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Bristol arose and once more went out to the gate. He had

time:2023-11-29 13:50:13Classification:problemsource:qsj

Birdie was born after a pregnancy during which the mother was much worried and in poor health. The father, too, was sickly at that time. The family conditions were defective on account of poverty and illness during a large share of the period when the children were born. Birdie at birth was very small and there was difficulty in resuscitation. She, however, was never seriously ill until she was 7 years of age, when she had something like peritonitis. No spasms or convulsions at any time. She was a very small child during her infancy, but walked at 8 months and talked very well indeed when she was only one year old. Developmental history otherwise negative, but all along there has been poor family control on account of ill health and the slight earning capacity of the father.

Bristol arose and once more went out to the gate. He had

During the several months we knew Birdie she was always a most unreliable person. She repeatedly ran away from home and was lost track of. On one occasion she got as far as Omaha. By the use of elaborate, but plausible stories she always succeeded in winning the friendship of reputable people. Once she was found, after she had been away several weeks, residing in a good home in another State where the people thought of adopting her on account of her brightness. Many times she wandered about her home city and in the most active and sly fashion purloined anything she cared for. Several times when she was taken by the police she invented clever stories, without the least faltering, that seemed entirely fitted to the occasion. As the investigator said, she talked incessantly with not the slightest hesitation and was always airy and sure. No one to whom she had gone with her misrepresentations questioned her veracity-- she always came out with a clearly connected and plausible story. We noted that her parents in comparison seemed quite stupid.

Bristol arose and once more went out to the gate. He had

Of course Birdie passed under various names. Once we recognized her picture in the newspaper representing a weary, disheartened girl who was tired walking all day long from one employment bureau to another. She stated to the reporter it was her ambition to become a model servant. When in Omaha her mental peculiarities were recognized and she was studied by a competent alienist who, however, was not willing to render a verdict of non compos mentis to the police. This was when she had run away from Chicago and had told a lot of stories all of which had turned out to be untrue. The trouble which she created in various communities by reason of her hyperactive delinquencies has not been small.

Bristol arose and once more went out to the gate. He had

With much merriment and an excessive amount of facial expression this little girl held forth to us. It is hardly necessary to say that the account varied somewhat from day to day. She did not like it at home and did not propose to go back there. There were too many in the family. As soon as the floor was scrubbed one of the children would get it all dirty again. She had started for New York, but the old gatekeeper at the station was mean and she could not slip by him. She got along all right in Omaha, but finally she gave herself up to the police there. She thinks perhaps she might go up to the people in Wisconsin who wanted to adopt her. In any case, she can do a great deal better than Viola B. who ran away from New York and got caught, and was so much talked about in the newspapers.

Thus her story would run along at great length, Birdie in the meanwhile chuckling with the thought of her own escapades.

We never recommended institution life because it seemed as if better things might be done for this girl. We felt that if she were built up from a physical standpoint her tendency towards nervous excitement might grow less. Her tonsils were removed. Every one felt that the girl's good mental abilities should be conserved to the utmost. Attempts at management in a different environment gave some hope of success, and after a time her parents moved to a smaller town, when we lost oversight of the girl. Following our acquaintance with the case it had been managed in the light of her characteristics, and her falsifying tendencies were constantly discounted by those in charge. We felt that her tendency was to grow more stable.

Three years later: We have just gained further information concerning Birdie. The family is still in straitened circumstances, the father having proved too weak a character to support them. He posed as somewhat of a gentleman and made off to another country. Birdie is said to have worked steadily for months at a time, but over a year ago suddenly left home once more, this time going with a stage company. Although the police in several cities have been appealed to, no trace has been obtained as yet of our young friend. Whether her lying was continued at home we cannot satisfactorily learn, nor do we know accurately about any continuance of her state of excitement, but without doubt Birdie in her present wandering is fabricating anew, and is what she was before, namely, a young adventuress.

--------------------------------------------------------------- Mental conditions: Constitutional excitement. Case 22. Girl, age 14 years. Developmental conditions: Defective pregnancy. Early impaction of teeth. Poor general physical conditions. Home conditions: Poverty. Irritability of father and mother. Delinquencies: Mentality: Running away. Ability good; Stealing. Constitutional Lying. excitement. ---------------------------------------------------------------


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