A Night at the Whitechapel Club – part 3

(continuing a serialization of a Tribune article on The Whitechapel Club fro 1890, just after Chicago was chosen as the World’s Fair location).

The Whitechapel Club meets at 12 o’lcokc sharp at night. Lights which have been shimmering through the eyes and noses of skulls are turned out. The roll is called.




Sudden noises startle the guests. They are the responses of members to their names as called by the Secretary. Each member has a number, and he answers when it is called by exploding a torpedo.

The president stands in a corner. He is a life-size effigy f Jack the Ripper, after the scene of whose murders the club is named. The Vice PResident presides, sitting at the corner of the triangular table which fills the center of the room. The secretaty, Charles Perkins, clerk of Judge Collins court, sits on his right.

“The King’s taster will now enter!” says the President.

Henry Koster, the club’s purveyor, enters. He dips out a brimming glass of the punch which fills the large, snake-wreathed bowl, the largest ever cast in America. He puts it to his lips and drains it.

“If the king’s taster lives two minutes,” says the presidetn, “the club will proceed to business.”

The king’s taster lives and the club proceeds to business.

The window curtain shade is drawn down by a string.It contains in plain printed letters the program for the evening. Just enough of the program is exposed to reveal with is to occurr next.

“We drink!” the members and guests read in glowing letters.

And they drink.

Down comes the curtain another notch.

“We drink again!” it reads.

And the members and guests drink again.

The curtain falls another half-inch. A comic poem is to be recited by some theatrical celebrity who is present. He recites it, and the club-rooms echo with cheers for three minutes after he sits down.

The curtain falls another half inch…


(Visited 174 times, 1 visits today)