Wednesday, October 22, 2008

An Unpleasant Situation

Eighteen young women, members of the Female Base Ball Club, of Philadelphia, were forced to apply to the mayor of St. Louis for transportation to New York. Their trunks are held for railroad fares, and they owe $100 at the hotel in St. Louis. The mayor informed them that he could not assist them. Probably the best thing they can do will be to go to work at some legitimate business till they can take themselves home.
-Michigan Farmer, Dec 4, 1883

Paragraphs in our daily papers state that the "Female Base Ball Club" of Philadelphia, lately came to grief at St. Louis, and being without money, requested the assistance of the mayor of the city to enable them to return to their homes in the City of Brotherly Love. He declined to assist them, but in some way they raised funds to take them to Chicago, where they "played a game," hoping to get farther eastward with the proceeds. In Chicago they paraded the streets in a band wagon, accompanied by the inspiring music of the fife and drum, and were well stared at by the hoodlums of that none too pious burg. The Chicago journals say that about three hundred men and boys "about town" attended the "match" in the evening, and do not speak with any particular respect of either audience or players.

There young girls, the oldest of whom is seventeen, the youngest thirteen, are reported to belong to respectable families of the Quaker City, to be intelligant, good-looking, and fairly educated. No one has added the adjective refined, presumably because the idea of refinement does not attach itself to girls who travel through the country as "first base" and "short stop" of a ball club. It is said there was very much opposition on the part of the families of these young women to this very "new departure," and that tears were shed on both sides. It is to be regretted that parental commands did not take the place of entreaties, or that a few days of discipline on bread-and-water, after the ancient fashion of subduing refractory damsels, were not brought to bear on youthful obstinacy and hot-headedness. The outcome, precisely what might have been expected, is hardly pleasant to hose concerned. To have one's baggage attached for a board bill, to be compelled to remain at a hotel, increasing a debt one has no means to pay from sheer inability to pay and get away; to be penniless in a strange town and obliged to appeal to its authorities for charity, must be somewhat humiliating....
-Michigan Farmer, December 25, 1883

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