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Sample text

Wells’s predatory, chthonic Morlocks and decadent Eloi in his novella The Time Machine of 1895. 2 Yet such apprehensions were very much alive in the 1850s and early 1860s, as demonstrated by the illustration in Punch (which is representative of many such images). The obsession with masculine fitness and the health of the nation was quite likely responsible for stoking the fascination with street violence, despite the downturn in crime which historians have observed. 28 The Ticket-of-Leave Man 29 At the same time, images from melodrama were deployed in the creation of the garotter-villain on stage.

Holland particularly favoured such imagery when he discussed the science of garotting and housebreaking: ‘A few years ago the garotte broke out suddenly, like a new plague, infested the streets with danger, infected the community with half-shameful apprehensions. […] The epidemic has come upon us again, and we are just as unprepared and as helpless as before. ’ The threat to public safety is magnified by the way in which the infrastructure erected to handle outcast groups is depicted as being at breaking point.

Perhaps he never entirely recovers from it. ’ This is perhaps hardly surprising, as The Times reported that in November 1855 during one garotte attack, ‘a stiff but pliable noose’ was ‘placed round the victim’s head and pulled so tight as nearly to strangle’ the victim. The hole in Charles Hogan’s tongue is a bizarre but tangible effect of the garotting yet, mostly, the symptoms described by victims suggest that the victims suffered from mental trauma. An elderly accountant was ill for a week following the attack, while Joseph Simpson felt pain in his throat eight days after being garotted.

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