VIII-"Prisoners of Poverty: Women wage-workers, their trades and their lives" - Helen Campbell - New York Tribune

VIII-"Prisoners of Poverty: Women wage-workers, their trades and their lives" - Helen Campbell - New York Tribune

"The True Story of Lotte Bauer"

by: Helen Campbell | publication date: December 12, 1886 | Publication: The New York Tribune | pages: 13

Lotte went home dumb, and sat down at her machine. There was no money in the house, nor would be till she had taken home this work; but as she bent over it the blood poured in a stream from her mouth. She tried to rise, but fell back; and when the screaming children had brought in neighbors, Lotte's struggle was quite over. When they had buried her in the Potter's Field by Lisa, they took the bundle of work stained with her lifeblood and carried it back to its owners.

"She 'll need no more," said the old neighbor from the floor above as she laid it on the counter. "You 've cut her down and cut her down, till there was n't life left to stand it longer. There's not one of you to blame, you say, but I that know, know you 've fastened her coffin-lid with nails o' your own makin', an' that sooner or later you 'll come face to face, an' find that red-hot is cowld to the hate that's makin' ready for you. An' as for him that stands there smilin', if it were n't for the laws that spare the guilty and send the innocent to their deaths, God knows it would be the best thing these hands ever did to tear him to bits. But there 's no one to blame. Ye 're sure o' that. Wait a while. The day 's comin' when you 'll maybe think different; an' may God speed it!"

Campbell tells the story of Lotte, a young Prussian immigrant who moves with her family to New York City. When her brother gets paralyzed on the job, Lotte tries to make ends meet with her sewing. She fails to make enough money and her family falls into destitution.