Before the reader turns to the first page of this history, let a clear understanding be arrived at between him and the writer.
In penning the story of "The Sewing-girl," the author's purpose was not to get up a thrilling tale, but to present simple truths in a way thought likely to gain for them attention.
Let no reader, then believe there is here shown one picture which can justly be styled "highly colored;" on the contrary, many facts which have come to the knowledge of the writer, in connection with a sewing-girl's experiences, --and which might be gathered by any who took the trouble to look for them, -- have been denied a place in this volume, through fear of their appearing, to the ordinary observer, improbable.
It is so difficult to believe these every-day tales of wrong and oppression, so almost impossible to realize that, in our very midst, under the eye of an enlightened and sympathizing community, there are systematized persecutions of the struggling needy an the unprotected! Yet these things are.
The path of the self-dependent woman is thorny at best; that of the sewing woman in a very large majority of cases, most particularly so; but with inadequate pay for her labor spring up a long train of attending woes and difficulties, which render it the next thing to unendurable. Indeed, to those who look on, apart from the atmosphere of necessity which envelopes the actress in the homely life-drama, --too often a tragedy, --- the wonder is, that human hearts and human frames can bear so much and bear that much so long.