Editor's note -
These writings of the famous novelist, poet, playwright and journalist, George R Sims, were extracted from many sources. The early, contemporary reports, and to just after the turn of the century appeared in the Sunday Referee, where Sims wrote a regular page under the pen-name Dagonet.
To assist the reader this compilation has been written in journal form with the dates of the articles preceding the piece it refers to.
Sept. 9, 1888.
The Whitechapel murders, which have come to the relief of newspaper editors in search of a sensation, are not the kind of murders which pay best. The element of romance is altogether lacking, and they are crimes of the coarsest and most vulgar brutality - not the sort of murders that can be discussed in the drawing-room and the nursery with any amount of pleasure. The best element in the cases for newspaper purposes is that they are similar to a murder which was committed near the same spot some time previously, and this enables the talented journalist to start the idea that the four crimes are by the same hand. Given this idea, and "the maniac who lures women into lonely spots and cuts them up" speedily assumes a definite shape. If only the women had belonged to another class, or been in more comfortable circumstances, there might, with skilIful manipulation, have been worked up an excitement almost equal to the Marr and Williamson sensation.
The murder of the Marrs created such a widespread panic that it led to a great reform in the police administration of the metropolis. The old Charley was voted an anachronism, and he gave way to a corps of civilian guards, who have since developed into our helmeted Roberts. The Whitechapel murder looks like causing the question of inadequate police protection to be trotted out again. As a matter of fact the London police force is utterly inadequate to the growing needs of the rapidly increasing metropolis. The wonder is, not that so many attacks on life and property are made with impunity, but that there are so few. If the criminal classes had anything like organisation, London would be at their mercy.
The police up to the moment of writing are still at sea as to the series of Whitechapel murders - a series with such a strong family likeness as to point conclusively to one assassin or firm of assassins. The detective force is singularly lacking in the smartness and variety of resource which the most ordinary detective displays in the shilling shocker. As a rule, your modern detective waits for "information," instead of making a clue for himself by joining together the links of circumstantial evidence. In the Whitechapel cases the theory is that there is either a maniac at the bottom of them, or that they are the work of a "High Rip" gang. That theory should be followed up until it is proved to be a false one. The decoy system might very well be tried. Decoys could be sent out all over the neighbourhood, and the chances are the bird would be caught by one of them. If a number of old gentlemen had been knocked down and robbed of their gold chains in a certain neighbourhood, the best thing would be to dress up a police agent as an old gentleman, give him a chain, and tell him to expose himself to danger. Directly the thief came he could give the signal, and his confederates in the force would close in, and the thief would be caught. Scotland-yard ought to be able to put temptation in the way of the Whitechapel ruffian (if he is a habitual woman murderer) to make him walk into the trap.
Room for Leather Apron! Stand aside, all you other celebrities, and hide your diminished heads. Mr. Gladstone might take a walk abroad, and make a speech from every doorstep that he came to; Mr. Parnell might commence an action against the Times in every town in the three kingdoms; Mrs. Mona Caird might suggest polygamy on the three years' system; Professor Baldwin might go up into the sky attached to a halfpenny kite, and cut its tail off, and come down after attaining an altitude of a hundred miles; the Queen of Servia might knock King Milan's hat off on a public promenade; General Boulanger might fight a duel with M. Chevreuil, and get the worst of it; Bismarck might come over here and chalk a rude name on Sir Morell Mackenzie's front door; the great Donnelly himself might discover a cryptogram which proved that the Rev. Mr. Spurgeon was the author of all Rider Haggard's books; little Josef Hofmann might favour the Daily Telegraph with his views on the marriage question; "Mr. Manton" might adopt the stage as a profession; and appear as Juliet to little Mr. Penley's Romeo; and General Booth might turn the Grecian Theatre into a Music Hall Company (Limited) - and still Leather Apron would remain the hero of the hour.
It is only the careful observer, the close student of our insular everyday life, the professional expert, who can thoroughly gauge the extent to which Leather Apron has impressed himself upon the public mind. Up to a few days ago the mere mention of Leather Apron's name was sufficient to cause a panic. All England was murmuring his name with bated breath. In one instance, which is duly recorded in the police reports, a man merely went into a public-house and said that he knew Leather Apron, and the customers, leaving their drinks unfinished, fled en masse, while the landlady, speechless with terror, bolted out of a back door and ran to the police-station, leaving the grim humorist in sole possession of the establishment, till and all. Never since the days of Burke and Hare has a name borne such fearful significance.
The joke - if joke there can be in connection with a tale which puts all the vampire stories of fiction to bed and tucks them up for the rest of their natural lives - which has been considered the most excruciating by the larky young men of the period has been to call each other Leather Apron in places of public resort. A wag the other day, finding a steamer on which he was about to take a journey inconveniently crowded, just stepped up to the man at the wheel and said, "I am Leather Apron," and in two seconds he had the steamer to himself, the captain and the man at the wheel being among the first to leap ashore.
Now that the first wild excitement has died down, and common sense is having a peep in, most people are beginning to see that Leather Apron has probably as much to do with the Whitechapel murders as the Archbishop of Canterbury or the Baroness Burdett-Coutts. It is astonishing how eagerly the Press seized upon the mere mention of a person with this ordinary nickname, and worked it up into a blood-curdling sensation. The name of Leather Apron has been flashed from pole to pole. It is to-day as much a byword on Greenland's icy mountains and on India's coral strand as it is in Whitechapel and Scotland-yard. And why? Primarily because there was something in the sound which suggested a big catch-on. It is possible that the harmless individual who was arrested as Leather Apron; and discharged because there wasn't enough evidence against him to convict a bluebottle of buzzing, may not lose his celebrity for a generation. He has been written up with such a vengeance that he will be a famous man to the end of his days.
The booming of Leather Apron in connection with the Whitechapel murders illustrates the bungling way in which the business is being conducted by the police. It is a million to one that when (O that all-important when!) the bona-fide murderer (bona-fide murderer is good!) is arrested he will be found to be someone who never heard of a leather apron in his life. The police may be playing a game of spoof, but the fact remains that in no suggestion made by the authorities up to the present is the slightest technical knowledge of the "specialty" of the Whitechapel atrocities shown.
When the doctor who was called in to see the body publicly requests the coroner not to ask him to go into particulars, as they are too horrible, the purveyors of news for the Press may well hesitate before they turn on their extra-realistic young men. One enterprising journal has trotted out for the benefit of its readers the Marquis de Sade - probably the most infamous person in the entire history of infamy - and the young lady of fifteen, when she has finished the free love discussion in the Telegraph, turns to her ma and says, "Mamma, dear, who was the Marquis de Sade that they are talking about in connection with these Whitechapel murders?" Mamma probably asks papa, and papa is quite possibly as ignorant as the police; but inquiry begets inquiry, and a great moral pestilence once more sweeps over the surface of society, and leaves its traces upon this generation.
Lest I should be accused of doing myself that which I blame in others, let me come to my point, which is that we are in very grave danger of an epidemic of butchery. The minute details given by the papers of the hideous mutilation of the last Whitechapel victim only repel a certain class - a very much larger class is fascinated by them. The public mind becomes familiarised with the details of outrage, and is literally saturated with blood. We shall begin to expect too much from our murderers by-and-by, and an ordinary crime will pass without recognition. On the whole, there is good reason to look upon the Whitechapel horrors as national misfortunes, coming as they do in the middle of the silly season, when the papers are glad to fill up with anything - blood for choice. Better a whole year of the Failure of Marriage than a week of the Success of Murder and Mutilation.
Thank goodness! There is a little bit of blue sky visible at last. "The police believe that they are now on the track of the murderer.” Bless them! it would be cruel to undeceive them or to shatter their childlike and innocent faith in themselves. Let them go on believing that they are on the track of the murderer. Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise.
ON THE TRACK
The summer had come in September at last,
And the pantomime season was coming on fast,
When a score of detectives arrived from the Yard
To untangle a skein which was not very hard.
They looked very wise, and they started a clue;
They twiddled their thumbs as the best thing to do.
They said, "By this murder we're taken aback,
But we're now, we believe, on the murderer's track."
They scattered themselves o'er the face of the land -
A gallant, devoted, intelligent band -
They arrested their suspects north, east, south, and west;
From inspector to sergeant each man did his best.
They took up a bishop, they took up a Bung,
They arrested the old, they arrested the young;
They ran in Bill, Thomas, and Harry and Jack,
Yet still they remained on the murderer's track.
The years passed away and the century waned,
A mystery still the big murder remained.
It puzzled the Bar and it puzzled the Bench,
It puzzled policemen, Dutch, German, and French;
But 'twas clear as a pikestaff to all London 'tecs,
Who to see through a wall didn't want to wear specs.
In reply to the sneer and the snarl and the snack
They exclaimed, “We are still on the murderer's track."
They remained on his track till they died of old age,
And the story was blotted from history's page;
But they died like detectives convinced that the crime
They'd have traced to its source if they'd only had time.
They made a good end, and they turned to the wall
To answer the Great First Commissioner’s call;
And they sighed as their breathing grew suddenly slack -
"We believe we are now on the murderer's track."
Leather Apron has suddenly had to take a back seat. Harry the Hawker and Ted Stanley have come to the front instead.
There is not the slightest truth in the rumour that the police are of opinion that the murder of Major Barttelot in Central Africa is also the work of the Whitechapel miscreant. On inquiry at Scotland-yard this morning, our reporter was informed that the Stanley mentioned in the telegram which brings the news of the gallant major's untimely fate is not the Ted Stanley referred to at the Whitechapel inquest.
There isn't much to talk about -
We live in dullish times;
The only things the newsboys shout
Are these Whitechapel crimes.
The Tories one and all agree
The fiend who'd make Hyde blush,
And does the deeds is Mr.--
There's someone listening - hush!
Some time ago a merry dame,
Who'd worn two wedding-rings,
Desired once more at love's bright flame
To singe her ample wings.
To shyly wed a lad she chose,
Society to "rush,"
She was the Duchess of--
There's someone listening - hush!
The duke has had his willful whim,
And Wimbledon must go;
Our Volunteers now, thanks to him,
Have had a smashing blow.
He's thrown the splendid movement back,
In spite of all his gush;
I think ought to have the --
There's someone listening - hush!
Of all the papers published now,
In all the kingdoms three,
There is not one but has to bow
Before the --
Of all the writers, you can bet
(I see his pale face flush),
The nicest one is --
There's someone listening hush!
The police are still on the track of the Whitechapel lady-killer, and several really remarkable clues have been obtained and followed up. The wrong man has not been arrested this week quite so frequently as he was last, and there are undoubted signs that "a clue" has at last rewarded the efforts of the police authorities. In fact, there is rather an embarrass de richesses in the matter of clues, as the reader will readily imagine when he peruses the following, which are carefully selected from the published list as per the daily morning and evening Press.
THE WHITECHAPEL MURDERS. -SOME IMPORTANT CLUES.
Some ten years ago it has transpired that a man in Scotch attire used to stand outside a tobacconist's shop in the Whitechapel-road. He was generally to be seen in the act of taking a pinch of snuff The police have had their attention called to the fact that this Scotchman has mysteriously disappeared, and they are making inquiries with regard to him, as they consider it quite possible that he may be the Whitechapel murderer.
A man was seen on Monday evening last in High-street, Camden Town, evidently in a state of considerable excitement. A lady who was passing at the time thinks she saw a knife up his sleeve, but she is not sure. The police are following up this clue to the Whitechapel murderer with the greatest caution, and from their reticence it is evident that they attach considerable importance to the facts brought to light.
A boy of twelve years old, living at Slush-in-the-Marsh, has, it is stated, told his grandmother that one of the boys at the national school told him that he believed that the schoolmaster, who had recently given him a severe whipping, was the Whitechapel murderer. The grandmother at once communicated with the local police, and the local inspector left at once for Scotland-yard. After a long and earnest consultation with the heads of departments, several Scotland-yard detectives returned with the local inspector to Slush-in-the-Marsh, where they are prosecuting the most rigid inquiries. It is believed that a genuine clue to the Whitechapel murders has at last been obtained.
A well-known dramatic author has, it is understood, been placed under close police surveillance, although the fact is not generally known. It has transpired that one evening last week he was heard at the club to remark that the Whitechapel murders wouldn't make a good play. "It's not the sort of murder that goes," he said. "I've often done murders of that sort, but I've never found them answer. When I kill a woman I do it better than that - more effectually." The police are not inclined to give any information to our reporter; but from certain facts which have transpired, it is evident that they have now a definite clue to the mystery which has for so long a time enshrouded the metropolis in gloom.
Should any new clues arrive before we go to press we shall not fail to place them at the disposal of the public. The statement that the police believe the Whitechapel murders to have been committed by a baboon which recently escaped from a ship in the East India Docks is authoritatively denied, but Sir Charles Warren is understood to have said that it wanted Edgar Allan Poe at the yard to give them something to work on.
A great many letter writers in the daily papers are pointing the lesson of the Whitechapel horrors, and endeavouring to attract public attention to the conditions under which the East-end poor live. Under any civilised conditions it would have been impossible for these monstrous crimes to have been committed one after the other in the heart of a densely-populated neighbourhood. In a series of articles which I wrote some years ago, I described these back yards and the lawless scenes which went on in them night after night, and I explained why the inhabitants took no notice and in no way resented the intrusion of bad characters of both sexes upon their premises. I called attention then to the evil which would certainly result to children reared amid scenes of violence and vice, and familiarised with everything that was loathsome and criminal from their earliest infancy. In "How the Poor Live," these murders which are now horrifying London were clearly foreshadowed. I have no wish to dwell on the subject, and I only refer to it now as others have taken it up as though it were quite new, and as it will probably be the means of starting a fresh nine days' crusade against the plague spots of "Horrible London."
Oct. 7, 1888.
JACK THE RIPPER is the hero of the hour. A gruesome wag, a grim practical joker, has succeeded in getting an enormous amount of fun out of a postcard which he sent to the Central News. The fun is all his own, and nobody shares in it, but he must be gloating demonically at the present moment at the state of perturbation in which he has flung the public mind. Grave journals have reproduced the sorry jest, and have attempted to seriously argue that the awful Whitechapel fiend is the idle and mischievous idiot who sends blood-stained postcards to the news agency. Of course the whole business is a farce. The postcard is an elaborately-prepared hoax. To imagine a man deliberately murdering and mutilating women, and then confessing the deed on a postcard, is to turn Mr. W. S. Gilbert loose upon the Whitechapel murders at once.
Everybody has a private theory of his own with regard to these crimes, and naturally I have mine. In all probability mine is as idiotic as the coroner's. But this is such an unpleasant subject - it is becoming such a dangerous subject - that I will spare the public my private views upon the matter, and try and get to something more cheerful as speedily as possible. Bloodshed always has an immense fascination for ordinary mortals. Murders and battles are the things to hurl the circulation of a newspaper sky high, and the Whitechapel lady-killer's essays in lightning surgery have become as a boon and a blessing to men of the Press, who were weary of concocting in the office letters on various subjects of domestic interest, and trying to make them look like genuine outside contributions.
I have said that this series of murders is a dangerous subject to discuss, and I honestly think so. The enormous publicity and the sensational turn given to these atrocities are bound to effect the public mind, and give ill-balanced brains an inclination towards bloodshed. There will be for some time an epidemic of savage butchery, and the unfortunate women who have furnished the lightning anatomist with his subjects will be especially liable to murderous attack.
Jack the Ripper - now that Leather Apron has retired Jack is the hero of the situation - has already fired the imagination of a vast number of idiots and ruffians. Men with knives in their hands, threatening to "rip" a lady, are to be heard of all over the country already. In the police reports such cases, especially in the provinces, are as thick as blackberries on a September hedgerow. Or should it be October, and are the blackberries in my neighbourhood specially backward? I have been waiting for a blackberry pudding for weeks, and can't get one. If you never tried a blackberry pudding do so at once. Put a little apple in it, mind - that brings the flavour of the blackberries out. Blackberry jelly is also worth living for. The mulberries in my garden are as backward as the blackberries on my hedges. I am passionately fond of mulberries - in fact, I was mark - Dear me, dear me, how my pen does run away with me!- as if anybody cared about these little personal details. It is all my vanity. I don't think so myself, but that is what I have heard. I cannot, however, leave the question of mulberries without asking you if you ever tasted mulberry gin. If you have not, you should at once repair the error of your youth. I will tell you how to make it at the very first opportunity. I have kept Jack the Ripper waiting for a long time now, and that is not polite. I like to be polite to everyone, even to Jack.
Not only has Ripperism been put extensively into practice, but vast numbers have yielded to its fascinations in theory. The newspapers, ever ready to take occasion by the hand and make the bounds of fooldom wider yet, have allowed Colney Hatch, Hanwell, and Earlswood to empty the vials of idiocy upon the head of the general reader. Every crackpot in the kingdom who has a whim, a fad, a monomania, a crotchet, or a bee in his bonnet is allowed to inflict it upon the public under the heading of "The East-end Horrors." It is impossible to read the puerile twaddle, the utterly inconsequent nonsense which is served up in a mixed heap for our breakfast every morning in the D.T. without feeling that England is indeed in danger. Any country inhabited by a race which could write such letters and make such suggestions as those which appear in the Telegraph would be in danger. The School Board has much to answer for. Many people foresaw a danger in placing the pen within the reach of everyone. It was felt that the indiscriminate use of a weapon far more dangerous than the revolver, far more murderous than Jack the Ripper's knife, would lead to much discomfort and confusion; but the greatest pessimist among the anti-educationists never imagined that the great newspaper Press of the country would make itself a dustbin for the reception of the waste scribble of irresponsible frivolity and bumptious ignorance.
One point in connection with the murders, and the revelations of life in the common lodging-houses and the courts and alleys of the slums, which has been of strong personal interest to me, is the way in which the Continental Press, in commenting upon the murders, have quoted from "How the Poor Live" and "Life Dramas of the London Poor." I had no idea that these articles had circulated much beyond the English-speaking countries. I was, therefore, somewhat surprised when the Press Cutting Agency forwarded me many leading articles from French, German, Italian, and Belgian papers, in each of which long extracts were given from my articles. The Journal des Debats, in fact, devotes a special article to "How the Poor Live" itself - which will, no doubt, send up the sale of the French translation tremendously. As there is not only a French, but also a German and Italian, translation in existence, the ill wind of Whitechapel would have blown me some good had the foreign publishers recognised my rights - which, alas! they have not done. By the cruel irony of fate, the murders, while sending up my book, have knocked down a play in which I am interested. "The Golden Ladder" at the Pavilion did pantomime business for a fortnight. Then came the Saturday night double butchery, and on Monday Mr. Isaac Cohen felt "worrited" as he missed the usual rush at the extra door. There were plenty of men, but hardly a single female. The ladies were one and all panic-stricken, and didn’t relish the idea of having to be out after dark. The Spring-Heeled Jack scare of the good old times had been suddenly revived. However, by Wednesday the scare had somewhat subsided, and the ladies of the East flocked out once more, under the protecting wing of husband, brother, and sweetheart, to see "The Golden Ladder."
More "personal journalism," I hear the carping critic cry - more self-advertisement. To tell the honest truth, the hero of the hour is such a remarkably unpleasant person that I feel inclined to think that I myself "Moi-meme," may be a relief. It is possible that there may be human beings so depraved in their tastes that they would rather read about Jack the Ripper than DAGONET; but, even if such there be, I do not think that I am bound to cater specially for them.
The fact that the self-postcard-proclaimed assassin sent his imitation blood-besmeared communication to the Central News people opens up a wide field for theory. How many among you, my dear readers, would have hit upon the idea of "the Central News" as a receptacle for your confidence? You might have sent your joke to the Telegraph, the Times, any morning or any evening paper, but I will lay long odds that it would never have occurred to communicate with a Press agency. Curious, is it not, that this maniac makes his communication to an agency which serves the entire Press? It is an idea which might occur to a Pressman perhaps; and even then it would probably only occur to someone connected with the editorial department of a newspaper, someone who knew what the Central News was, and the place it filled in the business of news supply. This proceeding on Jack's part betrays an inner knowledge of the newspaper world which is certainly surprising. Everything therefore points to the fact that the jokist is professionally connected with the Press. And if he is telling the truth and not fooling us, then we are brought face to face with the fact that the Whitechapel murders have been committed by a practical journalist - perhaps by a real live editor! Which is absurd, and at that I think I will leave it.
There is no getting away from the aroma of the knife. I put in a day at Kempton Park on Friday just to study the subject of horse-racing and betting, to which the Church Congress has this week drawn attention. Received with charming and gracious hospitality by Mr, George Everitt, smiled upon by Judge Lawley, and welcomed back to the turf with open arms by the merry metallicians, I strolled about the enclosure and the paddock, enjoyed the excellent music and the glorious sunshine, let the pure breezes play upon my pallid cheeks, and forgot that I was on a racecourse until a fiend in human guise came up and whispered in my ear, "There's a real good thing for the last race - back Assassin."
Assassin! An Assassin at Kempton Park. I shuddered audibly, and replied, "I suppose that's the Whitechapel tip." "Well," replied my friendly counsellor, who was a well-known M. P., "I don't know about Whitechapel, but this Assassin is a Ripper." And he was, for he won in ripping style, "Squire" Abington up; and as the gay and aristocratic company filed off the course, under a lowering sky, everywhere one heard, "Assassin! Assassin! Good old Assassin!"
THE BLOODHOUNDS. - (BY A LUNATIC LAUREATE)
The brow of Sir Charles it was gloomy and sad,
He was slapped by the Tory and kicked by the Rad.;
His inspectors were all of them down in the dumps,
And his staff of detectives were clean off their chumps.
The populace clamoured without in the yard
For Matthews, Home Sec., to be feathered and tarred;
When Matthews peeped out of a window hard by,
And grinned at the mob with a leer in his eye.
"Do something - do something!" Lord Salisbury cried
"We've done all we can!" Worried Warren replied;
"We keep on arresting as fast as we can,
And we hope soon or late we shall get the right man."
Then, goaded by taunts to the depths of despair,
The poor First Commissioner tore at his hair,
And fell upon Matthews's breast with a sob -
But the Whitechapel Vampire was still on the job.
At last when the city was maddened with fears,
And the Force had dissolved into impotent tears,
A sweet little boy who had dog stories read
Put the bloodhound idea in C.W.'s head.
They brought of him bloodhounds the best to be found,
And the "tecs" and the dogs sought the murderer's ground;
Then the bow-wows were loosed, and with noses to earth
They trotted away 'mid the bystanders' mirth.
The bloodhounds ran east, and the bloodhounds ran west,
Enjoying the sport with an infinite zest;
The bloodhounds ran north, and the bloodhounds ran south,
While Matthews looked on with a wide-open mouth.
"Good heavens!" he cried, "are you dotty, Sir
As a hound smelt his calf with two ominous snarls.
"Is it possible you, with your stern common sense,
Believe in this melodramatic pretence?"
But he followed the bloodhounds - he'd sworn that he would
While Sir Charles ran beside them as well as he could;
And so Warren and Matthews, though both out of breath,
Ran about with the hounds to be in at the death.
They followed to Clapham, they followed to Kew;
Away through the streets of Whitechapel they flew.
They dodged in and out of the slums of St. Giles,
And they followed the hounds for some hundreds of miles.
They followed in ‘buses, they followed in trams;
Our Charles was all groans, and our Matthews all "damns."
They dodged into houses, they popped into shops,
They jumped over hedges, and damaged the crops.
The bloodhounds grew gay with the fun of the chase,
And they ran like two thoroughbreds running a race;
They leaped o'er the wall, and they swam o'er the stream,
Their tongues lolling out and their eyeballs agleam.
But Warren and Matthews kept up with them still
They followed through valley, they followed o'er hill;
Then darkness came down, and afar in the haze
Hounds, Warren, and Matthews were lost to our gaze.
And never since then, though they're much overdue,
Have those hounds or officials returned to our view;
But a legend relates that in lands far away
They are still running on in pursuit of their prey.
And at eve, when the citizens gather to drink,
They speak of the lost ones, and say, with a wink,
"'Twas an excellent thing to put hounds on the track,
Since it took off two men who are not wanted back."
This (Saturday) morning the Daily Telegraph solves the great mystery. It publishes a portrait of the Duke of Portland as that of the man who was seen hanging around Whitechapel and talking to a lady on the night of the murder. His grace will doubtless feel flattered at the delicate attention. The other portrait, said to be of the same man, is not the duke, but Albert Edward. This guesswork portraiture of murderers is rather dangerous. The portrait is bound to be like somebody, and the somebody it is like will have a bad time. What with bloodhounds and fancy portraits and facsimile postcards and female charms and legs and arms lying about in the country in picturesque confusion, things are getting a bit mixed in the old country, and the emigration returns ought to go up rapidly.
Everybody is on the private detective lay now. In the railway, on the tram, in the omnibus, at the restaurant, in the street, everybody looks at everybody else, and wonders if the other man is the Blanca Cappella Assassino. Several people have looked at me lately in a way I don't like, and the other evening, in Oxford-street, a bloodhound, followed by Sir Charles Warren and Mr. Matthews, came and walked around me, and growled, and evidently had doubts about my moral character. However, as the police seem to be doing their arresting in a systematic manner, by taking up everybody in turn and then letting them go again, nobody will be very much astonished if the next gentleman locked up on suspicion of being Leather Apron, Jack the Ripper, Alaska the Malay, the American-German-English medical student, slaughterman, baker, Texan Ranger, ship's cook, religious enthusiast, specimen collector for a medical work, pigsticker, and lady killer, is DAGONET.
Oct. 21, 1888.
It is a relief to turn from this spectacle of German and English doctors playing at king of the castle on the body of the dead Kaiser to the more wholesome atmosphere of Whitechapel. Last Saturday night, having a holiday, I spent it there, in the hope that I should be able to work up a nice picturesque article, entitled "A Night with Jack the Ripper," and to wind up with the announcement that I had caught him and handed him over to justice. I have all along had the idea that it would be a magnificent advertisement for me to run "the Terror" to earth. Imagine the sensation which would be created when Monday's contents-bill displayed in huge letters, "The Whitechapel Murderer Captured by DAGONET. Fearful Struggle. Heroic Conduct of the Captor. Message from the Queen."
I cannot tell you exactly when this idea came into my mind, but I know that when it did get there it hung up its hat behind the door as though it meant to stay. It was ever present by day, and by night it haunted my dreams. A secret voice seemed to whisper to me, "Go to Whitechapel. Who knows but that you really may succeed in catching Jack!" The presentiment that I was to be the means of laying Jack by the heels and earning the gratitude of the police and the public grew so strong upon me that last Saturday night, having ascertained that Jack had sent a postcard to the authorities, informing them that he meant to do two more murders, I determined to turn amateur detective and go upon the war-path. And with this explanation of how I came to spend last Saturday night in Whitechapel, I must ask the reader to accept my assurance that every word which now follows is strictly true. It is no exaggeration - no effort of the imagination. It is a solid and sober statement of facts.
I left home at nine in the evening, dressed as a ship's engineer, accompanied by Albert Edward, who was made up as a foreign sailor. It was nearly ten when we arrived in Whitechapel, and we had no sooner turned into the murder district than we found things remarkably lively. Once or twice, as we walked along, we spotted the private detectives and amateur policemen, who were out on the same job as ourselves. Most of them eyed Albert Edward rather suspiciously, and I must confess they had reason, for a more villainous-looking foreign sailor I never saw in my life. He looked capable of all the murders that have ever been committed and a good many that haven't been thought of yet.
We had not been surveying the busy scene many minutes - what a scene Whitechapel-road is on Saturday night! - before we heard a cry, and instantly there was a rush towards a gateway. It was only two ladies quarrelling; but as we hurried up a small boy saluted us with a grin and exclaimed, "'Ere ye har, guv'nor! This way to the murder! Triple murder up this court!" There was a roar of laughter, and, the true state of the case being ascertained, the crowd dispersed.
The border line between the horrible and the grotesque has grown very fine in Whitechapel of late. There has probably been a revulsion of feeling, and the inhabitants have relieved their overstrained nerves by laughing. Certainly last Saturday night, although another murder was confidently expected, the general body of sightseers and pedestrians were making light of the matter. Along the pavement, which for many a mile is hedged with shooting-galleries and various arrangements based upon the six-throws-a-penny principle, plenty of hoarse-voiced ruffians were selling a penny puzzle in which the puzzle was to find Jack the Ripper. Jack was upon every tongue, male and female, last Saturday night. The costermonger hawking his goods dragged him in; the quack doctor assured the crowd that his marvellous medicine would cure even Jack of his evil propensities; and at the penny shows, outside which the most ghastly pictures of "the seven victims," all gashes and crimson drops were exhibited, the proprietors made many a facetious reference to the local Terror.
Just past the Pavilion Theatre we came on a gentleman who was standing in the roadway and banging on an empty bloater-box with a big stick. As soon as he had obtained an audience he delivered himself as follows:- Tennybrooze! Tennybrooze! If there's any gent as was here when I give Tennybrooze for the Seesirwitch I'd be werry much obliged if he'd come forward. I give everyone as bought my enverlope Tennybrooze when he was 20 to 1, and now I've got another enverlope 'ere what's got the winner of the Cambridge. If there's anyone as 'ears my voice ternite as was here when I give it, he'll p'raps say so. I haint Duglis 'All, and I haint Jack Dickinson, but my brother's the 'ead jockey in a big racin' stable, and my infermation's the best as money can buy, though I sell it in Whitechapel for a penny. I belong to Whitechapel, and I like to do my neighbours a good turn. I hain't Johnny the Ripper. I'm Johnny the Tipper. (Roars of laughter in the crowd.) Yus; Johnny the Tipper, what give yer Tennybrooze; and here I've got the winner of the Cambridge at 20 to 1, and it's one penny.
Johnny the Tipper then went round with his envelopes, but evidently he hadn't a racing audience, for the sale was slack, and, cursing his "blooming luck," Johnny put his hands in his pockets and took the certain winner of "the Cambridge" off with him to another pitch. I'm afraid he hadn't backed his Cesarewitch tip for himself, as he was in the last state of raggedness, and as he turned away I heard him mutter that he'd been out six hours and hadn't earned his "doss" yet.
As soon as the humours of Whitechapel had begun to pall we left the main thoroughfare, and plunged into the back streets and labyrinthine network of courts and alleys. We visited the spots where the murders were committed, and about midnight we had Buck's-row entirely to ourselves. How on earth a murder was committed here without attracting the slightest attention is a great mystery. The houses are so close to the spot - there are so many chances against a secret crime being committed - the place was such an unlikely one for a deliberate assassin to select! Albert Edward and I tried to work the murder out and get a theory, but we failed utterly. We, however, attracted attention. When we next visited Buck's-row there was not a soul in sight. We had not stopped by the gate where the murder was committed two seconds before a dozen people were about us as if by magic. Two policemen came up, goodness knows where from, and flashed their lanterns on us, and the rest of the company, who were evidently amateur watchmen, eyed us suspiciously. A few words to the constables satisfied them as to the nature of our business, and we were allowed to pass; but everywhere we went that night in the hope of dropping on Jack the Ripper we found that the police were on the alert, and that plenty of amateur detectives were hiding round the corners. From personal observation, I should say that there was not a corner of Whitechapel, no matter how obscure, that was left unwatched last Saturday night. All night long the police were about, and we saw them come again and again, and enter dark passages, and turn their bull's-eyes on to dark corners. If Jack had tried another experiment last Saturday, it would have been almost impossible for him to get away. Probably he knew it; at any rate, he didn't come near enough for any of us to put the salt upon his tail with which we were all provided.
Soon after midnight the principal thoroughfares in Whitechapel began to clear rapidly. The stalls packed up, the shops closed, and the people went to their homes. The ladies, I noticed, who were out late walked in twos and threes. At midnight we were outside a public-house not far from Mitre-square, and we noticed the men as they came out got together and walked towards home in company. One lady's pal lingered behind to talk to another lady. Her lady friend, who was waiting, called out, "Come on, Sylviar - I'm frightened! Let's git 'ome!" Sylvia replied, "All right, Liz, I'll see as Jack don't have yer." And then Sylvia came along, and, with a passing compliment to Albert Edward, joined her friend and went off. She was not at all the sort of lady whose name you would guess to be Sylvia.
We stayed in Whitechapel till three in the morning. We crept into back yards, and we hid ourselves down side streets; we adventured ourselves into some of the most lonely and desolate-looking spots it has ever been my lot to witness; but we never remained long in undisputed possession. A policeman was on to us directly. I can bear personal testimony to the marvellous vigilance exercised by Sir Charles Warren's merry men on that Saturday night at least. At three o'clock in the morning we agreed that there was no chance of getting Jack that night, and, after a little friendly converse with a policeman or two, we turned our weary steps towards home. I must confess that I was disappointed. I had quite made up my mind that Albert Edward and myself were to be heroes by Sunday morning. I had arranged it all. The moment we saw Jack, Albert Edward was to spring on him and hold him, while I went off for a policeman. I had my notebook and a freshly-sharpened lead pencil all ready to do a special there and then for Sunday's Referee. And, instead of waking up the following morning a hero, I woke up with a dreadful headache, and a fixed determination not to play at being an amateur detective again. There are too many of them about just now for the game to pay.
The papers are lively reading again. What with the Bye-bye Boss gentleman who is giving the Vigilance Committee beans - kidney beans - and the doctors who are dissecting the Emperor Frederick over and over again on our breakfast-tables, there is a rare healthy atmosphere around Press literature. A good, thorough, go-ahead non-compromising Dare-Devil Dick or Sixteen-String Jack or Sweeney Todd feuilleton is alone wanting to complete the picture.
Apropos to pictures, something like a shudder ran through society when the D.T. began to give illustrations of the late Kaiser's inside. It was felt that we were standing with trembling feet on the frontier of an unknown territory. Once let anatomical illustrations be accepted by the public as part of its breakfast-table literature, and there is no knowing to what empyrean heights or infernal depths the genius of popular journalism might not wing its flight. For days after that awful picture spoiled my breakfast, and sent me to the chemist's, I opened my D.T. with fear and trembling. I had an idea that I might come suddenly upon the "remains" of Whitehall, or fragments of Buck's-row and Mitre-square. Thank goodness, there has been no repetition of the anatomical illustration, and I understand that there is not likely to be. For which let us all be devoutly thankful.
The resignation of Sir Charles Warren has given rise to a good deal of discussion which is about as wide of the mark as it could well be. The incident is in no way connected with the question of Sir Charles's fitness or unfitness for his post. It has been brought about not by a difference of opinion between Sir Charles and the public, but by a difference of opinion between Sir Charles and Mr. Matthews on a question of professional etiquette. Sir Charles has retired from the office of Chief Commissioner because Mr. Matthews wrote him a rude letter because he disapproved of Sir Charles writing articles in a monthly magazine. That is Murray's guide to the situation, and you have it in a nutshell.
Personally, I thought at the time Sir Charles was appointed that he was too good a soldier to be a good policeman. He had, in my opinion, certain strong characteristics which would handicap him in his new office. Refereaders will not need to be reminded that I freely expressed my views on the subject both at the time he was summoned home from the Soudan and subsequently. When the Trafalgar-square troubles commenced, and a certain school of politicians (the word covers a multitude of sins) tried to set the mob against the police, I felt that it would be assisting the agitation if I helped to swell the chorus of Sir Charles's detractors. In dealing with the grave danger which threatened London the soldierly qualities of the Chief Commissioner's were invaluable. It was a soldier that was wanted, for something like civil war had passed the confines of the possible and was entering the territory of the probable. Now that Sir Charles has resigned his office, I am not inclined to join in the chorus of jubilation which his enemies are uttering over his retirement. I content myself with expressing a hope that the new Chief Commissioner may possess all Sir Charles's good qualities, and be in addition a practical policeman.
Mr. Matthews, the official who has succeeded in unseating Sir Charles, is probably the most exasperating person who ever reigned at the Home Office. His very description is a misnomer, for he is a Secretary who is never at home on any question, but always very much abroad. In the art of rubbing the public up the wrong way he never had an equal. He enjoys the unenviable distinction of being cordially detested by all political parties, and the supporters of the Government to which he belongs are quite as disgusted with him as are the supporters of the Opposition. Why Lord Salisbury still retains him is a mystery, unless it be that the generally astute marquis is anxious to let him have every inch of the rope with which he has for so long a time past been making experiments in self-strangulation.
We have not many days set apart as public festivals and periods of national rejoicing, but the happy day on which Mr. Matthews is dismissed or resigns should certainly be one of them. Sinbad, relieved of the Old Man of the Sea, whose cruel legs were wound about his neck, executed, according to the original text of "The Arabian Nights," the wildest sailor's hornpipe of delight that the world had ever witnessed. John Bull, with Matthews off his back, ought to do a dance that will live for ever in the annals of saltatory prowess.
Sir Charles at last throws up the sponge,
He yields to Matthews' latest lunge;
The latter says, with angry spite,
Sir Charles did wrong when he did write.
I have seen a courteous letter from the Lord Mayor, in which his lordship states that his speech at the lighting-up dinner has been misquoted. He did not use the words attributed to him with regard to "consulting the Almighty," and he is anxious that it should be known that he did not. I have much pleasure in making the correction, and in wishing his lordship a happy and prosperous mayoralty.
The evidence in the latest Whitechapel atrocity is worth more than passing study, especially to the few innocent people still inhabiting the earth who read history and believe it, or who accept as strongly impregnated with fact the foreign intelligence as served up by the Press. Mary Jane Kelly was well known to her neighbours. Some of them who knew her, and were in the habit of talking to her, were called at the inquest to certify as to her movements on the night of the crime. It is beyond doubt that the woman was murdered during the night, but witnesses who knew her were found to come forward and swear that they spoke to her and had detailed conversations with her several hours after she had been murdered and mutilated. At least half-a-dozen stories, all diametrically opposed to each other, were told of her movements on the preceding evening, and the man who was seen to accompany her home was, according to the evidence collected by the police, a tall, sandy-whiskered man of rough appearance; a short man of German appearance; a gentleman with a black bag and moustache; a foreign-looking man with a brown paper parcel under his arm; a swell, with spats on his boots, a gold watch-chain, and an astrachan collar to his overcoat; a blotchy-faced fellow, who looked like a labourer; and an elderly, respectable-looking man with the appearance of a clergyman.
With this wide field of contradictory statements to contend with in a matter which was practically under the witnesses' own noses, how can we ever believe a millionth part of the statements with regard to events and occurrences which come to us from far away or from a distant date? To get at the actual facts of anything nowadays seems to be as hopeless a task as discovering the exact whereabouts of the North Pole.
With every fresh outburst of horror caused by a fresh murder, the theorists rush to the front to air their remarkable theories. Some of the most remarkable go to the police and never reach the columns of the ever-enterprising Press. If the letters which the police have received come to be published, they would at once lead to an earnest public discussion as to the advisability of building a few hundred extra lunatic asylums, and of insisting upon the contractors working on at night by the aid of the electric light in order to have them completed as soon as possible. Many well-known persons have been named to the police by gratuitous informers as the real original Jack the Ripper. One earnest citizen is convinced that a nobleman whose name he mentions in committing these crimes because his wife ran away with a paramour; another gives the name of a well-known Social Purity advocate in confidence, and declares that there are blood-stains still on his doorstep. But perhaps the most remarkable piece of evidence is that of a laundress, who forwards a pair of cuffs, and says:- "Sir Charles Warren. - Sir, - These cuffs come in the washin from Mr. ~ (name and address given). "There is a stain on them which looks like blood. He is a queer-looking man, my dorter says, as she has seen him when calling for the bill, and is wife is a inverlid. If he is not the Whitechapel murderer, please return, as I do not want to be mix up in the affair. P.S. - If the rewarde is pade, I hope I shall have my rites."
Everyone has, of course, by this time heard the absurd and utterly idiotic idea that the unhappy Matthews is really Jack, and that is why he refused to offer a reward. This is only a fair specimen of the utter twaddle which the murders have given rise to. Up to the present the Archbishop of Canterbury has not been mentioned, but there is no knowing what the latest rumour, that a suspicious-looking clergyman has been seen about Dorset-square, may give rise to. My own opinion (perhaps as mad as those I have ridiculed) is that when - if ever - the culprit is arrested, he will be found to be a man who resides in the locality, or whose business brings him there, that his calling is one which has familiarised him with the sight of blood, and that most probably he has had frequent opportunity of witnessing the dissection of human bodies. He is a man who lives either in lodgings or in one of the numerous flats in the neighbourhood by himself, and is enabled to let himself in at any hour without attracting attention. The neighbourhood of his crimes has not been selected hap-hazard, but because he has been familiar with it for some years, and he is thoroughly acquainted with the habits and haunts of his victims.
The probabilities are that the monster known as Jack the Ripper is at the present moment living in the calm and peaceable enjoyment of his quiet lodging or flat, within one mile of the scene of his exploits. He is not a man who uses common lodging-houses; he is not a sailor who has to go on board his ship to sleep; he does not apply for a bed at coffee-houses, and he does not have to take a long walk to disappear after his work is done. In either of these cases the chances are a million to one that he would have been spotted by someone and connected with the crimes in consequence of the peculiarity of his conduct or of his appearance. He is probably a man of the type of the Alton murderer, who, after butchering a little girl in the most awful manner, entered in his diary against the date, "Killed a little girl - nice and warm." This form of mania takes a fierce delight in the sight of blood, and is a form that is well known to experts in criminal cases. Such a man, for example, was Dr. Tardieu, of Paris. The man's face would betray him to an expert. The features in most of these bloodthirsty maniacs are peculiar - especially the mouth, the chin, and the eyes. If you look at a collection of the photographs of criminals of the Alton type (I had such a collection myself for years, and it only got scattered by friends borrowing one or two and forgetting to return them), you will see at once what I mean.
If a thorough and searching inquiry were made among the unfortunate women of the neighbourhood of the murders, it would be found that many of them know a man of this type (let the police show them a photograph or two of the Alton kind), and it will be found that many of them have seen him lately, and probably been spoken to by him. It was a man of exactly this type, I gather from the slight description (peculiar looking), who spoke to the Kennedys on the night of the last murder. Once fix this point and the police can narrow their search, for they will know the description and type of man for whom they must look.
The man who is wanted has a mouth, a chin, and a pair of eyes which are characteristic of nearly all "blood maniacs" - the expression will do for lack of a better. This fact once understood and appreciated by the police and the unfortunates who are likely to furnish Jack the Ripper with his next victim, the chances of his discovery are increased a thousand-fold. If the Continental system of regulation was pursued, such a series of butcheries would have been impossible - the whole body of unfortunates would have been a huge vigilance committee, under police direction, on the look-out for the monster directly his first murder had been committed.
As it is, it is to the unfortunate class that the police should look for the capture. The difficulty is to get them together to give them the little lesson in physiognomy which will enable them to detect Jack the Ripper at once, and lure him into the arms of the police.
This man is a murderer not for a reason, but by instinct. And an instinct of this sort is always shown in the features. Jack murders and mutilates exactly as another man goes to the theatre or the music-hall, pour so distraire.
Endeavouring to escape from the suicidal mania engendered by Thursday's weather, I rushed to divert my thoughts at a railway bookstall. The first thing which attracted my attention was a book on the white cover of which was the smear of a bloody hand. I discovered afterwards that it was a Christmas annual. Poor old Christmas! We shall have the proprietors of an illustrated paper presenting a portrait of Jack the Ripper with their Christmas supplement by-and-by.
Dec. 2, 1888.
MONRO is not a good name for the jokists or the comic poets. Henderson rather bothered these gentry, and it must have been after an enormous expenditure of thought which might have been devoted to a better cause that one burst out:-
"For beer she wished to send her son,
The pubs were closed by Henderson."
When Colonel Henderson was rioted out of office, and Sir Charles Warren came from the Soudan to take his place, a few feeble attempts were made to say that his appointment was Warren-ted by the circumstances, and slanting allusions were made to the home of the rabbit; but as a peg on which to hang the jocund jape Sir Charles was as dismal a failure as his predecessor
Now comes Mr. Monro, and again the would-be wag receives a facer. Very late on the night of the appointment a Conservative member who had dined well remarked to another, "We Mon-ro in the same boat with him," but the coldness with which the attempt was received caused the other members to put on their overcoats. It is not a name for the jester to juggle with, and the appointment is therefore looked upon with great dissatisfaction by the ever-increasing army of Great Britons who jest at all things, human and divine.
One thing is certain, and that is that a hearty support will be given to the new Commissioner by the friends of law and order, no matter what their political opinions may be. Mr. Monro has a most difficult task before him. He succeeds to office at a time when the East-end Terror is in full swing and the West-end Terror is due according to the almanac, and, unfortunately, he takes the command of a force which has become to a certain extent discontented and disorganised. It is an open secret that between the late First Commissioner and the present there were grave differences of opinion as to the internal management of the police force. The new rule will therefore be marked by a command of "Right about face," and that is in itself an experiment.
The task that's before you's a big one, we know,
There's the square to defend from Burns, Graham, and Co.,
Strong signs of fresh mischief the Socialists show,
Over justice the Ripper continues to crow,
And the London detective is clumsy and slow,
Too much time upon drill the policemen bestow,
If you'd strengthen the force that has fallen so low,
And give us a little more quid for our quo,
Then his hat in the air will John Bull for you throw,
And we'll all be your friends, and you won't have a foe,
And a deep debt of gratitude London will owe,
To Mr. Munro.
The Whitechapel murderer, having been arrested all over the metropolis and in several provincial towns, is now putting in an appearance in various foreign countries, and also in the United States of America. He has been identified abroad as a Russian with a religious mania, which takes the form of murdering Magdalens in order that their souls may go to heaven, and the latest New York advices to hand prove - or attempt to prove - that he is a butcher, whose mind is affected by the changes of the moon, and who has been much impressed by reading the book of Ezekiel, c. xxiii, v.25, 26, 33, 34, 46, 47, and 48. The chapter refers to the vicious lives of the sisters Aholah and Aholibah, and verso 25 is the key to the situation: "And I will set my jealousy against thee, and they shall deal furiously with thee: they shall take away thy nose and thine ears; and thy remnant shall fall by the sword." Verse 48 sums up the case: "Thus will I cause lewdness to cease out of the land, that all women may be taught not to do after your lewdness."
This theory, which for purposes of reference may be called "the Ezekiel theory," is probably as near the mark as any of the "guesses at truth" which have been so plentiful of late. A new murder is confidently anticipated by the Vigilance Committee for this (Saturday) night, and extraordinary precautions have been taken to prevent the man who has taken the Book of Ezekiel too literally walking off again.
It would be strange if the accession of Mr. Monro to power was to be signalised by such a universally popular achievement as the arrest of Jack the Ripper. From information which has reached me, I venture to prophesy that such will be the case.
The "Russian" theory of the atrocities is worth thinking-out. The Russians are a sensitive and excitable race, and mental exaltation is not only very common, but it usually borders on insanity. We all have seen how political fanaticism will drive a Nihilist to the commission of murder; but it is not so generally known that religious fervour drives some sects to the most horrible self-mutilation. The Russians are very apt to rush into extremes, and they seem to have an idea that social and eternal salvation can only be obtained by means most repugnant to civilised and well-balanced minds. It is therefore not impossible that the man Vassili, who, about sixteen years ago, murdered a number of women in Paris, and who is reported to have been released from a lunatic asylum last January, may again have thought it his duty to work out the eternal salvation of the wretched East-end women.
It is quite impossible to tell how many secret societies exist in Russia, but that the country swarms with them is an acknowledged fact. The societies are not all political, as the following example will show. Some years ago a great number of murders and robberies were committed in a small town, and all the efforts of the local police to discover the perpetrators were fruitless. At last the Emporer, the father of the present Czar, commanded that some members of his own police should make an investigation. The result was astounding. It was proved that the mayor of the town, the chief of the local police, and a number of the leading tradesmen of the place had all joined into a society with the especial object of committing these murders and robberies, and the society had existed for years! The plunder was paid into the common exchequer, and then divided in shares among the members, who felt almost surprised to hear that what they had been doing was wrong although they knew it to be unlawful.
Oct. 6, 1889.
I sent Albert Edward over the other day to interview the gentleman who has been taking my portrait to newspaper editors and to Dr. Forbes Winslow, and assuring them that it is like Jack the Ripper, and that is the sort of man the police have to look for. I am pleased to learn that the gentleman does not say that I am Jack - but only that he is very like me. The gentleman in question keeps a coffee-stall, and is certain that one night after committing a murder Jack came and refreshed himself at his establishment. His story is very plausible, and there may be something in it, but Ican't say that I feel flattered to learn that the notorious lady-killer is as like me as one Dromio was to the other.
"Me think it was Dagonet!" exclaimed the coffee-stall keeper to Albert Edward; "not likely. Why, Jack the Ripper had three hot pork sausages at my stall, and a cold meat pie. If I'd thought it was DAGONET by the likeness, I should have known it wasn't by the sausages." Certainly the sausages are strong circumstantial evidence in my favour. My digestion has saved my reputation.
Poor Mr. Monro has come in for a good deal of abuse lately for leaving undone the things certain people think he ought to have done; but the latest complaint against him is certainly the oddest. The gentleman who recently took my portrait to newspaper editors as that of Jack the Ripper took it also to Scotland-yard, and requested the Chief Commissioner to have facsimiles of it at once struck off and posted all over London. Mr. Monro having failed to comply with this request, is accused of having failed in his duty.
The worthy fellow who has been at so much trouble to hunt up the Whitechapel fiend is, I have no doubt, actuated by the best of motives, but he must have a pretty large bee in his bonnet to imagine that his mild and amiable suggestion would be carried out. If my portrait were stuck about London as the exact counterpart of "Jack the Ripper" - what price me?
March 1, 1891.
The newspapers which, thanks to the outburst of public indignation, found it advisable to leave off trying to hang Sadler for the crimes of Jack the Ripper, without trial, and on the unsworn and inadmissible evidence of his wife, have fallen back upon mysterious hints as to the real Jack being a well-known man. It has been freely stated in more than one serious journal that the police know perfectly well who Jack is, and that they have been shadowing him for years, but have had great difficulty to keep up with him "owing to his frequent visits to the Continent."
When I read this startling piece of news, and in a grave and sober daily, I was, as the old ladies say, "quite taken aback. " Was it possible that - I really hardly like even now to put into cold print the thought that flashed across my mind. And yet why should I not? I can prove an alibi, and I want the fullest inquiry. You have guessed it now. The thought that came like a bolt from the blue and nearly stunned me was that I myself, moi-meme, moi qui vous parle, was the person suspected by the police of being Jack L'Eventreur!
Of course the idea was an absurd one, but it came to me in a very natural way. As a matter of fact, a year or two ago my portrait (the portrait outside the early cheap edition of "The Social Kaleidoscope") was taken to Scotland-yard by a man, and the police were informed that it was an exact likeness of the murderer. The way I got mixed up in the matter was this. An hour or two after the double murder had been committed on the night of September 30, 1888, a man of strange and wild appearance stopped at a coffee-stall. The coffee-stall keeper (knowing nothing then of the night's tragedy) began to talk about the Whitechapel murder. "I dare say we shall soon hear of another," he said. "Very likely," replied the wild-looking stranger; "perhaps you may hear of two to-morrow morning." He finished his coffee, and as he put the cup down the stall-keeper noticed that his cuffs were blood-stained.
The next morning - or rather, later on that morning - the news of the double murder in Whitechapel fell upon the startled ears of the coffee-stall keeper. "Good Lord!" he exclaimed; "why, that chap last night knew it. He must have been Jack himself!"
Walking along he came to a bookseller's and newsagent's. He looked at the placards, and then his eye suddenly rested on a book in the newsagent's window. Outside that book was a portrait. "Christopher Columbus!" exclaimed the coffee-stall keeper; "why that's the very image of him!" The book was "The Social Kaleidoscope." The astonished stall-keeper bought it, and, later on, when telling his adventures to the police, he produced the book and showed the portrait. Not only was this portrait of me shown to the police, but it was taken by the purchaser to the editor of the New York Herald (London edition), and afterwards to Dr. Forbes Winslow.
The matter came to my knowledge through the courtesy of the Herald editor, and Dr. Forbes Winslow also communicated with me, and I investigated the facts. The coffee-stall keeper, who was interviewed, was perfectly candid and straightforward, and at once explained that he didn't for a moment mean to say that I was his blood-stained customer on the night of the murders. All he meant was that his customer's features were very like mine.
I had forgotten all about the affair until I saw that extraordinary statement in a daily paper this week. Then it all came back to me, and at once the thought suggested itself, "Goodness gracious! is it possible that the police ever had an idea that -" Then I said to myself, "Pshaw!" but that little reference to "his frequent visits to the Continent" set me cogitating again. Fancy if for years the police have been keeping an eye on me, believing that, after all, I am - "O, of course, it is too absurd." But who is this well-known man they do suspect? Who is it that takes frequent trips to the Continent? What if, after all, it should be Lord -- No, that is too ridiculous. Wait a moment. I remember now; it is hinted that he is "a religious enthusiast." I have it. they suspect Mr.--. Does he take trips to the Continent? Yes; you know he went to and to --, and to --. Everybody knows that. But, bless us and save us, it never can be the great Mr. --! It may be Mr. --. He is certainly very fierce on certain matters. But, there, he wouldn't really hurt a fly!
The more I think it over, the greater the fog into which I find myself wandering. Will the police, please, clear up the mystery? Name, gentlemen, please - name!
If accounts of the burial of the Whitechapel victim given in the newspapers be true, the affair was a public scandal. One can forgive the floral decorations, but O, the ginger-beer, the nuts, and the ballads! I for one cannot see where the humanity of making a public spectacle of the murdered woman's funeral comes in. Certainly, the moral lesson it teaches is not visible to the naked eye.
January 22, 1899.
There are bound to be various revelations concerning Jack the Ripper as the years go on. This time it is a vicar who heard his dying confession. I have no doubt a great many lunatics have said they were Jack the Ripper on their death-beds. It is a good exit, and when the dramatic instinct is strong in a man he always wants an exit line, especially when he isn't coming on in the little play of "Life" any more.
I don't want to interfere with this mild little Jack the Ripper boom which the newspapers are playing up in the absence of strawberries and butterflies and good exciting murders, but I don't quite see how the real Jack could have confessed, seeing that he committed suicide after the horrible mutilation of the woman in the house in Dorset-street, Spitalfields. The full details of that crime have never been published - they never could be. Jack, when he committed that crime, was in the last stage of the peculiar mania from which he suffered. He had become grotesque in his ideas as well as bloodthirsty. Almost immediately after this murder he drowned himself in the Thames. his name is perfectly well known to the police. If he hadn't committed suicide he would have been arrested.
February 16, 1902.
The charitable organisation known as the After Care Association is in every way worthy of public support. It takes care mentally deficient patients who are
Discharged from Lunatic Asylums
because they are no longer mad enough to be kept in there. That is to say, it provides supervision and attention for the large class of lunatics who are liable after their release from asylums to be driven mad again by the stress of daily life.
The question of the premature discharge of lunatics is a very serious one. I have been hammering away at it during the whole period of the REFEREE's existence. To this premature discharge are due many of the daily tragedies which startle the newspaper reader. A certain number of homicidal maniacs are let loose upon society every week, are allowed to return to their families, and remain with them until a fresh outburst of insanity once more compels their removal.
Frequently this outburst - or, rather, this recurrence - of mania means a murder - sometimes a massacre. The homicidal maniac who
Shocked the World as Jack the Ripper
had been once - I am not sure that it was not twice - in a lunatic asylum. At the time his dead body was found in the Thames, his friends, who were terrified at his disappearance from their midst, were endeavouring to have him found and placed under restraint again.
July 13, 1902.
The Lambeth horror has taken its place as a new chapter in the great volume of London's mysteries. The mutilated remains of
The Woman Deposited in Salamanca-place
in the early hours of the morning have not been identified. It is possible they never will be.
In these matters there is a tendency, after a certain point of unsuccess is reached, to relax effort. The finding of a dead body under ordinary circumstances is quite a common feature of London's daily life. There is a certain Thames-side district photographer who is specially retained by the police authorities to photograph the unknown dead. Rarely a day passes without his having a subject for his camera, and frequently he is as busy as the staff of a West End studio on an evening of Court presentations.
Public attention has been attracted in the case of the Salamanca-place sensation by the fact that some portions of the remains had been boiled and roasted. This gave an extra gruesomeness to the ordinary
'Dead Body Found"
announcement which may be seen outside almost every police-station in the metropolis all the year round. If the authorities thought it worth while to spend money and time, they might eventually get at the identity of the woman by the same process of exhaustion which enabled them at last to know the real name and address of Jack the Ripper.
In that case they had reduced the only possible Jacks to seven, then by a further exhaustive inquiry to three, and were about to fit these three people's movements in with the dates of the various murders when the one and only genuine Jack saved further trouble by being found drowned in the Thames, into which he had flung himself, a raving lunatic, after the last and most appalling mutilation of the whole series.
But prior to this discovery the name of the man found drowned was bracketed with two others as
A Possible Jack
and the police were in search of him alive when they found him dead. In the case of this chopped-up and semi-cooked woman, the best clue to the murderer might be the establishment of the victim's identity.
March 29, 1903.
Severino Klosowski is occupying the cell in which the late Mr. Edgar Edwards spent his last days. Edwards, when he was awaiting trial, was very interested in the Chapman case. His remark to a warder, who had told him the latest evidence at the police-court, was "He is a hot 'un, ain't he?"
I was rather surprised to find high-class newspapers suggesting
Chapman as 'Jack the Ripper."
"Jack" was a homicidal maniac. Each crime that he committed was marked with greater ferocity during the progress of his insanity. How could a man in the mental condition of "Jack" have suddenly settled down into a cool, calculating poisoner?
"Jack the Ripper" committed suicide after his last murder - a murder so maniacal that it was accepted at once as the deed of a furious madman. It is perfectly well know at Scotland Yard who "Jack" was, and the reasons for the police conclusions were given in the report to the Home Office, which was considered by the authorities to be final and conclusive.
How the ex-Inspector can say "We never believed 'Jack' was dead or a lunatic" in face of the report made by the Commissioner of Police is a mystery to me. It is a curious coincidence, however, that for a long time a Russian Pole resident in Whitechapel was suspected at the Yard. But his name was not Klosowski! The genuine "Jack" was a doctor. His body was found in the Thames on December 31, 1888.
April 5, 1903.
But that several correspondents have forwarded me news cuttings, and that two or three newspapers have inserted letters questioning my statement, I should not have alluded to
The Ripper Mystery
again. It is argued that "Jack" could not have drowned himself in 1888, because there were murders in Whitechapel in 1891. The last of the Ripper series was the Miller's-court horror, which occurred on November 9, 1888. The East End murders of later years were not in the same 'handwriting.
No one who saw the victim of Miller's-court as she was found ever doubted that the deed was that of a man in the last stage of a terrible form of insanity. No complete description was ever given to the Press. The details were too foully, fiendishly awful. A little more than a month later the body of the man suspected by the chiefs at the Yard, and by his own friends, who were in communication with the Yard, was found in the Thames. The body had been in the water about a month.
I am betraying no confidence in making this statement, because it has been published by an official who had an opportunity of seeing the Home Office Report, Major Arthur Griffiths, one of Her Majesty's inspectors of prisons.
I have the photographs of several of the victims taken after their murder, in my collection of criminal curiosities, and
I Was at One Time Myself Accused
of being the guilty person. Dr. Forbes Winslow will remember the man who came to him with my portrait, and who also went to the police and said, "That is 'Jack the Ripper."'
I told the story at the time and also how one night I was actually on the spot where a murder was committed a few hours later, having with me a black bag in which there was nothing but a long and murderous knife - a curiosity which the late Paul Meritt had given me, and which I had carried with me to the Pavilion Theatre in Whitechapel.
I have no time to argue with the gentlemen, some of them ex-officers of the detective force, who want to make out that the report to the Home Office was incorrect. But putting all other matters on one side, it is an absolute absurdity to argue that a cool, calculating poisoner like Klosowski could have lived with half a dozen women and put them quietly out of the way by a slow and calculated process after being in 1888 a man so maniacal in his homicidal fury that he committed the foul and fiendish horror of Miller's-court. A furious madman does not suddenly become a slow poisoner. "Jack the Ripper" was known, was identified, and is dead. Let him rest.
July 31, 1904
The strange case of Mr. Adolf Beck has drawn attention to the peril of having a double. I have had two in my time - one who was useful to me, and one who might have put me in a very serious position. The useful double was a gentleman connected with the theatrical profession, who on two or three occasions took a first-night call for me because I had sought safety in flight. The objectionable double was the demented doctor who committed the terrible Jack the Ripper outrages.
Twice a portrait of me was shown as that of a man who had been seen on several occasions in the neighbourhood of the crime on the night of its committal.
A Man Who Had Seen 'Jack"
at a coffee-stall in the small hours on the night that two women were killed and had noticed that his shirt-cuff was blood-stained took my portrait with him afterwards to Dr. Forbes Winslow and said, "That is the man. On the night of the murders, long before they were discovered, I spoke to him. In conversation I said, 'I wonder if we shall hear of another Jack the Ripper murder?' 'You'll very likely hear of two to-morrow,' was the reply, and the man walked hurriedly away." It was as he was leaving that the blood-stained cuff was noticed.
The portrait shown to Dr. Forbes Winslow as that of "Jack" was the one on the cover of the first edition of "The Social Kaleidoscope."
At another time one of the detectives engaged in the hunt for the miscreant was shown my portrait as that of a man who had been seen late at night in Whitechapel and was strongly suspected of being the Ripper. The real Ripper, to whom the crimes were only brought home after he had been found a month old corpse in the Thames, was undoubtedly rather like me.
The danger of being the double of such a man was great. On one such occasion I quite accidentally ran a terrible risk. I had borrowed from Paul Meritt, the dramatist, a long Japanese knife of
A Particularly Murderous Character
for melodramatic purposes, and putting it in a black bag, I had gone to the Pavilion Theatre, Whitechapel, late at night. I often wonder what would have happened if someone had cried out, "That’s the Ripper" and my black bag had been opened. I could, of course, have proved my innocence at the police-station. But should I ever have got there if a crowd had had the first handling of the man with a knife in a black bag who was declared to be "Jack"!
The series of diabolical crimes in the East End which appalled the world were committed by a homicidal maniac who led the ordinary life of a free citizen. He rode in tramcars and omnibuses. He travelled to Whitechapel by the underground railway, often late at night. Probably on several occasions he had but one fellow-passenger in the compartment with him, and that may have been a woman. Imagine what the feelings of those travellers would have been had they known that they were alone in the dark tunnels of the Underground with Jack the Ripper!
Some of us must have passed him in the street, sat with him perhaps at a cafe or a restaurant. He was a man of birth and education, and had sufficient means to keep himself without work. For a whole year at least he was a free man, exercising all the privileges of freedom. And yet he was a homicidal maniac of the most diabolical kind.
This horrible phase of insanity is not, fortunately, a common one. But there are maniacs of the Ripper type still at large. There have been several crimes of the Ripper character committed in low lodging houses during recent years, and the perpetrator has always succeeded in making his escape and in retaining his liberty.
But the bulk of the dangerous lunatics at large are not systematic assassins. They are only wrought to frenzy by a fancied grievance or the stress of circumstance.
Who was Jack the Ripper?
(A gif file of the original article can be found here)
The deeds of darkness of this miserable wretch, cursed with one of the most terrible forms of blood lust, are known over the world. During his short career of carnage he built up for himself immortal infamy.
I have, while travelling abroad, purchased in various languages pamphlets and booklets on Jack the Ripper, more or less of the catchpenny order, and I have seen them eagerly purchased at country fairs on the Continent by the gaping village folks.
A year after the last of the murders I was in a little town in the South of Italy on market day, and I bought of a man who carried a banner on which the crimes of Jack were gorily depicted, the last copy of the red covered penny dreadful he was selling. It was entitled -
Squartatoro Di Donne
and gave detailed and lurid account in Italian of the crimes of the Whitechapel fiend.
Whenever during the last nineteen years a wholesale slaughterer of women has been brought to trial in this country the cry "Is he Jack the Ripper?" has been raised in the Press. Deeming, Neil Cream, and Chapman were all in their turn brought into the controversy without the slightest justification. Their methods were entirely different to Jack's, and their motives were not the same.
From Germany, France, Spain, the United States, and South America there have come stories from time to time of women slayers whose deeds have led the local Press to revive the murder mysteries of the East-end of London.
A good many murders with which he had absolutely nothing to do have in this country been popularly attributed to the Whitechapel monster.
I have seen six, seven, and eight East-end murders of women debited to the Ripper, but, as a matter of fact, his murders were five in all, and no more. The other murders of women committed about the same time were in a totally different "handwriting."
The crimes that brought him into public discussion were all committed in a limited area, and within a limited period. They were as follows:-
1. Mary Anne Nichols, forty-seven, her throat cut and body mutilated, in Buck's-row, Whitechapel, Aug.31, 1888.
2. Annie Chapman, forty-seven, her throat cut and body mutilated in Hanbury-street, Spitalfields, Sept. 8, 1888.
3. Elizabeth Stride, throat cut, in Berner-street, on Sept.30, 1888.
4. Catherine Eddowes, alias Conway, mutilated, in Mitre-square, Aldgate, also on Sept.30, 1888.
5. Marie Jeanette Kelly, fiendishly mutilated, in Miller's-court, Whitechapel, Nov. 9, 1888.
Most of the murders marked an advance in the disease from which the madman who committed them was suffering.
The mutilations in the last murder, that in Miller's-court, were so ghastly that the full details were never made public. It was impossible for any journal of general circulation to describe them fully.
The mutilations were in all the cases, except one in which probably the murderer was interrupted, ghastly and revolting, and in one case an internal organ had been removed in a manner which showed almost beyond the shadow of a doubt that the miscreant was a person of anatomical knowledge.
Maniacal as was the fury with which he hacked and ripped his unhappy victims, the instance in which he skillfully removed and carried away with him this internal organ must be borne in mind when discussing the identity of the monster.
Into the separate details of the murders which during the autumn of the year 1888 kept the public mind in a state of seething excitement, and caused a panic in the East-end and were undoubtedly the main cause of the resignation of the then Chief Commissioner of Police, it is not necessary to go.
The public indignation over this series of unparalleled atrocities vented itself upon the police authorities, and the Home Secretary by declining to offer a reward came in for a considerable amount of fierce criticism. But when all has been said the fact has to be admitted that the best efforts of the police were foiled not so much by the cunning of the murderer as by the conduct of the victims themselves. Being of the unfortunate class, they willingly accompanied the man who was to murder them into dark and hidden places where, at the hour of night selected by the fiend as the most favourable for his purpose, there was little chance of attention being attracted.
In no case except in the last, which was the only one that occurred inside a house, was the faintest cry heard.
In the last crime, the murder of Marie Kelly, in the house in Miller's-court, two women living in the court declared that between three and four in the morning they heard a cry of "Murder!"
It roused them from their sleep, but it made no impression upon them, and they closed their eyes again.
Such a cry usually means nothing in such a neighbourhood. Some years ago I stood in a little room in a slum in the East of London. It was a room on the ground floor, and the window opened on to a back yard.
In this yard a woman had recently been murdered. The occupants of the room had heard her shriek and call out "Murder!" but they had taken no notice. I asked the woman living in the room why she had not got up and given an alarm, or, at least. looked out to see what was the matter. Her reply was very much to the point.
"If we got out of bed in this street, sir, every time we heard somebody yell 'Murder' we should be in and out of bed half the night."
The cry to ears accustomed to it means nothing more than a quarrel and a fight.
The cry of Marie Jeannette Kelly, the most terribly mutilated of all the Ripper's victims, did certainly ring out upon the night, but the other victims were killed before they had time to utter a sound.
They were killed, hacked, hewn, and mutilated in the dark byeways in and around Whitechapel, and left lying where they fell to greet the horrified eyes of the first person who should pass that way.
To realise the most remarkable feature of these maniacal deeds it must be borne in mind that the murderer, after cutting the throat of his victim and hacking the body about with maniacal fury, always, except in the last instance, in a dark place, left the scene of his butchery, and walked home through the public streets.
He had a home somewhere, he slept somewhere, ate somewhere, changed his linen somewhere, sent his linen to the wash somewhere, kept his clothes and lived his life somewhere, yet never during the series of murders did he arouse the suspicions of any person who communicated with the police.
The first murder was committed on Aug.31, and the last on Nov. 9 - the night of Lord Mayor's day - therefore, five times during three months did the Ripper rise from his orgy of blood, and walk through the streets of London to his home without by his appearance attracting the attention of one single witness who could be called upon to give evidence of any value.
One man only, a policeman, saw him leaving the place in which he had just accomplished a fiendish deed, but failed, owing to the darkness, to get a good view of him. A little later the policeman stumbled over the lifeless body of the victim.
One other man believed that he had seen the Ripper soon after the double murders of Sept. 30, and he may have done, but there was no absolute proof that he was correct in his surmise.
This man was a coffee-stall keeper. In the early hours of the date of these murders, between three and four in the morning, as far as I can remember, a man came to the stall and asked for a cup of coffee.
The customer stood drinking his coffee, and the stall-keeper said, thinking of the murder of Sept. 8, that the Ripper had been quiet for a bit. "But," he added, "I expect we shall hear of another murder before long."
"Yes," replied the customer, "you may hear of two before many hours are over."
He put down the cup, took some coppers out of his pocket, and stretched his hand across the stall to give them to the stall keeper. The sleeve of his coat was drawn up by the action and the shirt cuff came into view. The cuff of the shirt was stained with blood.
The man saw the coffee-stall keeper's eyes fixed on his blood-stained cuff, bade him a gruff "good-night" and walked rapidly away, quickly disappearing in the darkness.
That morning the coffee-stall keeper heard of the two murders, the one in Berner-street which was discovered about one in the morning,and the other in Mitre-square, which was not discovered until nearly two o'clock.
The man with the blood-stained cuffs had suggested between two and three in the morning that "two" murders might be heard of in a few hours.
The coffee-stall keeper gave his information to the police and to Dr. Forbes-Winslow; who at that time was writing letters on the subject of the Ripper murders in the Press and expressing a very strong opinion that they were the work of a homicidal maniac, who had a trained knowledge of surgery.
What was the man with the blood-stained cuff like? That was the question. The coffee-stall keeper described him from memory. A day or two later passing by a stationer's shop he saw exhibited in the window a sixpenny book entitled "The Social Kaleidoscope." On the cover was a portrait of the author.
"That is the living image of the man I saw," he exclaimed. He purchased the book and went off with it to Dr. Forbes-Winslow. "That is the man I saw, or his double," he exclaimed, handing over my little book to the astonished doctor, who knowing me fairly well, assured the coffee-stall keeper that it might be the double of the Ripper, but it certainly was not the fiend himself
I present the portrait as one put forward by a man who had every reason to believe that he had seen and conversed with Jack the Ripper, as the "double" of the Whitechapel Terror.
Various witnesses who had seen a man conversing with a woman who was soon afterwards found murdered said that he was a well-dressed man with a black moustache. Others described him as a man with a closely-trimmed beard.
The portrait on the cover of the first edition of "The Social Kaleidoscope," a book which twenty years ago was in most of the newsagents' and small booksellers' windows, was taken about 1879.
There are two theories with regard to the identity of the Ripper. One has everything in its favour, and is now generally accepted by the high authorities who had the details of the various investigations gathered together and systematically inquired into.
It is betraying no state secret to say that the official view arrived at after the exhaustive and systematic investigation of facts that never became public property is that the author of the atrocities was one of three men.
Let us take them separately.
The first man was a Polish Jew of curious habits and strange disposition, who was the sole occupant of certain premises in Whitechapel after night-fall. This man was in the district during the whole period covered by the Whitechapel murders, and soon after they ceased certain facts came to light which showed that it was quite possible that he might have been the Ripper. He had at one time been employed in a hospital in Poland. He was known to be a lunatic at the time of the murders, and some-time afterwards he betrayed such undoubted signs of homicidal mania that he was sent to a lunatic asylum.
The policeman who got a glimpse of Jack in Mitre Court said, when some time afterwards he saw the Pole, that he was the height and build of the man he had seen on the night of the murder.
The second man was a Russian doctor, a man of vile character, who had been in various prisons in his own country and ours. The Russian doctor who at the time of the murders was in Whitechapel, but in hiding as it afterwards transpired, was in the habit of carrying surgical knives about with him. He suffered from a dangerous form of insanity, and when inquiries were afterwards set on foot he was found to be in a criminal lunatic asylum abroad. He was a vile and terrible person, capable of any atrocity.
Both these men were capable of the Ripper crimes, but there is one thing that makes the case against each of them weak.
They were both alive long after the horrors had ceased, and though both were in an asylum, there had been a considerable time after the cessation of the Ripper crimes during which they were at liberty and passing about among their fellow men.
The third man was a doctor who lived in a suburb about six miles from Whitechapel, and who suffered from a horrible form of homicidal mania, a mania which leads the victim of it to look upon women of a certain class with frenzied hatred.
The doctor had been an inmate of a lunatic asylum for some time, and had been liberated and regained his complete freedom.
After the maniacal murder in Miller's-court the doctor disappeared from the place in which he had been living, and his disappearance caused inquiries to be made concerning him by his friends who had, there is reason to believe, their own suspicions about him, and these inquiries were made through the proper authorities.
A month after the last murder the body of the doctor was found in the Thames. There was everything about it to suggest that it had been in the river for nearly a month.
The horrible nature of the atrocity committed in Miller's-court pointed to the last stage of frenzied mania. Each murder had shown a marked increase in maniacal ferocity. The last was the culminating point. The probability is that immediately after committing this murderous deed the author of it committed suicide. There was nothing else left for him to do except to be found wandering, a shrieking, raving, fiend, fit only for the padded cell.
What is probable is that after the murder he made his way to the river, and in the dark hours of a November night or in the misty dawn he leapt in and was drowned.
From this time the Ripper murders ceased. There have been no more. Women have been barbarously and mysteriously murdered since, but never with the unmistakeable "handwriting" of the Ripper upon the deed.
The other theory in support of which I have some curious information, puts the crime down to a young American medical student who was in London during the whole time of the murders, and who, according to statements of certain highly-respectable people who knew him, made on two occasions an endeavour to obtain a certain internal organ, which for his purpose had to be removed from, as he put it, '"the almost living body."
Dr. Wynne Baxter, the coroner, in his summing up to the jury in the case of Annie Chapman, pointed out the significance of the fact that this internal organ had been removed.
But against this theory put forward by those who uphold it with remarkable details and some startling evidence in support of their contention, there is this one great fact. The American was alive and well and leading the life of an ordinary citizen long after the Ripper murders came to an end.
It would be impossible for the author of the Miller's-court horror to have lived a life of apparent sanity one single day after that maniacal deed. He was a raving madman them and a raving madman when he flung himself in the Thames.
The fact that I had the unpleasant experience of having my portrait pointed out to the authorities as the portrait of the Ripper, caused me to take a keen personal interest in the East-end horrors, and I have in my museum some curious documents and gruesome photographs connected with the crimes. Two of them are unprintable. The photograph of the scene in Miller's-court is not one to be looked upon except by those who have in the exercise of their calling to study all phases of human perversion.
But no one who saw that awful scene, or its reproduction in the photographic exhibits prepared for the coroner's jury, could possibly believe that the perpetrator of the horror could return to the quiet enjoyment of the rights of citizenship, or even change the methods of his consuming madness and become a Deeming, a Neil Cream, or a Chapman.
JACK THE RIPPER
The crimes of Jack the Ripper are still debated and from time to time the discussion as to his identity is revived in the press. Two adventures befell me as a journalist in this case. For many nights during the hue and cry I was in the area to which the crimes were confined. It was therefore with mixed feelings that I discovered that my portrait had been taken to Dr. Forbes Winslow, who was writing a good deal on the case at the time, and given to him with the request that he would send it to the police as there was no doubt I was the guilty man. As a matter of fact the features of the man who is now believed by the authorities to have been Jack, did bear a certain resemblance to mine.
Three years ago, when the discussions as to Jack's identity cropped up again in the Press, I wrote on the subject. Soon afterwards a lady called upon me late one night. She came to tell me that the Whitechapel fiend had lodged in her house. On the night of the double murder he came in at two in the morning. The next day her husband, going into the lodger's room after he had left it, saw a black bag, and on opening it discovered a long, sharp knife, and two bloodstained cuffs. The lodger was a medical man, an American. The next day he paid his rent, took his luggage, and left. Then the police were communicated with but nothing more was heard of the American doctor with the suspicious black bag. "But," said my lady visitor, "I have seen him again this week. He is now in practice in the north-west of London." She gave his name and address and the names of two people who were prepared to come forward and identify him as the lodger with the black bag, the knife, and the incriminating cuffs. The next day I took the information, for what it was worth, to the proper quarters. But the doctor was not disturbed in his practice. There was ample proof that the real author of the horrors had committed suicide in the last stage of his maniacal frenzy.
As a journalist I followed the Jack the Ripper crimes at close quarters. I had a personal interest in the matter, for my portrait, which appeared outside the cover of a sixpenny edition of my "Social Kaleidoscope," was taken to Scotland Yard by a coffee-stall keeper as the likeness of the assassin.
On the night of the double murder, or rather in the small hours of the morning, a man had drunk a cup of coffee at the stall. The stall-keeper noticed that he had blood on his shirt-cuffs. The coffee merchant said, looking at him keenly, "Jack the Ripper's about perhaps tonight."
"Yes," replied the man, "he is pretty lively just now, isn't he? You may hear of two murders in the morning." Then he walked away.
At dawn the bodies of two women murdered by the Ripper were found.
Passing a newsvendor's shop that afternoon the coffee-stall keeper saw my likeness outside the book.
"That's the man!" he said, and bought the book. He took it first to Dr. Forbes Winslow, who was writing letters to the papers on the Ripper crimes at the time.
Forbes Winslow, who knew me, told him it was absurd, but the man went off with the book to the Yard, and Forbes Winslow wrote to me and told me of the interview and the coffee-stall keeper's "mistake."
But it was a pardonable mistake. The redoubtable Ripper was not unlike me as I was at that time.
He was undoubtedly a doctor who had been in a lunatic asylum and had developed homicidal mania of a special kind.
Each of his murders was more maniacal than its predecessors, and the last was worst of all.
After committing that he drowned himself. His body was found in the Thames after it had been in the river for nearly a month.
Had he been found alive there would have been no mystery about Jack the Ripper. The man would have been arrested and tried. But you can't try a corpse for a crime, however strong the suspicion may be.
And the authorities could not say, "This dead man was Jack the Ripper." The dead cannot defend themselves.
But there were circumstances which left very little doubt in the official mind as to the Ripper's identity.