Jack the Ripper – A Love Story ( Excerpt 135 )
I really don’t know what I expected the Commandant to be like, but to say I was shocked would be an understatement. He was a small colourless man, he looked ill, His skin was like parchment and his eyes were discoloured and watery.
I had come here prepared to loathe him, but now that I had seen him, I rather pitied him, he was obviously not a well man. I was surprised that Arthur had not prepared me for this, I wanted to hate him but instead found myself pitying him.
I felt like I was looking at a dying man, He was obviously addicted to opiates of some kind, either morphine or opium at a guess. Perhaps Arthur just wanted another unbiased opinion, I suppose it made sense.
Then the Commandant spoke in a harsh raspy voice, ‘So, are you another do-gooder, come to plague me reports on how I run my camp?’ ‘I was sent here to assist in the welfare of the inmates, I have not been here long enough to form an opinion, but what little I have seen leads me to believe that unless certain steps are implemented you could sooner or later have a full blown typhoid epidemic on your hands!’
‘So, a few more Boers die, they are prisoners, it is to be expected,’ he replied nonchalantly. ‘But they are prisoners in your care, don’t you feel any remorse, they are Women and children, not fighting men,’ I replied angrily.
‘You Doctors are all the same, you come here trying to tell me how to run my camp, well I am the Commandant here, I have the power of life and death not you!’ was his answer. I was beginning to understand now why Arthur had not prepared me for this meeting, He wanted me to understand just what a tyrant we were dealing with, he has to go!
(C) Damian Grange 2019