Not all the sexual relationships of young girls, however, are entered into with a distinctly vicious or sexual purpose. The same inherent instinct which makes the young monkey handle his penis, the dog to lick his, or the boy to masturbate in sleep, will frequently prompt, even with the most harmless or vague intent, young girls to play with themselves, or with each other: and when such girls, at or after puberty, are carried by their childish impulses beyond the confines of innocence, into the realm of genuine homosexual passion, they frequently manifest, and feel, both shame and aversion for the act.
It is only, as with other habits, when the vice has been fixed by long practice, or by congenital tendencies, that it leads to crime.
We all remember the celebrated Memphis Case, which occurred in 1894. Alice Mitchell, a congenital invert, planned a marriage with Freda Ward by taking a male name and costume. The scheme was frustrated by Freda's sister; and Alice, in a moment of jealous frenzy, cut her lover's throat.
There were no collateral facts to prove insanity, the claim presented in her behalf; but many to show that she was simply a homosexualist of a very ponounced type; a classical normal invert. She was by no means vicious, however; with little knowledge of sexual matters, and manifesting a shame, on being seen kissing or fondling Freda, which the latter could see no reason for feeling.
This case, recorded by Macdonald,1 is paralleled by that of the "Tillier Sisters," quintroons, acting inoneof the cheap theatres of Chicago, and investigated by Dr. J. G. Kiernan of the same city. One was an invert, with an inveterate horror of men, dating from childhood, and sexually attached to the other, who was not congenitally inverted, The latter, persuaded by a man, finally left the invert, who was so overcome with jealousy that she broke into the apartment of the couple and shot the man dead. A defence of insanity was instituted; but, on trial, she was convicted and sent to prison for life.
In August, 1610, was entered upon the Stationers' Register, London, "A Rooke called TheMadde Prancks of Merry Mall of the Bankside, with her Walkes in Man's Apparel, and to What Purpose, Written by John Day," The biographer of Mary Frith, "Merry Mall," or "Moll Cutpurse," as she was variously described, the first being her true name, paints her as "a very torn rig and rumpscuttle," who "delighted only and sported in boy's plays and costume." She is the heroine in Middleton and Dekker's breezy comedy, "The Roaring Girl," and was undoubtedly a sexual invert.
A case is reported by II. Ellis as occurring in Massachusetts, in 1901, in which a girl of twenty, of neurasthenic constitution, fell in love with a woman many years her senior, married and the mother of children, who had waited upon her during one of her periods of illness. The mother of the girl, and the woman's husband, both apparently cognizant of the nature of the intimacy, took measures to terminate it; but the girl, when the obstacles to its gratification became insurmountable, deliberately bought a revolver and shot herself in the temple, dying almost instantly in her mothers presence.
The latter was of an aristocratic family, and the girl herself handsome, cultured, an energetic religious worker, possessed of a fine voice, fond of outdoor sports, and a member of many fashionable clubs and societies.