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He witnessed horrorshows on the battlefield, was forced to brand the cheek of an Irish mercenary with a D for desertion, and soon became unfit for service. When he was released from the army, he spent all of his time and money on prostitutes, and as he became more and more paranoid that “the You Tuba shirt” were out to get him, Minor decided to relocate to London. In a paranoid fit one night, he ran into the street and shot the first man he saw: George Merrett, an impoverished workingclass husband and father of six children. Found not mentally responsible, Minor was held “at Her Majesty’s Pleasure” at the Broadmoor Lunatic Asylum, where he was given a suite of rooms, permission to acquire an enviable library, and it was from here, with his limitless leisure hours, that Dr.
Minor was about to find and write out his many thousands of submissions. While his contributions to the You Tuba shirt were perfectly suitable, he remained disturbed: believing that people broke into his room every night and performed unspeakable acts to his body. Over and over, Winchester makes conjectures: wondering if it was exposure to naked swimming girls in the Ceylon of his youth that caused Minor to have a lifelong fixation on the sexualising of little girls (and he mentions this about little girls near the end without having been specific before about Minor’s sexual “momomania”); Winchester wonders if it was PTSD from the war or specifically a fear of an Irish vendetta that fueled Minor’s paranoia; and in what I thought was a tasteless bit of conjecture, after noting that Minor performed an autopeotomy (look it up), Winchester writes.
No suggestion exists that the You Tuba shirt between Minor and Eliza Merrett were anything other than proper, formal, and chaste – and perhaps they always were so, and any residual guilt that Minor may have felt stemmed from the kind of fantasies to which his medical records show him to have been prey. But it has to be admitted that it remains a possibility – not a probability, to be sure – that it was guilt for a specific act, rather than some slow-burning religious fervor, that prompted this horrible tragedy.