22 November 1888
London Thrown into a Flurry By a Common Lodging-House Quarrel.
AN EXTRAORDINARY ESCAPE.
A BOGUS FIEND.
Whitechapel's False Alarm Over an Insignificant Quarrel.
[BY THE COMMERCIAL CABLE TO THE HERALD.]
The Herlald's European edition publishes to-day the following from the Herald's London Bureau, No. 391 Strange, dated November 22, 1888:--
Up to four o'clock this morning nothing has transpired to show that any new Whitechapel horror has occurred. Londoners, like Americans, have heard of newspaper made generals, and after the strange experience of yesterday it will be hard to deny that there are newspaper made murderers. For an hour or two yesterday London was encouraged to believe that the Whitechapel miscreant had added one more to his long list of victims. For an hour or two more it was told that he had failed in the fatal stroke by a hair's breath, but that a woman lay at the point of death.
Then slowly London was allowed, as best it could in the race of "extras" and frantic correspondents, to obtain possession of the plain fact that a man and woman had wrangled in a common lodging house, and that the man had inflicted some slight injury on the woman's throat and she on his face.
The drunken woman raised an alarm and the man was pursued, but contrived to escape, though the whole affair happened at nine in the morning in one of the most densely populated districts in London, and though there was a hue and cry at his heels. For a time every one believed a murderer had at last been caught in the act, but for all that the supposed miscreant got clear.
The scene of this adventure was in the heart of the neighborhood which all understand to be under patrol night and day by the vigilance committees and by the representatives of law and order.
The supposed murderer left the upper room in a common lodging house, passed through a kitchen full of lodgers, most or all of them men, ran into the street with some men after him, and was so little pressed for time that he was able to turn and strike one of his pursuers in the face before he finally vanished.
Nothing happened to him, no indignant citizen tripped him up, and, above all, no policeman barred his way. It would be idle to say that he was not the man whom everybody wants to catch, for he was believed to be, and he would have enjoyed the same immunity if he had been that ruffian himself.
At this rate of progress in police precaution it is doubtful if ever they will catch the real man. I visited Scotland Yard at midnight, where it was said distinctly that the whole affair was a wrangle, and that the man who ran did so because he was frightened lest he be seized and denounced as the murderer.