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acid-12-08-04triba2Chicago Tribune, February 8, 1904. Follow-up on the acid attack on nurse Mary Heide. Very hard to know what’s going on here. “Little girls in the darkness” of an alleyway said something to a random passerby? Ergo the cops decided that blinded Mary was protecting her assailant? Who perforce was a woman, not a man in a fedora and trench coat?

This is one of those instances when I wonder if this is coded reportage and I’m not picking up on some crucial nuance of usage or urban geography or whatever. Like, would the fact that the alley opens on Fiftieth Street seem relevant or illuminating to a wised-up contemporary reader? Was Mary on the game perhaps? Was that a place where girls went to meet girls? In the darkness?

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