October 10. 1908
Notice is hereby given that the partnership mentioned below, heretofore at Forest park, has been dissolved by order of court:
A letter caused it all. This missive, couched in tender terms, was from Aileen D'Armond, otherwise Aileen Clemm of 1515 East Twelfth street, to F. K. Weston, or John King, manager of the flicker-flicker theater at Forest park, where the "sisters" gave afternoon and nightly exhibitions of terpsichorean and musical skill (See billboards for further adjectives.).
Dorothy, or, more properly, Grace Stafford, had nothing to do with the mailing of missives. It was companionship that brought her into the juvenile court yesterday afternoon with Aileen and Mrs. Henry C. Clemm, mother of one of the"sisters."
There might have been no trouble at all if Weston or King -- his wife called him King -- had not been married. But wives will see their husband's letters, and things began to happen shortly after Mrs. King got her eyes focused on the written page.
To the probation officer for her with a complaint against Aileen, who confesses to being 14 and who, until last year, was a pupil at the Humboldt school. Result, the D'Armonds and the mother of half of them before Judge H. L. McCune. The case was heard in chambers.
Such an insight into theatrical life as was given by the two girls. For her part, Grace Stafford, or Dorothy D'Armond, had a word or two to say from the depths of a deep blue poke-bonnet-scoop combination, trimmed with blue and white feathers.
"How much do you make a week?" asked the judge.
"I have been offered $30, but would not take it because I would have to appear alone," she said with the wisdom of 19 years. "I make $15."
And then Grace, who is a comely girl, told the judge of how, as her parents wanted her no longer after she was 15, she had struck out for herself. She had done housework, and was making a success of it on the stage. In the end, as she expressed a desire to go home, but said in the same breath that she would not be welcome there, Mrs. Agness Odell of the Detention home was detailed to care for her and find her a home. Her parents live in Oklahoma.
With Aileen it was different. It developed that she was an impressionable girl. As her "sister" said:
""Mr. King was so influensive. He seemed to have Aileen hypnotized."
However, this could not serve as an excuse, Judge McCune being a non-believer in the occult.
It turned out that Mr. Clemm is at Braymer, Mo., where he has the management of a store. Mrs. Clemm expressed her disinclination to move to Braymer, preferring the city. In the end, choosing between rejoining her husband and having her daughter sent to Chillicothe, she voted for Braymer.
The mother and foster mother got a scolding from the judge for dressing the girls, one in vivid blue and her own child in bright red.
"Red always was so becoming to her," she pleaded. The judge was obdurate in favor of quiet tones for dress.
Up to this point the hearing had progressed quietly enough. But when it was announced that Mrs. King was about to appear, the sisters and Mrs. Clemm plainly were flustrated.
"I am afraid she will kill my child," said the mother in genuine alarm. "She has threatened to take her life."
So Mrs. King, a frail little woman, testified with an officer of the court at each side, ready to stop any offensive maneuvers. She said her husband was now tractable and providing for her, paying no more attention to the girl.
"I did say to the girl that 'when I get through with you you won't be such a pretty soubrette behind the footlights," she admitted, "but nothing more, Aileen dear."
When it was all over, Mrs. King thanked the court, thanked George M. Holt, deputy probation officer, thanked everybody, and went her way. As for King, who had sat all afternoon in the courtroom, he was not called nor did he linger after adjournment.