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Whitechapel Eulogy: Bucks Row

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  • Whitechapel Eulogy: Bucks Row

    EULOGY FOR MARY ANN NICHOLS

    Poor Polly...
    This life's a wretched one,
    Far from the one you were born to,
    When you were a daughter and a sister.
    Not the one you chose, as a wife and mother,
    Nor even the decent life of a servant, with work and keep...

    T'was the drinking that stole them all from you,
    Your husband said you left them, kept the boy from you,
    Spared no thought or mercy for you, let you drop among the unfortunates,
    Cared no more for Mary Ann.

    Now the drink is all you have-- friend, family, comforter,
    The only medicine for your daily pain,
    The thing that soothes your humiliation of working
    For your doss-money amid the crowds of men...

    Still, you kept on hoping, Polly dear,
    Expecting your luck to turn.
    As you said, that final night,
    You had a "jolly bonnet"--
    It was bound to turn out right.

    Peace to you, Mary Ann Nichols, left alone
    On a deserted street,
    Bleeding in the gutter,
    May we continue to recall your plight--
    And seek your killer.

    -- by Pat D.
    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.
    ---------------

  • #2
    Beautiful

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    • #3
      Originally posted by belinda View Post
      Beautiful
      Thank you, Belinda.

      I am attempting a project of one poem for each canonical victim, just as a sort of tribute to them, and to shift the focus from Jack, just a bit. We'll see if I manage it!
      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


      • #4
        I think that is beautiful. I look forward to reading the rest. Goodness knows they and indeed all the women who struggled with the lives they endured at that time deserve tributes

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        • #5
          I think alcohol is being blamed for her descent into prostitution. Fair?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Barnaby View Post
            I think alcohol is being blamed for her descent into prostitution. Fair?
            Hello, Barnaby,

            I think it is a fair assessment based on the biographical summary I read here on Casebook in the Victims section. I am aware that she supposedly lost her position as a servant due to an allegation of theft.

            The thing that struck me about Polly was how initial reports in the papers said she was a "quiet, sober woman", and seemed to offer sympathy-- then seemed to turn against her when it came out that she was an unfortunate.

            But we have to accept the Victorians' opinions and world viewpoint as being part of who they were. Just because we understand alcoholism better now, doesn't mean they were wrong in how they approached it.

            Or have I missed the point of your comment?
            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


            • #7
              The work - which is well crafted - just got me thinking, which is a credit to it. I tend to view alcoholism as a consequence of the miserable living conditions to which these people were exposed rather than the cause. But I suppose they fuel each other.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Barnaby View Post
                The work - which is well crafted - just got me thinking, which is a credit to it. I tend to view alcoholism as a consequence of the miserable living conditions to which these people were exposed rather than the cause. But I suppose they fuel each other.
                Thank you, Barnaby. I'm glad it made you think.

                Well, alcoholism still can ruin lives today, just as any addiction can do so. I think people born into poverty may become alcoholics, or may work very hard to escape their condition. People from other stations in life might slip into poverty either through their own poor decisions, or due to misfortune -- that still happens today, if you speak to homeless people.

                In Victorian times, women and children who lost the head of their household might end up in workhouses or orphanages unless the mother was able to remarry. If she was able to work herself, as a seamstress, laundress, cleaning woman, the family might manage.
                And there was factory work too, though the conditions were often unsafe and the hours very long.
                All of these occupations were preferable to the street prostitute's lot in life, of course. Annie Chapman was somewhat fortunate in that her husband sent her some money, and she was able to do some embroidery and other small tasks to get by. She didn't take to prostitution until after he died and the allowances stopped coming.
                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

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