Mercy, Morphine, and Murder

Mercy, Morphine, and Murder

A Stage Play by AJ Douglas
"

Alec and his wife Clara attempt to resurrect their marriage amid the poverty and chaos of London's Whitechapel District as a mysterious murderer haunts the streets of the East End.

"

This play is a work in progress



Characters


Alec Whitman - age 40, surgeon, British


Clara Whitman - age 35, Alec’s estranged wife, British


Arthur Laurence - age 65, surgeon, British


Nora Laurence - age 45, Arthur’s wife, British


Mary Jane - age 25, prostitute, British


Inspector Moore - age 40, police investigator, British


George Lusk - age 49, Businessman, British


Kate Eddowes - age 46, prostitute, British


Martin - Age 40, surgeon, friend of Alec, British


Alice: - Age 20s, prostitute, friend of Mary Jane, British


Minor characters:  Patient, Man assisting Clara, Thomas and his mother,  Injured boy and his parents, Woman with consumption and her husband, pub patrons, Patient 2, Man 1 and Man 2, small group of Whitechapel residents



The setting of the play is the East End of London, Whitechapel, late summer and fall of 1888.



Settings


Scene 1 - Dr. Laurence’s office


Scene 2 - Nora’s parlor


Scene 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19  - The infirmary


Scene 6, 12, 18 -  A pub


(More to be added)




Scene 1


Dr. Laurence’s office.  A large wooden desk sets in front of a wall of bookcases.  Dr. Laurence sits behind the desk in a white Victorian era shirt, cravat, waistcoat and trousers.  Alec approaches the desk from stage left, dressed similarly


Laurence:  Alec...please, sit.  (Alec reaches the chair on the opposite side of the desk and sits)  I believe you know why I’ve asked you here.


Alec:  The Simpkins girl…


Laurence:  What happened?


Alec:  I don’t know.


Laurence:  What do you mean you don’t know?


Alec:  I was amazed she was capable.  She was a slip of a girl.  She was twelve but she appeared at least two years younger.  Had it been allowed to continue it’s unlikely she would have survived the birth.  


Laurence:  Most would say that was for God to decide.  It’s essentially what the law says as well.   Margaret Beaufort gave birth to Henry VII at roughly the same age and was quite diminutive in stature.


Alec:  She also had no other children despite two subsequent marriages.  It was said to be a miracle she and the child survived.


Laurence:  But she did survive.  


Alec:  I don’t perform it upon request.  There must be other circumstances.  In this case her age, her size...she’d been ravished.


Laurence:  You’re certain of that?


Alec:  She was a child.


Laurence:  Who was the father?  


Alec:  I was told it was her father’s valet...more than four decades her senior.


Laurence (disgusted):  Good god.  Has he been prosecuted?


Alec:  She was reticent to disclose the assault straight away.  When he learned of her condition he absconded, likely out of the country.  I would suspect he’s currently seeking similar employment in another household with young girls. 


Laurence:   You never answered my question.  


Alec (hanging his head):  She hemorrhaged.  I did all I knew to do.  I couldn’t stop it. 


LaurenceYou said that you only perform it under certain circumstances.  I assume that means that you’ve done so previously without my knowledge. 


Alec:  Perhaps six, seven times over the years.  This was the first instance where I encountered a complication.


Laurence: I think highly of you, Alec, not only due to your skill as a surgeon. I know the last few years have been difficult for you.  I was able to pull your arse from the fire by claiming medical necessity.  Even so, there’s been quite a furor.  I think it best that you make yourself absent for a time until the storm blows over. 


Alec:  A leave?


Laurence:  If you prefer, though I’m always hesitant to have a surgeon’s skills lie dormant too long.  Several wealthy benefactors hoping to fit through the proverbial eye of the needle when their time comes have donated funds for a small infirmary to serve the East End.  


Alec (troubled):  The East End?  


Laurence:  The Whitechapel district.  It would only be temporary until everything dies down.


Alec:  Shouldn’t the London Hospital there provide a physician?


Laurence:  They’re stretched thin as it is.  They’re hoping this venture will relieve some of the stress.  View it as an opportunity to broaden your horizons.  


Alec: When would I start?


Laurence:  I’ll give you a few days to prepare, to come to terms with what happened.  It’s obvious that it’s affected you.  I would be concerned if it hadn’t.  A week from today.  


Alec:  Is that all?


Laurence:  Yes, I believe so.  (Alec rises from the chair and turns, taking a few steps away from the desk)   Even the best of us make mistakes.  I’ve made more than my fair share over the years.  What’s important is that we learn from them. (pause)  They’ll be lucky to have you.  


Alec:  Thank you.  


(Alec turns away from Dr. Laurence and walks towards stage left)


End Scene



Scene 2


The parlor of a middle class Victorian home. Late evening.  A settee and an armchair are positioned in an L arrangement  with a low set table in front of them.  Nora, dressed in a long Victorian sacque robe over a nightdress lounges on a settee holding a glass of liquor.  Alec sits in the armchair dressed in the same clothing as in Scene 1 also holding a drink. A liquor bottle sits on the table, half full.  The two drink as they converse


Nora:  Where is he sending you?


Alec:  The East End.  Whitechapel.


Nora (in disbelief):  Whitechapel?  


Alec: He should have sacked me.  If he knew of us he would have.  


Nora:  I doubt that.  He thinks more of you than he does me.  Why do you think he set me up here?  The only time Arthur and I see each other is when it’s necessary to keep up appearances.  


Alec:  Did you ever love him?


Nora:  He’s a good man. I care for him but that’s as far as my feelings have ever gone. 


Alec:  Why did you marry him?


Nora:  He was the best of the limited options presented to me by my father.  Why did you marry your wife?  


Alec:  I was foolish enough to marry for love.  


Nora:  Do you think she loved you?


Alec:  I believed she did. (pause) I should never have sent her there.  


Nora:  You did what you thought was best.  


Alec: For her or for myself?  (pause) We’ve discussed it all before.  I’m tempted to return upstairs with you to avoid doing so again.  


Nora (grinning):  That wouldn’t be such a bad thing.  


Alec: I’m afraid I’m not as young as I once was.


Nora:  I’m five years your senior. (pause) Has she sent word where she is? 


Alec:  No.  I’m still legally obligated to support her.  I’d willingly do so if I knew where to send the money.  


Nora:  What would you do if after you left here you were to discover her standing on your doorstep?


Alec (pause) :  I'm not certain.   


Nora:  You still love her.


Alec:  I love the woman she was.  It changed her.  


Nora:  How could it not?  I'm sure you're not the same person you were.


Alec:  No, but there was no choice but to get on with it.  Life goes on. It has to.  


(pause)


Nora:  How long will you be away?


Alec:  He didn’t say.  I’ll still be in London.   It’s not as if he’s sending me abroad.  


Nora:  He might as well have.  It’s a different world.


Alec:  Yes, I know.


Nora:  You’ve spent time there?


Alec:  Years ago.  A few mates and I used to slum it.  


Nora:  Whatever for?


Alec:  Boredom, curiosity, adventure…


Nora:  Women.


Alec:  I’m not proud of it.


Nora:  Do be careful.  I’ve heard that it’s worse now than it’s ever been.  


Alec:  I’ll be fine.  (finishing his drink, setting the empty glass on the table)  I should take my leave.  


(Nora sits upright as Alec rises from the armchair and stands before her, taking her hand and leaning over, kissing it)


Alec:  Thank you for a pleasant evening in your company.


Nora:  Thank you for yours.  I hope that you won’t be kept from me long. 


Alec:  That’s my hope as well.


(Alec exits stage right as Nora finishes her drink, pouring herself another)


End Scene





Scene 3


The infirmary.  A large open room contains a desk, a simple exam table that is little more than a long, wide board with a thin cushion, cabinets sit along one wall.  There are a few wooden chairs arranged in a row.  The walls appear to be plaster, cracked in spots, painted white and devoid of decoration.  Upon the desk is a stack of books.   A man dressed in shabby late 19th century clothing, a patient, sits on the end of the exam table.  Alec stands in front of him, a small glass container with a lid in his hand


Alec: This should remedy the issue.  Apply it both morning and evening.  Go sparingly.  It doesn’t take much.  


Patient (taking the container) :  Thank you.  


(The patient holds a coin in his other hand, offering it to Alec)


Alec:  If I were to accept that, would you have food in your belly, a roof over your head tonight?


Patient:  That’s never a sure thing for anyone around here.


Alec:  Keep it...on one condition.  


Patient:  What?


Alec:  You spend it on those things, not drink.  


Patient:  Alright.  Thank you again.


Alec:  You’re welcome. 


(The patient stands from the exam table and exits stage left.  Alec watches him go before walking to the desk and seating himself behind it, picking up a newspaper.  He reads silently for a few moments.  Clara enters from stage left in  a somewhat worn ankle length Victorian skirt and blouse, a cloth held against the right side of her head, escorted by an older man also in shabby clothing, a cap on his head.  Alec sets the paper down on the desk, rising from his chair and quickly rounding the desk)


Alec:  What happened?


Man:  Some sod threw a brick at this poor lady.


Alec:  Over here…(leading the two over to the exam table)


Man (helping Clara up onto the table):  There you are, Miss.  


(Alec removes the cloth from the side of Clara’s head, Clara lowering her hand)


Alec:  Let’s have a look, shall we?.


Clara:  Alec?


Alec:  Clara…


(pause as both stare in silence at each other)


Man:  Will she be alright?


Alec (staring at Clara) :  I believe so.


Man:  I’ll be on my way then, unless you’d like me to wait.


Clara:  No.  I'm sure you have better things to do. Thank you for your help.


Man:  Always happy to be of assistance to a lady in need.


(The man exits stage left leaving Alec and Clara alone.  Alec turns Clara’s head, examining her wound)

Clara:  Alec...what are you doing here?


Alec:  My job.  Just a moment.


(Alec walks over to a pitcher and bowl on a stand, pouring water into the bowl and setting the pitcher beside it, setting the bloodied towel down as well and taking a clean towel hanging from a dowel on the side of the stand.  He dips it in the water, wringing it out and walks back to Clara, dabbing at the side of her head with it.  Clara winces)


Alec:  It’s not terribly serious.  I don’t believe you’ll need sutures. It could have been far worse. (continuing to cleanse the wound)  Why did someone throw a brick at you?


Clara:  Who knows why anyone does what they do here.  Why are you here?


Alec:  They needed someone with medical training.  It’s only temporary.  


Clara:  Why would they send one of their best surgeons?  


(Alec leaves the exam table and walks to a cabinet, opening it and removing a small container and returning to Clara’s side.  Opening the container, he dabs salve onto the side of Clara’s head)


Alec:  Would you like a bit of morphia?


Clara:  No, I’ll manage.    


Alec:  You should rest.  Do you have a place?


Clara:  I will by this evening.  I’m sorry.  I don’t have any money at the moment.


Alec: I only accept payment from those who can afford it...which is almost no one.  My salary is paid by the Benevolent Society.  There’s a spare bed upstairs. You’re welcome to it. 


Clara:  I would fear I’d wake up to find myself back in the madhouse.


(pause)


Alec:  I didn’t know how to help you.  I’d done all I could think to do.  My training is in ailments of the body, not the mind.


Clara:  What of the heart?


Alec:  Not in that sense.


Clara:  That was made quite clear.


Alec:  They were my children as well.  


Clara:  You didn’t carry them, you didn’t give birth to them.


Alec:  I delivered them.  I was the first to hold them in my arms.  I did everything that could be done.  We both did.  Life has to go on.


(Clara stands from the exam table, Alec assisting her)


Clara:  I should go.


Alec:  I wish you wouldn’t.


Clara:  If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. 


Alec:  Why didn’t you send word?   You’re still my wife. I’m obligated to support you.


Clara:  I don’t want your money.  


Alec:  Whatever it is you’re looking for you’re not going to find it here. (pause) They’re gone.  


Clara:  And there can never be more.  


Alec (hanging his head) :  I was out of my mind.  I didn’t even remember how I got here.  


Clara:  Yet it was me you sent away.  


Alec:  I made a mistake, more than one.  I’m sorry.  There’s nothing more I can say.  (pause)  You’re going to go back out there?  You’re aware of the murder?  The Tabram woman?


Clara:  Of course. What of it?  It’s not as if it’s anything new here.  As you say, life goes on. 


Alec: At least let me give you some money for food, a bed...


Clara:  You’ve given me quite enough already.


(Clara walks away, exiting stage left.  Alec stands by the exam table appearing forlorn before walking slowly to the desk and sinking into the chair)


End Scene





Scene 4


The Infirmary.  A young boy around the age of eight, Thomas, sits on the edge of the exam table as Alec ties a bandage around two pieces of wood on either side of Thomas' left arm, splinting it.   Thomas' mother stands nearby 


Alec:  It’s a minor fracture.  Leave this be until a month from now.  Be cautious for a few weeks after that.  


(Alec takes a large white cloth from the exam table and ties a sling)


Alec:  That should do it.  (picking up a small glass bottle from the exam table and handing it to Thomas' mother)  If the discomfort becomes too much, if he has difficulty sleeping give him one of these.  Only one and only every five hours.  Never more than that.  Do you understand?


Thomas' Mother:  Yes, thank you.


(Alec lifts Thomas from the table, placing him on his feet)


Thomas' Mother (to Thomas):  What should you say, Thomas?


Thomas:  Thank you Mr. Doctor, sir.


(Alec extends his right hand, shaking Thomas')


Alec (chuckling):  You’re welcome.  It was nice to meet you Master Thomas.  Mind your mother.


Thomas:  I will.  

 

(Thomas' mother leads Thomas toward stage left, moving aside quickly as they exit as Clara enters from stage left and races by them towards Alec, leading a man and a woman, the man carrying a boy around the age of six in his arms, the boy’s body limp, his head wrapped in a red stained cloth)


Clara (pointing to the exam table) :  There!


(Alec rushes to the side of the exam table as the father lays the unconscious boy onto it)


Alec:  Did he take a fall?


Father (breathless):  A horse….he was kicked....if I told him once, I told him a thousand times…


Boy's Mother (frantic):  Help him!  Please!  Can you help him?


(Alec puts a stethoscope into his ears and checks the boy for a heartbeat before removing it from his ears and moving the towel up to observe the wound, appearing grim, before moving it back down again)


Alec:  I’ll do all I can.  If you wouldn’t mind waiting in the foyer.  Clara...could you escort them?


Clara:  Yes...of course.  (to the boy’s parents)  He’s in the best of hands. 


(Clara leads the distraught parents out, exiting stage left.  Alec stands beside the exam table, staring down at the boy for a moment before turning and walking to a cabinet, opening it and removing a bottle and a round sponge.  Alec carries both back to the exam table.  Alec removes the stopper from the bottle and pours a clear liquid from the bottle onto the sponge, replacing the stopper and setting the bottle on the table near the boy’s head, holding the sponge tightly over the boy's nose.  After a few moments Clara returns, quietly approaching the exam table and Alec)


Clara:  What are you doing?  


Alec:  There’s nothing to be done.  


Clara:  Surely there’s something...


Alec: In all my years as a surgeon I’ve never seen a good outcome with this type of injury.  His skull’s shattered, shards of bone in his brain.  He’d die soon anyway.  If by some chance he did survive he’d be an imbecile.  He would have to be put away.  


(Clara moves up beside Alec, also looking down on the boy)


Clara:  May I hold his hand?  He shouldn’t be alone.


Alec:  If you wish. 


(Clara takes the boy’s hand)


Clara:  What are you going to tell them?    


Alec:  The truth.  That everything that could be done for him was done. 


Clara:  I’m sorry.  If I’d known I wouldn’t have brought them here. You were closer than the hospital. 


Alec:  You did the right thing.


Clara:   He was making sounds.  


Alec:  Only a reflex, the result of severe damage to the brain.  Working in the wards you likely never had the opportunity to observe it.  


(Alec removes the sponge, setting it beside the bottle and puts the stethoscope back in his ears, checking for a heartbeat.  After a moment he removes them from his ears again)


Alec: It’s over.  


(Clara releases the boy’s hand.  Both she and Alec stare down at the boy in silence for a few moments)


Clara:  He looks a bit like--


Alec (interrupting) :  They all look like Edmund...or Lily.    


(pause)


Clara:  Are you alright?


Alec:  It’s not as if I’ve never lost a patient. (pause)  You saw it happen? (Clara nods silently, appearing to be fighting back tears as she continues to stare down at the boy’s body) Will you be alright?


Clara:  I believe so --


(Alec interrupts Clara, taking her face in his hands, kissing her)


Alec (ending the kiss, dropping his hands, turning back to look down at the boy) :  I’m sorry.  


(pause)


Clara:  Do you want me to tell them?  


Alec:  No. I’ll do it.  


Clara (examining Alec):  Are you sure you’re alright?


Alec:  They come to me one after another...consumption, fevers, syphilis, failing livers, kidneys...a parade of the dying.  I can do little more for them than I could for him, give them morphine or laudanum to ease the pain.  I’m alone here.


(pause)


Clara:  I could help.  


Alec:  I can’t pay you a wage.  I can only offer you the room, food…


Clara:  That’s more than I have out there.


(pause)


Alec:  Is there someone?


Clara:  No.  No one.  (pause) Do you have someone? 


Alec:  I consider it more of a mutually beneficial arrangement.  Our circumstances are somewhat similar.


Clara:  She’s married.


Alec:  They live apart.  (pause) The room isn’t much.  There’s a bed, a wardrobe.


Clara:  I won’t have much use for the wardrobe.  


Alec:  Your things are as you left them, what you didn’t take with you. 


Clara:  I’ve sold all I brought with me. 


Alec:  We’ll go in the morning.  


(pause)


Clara:  Who is she?  Do I know her?


Alec:  Nora.


Clara (surprised):  Dr. Laurence’s wife?


Alec:  Yes.


Clara: Did he learn of it? Is that why you’re here?  


Alec:  No. There was a girl.  She’d been ravished by her father’s valet.  I was asked to end it.  She was small for her age. I’d never performed the procedure on one so young.  I made a mistake, ended her along with it.  


Clara:  Do you love her?   


Alec:  I care for her.  


Clara:  Will you return to her?


Alec:  I suppose I will.  Why did you come back here?


Clara:  This is where people go when they’ve lost everything.


Alec:  You hadn’t lost everything.  


Clara:  You sent me away.  


Alec:  I came back for you.  You were only there a month.


Clara:  That was long enough.  You returned here before I did. (pause) Are you ready for them?


Alec (picking up the bottle of chloroform and the sponge) :  Just a moment. 


(Alec carries the bottle and sponge back to the cabinet and puts them away before returning to the side of the table)


Alec:  Bring them in.


(Clara exits stage left)


End Scene




Scene 5


The infirmary.  Alec sits at the desk writing in a ledger.  Dr. Laurence enters from stage left dressed in a frock coat, a black armband around his arm


Laurence:  Alec.


Alec (looking up and rising, walking around the desk) :  Dr. Laurence. (reaching Laurence, shaking his hand)  I wasn’t expecting you. I received no message.  


Laurence:  I didn’t post one.


Alec: I believe you’ll find everything in order. 


Laurence:  I’m sure I would.  That’s not why I’m here. (pause) I wanted to deliver the news personally. 


Alec:  I’m to return?


Laurence:  Not yet. (pause)  It’s Nora...she passed away this morning.  It wasn’t long after sunrise.    


Alec (stunned):  My god.  What happened?  Was there an accident?


Laurence:  She had developed an infection, sepsis set in.  It was relatively quick.  She didn’t suffer.  I saw to that.  


Alec (gesturing towards his desk) :  I’m sorry.  Please, sit.  Would you like a drink?


(Laurence walks to the desk, Alec moving a chair in front of it, Laurence seating himself.  Alec walks to a cabinet and removes a bottle of liquor and two glasses, walking to the other side of the desk and placing a glass in front of him and one in front of Laurence, opening the bottle and pouring both of them a drink before seating himself)


Laurence:  Thank you. 


Alec:  The last time I saw her she was the portrait of health.


Laurence:  When was that?


(pause)


Alec:  Three months ago, shortly before I arrived here.  


Laurence:  You haven’t called on her since?


Alec:  As you can imagine, I’ve been kept quite busy.


Laurence:  I’m sure.  


Alec:  I did return home recently to gather a few articles.  I didn’t have the time to call on anyone.  


Laurence:  It wasn’t yours then.


Alec (confused): I’m afraid I don’t understand.  


Laurence:  We can drop the pretense.  I’m well aware of your relationship with my wife. It was of no concern to me.  I cared for her but not in that way.  I’ve never cared for a woman in that way.  (pause) It was the perfect arrangement. She didn’t want children.  We would maintain the illusion of respectability.  In exchange for her freedom she kept my secret.  (pause) It was late in life, she was nearing the usual time of the change but obviously hadn’t reached it quite yet.  I don’t know why she didn’t come to me.  Perhaps she was afraid after what happened to the Simpkins girl.  She took an elixir she had procured for the purpose.  God knows what was in it.  It did the job but not all was expelled.   


(Alec and Laurence set in silence for a moment, Alec appearing to be in shock at the revelation)


Alec:  It couldn’t have been mine.   I’m incapable. 


Laurence:  You had two children.  Edmund was the very image of you.


Alec:  I was out of my head after we lost them.  Clara was inconsolable.  Neither of us were of much comfort to the other.  I came here as I had years before in my foolish younger days.  I brought something back.  The symptoms were subtle at first, easily mistaken for less serious ailments. The damage was done before either of us realized.  


Laurence:  I had no idea.


Alec:  Nora was the only one I'd told of it. (pause)  I didn’t seek her out.  I went home each evening to an empty house.  It was the night of the ball after the hospital bazaar.  She noticed I was melancholy.   


Laurence: As did I.  I’ve seen enough broken men in my time. I know too well what it can lead a man to do.  I suggested that she keep you company for the evening.  I took my leave early so that she could ask you to see her home.


(pause)


Alec:  She didn’t say who it was?


Laurence:  I didn’t ask.  I had assumed it was yours.  


(Clara enters from stage left with a large basket of vegetables.  She stops as she sees Dr. Laurence who turns his head to look at her, appearing surprised)


Clara (surprised):  Dr. Laurence.


Alec:  Oh....I didn’t get the opportunity...one of those strange twists of fate.  Clara has kindly volunteered to assist me with my work.  She has the proper training.  I hope that’s not a problem.


Dr. Laurence: Not at all.  She was one of our best nurses.  If she would ever wish to return, I’m certain a position could be found for her.  (pauses, finishing his drink and setting the empty glass on the desk)  I should be going.  I’ll send word of the arrangements.  


(Laurence rises from the chair as does Alec.  Laurence extends his hand, Alec taking it.  Laurence walks away from the desk towards Clara)


Dr. Laurence:  It’s good to see you again, Mrs. Whitman.  


(Laurence walks past Clara and exits stage left.  Clara walks to the desk where Alec has seated himself once again, setting the basket down.  Alec has finished his drink and pours himself another)


Clara:  Did he ask you to return?


Alec:  No. (pause) Nora passed away this morning.  An infection...sepsis.


Clara (shocked) :  Oh my!  I’m sorry.  


Alec (taking a drink before staring down into his glass):  Life goes on.  


(pause)


Clara:  I ran into a friend while I was out.  She’s ill as well.  Not sepsis. Consumption.  


Alec:  Her and a thousand others here it seems.


Clara:  She recently learned of another condition.


Alec:  What is it? (pauses as Clara remains silent, noticing her expression)  Oh.


Clara:  It would hasten her end to continue it.  Even if she were to survive it, she would be unable to care for it if it lives.  It would soon be an orphan like so many others. 


Alec:  Like you. (pause) No.


Clara:  She’s a woman, not a little girl.


Alec:  Whatever happens is up to God.


Clara:  That’s not what you said about that boy.  You don’t believe in God.


Alec:   I believe even less now.  I do believe in Hell as at the moment I’m living in it.  I can’t for the life of me understand why you came back here.  (pause)  I can’t...I won’t.  


Clara:  She’s likely to die anyway--


Alec:  Don't ask me again. (finishing his drink)  I’m going for a stroll.  


(Alec rises from the desk and walks past Clara, exiting stage left)


End Scene






Scene 6


A pub.  Alec sits alone at a table, a drink before him, his hand wrapped around the glass as he stares down into it.   Mary Jane, carrying a drink, seats herself across from him


Mary Jane:  You look like a man in need of company.


Alec:  On the contrary, I came here to be alone.


Mary Jane:  You came to a public house to be alone?


Alec:  That doesn’t make much sense, does it?  


Mary Jane:  As much sense as anything else here. 


Alec: To be honest, I don’t know what I need.  


Mary Jane:  I don’t think many do.  (pausing, noticing the wedding ring on Alec’s left hand) A married man.


Alec (glancing at his ring) :  Yes.


Mary Jane:  I was married once.  He worked in the mines.  There was an explosion. 


Alec:  I’m sorry.  


Mary Jane:  Love never dies.  None but the lonely hearts can know my sadness.  From the look of you I believe you know it all too well.   I haven't properly introduced myself.  Marie Jeanette.


Alec:  French?  


Mary Jane:  No.  I lived in France for a short time.  I was born in Ireland but I grew up in Wales.


Alec:  I’ve lived in London all my life.  I’ve visited the continent a few times of course, France, Germany, Italy.  How did you end up here?


Mary Jane:  The same way most do.  This is where people go when they've--


Mary Jane and Alec (finishing together) : Lost everything.


Mary Jane:  What have you lost?


Alec:  My marriage, my children. 


Mary Jane:  She took them?  She’s keeping them from you?


Alec:  My children are dead.  Diphtheria.  


Mary Jane (reaching across the table, placing her hand over Alec’s):  I’m so sorry.  (pause)  Why do you still wear the ring?


Alec:  I’m a man of habit. 


Mary Jane:  You haven't told me your name.


Alec:  Alec.  Alec Whitman.


Mary Jane:  You don’t look as if you belong here among the rabble.


Alec:  I was thinking the same about you.


Mary Jane:  What is it you do for a living?


Alec:  I’m a surgeon.  


Mary Jane:  An educated man.


Alec:  For what it’s worth.  I couldn’t save my own children. (pause) I won’t ask what it is you do.


Mary Jane:  I’ve done many things in my day.  (pause)  Your children died, your wife was grieving and unable to console you in your own grief so you sought solace in the arms of another.   


Alec: How did you know?


Mary Jane:  I’m still young but I have an old soul.  I’ve heard similar stories many times.  We all like to think our stories are unique but they’re more than often not. 


(Alec notices his and Mary Jane’s glasses are now empty.  He stands from his chair, picking both up)  


Alec:  Would you like another?


Mary Jane:  Have you figured out what it is you need?


Alec:  I believe I have.  


Mary Jane:  You already knew.  You were only waiting for it to find you.  I would like another.  Thank you.



End Scene





Scene 7



The infirmary.  Alec enters from stage left walking somewhat unsteadily looking tired and slightly disheveled.  He walks to the desk and sinks into the chair, staring blankly ahead.  Clara enters from stage right  


Clara:  Where have you been?  You’ve been gone for hours.  


Alec:  Nowhere.  Everywhere.  


(Clara examines Alec in silence)


Clara:  Have you been to a public house?  


Alec:  I needed a drink.


Clara:  You have spirits here.


Alec:  I needed a drink that wasn’t here.  


(pause)


Clara:  Did you...see anyone?


Alec:  At the public house, the streets are full, everywhere is full of people.  They practically live on top of each other.


Clara:  You know that’s not what I meant. 


Alec:  Why should you care if I did?  At least my money’s good enough if I’m not.  


Clara (turning): I’m going to bed. You missed supper.  There’s stew in the pot on the stove. 


Alec:  She’d found someone else. (Clara turns back around to face Alec)  She was pregnant.  She induced a miscarriage. Her marriage was a sham from the beginning.  Arthur would have dealt with it but she must have been afraid after what happened. 


Clara:  You blame yourself.


Alec:  Shouldn’t I?


Clara:  It’s not your fault.


Alec:  It’s all my fault.  The Simpkins girl, Nora...Edmund, Lily...I brought it home to them. 


Clara:  You don’t know that.  The Collins’ children were down with it at the same time.  They lost little Charlie the day before Edmund. 


Alec:  She had grown accustomed to being with me.  She didn’t have to concern herself.  


Clara:  At least I never pretended to be respectable. 


Alec: You were respectable.  The wife of a surgeon, the mother of my children. I would have sent you money, set you up somewhere decent.  


Clara:  You have no idea what it was like there.  Not only the treatments.  Here if a man wants that at least he pays for it. (Alec looks at Clara in disbelief, rising from the desk and approaching her)


Alec:  You were ravished?  You didn't report it? 


Clara:  There was no point.  All they would have to say was that I was hysterical, delusional.  No one would have believed me.  It was easier for them not to.


Alec:  Did you resist them?


Clara:  The first time.  I was restrained, sedated, thrown into seclusion.  After that...I pretended I was back here.


Alec:  It happened more than once?  


Clara:  You told them what I was.


Alec:  When I spoke with the alienists they asked for a complete history. (attempts to embrace Clara): I'm sorry. I'm so sorry, love.


(Clara steps back avoiding his embrace)


Clara: Don't...don't call me that.   You did the same yourself.


Alec:  I'm your husband.   


Clara:  Why should that make a difference? 


Alec:  I thought it would help you...to move on...to get past it...if we were to have another child...


Clara:  You thought they could be replaced?  I would forget them?


Alec:  No, of course not.  


ClaraYou couldn’t cut it out of me with your knives.  I was a problem you didn’t know how to fix so you got rid of me,  just like that boy.


Alec:   I was granting him mercy, ending his suffering, preventing it in the future. (pause) I realized I would rather have you weeping the whole night beside me than that empty space. I brought you home only to find it empty once again soon after.  


Clara:  The worst of it was knowing it was you that had sent me there.  


Alec:  I only wanted to help you.  I wanted my wife back, the woman you were.


Clara:  I can never be that woman again. Will you ever be the man you were?


Alec:  No.    


(pause)


Clara:  You should eat.  


Alec:  I’m not hungry.


Clara:  You need to eat something.


Alec:  If I do...will you sleep with me tonight?  Sleep.  Nothing more.  


(pause)


Clara:  Sit down.  


(Alec returns to the desk, sitting down in the chair as Clara exits stage right.  After a few moments she returns with a bowl and a spoon, setting them down on the desk in front of Alec)


Alec:  Thank you.


(Alec begins to eat as Clara observes him silently for a few moments)


Clara:  What was her name? 


Alec:  Mary Ann...Jane, Mary Jane...something Irish...or French.  I don’t recall.  


(Alec begins to eat again)


Clara:  You remembered mine.  


Alec (pausing, holding the spoon over the bowl) : You weren’t like the others.


Clara:  You gave me enough doss money for a week, money for food.


Alec:  I would have given you more if I’d had it.  I was just starting out then.  Is that why you married me?  You would have to sell yourself to only one for food, a bed?


Clara:  Of course not.  Did you feel sorry for me?  


Alec:  I feel sorry for everyone here...most of them.   


(Alec finishes the bowl of stew.  Clara takes it from him.  Clara exits stage right.  Alec stands from the desk and walks around it.  Clara returns a few moments later from stage right)


Alec:  Are you ready?


Clara:  It’s been so long...what if I can’t sleep?  


(Alec takes a small bottle from his frock coat pocket and removes a tablet from it, holding it in front of Clara’s lips.  She hesitates a moment before opening her mouth, Alec placing the tablet in her mouth.  Alec walks to the desk, setting the pill bottle down and pouring a drink into his empty glass, taking it to Clara who drinks from it, swallowing the tablet and finishing the drink in one more swallow, handing the glass back to Alec who returns it to the desk.  Returning to Clara, he extends his hand, Clara taking it as both exit stage right)


End Scene





Scene 8


The infirmary.  Morning.  Clara stands at the cabinet, placing a glass bottle into it.  She closes it, picking up a large leather bag from the floor beside her, carrying it to the exam table.  She sets it on the table, opening it and removing a knife, taking a cloth from the table and appearing to be cleaning it.  She sets the knife down and removes another surgical instrument, doing the same to it.  Inspector Moore enters from stage left carrying a leather satchel.  Clara turns her head towards him as she notices him, setting the instrument in her hand and the cloth down  


Moore (removing his hat) : Good morning.  Inspector Henry Moore.  I’ve been seconded here from Scotland Yard. I’m here to speak to the good doctor, if he’s available.


Clara:  He’ll be down shortly.  Can I help you?  I’m Mrs. Whitman.  


Moore:  I’d like to ask for his medical opinion regarding a case.  


Clara:  The murder?


Moore:  Mary Ann Nichols. Most knew her as Polly.  Did you know her?


Clara:  No.  Why would I?


Moore:  I thought perhaps she may have come here for treatment.


Clara: I don’t recall.  I could check the register.


Moore:  If you wouldn’t mind.  


Clara:  Not at all.


(Clara picks up the second instrument from the table and places it back in the bag before picking up the knife as Moore approaches)


Moore:  What is that?


Clara:  A Liston knife.  It’s used primarily for amputations.  


Moore:  Do you do those here?


Clara:  In an emergency.  Only once so far.  Alec had to amputate a poor gentleman’s arm that was crushed.


Moore:  Was he awake?


Clara:  Of course not.  He was given chloroform.  He slept like a babe in arms through it.  He didn’t feel a thing.  


Moore:  Did he live?


Clara:  Yes.  He’s doing quite well.  


Moore:  Could it be used as a weapon?


Clara:  It’s a knife.  


Moore:  That was quite a dunderheaded question, wasn’t it? (pause)  Where was your husband last Friday night?


Clara:  I thought you said you were seeking his medical opinion.


Moore:  I’m only being thorough.  I have to ask after anyone that has access to such an instrument.


Clara (haughtily):  If you were to question everyone in Whitechapel that owns a knife...My husband’s a surgeon.  He saves lives, he doesn’t take them.


Moore:  I meant no offense.  I’m only doing my duty.


Clara:  He went out for a stroll.  He was at a public house, I’m not sure which. He met a...friend there.  They spent the evening together.  He returned after.


Moore:  At what time?


Clara:  I don’t remember exactly.  It was around eleven o’clock.  I recall hearing the bells a short while before he came in.


Moore:  Do you know the name of this friend?


Clara:  No...I don't.  (pauseHe didn’t take these with him.


Moore:  Does anyone else have access to them?


Clara:  No.  Only my husband and myself.


(Alec enters from stage right)


Alec:  Can I be of assistance?


Clara:  This is Inspector…


Moore:  Moore. Henry Moore.  I’m here to seek your opinion about the murder of Mary Ann Nichols that took place the night of Friday last.


Clara:  I’ll check the register for you.


Moore:  Oh yes, thank you.


(Clara exits stage left)


Alec:  My opinion?


Moore:  From a medical perspective.  


Alec:  I thought the police had their own surgeon.


Moore:  We do but it’s always advisable to have multiple opinions, to see where they agree and where they may differ.


Alec:  I suppose it would be.  (gesturing towards the desk) Please, sit.  


(Both men make their way to the desk, Alec sitting behind it, Moore in a chair in front of it.  Moore opens the leather satchel and removes a folder, setting it on the desk, pushing it in front of Alec)


Moore:  This is the report, the observations made of the scene, the body at the time she was discovered.  There’s also photographs of the body in the morgue.  The body’s been released to the undertaker to prepare for the burial.


Alec:  I would have liked to examine it but I suppose these will have to do.  (pauses, studying the photographs, appearing disturbed) My education was of the workings of the body, not the mind, but my first impression is that either the killer was known to the victim and had a vendetta or he's a maniac.  Quite possibly both.  She was known to be a prostitute as was the other?  


Moore:  Yes.  


Alec (continuing to study the photos before glancing at the report):  Would you mind if I kept these for a time?  I’ll write up an opinion and return them to you along with it.  It may be a day, perhaps two.  It depends on the number of patients.


Moore:  Of course.  Thank you.  (pause)  How long have you been practicing here?


Alec:  Since the beginning of June so three months now.  It’s a temporary assignment.  


Moore:  I see.  


(Clara reenters from stage left)


Clara:  There’s no Mary Ann or Polly Nichols, unless she used another name. 


Moore (standing) :  Thank you for your assistance.  Both of you.  I’ll be on my way.  I look forward to reading your opinion.  Good day.


(Alec stands, he and Moore shaking hands.  Moore exits stage right.  Alec sits once again.  Clara approaches the desk, noticing the photographs)


Clara:  May I see them?


Alec:  They’re ghastly.  (pausing, looking contemplative for a moment) Maybe you should.  


(Clara sits in the chair Moore recently vacated, Alex seated across from her, pushing the photographs in front of her.  Clara studies them)


Clara:  She looks like…


Alec:  Looks like what?


Clara:  There was a woman last Friday when I was at the market.  I had taken a few articles to sell, a shawl, a bonnet.  She looks something like the woman who bought my bonnet.  I’m not certain.  People look different after...


Alec:  Why were you selling your things?  If you're in need of money... 


Clara:  Your birthday is next week.  I was hoping to buy you a gift. 


Alec:  You're here, with me.  That's all I could wish for.  I hope to enjoy it longer. (pause)  Arthur will likely recall me soon. Another month, maybe two. Will you return with me?  


Clara (looking down): I don’t know.


Alec:  That's two so far in less than a month.  I doubt she'll be the last if he’s not apprehended soon.  You can't possibly be considering going back.  If you won’t come home, I’ll find a place for you, anywhere but here.


Clara:  I need to think about it.


(pause)


Alec: Tonight...would you allow me...to hold you...your hand at least?


(The sound of coughing fills the room as a shabbily dressed woman holding a handkerchief spotted with red to her mouth enters from stage left escorted by a man with an arm around her shoulders.  The woman continues to cough into the handkerchief as Alec rises from the desk, walking around it towards them)


Alec (to the couple) :  This way. (escorting the couple to the exam table)  Clara, could you please bring me the camphor?


Clara (rising from the chair):  Yes, of course.  


End Scene




Scene 9


The infirmary.  Clara sits behind the desk reading a textbook.  Annie, appearing pale and weak, a slight bruise under one eye enters from stage left with a cough and breathing wheezily.  Clara stands from the desk and approaches her


Clara:  Oh my.  You sound horrid.   


(Clara escorts Annie to the chair across from the desk.  Walking to one of the cabinets, Clara removes a bottle of whiskey and a glass, walking back to the desk, pouring a drink and sliding it in front of Annie)


Clara:  Drink this.


Annie:  I only drink on Saturdays.  


Clara:  It’s not a drink.  It’s medicine.  It helps ease congestion.  (Annie drinks and coughs intermittently as they converse)  Did you sign the register?  What’s your name?


Annie:  Yes.  Annie.


Clara:  My husband has stepped out for a bit.  He shouldn’t be long.  How long have you been ill?


Annie:  I’ve been down in the lungs for some time but they’ve been worse for the last few days.  I’ve felt out of sorts all around.  I hope it’s not the same as what took my Emily. 


Clara:  You lost a daughter?


Annie:  It was some years ago. It started with a cough, too. The doctor said her brain was all swollen up in her head.  


Clara:  I’m sorry.  I lost both of my children as well.


Annie:  You never get over it.


Clara:  No, I don’t believe you do.


Annie:  Sometimes I wish something would take me down so I could be with her again.  I don’t have much reason to stay here.


Clara:  I know how you feel.


Annie:  I don’t have any money.  My husband and I went our separate ways after.  He was sending me ten shillings a week up until he died.  I didn’t learn of it until I inquired about not getting my allowance from him.  


(Annie’s coughing has subsided)


Clara:  That’s quite alright.  How are you getting by now?


Annie:  I do some crochet work, sell things...matches, flowers...other things.


Clara:  Your eye...how did that happen?


Annie: Oh...I was in a row with another woman a few days ago at the public house. I’m not in the habit of it. I get along with most everybody.    


Clara (referring to the whiskey):  Is that helping?  


Annie:  Yes, I think so.  


Clara:  I would have thought he’d be back by now.  


Annie:  Men are always lollygagging.  John would say he’d be an hour and wouldn’t be back for ten and stumble in drunk as a lord.  But then I wasn’t much better in those days.  That’s why I only drink on Saturdays now.  


Clara: Do you have other children?


Annie:  Two.  My son is a cripple. He’s in an institution.  My daughter lived with my husband until he died.  She’s in France.  I haven’t seen them for some time. (looking at the open book in front of Clara)  What is that you’re reading?


Clara:  Oh...one of Alec’s medical books.  


Annie:  Are you studying to be a doctor as well?  I didn’t know women could be doctors.


Clara:  They can now, there’s a school for women but no.  I find it interesting.  I was trained as a nurse, Alec has taught me a few things. (Alec enters from stage left) It’s about time.  


Alec:  I thought I’d post a few letters while I was out.  It seems everyone had the same idea. 


Annie:  Oh, I didn’t know it was you. 


Clara:  You’ve met my husband before?


Annie:  He bought some flowers from me two days ago. Did you like them?


Alec:  You must be mistaking me for someone else.  


Annie:  No, I’m sure it was you.  Unless you have a twin brother.


Clara:  No, he doesn’t.  (to Alec) This is Annie….Mrs….? 


Annie:  Chapman.  


Clara:  Mrs. Chapman.  She’s been feeling poorly for the last few days, a congestion of the lungs.  I gave her a little whiskey.  It seems to have helped.  (Clara rises from the desk) It was nice to meet you, Annie. (to Alec)  I think I’ll go for a stroll myself, unless you need me to stay.


Alec:  No...no, that’s fine. (Clara walks past Alec and exits stage left)  This way please, Mrs. Chapman.  


(Annie stands, following Alec to the exam table)


End Scene




Scene 10


The infirmary.  Alec sits at the desk writing into a ledger, the bottle of whiskey and a drink poured in a glass on the desk nearby.  Clara enters from stage left.  Alec looks up at her, Clara ignoring Alec and crossing the room towards stage right 


Alec:  Where did you go?


Clara:  Nowhere special.   I should put something on for supper.  


Alec:   They were for Nora, her grave…for the children’s too. (Clara stops, turning to face Alec) The flowers.  I visited them before I met with Arthur.    


Clara:  Why did you lie?


Alec:  I thought it might upset you.  


Clara:  Do whatever you want with whomever you want, alive or dead.  I don’t care.


AlecI would talk and she listened.  She would ask me questions, things I hadn’t considered, that I hadn’t wanted to think about but I needed to, the way you used to do.   I missed that most of all. 


Clara: The woman that you bought the flowers from, how did she get on?


Alec:  I gave her a dose of laudanum, some morphia tablets to keep her comfortable.  I sent her to the Union Infirmary for a day or two of rest.  That’s as much as I could do.  She’s dying.  


Clara:  Dying?


Alec:  She has a few months at best.  


Clara:  Did you tell her?


Alec:  What would be the point?


Clara:  She said one of her children had died but two are still living.  She abandoned them. (pause) It’s not fair.


Alec:  No, it’s not. If life were fair this place wouldn’t exist.  If being a good mother prevented illness our children would never have suffered so much as a cold. (pause)  Before Nora and I, when I left the hospital each day I would walk to the bridge.  I’d stand there thinking about it...or going home, taking morphia, simply going to sleep and never waking up.  Then I would think what if you came back the next day, if I'd only waited one more day.  The last time I saw her she asked what I would do if you came home.


Clara:  What did you tell her?


Alec:  I said I didn’t know.


Clara:  But you did.


Alec:  I would have swept you off your feet, carried you through the door as I did the day we were married.  


Clara:  I was so afraid it was going to rain that day.  Everyone said it would, but it didn’t.  


Alec:  It did the next, a deluge.  We’d had plans but we didn’t leave the house.


Clara:  As I recall, neither of us cared.


Alec:  No, we didn’t.


Clara:  I didn’t know what that was before.  You would give me money but you wouldn’t touch me.  You would just walk with me, talk.  Did you go to someone else after?


Alec:  Sometimes.  


Clara:  Did you think about me?


Alec:  It was the only time I didn’t think about you.   


Clara:  Did you ever tell anyone?


Alec:  I said you were a florist.  


Clara:  I did sell flowers for Mr. Dunlap for a time until he died.  They thought I was beneath you. 


Alec:  I didn’t care.  I don’t care now, whatever you’ve done.

 

(Alec opens a drawer of the desk, removing a ring from it and stands, walking across the room to stand in front of Clara, taking her left hand and slipping the ring onto her finger)


Alec:  Do what you want with it.  You could pawn it.  You might get more selling it yourself.


Clara:  That’s why I didn’t take it with me, so I wouldn’t.


Alec:  May I kiss you?  Just once.  


Clara (pause, quietly):  Alright.


(Alec kisses Clara.  As he ends the kiss, Clara pulls him back to her, kissing him passionately.  Alec picks her up in his arms and exits stage right)


End Scene 




Scene 11


The infirmary.  Alec paces back and forth a couple of times before sitting at the desk.  George Lusk enters from stage left


Lusk:  Good morning.  


Alec (standing from the desk, approaching Lusk):  Good morning.  


Lusk (extending his hand) My name is George Lusk.  I’m a man of business, a builder by trade.  


Alec (shaking Lusk’s hand):  Alec Whitman.  It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Lusk.  What can I do for you? 


Lusk:  Are you aware that there’s been another murder?


Alec (troubled) :  No.  I haven’t been out.  I’ve had no patients, it’s early yet. 


Lusk:  She was found only a couple of hours ago.  I've been told that it was quite a gruesome scene.  


Alec:  Do you know who?


Lusk:  She hasn't been officially identified. This is the third in a month, the second within a week. It's bad for business.


Alec: I'm more concerned for the welfare of the women here.


Lusk: Myself as well, of course. That goes without saying. The police appear to be completely baffled if not wholly incompetent to deal with the situation.


Alec: I'm sure it must be difficult. I wouldn't wish to be in their position.


Lusk: Several of my fellow businessmen and I are forming a vigilance committee to begin a watch.  I thought perhaps you may be interested in joining.


Alec:  I think that's a brilliant idea. I support your efforts but I’m afraid that I’m kept much too busy here.  There’s far more sick people than there are well.


Lusk:  There certainly are.  If you do find the time, I’ll be putting up notices of the first meeting. (pause) May I ask you a question?


Alec:  Certainly.


Lusk:  I’ve also been told that the doctor at the scene mentioned that the perpetrator may be a medical man.  Do you believe that’s possible?


Alec:  I was asked by the police for my opinion of the murder of the Nichols woman.  I concluded based on the evidence that whoever was responsible must possess at least basic knowledge of human anatomy.  


Lusk:  Might he have used something to render the victims helpless in some way, like before an operation?


Alec:  An anesthetic?  It’s unlikely.  Chloroform takes around five minutes to render a person insensible.  Ether causes a period of giddiness and euphoria.  


Lusk:  Interesting.  Thank you. I should be on my way.  I have others to talk to.  


Alec:  I wish you luck in your endeavor.  


(Lusk turns and walks stage left to exit as Clara enters from stage left carrying a black leather bag appearing somewhat dazed)


Lusk (tipping his hat) :  Good morning.


Clara: Good morning.


(Lusk exits stage left)


Alec:  Clara!  Thank god. Where have you been? When I woke you were gone. (noticing his bag in Clara's hand) What are you doing with that?


Clara:  You wouldn’t help her so I did.


Alec:  Help who?


Clara:  My friend, the one I told you about.


Alec (shocked):  You? You're not--


Clara (interrupting) : I can read.


Alec:  She's alright?


Clara:  She’s fine.


(Clara walks past Alec and sets the bag on the exam table and then walks to the cabinets, opening one. Alec approaches her)


Clara:  I'm feeling a bit off colour.  I’m going to take some morphia and lie down for a bit. I hope you can do without me--


Alec (aggressively gripping her upper arms, turning her to face him, shaking her):  You're never to do that again!  Never! Do you understand?!  


Clara: Alec...let me go...you're hurting me.


(Alec releases Clara)


Alec: I'm sorry.


(Clara turns back to the cabinet, removing a small bottle and taking a pill from it before replacing it back in the cabinet.  She opens another cabinet, removing a bottle of whiskey and opens it, putting the pill in her mouth and taking a drink from the bottle before replacing it in the cabinet)


Alec: If someone were to learn of it...


Clara:  If something had gone wrong there would have been no one to tell. 


Alec:  You won't do it again.  Promise me.


Clara:  Can we talk about it later?  I'm very tired.


Alec:  Alright.  (pause) There's been another murder.


Clara: I know. You'll have to buy flowers from someone else now.


(Clara walks past Alec and exits stage right)


End Scene




Scene 12


The pub.  Alec sits at a table, a drink in front of him.  Mary Jane sits down across from him setting her drink on the table  Alec reaches into his frock coat pocket, removing a small bag full of coins and pushes it across the table to her


Mary Jane:  Thank you.


Alec: I'll give you more next week. I don’t want you out there.


Mary Jane:  If Joe hadn’t been such a fool and gotten himself sacked I wouldn’t be.  (pause)  I knew Annie...not well.  She was a silly goose but she was always kind to me.  


Alec:  She had come in only a few days before.  There was little I could do for her.  She was dying. Perhaps it’s better it was her and not another with more life ahead of her.    


Mary Jane:  No one has a life ahead of them here.   


Alec:  Clara found her.  She was there to help a friend. It couldn’t have been long after it happened.  She couldn’t tell anyone or they would have asked why she was there.  She was out of her head after.  She wandered the streets for over two hours before she came to her senses.   


(Alec takes a long drink from his glass. Both sit in silence for a few moments)


Alec:  I lied to her...about the flowers. I suppose it wasn't a lie. I did take some for Nora and the children. I thought that hole in the wall you call home could use some cheer.


Mary Jane:  It’s not a sin to give a friend flowers.


Alec:  Is that what we are?


Mary Jane:  I’d like to think so.  (pause) Joe’s out playing cards.  He won’t be home for hours.  


Alec:  That’s not why I gave you the money.


Mary Jane:  I know.  


(pause)


Alec:  I can’t. I’ll see you home safely.


Mary Jane:  Is she going to return with you when they ask you to come back?


Alec:  She won’t say.  I’m considering selling the house, finding another.  They were born there, died there.  


Mary Jane;  That may be for the best...for both of you.


Alec:  I often think memories are like morphine.   They can bring comfort or kill you depending on the dosage. (pause) Maybe I did think we could replace them...or bring them back that way.  Maybe I was mad as well. Maybe I still am.


(Alec finishes his drink as does Mary Jane.  Both sit looking down into their empty glasses)


Alec:  She's returned to sleeping in the spare bed. I'm not certain if it was what she did or what she saw. (pause) He won’t be home until late? You're certain?


Mary Jane:  He never comes home before midnight when he’s playing cards. (pause) He knows how the rent is paid.


Alec:  I can’t stay long.  


Mary Jane:  That's alright.


Alec:  I’ll likely be recalled to the hospital soon.  I’m not leaving her here.  I won’t be coming back. 


Mary Jane:  I wouldn’t want you to.  


Alec:  I love her.


Mary Jane:  I know.


Alec:  It doesn’t mean anything.


Mary Jane:  Are you telling me that or yourself? 


Alec:  Would you like another?


Mary Jane:  Yes, thank you. 


(Alec stands, taking his and Mary Jane’s empty glass from the table)


End Scene




Scene 13


The infirmary.  Clara stands at a cabinet appearing to be taking an inventory, removing bottles and examining them before replacing them.   Kate enters from stage left, walking drunkenly.  Clara turns from the cabinet. Kate speaks with a drunken slur.


Clara:  Kate?  


Kate:  That’s my name.  I haven’t forgotten it yet. 


Clara:  It’s almost seven o’clock.  He’s stepped out for a meeting.  Maybe I can help you if it’s nothing too serious.  


Kate:  He’s stepped out alright.  You want to know who he’s meeting?


Clara:  Mr. Lusk, the vigilance committee.


Kate (laughing) :  Mr. Lusk’s grown quite buxom since the last I saw him.  


Clara:  What are you talking about?


Kate:  He’s at the Ten Bells with Black Mary.  They weren’t chatting about any vigilance committee, I can tell you that.  


Clara:  It wasn’t him.  I doubt you’d recognize your own reflection in a mirror.  You’re the devil when you’re drunk.  


Kate:  I’ve seen him there with her before.  He brought her flowers once. If you don’t believe me why don’t you leg it up to the Bells and find out for yourself?


Clara:  So you can steal our liquor?  I think you’ve had enough already but if you want more you’re going to have to earn the money for it the old fashioned way.  


Kate: You think you’re better than the rest of us now?


Clara:  Of course not.  


Kate:  You've got yourself a roof over your head every night, food in your belly, a bed to sleep in, a man to keep you warm...when he’s not warming up Mary.  


Clara:  Get out.


Kate:  You were always putting on airs like you thought you were the blooming queen.  You thought you were smarter than everyone going on about livers and kidneys but you don’t know how to keep your own man home and happy.


Clara:  And you always had your nose in other people’s business.  I didn’t abandon my children.  Alec didn't have to hide them from me.


Kate:  You always know where they are now.


(Clara walks over to the desk, Alec’s leather bag sitting on it.  Opening it she removes a surgical knife and angrily approaches Kate with her arm raised, gripping the knife)


Clara (yelling) :  Get out you w***e, you nothing or I’ll do to you what he did to them...worse!  I’ll cut out your kidneys and fry them up for supper!


(Kate stumbles backwards as Clara continues to advance on her before turning and drunkenly running away, exiting stage left. Clara stands continuing to hold the knife in her raised arm before slowly lowering it.  She stares at the knife for a moment before returning to the desk and replacing it in the bag and closing it.  Walking to a cabinet she removes a bottle of whiskey and a glass, walking back to the desk and setting them down then walks back to another cabinet, opening it and taking out a small glass bottle and opening it, shaking several pills into her hand.  She walks back to the desk and sits down, pouring a glass full of whiskey and puts the pills into her mouth, taking a drink and swallowing them.  She takes another long drink from the glass, almost emptying it before refilling it and drinking again before taking off her ring and setting it on the desk, beginning to weep)


End Scene




Scene 14


The infirmary.  Clara enters from stage left with a basket covered with a cloth and walks over to the desk, setting it down.  Pulling back the cloth, she removes something a bit bigger than a deck of playing cards wrapped in white cloth.  Alec enters from stage left and turns his head, seeing Clara standing at the desk.  Clara puts the article back into the basket and covers it again


Alec:  Clara!  I’ve been searching for you for hours!  I said not to go out alone after dark!   


(Clara approaches Alec, removing a small drawstring bag of coins from a pocket in the seam of her skirt.  Taking hold of Alex’s hand and raising it, she sets the bag into it)


Clara:  You can buy more flowers with it.


(Clara turns from Alec and retrieves the basket from the desk before walking away stage right as Alec stares at the bag of coins in his hand)


Alec:  Please tell me you didn’t...


Clara (stopping and turning to face Alec): If I did I’d be lying. You know all about that. (Alec hangs his head)  Does she remind you of me? What is it about her?  About us?  


Alec:  I don’t know.  


Clara:  Maybe you should send yourself away to that place.  Being tossed into a tub of ice water might do you good.


Alec: It didn’t mean anything.  


Clara:  It does to me...it did.  


Alec:  I thought you had come back to me...truly come back...then you left me to sleep alone again.


Clara:  So you're saying I’m to blame?


Alec:  No...that’s not what I’m saying.  I don’t know...I don’t know what I’m saying.  I’ve mucked it all up.  I’m sorry.  I know that doesn’t mean anything either.  (Alec walks to the desk, tossing the bag of coins onto it and sinking into the chair, putting his elbows on the desk and holding his head in his hands) I give her money so that she doesn't go out.  I've been doing so each week since the Chapman woman's murder.


Clara:  Why her? There’s a thousand others like her, like me out there.


Alec:  When I talk with her...she understands. 


Clara:  And I don’t.


Alec:  You used to.  


Clara:  So it is my fault.


Alec:  No…


Clara:  I’m trying to understand. 


Alec (voice breaking with emotion):  I can’t...I can’t do this any longer...this place...there’s more than one murderer out there, he’s the one that’s human.  Moore...he brings me photographs...women butchered, cut up like animals...asks my opinion as if it’s merely a scientific question…


(Clara’s expression becomes more sympathetic.  She sets the basket on the exam table and approaches the desk)


AlecFor that time...I don’t think about it...I...I don’t care about it…I can forget….forget all of it. He’s out there somewhere.  He could have killed you. If anything had happened to you...


(Alec lays his head on the desk, sobbing.  Clara walks around the desk to stand beside him, slowly and unsurely reaching out, putting her hand on his shoulder)


Clara:  It's late.


(Alec raises his head, wiping away tears)


Alec:  Yes...yes, it is.  


(Clara takes hold of Alec’s arm, assisting him as he stands.  He embraces her tightly)


Alec:  Forgive me. Forgive me for the fool I am. (breaking the embrace, picking up the ring from the desk and pressing it into Clara’s hand)  Take it.  I want you to have it. You don't have to wear it.


(Clara places the ring back in Alec’s hand and holds her left hand out.  Alec stares at her hand for a moment in disbelief before putting it back on her finger)


Clara:  I should have told you. I dream about it...that it’s me. I didn't want to wake you.


Alec:  You dream that you’re being murdered?  


Clara:  No...that I’m him.  (Alec stands in stunned silence for a moment)  Will you come to me if you need to forget?


Alec: You and only you.


Clara: Not tonight.  I think we’ve both done enough forgetting for one night. 


Alec:  Can we forget this night? 


Clara:  If I’m given no reason to be reminded of it.   


(Alec takes Clara’s head between his hands, kissing her forehead)


Alec:  I swear to you.


Clara:  We should go to bed.


Alec:  Together?


Clara:  Yes.


End Scene









Scene 15


The infirmary.  Alec sits at the desk reading a textbook as a bell rings.  Clara enters from stage right and crosses the room.


Clara:  I’ll get it.  If it’s not an emergency I’m sending them away.


Alec:  I’m not doing anything in particular.


Clara:  If I don’t, word will get ‘round and you’ll never get a day off.


Alec:  You’re right.


(Clara exits stage left as Alec returns his attention to the book.  After a few moments Clara enters from stage left, Moore following behind him with his leather satchel.  Alec upon seeing Moore stands)


Moore:  What is that delightful smell?


Clara:  I’m baking a kidney pie.  I used to make them on Sundays back home.  


Moore:  It smells delicious.  


Clara:  It should be ready soon.  We’re having dinner late as we rose late this morning.  You’re welcome to stay.


Moore:  Oh, no, thank you.  I’m afraid I’ve already eaten.


(Clara exits stage right)


Alec:  What can I do for you, Mr. Moore?  


(Moore walks to the desk and sits in the chair across from Alec)


Moore:  There’s been another...two last night.  You haven’t heard?


Alec:  As Clara said, we rose later than usual.  We haven’t been out.  I don’t see patients on Sundays except in an emergency.  Two in the same night?


Moore:  I’m afraid so.  They were of similar age to the previous two victims and employed in the same...occupation. 


Alec:  Hasn’t there been three murders previously?


Moore:  It’s now believed Martha Tabram wasn’t murdered by the same man due to the difference between her wounds and those of the other victims.  (opening his satchel) These were made this morning, I only just received them a short while ago along with a preliminary report.


(Moore removes a folder from the satchel and sets it on the desk, sliding it across to Alec.  Alec moves it in front of him, opening it, looking down at the photograph on top)


Alec (disturbed):  Bloody hell.


Moore:  They haven’t been identified yet.  We’re hoping to do so soon.  


Alec:  Her nose, her ear...these marks on her eyelids, under her eyes...as if trying to draw attention to those features, some sort of message perhaps?


Moore:  I thought the same. Her intestines were drawn out, part of the uterus was removed as well, like the others.  There is one difference.  Her left kidney was deliberately removed through a separate incision.  


Alec:  Her kidney?


Moore:  Yes.


Alec:  The removal of the uterus paired with the positioning of the bodies suggests these are crimes of a sexual nature...I’m not sure how removing her kidney relates to that.  


Moore:  I’m at a loss as well.  


Alec:  It does prove one thing.  Whoever did this has anatomical knowledge.


Moore:  Dr. Bond doesn’t agree.  He stated he doesn’t believe that the murderer has the knowledge of even one accustomed to cutting up dead animals.  The doctor at the scene agrees with him as well.


Alec (baffled):  An incision was made expressly for that purpose.  If you were to ask people on the street where the kidneys are located,  it’s likely at least seven out of ten wouldn’t have the foggiest idea. 


Moore:  I made the same argument. (pause) Part of the second victim’s apron was found but only part.  It was near some writing in chalk on the wall, something about the Jews, I don’t recall the exact wording.  I believe it’s in the report.  I doubt it had anything to do with the murder.  Such writing is commonplace here.  It was ordered removed for fear of an uprising.  Tensions are running high, the newspapermen are stoking it to boost sales.


Alec (looking through the photographs before skimming the report):  The first...only her throat was cut?  No mutilation like the others?


Moore:  She was discovered by a man driving a cart through the alleyway.   She hadn’t been dead but a few minutes. He likely abandoned the victim and fled when he heard the cart approaching.


Alec (pause):  What if it isn’t a he?


Moore:  You believe a woman could have done this?


Alec:  I’ve patched up quite a few that had been involved in rows with other women.  There was no sign that any of the victims were ravished.  


Moore:  He could be suffering some sort of malady affecting the member rendering him unable to do so which could be a possible motivation...if he contracted it from one of their vocation…


Alec:  A woman could walk away from the scene without arousing suspicion.  Everyone is by now aware to be vigilant.  The victims could have been taken unaware, not expecting to be attacked by a woman.  


Moore:  It’s an interesting theory.


Alec:  Another similarity...they were all wearing kerchiefs about their necks.  Annie Chapman showed signs of strangulation.  They may have been approached from behind, the knot of the kerchief taken hold of, pulling them to the ground.  They would have been unable to cry out.  It appears their throats were cut while they were in a supine position...on their backs. 


Moore:  You’ve never done any police work previously?


Alec:  No. I’ll study these and the report further.  As I have no other pressing matters today I can have my opinion to you by tomorrow morning.


(Moore stands, Alec along with him, the two shaking hands)


Moore:  Thank you for your help once again.  In the meantime, I’ll pass on what you’ve said.  Enjoy your dinner.  I’m sorry, I suppose this wasn’t the best time to be discussing such matters.


Alec:  I’m a surgeon.  A strong stomach is a requirement.


Moore:  It certainly would be.  Good day.


(Moore exits stage left.  Alec sits back down, staring down at the top photograph.  After a few moments Clara enters from stage right.  Alec closes the folder)


Clara:  There’s been another?


Alec:  Two.  Obviously Lusk's vigilance committee is as incompetent as he claims the police to be, but that's usually the way of it. It’s believed he was interrupted during the first.  He only cut her throat.  His sadistic impulses left unsatisfied he sought out another.


Clara:  Perhaps he was looking for someone in particular and realized he had killed the wrong one. 


Alec:  The murders appear to be completely random. (Alec opens the folder looking through the photographs and choosing two, studying them side by side)  They do favor one another somewhat, though it’s difficult to tell with the facial mutilations.  I suppose in the darkness…


Clara: May I look at them? 


Alec:  I’d rather you didn’t.  I'd like you to sleep soundly tonight.


Clara:  It must be worse than the others.


Alec: If he's not captured soon I fear what he'll do to the next.


(Clara studies Alec who's expression appears deeply disturbed)


Clara: Will you be alright?


Alec:  I believe so. (pause) Thank you for asking.


Clara: If you need to talk about it...


Alec: After dinner, perhaps.


Clara:  It’s ready.  


Alec:  I’ll join you in a moment.  


Clara:  I soaked the kidney in spirits.  I've never tried that before. Tell me if you like it.


Alec:  I'm sure it'll be wonderful.


(Clara exits stage right.  Alec sits staring at the two photographs for a few more moments before placing them back into the folder and closing it, standing and walking towards stage right)


End Scene




Scene 16


The infirmary.  A patient sits on the end of the exam table, Alec wrapping a bandage around his hand.


Alec:  Return in a week to have the sutures removed.  Come back before then if you have any trouble with it.  Just a moment and I’ll give you a few morphia tablets to ease the discomfort.  


(Alec walks to the cabinet, removing a glass bottle of tablets and a small envelope, placing a few of the tablets into it before replacing the bottle into the cabinet. He carries the envelope to the patient, handing it to him)


Alec:  Take only two at a time and no less than five hours between.  You’ll likely not need them after the first two days but I’ve given you enough for three.


Patient 2:  Thank you.  


(The patient stands, shaking Alec’s hand before crossing stage left as Clara enters carrying the basket from stage right)


Clara (walking past Alec):  I shouldn’t be gone long. 


Alec:  Clara…


Clara (stopping and turning):  Yes?  (Alec takes Clara’s face in his hands, kissing her)  What was that for?


Alec:  Thank you.


Clara:  For what?


Alec:  Everything.  


(Alec takes Clara’s free hand.  Clara smiles as she begins to back away towards stage left, Alec releasing her hand.  Clara turns and exits stage left.  Alec picks up a large glass bottle of liquid from the exam table and walks to a cabinet, opening it and replacing the bottle.  Martin enters from stage left as Alec turns from the cabinet)


Alec (approaching Martin, extending his hand):  Martin! 


Martin (shaking Alec's hand): Alec. It's good to see you. I'm sorry I haven't called on you before today.


Alec: It's alright. I understand.


Martin:  I'm afraid I have unfortunate news. Dr. Laurence, Arthur.  He was discovered this morning. It was in his sleep.  They believe it was his heart.


Alec (shocked):  Arthur? 


Martin:  I’m afraid so.  I wanted to tell you myself.  


Alec:  I saw him only a few days ago to discuss my return.  Who’s to replace him?


Martin:  Victor, for the interim at least.


Alec:  Victor?  


Martin:  Yes.


Alec (troubled):  He loathes me.  He always has.


Martin:  He’s jealous of you.  You’re better than him.


(Alec walks to the desk, sinking into the chair, Martin following him and sitting in the chair across from him)


Alec:  He’ll leave me here to rot.  I wouldn’t want to go back if he’s in charge of things.  


Martin:  You could go elsewhere.  


Alec:  By now everyone knows.  It doesn’t take long for word to get around.  


Martin:  London isn’t the whole of the country, or the world for that matter.  Good surgeons are in demand.


AlecGood surgeons...am I a good surgeon?


Martin:  One of the best I’ve known.  


Alec:  Then why am I here? (pause) I’ve lived my whole life in London.  Everything, everyone I know is here.  My children are buried here.  I planned to be buried alongside them.  


Martin:  It wouldn’t have to be forever.  People forget after a time. (pause)  I saw Clara as she was leaving. Arthur had told me that she had returned to you.


Alec:  She had come back here. God knows why.


Martin:  How are things between you?


Alec:  We went through some rough patches.  We may finally have turned the corner...the last two weeks have been wonderful. I was hopeful that she would return home with me. I won’t allow her to remain here, especially not with a madman roaming the streets.  


Martin:  Strange that everyone is so concerned about the conditions here now. It’s not as if things haven’t been this way for some time, though I concede it’s worse than when you and I used to go on our little adventures.


Alec:  Far worse, I’m afraid.  


(Two men carrying Clara between them, blood staining the front of her blouse, and a small group of other people enter hurriedly in a cacophony of voices from stage left.  Alec and Martin stand quickly moving towards them)


Man 2:  Which of you is the doctor?  


Alec:  We’re both surgeons.  What’s happened?


Man 2:  A lunatic! She was attacked! She’s been stabbed!


Alec (realizing it’s Clara) :  Clara!  Quickly!  Over here!


(Alec rushes to the exam table, leading the two men who carry Clara to the table. They lay her on it moving away.  Alec quickly examines the wound in the center of Clara’s abdomen)


Alec:  Martin…(Martin moves hastily to the other side of the exam table placing both hands on Clara’s abdomen)


Man 2:  They’re holding him outside. Someone’s gone for the police.


Alec:  Thank you for your help. Could everyone...could you please...?


Man 2: Yes, of course.


Clara:  Alec?


(The men who had carried Clara lead the others to exit stage left. A woman carrying Clara's basket leaves it on the floor)


Alec (to Clara): Don’t move…


Clara:  Will I die?


Alec:  No. You're going to be fine.  


(Alec quickly moves to the cabinets, opening one and taking out a bottle and a sponge and returning to Clara’s side, opening the bottle and pouring clear liquid from it on the sponge. Clara begins to frantically struggle to sit up as Martin attempts to continue applying pressure and hold her down)


Clara: No!  No!  Don’t!  No! Please!


Alec:  I have to, love.  


Clara:  You can’t fix me! 


Alec:  I can, you know I can...Clara...


Clara: You’re going to do what you did to that boy!


Alec: I would never do that.  I swear to you. (kissing Clara) You have to trust me. (Clara calms, lying still)  I love you.  


(Alec places the sponge over Clara’s nose)


End Scene





Scene 17


The infirmary.  Martin enters from stage right wearing a slightly blood stained apron and removes it, tossing it onto the exam table along with another already lying there.  Moore enters from stage left.


Martin:  I’m afraid the doctor’s indisposed at the moment. Perhaps I can help you.


Moore:  I’m Inspector Henry Moore, Scotland Yard. I’ve recently sought Dr. Whitman’s opinion of the murders that have taken place.  I was told of the unfortunate incident involving his wife.  How is she?


Martin:  If she doesn’t develop an infection, hopefully the carbolic will prevent it, she should recover. 


Moore:  I’m pleased to hear it.  You’re a colleague of the doctor?


Martin:  Yes.  We’re also friends.  We’ve known each other since we were children. 


Moore:  Ah, so you would be the man to ask.


Martin:  Ask what?


Moore:  Please don’t misunderstand, I’m only doing my duty.  I have to ask after all those that have access to the sort of tools he possesses.  


Martin:  You want to know if he would be capable of murder.  If he’s of sound mind, prone to madness.


Moore:  Essentially.


Martin:  You said that you’ve sought his opinion.  You haven’t developed your own impression of him? 


Moore:  It’s always advisable to ask others that have known a subject under other circumstances, that have known them longer, more intimately.  I’ve recently been made aware of certain stories that have been circulating.


Martin:  The Simpkins girl.  What was done was medically necessary in order to attempt to save her life.  Sometimes with such a procedure there are complications that could not be foreseen or avoided. 


Moore: I see.


Martin: Alec is one of the best surgeons I’ve known.  His mind is sound.  He’s suffered bouts of melancholy as we all do from time to time. He lost his children, he and his wife separated for a time after but he’s got on with it through it all.


Moore:  His wife originally hails from Whitechapel?


Martin:  She grew up here.  She was orphaned. I believe she was around fourteen or fifteen at the time. She made it on her own and avoided the workhouse.


Moore:  How did she manage that?


Martin:  If I remember correctly she worked as a florist.  Not long after they met Alec sponsored her to be trained as a nurse.  


Moore:  How did they meet?


Martin:  I suppose he purchased something from her.  I'm not certain. I don’t see how any of that is relevant to your investigation.


Moore:  He used to visit Whitechapel in the past.


Martin:  Both of us did from time to time.  


Moore:  For what purpose?


Martin:  Curiosity, I suppose.  To see if the stories we’d heard were true.  


Moore:  Not for other purposes?


Martin (pause) :  We were far younger with far fewer scruples then. We had our adventures as most young men do.


(Alec enters from stage right)


Alec:  Mr. Moore.  I assume you're here about the man who attacked Clara?


Moore:  He’s being held awaiting evaluation for mental defect.


Alec:  Obviously he’s a lunatic.  Do you think it's him?


Moore:  No. From what he’s said, what was coherent, he was angry over the death of his only son while under your care.  He blamed her for having brought them to you.  He had planned to come for you next.


(Alec stands in stunned silence for a moment before walking to the desk and sinking into the chair)


Alec:  The boy was dead when he was brought in.  Severe trauma to the head.  There was nothing I could do for him. I know what it is to lose a child.  I hope he'll be treated fairly.


Moore:  Would your wife be able to give a statement?


Alec:  Not at the moment.  I’ve given her an injection of morphine.  She’ll likely sleep for some time.


Moore:  When she's able, would you mind having her dictate one? Whatever she can recollect about the incident.


Alec:  Of course.


Moore:  Thank you.  I’ll be on my way so you may tend to your wife.  She’s lucky that she married a surgeon.


(Moore turns and exits stage left.  Martin approaches the desk and sits down opposite Alec)


Martin:  Was his son the boy Clara mentioned?  


Alec:  Yes.


Martin:  What did she mean you’d do the same to her?


Alec:  His skull was shattered.  Bone in his brain.  The only question was how long he would linger. I only hastened the inevitable. 


Martin:  He was still breathing?


Alec:  I know the signs.  So do you.  I saw no point in putting him through it. I also wished to spare his parents from clinging to false hope...as I did…


Martin:  You’re speaking of Edmund and Lily.


Alec (holding his head in his hands) Had I known...I watched them suffer and could do nothing...give them morphine...pray...that was as useless as anything else I tried.  I swore if he spared them I’d be as pious as an archbishop.  I’d never walk by a church without going in, lying prostrate before the altar.  I’d tell everyone that would listen the story of how I came to be a believer.


Martin:  You can’t negotiate with God.


Alec:  No deity that would allow children to suffer, to die that way would be worthy of worship...that would allow these people here to live and die the way they do. (rising from the chair)  Would you stay with her?  I have to talk to someone about caring for her while I see patients.


Martin:  I’m due some time away from the hospital.  I’ll return to help you for a few days at least.  It’s not as if I have anyone to go home to.  


Alec: I knew why you were melancholy of course but I never understood it until that first day I myself came home to an empty house.


Martin: I would rather you had never been able to understand it.


Alec: I hope not to be gone long.


Martin:  I'll sit with her until you return.  


Alec:  Thank you.  


(Alec exits stage left as Martin stands and exits stage right)


End Scene





Scene 18


The pub.  Mary Jane sits at a table with a drink in front of her appearing forlorn.  Alec approaches from behind her, walking around the table to the empty chair across from her, Mary Jane appearing surprised to see him.


Alec:  I was hoping this wouldn’t be where I’d find you.  


Mary Jane:  Where else did you look?


Alec:  I came here first.


Mary Jane (looking down into her glass): I thought you had forgotten about me.  


Alec:  You didn’t receive the money? 


Mary Jane:  I did.  Money is money. (pause) Not that I’m ungrateful.  Thank you.


(pause)


Alec:  I made a promise to Clara.  I thought it best in the interest of keeping it to forego our meetings.  


Mary Jane:  Why were you looking for me?  


Alec:  Clara was attacked on the street today. 


Mary Jane (looking up from her drink) :  During the day? Jack? 


Alec:  No.  The father of a patient, a boy that died in my care.  It was a hopeless case.


Mary Jane:  Why would he attack her and not you?


Alec:  He blamed her for bringing him to me.  He’d had a month for it to eat away at his sanity before he finally broke.  As I was the one caring for my own children I only had myself to blame.


Mary Jane:  She's alright?


Alec:  She will be if I can stave off infection.  That’s why I’ve come to you.  I need someone to care for her during the day while I see patients, for a week, perhaps two.


Mary Jane:  I’m not a nurse.


Alec:  You don’t need to be.   


Mary Jane:  Are you sure it’s a good idea?  


Alec:  She only knows your first name. There’s hundreds of Marys here...or go by the French if you prefer.


Mary Jane:  Why me?


Alec:  I trust you. 


Mary Jane (with a sardonic grin as she picks up her drink) : You trust your lover with the well being of your wife?


Alec:  I trust my friend.


(pause)


Mary Jane:  It’s not as if I have anything else to do.  


Alec:  Tomorrow morning.  I begin seeing patients at eight.  If you could arrive a bit before that so that I can instruct you on what needs to be done...


Mary Jane:  I suppose now I can stop considering throwing myself in front of a cart in order to have a reason to see you. 


Alec:  I’m not worth that sort of trouble.  (pauses, hanging his head) I sickened my wife, took from her the ability to bear more children and then sent her away to an asylum where she was violated.  It may be I’m only somewhat less dangerous than this Jack.  


Mary Jane:  You’ve certainly been foolish, but then that's part and parcel of being a man.  Any woman hoping for happiness in marriage must learn to be forgiving.


Alec:  Women can be just as foolish.  If they weren’t there would have been no victims on the streets at such an hour to be murdered. 


Mary Jane:  There’s a difference between foolishness and survival.  


Alec:  Mary Nichols told a friend she had earned her doss money three times over that night and instead spent it on drink.


Mary Jane: Sometimes that's survival too.


Alec: I hope the money I’ve given you hasn’t all ended up in the coffers of the proprietors of this place. (pause) He could be anyone.  He may or may not be from here.  Men come here as I once did for the same purpose.  Simply dressing smartly means nothing. Our perceptions can be our worst enemy.  Even our perception that he’s a man could be wrong.  


Mary Jane:  You believe a woman could do those things?  


Alec:  She wouldn’t have to be overly strong.   Her sex would be her greatest weapon.  


Mary Jane:  But you’ve said before you believe him to have medical knowledge. 


Alec:  Basic anatomical knowledge is all that would be required. A nurse would have that training, especially one that's assisted during surgery. There's a medical college for women now. I often thought Clara would have been an excellent physician or surgeon.


(Alec goes silent, staring past Mary Jane, appearing thoughtful and troubled)


Mary Jane: What is it?


Alec:  Nothing. 


Mary Jane:  Maybe you could do something for me...not me, a friend.  


Alec:  What is it?


Mary Jane:  She’s in the family way...though she has no family to speak of...or a husband.  She's been staying with me. Joe hasn't been pleased about it but I'm not going to cast her back onto the streets. With the chill...Jack...


Alec:  I don’t do that.


Mary Jane:  Oh...no...she’s too far gone for that.  She found herself in the same situation once before. She went to the Union infirmary but she doesn’t want to go back there.  She said a cow would have been treated better. She birthed a son that never drew breath. 


Alec:  That was likely a mercy. It’s not my specialty though I have attended a few as a general practitioner before becoming a surgeon.  I attended Clara.   It’s been some time.  She’s not been seen by anyone I assume.


Mary Jane:  No. 


Alec: What does she plan to do with the babe once it's here? She can't very well raise it on the streets.


Mary Jane: She's spoken of surrendering it to an orphanage. It would be better off than if she were to go with it to the workhouse.


Alec:  If possible bring her with you tomorrow.  I’ll need to examine her.  I must return to Clara.


(Alec stands and walks around the table, taking Mary Jane's hand and bows as he kisses it)


Alec: Thank you.


(Alec exits stage right as Mary Jane finishes her drink)


End scene





Scene 19


The infirmary.  Alec assists a heavily pregnant woman in shabby dress to sit up on the end of the exam table.  


Alec:   Everything appears to be as it should be at this stage.  Another month, perhaps a bit sooner.  Twins tend to come early. 


Alice:  Twins?!


Alec:  There are two heartbeats.  Both are equally strong.  The birth could be complicated.  It depends on their position.  As the time draws nearer I’d like you to remain here.  I’d like you to return a week from today.


Alice:  What will I do with two?


Alec:  The same as you would do with one I suppose.  Mary said you were considering surrendering them.  They’ll likely not spend much time there. Infants are adopted more readily than older children. I’m certain good homes will soon be found for them.  


Alice:  They won’t be kept together?


Alec:  I don’t know.  You’re free to state that as your preference though they would be under no obligation to honor it.


Alice:  Most come into the world alone, so many are alone here.  They'd have each other. (Alec assists Alice to stand from the exam table) I think I’ll return to Mary’s.


Alec:  I can give you money for a hack.


Alice:  That’s alright.  It’s not terribly far.  I walked here.


Alec:  You’re certain?


Alice:  Yes. Thank you.


Alec:  You’re welcome.  


(Alice exits stage left.  Alec walks to the desk, sitting down behind it, staring ahead looking thoughtful for a few moments before writing in a ledger.  After a few moments George Lusk enters from stage left carrying a small cardboard box.  Alec looks over at him)


Alec:  Mr. Lusk…


(Lusk approaches the desk and sits down across from Alec)


Lusk:  I received this in the mail a few days ago along with a letter (removes a letter from his frock coat pocket and places it on the desk along with the box, sliding them across it towards Alec) I thought it must be some sort of prank but others aren’t certain.  They’ve said I ought to turn it in to the police.  I thought I’d seek your opinion first.  


Alec:  What is it? (cautiously opening the box and peering down into it) Good god. 


Lusk:  Is it what it looks like?  


Alec:  It appears to be a kidney, the left,  though only half.  Why only half?


Lusk:  A human kidney?  


Alec:  I believe so. You said this arrived along with it?


Lusk:  Yes.


(Alec reads the letter)


AlecIt’s a forgery though that doesn't mean it isn't from the killer.  It’s as if they’re trying too hard to appear uneducated, yet they recalled the silent ‘k’ in “knife”  and to insert the silent ‘h’ in “while.”  At the same time it was obviously written by someone familiar with the dialect spoken by many here, the writer attempting to simulate it phonetically.  


Lusk:  So someone that’s educated but that has lived here or at least spent a great deal of time here?


Alec:  That’s my opinion, for what it’s worth.  (Alec sets the letter down, lifting the box towards his nose)  It’s been preserved in spirits.  If it’s from the last victim it must have been.  It’s been over two weeks.  It would have gone rancid.


(pause)


Lusk:  Do you believe he ate it as he says?


Alec:  Why wouldn’t he after all that he’s done?  It would likely taste little different than swine or beef.


(Alec sets the box back on the desk and stares down into it silently for a few moments, his expression growing even more troubled)


Lusk:  You don’t believe it’s a prank?


Alec:  It's possible. My classmates and I used to have our fun in medical school. 


Lusk:  Should I hand it over to them?


Alec:  I certainly would though I doubt it will get them any closer to discovering his identity. 


LuskI was told of what happened yesterday.  How is she?


Alec:  So far she’s recovering as expected. 


Lusk:  Pass onto her my well wishes.  I'm on my way to deliver these to them.  Thank you.


(Lusk rises, Alec pushing the box and the letter back across the desk to him.  Lusk picks them up and walks away from the desk, exiting stage left.  Alec remains seated at the desk, staring ahead before suddenly rising and swiftly crossing the room, picking up a bucket from near the cabinets and retching into it.  Mary Jane enters from stage right as Alec stops retching, lowering the bucket and holding it in one hand, placing his other on his forehead, closing his eyes)


Mary Jane (concerned) :  Are you alright?


Alec:  I am now. Something I ate this morning didn’t agree with me. 


Mary Jane:  She’s gone back to sleep.  I changed the dressing.  It looks a bit reddish.  


Alec:  Likely from the carbolic.  I’ll take a look.  


(pause)


Mary Jane:  She knows who I am.


Alec:  What did she say?


Mary Jane:  She asked if I love you.


(pause)


Alec:  How did you answer?


Mary Jane:  You’re a friend.  I care for you.


Alec:  How did she respond?


Mary Jane:  She said that Nora had cared for you as well and she’s dead now.


Alec:  Had she truly cared for me she wouldn’t be.  (exiting stage right with the bucket)


End Scene




Scene 20


The spare bedroom of the infirmary.  Night.  The lighting is low, an oil lamp lit on a nightstand near the bed.  Clara lies on one side of the bed appearing to be sleeping.  Alec enters wearing a long Victorian nightshirt, carrying his medical bag in one hand, another lit oil lamp in the other which he sets on a table along the wall on the opposite side of the bed from the nightstand.  He walks around the bed to Clara’s side and sets his bag on the edge of the bed.  He places the palm of his hand lightly on Clara’s forehead for a moment before opening the bag and removing a small wood case.


Clara (weakly, drugged):  No...no more.


Alec:  I don’t want you to be in pain.


Clara:  The dreams...I can’t wake from them. They’re so real. I don’t know what’s real. (pause)  Are you?  


(Alec puts the case back into the bag and closes it before moving a chair from along the wall to the bedside and sitting down, taking Clara’s hand)


Alec:  Yes. I'm here. I'm real.


Clara:  Were they real?  They weren’t a dream?


Alec:  Who?


Clara:  Edmund...Lily...Do they come to you?


Alec:  They come to you?


Clara:  They said they’ll come back to me, to us. We’ll be happy again.  We were happy once, weren’t we?  


Alec:  We were.


Clara:  We had forgotten this place.


Alec:  We’ll forget it again.  After you’re well we’re leaving. 


Clara:  They’ve asked you to return?


Alec:  No. Arthur is dead.  Victor’s taken his place.  He won’t have me back.  I wouldn’t want to go back.  I’m posting my notice tomorrow.  


Clara: Where will we go?


Alec: I'm not sure. It doesn't matter if you're with me.


Clara:  We can’t go yet.


Alec:  Why not?


Clara: I have to set them free.  They can’t come back until I do.


Alec: Set who free?


Clara: The ones that don’t want to be here.  


Alec:  I don’t think anyone wants to be here.


Clara:  She doesn’t.


Alec:  Who?


Clara:  Mary.  She loves you. 


Alec:  I’m sorry.  I didn’t know who else to ask, who I could trust.  When she arrives in the morning I’ll send her away.


Clara:  No.  She was kind to me.  So many have been unkind.


Alec (bowing his head) :  I may have been the most unkind of all.


Clara: You're a man and all men are fools.


Alec: Mary once said something similar.


Clara: She did remind you of me.


Alec: I suppose she did.


Clara: God has been far more unkind to me than you.


Alec: There is no god.


Clara;  What if there is? What if who people believe is god isn’t god?  What if Satan won the war and it was god that was thrown down?  Does this seem like the sort of world the loving god we were told of as children would create?  


Alec:  No,  It doesn’t.  


Clara:  Would such a god allow so much evil, for so many to suffer?  


Alec:  No.  I wouldn’t and I’m only a man, not a deity.  Maybe I thought I was. I didn’t trust anyone else to care for them.  Maybe I still haven’t learned.  Had I consulted Arthur about the Simpkins girl, sent them to hospital with the boy...


Clara:  It wasn’t your fault. You always believe everything--


(Clara gasps in pain and goes silent)


Alec:  Clara…please...allow me...


Clara: If you stay here with me.  If they come you’ll see them too.


Alec:  Maybe they don't want to see me. (pause) Alright.


(Alec opens his bag removing the wood case)


End Scene




Scene 21


The infirmary.  Alec sits at the desk, a bottle of chloroform setting in front of him, a bottle of bourbon and a glass on the desk as well.  Alec stares unblinkingly at the bottle of chloroform.  Martin enters from stage right and stops, looking across the room at Alec in silence for a moment before approaching the desk.  


Martin:  Considering having a kip?  I wouldn't blame you.  


Alec (startled) :  Oh...no.  


Martin:  Is everything alright?


Alec:   Fine. Everything's fine.


Martin:  I'll be on my way then.  


Alec:  Would you like a drink before you go?


Martin (pause):  I suppose I have time for one.  


(Alec stands, picking up the bottle of chloroform and walking across the room to the cabinets, putting it into one and opening another, retrieving another glass and returning to the desk as Martin sits down on the other side of it, Alec across from him.  Alec pours Martin a drink of bourbon and slides it in front of him)


Martin:  So what is it you want to talk about but don’t want to talk about?


Alec:  What do you mean?


Martin:  Every time you’ve asked me to join you for a drink you have something on your mind.


Alec:  Too many things.  


Martin:  Choose one.


Alec:  Clara.


Martin:  She appears to be doing well.  


Alec: She’s said strange things. She said the children come to her.


Martin:  It’s only the morphine.  You should begin tapering her off.


Alec:  I haven’t wanted her to be in any pain.


Martin: It will be more difficult for her if you don't.


Alec: I know.


Martin:  Is that all that she’s said?


Alec:  There were other things.  I promised her I wouldn’t send her back.  I can’t.  I won’t...no matter what she may have done.


Martin (puzzled) :  What has she done?


Alec:  Nothing. (pause) Have you read that book by Stevenson about a doctor that had developed a serum and became another man? 


Martin:  Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  Yes. I thought it was rather silly.  


Alec:  Do you think it's possible for someone to be two different people?  Not like in the book. I mean in their mind.


(Alec finishes his drink, pouring himself another)


Martin:  I’m not an alienist.  I’ve heard stories of such people.  Perhaps Stevenson had as well.  It may be where he got the idea.  I suspect it’s a pretense, to shirk responsibility for their actions by claiming insanity. 


Alec:  I never told you.  I never told anyone.


Martin:  Told anyone what?


Alec:  Why I sent her there.


Martin:  I assumed it was due to hysteria, severe melancholia.  I considered checking myself into such a facility for the same reason after Emily and the baby. 


Alec:  She did suffer from those things as well of course.


Martin:  There was more?


Alec:  I awoke one night.  She was standing there with a knife from my kit. I was able to take it from her without injury to either of us.  It appeared she was in some sort of state. She didn’t recall it when she came out of it.  I told her she had been sleepwalking.  I knew then something had to be done. (opens a desk drawer, removing a Liston knife and setting it on the desk) This was in her basket.  I have two sets.  I hadn’t had need of one, not since I had to amputate a man’s arm over a month ago.  I hadn’t noticed it was missing.  


Martin:  With what’s been taking place here she was likely carrying it for defense.  


Alec:  Why didn’t she use it when she was attacked?


Martin:  She was acquainted with him.  She wasn’t expecting it.  She likely didn’t have time.


Alec:  Do you think this Jack gives his victims any more forewarning?


Martin:  I doubt it but having such things on one’s person can provide one with a sense of security.  (pause) Don’t tell me that you believe--it’s absurd.  Aside from Emily I’ve never known a gentler soul. 


Alec:  No. I don’t know. I don’t know what to believe anymore.  


(Alec finishes his drink once again, refilling his glass once more)


Martin:  That’s likely not helping.


Alec:  Sometimes this is survival too.


Martin:  You’ll end up like many of those we saw today.


Alec:  I likely would if I were to remain here.  When I went out today I posted my notice...a month from now.  


Martin:  Where will you go?  You couldn’t have found another position already.


Alec:  I don’t know.  It doesn’t matter.  I’m taking her with me, away from this place. I’ll never allow her to return.  I’d cut her throat myself to spare her.  (pause) She’s had dreams about the murders.


Martin:  It’s likely most women here have had dreams about it.  


Alec:  That they’re him?


Martin:  That is somewhat strange but perhaps it's her mind's way of creating a sense of control over the situation. As I said, I'm not an alienist. (pause) That reminds me. The other day, the inspector…


Alec:  Moore.


Martin:  He was asking questions about you.  


Alec:  About me?  


Martin:  I would be cautious in my dealings with him.  People have grown inpatient, the newspapermen are stirring the pot as usual. The police are under pressure, flailing around trying to find someone to pin it on, to make it appear as if they’re getting somewhere.  You arrived here not all that long before they started.  You’re a surgeon.  It’s been theorized the killer is a medical man.


Alec:  Their physician doesn’t believe so.  Another has seconded his opinion.  It seems absurd not to believe so based on the evidence I’ve seen.   


Martin:  He asked about Clara, how you met.  


Alec:  What does that have to do with the price of tea in China?


Martin:  He wanted to know if you were familiar with Whitechapel before you began practicing here.  If you had come here for other purposes as he put it. (pause)  I told him she had been a florist. I believe that's what you once told me.


Alec:  She sold flowers for a time...among other things.


Martin:  She was one of them, a dollymop.


Alec:  It would have been difficult to avoid the workhouse otherwise. It’s likely every woman here under fifty has had to resort to it, at least casually.  Even some beyond that age.  Clara told me of one woman she knew that was sixty five.


Martin:  Good lord.


Alec:  Few live that long here. I’ve often thought what fools we were. I didn’t think about it until I met her. We gave them the money, they went their way and we went ours.


Martin: And because of us, our money, they had food in their bellies that night, a roof over their heads, a bed to sleep in.


Alec: I gave her money so that she wouldn’t have to. I didn’t touch her until our wedding night. No one should have to resort to that for their daily bread, the bare necessities of life.  


Martin:  You sound like the Socialists.  That’s why workhouses were established.  


Alec:  Have you ever been to a workhouse?  They’re little better than prisons.  What passes there for food I wouldn’t give to a starving dog.  (pause)  There’s something else I never told you.  


Martin:  What is it?


Alec:  I came here a few months after...just as she didn’t recall, I didn’t recall how I got here or even making the decision to do so.  I infected her.  Neither of us are now able to have children. Only Nora knew of it. 


Martin:  Nora?


Alec:  Yes.  


Martin:  Why would you have told...you and Nora?


Alec:  Yes.


Martin: How long?


Alec:  Nearly a year and a half.


Martin:  I thought I...(pause) I mean I wouldn’t have thought you would have sought out another, not so soon. You were heartbroken over Clara. 


Alec:  I hadn’t intended.  Arthur brought us together though I wasn't aware at the time.  I suppose he judged me to be a worthy companion, though not worthy enough for her to wait to replace me.  She had been pregnant.  She induced a miscarriage which led to the infection.  It couldn’t have been mine.


(Silence descends over the two before Martin picks up his drink, finishing it and setting the empty glass onto the desk and staring at it for a moment)


Martin (standing): Thank you for the drink. I may be late tomorrow.  I have some business to attend to.


Alec:  Whenever you're able. I appreciate your help.


(Martin exits stage left.  Alec pours more bourbon into his glass though it’s not quite empty.  The bottle is now almost empty.  He takes a long drink before standing and walking unsteadily across the room to the cabinets, opening the one in which he had placed the chloroform and removing it again holding it in his hand, looking down at it in silence for a few moments, speaking just as Mary Jane enters from stage right carrying a bottle and a roll of bandages)


Alec:  I told her I would never do that.


Mary Jane:  Would never do what?  Who are you talking to?


Alec (drunkenly) : Nothing, no one. Myself.


(Alec replaces the bottle of chloroform back into the cabinet)


Mary Jane: I changed the dressing. It looks no worse. I should be on my way.


Alec: You have some pressing matter to attend to?


Mary Jane: No. I thought I'd stop at the Bells for a drink before going home.


Alec:  Are you meeting someone?


Mary Jane: No.


Alec: You can have a drink here.


Mary Jane (looking over at the desk at the bottle): It doesn’t appear as if you’ve left much for me.


Alec:  I have more.  


Mary Jane:  Alright.


(Alec opens a cabinet and removes a full bottle of bourbon and carries it over to the desk, Mary Jane placing the bottle in her hands and the bandages in another cabinet before following him and sitting down.  Alec empties the rest of the first bottle into his glass and opens the other, pouring some into Martin’s glass sitting before Mary Jane)


Mary Jane:  What’s wrong?


Alec:  Nothing.


Mary Jane:  I haven’t seen you like this since the evening we met. (pauses as she notices the knife on the desk)  What is that?


Alec:  Oh. I had misplaced it.  


(Alec opens the desk drawer and places the knife in it, closing the drawer)


Mary Jane:  Alice and I were talking last night. She isn't sure what she wants to do now. She doesn’t want them separated.  She was a twin herself.  Her mother died after giving birth to them. Her brother died when they were ten. All they’d had was each other.  


Alec:  I believe it’s better that they’re separated in good homes than together with her on the streets or in the workhouse.


Mary Jane:  You lost your children.  You and Clara have reconciled. Perhaps you could...


Alec:  I’m afraid our situation is still too unsettled as of yet to consider such a thing. I posted my notice today.  We’re leaving in a month.  I don’t have another position yet.  I’m not sure where we’ll end up.  


Mary Jane:  You’re leaving? What about Alice?


Alec:  I'm certain she'll reach her time before then. As soon as I find another position I may be able to do the same for you as I did for Clara. You would have a means to support yourself. Perhaps you may even find yourself another husband that wouldn’t get himself blown up.


Mary Jane:  What man would want me? What respectable man I should say.


Alec:  Clara was no different than you.  


Mary Jane:  You’re not like most men.


Alec:  I’m afraid I’m too much like them. (pause)  Do you believe someone can love and hate someone at the same time?


Mary Jane:  Wouldn’t that be like being hot and cold at the same time?  


Alec:  I’ve had patients that described such a sensation.  Part of them felt as if they were burning up, the other freezing or they would go back and forth between the two.


Mary Jane (looking down into her glass) :  I’ve only ever felt one or the other. 


Alec: Things are simpler that way.


Mary Jane:  Not always.  (pause) I should go.


(finishes her drink and stands, Alec standing after her, walking around the desk.)


Alec:  You're sure you won't stay longer?


Mary Jane: I shouldn't--


(Alec interrupts Mary Jane, taking her in his arms, kissing her.)


Mary Jane:  We can’t...we shouldn’t...not here.


Alec:  I need to forget her.


Mary Jane:  Why? You love her.


Alec:  I do.


Mary Jane:  Then why would you want to forget her?


Alec: Only for a time.


Mary Jane: You’re not making any sense.  


Alec: She hates me.


Mary Jane:  No she doesn't.


Alec:  A part of her does. She would be a fool if she didn't. You should as well.


Mary Jane: You've given me no reason.


Alec: Not yet. I will eventually. As you said, all men are fools. Do you believe a person can be two different people?


Mary Jane: We're all two people...the one we show to others and who we really are.


Alec: If a person can be two different people it stands to reason they could love two different people as well.


Mary Jane: Are you saying that you love me?


Alec:  Have I said that I don't?


Mary Jane: Not that I recall.


(Alec kisses Mary Jane)


Alec: Do you love me?


(pause)


Mary Jane: Yes, I do.


Alec: Which me?


Mary Jane: Both of you.


(Alec kisses Mary Jane once again before moving the liquor bottles and glasses off the desk to the floor and pushing books and ledgers off the other side of the desk onto the floor before taking hold of Mary Jane’s waist and picking her up, setting her on the desk, kissing her again lustfully)


End Scene





Scene 22


The infirmary.  Alec sits at the desk, everything back in its place there, his face in his hands, his hair somewhat unkempt.  Inspector Moore enters.  


Moore:  Dr. Whitman. 


Alec (looking up) :  There’s been another?


Moore:  No, though I come as the bearer of equally unwelcome news.  


Alec:  What is it?


Moore (walking to the desk and sitting across from Alec):  Your colleague…


Alec:  Martin?  


Moore:  I’ve been informed he was discovered this morning in Kensal Green.  It appears that he cut his own throat.  


Alec (shocked) :  What?  


Moore:  I’m sorry.


Alec: He’s been assisting me while Clara recovers.  Nothing seemed amiss.  Did he leave a note?  Anything to explain it?


Moore: No, nothing.


Alec:  He was found in Kensal Green?


Moore:  By the grave of Mrs. Laurence who passed over a month ago.  


Alec:  Nora’s grave?  She was Dr. Laurence’s wife, the superintendent of the hospital. He passed as well but a few days ago.  


Moore:  Yes, it was the gravediggers who had arrived to open a grave for Dr. Laurence who discovered him. Do you know of any reason he may have wanted to end his life?


Alec:  He had lost his wife and his infant son in childbirth but that was nearly five years ago, two years before Clara and I lost our children.  He mentioned them yesterday when we were speaking about Clara.


Moore:  You had been friends for some time?  I believe that’s what he told me when I spoke to him.


Alec:  Since we were boys.  We used to come here together when we were much younger men, still boys really.  


Moore:  Yes, he mentioned that.  


(pause)


Alec:  He said that you had questioned him about me. 


Moore: I was only doing my duty. 


Alec: I arrived only a couple months before they began, I have access to a number of instruments that could be used in a lethal manner.  I have anatomical and surgical knowledge,  I’m familiar with the area and the type of women who fit the profile of the victims, their habits.  I would suspect me. You were never interested in my medical opinion.


Moore:  On the contrary, I very much am. It would make little sense for you to help these people only to take their lives.


Alec:  Madmen don’t follow the edicts of logic. 


Moore:  Do you think yourself mad?


Alec:  Madmen aren’t usually aware they’re mad.  They think themselves quite sane.  To them it’s the rest of the world that’s mad.  (pause) Do you believe someone can be two different people in their mind?


Moore:  I do, actually.  I worked a case where the perpetrator was found to be such a man. (pause)  Do you believe yourself to be such a man?


Alec: We’re all two different people...the one we show to the world and the one we truly are.  


Moore:  Quite right.  My job is to learn of the person one truly is.


Alec:  Have you learned who I am?


Moore:  I believe I have some idea.  


Alec:  Then perhaps you can tell me. I have no idea who I am.  I used to know...I thought I did. (pause) You’ll never catch him.


Moore:  Why do you say that?


Alec:  They don’t want you to.  This whole system is set up to allow such things to happen.  Lusk says it’s bad for business but I don’t believe that.  There’s too many who benefit from it continuing. It sells papers and shilling shockers.