Lizzie Borden has been sometimes called “America’s Jack the Ripper”. The crimes of the real Ripper, only a few years before the Borden crime, are remembered by a group in the U.K. at an annual convention. This year the convention is in Wolverhampton at what was the old Royal Victoria Hotel. Don’t you wish we could go! The event is coming up October 12-14th -I hope there will be plenty of photos at the site. http://www.ripperconference.co.uk/
It would seem that we have some Partners in Crime, to be found at the Baker Street Blog maintained by Scott Monty (a BSI member) which is filled with suggestions for good reads, links, articles, and Sherlockiana. You may wish to visit and read some of their most excellent postings about the game afoot in other quarters. There is apparently never a shortage of crime. http://www.bakerstreetblog.com/
With a sheepish grin, HRH Prince Charles, Prince of Wales peers out from a campaign poster promoting the sale of aged sheep in a 2004 campaign to get mutton back on the plates of Englishmen! Touting the benefits and virtues of ewes of a “certain age”, “Renaissance mutton is the meat from a traceable farm assured sheep that is at least two years of age has been finished on a forage based diet and matured for at least two weeks post slaughter.” Not to mention the benefits of “grooming Britain’s rural landscapes”.
It’s good to know we are not getting older and undesirable- we are becoming merely fodder for a “renaissance”- or as one ewe says to another, “Ewe’s not fat, ewe’s just fluffy!” This link must be seen to be believed http://www.muttonrenaissance.org.uk/ What next? – a return to mutton chop sidewhiskers and leg o’ mutton sleeves?
Just back from “tailing a suspect” to tropical climes, which demands much in the way of endurance and cotton attire. The Mutton Eaters will be convening during deliciously cool New England November days when the frost is on the pumpkin, plumes of woodsmoke drift from chimney pots on the roof, and the crunch of dry leaves is heard underfoot. The pressing question, naturally is, what to wear for an all-day caper? One might suggest a sheepskin coat of course, in true Mutton Eater fashion, but a heavy wooly cardigan, gloves, and sensible shoes will fill the bill. There will be much huffing and puffing across the moors, various cemeteries, and the like- as well as pauses for refreshment at local pubs and eateries. Should you wish to pay tribute to the garb of The Master- well, deerstalkers and Inverness capes are to be had. An Inverness is actually a longish coat without sleeves. The cape is attached and falls over the arms, and is usually made up in a Harris tweed or some sort of woolen fabric which wears like iron. The price tag online is not for the faint-hearted. A proper Inverness cape can cost from 600-800 dollars! The very best come, of course, -from Scotland. As for the earflapped deerstalker hats, a variety of qualities are on the market and on Ebay. For as little as 18 dollars, a replica deerstalker may be found online. One does get what one pays for however, so be warned the quality may not be all that is desired and the cheaper versions tend to run very small. Below is a good link for an English shop which for about $20.00 offers a great deerstalker hat in sized and three patterns of wool check. Magnifying lens, walking stick and violin optional accessories!
Alice Russell is one of the few major players in the Borden drama who is not buried at Oak Grove, and that being the case, she is rarely “visited” out in Westport at Beech Grove Cemetery. Beech Grove is not the easiest place to find either. So, on our way to Fairhaven, we will be detouring to 1. Colonial Bakery which has the most divine creampuffs on the planet and memorable cinnamon cider doughnuts too, and 2. Beech Grove Cemetery to say a few words and leave a posy for good old Alice Russell, who in the end “came clean” and blew the whistle about that dress Lizzie burned in the stove on the day after the funeral. Alice must have seen plenty during her stay in the Borden house during the days after the murder, not to mention being the recipient of Lizzie’s tale of poison and impending doom the night before the slaughter on Second Street.
After the trial, Lizzie cut her old pal loose. Alice had lived in the Kelly house, on Borden Street, and also at the corner of Prospect and Hillside in the Highlands-not far from Maplecroft. Funny to think about Lizzie walking right by her old friend and giving her the cold shoulder. So, the Mutton Eaters will give Alice a tribute and a salute for telling the truth in the end as we visit her former abodes and final resting place.
Dear Future Muttoneaters! After a drismal rainy weekend which ended up in dazzling sunshine, some preliminary sampling of Fall River cuisine was managed, in anticipation of the November 9th arrival. Some Hearty Muttoneaters can’t wait until Friday, and will arrive on the 8th to get things stirred up before the big day. Should mutton not be enough to satisfy, chourico pizza may prove a toothsome midnight snack. The versatile Portuguese sausage is an equal opportunity meat, scrambling nicely with morning eggs, saucing it up with afternoon “grinders” and surprisingly, topping cheese pizza with an unexpected taste which just might make pepperoni obsolete. So, for your gustatory experience, chourico will be added to the dining delight come November 9th. As you can see, the quilts are airing on Mrs. Churchill’s fence, and all is in rabid preparation for the Coming of the Second Street Irregulars!
Future Muttoneater inductee Kfactor has designed an especially snappy emblem for the upcoming November 9th meeting. Kudos and Congratulations! “We can’t do anything in a minute, run through the free Latin translator comes out something like
Nos non proficio quisquam in brevis vicis.
Everything always sounds better in Latin- or at least it sounds more legitimate and important! Membership cards for the Second Street Irregulars is the next project.
Second choice for the vote
The curved pipe, deerstalker cap and Inverness cape were not the invention of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Sidney Paget, the illustrator for The Strand magazine which first published the Sherlock Holmes stories, concocted the pipe and cap, but it was American actor, William Gillette who made these props famous.
Mr. Gillette was a big star of the late Victorian stage, under the wing of the legendary Charles Frohman who managed the careers of many famous actors such as Maude Adams, Billie Burke, John Drew, Ethel Barrymore, Nat Goodwin, George du Maurier, Marie Tempest, Seymour Hicks, and Ellaline Terris, to name but a few. Frohman would die in 1915 in the sinking of the Lusitania, quoting Barrie as the ship was going down in lines from Peter Pan – “Why fear death? It is the most beautiful adventure in life.”
A proposed field trip for the spring or summer meeting is Gillette’s Castle- a bizarre construction of Gillette’s own design which was finished in 1919. The castle overlooks the Connecticut River in East Haddam, and can be reached by a ride on an old steam train from Essex station. Even Conan Doyle would approve! http://www.essexsteamtrain.com/gillette.html