23 July 1889
A Description of Jack the Ripper
The First One Published
London, July 23.
Curiously enough, an accurate description of the Ripper has never been published. He was seen by two persons who know him as the Ripper, and the information given by these to the police the latter have kept until yesterday, when it was secured by the writer from one of the pair.
The Ripper's first botched job was accomplished November 21, at 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 at 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.
The other person who saw the Ripper is Frank Ruffell, driver of a greengrocer's wagon. He is a level headed young man of 23. His identity is closely concealed by the police. Ruffell said yesterday: "On the morning when the trouble took place at 19 George street I was out with a van delivering coke to lodging houses. I 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 on the Throwe (sic) street side. I was about ten feet from the door.
"A man came out of the door and walked rapidly toward me. He was about 30 years old. I could not tell what kind of business he did. He did not look like a workingman, but he did not look like a gentleman. He had on a black, diagonal suit of clothes; his hat was a black round felt; he had a light mustache, cut off square at the ends; it was neither very thick nor very thin, about medium. He was about three inches taller than I am. I am five feet four. He had a straight nose, of the medium size. It did not turn up. It was just an ordinary nose.
"I did not notice his eyes particularly; but I should think, from the color of his mustache, that they were blue. 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 to his mouth, which was bleeding on the right side. As he passed he looked at me with a sort of smile, and uttered 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 the 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 standing there 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 it. 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 photograph, as I had a close view."
Whitechapel is gradually 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 a condition of mind that the Ripper seems to understand so well and that makes his dreadful work so easy of accomplishment.