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Acquiring A Victorian Diary

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  • Thanks, Steven
    Originally posted by StevenOwl View Post
    That Gladys Maybrick was frequently unwell as a child; that JM referred to himself and liked to be called Sir Jim/Sir James when at home; that JM found a new supplier for his arsenic at a specific point towards the end of his life. I believe that none of those things were common knowledge in the late '80s/'90s and were only verified by searching in archives after the Diary came to light.
    David Orsam has shown that the Gladys's sickliness was reported in various newspapers, and could be easily researched. Even without research, I have to say that it's quite common for a 3-year-old child to be frequently sick, so this being mentioned in the diary might simply be a lucky guess on the author's part, and not a very risky one at that.

    David also casts considerable doubt on Maybrick's ever being known as "Sir Jim/James" at home. I'd just observe that "Sir Jim" appears in the diary not as a nickname, rather as a means of reinforcing Maybrick's recurring fantasy of being knighted. It wouldn't take a genius to dream up such a device, nor would it require any research; anyone who wanted to depict Maybrick as a crazed egomaniac might easily have him imagine being ennobled by the illustrious Queen Victoria.

    If the diarist(s) had had more imagination, they might well have elevated him to the peerage, in which case we'd be talking about "Lord Jim" and no tenuous connection with Maybrick's (supposed) domestic nickname would have been made. Besides, the diary refers to Maybrick as "Sir Jack" almost as often as it refers to "Sir Jim" - if not more so. It therefore appears quite likely that the author was thinking of Maybrick-as-Ripper, not Maybrick's domestic persona, when writing these "Sir Jim/Jack" passages.

    As to the new arsenic supplier, I think it probable that the diary is referring, not to the fact that Maybrick has found a new pharmacist, but that he's found murder to be a good substitute for his drugs: "Have I not found a new source for my medicine. I relish the thoughts that it will bring me. I enjoy thinking of the whores waiting for my nice shining knife". The word "medicine" is being used entirely metaphorically in this context - arsenic gives him a high, and now killing gives him a high.
    Last edited by Sam Flynn; 01-26-2018, 10:26 AM.
    Kind regards, Sam Flynn

    "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

    Comment


    • Kaz, thanks for the link.

      "forger lost bottle and never tried to unleash this on general public"

      Reminds me of an observation once made by Peter Birchwood, who suggested that the Diary contains this very phrase.

      At one point, Sir Jim makes a comment that Harrison/Smith have transcribed as "I have lost my battle," but, looking directly at the handwritten text, PB cleverly suggested that it actually reads "I have lost my bottle," showing the forgers were not above tossing out the odd modern idiom heard down the boozer.

      As you can imagine, this observation didn't go over too well. I'm not sure if Peter was tweaking noses just for jollies, or whether he believed this was the correct transcription. Enjoy your weekend.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by StevenOwl View Post
        What about the fact that the Diary contains several throwaway references to everyday things/events in the life of the Maybricks which, between 1989 and 1992, could only be obtained from documents buried in rarely accessed archives?
        None of the three examples you give, Steven, demonstrate that the Diary contains references to things which could only have been obtained from documents buried in rarely accessed archives.

        Originally posted by StevenOwl View Post
        That Gladys Maybrick was frequently unwell as a child;
        As Sam Flynn has mentioned, that one was disproved by me last year.

        See: www.orsam.co.uk/maybrickthefalsefacts.htm

        In short, the comment made by Margaret Baillie in a letter dated 13 April 1889 that Gladys was ill "again" was published in contemporary newspapers reporting the Maybrick trial. But even more than this, the evidence only shows that Gladys was ill on more than one occasion during 1889. There is precisely zero evidence in archives, or anywhere else, that Gladys was ever ill during 1888, which is the year in which the diary tells us she was ill.

        Originally posted by StevenOwl View Post
        JM referred to himself and liked to be called Sir Jim/Sir James when at home;
        You are quite mistaken, No evidence has ever been produced that JM ever referred to himself as either Sir Jim or Sir James nor that he liked to be called this when at home. You need to stop copying from Robert Smith's (inaccurate) book.

        Originally posted by StevenOwl View Post
        that JM found a new supplier for his arsenic at a specific point towards the end of his life.
        The information that JM obtained arsenic from Valentine Blake in February 1889 was first published in J.H. Levy's 1899 book 'The Necessity for Criminal Appeal' and was repeated in the modern secondary literature, for example in 'The Poisoned Life of Mrs Maybrick' by Bernard Ryan. So this is another non-point.

        The fact of the matter is that there really isn't any information about Maybrick's life described in the Diary that could only have been obtained from "rarely accessed archives".

        Comment


        • Originally posted by David Orsam View Post
          No evidence has ever been produced that JM ever referred to himself as either Sir Jim or Sir James nor that he liked to be called this when at home.
          What about the Trevor Christie Collection of letters housed at the University of Wyoming used for research on Christie's book? Didn't one written by Florence Aunspaugh allegedly state that Maybrick referred to himself as "Sir Jim"?

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Scott Nelson View Post
            What about the Trevor Christie Collection of letters housed at the University of Wyoming used for research on Christie's book? Didn't one written by Florence Aunspaugh allegedly state that Maybrick referred to himself as "Sir Jim"?
            No, it didn't.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by David Orsam View Post
              The fact of the matter is that there really isn't any information about Maybrick's life described in the Diary that could only have been obtained from "rarely accessed archives".
              Thanks David, it's good to be able to put those to bed. Frustrating how much misinformation is out there, and equally frustrating that busting the myths brings us no closer to knowing who wrote the damn thing.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by StevenOwl View Post
                Thanks David, it's good to be able to put those to bed. Frustrating how much misinformation is out there, and equally frustrating that busting the myths brings us no closer to knowing who wrote the damn thing.
                ohh but it does. it does.

                just not for people who don't want it too, apparently.
                "Is all that we see or seem
                but a dream within a dream?"

                -Edgar Allan Poe


                "...the man and the peaked cap he is said to have worn
                quite tallies with the descriptions I got of him."

                -Frederick G. Abberline

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Abby Normal View Post
                  ohh but it does. it does.

                  just not for people who don't want it too, apparently.

                  please explain to us how this brings us closer to know who wrote the thing?

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by David Orsam View Post
                    No, it didn't.
                    So the entry for Florence Aunspaugh on page 69 of the Maybrick A to Z book by Christopher Jones is wrong?

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Scott Nelson View Post
                      So the entry for Florence Aunspaugh on page 69 of the Maybrick A to Z book by Christopher Jones is wrong?
                      Are you referring to the entry which doesn't say that James Maybrick referred to himself as Sir James and doesn't say that he liked to be called Sir James when at home? In which case, no, I think that entry is correct.

                      Comment


                      • The entry says: "Another real point of interest in the papers is that she [Florence Aunspaugh] referred to James Maybrick at one point as "Sir James."

                        This is based on a letter from Florence to Christie that wasn't included in the latter's book.

                        I'm not trying to be difficult here. I'm hoping for clarification if "Sir Jim" or "Sir James" was used outside of mainstream publications.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Scott Nelson View Post
                          The entry says: "Another real point of interest in the papers is that she [Florence Aunspaugh] referred to James Maybrick at one point as "Sir James."

                          This is based on a letter from Florence to Christie that wasn't included in the latter's book.

                          I'm not trying to be difficult here. I'm hoping for clarification if "Sir Jim" or "Sir James" was used outside of mainstream publications.
                          You say you're not trying to be difficult, Scott, but you now ask me for "clarification" of something which I've already clarified! Is the entry in Jones' book accurate? Yes, I've told you that it is.

                          But in #679 you actually quoted me by using the quote function as saying:

                          "No evidence has ever been produced that JM ever referred to himself as either Sir Jim or Sir James nor that he liked to be called this when at home."

                          In response you asked me:

                          "What about the Trevor Christie Collection of letters housed at the University of Wyoming used for research on Christie's book? Didn't one written by Florence Aunspaugh allegedly state that Maybrick referred to himself as "Sir Jim"?"

                          I said that the answer to that was no, it didn't. And it didn't. And that's not what the Jones entry says either. Yet you came back at me by saying: "So the entry for Florence Aunspaugh on page 69 of the Maybrick A to Z book by Christopher Jones is wrong?" That question was based on the false premise that the entry says that Maybrick referred to himself as "Sir Jim" and that I was, therefore, mistaken, which I wasn't.

                          Now I assume you can read and understand plain English perfectly well so your posts are baffling. But assuming that you can read and understand English you might want to consider the section of my article entitled "Sir Jim" at this link:

                          www.orsam.co.uk/maybrickthefalsefacts.htm

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Scott Nelson View Post
                            The entry says: "Another real point of interest in the papers is that she [Florence Aunspaugh] referred to James Maybrick at one point as "Sir James."

                            This is based on a letter from Florence to Christie that wasn't included in the latter's book.

                            I'm not trying to be difficult here. I'm hoping for clarification if "Sir Jim" or "Sir James" was used outside of mainstream publications.
                            So it doesn't say that he was ever called 'Sir Jim', or that he called himself - or liked to be called - by either of those titles, let alone that it was a regular thing for anyone to call him by either of them? At one point - one? - she calls him "Sir James"?

                            Comment


                            • It's self-evident to me that "Sir Jim/Jack" has nothing to do with what the real Maybrick might have been called, but with the imagined ennoblement that the fictional Maybrick craves. This is apparent from how the diary is structured, inasmuch as this shambolic word-dump can be said to possess much of a structure at all.

                              "Perhaps her gracious Majesty will become acquainted with it. I wonder if she will honour me with a knighthood."

                              Shortly after this, within a few sentences, Sir Jim makes his first appearance in the diary, in the closing lines of a verse:

                              "I deserve at least an honour / so all for a whim / I can now rise Sir Jim"

                              He only becomes "Sir Jim" when he receives this imagined honour from the Queen. In other words it's not a reference to an existing pet name, but a future knighthood that he's fantasising about.
                              Last edited by Sam Flynn; 01-27-2018, 05:00 AM.
                              Kind regards, Sam Flynn

                              "Suche Nullen" (Nietzsche, Götzendämmerung, 1888)

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Sam Flynn View Post
                                "Perhaps her gracious Majesty will become acquainted with it. I wonder if she will honour me with a knighthood."

                                Shortly after this, within a few sentences, Sir Jim makes his first appearance in the diary, in the closing lines of a verse:

                                "I deserve at least an honour / so all for a whim / I can now rise Sir Jim"

                                He only becomes "Sir Jim" when he receives this imagined honour from the Queen. In other words it's not a reference to an existing pet name, but a future knighthood that he's fantasising about.
                                I don't like to spoil a beautiful argument but, in fact, there are two mentions of "Sir Jim" in the diary prior to the self-appointed knighthood, both crossed out. The first being "M will catch Sir Jim with no pills", the second being "Sir Jim will do true".

                                The likelihood, in my mind, is that they are continuity errors by the author of the diary who had already drafted the knighthood section prior to the physical writing out of the diary but then added those lines into the poetry, not realising that he hadn't yet introduced the concept of the knighthood in the actual text.

                                Even if that's not the case, there is nothing known in any archives which supports the idea that Maybrick called himself "Sir Jim" or liked to be called that or was aware that anyone ever referred to him in this way.

                                Comment

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