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Oh, Dear Boss: Druitt's on a Sticky Wicket

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  • Hi Herlock,

    I was looking for previous threads on the possibility of MJD having been murdered, and came across your thread "The Strange Death of Montague John Druitt" which contained this timeline:
    30th Nov - Druitt is dismissed by George Valentine at the Blackheath School.
    11th Dec - An unnamed ‘friend’ contacts Monty’s brother William to say that he hadn’t been seen for over a week.
    30th Dec - William arrived in London and has Monty’s property searched. He also discovers Monty’s sacking.
    31st Dec - Monty’s body is pulled from the Thames.
    2nd Jan - The Inquest is held.

    You raised a question as to why Druitt's belonging were still at the school on 30 Dec when he had been sacked on 30 Nov. I think the circumstance points to the probability that he wasn't sacked on that date. I agree with GUT in a later post on that thread - he was sacked on 30 Dec, as stated in the report of the inquest, for being AWOL, and there is no need to "adjust" that report.

    I can't see any evidence or reason to believe that Monty ever returned from Hammersmith/Chiswick after 1 Dec, so I think he popped in at KBW, was spotted by the friend, and then he proceeded to Hammersmith.

    Let us consider a scenario where MJD is JTR. Serial killers are not known for suiciding due to remorse, so Monty leaves the school on Dec 1 solely because the school term has finished on 30 Nov. The cheque for 200 pounds is payment for one of the four school terms. On some Friday between MJK's murder and 1 Dec, Monty has confided his crimes to a family member, or to a CofE minister and, as head of the family, William has been informed. William has arranged to meet Monty at Chiswick, possibly to discuss treatment at the Manor House Asylum. William decides that between the risk of Monty being caught, tried and hanged as a fiendish serial killer or committing suicide due to mental illness, the later is the lesser of two evils for the family reputation. He arranges Monty's murder to look like suicide, ensuring the valuables are left on his person so that there is no hint of a blackmail attempt gone wrong, and writes the suicide note(s) himself. It is curious that the suicide note found at Blackheath, 'Since Friday I felt I was going to be like mother, and the best thing for me was to die.' has the feel of being written in the past tense.

    Just some more speculation on an increasingly interesting topic.

    Cheers, George
    Last edited by GBinOz; 07-04-2022, 01:38 PM.
    “Contrariwise,” continued Tweedledee, “if it was so, it might be, and if it were so, it would be but as it isn’t, it ain’t. That’s logic.”

    “Oh, you can't help that,” said the Cat: “we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad.” “How do you know I'm mad?” said Alice. “You must be,” said the Cat, or you wouldn't have come here.”

    Comment


    • Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post
      ‘Gone abroad’ was clearly nothing more than a euphemism. At a time when the honour of the club would have been of paramount importance they wouldn’t have wanted to give any true reason that they might have seen as bringing shame on the club.
      It could also simply mean that Druitt had not given advance notice of absence, so nobody knew where he was when he was meant to be at the club performing his duties. Such a breach of etiquette would have been considered serious enough by his fellow club members. It was just "not cricket".

      If the 'serious trouble' at the school had similarly involved being unexpectedly absent when he was meant to be supervising the students, he could have been dismissed in his absence. Alternatively, if it was more serious than that, the list of possibilities would include anything considered embarrassing in 1888, which the school, the parents, Druitt's family and associates, both professional and social, would understandably not want to be made public.

      Goodness knows, it's hard enough these days to get certain people in high places to blow the whistle on colleagues behaving badly, for fear the dirt will rub off on them, or unearth skeletons in their own cupboards!

      Love,

      Caz
      X
      "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


      Comment


      • Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post
        On the subject of the 30th December date mentioned in the Acton, Chiswick and Turnham Green Gazette, in my opinion I think that we have to assume that this date was a newspaper error with November 30th being a more likely alternative. It has to be unlikely that William would have taken almost 3 weeks after receiving the note (on the 11th) to have gotten around to making enquiries at the school? And if the 30th is suggested as a date for Monty’s sacking how likely would it have been for William to have enquired at the school, 3 weeks after Monty’s disappearance, to be informed that he’d been sacked that very day?

        If we assume that William enquired at the school on some unspecified earlier day in December and was informed that Monty had been sacked on the 30th November things make more sense. His friend said in the letter of the 11th that Monty hadn’t been seen for over a week which ties in with a sacking day 12 days earlier. It would then follow that Monty committed suicide just after his sacking. A date of the 1st for this is reasonable although I realise that some find the use of ‘since Friday’ rather than ‘since yesterday’ problematic. It also ties in with the unused ticket on the 1st.

        So I think that I’m with Sugden on this issue. I jstdont see William waiting for 3 weeks before showing up.
        Hi Herlock,

        The note itself was undated, wasn't it? If Druitt didn't know if it would be read on the same day he wrote it, would he not at least be presuming that the reader would understand which Friday he meant - for example if he was dismissed from the school on a Friday? Or might he have been too far down the suicidal path by then to put himself in the reader's position of trying to make sense of it?

        Love,

        Caz
        X

        "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


        Comment


        • Originally posted by Herlock Sholmes View Post

          It’s certainly frustrating that we can’t get any closer but something significant certainly happened and for all that we know it might not have been (to borrow from the Maybrick diary) ‘a one off instance.’ It’s not impossible that his behaviour had been questionable of late and that he was in ‘last chance saloon’ with Valentine. Yes, il be accused of ‘stretching it’ but it’s not impossible that he’d been struggling since November 9th. Pure speculation of course.

          So when he said that he’d decided to end it ‘since Friday,’ was he talking about being sacked or what triggered it? Or both? I’d tend toward what triggered it or both as it’s hard to see the reason for his sacking being made public knowledge. Paul Begg’s discovery of the words of Admiral Fllet are intriguing though. He said that when he lived in Blackheath (at the time of the murders) there was a rumour going around that the killer lived there. Might the schools attempt to hush something up have not been 100% successful?

          Don’t you just love a good rumour?
          "The master has been behaving strangely of late, and now he's vanished into thin air. Don't mention Jack the Ripper or he might come back one night to finish you off in your bed!"

          One can imagine rumours going round the school if one of the older boys said something of the sort to a younger one to frighten the life out of him.

          It would be good to have a list of the pupils and their family connections.

          Love,

          Caz
          X


          "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


          Comment


          • Originally posted by GBinOz View Post

            Hi Doc,

            I was advised in another thread by those far more learned and erudite than I that the term "gone abroad" is a euphemism for AWOL, and wondered at the time if there was another euphemism to be used if one actually did go abroad. Never the less, the Cricket Club seemed to have allowed Monty a period of grace to show up and explain himself, so why would not the School Principal follow the same tradition?

            Cheers, George
            Hi George,

            Nobody was put at risk by Druitt's unexplained absence from the Cricket Club.

            It would be a different matter at a prep school, where parents were paying good money for their boys to be educated well, in a secure environment.

            Druitt might have suddenly gone off without warning, leaving the boys in his care on their own, rather than just not turning up at all. Or he could have subjected them to some sort of peculiar and worrying episode, like bursting into tears or having hysterics for no apparent reason. "Sir, sir! Come at once. Master has gone raving mad!"

            Shouting or caning, with little or no provocation, would probably have been considered perfectly normal!

            Love,

            Caz
            X

            "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


            Comment


            • Originally posted by Wickerman View Post
              Hi George.

              Personally, I don't take "his brain snapped" as anything more than artistic license. The killer got clean away every time so he was still of sound mind as he left each crime scene.
              You're right though about the suicide note, it could have been written anytime before the event, hours, days or weeks. I think I have read about people who write a suicide note with the full expectation of immediately committing the act, only to put it off for a while, then only later killing themselves. It might be an emotion that comes and goes in some cases especially if depression is part of the problem?
              From personal experience, Jon, I know that someone who commits suicide while suffering from depression may have had a few failed attempts in their past, which can go back years and happen at infrequent intervals. These attempts are often referred to by others as 'cries for help', believing there was no real intent to end it all, but a successful final attempt - with or without a note to go with it - would suggest otherwise! Throwing yourself from a high building or cliff edge, or jumping in the river with rocks in your pockets, is pretty final.

              Love,

              Caz
              X
              "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


              Comment


              • Originally posted by Al Bundy's Eyes View Post
                I can't imagine Mac personally investigating anything, he wasn't a police officer, he was a bureaucrat. He wasn't hitting the streets chasing up leads. If he was privy to private information, surely he'd have delegated the footwork to a detective?

                The fact that there's no record of this suggests that IF it was done, it probably didn't produce anything of note.
                Good point, Al.

                I suppose it also depends on when Druitt first came to Mac's attention as someone whose own family suspected him. If Mac believed the ripper scare had ended with MJK [regardless of who the killer was], and knew that Druitt had been fished out the Thames shortly thereafter, his thinking could have been not to commit resources to investigating the suspicions, when it seemed there was no longer a madman 'abroad in Whitechapel' to pose a danger to life.

                Love,

                Caz
                X
                "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


                Comment


                • Originally posted by caz View Post
                  .... Throwing yourself from a high building or cliff edge, or jumping in the river with rocks in your pockets, is pretty final.

                  Love,

                  Caz
                  X
                  Thanks Caz.
                  Of course, I agree.
                  Some have pointed out that Druitt was a strong athlete, that swimming was part of any College/University curriculum. Meaning, the chances are he was able to swim, possibly a strong swimmer.
                  Would suicide by drowning be the best choice for a good swimmer?
                  Regards, Jon S.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Doctored Whatsit View Post

                    Well, at least Herlock apologised for allowing himself to be forced to repeat the same things over and over, hopefully you will stop now, Fishy, and we can get back to actually debating this topic instead of just arguing.
                    Christ, I've just spent an hour of my life I'll never get back, wading through a pile of childish, repetitive crap, to see if I missed anything of the vaguest interest over the weekend.

                    I didn't.

                    Love,

                    Caz
                    X
                    "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by GBinOz View Post

                      Hi Herlock,

                      The memorandum by MM is the backbone of the case for Monty being JtR, and your contention that MM's accusation of MJD would not have been made lightly is entirely valid. If we for a moment accept that the semantics and the errors tend to imply that MM's opinions were not necessarily based on evidence, then we need to look at the "private information" aspect. You have in this regard raised Farquarson, but do we know the source of his contentions.

                      One possibility for the source of MM's private information, and perhaps also Farquarson is the Crawford Letter:

                      2 CAVENDISH SQUARE
                      W.

                      My dear Anderson,

                      I send you this line to ask you to see and hear the bearer, whose name is unknown to me. She has or thinks she has a knowledge of the author of the Whitechapel murders. The author is supposed to be nearly related to her, and she is in great fear lest any suspicions should attach to her and place her and her family in peril.

                      I have advised her to place the whole story before you, without giving you any names, so that you may form an opinion as to its being worth while to investigate.

                      Very sincerely yours,
                      Crawford


                      As usual, this letter contains more questions than answers. The letter does not contains a date or the identity of the woman concerned, who is unknown to Crawford. Use of the word "nearly" rather than "closely" possibly implies a cousin or in-law rather than a brother, and it has been speculated that it may have been Monty's cousin, Emily Druitt. The fact that she was unknown to Crawford suggests an intermediary. Could that have been Farquarson? The letter would seem to fit MM's "family suspicions", but it would have to be assumed that Anderson would have followed up, and Anderson's suspect was Kosminski. So was MM's Memorandum based on family suspicions that, on investigation by Anderson, proved to be without basis, or did Anderson consider the suspicions to be unworthy of further investigation? Or, were MM and Farquarson basing their suspicions on something else entirely, and the Crawford letter referring to a Kosminski family member, remembering that Aaron was not named, and there was more than one Kosminski family in the area?

                      Just speculation here, for interesting discussion only.

                      Cheers, George
                      Hi George,

                      In the context, and in the language of the era, Crawford is saying that the murderer ['author'] is understood ['supposed'] to be a close relation of hers ['nearly' as in 'closely related to her'].

                      'Nearly' is a synonym in this case for 'closely', not 'almost', which would make no sense in any era. You can't be almost related to someone. You can be distantly related, or related by marriage, but that would be the opposite of 'nearly' in this context.

                      Love,

                      Caz
                      X
                      Last edited by caz; 07-04-2022, 10:34 PM.
                      "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Wickerman View Post

                        Thanks Caz.
                        Of course, I agree.
                        Some have pointed out that Druitt was a strong athlete, that swimming was part of any College/University curriculum. Meaning, the chances are he was able to swim, possibly a strong swimmer.
                        Would suicide by drowning be the best choice for a good swimmer?
                        Not normally Jon, because the survival instinct was likely to kick in, forcing a strong swimmer to save himself against his will. But then, that would explain the rocks to weigh himself down, plus the water in December would have been frrrrrrreezing, considerably weakening his powers of movement after a very short time. Many of those who were forced to jump from the Titanic froze to death before they could have drowned.

                        If Druitt felt it was best for everyone that he should die, there may also have been an element of punishing himself by choosing a particularly difficult and horrible way to end it.

                        Love,

                        Caz
                        X
                        "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by caz View Post

                          Not normally Jon, because the survival instinct was likely to kick in, forcing a strong swimmer to save himself against his will. But then, that would explain the rocks to weigh himself down, plus the water in December would have been frrrrrrreezing, considerably weakening his powers of movement after a very short time. Many of those who were forced to jump from the Titanic froze to death before they could have drowned.

                          If Druitt felt it was best for everyone that he should die, there may also have been an element of punishing himself by choosing a particularly difficult and horrible way to end it.

                          Love,

                          Caz
                          X
                          I can't recall reading anywhere what the size of those stones were.
                          The body was found floating so they didn't seem to work, though it could always be argued that it was putrification that brought it to the surface. From what I've read though, in order to counter the instinct to survive, assuming he was conscious when he went in, the stones would need to be much heavier than his own body weight.
                          A body's natural tendency is to float, no matter what the weight.

                          Druitt was not particularly heavy built, maybe 150lb?
                          How many coats have pockets big enough to hold a mans body weight (150lb) in stones?
                          Assuming you could fill all your pocket with 150lb? of stones, wouldn't your instinct be to pull the coat off?

                          Doesn't this suggest that either Druitt was not conscious when he went in the water, or he was restrained under water somehow until he drowned?
                          Regards, Jon S.

                          Comment


                          • Do you not think Caz,that she meant near relation?

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Wickerman View Post

                              Doesn't this suggest that either Druitt was not conscious when he went in the water, or he was restrained under water somehow until he drowned?
                              Hi Jon,

                              The other alternative that comes to mind is that he jumped from the Chiswick Bridge and hit the water in a horizontal position rendering himself insensible for long enough for the stones to do their job. I don't think he could have achieved his objective by just wading into the river. Be that as it may, I agree with your suggestion that he was not conscious when he went in the water.

                              Cheers, George
                              “Contrariwise,” continued Tweedledee, “if it was so, it might be, and if it were so, it would be but as it isn’t, it ain’t. That’s logic.”

                              “Oh, you can't help that,” said the Cat: “we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad.” “How do you know I'm mad?” said Alice. “You must be,” said the Cat, or you wouldn't have come here.”

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by harry View Post
                                Do you not think Caz,that she meant near relation?
                                Yes, that's exactly what she meant, harry.

                                As in, a 'close' relation, such as a brother, father or son.

                                If you remember, there's a prayer with the line:

                                'follow Thee more nearly'.

                                Today that would translate as: 'follow You [God] more closely'.

                                We talk about a suspect being 'closely' watched. If we said he was 'nearly' watched it would give a totally different impression!

                                Another such example would be referring to a 'closely' guarded secret. It wouldn't be a secret at all today if it was 'nearly' guarded!

                                It's the way language evolves, and if it cuts out any previous ambiguities along the way, so much the better. It can be tricky to go back and correctly interpret Victorian speak, but also fascinating.

                                Today, 'nearly' tends to mean 'almost', or 'not quite'. It has become a bit of an anachronism to use it to mean 'closely', so when a Victorian does so, it can sound ambiguous to our modern ears.

                                The same can be said of 'supposed'.

                                If in 1888 a Mister X was 'supposed' to have shot a Mister Y, it would almost certainly have meant this was 'presumed' to be the case.

                                Today, it can sound like the opposite: that Mister X had orders to shoot Mister Y but didn't carry them out!

                                Confused yet?

                                Love,

                                Caz
                                X
                                "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious." Peter Ustinov


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