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Pearl Bryan: chapter two continued

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Pearl Bryan
Secret London
Murder Ballads

Meanwhile, he was juggling several other girlfriends. Letters which later surfaced from this time show Blanche of Ludlow, Kentucky, expressing her "great joy and delight" at receiving Jackson's recent letter. "I was under the impression that you was a person who would soon forget newly-made acquaintances and that I, with the others, had also been forgotten," she writes. "But I suppose I had wrongly judged." Another letter, this one from Mayre in Bennington, Indiana, assures Jackson that "it would take a year of Sundays for me to tell you how much I love you and how much I appreciate your letter this morning". Now that Jackson's in Cincinnati, she teasingly adds, "you are so much nearer to me than you were in Greencastle". (14)
These were not the only love letters Jackson received while he was with Pearl. "In others, the love of women breathes," the CE reported after seeing them. "Women of the smart set, schoolteachers and country belles who were fascinated with the young dental student of comely mien and debonair manners. From their tenor, it is clearly seen that Jackson made many conquests before he met the woman whose murder brought him to the scaffold."
When the potions Jackson recommended failed to do the trick with Pearl, he returned to Greencastle for the New Year holiday, and that's when he first mentioned the possibility of an abortion to Wood. "He said it was very frequently done, done every day and that if he had the instruments, he could do it himself," Wood testified. "Such operations, he said, were every day occurrences, and if we got it done, she would be all right in three or four days."
Wood said Jackson asked him to help persuade Pearl that she should come to Cincinnati for the operation, but claimed he'd refused to do in this. On January 4, 1896, Jackson returned to Cincinnati and, three weeks later, wrote to Wood again saying he'd found Pearl a room in the city. "She read [the letter] and expressed her intention of going on the next Monday," Barclay says. "Accordingly, on January 27th, she left Greencastle on the 1:35 train, going east."

Monday's official post-mortem on the body, conducted by a Dr Charles Phythian, confirmed all of Carothers' findings, most notably that the shock of finding herself under attack had jolted Pearl wide awake from her cocaine daze. "The post-mortem shows beyond a doubt that Pearl Bryan died by the knife, and was conscious when she was killed," Phythian announced. "The cut on her right hand shows that she fought with her murderer. The cut goes clear to the bone, and proves she did not receive it by making the weak attempt that a semi-comatose person would have made."

'The police learned early that Jackson's nerves were of iron, and that he seemed devoid of feeling.'

Monday also brought the promised search of Covington Reservoir, along with a few of the ponds surrounding it. Some reports say police spent $2,000 draining the whole reservoir, others that they merely dredged it, but either way the head was not found. The Kentucky police were faring no better. Cops in Ludlow, about three miles from Newport, arrested a couple of tramps on suspicion of Pearl's murder, but were forced to release them again almost immediately for lack of evidence. Deitsch must have been relieved to read in Crim's Wednesday telegram from Greencastle that they had a real suspect at last, and he decided to take personal charge of Jackson's arrest.
Telling detectives William Bulmer, German Witte and William Jackson to come with him, Deitsch led the way to Scott Jackson's boarding house rooms at 222 West Ninth Street. There was no sign of him there, so they staked the place out, with one detective inside the house itself and two more in the bar opposite.
After a while, Deitsch began to fear that his quarry may have skipped town. It was not until about 10:00pm that he got reports a man answering Jackson's description had been seen at Cincinnati's Palace Hotel, about six blocks away. Deitsch walked in that direction, saw the man for himself, and then alerted his colleagues.
"The fellow was watched, and was seen to walk slowly down Ninth Street," Barclay writes. "On reaching 222, he looked up at the windows. He strolled slowly to Plum Street, then stopped again and looked back at the house. He then walked rapidly north on Plum Street toward Court. When he had traversed part of the square, Detective Bulmer stepped up to him, saying: 'Your name is Jackson, isn't it?' The man turned perfectly livid and trembled like an aspen. As the detective continued to say 'I want you,' he exclaimed 'My God, what is this for?'"
Bulmer led Jackson south down Plum Street. "At Ninth Street, Colonel Deitsch met the prisoner and said 'Well, Dusty, we have got you'," Barclay says. "'Yes,' the prisoner responded. 'It looks like it'."
How Deitsch knew Jackson's nickname, I can't say, but he led the detectives and their prisoner straight to the nearby City Hall, where Cincinnati's police had their HQ. Jackson was booked and held on suspicion of murder there. The arrest had drawn enough attention for some curious waterworks employees and a couple of janitors to follow the party into City Hall's public lobby, where they watched the process with some interest. News of his arrest spread quickly through the city.
Jackson was taken to the mayor's office, where Caldwell and Deitsch could question him in front of the various cops and reporters assembled there. He confirmed his identity and admitted that he'd known Pearl Bryan. He insisted they'd been no more than friends, however, and claimed he hadn't seen her since his New Year trip to Greencastle on January 2. He confirmed also that he knew Will Wood, but denied knowing Wood was a medical student. He said they'd last met on January 6.
When Caldwell read out the official accusations against Jackson, he replied that these were all false and offered his own account of the past few days. According to him, he'd eaten supper on Friday evening at about 7:00pm, then gone to his room at about 7:30 to spend the evening studying. On Saturday, he said, he'd been to the theatre with a friend. He'd read newspaper stories about the murdered girl he said, adding that these had made feel quite sick, but claimed he had no idea Pearl had come to Cincinnati. He denied having been to Newport any time recently.
"The officers learned early that the youth's nerves were of iron, and that he apparently was devoid of feeling," Doran writes. "When he was arrested, he trembled, but while he was being questioned in Mayor Caldwell's office, he became calm. His face was flushed, it is true, but that appeared to be from the effects of heavy drinking. He answered all questions quickly and without hesitation. He had a ready alibi for any circumstances that appeared incriminating, and although his answers at times seemed vague, they came easily."