Clockwork 1888 Date: Tuesday, March 1, through Wednesday, March 2, 1892
After a visit to “Uncle” Bloom’s for dinner, the PCs were sent to investigate the links between Thomas Hill, Drew McIntyre and ties to the Knightsbridge Orphan Asylum. They began their visit at the Pentonville prison in Islington.
Mary Whitaker, who was imprisoned after the London Fires, 9/21/1888, was once a ward of the Orphan Asylum and was in jail for arson and serving a 7 year prison term, which started September of 1888. She still expects that her self-proclaimed lover, Trystan, will come to rescue her. Speaking with the prison guards, they were granted ten minutes of observed visitation.
Of course, Mary recognized them as the ones who put her in prison and wanted to know what they wanted. Archibald convinced her that if she cooperated, they would do what they could to get her an early release from prison. Mary knew that although he was not with them, they were in league with an aristocrat who might be able to pull some political strings. So, she told them whatever they wanted to know. After all, she needs to get back home so that she can re-ignite a beacon for her soul mate so that he can find her.
Mary entered the orphanage in 1871 as a baby and left in 1887. When she was 6, Trystan saved her from a ghost that was menacing the orphanage. In 1879, he returned to London to investigate some fires so in 1888, she decided to start some fires, thinking that her love Trystan would return again. Instead, she was arrested for committing multiple arsons (including Blooms home).
They could tell that Mary was not entirely sane. Although she knows that the fires were wrong, she is certain that it was the right thing to do to attract Trystan. She continued to try to “reason” with them, explaining that once Trystan comes for her everything will be ok. However, she has also decided that if Trystan doesn’t return by the time she gets out of prison, she will settle for marrying Thomas Jacobs, who is a nice boy.
When asked about Thomas Jacobs, she told them that he visited her shortly after she was sentenced for several arsons, back in 1888. He claimed that this was all his fault and promised her that he was going to turn his life around and wait for her. She values his devotion to her, and she wonders if he is willing to be second place in her heart. She can’t wait for Trystan forever and needs to start thinking about family. Thomas said he was going to work for someone named Hyde.
Mary doesn’t remember Thomas McAllister (Hill). Mary and Drew McIntyre got along ok. She remembers him as an optimistic attractive young man with strong values. Not as beautiful as Trystan, but cute. She hasn’t seen him since she left the asylum and hooked up with Thomas Jacobs. A reporter from New York named Kevin Thorn asked her about Drew in about 1888.
Kevin Thorn returned two weeks ago to ask her about Mori Chun. She remembers Mori as grateful to the asylum for caring for him after his mother’s death in 1879. But, she never really “knew” him. He was Chinese, and so she didn’t talk to him much.
With their questions answered, they headed to visit Edwin Hyde at the gambling establishment. As usual, Hyde was pleased to see them and looked forward to playing 38 Special with some real card players, even if he did lose the last time. But, Archibald, Dracona and Evgenia managed to win enough to get useful information from him.
Michael McAllister worked for Hyde back when he was a humble spice merchant. McAllister was his agent in Istanbul. He died in a horrible accident in 1883, shortly after the baby’s birth. McAllister’s wife went to live with her mother, but they couldn’t afford to care for their newborn son, Thomas. Hyde promised the mother that the boy would be well cared for and made arrangements for the orphan asylum to take the infant.
Thomas Jacobs came to work for Hyde after Mary Whittaker went to Pentonville Prison for arson in 1888. Sometimes Thomas goes back to the opium den. He is a hard worker, but is not at all reliable. So Hyde only uses him for manual labor.
Jacobs is so bad at poker, that it makes Hyde physically sick. He has told Jacobs that he will kill him if he ever gambles again (and Jacobs correctly believed him). Currently, Thomas works at one of Hyde’s warehouses.
A reporter from New York, Kevin Thorn, asked Hyde about Drew McIntyre back in 1888. But, he was not a good poker player, so Hyde told him little to nothing.
Kevin Thorn is currently looking for Mori Chun. He says that he has information regarding his mother’s murder. He came to see Hyde a few weeks ago.
Mori Chun was five when his father went to prison for the murder of his mother back in 1879. Today, Chun is a police constable. One of the few who doesn’t work for Hyde, but then again, Chun is still young.
Mori has strong patriotic feelings and values British culture. He appreciates the orphan asylum for caring for him after his mother’s murder. He adores the country for supporting him when his parents could not. And with Hyde’s information, they sought Thomas Jacobs.
Thomas Jacobs was not at the opium den where they found him in 1888. So they got Hyde to call ahead and went to the warehouse. Thomas was currently clean and working at the warehouse, although that could change at the drop of a hat. He confessed the following:
He doesn’t remember Thomas (McAllister) Hill at all. He does recall Drew McIntyre as a good looking fellow that the girls fawned over. He didn’t remember anything noteworthy about Drew though.
He hasn’t been back to see Mary since 1888. He is sad about that as she was the only woman who ever loved him and he is trying to save enough money to marry her when she is released from prison. He remembers Stanley Miller, but he doesn’t know about his disappearance or where Katherine Miller was. He remembers Katherine Miller as a very nice lady and an excellent cook.
He also mentioned that Hyde says that Jacobs is such a terrible poker player that he won’t let him play in his establishment any more. While Thomas hasn’t given up opium completely, he has given up gambling.
With their recent visit to Katherine Miller after the Bolton incident, they recalled the following. Her husband, Stanley, was a vicar for the Church of England. Miller ministered to the spiritual needs of children in Knightsbridge’s orphan asylum from 1875 until around 1883. He also helped run the orphanage.
Katherine was a cook at the orphanage at the same time. Sometime around 1884, Stanley Miller disappeared. After his disappearance, Katherine stayed at the asylum for a while, trying to help the children in his absence. But, by late 1885 she gave up hope and moved home to Kilburn. Her father died in 1886. Her mother passed away in 1888.
Stanley used to travel a lot to promote a social club he was in. He used to bring home wonderful souvenirs for her and for the children. She shared some of Stanley’s things with the orphans, but kept most of them for herself. The PCs came to visit her in 1888 and took all of Stanley’s things.
In exchange, they paid for her to take a trip to America to visit her son Steven, his wife Beth and her grandson Robin. It was a wonderful trip and breathed life into her old body. They had even seen a picture of her grandson that was sent to her a couple months ago. He is four now.
Her son, Steven, works for The Free Library of Philadelphia and everyone there seems to respect him very much. Katherine doesn’t specifically remember any children from the orphanage by name. She does remember that she cooked them treats and sometimes misses them.
Well into the night, they decided to check the police station for Mori Chun. Constable Mori Chun didn’t report for duty that morning. He had requested some time off from the Sergeant to pursue a personal investigation. The other officers know the following.
Constable Mori is a good cop. Very idealistic, there are some things that they just don’t talk about around him. Things like premarital sex, side jobs (bribes), and the sanctity of marriage. There are no shades of gray in Mori’s world.
Mori is devoted to Britain. He thought about going into the army, but decided that he could do the people of Britain a better service by working here rather than abroad. When Mori was six years old, his father murdered his mother and he was taken in by the orphan asylum. The other officers think it is a tribute to the asylum that he has such a good character and strong values.
Earlier this week a reporter named Kevin Thorn came looking for Mori. It was a family matter and the other officers don’t know what it was about. Thorn said that Mori could contact him at Kensington Gardens apartments (#9). In addition, they also found an officer that knew that Thorn also visited the Pentonville Prison to talk to Mori Qian, Chun’s father.
Kevin Thorn visited two people at the Pentonville Prison in Islington. He visited Mary Whittaker in 1888 and again this year, and also Mori Qian just this year. The two don’t know about each other.
Thorn told Qian that if his son asked, to tell him that Thorn and his employer were under his (Qian’s) employ at one point in time and to trust them. Thorn said that doing this would help ensure that his son served a higher purpose in life than Qian could ever give him and that Chun should at least listen to their offer.
Thorn’s employer is Nero Rose, a wealthy hunter who only recently returned from India. Qian was told that Thorn is staying at Kensington Gardens apartments (#9) in London so that he could tell his son, Chun.
Qian and his wife owned a small restaurant in Chelsea. When Chun was born in 1874, it created a financial hardship that the couple never overcame. Disgraced at his inability to care for his family, Chun left his wife. When the police told him she had been murdered, he knew that she had taken her own life because of his failings. It was his fault. He didn’t want her to be known to have died shamefully by taking her own life, so he told the police that he did it.
Qian knows that even if he could reunite with his son after his release from prison, he will never redeem himself for his failure as a father. Thorn made Qian feel that Thorn and Nero would be better for his son than he, himself would be if he ever got out of jail. Now that Qian thinks about it, while he truly believed Thorn when they were talking he now doesn’t think it was a good decision to trust the man.
They wanted to search Mori Chun’s apartment. It is a small unit in a complex where all of the residents are Chinese. There is no evidence of foul play at the apartment. Two police uniforms are in the closet. Several dressers and such have spaces in them which might indicate that some clothes have been packed. A dust outline of a suitcase sized object can be found on the hardwood floor in the back of the closet.
There are a three legal letters, two are five years and one is three years old. They indicate that Mori Chun’s father, Mori Qian, is incarcerated at Pentonville prison in Islington. There are no details about the charges. The first letter (1887) is a notification of severe illness of Mori Qian, the second about a month later is about his recovery, and the third (1888) is a court notification that ten years of the twenty year sentence have been served and that he is now eligible for early release and further says that if early release is ever approved, advance notice will be sent to Mori Chun.
A scrap of waded up paper in the kitchen trash can says “Kensington Gardens Apartments #9. Comparing that to other papers in the apartment shows that it is in the same handwriting.
In the morning they talked to the asylum caretaker. Thomas McAllister (Hill) was born in 1883 and adopted by Steven and Margaret Hill of Boston, Massachusetts in 1884. Thomas came to the asylum by way of one of the local supporters, Edwin Hyde. The documentation doesn’t specify how Hyde came to have the child.
Drew McIntyre left the asylum when he turned 15, 4 years ago. When Drew was ten (1882), he sometimes helped care for the infants. This would have included Thomas McAllister (Hill).
Mori Chun was left in the care of the orphan asylum when his mother died in 1879. He turned 15 in 1888 and left the asylum. Mary Whittaker and Thomas Jacobs left the asylum when they turned 15.
A reporter from New York named Kevin Thorn was also asking about Drew McIntyre in about February of 1888, I remember the date because it was just after I started working here. Drew was murdered in March of 1888. The same reporter visited the asylum again last month, asking about Mori Chun.
With all the information they could gather, they decided to visit the Kensington Gardens, apartment #9, in London.