July 21, 1889
GOSSIP OF THE DAY ABROAD
"Whitechapel Crimes and French Elections"
by the commercial cable from our own correspondent.
London, July 20.-- This sinister revival of the Whitechapel butcheries has not specially excited the well-to-do parts of London, where, in fact, it seems to be taken as an interesting variation upon the midsummer monotony of existence; but people who saw something of the slums in the east and south parts of the metropolis last night will never forget the unprecedented and terrible spectacle. Thousands of the lowest gutter type of street women were drunk in very bravado; all the refuse population of countless stews was swarming aimlessly from one gin shop to another, shouting, quarrelling, and shrieking hideous jokes. Many hundreds of extra police, seemingly more stolid, heavy-footed, and thick-witted than ever, pushed their pompous way through the throngs, and nobody talked or thought for a moment about anything but Jack the Ripper.
During the night there were two or three murderous attempts made on women with knives, but on investigation these all turned out to be ordinary regulation affrays between drunken sailors and harpies who sought to pick their pockets, and in each case, after furious attempts by the maddened crowds to lynch them, the prisoners were released from the station houses. The afternoon papers shamelessly traded on the rumors born of one of these arrests and placarded the streets with staring posters of the arrest and full confession of Jack the Ripper hours after the falsity of the report had been established.
It takes an event like this to show the London press and London police at their very worst, and it would be hard to say in the present instance which is the least adorable. There seems to be no more prospect now than there was a year ago that the remarkable criminal who is committing these murders will be detected, unless it be by chance.
Mr. Parnell's wildly enthusiastic reception in Edinburgh yesterday and to-day cannot be minimized by the fact that a considerable minority of the burgesses make a written protest against the freedom of the city being conferred on him any more than the diminution of the Tory majority by nearly one thousand in the East Marylebone division of London yesterday can be explained away. The home rule tide has clearly not been checked by the recent sensational occurrences in the Parnell Commission. It is still rising, and it is likely to gather new strength by the fierce dissension which has arisen over the question of fresh grants to the royal family. This is a subject on which it has always been easy to raise the bile of the electorate, and more than ordinary virulence has been given to the present agitation by the open bad faith of the Queen's advisers.