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Chicago Tribune
23 July 1889

A Green Grocer's Clerk Saw the Murderer Just After His Attempt to Butcher Dark Sarah.

Special Cable Dispatch To The Tribune.

London, July 22. -- Curiously enough an accurate description of Jack The Ripper has been published. He was seen by two persons who know him as the Ripper, and information was given by these to the police. The latter have kept it until today, when it was secured by the writer. The Ripper's first botched job was accomplished Nov. 21 at No. 19 George street, Whitechapel. There he attempted to murder Dark Sarah, but only succeeded in cutting her throat, as the woman was unusually strong. Dark Sarah met him in a public house and remembers him well. She was kept out of sight by the police until the case was overshadowed by the Ripper's successful efforts at murder. Where she is now is not known.

The other person who saw the Ripper is Frank Ruffell, driver of a green grocer's wagon. He is a level-headed young man of 25. His identity was closely concealed by the police. Ruffell said today: "The morning when the trouble took place, at 18 George street, I was out with the van delivering coke to lodging houses. We furnish coke to nearly all the lodging houses about here. I was standing on the sidewalk in front of the house next to No.19. I was about ten feet from the door when a man came out and walked rapidly towards me. He was about 30 years old. I could not tell what kind of business he was in. He did not look like a workingman, but did not look like a gentleman. He had on a black diagonal suit, his hat was a black round felt, and he had a light mustache cut off square at the ends. It was neither thick nor thin, but about medium. He was about three inches taller than I am, and I am five feet four. He had a straight nose of medium size. I did not notice his eyes particularly, but I should think from the color of his mustache that they were blue [fair hair = blue eyes?] . When he came out of the door he was buttoning the top button of his coat. It was a cutaway coat. He had no collar on. He put his hand up to his mouth, which was bleeding on the right side. As he passed me he looked at me with a sort of smile and muttered a vile remark. I said nothing. Just after he passed me he began to run. Then I heard a cry in No. 19 and saw a woman come down. She said to stop the man and I started after him. By this time he had turned the corner and was out of sight. It was at least three minutes after he went away before I started after him. When I got to the corner, I could not see him. He had time to reach Brick Lane and turn the corner, but when we got there, two policemen said they had not seen anybody. I think he must have turned down the court or he would have been seen. That is all I know about him. Two detectives came for me after the woman had been taken to the hospital and questioned me closely about the matter. I would know the man if I saw him again and could identify his photographs, as I had a close view."

Whitechapel is generally resuming its everyday appearance. Its denizens, generally speaking, are a callous lot; even the women, who now walk in pairs for protection, will soon recover from their fear and reach that condition of mind that the Ripper seems to understand so well and that makes his dreadful work so easy of accomplishment.

Related pages:
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