View Full Version : Text Of The O'Donnell Chapter 7
09-04-2010, 10:00 AM
"I Knew The Ripper"- D'Onston : Chapter 7
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That concludes chapter seven of the unpublished work, This Man Was Jack The Ripper
Discussion thread :
10-23-2010, 12:19 PM
Here is the first part of Chapter 7:-
"I KNEW THE RIPPER" - D'ONSTON.
At the time of her discovery of the soiled black ties in D'Onston's enamelled deed box, Mrs. Cremers had not the least idea that they might be bloodstains. This possibility, as we shall see, only came to mind during a later stage of her acquaintance with him.
It was some time during the July of 1890 that he entered the office in Baker Street. He flung himself into a chair, and began reading an evening paper. It was the Westminster Gazette. Mrs. Cremers remembered it because she noticed it was green in colour. The Pall Mall Gazette, its rival, was of a pink shade.
Suddenly D'Onston gave vent to a chuckle. He looked over his paper at Mrs. Cremers and said:-
"Have you heard that Jack the Ripper is going to start operations again,V.?"
"No, D'Onston, I can't say I have. Why?"
"It's in the paper again tonight admit was in the paper this morning."
As Mrs. Cremers remarked when relating this story, she could feel his eyes disturbingly upon her as he spoke, but she managed to answer casually, "I do not take much notice of that sort of thing."
As a matter of fact she had noticed a paragraph in one of the morning papers to the effect that the police had received word that the Ripper was going to commit another murder; she had intended mentioning it to D'Onston in passing, just to gauge his reactions. But he had got ahead of her, and so she determined to play around with him for a time.
"Do you think there is anything in it?" she asked, and D'Onston laughed. "No!" he replied with emphasis. "There will be no more murders."
"You seem pretty sure of it," was Mrs. Cremers' next hazard. "How do you know?"
He rose from his chair and strode over to the desk at which she was sitting. Leaning over, with both hands resting on the desk, D'Onston peered closely into the eyes of Mrs. Cremers as he said:-
"Did I ever tell you that I knew Jack the Ripper, V.?" he asked her; and, said Mrs. Cremers when relating this incident, "I felt a cold shudder run through me. Anxious to gain time to recover myself, I bent down and opened a drawer. 'Where the deuce did I put that ruler?' I muttered to myself, and continued to fumble in the drawer.
But D'Onston was apparently not to be denied, for still leaning over the desk, he repeated:-
"Did I ever tell you that I knew Jack the Ripper?"
Assuming a calmness she was far from feeling, Mrs. Cremers answered, "I really don't remember, D'Onston. You may have done - why?"
He rose from his stooping position and commenced to pace up and down the room just as he had done on that occasion already described, when he indicated by gesture that he had cut the throat of his wife.
A significant gesture when one bears in mind that all the Ripper victims had been slain by a quick slash of the throat, the other injuries being inflicted after death.
D'Onston approached Mrs. Cremers and, after shooting a quick glance at her, he made what, in Mrs. Cremers' own words, "practically amounted to a confession that he and Jack the Ripper were one and the same."
It is so necessary to get the sense and atmosphere of what then passed in that office of the dying Pompadour Cosmetique Company, that I repeat it exactly as it was given to me, in Mrs. Cremers' own words.
"In a quiet voice D'Onston said, 'You know that when Mabel first wrote to me, I was in hospital?' I nodded.
"'That was just after the last of the murders, V.,' he went on, 'and you can take it from me that there were no more Ripper murders after that one in Miller's Court on November 9.'
"He paused for a moment, came close to me, and then remarked that he was living in the Whitechapel neighbourhood at the time. I never thought to inquire where, nor to ask him why he was residing in such a squalid district. It simply did not occur to me, but my brain registered the fact that he was living in the murder area at the time of the crimes.
"D'Onston went on to say that he was taken seriously ill and had to enter hospital. Something to do with the 'chinese slug,' was how he put it to me and then... It was there that I met him, V. He was one of the surgeons who operated, and of course when he learned that I had also been a doctor he became more interested in my case, and we became very chummy.
"'Naturally we talked about the murders, because they were the one topic of conversation. One night he opened up and confessed that he was Jack the Ripper. At first I did not believe him, but when he began to describe just how he had carried out the crimes I realised that he was speaking from actual knowledge, and - was speaking the truth... '
"D'Onston rose from his chair and recommenced his restless pacing up and down the room. Then once more he paused and stood before me.
"'At the inquests, V., it was suggested that the woman had been murdered by a left handed man, or at any rate with the left hand.' He smiled in derision. 'It just shows that they could not see an inch before their noses, V. My surgeon friend explained exactly how the medical witnesses fell into this error...'"
I break in upon the story of Mrs. Cremers here, to show that, according to his story, D'Onston had a surprisingly comprehensive knowledge of the evidence given at the inquests upon the respective victims. In the case of Nicholls for example, Dr. Llewellyn, referring to the wound in the throat, suggested the knife "was used by a left handed man." Describing in detail the mutilations inflicted upon the body after death, he states, "The cuts, left to right, might have been made by a left handed man."
In the case of Chapman, her head had been almost severed from the body, so that Dr. Bagster Phillips was unable to say precisely how the wound had been inflicted; and, you will remember, he displayed some diffidence in giving more details than necessary as "being painful to the jury and the public."
Dr. Phillips was more informative at the inquest upon Stride when, in declaring that her throat had been "cut from left to right," he went on to say that the carotid artery had been severed, indicating that "as in the other cases there was a knowledge where to cut the throat."
Giving evidence in the case of Eddowes, Dr. Blackwell emphasised that "the incision in the neck began on the left side 2.5 inches below the angle of the jaw."
Dr. F.G. Brown also giving evidence in the same case, told the City Coroner "the large muscles on the left side of the neck were severed to the bone. The sheath of the vessels on the right side were only just open." He made one other statement at the end of his evidence, which is of importance in considering the story told by D'Onston to Mrs. Cremers.
Dr. Brown concluded:- "In my opinion the woman was on the ground when the throat wound was inflicted. I found no blood on the front of her clothes."
I will deal with this point in a moment. Let me conclude with a brief reference to the evidence concerning the fifth and last of the Ripper murders - that of Marie Kelly. Said Dr. Bagster Phillips at the inquest "The cause of death was severance of the carotid artery."
So that D'Onston's remarks meant the medical evidence given at the various inquests revealed more than a passing knowledge of what transpired during those hearings. He had, with unerring accuracy, seized upon the fact that the throat wounds which had caused death, were all from left to right, and that the doctors who had carried out the post mortems upon the victims had emphasised this point, and had even suggested that the killer was left handed.
Of course it may have been purely professional interest which induced D'Onston to follow this evidence so closely that he could call it so vividly to mind twenty one months after the last Ripper murder was committed on November 9, 1888. For this interview with Mrs. Cremers took place in the July of 1890 when a further intimation appeared in the Press that the Ripper was about to embark on more murders.
It would also appear that Major Arthur Griffiths was equally intrigued with this left handed suggestion, for the paragraph to which I have already referred in the second chapter, culled from his Mysteries of Police and Crimes, concludes:-
"It would be interesting to know whether the man was left handed or ambidextrous, both suggestions having been advanced by the medical experts viewing the victims."
D'Onston scoured the idea with derision, as will be seen from the continuation of Mrs. Cremers' account of that grim interview in July 1890. D'Onston had reached the point where, according to him, his mysterious doctor friend was explaining how the medical witnesses had fallen into the error of thinking the crimes had been committed by a left handed man. And once more, in her own words, I give Mrs. Cremers' description of the scene which followed D'Onston's reference to the left handed suggestion.
"'He (the doctor) told me that he always selected the place where he intended to murder the women,' D'Onston explained. 'It was for a very special reason, V., which you would not understand. He took the Whitechapel Road as a sort of base for his operations, and made several journeys before deciding on the sorts best suited to fit in with his scheme of things. Then, having got his victims to these particular places, he manoeuvred to get behind them.'
"At this point D'Onston paused for some second which seemed like hours to me," said Mrs. Cremers. "He seemed as though he were reliving something that had happened some time before. Then he spoke again.
"'All those doctor fellows took it for granted that Jack the Ripper was standing in front of the woman when he drew the knife across their throats,' he said, and paused again before continuing, 'But he wasn't, V. - he wasn't. He was standing behind them like this.'
"As he spoke D'Onston crossed over and stood behind my chair. And even at this length of time, I can still recall the uncanny expectant feeling I experienced as I sensed him standing there behind me. I could almost feel a knife at my throat.
"But he was talking again, quite calmly, yet with deadly earnestness. 'It was quite simple really,' came his voice from behind as he reached round and placed his left hand over my mouth and nose, pulling my head back. I could scarcely breathe so form was his grasp. Then his other arm reached round my neck from the right, and again he spoke.
"'You see, V.,' he said, 'This arm (waving his right arm before my eyes) would be quite free, and all my friend had to do was to make one quick slash with his knife, and it was all over before they could utter a sound,'
"As he said this," said Mrs. Cremers, "D'Onston's arm relaxed and he withdrew it from my neck. At the same time he lifted his left hand from my nose and mouth, and I drew a deep and grateful breath."
But D'Onston had not concluded his story of the friendly surgeon who had confided these terrible things to him. He went on:-
"'At the inquests, V., these same doctors made a point of mentioning that the women did not fall but appeared to have been lain down. That is about the only thing right about their evidence. They did not fall. My friend did lay them down, and then - when they were on the ground he carried out the mutilations - so!'"
"As he spoke he came round to the front of me and made a gesture with his thumb. I remember it striking me at the time - although I must admit to being too shocked to observe very clearly - that the motion was in the form of a downward triangle, such as I had often seen him making upon the door of his room on more than one occasion. Meanwhile D'Onston was continuing his narrative of what, he said, happened at the scene of the crimes:-
"'Everybody, V., including the police were on the lookout for a man with bloodstained clothing,' he said, 'but of course killing the women from behind, my doctor friend avoided this, as their bodies offered some sort of protection. Had he been in front of them, his clothes must have been drenched with blood... Once or twice, he told me, he found a spot or two, but soon removed them.'"
Let me break into the story again to emphasise the remarkably detailed knowledge which D'Onston appeared to possess regarding how the Ripper crimes might have been carried out without the murderer's clothes becoming bloodstained.
This knowledge, D'Onston declared was obtained from the hospital doctor who had operated on him, and who, subsequently, in an excess of confidence because he (D'Onston) was a fellow doctor, had confessed to being Jack the Ripper.
I find it difficult to believe that the Ripper who murdered so stealthily and silently, would ever have proclaimed his guilt to a patient in his charge, even though that patient did happen to be of the same profession. It is inconceivable that he would go to such lengths as to boastfully describe in minute detail how he accomplished his crimes and - got away with it.
But D'Onston had not completed his gruesome recital, said Mrs. Cremers, and he went on to describe the nature of the injuries inflicted upon the women he slew.
"For the first time," she said, "I learned how, in two instances, the murderer after mutilating the bodies, took away the uterus; the mere mention of this fact horrified me, but I can see now the lifeless grin D'Onston gave when relating this part of his story. I was still more horrified when he went on to say:-
"'He tucked these organs in the space between his shirt and his tie, V.,' going through the motions as he did so. I could not repress a shuddering 'Good God!' as, in a flash there came to my mind the recollection of that black tin box in D'Onston's room containing the ties with their stained underparts. At the time I rifled that box and came upon them, I had wondered why on earth he kept such filthy neckwear; and how they came to be stained in such an unlikely spot.
"Now I knew! D'Onston had, out of his own mouth, provided the only explanation. From his own lips he not only explained how those stains could possible have come upon the underside of his ties, but had also revealed that they came from the blood of the murdered victims.
"All this passed through my mind in a flash as I took in the purport of his story; and in that moment one question dominated my mind.
"Who but the murderer himself could possible know the things D'Onston had told me?
"It was borne in upon me that the 'doctor friend' referred to, was nothing more than a figment of D'Onston's imagination, invented by him to conceal his own identity with Jack the Ripper. I was now convinced beyond all doubt that the man standing before me was in fact the Whitechapel murderer and that M.C.'s fears of her lover were well founded.
"During the latter part of his narrative I had been careful to intently watch him. I noticed that the expression on his face never changed except for one momentary grin when he described the removal of the uterus. Never once did her falter in his recital which was spoken in quiet unemotional tones. At the end he looked intently at me to see how I was taking it. I endeavoured to assume a calm demeanour; and, to break the spell as it were, I asked:-
"'But what did your friend want, D'Onston? What was he after?'
"By this time, I was more than ever anxious to get right into the mind of the man I now regarded as a self confessed murderer. I was puzzled at the idea of this apparently serene minded, cultured person as I knew D'Onston to be, being guilty of the horrors he had just described to me without the quiver of an eyelid. I had not read about the crimes at the time, and it was not until this moment, and from D'Onston himself, that I learned the nature if the atrocities. Hence my desire to discover the motive which impelled him to such gruesome crimes. Why had he murdered so many women, and what was the object of the ghastly mutilations inflicted upon his victims after death?
"There was no thought in my mind of any Magical background to the murders. I knew little of Magic beyond M.C.'s description of D'Onston as "a great Magician." It was the recollection of the ties and his explanation of how they had become stained with blood, which prompted me to ask him, 'But what did he want, what was he after?'
"D'Onston was not to be drawn however. He simply shrugged his shoulders as he answered:- 'He did tell me, V., but you would not understand.'
"I knew it would be fruitless to pursue the question, so I next ventured:- ''But didn't you ever tell the police?'
"He smiled. 'Yes,' he replied. 'I told them all right, but by the time they went to arrest him he had gone. You know, V., the police were awful duffers. Why, they had me in for questioning on two occasions, but of course I was easily able to satisfy them and they had to let me go...'
At this point of our story, we may pause for the purpose of a little analysis.
10-25-2010, 10:14 AM
Here follows the rest of Chapter 7:-
In the first place does not D'Onston's story of his "doctor friend" strike one as beyond all belief? From what we know of Jack the Ripper (his silence, stealth and secrecy) is it at all likely that he would make such a confession? I think not.
Is it not absolutely certain too, that if such a person as this doctor ever existed, the hunt for him (after D'Onston had informed the police) would have gone on relentlessly and without cease? But - says D'Onston, when the police went to arrest him the bird had flown. And - one must presume, the authorities were content to leave it at that. The whole idea is beyond belief.
There was never one single line of investigation upon which the newspapers of that day did not pounce and fasten like leeches. One has only to study their columns to be convinced of this. And, once can rest assured that however lax D'Onston would have us believe were the police in following up his information, the bloodhounds of the Press would never have let up on the story until the missing doctor had been run to earth and brought to book.
One other point I would mention, There is corroboration of Mrs. Cremers' story of the ties being bloodstained, in the reply of Aleister Crowley to my question, "And were they stained with the blood of his victims?"
"I would have no other reason for wanting them," replied Crowley.
Mrs. Cremers, bear in mind, only knew it, because of the way D'Onston demonstrated how the murderer had tucked his gruesome trophies behind the ties. And, as it is important that we should, wherever possible, corroborate any point of evidence as we proceed, let us return to the medical evidence for a moment.
Mrs. Cremers gathered the impression from D'Onston's gesture that his doctor friend had performed the mutilations in the form of a downward triangle. No definite conclusion on this point can however be drawn from the evidence of the doctor as reported in the Press of that day. The details are far too scanty to be of any assistance in this matter, with, perhaps, one exception, the case of Catherine Eddowes.
At the inquest upon Nicholls for example Dr. Llewellyn stated that the abdominal wounds were extraordinary for their length and their severity. He mentioned that there were several incisions running across the abdomen and several cuts down the right side caused by a knife violently downwards. Without a more precise knowledge of these injuries it is impossible to say whether or not they were in the shape of a triangle.
Dr. Phillips, according to the Times report of the Chapman inquest gave "medical evidence totally unfit for publication," so there is nothing to go on there.
There were no mutilations on Stride, the Berner Street victim, the Ripper being disturbed before he could complete his gruesome work. He more than made up for this omission in the murder of Catherine Eddowes on that same night, however. But, even though we have more details of her injuries, we have no information as to the order in which they were inflicted; because of this it is only possible to say that from the position and direction of the cuts and incisions upon the body of this, the Ripper's fourth victim, it is possible to trace the rough design of a downward triangle.
It will be recalled that in the case of Eddowes, part of the intestines had been extracted and "placed over the left shoulder," the uterus had been removed and taken away together with the left kidney. In order to extract these organs, a fairly large area of the abdomen would have to be laid open, and that this had been done was made clear at the inquest by Dr. Gordon Brown.
"The walls of the abdomen were laid open from the breast downwards," he told the Coroner, adding that there were a number of horizontal and oblique cuts which revealed a good deal of surgical knowledge "as to the position of the organs in the abdomen and the way of removing them."
It is in the oblique and horizontal cuts that one detects the possibility of their having followed a triangular course, and the reason I draw attention to them is because they offer further corroboration of Mrs. Cremers' description of D'Onston making the sign of the downward triangle when relating how the mutilations were inflicted.
At the time (July 1890) when D'Onston told this story, it should be remembered that Mrs. Cremers was utterly ignorant of the nature of the mutilations, and it was only her association of D'Onston's solemn gesture on this occasion with the many instances on which she had seen him making the same sign upon the door of his room, that impressed it so vividly on her memory that it at once came to mind when she was telling me the story.
To return once more to the story of Mrs. Cremers, it is clear that her curiosity had been thoroughly aroused by D'Onston's boast of how he had "satisfied" the police when taken in for questioning. Hence her follow up of his admissions. As she told me:-
"I felt that I must learn everything I could about the murders and - about D'Onston. I proceeded to ask him a question here and there, giving no inkling of my suspicions. Yet, all the time I was paving the way towards a scheme, whereby I hoped to persuade him to set down in fuller detail (with the object of newspaper publication) the story of his mysterious 'doctor friend.' I have already mentioned that I knew he was invariably hard up, and now that M.C. had broken with him, and there was very little coming in from the cosmetique company, I felt sure he must by worse off than ever.
"Suddenly I put a scheme to him direct, pretending enthusiasm for the idea as though it had just struck me.
"'You know, D'Onston,' I said, 'That's one of the most amazing stories I have ever heard. There's money in it. Why don't you write it up for the Pall Mall Gazette? You are well in with Stead, and he would jump at it.'
"'Oh, I don't know,' he began, and for the first time in my experience, it seemed as though he were not anxious to make money. But I kept at him. 'It would create a tremendous sensation,' I told him. 'It would also pave the way for stories in other newspapers.' He still appeared to be reluctant, but I was determined to make him set down in black in white the terrible story he had told to me.
"I got out pen and paper and placed them before him. D'Onston sat down and began to scribble off three or four pages of preamble handing them to me to read as he did so. The perspiration simply poured from him as he wrote, and he was obviously labouring under some great emotional strain as he scribbled away. I had never before seen him so much affected. Suddenly he rose to his feet, roughly pushed back his chair, and then quietly, and without a trace of the turmoil which had been so pronounced a few seconds before, he turned to me and said, 'I'll finish it tomorrow, V., and take it straight round to W.T. (meaning W.T. Stead) in the morning.'
"But I knew full well that he would do no such thing. The moment had passed. His excuse was simply a subterfuge to escape writing the story. I realised that he had never intended to write it, but had been forced to fall in with my suggestion in order to lull any possible suspicions. I believe now that he knew I suspected him and was trying to elicit how much M.C. had told me.
"He left the office and entered his room taking with him the few sheets of paper on which he had begun to write his story."
Such was the description given by Mrs. Cremers of the incident leading up to what she always referred to afterwards as "D'Onston's confession." And can there be any doubt that the man who related such intimate details of the crimes, displaying such infinite knowledge of the medical evidence of all five inquests on the victims, was in fact the man responsible for the Whitechapel murders?
But why tell her anything at all? it may be asked.
I think her explanation may correct. D'Onston was anxious to learn if possible exactly what Mrs. Cremers had been told by Mabel Collins. He undoubtedly knew of the latter's suspicions concerning him, and knew of her friendship with Mrs. Cremers. Consequently he wanted either to find out precisely how much the latter knew, or - to set at rest any lurking doubts she might entertain, by means of his story of the mythical doctor. You may well wonder, as I did, why it was with such strong suspicions of D'Onston, Mrs. Cremers did not go to the police and tell them the whole story. I put the question to her very bluntly.
I pointed out that here was one of the vilest murderers the world had ever known, still at large, and free to commit other diabolical crimes. Why did she not go to the authorities and tell them what she suspected?
Quite calmly, and with obvious sincerity she gave me her answer.
"I am a Theosophist," she said. "I believe that whatever we do upon this plane we shall reap our deserts in the next incarnation. I believe that we shall be rewarded or punished according to our life on earth. It is not for me to interfere with the laws which govern destiny. I did not do it them, I would not do it now."
"But," I insisted, "you surely owed it to the rest of the community, to take the steps to avert the danger of other possible murders and mutilations, no matter what your religious beliefs."
There was no pause or hesitation about Mrs. Cremers' reply to this point.
"You will remember," she said, "that D'Onston had already assured me in the clearest possible terms that there would be no more Ripper murders and that the last one had been committed on November 9, 1888. He had spoken truly. There were no Ripper murders during the twenty one months which had elapsed between that date, and the time of our talk. Consequently I felt quite certain that, being the murderer, he knew what he was talking about, and there would be no more murders by Jack the Ripper. I knew there was no further danger to others."
One afternoon towards the end of summer ion 1891, the door of her office opened and in walked Mabel Collins.
"Hullo, V.," she greeted Mrs. Cremers. "I've come back, you see." She then went on talking and talking without referring to the breach which had occurred between them. It was as though nothing had ever happened.
Mrs. Cremers, as was her custom, listened without saying much yet inwar4dly pondering on the purpose of the visit. Mabel Collins always had a purpose in whatever she did, and that purpose soon became clear.
"I saw D'Onston go out, V.," she said. "I was watching. When do you think he will be back?"
"Not till this evening," replied Mrs. Cremers who knew that D'Onston was dining with friend in Norwood.
Mabel Collins heaved a sigh of relief. Then said, "V., I want you to do me a favour; a great favour."
Mrs. Cremers said nothing, and Mabel Collins paused as if uncertain whether to go on or not. Her eyes were fixed upon Mrs. Cremers as though trying to read her thoughts. At length -
"I want you to get my letters back from D'Onston," she blurted out. "It is essential that I should have them, V. My very future depends upon them, and you are the only one who can help me."
There was no gainsaying her agitation and distress.
"What letters?" demanded Mrs. Cremers brusquely.
"Letters that I wrote to him when things were all right between us. They are - very - compromising letters, V., and so long as he has them to hold over me, I shall never be safe."
"Why don't you write and ask him for them?"
"You don't know D'Onston," came the reply, and then on a note of desperation, "You must get them, V., - I shall never know a moment's peace till I have them back."
"But if he won't give them to you, what makes you think he will give them to me?" Mrs. Cremers asked, and it was some moments before a rather hushed voice said:-
"He won't, V. You will have to steal them. He will never part with them otherwise. You will have to take them from his big leather case while he is out."
Mrs. Cremers shook her head.
"No, M.C.," she replied firmly. "I am ready to help you all I can, for I have no sympathy with D'Onston - or you as far as that goes. I have no time for a blackmailer, and that is what I take him to be." Mabel nodded her head, but Mrs. Cremers went on, "All the same I do not feel inclined to burst open his case."
In describing this interview with her one time friend, Mrs. Cremers said, "I did not tell her that I had already gone into D'Onston's room and rifled his tin deed box, nor did I mention finding the bloodstained ties."
Before she could say anything more by way of refusal Mabel Collins broke in with an eager, "But you will not have to break open his case, V. I have a key which fits it. I found it when he was staying with me at Southsea. I once had a hurried look into his trunk, but there was nothing to throw any light on who he really was. But I know my letters are there."
"Then why not go in and get them yourself - now?"
A reasonable enough challenge, one might think. But Mabel Collins broke in with a quick, "I couldn't, V. I'm too frightened. If he happened to come back and find me in his room he would kill me. I don't want him even to know that I have been here or even in London. You won't tell him, will you, V?"
"There was real terror in her voice as she spoke," said Mrs. Cremers describing this visit of Mabel Collins. "But at last I half heartedly said I would try and get the letters some time in the future, but would not promise. It just depended on what opportunity I was afforded."
Mabel Collins handed over the key and took her leave.
"I found the letters in the case, just as M.C. had said," Mrs. Cremers went on. "I sent them on to her with the key. I did not enclose any personal note for I wanted to make it clear that I did not intend to renew my friendship with her."
Two or three weeks passed by. From time to time at irregular intervals D'Onston appeared on the scene, but apparently he had not missed the letters.
Then, one morning he entered the office. He sat on the edge of the desk holding a letter in his hand.
"Mabel has been here," he said in a placid voice, adding, "I have just received this letter from her."
Of all the fools, thought Mrs, Cremers to herself, but she answered quietly, "Oh - what does she want?"
"Why didn't you tell em that she had been to see you?" countered D'Onston.
"Because she asked me not to."
"That was very unwise, V., very unwise."
"Nonsense," retorted Mrs. Cremers. "If Mabel likes to visit me it has nothing to do with you, D'Onston, and I shall receive whoever I like here."
"But it has something to do with me, V., for she has stolen some letters from my leather case. Letters I did not wish to part with." He gave Mrs. Cremers a searching look as he asked, "Did you let her into my room,V.?"
"Certainly not!" declared Mrs. Cremers with absolute truth. "And as far as I know she never went into your room or anywhere near it, except to pass by the door on her way up and down the stairs."
D'Onston gazed fixedly at Mrs. Cremers for some seconds and then asked, "Are you friends again?"
"No! And I don't intend to be. Why?"
"I was just thinking that if you had been , you might have stolen the letters in token of a revival of your friendship with her."
Mrs. Cremers admitted to me that this uncanny sensing of the truth caused a momentary flutter of anxiety but she managed to assume a semblance of indignation as she remarked, "You talk the most utter rot I have ever heard."
But D'Onston only smiled as he remarked, "I wonder - I wonder?"
He then went on:-
"Did Mabel tell you that she was sending a furniture remover to take away the few bits of furniture in my room, and that she is turning me out?"
"No - she made no mention of that," was the truthful reply; "but you would have had to get out soon, for I am giving up the office in a few weeks."
"Yes I know - but I like to do things in my own time, V., and I can assure you that Mabel will suffer for this. You can tell her too that I mean to get those letters back." For one brief moment Mrs. Cremers detected a flash of anger in his lifeless blue eyes as he added, "I'll take her to court if need be."
With this, he strode from the office closing the door behind him with the strange noiselessness which marked his every movement.
It was not till some weeks later that Mrs. Cremers learned that, having got her letters back, Mabel Collins could not resist boasting of the fact to D'Onston. She had written telling him so, and informing him that she was sending someone to collect her furniture. A childishly foolish thing to do, but - according to Mrs. Cremers, "typically M.C."
Meanwhile the Pompadour Cosmetique Company had been duly wound up, and the office vacated. The furniture had been removed from D'Onston's back room and taken to the flat just behind Madame Tussaud's, to which Mabel Collins had returned on leaving Scarborough.
Mrs. Cremers had gone back to live at 21 Montague Place with her friend Mrs. Heilman, and D'Onston had found accommodation elsewhere, though where Mrs. Cremers never knew, and was not even interested. She believed that D'Onston had passed from her life. So that she was surprised when he was brought back into it through a latter which came from Mabel Collins.
She asked Mrs. Cremers to meet her at a certain place at a certain time, insisting that it was "very urgent." Mrs. Cremers kept the appointment, and was told that D'Onston had taken out a summons against her one time friend for the return of his letters.
"What are you going to do about it?" asked Mrs. Cremers. Mabel Collins declared that she was "going through with it."
"Any fears that she may have had of D'Onston appeared to have vanished completely," said Mrs. Cremers in narrating this incident. "She seemed to have recovered her equanimity and displayed a confidence I had not seen in her since she had said to me, 'I believe he is Jack the Ripper.' She begged me to accompany her to court, and I agreed.
"The case was heard at Marylebone, and I shall never forget the shock I had on seeing D'Onston. He looked terribly ill, and although he moved in the same silent manner when his name was called and he made his way to the witness box, he seemed to lack the sanguine calm that was so usual with him. He was not exactly agitated - as he had been when writing the few pages describing his meeting with Jack the Ripper - but he struck me as being uneasy and not sure of himself.
"Perhaps he had expected that Mabel would have handed over the letters without daring to appear in court. I don't know! But when he was asked to take the oath, I noticed that while his lips moved mouthing the words of the ordinary Christian oath sworn upon the New Testament as is usual, not a sound could be heard. Somehow, he must have satisfied the court usher, but although I was sitting not far away I could not hear even a whisper.
"D'Onston was represented by a solicitor who asked him to tell the court in his own words the nature of his complaint against Mabel Collins.
"He opened his mouth as though to speak, mumbled a few unintelligible words, and then stopped gazing blankly in front of him. It was incomprehensibly eerie to me, who had never found D'Onston at a loss for words. But now he was literally speechless. The solicitor had already outlined the case stating that 'the defendant broke into D'Onston's room and extracted private letters from a locked trunk.' And now, when D'Onston was being invited to substantiate this allegation, he became suddenly dumb. It was for all the world as if he were paralysed. The words simply refused to come, and after an interval during which his solicitor went across and spoke quietly to him, D'Onston left the witness box and the solicitor announced that under the circumstances he could carry the matter no further. Whereupon the case was dismissed.
"I left the court hurriedly without even waiting to say goodbye to M.C. I believed that both she and D'Onston had passed from my life forever. It was true so far as M.C. was concerned, for I never saw her again. But as regards D'Onston, I was wrong."
How wrong will be gathered from what happened some little time later when we obtain our last glimpse of him through the eyes of Mrs. Cremers.
Meanwhile it is time to turn our attention in the direction of Black Magic and delve once more into its unholy conceptions in their relation to Roslyn D'Onston.
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