as he had already satisfied himself as to the guilt of the man. The stealing which was here confessed was one of those crimes in higher circles of society.”

Only a decade has elapsed since the family of a well-known lawyer living on a prominent Avenue, gave a social entertainment to which persons of high standing in society were invited. The following morning it was discovered that rings, watches and jewelry worth several hundred dollars was missing. The most careful search and close examination of servants forced the conclusion upon the family that the robbery had been[Pg 34] committed by some one of the guests, although this seemed incredible, as every name upon the list of those present seemed to forbid the thought of suspicion. The affair was put into the hands of private detectives, who were unable, however, to obtain the slightest clew to the thief of the property.

Yet it is not the professional thieves that those who get up fashionable entertainments chiefly fear. The most dangerous class, because the most numerous, are included among the invited guests and are called, when detected, kleptomaniacs.

[Pg 35]

The White Slave Traffic

The revelations made by investigators should be given as wide a currency as possible. The extent of the White Slave traffic and the machinery by which it is maintained, should be brought home, not only to the officials sworn to deal with crime, but to parents sworn under higher law to guard their young.

Thousands of girls from the country are entrapped each year, and the pitiful fact is that the parents of a large majority of these unfortunates are unaware of their fate. As a consequence of this state of public ignorance, the traffic proceeds unchecked, save by the efforts of persons willing to give time and money for the procuring of evidence and prosecuting the offenders.

What is greatly needed as a supplement to vigorous prosecution of offenders is a campaign of education. Writers, clergymen and officials should[Pg 36] take up this appalling evil and instruct parents as to the reality and extent of the danger. In small towns there is virtually no knowledge of this terribly increasing traffic of buying and selling and securing girls for houses of prostitution.

The problem is enormous, but by educational means it can be largely solved. The responsibility for a broad and systematic campaign of enlightenment rests chiefly with the parents, who should become enlightened upon the subject by reading and inquiry, and then instruct their children upon the educational lines to the end that they may know the sad realities and gravity of the evil and its conditions.

The vampires who deal in human bodies must and will be punished. These wretches, who, for a few dollars, will dig so low down in the quagmire of rottenness must be sent to prison. If fathers and mothers could be brought to a realization that thousands of young and tender girls are being sold to vultures for immoral purposes, they would raise a wave of indignation that would sweep around the world.

It is notable, and a commendable fact that the government, through its agents and courts, is accomplishing[Pg 37] results that will, it is hoped, forever crush this awful business, and drive the keepers of these cess-pools of vice and shame into the sea of everlasting ignomy.

The sole aim in writing upon the White Slave subject is to definitely call the attention of the men and women of the United States, and especially those of the larger cities, to the vicious, and thoroughly organized white slave traffic of today, and its attendant, far-reaching, horrible results upon the young man and womanhood of our land. During a constant investigation, covering several years’ time in the central slum districts of Chicago, I have gained much actual knowledge of the questions of poverty, drink and prostitution among the lost men and women of this great city. Have become personally acquainted with very many of them, visiting them, listening to their heart stories and growing to know much of their inside lives and have learned a real tender interest and pity for them in their remorseful, helpless, hopeless condition. Statistical references have been taken from the writings of United States District Attorney Sims, Ernest A. Bell, Judge John R. Newcomer, Clifford G. Roe and[Pg 38] others engaged in prosecuting and reform work, all of whom I thank earnestly and wish well in what they are accomplishing for good where it is so desperately needed in this submerged underworld of our city.

After these years of experience, and after having visited in various capacities, disguised, etc., many of the worst haunts of vice and houses of prostitution in Chicago, I personally came to this conclusion: There is small chance for a girl, once having been sold into or entered upon a life of prostitution, to ever escape therefrom. Invariably she is kept in debt to her masters, excessive bills for parlor clothes, board, dentistry, laundry and all conceivable expenses are kept charged up against her. She is under constant threat of personal violence and blackmail in every form (her owners securing, whenever possible, some knowledge of her home and friends and continually holding this knowledge as a dagger over her), and then there are the ever-present whoremasters and madams with drugs and drinks and bolts and bars, guarding every possible avenue of escape with blows and curses and brutality beyond conception. Very few young girls enter a life of[Pg 39] prostitution voluntarily, and few, once entering, ever escape.

The recent examination of more than two hundred “white slaves” by the office of the United States District Attorney of Chicago has brought to light the fact that literally thousands of innocent girls from the country districts are every year entrapped into a life of hopeless slavery and degredation because parents in the country do not understand conditions as they exist and how to protect their daughters from the “white slave” traders who have reduced the art of ruining young girls to a national and international system. I sincerely believe that nine-tenths of the parents of these thousands of girls who are every year snatched from lives of decency and comparative peace and dragged under the slime of an existence in the “white slave” world have no idea that there is really a trade in the ruin of girls as much as there is trade in cattle or sheep or the other products of the farm. If these parents had known the real conditions, had believed that there is actually a syndicate which does as regular, as steady and persistent a “business” in the ruination of girls as the great packing houses do in the[Pg 40] sale of meats, it is wholly probable that their daughters would not now be in dens of vice and almost utterly without hope of release excepting by the hand of death.

It is only necessary to say that the legal evidence thus far collected establishes with complete moral certainty these awful facts: That the white slave traffic is a system—a syndicate which has its ramifications from the Atlantic seaboard to the Pacific ocean, with “clearing houses” or “distributing centers” in nearly all the larger cities; that in this ghastly traffic the buying price of a young girl is $15.00 and that the selling price is generally about $200.00—if the girl is especially attractive, the white slave dealer may be able to sell her for $400.00 or $600.00; that this syndicate did not make less than $200,000 last year in this almost unthinkable commerce; that it is a definite organization sending its hunters regularly to scour France, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Canada for victims; that the man at the head of this unthinkable enterprise is known among his hunters as “The Big Chief.”

Judge John R. Newcomer of Chicago, said[Pg 41] before the National Purity Congress at Battle Creek, Michigan:

“Within one week I had seven different letters from fathers, from Madison, Wisconsin, on the north, to Peoria, Illinois, on the south, asking me in God’s name to do something to help them find their daughters, because they had come to Chicago and they had never heard from them afterward.

“If you mean by the 'white slave’ traffic the placing of young girls in a brothel for a price, it is undoubtedly a real fact, based upon statements that have been made in my court during the past three months by defendants, both men and women, who have pleaded guilty to that crime, and in a sense it is both interstate and international.

“Not one, but many shipments, of which I have personal knowledge, based upon testimony of people who have pleaded guilty, many shipments come from Paris and other European cities to New York; and from New York to Chicago and other western points; and from Chicago as a distributing point to the West and Southwest; and on the western coast coming into San Francisco and other ports there. No, it is a real fact; and it is something that we have got to take notice of, and[Pg 42] something that, while it may have been developed largely during the past ten years, the national government itself has recently taken notice of its existence.”

Mr. Clifford G. Roe, formerly Assistant State’s Attorney, who has prosecuted very many cases against the traffickers in women, said before the union meeting of ministers called to consider the white slave traffic, at the auditorium of the Young Men’s Christian Association, February 10, 1908:

“A great many persons are yet skeptical of the existence of an organized traffic in girls. They seem to think that those advocating the abolition of this trade are either fanatics or notoriety seekers. They doubt the truth of the impossibility of escape and content themselves with the thought that girls use the plea of slavery to right themselves with their parents and friends when their cases are made public.

“However, if these same people could have been in the courts of Chicago during the past year their minds would be disabused of the idea that slavery does not exist in Chicago.

“The startling disclosures made in nearly a hundred cases ought to arouse not only the citizens[Pg 43] of Chicago, but the whole country to the highest pitch of indignation.”

Chicago’s Soul Market.

“O, he keeps a bunch of 'fillies’ in the shanty down near the corner of Monroe and Peoria streets, and they’re not foreigners, either. They’re your nice American girls. No wonder he can make a bet like that on a mere chance, from a roll of yellow-backs.” The speaker was a madam of a Peoria street resort, the listeners a motley crowd of women gathered in the rear room of a popular saloon and gambling house not far from the corner of Green and Madison streets on the seething, congested west side of Chicago. These women assembled in that screened back room to risk their hard-earned or evil-gotten money on the horses of the Louisville race track.

There sat the little eighteen-year-old, brown-eyed milliner, her dissipated face hollow and drawn from worry and lack of sleep and an insufficient quantity of nourishing food, while near her a white-haired old woman in shabby black was tightly grasping two quarters, her entire worldly[Pg 44] possession. Just across sat a well-dressed woman restaurant keeper, a young Eastern Star, and half a hundred others, above all of whom shone the yellow-haired madam of the Peoria street resort, the star patron of that great gambling room for women, each one of whom was eagerly beckoning the well-groomed bookmaker, feverishly anxious to get her pittance on the race track favorite, when a connecting door was pushed suddenly open and in rushed a fashionably-dressed, brutal-faced young Russian Jew, holding loosely an immense roll of money. Tens, twenties, hundreds—he came with them until three hundred dollars had been placed to win upon a “clocker’s tip” in that day’s last race in Louisville.

There was a grim, deadly silence, eating, unbearable silence in that gambling room as they waited the ring of the telephone and the name of the winner. Again the yellow-haired madam’s voice screamed shrilly out, for she was indeed ill at ease, her money was on the favorite—“Yes, a bunch of American 'fillies’ peddled out at fifty cents an hour to all comers, black and white, sick or sound. No wonder he can make a play like that on an outside chance.”

[Pg 45]

Three hundred dollars! My heart stood still almost. The thought flashed through my brain that that wager meant hundreds of hours of shame and slavery and horror to those girls in the shanties down on Peoria Street, some mother’s girl, every one of them. I sat still for a little while and watched the fevered, anxious throng about me. My heart kept going faster and faster until I could bear it no longer. American “fillies” and body and soul under a brutal Russian Jewish whoremonger! I slipped quietly out into the street; night was coming on as I walked down Madison street and south on Peoria. Yes, there were the shanties—poor, wretched hovels, every one of them. Out shone the flickering red lights, out came the discordant, rasping sound of the rented piano, out belched the shrieks of drunken harlots, mingled with the groans and curses of task-masters in a foreign tongue, attracting the attention of the hundreds of laborers, negroes and boys, as they walked home on Peoria street from their day’s work. On I went until I came to the little shed just north of the slum saloon occupied by one S——, and checking my steps I looked around me on the squalid, wretched scene. I was[Pg 46] in the midst of prostitution at its lowest—the heart-breaking dregs of Chicago’s twenty-two thousand public women. Yes, there they were—the fair young American girl, the stolid Russian Jewess, the middle-aged, syphilitic harlot, living, prostituting, dying, like so many hurt, broken moths around that great Red Light—Chicago’s west side soul market—their poor, wretched bodies, sold day and night at from twenty-five to fifty cents an hour to all comers who could pay the pitiful price demanded by their brutal, soulless masters; and as I looked the burning fire of intense pity entered my soul for these drug and drink-sodden, diseased, chained slaves—my sisters in Christ in this great free American Republic—and so with a heart full of consuming desire to know more of the real lives of these scarlet women and to help them, if possible, I began at once a thorough personal investigation of Chicago’s public slave market, visiting these people in various capacities whenever occasion offered; talking with them, gaining their much-abused confidence until I gradually learned the inside lines of the saddest story America has ever known since the black mothers of our Southland were torn from[Pg 47] their black and white babies and with shrieks of agony and heartstrings bleeding and souls rent with blackened horror were sold to death on the plantations of Louisiana and Mississippi, and I want to tell you who read this and who think there is little truth in the now much agitated question of white slavery in America, that in the dives and dens of our city’s underworld I have heard shrieks and heart cries and groans of agony and remorse that have never been surpassed at any public slave auction America has ever witnessed, as these girls, many of them, oh! so young, realizing their awful fate with scalding tears and moans of horror, shut out from their hearts and lives father or mother, or husband and child and turned their sob-shaken, tortured bodies to face the months or years of final, relentless wretchedness and woe, to be at last thrown out sick and broken to die in some alley or be carted off to Dunning poorhouse to gradual physical decay and a pauper’s burial, and grave and obliteration, while those who sold them just a few years before go out in their diamonds and fine linen and their great automobiles to buy up more girls (it might be your daughter—father, mother—or it might be[Pg 48] mine) to fill up the vacancy in the ranks of this vast army of white slaves. A woman said to me the other day, and it was a lofty, sneering tone, too: “I doubt if these women are ever coerced or even imposed upon.” Listen! read, then listen! Sitting in my office one afternoon, I listened, my blood almost freezing, to the following story, vouched for by Mr. C——, an immigration inspector and brother of a well-known Chicago reform-worker, and here it is as he told it to me: “One evening some time ago I was looking up a case down in the Twenty-second street red-light district, and visited and inspected, looking for immigrant girls held illegally at a certain house of the lower class in that neighborhood of prostitution. While in the house I noticed a young woman lying very ill (in the last stages of consumption, if I remember the story exactly) and in a semi-conscious condition, and to my horror upon inquiry I learned that in the rush hours of business this helpless, painracked young woman was open to all comers holding an accredited room check.” My friends, there are true stories heard and known every day around the city’s seething, blood-red soul market that cannot be put in print—stories[Pg 49] though, that, were they to become known, would make decent Chicago rise as one man and cry with a voice outspeaking Fort Sumpter, “White Slavery in Chicago and America must cease!”

During my years of study of this question of prostitution I learned to know personally many of the characteristic white slaves of the west and south side “levees.” One “Alice” I shall never, never forget. Beautiful, aside from her dissipation, a high-school graduate, grammar and syntax perfect, manner exquisite, “Alice,” seduced at eighteen, was at the age of twenty-one away down the line in the west side levee underworld. I used to talk many times with Alice as she sat in the back parlor of the “house” on Peoria street that gave her shelter, awaiting her call of “next” to go “upstairs” with whatsoever—negro, white or Chinese—might buy possession for one dollar (one of our dollars of the Republic on which is eternally stamped the blessed words, “In God we trust”) of her beautiful body for one hour. Smoking, always smoking her doped Turkish cigarette, Alice told me much of her life, both in years gone forever and of a daily “levee” existence. She told me of a father and mother and a beautiful[Pg 50] home, of a lover who came into it and led her away by night into “levee” slavery—of awful disgrace and inheritance, of a little baby that she only knew one hour, of hours of insane remorse and anguish, until at last she would stand and scream and scream with mental pain until some whoremonger knocked her senseless, and then she told me how she would crawl away to a nearby shanty saloon and drink herself helpless, to forget. As far as I know, Alice is still on Peoria street, and oh, men and women, there are twenty-two thousand of these “Alices,” your sisters and mine, in Chicago’s great blasting soul market today. United States Attorney Sims puts the average life of a prostitute at ten years or less, while other excellent authorities as low as five years, as these women must constantly drink any and all drinks purchased for them (as much of the business revenue is from the sale of these drinks) by visitors, thus forcing them at all times into a continual half-drunken condition, rendering them helpless to control or resist the abnormal, sickening, mind and body-wrecking demands made upon them. Very few women live therein an average more than three, four or six years, and at[Pg 51] the end of that time twenty-two thousand pure young girls gathered from prairie homes and village firesides and from our own suburban and city families must march out in this great soul market to take the place of the broken wretches whose decaying bodies are cast into the refuse of our alleys and sewers to become the menace of every girl and boy and drunken man who comes within their clutches or sets foot within their alley hovels.

The End of the Way.

At about ten o’clock on Saturday evening, September 19th, I boarded a West Madison street car and, transferring north at Halsted street, alighted at Lake and walked west to L——'s saloon. I discovered in the wine and back rooms of the wretched place a crowd of perhaps fifty drunken, dirty men and women, young white girls, huddled in with the worst mob of negroes, whites and Chinese I have seen in Chicago’s slums, all cursing, drinking, singing and blaspheming in plain view and hearing of the street. I stopped a moment to make sure I was making no mistake in what I saw and then crossed the street to interview[Pg 52] the dark-eyed little foreigner who at its door was boldly soliciting trade for the saloon and its adjacent evils just opposite. I walked down to Peoria and south on that notorious street. In the row of houses running from Lake to Randolph street there are approximately 300 white slaves, and diseased, crippled prostitutes of the lowest class, dumped from the city’s cleaner dives. And on that night it was almost impossible to push one’s way through the mass of men and boys—whites, negroes, Turks and Pollocks, gathered in front of these public abominations. At the corner of Randolph and Peoria streets several earnest looking men and women were holding a little gospel street meeting, and stopping with them, I counted during the thirty minutes I stayed there, six hundred and forty (approximately) men and boys stop in front of or enter this horrible flesh market. As I left the scene a young girl in a drunken, filthy condition, slipped out of an alley and followed me, asking me to help her, and as we sat on the steps of Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral, corner of Washington boulevard and Peoria street, she told me the worst, heart-breaking story of wrong and vice and ruin I have ever listened[Pg 53] to. As I left that West Side levee of vice I knew I had seen prostitution at its lowest ebb and that out from these holes of horror finally went those awful alley women of the night to sell their souls to any young boy or drunken man who could give them a few cents or even the price of a drink of whiskey.

This girl was turned over to the Chicago Rescue Mission, cleaned and clothed and fed and pointed to Jesus Christ. Her story was investigated and found true and after receiving medical attention she was quietly returned to her country home.

Mr. J. J. Sloan, when he was superintendent of the John Worthy School (which is the local municipal juvenile reformatory), reported that one-third of the street boys sent to him were suffering from the loathsome diseases and distempers of the red-light district, nor is this to be wondered at when we consider the fact that sexual commerce may be purchased almost anywhere in the South State street and West Side alleys for the remarkably low price of ten cents, or even a glass of beer or whisky from the gonorrheal and syphilitic denizens thrown out long ago from the better class houses of prostitution to live off the half[Pg 54] drunken men and young boys to be found in swarms along South State, Halsted and South Clark streets. Almost invariably the street boy hunting these underworld sections of our city is first led into sexual sin by one of the crippled, half rotten, yet painted vampires of the street whose only care or hope is a crust of free lunch and enough whisky or “dope” to drown for a time at least, the last throb of heart and conscience and keep life a few days longer within her wretched body, and the boy, having purchased for the small fee his own destruction, trails out again into the night and on into disease and crime and prison, and finally death.

The average parent of today has little idea of the temptations which constantly surround and beset the growing boy. I recall a case in Des Moines, Iowa, where a little degenerate girl of sixteen, caused the moral, and in several cases physical, ruin of five young boys, all this happening in an exclusive east side neighborhood and under the watchful care of honest parents and friends, so what must be the temptation thrown out to the young boys of our city when through block after block of our certain districts they must[Pg 55] come in direct contact with those whose only mission is to ruin and debauch. It should be the direct object morally and politically, of every father and mother in this city to banish these human parasites—these leeches who suck the life blood of our boys—from Chicago’s streets.

Listen, father, mother, there are twenty-two thousand poor, dearly-beloved young girls growing up in our midst today who within five years must, under the present business system of white slavery, put aside father, mother, home, friends and honor and march into Chicago’s ghastly flesh market to take the place of the twenty-two thousand helpless, hopeless, decaying chattles who now daily behind bolts and bars and steel screens, satisfy the abominable lust of (approximately) two hundred and ten thousand brutal, drunken adulterers.

I believe, as I write, that the final solving of this reeking, hideous question lies in the moral and Christian teaching and protection of the growing girls of our land. I believe in a rigidly enforced law that keeps girls under legal age and unattended off the down-town streets at night after a reasonable hour. Harry Balding, the convicted[Pg 56] white slaver, in his confession before Judge Newcomer and Assistant State’s Attorney Roe, says: “We would be sent out by resort keepers to work up some girls, for whom we were paid from $10 to $50 each, though the cash bonus was much more. The majority of them were girls we met on the street. We would go around to the penny arcades and nickle theatres and when we saw a couple of young girls we would go up and talk with them. I will say this for myself—I never took a girl away from her home; the girls I took down there I met in the stores or on the streets.” There is a league of masonry worldwide that makes it possible for a mason anywhere in trouble or distress, to raise his hand toward the heavens with a certain sign and if there be a brother mason within reach, that brother, no matter of what nationality, kindred or tongue, is sworn to give him all needed protection. Listen, father, mother, sister, listen brother! Today from beneath Chicago’s awful moral sewerage which has sucked their hearts and souls and bodies under, a thousand trembling hands are held up to high heaven, and to you for help, hands reeking with the blood on which some whoremonger has fattened;[Pg 57] the hands though of your sisters and of mine, and I believe that here in Chicago, the greatest market for white slaves on the continent, should be formed a league that would become worldwide, of earnest, law-abiding men and women whose efforts united with those of the proper police, municipal and Federal authorities, would make it practically impossible for a girl to be sold into or compelled to lead an immoral life, and through whose influence such open public flesh markets as our “red-light” and levee district would be banished forever from Chicago streets. I believe in helping, God knows, with heart and hand and money, every fallen woman in our land whom there is the slightest chance to help in any way, but I believe first of all in using every known measure to keep our girls from falling. You and I live beneath the only flag in all the world that has never known defeat, and the very basic principle upon which that flag is builded is human liberty and human protection, and so by personal work, by song, prayer and by the power of the cross let us set ourselves to help these helpless ones in our midst until the angels shall take up the story of shame and bitterness[Pg 58] and wrong and bear to all the world and to heaven itself the swift acknowledgement that you are your brother’s keeper.

[Pg 59]

Smashing The Traffic

There are some things so far removed from the lives of normal, decent people as to be simply unbelievable by them. The “white slave” trade of today is one of these incredible things. The calmest, simplest statements of its facts are almost beyond the comprehension or belief of men and women who are mercifully spared from contact with the dark and hideous secrets of “the under world” of the big cities.

You would hardly credit the statement, for example, that things are being done every day in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and other large cities of this country in the white slave traffic which would, by contrast, make the Congo slave traders of the old days appear like Good Samaritans. Yet this figure is almost a literal truth. The man of the stone age who clubbed a woman of his desire into insensibility or submission was little short of a high-minded gentleman when contrasted with the men who fatten upon the “white[Pg 60] slave” traffic in this day of social settlements, of forward movements, of Y. M. C. A. and Christian Endeavor activities, of air ships and wireless telegraphy.

Naturally, wisely, every parent who reads this statement will at once raise the question: “What excuse is there for the open discussion of such a revolting condition of things in the pages of a household magazine? What good is there to be served by flaunting so dark and disgusting a subject before the family circle?”

Only one—and that is a reason and not an excuse! The recent examination of more than two hundred “white slaves” by the office of the United States district attorney at Chicago has brought to light the fact that literally thousands of innocent girls from the country districts are every year entrapped into a life of hopeless slavery and degradation because parents in the country do not understand conditions as they exist and how to protect their daughters from the “white slave” traders who have reduced the art of ruining young girls to a national and international system. I sincerely believe that nine-tenths of the parents of these thousands of girls who are every[Pg 61] year snatched from lives of decency and comparative peace and dragged under the slime of existence in the “white slave world” have no idea that there is really a trade in the ruin of girls as much as there is a trade in cattle or sheep or the other products of the farm. If these parents had known the real conditions, had believed that there is actually a syndicate which does as regular, as steady and persistent a “business” in the ruination of girls as the great packing houses do in the sale of meats, it is wholly probable that their daughters would not now be in dens of vice and almost utterly without hope or release excepting by the hand of death.

The purpose of all our laws and statutes against crime is the suppression of crime. The protection of the people, of the home, of the individual, is the purpose which inspires the honest and conscientious prosecutor. This is what the law is for, and if this result of protection to individuals and home can be made more effective and more general by a statement such as this, then I am willing to make it for the public good. And the most direct and unadorned statement of facts will, I think, carry its own conviction and make everything[Pg 62] like “preaching” or denunciation superfluous.

The evidence obtained from questioning some 250 girls taken in Chicago houses of ill repute leads me to believe that not fewer than fifteen thousand girls have been imported into this country in the last year as white slaves. Of course this is only a guess—an approximate—it could be nothing else—but my own personal belief is that it is a conservative guess and well within the facts as to numbers. Then please remember that girls imported are certainly but a mere fraction of the number recruited for the army of prostitution from home fields, from the cities, the towns, the villages of our own country. There is no possible escape from this conclusion.

Another significant fact brought out by the examination of these girls is that practically every one who admitted having parents living begged that her real name be withheld from the public because of the sorrow and shame it would bring to her parents. One said: “My mother thinks I am studying in a stenographic school,” another stated, “My parents in the country think I have a good position in a department store—as I did[Pg 63] have for a time, and I’ve sent them a little money from time to time; I don’t care what happens so long as they don’t know the truth about me.” In a word, the one concern of nearly all those examined who have homes in this country was that their parents—and in particular their mothers—might discover, through the prosecution of the “white slavers,” that they were leading lives of shame instead of working at the honorable callings which they had left their homes and come to the city to pursue. There are, to put it mildly, hundreds—yes, thousands—of trusting mothers in the smaller cities, the towns, villages and farming communities of the United States who believe that their daughters are “getting on fine” in the city, and too busy to come home for a visit or “to write much,” while the fact is that these daughters have been swept into the gulf of white slavery—the worst doom that can befall a woman. The mother who has allowed her girl to go to the big city and work should find out what kind of life that girl is living and find out from some other source than the girl herself. No matter how good and fine a girl she has been at home and how complete the confidence she has always inspired,[Pg 64] find out how she is living, what kind of associations she is keeping. Take nothing for granted. You owe it to yourself and to her and it is not disloyalty to go beyond her own words for evidence that the wolves of the city have not dragged her from safe paths. It is, instead, the highest form of loyalty to her.

Again, there is, in another particular, a remarkable and impressive sameness in the stories related by these wretched girls. In the narratives of nearly all of them is a passage describing how some man of their acquaintance had offered to “help” them to a good position in the city, to “look after” them, and to “take an interest” in them. After listening to this confession from one girl after another, hour after hour, until you have heard it repeated perhaps fifty times, you feel like saying to every mother in the country: Do not trust any man who pretends to take an interest in your girl if that interest involves her leaving your own roof. Keep her with you. She is far safer in the country than in the big city, but if, go to the city she must, then go with her yourself; if that is impossible, place her with some woman who is your friend, not hers; no girl can[Pg 65] safely go to a great city to make her own way who is not under the eye of a trustworthy woman who knows the ways and dangers of city life. Above all, distrust the “protection,” the “good offices” of any man who is not a family friend known to be clean and honorable and above all suspicion.

Of course all the examinations to which I have referred have been conducted for the specific purpose of finding girls who have been brought into this country from other lands in defiance of the federal statute, passed by Congress February 20, 1907. This act declares that any person who shall “keep, maintain, support or harbor” any alien woman for immoral purposes within three years after her arrival in this country shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be liable to a fine of $5,000 and imprisonment for five years at the discretion of the court. When the department of justice at Washington decided that this law was being violated, the United States district attorney at Chicago was instructed to take such action as was necessary to apprehend the violators of the act and convict them. One of the first steps required was the raiding of the various dives and[Pg 66] houses of ill-fame and the arrest of the girl inmates as well as the arrest of the keepers and the procurers of the white slaves.

While the federal prosecution is officially concerned only with those cases involving the importation of girls from other countries—there being no authority under the present national statutes for the federal government to prosecute those concerned in securing white slaves who are natives of this country—it was inevitable that the examination of scores of these inmates, captured in raids upon the dives, should bring to officers and agents of the department of justice an immense fund of information regarding the methods of the white slave traders in recruiting for the traffic from home fields.

Whether these hunters of the innocent ply their awful calling at home or abroad their methods are much the same—with the exception that the foreign girl is more hopelessly at their mercy. Let me take the case of a little Italian peasant girl who helped her father till the soil in the vineyards and fields near Naples. Like most of the others taken in the raids, she stoutly maintained that she had been in this country more than three[Pg 67] years and that she was in a life of shame from choice and not through the criminal act of any person. When she was brought into what the sensational newspapers would call the “sweat box,” it was clear that she was in a state of abject terror. Soon, however, Assistant United States District Attorney Parkin, having charge of the examination, convinced her that he and his associates were her friends and protectors and that their purpose was to punish those who had profited by her ruin and to send her back to her little Italian home with all her expenses paid; that she was under the protection of the United States and was as safe as if the king of Italy would take her under his royal care and pledge his word that her enemies should not have revenge on her.

Then she broke down, and with pitiful sobs related her awful narrative. That every word of it was true, no one could doubt who saw her as she told it. Briefly this is her story: A “fine lady” who wore beautiful clothes came to where she lived with her parents, made friends with her, told her she was uncommonly pretty (the truth, by the way), and professed a great interest in her. Such flattering attentions from an American lady[Pg 68] who wore clothes as fine as those of the Italian nobility, could have but one effect on the mind of this simple little peasant girl and on her still simpler parents. Their heads were completely turned and they regarded the “American lady” with almost adoration.

Very shrewdly the woman did not attempt to bring the little girl back with her, but held out hope that some day a letter might come with money for her passage to America. Once there she would become the companion of her American friend and they would have great times together.

Of course, in due time the money came—and the $100 was a most substantial pledge to the parents of the wealth and generosity of the “American lady.” Unhesitatingly she was prepared for the voyage which was to take her to the land of happiness and good fortune. According to the arrangements made by letter the girl was met at New York by two “friends” of her benefactress who attended to her entrance papers and took her in charge. These “friends” were two of the most brutal of all the white slave drivers who are in the traffic. At this time she was about sixteen years old, innocent and rarely attractive[Pg 69] for a girl of her class, having the large, handsome eyes, the black hair and the rich olive skin of a typical Italian.

Where these two men took her she did not know—but by the most violent and brutal means they quickly accomplished her ruin. For a week she was subjected to unspeakable treatment and made to feel that her degredation was complete and final.

And here let it be said that the breaking of the spirit, the crushing of all hope for any future save that of shame, is always a part of the initiation of a white slave. Then the girl was shipped on to Chicago, where she was disposed of to the keeper of an Italian dive of the vilest type. On her entrance here she was furnished with gaudy dresses and wearing apparel for which the keeper of the place charged her $600. As is the case with all new white slaves she was not allowed to have any clothing which she could wear upon the street.

Her one object in life was to escape from the den in which she was held a prisoner. To “pay out” seemed the surest way, and at length, from her wages of shame, she was able to cancel the $600 account. Then she asked for her street clothing[Pg 70] and her release—only to be told that she had incurred other expenses to the amount of $400.

Her Italian blood took fire at this and she made a dash for liberty. But she was not quick enough and the hand of the oppressor was upon her. In the wild scene that followed she was slashed with a razor, one gash straight through her right eye, one across her cheek and another slitting her ear. Then she was given medical attention and the wounds gradually healed, but her face was horribly mutilated, her right eye is always open and to look upon her is to shudder.

When the raids began she was secreted and arrangements made to ship her to a dive in the mining regions of the west. Fortunately, however, a few hours before she was to start upon her journey the United States marshals raided the place and captured herself as well as her keepers. To add to the horror of her situation she was soon to become a mother. The awful thought in her mind, however, was to escape from assassination at the hands of the murderous gang which oppressed her.

Evidence shows that the hirelings of this traffic are stationed at certain points of entry in Canada,[Pg 71] where large numbers of immigrants are landed, to do what is known in their parlance as “cutting out work.” In other words, these watchers for human prey scan the immigrants as they come down the gang plank of a vessel which has just arrived, and “spot” the girls who are unaccompanied by fathers, mothers, brothers or relatives to protect them. The girl who has been spotted as a desirable and unprotected victim is properly approached by a man who speaks her language and is immediately offered employment at good wages, with all expenses to the destination to be paid by the man. Most frequently laundry work is the bait held out, sometimes housework or employment in a candy shop or factory. The object of the negotiations is to “cut out” the girl from any of her associates and to get her to go with him. Then the only thing is to accomplish her ruin by the shortest route. If they cannot be cajoled or enticed by promises of an easy time, plenty of money, fine clothes and the usual stock of allurements—or a fake marriage, then harsher methods are resorted to. In some instances the hunters really marry the victims. As to the sterner methods, it is of course impossible[Pg 72] to speak explicitly, beyond the statement that intoxication and drugging are often used as means to reduce the victims to a state of helplessness, and sheer physical violence is a common thing.

When once a white slave is sold and landed in a house or dive, she becomes a prisoner. The raids disclosed the fact that in each of these places is a room having but one door, to which the keeper holds the key. In here are locked all the street clothes, shoes and the ordinary apparel of a woman.

The finery which is provided for the girl for house wear is of a nature to make her appearance in the street impossible. Then added to this handicap, is the fact that at once the girl is placed in debt to the keeper for a wardrobe of “fancy” clothes, which are charged to her at preposterous prices. She cannot escape while she is in debt to the keeper—and she is never allowed to get out of debt—at least until all desire to leave the life is dead within her.

The examination of witnesses have brought out the fact that not many of the women in this class expect to live more than ten years, after they enter upon their voluntary or involuntary life of[Pg 73] white slavery. Perhaps the average is less than that. Many die painful deaths by disease, many by consumption, but it is hardly beyond the truth to say that suicide is their general expectation. “We’ll all come to it sooner or later,” one of the witnesses remarked to her companions in the jail, the other day, when reading in the newspaper of the suicide of a girl inmate of a notorious house.

A volume could be written on this revolting subject, but I have no disposition to add a single word but what will open the eyes of parents to the fact that white slavery is an existing condition—a system of girl hunting that is national and international in its scope, that it literally consumes thousands of girls—clean, innocent girls—every year; that it is operated with a cruelty, a barbarism that gives a new meaning to the word fiend; that it is imminent peril to every girl in the country who had a desire to get into the city and taste its excitements and its pleasures.

The facts stated here are for the awakening of parents and guardians of girls. If I were to presume to say anything to the possible victims of this awful scourge of white slavery it would be this: “Those who enter here leave hope behind;”[Pg 74] the depths of debasement and suffering disclosed by the investigation now in progress would make the flesh of a seasoned man of the world creep with horror and shame.

[Pg 75]

Why Girls Go Astray

Right at the outset let me say in all frankness that I would never, from personal choice, write upon a subject of this character. Its sensationalism is personally repellant to me and cannot fail to be of actual protective benefit to many homes; and to withhold the facts and disclosures which have come to me as investigator would be to deprive the innocent and the worthy of a protection which might save many a home from sorrow, disgrace and ruin.

The results of this work and of the explanations of the conditions uncovered in this book have brought to me a gratifying knowledge of the practical rescue work being done by the settlement and “slum” workers of Chicago. They are not only specialists in this field, but they are as devoted as they are practical.

So far as the matter of sensationalism is concerned, that may be disposed of in the simple statement that the naked recital, in the most[Pg 76] formal and colorless phraseology, of the facts already brought to light by the “white slave” prosecutions are in themselves so sensational that the art of the most brilliant orator, or the cunning of the cleverest writer, could not add an iota to their sensationalism. And it may as well be said here that it is quite impossible to even hint in public print of the revolting depths of shame disclosed by this investigation. Behind every word that can be said in print on this topic is a world of degradation of which the slightest hint cannot be given.

If there are any who are inclined to feel that the term “white slave” is a little overdrawn, a little exaggerated, let them decide on that point after considering this statement: “Among the 'white slaves’ captured in raids since the appearance of this book, is a girl who is now about eighteen years of age. Her home was in France, and when she was only fourteen years old she was approached by a 'white slaver’ who promised her employment in America as a lady’s maid or companion. The wage offered was far beyond what she could expect to get in her own country—but far more alluring to her than the money she could earn was the picture of the life which would[Pg 77] be hers in free America. Her surroundings would be luxurious; she would be the constant recipient of gifts of dainty clothing from her mistress, and even the hardest work she would be called upon to do would be in itself a pleasure and an excitement.

“Naturally she was eager to leave her home and trust herself to one who would provide her with so enriching a future. Her friends of her own age seasoned their farewells to her with envy of her rare good fortune.

“On arriving in Chicago she was taken to the house of ill-fame to which she had been sold by the procurer. There this child of fourteen was quickly and unceremoniously 'broken in’ to the hideous life of depravity for which she had been entrapped. The white slaver who sold her was able to drive a most profitable bargain, for she was rated as uncommonly attractive. In fact, he made her life of shame a perpetual source of income, and when—not long ago—he was captured and indicted for the importation of other girls, this girl was used as the agency of providing him with $2,000 for his defense.

“But let us look for a moment at the mentionable facts of this child’s daily routine of life and[Pg 78] see if such an existence justifies the use of the term 'slavery.’ After she had furnished a night of servitude to the brutal passions of vile frequenters of the place, she was then compelled to put off her tawdry costume, array herself in the garb of a scrub-woman, and, on her hands and knees, scrub the house from top to bottom. No weariness, no exhaustion, ever excused her from this drudgery, which was a full day’s work for a strong woman.

“After her scrubbing was done she was allowed to go to her chamber and sleep—locked in her room to prevent her possible escape—until the orgies of the next day, or rather night, began. She was allowed no liberties, no freedom, and in the two and one half years of her slavery in this house she was not even given one dollar to spend for her own comfort or pleasure. The legal evidence collected shows that during this period of slavery she earned for those who owned her not less than eight thousand dollars!”

If this is not slavery, I have no definition for it.

Let us make it entirely clear that the white slave is an actual prisoner. She is under the most constant surveillance, both by the keeper to whom[Pg 79] she is “let” and the procurer who owns her. Not until she has lost all possible desire to escape is she given any liberty.

Before me, as I write, is a letter from a father which is a tragedy in a page. He begins the note by saying that the warning has aroused him to inquire after his “little girl.” There is a pathetic pride in his admission that she was considered an uncommonly “pretty girl” when she left her home to take a position in Chicago. Her letters, he states, have been more and more infrequent, but that she does occasionally write home, and sometimes encloses a small amount of money. From the tone of the father’s note it is evident that, while he is a trifle anxious, he asks that his daughter be “looked up” rather to confirm his feelings of confidence that she is all right than otherwise.

A glance at the address where she was to be found left no possible question as to the fate which had overtaken this daughter of a country home. So far as a knowledge of the girl’s mode of life is concerned, no investigation was necessary—the location named being in the center of Chicago’s “red-light” district.

However, the case was placed in the hands of a[Pg 80] settlement worker, and at this moment the girl is waiting, in a place of safety, for the arrival of her father, who is on his way to take her back to the mother and brothers and sisters who have supposed that she was holding a respectable, but poorly paid position. They will, however, welcome a very different person from the “pretty girl” who went out from that home to make her way in the big city. She is pitifully wasted by the life which she has led and her constitution is so broken down that she cannot reasonably expect many years of life, even under the tenderest care. What is still worse, the fact cannot be denied that her moral fibre is much shattered, and that the work of reclamation must be more than physical.

The “White slaves” who have been taken in the course of the present prosecution have, generally, been very grateful for the liberation and glad to return to their homes. It has been necessary for their own protection as well as for other reasons—to commit some of these unfortunates to various prisons pending the trial of the cases in which they are to appear as witnesses, and practically every one of them gives unmistakable evidence[Pg 81] that imprisonment is a welcome liberation by comparison with the life of “white slavery.”

Now, as to the practical means which parents should use to prevent this unspeakable fate from overtaking their daughters. They cannot do it by assuming that their daughter is all right and that she will take care of herself in the big city. In a large measure it seems impossible to arouse parents—especially those in the country—to a realization that there is in every big city a class of men and women who live by trapping girls into a life of degredation and who are as inhumanly cunning in their awful craft as they are in their other instincts; that these beasts of the human jungle are as unbelievably desperate as they are unbelievably cruel, and that their warfare upon virtue is as persistent, as calculating and as unceasing as was the warfare of the wolf upon the unprotected lamb of the pioneer’s flock in the early days of the Western frontier.

I cannot escape the conclusion that the country girl is in greater danger from the “white slavers” than the city girl. The perusal of testimony of many “white slaves” enforces this conclusion. This is because they are less sophisticated, more[Pg 82] trusting and more open to the allurements of those who are waiting to prey upon them.

It is a fact which parents of girls in the country should remember that the “white slavers” are busy on the trains coming into the city, and make it a point to “cut out” an attractive girl whenever they can. This “cutting out” process consists of making the girl’s acquaintance, gaining her confidence and, on one pretext or another, inducing her to leave the train before the main depot is reached. This is done because the various protective and law and order organizations have watchers at the main railroad stations who are trained to the work of “spotting,” and quickly detect a girl in the hands of one of these human beasts of prey. Generally these watchers are women and wear the badges of their organizations.

But suppose that the girl from the country does not chance to fall in with the “white slaver” on the train, that she reaches the city in safety, becomes located in a position—or perhaps in the stenographic school or business college which she has come to attend—and secures a room in a boarding house. No human being, it seems to me,[Pg 83] is quite so lonely as the young girl from the country when she first comes to the city and starts in the struggles of life there without acquaintances. All her instincts are social, and she is, for the time being, almost desolately alone in a wilderness of strange human beings. She must have some one to talk to—it is the law of youth as well as the law of her sex to crave constant companionship. And the consequences? She is sentimentally in a condition to prepare her for the slaughter, to make her an easy prey to the wiles of the “white slave” wolf.

The girl reared in the city does not have this peculiar and insidious handicap to contend with; she has been—from the time she could first toddle along the sidewalk—educated in wholesome suspicion, taught that she must not talk with strangers or take candy from them, that she must withdraw herself from all advances and, in large measure, regard all save her own people with distrust. As she grows older she comes to know that certain parts of the city are more dangerous and more “wicked” than others; that her comings and goings must always be in safe and familiar company; that her acquaintanceships and her friendships[Pg 84] must be scrutinized by her natural protectors and that, altogether, there is a definite but undefined danger in the very atmosphere of the city for the girl or the young woman which demands a constant and protected alertness.

The training is almost wholly absent in the case of the country girl; she is not educated in suspicion until the protective instinct acts almost unconsciously; her intercourse with her world is almost comparatively free and unrestrained; she is so unlearned in the moral and social geography of the city that she is quite as likely, if left to her own devices, to select her boarding house in an undesirable as in a safe and desirable part of the city; and, in a word, when she comes into the city her ignorance, her trusting faith in humanity in general, her ignorance of the underworld and her loneliness and perhaps home-sickness, conspire to make her a ready and an easy victim of the “white slaver.”

In view of what I have learned in the course of the recent investigation and prosecution of the “white slave” traffic, I can say in all sincerity, that if I lived in the country and had a young daughter, I would go to any length of hardship[Pg 85] and privation myself rather than allow her to go into the city to work or to study—unless that studying were to be done in the very best type of an educational institution where the girl students were always under the closest protection. The best and surest way for parents of girls in the country to protect them from the clutches of the “white slaver” is to keep them in the country. But if circumstances should seem to compel a change from the country to the city, then the only safe way is to go with them into the city; but even this last has its disadvantages from the fact that, in that case, the parents would themselves be unfamiliar with the usages and the pitfalls of metropolitan life, and would not be able to protect their daughters as carefully as if they had spent their own lives in the city.

[Pg 86]

More About the Traffic in Shame

The dragnets of the inhuman men and women who ply their terrible trade are spread day and night and are manipulated with a skill and precision which ought to strike terror to the heart of every careless or indifferent parent. The wonder is not that so many are caught in this net, but that they escape! “I count the week—I might almost say the day—a happy and fortunate one which does not bring to my attention as an officer of the state a deplorable case of this kind,” said Mrs. Ophelia Amigh.

Just to show how tightly and broadly the nets of these fishers for girls are spread, let me tell you of an instance which occurred to a girl from this institution:

This girl, whom I will call Nellie, is a very ordinary looking girl, and below the average of intelligence, but as tractable and obedient as she is ingenuous. She is wholly without the charm which[Pg 87] would naturally attract the eye of the white slave trader.

Because of her quietness, her obedience and her good disposition, she was, in accordance with the rules of the institution, permitted to go into the family of a substantial farmer out in the west and work as a housemaid, a “hired girl”—her wages to be deposited to her credit against the time when she should reach the age of twenty-one and leave the Home.

She had been in her position for some time and was so quiet and satisfactory that one Sunday when the family were not going to church, the mistress said:

“Nellie, if you wish to go to church alone you may do so. The milk wagon will be along shortly and you can ride on that to the village—and here is seventy-five cents. You may want to buy your dinner and perhaps some candy.”

When Nellie reached town and was on her way past the railroad station to the church, the train for Chicago came in, and the impulse seized her to get aboard, go to the city and look up her father, whom she had not seen for several months. She went to the city and hardly stepped from the[Pg 88] train into the big station when she heard a man’s voice saying, “Why, hello, Mary!”

Instantly—foolishly, of course—she answered him and replied:

“My name is not Mary, it’s Nellie.”

“You look the very picture,” he responded, “of a girl I know well whose name is Mary—and she’s a fine girl, too! Are any of your folks here to meet you?”

“No,” she answered, “my father’s here in the city somewhere, but he doesn’t know I’m coming. I’ve been working out in the country for a long time and I didn’t write him about coming back.”

Her answers were so ingenuous and revealing that the man saw that he had an easy and simple victim to deal with. Therefore his tactics were very direct.

“It’s about time to eat,” he suggested, “and I guess we’re both hungry. You go to a restaurant and eat with me and perhaps I can help you to find your father quicker than you could do it alone.”

She accepted, and in the course of the meal he asked her if she would like to find a place at which to work. “I know a fine place in Blank[Pg 89] City,” he added. “The woman is looking for a good girl just like you.”

“Yes, I’d be pleased to get the place, but I haven’t any money to pay the fare with,” was her answer.

“Oh, that’s all right,” he quickly replied. “I’ll buy your ticket and give you a little money besides for a cab and other expenses. The woman told me to do that if I could find her a girl. She’ll send me back a check for it all.”

After he had bought the ticket and put her aboard the train going to Blank City, he wrote the name of the woman to whom he was sending her, gave her about $2 extra and then delivered this fatherly advice to her:

“You’re just a young girl, and it’s best for you not to talk to anybody on the train or after you get off. Don’t show this paper to anybody or tell anybody where you’re going. It isn’t any of their business anyway. And as soon as you get off the train you’ll find plenty of cabs there. Hand your paper to the first cab driver in the line, get in and ride to Mrs. A——'s home. Pay the driver and then walk in.”

Believing that she was being furnished a position[Pg 90] by a remarkably kind man, the poor girl followed his direction implicitly—and landed the next day in one of the most notorious houses of shame in the state of Illinois outside of Chicago. How she was found and rescued is a story quite apart from the purpose which has led me to tell of this incident—that of indicating how tightly the slave traders have their nets spread for even the most ordinary and unattractive prey. They let no girl escape whom they dare to approach!

[Pg 91]

Crime in Chicago

Strange as it may seem, men and women of certain grades of intellect and temperament deliberately devote themselves to lives of crime. These constitute the “professional criminals,” who make up such a terrible class in the population of every great city. In Chicago this class is undoubtedly large, but not so large as many people assert. That it is active and dangerous, the police records of the city afford ample testimony. It is very hard to obtain any reliable statistics respecting the professional votaries of crime, but it would seem, after careful investigation, that Chicago contains about 3,000 of them. These consist of thieves, burglars, fences and pickpockets.

In addition to these we may include under the head of professional criminals, the following:

Women of ill-fame, 20,000, keepers of gambling houses and of policy and lottery offices about 600, making in all about 23,600 professional law[Pg 92] breakers. This is a startling statement, but unhappily true.

The population of Chicago is more cosmopolitan than that of any city in the union and the majority of the people are poor. The struggle for existence is a hard one, and offers every inducement for crime. The political system which is based more or less upon plunder, presents the spectacles of dishonesty. The professionals are not ignorant men and women, however. Among them may be found many whose abilities, if properly directed, would win for them positions of honor and usefulness. There seems to be a fascination in crime to those people, and they deliberately enter upon it.

The principal form which crime assumes in Chicago is robbery. The professionals do not deliberately engage in murder or the graver crimes; though they do not hesitate to commit them if necessary to their success or safety. They prefer to pursue their vocation without taking life; and murder, arson, rape and capital crimes are, therefore, not more common here than in other large cities. Robbery, however, is a science here, and it[Pg 93] is of its various forms the following pages will treat.

The professional criminals in Chicago constitute a distinct community; they are known to each other, and seldom make any effort to associate with people of respectability. They infest certain sections of the city where they can easily and rapidly communicate with each other, and can hide in safety from the police.

Chicago thieves are of two sorts—those who steal only when they are tempted by want, or when an unusual opportunity for successful thieving is thrown their way, and those who make a regular business of stealing. A professional thief ranks among his fellows according to his ability. Many professional thieves are burglars. They drink to excess and commit so many blunders that they are easily detected by the police. They gamble a great deal. When successful they quarrel over their booty, and often betray each other. A smart thief seldom drinks and never allows himself to get under the influence of liquor. He tries to keep himself in the best physical trim; and is always ready for a long run when pursued, or a desperate struggle when cornered. He must[Pg 94] always have his wits about him. A thief of this class makes a successful bank robber, forger, or confidence swindler. Professional thieves seldom have any home. Many of them find temporary shelter in a dull season in houses of ill-repute. They associate with and are often married to disreputable women, many of whom are also thieves. The smartest thieves do not have homes, for the reason that they dare not remain long in one place for fear of arrest. During the summer, Chicago thieves are to be found at all summer and sea-shore resorts. Later in the season they attend the county fairs and agricultural shows, and any place where large crowds assemble and come back to the city at the beginning of winter. They are fond of political meetings and reap a rich harvest at some of these gatherings.

If I were asked whether there were any place in the city where thieves were educated in their business, I would answer, “No.” It would be impossible for such places to exist without being discovered. Thieves educate themselves, or get their knowledge by associating with other thieves more experienced than themselves. Those people who believe in the existence of schools where boys[Pg 95] are taught the art of picking pockets, have got their belief from works of fiction like Dickens’ “Oliver Twist.” The dram-shops and brothels of the city where the thieves congregate, are the only places which can be called schools of crime.

For the purpose of communicating with each other, the professional thieves have a language, or argot, which is also common to their brethren in other large cities. It is generally known as “patter,” and is said to be of Gypsy origin. A few phrases, taken at random from a leaflet handed me, will give the reader an idea of it. “Abraham,” Jew; to sham, to pretend sickness; “Autumn cove,” a married man; “Autumn cacler,” a married woman; “Bag of nails,” everything in confusion; “Ballum rancum,” a ball where all the damsels are thieves and prostitutes; “North and South,” State street; “Booked,” arrested; “City College,” Harrison Street Station; “Consolation,” assassination; “Dopie,” a girl; “Drawing,” picking pockets; “Family man,” a receiver of stolen goods; “Gilt-dabber,” a hotel thief; “Madge,” private place; “Ned,” a ten dollar gold piece; “Plate of meat,” man with fat pocket-book;[Pg 96] “Poncess,” a woman who supports a man by her prostitution, and so on.

The professional thieves are thoroughly familiar with the language, and can speak to each other intelligibly, while a bystander is in total ignorance of their meaning.

The professional thieves are divided into various classes, the members of which confine themselves strictly to their peculiar line of work. They are classed by the police, and by themselves, as follows: Burglars, bank sneaks, safe blowers, sneak thieves, confidence men and pickpockets. A burglar will rarely attempt the part of a sneak thief and a pickpocket will seldom undertake burglary.

Bank Burglars.

A burglar stands at the head of the professional class, and is looked up to by its members with admiration and respect. He disdains the title of “thief” and boasts that his operations require brains and nerve to an extraordinary degree. The safe blowers are also classed by the police as burglars, and are acknowledged by the craft[Pg 97] as confederates. The country banks and the larger business houses are their “Game.” They disdain smaller operations. When a plan to rob a bank has been formed, the burglar proper calls a safe blower to his aid. One man often prepares the way by opening a small account with the bank and drawing out his deposits in small amounts. He visits the place at different hours of the day, learns the habits of the bank officers and clerks, and makes careful observations of the building and the safes in which the money is kept. Frequently a room in the basement of the bank building, or in an adjoining building is hired and occupied by a confederate. When all is ready, a hole is cut through the floor into the bank room; the services of the safe blower are called into action. The former takes charge of the operation when the safe is to be blown open. He drills holes in the door of the safe by the lock and fills them with gunpowder or other explosives, which are ignited by a fuse. The safe is carefully wrapped in blankets to smother the noise of the explosion, and the windows of the room are lowered about an inch from the top to prevent the breaking of the glass by the concussion of the air. The explosion[Pg 98] destroys the lock, but makes little noise, and the door of the safe is easily opened. When it is desirable not to resort to an explosion the safe blower makes the safe fast to the floor by strong iron clamps, in order that it may bear the desired amount of pressure. He then drills holes in the door, into which he fits jack screws worked by levers. These screws exert tremendous force, and soon burst the safe open. Sometimes, when small safes are to be forced open they use only a jimmy and a hammer, wrapping the hammer with cloth to deaden the sound of the blows. The safe once opened, the contents are at the mercy of the burglars. They never attack a safe without having some idea of the booty to be secured, and the amount of risk to be run. Saturday night is generally chosen for such operations. If the work cannot be finished in time to allow the burglars to escape before sunrise on Sunday, they continue it until successful, and boldly carry off their plunder in broad daylight.

The Bank Sneak.

The bank sneak is simply a bond robber. He confines his operations to stealing United States[Pg 99] and other bonds, preferring coupon to registered bonds, as they can be more easily disposed of.

He frequents a bank for a long period, and patiently observes the places where the bonds and securities are kept; this he manages to do without suspicion, and when all is ripe for the robbery, he boldly enters the bank, makes his way unobserved to the safe, snatches a package of bonds, adding to it a package of notes, if possible, and escapes. If the plunder consists of coupon bonds, it is easily disposed of; but registered bonds require more careful handling. Generally when the bank offers a reward for their recovery, the thief enters into communication with the detective appointed to work up the case, and compromises with the bank by restoring a part of the plunder on condition that he is allowed to keep the rest and escape punishment.

Sneak Thieves.

The sneak thieves are the lowest in the list of professional robbers. They confine their operations, principally to private dwellings and retail stores. They are in constant danger of detection[Pg 100] and arrest, and are more often secured by the police than any other classes we have mentioned. The dinner hour, which in the winter is after dark, is their favorite time for entering houses. They gain entrance by open doors or windows, or by false keys, and take everything within their reach. A favorite practice of sneak thieves is to call at a house advertised for rent, and ask to be shown the rooms. Another plan is to visit the offices of physicians and other professional men, and to steal articles of value in the waiting rooms while they are left alone. The majority of those who steal from stores are women, who take articles from the counters, while the clerks are busily engaged in laying out goods for their inspection. The practice of “shop-lifting” has become so common that many of the leading stores keep special detectives to watch the customers.

Confidence Men.

Confidence men make use of the credulity of country people and strangers in the city. A favorite plan is to watch the hotels, and get the names and addresses of the guests. The method[Pg 101] is as follows: Mr. Smith comes to Chicago, puts up at some prominent hotel, and after dinner saunters out for a stroll. A confidence man who has been on the watch for his appearance, meets him some blocks away from the hotel, and, rushing up to him says, “Why, Mr. Smith, how glad I am to see you. When did you arrive? How did you leave them all in Smithville?” Mr. Smith is taken by surprise at being recognized in the great city, and if he is at all credulous, the confidence man has no trouble in making him believe they have met before. The swindler joins him in his stroll after a few moments of conversation, confides to him that he can draw a large prize in a lottery and invites him to accompany him to the lottery office and see him receive the money. On the way they visit a saloon and enjoy a friendly drink together. Another stranger now drops in, and is introduced to Mr. Smith by the swindler. The newcomer draws the swindler aside and exchanges a few words with him, whereupon the latter tells Smith that he owes the stranger a sum of money, and has unfortunately left his pocket-book at his office. He asks his unsuspecting victim to lend him the amount until they reach the lottery[Pg 102] office, when he will return it. Smith produces the money, which is handed to the newcomer, who then takes his departure, and the friends resume their stroll towards the lottery office. On the way the swindler manages to elude his victim, who seeks him in vain, and goes back to his hotel a sadder but wiser man. Strange as it may seem, this is one of the most successful tricks played in the city. It is often varied, but is never attempted upon a resident of the metropolis.

Pickpockets of Chicago.

The pickpockets of Chicago are very numerous. The term pickpocket is regarded by the police as including not only those who confine their efforts to picking pockets and stealing satchels and valises, but also gradations of crime which approach the higher degrees of larceny from the person, and highway robbery. The members of this class of the thieving fraternity are well-known to the police and the detectives are kept busy watching them. Their likenesses are contained in the “Rogues Gallery” at police headquarters, and the authorities know the thieves well, as their careers[Pg 103] embrace generally, long records of crime. Instances are not rare in which a whole family, from the oldest to the youngest, is equally deep in crime, the little one having been thoroughly and systematically educated by their parents in the different branches of stealing, beginning with the simple picking of the pocket of some unwary person, and finally becoming able to commit the most daring burglaries.

The police endeavor to have all known professional thieves constantly under surveillance, but the task is a difficult one. In addition to constantly changing their places of abode, they are in and out of the city frequently. Several saloons and localities, however, have become notorious as resorts for pickpockets. Saloons on State street, Wabash avenue, West Madison street, and Halsted street are frequented most by this class of thieves. Great dexterity is sometimes acquired by pickpockets. Acting in the capacity of a newsboy they have been known to skillfully extract a watch from a customer’s pocket while offering a paper for sale.

[Pg 104]

Harrison Street Police Station. Attempted Suicide.

[Pg 105]

The Police

A Night at Harrison Street Station.

Though honest men sometimes do not seem able to put their fingers upon a policeman at the instant they want him, rogues find far oftener that the policemen are on hand when not wanted.

In the earlier days of police history, when politics were eliminated from the force, the ordinary policeman was more effective, and guarded the “beat” upon which he traveled with a jealous eye. Wander where he might, the ruffian could not get away from the law. This constant surveillance exasperated bad characters. They chafe under the restraint, make feeble efforts to rebel, but it is useless. The power of the police over the evil circles of society is enormous; they have a mortal fear of the force. They know that behind that silver star there resides indomitable courage, and in that close buttoned coat are muscles of iron and nerves of steel.

[Pg 106]

The “Boiler Avenue Boys” and roughs were all cowards and they knew it. They dare not meet half their weight in righteous pluck.

I have seen a great bully cringe and cry under a policeman’s open-hand cuffing. Very likely he had a bowie-knife, or revolver, or slung-shot—or all three in one, as I saw one night on Fourth avenue—in his pocket at the time, yet he does not attempt to use it on the officer of the law, the occasional exceptions to this are rare and notable. How many times has a single policeman arrested a man out of a crowd, and not one of his fellows raised a finger to help him; they dare not, they have too wholesome respect for law, for that revolver in the pocket; most of all they are awed by the cool courage of the man who dares to face them on their own ground.

Yet in spite of all this the policeman’s life is full of danger. He must patrol streets which are known to be dangerous, narrow alleys, where a well-delivered blow from a slung-shot, a skillfully aimed thrust from a knife, or a bullet from a revolver, would make an end of him before he could summon help. He is an object of hatred, as well as of fear, to the dangerous classes, and[Pg 107] they do not hesitate to take advantage of him. Often some brave fellow is set upon by a gang of toughs and beaten or wounded. Yet, whatever danger, the policeman must face it all, and to the honor of the force be it said, he does not shirk. Whatever their faults may be, cowardice cannot be charged against the police of Chicago.

I remember well a tough basement saloon in Clark street; it had been growing worse and worse and one dismal November evening, hearing a disturbance, Captain Mulligan and the officer on that post went in. There were about fifty persons, men and women, of every color and nationality, all of the worst characters, and some notorious in crime. The captain took in the situation at a glance, and determined without a thought to arrest the whole party. Placing his back to the front door he covered the back door with his revolver, and threatened death to the first person who moved. Then he sent the patrolman to the station for help, and for fifteen long minutes held that crowd of desperadoes at bay. They glared at him, squirmed and twisted in their places, scowled and gritted their clenched teeth, and tried to get at their knives and tear him to pieces; but[Pg 108] all the while the stern mouth of that revolver looked at them, and looked them out of countenance, and the steady nerve behind it held sway over their brutal ferocity. It was a trial of nerve and endurance. Captain Mulligan stood the test and saved his life. They could have shot him a hundred times. Certainly it was not because they had any scruples against it, for the first two prisoners sent to the station killed Officer Burns with a paving stone before they had gone two blocks. Captain Clare made an almost precisely similar single-handed raid on the famous “Burnt Rag” saloon in Boiler avenue one winter night in the Seventies.

Let us take our seat beside Sergeant Cameron. It is 10 o’clock and the night cold and keen without, but the room is brightly lighted, warm and comfortable. With the exception of a few early lodgers who have been given quarters, no one has put in an appearance, and we begin to wonder if it is to be a dull night after all. The sergeant smiles, and remarks that there will be business enough in the next three hours.

The door opens as he speaks, and a woman in a faded black dress, a battered bonnet, and a[Pg 109] very dirty face, enters, and hesitatingly approaches the desk.

“Can I have a night’s lodging, sir” she asks.

The sergeant makes no reply for a minute, but gazes at her with curious interest, and then asks abruptly: “When did you wash your face last?”

“I washed it in Bridgeport, sir,” she answered, “an’ I come from there today, and never a drop o’ water have I seen.”

“Give her a lodging,” says the sergeant, nodding to an officer standing by. “But see here,” he added to the woman, “what are you doing in this district?”

“Ah! it’s a long story, sir,” she begins. “It was a man that was the cause of it, an’ bad luck to him. He left me after deceivin’ me, an’ I’ve come here to find him.”

“How did he deceive you?”

“Oh, the way they always do. He got the best of me because I was innocent, an’ he promised to marry me. When he was tired of me he walked out, an’ I’ve never seen him since.”

“Where do you expect to find him?”

“Here in this city; I’d know his skin on a bush, an’ I’ll find him or die.”

[Pg 110]

“Well, you had better take a rest for tonight.”

The woman goes off to her hard bed in the lodging room, and the office is silent again; but only for a short while. The door opens again, and this time with a crash, and an officer enters, with a prisoner in his vice-like grasp. The man’s coat is pulled over his head, his hat is gone, the blood is running from his nose, and his gait so unsteady that he would certainly fall to the floor but for the firm hold of the policeman. His shirt front is covered with blood and beer, and his eyes are bruised and bloodshot.

“Well, officer, what is it?” asks the sergeant, taking up his pen, as the patrolman drags his prisoner to his desk.

“Drunk and disorderly, sir,” replied the patrolman. “Wanted to fight everybody he met on the street. He got pretty badly damaged in being put out of Schlosheimer’s saloon, and I had to take him in charge.”

“What is your name, and where do you live?” asked the sergeant of the prisoner.

The man gives his name and address, in a sort of incoherent manner, and is sent back to a cell,[Pg 111] while the sergeant jots down the circumstances of his arrest in his “Blotter.”

The door opens again, and a woman neatly draped in mourning, and with a pale, sad face, enters timidly, and approaches the desk. In a low voice she asks the sergeant if he can tell her of any respectable place in the neighborhood where she can obtain a lodging at a moderate price. Her manner is that of a lady, and the sergeant listens with respect to her request, and gives her the address of such a place as she desired. In the same low tone she thanks him, and disappears, and the stern face of the officer of the law for a moment has a troubled expression.

The door is thrown open violently once more, and two flashily-dressed women enter, and hurry forward to the desk. Their faces are flushed, they are greatly excited, and have evidently been drinking. They begin their story together, talking loudly and angrily. They will not stand it any longer, they declare. Madame Loraine owes them money, and they “are going to have it or raise h—l.” The sergeant, having listened patiently, mildly interposes with the hope that nothing[Pg 112] of the kind will be raised in the station house, and then asks:

“How much does she owe you?”

“Seventy-five dollars,” they reply in one voice.

“And why don’t she pay you?”

“Because she thinks by keeping herself in our debt we won’t leave her,” they respond together, “and we want a policeman to come along and make her hand over.”

The sergeant considers for a moment and then declares the matter does not come within the jurisdiction of the police, and that he can do nothing for them. They stare at him in blank amazement for a while, and then flounce out of the room, loudly cursing the whole police force, and the sergeant in particular.

The next comer is in charge of another officer. He is very dirty and wretchedly drunk. His tall hat is smashed in, and there is mud sticking in his hair. He is placed before the desk.

“Drunk and disorderly, sir,” says the patrolman. “I found him trying to climb a telegraph pole in front of Pottgieser’s saloon. He said he always went to his room by way of the fire escape, when he came home late.”

[Pg 113]

The prisoner is silent, but tries to listen to the officer, and fixes upon the sergeant as solemn a look as his bleared eyes will permit. He is too drunk to give his name, and is sent to a cell, where he is soon in a drunken slumber.

Toward midnight, a poor woman, shabbily dressed, with a thin, well-worn shawl around her head enters, and approaches the desk.

“Can you tell me if anything has been heard of my husband yet?” she asks—the same question she has repeated every day for the past week.

“No, ma’am, nothing,” answers the sergeant, briefly; but his eyes as he glances at the poor sorrowful creature, have a pitying look in them.

“What is your husband’s business?”

“He was a stevedore, sir.”

“And you were married to him how long?”

“Eleven years and over, sir, we had four children, all dead now but the youngest. He was a good husband to me; but he took a drop too much now and then, and was cross and noisy. He left the house three weeks ago, and we have never seen him since.”

“Did he leave you any money?”

“He left us nothing, sir. The child and myself[Pg 114] live on the charity of neighbors; but we can’t expect to live that way always.”

“Well, I’ll speak to the captain,” says the sergeant, kindly, “and see what can be done for you, and if a dollar will do you any good, here it is.” And the good-hearted sergeant passes a silver coin over the desk, and sends the woman away sobbing out her expression of gratitude.

Loud voices are heard on the station steps as the woman passes out, the door is thrown open, and six well-dressed men enter, accompanied by two policemen. They approach the desk, talking excitedly, and charge and counter-charges, mixed with much slang and profanity, are brought before the sergeant, who sits steadily gazing at the party, waiting for a return of something like order. There is a lull in the talking, and one of the policemen states that two of the men have been engaged in a drunken assault at a political primary held in the neighborhood, and that the other two have come to prefer charges against them. The charges are made and entered in the “Blotter,” and the accused prefer counter-charges against the other two, but as the policemen do not sustain them, the accusers are suffered to depart,[Pg 115] and the accused are sent to a cell where they raise a tremendous racket.

As the officers are departing for their beats again, two more enter, this time having in custody two handsomely dressed, fashionable looking youths, whose flushed faces show they have been drinking, but not enough to prevent them from feeling the shame of their position.

“Drunk and disorderly, sir,” says the officer, “Knocked an old woman’s peanut stand in the street, knocked all her stuff into the mud and then tried to run away.”

“But, sergeant,” pleads one of the youths, “it was only for a lark, you see. We will make it all right in the morning with the old woman.”

“Your names and addresses?” asks the sergeant, coldly.

They are given, but are evidently fictitious.

“It was only a lark, sergeant,” begins the young man who spoke before, “we didn’t mean——.”

“Lock them up,” says the sergeant, cutting him short, “you can state all that to the court in the morning.”

And they were led away.

[Pg 116]

The silence that has fallen over the room after the young men have been led out is rudely broken by the hasty entrance of an officer from the direction of the cells. He is pale and excited.

“Sergeant,” he exclaims, “the woman in number ten has committed suicide. She’s hung herself.”

The sergeant springs up, tells the officer to take charge of the room, and hurries to the cells. We follow him. The door in number ten is wide open, and the doorman is in the act of cutting down the woman, who has suspended herself by the means of a line made of her garters. He lays her on the floor, in the cell, and he and the sergeant bend over and gaze into the bloated face. The woman is not dead and exhibits signs of returning life. Efforts are made to restore her, and are successful. As she recovers her consciousness she raises herself on her elbow, and glaring around savagely, curses bitterly the men who have saved her from death, and begs for a drink of whisky. No liquor is given her, however, and when the officers are satisfied she is out of danger, she is hand-cuffed, to prevent her from attempting further violence. The rest of the night she keeps[Pg 117] the place lively with her yells and blasphemous cries.

We return to the desk with the sergeant, who enters the occurrence in the “Blotter.” We are scarcely seated when two of the worst looking tramps to be found in Chicago enter, and come up to the desk.

“Cap’n,” exclaims one of them in a thick voice, “let’s have a shake-down for the night?”

“All right,” says the sergeant, “show these men back.”

The tramp who has spoken, encouraged by the ready granting of his request, says coolly, “You hain’t got a chew of tobaccer, Cap’n, you can let a fellow have?”

“No, I hain’t,” answers the sergeant, imitating the voice and expression of the tramp; “but I’ll send you in an oyster supper presently, with a bottle of Mum’s extra dry, and a bunch of Henry Clay’s; and perhaps some of the delicacies of the season, if they are to be had.”

The tramps laughed at this sally, and followed the officer to the lodging room.

Half an hour later four policemen enter the room bearing a stretcher, on which is laid a badly[Pg 118] wounded man, while two or more lead in the assailant, who is securely hand-cuffed, and bears the marks of the officers’ clubs. He had assaulted and stabbed the wounded man in a brawl in a saloon on Fourth avenue; had resisted the officers who attempted to arrest him, and had proved so dangerous that they had been compelled to club and hand-cuff him. The wounded man is sent to a hospital in an ambulance and the statements he made are recorded in the “Blotter” by the sergeant. The name and address of the prisoner is also written down, and he is sent to a cell, with the irons still on him.

Shortly after 2 o’clock another detachment of officers bring in a batch of about twenty prisoners, male and female. They are dressed in all manners of costumes. Here are dukes, Don Cæsars, Hamlets, Little Buttercups, Indians, Princesses and Warriors and the like. They have been to a “fancy ball,” and left it so drunk that they fell to fighting among themselves in the street and were taken in custody by the officials. They are a motley lot indeed and lent a strange aspect to the station. They appear to feel the ludicrousness of their position, and beg to be let off; but[Pg 119] the sergeant has no discretion, for the testimony of the officials is positive and the charge is a serious one. So they go back to the cells, and in the morning will appear in full costume before the Court to answer to the charge against them.

So the hours of darkness pass away, and the remainder of the night is only a repetition of many scenes we have described.

[Pg 120]

A Monday Morning Scene in the Harrison Police Station.

[Pg 121]

The Lost Sisterhood

Prevalence of Prostitution in Chicago.

Prostitution is an appalling evil in Chicago. One can scarcely look in any direction without seeing some evidence of it. Street walkers parade the most prominent thoroughfares, dance houses and low concert halls flaunt their gaudy signs in public, and houses of ill-fame are conducted with a boldness unequalled anywhere in the world. The evil is very great, and is assuming larger proportions every year, and I now make the startling assertion, that the prostitutes of Chicago are as numerous as the members of the largest denomination of the city. From the most reliable information obtainable there are about six hundred houses of prostitution and about two hundred and fifty assignation houses in Chicago. The number of women known as prostitutes, and those who “receive” privately, and associate with women whose[Pg 122] character is beyond reproach, is astounding. Of the number of women who resort to prostitution as a means of securing money, or from other motives, who yet manage to maintain positions of respectability in society, of course no estimate can be made. They are, unfortunately, very numerous, and are said by persons in position to speak with some degree of accuracy to equal the professionals in numbers.

These things are sad to contemplate and disagreeable to write about. The whole subject is unsavory; but no picture of Chicago would be complete did it not include an account of this terrible feature of city life, which meets the visitor at almost every turn; and it is believed that some good may be accomplished by stripping the subject of all its romance, and presenting it to the reader in its true and hideous colors.

The professional women of Chicago represent every grade of their wretched life, from the hells of the fashionable houses of ill-fame to the slowly dying inmates of a Dearborn street brothel. They begin their career with the hope that they will always remain in the class into which they enter, but find, when it is too late, they must go steadily[Pg 123] down into the depths, closing their lives with a horrible death and a pauper’s grave.

The so-called first-class houses of Chicago are conducted with more or less secrecy. It is the object of the proprietress to remain unknown to the police as long as possible, but she finds at last that this is impracticable. The sharp-eyed patrolmen soon discover suspicious signs about the house and watch it until their suspicions are verified, when the establishment is recorded as a house of ill-fame, and placed under police surveillance. These houses are not numerous, however, and not more than thirty in the entire city. Large rents are paid for them, and they are generally hired furnished. They are located in some quiet, respectable portion of the city, and outwardly appear to be simply private dwellings. It often happens that the neighbors are in ignorance of the true character of the house, long after it is known to the police. It is a notorious fact that some of our finest avenues and boulevards are infected with the infamous “houses.” The proprietress is a woman of respectable appearance, and passes as a married woman, some man generally living with her, and passing as her husband. This enables[Pg 124] her in case of trouble with the authorities, to show a legal protector and insist upon her claim to be a married woman.

The inmates are women in the first flush of their charms. They are handsome, well-dressed, generally refined in manner, and conduct themselves with outward propriety; rude and boistrous conduct, improper language, and indecent behavior are forbidden in the parlors of the house, and a casual visitor passing through public rooms of the place would see nothing out of the usual way.

It is difficult to learn the causes which induce these women to adopt a life of shame. No reliance whatever can be placed upon the stories they tell of themselves. It cannot be doubted, however, that they are generally of respectable origin, and some of them are otherwise fitted to adorn the best circles of society. Some are young women who have been led astray by men who have failed to keep their promises to them, and have drifted into sin to hide their shame, others are wives who have left, or have been deserted by their husbands; others still have deliberately chosen the life, gratifying their love for money and dress; and others again appear to be influenced by motives of pure[Pg 125] licentiousness. Whatever the cause of adoption of such a life, it is evident they have seen better days. They are still fresh and attractive, and for a while pursue their gilded career of sin and shame, hoping that they may be fortunate enough to retain their place in the aristocracy of vice. The proprietress will have no others than attractive women in her house; and as soon as the inmates begin to show signs of the wretched life they lead, as soon as sickness falls upon them, or they lose their beauty and freshness, she sends them away, and fills their places with more attractive women. She has no difficulty in doing this, for she has her agents on the watch for them all the time, and unfortunately new women are always soliciting admission to such places. Besides this, the proprietress knows that her patrons soon grow tired of seeing the same women in her establishment. She must make frequent changes to satisfy them, and she has no scruples about turning a woman out of her doors to begin the descent of the ladder of shame. Therefore, about one or two years is the average term of the stay of a woman in a fashionable house. A few do remain longer, but the number is so small as to[Pg 126] constitute scarcely an exception to the general rule. As long as her “boarders” remain with her, the proprietress treats them fairly enough, apart from the fact that she manages to get out of them all the money she can. The women earn large amounts of money, but a considerable portion of this goes for board and other expenses in the house, and their extravagant habits and tastes exhaust the rest. They save nothing, and if taken sick must go to the Charity Hospital for treatment. Their dream of saving money lasts but a short time, and they leave the fashionable houses penniless.

The visitors to these houses are men of means. No one without a full pocket can afford such indulgence. Visitors are expected to spend considerable money for wine, which is always furnished by the proprietress at the most exhorbitant prices, and at a profit of about 200 per cent. A large part of her revenue is derived from such sales, and she looks sharply after this branch of the business. The shamelessness with which men of standing and prominence, many of whom are fathers of families, resort to these houses and display themselves in the parlors is astounding.[Pg 127] Indeed, the keeper of one of the most fashionable houses boasts that married men are her principal customers. Sometimes the visitor desires that his visits shall not be known. For such persons there are private rooms, where they are sure of seeing no one but the proprietress and the woman for whom their visit is intended. These houses are largely attended by strangers visiting Chicago; these, thinking themselves unknown in a large city, care little for privacy, and boldly show themselves in the general parlors. The proportion of married and middle-aged men among them is very great. You will find among them lawyers, physicians, judges of the courts, members of congress, and even ministers of the gospel, from all parts of the country. This may seem a startling assertion, but the police authorities will confirm it. If the secrets of these places as regards their visitors could be made public there would be a terrible rupture in many happy families throughout the land, as well as in the metropolis. Men who at home are models of propriety, seem to lose all sense of restraint when they come to Chicago. These same gentlemen would be merciless towards[Pg 128] any female member of their families who should display a similar laxity.

To return to the women: the inmates of the first-class houses rarely remain in them for more than two years. Their shameful and dissipated lives render them by this time unfit for companionship with their aristocratic associates. The proprietress quickly detects this and remorselessly orders them from her house. She knows the fate that awaits them; but her only care is to keep her house full of fresh and attractive women.

The Next Step.

Having quitted the fashionable house, the wretched woman has no recourse but to enter a second-class house, and then go down one grade lower in vice. The proprietress is cruel and exacting, and boldly robs her boarders whenever occasion offers. The visitors are more numerous, but are a rougher and coarser set than those who patronized her in the first stages of her career. Money is less plentiful, her life is harder in every way, and she seeks relief from the reflections that will crowd upon her in drink, and perhaps to[Pg 129] drunkenness adds the vice of opium. Her health breaks fast, what was left of her beauty when she entered the house soon fades, and in two or three years she becomes unfit to even remain in a second-class house. She is turned into the street by the proprietress, who generally robs her of her money and jewelry, and sometimes even of her clothing, save what she has on at the time. The wretches who keep these houses do not hesitate to detain a woman’s trunk, or other effects, upon some trumped-up charge of arrears or debt, when they have no longer any use for her. The poor creature has no redress, and is obliged to submit in silence to any wrong practiced upon her.

The woman whose career opened so brilliantly is now a confirmed prostitute and drunkard, bloated, sickly and perhaps diseased; she is without hope, and there is nothing left. It is only four or five years, perhaps less, since she entered the fashionable boulevard mansion, beautiful and attractive in all the freshness of her charms, and little dreaming of the fate in store for her. She is not an exception to the rule, however. She has but followed the usual road, and met the inevitable doom of her class.

[Pg 130]

Going Down Into the Depths.

From the second-class house the lost woman passes into one of the bagnios of the “red-light district” or some similar place. Here her lot is infinitely more wretched. Her companions are the vilest of her class, and the visitors are among the lowest order of men who cannot gain admittance into places such as she has left. She finds herself a slave to the keeper of the house, who is often a burly ruffian, and even more brutal than a woman would be in the same position. She is robbed of her earnings, is beaten, and often falls into the hands of the police. She becomes familiar with the courts, the bridewell, and whatever of womanly feeling remained to her is crushed out of her. She is a brute simply. She remains in Green, Peoria or some other like street for a year or two—human nature cannot bear up longer under such a life—and is then unfit to remain even there. Would you seek her after this you will find her in the terrible dens and living hells—even in places of infamy and degredation that a former Mayor was compelled to stamp out, so utterly repugnant was it to even the lowest instincts of man. To the[Pg 131] burning disgrace of Chicago, some of these pestiferous vice-breeding places are allowed to exist by the “stink-pots” who govern the city. These poor, vile, repulsive women, slowly dying from their bodily ailments, and the effects of drink and drugs, have reached the bottom of the ladder, and can go no lower. She knows it, and in a sort of dumbly, desperate way, is glad it is so. Life is such a daily torture to her, that death only offers her any relief. She is really a living corpse. The end soon comes. Some die from the effects of their terrible lives, and oh! such fearful deaths; and others are killed or fatally injured in drunken brawls which so often occur in this locality; and others still seek an end of their miserable existence in the dark waters of Lake Michigan.

I draw no exaggerated picture of the gradual but inevitable descent of a fallen woman in Chicago. Every detail is true to life. Seven years is the average life of an abandoned woman in the great city. She may begin her career with all the eclat possible, she may queen it by nature of her beauty and charms in some fashionable house, at the beginning, and may even outlast the average term at such places; it matters not; her doom is[Pg 132] certain. The time will come when she must leave the aristocracy of shame, must take the second step in her terrible career. Seven years for the majority of these women, then death in its most horrible form. Some may, and do, anticipate the end of it by suicide; few ever escape from it.

“The wages of sin is death.” Some cherish the hope that after a few years of pleasure, they will reform; but alas, they find it impossible to do so. A few, a very few, do escape, through the aid extended to them by the “missions,” but they are so few that they but help to emphasize the hopelessness of the effort. The doom of the fallen woman is swift and sure! “The wages of sin is death.” Once entered upon a career of shame, the whole world sets its face against her. Even the men who associated with her in her palmy days would turn a deaf ear to her appeals for aid after she has gone down into the depths. I would to God that the women who are about to enter upon this terrible life could walk through the purlieu of the “red-light” district and witness the sights that I have seen there. I would they could see the awful, despairing faces that look out from the[Pg 133] bagnios of that terrible neighborhood, and realize that, however brilliant the opening of their career may be, this must be the end of it. It is idle for them to hope to escape the doom of the fallen woman. “The wages of sin is death.” Would anyone know what sort of death? Let her come to Chicago and see.

Many of the women of the town never pass through the various gradations of vice that I have described.

Many never see the inside of a fashionable house of ill-fame, but begin lower down the scale, as inmates of second-class houses, as waiter girls in concert saloons, as inmates of dance houses—which were so prevalent in Chicago years ago—or as street walkers. These meet their inevitable doom all the more quickly, but not less surely.

The city is full of people, men and women, whose object is to lead young girls into lives of shame. They watch the hotels, depots and large stores and lure respectable girls away on various pretexts. Every inducement is held out to working girls and women to adopt the vile trade, and many fall willing victims. Hundreds of these women are from rural districts of adjoining states.[Pg 134] They come to the city seeking work and are sometimes successful. Often, however, they can find nothing to do, and when poverty and want stare them in the face, they listen to the voice of the tempter, become street walkers or inmates of houses of ill-fame. Sometimes, while they are in the first days of their success, they will write home that they are pursuing honest callings in the city and earning respectable livings, and will even send money home to their deluded parents. After a while the letters cease—the writer has gone into the depths; they are lost!

It is, indeed, strange to see how these women will cherish the memory of their homes even in the midst of their shame. They will speak at the pleasant home, or their aged father and mother, in accents full of despair. Often these memories will cause them to burst into uncontrollable weeping. If one should try to take advantage of this moment of tenderness, and urge them to make an effort to reform, they are met with but one answer: “It is too late.”

The keepers of the bagnios of the city use every means to lure young women into their power. Some years since, a girl who had managed to[Pg 135] escape from a notorious brothel, told the following story:

“I watched the advertisements in the papers to see something that would suit me. I learned that a Mrs. G—— of —— street wanted two girls to do light chamber work, and I hastened there, with a friend, in quest of the position. We were received by Mrs. G——, who began to explain to us the nature of the duties we were expected to perform. It was an awful proposition. She kept a house of ill-fame. We fled. I was much discouraged. Not so my friend, who told me there was another lady down the street, who was really in want of a girl to help her. We went to her house. It was another of the same sort; but after I got in there my clothes were taken from me, and the woman furnished me with some sort of silk, trimmed with fur, and tried to make me act like the other girls in her establishment. I remained there from Saturday to Wednesday night, because I could not get away. I had no clothes to wear in the streets, even if I should succeed in reaching them, which was impossible, and the woman who kept the house was angry with me, brutally so, because I would not comply with her wishes. I and another[Pg 136] young girl tried to escape by the back yard. The other girl got away, but I was discovered by the keeper, who drove me back into the house with curses. On Wednesday evening I was made to sit at a window and call a man, who was passing, into the house. He turned out to be a detective, and arrested me, and was the means of my freedom!”

The police are often called upon by relatives of abandoned women to assist them in finding them and rescuing them from their lives of shame. Sometimes, in the cases of very young girls, these efforts are successful, and the poor creature gladly goes with friends. Others again refuse to leave their wretched haunts; they prefer to lead their lives of infamy.

One night a young man called at the “Apollo,” a theatre and dance-house on Third Avenue—now Plymouth Place—and inquired for his sister Dora, who, he had learned, was in that place. The young lady came out, while he was speaking, in company with a well-dressed man. Instead of complying with her brother’s entreaties, she entered a carriage, with her escort, and drove to a nearby police station to seek relief from her brother’s importunities. The brother followed,[Pg 137] told the sergeant the story of his sister’s shame, and asked him to keep her there until he could summon the father. The sergeant complied with the request and the father soon appeared. He was a respectable oil manufacturer and had lavished wealth and fine dress upon the wayward child. He confirmed his son’s statements, and appealed to his daughter to go home with him. She answered him flippantly, and the indignant father cursed her for her sin, and would have attacked the man with her had not officers prevented him. The woman was locked up for the night in the station house, and brought before court the next morning. The father urged that she should be sent to some reformatory establishment, but the woman met him with the statement that she was twenty-three years old, beyond legal control, and therefore entitled to choose her own mode of life. Her plea was valid, and the magistrate was unwillingly compelled to discharge her from custody, though he endeavored to persuade her to return to her family. She then left the court room, was joined by several flashily-dressed women, and departed in high spirits, completely ignoring her relatives.

[Pg 138]

One of the worst classes of abandoned women consists of street walkers. On any of the business streets and even in outlying districts these women are very numerous. They are generally well-dressed, and, as a rule, are young. They pursue certain regular routes, rarely pausing, unless they “pick-up” a companion, when they dart off with him to some side street. On the brilliantly lighted thoroughfares the police do not allow them to stop and accost men, but they manage to do so. The neighborhoods of the “hotels” and the places of “amusement” are their principal cruising grounds, and their victims are mainly strangers to the city. Many of them have regular employment during the day, and ply their wretched trade at night to increase their gains. They accompany their victims to the “bed-houses” which are conveniently at hand, and if an opportunity occurs will rob him. They frequent the dance halls and concert saloons; in fact, every place to which they can obtain admission, and lure men into their company. As a rule they are vicious in the extreme, drink heavily, and in some cases are fearfully diseased.

In former years many of the street walkers[Pg 139] were in the regular employ of the “panel-houses,” which were numerous at that time. These houses were kept by men, who were among the most desperate roughs in Chicago. The woman is either mistress of one of these men, or in his pay. The method pursued was as follows: The street walker secures her victim on the street, or at some concert hall, or dance-house. He is generally a stranger, and ignorant of the localities of the city. She takes him to her room, which is an apartment provided with a partition in which there is a sliding door or panel. The confederate of the woman is concealed behind the partition, and at a favorable moment slides back the panel, enters the room and strips the clothing of the victim of the money and valuables contained in it. If discovered, the panel thief endeavors to disable the victim. The latter is no match for his assailant, and is from the first at a disadvantage. The thief is desperate, and is generally armed. He does not hesitate at anything, and, if necessary, will murder the victim, the woman assisting him in the fearful work. Then the body is left until near morning, when it is placed in a wagon engaged by the thief, carried to the river or lake,[Pg 140] and then thrown into the water. Generally the robbery is accomplished without the necessity of resorting to violence. The victim either puts up with his loss in silence, or reports it to the police. The records at headquarters contain reports of numerous robberies of this kind. So the evil went on. Strangers in this city incur terrible risk in accompanying street walkers, and women whom they meet on the street, at concert and dance halls to their homes. In nine cases out of ten, robbery is certain. Murder is too often the result of such adventure. Truly, Solomon was wise indeed when he wrote: “He hath taken a bag of money with him—with her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with flattering of her lips she forced him—he goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks; till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hastened to the snare, and knoweth not it is for his life—her house is the way to hell going down to the chambers of death.”

[Pg 141]

Chicago’s Crowning Curse

The curse of Chicago is the vile, repugnant saloon. No one can realize the picture of its rottenness all at once; everything is deceptive about it, and it takes time to grasp the magnitude of this hydra-headed monster. But by degrees the immensity and appalling environments assert themselves, and the beholder, while visiting these pest holes, feels and knows that he is in close proximity to the devil. The very atmosphere seems laden with his satanic majesty’s presence, which permeates every nook and corner of the iniquitous place. Here, above all other places, the devil’s work is supreme. Awful, indeed, is the anguish of the mother as she looks upon the face of her ruined son or daughter.

Oh! Chicago! big, bustling Chicago! Storms and tempests may rage around, and the sun’s fierce rays descend upon your brow; you may be victorious in commercial conflict, but sink into insignificance[Pg 142] when facing the greatest of social evils.

There are, however, no rivals among these dangerous dives, which stand out like projecting rocks as pitfalls for the weak.

There are about 7,000 saloons in Chicago. At each of these places liquors are sold by the single glass or drink. They represent every grade of drinking establishments, from the magnificent Buffet to the “Barrel-houses.” All these places enjoy a greater or less degree of prosperity, and the proprietors grow rich, unless they cut short their lives by becoming their own best customers. For alcoholic and malt liquors served over the bar hundreds of thousands of dollars are spent daily. It is estimated that in the vicinity of the board of trade 7,500 drinks are disposed of every day. The “bulls and bears” require heavy stimulants to keep them up to their exciting work, and their daily expenditure for such purposes is about $2,500. Probably this may account for some of the queer scenes to be witnessed in the pit.

The quantity of beer consumed in the city is about twelve times that of whisky, and is the most common of the alcoholic drinks. The true-blooded[Pg 143] German beer drinker will consume from one to two dozen glasses of his favorite beverage in twenty-four hours and his American and other imitators follow closely in his footsteps.

A popular bar will take in $200 to $400 a day, but the majority of the liquor dealers are content with from $30 to $50 a day. Some of these places remain open all night, and are filled with dram drinkers at all hours. At the first-class establishments the liquors sold are of good quality, but as the scale is descended the quality of the drinks fall off, until the low-class bar-rooms are reached in which the most poisonous compounds are sold, under the name of whisky, brandy, gin and rum.

The American saloon is the curse of the nation. Hundreds of thousands of men and women are being ruined annually, and our government, it seems, is powerless to curb the destroying monster.

There are over 1400 girls in the training school for girls, and with few exceptions they have been children of an alcoholic inheritance. Are they to be blamed for the circumstances surrounding their young lives? Not at all. The whole blame lies at the door of those who have voted to license the saloon which has made it possible for the parents[Pg 144] to so poison their physical being that it is not possible for them to bring into the world normal children with the powers that would enable them to cope with the world.

The number of moral imbeciles that are in the state institutions is simply appalling, and there are object lessons enough in Chicago to cause any one who will give the subject but a moment of good, unselfish thought, to go to the polls and declare that no longer shall be fostered in our midst that which in the course of time will make us no better than a nation of lepers. Some day parents will recognize the responsibility of bringing children into the world.

The American woman of the fashionable set lives in a whirl of unhealthful stress and excitement. She sleeps too little and keeps her nerves constantly on the Qui Vive. She tipples and drugs, she is often a degenerate and a mother of degenerates—if, indeed, she be a mother at all. This drinking among women is more prevalent than we are willing to believe, and it is one of the greatest dangers with which we are confronted today. The hurry and fret of Chicago life is[Pg 145] turning out degenerates at a rate that will one day stagger the world.

Ignorance and bad parentage are doing the work in many instances, and girls comparatively good are led off by bad men and worse women. Children who have been well born and should have been well reared, find their way into the schools of delinquents, the jails, penitentiaries, and insane hospitals. The heredity of many of these children is appalling and the environments does the rest.

The “barrel-houses” are located in the poorer sections of the city where the liquors of the vilest kind are sold. Their customers are the poor and wretched. Only the cheapest and poisonous liquors are sold here as a rule.

It is impossible to estimate the amount of drunkenness in Chicago. The arrests represent but a small part of it, as thousands upon thousands of habitual drunkards manage to keep out of the hands of the police. Respectable men patronize the bar-rooms regularly, and are constantly seen reeling along the streets. So long as they are not helpless, or guilty of disorderly conduct, the police do not molest them. Systematic drinking,[Pg 146] which does not amount to actual intoxication, but kills by slow degrees, is very common. Among the most liberal patrons of the bar-rooms are young men and even boys, who thoughtlessly begin their careers that will one day end in sorrow.

Drunkenness is by no means confined to men. Women are largely addicted to it. Out of some twelve arrests for this cause three are women. In the more wretched quarters of the city, women drink heavily and are among the most constant customers of the cheap groggeries which thrive among the poor. Even women of respectability and good social positions are guilty of the vice of intemperance. They all do not frequent bar-rooms, however, but obtain liquor at the restaurants patronized by them, and it is a common sight to see well-dressed women, married and single, rise from a restaurant table under the influence of intoxicating drink.

The poem of Francis E. Bolton, tells the story of the rum demon.

Within a home of woe and shame,
A drunken father nightly came,
[Pg 147]
And called the only child he had,
To come and kiss her poor old dad.
A darling little girl was she,
Who climbed upon that father’s knee,
And kissed him with a look half sad,
Although she loved her poor old dad.
Drunken and dirty, weary and sad,
She always kissed her poor old dad.
But lower, lower sank his soul,
Infatuated with the bowl,
One comfort only then he had,
The kiss that always welcomed dad.
One night a Christian brother came,
And won him from his woe and shame,
He found the Lord, who made him glad,
That night she kissed a sober dad.
Days came and went, his eyes grew bright,
His clothes were neat, his heart was light,
His home was heaven, his child was glad,
Some marvelous change had come to dad.
One night he called her as of yore,
As she stood white-robed upon the floor,
His tone a deeper loving had,
“Come, pet, and kiss your poor old dad.”
[Pg 148]
Loyal and loving, manly and glad,
She knew some change had come to dad.
Her eyes lit with a radiant smile,
She paused in thought a little while,
She said as slow as she looked him o’er,
“You’re not my old dad any more.”
“What then, my pet?” he asked with awe,
“Why, now you are my new papa.”
He caught her to his breast with praise,
“So may I be through endless days.”
Loyal and loving, noble and true,
Praise to the Lord, old dad is new,
O, glorious grace of God! ’tis here,
For those who sigh in sin and fear.
Come unto Christ who can restore,
Nor be the old man any more.
In Jesus Christ the world is true,
You are a creature wholly new.
The blessed spirit now implore,
Nor be the old man any more.
Loyal and loving, noble and true,
The soul that lives in Christ is new.

[Pg 149]

Gambling Hells

Past and Present.

The statutes of the state of Illinois pronounce severe penalties against gambling and gamblers, yet games of chance have flourished in the past and do yet to a greater extent than in any other city in the country. There are said to be about 20,000 men who maintain an existence through gambling in one form or another. In late years the laws against gambling have been enforced more rigidly than formerly, and the number of professional gamblers has somewhat diminished. Yet there are enough of them left to make their business a very marked feature of metropolitan life.

At the head of the fraternity are the faro dealers. This game is too well-known to the average American to need any description here, and has always been popular in this country because of its supposed fairness.

[Pg 150]

“In the good old days,” as one celebrity expressed it, there were between forty and fifty faro games in Chicago, some of which were palatial establishments. The busiest of these were to be found in Clark street, and numerous side streets; outwardly these places appear to be simply private clubs, for they have a silent, deserted air during the day, giving no signs of life. The blinds are kept down and only men are seen to enter and leave the houses. The better class are furnished with great magnificence, and costly paintings adorn the walls; the softest carpets cover the floors, the most costly furniture fills the apartments and superb chandeliers hang from the ceilings and shed a brilliant glow through the rooms. The servants are colored, and the attendance is all that could be desired. Delicious suppers are spread nightly for guests, and rare wines and liquors are at the command of all who honor the place with their presence. In the house are all the various conveniences for gaming. In the first-class houses no one is asked to play, but it is understood that all who partake of the proprietor’s hospitality are expected to make some return by risking something at the tables. In the[Pg 151] best houses the games are generally fair, the proprietor trusting to the chances of the game, which are nearly all in favor of the “Bank,” and the skill of the dealer. Great care is exercised in the admission of visitors. The proprietors of these places discourage the visits of young men; they prefer the company of men of means who have something to lose. Poker is also largely played in all first-class establishments.

The second-class houses or “hells,” are scattered all over the business portion of the city. The visitors to these establishments are chiefly young men and strangers in the city, who are lured or “roped” into them by agents of the proprietors. Faro, roulette, poker and numerous other games are played here, but fair games are unknown, except among the professionals who frequent the place. The “skin” game is used with the majority of the visitors, for the proprietor is determined from the outset to fleece them without mercy. In these places everything pertaining to gaming is boldly displayed—chips, cards, faro boxes, roulette wheels, handsome gaming tables, and side-boards containing liquors and cigars. The entrance to the houses are carefully[Pg 152] guarded, the doors are secured by heavy bolts and bars, and sliding panels afford every opportunity for inspecting the visitor before his final admission to the rooms. Though roulette is frequently played in these establishments, faro, as we have said, is the principal game. It is simpler than roulette, and gives a heavy percentage in favor of the “bank,” and “skin faro,” the only game played here, offers no chance to the player. In “skin faro” the dealer can take two cards from the box instead of one, whenever he chooses to do so. The box is so arranged that the dealer can press on a lever within the box in the right hand corner. When this is pressed upon the mouth of the box is opened, so as to allow two cards to slip out at once. The cards being “sanded,” stick close together, and the player can not perceive that there are two. On the withdrawal of the pressure from the lever the mouth of the box is closed by a spring, so that only one card can slip out. There are some boxes, called “sanded-boxes,” by the use of which the dealer can press on the end of the box and take out two cards, still keeping his fingers in the natural position, instead of being obliged to reach inside of[Pg 153] the box in order to press the lever. No tally is kept of these games, and the player is unable to see how many cards have been dealt out. Should he discover the trick, it is highly dangerous to attempt to expose it, as nearly all the persons present are in league with the “bank,” and are united in the effort to get possession of the player’s money. The safest plan is to bear the loss and get out of the place as soon as possible, as the men present will not hesitate to provoke a quarrel with or assault a stranger who disputes the fairness of the game. A quarrel once started, every advantage is taken of the player, and his life is not worth a farthing. The safest plan of all is to remain away from these hells. The man who enters any gaming house in Chicago, especially a stranger in the city, is a fool, and deserves to lose his money. He who ventures into one of the second-class houses, risks not only his money, but his life. However wise a man may be in his own conceit, however he may rank as an oracle in his distant home, however brave, resolute, or skillful he may be, he is no match for a Chicago gambler. In nine houses out of ten his life is in[Pg 154] danger unless he submits quietly to be robbed in the most barefaced manner.

One of the worst and most demoralizing forms of gambling is “pool selling.” The pool business flourishes at the present time, and is winked at by the police officers, and tribute is generally understood to be levied against the proprietors. The business is conducted by professional gamblers, and though seemingly fair, is a swindle throughout. Pools are sold on horse-races, prize-fights, boat-races, political elections, and in short, on all and every conceivable contest into which the element of chance or doubt enters. The pool is a fixed number of chances, each of which is sold at a certain price. The managers charge a percentage or commission on all tickets sold, and do not hesitate to sell as many as there are applicants for, even though the legitimate number is exceeded by such sales. A favorite trick is to receive the money invested in pools and then spread reports which shall discourage the bettors, and induce them to withdraw their bets. The managers return the amounts invested, minus their commission, which they retain, and in this way, while seeming to act with perfect fairness,[Pg 155] fill their coffers at the expense of their victims.

The great evil of “pool” gambling is that it encourages young men and boys to enter into the combinations, and thus give them a taste for gambling. The possibility of winning considerable money by investments fascinates them. During a political campaign officers of two of the largest banks in the city called upon the Chief of Police, and stated that they suspected that many of their clerks visited the pool-rooms. They feared that the excitement and allurements of gambling might impair the integrity of these young men, and induce them to appropriate money belonging to the bank. Detectives were employed, and the suspicions of the bank officers were confirmed. Business men are constantly finding that their clerks and salesmen are regular visitors to the pool-rooms. Messenger boys, boot-blacks, and others who earn only a few dollars a week, invest all the money they can get hold of in buying pool tickets. Men of high respectability fall victims to the same vice, and the evil goes on increasing. The only persons who profit by it are the managers of the pools, who do not hesitate to resort to any trick to retain the money[Pg 156] intrusted to them, and who coolly swindle their infatuated dupes, old and young, with the same cheerful alacrity.

Another vicious form of gambling is the lottery business, closely connected with which is “policy dealing.” Lotteries are of two kinds—the single number system and the combination system. In the former as many single numbers as there are tickets in the scheme, are placed in a wheel, and are drawn out in regular order. The first number drawn wins the capital prize, and so on until as many numbers are drawn as there are prizes. In the combination system, seventy-five numbers are generally placed in the wheel, and from these a certain set of numbers are drawn, according to the provisions of the scheme. The chances are much greater against the ticket-holders in this system than in the single number schemes, as, in order for a player to win a prize, the various numbers must be drawn in the exact order represented on his ticket.

It is, of course, possible for a lottery to be fairly drawn, but it is a well-known fact that in the majority of the schemes advertised no drawing of any kind ever takes place. A bogus drawing is[Pg 157] published, and, though prizes are assigned, not a single ticket-holder ever receives one. Even if the drawing is fair, the business is to be denounced on the ground that it is not only illegal, but demoralizing. The purchasers of lottery tickets are, as a rule, persons unable to afford the expenditure—generally the very poor. This species of gambling has a fascination which holds its votaries with a grip of iron. They venture again and again, winning nothing, but hoping for better luck next time, and so continue until they have lost their all. There are hundreds of well-authenticated cases of men and women being reduced to beggary, despair and suicide by lottery gambling.

The managers of the various lottery schemes are professional gamblers. They are without principle, and do not intend to pay any prizes to ticket-holders. They receive their money from their dupes, announce a bogus drawing, in which no prizes can be found by any ticket-holder, and then coolly ask their victims to try again.

Policy dealing is one degree lower in infamy than the lottery business. There were at one time about 200 policy shops in the city, whose principal customers are negroes, sailors and foreigners.[Pg 158] The mazes of policy are not well-known to the general public. Few games are so well devised for a sure loss to the player, even when honestly played, and the more influential sellers make this assurance doubly sure by playing to suit themselves. The game consists of betting on certain numbers, within the range of lottery schemes, being drawn at high noon or night-drawing. Seventy-eight numbers usually make up the lottery scheme, and the policy player can take any of these numbers and bet they will be drawn, either single, or in such combinations as he may select. The single numbers may come out anywhere in the drawing, but the combination must appear as he writes it in making his bet. He pays one dollar for the privilege of betting and receives a written slip containing the number or numbers on which he bets. If a single number is chosen and drawn, he wins $5.00, two numbers constitute a “saddle,” and if both are drawn the player wins from $24.00 to $32.00, three numbers make a “gig” and win from $150 to $225; four numbers make a “horse,” and win $640.00 A “capital straddle” is a bet that two numbers will be among the first three drawn, and wins[Pg 159] $500.00. The player may take any number of “saddles,” “gigs,” or “horses,” paying $1.00 for each bet.

Now all this seems very fair, but the policy managers are equal to the emergency. As soon as they receive the drawings, they change the order of the numbers, and thus condemn the players to a total loss. These alternated numbers are printed on slips, and distributed to the various policy shops. In some cases, after these copies have been sent out, it is discovered that the players have even then won too much to suit the managers. The copies are immediately recalled as misprints, and new copies, altered to suit the managers, are distributed.

All sorts of people engage in this wretched game, black and whites, rich and poor. The grossest superstitions are indulged in respecting “lucky numbers.” Such numbers are revealed by dreamers, which are interpreted by “dream books.” To dream of a man is “one,” of a woman “five,” of both “fifteen,” and so on. Thousands of copies of these “dream books” are sold every year, and among its purchasers are said to be many shrewd operators on the Board of Trade.[Pg 160] So great is the rage for policy playing that men and women become insane over it. The lunatic asylums contain many patients who have been brought there by this species of gambling.

[Pg 161]

Criminal Operations

One of the greatest evils of the city is the existence of a class of men and women—some practicing physicians—who make their living by practicing abortion upon women who have been betrayed and upon married women. These abortionists are known as a rule to the police, who make no effort to break up the infamous business. They continue to flourish, and advertise in such city journals as will admit their advertisements, and reap large profits from the sale of drugs and the performance of operations upon pregnant women. Their calling is illegal, and the statute books inflicts grave penalties against them. To bring on premature confinement, which shall result in the death of a child, is made by law a grave offense. In spite of this, however, infanticide flourishes in Chicago, and every year the city journals contain numerous accounts of the death of women at the hands of professional abortionists. They are arrested and punished whenever a clear case can be made[Pg 162] out against them; but others spring up to take their place, and the infamous business continues to thrive. Some of the more cautious practitioners will not undertake the premature delivery of a woman, but content themselves with receiving her, and carrying her safely through her confinement. They require that she shall be “backed” by some responsible man. The child, when born, is sent to some foundling asylum, or given to persons willing to adopt it. Often the practitioner places it in the hands of some person to care for it, and, when the parents are of good position in society, and possessed of wealth, holds it as a means of extorting money from them. Large sums are wrung from parents in this way, in order to avoid an exposure, and men and women have been driven to despair and suicide by the wretches in whose power they have placed themselves.

One of the most notorious women of this class was the late Madam S——. A large part of her income was derived from the sale of drugs warranted to bring on miscarriages. She amassed a large fortune, by her business, built a magnificent house on a prominent street, and lived in royal[Pg 163] style. She would never commit an abortion outright, but would safely deliver her patients, take care of the children born in her house, and use them as means of extorting money from the parents. Her patients were invariably women of position in society, in the city and other parts of the country, and she received no one in her house unless “backed” by a man of known wealth. At length her wicked ways threw her into the hands of the police. The evidence against her was overwhelming, and to escape the just punishment of her crimes, the wretched woman committed suicide.

A physician of standing in his profession once said to me, “The number of young girls in their teens who come here begging my services is astounding. Many, of course, have been betrayed, and seek to remove the consequences of their sin.”

[Pg 164]

“Poverty in Chicago.”

[Pg 165]

Life Under the Shadows

Poverty in Chicago.

It is a terrible thing to be poor in any part of the world. In Chicago poverty is simply a living death. The city is full of suffering and misery. Some of the wretched people who endure it have, no doubt, brought it upon themselves by drink, by idleness, or by other faults, but a large majority are simply unfortunate. Their poverty has come upon them through no fault of their own; they struggle bravely against it, and would better their condition if they could only find employment. They are held down by an iron hand, however, and vainly endeavor to rise out of their misery. They dwell in wretched tenement houses, in cellars of buildings in the more thickly populated parts of the city, and in shanties, and hovels in almost every quarter of the city. A few families, even in the midst of their sufferings, manage to keep their poor quarters clean and neat, but the[Pg 166] majority live in squalor and filth. But little furniture is to be seen in the rooms of the poor. Everything that can bring money has been sold for the means with which to buy food. Many of these wretched homes have been stripped of all their contents for this purpose. A cooking stove sometimes constitutes the only article of furniture in a room, and the inmates sleep upon the floor. Not a chair or table is to be seen. Often there is no stove, and the only food that passes the lips of the occupants of these rooms is what is given them in charity.

The inmates of these wretched homes are often families who have seen better days. Once the husband and father could give those dependent upon him a comfortable home, and provide at least the necessaries of life. But sickness came upon him, or death took him, and the little family was deprived of his support. In vain the mother sought to procure work to keep her children in comfort. What work she could procure was at intervals, and the little she earned barely sufficed to keep a roof over their heads. Little by little they sank lower and lower, until poverty in its worst form settled upon them. The city is full of[Pg 167] such cases, and missionaries, whose labors among the poor bring them in constant contact with scenes of suffering, confess that they do not know how these poor people manage to live. Whole blocks are filled with families on the verge of starvation. They would gladly work if they could get employment; but the city is so full of sufferers like themselves that they cannot escape from their wretched condition. The so-called Ghetto and other localities present scenes of misery which almost surpass belief. Many of the dwellers here pick up a bare subsistence.

To those who visit these sections of the city, each one seems worse than the other. The “Ghetto” is the most wretched haunt occupied by human beings in the country. It is easily found. Cross the river at Harrison street, go west to Jefferson street, turn south. Anybody can tell you where it is. There is no mistaking the place. A junkman’s cellar in the front of the house opens widely to the street, and, peering down, one may see a scene of men and women half buried in dirty rags and papers which they are gathering up and putting in bales for the paper mills. This is the general depot to which the rag-picker brings his[Pg 168] odds and ends for sale after he has assorted them. Just as we emerge from this cellar, a rag-picker, heavily laden, passes up the stoop, and enters the hall above. Standing here and looking up, one beholds a sight that cannot be imagined. Rags to the right of him, rags to the left of him, on all sides nothing but rags. Lines in the yard draped with them, windows hung with them, every available object dressed in rags—and such rags! of every possible size, shape and color. Some of them have been drawn through the wash-tub to get off the worst dirt, but for the most part they are hung up just as they were taken from the bags, and left to the rain and snow to cleanse them. The exterior of the buildings is wretched enough; the interior equally so.

Some of the rooms on a cloudy day are as dark as dungeons, with but little light coming through the dirty window on the front and the smaller one on the back. Every inch of the ceiling and walls is black and dirty. Against this dark background are hung numerous hats, kettles, pans, joints of raw meat, partly consumed Bologna sausages, gowns of women, and so on. The beds are almost invariably covered with old carpets, that still retain[Pg 169] some bits of their original color. None of the chairs have backs, and hardly any of them have four legs. Seated upon these uncertain supports, or often an empty soap box or upturned boiler, are the rag-pickers. Every man in the house has his hat on, including the one in bed napping after the hard work of the early morning. Not one bare-headed man is seen anywhere. Some of them are sitting dreamily by the stove, but most of them are sorting rags or cutting up old coats and pantaloons that are too much used to wear, and stuffing the bits into the bags for the junk dealer. In one room is a woman washing bones with her dirty hands, in another place four men are seated on a big chest, with a bit of Bologna sausage in one hand and a chunk of black bread in the other, making their noon-day meal. These same hands have just finished turning over filthy scraps from the garbage boxes and the gutters. On the ground floor a man, who looks for all the world like a brigand, is stirring broth over the fire, and the horrible odor of rottenness that comes from the pot is enough to knock one down.

Few of the members of the Italian colony speak English, except here and there one has mastered[Pg 170] a few common phrases; but there is one word that all of them understand, and that is “Beer.” Here, as in other quarters where the poor are found, sour beer is dealt out at a cent a glass. I once asked a police officer if there was much drunkenness there. “Oh, yes, sir,” he replied; “we can go in there any night and get a cart load of drunken men and women.”

Passing through these quarters of abode of our foreign born brethren you will often find two or more families occupying a single room. Sometimes as many as a dozen people are to be found living in a small room. Often a family of five will take in lodgers at five cents a night. There are no beds. Chalk marks are made on the floor allotting a space 2x6 feet to each other. To add to their income they sell sour beer at 2 cents a quart. The place is filthy beyond belief. The upper floors are not quite so bad; but they contain sights that baffle description. The inmates are huddled together in disregard of cleanliness and decency. The rooms are dirty and the air is foul. The food is gathered principally from the garbage boxes of the streets or from the offal of the markets. The cooking is done from time to time and fills the[Pg 171] room with horrible odors. There are no bedsteads. Filthy looking mattresses on the floor, or on boards placed upon supports. The inmates never undress, but go to bed with their clothes on, including their boots and shoes. The children are wan and pinched in appearance, and frightfully dirty. What wonder that sickness and disease hold high revel here!

Bad as is the lot of these people, they at least exist upon the face of the earth. Those who dwell in the cellars of these wretched quarters are infinitely worse off. They have but one entrance, and a single window gives light and ventilation. There is no outlet in the rear and the filth of the street drains steadily into them. They are occupied by the poorest of the poor, and the amount, of misery and wretchedness, dirt and squalor to be witnessed in them passes description. In the winter a stove heats the place, and renders the air so foul that one unaccustomed to it cannot breath in the room. Many of these cellars are lodging houses into which the wretched outcasts who walk the streets during the day, crowd for shelter at night. They pay from two to five cents for a night’s lodging, and sometimes as many as from[Pg 172] twenty-five to fifty are packed in these terrible holes.

There are sections of many streets in the business part of the city that equal in wretchedness and misery those previously described. They are terrible streets, and even the police venture into them with caution. Drunken brawls, fights and stabbing affrays are of nightly occurrence.

John Chinaman is a stranger and a waif in the great city, but he has managed to establish a distinct quarter in Clark street. In other portions of the city are Chinese laundries, where the almond-eyed Celestials conduct their business of washing and ironing; but here are the headquarters of the Mongolians, their gaming and opium dens. Though peaceable as a rule, they are sometimes troublesome, and the police find them hard customers to handle. They are inveterate gamblers, and one of their chief dissipations consists in stupifying themselves by smoking opium. The opium dens are simply dirty rooms provided with wooden bunks, and sometimes beds, in which the smokers may lie and sleep off the effects of the terrible drug. Many of these places are patronized by white people, and some number women[Pg 173] of the lower class among their customers. Half nude men and women of all nationalities and colors are sometimes found lying in heaps in a single room. These cases are rare, however, as the authorities are watchful for this class of law-breakers.

[Pg 175]

The Pawnbrokers

The stranger passing along Clark street is struck with the number of quiet, dingy looking shops over which are suspended the old sign of the Lombards—three gilt ball signs; all of the latter more or less dingy, may be seen in many other quarters of the city, but they are nowhere so numerous as in the street we have mentioned. These pawnbrokers’ shops, and, as a rule, the proprietors, are leeches—sucking the life blood of the poor, and grow rich upon their miseries. Of course, in all large cities there must of necessity be a great aggregation of poverty and misery. To the poor, the pawnbroker is a necessity. They must have some place to which they can repair at once and, by pledging such articles as they possess, raise the pittance they so sorely need. Municipal legislators the world over recognize this necessity, and endeavor to throw such safeguards around the business of pawnbroking that the poor shall not be entirely at the mercy of the[Pg 176] brokers. The great state of Illinois has in the last few years passed a state pawners law which has given to thousands of the poor low rates of interest.

In Chicago the law requires that licenses to do business as pawnbrokers shall be issued to none but persons of known good character. The Mayor of the city alone has the power of issuing such licenses, and mayors of all parties have been in the habit of putting a very liberal construction upon the law. None but those so licensed can do business in Chicago. Mayors of all cliques and parties, have exercised their power with apparently little sense of the responsibility which rests upon them. They have not ordinarily at least, required clear proof of the integrity of the applicants, but have usually licensed every applicant possessed of particular or other influence. There is scarcely an instance where they have revoked a license thus granted, even when they have been furnished with proofs of the dishonesty of the holders.

Very few, if any pawnbrokers, pay any attention to the law. They know that the great majority of their customers are ignorant of the provisions[Pg 177] of the statutes and that those who are familiar with it will not avail themselves of its protection, as they fear to lose the favor of the pawnbrokers. Consequently they fix their own rate of interest, which may be said to average five per cent per month, or any fractional part of a month, or sixty per cent per year. Some of the more unscrupulous members of the fraternity, where dealings are exclusively with the poor, charge a much higher rate, extorting as much as ten per cent a month from those whose needs are very great.

The writer recalls a case where a widow of a few days came into a pawnshop on Clark street. She was clad in a light calico wrapper with a small shawl thrown about her head. She was destitute, and had been ordered from her little three-room flat near by, unless the almost fabulous sum, to her, of seven dollars and fifty cents, should be paid over to the landlord at once. Trembling she entered the dingy “store” and offered her engagement ring in pawn. Being asked the amount she wanted for the pledge, she was told that she would receive just one-quarter of that amount.

“Oh, sir,” she pleaded, “I must have that amount, my baby is sick and the doctor said that[Pg 178] to remove her now would mean to kill her. The ring is the last and most precious gift I have of my dear, dead husband. I will redeem it, if God gives me life and strength to do so.”

The hardened man refused to give more, and taking the ring from his hand, with tears streaming down her pale cheeks, she started toward the door.

My sympathies were naturally with the poor, grief-stricken woman, and advancing toward her asked if I might assist her in any way. She told me a story of want and deprivation. How she had sold everything of value she had in order to furnish medicine for her husband who had been sick for a long time. How, one by one, her most cherished and useful articles of furniture, bric-a-brac and jewelry had been sold or pawned, keeping to the last, the ring, the one token that meant so much to her.

Turning to the keeper of the shop I instructed him to give her the amount she had previously asked for, stating that I would pay him that amount if the woman in question failed to redeem the ring within sixty days. I shall never forget the expression of gratitude that seemed to permeate[Pg 179] her whole being, and with profuse thankfulness, and “God bless you, sir,” she departed.

Another source of profit to the pawnbrokers arises from the sale of unredeemed articles. Advances are made at so low a rate that the property pledged is sure to bring more when put up for sale than the sum loaned upon it.

The majority of the pawnbrokers of Chicago are Polish and Russian Jews, and are the most rascally of that race. They do not monopolize the business, however, for there are Englishmen, Irishmen and even Americans engaged in it. The most honest dealers are found among the Americans and Englishmen. The pawnbroker is by nature a scoundrel, and so far as the observation of the writer goes, has not one redeeming quality. He advances the smallest amount on goods pledged, extorts the highest rates of interest, and is the most merciless in his dealings with his customers of any of the fraternity. The Jews are so numerous in this business, that they have given it its peculiar reputation. These wretches suck the very life blood from the poor, and having gotten possession of their property, do not hesitate to sell it for many times its value, when they see an opportunity[Pg 180] for doing so. When the owner comes for his or her property, the pawnbroker declares, with well feigned regret, that it cannot be found, and either turns the owner out of doors, or buys up his pawn ticket at a very heavy discount. He knows the disinclination to seek redress at law. These wretches do not hesitate to deck their families out in the clothing, shawls and jewelry pledged to them. Often the clothes are worn out, and the return of the pledge is either refused or the articles are restored in such a damaged condition as to be useless. Sometimes a spirited depositor will demand full redress for the loss so inflicted upon him, and will threaten the broker with an appeal to the courts. If the broker is convinced that the depositor is in earnest, he settles up promptly; but there is an end to his dealings with that person. He has no wish to have his transactions brought to the light of Justice. Such proceeding would bring unpleasant consequences in its train, and he does not desire such customers.

The majority of the pawnshops are dirty and repulsive in appearance. Before them hangs the sign of the three balls, and the windows are filled with unredeemed pledges for sale, and are adorned[Pg 181] with signs stating that money is loaned here on all kinds of property at the most liberal rates.

Pushing open the dirty door, we enter a dingy apartment. The air is close and stuffy, and the room smells strongly of garlic or onions. A man with an unmistakably Jewish face and a villainous expression of countenance stands behind the narrow counter. We take our stand inside, invisibly of course, and watch the proceedings.

A young man enters, well-dressed, and rather dissipated in appearance. The child of Abraham watches him narrowly, and begins to shake his head and groan, as if in pain. The visitor approaches the counter, and lays a gold watch upon it. The broker clutches it eagerly, examines it, and groans louder than ever.

“Vat you want on dis vatch?” he asks mournfully.

“Fifty dollars. It cost me one hundred and fifty,” is the reply.

“Fifty tollar! fifty tollar! Holy Moshish, vat you take me for?”

Then turning, calls wildly, “Abraham! Abraham! you shust koom heir, quick.”

A second Jew, dirtier and more disreputable[Pg 182] looking than the first, makes his appearance, and the proprietor, passing up his hands, shrieks out, as if in despair:

“Abraham! he vants fifty tollars on dat vatch. De man is crazy.”

“Ve shall be ruined,” echoes Abraham, hoarsely. “Ve couldn’t do it. Tish too much.”

The proprietor waves his arms wildly, takes the watch from Abraham, and eyeing the owner sharply for a moment, says:

“I tell you vat I do. I gif you fifteen tollars. How long you vant de monish?”

“Only for a month,” replies the young man, evidently struggling between disgust and despair.

“I let you haf fifteen tollars for de month,” says the pawnbroker, seizing a ticket and commencing to make it out. “You pay me one tollar for de loan, and pay me fifty cents to put de vatch in de safe, you know it might get stole if I leaf it out hier. Dat shuit you, mine young frient?”

The young man has “been there” before, and knows that remonstrance is useless. He nods a silent affirmation, and the pawnbroker makes out a ticket for fifteen dollars, and hands him thirteen dollars and fifty cents, having deducted the[Pg 183] interest and the charge for storage. The young man receives the money and ticket, and goes out in silence.

“Dat ish peesness,” says Abraham, admiringly, as the proprietor puts the watch away.

“Yesh,” mutters the pawnbroker, with a satisfied air, “de vatch ish vort a hundred tollar. If he don’t take it up, it will bring us dat.”

The next customer is a poor woman, who comes to pledge some article of household use. She is ground down to the lowest cent, and charged the highest interest; and so the proceedings go on until we become heartsick, and leave the place as invisibly as we can.

The principal dealings of the pawnbrokers are, as we have said, with the poor. Life is hard in Chicago, and those who dwell under the shadow are obliged to make great sacrifices of comfort to keep body and soul together. Everything that will bring money finds its way to the pawn shop and the miserable pittance received for it goes to provide food. Too often articles of household use or clothing are pawned to raise money for drink, and the possessions of the family are one by one[Pg 184] sacrificed for this wretched purpose, until nothing is left.

The pawnbrokers find a very profitable class of customers in the respectable working people of the city; many of these regularly pawn articles, sometimes of value, at the first of the week, and redeem them when they receive their wages on Saturday. It is to the broker’s interest to be obliging to these people, since they are regular customers, and he reaps a rich harvest from them in the exhorbitant interest they pay him.

It is a common belief that the pawnbrokers are also receivers of stolen goods. Some of the more unscrupulous may make ventures of this kind, but as a rule the brokers have nothing to do with thieves; the risk of detection is too great, so they confine themselves to what they term their “legitimate business,” and leave dealings in stolen property to the “fences,” who constitute a distinct class.

[Pg 185]

Pacific Garden Mission

In one of the vilest sections of the city is a modest looking brick building, known as Pacific Garden Mission. Over the door hangs a lantern bearing the inscription, “Strangers Welcome.” When the shades of night come on, and the rays of the lantern shine out, revealing the legend inscribed upon it, they illuminate a region full of vice, crime and suffering. In earlier days the street was lined with long rows of rum-shops, ratpits, low-down dens, and thieves’ dens of the worst description. Here and there are dance houses, brilliantly lighted, and ornamented with gaudy transparencies. Strains of music floated out into the night air, and about the doors and along the sidewalks stand groups of hideous women, waiting to entice the stranger into these hells where they are made drunk with drugged liquors, robbed of their money and valuables and turned helpless into the streets. Groups of drunken and foul-mouthed men and boys lounge about[Pg 186] the street, bandying vile jests with the women, and often insulting respectable passers by. High over all this sea of wretchedness and sin, the Pacific Garden lantern shines out like a beacon light, the only sign of cheer and hope to be seen. If you listen you will hear sounds of music in this building also, but the strains are of praise and thanksgiving—strange sounds to hear in such a neighborhood.

Some years ago a wretched building, that had long been used for vile purposes and known as one of the toughest places which Chicago then supported, was secured by George R. Clarke and his wife, and was opened as a Christian mission, and devoted to saving the drunken and sinful dwellers in this section of the city. The work was slow at first, but it prospered and at length assumed such proportions that the old building was found inadequate to the purpose of the mission and the German Methodist Church building at 100 Van Buren street was secured and has been continuously occupied by the Mission for over twenty-five years.

The surprise of this quarter of the city at seeing George R. Clarke and his wife in its midst in the[Pg 187] guise of missionaries was not unnatural. Ministering to, caring for, and saving the drunkard and the harlot is the work planned for the corps of workers.

Colonel Clarke, as he was familiarly known, died some years ago. It was while he was engaged as a western miner that he became imbued with the spirit to save souls. Returning to Chicago, he married, and the two began the work of saving the lost and friendless. Their meetings were well attended; many came to see and hear and others to make fun; but the earnestness of the devoted pair had its effects and the curious and scoffers became converts in their turn. Little by little assistance began to be held out to the Mission, and at length a strong body of Christian men and women came to its aid with money, and the Mission placed upon a sound and safe basis.

They have gone among the outcasts and the wretched, the sinful and the degraded, and have rescued them from their vile ways, brought them to the saving knowledge of God and His religion, and have started them in a new and better course of life. Their efforts often failed; many of their converts lapsed into their old ways, but the number[Pg 188] of those who are actually reforming is surprisingly large, and the lasting results achieved are great and glorious. No one, however wretched, however far gone in sin, is ever turned away; a helping hand is extended to all, and the vilest outcast is made to feel welcome and confident that there is still a chance for salvation left him.

There is no more interesting sight in the city than one of Pacific Garden Mission Gospel meetings. The audience is made up of men and women of various classes, including many who avoid other Christian agencies, who have never been in a place of prayer or heard the Bible read except by the prison Chaplain; the poor and friendless who have drifted into Chicago from all parts of the world; drunkards, thieves, roughs and discharged convicts, sailors, and many prodigal sons who have wandered away from Christian mothers and have fallen into crime and beggary.

The meetings are held in a pleasant, well-lighted and ventilated room on the first floor. Near the entrance hangs a sign, inscribed as follows: “Strangers and the Poor Always Welcome.” Over the inside walls is the favorite scriptural verse of Colonel Clarke, which reads: “Christ came[Pg 189] into the world to save sinners, among whom I am Chief.” The room is neatly furnished, and is provided with a cabinet organ.

The genius of the place is Harry Munroe, the assistant superintendent of the mission. He is a powerful messenger of the Gospel to the lost ones of the great city. He is a man with sharp eyes and quick, decisive manner. He is thoroughly in earnest in his work, and understands the character and habits of the class to whom he appeals. Being intense in his purposes and animated by a desire to win sinners to the Saviour, he is able to speak with effectual power to these rough men, who listen respectfully to his words, and are attracted to him by those personal peculiarities that fit him for his work—a work that is unique, and has become one of the most important in the great city.

As the clock points to the hour for song and testimony, Harry opens his hymn-book, and calls out in a strong, cheery voice, “sixty-nine,” and thereupon the singing begins, accompanied by the cabinet organ, and the singers whose voices were once raised only in blasphemy. If the singing is a little faint, Harry spurs up his audience by calling[Pg 190] out, “Don’t be afraid of your voices, boys; sing out with your whole soul,” and generally the volume of praise grows stronger and fuller.

The testimonies roll in as the meeting progresses, strange and startling many of them, some so quaintly worded that they would provoke a smile in a more “respectable” prayer-meeting, but all given with an earnestness and pathos that is wonderful. Sometimes a drunken man will endeavor to interrupt the meeting. One night a man of this kind staggered to his feet, and hiccoughed, “Jesus saves me, too.”

“That ain’t so,” replied Harry, emphatically; “Jesus don’t save any man that is full of rum.” And down sits the man, utterly abashed by the quick retort.

Harry acts as his own policeman, and meets all attempts at disturbances on the ground. The offenders are seized in his powerful grasp, and led to the door, and put into the street, first being entreated to be quiet and lead better lives.

As the testimonies are given the audience is deeply moved. Yonder is a street-walker, kneeling on the floor, with her face hidden in her hands, sobbing bitterly. Mrs. Clarke, or one of[Pg 191] the co-workers goes down to the poor outcast, and whispers to her despairing soul the only words of hope she ever heard. Others give evidence of their desire to be saved, and the meeting devotes itself to prayer for them. Mrs. Clarke’s keen eye sweeps the room, and at once detects the hesitating. In an instant she is at their side, devoting her mild, but powerful eloquence to urging them to take the decisive step then and there.

There is something wonderful in her mild grasp of the hand, and in her earnest tones, “Come, let the Good Lord save you. He has saved others, and I know there is a chance for you.”

“And He took him by the right hand and lifted him up.” Lifted him up! my brother!

[Pg 193]


Among the great institutions of Chicago is the church. No greater force for righteousness exists anywhere. The great, stately edifices are scattered over the entire city; from the business center back to the grand trees of the suburbs. Their tall spires point solemnly heavenward, as if to lift the soul above the vulgar worship of mammon, and at intervals the sweet tones of chimes come floating down into the streets, telling that wealth is not all, folly is not all, business is not all! but that there is something purer, nobler, waiting high above the golden cross which the sunlight bathes so lovingly.

The music at the fashionable churches is superb. The organist is a professor of reputation, and the choir is made up of singers of some note who devote themselves to concerts and public amusements on secular days.

Not many years ago the tenor of one of the best choirs in the city was also the popular singer[Pg 194] in a State street “Free and Easy.” He had a magnificent voice, and his secular engagements were constant and profitable; often keeping him in the concert hall all through Saturday night, and until the small hours of Sunday morning. The tenor unfortunately had a weakness for his glass, and it was a constant wonder to his friends that he contrived to get his head clear enough by church time on Sunday morning to take his place in the choir of St. —— church. For a long while, however, he managed to fill both engagements creditably, but at length misfortune overtook him. He had sung at the “Free and Easy” on Saturday night and had gotten through the morning service with credit. The eloquence of the preacher lulled him into a profound slumber, and all through the sermon he was dreaming of the concert hall and the jolly crowd assembled to hear him render his great song of “Muldoon.” The sermon over he was aroused from his slumber by a fellow member of the choir, who whispered that they were waiting for his solo. Still half asleep, and with his head yet full of the saloon and the applause awaiting him, he staggered to[Pg 195] the choir rail, looking about him, broke out lustily:

“Come and see me, I’ll trate ye decent,
I’ll make ye drunk; I’ll fill yer can,
Sure, when I walk the strate,
Says each one I mate,
There goes Muldoon; he’s a solid man.”

The reader may picture to himself the sensation the tenor’s solo produced in the church.

The recklessness with which the churches rush into debt is appalling. No other class of real estate in Chicago is so heavily incumbered as that of religious associations; and this in spite of the fact that no sort of property has a more uncertain tenure of its income, the whole depending, in a large measure, on the popularity of the ministers, and the good will and prosperity of the members. Nearly the whole of the debt thus created, is for the enlargement of the churches or constructing new ones. Scarcely any of the congregations go into debt for the purpose of increasing the minister’s salary, or to enlarge the contributions to missionary funds or charitable enterprises.[Pg 196] All is for show. Old fashioned, comfortable churches, free from debt, are torn down or sold, and new edifices, rich and costly in every detail, are erected. A little money is advanced, the church plastered over with mortgages, and the next generation left to pay for the vanity of the present. Sometimes the mortgages are paid, but too often the reverse is the case. The mortgage is foreclosed, the beautiful temple is sold, and perhaps is converted into a theatre, concert hall or factory.

So handsome are the churches, as a rule, so conspicuously do wealth and fashion thrust themselves forward on all sides, that the poor rarely seek them. They are too fine, and the pride of the honest poor man will not permit him to take his place in a house of worship where he is certain to be looked coldly upon, and made to feel his lack of worldly goods.

Fashion and wealth rule with iron hands, even in the house of God, and in these gorgeous temples, the class who were nearest and dearest to the Master’s heart, have no place. But what have the churches to fear? Are they not strong in the power of God?

[Pg 197]

Concert Saloons and Damnation

The concert saloons are among the worst features of the social evil. They flourish in almost every quarter of the city, and are so many places where the devil’s work is done. The better class of citizens are helpless to abate the nuisance. The vipers in human form, who keep these soul-destroying places, are men so small in principle, that their poltroon souls would rattle in the eyeballs of the most infinitesimal animalculæ that ever infested a stagnant mud-hole. These are the men the city authorities allow to continue their nefarious business, against the wish of a majority of property owners of Chicago. Woe betide a mayor or chief of police who will deliberately ignore requests for decency on the one hand, as against immorality on the other.

These concert saloons provide a low order of music, and the liquors furnished are of the vilest[Pg 198] description. In former days the service of the place was rendered by young women; many of whom were dressed in tights and all sorts of fantastic costumes; the chief object being to display the figure as much as possible. The girls were hideous and unattractive, and were foul-mouthed and bloated. The visitors were principally young men, and even boys, though older men, and even gray heads, were sometimes seen among them. The women are prostitutes of the lowest order. They encourage the visitors to drink, shamelessly violate every rule of propriety, and generally ready to rob a visitor who is too far gone in liquor to protect himself. These places are frequented by all classes of society, from the lowest dregs to men and women who claim respectability, and occasionally a man and his family are seen in these places. Ruffians, bent on robbery, keep a close watch on the visitors, and when one of the latter, overcome with liquor, staggers out of the place, follow him, lure him into a back street, rob him, and if necessary to their safety, murder him. Oftentimes they lure their helpless victims to the river front, and there rob and kill him, and throw his body into the[Pg 199] water, where it is found by the harbor police.

The dance halls are often handsome places, but were simply rendezvous of street walkers, and men who came to seek their company. The principal establishment of this kind was the infamous Apollo theatre and dance hall, previously mentioned. All were admitted free. We enter through a lobby into bar-room, back of which is the dance hall. The place was furnished with tables, and chairs are scattered about the sides of the first floor, but the central space is kept clear for dancing. The galleries are also provided with tables and chairs. At the back is a dimly lighted space, fitted up like a garden, where those who desire may sit and drink. The place was always well filled. The women present were the inmates of the neighboring houses of ill-fame, and street walkers. Each one is a prostitute, and each one is intent upon luring some man into her chamber. The men are mostly young, but on “gala-nights” and during the “balls” which were given here in the winter of 1877, would cause the givers of the First Ward annual ball to turn green with envy. An orchestra in the gallery opposite the entrance provides the music, and the dance is on. The air[Pg 200] is heavy with tobacco smoke. Men and women are constantly passing in and out; drinking is going on in every part of the hall. In spite of its brilliancy and splendor, the place is but one of the numerous gateways to hell, with which Chicago abounds.

Men meet abandoned women here, and accompany them to their houses, risking disease, robbery, and even death, with a recklessness that is appalling. Young men of respectable families come here nightly, and spend hours in company with these abandoned women who frequent the place. These same young men would shrink with fastidious horror from even a moment’s conversation with the cooks and housemaids of their own homes. Yet here they find pleasure in the association with women equally as ignorant and unrefined and in every way unworthy to compare with the honest and virtuous maids of their homes.

A great deal of immorality is carried on in the city of which the police cannot take cognizance, and of which it is impossible to obtain statistics. This grade of vice is confined largely to persons of normal respectability. The columns of certain city journals contain numerous personals by[Pg 201] which appointments are made, and communications exchanged between persons engaged in intrigues. These people support the numerous assignation houses which abound in the city. Some of the most fashionable are furnished and owned by men of respectability. They put a woman in charge of the house, and share the large receipts with her.

Great efforts are being made by benevolent people to lessen the amount of vice with which the metropolis is cursed. The problem is fearful to behold. The most successful of these various means that have been adopted to rescue fallen women from their wretched lives, are the missions. They are open to all who seek refuge in them, and invitations are scattered among them by agents. The women are treated with kindness, and encouraged to reform. They come voluntarily, and leave when they wish to do so. They are always welcomed, however often they may wander back into sin. “Until seventy times seven,” is the rule.

[Pg 203]


If you watch the daily papers you will frequently see advertisements reading similar to the following:

Divorces without publicity, in 30 days, all causes; every state; consultation free; experienced lawyers; success guaranteed. 86 —— street.


Divorces cheaply, without publicity; desertion, incompatibility, non-support, intemperance, compulsory marriages; any state; explanatory blanks free, always successful; consultations free; confidential. 105 —— St.


The divorce lawyer is a prolific sort of a fellow, and somewhat of a nuisance. No self-respecting attorney cares for divorce court practice. It is considered by attorneys of established reputation to be degrading.

The divorce lawyers announce to the public that they have powerful influence with the judges and that it will be an easy matter for them to secure a divorce for the unlucky man or woman and that they can untie the marriage knot, and the guarantee to do it with the ease and celerity[Pg 204] with which it is tied. This would seem strange in a state where the laws regulating divorce are so rigid; but the divorce lawyer knows how to set even these at defiance, and that his efforts are successful is shown by the handsome income he enjoys and the elegant style in which he lives. He does not rely upon Chicago alone for his field of operation; some states are more liberal in this matter, and if the separation of husband and wife cannot be procured in Chicago, he can easily accomplish it in some other part of the Union.

The divorce lawyer devotes himself to this branch of his profession almost exclusively. He is sometimes an ex-member of the Bar, who has been disbarred for dishonest practices, and cannot appear directly in the case himself. He hires some shyster lawyer to go through the formalities of the courts for him, and sometimes succeeds in inducing a lawyer of good standing to act for him. His office is usually in the quarter most frequented to by practitioners of standing, and is located in some large building, so that his clients may come and go without attracting special notice. The outer office is fitted up in regular legal style, with substantial desks and tables, and[Pg 205] the walls are lined with cases of law books. The private consultation room is elegantly furnished, and is provided with the coziest arm-chairs, in which the clients can sit at their ease, and pour into the sympathizing ears of the “counsellor” their tales of woe.

Let us seat ourselves, unseen, in the private office of a leading divorce firm. They are located in a superb building on La Salle street and have elegantly fitted up apartments. Counsellor ——, the head of the firm, conducts the consultations. He is a portly, smooth-faced, oily-tongued man, possessing great powers of cheek and plausiveness, just the man to lead a hesitating client to take the decisive step. A clerk from the outer office announces a visitor. A richly dressed, closely veiled lady is shown in and the portly counsellor, rising courteously, places a chair for her. The seat is taken, the veil thrown back, and the counsellor finds himself face to face with a woman of beauty and refinement, and evidently of wealth—a most desirable client. In his blandest tones he invites her to state the nature of her business with him. Then follows a long tale of domestic unhappiness, the sum and substance of[Pg 206] which is that she is tired of her husband and wants a divorce from him.

“Upon what grounds, Madam?” asks the counsellor, settling down to business.

“Grounds?” is the startled, hesitating reply. “Why—t—hat is—I am so unhappy with him.”

“Is he unfaithful to you?”

“I do not know. I hope he is—I am afraid not, however. I thought you would ascertain for me.” “Certainly, madam, certainly. Nothing easier in the world. We’ll find out all about him. We’ll learn the innermost secrets of his heart, and I’ve no doubts we shall find him grossly unfaithful. Most men are.”

“Oh, not at all, sir,” the lady cries, a little startled. “I’m sure that——”

Good sense comes to her aid, and she pauses. She must not tell all, even to her “legal adviser.” The counsellor smiles; he has seen such cases before. It is only an affair of exchanging an old love for a new one.

“Has he ever maltreated you—struck you?” he asks.

“Oh, no!”

“Never attempted any violence with you?”

[Pg 207]

“He once seized a paper weight on the library table, very much excited, while I was talking with him.”

“Indeed! he tried to dash your brains out with a paper weight, did he? That is very important evidence, madam, very important.”

“But, sir, I did not say that he——”

“Oh, never mind, madame. Wives are too ready to forgive their husband’s brutality. The fact remains the same, however. This infamous attempt upon your life will be sufficient evidence with the western judge before whom the case will be tried. I congratulate you, madame, upon the prospect of a speedy release from such a monster.”

The woman is delighted, pays the retainer, which is a handsome one, agrees upon the amount to be paid when the divorce is granted, and the parties separate, mutually pleased with each other.

The counsellor now goes to work in earnest. Operations are carried on in some western state. Witnesses are provided who will swear to anything they are paid for; the divorce is duly obtained; the fee is paid; and the madame coolly[Pg 208] informs her husband that they are no longer husband and wife.

A year or two ago the Chicago paper contained an account of a man who had gotten one of these patent divorces from his wife. Not caring to part from her just then, but wishing to do so when he pleased, he locked the papers up in his desk, and said nothing to her about the matter, and for ten years she lived with him as his mistress, in total ignorance of her true relations to him. At last becoming tired of her, he produced the decree of divorce and left her.

All sorts of people seek the assistance of the divorce lawyers to free them from their matrimonial ties. Extravagant and reckless wives of men who are not able to meet their demands for money; dissolute actresses, who wish to break up an old alliance in order to form a new one; married women who have become infatuated with some scamp they have met at the theatre matinee, or through the medium of a personal; married men who are tired of their wives and desire to be united to a new partner; lovers of married women, who come to engage fabricated testimony and surreptitious divorce for the frail creatures[Pg 209] whose virtue is still too cowardly to dare the more honest sin; all who, with or without protest, seek a release from the married bond. For each and all the divorce lawyer has a ready ear and an encouraging word. Nothing is easier than to obtain a divorce, he assures them. If the cause assigned by them is insufficient, it can be made strong enough; if evidence is lacking, it can be obtained—manufactured, if necessary. He receives a retainer from each, and all, and sends them away with the happy consciousness that their matrimonial troubles will soon be over.

A divorce costs anywhere from twenty-five dollars to whatever sum the applicant is willing to pay for it, and can be obtained in Chicago, or in any state, according to the wishes of the party and the desire to avoid publicity. Any cause may be assigned; the lawyer in a great many instances guarantees that the evidence to support it shall be forthcoming at the proper time. It is a little more troublesome to obtain a Chicago divorce, than in some states, but the machinery of the law is sufficiently loose even there to enable a well-managed case to be successful. The divorce lawyer has witnesses upon whom he can depend, some[Pg 210] of them are regularly in his pay. They will swear as they are instructed. The proceedings are often private, the courts using their private chambers for the hearing, and are no doubt frequently in collusion with the lawyer conducting the case. Even the newspapers fail to record the occurrence. The defendant has been kept in ignorance of the proceedings, and naturally does not appear in court in person or by counsel to offer any opposition and the case goes by default. The judge hears the evidence, which has been carefully prepared, in the case; submits a decision in favor of the plaintiff; and the first thing the defendant knows is a dissolution of the marriage.

Adultery is a favorite ground with the divorce lawyer, and strange as it may appear, it is easy to fasten such a charge upon the defendant, if that person happens to be the husband. This is how it is done: One of the “agents” of the firm makes the acquaintance of the husband, who is in total ignorance of the plot against him, and after becoming somewhat familiar with him, invites him to a quiet little supper at some convenient restaurant. When the wine has done its work, a party of ladies drop in, quite by accident, of course,[Pg 211] and are pressed by the agent to remain. The innocent victim joins in the request; he would be an ill-bred fellow if he did not. A dead set is made at the victim, whose wits are generally somewhat confused with the wine, and the natural consequences follow. The “agent” coolly looks on, and takes his notes, and the particular beauty who has won over the victim to her charms becomes an important witness in the case. There is no difficulty in proving the charge.

Where the husband is a jolly, good-natured man, and loves to take his pleasure, the “agent’s” business is greatly simplified. He has but to shadow his victim, note down his acts, even his words, for the most innocent deed can be distorted by a shrewd divorce lawyer into damaging evidence of guilt. The least imprudence is magnified into sin, and little by little all the needed evidence is obtained.

Sometimes all these arts fail. Then the lawyer has but one course, to employ paid witnesses to swear to the husband’s guilt, where no overt act has been committed. The divorce must be obtained at any cost; and the lawyer knows no such word as failure.

[Pg 212]

Sometimes business becomes dull. People appear to be satisfied with their partners, and applications for divorce fall off. The divorce lawyer is equal to the emergency, however, and sets his agents to work to drum up business. They proceed upon a regular system, and seek high game. They operate among persons able to pay large fees, and seek women as their victims in preference to men. A member of the Bar, conversing with a friend, not long since, thus explained the system pursued:

“You understand, of course, that society is not happy in all its honors. All the brownstone houses have to have closets put in every year in order to accommodate the skeletons. Still, many a woman and man, if let alone, would bear his or her connubial burdens meekly, rather than to face the scandal and publicity of a divorce trial. Our special divorce lawyers know this, and so they invade society. They transfer the base of operations to the drawing rooms. How? By using swell members of the fashionable world to first find out where there is a canker in the case, and then to deftly set forth, in a perfect way, how divorce is the only ”cure.“ Nine-tenths of this[Pg 213] delicate business is employed in pursuing hesitating wives. Husbands could hardly be approached in their own homes with a proposition to break them up. Take an impressionable woman, already unhappy, who has once been thinking of divorce, and the case is different. She is clay for the moulder. The serpent whispers how nice it will be to bank her alimony, tells her lies about the old man, induces her to believe that the firm down-town will put in no bill if they don’t succeed, and so the affair is arranged.

For this despicable service the “agent” receives ten per cent of the fee paid the divorce lawyer by the wife, which fee, be it remembered, comes out of the husband’s pocket.

Oftentimes the “agent” is called upon to personate the husband, especially in serving the summons of the court upon him. The lawyer in charge has the case quietly put on record in the proper court, and has a summons prepared for service upon the defendant. A boy is called in from the street, anybody will answer, and is paid a trifle to take the summons to the defendant’s place of business or residence, and deliver it to him in person. Arriving at his destination, the[Pg 214] boy is met by the “agent” of the divorce lawyer, at the door or on the steps. The agent sharply demands his business, and is answered by the boy that he wishes to deliver a paper to Mr. X—. “I am Mr. X—.” The boy in perfect good faith, for he has never seen Mr. X— in his life, delivers the summons upon the defendant in person. He is then dismissed, and plays no further part in the case. His affidavit is sufficient for this part of the proceedings, and the shameful mockery of justice proceeds to another stage.

This is no exaggerated description. The acts of these divorce lawyers are well know in Chicago, and members of the Bar are familiar with their mode of proceeding. Reputable barristers denounce them as a disgrace, not only to the profession, but also the judges on the bench know these men by their ways. Yet, neither the Bench nor the Bar Association make any effort to stop the evil or disbar the wretches, who thus prey upon the most sacred relations of life. Lawyers of standing are afraid to attempt to bring it to justice, lest they should draw upon themselves the vengeance of the courts and so injure their[Pg 215] own professional prospects. So the evil will continue to grow. It will flourish as long as there are foolish people to take advantage of it.

[Pg 217]

Tramps’ Paradise

Chicago is the paradise of tramps, the term is generally applied to able bodied men and women who are too lazy to work, but prefer to pick up a precarious living by begging food and clothes from house to house. In mild weather they sleep in the parks and public squares, and in winter take refuge in the police stations. During the warm season they leave the city in large numbers, and wander through the country, going into many states, but in winter they flock back to Chicago, where they are sure of food and shelter. Some remain in the city throughout the year. They are dissipated as a rule, and the majority have been brought to their present condition because of drink.

They will steal and even commit highway robbery, rape, or murder, if they get a chance, and are a terror to householders of the city. They haunt the beer saloons and low class bar-rooms, beg for drinks, and will even drain the few drops[Pg 218] left in the empty beer kegs in the sidewalk. They will solicit passers-by for money, and in this way often manage to collect enough to buy whisky or beer. Their food they beg at the doors of residences, keeping a sharp lookout all the while for an opportunity to steal something of value when the servant’s back is turned.

The parks are the favorite lodging places with them in warm weather. Under cover of darkness they creep into the shrubbery and make their beds on the grass. Sometimes they sleep on the benches scattered throughout the grounds, but as they are apt to be disturbed by the police, they prefer the shrubbery.

The more fortunate tramps patronize the cheap lodging houses, which are very numerous in some portions of the city. In some of these places a bed may be obtained for five cents.

Some of the more aristocratic places charge ten cents, and each occupant is furnished with food in the morning. Nightly scores of men and boys apply for lodging at the police stations.

Many deserving persons are classed among the tramps. They are friendless, homeless, and without money or work and must adopt the tramp’s[Pg 219] life in order to maintain existence. Such persons gladly accept any work offered them, and escape from the wretched companionship as soon as they are able to do so.

It is easy to distinguish them from the genuine tramps, however, for they are eager to work, while the tramp pure and simple, regards an offer of labor as an insult.

[Pg 220]


Good and Bad.

In nothing does Chicago show its metropolitan character more strikingly than in its amusements. At the head of these stand the theatres, which are very numerous, and some magnificent. Among the theatres of established reputation, are: McVickers, Powers, Grand Opera House, Auditorium, Illinois, and others, which enjoy a degree of substantiality. Besides these there are a number of second-class variety establishments and several third-rate theatres in different parts of the city. There are still other houses which are vicious and should be closed by the police. These places have no rating for decency and are pitfalls to the unsophisticated visitors in the city. Burlesque is the principal amusement here, and is of the lowest order. Absolute indecency reigns supreme. The performers, mostly women of the underworld, are paid to amuse the audiences by kicking up their[Pg 221] heels—the higher they kick the more they are paid. The “hooche-cooche” and the “Salome” dances are here given in all their rottenness. Vulgar sayings and gestures are indulged in to a degree that is amazing in this enlightened age. The theatres which provide this class of entertainment are liberally supported by all classes of men and receive an immense patronage from the great throng of strangers constantly in Chicago. Old men and boys of tender years are frequenters of these theatres, and here and there may be found the prostitute seated beside some young boy. The price of admission is low and the performance suited to the tastes of the audience. These places have saloons attached to them which are generally in the basements. The women performers are required to drink with men, and solicit them boldly to buy drink for them. It is a common thing to see these girls stupidly drunk. They are paid a commission on all drinks purchased through their solicitation.

The galleries of these establishments are filled chiefly with boot-blacks, newsboys, and the juvenile denizens of the city, ranging in age from eight to twelve years. The orchestras are made[Pg 222] up of amateurs and old men, and furnish a cheap class of music.

The keepers of houses of ill-fame need no better advertisement than the cheap burlesque show-houses of Chicago. The baser elements in man are all enacted here in plain view of the audience and winked at by the police. Arrests are made, and the managers pay fines, but continue the same immoral productions.

Perhaps the most remarkable dramatic establishment Chicago ever had, was launched in the early eighties. It was known as “Grand Duke’s Theatre,” or, it was better known to its patrons as “The Grand Dooks Theatre.” It began its career in a vacant store building on South State street in a very humble way; but with increasing prosperity removed to more suitable quarters. The prices of admission were as follows: Boxes, 25 cents; orchestra, 15 cents; balcony, 10 cents; gallery, 5 cents. The establishment was managed and controlled by boys and its audiences were composed of boys and young men. The company was composed of youths yet in their teens, and the performances were of the “blood-and-thunder” order, interspersed with “variety acts” of a startling[Pg 223] description. The house and appointments were primitive, and the stage equally so. The orchestra was made up of amateur musicians, and was placed out of sight at the back of the stage. The footlights consisted of six kerosene lamps with glass shades. Two red-plush lounges, stuffed with saw-dust, and in a sad state of dilapidation served as boxes; while the orchestra stalls were represented by half a dozen two-legged benches, and the balcony and gallery were composed of a bewildering arrangement of step ladders and dry-goods boxes. The manager acted as his own policeman, and enforced order by knocking the heads of disorderly spectators or by summarily ejecting them. The performances were crude, but they satisfied the audiences, and never failed to draw forth a storm of applause, mingled with shrill whistles and stamping of feet. The boys were satisfied. What more could be desired?

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