13th September 1889
A cold Autumn day. Misty, with some rain.
I have become accustomed to my new surroundings, but one cannot help but feel miserable as I recall the sad state of affairs that have led me to this isolated, dreary place. I have made the decision to record my time here within a journal, in the hope that, one day, perchance in the far future, the world will be able to learn from my experience... and which is more, to prove that I am indeed sane.
My name is Dr. Barnaby Tripp - learned man of medicine, top of my class in Oxford, and until recently, assistant to the famed physician, Dr. Nicholas Marlow.
Dr. Marlow's specialism is the treatment of psychosis and various illnesses of the mind. He is well-known in medical circles for the establishment of several asylums - the most famous one being here in London - in which the most desperate and anguished patients are housed, with the goal of one day regaining their full faculties. Marlow's belief is that incarceration of such people is the best way forward, as it will keep them away from the stresses and triggers of the wider world... and, as I have grown to suspect, he likewise feels it will keep the wider world safe from them also. However, several years of working alongside him have led me to take a different view - the disclosing of which proved to be a costly error.
During a recent physicans' conference on the treatment on the insane, I expressed my rather radical theory to the esteemed company. In my opinion, as opposed to incarceration, it would be far more beneficial to patients if they were supported and treated in their everyday surroundings, and encouraged to pursue regular ambitions such as a good career and a loving family life.
Needless to say, my views weren't exactly met with favour.
"He wishes to put society at risk!"
"The man is mad himself!"
Marlow was particularly embarassed, and swiftly came to the conclusion that such a "warped worldly view" was clearly a sign that I, too, was crazed. Thus, before I had a chance to elaborate on my theory further, he had me taken away to his renowned Home for the Sanity-Challenged - where I was to remain until I was "cured".
And so, I find myself here, in the company of seven other troubled individuals whom Marlow and his ilk have deemed unfit for society. I enclose their case notes by way of introductions.
SISTER MARIE-CATHERINE ROSE (née CHARLOTTE RUSWELL)
Noted characteristics: Insanity, depression, a preference for isolation
A shy young woman who took holy orders shortly after she came of age. She was referred for treatment by her Mother Superior when she noticed the young novice entering long periods of melancholy - to the extent where she was questioning her faith. This behaviour, naturally, does not befit a consecrated woman, and so, she is to remain in the Home until she is relieved of her ailment and rediscovers her love for God.
Noted characteristics: Insanity, athleticism, violent and angry tendencies
After serving in the miltiary, Lucian Claymore became a boxer upon re-entering civilian life. Albeit a champion of the sport, his behaviour has proved less than gentlemanly, and he is prone to violent outbursts and destructive mannerisms. Fearing for the safety of both Lucian himself and society at large, his family chose to place him in Dr. Marlow's care until he develops a calmer temprament.
Noted characteristics: Insanity, romantic behaviours and ideals, appreciation of art
Miss Treadmere had hoped to enter a fairytale marriage, but was cruelly jilted at the altar by her callous fiancé. Traumatised by the incident, she entered a state of severe depression and was unable to progress with her life: even refusing to take off her wedding dress. She was committed by her mother after much deliberation, who saw no other way to encourage her daughter to move on.
SAMUEL ("SAMMY THE SPIV") MCMANUS
Noted characteristics: Insanity, kleptomania, clumsiness
Born in Dublin, Sammy came to London in the hope of finding work and earning his fortune. However, hope soon turned to desperation, leading him to take up a "career" in the criminal fraternity. Upon an arrest, McManus claimed he was plagued a "deep compulsion" to steal, and thus, he was committed for treatment in lieu of a prison sentence.
DEIDRE ("THE DUCHESS") DeMILLE
Noted characteristics: Insanity, compulsive spending, delusions of grandeur
Born into a working-class household, Deidre developed the belief in her adult years that she was a relative of the royal family, despite much evidence to the contrary. In relation to this, she spent extravagant amounts of money on high-quality items, clothes and jewels - amassing great debts in the process. After showing no signs of giving up this delusion, she was admitted to the Home... where her entitled, outlandish behaviour continues.
Noted characteristics: Insanity, depression, prominence in the art of writing
Once a successful poet and darling of the social circuit, Laurence soon fell victim to the perils of drink, excess, and illness... sending him spiralling into a deep melancholy that led him to attempt to take his own life. After being arrested for this criminal act, he pleaded for lenience of the grounds of insanity, and, similarly to Mr. McManus, was admitted to the Home in lieu of a prison sentence.
FIFI ROCOCCO (née FIONA RICHMOND)
Noted characteristics: Insanity, nymphomania, talent in the musical arts
The belle of the music halls, headline singer and dancer Miss Rococco has developed a unquenchable thirst for love - most notably, in the physical sense. This compulsion has led her into various dangerous situations in which she has risked attack, scandal, her health, and even her life. Admitted by the manager of the Fleet Street Theatre, fearful for the future and wellbeing of his star performer.
Upon my arrival at the Home, where I met my seven fellow inmates, it soon became apparent that they were now, as I had greatly feared, institutionalised - unable to cope and care for themselves. In a facility that is grossly underfunded and simply not designed to meet the daily needs of eight people, it seems that I have become a sort of caregiver, and must now do my utmost to keep both myself and my new acquaintances alive and in good spirits.
By God, I can only hope that I am up to this herculean task...