21 February 2010

later the evening before

She looked left and right, turned on the spot and looked behind her but nothing, he was gone. As quickly as her saviour had appeared, he had vanished. Pity, she thought, he had looked better than the usual Whitechapel sort, he probably had money too.

Liz Stride shrugged philosophically and set off south on Berner Street for the docks. Immediately a hand gripped her shoulder. Swinging around to face her accoster, she was ready to kick hard and run. A decade of bad experiences had sharpened her wits. But she peered up into a familiar face.

“It’s you again,” she remarked. “Are you following me?”

“No!” Laughed the stranger. “I’m worried for your safety. Here, come inside and eat fruit with me.” He indicated the greengrocer’s door, dimly lit from within by lamplight. “Packer sells quite exceptional grapes.”

The doorbell dinged sharply as Liz entered and the tall man winced, looking both ways along the street before following.


Little M said...

Correct me if I'm wrong but weren't grapes rare or expensive during these times?

Perfect Virgo said...

Little M - from what I've read a pound of grapes cost 3 pence in 1888, about the same as a loaf of bread. Still a bit of a luxury though. Supply might have been unreliable too, so the price would have risen in times of scarcity.

C.J.Duffy said...

Another sweet twist in the tale.

I think M is right that grapes would have been a luxury. Having said that my Grandad, born in Bow in 1878 used to complain that bananas were a rare delight of his childhood and his eldest daughter, muu Aunt, certainly used to eat grapes but again as a trea, almost like having sweets (candy).

Perfect Virgo said...

CJ - The grapes, the shop open late, the pub and Berner Street are all on record but the precise events leading up to the killing of Liz Stride are of course elusive. That's were I am speculating.

C.J.Duffy said...

'The Grapes' I understand but Berners Street? Wouldn't that have been a bit off the beaten track as it were? It is quite a hop from there to the docks. I guess you could do it in about half an hour if you got a move on. Or is this a reference to old Berner Street in the East or am I confussing things?

Lucky Liz Stride eh? Always looks as though she was smiling when he slit her throat

C.J.Duffy said...

Silly bastard (me not you) it is Henriques Street isn't it? Blimey, I have walked down it enough times but I never realised.


Perfect Virgo said...

CJ - haha, don't bet yourself up too much old chap! Yep it was Berner Street then but Henriques Street now. Still would have been a stiff stroll to the docks but there would have been plenty of custom for her there.

Pity that none of the original murder sites remain in their original form. Even many of the streets and courts have been re-named or built over.