Virtue v. heroism: Kate Dickinson's case against Colonel Valentine Baker

Catherine Layton

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter


In July 1875, Judge Brett summed up the case against Colonel Valentine Baker, an esteemed and well-connected cavalry officer, in this way: “Prisoner at the bar, when this story was first published a thrill of horror went throughout the country when it was told that a young and innocent girl, traveling by the ordinary conveyance of this country, had been obliged to risk her life in order to save herself from a gross outrage. Every part of society, every householder in this kingdom felt as if they had themselves received a personal injury, and then they heard that her assailant was a gentleman, a soldier, and an officer—an officer in high command—a thrill of horror, if not disgust, went through them.” Rebecca Kate Dickinson (reported as Kate Dickenson) gave evidence and was cross-examined in court. Detailing the sequence of events using reports of the conversations she repeated in court, this study reveals the impact of an indecent assault on the lives of victim and perpetrator, and on the design of railway carriages.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Victorian Scandals in Literature and Culture
EditorsBrenda Ayres, Sarah E. Maier
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781000782578, 9781003286011
ISBN (Print)9781032259963
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 01 Dec 2022


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