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Punch, or the London Charivari
July 27, 1889.


Little Criminal Tragic Comedy, in Two Acts, now in daily rehearsal.


The Scene represents a back alley in a low East End slum, in which an atrocious murder has just been committed, forming in its turn the eighteenth of a series of similar outrages, the peculiar feature of which has been teh screwing off of the victim's head by the perpetrator. The extra vigilance of the Police has for some time past apparently acted as a check upon the murderer, but this having been for no very definite reason just relaxed, he has quickly responded to it by the commission of a fresh crime. This has somewhat reasonably agitated the dwellers in the immediate neighbourhood, and they, together with the Medical Men, Coroner, Jurymen, Police Authorities, Local Loafers, Night Lodging-house Keepers, Witnesses, and General Outsiders, are all assembled at the scene of the recent occurrence. A Rabid Interviewer, representing the "Irrepressible Press," Note-book in hand, forces his way authoritatively through the crowd, and pushes himself to the front.

Rabid Interviewer (going up to Witness and slapping him familiarly on the shoulder). Ha! You're the man I want to get at.

Witness (resentfully). Come, now, what are you up to? You are making some mistake!

Rabid Interviewer. Not a bit. You're one of the Witnesses, aren't you? (Witness nods assent.) Well, then, you're the fellow to post me up in what I want to know. Perhaps you don't know who I am. I'm the "Press." I'm here for the Irrepressible. Now do you understand?

Witness (with effusion). Perfectly: and in that case I'm sure any information I can give you I shall be only too happy to supply.

Rabid Interviewer. So do, and fire away. (He does, and furnishes his interlocutor with copious details of the recent evidence coupled with local gossip and much other interesting material for "copy.") Thanks! And now (turning to Police Official) perhaps you'll be good enough to tell me what moves you are making in the game. You're on his track? eh?

Police Official (doggedly). I ain't at liberty to say what we is on and what we ain't. Besides, how do I know who you are who is asking questions of me. (With apologetic caution.) We must be on the look out, you know.

Rabid Interviewer (with much bonhomie). Quite right. Of course you must. But it's all right with me, you know. I'm the "Press": here for the Irrepressible.

Police Official (instantly convinced). Oh! then in that case, of course, I don't mind telling you that--- [Furnishes him with a complete account of all the measures about to be taken by the Authorities at Scotland Yard with a view to the capture of the "Wanted" Murderer, and puts him in full possession of all the secrets of the official programme.

Rabid Interviewer (taking it all down in his "Notes"). Thank you, that'll do capitally. Ha! and now, let's see. Perhaps you can tell me something. (Suddenly buttonholes a Head of a Department, who has driven over in a cab from the West End to personally inspect the locality, and effectually pumps him, finishing his interview.) Thanks, that will be very useful.

Head of Department (with much urbanity). Delighted, I'm sure. Don't mention it. One cannot give the Press too much information on these matters.

Rabid Interviewer. Quite so. (Forces himself among a crowd of Unsympathetic Loafers who are vaguely discussing the recent atrocity). Well, my good people, and have you any news to give me?

First Unsympathetic Loafer. Give you any news? What for? Who are you, I should like to know?

Second Unsympathetic Loafer. Yes, and what are you a poking your blooming nose in here for?

Third Unsympathetic Loafer. I'll tell you who he is. He's "Jim the Choker," or next door to him. 'Ere let's run him in.

Several Unsympathetic Loafers. Run him in. String him up! Lynch him! (They hustle him.)

Rabid Interviewer (protesting with a good-humoured smile). No, no, my good people--you don't understand. I'm not "Jim the Choker," I'm the "Press." I'm getting up facts about the murder for the Irrepressible, and if you'll turn in here and have a drink, you perhaps might be able to supply me with some particulars. (Mob of Loafers instantly relent, and turn in for a drink accordingly, furnishing the Rabid Interviewer with odds and ends of local information, with which he judiciously spices his five-column article for the "Irrepressible." Surveying with much satisfaction his work, which is an elaborate, and exhaustive account of the whole affair, pandering to a morbid public craving, but furnishing the "Wanted" One, if he chance to see it, with a full and detailed account of all the measures taken by the Police to prevent his escape, and giving him exactly the requisite information he stands in need of to enable him to baffle Justice and elude the reach of the arm of the Law.) Well, come, I think that ought to satisfy 'em; I've left nothing out. (Admiringly). By Jove! if "Jim the Choker" were to see it, it would be quite a little handbook for him!

ACT II.--A hidden Retreat beyond the ken of the Authorities. The "Wanted" One discovered deeply engaged perusing a recent number of the "Irrespressible."

The "Wanted" One (rising with satisfaction). So, that's their game is it? Well, it's all set out here, chapter and verse, plain enough, and no mistake! Goodness knows what I should do, if it wasn't for these here blessed papers. Howsomever, thanks to them, I can pretty well see my next move. So here goes to make it.

(Makes it, and is consequently continuing to escape detection, as Curtain descends).

Related pages:
  Police Criticism
       Press Reports: East and West Ham Gazette - 29 September 1888 
       Press Reports: Echo - 10 September 1888 
       Press Reports: Echo - 15 September 1888 
       Press Reports: Echo - 20 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Echo - 9 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Edwardsville Intelligencer - 31 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening News - 2 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Fun - 10 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Fun - 17 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Fun - 21 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Fun - 24 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Fun - 26 September 1888 
       Press Reports: Fun - 3 October 1888 
       Press Reports: New York Herald - 11 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Pall Mall Gazette - 04 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Pall Mall Gazette - 05 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Pall Mall Gazette - 08 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Pall Mall Gazette - 09 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Pall Mall Gazette - 10 September 1888 
       Press Reports: Pall Mall Gazette - 28 August 1888 
       Press Reports: Punch - 13 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Punch - 20 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Punch - 22 September 1888 
       Press Reports: Star - 18 September 1888 
       Press Reports: Star - 3 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 13 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 18 September 1888 
       Press Reports: Trenton Times - 8 October 1888 
       Ripper Media: Killer Among Us: Public Reactions to Serial Murder