During the summer of 1910, Captain Kendall was in command of Canadian Pacific's Montrose, outbound from Antwerp, Belgium to Quebec. At the time, rumors placed Doctor Hawley Harvey Crippin in Belgium. Crippin, along with his lover, Ethel le Neve, were wanted by London police for the murder of Crippin's wife Cora. Cora Crippin's dismembered body had been found under the cellar floor of their London home. Cora was an ambitious socialite who, after Crippin failed to live up to her expectations, set upon a life filled with the pursuit of men, alcohol and wealth, obtained at the expense of her husband's dignity. One day, he snapped. It seemed that after a botched attempt at dissolving her body in acid, Crippin had tried to conceal it and when it seemed the authorities were closing in on him, he fled.  Crippin and his lover had fled and been on the run ever since.

With Scotland Yard on their trail, Crippin and his lover, both in disguise, boarded Montrose, hoping to vanish in the multi-faceted society on the other side of the Atlantic. But Crippin, traveling as "Mr. Robinson", had aroused Kendall's suspicions. Robinson was traveling with his son, whose voice, mannerisms and build suggested a woman disguised as a man. Robinson had recently shaved a mustache, made apparent by a pale area under his nose, and deep imprints on his nose told of glasses he no longer wore. The two were uneasy and restless and Kendall spotted a what looked like a revolver in Robinson's (Crippin's) pocket. Kendall deliberated for some time over the possible identity of the mysterious man. Altering a newspaper photo of Crippin, he was finally sure that he had a the "London Cellar Murdere" on his ship. He wired the Liverpool office of Canadian Pacific and informed them that he had strong suspicions as to the true identity of these two passengers. New Scotland Yard was notified immediately and an inspector departed on White Star's Laurentic. Much faster than Montrose, White Star's ship met the Canadian steamer at Pointe au Pere where authorities boarded the vessel. Ironically, Kendall, once he was sure of Crippin's identity, seems to have made close contact with the fugitive, having him seated at the Captain's table for dinner and even inviting him to borrow books from the captain's own personal library. All of this was obviously a shrewd maneuver to earn Crippin's trust and therefor make it easier to coordinate his arrest once docked.

When confronted by the inspector from New Scotland Yard and local authorities, Crippin surrendered without much ado. He was, by some reports, angry at Kendall for his deception. Ironic, don't you think? In any case, as was reported in the papers of the day, when Crippin was about to be taken off the ship, he dropped to the deck and cursed Kendall in a seething tone that conveyed his genuine hatred of the man who had foiled his plans for a new life. "You will suffer for this treachery, sir" is what he is alleged to have said. Crippin was taken to Quebec and quickly extradited back to England where he was tried and convicted for the murder of his wife. He was hanged on November 23rd, 1910. His lover, Ethel Le Neve, was acquitted and fled the country.

As for the Crippin Curse? Well, it was only 4 years later and not far from where the curse was uttered that Empress of Ireland foundered, so who knows....

NEXT: The Last Voyage
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Harvey Crippin
Dr Crippin

Cora Crippin
Cora Crippin

Ethel le Neve
Ethel le Neve

Crippin under arrest

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