Midnight's Voice: A Whitechapel Drama [Cortex +]

edited October 2014 in Actual Play
Howdy folks, some of you may remember me from my last Actual Play thread, The Post-Modern Masks of Nyarlathotep. Although I have no plans for a long campaign in the immediate future, I did have an idea over the summer to try and run a little more dramatic game, mostly to test out the Cortex Plus Dramatic rules.

For my subject matter, I decided to look at Whitechapel during the events of the Autumn of Terror: August-November, 1888, when the Whitechapel murders attributed to "Jack the Ripper" occurred. Don't ask me why, beyond a latent antiquarianism and a morbid fascination with the subject. But I thought it might make an interesting setting for a game, where the PCs aren't investigators but are caught up in it against the backdrop of a terrorized population.

I got interested in using Cortex Plus Dramatic because I think it's a very subversive system and one that does a lot via its mechanics to push stories into a solid dramatic foundation--so I wanted to see how that might work in practice, and how to GM it. I also got to work on some of my "artisinal" GMing techniques, making custom character sheets and a title-sequence.

For various reasons, I decided to do the writeups in the form of a screenplay. The formatting here will get pretty bent, but you can see the Google doc in the original format.

I'll use my standard writeup techniques here: [Italicized stuff in square brackets] is my commentary. So far I haven't had to refer to the players in the writeup, but when I do I'll used [Initial of the PC]P to identify them. None of the players from my Masks game are in this one, but I have a feeling I'll run this scenario more than once, so you never know.

Here are the Leads, with links to their character sheets:

Aubrey Matchington: A member of the gentry, Matchington is a brilliant amateur criminologist. He still believes in phrenology, and has a working relationship with both the Met and a mental hospital. Aubrey is intelligent, long-winded, and does the wrong thing for the best of reasons.

Daisy De Lancé, "Comtesse de Brienne": The daughter of an American steamship tycoon, Daisy married Finnegan Simon de Lancé, the Irish-Jewish descendant of an exiled French noble family; the title is purely a courtesy, as neither Napoleon bothered to renew it. Daisy has taken up a variety of causes including socialism and secretly works as an abortionist. She is breathless, outgoing, and slightly clueless about the realities of class division.

Rivka Solomon: Rivka is a Jewish immigrant to the East End, where she works as a prostitute. She lives in a boardinghouse on Hanbury Street that has an extremely flexible guest policy, allowing it to operate as a very low-end brothel. Rivka works hard to take care of her fellow boardinghouse inmates.

Kathleen Ross: Kathleen is an immigrant from County Kildare. Her father was unjustly imprisoned after the Trafalgar Square Riots of 1887, and she works tirelessly to try and get him freed. She lives in the same boardinghouse as Rivka, but works as a hatmaker in a factory.


Leah Solomon de Lancé: Rivka's daughter, adopted by Daisy.
Finnegan Simon de Lancé, Daisy's husband and a surgeon; may be Leah's father.
Detective Chief Inspector Nelson Wellington Highgrass: Head of H Division CID; he has worked with Aubrey, and uses Rivka as a reluctant informant.
Thomas Ross: Kathleen's father, currently imprisoned in Newgate Gaol.
Johnny O'Connor: From the same village as Kathleen and Thomas, a sometime revolutionary and criminal. Thomas was arrested because he was shielding Johnny from getting caught at the riot. In love with Kathleen, an affection she does not return.
Dinah: a former inmate of St. Thomas' Asylum. Rivka bribed the administration to release her, and she lives in the Hanbury street boardinghouse.
Jonathon Featherston: Industrial hatmaker, employer of Kathleen and rival of Aubrey.

You will notice that I tried to establish mood by making small differences to the wording of each character sheet :-)


  • edited October 2014


    It is a bank holiday weekend in Victorian England. In quick montage we see:


    AUBREY MATCHINGTON sitting at a table, reading the Times and drinking brandy.


    KATHLEEN ROSS walking with determination up to the front door.


    DAISY ROCKFORD DE LANCÉ and her husband, FINNEGAN SIMON DE LANCÉ are packing some last-minute things for a trip to the seashore.

    FINNEGAN: Come along, dear. The third-best tourist cottage in Dorset awaits.


    Crowds walk by, and several boisterous young men mount the steps to the boarding house.


    A large crowd of men is mingling with several prostitutes. A young girl tugs on the dress of a woman.

    GIRL: Miss Rivka?

    RIVKA SOLOMON, a young Jewish woman in her twenties, looks down at the girl. RIVKA has a kind face, but it shows the determination she has needed to survive the hard years she has spent in Whitechapel.

    RIVKA: Yes?

    GIRL: It's Miss Dinah, ma'am. She's went out a while ago to try and earn some money and she ain't back yet.

    RIVKA: Did she say where she was going?

    GIRL: She said she was going up around George Street, ma'am.


    RIVKA hurries up the street, pushing through crowds of passersby. She reaches the entrance to a courtyard, and a YOUNG WORKING MAN pushes past her.

    MAN: Crazy [slur]!

    RIVKA walks past him and enters a dingy, dimly lit courtyard.


    6 August 1888

    RIVKA walks deeper into the courtyard. She glances over to her right, where a woman is passed out near some stairs. She glances the other direction, and then strides purposefully into a corner.

    RIVKA: Dinah!

    DINAH is revealed hiding in the corner, her back pressed up against the wall. She is in her twenties, her face contorted in horror. She raises one trembling hand and points at the woman lying near the stairs.

    DINAH: The Devil!

    RIVKA walks over to the woman. As she approaches, she realizes that the woman is not sleeping, but dead. Blood has started to pool around her, and she can see she has been brutally stabbed.





    Several days later, the squad room at the Leman Street station is bustling with activity. Bobbies march their collars in for processing, and clerks hustle around carrying stacks of paperwork. AUBREY MATCHINGTON, a well-dressed member of the gentry in his early 40s, enters the station. He is a little portly but his eyes burn with a fierce intelligence. DETECTIVE CHIEF INSPECTOR NELSON WELLINGTON HIGHGRASS approaches him. HIGHGRASS is also in his 40s, stout, with large muttonchop whiskers. He has a cop's bullish determination, but there is also a touch of sadness and insecurity to him.

    HIGHGRASS: Good morning, Mr. Matchington. We have a case I think you'll find very interesting. Why don't you come with me to the morgue.


    AUBREY and HIGHGRASS gather around the covered body of a woman on an autopsy table. HIGHGRASS pulls back the sheet.

    HIGHGRASS: Mrs. Martha Tabram, found a few days ago in George's Court. Stabbed 39 times, if you can believe it. We are of the opinion that she was done by a rip gang, fellows what extort money from prostitutes. Like that Emma Smith who got killed a few months ago.

    AUBREY: Any leads?

    HIGHGRASS: Not yet. But I'll tell you something, that Rivka Solomon woman, she knows something. More than she's said so far.

    AUBREY: How brutal. But sooner or later degeneracy will out. I will let you know if I can determine anything.


    In quick montage we see AUBREY walking through the city, lost in thought, until he arrives in front of the Hanbury Street boarding house/brothel where RIVKA lives.


    This basement, connected to DAISY'S house via a tunnel, has been converted into an impromptu surgical theater where she can perform abortions. ANNIE CHAPMAN, a rather run-down woman in her 40s, is led into the basement by JOE, the upholsterer who runs the shop at street level. DAISY, an energetic American woman in her twenties, takes ANNIE'S hand.

    DAISY (offering her a glass of water): Please sit down, my dear.

    ANNIE: Water? Thank you, ma'am. They say you are a lady doctor--I don't have that complaint, but I do feel dreadful run-down of late.

    DAISY conducts a brief examination of ANNIE but it is inconclusive, other than demonstrating that she is an alcoholic. There is something else wrong with her but DAISY doesn't have the medical training to be sure about what disease it might be.

    DAISY: Please lie down on the couch over there, Mrs. Chapman.

    ANNIE: Oh, I couldn't stay, ma'am, I have to go out and earn me doss money.

    DAISY: A doctor I know will be coming to look after you. You can stay here for the night, no need to leave.


    KATHLEEN ROSS, a young Irishwoman in her 20s wearing her best Sunday dress, is visiting her father, THOMAS ROSS, in his cell. THOMAS was unjustly imprisoned following the Trafalgar Square Riot in November, 1887, but so far KATHLEEN has been unable to prove his innocence.

    THOMAS: So d'ye have any news for me, Kathleen?

    (He pronounces her name in the Gaelic fashion, Caitchleen)

    KATHLEEN: Nothing so far. I tried to talk to some men in the Home Office over the bank holiday, but they were all on holiday or too busy for the likes of me. And some poor woman was murdered.

    THOMAS: Ah, you'll get no justice from these English. You're biding John?

    KATHLEEN (Annoyed): I'm pretty sure he's biding himself.

    THOMAS: Now Kathleen, John is from our own home town and I told him to watch over you.

    KATHLEEN: He comes over to check on me when he remembers, but I honestly don't know what he does with most of his time.

    THOMAS: He needs a good woman in his life, is what he needs. You bide him. If you're smart, one day the two of you will get honest and move to America.

    KATHLEEN: I'm not going anywhere while you're still here!

    THOMAS: Now, Kathleen, don't trouble over me. Sooner or later the English will find something else to pin on me and I'll be for the noose. Now don't work too hard, a chuisle mo chroí. I'll see you soon.

    (He coughs briefly but violently.)

    KATHLEEN (Looks suspiciously at her father): Good bye, Da.


    KATHLEEN is sitting in front of the desk of WILLIAM FINNEY, the prison governor, a somewhat oleaginous middle-aged man. A loaf of soda bread is on the desk, partially unwrapped--a gift from Kathleen.

    KATHLEEN: Good day, Mr. Finney. How is your wife? And young Will?

    FINNEY: Oh, fine, fine. Mary's enjoying Cardiff. Will is very interested in cricket these days, cricketers this and cricketers that. He's very impressed with his uncle, just back from India. Thank you for the bread, it will brighten my current bachelor state.

    KATHLEEN: My father seems to be ill, do you know how long he's been that way?

    FINNEY: I would have to check my records, but it's not gaol fever--he'd have been removed to the infirmary.

    KATHLEEN: He has the patience of a saint—

    FINNEY (interrupting): And the constitution of a stout son of Eire.

    KATHLEEN (CONT'D.): --so of course he denied being ill. Is there anything I could bring him? I know it would have to be examined first.

    FINNEY: Well, we should discuss this...I would be delighted to repay you for this marvelous bread. Perhaps I could take you to dinner some night?

    KATHLEEN: I would love to...but my work probably will keep me away. If I can I'll bring some laudanum on my next visit?

    FINNEY: Of course, of course Miss Ross. Until next time.
  • edited October 2014


    RIVKA and AUBREY are sitting facing each other. Tea and some soda bread, baked by KATHLEEN, who is a tenant in the building, are on the table.

    RIVKA: Mr. Matchington.

    AUBREY: Miss Solomon. I'm here as a favor to Chief Inspector Highgrass.

    RIVKA: Oh, that terrible business. I told the Inspector everything I knew. I found the woman in George Court, and called the constables.

    AUBREY: Was she known to you?

    RIVKA: No, I didn't know her. I heard people talking about her after, but I didn't know her.

    [And here we had our first roll--RP put together a pool based around Rivka's Observant distinction to see if she knew anything.]

    It seems that she was probably being extorted for money--there's a man I know who has been giving us trouble, he beats women with a carpet beater.

    AUBREY: I suggest you give the name of that man to the police. One final question: do you happen to know of anyone who purports to have seen the victim before you did?

    [And now we went into our first conflict, which I badly botched! New systems are fun!

    So we put together a pool: Aubrey rolled his relationship with Rivka and Truth. But that was a mistake--his relationship with Rivka doesn't seem to allow for him to not believe her. Rivka put together Dinah and Truth as well.

    In any case, Aubrey won by five. And then I effed up the stress. And we couldn't come up with a good way to have Rivka stressed out. Sigh.]

    RIVKA (Nervously glancing at the ceiling.): No.

    AUBREY: I am sorry to have taken up so much of your time. But I think the police don't know everything yet. The work that was done on Mrs. Tabram was done by a man of passion, not an extortionist with a carpet beater. Good day.

    [So, Rivka took Frightened stress. AP said that he didn't so much believe that Rivka was lying to him as much as he had said a bunch of scary things to Rivka that made her worried Dinah would be taken back to a mental hospital.

    In fact, the conflict should have been centered on Rivka--she wanted Aubrey to stop questioning her and continue to believe that she didn't know anything else...and the whole thing is murky. Maybe we shouldn't have picked up the dice here.]


    FINNEGAN comes in the front door and DAISY intercepts him in the hallway.

    DAISY: Finnegan, there's a woman in the back who's ill, here I wrote down all her symptoms.

    FINNEGAN: Dear heart, could I perhaps take off my coat and put down my bag? I was hoping maybe to have a drink? Now, there's a woman in the back? In the pantry?

    DAISY: Not in the pantry--in the—-

    FINNEGAN: Ah, the hobby room.


    FINNEGAN and DAISY stand around the couch. ANNIE is nowhere to be seen.

    DAISY: I told her she could stay! She was just here a moment ago?

    FINNEGAN: Dearest, it's six o'clock. She probably went to get a drink.

    DAISY: I told her she could stay the night!

    FINNEGAN: But did you give her anything to drink?

    DAISY: I gave her water! It seemed perfectly sufficient at the time!

    FINNEGAN (reading DAISY'S list): She's an alcoholic, dear. Perhaps she has some degenerative disease, or cirrhosis...people live very hard lives here, dearest.

    DAISY (nonplussed): I know that! But still—

    FINNEGAN: I'm sure you did your best.

    They walk down the tunnel that connects the EXAM ROOM to their TOWNHOUSE.

    DAISY: Well, tell me about your day at least.

    FINNEGAN: Oh, typical. Cut things off, sew other things back on. I ran into Highgrass down at the club. Going on and on about that woman who got killed. Dastardly business. He did say something rather unusual--his surgeon claims the killer may have had some kind of medical knowledge.

    DAISY: I don't know if I ought to hope if that woman comes back! I don't know if I can fix her--but she does need help!

    FINNEGAN: Yes, dear. Her and the other eight thousand prostitutes in Whitechapel. I'll just go and have the guest bed made up.


    The CAULDRON is an Irish pub near Commercial Street. KATHLEEN ROSS enters, now wearing her normal workday clothes. PUBGOERS greet her boisterously. The PUBLICAN hails her.

    PUBLICAN: Good evening, Kathleen!

    KATHLEEN: Good evening, Sean.

    PUBLICAN (Passing her a mug of small beer): Your John is in the corner.

    And in the corner of the pub is indeed JOHNNY O'CONNOR, a handsome Irishman in his twenties, holding court with his fellow NE'ER-DO-WELLS and their MOLLS. KATHLEEN sighs and makes her way over to the corner. She slams some soda bread on the table.

    JOHNNY: Thank you love. How's your old Da?

    KATHLEEN: It's my father you should be thanking, by staying out of trouble!

    JOHNNY: Oh, but I am staying out of trouble!

    The NE'ER-DO-WELLS and their MOLLS all laugh.

    KATHLEEN: You better! Or everything my father has done for you will have been for nothing!

    JOHNNY: I'm very careful. I won't get caught.

    KATHLEEN: You understand that your ability to not get caught when my father isn't here is about zero! The best way to not get caught is to not do anything!

    [Our second conflict, and much better. Kathleen rolled Duty (I must protect my family), her Father, and On a Mission. John rolled Kathleen (you will be my bride yet) and Love. And he blew her out of the water.]

    JOHNNY: Kathleen, Kathleen, don't worry your head! Stay with us, I'll show you a nice evening--I'll buy you dinner. We're flush right now, ain't we boys?

    (He holds up a gold watch)

    In a montage sequence, we see KATHLEEN spending the rest of the night in the pub, steaming in quiet frustration. In the background, JOHN and company enjoy themselves, singing and dancing.
  • edited October 2014


    AUBREY enters the cell, accompanied by a GAOLER.

    AUBREY: Thank you. Please stand outside. (To Thomas.) Good evening, Mr. Ross. Are you well?

    THOMAS: I bide well enough.

    AUBREY: I want you tell me why you are here?

    THOMAS: I'm here because the English pinched me! I was minding my own business and they swept me up!

    AUBREY: Ireland is full of gentlemen who mind their own business, Mr. Ross, and most of them are not in Newgate.

    THOMAS (snorts.): There's more Englishmen than Irishmen in Newgate.

    AUBREY: Mr. Ross, starting this week we are going to have more frequent interviews and I want you to understand why. It is on men like you that the future of Britain rests. You have the capacity to become more than you are, or the capacity to become much, much less. Your breeding is not degenerate, that is clear by the offspring you have managed to produce.

    THOMAS: Aye, Kathleen is the pearl of great price.

    AUBREY: Indeed, she is an admirable girl. There are savage, irredeemable men in this world, Mr. Ross.

    THOMAS (aside): Aye, I call them me cellmates.

    AUBREY (CONT'D.): There are also men like you. I know there are many in London who think you are of the same species, but I know you are not, and if you think about it clearly I know you do not think so either. My mission is that you will understand why it is that you are here, and how you can avoid being here in the future. And in that way we may develop a programme to distinguish men like you, whose essential nature is tribal, from men whose essential nature is solitary and predatory. Are you interested in helping me, Mr. Ross?

    THOMAS: Well, first off, doctor, I don't think there's any chance of me getting out of Newgate except in a pine box.

    AUBREY: There's more chance if I'm inclined to recommend it.

    THOMAS: You're not going to be asking me to do anything unnatural?

    AUBREY: The natural, Mr. Ross, is what we fall back upon when we don't have any better ideas.


    Several prostitutes are sitting around rather listlessly. RIVKA is getting ready to make her weekly visit to DAISY'S house to visit her daughter, LEAH, who DAISY and FINNEGAN have adopted.

    RIVKA (Looking around.): What's wrong? Usually you're all at the pub by now.

    YOUNG PROSTITUTE: We ain't got any money to go to the pub.

    RIVKA: Times are tough. Have you been working?

    YOUNG PROSTITUTE: We've been working...I dunno...there's that crazed man about...and...I'd like to go to the pub, but…

    RIVKA: Dear, drinking is a luxury. We have to learn to make due on food and small beer in times like this. Have you eaten today? Take some money and buy some food. Then you come straight home.


    RIVKA enters, preparing to leave through the back door. The building's landlady, MRS. SCHNEIDER, a German woman in her 60s, is sitting at a table drinking gin with POLLY ANN NICHOLS, an English prostitute in her 40s.

    POLLY: I know what's wrong with them girls. They hain't got no good clothes anymore. Been 'ere a year in a new city, hain't got a thing to wear no more. Nothing like a new dress or bonnet to perk a girl up. (Knowingly, assuming RIVKA is a de facto madam.) You'll understand this as you grow into yer job.

    RIVKA: New bonnets can be lived without.

    POLLY: I suppose. I 'ear you have some sort of benefactor.

    RIVKA: You mean Mr. Matchington, he is an odd duck.

    POLLY: He once came up to me with a pair of forceps! Wanted to measure me 'ead! 'Twas a gennleman, bought me a bottle o' gin after. Not the strangest thing I ever did for me fourpence. But I 'eard you 'ave someone else you call on. Wouldn't mind a new bonnet meself. But as you say, we's gotta 'ave small beer and food before we can 'ave the fripperies.

    RIVKA: Now is not a time for it. Let me know if you are in trouble, and I can help you. A new bonnet isn't trouble.

    POLLY: A new bonnet can earn a girl fourpence, though. Most of yer girls, this is their first year in London. Some hain't even from England. They can use a bit of cheering up.

    RIVKA: Well. As I said, you can ask me for help anytime. Or if anyone you know needs help.

    POLLY: You can always ask ol' Polly for the same, Miss Rev--Riv—

    RIVKA: You can call me Rebecca if that's easier.

    POLLY: Thank ye, I never was good with foreign names. Well, I'm off to the pub.


    DAISY meets RIVKA in the parlour, holding a bottle of red liquour.

    DAISY: Here try this. It's grenadine. It tastes like pomegranate! My sister Virginia sent it from New York.

    RIVKA (drinks): Thank you--

    DAISY (CONT'D.): I don't like it at all! But mys sister sent me a case and I need to try and make cocktails with it. It tastes so industrialized. You can call me Daisy, you know. I'll go get Leah. She's playing piano now, I hope she likes that too. Maybe you should ask her--

    RIVKA (trying to keep up with the torrent of words): I'm sure she likes it very well, ma'am.

    DAISY (CONT'D.): --Well I never liked piano, that was my sister. I'm off to have tea with Mr. Matchington at the club.

    CLOTHILDE (coming down the stairs with Leah): Madame.

    DAISY (CONT'D.): The watercress sandwiches there are terrible, I tried to get them to serve ham but I don't think they listened. Do you like ham? Leah likes it. My father told me there's some new restaurant on Broadway that serves potato crisps. With salt and vinegar, but not chips! Doesn't that sound good!

    DAISY sweeps up her bonnet and ties it on as she exits the townhouse. CLOTHILDE the au pair returns to the kitchen. LEAH goes to the piano and begins to bang on the keys.

    RIVKA: That's lovely, dear.

    LEAH: Maman says that Mozart could play piano when he was just six.

    RIVKA: Mozart sounds very special.

    LEAH: Maman says I'm going to be just like Mozart.

    RIVKA: I'm sure Mozart was a very good boy who minded his mama and that's why he was so good at playing piano. And I'm sure that you will too if you do the same.

    FINNEGAN enters the townhouse.

    FINNEGAN (Calling out): Darling! I'm home--oh! Hello, Rivka, I--I did not know that this was the day. Can I get you anything? I could have Clothilde bring us something to eat...or...something…

    RIVKA: That would be very kind, sir.

    FINNEGAN: Good, good, good...er, we can't--that is, we don't keep kosher here.

    RIVKA: Whatever you serve me will be fine, sir.

    FINNEGAN: How have you been, Rivka?

    RIVKA: Very well, sir. Despite the news.

    FINNEGAN: Ah, that woman. I'm afraid people get killed all the time in Whitechapel, especially women of that kind—that is...I hope you're all right. Do you need any money or anything? I'm sure I can make it good with Daisy.

    RIVKA: Some of the women in the boarding house haven't had anything new to wear in a year. If you had anything you didn't need anymore—

    FINNEGAN (Calling out): Clothilde! She'll take you upstairs. Take anything you want from the closet, Daisy will never miss it. Half of it is over six months old, she'll never wear it again. My God, the amount of money we spend on fabric, and then we had to actually bring a tailor in from Paris. I don't know why, all they did was speak French for an hour.

    RIVKA: Your wife is very accomplished.

    FINNEGAN: Yes she is, indeed indeed indeed...and one day I'm sure we'll have an heir...to carry on the de Lancé name into the next century. I'm sure the twentieth century will be better than the nineteenth...progress and all that. Just hope we don't get into any damned wars by the time he grows up.

    RIVKA: Yes indeed, sir.

    FINNEGAN (Pained): Rivka, can't we talk? It's just me...it's just Simon.

    RIVKA: Sorry, Simon...it's...good to see you again.

    FINNEGAN: It's good to see you again too. Are you sure I can't do anything more for you? Find you some housing? I could give you some money…

    RIVKA: Thank you, Simon. I don't want to move because I need to watch out for the other women there.

    FINNEGAN: You're such an angel to them.

    LEAH begins to plink away at the piano keys while the two adults keep talking.

    FINNEGAN (CONT'D.): We're trying to raise her just the way you want...I even had a rabbi in a few weeks ago to talk to her. I don't know much about it, that was mother's religion. She was an angry old German lady, always cross with me. If you like, you can come over during the holidays to be with her.

    RIVKA: Thank you Simon. I would like that.

    RIVKA sits next to LEAH at the piano.

    RIVKA: What are you playing now, darling?

    LEAH: I'm Mozart!
  • edited October 2014


    AUBREY meets DAISY in the Ladies' Dining Hall. A WAITER and a MAITRE D' follow in DAISY'S wake.

    MAITRE D': If Madame would just wait one moment—

    AUBREY: Hello, Countess.

    DAISY: Hullo Aubrey! How are you! Have you heard about that woman who got stabbed? Are you consulting on it?

    The WAITER shows AUBREY the menu. He nods and turns back to DAISY. Without being asked, the MAITRE D' fills up his wineglass--he is accustomed to DAISY'S visits.

    DAISY (CONT'D.): Inspector Highgrass says it was extortion but I don't think extortionists stab people in the stomach, do they?

    AUBREY: Highgrass is incomparably Highgrass.

    DAISY: You mean that he's an imbecile.

    AUBREY: I didn't say it—

    DAISY: I'll bet you thought it.

    AUBREY: The Countess is as always sharply spoken. Obviously it's not extortion, a crime this brutal doesn't come from extortion. Lust or liquor is what I said when they showed me the body. But the Inspector thinks what he thinks.

    DAISY: Have there been other cases like this? The newspapers say it was "unprecedented."

    AUBREY: The newspapers think it was an extortion gang with an exceptionally sharp carpet roller--so yes, that's "unprecedented." The usual story is that the man gets angry at a woman he thinks is unfaithful to him. That particular constellation of events doesn't seem likely here, but subhuman men will commit subhuman acts. There haven't been any recent cases like this, though.

    The WAITER brings out their plates of Dover sole.

    AUBREY: And how have you been.

    DAISY: My sister sent me some grenadine. She thinks it's delicious but I think it tastes like industrial pomegranate juice. Have you tried grenadine, by any chance? Would you like to try it in a cocktail?

    MAITRE D' (Aside to AUBREY): Is monsieur ready for the second bottle?

    AUBREY: Please, thank you. (To DAISY) I haven't had the pleasure yet, but I don't think you're supposed to drink it straight.


    DAISY and AUBREY are enjoying the pleasant day by walking back to her townhouse.

    AUBREY: I've been working on another project. There's a man in Newgate Gaol who is so archetypical of his ethnicity. I don't think he's a bad man--certainly not the kind who would put holes in unfortunate women. He's tribal--loyal to his tribe and to his chieftain. My question is, is it possible to make someone in that position find a better tribe and a better chief--to transfer his loyalties and cease being volatile and instead become a productive element.

    DAISY: I don't understand. What tribe?

    AUBREY: He's Irish, was arrested during the riots last year. All he knows is that the Irish hate the English and the English hate the Irish, and somehow he has never learned to think anything better. Sad, really.

    DAISY: But don't you think it would be better if they got Home Rule? I mean, we set off on our own in America, and that worked out. It seems that Mr. Gladstone's solution is the best, that the only reason the Irish hate the English is that you're ruling over them!

    AUBREY: I'm not a political scholar myself; how Ireland will fare when the Irish take over remains to be seen. But this man is in London, and there is no shortage of the problems we have with Irishmen like him, in London. Politics won't solve all of our problems; it may not solve any of them. This is a matter of science.


    FINNEGAN is trying to stuff RIVKA and several packages of clothes into a Hansom cab. The clothes are packed in tissue paper tied up with bows. As DAISY and AUBREY arrive, FINNEGAN hands RIVKA several bonnets.

    DAISY: Honey, what are you doing? I love that bonnet! What's going on?

    She grabs a bonnet away from RIVKA.

    RIVKA: I'm sorry ma'am.

    AUBREY: Miss Solomon?

    FINNEGAN: No, Rivka, keep them--you don't mind, do you darling?

    DAISY stands in somewhat stunned silence, then leaps into action.

    DAISY: Cabman, here's a sovereign. Can you wait?

    CABMAN: For a bleedin' quid I'll wait 'ere all day!

    Everyone heads into the townhouse.


    Everyone except DAISY is sitting somewhat uncomfortably in a circle. DAISY is speaking to the maid.

    DAISY: Clothilde! Put on some tea for our guests! And get those watercress sandwiches, that's the custom I believe?

    CLOTHILDE: Oui, madame, I shall put on the kettle. Again.

    There is a knock on the front door. FINNEGAN gets up to answer.

    FINNEGAN: Ah--Kathleen! What a surprise! Do, uh, come in please.

    KATHLEEN enters, bearing a loaf of soda bread. After taking off her hat she joins the tense circle in the parlour.

    DAISY: Here, Kathleen, have some grenadine in tonic water.

    CLOTHILDE enters, carrying a tea tray.

    CLOTHILDE: Tea for--cinq?

    She turns back for the kitchen, muttering to herself.

    KATHLEEN: If this is not a good time…

    DAISY: This is a fine time, I can try out my grenadine.

    FINNEGAN, seeing all his guilty failures in one room, shakily pours himself a drink and downs it quickly. He makes another immediately. CLOTHILDE enters.

    CLOTHILDE: Tea for five.

    FINNEGAN (Slurring his words slightly): None for me, thanks.

    CLOTHILDE: Will that be all, madame?

    DAISY: Yes. Just fetch us the grenadine and tonic water.

    KATHLEEN: I should probably come back when you don't have guests—

    DAISY: Don't worry, these guests all arrived by different vectors, and I'm so glad to have you all here for once. Why don't you ever come to my parties, Kathleen? Here's your tonic. Let me know what you think. Rivka what was this about my bonnet? And all these clothes?

    FINNEGAN: Dearest, I told Rivka she could have your old things, you're not wearing them. And they're just going to waste.

    AUBREY looks sharply at RIVKA and FINNEGAN and LEAH, trying to puzzle out their relationship.

    DAISY: OH! Well, they're six months out. But I never wear them, they should go to someone else. But I do like this one, it has the little flowers. If I'm going to give my bonnets and dresses away, do you mind if I go through them first? Clothilde!

    CLOTHILDE: Oui, madame. I shall just go unwrap them all.

    DAISY: Well, Finegan, I wish you hadn't try to hide this from me! I like this lavender bonnet.

    FINNEGAN: I'm sorry, dearest, but the last time I asked you about a bonnet, you told me that you didn't wear the black anymore because you hate it.

    RIVKA retreats to the piano, where LEAH is plinking away.

    RIVKA: That's lovely, darling. What's this song called?

    LEAH: Birdie!

    FINNEGAN: How are you, Aubrey old man! Have a drink.

    KATHLEEN attempts to cover up a fit of laughter with a cough.

    DAISY: Are you ill? Can I get you anything?

    AUBREY: Your husband is a doctor, isn't he, Countess?

    FINNEGAN: No sir! I am a surgeon, and happy to hold the title of "Mister".

    KATHLEEN: Actually, I come not for myself but for my father. He has a cough, and I was hoping that you could give me a recommendation for something to bring to him.

    DAISY: Let me write these down. Tea with honey or peppermint...there's a tonic that my father swears by…

    The room falls quiet as she writes, everyone basking in the uncomfortable silence.

    FINNEGAN: What a charming lull in our conversation! I'll have another drink.

    KATHLEEN: Miss Solomon, it's funny to run into you. A mutual acquaintance of ours was asking for you--if you could break away from here…

    RIVKA: Yes, I've stayed too long, I must get back.


    DAISY and LEAH are on the steps as CLOTHILDE hands up several packages to the CABMAN.

    CABMAN: Climb aboard, ladies.

    LEAH (Waving): Bye-bye.


    CABMAN: Well, you ladies did well for yourselves.

    He snaps his whip and the cab lurches into motion.

    KATHLEEN: I'm sorry, I didn't really have anywhere for you to go, you just looked like you needed to go.

    RIVKA: That was very strange--why was Mr. Matchington there when I was there?

    KATHLEEN: I was wondering the same thing, except about me.

    KATHLEEN: We shouldn't go straight home. Cabbie! Stop up ahead.

    RIVKA: And we should do something to disguise these packages, we don't want to be seen marching into the boardinghouse with all these fancy ribbons and things.
  • edited October 2014


    A SHOPKEEPER stands behind the counter as KATHLEEN enters.

    SHOPKEEPER: Good day, Kathleen!

    KATHLEEN: Good day to you, Patrick. How's your daughter?

    SHOPKEEPER: Fine, fine, nicely recovered from her illness.

    KATHLEEN: Would you mind if I took a few potato sacks?

    SHOPKEEPER: I don't know--potato sacks are very expensive around here...I'm jestin', take whatever you need. We still remember Thomas around here. How's your beau? John?

    KATHLEEN: John O'Connor is no beau of mine!

    SHOPKEEPER: Well! I'll tell him that, I guess.

    KATHLEEN: You would be doing me a great service if you do!


    KATHLEEN and RIVKA are distributing the dresses and bonnets to a crowd of excited young prostitutes.

    YOUNG PROSTITUTE: Ah, these are lovely they are! I know where you must 'ave got 'em--from Mister Johnny. 'E's sweet on Miss Ross. Ma'am, may I take this black bonnet 'ere to Polly?

    RIVKA: Darling, put it in this bag and take it to her.

    YOUNG PROSTITUTE (Putting on a new bonnet): Miss Ross, are you coming to the pub with us to see Polly?

    KATHLEEN: I'm afraid I can't, I must work early in the morning.


    AUBREY and DAISY are drinking grenadine-based digestifs while FINNEGAN dozes in a chair.

    AUBREY: Countess, I believe we owe each other some explanations.

    DAISY: Yes, I didn't know you knew them!

    AUBREY: And I didn't know you knew them either. Miss Solomon is someone I meet more often than I like in the course of my work with Inspector Highgrass. I spoke to her recently with reference to the supremely violent "extortion gang." Miss Ross is the daughter of my other project, the Irish man.

    DAISY: Oh, her poor father! I'm glad you think he's a decent sort.

    AUBREY: I only hope we can help him, and those like him.

    DAISY: Miss Solomon and Miss Ross are both friends of my husband. He knew Mr. Ross through his Socialist connections.

    AUBREY: Oh, really?

    He shoots FINNEGAN a rather arch look.

    FINNEGAN (Sings): Debout, les damnés de la Terre, Debout—

    DAISY: If you're going to sing, don't sing off key.

    AUBREY: Count, we should meet sometime to discuss our mutual acquaintances.

    FINNEGAN (Slurred): Of course, Aubrey, of course. You're a good egg. Stuck up pratt, but a good egg.

    AUBREY (To DAISY): Before I leave, might I be introduced to your daughter?

    DAISY: Of course! But if you measure her head, please don't use forceps! She's just a child.

    AUBREY unconsciously pats the pocket of his jacket where he keeps his forceps.

    DAISY: Mr. Matchington, this is my daughter Leah. Leah, this is a friend of mine.

    LEAH hides behind DAISY'S skirts.

    AUBREY: Don't worry, child, I'm a very ordinary man.

    He stares at LEAH for an uncomfortable amount of time.

    DAISY: Don't be afraid, dear, Mr. Matchington measures the heads of bad people to find out what's wrong with them.

    LEAH: So you think I'm bad?

    AUBREY: Not at all, we measure the heads of all different kinds of people, that way we can learn about all of them.

    He produces his calipers and demonstrates the measurement techniques on DAISY.

    AUBREY (TO DAISY): We so rarely get a chance to measure while a person grows. You can learn so much from these observations.

    LEAH, fascinated, tugs on his pantsleg.

    LEAH: Me, me!

    AUBREY carefully writes down DAISY'S measurements, then gently takes the measurements of LEAH'S skull. He looks at FINNEGAN.

    AUBREY: Count, would you care to play along?

    FINNEGAN: Of course, Comrade!


    KATHLEEN: So how did you know Mrs. de Lancé?

    RIVKA: She was very kind to me once.

    [And we have another contest! But it was a bit of a minor affair. Kathleen tried to press Rivka, but Rivka managed to win. But again, I messed up the stress...this probably shouldn't have even been a contest, to be honest, but one of the players floated the idea.

    My consistent messing up of the mechanics and inability to articulate the way they should work is a source of frustration as I listen to the recording of the session.]

    There is a sudden clatter outside, and then a burst of Irish-accented voices begins singing snatche of Irish folksongs. KATHLEEN looks out the window and sees JOHNNY and his NE'ER-DO-WELLS.

    JOHNNY: Come on, Kathleen! Come down the Cauldron with us!

    [Now HERE'S a real contest! John rolled Love and Kathleen (You'll be my bride yet) while Kathleen rolled Duty and Jonathon Featherstone, her boss. But Johnny beat her by five, stressing her out and dragging her down to the Cauldron.]


    KATHLEEN protests, but the crowd of young Irishmen pour into the boardinghouse and drag her with them through the streets of Whitechapel. The streets are unexpectedly crowded--a large fire has broken out at St. Katharine's Docks, filling the sky with a lurid orange glow, and many people are out watching the fires burn.


    Once he has actually dragged KATHLEEN down the pub, Johnny promptly begins to ignore her, holding court with his NE'ER-DO-WELLS. KATHLEEN sits stewing at the bar. MARIE, an Irish prostitute in her mid-twenties, is sitting next to her. She points at John.

    MARIE: That your beau?

    KATHLEEN: No. You want him?

    MARIE: He couldn't afford me. Are you County Kildare?

    KATHLEEN: Yes, my brother still has a farm there.

    MARIE: I'm County Limerick, glad to meet you. Marie is me name. Say, do you know that Jewish lady who lives on Hanbury Street? The one who looks after her girls?

    KATHLEEN: I think I know who you're talking about.

    MARIE: I have a wee complaint I was hoping she could help me with...I haven't had me curse in nine weeks.

    KATHLEEN: Oh! Yes, I think she could help you with that. As soon as I can break away from here, I'll take you to her. I'm looking for an excuse to leave, to be honest.

    POLLY, who is in the back with several of the girls from the Hanbury Street boardinghouse, erupts in loud peals of laughter. She is wearing a black bonnet one of the girls has given her.

    MARIE walks up to one of JOHNNY'S NE'ER-DO-WELLS. She whispers something in his ear, and the NE'ER-DO-WELL storms off and punches JOHNNY. Soon a donnybrook begins. MARIE and KATHLEEN head for the door.


    The fires are still burning. POLLY is leaning against the wall of the Cauldron.

    POLLY: Good night, love! I've got to be out earning. I've 'ad me doss money three times tonight, and drunk it each time! But I'll 'ave it again soon enough. See what a jolly bonnet I 'ave now!

    KATHLEEN (To MARIE): How long have you been in England?

    MARIE: I came to the West End of London about four years ago. Had a job in a brothel there, one of me clients took me to France for a while but I didn't like it there, so I came back. I've got an old man, Joe--fish porter down at the docks. Good man, but he's not working lately and sometimes there's not enough for rent.

    KATHLEEN: It's very hard.

    They arrive in front of the Hansen Street Boardinghouse.

  • edited October 2014


    FRAU SCHNEIDER is sitting at the table, drinking schnapps.

    MARIE: This is nice, the room me and Joe have is pretty dreadful.

    KATHLEEN: Good evening, Frau Schneider.

    FRAU SCHNEIDER: Guten abend. Are you after Rivka?

    KATHLEEN: Yes, is she in?

    FRAU SCHNEIDER: She's with a young man.

    KATHLEEN: There's some soda bread in the pantry.

    FRAU SCHNEIDER gets up and stalks towards the pantry, muttering.

    FRAU SCHNEIDER: "Soda bread" ha! Teaching a German how to bake bread, eh?


    KATHLEEN: We'll wait here until Rivka is done with her--her—

    MARIE: I understand, I'm a woman o' the world.

    KATHLEEN: Do you have any family here?

    MARIE: Me family came over to Wales 'bout ten years ago. I married a young man there but he died in the mines. Mining's not a fit job for anyone.

    RIVKA and a young TRADESMAN come down the stairs.

    TRADESMAN: A sheynem dank, shayner maidel.

    MARIE: You'd be the Jewish lady who helps people?

    RIVKA: I'm not a lady, but yes.

    MARIE: I understand that you can help a girl who's in a condition.

    RIVKA: There's an American, a lady--I know that doesn't sound right, but she can help.

    RIVKA writes on a scrap of paper.

    RIVKA (CONT'D.): Go to this place--it's just below Commercial Street--in the afternoon and she'll take care of you.

    MARIE: Thank you--the last thing me and Joe need now is a bairn.

    RIVKA: You're going to be all right.

    MARIE: Thanks again. I'll get me friend Cate and see if she can come with me.


    AUBREY is asleep in bed. A tremendous banging on the door wakes him up. He gets up and answers the door, to see his LANDLORD standing there, holding a candle.

    LANDLORD: Mr. Matchington? The police are here.

    AUBREY: Send them up.



    It is around 5 o'clock in the morning. KATHLEEN is walking on her way to the factory. A crowd of people has gathered at the end of Bucks Row. KATHLEEN tries to shove past them.


    31 August 1888


    TRAINING CONSTABLE (DETECTIVE) MILLER, a young man barely twenty years old, enters Aubrey's flat. He has a somewhat nervous disposition and a broad, high-pitched Mancunian accent.

    MILLER: Mr. Matchington? Chief Inspector Highgrass sent me to bring you down to--well, there's no real morgue in that part of Whitechapel--there's been a murder sir.


    The crowd continues to chatter. Cries of "She's dead, she's dead!" can be heard. As KATHLEEN shoves past, two CONSTABLES load the body of a woman into a cart. KATHLEEN stops as she notices that the woman is wearing a black bonnet, and she soon realizes that it is in fact POLLY who has been murdered.


    AUBREY and MILLER arrive and are led to the body by DR. REES LLEWELYN, acting as medical examiner in the case.

    LLEWELYN: Matchington, right? We figured that the woman had just had her throat cut, but when the inspectors brought her in, we discovered these.

    LLEWELYN pulls back the cloth covering POLLY'S body.

    LLEWELYN (CONT'D.): As you can see, she was mutilated--horrifically, down there around her abdomen. The wounds all look post-mortem.

    AUBREY: Those cuts--it looks as if the killer was trying to remove her organs...specifically the organs of generation.

    [This was the result of our only Test of the evening, a Genius roll by Aubrey. It resulted in a Complication, which I decided was "Aubrey recognizes what the mutilations were intended to do, but nobody believes it."]

    LLEWELYN : My good man, let's not be ridiculous. The killer is a madman--but that--that's beyond the pale.


    KATHLEEN finds JOHNNY standing, drunk, at the edges of the crowd.

    JOHNNY: Kathleen! Thank God you're all right, they're killing women right and left!

    KATHLEEN: I need you to take a message to my friend Rivka Solomon, at the building I live in. Tell her, before anyone else does, that Polly is dead, and it was that murderer who's done it, and she was wearing your bonnet. Don't tell anyone else, do you understand?


    RIVKA, in her nightshift, comes running into the room in response to a cry of pain. JOHNNY is standing in the corner of the room, blood pouring from cuts on his forehead. Across the room from him, breathless with exertion and with a wild expression on her face, is DINAH.

    JOHNNY: Get her off of me, Becky! She's crazy!

    RIVKA goes to DINAH and gently clasps her wrists.

    RIVKA: Dinah, darling, what's wrong?

    DINAH: The Devil! Didn't you see the flames of Hell tonight! The Devil walks!

    RIVKA: Go upstairs, dear. I'll be along in a minute to settle you.: JOHNNY: She should go back to St. Thomas's! She's dangerous!

    RIVKA: Let me look at that.

    RIVKA hands JOHNNY a handkerchief which he uses to stanch the flow of blood. It is monogrammed with AUBREY'S initials.

    JOHNNY: Kathleen told me to come and tell you that Polly is dead, and she was wearing one of your bonnets.

    RIVKA: Dead?

    JOHNNY: Dead, aye. Seems very strange to me that a dead woman would be wearing one of your bonnets.

    RIVKA: Can I get you something to eat? Or drink?

    JOHNNY: I won't say no to something to drink.



    REPORTER: Inspector, do you have any comment on the investigation? This is the third brutal murder since April, are you closer to catching this maniac?

    HIGHGRASS resolutely wades through the crowd with a look of disgust on his face and takes RIVKA'S hand, leading her into his office. He picks over some papers on his desk for a moment, frowning. Finally he tosses down one folder with a grimace and a sigh, and turns to RIVKA.

    HIGHGRASS: Now, what can I do for you, my dear?

    RIVKA: The murder this morning--it may have been a friend of mine. Her name was Polly.

    HIGHGRASS: We have not yet identified the woman...please come with me to the morgue, madam, to assist with our inquiries.


    AUBREY is still examining the body as HIGHGRASS and RIVKA enter. MILLER doffs his hat to the Inspector and RIVKA.

    HIGHGRASS: Aubrey! We have a witness. Miss Solomon claims she knew the deceased.

    AUBREY: Good morning, Miss Solomon. It's not optimal to confront a woman with a corpse, but I don't know that we have a better plan. Are you willing to face that horror because of this?

    RIVKA: I am.

    AUBREY: Head only, Miller.

    MILLER pulls back the sheet. RIVKA nods her head.

    AUBREY: Can you tell her anything about her?

    RIVKA: That bonnet was given to me by a kind benefactress. I didn't give it to Polly, I gave it to a friend of mine and she must have given it to her.

    HIGHGRASS: We'll probably want to talk to that woman. The bonnet did seem out of place, thank you very much, Rivka. Have you seen your friend Dinah recently?

    RIVKA: No sir.

    HIGHGRASS: If you do see her, let me know right away. She's very dangerous. Aubrey, be a gent and take Rivka home, would you?

    AUBREY: Of course, Inspector.

    HIGHGRASS: This is a bad business, isn't it.

    AUBREY: I've never known you to bring me any good business.


    MILLER, AUBREY, AND RIVKA are riding back to Hanbury Street.

    MILLER: This is really a dreadful thing, sir. And all on the day that the head of CID resigned! They say Mr. Monro couldn't stand working for General Warren.

    AUBREY: Have they said who's replacing him?

    MILLER: Dr. Anderson, the one who used to work with Special Branch.

    AUBREY: A medical man. This shall be interesting.

    They arrive at Hanbury Street. AUBREY watches RIVKA enter the building with a pensive look, then slaps the top of the cab to set it in motion again.


  • Ooooh, cool! I don't clearly remember how conflicts work, but I love the spread of characters. Good call to bring in a victim as an NPC early on. Also, super-neat title sequence. You've put a lot of work into the background here!

    Are all the players into the style of dialogue shown here, or is that an embellishment you added for the replay?
  • This is artisinal product here :-)

    I wanted to do a titles sequence to Post-Modern Masks, but never did--I started and abandoned two of them, and mentally storyboarded a third. (The theme song would have been the cover of "Mad World" from Donnie Darko.)

    Hearken to the little lower layer: three victims appear in the first episode, and a fourth is mentioned in passing :)

    The dialogue is almost entirely verbatim. I made a few edits here and there for clarity or compression, but mostly it's exactly what was said; I record most sessions I GM to aid in doing the writeups, and to review what I did or didn't do well. As I did the writeup for this in screenplay format I realized that it might capture a lot of the feel of a session, since the vast bulk of the material is PC dialogue. This has me pondering if it is maybe the best format for most writeups. Certainly since Smallivlle/Cortex Plus Drama attempt to model television dramas, it seemed logical for this game.

    Also, I wanted to make sure to include notes on the mechanics, as I've noticed very few writeups actually bother to do that--Lord knows I went searching for Smallville APs and was frustrated to discover that there were very few out there, and almost nothing with the mechanics included in the presentation.
  • Super-cool. :-) Also, impressed by the dialogue! I love that your group puts an effort into "sounding" right.
  • Wow. I love the character sheets.

    The conflicts are something I'm a little vague on myself -- I mean, I get what they're supposed to model, but I suspect if I tried running it again, I'd be getting the when and how all wrong.
  • From what I can make out in the text, conflicts can be places where you want to put an exclamation point on an encounter--or where one character is insisting on something the other character doesn't want.

    But maybe the better way to frame it is to follow something I heard about Fate once: the dice in Fate rarely decide whether or not you succeed; rather, they decide the cost of success. Thus be it so in Cortex Plus Drama--the main question of a conflict is, who's gonna take stress for digging in here?

    Among the reasons that I think C+Drama is so subversive is that this cycle naturally reinforces good dramatic practice, i.e. somebody wants something, doesn't get it, and then needs to talk to other characters to find a new way forward: Conflict -- Stress -- Stress Relief. Throw in an experience system that rewards taking and relieving stress and you've got drama that writes itself. (As with most of my games, I don't do much prep--partly because I can rely on my memory, but mostly because what I generally do is toss situations at the PCs and follow what happens.)
  • Delighted to see another high-class AP from you and your group(s)!
    From what I can make out in the text, conflicts can be places where you want to put an exclamation point on an encounter--or where one character is insisting on something the other character doesn't want.

    But maybe the better way to frame it is to follow something I heard about Fate once: the dice in Fate rarely decide whether or not you succeed; rather, they decide the cost of success. Thus be it so in Cortex Plus Drama--the main question of a conflict is, who's gonna take stress for digging in here?
    I'm not sure that's quite right. It's been a while since I played/read Smallville, but my recollection is that it's more about the cost of RESISTANCE. The dice do not enforce victory or failure in the conflict per se, only the cost (Stress) for the defender to deny the aggressor from getting their way. In the example of Johnny trying to drag Kathleen to the pub and winning the roll, my understanding is that while Kathleen lost, she still had the option to Give In and go to the pub, or to stay but take Stress instead, rather than going AND being Stressed. Looking at the PDF, I see an explicit acknowledgement that even winning by 5 (as Johnny did there) does not give the aggressor "victory" in terms of achieving their goal, even though the aggressor has the choice to Stress Out the defender (second paragraph of page 55, though I suppose you may be using the Hacker's Guide instead, which I don't have).

    Cortex+ Drama is VERY subversive, yes; I recall finding it quite hard to break free from the success-failure model common to other RPGs while using it, but being very pleased once I'd hammered my brain into shape.
  • Or to put it another way (goodness, can we not edit our posts any more?): in C+D, the dice come out when someone says "No," and measure just how much pain that person is willing to endure to stick to their guns.

    (I guess this gets a bit muddied since a high-rolling defender can inflict Stress on their aggressor, and I recall that causing some uncertainty at our table)
  • Thanks Joe, that makes a lot of sense. I'll mention it to the group.

    I've got the writeup for session 2 done, but I have to put it into forum format before it goes up here :-)

    We engaged the mechanics a bit more. Kathleen's father brought down the pain (d12 Shamed stress for Kathleen questioning the goodness of Johnny) but Kathleen's player grasped that it was necessary to take some Stress in order to get Kathleen's relationship with Johnny up (so that he doesn't keep walking all over her--Johnny's really her nemesis, with his d10 Love and d10 Kathleen (Will be my bride one day). :-)

    Plus Freddie Abberline makes his first appearance, and there's an impromptu Rosh Hashanah party. Good stuff :-)
  • Apples and honey?
  • ...more a pail of beer and an Irish band, actually...
  • edited October 2014
    EPISODE 2: Fortune Was Not Kind in this World (Part 1)



    RIVKA SOLOMON is hurrying down the alley when a large, burly man in a leather apron approaches her. She tries to step around him, but he plants one arm against the wall, blocking her path. This is JOHN PIZER, an infamous extortionist feared by the prostitutes of Whitechapel.

    PIZER: (In Yiddish): Time for you to cough up some money.

    RIVKA reaches into her purse and offers a few coins.

    PIZER: This isn't enough.

    RIVKA: (In Yiddish): That's all I have.

    PIZER: Then you'll just have to go get some more money until you can pay the toll. Or those nice ladies you work with will get hurt.

    RIVKA: How much?

    PIZER: Half a crown a day.

    RIVKA is visibly stunned by the outrageous amount.

    RIVKA: How much do you think I make?

    PIZER: I think you should go talk to your girls. That's why I came to you, Miss Solomon.

    RIVKA: I don't have that much right now. I'll have to go get it.

    PIZER: Right. But so you know I mean business—

    He raises a carpet beater menacingly. A CROWD OF ONLOOKERS gather at one end of the alley. RIVKA begins to edge towards them, with PIZER following them. As she gets closer to the crowd, she can hear them muttering angrily.

    CROWD: There he is! That's the one! Leather Apron! He's the one that's done them murders!




    KATHLEEN is led into the parlour by a BUTLER. DAISY rises from her chair to greet KATHLEEN.

    DAISY: Kathleen, you came! Finn's at the club. If you wanted to see him—

    KATHLEEN: Actually, ma'am, I was hoping for some advice.

    DAISY: Certainly. About what?

    KATHLEEN: It's about my father, of course.

    DAISY gestures for KATHLEEN to sit down and they sink into armchairs--DAISY at ease, KATHLEEN a bit stiff and nervous.

    KATHLEEN (CONT'D): The thing is, see — I've been in to talk to the Detective Inspector — if it's been once, it's been a hundred times — but he's not got the time of day for the likes of me. I've tried to persuade him that my father is pure as the driven snow — everyone who knows him knows this about him — and I've started to think that … well … it's because I'm nobody that he doesn't listen to me, that he doesn't care about everything that I know about my father. And I've started to think that maybe if I could get important people to say that my father couldn't have done this thing, then perhaps the Detective Chief Inspector would have to pay attention, would have to administer justice. So as embarrassed as I am to be doing it, I've come to you to ask you whether you think this is possible, and whether there's anybody you know who I could plead my case to, who would be willing to talk to my father and learn about what a terrible injustice has been done.

    DAISY: I mean — I'd certainly be willing to talk to your father … I mean there are some parts of society who'd cut me off, but it wouldn't be too hard to be cut off from them. And there's Mr. Matchington, of course, who seems to be obsessed with your father for reasons that have nothing to do with Home Rule. I can't remember, he said something about the Irish being a tribe and the tribe being unruly and but then it seems then that they should be separate — I mean, it worked for us!

    KATHLEEN: Yes, ma'am. Of course, if it isn't practical, I'll just have to try something else —

    DAISY: Of course it isn't practical! Nothing worth doing is ever practical. Most things worth doing aren't the least bit practical. I suppose the first thing I ought to do is meet with your father, and then Mr. Matchington, who probably isn't cut off from so many parts of society as I am.

    KATHLEEN: I've spoken to Mr. Matchington before. I cannot tell what he — to be honest, I'm not really sure what he's talking about most of the time.

    DAISY: Oh, me either. He's a phrenologist and they're all kooks, though possibly kooks who are on to something, I couldn't say.

    [For this session I was trying to be a lot more proactive about finding contests. Here I sussed out DP about whether or not this was a contest--since Kathleen was asking for a significant outlay of Daisy's social capital; as I put it, "the ones who would care can't do anything, the ones who could do anything don't care"--but DP felt that until Daisy had met with Mr. Ross, there wasn't enough impetus for a full contest; so we decided it would be a "contest deferred."]
  • edited October 2014
    EPISODE 2: Fortune Was Not Kind in this World (Part 2)


    We see AUBREY walk through the busy Leman Street station bullpen, ignoring the desk sergeant, and walk into HIGHGRASS'S OFFICE. HIGHGRASS is angrily opening drawers, pulling out stacks of paper, looking at ledgers and then throwing them on his desk. AUBREY sits down in front of the desk watches bemused.

    AUBREY: Well, I came because I had something to show you, but I think you had better go first.

    HIGHGRASS: Twenty years I been a copper. Twenty years! It took me that long to get head of me own station. And what happens? They bring back Freddie Abberline!

    AUBREY: This Abberline is a doctor?

    HIGHGRASS: No! Freddie Abberline is a copper! Used to be head of this very station, til he got bumped up to CID and I got the post. And now they're bringing him back! Because a bloody bunch of [slurs] got their throats slit! Now he's to run the investigation. It's not right, Matchington!

    AUBREY: And what is to happen to you?

    HIGHGRASS: I'm still to run the station, but Abberline will run the investigation. Freddie's a good cop, but he's going to be running the whole show, and running all over me! He's got contacts all through this bloody borough.


    And he's taking my office.

    AUBREY: That I can see as being a problem. Well, I'm no expert in the organization of police forces, Chief Inpsector, but it seems to me that London has not become any less criminal in the time it has taken this mangler of unfortunate women to do his work, and therefore there is no less call for you to do everything you've already been doing, in addition to running a large and complex organisation. If the man who is to be running it should be a subordinate, then I am sorry. But I imagine somebody should be running it, and probably that shouldn't be you, given all your other duties.

    HIGHGRASS: Well, that's generous, I suppose, Aubrey. What can I do you for, seeing that I am still head of this investigation for the next...three hours and forty-one minutes.

    AUBREY: Good, that should be just enough.

    He pulls out an enormous sheaf of parchment covered with handwritten notes.

    AUBREY (CONT'D): I will explain. No, that will take too much time. I will sum up. I don't know how much use you think I will be on this investigation. After all, I'm not a detective, I don't have your skill in sniffing around people or sniffing around a crime scene. What I have is knowledge of the human mind. And based on the evidence I was able to gather from what was done to the bodies I was allowed to see, I am strongly of the belief that this crime was not perpetuated by an ordinary man for any ordinary reasons. It was done by let us say a man with unusual features for the very most unusual of reasons. Now it is of course a tall order for the police of London to allow me to go around and interview or even examine the skulls of anyone who is remotely suspicious, therefore it seems to me that the only people who would know about this level of abnormality, particularly as directed at the class of victims who have suffered, are other members of that unfortunate class who may have come into contact with this creature or those like him.

    [Me: We suspect he's mad, but I won't know until I can feel his skull!]

    HIGHGRASS: So if I understand correctly, what you're saying is that because there's a maniac slitting the throats of women, you want to talk to a bunch of [slurs].

    AUBREY: Your summation is as always admirable.

    HIGHGRASS: Well, a man of means like yourself shouldn't have any problem, Matchington.

    AUBREY: You may be surprised to learn this, Detective Chief Inspector, but due both to the manner of my presentation and certain proclivities of my temperament — or rather, the lack of certain proclivities of my temperament — persons of the kind who I intend to interview often find me off-putting and do not choose to extend the interview for the length of time I require to gain useful information. It is my hope that I will not need to lean on the coercive powers of the law to find out what I need to find out — but if I do it is my sincere hope that —

    HIGHGRASS: Well, Aubrey — I can call you Aubrey, can't I? — as a matter of fact you could not in fact lean up upon the offices of law enforcement as I could not give you that power. However, if you feel that you can, by your investigative capacity, determine some evidence that you could share with, for example, the local constabulary, I for one would be most grateful. As would the population of London at large, of course.

    AUBREY: I have no doubt that your gratitude and the gratitude of London at large would be available should I do anything that particularly deserved it. Abberline, you said the gentleman's name was?

    HIGHGRASS: Frederick. George. Abberline. Chief Inspector at CID.

    AUBREY: I see. Well, it sounds as though in addition to speaking to you, I should speak to this gentleman.

    HIGHGRASS: He'll be here shortly.

    AUBREY: Then it seems that I shall return shortly. Would you like to get lunch, as it seems you are about to be relieved of certain unpleasant duties?

    HIGHGRASS: Leave the office at eleven o'clock? That would be dereliction of duty. Let's go.


    KATHLEEN ROSS passes down the street on her way home. At the corner she notices a couple of RUFFIANS who seem to be eyeing the boarding house at 25 Hanbury Street. KATHLEEN hurries inside that address. As she passes a newsvendor's kiosk, the evening edition of the London Star is prominently displayed. The front page shows:



    RIVKA and several YOUNG PROSTITUTES are in the middle of a loud conversation about how toughs have been following them about all day. A COCKNEY PROSTITUTE pulls back the dingy curtain in the front window and points out at the street.

    COCKNEY PROSTITUTE: There's one of them over there! That blond gent! 'E's been watching the 'ouse all day!

    KATHLEEN looks out and spies a slightly-built blond man across the street. While she looks, he seems to take notice of her watching him, and quickly walks away down Hanbury Street.

    KATHLEEN: Good heavens, that's unpleasant.

    RIVKA: Yes, well, if you go around threatening enough of us — I guess one thing about these murders is that somebody's noticed we're here. As if nothing bad had ever happened to prostitutes in the East End of London before! Suddenly the papers are aware of the fact that bad things happen. I doubt that anything good will happen with the rest of Pizer's gang here.

    KATHLEEN: If this man is being suspected of the crime, couldn't you mention to the authorities that his accomplices are watching this place?

    RIVKA: (To the YOUNG PROSTITUTES): We can't afford to not go out, but we need to be safe. I want you all to make sure that you go out with at least one or two other girls, and keep a close watch on each other. Kathleen, can I talk to you upstairs?

    KATHLEEN and RIVKA leave the parlour and climb the staircase.

  • EPISODE 2: Fortune Was Not Kind in this World (Part 3)


    RIVKA: yes, I probably should go to the authorities and I even probably will go, but I don't think most of the girls trust the authorities, not that I blame them, so I didn't want to talk about it in front of them.

    KATHLEEN: God knows the authorities aren't interested.

    RIVKA: I expect if nothing else Highgrass will be interested in this particular criminal if he thinks he is responsible for this ghastly series of murders which has made the world at large — or at least London at large — notice that people who are are alive.

    KATHLEEN: If his friends started getting taken in by the police and maybe interrogated viciously by them about their connection to him, maybe people would think better of bothering women on his say-so.

    RIVKA: Or perhaps they would be angry.

    KATHLEEN: But only if they thought you were responsible.

    RIVKA: That's true. I find that no matter who they think is to blame they take it out on us.

    KATHLEEN: Perhaps the man what measures people's heads would be interested, he doesn't seem so corrupt. And he seems to know you — do you think he'd believe you?

    RIVKA: That people are threatening us?

    KATHLEEN: That something ought to be done about it.

    RIVKA: I suppose he might.

    KATHLEEN: He might be able to have the authorities help us.

    RIVKA: If he comes by I suppose I'll tell him. He comes by from time to time …

    KATHLEEN: Oh, I know where he lives.

    RIVKA: How? Why?

    KATHLEEN: That man is one of the keys to getting my father released. I make it my business to know.

    [Me: Now I'm getting this image of Kathleen's room with a map of London and cards pinned to it connected with yarn...a picture of Queen Victoria attached to multiple people…

    DP: Daisy totally thinks she's the protagonist of this story, but it's really Kathleen.]

    RIVKA: You know where he lives, you say? Would you take him a message?

    KATHLEEN: Of course.

    RIVKA begins to write slowly on a scrap of paper.

    RIVKA: (V.O.): Dear Mr. Matchington:

    I take it you consult with the police sometimes. The man with the carpet beater has a gang of large men who are harassing me and the others. If the police want to investigate where the man with the carpet beater has gotten to these men might help them find out if they were treated roughly enough I suppose.


    DAISY is cleaning up the room, which is a small basement chamber with a slop sink, a few wooden chairs, and an examination table. Carefully maintained racks of medicines and surgical implements are against one wall, and several oil lamps hang from the ceiling. DAISY is wearing long gloves. MARIE and CATE enter, climbing down the stairs. MARIE is a striking Irish redhead in her 20s; CATE is a dark-haired Englishwoman in her 40s, with a certain magnetism about her.

    [RP: NO! Don't describe people! Then I know something bad is going to happen to them!]

    DAISY: (Attempting a British accent): Hello! Have you got names? I've got water!

    MARIE: Me name's Marie, and this is Cate.Is something wrong with your voice? Ye sound like ye have a cold.

    DAISY: No, just not from around here.

    MARIE: I brought me friend Cate because I heard it's best to bring someone wi' ye if you come … here.

    DAISY: Miss Cate, Miss Marie, it's good to see you. How can I help you.

    MARIE: Yon Kathleen and Rivka said that you're the lady to come see if you have a complaint.

    DAISY: Yes I am. Sit down and wash up, all your bits, I'm going to have to examine you before anything can help you.

    CATE: If you don't mind, I'll be upstairs with that young upholsterer. I'll wait for you up there, Marie.

    CATE climbs the stairs, leaving MARIE and DAISY alone.

    DAISY: Sit down on this table, my dear. Pull up your dress …

    DAISY conducts a thorough examination.

    DAISY: Well, you are pregnant. How long has it been since your curse?

    MARIE: Eight or nine weeks?

    DAISY takes down some jars from her racks. She mixes up a tonic.

    DAISY: Take this every day. It will make you nauseated for about an hour … then come back in about two weeks if you've still not had anything happen, and I'll do surgery. But try this first.

    MARIE: Thank you ma'am.
  • This project is truly excellent, and I want to work with you.

  • "Don't describe people! Then I know sonething bad is going to hapen to them!"
  • This project is truly excellent, and I want to work with you.

    Aw, shucks, you're making me blush.

    If you're ever in NYC, drop by the Tuesday Night RPG meetup the NY Sci Fi & Fantasy Meetup has. I'm usually there, generally running stuff (Not now, I'm playing a Battlebabe in AW, but I'll probably be back in the GMs seat soon enough.)
  • edited October 2014
    EPISODE 2: Fortune Was Not Kind in this World (Part 4)


    KATHLEEN knocks on the door, which is opened by a large Irish SCULLERY MAID.

    KATHLEEN: Pardon me, ma'am, but I was sent with a message for Mr. Matchington at this club. Is he in attendance tonight? I was sent by a lady.

    SCULLERY MAID: County Kildare, right?

    KATHLEEN: Yes, that's right.

    SCULLERY MAID: (Pointing at herself): County Kerry! Why should I be helpin' you, yeh bloody Kildare! Who's at or isn't at our club is none of your business.

    KATHLEEN: If we were in Kerry you'd have a point, but it's in London we are, and in London we Irish have to stick together!

    [And a conflict! Well, rather, a test, I decided to just make Kathleen test versus Trouble. She rolled Rivka d6, Justice d6 (the English will never give the Irish fair treatment), and her Fast-Talk d6 distinction. She easily beat my Trouble 2d6 roll.]

    SCULLERY MAID: Fine, fine, I'll take it, I'll take it! Bloody Kildares!


    AUBREY is having one of his three-hour long, two bottles of wine solitary dinners. The MATRE D' brings him a tray with RIVKA's message on it. AUBREY sits, reads it, and then calls for pen and paper. He begins to write a reply.


    AUBREY steps out onto the street, looking for someone to carry his message (not wanting to send the Club's regular message with a reply to a prostitute.) He spies JOHNNY O'CONNOR leaning against a streetlamp.

    AUBREY: Excuse me, sir.

    JOHNNY: Evening, gent.

    AUBREY: Do you have anything pressing on your time for the next half hour or so?

    JOHNNY: No, I've got plenty of time available to me. What's it to ye?

    AUBREY: Would you be willing to deliver a message for me? Here's a shilling for your trouble.

    JOHNNY: Aye, for a bob I'm yer man!

    AUBREY: Very good, then, we have an accord.

    AUBREY hands JOHNNY an envelope. JOHNNY glances at it.

    JOHNNY (CONT'D): This address? Excellent, was headed there anyway.

    AUBREY: Do be careful, I hear the area is infested with toughs.

    JOHNNY: (Amused): Ah, right you are, gov, I'll be sure to be careful.


    There is a knocking on the door. RIVKA opens it and JOHNNY bustles in.

    JOHNNY: Evening, Becky, I've got a message for you. Is Kathleen to house?

    RIVKA: I'm sorry, she's not.


    KATHLEEN is lying in bed. The muffled sounds of JOHNNY'S voice can be heard. She pulls a pillow over her head.


    JOHNNY: That's all right, I can wait down here. I've got a shiny new bob, figured I'd spend it on something, if you know what I mean. You know you've got some blond fellow staring at your front door.

    RIVKA: Yes, he's been giving us some trouble.

    JOHNNY: Him? He didn't look too threatening to me. Anyway, one of yer girls to house, if Kathleen's not home?

    RIVKA sighs and gestures to one of the YOUNG PROSTITUTES sitting in the parlour, who rises and leads JOHNNY upstairs. After they leave, RIVKA sits down and begins reading AUBREY'S letter, which spans several pages.

    AUBREY: (V.O.): To Miss Solomon:

    I have extensively analyzed the situation with the murderer of whom you and those around are so rightly afeared, and it may be some small comfort to know that neither this leather-bearded brute nor any of his brutish extortionist cronies are capable of being responsible for this particular manner of crime. Therefore while I cannot say that you have nothing to fear from them, you may perhaps rest easy in the knowledge that you are not fearing that.

    For whatever other fears you may have I cannot say that I blame you. I do feel obliged to point out that this manner of difficulty seems more or less inherent and inescapable in the path of life you have chosen: to wit, courting the company of unreliable men who eschew the comforts of family. Presumably in the long-term there is nothing that I or any man could do about that save for removing you from the equation.

    For reasons related to the understanding and eventual capture of the creature who has perpetuated the aforementioned horrors, I will need to conduct a number of extensive interviews at your place of business. If it is your belief that the presence of these men with carpet-beaters is likely to have a dampening effect on the effectiveness of these interviews, I may be able to provide police assistance to prosecute the success of my enterprise.

    Please let me know if this is feasible.

    Sincerely yours,

    Aubrey Matchington, Esq., FRS, etc.


    DINAH'S secret room is an old storeroom in the attic of the boardinghouse. RIVKA and DINAH sit on a cot, talking.

    RIVKA: How are you today, dear?

    DINAH: I am much calmer today.

    RIVKA: That's very good. Here, have some soda bread. Dearest, about the other day, did someone frighten you?

    DINAH: You mean when Mr. Johnny came? He startled me, and I didn't know who it was.

    RIVKA: Mr. Johnny, he didn't hurt you ever, did he?

    DINAH: No.

    RIVKA: Well, that's good. I'm sorry you were frightened.

    DINAH: It's very frightening now.

    RIVKA: You're all right now, you're here and we're going to take care of you. Everything is going to be all right.

    DINAH: Thank you, Rivka.

    RIVKA: I don't think you should work right now.

    DINAH: But I have to pay you back! You're spending all your money on me.

    RIVKA: Yes, but I think it's not a good time now, because —

    DINAH: Because of the Devil. I mean — I mean that maniac. I shouldn't call him the Devil. He can't be the Devil, the Devil doesn't walk around the streets of London, does he.

    RIVKA: I don't even know if the Devil exists … yes, there's a bad man out there, but not just because of the bad man, because the people from the place you were before might be out looking for you.

    DINAH: The madhouse. All right, I'll stay inside. I guess I can keep eating the soda bread.
  • EPISODE 2: Fortune Was Not Kind in this World (Part 5)


    AUBREY walks in to find the station is in a flurry of last minute preparations. Everyone is wearing their cleanest uniforms. HIGHGRASS is standing with his sergeants in a neat line. After a moment's hesitation, AUBREY slides into line next to him.

    The doors to the station open and CHIEF INSPECTOR FREDERICK ABBERLINE and his ASSISTANTS stride in. ABBERLINE is a middle-aged man, thickset, with intelligent eyes and a hard demeanor. He wears muttonchop whiskers and has a comfortable swagger earned in years of walking a beat on the East End.

    ABBERLINE: (Shaking HIGHGRASS'S hand): Nelson. Good to see you. And this would be your —

    AUBREY: Matchington, Mr. Aubrey Matchington.

    ABBERLINE: Ah, yes, the criminologist!

    HIGHGRASS: (Deferentially): You should talk to him, Fred. He has a lot of good ideas about the case.

    AUBREY: Indeed I do.

    ABBERLINE: Why don't you come into my office, then?

    They walk to HIGHGRASS'S office. Some ARTIFICERS are scraping HIGHGRASS'S name off the door and painting ABBERLINE'S name on it. As he enters, AUBREY shoots HIGHGRASS a look of sympathy. HIGHGRASS mouths "good luck" at AUBREY as he closes the door behind them.


    AUBREY is seated across a desk from ABBERLINE, who reclines in his seat looking extremely comfortable.

    ABBERLINE: Now, Mr. Matchington, please go ahead.

    AUBREY pulls out once again his large sheaf of notes.

    AUBREY: I am — by avocation, at least — as you may have heard, a phrenologist. As Detective Chief Inspector Highgrass mentioned, I have studied the corpses and other evidence related to this particular investigation, and I do have some theories concerning the nature of the individual responsible —

    ABBERLINE: Yes, Nelson briefed me on all this, told me about your notes there. And to that, I say: bollocks.

    AUBREY: (Taken aback): Oh? Do explain.

    ABBERLINE: Twenty years I been a detective on the Met. Twenty years. The way you catch a criminal, Mr. Matchington, is you catch him in the commission of his criminal act, or you catch his accomplices. Your little amateur day book report does not interest me in the slightest. Because you, sir, have the look of another soft, poncey Oxford boy who thinks he can come down and explain to the police how they do their business.

    AUBREY: Inspector Abberline, I have not the slightest idea of how to do your business, nor in fact do I care to. However, I would ask you whether in fact you have encountered anything like this in your twenty years of policing — that is to say, whether you have encountered creatures who accost prostitutes in order to cut out their generative organs, and if in fact you have, I beg you to enlighten me as to what it is they hoped to accomplish, and how they were found, and indeed what manner of accomplices to this deed they chose to involve?

    ABBERLINE: I did do a little work on the torso murders in '84 and '87, and I've seen my share of bodies blown up by Fenian bombs. So if it's about the gore, I've got that covered, thank you very much. Sir.

    [Aaand we go to the mechanics! Aubrey's intent is basically to cow and convince Abberline with his native intelligence to get police approval and support for his interviews--including clearing away the toughs watching Rivka's place.

    Aubrey's pool was Glory d10 (The world will see that I am right), Genius d12, and Highgrass d10 (the fight the good fight part--not the imbecile part.)

    I hadn't really filled out Abberline yet but I quickly gave him Willful d10, Truth d10 (I will get to the bottom of this!), Highgrass d10 (Does what I say) and also rolled The Met 2d8 to represent his position of authority. Aubrey got a 22, easily beating Abberline's 17. I could have pulled in both dice from The Met, but decided that it was more interesting to have Abberline Stress Out while also taking Shamed stress (Shamed was AP's idea; my initial instinct was Frustrated, but he was right.) Abberline ended up with d10 Shamed stress.]

    ABBERLINE (CONT'D): Now get the bloody hell out of my office!

    ABBERLINE grabs AUBREY and half-carries, half-shoves him out the door. AUBREY'S sheaf of papers scatters.

    ABBERLINE (CONT'D): You think I don't know how to run an investigation? I'll show you how to run an investigation! Nelson, get this man out of my station, d'ye understand?

    The entire station house watches in shocked fascination as AUBREY is pushed through the room. HIGHGRASS intercepts him near the door and grabs TC MILLER, who is chalk-white with fear, as well.

    HIGHGRASS: Look, just take Miller and see what you can find out. I'll take care of Fred.

    [The result of the contest was that Aubrey wasn't kicked off the investigation, officially, although he did make an enemy of Abberline.

    We also decided that Aubrey deserved a d6 Relationship with Abberline--probably I should have charged a plot point, but it seemed too good to not have it in there--and could add TC Miller as a 2d4 Extra (Constables, Information)

    At this point in the session, we worked out the incidents that led to Dinah's incarceration at St. Thomas'. Dinah had gone to Daisy for an abortion; some complication set in (possibly just post-partum depression) that led, unbeknownst to Daisy, to Dinah being committed at the asylum. She learned about it from Aubrey, who casually mentioned in conversation one day that he was treating a woman of Dinah's description. At some time after that, Rivka bribed the administration of St. Thomas' to let her take Dinah away. She's still paying them off, although Aubrey has become aware that Dinah is no longer in the hospital.]

  • EPISODE 2: Fortune Was Not Kind in this World (Part 6)


    JOHNNY enters via the front door to find RIVKA and KATHLEEN sitting with several YOUNG PROSTITUTES in the parlour.

    JOHNNY: Evening Kathleen! Evening Becky! You know that blonde fellow is still watching you from across the street.

    RIVKA: Yes, we know. He's been giving us a hard time.

    JOHNNY: That one? He don't weigh a hundred pounds wet. I'll go get him.

    RIVKA: Careful, Johnny, he's probably a gangster.

    JOHNNY dashes across the street, accosts the young blonde man, and soon drags him through the door of the boardinghouse. JAN TADEUSZ is in his early twenties, slightly built with very yellow hair. He is wearing the kind of clothes a sailor might wear.

    JAN: Are you Rivka Solomon?

    RIVKA: Who are you?

    JAN: Please, miss. Tell me if Dinah Weiszman is in this house.

    RIVKA: (Long pause.): Is Dinah somebody you know?

    JAN: She is my fiancée. My name is Jan Tadeusz.

    RIVKA: Mr. Tadeusz, why don't you come upstairs with me. I did know Dinah once, and I can tell you the sad story up there.

    JAN: Thank you very much, Miss.

    RIVKA: Johnny, would you be so good as to stay down here and keep an eye out? Yell if you see anything.

    JOHNNY: Of course, Becky. It would be my pleasure. I'll just sit down here on the davenport next to Kathleen.


    RIVKA: Mr. Tadeusz, you can't have seen Dinah for a long time.

    JAN: It's been three or four years, since she left Krakow. I have been working as a sailor, because the Russians are very, very cruel to us. One day we will free Poland from the Russians. Today is not that day. But it was why I had to leave Poland — I was a revolutionary. I have heard you take care of people, that you take care of Dinah.

    [Fun fact: Jules Verne's original vision of Captain Nemo was that he was a Polish nobleman fighting against the Russians. His editor made him trim all explicit references to the Polish nationality of Nemo (Russia was an important ally of France.) Later, of course, in The Mysterious Isle, we discover Nemo to have been Indian. But then again, the timelines of those two books really don't work together at all...so maybe there were two Nemos…]

    RIVKA: Have some soda bread. You say you were engaged to her, but she came here years ago?

    JAN: We both had to leave Poland, and of course her family was not happy about her marrying me because I am a Christian.

    RIVKA: I understand. So you haven't seen her since then, and you are looking for her?

    JAN: Yes, I work on boats. I am cattle drover for British ships. I bring cattle on ships, and we bring them to England.

    RIVKA: So you're working on a ship right now, yes? Good. I have to tell you … have you talked to anyone else about Dinah?

    JAN: I know she has been ill. She was ill a few times in Krakow before we left. But she was always better when I was around.

    RIVKA: I will tell you a little. It's like this: she was ill. She was taken to a place that tries to treat people who are ill, but it wasn't a very good place. The good news is that she's not there anymore. I mean, I've heard she isn't there anymore. I can try to find word for you of where she is. But you need to be cautious about this, because the bad place is still looking for her.

    JAN: I swear to you, Miss Solomon, I will never allow the bad place to get Dinah again. I want to take her with me to America. I apologize for intruding on your holiday evening.

    RIVKA: It's all right, a friend of Dinah's is always welcome here. I will try to find out about Dinah's whereabouts … can you come back in an three hours? Oh, why were you standing outside our house?

    JAN: I wanted to come in, but I was afraid.

    RIVKA: You don't happen to know John Pizer?

    JAN: No. The Leather Apron man? I have heard of him.

    RIVKA: We were frightened because we think that bad men are watching our building, so when we saw you —

    JAN: Ah, of course. Very ironic, isn't it?


    JOHNNY rises as RIVKA and JAN enter the room.

    JOHNNY: Ah, the fiancé! Teddy, isn't it?

    JAN: No, it's —

    JOHNNY: Don't worry, Kathleen, I'll watch over Teddy here. I'll have him back here whenever you want, no fears.

    KATHLEEN angrily throws down her sewing.

    KATHLEEN: Jonathan! I was just on my way to visit my father! And I want you to come!

    JOHNNY: But I have to take care of Teddy here.

    KATHLEEN: I want you to come.

    JOHNNY: Kathleen, I swear to you I won't let any harm come to the boy.

    KATHLEEN: So you don't want to come.

    JOHNNY: I —

    KATHLEEN: So are you coming or not? I'm sure Mr. Tadeusz will be all right.

    JOHNNY: I'm ashamed to see your father.

    KATHLEEN: You're so ashamed that you won't — that — that shame is the first Christian feeling you've had in many a month! And you'll face that shame by coming an' talking to my father!

    JOHNNY: I figure if I tear off one sin at a time I'll be able to step into a church without bursting into flame in a se'nnight or so.

    KATHLEEN: He's been ill!

    JOHNNY: D'ye need medicine? I can get it for you.

    [Contest time again! The question here was Kathleen's desire to keep Johnny and his corruption away from sweet pure Jan. As KP put it, "This whole thing is complicated, and Johnny isn't complicated."

    Kathleen went with Thomas Ross d8, Love d8, and On a Mission d4. Johnny went with Kathleen (Will be my bride yet) d10 and Love d10. KP got an 11, but Johnny managed to sneak through with a 12. This resulted in a d10 of Frustrated stress. KP was okay with this because her plan is to up her relationship with Johnny so he can stop inflicting stress on her so much!]

    KATHLEEN: You drive me mad!

    KATHLEEN grabs her shawl and her bonnet and storms out of the boardinghouse.

  • EPISODE 2: Fortune Was Not Kind in this World (Part 7)


    DAISY and KATHLEEN arrive and are conducted inside. In marked contrast to KATHLEEN'S previous visits, they are treated with respect by the guards and the normal delays at gaining entry are missing.


    DAISY and KATHLEEN arrive at the side of THOMAS'S bed. He is visible ill and looks worse than the last time we saw him.

    DAISY: I didn't know it was this serious!

    THOMAS: Don't mind me, Mrs. de Lancé, I'll be fine.

    DAISY: You're in the infirmary! What's got you down?

    THOMAS: (Coughs violently): Oh, it's just this cough. I'm sure it'll go down soon, I've got a catarrh or something of an ague.

    [I admit: I just wanted to say "catarrh" and "ague".]

    DAISY: How are they treating you?

    THOMAS: Oh, fine, just fine.

    DAISY: I mean, what are they treating you with?

    THOMAS: Don't know, I'm not much of a medical man meself. I'd try to cure it with tea and a pot o' small beer.

    DAISY: Let me talk to your doctors and see what they're using. If it's really not serious …

    DAISY finds an ORDERLY reading the London Star at his elevated desk. She begins to harangue him about THOMAS.

    DAISY: Mr. Ross there, he's got a small cough, what are they giving him.

    ORDERLY: Same thing we give everyone with the cough. Tonic.

    DAISY: Tonic water?

    ORDERLY: No, some sort of tonic medicine.

    DAISY: (Agitated): What's IN the tonic?

    ORDERLY: I haven't the faintest idea, madam. I am not an apothecary.

    DAISY: Let me speak to your manager, then!

    ORDERLY: I am the Chief Orderly!

    DAISY: Well then why don't you know what's in your medicine!

    ORDERLY: Look, it's supposed to be good for … let's see what it says: Headache, heartburn, heartache, hair growth, hair removal …

    DAISY: People don't want to grow hair on their tongues! What are you feeding him!

    ORDERLY: I don't know what's in it, I just know it's what we have.

    DAISY: Well, who would know what's in it?

    ORDERLY: I suppose Mr. Josiah Smith, the manufacturer of this product.

    DAISY: Well, why are you feeding it to him when you don't know what it will do!

    ORDERLY: Madam, he has a cold. He will get better or he will die.

    DAISY: No! There are plenty of things you can do for a small cough!

    ORDERLY: He does not have the typhus. If he recovers well enough, we will take him back to his cell, where he will probably not contract typhus. Of course, if he stays here long enough, he probably will.

    DAISY: Would it be all right if I brought some medicines?

    ORDERLY: If it is cleared by Governor Finney, you can bring in whatever you like.

    DAISY: Very well, where is Governor Finney?

    ORDERLY: I have not the relationship with Governor Finney that I can send in a strange American. Good evening, madam.

    DAISY returns to THOMAS'S bed and stands next to KATHLEEN, fuming.

    DAISY: Mr. Ross, I'm very sorry. I should speak to you before pitching a fit at doctors. Kathleen told me that you're here because you were arrested during the riots in Trafalgar last year.

    THOMAS: Aye. I remember seeing you there, madam.

    DAISY: Yes. I was trying to get arrested, I take it you were not.

    THOMAS: Yes, ma'am. I wasn't trying to do anything, I just got swept up.

    KATHLEEN: (Crossly.): You were trying to do something. You were trying to keep somebody out of gaol.

    THOMAS: Aye, and I did, I did. I kept — that person — out of trouble.

    KATHLEEN: My father's very non-political. He's got a sterling reputation at home, everyone in the village knew he's the one to go to if you've troubles, he's the one to go for advice.

    THOMAS: Aye, them's the days, but them days is past, Kathleen.

    KATHLEEN: My father's the kindest, gentlest, most God-fearing man you'd ever meet anywhere, and the idea that he should be confined in a place like this, coughing up his lungs, being fed God knows what —

    THOMAS: Now, now, there's no help for it in this vale of tears, Kathleen. My reward's not here, it's in me next life. I pray to the Virgin and I pray to the Lord every day.

    THOMAS has another coughing fit.

    DAISY: Could you tell me about the circumstances of you being swept up?

    THOMAS: Oh, the police were catching everyone that day. I remember all them Special Branch, and them dragoons. Saw a policeman there, what always had it in for the Fenians.

    DAISY: Who? Do you remember his name?

    THOMAS: Inspector Abberline.

    KATHLEEN: There wasn't a particle of evidence against him, except that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    THOMAS: Ah, well, so it ever 'tis, between Englishmen and Irishmen.

    KATHLEEN: It isn't right!

    DAISY looks nervously about, clearly deeply moved but already aware of the fearsome social cost involvement in the affair would entail.

    KATHLEEN (CONT'D.): So, da, I was thinking that perhaps the right thing to do, and perhaps Mrs. de Lancé could help us, would be to find some upstanding Englishmen who would be willing to sign themselves to a letter avowing to your good character.

    THOMAS: That couldn't hurt. But don't bide your head too much about it, Kathleen. Your future's not in this country. You should go to America, where an Irishman can walk with respect.

    KATHLEEN: I'm not going anywhere now. I'm not going anywhere when Mother and the bairns are in Ireland.

    THOMAS: I was hoping that you and Johnny would earn enough that you could take 'em all with you.

    KATHLEEN: Father, I wish to speak to you about Johnny.

    THOMAS: What about Johnny?

    DAISY politely slips away and begins examining the medical supplies held in the infirmary.

    KATHLEEN: I know that all that you want is for me to be happy — and I know that you think the world of Johnny —

    THOMAS: He has his flaws. He needs a good woman to straighten him out.

    KATHLEEN: I think that his flaws are greater than you know.

    THOMAS: What are you saying, Kathleen?

    KATHLEEN: Well, for one thing, I believe he's a thief.

    THOMAS: Kathleen!

    KATHLEEN: He boasted about it to me. He's running around with a bad sort and he doesn't have the moral character to stand up to them.

    THOMAS: He's not the first Irishman who's had to steal to live in this Englishman's world.

    KATHLEEN: For another thing, he frequents houses of ill repute!

    [Me: Like the one I live in!

    At this point we put together a pool. I hadn't filled out all the values for the Features, preferring to round them out in play, and so I realized Thomas had a d8 in Truth. Thomas' pool was John, Truth, and his Big-Hearted Distinction. Kathleen's was Truth (Innocence should matter) d8, Thomas d8 (I will free you). In looking back, maybe Thomas wasn't the precise relationship, but metaphorically she was freeing Thomas of his misconceptions.

    KP got a 7, I got a 13. KP kicked a die in to Trouble in order to re-roll the 1 she got on a d8, but it didn't affect the total. KP decided to accept getting Stressed Out, which Thomas was totally up for. The stress pool resulted in Thomas hanging a d12 Shamed stress on Kathleen. KP decided that the Stress Out was "the iron control of Kathleen Ross." She said goodbye and stormed out without another word.]

    THOMAS: Kathleen! For shame! Not another word about that man who means well! He swore to protect you and I won't hear you accuse him without himself here to defend against you.

    KATHLEEN: (Near frozen in fury.): Good night, da.
  • EPISODE 2: Fortune Was Not Kind in this World (Part 8)


    RIVKA and DINAH are sitting facing each other on DINAH'S cot.

    RIVKA: Do you know a young Polish man, from Krakow, shorter than me, with blonde hair —

    DINAH: (Seized with joy.): Jan! Is he here for me!

    RIVKA: Yes, darling.

    DINAH begins to weep. RIVKA embraces her.

    RIVKA (CONT'D.): He's a sailor. He wants to take you to America with him.

    DINAH: I always hoped he would find me in London.

    RIVKA: Apparently he was waiting outside and we didn't even notice him.

    DINAH: (Sighs.): That's Jan. People don't tend to notice him. Except me. I noticed him.

    RIVKA: He seems like a very good man. He'll be here in a few hours …

    DINAH: I don't have a thing to wear!


    Several YOUNG PROSTITUTES are gathered around DINAH, altering one of DAISY'S old dresses to fit her.

    FIRST PROSTITUTE: Don't move, ma'am! I don't want to stick you!

    SECOND PROSTITUTE: Oh, this is just like in one of them romances! Saw a play like this once, I did!

    RIVKA: Girls, we have to be cautious, because I assume Mr. Matchington will be paying us a visit eventually about all this unpleasantness. I don't want him to find out about Dinah being here. So not a word about her. You look beautiful, Dinah.


    AUBREY, TC MILLER, and HIGHGRASS have met in secret to discuss AUBREY'S plans.

    AUBREY: Miller will come with me to Hanbury Street. I intend to interview Miss Solomon. Miller, you're to stay outside and keep order, understand?

    MILLER: Aye, sir!

    AUBREY: And Inspector, let me say — I never appreciated you quite so much as I do now.

    HIGHGRASS: Well, that's life in the old Met.

    AUBREY: Yes, I'm beginning to realize.

    HIGHGRASS: What can I tell you, Matchington. I was born with the burden of two names of greatness and expected to redeem them. Hain't been easy.

    AUBREY: Perhaps this will be your chance. I strongly suspect that the vast majority of the information that I will be finding in the course of this investigation — and right now I expect there to be a great deal of it — will be coming to Chief Inspector Abberline's desk through you. So enjoy and make use of that as best you can.


    KATHLEEN and DAISY are riding back to Hanbury Street from Newgate Gaol.

    [Me: we can use the cab set! It's super cheap, after the expensive Newgate set!]

    DAISY: We're going to have to talk about tactics because the people I could get to sign your petition very easily couldn't do anything to help, and the people who could help won't sign very easily — that's how they've risen to the position of having that kind of power. I'm thinking of some hare-brained plans … like having a fabulous party where in order to get in you'd have to sign the petition! It would be all about the differences between the Astors and the Vanderbilts.

    [Me: I'm pretty sure Kathleen is thinking, White People Problems.]

    KATHLEEN: Ma'am?

    DAISY: The Astors and Vanderbilts are New York families. The Astors are old money and conservative, the Vanderbilts are new money and more progressive. Mrs. Astor cut Mrs. Vanderbilt at parties all the time —

    KATHLEEN: With a knife?

    DAISY: No, socially! And they wouldn't invite each other to anything anymore, that sort of thing!

    KATHLEEN: Oh, I see. That must be dreadful.

    DAISY: Until one day Mrs. Vanderbilt threw the most amazing party! She decorated her apartments to look like Louis Quatorze's salon at Versailles! Or was that Mrs. Schen — I can never remember her name, she lives on Lafayette Street. And Mrs. Astor's daughter wanted to go, but she couldn't get an invitation, because her mother had snubbed Mrs. Vanderbilt so many times, until finally Mrs. Astor had to make advances to Mrs. Vanderbilt and I really wish I could do something of the kind with this awful English society, although I'm not sure I have the right qualities, frankly. Mrs. Vanderbilt is an awfully impressive woman. And I'm not nearly at that level yet. I don't have nearly enough money.

    KATHLEEN: So — you want to have a party — a really large party — and people will sign the petition in order to go?

    DAISY: I want to find a way to solve this that is not quite as ridiculous. Because I am well aware, although I wish I wasn't, that some of my ideas are ridiculous. I could get some people to sign, but I don't think it would be enough. What if I could get Inspector Abberline to sign? That must help. We could present the petition to him. We should investigate this Inspector Abberline.

  • edited October 2014
    EPISODE 2: Fortune Was Not Kind in this World (Part 9)


    DAISY and KATHLEEN step out. DAISY follows KATHLEEN, who has been too distracted to wish her a good evening, up through the front door.


    KATHLEEN and DAISY enter. DAISY is visibly taken aback by the shabbiness of the surroundings, and the group of poor young women wearing her clothes.

    They have barely entered the room when there is a knock on the front door. JOHNNY is standing there, wearing his Sunday suit, with JAN standing next to him in a suit that looks new-bought, holding a bunch of flowers. JOHNNY bustles into the parlour, dragging JAN. Behind them a coterie of WHITECHAPEL LOCALS tramp in, carrying trays of food, candles, more flowers, and the makings of a trestle table and service for several people. Among the crowd is MARIE, although she mostly goes unnoticed.

    JOHNNY: Never to fear, me loves! I took young Teddy around and introduced him to everyone at the Cauldron — we're tight now, we're all looking out for Teddy. Oh, and I even got him one of these skullcappy things. Got a fiddler too, don't know if you usually have music during your what d'ye call 'em, Roshy Shonny dinners, Becky.

    FIRST PROSTITUTE: (To RIVKA.): 'Oo's the posh bird what came in with Miss Ross?

    RIVKA: She's a strange but very nice lady from America.

    FIRST PROSTITUTE: Ah, I've always wanted to go to America! I 'ear you can shoot one of them Red Indians right from the cars as you go through the city.

    DAISY: They chased them all out of the city, you can't do that anymore.

    Trestle tables are quickly set and food laid out.

    RIVKA: Welcome, everyone —

    DAISY: I can leave if I'm not welcome … I was bringing Kathleen back home and just got out with her, but I see you're having a party …

    RIVKA: It's Rosh Hashanah.

    DAISY: Oh, Finn's told me about that! It's the Jewish New Year, because you have a lunar calendar!

    RIVKA: That's right ma'am, we have a lunar calendar and —

    DAISY: Does that mean it's going to be a new moon tonight? Of course it does!

    One of the locals begins playing an Irish harp in the background. DINAH comes down the stairs. The YOUNG PROSTITUTES form an aisle for DINAH to walk up to JAN.

    JAN: (Voice choked.): Dinah —

    DINAH wraps her arms around him and kisses him. After being stunned for a moment, JAN kisses her back. The YOUNG PROSTITUTES coo. The WOMAN LOCALS lean on the arms of their Beaus. DAISY claps her hands to her mouth, recognizing the woman who was sent to the madhouse after she performed an abortion on her.

    Suddenly there's a knock on the door. JOHNNY yanks open the door to reveal AUBREY.

    JOHNNY: Come on in, we're having a party! Some kind of Jewish thing! You'll need one of these.

    He offers AUBREY a yarmulke.

    RIVKA: That's not necessary. Just leave your hat on, Mr. Matchington. Or not … it doesn't really matter …

    AUBREY stares around in wonderment at JOHNNY, RIVKA, and DAISY. A group of musicians — flute, harp, violin, accordion, guitar, a drum — starts up a fine Irish reel in the background. The crowd parts and AUBREY catches sight of DINAH.

    DAISY: Mr. Matchington! Have you come slumming too! Finn's out at the club, I came down here with Kathleen and blundered into this party! It's Rosh Hashanah, have you heard of it? It's the Jewish New Year, you know, because of the new moon. The music's Irish, I'm sure you know that, and I guess the food's mostly not Jewish, but the spirit's the same, really! Don't you think so? It certainly feels different than any party I've been to recently. Isn't it marvelous?

    AUBREY: I was not aware of the party, I was not invited, and I am sorry to have disturbed the festivities. I am here as you expect in a consultative capacity, but I sense that while time is of the essence that this may be a sufficiently bad time for these purposes —

    JOHNNY: (Passing by.): You just got here! Have a beer, man, at least.

    AUBREY: You may expect me tomorrow, Miss Solomon. Before I leave, do excuse me … madam, are you Miss Dinah Weiszman?

    JAN steps forward between DINAH and AUBREY.

    JAN: I think you should leave, sir.

    AUBREY: I'm sorry, I don't seem to know you. Do you know who I am?

    JAN: No. But I know her, and she is not talking to you.

    The YOUNG PROSTITUTES drag DINAH away towards the stairs. JOHNNY comes over and stands next to JAN, arms folded across his chest.

    JOHNNY: Is there a problem here?

    AUBREY: Miss Solomon, is that woman in fact Dinah Weiszman?

    RIVKA: You — you mean the woman from St. Thomas' who disappeared suddenly? No, this is someone different. You've asked about her before.

    AUBREY: You don't have to talk to me about this, Miss Solomon. I suspect both for your safety and your happiness that you would prefer to believe in plausible alternatives.

    RIVKA: Come upstairs.

    AUBREY: I will. One moment, please.

    AUBREY strides to the door, opens it, and sticks his head out. TC MILLER is standing on the street.

    AUBREY: Detective Constable Trainee Miller?

    MILLER: Aye, sir?

    AUBREY: Stay outside.

    MILLER: Aye, sir.

    AUBREY retreats inside. Several of the LOCALS eye the door nervously, realizing a constable is outside.

    [I offered Stress Relief from Johnny's astonishingly decent act to KP, but she didn't want anything from Johnny. We have a Stress Relief scene later on. RP defended Johnny a bit, which made me happy, because I'd introduced at least a bit of ambiguity about how terrible Johnny is.]

    KATHLEEN approaches JAN.

    KATHLEEN: Excuse me, sir. You're a sailor? And your ship is in harbour?

    JAN: Yes, I don't have to be back for a few days.

    KATHLEEN: In that case, let me give you a piece of advice. Let us celebrate tonight, and then you should take Dinah and go to your ship. Can you do that?

    JAN: I don't have enough money to go to America yet.

    KATHLEEN: I don't think she's safe here. Can you take her someplace safe?

    JAN: I don't know. I will look. I will ask Mr. Johnny! He has been very helpful to me! He got me this suit.

    KATHLEEN: Where did he get it?

    JAN: He bought it for me. He bought flowers for me, then had all his friends bring food over here to celebrate with me and Dinah.
  • EPISODE 2: Fortune Was Not Kind in this World (Part 10)


    RIVKA sits on her bed. AUBREY stands with his hands in his pockets, looking uncomfortable.

    AUBREY: So, Miss Solomon.

    RIVKA: Are you here about the men outside? You can see they're still there.

    AUBREY: If I were to stay, as you know, it would be to interview your friends and co-workers. I sincerely hope that if it is necessary for the men outside to be dealt with please inform me and I will have my police escort do what can be done.

    RIVKA: We were threatened by that man Pizer. He was going to beat me in the face with a carpet beater.

    AUBREY: I am very thankful for you, and for the sake of justice and mercy in the abstract, that it did not come to pass. And I am sorry that you labour under these burdens as a general matter. I assume you did not summon me upstairs on this matter.

    RIVKA: No. Why did you ask me about the woman downstairs?

    AUBREY: I don't know how much you know about this woman, Miss Solomon. She is sick, and she is certainly a danger to herself and, although I strongly suspect her powers in this regard to be limited, I strongly suspect that she is a danger to those she encounters. I worry for her, and more I worry for you if you are harbouring her. She needs care of a very specialized variety, and she needs treatment. In some sense it is not my concern, I am not an orderly at St. Thomas', but I one who flatters himself in having a generalized interest in the well-being of more wretched creatures —

    RIVKA: So in order to protect her well-being —

    AUBREY: Hers and yours —

    RIVKA: You wish her to be at St. Thomas'?

    AUBREY: You have raised it admirably.

    RIVKA: Have you been there?

    AUBREY: I have.

    RIVKA: It didn't seem that people there were being treated in a way that would improve their well-being.

    AUBREY: We try, Miss Solomon. Our tools are imperfect and our knowledge yet more imperfect. We labour mightily to know what we can of the mind so we may heal its frailties more convincingly.

    RIVKA: Beatings? Binding people to beds? Starving people? Chaining them to walls? All for their well-being? At least you had the courtesy to say that if the man with the carpet beater had hit me that would have been unfortunate. But you wish for others to be beaten?

    AUBREY: If that will cure them, then yes that is what I wish. And moreover, if no cure is possible — and I sincerely hope that is not the case for Dinah — I wish that those who are mad and dangerously so should not be in a position to where they could wreak harm to those around them.

    [And another contest. Rivka's on the assault, trying to convince Aubrey to not take away Dinah. RP went with Dinah d8, Duty d8, and Big-Hearted d10. AP put together Duty d8, Connected d8, and then spent a Plot Point to gain a d8 relationship with Dinah — nice! Aubrey got an 8 (with a Complication I promptly bought) and Rivka came up with 12, inflicting Stress on Aubrey. This came up d8 Frightened — that was AP's idea, and fit perfectly with his relationship with Rivka. I pointed out that AP could give in to avoid the Stress, but it would mean that he was agreeing with Rivka that Dinah doesn't belong in the asylum.]

    AUBREY (CONT'D.): I'm not going to ruin your festivities, Miss Solomon. Since I am here to save you and yours from violence and death, I will not begin this phase of our association by making myself a spectre of terror. But I want you to know that I have seen Dinah in St. Thomas', where she was being kept, and have spoken with her. I urge you, if you cannot be persuaded to put her in the care of the authorities who are suited to the task, then to look to your own safety. I will return soon with my men.


    RIVKA hurtles down the steps and grabs JOHNNY.

    RIVKA: I need to get Dinah and Jan out of here. Do have someplace they could hide?

    JOHNNY: Aye, I know a man who knows a place. Don't worry, the coppers will never find it. That posh git will never find it. If you want her never to be found, I can make it happen.

    RIVKA: That's very good of you, Johnny. We'll have to get them out of London eventually.

    JOHNNY: Aye, if he gets enough money he can take Dinah to America. I can see about helping him with that.

    RIVKA: You're very helpful.

    JOHNNY: Thank you, Becky. If you could put in a good word for me with Kathleen I'd appreciate it.

    KATHLEEN: You should go to America, Johnny.

    JOHNNY: We should both go. Marry me, and we can leave tomorrow.

  • EPISODE 2: Fortune Was Not Kind in this World (Part 11)


    DAISY is helping herself to some punch as KATHLEEN enters, ripping up a loaf of soda bread.

    DAISY: Are you ripping the soda bread because you're frustrated? Is it helping? I've punch pillows myself. Is everything all right? I'm guessing it's not, but is everything all right in a way that you're comfortable talking about?

    KATHLEEN: It's just — my father has the patience of a saint. And believes the best of everyone. Including that lout out there. He even wants me to marry him.

    DAISY: Which one?

    KATHLEEN: The lout. Didn't I say?

    DAISY: There are several gentlemen out there who could match that description.

    KATHLEEN: He's the one that got my father locked up in the first place.

    DAISY: Oh, the one your father was trying to help.

    KATHLEEN: The most frustrating thing about it is his complete indifference to my refusal to marry him! It's completely unsupportable!

    DAISY: That must be very frustrating indeed. I had a few suitors like that. Mostly I put frogs in their beds.

    KATHLEEN: But my father expects me to take care of him, you see. He reproaches me for not being kinder to Johnny.

    DAISY: Well, that's a dilemma. My father wasn't very kind to anybody. It certainly didn't bother him when I put frogs in the beds of suitors.

    KATHLEEN: My father has it in his head that a good woman will make him better. But I shouldn't like to marry anyone I didn't admire. And I despise him! I mean, of course … he does mean well — sometimes.

    DAISY: Lots of people mean well sometimes.

    KATHLEEN: He was certainly very nice to that couple. I just wish it didn't have to be tonight for him to be nice.

    DAISY: It's certainly harder when they're nice some of the time. It makes it harder to properly hate them. My mother says my father was that way once. Have I ever told you about how he was an admiral for twenty hours? It was during the war, and he'd just been to see Mr. Lincoln and General Grant …

    We pull back from Kathleen laughing in the kitchen at the antics of Mr. Benjamin Rockford and


    [Stress relief time! DP went after the frustrated (d10) stress, and put together a pool. She went with Kathleen d6, Love (I am so lucky) d8, and Manipulative d8. She also decided to use Benjamin Rockford 2d4, since he's a kindred spirit of hers, and DP decided she would tell amusing stories of her father's antics.

    (I should mention at this point that now and again during the sessions I'd do my best Jimmy Cagney voice for some outbursts by the irrepressible Mr. Rockford.)

    KP rolled a d10 and a d12, and hit a 16. DP ended up using both her father's 2d4 and blew a plot point to bring in another die, but she beat the 16 and relieved Kathleen's Frustration. It was the end of the session, so DP could afford to be lavish.]



    KATHLEEN is walking to work. It is still dark outside; the streetlamps are lit, but the faint light of dawn has begun to brighten the sky. As she walks, she passes a MAN wearing a deerstalker and an overcoat, and a woman who proves to be ANNIE CHAPMAN. She passes by them without a glance, although we can hear the faint sound of their conversation as she passes by.

    MAN: Will you?

    ANNIE: Yes.


    RIVKA carries a pail of water back up the stairs to the rear door from the pump in the back yard. From the stairs she can see out across the other yards next to her house; they are separated by plank fences about five feet high. A WORKINGMAN comes out of the back of 27 Hanbury Street — next door to RIVKA'S building — and starts walking through his yard to a gate in the back.

    TITLE OVER: 8 September 1888

    From the yard of 29 Hanbury Street a murmur of voices can be heard. Then a woman speaks loudly:

    ANNIE: No!

    There is a thump against the plank fence. The WORKINGMAN freezes for a second, but there is no other noise. He looks at RIVKA. After a moment he shrugs, continues walking and goes through the gate in the back.


    AUBREY, TC MILLER, and a DETAIL OF CONSTABLES are coming up the street, intent on capturing Dinah, when they see a group of people gathered in the back of 25 Hanbury Street, including ABBERLINE. AUBREY pushes his way through the crowd where he comes before the body of ANNIE CHAPMAN. ABBERLINE glares at him.

    AUBREY: Thank you for the delay, Chief Inspector. That was very helpful.


  • Some final notes on this one:

    The murder of Annie Chapman was intended to happen in the middle of the session, but this worked out much better. Plus, we had the impromptu Rosh Hashanah celebration, which was simply lovely.

    I came up with Jan based on DP's notes to me that Dinah had so far only functioned as a Madwoman Spouting Prophecy, so I wanted to give her a little more dramatic oomph. I realized at some point that I could also use the introduction of Jan to humanize Johnny, who had been a little too much of a jerk to justify Thomas' faith in him during the first session.

    Annie Chapman's death as presented is one of the more plausible reconstructions. There are issues with the timing of the workingman's recollections--according to him, he heard the thump and woman crying "No!" before Annie was observed talking to a man near 29 Hansbury Street, but exact measurement of time was pretty difficult in those days. I gave Kathleen the job of having inadvertently walked by the Ripper--obviously, this was a different person in the real course of events, although she is almost certainly the person who came closest to the Ripper. Sadly, she was not able to come up with a definitive description (and in fact her recollection is somewhat at odds with our best composite portrait of the Whitechapel murderer.)
  • Lovely stuff: a great write-up, enjoyable to read as fiction, and great to have all the mechanical notes in there, as well. Thanks!
  • I love making annoying people have redeeming characteristics -- while still staying annoying!
  • @Paul_T: Thanks! Much deserved credit goes to my players, who are quite happily chugging along with their own machinations. As to the mechanics, I owe a shout out to Bill White who convinced me to do that in the Post-Modern Masks writeup; I've come to realize that an AP without the mechanics commentary isn't all that useful. (And it seems that there's no Smallville/Cortex Plus Drama AP with mechanics out there, which was very frustrating when I was getting ready to run this.)

    @Lisa Padol: Yeah, most definitely. Especially for a game that is explicitly dramatic.

    I forgot to mention above that the Complication I bought from Aubrey was "you don't make your raid for a couple of days" which brought the final scene in line temporarily with actual events (the party must have happened on 6 September 1888 based on when Rosh Hashanah fell, and Annie Chapman died on 8 September.) Realistically, though, since we're in TV time, it's not that important. (I try to push the players to not worry about things like the strict flow of time.)
  • edited December 2014
    Episode 3: Dark Is Life... (Part 1)



    AUBREY is in a crowd of policemen along with ABBERLINE gathered around the body of ANNIE CHAPMAN. AUBREY bends down to examine the extensive and hideous wounds to her body — she has not just been eviscerated; some of her internal organs have been removed.

    [I actually did a test here — which meant I had to put together a pool for the Ripper. This ended up being Power d10: I have the power of life and death, The Met d6: they will never catch me. I also came up with the only Ability in the game: Serial Killer d10 which I added, plus Aubrey's d6 Afraid stress.

    Aubrey used Truth d8, Rivka d10 (since his fear was for her). Unbelievably enough, I rolled a couple of Opportunities (the group declined to buy out my 2d6), and Aubrey managed to beat the roll. I asked if he wanted to turn the Contest around and attempt to stress the Ripper — this was kind of metaphorical, but it seemed pretty interesting, and possible depending on how Aubrey managed to talk to the police. AP also wanted to get into a contest with Abberline, but I decided to resolve the Ripper contest first but have it be the results of Aubrey's profile.

    KP asked if Aubrey can indeed use Genius given that phrenology doesn't work, but I pointed out he was a Genius despite his beliefs. The pool was Genius d12, Glory d8, and Abberline d6, plus a plot point to include Wealthy d10. I think I went with Glory d8, the Met d8, and Whitechapel 2d8. Aubrey rolled a complication but got a 19; I bought the complication, and had to burn the Ripper's Whitechapel resource to keep him from stressing out. But the increased police presence ended up giving him Exhausted d10 stress.]

    AUBREY: You were telling me something about good old-fashioned police work?

    ABBERLINE: You have some ideas, Mr. Matchington?

    AUBREY: I do, but they will probably take too long to discuss in the street. Shall we return to your office?

    ABBERLINE: Oh, by all means.


    AUBREY is standing in front of a chalkboard filled with his extensive notes and a large sketch of a skull with important phrenological details indicated. A crowd of SKEPTICAL DETECTIVES is gathered in front of him, along with ABBERLINE.

    ABBERLINE: And so this will help us catch him?

    [We did this as another contest — Genius, Glory, and Abberline for Aubrey, and Truth (I will get to the bottom of this), Investigator, and Aubrey (is an annoying twit) for Abberline. Aubrey came up with a 12, to Abberline's 13, and AP chose to re-roll (since Aubrey's Genius distinction let him do so.) This roll came up 7, including a couple of Complications that I bought for Trouble. Abberline didn't stress out Aubrey, but hit him up with d10 Frustrated stress.]

    AUBREY: Completely scientifically proven.

    ABBERLINE: This is all interesting from an academic point of view, Mr. Matchington, but point of fact that if you want to help in this investigation — and I'll allow that you are very clever and could be useful — you'll have to learn how to do police work like an actual bloody detective! I'm sure that Nelly here would be glad to let you take your little friend Miller around to go and question the bloody whores like you meant to do. Now, we'll take your — whatd'yecallit — profile? — under advisement.

    AUBREY stares amazed at the crowd of detectives, and hangs his head.





    DAISY and KATHLEEN are drinking tea and plotting out the course of their campaign to free THOMAS ROSS.

    DAISY: So I have a scheme to get your father released. It's multi-part and probably complicated.

    KATHLEEN: Tell me everything.

    DAISY: I've got friends in the Socialists. Don't tell Lady Snottington or any of Lady Snottington's friends — they're not supposed to know. They probably already know — they know everything — but we don't mention it in polite company something something something. I plan to get your father to tell me about other innocent Irish men, ones who aren't Fenians, because if we get any Fenians then everything's ruined. Once we get the list, we go to the Socialists with it, because they like causes, and justice, and this is a just one. And there's really nothing else to work on right now.

    KATHLEEN: Begging your pardon, but will Socialists care about Irishmen?

    DAISY: Oh, yes. There are plenty of Irish Socialists.

    KATHLEEN: Oh. Irish Socialists…

    DAISY: Socialists are an international organization! They have plenty of Irish people, and Polish… African…

    KATHLEEN: So Irish Socialists.

    DAISY: Yes, Irish Socialists. Also the other kinds of Socialists.

    KATHLEEN: But they wouldn't care.

    DAISY: They will care! It's for the cause of justice! In England! Which is —

    KATHLEEN: Irishmen.

    DAISY: Anyway, we'll get the Socialists to care about us. Then I'm going to write an editorial — and I write fairly well, because my father thought I should learn, and it's been very handy. Then I'll find some gentleman and publish it under his name, because they'll never let me publish it under my own.

    KATHLEEN: Why would he let you publish it under his name?

    DAISY: Because he likes me, that's usually how this goes. And it will be all sorts of conservative and be about how if England wants to maintain its reputation for law and order it can't go around jailing people unjustly. Which it can, but you can say it can't in an editorial. And then I'll start making noise about it as myself. This is called manufacturing consensus and we're going to do it, and then likely someone will decide — if we've manufactured consensus correctly — that this is a popular cause and they have to do it. Because it's neither monetarily nor politically possible to release your father and those others who were sentenced.

    KATHLEEN: They are Irish though.

    DAISY: They are Irish. But people do political calculations that end up doing moderately all right things for the Irish all the time. They don't like it, but they do it.

    KATHLEEN: But whom will they be trying to please? The Irish Socialists? Or the gentleman who obliges you by publishing the conservative editorial?

    DAISY: So probably it will be something like we must court the conservative elite and also not give the Socialists ammunition and then there's this calculus. I'm probably the least important part of the mix, but I hope to help manufacture consensus by being the liberal progressive woman who says these things, as opposed to that conservative guy who published this editorial and those Irish Socialists over there.

    KATHLEEN: Very well. What can I do?

    DAISY: First of all, I could use you asking your father about other Irishmen in jail who are innocent and are agreeable like he is and who are not Fenians. They need to be sort of model people like he is. And they can't be Fenians, or guilty, or we're sunk. Or Socialists, who are always scapegoats.

    KATHLEEN seems to be pondering people she knows and mentally crossing names off the list.

    DAISY: And I'll go looking for a stalking horse, or a cat's paw — I can never remember which one it is. The sort of person who would publish an editorial not written by him under his name. Probably a Conservative. God, I hate Conservatives, but they always seem charmed by me.

    KATHLEEN: What must I do after I have the names?

    DAISY: Well, if you want to go to the Socialist hall with me, I can surely take you. I have absolutely no idea how you feel about them. I quite like them.

    KATHLEEN: Do they leave honest women alone?

    DAISY: That depends on the Socialist. They do tend to be very principled, so they have that. Some are interested in Free Love, but you just have to give them a swift kick in the balls and tell them you're not interested.

    KATHLEEN: (Involuntarily grinning.)
    All right then!
  • edited December 2014
    Episode 3: Dark Is Life... (Part 2)


    RIVKA is sitting with some of her housemates. There is a knock on the door; RIVKA opens it to find FINNEGAN and LEAH standing on the stoop.

    RIVKA (To Leah.): Hello, darling. What are you doing here?

    FINNEGAN: Hello, Rivka. I was wondering, if you weren't doing anything, I thought maybe we could all go out — you could have some time with Leah, we could go to the park…

    RIVKA: Let me go change.


    RIVKA has changed into her best dress and is sitting with FINNEGAN and LEAH.

    RIVKA: How are your piano lessons coming, darling?

    LEAH: Good. I can play "Twinkle, twinkle little star" but teacher says it's really called "Oh vous dirai-je maman".

    [The French name of the tune Anglophones call "Twinkle, twinkle little star…" Mozart wrote a series of variations on it.]

    RIVKA: That's very sophisticated.

    FINNEGAN: She's very talented. Have you eaten? I'm sure — I'm sure we could find someplace…

    RIVKA: I've eaten a little, I suppose that we could… Simon, the only thing I'm worried about… I suppose we could get some bread and cheese.

    FINNEGAN: Ah, like I used to do in Paris when we would go to the Bois de Boulogne. Bit cold for it today, but a capital idea. Driver!

    The cab makes a quick stop at a shop and FINNEGAN jumps out, runs into the shop, and quickly returns with several bundles and a few bottles of wine.

    FINNEGAN: So what do you say, head to Hyde Park? Or the Thames Embankment?

    RIVKA: Those seem rather… public…

    FINNEGAN: Oh… of course. I know just the place, it's in Chelsea. Driver!

    [In-session I said Islington; London geography fail. Chelsea as the "borough of artists" makes much more sense.]

    RIVKA: Simon… have you told Mrs. De Lancé about this outing?

    FINNEGAN: I told her I was taking Leah to see you, yes.

    RIVKA: My concern is that people might wonder why I'm out with you and her daughter.

    FINNEGAN: Well… I would like to say, "damn their eyes for their impudence", but I can see where it would be a concern. This place we're going is very discreet, there's a little room in the back and no one will see us.


    RIVKA and FINNEGAN are sitting in a quiet room for two. LEAH sits by the fire, playing with a doll.

    FINNEGAN: I'm sorry, Rivka, I suppose you probably think this is all very unusual. It's just that… I really wanted to see you… it's not that I don't care about you and Leah in your own way… Daisy's wonderful but… my life is extremely complicated now… I don't think I'm making any sense, damnit. Damnit, now I'm an Austen hero!

    [RP: Well, Rivka hasn't read those books anyway.
    Me: Yeah, and you'd probably have to half-translate them into Yiddish to understand them.
    RP: Are we having this conversation in English or Yiddish?
    Me: English. Finn probably doesn't speak Yiddish well or at all.
    KP: But he feels guilty about not speaking Yiddish!
    Me: Yes! Well, he feels guilty about everything…]

    RIVKA: I'm sorry that your life is stressful. I think you're doing a very good job.

    FINNEGAN: I'm just sorry you don't get to see Leah… and I don't get to see you as much… as much as any of us would care…

    RIVKA: I'm always happy to see Leah, but I wouldn't want to do anything to keep her from her mother.

    FINNEGAN: You're her mother.

    RIVKA: But that isn't any good for her. The things that you and Mrs. De Lancé can give to her are better than the things I can give to her, which is why she's your daughter.

    FINNEGAN: Well, that's not fair either, is it?

    RIVKA: No… but the person I care about the most in all of this is Leah. I want what's best for her.

    FINNEGAN: Don't you understand, Rivka, I haven't done well by you.

    RIVKA: You've done immeasurably better by me than I had any reason to suspect anyone ever would. You and Daisy both.

    FINNEGAN: What are you saying?

    RIVKA: What I'm saying is that a woman in the position I was in six years ago had no expectation of any help whatsoever. Your wife's hobbies are sort of an acknowledgement of that.

    FINNEGAN: Yes… I just don't… want to face a world where I can't see you anymore, Rivka.

    RIVKA: Simon, you can see me. I'm right here. I just don't want to do anything that would jeopardize Leah's relationship with her mother, or her father. Or her mother's relationship with her father.

    FINNEGAN: Yes, we must keep up appearances, musn't we.

    [So we went to a roll, but it was hard to decide who was stressing who. I decided to do a pool where Finn was stressing Rivka to keep seeing him, and either that would get turned around or we'd do a second contest. (I also realized what one of Finn's d8s was: Love (I am torn between two women). The pool was Love d8, Likable d8, and Rivka (I've wronged you) d8. Rivka went with Duty d8, Leah d10, and Not Born Yesterday d4. This ended up with Finn winning 13-12, and inflicting d8 Shamed stress.]

    RIVKA: Simon, we both want whatever's best for everyone involved in this. And I think what's best for everyone is — when we see each other alone, or alone with Leah here — it isn't going to be the best thing for everyone. And it's going to cause problems between you and Mrs. De Lancé.

    FINNEGAN: I don't ever want to hurt her. I mean, I love Daisy —

    RIVKA: Of course you do. And she's Leah's mother… and we don't want to do anything to hurt us all down the line.

    FINNEGAN: My God, what have I done?

    RIVKA: No, Simon! Simon, we're all on the same side here! We all want the same thing, and we all want to do the things that will get us what we want. If you want to see me — look, you are an important person to me, you and Mrs. De Lancé are Leah's parents and are important people to me. I have a debt I cannot ever satisfy. If the two of you wish me to visit both of you and Leah, I would do that whenever you wished. And that would work out well for everyone.

    [We decided to put together a pool. KP wondered if Finn could roll against himself (if anyone can, he could), and I wanted to see what stress Finn took. I gave RP a d6 as part of his Guilty pool, then rolled Duty, Guilty, and Rivka. Finn still managed to win and avoid stress.]

    FINNEGAN: You're right, I've been so foolish. I'll… I'll take you back home now.
  • Episode 3: Dark Is Life... (Part 3)


    The cab containing FINNEGAN and RIVKA is moving down the Whitechapel High Road. A large CROWD has gathered in the road, moving against the direction the cab is traveling — towards Leman Street, in point of fact. Voices in the CROWD ring out:

    CROWD: They've got him! They've picked him up! They pinched Leather Apron!


    DAISY is walking KATHLEEN toward the door.

    DAISY: I suppose I should explain Socialism to you. How many Socialists have you talked to?

    KATHLEEN: How would I know if they're Socialists?

    DAISY: You've heard about Socialism, right?

    KATHLEEN: I've heard… Socialists believe people shouldn't stick to their place.

    DAISY: The world is, terrible, you know that, right? I mean — you were at the Jewish New Year celebration, right?

    KATHLEEN: The Jews celebrating New Year's is the problem? It is a mighty strange celebration — they blow a loud horn, but I don't think that they're worshipping the Devil in my experience.

    DAISY: I mean — it's not the Jews at all — everything's terrible, and the Socialists are trying to do something to stop it! The world is awful and somebody, somewhere should do something to fix it!

    [Me: Somewhere Karl Marx begins banging his head on a desk. (Well, spinning in his tomb; he was dead in 1888.)]

    KATHLEEN: What aspects of the world being awful are the Socialists trying to remedy?

    DAISY: I mean, you have injustices like what happened to your father, where arbitrary Irishmen are put in gaol because they're arbitrarily Irish —

    KATHLEEN: Well, if that's what Socialism is about, then I know lots of Socialists.

    [Me: Soda bread Socialists!]

    DAISY: And there's workers being paid awful wages to do horrible, dangerous work! And women like Rivka forced to become prostitutes! And England's great! They've got resources so that nobody should live like that! Nobody should have to live with rats!

    KATHLEEN: So Socialists are against the rats. Rats are indeed very inconvenient.

    DAISY: They're about the redistribution of wealth and power!

    [Me: This really is Daisy's understanding of Socialism, isn't it? "Socialism is good! That's why I believe in it! What? No, I wouldn't give up my servant, why do you ask?"]

    KATHLEEN: Redistributing how?

    DAISY: By getting laws passed so that things like arbitrary Irishmen aren't in prison and people get paid better wages. I suppose the rich get taxed more — my father would grumble about that — but I don't do my own taxes anyway so that hardly affects me.

    KATHLEEN: Well, that all sounds very nice —

    DAISY: And it's an international movement, so there's Irish Socialists, there are even Socialists who aren't Irish who are against the arbitrary imprisonment of Irishmen. Because it's an affront to justice in the world. I mean, I'm American and you still talk to me, and would try to get me out of gaol at least a little bit if I was put there.

    KATHLEEN: I'd try to get you out of gaol. I don't know if I'd be any good at it — I don't know very much about the world, if you say it is horrible and the Socialists are trying to make it better that sounds all right.

    [I had Daisy put together a pool to see how much she may have stressed out Kathleen with her plans. Daisy used Justice, Kathleen, and Manipulative, plus a 2d4 from the Hanbury Street Boardinghouse (to help illustrate Socialist principles). She also spent a plot point to add Willful. This resulted in Stress for Kathleen — d10 Frustrated. Daisy also rolled a complication which I picked up as "Kathleen doesn't trust Socialists d6" for later use. I'm not sure that's exactly how the rules work, but it seemed like a better use of the 1. KP said Kathleen's understanding of all this was, "Socialists think the world is horrible; Kathleen doesn't understand how the world is horrible for Daisy. And Socialists are against rats."]


    AUBREY is talking with a group of CONDESCENDING DETECTIVES who are "instructing" him in the basics of police methods. The doors open and SERGEANT THICKE leads JOHN PIZER into the station. Outside the clamour of a crowd can be heard.

    ABBERLINE steps out of his office and observes THICKE and PIZER.

    ABBERLINE: Oh, God. Aubrey! Could you come over and help with the interrogation of this Pizer? You wanted to learn police work, right?

    AUBREY: But Detective Chief Inspector, I don't know anything about police work!

    ABBERLINE: Never fear, we'll show you how it's done!


    We see a quick montage of AUBREY, ABBERLINE, THICKE, a DETECTIVE, and a TRANSLATOR interrogating PIZER. Time passes, and then:

    AUBREY: So, your alibi is that for the first murder, you were watching the fire, and for the second murder —

    PIZER (In broken English.): I was hiding. From police, from people. My brother was there.

    ABBERLINE shakes his head, looking at THICKE, who shrinks away from his chief's glare.

    ABBERLINE: So you say you have a profile, Matchington?

    AUBREY: Indeed I do, but first I'd like to demonstrate a certain fact I've learned about proper police work. Mr. Pizer, we recently found the corpse of a woman behind a boardinghouse of ill repute on Hanbury Street. Let me show you the autopsy photographs.

    PIZER turns pale.

    PIZER: That — that is horrible! That should not happen to anyone, especially not a woman.

    AUBREY: My way is faster.

    ABBERLINE: We'll hold him for a few days anyway. Take him down to holding, boys. Gently, gently.


    As AUBREY comes out of the interrogation room, he notices a rather comely Irish prostitute standing by the front desk. The DESK SERGEANT beckons him over, and we see that the woman is MARIE.

    MARIE: You'd be that Mr. Matchington? The one that wants to talk to whores?

    AUBREY: Yes, that one. Can I help you?

    MARIE: Aye, I think I can help you, being in the trade meself as it were. If you need someone to take you around and talk to people, I'm at your service.

    AUBREY: I do appreciate that. Miller, come with me, I'd like you to record my interview with Miss —

    MARIE: Mrs. Barnett, Marie Barnett.

    AUBREY: Excellent. I'm going to ask you several questions, this may be a lengthy interview —

    MARIE: Aye, if it's going to be that long, maybe we could have something to drink?

    AUBREY: If you get thirsty, I'm sure water could be arranged —

    MARIE: Water? That'll rust your insides! Come on, you're a big bloke yourself, you could do with a pint o' ale, or maybe a glass of gin.

    AUBREY: That may come, Mrs. Barnett, but for now I have questions.
  • Episode 3: Dark Is Life... (Part 4)


    MILLER, MARIE, and AUBREY are seated at a table.

    AUBREY: Before I get to specific questions, I do have one extremely broad question because frankly I must defer to you own expertise before I begin with my own. As you have undoubtedly heard by this point, the murders that have been occurring in Whitechapel amongst members of your profession are disturbing and gruesome and not at all the kind of affairs that are conducted by conventional criminals for conventional reasons. Now I know you do not purport to know very much about this sort of thing — and I don't expect you to — but I must ask you, in the course of your — forgive me — extensive experience with men, do you think you have any sense of what kind of person would be likely to be interested in doing something like that in a way that ordinary men would not?

    MARIE: Oh, there are some gents what would like to beat you, and you have to charge 'em extra if they tell you up front — hard to collect after if they've beat you up. A gent with a knife, that's a new one to me. I've heard tales of gals getting their face all cut up by their pimps, but this…

    AUBREY: That would at least be ostensibly for business reasons.

    MARIE: You hear about all sorts of things. Me friend Cate has a friend down on Commercial Street and she tells me there's an abortion lady operating thereabout. I mean, it could be a woman, couldn't it?
    AUBREY: The murderer?

    MARIE: Aye, no one would suspect…

    AUBREY: It's true that no one would suspect, and if I were to hire someone to do this kind of deed I might very well hire a woman of low character. But I have trouble imagining the kind of woman who would have the interest, frankly. Anyway, I want to ask you some questions about the kind of men you encounter whom you say want to beat you.

    MARIE: They usually don't beat me! My Joe wouldn't stand for it!

    AUBREY: Other women of your acquaintance, then.

    MARIE: Aye, now and again you'll hear of some fourpence Sally what got her face kicked in. 'Tis life in Whitechapel, I'd think a man of the world would know that.

    AUBREY: I am a man, it turns out, of only certain corners of the world.

    MARIE: Well… that can be remedied, I know some high-class girls. Used to be one meself.

    AUBREY: I will take that under advisement. Now, can you tell me about any distinguishing features of these men? Can you tell by observing them if they are the kind who would be taken to commit abuses like the ones that have occurred?

    MARIE: I don't know anyone in particular like that — the kind what would beat a gal's face in. Truth is you can never tell, seems any man is as likely to strike ye as to kiss ye. But maybe you're on the track o' something — it seems to me that a man like this wouldn't just start with murder. So maybe you should look for cases what are similar but didn't go so far. Anyway, I'll be happy to tell all my friends about what it is you want, and if they know anything they can apply to you. There's a reward, ain't there?

    AUBREY: I suppose something of the kind could be arranged, yes.


    A CROWD OF WORKERS, including KATHLEEN, has assembled for the morning Gospel reading by JAMES FEATHERSTONE, the factory's owner. He is a well-built man in his very energetic forties, filled with zeal for both profit and Christianity. As he finishes the reading and the workers begin to file towards their stations, he stops KATHLEEN.

    FEATHERSTONE: Miss Ross?

    KATHLEEN: Mr. Featherstone?

    FEATHERSTONE: I've spoken with your supervisor, Mrs. Johnson. If you don't mind, I'd like to speak with you for about ten minutes in my office.
  • Episode 3: Dark Is Life... (Part 5)


    This rather spartan office overlooks the production floor by means of a large window behind the unadorned wooden desk. A large cross hangs on one wall; on the other is a portrait of a rather severe-looking older woman, probably Featherstone's mother. The desk is bare except for a blotter, a pen set, a few folders, and a well-bookmarked Bible. FEATHERSTONE sits behind the desk, leaving KATHLEEN standing in front of it.

    FEATHERSTONE: Are you acquainted with a Mrs. Daisy De Lancé?

    KATHLEEN: Not on duty, sir. On duty I am acquainted only with hats.

    FEATHERSTONE: Yes, yes. It was a personal question, Miss Ross. It seems this Mrs. De Lancé has been asking around the Club for a certain kind of gentleman. One who could assist her in — well, in helping you, Miss Ross. There's something about your father being in prison.

    KATHLEEN: My father is in prison, sir. Mrs. De Lancé has kindly taken an interest.

    FEATHERSTONE: Is there some question as to the justice of the charge?

    KATHLEEN: No, sir.

    FEATHERSTONE: So your father is —

    KATHLEEN: Unquestionably not guilty! Sir.


    FEATHERSTONE stands up and begins pacing, looking out the window at the factory floor.

    FEATHERSTONE: See, Miss Ross, I could be inclined to help Mrs. De Lancé in this matter — and of course you as well. However, as much as it pains me to say so, I do not do this merely out of charity. I cannot speak to whether your father is justly or injustly held — I must assume the wheels of justice did not grind him without due course. However, I am willing to allow that the law is fallible and human — for we are all fallible until we reach the Kingdom of Heaven.


    Are you acquainted with Mr. Aubrey Matchingon?

    KATHLEEN: Slightly, sir.

    FEATHERSTONE: It seems Mr. Matchington has taken quite an interest in your father.

    KATHLEEN: Yes, sir.

    FEATHERSTONE: I don't know what opinion you have formed of Mr. Matchington, but my opinion is that he is a meddler and a fool, with a poor moral compass and an inability to understand the necessity of hard work and labor. He was born to his wealth, whereas I and my father had to work our way up. My father started out as a loom-maker in Manchester. It took us thirty years to reach this, but now I own six factories in London, and four mills in Manchester.

    [AP: How many times has she heard this speech?
    Me: Probably quite often.]

    KATHLEEN: That must have taken a great deal of work, sir.

    FEATHERSTONE: Yes, yes. A man like Matchington would allow the lower classes to simply waste away in idleness under some regime of hygiene that is completely unnecessary and will only damage the productivity of this great nation. But that's above your station, you needn't worry your head about it.

    KATHLEEN: It certainly sounds above my station, sir.

    FEATHERSTONE: Which reminds me: let me just say one thing, Miss Ross. If any man under my employ should ever give you any trouble in the slightest, let me know so that I may set about his immediate sacking. This is a Christian firm and we will not allow anything of that sort.

    KATHLEEN: Thank you, sir.

    FEATHERSTONE: If you can help me discredit my rival, I would be more than happy to assist you and Mrs. De Lancé in putting together a campaign to revisit your father's case. I should mention that I am on rather friendly terms with an undersecretary of state in the Home Office.

    KATHLEEN: Thank you sir. What has Mr. Matchington to his discredit?

    FEATHERSTONE: He insists on publishing his ridiculous papers on the dangers of mercury poisoning and other hazards of the industrial millinery process. They are complete lies and falsehoods — there's not one iota of scientific proof in them — yet he insists on writing these papers, and those Liberal idiots in Parliament continue to investigate this matter, and that costs me time and money. Barristers do not come cheap, Miss Ross, as I am sure you are no doubt acquainted.

    KATHLEEN: That does sound very expensive, sir.

    FEATHERSTONE: It is indeed. So if you can find me anything on this Matchington that will help me in my position, I'm sure that I can help with your position.

    KATHLEEN: Thank you, sir. I am bound to say that I am but a lowly hatmaker and it seems to be far greater than my ingenuity to rescue my father from English jail.

    FEATHERSTONE: Well, Miss Ross, my grandfather was a saddlemaker, my father made looms. You, my dear, I am sure you will be a credit to your race by showing the necessary industry and desire.

    KATHLEEN: What do you wish him to be found guilty of, sir?

    FEATHERSTONE: I don't wish you to commit any crime, my dear. Just find out something that will help me discredit this Matchington. I understand he's mixed up in the Whitechapel investigation; I'm sure he'll sod that up too.

    KATHLEEN: Thank you, sir.

    FEATHERSTONE: You'll only be docked for five minutes, even though this meeting has lasted ten. Please return to your station.


    AUBREY, MILLER and MARIE are concluding the interview.

    AUBREY: Mrs. Barnett, I told you at the beginning of our conversation that after I made use of your expertise, I was going to acquaint you with mine, and the time has come for that. This is going to be a bit technical, but I do think you will find it possibly lucrative and perhaps beneficial to your safety, so I urge you to pay attention carefully. I am not personally familiar with dangerous men of the type who are capable of the crimes we are discussing; all my knowledge of them is theoretical, and at times troublingly speculative. Be that as it may, I do think that I understand what they are like, and more importantly, how they can be identified in a concrete sense.

    MARIE: Sure. We're going to have that drink now?

    AUBREY: As soon as I am finished.

    AUBREY pulls out a sketchbook and proceeds to draw an image of a the skull of the murderer, according to phrenological science.

    AUBREY: As you can see, the sloping forehead indicates a low moral intelligence, and the indentations above the maxillary process indicate his uncontrollable lust…

    MARIE: So you're saying if I can split his head open and see his skull I'll recognize him right away?

    AUBREY: I'm saying that on the first hand, if you see men whose cranial features are similar to these, then they are probably dangerous to you, which could be useful information for a woman in your line of work. But more importantly, if you or anyone you know should be in a professional capacity with a man like this, and you should have any reason to think that he is harmful or threatening harm, I encourage you to first absent yourself from the location for your own safety if you can, and second to report your situation to me or to a constable who will bring the information to me.

    MARIE: I don't trust no constable, he'll just run me in for solicitation. Or for being Irish, it's one and the same with them.

    AUBREY: Have the information sent to me, and I will see to it that you or the person who sends it are rewarded.

    MARIE: All right, we can do that.

    AUBREY: Excellent. Take this sketch, then.

    MARIE: Now we're getting that drink?

    AUBREY: And also take this half a crown. I'm afraid I am very pressed at the moment.

  • Episode 3: Dark Is Life... (Part 6)


    RIVKA greets JOHNNY as he enters the room.

    RIVKA: Good day, Mr. O'Connor.

    JOHNNY: Becky, good day. I just wanted to let you know that we've settled your Dinah girl and her Teddy. I won't tell you where, they're totally safe and somewhere the coppers will never go.

    RIVKA: Thank you, Johnny. You're a good man to take an interest. I hope you don't tell anyone else more than you've told me. Take care of yourself as well. Would you like some bread and cheese, and wine?

    JOHNNY: Thank you, don't mind if I do. Thanks! You're very sociable today, Becky.

    RIVKA: You're welcome. Did you know that bread other than soda bread existed?

    JOHNNY: Well, not in this place I didn't. I mean, I couldn't help but think about poor Teddy. I'd want somebody to help me if poor Kathleen — if she were in trouble… is her Da really poorly off?

    RIVKA: I hear he has a cough, a bad cough and is being kept in the infirmary with a lot of other people who are very sick.

    JOHNNY: He doesn't have the gaol fever? Or the consumption?

    RIVKA: It's not clear if he has it yet, but he might well catch it from where he is.

    JOHNNY: Well, damnit, that's not right, is it?

    RIVKA: No, it very much isn't right.

    JOHNNY: Is there something I could do to help?

    RIVKA: I think the person who will know best is Kathleen.

    JOHNNY: Aye, but Kathleen will never talk to me about helping her, she hates me.

    RIVKA: Well, maybe the next time Kathleen asks you to come to visit her father maybe you would say yes. I think he must care for you a lot, so I'm sure that seeing you would do him a world of good.

    JOHNNY: I haven't wanted to go because — well, Newgate's not the kind of place any Irishman wants to walk into. I tell you what, Becky, the next time she's going to go, please let me know, no matter what. I'll come over and do me best to convince her to take me. And I'll try and help her Da, I don't know if there's anything else I can do — have you heard anything?

    RIVKA: Mr. O'Connor, I understand that it was in part to protect you that Kathleen's father was there in Trafalgar Square?

    JOHNNY: 'Tis true, 'tis true — when they came to get me he got me out in time and then they closed the Square and he couldn't leave. It could have easily been me on the docket, instead of him.

    RIVKA: So he's clearly a good man who cares about you a lot —

    JOHNNY: Aye, everyone knows Thomas is the best man in the world —

    KATHLEEN stalks into the room, talking angrily to herself, not noticing JOHNNY.

    KATHLEEN: How am I supposed to be able to tell who's a Fenian and who isn't?

    JOHNNY: You need to know who the Fenians are, Kathleen? It's very easy, I know most of them in London. Half of them are spying for the police, and the other half are spying on them for the Fenians. It's a little complicated, but I could help you out, make you a key… would you like some wine?

    KATHLEEN: No thank you.

    RIVKA: It's pretty good wine.

    KATHLEEN: Oh, it's from you? Thank you then.

    RIVKA: Mr. O'Connor here was just saying how dreadfully sorry he is that your father was imprisoned on his behalf —

    KATHLEEN: I should bloody well think so!

    RIVKA: — and how very much he'd like to help.

    JOHNNY: It's true, Kathleen, anything I can do for Tom, it's me fault for not being a better man to him.

    KATHLEEN: Yes, it is.

    JOHNNY: 'Tis. I admit it.

    RIVKA: You were just saying about — Fenians? I'm not sure even what those are.

    JOHNNY: Fenians, Becky, are men fighting for Irish independence because they don't think the political process is going to work out for them.

    RIVKA: So they're the people who started that riot?

    JOHNNY: Well, that was the excuse the British used. It was mostly just Socialists and Trade Unionists.

    KATHLEEN: If I can think of any way you can do to help I'll certainly let you know.

    JOHNNY: Just let me know what your plans are. Or not. I don't mean to — I just came here to tell Becky that Dinah —

    KATHLEEN: If you're here to see Becky than maybe I should be off!

    JOHNNY: I didn't come for that —

    KATHLEEN stalks out of the room.

    [And we decided to find out if Johnny got stressed; Kathleen had a Duty (to protect her family from Johnny), and a relationship with her Father. Johnny decided to Challenge his relationship with Kathleen—"You will be my bride yet"—in order to avoid Stress. He beat Kathleen 12 to 10, but had to step down his relationship with her.]

    JOHNNY: Ah, I really screwed the pooch with her, didn't I.

    RIVKA: Mr. O'Connor, if I can recommend is that — I think that the best way you can help right now is… she has some concern that her father was wrongfully arrested. Not just wrongfully in that he didn't do anything morally wrong, he didn't even do anything anti-British. Whether or not you think that's morally wrong. He didn't actually commit something the British would think is a crime, in addition to not doing something bad. And she's trying to get British people — who think that various things you don't think of as wrong are crimes — to understand that he hasn't actually committed those crimes.

    JOHNNY: Well, sign me up for that!

    RIVKA: It's possible that some of the things that you have done, the British would consider crimes.

    JOHNNY: I'm pretty sure of that, aye.

    RIVKA: So the problem is that the British she's trying to convince to free her father probably don't want to hear that he's associated with someone who has done things the British consider to be crimes.

    JOHNNY: So the only thing I can do to help her is to stay away. That's dreadful, Becky, that's dreadful. I'll have to go and think this over down at the Caldron.

    RIVKA: Probably the best thing you can do is to wait until she has a plan, and if she tells you a part of the plan you can help with, then do that. But it's probably not best to improvise.

    JOHNNY: I can do that, I think.

    RIVKA: You're a good man, Johnny.

    JOHNNY: Thank you, Becky.
  • Episode 3: Dark Is Life... (Part 7)


    KATHLEEN is standing next to THOMAS' cot. An ORDERLY is talking to her.

    ORDERLY: We're keeping him in isolation. We suspect typhus. If it's not typhus, then it's consumption.

    The ORDERLY departs.

    THOMAS: Kathleen… so glad you came.

    KATHLEEN: Father, how are you?

    THOMAS: Oh, fine… they won't let me smoke my pipe…

    KATHLEEN: I've brought you some things… apples, honey. Garlic — Mrs. De Lancé say they're good for your health.

    THOMAS: I don't have much of an appetite right now, but thank you mo cuishle.

    KATHLEEN: Da, we've got a plan to get you out.

    THOMAS: That's good, but 'tis as the good Lord will see…

    [The recording cut out here so I'm reconstructing these sections.]

    KATHLEEN: We're going to rally people behind you, and get some of the English to pay attention to your case. Mrs. De Lancé is going to find somebody to help. And get the Socialists involved; they hate rats or something, but she says they can help. But I need the name of some other innocent men, Da. So we can use them to attract attention to the cause.

    THOMAS: Well… there's Jacob Kranz…

    KATHLEEN: Is he a Fenian?

    THOMAS: I should think not! He's Jewish!

    KATHLEEN: They have to be Irish, Da. Irish, and innocent, and not Fenians.

    THOMAS: All right… I know a few names… give me that piece of foolscap…


    KATHLEEN, clutching a piece of paper with some names scrawled on it, is walking down one of the long, two-storey tall corridors of Newgate Gaol. Prisoners peer down on her from cells on both levels. As she walks past, a prisoner begins to clap, followed by another, and then another. More join in until by the time she is leaving the gallery the sound of applause rings through the air.

  • Episode 3: Dark Is Life... (Part 8)


    DAISY, led by the MAITRE D', enters the lounge and goes to a table occupied by JAMES FEATHERSTONE.

    FEATHERSTONE (Rising and taking DAISY'S hand): Mrs. De Lancé. I see you got my note.

    DAISY (Sitting down.): I did. What can I do for you?

    FEATHERSTONE: I think it is what I can do for you that is the subject of our conversation. I understand that you would like me to assist you in the matter of Thomas Ross.

    [We're back on recording from here on out.]

    DAISY: The British take a great deal of pride in being the most civilized and law-abiding nation in the world but I don't think it would be so easy for them to claim that if they are putting obviously innocent men in gaol. But nobody will listen to me because I'm a woman and an American. I need some help.

    FEATHERSTONE: You understand that it is difficult for a man in my position to assist a woman in your position.

    DAISY: I don't want you to sleep with me if that's what you mean!

    FEATHERSTONE (Pales.): Mrs. De Lancé! That's vulgar even for an American!

    DAISY: Well then I don't know what you were implying.

    FEATHERSTONE: I meant politically, madam. We are on opposite sides of the issues.

    DAISY: Oh, you mean the Tory-Liberal spectrum! But there isn't any difference between your parties — they're right-wing and more right-wing!

    FEATHERSTONE: I am afraid Mr. Gladstone would rather strenuously object to that characterization.

    DAISY: Well, piffle to Mr. Gladstone, then!

    FEATHERSTONE: As would Lord Salisbury.

    DAISY: Well, piffle him too!

    FEATHERSTONE: Piffle to the Prime Minister, madam?

    DAISY: Yes! Piffle to them all, I say!

    FEATHERSTONE: You are clearly trying your utmost to persuade me to your cause, I see.

    DAISY: Well? You're about to ask me to do something, I can tell.

    FEATHERSTONE: I merely point out that it is very difficult for me to assist you because you find the company of Mr. Aubrey Matchington to be socially acceptable.

    DAISY: What does Mr. Matchington have to do with it?

    FEATHERSTONE: I cannot stand the gentleman, he is my great rival and quite damaging to my interests.

    DAISY: You want me to break off my friendship with Mr. Matchington? Look, what I want you to do is to write an editorial, what on Earth does this have to do with Mr. Matchington and how he may or may not be odious?

    FEATHERSTONE: Only my great respect for your father would allow me to even entertain the idea. I cannot give you much hope.

    DAISY (Incredulous.): What? Could you please say that all again? Not actually in the same words, but explain what you want of me. Also, you don't have to speak circuitously to me, because I'm an American and will understand anyway.

    FEATHERSTONE: I'm not entirely convinced of that, madam. Mr. Matchington is a man who is quite damaging to my interests. It is difficult for me to associate socially with anyone who considers him a friend.

    DAISY: I don't need you to associate with me socially! I need you to publish an editorial.

    FEATHERSTONE: Then I suggest you hire Frederick Engels. Good day, madam.

    DAISY: Look, if I broke a friendship with Mr. Matchington — despite not understanding what this has to do with the unjustly imprisoned Thomas Ross —

    FEATHERSTONE: I'm afraid, madam, that as you have ventured into the sphere of politics — which is properly a man's sphere — you will discover that this is the way things are done. I'm sure your father could explain it to you, he's an excellent man — I have had the good fortune of meeting him on a number of occasions.

    DAISY: Let me be clear. I will certainly break off my friendship with Mr. Matchington to get you to publish an editorial.

    [DP: Give me a plot point!
    (The Manipulative Distinction gets you a plot point when you tell someone to trust you — even if you don't mean it.]

    FEATHERSTONE: Will you, now?

    DAISY: Absolutely.

    FEATHERSTONE: Madam, I shall entertain the thought. Have your gentleman send over the text of this editorial and I will see what can be done.

    DAISY: Very well then.


    If I may ask — purely of a lady's curiosity — what have you got against Mr. Matchington.

    FEATHERSTONE: He is convinced that my methods somehow are deleterious to the populace and especially to my workers, which is completely scientifically unfounded and quite ridiculous, but a man like him, born to ease and wealth, has no idea of what it takes to become a captain of industry.

    DAISY: A man born to ease and wealth has no idea how to discover the effects of a poisonous liquid? Interesting.

    FEATHERSTONE: No, madam. He does not understand the necessities of business and capital.

    DAISY: I'd rather this happen sooner rather than later.

    FEATHERSTONE: I'm sure you do, madam.

    DAISY: If it does happen sooner rather than later — well, I'm only a woman, and one with certain leanings at that. But Aubrey is himself a most peculiar man, and peculiar people sometimes gain wind of each other's peculiarities.

    FEATHERSTONE: I see. Well, in that eventuality, I'm sure my barrister and my man of business would intercept any nasty rumours. And in turn, madam, one hears all sorts of stories about you.

    ["Let's roll!" I said. Featherstone went with Power, Aubrey d10, and Wealthy d10--he's implying he'll use his resources to go after Daisy. DP, however, had been harvesting Plot Points all night, including here, claiming a point for Wilful. Daisy's pool ended up being Kathleen d6, Wilful d12, Manipulative d8 and Impulsive d8, Power d8, and finaly the Xenophon Club 2d6 and Benjaming Rockford 2d4, spending plot points to include the extra distinctions. This ended up being 25, crushing Featherstone's 16 plus an Opportunity.]

    DAISY (With immense sang-froid.): Are you trying to intimidate me, Mr. Featherstone?

    FEATHERSTONE: Send your bloody editorial!

    DAISY: I hope to see it in the papers soon. And frankly, if I didn't have to talk to you anymore before I saw it in the papers, I would prefer that. I don't enjoy your company, sir, any more than you seem to enjoy mine.

    FEATHERSTONE (Menacingly.): Don't make me an enemy.

    DAISY (Triumphantly.): Why not?


    AUBREY, ABBERLINE, and HIGHGRASS are sitting around ABBERLINE'S desk. ABBERLINE and HIGHGRASS are sharing war stories of walking a beat in Whitechapel.

    ABBERLINE: Nelly 'ere saved my life one day.

    AUBREY: So glad to hear it.

    ABBERLINE: We was busting a brother down on Commercial street, see. And one of the pimps takes it into his head that he's going to sneak off dressed as a lady. So we're watching the door, out he comes, sweeping by in in his bustle and his bonnet. Nelly here, he catches it right away. 'Madam', he says, 'your slip is showing!' He turned forty-two shades of red. Good thing Nelly was there, though — the blighter drew a knife and made to stab me in the back. Show him the scar, Nelly.

    HIGHGRASS rolls up his sleeve, revealing a long, ugly scar up his forearm.

    AUBREY: If you don't have anything further for me to do, Inspector, I'd like to return home so that I can continue to learn police work.

    ABBERLINE: What you need, Aubrey… is a drink! That's how you learn police work! We have drinks!

    AUBREY: That has become abundantly clear!

    [We had a stress relief roll here, although AP made it clear that even with them being nice to him, he wasn't their friend or subordinate to them. Abberline relieved Aubrey's Frustrated stress.]
  • Episode 3: Dark Is Life... (Part 9)


    DAISY and KATHLEEN are in the upper floor meeting room of this predominantly Jewish and Socialist club. DAISY is wearing a veil and a plain black shirtwaist — her normal disguise for these events. KATHLEEN is wearing her Sunday dress and looking around suspiciously at the Socialists. DAISY is complaining in her rapid-fire fashion about the awfulness of her encounter with FEATHERSTONE.

    DAISY: — such a horrible man! I can't believe I have to work with him! I can't believe you work for him!

    DAISY falls silent as the presenter reaches the lectern.

    PRESENTER: For tonight's program, we have a wonderful anti-capitalist poem by Mr. William Morris, we will discuss the latest editorial in the Whitechapel Star, and Madam X and Miss Kathleen Ross will present the case for the freeing of the Trafalgar Six.


    This lane runs very near the International Workers' Educational Club. RIVKA is passing down it.

    A woman is dragged into a narrow alley and thrown to the ground. A Jewish man and two other men observe this and quickly begin to walk away. RIVKA runs up to Commercial Street, where she sees JOHNNY leaning against a lamp-post.

    RIVKA: Quick, come help — a woman is being assaulted!

    JOHNNY: We'll soon get him sorted!

    They run down Berner Street. Johnny steps into the mouth of the alley, and the woman's assailant, seeing him, quickly runs off. The woman stands up and we see her clearly in the dim light of a street lamp. This is LONG LIZ STRIDE, a Swedish charwoman and sometimes prostitute in her 40s.

    LONG LIZ (With a Swedish accent.): Oh — thank you. It's rare that you get anyone to help you in streets such as these. My name is Liz Stride, they call me Long Liz on account I am so tall. You are that Rivka lady?

    RIVKA: Yes, I am… how do you know me?

    LONG LIZ: Everyone hears about you, you are so kind-hearted.

    RIVKA: Well, it was really Johnny here.

    JOHNNY: No, no, weren't anything.

    LONG LIZ: What is this place? This Workers' Club?

    RIVKA: I've never been in there myself. I think it's political people.

    LONG LIZ: Ah, like those Socialists, ja? I don't know from them. I'm from Sweden, it seems impossible that we would have Socialists.

    [I waited three weeks to use that joke.]

    RIVKA: Are you all right?

    LONG LIZ: Oh, ja. It was just a john of mine, you know how that goes. Some people are never satisfied.

    RIVKA: If there's anything else I can do, just let me know.

    LONG LIZ: I will. Everyone always says how good Rivka is.

    JOHNNY: You're famous amongst the whores of Whitechapel! That's a distinction to be proud of.

    RIVKA: Do you have anywhere to stay?

    LONG LIZ: Ja, but I have to get my fourpence first.


    PRESENTER: And now, Madam X and Miss Ross will speak about the Trafalgar Six.

    The AUDIENCE applauds politely as DAISY and KATHLEEN walk to the lectern.

    KATHLEEN: You are supposed to be workers for justice and the plight of the common man. If you care about justice — if you care about making the world a better place — then you should care about the plight of these God-fearing innocent men.

    There is silence that stretches uncomfortably as the crowd realizes that KATHLEEN has apparently finished her speech.


    AUBREY, HIGHGRASS, and ABBERLINE are making their way out of the station, having finally decided to call it a night. TC MILLER bursts into the room.

    MILLER: Sir! Sir! There's been a murder!

    AUBREY: Of course there has.

    MILLER: I mean — one of those murders.
  • Episode 3: Dark Is Life... (Part 10)


    DAISY and KATHLEEN are making their way outside only to discover a large crowd has gathered in the courtyard.

    MILLER, AUBREY, HIGHGRASS and ABBERLINE reach the edge of the crowd.


    30 September 1888

    MILLER: A carter was coming up the alley. He saw something lying there. He went to go pick it up and saw it was a girl. With her throat slit! It's got to be the work of the Whitechapel ghoul.

    DAISY pushes through the crowd and rushes to the side of the corpse, kneeling down on the pavement. We see that it is LONG LIZ. Her throat has been cut, but her body has not been mutilated. AUBREY comes up next to her.

    DAISY: Oh my God! She's still warm!

    AUBREY: Mrs. De Lancé, please stand aside.

    MILLER: Come on, ma'am! This is too terrible for a lady to see!

    AUBREY: Mrs. De Lancé, I apologize terribly for this imposition —

    DAISY: Get on with it.

    AUBREY: You are a woman, so I need you to do something I cannot. I need you to examine this woman's lower extremities and determine whether they have been — interfered with — beyond the normal course of human nature.

    DAISY nods and begins to perform a very matter-of-fact examination of LONG LIZ.

    JOHNNY finds KATHLEEN in the crowd.

    JOHNNY: Kathleen! Are you sure you want to be out in all of this? Some poor girl's been killed! It isn't safe around here!

    KATHLEEN: It isn't safe anywhere for an Irishwoman in London.

    JOHNNY: Aye, but the fiend could still be around here someplace!

    KATHLEEN: And what are you doing here?

    JOHNNY: Just walking around! I ran into Becky!

    KATHLEEN: She's here? We better go find her, then. She's less safe than we are.

    DAISY has finished her examination. MILLER has flushed bright red.

    DAISY: Nothing out of the ordinary here.

    AUBREY: Well. Doesn't look like our man, but I imagine we'll want to find out everything that we can.

    MILLER brings over LOUIS DIEMSCHUTZ, a Jewish jewelry salesman, to Aubrey.

    MILLER: This is the man who found her, sir.

    DIEMSCHUTZ (With a heavy Yiddish accent.): Are you with the police?

    AUBREY: In a manner of speaking.

    DIEMSCHUTZ: I had nothing to do with this! I was driving my cart up the alley there. Something was blocking the way, my horse would not go forward. I got down to find out what is, I light match. Could be bundle, maybe somebody drop something? I see is girl and she is bleeding. I go find constable. I did not see anything else. Maybe somebody was there, heard my cart coming?

    Some CONSTABLES pass by with several LOCAL PROSTITUTES, including RIVKA.

    MILLER: It's true, sir! No one closed off the yard — he could have been here the whole time!

    AUBREY: Well, it's good then that we had some people here who understand good old-fashioned police work!

    MILLER: I'm just a trainee!

    AUBREY: Yes — one of us in this relationship is supposed to be a policeman, and I think I know who it is. Excuse me, Miller.

    (To RIVKA.)

    I'm terribly sorry to take time out of your evening. Do you know this woman?

    RIVKA: I saw her earlier tonight, I didn't know her before then. She called herself Long Liz. I saw her being beaten up over in the alley there — she said it was just a john who got rough, she didn't seem surprised by it. Another man came and frightened her john away.

    AUBREY: Can you identify any of the parties? I know you don't like to provide names, and I don't like to ask for them.

    RIVKA: I do not know the name of the client… but the man who hit her was about thirty, dark hair and a brown mustache. He was wearing a long coat, and a round hat.

    [Added post session to conform to the description given by possible witness Israel Schwartz.]

    AUBREY: Can you tell me any more about the man who chased him away?

    RIVKA: He was just the first man I ran into…

    AUBREY: I assure you, Miss Solomon, we're not going to harass anyone.

    RIVKA: Six feet tall, black hair.

    AUBREY: Miss Solomon, I won't detain you any further. These are trying times, and I am sure we both have a great deal to do. Unless you would find it troublesome or inconvenient, may I attend your home later this evening?

    RIVKA: Yes, sir.

    RIVKA, JOHNNY, and KATHLEEN leave together to return to Hanbury Street. A cart is driven up by some constables, and the body of LONG LIZ is loaded into it. DAISY watches them lay her body inside the cart, and AUBREY finds her there.

    AUBREY: Mrs. De Lancé.

    DAISY: Mr. Matchington.

    AUBREY: It's amazing the places we keep running into each other.

    DAISY: Yes.

    AUBREY: I'm sorry, I'm going to ask this, and it's going to come out the wrong way. I don't mean to pry and I don't intend to convey disapproval, because frankly I don't care. These are very unusual circumstances in which I find you, and it's not the first time we've run into each other in a situation approximating this one. And curiosity compels me to ask, why this is so?

    DAISY: Would you like to talk a bit on my way home, Mr. Matchington?

    AUBREY: A bit perhaps. I do actually have to return to this neighborhood later as I have other errands to attend to.
  • Episode 3: Dark Is Life... (Part 11)


    DAISY and AUBREY are walking down this broad main street.

    DAISY: I am a not-very-secret Socialist — secret for respectability's sake, which is why I go through this nonsense with the veil. I in fact was recruited by Miss Ross to assist her in freeing her father.

    AUBREY: I see. Go on.

    DAISY: Since it seems like there was indeed a miscarriage of justice there — indeed, an appalling one at that — I complied, especially as he is sick, maybe with typhus or even consumption. She made a speech tonight at the Socialist hall. I helped.

    AUBREY: I see. I do not have much concourse with Miss Ross personally. I do wish that if she had concerns about her father that she would have come to me. I can't say that I know much about the justice of the case — I can only say that if the police swept him up it was probably for no reason —
    but if he has become ill because of mistreatment, I am appalled. I am perhaps more interested than anyone in that man's well-being. I will attend to this shortly.


    I think we were going to discuss our mutual acquaintances at some future date, and that moment seems to have arrived. As I believe I made clear earlier, I know Miss Solomon through my previous investigations, and the current crisis has only increased our contact. She has been most useful in the course of our earlier interactions, as she was again tonight. You understand, of course, that my interest in her is of an academic and professional nature, although I do find her to be rather above the grade of the type of woman of her vocation one commonly encounters. Indeed, in her own way she resembles Mr. Ross and holds a similar fascination for me. In much the same way. I find.

    [This is my best attempt to put AP’s "I try to get Daisy to understand that I have interactions with Rivka that don't involve me soliciting her or being creepily in love with her" into dialog.]

    DAISY: Of course.


    RIVKA, JOHNNY, and KATHLEEN are approaching the entrance to the house. RIVKA has just told JOHNNY about the description she gave AUBREY.

    JOHNNY: Six feet tall? That's very flattering. You did right, Becky. Never tell them damn coppers anything.

    RIVKA: Well, I wouldn't tell them anything about you… I wouldn't want them to know anything about you that would get their attention.


    DAISY and AUBREY have reached the front door of DAISY'S house. They pause for a moment in the light of a streetlamp.

    DAISY: I approve of your knowing Miss Solomon. She's my friend! I met her through Finn, you remember. He was doubtless doing things before I met him.

    AUBREY: I see. That would account for it, yes. Thank you, Mrs. De Lancé.
    DAISY: Anyway, she's a wonderful woman, frankly better than a lot of those hens at the Xenophon club —

    She stops as she sees TC MILLER comes tearing down the street toward them.

    MILLER: Thank God I found you, sir. The City coppers just came and found us. There's been another murder!


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