Friday, February 27, 2009

Ruth the Betrayer

Ruth the Betrayer; or, The Female Spy By Edward Ellis, Illustrated by W. H. Thwaites. No. 1, February 8, 1862. London : Published for the Proprietors, At The Office, 25, Wellington Street, Strand. (John Dicks).

Ruth The Betrayer is one of the greatest of all penny dreadfuls, and a long one at 416 pages, or 52 penny numbers. The author, Edward Ellis, was Charles Henry Ross, probably in collaboration with his partner Ernest Warren.

The text mentions Edward Ellis’ most famous work, Charley Wag: “Those who kindly followed the fortunes of Master Charley Wag, a hero of mine who made a very successful debut some time ago in society, and of pretty Mrs. Ruth, the female spy and betrayer, will allow, I think, that I have somewhat freely exposed religious hypocrites. In Charley’s life you had a show-up of the “shepherds.”

Quite some time ago I typed up the first chapter, which can be read HERE.

What follows is a bizarre scene set in the sewers under London >

And what would a penny dreadful be without horrible murders and female violence?

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