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A Missing Daughter

The Pall Mall Gazette (July 13, 1885)

At Marylebone police-court on Saturday, a poor but apparently respectable woman renewed an application to Mr. Cooke for his advice in regard to her daughter, whom, she said, she had not seen or heard of since last May. A neighbour of hers, she informed the magistrate, asked her if she would like her daughter to go out to service, and that if she did she knew of a very nice situation. The girl was spoken to, and after some consultation the applicant was persuaded to consent to the girl going to the place, which was said to be at Croyden, the only condition being that an opportunity should be given her daughter, who was a fairly good scholar, to write home to her parents once a week. She left home to go to the lady at Croydon on Derby day, and she had not heard tidings of her since. Her neighbour had stated that she had received a letter from the girl's mistress and a sovereign, and that her daughter was quite well, but when she (applicant) wrote to her daughter at the address given, which was near Manchester, the letter was returned by the Post Office officials as "not known." Witness said her girl was only thirteen years of age, and after having read what had recently been published in an evening newspaper she greatly feared some harm had overtaken her daughter. Mr. Cooke: But do you mean to say that you let the girl go away with strangers without having made further inquiry than what you have just explained? Applicant: Well, sir, she said I should hear from her every week. Mr. Cooke: Then I consider it very great negligence on your part. You know you are the mother of the girl, and she is under age. By direction of the magistrate, Sergeant Carden (chief warrant officer) made inquiry into the matter, and subsequently reported that he had ascertained that the woman who had got the girl had been at one time a fellow-servant of the applicant's neighbour, that she had been in an infirmary, that the Charity Organization Society had helped her into a situation, and that she had since got married. The reason for the letter being returned by the Post Office was that it had been addressed to a place near Manchester instead of near Winchester, Mr. Cooke directed that the matter should be further inquired into.

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