4 September 1888
The Real Case of Hide and Seekyll, a musical farce written and composed by Mr. George Grossmith, and produced here last evening after an amusing performance of Mr. Charles Thomas's farcical comedy, The Paper Chase (which is growing in popularity) is a decidedly feeble effort to travesty the weird novel of Mr. Louis Stevenson, who has shown the fatal consequences of inventing a potion which enables a man to be two distinct person ; while Mr. Brough, who presents the dual characters, shows in a ludicrous fashion the disastrous burlesque effects of leaving such a draught about. Presented by its author as a pianoforte sketch with descriptive passages, musically illustrated, and lasting ten minutes, it would doubtless be exceedingly mirth-providing ; but lengthened out to an hour, and with half-a-dozen characters introduced, five of whom are witless and tedious, the travesty becomes lifeless after the first few incidents. Mr. Brough makes up wonderfully like Mr. Mansfield in both creations, and in one scene is startlingly realistic as Mr. Bandmann. His grief at Hide's tricks with his second self are for a time amusing, but by repetition lost their effect. He sings two songs capitally, "Don't he wish he was some other fellow," and "I'm Dr. Seekyll's Hide," and another sprightly air is that which is done ample justice to by Mr. E. W. Garden, who, as Captain Laudo, swears like Bob Acres, with "the oaths referential," and dances a hornpipe, for which he gained an encore. The best line in the skirt was that in which the good Seekyll shudders at the horrible language employed by the vicious Hide, "such language never heard anywhere outside the House of Commons." The mystifying potion is partaken of by all characters, who each in his turn changes to someone else, and are eventually restored to their proper persons by an antidote ; but nothing very brilliant results. The applause was good-natured rather than sincere.
Mould and vermin have committed such ravages amongst the hops of one of the largest growers near Sittingbourne that he has decided not to pick them. In this garden, last year, one of the best yields of the season was obtained.
EXPECTED CONFESSION AND ARREST.
The authorities now investigating this mysterious case assert that they have a clue, but in what direction they are not permitted to make the faintest allusion. "If we did," remarked one of the officers, "justice would be undoubtedly frustrated." But the chain of evidence is, it is alleged, being fast drawn around the persons implicated--for it is believed there are more than one concerned--but the persons watched will not at present be arrested unless they make an effort to leave the district. The reason of this is explained by the fact that further sworn evidence which might be lost by precipitate action is likely to reveal the criminal at the forthcoming Coroner's inquiry. To complete the investigation no steps are being left unturned by Inspector Abberline, Inspector Helson, Inspector Spratling, Detective-sergeant Enright, and the numerous other officers engaged in making the necessary inquiries. It is not improbable that one man, not immediately concerned in the crime, but who has a knowledge of the circumstances, may make a confession, and thus shield himself from serious consequences which might other ensue.
The murder of Mary Ann Nicholls still excites the keenest interest in Whitechapel. Some malicious persons have actually chalked a libelous statement on the gate of the slaughter-house where the three men were engaged on the night of the tragedy, one of whom gave evidence at the adjourned inquest yesterday, while the states of his two comrades--Brittain and Mumford--were reserved for the concluding hearing before Mr. Wynne Baxter, the Coroner. These three slaughter-house men are considerably annoyed at the slanderous insinuations conveyed in the expression written on the gate as stated.
Our reporter visited this slaughter-house--a block of extensive premises--this afternoon, where he was courteously shown over by a representative of the firm, who wish him to give publicity to the reiterated statements of the men as to their utter abhorrence of the crime in Buck's-row. The business carried on at the place is mainly confined to the killing of horses and boiling their flesh, which is afterwards sold to cat's-meat men. There are two descriptions of knives used in the killing and cutting-up process, one having a long tapering blade, while the other has one about five inches in length, with a strong wooden handle--a weapon, in fact, very similar to those originally employed for killing pigs.
James Mumford, one of the men engaged here, who was left in charge of the premises the night of the murder while his two comrades went out for an hour's walk, made the following statement this afternoon : "I am at work here all hours of the night, and don't go out of the premises until I am done. My time to come in of an evening is quarter-past eight o'clock. Then I am here until the governor comes down in the morning, which is sometimes six and sometimes half-past." Then Mr. Mumford, indignant, suddenly burst forth, "I don't know why that should be wrote on the gate against our chaps."
"What is written on the gate?" asked the reporter.
"Why, 'This is where the murder was done,'" exclaimed Mr. Mumford, "which is a great untruth ; and if you can put it right, as you say, I don't mind telling you what our work is."
"No one, of course, even hints anything against you men," remarked the interviewer ; "but did you hear any screams that night?"
"Screams! I never heard no screams. I never took one step out of the yard ; never one step all that night--except when my mates heard from a policeman that there had been a murder committed. Why don't the police go to some of the lodging-houses so well known about here, instead of coming down to Winthrop-street?"
"They are, I hear, making inquiries in the district," was interposed.
"And so they ought. Well, my mates, when they heard that, went off at once. They were gone ten minutes before I left because I had the water turned at the boiler, and could not leave. My work is to boil the meat."
"Is that all? Don't you kill horses?"
"We all kill horses, but I'm left to attend the boilers when my mates are away at night. They always go up the top to the Grave Maurice" (a publichouse half a minute's walk from the slaughter-house, and about a minute's walk from the gateway of Essex Wharf).
"About twenty minutes after twelve they usually start."
"But the house closes then, does it not?"
"No, not till half-past. They go there and have their refreshment, and bring me some back. I am not supposed to leave the place, and I don't do so. They take a crust of bread-and-cheese with them, and if they haven't time to eat it in the house they keep outside and have a blow. These chaps are very upset about what the police are doing."
"Do they take their knives with them?"
"Knives! No, they don't take 'em."
"What sort are they?"
"Well, large and small ; the same as butchers use."
"How many horses did you kill altogether on Thursday night?"
"I can't tell--three or four, perhaps. I helped to do the killing 'em with my mates before they went. Then I attended to the boilers, as I tell you, and did not leave until they came back ; and not then, not till after the constable came, and said a murder had been committed in Buck's-row. Let the police go to the lodging-houses. They are five or six about this part, and they are known well."
WILL SIR C. WARREN RETIRE?
It is rumored that Mr. James Monro, C.B., the late Chief of the Criminal Investigation Department at Scotland-yard, has received an important appointment at the Home Office, and assumed the duties of his new post yesterday. It is further stated that Colonel Wilkinson has been appointed Mr. Monro's assistant, and that both gentlemen were busily engaged at the Home Office during the day. The unofficial announcement of Mr. Monro's appointment has caused considerable surprise at Scotland-yard and in official circles generally, and much curiosity is (illegible) as to the duties connected with his new post. On this point the authorities absolutely refuse to give any information, but there is reason to believe that Mr. Monro's work will be of a character similar to that formerly performed by Mr. Jenkinson. Mr. Robert Anderson, the new chief of the Criminal Investigation Department, has formally taken over the duties of his office. It is persistently rumored that Sir Charles Warren will shortly retire from Scotland-yard, and that he will be appointed to succeed Sir Hercules Robinson as Her Majesty's High Commissioner in South Africa.
A CLUE TO THE MURDERS.
Particulars are to-day given by a News Agency of another desperate assault--which stopped only just short of murder--committed upon a woman in Whitechapel on Saturday night. The victim was leaving the Foresters' Music Hall, Cambridge-Heath-road, where she was spending the evening with a sea captain, when she was accosted by a well-dressed man, who asked to accompany him. She invited him to go to her apartments, and he acquiesced, requesting her meantime to walk a short distance with him, as he wanted to meet a friend. They had reached a point near to the scene of the murder of the woman Nicholls, when the man violently seized his companion by the throat and dragged her down a court. He was immediately joined by a gang of women and bullies, who stripped the unfortunate woman of her necklace, earrings and brooch. Her purse was also taken and she was brutally assaulted. Upon her attempting to shout for aid one of the gang laid a large knife across her throat, remarking, "We will serve you as we did the others." She was, however, eventually released. The police have been informed, and are prosecuting inquiries into the matter, it being regarded as a probably clue to the previous tragedies.