Murder Models - Gibbet Trips


Art steps in as handmaiden to Murder. The benignant ingenuity of one MR. ST. QUENTIN, of Norwich, has executed models of Stanfield Hall and Potash Farm (on the scale of 3/8 of an inch to the foot,) for the gratification ot the sight-seers and loungers of intellectual, benevolent London. Thus, the memory of the atrocities of the fiend RUSH may be agreeably preserved ever among fashionable parties until the end of the season. There was at one time a great notion put abroad; namely, to remove the house of SHAKESPEARE in its entirety, and ship it across the Atlantic. Could Stanfield Hall and Potash Farm have been by any means brought to the vicinity of London, there is little doubt that the spirit of the day would have made them a most profitable investment, adapted and laid out as tavern, tap, and tea-gardens. However, this was not to be done: so, let us thank MR. ST. QUENTIN for what he has contrived to achieve. Failing to fill our enthusiasm with the Hall and Farm as they stand, it is something to have them at the reduced scale of 3/8 of an inch. If we cannot with one generous draught assuage our thirst of knowledge, - it is still something that we may try to quench it in sips. And then imagination will help us mightily. Give the public mind 3/8 of an inch, and it will not fail to take a foot.

Thus, it really forms one of the attractions of the day - makes one of the moral duties of the sight-seer to himself - to have "an hour with RUSH!" To have the inquiring mind of a fraction of the enlightened British Public instructed in the passages of Stanfield Hall - the passages that lead to murder - to contemplate the ingenuity so "striking," in Potash Farm; an ingenuity that has converted a homestead into a sort or family rat-trap. "Here," says showman ST. QUENTIN - "here the murderer slept; and here slept EMILY SANDFORD" - (and here the pious, gentle- hearted English lady who has paid her shilling for the show, looks impatiently onwards to the Hall.) "And here," says the showman, "is where the murderer entered. Here is where MR. JERMY fell, and here, MR. JERMY, Jun. Here is where MRS. JERMY rushed from the room, and where the heroic ELIZA CHESTNEY followed. Here, " - and the contempt of the showman hisses from between his teeth, - "here is where the butler fled; the trembling coward who forsook his master!"

And - the Murder Models described - the lady party (before intending to visit other shows) think Pompeii slow, and the Diorama a bore. Now there is an odour and a smack of blood about the Murder Models that must sweetly recommend then to the senses.

As this Exhibition has met with such distinguished patronage, we hear it is the grateful intention of MR. ST. QUENTIN to aim at continued encouragement. We know not whether we are premature in our statement, but we understand that the showman is in treaty with the Dutch Dwarf VAN TROMP to represent the assassin RUSH - (MR. Nathan has taken measure for the dress - facsimile of the original) - and after due rehearsals he will set out from the Farm, taking the various paths, until he reaches the interior of the Hall; his whole progress to be accompanied by music descriptive of the demoniacal passions raging in his breast. This improvement of the present exhibition will, there is little doubt, have great attractions for a discerning Public, tyrannously denied the enjoyment of contemporary murder represented on the stage, as in the good old times when THURTELL was personified at the Surrey, and the Real Gig of the Murdered WEAR was hired, nightly, by an enterprising management, regardless of expense. This sort of moral teaching by stage example, being refused by the mealy-mouthedness of a present Chamberlain, it is a great comfort to us, as free and enlightened Britons, to know if the New Cut be denied a scene of homicide - why Regent Street may delight in Murder Models. If the low folks of St George's Fields and Lambeth may not behold RUSH upon the stage, - why the superior classes may patronise the Model of his Farm at the West End. Ladies, ?twixt the mercer's and the confectioner's, may now step in and see a little murder - take just a preliminary taste of horrors before the cheesecake.

And with MR. ST. QUENTIN as the master of the ceremonies to murder - the patronised Showman of Farm and Hall - we think it a little too hard upon the "Managing Body of the Eastern Counties Railway," desirous of setting afoot a Railway Gibbet Trip, that they should be rebuked for their very natural wish in these times to turn a shilling. MR. ST. QUENTIN shows only Models of the houses made fearful and classical by RUSH; now, the Eastern Counties folks

showed their fellow-countrymen the body of RUSH himself - the body alive - convulsed - and killed! Surely, this offering was a dram or knowledge from its burning source, not qualified and weakened for the nerves or fine ladies and families. Hanging being a great moral lesson, the Eastern Counties Directors only seconded the wisdom of the legislature by conveying students to the place of instruction - a grand amphitheatre, whence thousands of scholars might study the holiness of life in the convulsed anatomy of a strangled man. The object was - we were duly informed - "visible to a great distance." And no doubt, for short-sighted scholars, there were, for a consideration, telescopes on hire that the mortal lesson might be scrutinised all closely.

Well, the majesty of the law - its "round" of majesty being the black cap - has been solemnly vindicated of late. Within these past six weeks, six human creatures - men and women - have been put to death to sanctify the cause of life. MR. CALCRAFT, the hangman, has in truth been awfully busy. The lasting good that must come of his ministration - the improved respect for human blood that must arise from his killing - will, we trust, be made manifest. Nevertheless, somehow his work ever seems to make more work. Some electric chain, linking man and the fiend, seems ever and anon charged from the atmosphere of the gallows.

At least, within the last six weeks we have given rope enough. Six times, at least, in the name of the holiness of life, has the hangman quenched the gift of GOD. "Be gentle towards all men," says MR. CALCRAFT, and then he pulls the bolt that drops a man into the death struggle. This is strange practical teaching! And the monster, in the dock, - he, the abhorred of all men, is made the participator of the common fate of all - the meekest and most righteous!

How many a gentle, good man, consummated the holiness or his mortal end, on Saturday last, Norwich bell then beating twelve! At the hour that the very righteousness of death was, in our opinion, desecrated by being made the punishment of a fiend in the flesh of a man!

We must incline to think that justice would be better served - life more truly reverenced - were JAMES BLOMFIELD RUSH at this hour, hung with chains, and doomed to sharpest slavery for the remainder of his days; - rather than killed, in reverence of human existence, and flung into prison earth, to be devoured by unslacked lime.

Nevertheless, from amid the very terror with which a Christian press has surrounded our daily walks, - with which it has charged our moral atmosphere, we trust to gather immunity for the future. How horribly eloquent have the dead walls of London become within the past fortnight! "Blood" - "blood" - "killing" - "killing," has cried to us from all sides, men in their affected virtue pharisaically trading on the blasphemy they denounced. This cannot be borne - will not be borne. Outraged human nature will rise and vehemently protest against a repetition of the cause of these trading horrors - against these money-changers for blood and brutalisation.

Ref: Anon.1849. Punch, or The London Charivari. v16. Saturday 28th April. p171