Hypocritical Cant, Politics, Satire, Social Justice

The Avenging Finger Of An Offended Deity

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It is not my purpose dear reader, to describe in any amount of detail Inspector Depta’s sly progress up the carpeted staircase and along the gallery that led round to the back of the house. Nor do I intend to recount in any detail his journey from room to room or the criminal scenes he encountered within, scenes of such infernal wickedness that he might have effected a dozen successful arrests . Suffice it to say that eventually, he lit upon the chamber in which the unfortunate Lyca McKillen slept her drugged sleep. Her innocent blonde head lay upon a brace of sparkling white pillows, and though she lay unmolested she lay not in that chamber alone! For another was there, a bearded man whose greying brow furrowed deeply as he slept, one who clutching pen and paper in his fist lay curled up upon the hearth rug snoring like a swaddled babe.

The sight of him caused Inspector Depta to reflect most morosely on the ever diminishing likelihood of his early retirement. Looking upon the prone (and therefore vulnerable) miscreant a while longer however, the Inspector thought he espied an opportunity to kick Lyca’s inconvenient abduction under the Bow Street Detective Police carpet. Garbed as he was in crumpled evening wear, highly suggestive of a night actively spent midst the flesh pots of 5 Gulliver Place, and in the arms of an under-aged woman, Inspector bethought himself that this intrepid reporter’s fate was sealed. “A more naive cove I ain’t never seen in my life! Get up! Go on! Get up!” he roared administering a hefty kick to the prone journalist lying at his feet. He glanced at the extravagantly garbed figure of this ‘intrepid reporter’ little doubting that he’d have him ensconsed within the four walls of Newgate Prison before the sun was down.

“Get up God damn ye!”

The intrepid reporter groaned and rolled to and fro clutching his bruised shin, he rubbed his shin some more, rubbed his forehead, and abruptly sitting up found himself at once greeted by a sight which though confusing to him, was most fortuitous given the rapidly unveiling circumstances.

“So, it is you Inspectah Deptaa!” exclaims he his  bleary eyes alight with sudden perspicacity, “The prodigious enabler of the deflowering of our British maidenhood’s maidenhood! Servant to the satanic slaving hordes of London! You sir are a disgrace to your office! You are a disgrace to the uniform you wear sir! A disgrace!”

Adminstering another kick (this time to the reporter’s backside) causing him to sprawl on the rug, the inspector chuckled, “I ave no uniform as such, and you sir and your big mouth ave been found in the wrong place at the wrong time! Nah! Lets be ‘avin yeah! GET UP!!! I said get up!! I am arresting you in the name of all—”

Now, dear reader, let us contemplate this delightful moment in which both prone victim and bullish victor contemplate each other. Watch with bated breath as the intrepid reporter thrills responsive  to the compromising position in which Inspector Depta has unwittingly put himself. To have coincidentally presented oneself, in the bedchamber of a drugged yet untainted maid on the brink of being forever ruined by a predicatorial degenerate! For it is certain that Mrs Ada did not herself call for his services! Why, here is a headline in the making! And as if lit up in blazing red letters above the inspector’s head the intrepid reporter see’s it now,’Rabidly Licentious Detective of Bow Street, Succumbs To Brothel Fuelled Depredations!’.

“Better to be bald as a Dutch cheese than to come to this!” declares the intrepid reporter a fervid gleam of triumph entering his eyes,”D’you what?!” exclaims the inspector for he has not yet grasped how precarious is his position. “Bald as a Dutch cheese! Bereft of position, reputation , of money ,than to be discovered! And in the grip of a vice such as this!” the intrepid reporter declares once more, pen gripped in hand and writing, upon that crumpled sheath of papers clasped in his ink stained hand.

“Vice?” declares the inspector looking puzzled,”Vice? Why gentlemens of eminent standing has been enjoying they-selves in the homes of  licentious bawds for countless centuries!”

“With children?” asks the intrepid reporter his eyes raised momentarily from the page on which he is writing, “With what?!” bellows the indignant Inspector Depta, “With children” continues the editor of the Pall Mall Gazette calmly,”Purloined from the Spitalsfield’s Workhouse and Dispensary and sold, enslaved, to white slavers operating dens of ill-repute, such as this one. Many have recoiled in shuddering horror from places such as this! A den whose minions feast lustfully upon the flesh of our helpless maidens! And you Inspector! You uphold their dissipated depravities by failing to arrest them!”.

“Arrest them?” the Inspector is bemused,

“Arrest them! Here dwells a foul enchantress!”

“What? Mrs Fard?!”

“Arrest her! And in the scarlet room and the violet room lie two who, bestial, brutal and ferocious, would call themselves eminent  politicians! Arrest them sir! Arrest them!”

If ever the inspector were to aim a blow at this imbecilic creature’s head, now would be the time. Arrest the cream of England? And merely because they had carelessly strayed from the corridors of power into Mrs Fard’s brothel? T’is beyond all contemplating so far as he is concerned. He eyes the fervent reporter (crumpled evening dress and all ), the way he would a starved rodent. Arrest a member of parliament? A member of the aristocracy come to that!

“abominable, unutterable, and worse than fables yet have feigned or fear conceived” continues the intrepid reporter his pen moving feverishly across the page, “But it is true, and the publication of these evil deeds is necessary , for here is a den of infantile iniquity and here is an inspector who supports it. In fact the more I think about it, the more I believe that your interests would be best served if you were to take me into your confidence”.

“Your confwidence?!”

“Yes, when first did you happen upon this Minotaur’s den of iniquitous depravities ,and decide to do nothing about it?

“Do naahthink abowt it? I’ll bloody well do something about you!” and with a bellicose roar of rage the Inspector raises his billy-club, but as he prepares to bring it down upon the head of the half prone journalist two things occur at once. The scream of an awakened child terrified by the near- spectacle of an attempted murder. And worse yet the sound of a thunderous northern voice jubilant in it’s triumph,”So! Inspectah Depta! We have you at the rattle!”,the Inspector knows and loathes that voice once it had been the voice of a potential victim, now it is the voice of an eminent politician. Pocketing his billy-club and adjusting the tilt of his heart the inspector turns on his heel and attempts to smile,”Well and if it ain’t the Union Rep!”

 

 

 

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Hypocritical Cant, Politics, Satire, Social Justice

The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon

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“There…there is the very girl that was made for you. If she had been made to your order she could not have suited you better”
“Indeed, sir, is not that young woman white?”
“Oh no sir! She is no whiter than you see!”
“But is she a slave?” asked the preacher
“Yes” said the trader,”I bought her in Richmond, she comes from an excellent family”.
– Clotelle; or, The Colored Heroine

T’is almost autumn and as the leaves start to turn yellow and drift delicately down from the trees, Inspector Depta walks briskly towards Gulliver Place. Five Gulliver Place sits at the end of a pristine street; it is an elegant Dowager of a house, clad in Ivy, with a sparkling white door and an old fashioned wrought iron gate barring the way to all but the most influential, the most affluent, and therefore the most worthy. Across the road from the house is a small park encompassed by a wrought iron-fence on which perch Starlings and the odd Blue-Tit. Lush, Rose Bushes squat in the rich, green, grass of this park and squirrels gambol to and fro, from time to time they clamber up the Elm Trees and along their branches to the squealing delight of the children skipping along the paths beneath the trees. T’is a thoroughly lovely location for an apprenticing into the oldest profession in the world or at least it was. But now the Inspector finds himself ascending the steps to this infamous address with heart in mouth and the Union Rep (now turned MP), close on his heels.

The front door glides open and as a maid bows smartly before him her pretty wide eyed face framed by a linen cap, he thinks himself one of the most fortunate men in all of England. To have stepped where so many eminent men have also trod,and to have profited so graciously thereby! To have served the great, the good and the wealthy and have obtained two promotions (and his own Brougham Carriage) as a consequence! “Is your mistress at home?” the girl nods, “Here’s my card” for in establishments such as these he says precious little that would endanger his credibility as an officer of the law. The maid seeks out her mistress and Inspector Depta at once notes how serenely quiet this esteemed environment is. One could almost fancy that one were present in a domestic establishment. A beautifully furnished, plushly carpeted domestic sanctuary of a type he might well create for himself once he has put by sufficient.

At length the girl returns and escorts him into Mrs Fard’s morning room, a light and airy place, facing onto a small carefully tended garden, well hidden behind layer upon layer of lace and taffeta curtaining. Mrs Fard is a slender woman, bright of eye and handsome of carriage, a slaver of children though she claimed to have seen better days (once). He has heard tell that she has connections, though in truth he has yet to meet a nunnery keeper who boasts otherwise. He had also heard tell that she came from aristocratic stock, though Constable Qwinty (who’d arrested her several times in her youth) had said different.

“Well, and what may I do for you Inspector? They’re no gentleman here to speak of this morning and the girls are all a-bed as I was till you called”

“My apologies”

“Indeed, will you take tea?” Inspector Depta blushes slightly, he coughs politely,

“Whisky ma’am if you please”

“Whisky? At this time of the day? What ails you Inspector?”

“A discarded child” he replies sombrely,

“A discarded child?” says she, a cold smile alighting upon her handsome face,”There are no discarded children here, there are only workers, all wanted, all welcome!”

“This child” he continues, “Was lately orphaned and has drawn the attention of two influential men…two politicians”

A curve to those lips that one could easily mistake for a delighted smile if one did not know the woman, “Oh.Which worker?”

Inspector Depta knocks back his whiskey and rubs his gnarled fist over the back of his head,”Lyca McKillen”

A thinning of the lips accompanied by the narrowing of those fine brown peepers and the Inspector thinks he can breathe a sigh of relief,

“Lyca? The little runt I bought off of Billy? A pretty penny I paid for her! Why without my intervention she would have been nought but a societal encumbrance and what’s my thanks?The girl will do little for me and even less for the custom I place her with! Why I’ve had to give back twice what I paid for ‘er and soothe the custom into the bargain! She’d do better at the bottom of the Thames that one! Who are the men?!”

And here the Inspector knows he must be very careful, say the wrong word and the child may well end up a footnote on the page of some London Bridge Obituary.”Men of high reputation and unblemished honour, she was took from them and they want her back,is she ruined?”

Mrs Fard doesn’t answer straight away, she’s too busy pouring Assam tea into a translucent china tea cup,”We’re a busy establishment I’ve not had the time!! Would they have her drugged or drunk?” says she taking a nip of tea. For Mrs Fard’s prestigious establishment is famed for the compliant disposition of her ‘apprentices’ and she will not have that hard earned name tarnished.

“What was she when you last took hold of her?”

“Drunk” she declares nonchalantly,”But dressed (alas!) in a manner thoroughly in keeping with taste and delicacy”. The Inspector proffers a wry smile, aren’t they all to begin with? Now to cut to the chase,”Where is she?”

“Upstairs, asleep”

During the day they’re always asleep, he knows this from previous visits when both he and his men have had to dispose of the body of some poor girl, brutalised by a misbehaving customer. Mrs Fard’s Gulliver residence, a place where victims can scream to their heart’s content and not be heard, where the murdering is always prodigwous quiet and the witnesses always fast asleep!

(to be continued)

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The Inspector

 

 

 

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ACCESSIBILITY, Hypocritical Cant, Politics, Satire, Social Justice, The Hearthlands of Darkness

A Diminished Figure On The World Stage

Pretty-little-Victorian-girl-Children-postcardsThe Little Girl Found

All the nights in woe,

Lyca’s parents go:

Over vallies deep,

While the deserts weep,

Tired & wobegone,

Hoarse with making moan,

Arm-in-arm seven days,

They traced the desert ways,

Seven days they sleep,

Among shadows deep,

And dream they see their child,

Starved in deserts wild,

Pale, through pathless ways,

The fancied image strays.

William Blake

It is dusk in fairyland and gleaming carriage after carriage sets down its elegantly attired occupants outside the sparkling theatres and places of amusement London is famed for. See there, Madame Montaperti, extravagantly clad in a black silk gown trimmed with fringed beads and wrapped in a luxuriant Astrakhan trimmed shawl. Close on her heels follows Lady Elderberry whose large grey eyes sparkle quite as brilliantly as the Hesketh-Elderberry diamonds clustered around her pale alabastered throat.

She observes Lady Montaperti gracefully ascending the steps of the Theatre Royal and on the arm of some indubitably handsome but anonymous admirer, observes her but ‘cuts’ her dead. For t’is common knowledge that Lord Montaperti did attempt to burn his niece to death, indeed that he was responsible for the catalytic events that precipitated the Tooley Street fire, and so the Montaperti’s have become ‘persona non grata’. Cast out from the midst of respectable society they must survive as best they can.

Inspector Depta observes this encounter (amongst many others for fairyland is prodwigious bustling on such a night as this), and chuckles to himself. Inspector Depta, stalwart of the Detective Police of Bow Street, and keeper of the gates, to the open vault of the undisclosed secrets of half the swells in England. Inspector Depta, who, having observed the two ladies elegantly enter the Theatre Royal, also notes the maids trailing in their wake, Mrs Virgillia (an undisclosed Pinkerton employee) and Miss Demelza Thickett (an American secessionist’s daughter). So much intrigue trailing along behind such pretty skirts, t’is a wonder the aristocracy of England have held onto their rule for so long! But these matters can wait, for his is a far more pressing difficulty and one that if not soon solved may culminate in his demise.

T’is early in the evening, and so the hustle & bustle of carriages coming and going, may still be heard through the open windows of the palatial room Inspector Depta refers to most humbly as ‘his office after closing’. An ebony wood dining table, a decanter of brandy a finely wrought brandy glass, a gleaming cigar lit and perched most delicately on the rim of his glass. Inspector Depta, is a man of none too subtle tastes but this evening he is affecting to be congenial.

“Take a seat my fine fellow, please, sit down”

The ‘fine fellow’ in question,having been enticed out of a ‘nunnery’ in Whitehall by the offer of some stolen silverware, and then been bludgeoned into unconsciousness and flung into the back of a Black Mariah, can do nothing more than stagger into the velveteen armchair thrust before him. He has been dragged down stairs by the scruff of his neck and up them, he has been punched with some justification and none at all. In short his has been such a thunderous set of goings on for the last couple of hours that nothing Inspector Depta would care to demand of him would surprise him at all, nothing but this, “Where is she?”

“Eh? Where’s who?”

“Walt McKillen’s niece, Queenie McKillen’s daughter (God rest her soul!) what you done with er?”

A slow smile snakes it’s way across the fine fellow’s raddled face, both his blackened eyes light up and gleam, hard and sure like a rattlesnakes. Where’s he taken her? Where is she? Why no place else, than where they been took all these years! Did iz majestic care then? Did he eck! So what’s changed? The fine fellow thinks he knows. Snatching the glass decanter away from Inspector Depta and taking a deep swig from it himself he inquires slyly,”Walt McKillen’s niece,she important then?”. Inspector Depta narrows his eyes at the fine gent known to one and all as Billy Scroggins, he rubs his fists slowly over his bald head and sighs. Policing can be such a tiring affair, staying one step ahead of yer bosses and three steps ahead of such as sits before him here, a tiring, tiring, business.

Moving faster than a rodent with it’s tail dipped in tar and set on fire, the Inspector slides round the table catching hold of Scroggins by the cravat,”We’ve done good business in the past haven’t we my fine fellow? Bow Street has treated you well az it not? We az done you many a favour. Nah,Where.Is.She?”. What with the choke-hold on his windpipe, it is not possible for Scroggins to answer straight away, but perhaps that is best for t’is been nigh on a fortnight since the child in issue tumbled into his grasp, and since then there have been so many others, that it takes him a while to place her.”Queenie McKillen you say? The beauty wot took up with Bobbish Todger? An him a married man!”

The Inspector tightens his grip, till Scroggins is so blue in the face that it seems as if he has near slipped this mortal coil,”Where.Is.She?”. Loosening his fist a little Inspector Depta permits a choked reply to escape his blued lips,”Sold ‘er to Mrs Fard!”

“Amelia Fard?!”

“None other, a pretty penny she paid for ‘er, said she was pretty as a rose bud and well worth the price”. The Inspector’s face is a picture, t’is a long time since he felt any emotions remotely attributable to some moral sense of shame. But his face has hardened all the same, and t’is the lack of emotion on his reddened face that causes Scroggins to panic, for did he not wear that look on the day the Bow Street Detective ‘arrested’ his father, an he weren’t seen again neither.

“Inspector Qwinty” says he turning to the bullish looking gent hovering aggressively over the ‘fine gent’ Scroggins, “Let Mr Gladstone know we’ve found ‘er but don’t tell him where”. Nodding curtly Inspector Qwinty exits the office most relieved to be free of the corrupted and corrupting presence of both men, and most shocked to find that Inspector Depta does indeed have a heart (to be continued..)

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