The Disorderly Girl and the Attorney: 1886

A girl's "mug shot" https://www.flickr.com/photos/twm_news/16631926571/in/album-72157651877221026/

A girl’s “mug shot” Courtesy of ‘Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums’ https://www.flickr.com/photos/twm_news/16631926571/in/album-72157651877221026/

HOW A KIND ACTION

Chanced the Course of a Woman’s Life.

A little incident was brought to the attention of a reporter yesterday which illustrates in a marked degree how much good a little act of kindness may accomplish. About twelve years ago, a young girl, only about 13 years of age, was brought into the Police Court charged with being a disorderly person. She was fatherless and motherless, and had led a life which was quite the opposite of refining in its tendencies. But still her face was round and rosy, and with her golden hair, she was a beautiful child. What to do with her was a question with the authorities. She was undoubtedly guilty of what she was charged with, and the only remedy for her case seemed a short term of confinement. Just as she was about to be sentenced, however, a well-known attorney, who was present, asked to be allowed a few moment’s conversation with the girl, which was granted. At its close the gentleman surprised the court by asking that the girl’s case be dismissed, promising that he would be responsible for her actions in the future.

As it was the easiest way out of the dilemma, the judge was only too glad to comply with the gentleman’s request, and the self appointed guardian walked out of the court-room with his protege in his charge. He secured employment for her as a domestic in a private family, and made her promise to come and see him as often as possible. The girl lived up to her agreement, and the gentleman’s kind treatment and advice which he gave her in her little troubles, completely won her heart. Time passed rapidly and the little girl became a young woman. She was an excellent housekeeper, and her character was above reproach. She became more and more beautiful as she matured in years, until at 19 she met a wealthy railroad man, who fell deeply in love with her. She returned his affection but when he asked her hand in marriage she refused him. He pressed his suit, howeve,r and finally she related to him the story of her early life, giving it as the reason why she had refused his suit. Her lover was not thus to be driven from her, and she finally gave consent to the marriage. The wedding occurred shortly afterwards, and the newly-wedded pair took up their residence in an elegant home in a Western city, where they now live.

Last week a beautiful woman, handsomely dressed, arrived in the city and called upon the lawyer above referred to. At first he did not recognize her, but when she spoke of the little girl whom he had taken from the Police Court years ago, his eyes were opened, and he knew his visitor to be his former protege. Both were deeply affected by the meeting, and fervent were the thanks which the lady gave the lawyer for his kindness to her in the past.

The next day the lady left the city for New York, and yesterday sailed for Florida, where she will spend the winter on an extensive plantation owned by her husband. Through her benefactor the story reached the ears of a Bee reporter, but the condition was imposed that no names should be used. The story is a remarkable one, and, as remarked before, shows how an act of kindness can completely change the course of a life. Omaha Bee.

The Worthington [MN] Advance 4 February 1886: p. 2

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire:  A most heart-warming story, although Mrs Daffodil confesses that she had anticipated that the girl would fall in love with her saviour and he with her. One wonders if he would have been so ready to aid her if she had been sallow and plain rather than round and rosy with golden hair? It rather gives the lie to the notion that a Ruined Girl can never be redeemed. The young disorderly person not only had a wealthy gentleman at her feet, but an elegant Western home and an extensive plantation in Florida.  Doubtless it was her excellent housekeeping skills that attracted the gentleman.

See The Umbrella Girl and the Quaker, for another such tale with a happy ending.

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.

 

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