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OMAN'S sphere of activity in the mad rush for existence seems to daily broaden. Not so many years ago female stenographers were a curiosity, and the passer-by paused in open-mouthed wonder to gaze on the young women whose delicate fingers travel with lightning-like speed over the key-board. The revolution soon spread, and now almost every occupation known to man has its female representatives. The butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker have to look to their work, lest their fair competitors crowd them out of the field. This order of things is so marked in Munich, the capital of Bavaria, that women are found doing manual labor of the most strenuous character in the streets of the old city.

What would be the reader's surprise, when on the way to his office in the morning, should he chance to see a woman standing at a switch in the center of traffic and directing a continuous line of electric cars to their different tracks? Then by walking further, supposing he should see a figure in petticoats sweeping vigorously in the street, unmindful of the heavy trucks thundering over the cobblestones? Would he not rub his eyes and pinch himself, uncertain as to whether he was yet awake?

But women sweep the streets and switch the cars in Munich, and long ago the residents ceased to look on them as an infringement of everyday usage.

In Munich there are many street junctions, where the electric cars branch off in all directions. On each of these stations stands a wo

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It is not difficult for a Bavarian woman to obtain this kind of employment, for there are so many junctions in Munich, but the wages tend to discourage those who apply for the positions. The street railway system is owned and operated by the city, and the officials in charge have seen fit to offer very small remuneration in return for a day's work. By attending strictly to her duties during eight hours of the day, a woman can make the equivalent of $17 a month at the switch. The officials have refused to pay more, and this is what led to employing women. When the system was first installed, the positions were open to men, but they refused to accept the responsibility and work of eight hours a day in return for such meagre pay. The offi

Cleaning the street-car track.

cials stood firm, and would not increase the amount, so women were placed in charge of the switches. This innovation excited great interest at the start, but it was not long until the easy-going Bavarians ceased to give the workers a second glance. The women were thoroughly schooled in their duties before being permitted to handle switching-rod alone; but as they showed a natural aptitude for the work from the start, it was not long until the officials were congratulating themselves that circumstances had compelled them to give the places to women.



A girl who has passed her eighteenth year is eligible for appointment, but there is no age limit to restrict those who wish to take up the work, providing they have discarded short skirts or have not taken on the infirmities of old age. Dressed in a dark skirt, with waist of a light, serviceable material, and with highly-colored apron to protect her costume from the dust of the street, the switchwoman is prepared for work. The only means of distinguishing her from other Bavarian women is by the badge on her hat, which gives her number and the district in which she is stationed. The city furnishes this badge, which is used as a mark of identification.

At some of the junctions the traffic is very light, and the switchwomen have long intervals between the passing of cars. During these spare moments the employee leaves her station in the street, and sits at the curbstone, where she has provided herself with a wooden bench. An occasional policeman saunters along and stops to pass the time of day and to exchange bits of gossip gleaned from the street. But when alone the switchwoman is never idle. Her fingers are always busy during these intermissions; it may be a dress for baby at home, or a pair of stockings being knitted for the head of the family. As she sits on her little bench and awaits the clanging of the motorman's bell to announce the approach of the next car, she seems to make up in a way for her lack of home life. She permits her imagination to have full play, and the hot and dusty street seems to pass out of her mind. For a moment she forgets it all. She listens to the click of her knitting needles, and hums a little song. She is content for the moment, butclang! clang! clang! in the distance.



Another motorman's bell. She places her knitting down on bench, and with a sigh of regret rises from her revery to the more

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laborious task of switching a red car, green light, on track 2.

Many of the women are married, and their husbands work at trades in which the remuneration is not much better than that paid by the city to the switchwomen. The wages of both husband and wife are pooled at the end of the month, which permits them to live and raise their family without suffering all the hardships that usually fall to the lot of the laboring classes in Europe. Many of the women have been left husbandless through accident or sickness, and with a large family dependent upon them for their daily bread. Then it is that hardship and self-denial fall to the lot of the switchwoman. Work as hard as she will, be as faithful to her duties as possible, and yet she cannot see one gleam of hope for the bettering of her condition in the future. She must struggle on, raise her family on the equivalent of $17 a month, and when age compels her to lay aside the switching-rod, she must look to her children for support. No wonder that when this poor woman hears the magic word "America" her eyes brighten and she whispers its syllables one after the other,

dwelling on each with a longing in her voice that plainly speaks her mind.

Munich is noted throughout Europe for its clean streets. Even the American tourists in their mad rush through the Old World have remarked the cleanliness of the capital's thoroughfares. This orderly appearance is due to the hand of woman, for a brigade in petticoats, with shovels, brooms and wheelbarrows, attend to the cleaning of the


Like the positions held by the switchwoman, those of the sweepers are not difficult to obtain. All it requires is a strong pair of arms, and if the back will stand a day's labor that starts at 4 a. m. and ends at 6 p. m, the applicant is then acceptable to the municipality. The sweepers receive the same pay as the switchwomen, but the work of the former is much more laborious. The city provides a shovel, a broom and a wheelbarrow. Long before the sun is up the sweepers are in the streets, tidying things up before the rush of the day begins. Then comes the mad turmoil of the dayheavy trucks, cumbersome automobiles, bicyclists and pedestrians-all mixed together to form a deafening din in the streets. In the thick of this noise the sweeper dodges in and out at her work, her skirts often

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A switch woman with her knitting.

brushed by the wheels of passing vehicles. She goes about her task as if she were in a home, arranging tile furniture and searching for the last particle of dust.

When the clock strikes nine, the sweepers lay aside their brooms and shovels and partake of a light breakfast, made up of a few slices of cold Beer sausage and a liter of beer. takes the place of water in Munich, and therefore the sweepers can afford a few liters of it each day.

After a rest of a few minutes the sweepers return to their brooms and shovels, and work until the roon hour. Then it is that one can see the sweepers in the fullness of their joy. How they look forward to this one hour of recreation! Then they can meet around a clothless table in a beer garden and exchange spicy bits of gossip in street sweeping circles. More sausage and beer are in order, and during this short hour the sweepers take their only pleasure. They lead a hard life, in which happiness is nearly an unknown quantity. Many of them have small children, who during the day are cared for by Sisters of the Catholic church. When the day's toil is over the mothers call at the convent for their children, and then return to their homes.

Though the majority of the sweep

ers are coarse and mannish, and often drink to excess to forget their struggles in the street, yet to see them in their homes is a surprise. One should naturally expect to find their habitations reeking in filth and squalor, but such is not the case. Instead you find them in the best of order and scrupulously clean. Cleanliness is a trait ever present in the Bavarian woman, no matter how laborious and dirty may be her work of the day, she can never go to sleep knowing that her home is not in the best of order. The faces of many of the sweepers show the hard life they lead. Deep-drawn lines furrow their brows, their scraggy gray hair a mass of disorder and filth from the dust and dirt of the street. Their hands are twice the size they should be and cracked and scarred from toil. To see the sweeper at her work or drinking with her kind in the beer gardens, one forms a wrong opinion of her worth. Go to her home in the evening, after she has put aside the broom and shovel; see her in her scrupulously clean quarters with her children about her, and then your opinion changes. She is as methodical in her vices as in her home. She has put aside a certain portion of the day for pleasure, and never exceeds the time limit.

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What a picture of depravity the sweeper forms as she stands in the center of the street with her shovel in one hand and the other raised in rage at a passing vehicle that has all but run her down. You close your ears to escape the string of vituperation hurled in the direction of those who excited her wrath. Then see this same woman in her home after the day's work. A crust. of bread and a liter of beer make up the evening meal, while at her feet play the little ones who at times pause in their mad frolic to look up into a face on which shines a deep mother-love.

We have our sweat-shops and other eye-sores yet in America, but legislation is fast relegating them to the past. Metaphorically speaking, American women of the humblest class live in palaces when comparing their lot to that of their sisters in Bavaria. Public sentiment in America is strongly against women taking up man's labor, but in Munich not only the residents, but the Government itself, encourages the women to cast aside their niceties of sex and bare their arms and bend their backs at tasks that rightfully should be executed by




Out of a mist of dim fancies

That crowd on our wondering brain,
Our dreams and our hopes and our ideals
Glide past in an unbroken train;

And we pause as we note how their features

Trace some silent prayer of our heart,

And we stretch forth our arms with a yearning

But they softly and slowly depart.

And we know when they're gone, they're but visions Not fitting this world that we tread,

And we sigh as we read the old legend: "Ideals are but hopes that are dead!"

For our dream of a friend wakes a standard
We dream that same friend must achieve.
Too often he fails-and he passes-
But the "Standard" an Ideal will leave.
And we build it an altar of Memory
And hold it forever above,

As we measure the Pigmies of Passion
On the lines of this child of our love.

And yet, should we weep when they fail us?
Not they, but ourselves, are misled!
Just take at their best whom God sends us.
"Ideals are but dreams that are dead!"

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