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RDS's Grant Application To Literary Society

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  • #31
    On his application he says he has a BSc from Paris and an MD from Philadelphia

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    • #32
      Hey you found it Neems ! Good going !

      That "The Danger Of Pick Me Ups" looks like a good one.

      He'd be the guy to know.
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      • #33
        Call it a hunch, but I've got a feeling that this letter to the ( Pall Mall Gazette ) editor was from RDS.
        You'll notice that he claimed to have written an article between 1884 and 1888 about the dangers of chloral hydrate :

        He was also in the Davis Ward of the London Hospital at one point...Currie Ward as well.
        Does the address on the letter look like Davis to you ?
        Maybe this is that "article"...because I can't locate an article in that time frame.



        Pall Mall Gazette
        September 8, 1888
        ***************
        ( D'onston had been in the hospital for 44 days )


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        • #34
          There is a notable absence of any mention of his nom de plume "Tautriadelta" despite him listing his articles

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          • #35
            .....or " One Who Knows", which is why I think this letter to the editor might be what he was referring to. Look at the signature.
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            • #36
              Thanks so much for that letter and the rest Debs - great stuff:-)
              Here is the text of the main letter.

              Wilton Cottage, Little Camera St., Chelsea, S.W.
              3 Nov. '96.

              The Committee of the Royal Literary Fund.
              Gentlemen,
              I respectfully make application to you for monetary assistance, being utterly unable, without it, to extricate myself from the pressure of difficulties which threaten to submerge me altogether.
              But first, as briefly as possible, to prove my claims to your kind consideration.
              I was originally a Medical man; went nearly all over the world - sometimes as a "freelance" in different foreign armies (see my article "Pall Mall Gazette" - "Under Five Flags"), at others as doctor on board ship. Being incapacitated by sun stroke, which seriously affected my memory, and having written several successful articles, I finally adopted Literature as my profession twenty years ago.
              I enclose (on the Application Form) particulars of a few articles selected from the hundreds which I wrote for "Industry" from 1879 to 1882. Also, as you will see, I wrote some important articles for the "P.M.G." always receiving 2.2.0. per col. until its enlargement, when I had 3.3.0. Now, I write for "Borderland" which is only 1 per page.
              I am utterly unable to procure copies of any articles now except those in "Borderland;" as, some years ago, I lost through misfortune the whole of my belongings. And I have only, now, the books which I have acquired during the last four years.
              I only recommenced literary work this spring; having been since 1890 (when I had an attack of partial paralysis) unable to write any original matter, and have kept myself going by doing translations, etc., etc. I could do that, but I could not think in print.
              I am entirely free now from the brain trouble; and, if I can once get my head above water, can float by my own exertions. To show that I am not quite a dunce, I may perhaps mention that for the last ten years all my spare time has been occupied in a revision of the Greek Gospels from the ancient Codices (26) and Fathers. "The Patristic Gospels" will be completed in six months from now, and, according to some of the best Greek scholars in England, will entirely supercede all previous versions.
              I have above 150 Deans, Canons, et cetera, who have paid me in advance for copies during the last 12 months; besides double that number of clergymen who will take it when it is out. And a thing must be essentially good for clergy to pay in advance!
              But I don't want your Committee's assistance to finish it; it can take care of itself, as it has hitherto done. I merely mention the work in proof of my ability as a scholar.
              What I do want you to do, Gentlemen, is to enable me to free myself from my crushing burden of debt which - though trifling in amount - is utterly beyond my power to lift. It might just as well be thousands, for what I can do.
              20 will entirely free me; and further, enable me to get what I sadly need, some warm winter clothing.
              I have nothing but a well worn summer serge suit; no great coat; no warm underclothes. And, after so many years, in hot climates, I feel already the English cold terribly.
              My landlord bullies me every day till I cannot compose myself to write; and other people do the same till I don't know whether I am on my head or my heels.
              Altogether, I owe about 12; and, though I am very economical and a teetotaller, these things were unavoidably contracted through illness, as I was laid up in hospital three months this year.
              If your Committee will help me, I shall never have to apply to you again; because I can then see my way straight ahead.
              I have a lot of valuable books (principally Greek, Hebrew, and Latin) which will fetch only a trifle if they are seized and sold; as they certainly will be if this - my last hope - fail me.
              And then, there is only the workhouse before me. That is as certain for me at the end of next week as that I live.
              I have outlived all my relatives who could have helped me; and since my wife went wrong - years ago - I have made no friends.
              The two recommendations required are from Mr. Stead, Editor of "Review of Reviews," who has known all my circumstances for the last twelve years, and Mr. W.M. Frost, Asst. Superintendent of the Central Telegraph Dept., General Post Office, who has also known my affairs for 20 years.
              Trusting that your Committee will see your way to help this very lame dog over the stile,
              I have the honour to be, Gentlemen,
              Your most obedient servant,
              Roslyn D'Onston.

              P.S. Oct. 4th, '96.
              Unfortunately, as you will see by the enclosed note to myself, Mr. Stead did not open until this afternoon my letter to him of some days ago. In fact, I went to his office today to see why he had not replied. He was just starting, in a great hurry, to catch his train; and, I suppose, dictated it to his type-writer to be done after his departure. I only received it this evening. Had he not been so hurried, he would have spoken as to my private character.
              He will gladly do so, so inquiry at any time between now and your meeting next Wednesday. The girl has made a mistake in my Christian name: I presume that does not signify. Mr. Stead always addresses me privately as "Chevalier," because we are both members of European orders. I return him the compliment.
              R. D'O.

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              • #37
                Two oddities:-

                The mention of his wife:-
                I have outlived all my relatives who could have helped me; and since my wife went wrong - years ago - I have made no friends.

                I thought I was misreading and this should say "life" but it looks unmistakably like "wife." (see below)

                Also the main body of the letter is dated in November 1896 but the postscript the month before!

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                • #38
                  I can't locate the article he claims to have written ( between 1884-1888) for the Gazette...the one on the dangers of the Coolie trade.

                  Chris, RDS' brother Richard was also alive in 1896 along with sister Isabella...
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                  • #39
                    A couple of posts back, I suggested that the address was "Davis" as in Davis Ward... "A Novel For Morphomaniacs".
                    There is a "Davos", which is in Switzerland...and that's probably the correct address.
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                    • #40
                      I can't find anything to substantiate D'Onston's claim of writing two sequels to Under Five Flags in the PMG.
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                      • #41
                        He had "Dead or alive" published around Christmas/New Year 1892 but he mentions another ghost story published at the same time

                        By this time, or due to the circumstances, seems to have distanced himself from some of his occult claims somewhat

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by How Brown View Post
                          A couple of posts back, I suggested that the address was "Davis" as in Davis Ward... "A Novel For Morphomaniacs".
                          There is a "Davos", which is in Switzerland...and that's probably the correct address.
                          This was a letter to the editor written in September 1888. Remember that our friend Roslyn D'Onston was in the London Hospital during the whole time of the Whitechapel murders. Maybe it was the Pall Mall Gazette that misinterpreted D'Onston's wrd "Davis" as "Davos" or D'O having a bit o' fun making them think he was in Davos, Switzerland. The chloral hydrate topic though is very interesting in relation to the Ripper case. Makes one think even though I continue to believe the man makes a poor candidate to have been the Whitechapel murderer.

                          As an aside, I find it interesting that in applying to the Royal Literary Fund he would list a short letter to the editor among his writing accomplishments. Odd.

                          Chris
                          Christopher T. George, Lyricist & Co-Author, "Jack the Musical"
                          https://www.facebook.com/JackTheMusical/ Hear sample song at https://tinyurl.com/y8h4envx.

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                          • #43
                            Hi Debra,

                            Congratulations on a really fantastic find. And thanks to Chris Scott for his translation of Donston's letter, it really helps my poor old eyes.

                            Although I have yet to read carefully through this thread one thing stands out in my mind; when I made a transcript of the Custom House Records, which was published in an article in Ripperologist a couple of years ago, there was a theme running through the whole correspondence - he was always asking for money. Now we find him doing exactly the same thing again many years later.

                            Another small point, the secretary who took W.T. Stead's dictation was probably using shorthand, which could often lead to mistakes.

                            One question which Howard asked some years ago was how Donston made a living, I was never sure but guessed that he may have taken up freelance journalism; now you have proved it!

                            Well done

                            Rgds
                            John

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by How Brown View Post
                              I can't locate the article he claims to have written ( between 1884-1888) for the Gazette...the one on the dangers of the Coolie trade.

                              Chris, RDS' brother Richard was also alive in 1896 along with sister Isabella...
                              Hi How
                              My comment on his mentioning his wife was more in the light of later rumours that he had killed her.
                              But your comment about his surviving kin was certainly interesting
                              Chris

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                              • #45
                                Hi everyone,
                                I'm glad that this is proving to be useful and leading to new information being found! Great work locating the new articles mentioned How and Nemo.

                                I'm a bit behind with this thread having only surfaced from tonsil limbo land properly this morning, but regarding the list of articles written by RDS; if you look at the bottom of the list there is some very faint handwriting like footnote at the very bottom of the page. I think it might be explaining that he hasn't listed all his articles etc. I think transcribing that bit is definitely another job for Chris S. I'll try and post an enlargement of that section up later.

                                Also, the "brain injury", in an earlier line D'Onston mentions some sort of paralysis he'd suffered from. Is it possible he'd had a stroke?

                                Hi John, you are probably right about him always asking for money. Further in the file is the mention that D'Onston has recently applied for a civil list pension ...whatever that is?

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