‘We’re All Stories, in the End’Steven Moffatt
I am a nursemaid and on a typical Autumnal afternoon in 1879 I made my way on foot while cradling my young charge to a popular crossing separated only by a dual rail track.
Having opened the gate to walk across the path, I paused as a luggage train went past but less than two minutes later, the baby and I were hit by a passenger train in an accident of far reaching consequences.
I am a soldier with the 10th Hussars and on a chilly January morning in 1889 – I was found hanging from a pole in the stable block of the York Cavalry Barracks.
On the day following my death the city coroner opened the inquest at our military hospital and as a succession of witnesses stepped forward to offer testimony – my tragic story would unfold.
I am pregnant and have been suffering from severe sickness and have been living in a quiet area of York with my husband and our young son until things took a turn for the worse one chilly February evening.
As my post mortem examination revealed that I had died as a result of a brain haemorrhage caused by some kind of mysterious ingested poison – an inquest into my death was soon opened.
Shortly after midday on a balmy August day – my body and that of my youngest child were recovered from the River Ouse in York.
And a story would begin to unfold so tragic that it would touch the hearts of many including that of the coroner who implored the media to use their influence to promote a better understanding on the subject of suicide.
One early July morning, I along with my brother-in-law Alfred and his young son went for a spot of fishing on the outskirts of York.
Shortly before midday, a huge storm erupted and we ran for cover under a large bush far from the riverside. However, no sooner had we escaped from the torrential down pour – there was a huge flash of lightening and a crash of thunder!
The ONLY clear picture history affords me is that of my death by poisoning one morning in May – despite the best efforts of our Lady Brigante!
For a scroll though our parish records and census returns will only add to the mystery of WHO I am , WHERE I have come from and HOW I have managed to live independently well into my sixth decade!
What can POSSIBLY be told about a life of ONLY 5 weeks?
My death from parental neglect on Christmas Day in the year 1884 would shine a harsh and uncompromising light into the darkest crevices of York’s society as the pitiful story of my life unfolded…