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Friday, April 29, 2005

Uncle Jack

Dai Ripper

Thank goodness we're over the Pat Cornwell silliness of pinning the Jack the Killer rap on dauber Wally Sickert . I always thought Cornwell's Portrait of a Killer had something fishy about it from the start.

Anyway, here comes Tony Williams to tell us it was Uncle Jack wot dunnit - none other than eminent surgeon Sir John Williams, pillar of Victorian society and ob/gyn to Victoria Regina herself, egad.

Seems that Tony was researching the family tree, came across papers of his grandma - Sir John's great-great niece - and got the goods on the old sawbones.

I wonder if this poser will ever be put to rest? I know, someone tie the real Ripper to the *real* Shakespeare and that'll settle *both* debates.

Embargoed names - note the book jacket's embargo of the author's names, Williams and Price. This would have been an advance proof sent out for orders and publicity and the publishers must have known there was enough theorizing over the Welsh surgeon for even the Williams name to give the game away. Interesting - I've never seen that wording on a jacket before.

welsh gifDai Note - I don't know how, but my maternal grandma's side was teeming with Welsh and they were the wittiest, most glamorous, debonair brilliant people imaginable, all speaking with that mellifluous accent of the Valleys.

The word Dai comes from the Old Celtic 'dei' meaning "to shine". It's the Welsh pet form of David *and* attachable as an all-purpose prefix. For example, as a surgeon Sir John might have been affectionately referred to as 'Dai the Scalpel' or, in his Ripper role, more likely Dai the Razor. A mechanic might be Dai the spanner. In our family rugby games, I fumbled the ball so often cousin Gethyn dubbed me Dai the Drop.

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