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The Free Gentleman (by j.r-ahde)

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  • The Free Gentleman (by j.r-ahde)

    The Free Gentleman


    -But how can you sack a maid again?! His strawberry-blonde wife asked with her pale, round face blushing. She raised her hands to her face and took a deep breath.
    -If you could only feel something about the misery I am dealing within my charity work. There are loads of poor young women thrown to the streets. With a child they only have prostitution or working in a factory with no mercy.
    Inspector Millwall wasn’t touched by this talk any more than in any of the previous ones. He had taken the maid to his photographic studio many times in the small hours. Taking all the advantages. As many times before. This was the fifth time with this kind of a result. He took his cigar to his mouth with plenty of time. After lighting his cigar he inhaled, then said, calmly and cold:
    -We have to think about the reputation of our staff! exhaling a large cloud of cigar-smoke. Leaning on his walking-stick and smoking his cigar Inspector Millwall was looking out of the window. His wife was obviously calming herself down. She started to say with a stressed voice:
    -Every day in The East End I’m trying to do good things for people. But every day I meet bitter women mocking me for being an upper-class lady. A tall young girl, getting her drunkenness away, was answering to my question: “Dear madame, we are... fffff... fffff... ffffu... uuc... cccking... to survive. Some of us will even have to pay for some chaps to be in peace from them...” What a waste, she seemed to be a kind girl by nature...
    -Have you ever seen her before?! Inspector Millwall asked with a low, calm voice.
    -I could... I don’t remember for sure... But what does it mean, if I knew her or not?! I just have to have some meaning for my life... his wife said with a miserable voice.
    Inspector Millwall was wondering, if this could have been a girl, he had seen at his tobacconist some years ago. A girl, that caused him some bad things.
    A young girl at the counter of a tobacconist on Cleveland Street held her breath. A tall slim man, Millwall himself, was standing at the door. He had a narrow and pale face under his big black top-hat, tight lips were absolutely motionless. Thin cheeks were covered by brown sideburns. About on the breast of his jacket there was a cut over the coat itself. The black, long jacket ended upon the black boots. Steely green eyes were staring right at her.
    The girl didn’t particularly like to be stared at. Not at this stage in the sudden stormy stage of her life. She was very, very obviously shy by nature and the intensive staring made it even worse. The man as if sensing this, enjoyed his power over the female.
    The girl was breathing heavily under her white dress with maroon stripes. The strange man started to walk towards her. Face still motionless. Slowly he passed the newly painted brown floor.
    -Are you... going to buy a cigar? the girl said, blushing completely because of the intense staring. The odd customer knew, how to grow her nervousness even stronger.
    -Now, mister... Sir... you can be sure not to try tricks on me!
    Inspector Millwall gave a grin, showing very slightly his teeth. The girl was trembling, partly afraid about the things to happen, partly to hold back her raging reaction to a fearful situation.
    -Now, if you are trying to harass me, I will fight back like an animal and I mean it!
    -I have heard, that there is a new sales-woman here! Inspector Millwall said right in front of her. With a very low and calm voice.
    -With a speech impediment!
    -No... Sir! It’s not a speech impediment... It is my accent! she said, turning her head down. From the corner of her eye she could see the same grin from the man.
    -Which accent?! he asked calmly.
    The girl stood still for a pretty long moment. Thinking, what to say... And what not to say. In the light of the recent events of her life she tried to think more adult than ever. Inspector Millwall had some experience about stories like this before, his eyes catching this piece of thinking from her eyes. Getting even more extremely worried, she finally raised her head to say:
    -My accent... What kind of a piece would you like to have, Sir? Cigarettes, cigars...?
    Still with an intese staring Inspector Millwall took his time to answer. The girl felt bothered. She was probably thinking about all the things she had done to be unknown. She had carefully held her hands under the counter, trying not to show her cold fingers moving into a fist and off a fist.
    -I have heard, that she misses the right change at times!
    -Well, Sir... That happens to a newcomer at times! she replied with a nervous laugh.
    -How about... some matches?!
    Without getting her sea-blue eyes off the staring the girl opened a drawer at her left. Then she finished opening it with her right hand. She told the price of the matches with a trembling and uncertain voice. Inspector Millwall threw the coins near the cash register.
    The girl couldn’t hear exactly, where the coins dropped. She moved her hand as if cleaning the counter, before getting them to her hands. The stranger observed her movements carefully...
    Then he turned his back. But before he opened the door, the stranger turned to her again. First he took a cigar to his mouth. Then he lit the match with his left hand. Slowly he raised his head. Then the stranger said with a low voice:
    -You’ve got to pay your dues, kid!
    When inspector Millwall started to go out, the girl could hardly say calmly:
    -Good day to you, Sir! To her missfortune she didn’t follow her fingers...
    Inspector Millwall had heard her saying “Shyte!” before noticing the customer coming in after him. He wondered at the window, if that was an Irish way of cursing...
    His thoughts interrupted, when their daughter came in. She stood in the doorway, like she had done since being a ten-year-old.
    -Father, I have won the prize for the best painting of...
    -Never stop a man thinking, daughter! Never stop a man thinking... Inspector Millwall told his daughter.
    She held her head down. She had learnt not to say “Sorry, Father!” anymore. She really looked a bit like the girl in the tobacconist. After a few days she wasn’t there anymore. Inspector Millwall had seriously considered hiring her as a maid, adding her later to his “natural photos”. They were sold utmost cheap unofficially, the name of the photographer being “A.Marshall”. The shop-keeper of the tobacconist, a small Scottish ex-soldier, had told she had gone “to that place...” with an utmost sad impression on his face.
    Inspector Millwall knew very well “that place”. He knew also the lady, running the place. But he took some months, before he started seriously to trace her from there. Planning the necessary things beforehand. Then, in the nicest summer weather, he entered the Cleveland Street brothel and it’s owner and hostess, known as “Madame Knightsbridge” by some.
    This woman had a brown-reddish hair, white dress with blue round patterns. Her round face still rather attractive. Red lips were full. The whole of the neck was so deep, that it almost showed the whole cleavage. She was a full package to the paying customers.
    -Bon soir, monsieur Millwall! She said. It was a pleasant voice, but under the compliments for this man she had a small sense of fear.
    -Cut that French, I know your origins! Inspector Millwall told with his most toneless voice. Madame Knightsbridge sighed with a “at least I said that” –expression.
    -I want to have company for my next trip to Paris! He said, grinning.
    -I hope, that they won’t get shocked this time! she replied with a trembling voice.
    -Objections, hehehhe...?! Inspector Millwall told, his grin showing only his upper teeth. His eyes were just a thin line of green, black and white.
    -I am a police official, Claire LaCarriere! If I hear any objections... he held a break, looking at Claire’s eyes getting ever more frightened... –I might get your business off. Your boys would have to get into prison... for years... Your girls would have to go to prison too... They couldn’t stay here any longer... And monsieur LaCarriere would see you again in Montreal!
    Claire sighed deeply. Then she said, with a North-American tone:
    -You always seem to show your might, mist... Inspector Millwall! After a long break she continued:
    -The one available at the moment is Juliet... But...
    -This time a special one. A new one! She has a reddish-blonde, actually a golden hair. She has a wide, child-like face. The most bluest eyes one can imagine. Big bosom...
    -I don’t know anyone like that! Claire said very fast back.
    -Do I have to say again, what I might just do?! The boys doing that isn’t legal here, you will get disgrace with your girl-friends... The grin on Inspector Millwall’s face just got larger and larger. Finally Claire said:
    -All right, she is there!
    Claire took him to the room, where a long-haired famous writer was watching the act of two young men. The waitress only had a long skirt, her back to the door. Inspector Millwall immediately fancied her back. She turned her head to the guests, shy expression on her face. Little by little she got a faint smile on her face, but Inspector Millwall’s presence got her nervous.
    -Marie Jeanette, you will travel with this man to France! The girl lowered her eye-brows with astonishment, saying to Claire:
    -But Madame Knightsbridge, you said, I should be a waitress for a start...
    -Non, you can travel in the company of this gentleman. You can start learning your French... Claire took her mother-figure manners to calm down the girl and continued: -He has his peculiarities... But they all have... Just... trust him!
    The woman walked out of the room, before Claire. Inspector Millwall was the last to leave, telling to the others in the room:
    -Just be ready, all you fellows! You just don’t know, what you need to be respectable... The icy voice frightened even the writer, known for his witty comments.
    Inspector Millwall was acting friendly to the shy, tall girl all through the voyage. The first day in Paris he showed her everything, he could possibly think. The young girl was excited, which suited very well to the plans of Inspector Millwall. He had taken a “sick-leave” from his job for a week.
    The second day he took her to the Vaudeville. Inspector Millwall took her to the back-stage. She was excited, like Millwall had thought. He remembered her talking about her dreams about being on stage. After that meeting they even visited an artist, making the posters. They came back to their hotel in the early hours. “How he could be keep his face so still?” the girl was wondering about the very last act, a ventriloquist with a wide-faced, smiling dummy. It was dressed as a gentleman with a top-hat.
    Their room was in a hotel at Mont-Martre. Millwall had been careful enough not to let the girl make too many acquintances with the local ones. He had given a grin to himself, when the crippled midget had made a sketch of her. Though that odd little fellow was gifted, he liked to make portraits of the vaudeville girls. He seemed to have an eye for girls looking like this one. For some reason Millwall was more cautious with this girl, somehow she didn’t quite fit to the pattern like the earlier ones. But indeed she was suitable enough... Most of all, she seemed to catch the language a bit too well. Millwall didn’t like girls talking to the locals too much, making them too curious...
    The girl walked ahead of him past the lobby, then to the floor level room with black numbers 89 on the red door. She seemed to be trusting him, though being still slightly tense. A tall woman might be a challenge, Millwall thought to himself. The girl opened the closet and put her hat to the shelf, that was on the right side of the bed.
    -Strange, that small man wanted to draw only my back. He seemed to be interested me in another way too... the girl said, laughing.
    -Don’t worry... Millwall said with a slow, deep voice.
    -That will never be the same again!
    Millwall had been looking for an occasion like this, taking the scarf with knots ready for tying up from his pocket. He tied the girl’s wrists with a fast movement to the pole. The hangers prevented the girl from getting her hands together. She gave an astonished and frightened glance at her back.
    Millwall dragged the green dress down with a fast movement. Then he ripped her pants. He took the horse-whip, he had taken with him. He stared for a moment at the buxom girl’s back. He gave a cunning grin, when noticing the trembling girl’s skin getting into goose bumps.
    -Yeah... he said very slowly. Then he raised the whip...
    When he woke up, he noticed himself being in the bed of a hospital. He felt numb, then the pain took over. He realised, that some bones of his were broken. His eye-lids were so swollen, that they couldn’t open. Somehow, he decided to play unconcious for sometime.
    A short, chubby gendarme – based on the shades he could pick - was visiting him some days. He gradually realised, that his name was Jean LaPierre. Monsieur seemed to be an old, arrogant policeman. The young, witty assistant tried to make his points.
    The days, he was faking unconciousness, some reminiscents came to his mind.
    He remebered waking up, numb. Unable to move, but holding eyes open.
    The girl was throwing up on the other side of the bed. She was muttering to herself with a trembling voice:
    -Hggghhh... hggghh... You lost your control, Moira... You lost your control, Moira... hggghnnn... Oh no.... Oh no... hggghhhnnn.... This time going too far.... The once calm voice was now filled with pain and cry. Blood was pouring all the way to her ankles, filling her brand new black boots. Then Millwall was watching the opposite black brick-wall from the window and hated his defeat.
    The next day he remembered another scene. The girl was now standing at the wall opposite the bed, her bare back at him. But her eyes were intensely looking at him, like a frightened child. The sunny Paris day made her pores running sweat to her whip-wounds at the back, causing the girl to moan all the time. She was swallowing the blood coming out of her nostrils. The front of her mouth had swollen.
    -Hggghnnnn... tears were running from her eyes... Hggghnnn... Shyte... this pain... Shyte... this pain... hgghnn... her body was trembling, like feeling cold.
    -You love to hear a child screaming... hggghnnn... you love to hear a child screaming.... hggnnnhh... She touched a big whip-wound at her side. Looking at the blood in her hand, she noticed something white in it.
    -Ohh noo.... hggghnnn... Ohhh noo... This much blood at this time... This much blood at this time... What have I got myself in? What have I got myself in?... Hggghhnnnnnn.... You sweet young child, you sweet young child... The ripped scarf had left its mark on her hands. Millwall was lying on the floor, at the right side of the bed, like he remembered earlier...
    Finally he thought it was time to show himself being concious. The bold gendarme was sitting next to him in the hospital. He was politely asking, if monsieur Millwall understood French, raising at times his rimmed spectacles. His first question was about the people in the room at Mont-Martre. Millwall raised his two fingers.
    The gendarme thought, that his experience of his trade made him invincible. Despite the young assistant was constantly making his remarks. Some of their conversations took place in the hospital-room of Millwall.
    -Monsieur, the bloody writing on the wall could be a Celtic word, not necessarily a French name. Besides, it’s written with a left hand and is female-like...
    -Monsieur Bonnyard, I have twenty years of experience. Monsieur Millwall raised his left hand, didn’t he? To show the number of people!
    -Yes...
    -You see now, Monsieur Bonnyard! You are young and jump too fast to the conclusions. Within years you will notice! Just like, when you made mixed conclusions about the cleaning-woman vomiting from the window, right?
    -Yes, monsieur. But what do you make of the bloody cigar...?
    -Hhhhhmmm... It was monsieur Millwall’s cigar, wasn’t it?
    Millwall held his face still. But he had a reminiscent about himself hitting the full-glowing cigar into the bloody shoulder-blade of the girl. He wished to have remembered more...
    Lying weeks there, Millwall learnt to know, that he had a serious injury at the temple of his skull. Besides this, all his ribs had been broken and hit by a blunt object and a small pick of some kind, he was told by the gendarmerie. Sometimes, when the investigators had left him, he smiled to himself. He had a vague reminiscent of seeing a brand new black ladies boot kicking at him and a blue pair of eyes in extreme panic.
    Obviously the girl had somehow sneaked out of the room unnoticed. Since the gerdarmerie people didn’t seem to talk about her, except in a sense that she would have left the scene slightly before “the event”. Maybe she somehow managed to go to England in a ship, mr. Millwall guessed, grinning. Then he felt angry for the girl; this was the first trip for mr. Millwall not to remember all the details of handling a girl. Despite his pains he was pleased with himself; he had used a well known cover-up name in the register. The skin on his knuckles had started to heal.
    He fed the old gendarm’s thoughts about him being in a cover-up mission. Bonnyard was trying to convince La Pierre to think about a woman and woman’s shoes. But Millwall had his ways of convincing people, whenever he wanted. Little by little he even convinced Monsieur Bonnyard about having a total black-out about the actual events. When his wife and children were visiting him some weeks later, he told them a story about tracing an Irish anarchist from France. At least Millwall could use the girl somehow, he grinned for himself. The deep scars in his arms had started to heal.
    The third week he found the face for his anarchist. He remembered seeing a robust white-haired guy with a spotty face at the corner of the street, right before he had stepped in after the girl. Now he remembered, he was a small-time criminal, so he would never try to prove himself not guilty to the accusations of the English criminal inspector. Especially, when the petty criminal had seemed to be drunk. His thigh-bone, that was the worst injured, was hurting again. Mr. Millwall had been told, that he would never walk again, maybe not even with a walking-stick.
    For the next long weeks Inspector Millwall stubbornly refused any amputation. Despite the fracture was dangeriously close to the artery of his thigh. Little by little the sides healed, but the thigh-bone seemed not to progress at all for a long time. At times Jean LaPierre came telling him, how the anarchist seemed to have escaped out of the authorities nets. Sometimes Inspector Millwall wished him luck in his mind. Reluctantly Inspector Millwall used crutches helping his walk. When he finally tried to walk completely on his own feet, he felt enormous pain. The fractured parts of the bone never properly attached to each other. Like the doctors had told him. He persuaded Jean LaPierre to search for him a smith, making a walking-stick of steel. From time to time, the walking-stick was painted brown for the rest of Millwall’s life. He walked very painfully, but always kept his stoic face outside. Then, the day he had expected for a long time, came.
    He finally got to a trip back home. There he had heard from Madame Knightsbridge, that the girl had arrived to London a few days after the incident. Extremely exhausted and the chemise and mr. Millwall’s white shirt caused her a lot of pain, when undressed. While hearing about this, Millwall could hardly hide his grin. He decided to let the girl heal from her injuries in peace. Millwall had decided to wait for his next move for some time...
    He was thinking, that the girl has disappeared totally after her second trip to Paris with a medical student called Alexander Tittenhurst. He was a member of Inspector Millwall’s freemason lodge. He only knew him by sight and had heard him to be stuck on his medical studies. He didn’t know, where to aim with his life, Inspector Millwall thought about him. The rain outside was like a thick, grey liquid. Inspector Millwall hoped to have seen more.
    He finally noticed his daughter, and said:
    -Get to your room. I will call you, when needed! The depressive girl just said:
    -Yes, father!
    Since it was evening, he headed to the East End. Waiting for the misfits to under-estimate him because of his injury. Though he had never lost to any man after his incident. Or to a woman. Some people had guts to inform the police about him at times, but they backed off after hearing his profession. His colleagues didn’t particularly like him. He had persuaded his father, a free gentleman and a veteran of the Crimean War, to have him as an inspector. He was known to be good by intuition, but not so good on practical level. In general, his parents were always away. Being diplomats, his father had left his family to the mansion. Mother was a very distant person, telling about everything he had done wrong. The tutors came in and came out, never having anything in touch with him.
    He faced no fights on the streets of the East End. Inspector Millwall was walking with his painful, limping steps along the Northern Railway Line. He stopped for a while and took the wallet from the pocket inside his jacket. “That Taffy pigeon has taken more than agreed”, he thought after counting his money. “She surely needs a lesson” he thought, lighting his cigar. He grinned to himself, wondering, how to manage a proper lesson... While exhaling he noticed a drunkard priest coming out of the direction of the wooden-gray gates. On the ground there was lying a woman, probably being past-out. Inspector Millwall thought himself to be near Essex Wharf, trying to get a picture of his surroundings in these small hours.The priest passed him without a sound, having something in his hand, covered with a towel of some sort...
    Next morning he took carelessly The Daily Telegraph to his hands, greeting briefly and formally his collagues. Without blinking an eye he read page four. Then his eyes caught a small piece of news about a police constable, who had found a woman’s body from “an obscure thoroughfare”, “at an early hour”. At the very end of the article Inspector Millwall noticed the woman to be called Nicholls.
    Later that day Inspector Millwall read The Times. He didn’t care that much about the rest of the article, but found the “cutting from ear to ear” very interesting. The victim, “Polly” Nicholls, put his thoughts into gear. This was also noticed by his collague, mr. Abberline.
    -Are you seriously interested this time, Millwall?
    Inspector Millwall smoked his cigar for sometime. Then he took it out of his mouth, saying slowly and calmly:
    -Yeah... I don’t know, where it will lead. But it will sure cause a lot of thinking for some people here! He grinned, only his upper front teeth showing. His eyes were still.
    Inspector Abberline was staring at him for a long time. Then he turned his head away to watch his papers, his hazel eyes confused and saying:
    -Sometimes it is impossible to catch your thoughts, mr. Millwall!
    -Yeah... he said, face still. –And it is definitely better that way. To all the people...
    The following week took place with nothing specially interesting for him. He found, in fact, all the detecting work pretty boring. No interest, no excitement. On wednesday he visited mr. Abberline’s office. Watching the pile of letters. Picking one by random.
    -No clues, yeah?! he asked.
    -No, mister Millwall. Just some pranks about that cutting case, about that woman’ case in Buck’s Row.
    -Something interesting here...?! Inspector Millwall took a pile of letters.
    -Yes, sir. I know, that you like all the bent stuff... Millwall laughed, but Abberline didn’t join him.
    He went through every letter, giving a grin to all the twisted illusions of the writers mind. One letter had a very interesting thing about one detail, but then the rest didn’t quite match.
    But then one letter caught his eye by the hand-writing. He didn’t quite realise at once, why. After wondering a while, he knew the answer; it was just like the one on the wall some years ago, shown to him by Jean LaPierre.
    This letter didn’t have any Gaelic words, but the writing was definitely similar. The letter seemed to include also some details, that seemed to show pretty peculiarities of the interests and methods of mr. Tittenhurst. The letter ended:
    “... I am not mentioning my name, to save my family from pain and I don’t want to go to an orphanage either. But believe me, dear police officer, I really know, I am not making prank at all. I swear, in the name of The Holy Mother!!!

    Serious regards”
    Mr. Millwall knew now her were-abouts. He grinned to himself.
    -Noticed anything? Abberline asked him. Though he didn’t quite trust him, he knew his ability to pick details. Abberline had done a long career from the lower ranks to the higher ones, making his dis-content about Millwall’s “good relations” clear every now and then.
    -No, this is just a prank! he told, with a slow and calm voice.
    After a while he inhaled his cigar with a wolfish grin. Now he knew, what to do with his acquintances. He prepared for a bit more than a week.
    He was sitting with his family, having breakfast. As usual, they had no conversation. The old butler stood aside, as if a piece of the furniture. It was after the meal, they were sitting in the living room, and the butler was shaking burning red wood with a poker. Inspector Millwall settled down to his arm-chair.
    -No, Henry, that is all, his wife said. Inspector Millwall took The Times.
    Inspector Millwall read, how Annie Chapman was found at the backyard of 29 Hanbury Street that last Saturday. Her head almost decapitated, and according to the report this murder exceeded human imagination. He was excited to see, what will come.
    It had taken him some time to get the constable Woodman there. Inspector Millwall had told him to go and take care of the woman. Constable Woodman had objected, but he had told him not to: “I remember you from Cleveland Street,... boy!” Inspector Millwall had said, showing a cunning smile. The constable had got frightened, but said: “You cannot, you would have to resign! An inspector, visiting a brothel!” “We will see about that!” was the answer. Inspector Millwall got Claire LaCarriere to inform about his mate to the police. She still remembered the explicit photos taken by “A.Marshall”, when she had just arrived to London.
    A few days later Inspector Millwall heard of George Lusk to be named as the head of the Vigilance Committee. He also heard of the 1000 pound reward to capture the killer. Who had now a name “Leather Apron”, because of the apron made of leather near the first crime scene.
    Constable Woodman was having a vacation, because of illness. He travelled to his hometown and had an accident there, ending up on front of a train. Dying from his injuries. Inspector Millwall was pleased about him being a police-constable. He had started his plan and had some thoughts about the further development... In the course of time, Inspector Abberline told an arrest made to be futile.
    The foundation, founded by his wife and run in the name of Inspector Millwall, was having a banquet outside. A group of people were at their tables, hearing the speech of the host. It was prepared by his wife. In the course of the speech, darkest blue clouds began to emerge. Little by little they got together, but Inspector Millwall kept on with his speech. He was having his funny-looking smile, and his eyes caught some of the ladies in the audience. The maids were running back and forth, their clothes getting even more wet all the time. Inspector Millwall was completing his speech with the following words:
    “...And we, Me together with my wife, really hope the recent events in the East End will not stop our efforts there!”
    At that moment there was a lightning. The guests didn’t applaude, because they were hurrying to get in from the hands of the storm.
    By the end of the month, first Polly Nicholls case and then the Annie Chapman case were completed. One of the doctors suggesting, that the uterus of Annie Chapman could have been used as a specimen for a medical student. Inspector Millwall was grinning at this thought. He had mailed a letter, inspired by the words “Rest In Peace”...
    Inspector Abberline approached him with a post-card within a few days. Though he had his attitudes to Inspector Millwall and his backround, he really appreciated his touch with the details. He looked at the post-card, then he said:
    -I think, the person posting this card is ambidextrous, with the “Dear Boss” he is imitating the Americans.
    -You have only read two letters. How can you come to this conclusion? Inspector Abberline raised his eye-brows with astonishment and suspicion.
    -It’s just a hunch, all right! He answered, grinning.
    Geoff McDonald, the foot-ball player, had been all too nervous. He had been jumping aside, when a man with a cart had almost suprised him. Then he run to another street and hastidly killed another woman. He had ripped off her ear and taken her kidney to Inspector Millwall. Angrily, he wondered, what to do with them. Geoff McDonald did publish his marriage after a few months, after his old maternal uncle had died. He had told to disinherit his nephew, if he gets married, while uncle being alive. But McDonald went downhill ever since, ending up dead in an opium-den in Upper Swandam Lane, totally broke mentally and economically.
    The text about “The Juwes” amused Inspector Millwall, a nice co-incidence. The person writing it on the wall had no connection whatsoever with his plan going on...
    Inspector Millwall was sitting on the sofa. Smoking a cigar. The younger daughter came to him, telling out loud:
    -Father, I will not go out, while that monster is there!
    -Alice, don’t bother your father! He is always thinking about his professional things... the wife said, sighing.
    -No, I can walk with her to the mail-box! He said with a low, calm voice.
    They walked to the mail-box. Inspector Millwall was always a few steps behind his daughter, limping and frowning. But deep inside he thought, how easy it was to surprise the footballer, having his secret home nearby the land of the Millwalls. The daughter was talking all the time about the frightful possibilities of The Ripper attacking. At the mail-box Inspector Millwall finally said:
    -He has never hit at this end of London!
    -But how can you know for sure, that he won’t rip our guts here soon?! He’s an opportunist! She said with a fast, sharp-tongued tone. Inspector Millwall grinned at his daughter’s remark.
    After a few days Abberline asked him again to analyze a card, posted with a package, containing a kidney. The whole thing had been posted to George Lusk. Millwall was wondering, how far this could go. He was told the card to have been written with the right-hand of a left-handed person, pretending to be drunk.
    Inspector Millwall was meeting his acquintances of the Lodge. He had taken his apron off, drinking coffee after the ceremonies. Then he quite intententionally got to the company of Alexander Tittenhurst. This chubby, nicely speaker person liked to meet a free-mason in his possition. Inspector Millwall told about his trips here and there, some of them had taken place only to the small English villages, though. Mister Tittenhurst relaxed and talked about his foreign trips, two trips to Ireland and one to Norway. His father had been a ship’s doctor.
    -How about... A trip to Paris? Inspector Millwall asked, his eyes having a “I can see through you” –staring. Tittenhurst got amazed and bothered.
    -Oh... yes... I took a trip to Paris.... a few years ago... I had some red-headed girl from a well-serving brothel with me... hahahha.... his laughing was somewhat nervous.
    -Marie Jeanette?! Millwall asked, blinking an eye. He knew, how to get a person like this talking.
    -Yes... Tittenhurst blushed, before continuing: -She was the politest girl of that kind I’ve ever met. Actually... I haven’t met many of that kind... One could call her even witty to some extent... But when I paid her to put a cigar there, she behaved as if that thing had been a snake! Tittenhurst blushed again, knowing to have been talking more than he would have liked to do.
    -Well... how about... Claudette Pelletier?
    -Who...? Tittenhurst asked with an astonished expression.
    -“La Rose de Rouen”? Tittenhurst got very nervous, staring at Inspector Millwall and giving glances at his sides.
    -Stabbed, murderer never caught! Inspector Millwall answered, grinning in a manner, that showed his upper gums.
    -And how about... Tittenhurst got even more nervous for the very long break... –Jeanette Avignon? “La...” he was interrupted by Tittenhurst, the sentence bursting out of his mouth:
    -How can you know all that?! The sentence came out so loud, that one senior member of the Lodge said from his arm-chair:
    -Be careful, Inspector Millwall doesn’t like being interrupted. Tittenhurst realised, why, while looking at his eyes.
    -I am an inspector, as that gentleman told... ever grinning, he knew to have frightened Tittenhurst. He looked everywhere and finally said with a silent, low voice:
    -That was years ago, I have done nothing after that... I swear!
    -Through the Holy Mother?! You are not a catholic, mister Tittenhurst! How about... Polly Nicholls?! The calm and slow tone clearly irritated Tittenhurst.
    -What?! He asked with a husky, broken voice. –I have definitely nothing to do with that! Simply nothing, nothing...
    -Give me a reason to believe that! Inspector Millwall grinned. –A double-murderer telling the inspector not to have done a third one...
    -But I just wasn’t there! The voice had turned desperate.
    -A girl saw you coming from that direction! However...
    -However?!
    -We can make a deal!
    A few days after this Inspector Millwall was limping off The Ten Bells. He heard right before opening the door the small Welsh girl saying:
    -I really hope, I could hide my face. To make myself invisible. That whack living in Dorset Street... the rest of the sentence was missing in the noise of the crowd. In the cold late October weather, Inspector Millwall raised his collar. Now, he knew, how to give a final lesson for the young girl! He hurried, to meet mr. Tittenhurst as soon as possible. He was thinking about the strings to pull for persuading him to do the slaughter...
    -I wonder, if our killer has given up! Inspector Abberline was wondering to Inspector Millwall. He grinned, hardly covering his frustration. Tittenhurst had found the girl in the East End. He should have made his hit last Sunday. But the girl had been so drunk, that she was taken to custody by the local police constables.
    At home his wife was wondering, how difficult it was now for the people doing charity work in the East End. She was rubbing her hair with exhaustion.
    -If you could only realise, how difficult lives I’ve seen!
    A week later Tittenhurst made his second effort. This time the police interrupted the girl from beating a man, who tried to get some of her earnings. At the lounge Tittenhurst had got really frightened about Inspector Millwall. He had a cold voice and a fearce grin, saying:
    -I think, I will turn you in... You cannot keep the deal!
    -No, no... she can be... Horace Carter... The old man passing by was asking:
    -What are you telling him, Inspector Millwall? He gave a cunning grin, saying:
    -Only that, that the Dorset Street killer could be from our Lodge!
    -Don’t be frightening, someone might take it seriously!
    -Well, the pattern could be a star, while looking at the map! Inspector Millwall grinned, eyes glowing.
    -Don’t... the frightened free-mason could only say.
    Finally, the task of Tittenhurst took place. Inspector Millwall was finally pleased, noticing the date to be the same as the day Comissioner Warren had to resign. Inspector Millwall was sitting at the counter of the Ten Bells, thinking about this coincidencee.
    Of course the people around him were talking about the latest murder. Especially the small Welsh woman. She seemed to have caught a lot of money, Millwall grinned at himself.
    -If a strong and tall girl like her couldn’t have done more that that, a sparrow like me is completely helpless. All I can do, is to kick to the balls. Unless he’s limping.... This amused Inspector Millwall a lot behind his steely eyes.
    -Would you steal his wallet? This was asked by an average-height red-haired woman. She had a good-looking figure, oval face and sorry-looking blue eyes.
    -That’s not funny, Juliet! The small girl’s accent turned to the high-pitched Welsh one.
    -No funny at all!... I taught one tall, long-fingered person, how to do it... she got greedy! She left less than me to the wallet! The Welsh girl drank her glass to the bottom.
    -How anyone can espace from here?! Especially from the black-cape pricks. Inspector Millwall remembered this priest, the girl obviously meant. He was thinking to himself, how far he could carry the effects of the strange encounter some months ago.
    -But how can you care for that one priest here then? He’s even catholic! Inspector Millwall noticed the Welsh girl to stand still for a long time.
    -It’s just pitty. That black-cape cannot convince me about any after-life. No-one anymore. If I will meet the Leather Apron...that’s the end of Faye Furn then... vanished and gone for all times!
    -Your name had an O’ once?! A red-haired girl asked with her sorry eyes was wondering. The Welsh woman standing her back at Millwall was obviously staring for a long time. Then she said, with a troubled voice:
    -That girl was the youngest... She was probably wiping a tear off her cheek... and the one born in Wales... She died in the hands of a butchering whack... I am all there is left! Wondering, why I am still here! Not wanting to show them, what I am... a ghost, with no possibility of being a mother... Don’t be pretentious, we all know, how we know it... Most of all, not for my boy-friend, not for any of them for years! That guy had enough difficulties in his past already... Mother... The Welsh woman lit a cigar she had taken from the pocket of her dress. She smoked the cigar for a long while, inhaling and exhaling. She was aiming at the ash-tray behind her, but hit the left hand of Inspector Millwall on the counter. A little off the fingers. He gave a painful cry. The Welsh woman turned to him. After a long staring she said:
    -Did you enjoy that... Cripple?! Inspector Millwall stared back for a long time. After realising, that the staring would take place forever, he finally said with alow voice:
    -We will see about that...
    While the women started drinking, inspector Millwall thought to himself: “You never walk alone again...” He finally left the pub.
    Stepping outside the Ten Bells, Inspector Millwall saw the priest trying to get in. The bar-tender furiously stopped his entrance. Finally the priest started to walk away, mumbling to himself:
    -After this what?! Hrrrmmhhhh... A confession from a red Welsh cow.... Hrrmmmhhh... Inspector Millwall got interested, despite the event. The priest then mumbled even more:
    -Hrrmmmhhh... A novice priest.... Uncertain brat... Hrrrmmhhh...
    Inspector Millwall felt, that now he found his next assistant. He took the priest with him and paid his trip to his destination. With him he went to a middle-class area of London, that had a relatively new red-brick catholic church.
    The girl’s murder got bigger attention by the public than any of the earlier ones. Her grave was even placed to the best one in London. So Inspector Millwall had postponed his plans with the Welsh girl. In fact, he thought Christmas time to be very suitable for the next event. His wife was wondering about the Christmas gifts for their daughters, while trying to get along with her migraine. It had started after the girl’s murder.
    Some time had passed after the big fuss over the murder. Inspector Millwall had made his first contact with the young, insecure priest. For some reason, he decided to take a trip to the girl’s grave. He took a coach from the street and headed to Leytonstone.
    Inspector Millwall was leaning on his walking-stick, visiting the grave. Mr. Abberline’s instructions were very good. Despite the crowd had started to settle down after the latest murder, there were still muddy traces at the grave, no grass at all yet. Some idiot crowd, Inspector Millwall grinned to himself. The broken thigh-bone was aching like hell again. When he finally got to the spot, he was astonished to see a person still at the grave. This one was a tall, pregnant woman. In a white dress with a light-blue collar. On her head there was a white scarf.
    Inspector Millwall could move still, even with his limping, near to the grave. He took a cigar to his mouth. Only the lighting of the match got the attention of the woman. She turned her head at the inspector, but her face turned back very fast. Too fast to pick any details. Inspector Millwall took very slowly his cigar out of the mouth. Then he said:
    -Quite a fuss... about a streetwalker!
    The woman stared at the grave. Not saying anything for a long while. Inspector Millwall inhaled again. When he was getting smoke out of his system, there was a reply:
    -Yes... All about a girl, who got lost! Millwall seemed to catch a slight tone of fear in this woman’s voice. The accent sounded like one in the countryside near London. But somehow it didn’t sound natural in this woman’s mouth.
    There was again a long break. Millwall was thinking, how to get mr. Tittenhurst, the medical student with bad nerves, not to tell too much. He also wondered, how to talk to this woman. She seemed to be thinking on her own all this time. She looked like strange and somehow familiar at the same time.
    -And the song... I am sure, that no-one will notice my past from that! The woman told now with a completely strange accent.
    Inspector Millwall had no time to think about this. The woman had opened her purse, while talking her words with the odd tone. She turned at inspector Millwall in less than a second and hit him at the chest with a knife.
    The woman stepped fast aside, when Inspector Millwall fell on the grave. He could see by a glimpse, how the tall pregnant woman with a short red hair took off her rimmed spectacles. While lying on the grave and life running out of him, he watched again from the corner of his eye. The woman was... No wonder, that mr. Tittenhurst hadn’t contacted him. She put the glasses back on her face and dropped the knife on the sleet.
    -How fortunate to have mr. Tittenhurst’s knife with me. And you will have to leave Father David Murphy alone. I have surely paid my dues...
    The last thing mr. Millwall heard, were the footsteps making a squeezing sound on the sleet, while the woman was walking away.
    ---
    Inspector Abberline confirmed with his stamp a stab-wound to the heart as the cause of death for Inspector Millwall. He was only wondering, how mr. Tittenhurst could escape exactly to the Leytonstone cemetery from his asulym.

    This story is copyrighted by „Jukka Ruskeeahde, Huittinen, Finland.
    "When I know all about everything, I am old. And it's a very, very long way to go!"

  • #2
    Hello you all!

    Since I will have my ten year anniversary as a net forums writer, I would like you to compare this oldies to the stories at pub talk!

    All the best
    Jukka
    "When I know all about everything, I am old. And it's a very, very long way to go!"

    Comment


    • #3
      Hello you all!

      I am going to publish my three stories (The confession-maker, An evening at The Ten Bells and The Free Gentleman) as a book on my own expense. If anyone is interested on these forums, please PM me. To save expenses, the book is going to include both English and Finnish versions of the stories.

      All the best
      Jukka
      "When I know all about everything, I am old. And it's a very, very long way to go!"

      Comment


      • #4
        Your stories are very interesting, but I sometimes find it hard to follow the shifts in time and viewpoint. Who killed the Gentleman in the end? (Maybe because I am not familiar with Finnish literature.)
        I think this one is better than your earlier attempts.
        Pat D. https://forum.casebook.org/core/imag...rt/reading.gif
        ---------------
        Von Konigswald: Jack the Ripper plays shuffleboard. -- Happy Birthday, Wanda June by Kurt Vonnegut, c.1970.
        ---------------

        Comment


        • #5
          Hello Pc!

          And sorry for replying this late. Well, it was Mary. It's not that much about being Finnish than about two things:

          1. I had a break of 15 years between these stories and my previous ones.

          2. These were the first stories I wrote in English right from the first version. Though, an Irish teacher from the local college was assisting me, thanks to him!

          All the best
          Jukka
          "When I know all about everything, I am old. And it's a very, very long way to go!"

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