Man in Woman’s Clothing
At Highgate Police Court this morning, fashionably dressed in a long blue navy coat, with college cap and veil, and white kid gloves, Frederick Wright, aged twenty-two, a valet, was brought up on remand charged with being an idle and disorderly person, clad in female attire, with giving a false description when registered as a lodger, and with being a deserter. Defendant lodged in the house of a Belgian lady, and gave the name of Katherine Woodhouse. The Bench ordered him to be handed over to a military escort.
While thinking about this story I had in my mind the story of Achilles, whose mother Thetis, knowing the prophesy that her son would be killed in the course of the Trojan War, hides him from Odysseus when he comes looking to take Achilles along with him. Thetis hides her son by dressing him in women's clothes, a stratagem which Odysseus overcomes by setting up a false alarm, which Achilles reacts to by grabbing the nearest weapon.
Looking for parallels of this in the story of Frederick Wright, we see the dressing in 'female attire' to escape being taken off to fight, but then it becomes more difficult. Wright reacted to danger by employing a different sort of weapon - he reinforced his presentation by dressing so fashionably that observers noted the details. This is not a disguise, is the message he presents, it is the reality, and no-one is going to be able to deny it.