Tag Archives: sanitarium

The Jag Matron: 1906

The Inebriate. Too much Holiday cheer.

The Inebriate. Too much Holiday cheer.

Dedicated to those whose New Year’s excesses have made their heads ache.


Queerest Job in the World is that Held by Woman, Who is a “Jag Matron.”

[Minneapolis Cor. Philadelphia Record.]

H.C. Trevier, in his lifetime, frequently went home much the worse for liquor. As frequently Mrs. Trevier wept bitterly at the sorry condition of her husband, one night Trevier’s unusual mood caused him to threaten the lives of their two babies, when the mother urged him, for their sakes, to give up “the habit.” Instantly her motherly instinct prompted her to protect her children and told her how to do it. Frankly what happened was that Mrs. Trevier laid her husband completely out. When he regained consciousness the intoxicated man declared that he was sorry and that he would never drink another drop. But the next day a member of his union slapped him on the back jovially and said:

“Treve, I heard a good story about eye-openers last night. Come have one and I’ll tell it to you.”

Treve, having drunk one on the “brother,” insisted on the “brother” having one “on him.” The upshot was that Trevier didn’t go to work that day. And the next he found his discharge hanging on the peg beside the time clock. The shock of this threatened to result fatally, and to fortify himself the man went out and took a bracer.

Thereafter, for more than five years, Mrs. Trevier spent much of her time protecting her children and her home against the man who pitilessly took from her the wages she obtained from sewing taken in and spent them in a strenuous effort to maintain his steadily departing reputation as a “good fellow.” One night he fell onto a street car track. They carried his lifeless body to his widow’s poor home.

But in that bitter school of experience Mrs. Trevier learned a trade—perhaps it should be called a profession, now that she has developed it so well, and has made it so remunerative—that has enabled her to provide her home and her growing girls with every necessity and with all the luxuries desired.

“Jag Matron” is the title of profession which she was originated. She has become the most important and useful person in a local sanitorium. Her experiences are decidedly picturesque.

“I had a lot of experience, and when I took up the work it was with the feeling that I knew what I was about,” said Mrs. Trevier. “I think I can handle a ‘bad’ case better than man. The innate gallantry of men is never more in evidence than when they are under the influence of liquor, and it is by this trait, which is almost a weakness, that I am able to control the patients under my charge.

“My work is varied. At times I am busy at the sanitorium, acting as a sort of mother to the poor fellows who come all broken up from the unequal fight. At other times I am on the road escorting patients to the hospital. Between their desire to drink everything in the buffet, and to jump off the train and end their troubles, I have a lively time. But I manage to jolly them along somehow.

“Proposals of marriage are an everyday occurrence, and I always accept them and trust to luck that the man will not want to sue for a breach of promise when he sobers up.

“One man I had to dope. He came in early one morning with his arms full of champagne bottles and the hack driver followed him with two full cases of the stuff. He informed me that he was going to drink it all before he went to bed. I foolishly tried to hustle him off, and he knocked me into a corner where I lay unconscious for the better part of an hour. When I recovered he was asleep, but when I tried to move him, he insisted on drinking more. Turnabout’s fair play. I filled a glass for him and put knockout drops in it.

“This is queer business for a woman, I know; but I seem to have a special ability in this line and it pays better than anything else. I keep it up for the children’s sake. Of course, I have a pride in my work and regard my patients as a doctor would regard him.”

Mrs. Trevier’s children are in a private girls’ school. They do not like to have their mother doing what she does, and say that as soon as they finish their education they are going to make her stop it and live with them.

The Cincinnati [OH] Enquirer 17 February 1906: p. 14

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: Mrs Daffodil must applaud the sturdy Mrs Trevier who, when (as the Americans say) Life handed her a lemon, made lemonade instead of going into a decline and dying of a galloping consumption after waiting in a snow-storm outside the saloon for her husband as ladies do in Temperance tracts.

Mrs Daffodil hopes that her readers’ New Years Eves were spent in a state of enjoyable equilibrium rather than immoderate inebriation. If one is going to frivol under the influence, it is always pleasant to be able to recollect the experience.

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.