Thursday, 20 February 2014

Mother and daughter give evidence

With Mrs. and Miss Charrington taking the stand we learn more about the domestic situation. It doesn't seem to have been the happiest of homes.

All had not been well between the Charringtons for a while. The root cause of the trouble appears to have been Mr. Charrington's liking for a drink.
When She Attempted to Strangle Herself.
Mrs Charrrington again went into the witness-box in the Divorce Court to-day to deny the charges brought against her her husband, who is petitioning for divorce.

. . . . .

In further examination her counsel, Mrs- Charrington told change in her husband's attitude about June, 1924. She was not allowed to give orders. The cook was doing the housekeeping. Her husband called her "d------ liar" at meals much so that she had to take her meals in her room. She was not able to get into touch with him.

The Parting.
One morning when she went up to her husband, the nurse-companion came out of the bathroom and a threw bottle at her daughter Eileen. Her husband was in bed, and she asked what was the cause of the servants going see a solicitor. Reggie (the son) said she was to leave the room, as she was not to see her husband, on the solicitor's instructions.

"I said I would not leave the room until he had answered me," Mrs Charrington continued, "and my husband said 'I don't see why I should not tell my wife — it's divorce.' I never saw him again."

Tried to Strangle Herself.
Asked if had assisted Harrison financially, she said not actually with money, except that she gave him £2 when, at the end a month, he was hard up, and helped him as regards clothes and a tutor. She made him birthday and Christmas presents.

Counsel recalled her wire to her husband after the proceedings had commenced, "Give me another chance. Don't break the home up.—Love, Millie."

She explained that she wished for the sake of the children that the home should not broken up, especially as Eileen was then leaving school.

At a Covent Garden ball she saw him turning cartwheels, and a woman sat him when he fell down. She saw him in one of the boxes with a woman on his knee.

All this had an awful effect upon her.

Counsel - I think your people were Quakers? — Yes.
When you got home what did you do ? — I was upset and I tried to strangle myself with a stocking.

Alleged Violence.
Once when witness was in delicate health he knocked her into the fireplace. He would go into public-houses and leave her outside. On a motor trip to Brighton, a gentleman friend behaved improperly to her. She complained to her husband, but he took the friend to the races with them next day.

In 1908 the doctor told her husband he would not be alive in six months if he continued to drink. Later he went into a home. Once he threatened to commit suicide with a razor."
Evening Telegraph - Thursday 26 November 1925, page 9.

Sounds a bit of a rotter, Mr. Charrington. Leaving her outside pubs, knocking her down, cavorting with other women, letting his mates touch her up. I'm surprised Mrs. Charrington put up with it as long as she did.

I'm not quite sure what relevance the question about being a Quaker had. The suicide attempt is a bit vague, too. How exactly did she try to strangle herself and why did it fail? That six months to livwe prediction wasn't very accurate. Because Mr. Charrington certainly didn't give up the booze.

Now it's time for the medical evidence and daughter Eileen's testimony.

Medical Evidence.

. . . . .

Medical evidence was called to day, Dr Victor Fry that he was consulted in May, 1921, by Mr Charrington, who was then residing at the New Hampton Court Club, East Molesley. He was suffering from neuritis. Witness diagnosed later that the origin of the trouble was excess alcohol. He attended him down to April, 1922, and during the time he was suffering from alcoholism.

The doctor added that several attempts cure Mr Charrington by suggestion unsuccessful. At the present moment Mr Charrington was very much improved in health. He had come to the conclusion that besides drink Mr Charrington was worrying because his wife wanted to get control of his money, which he declined to allow.

Mrs Charrington said he was inclined to waste his money, and therefore she ought to have control of it.

Did she mention any sum ? — Yes, think she said he gave £500 to an attendant who went away with him.

Like Mother and Son.
Mrs Catherine Hyde, Mrs Charrington's aunt, asked how she would describe the relations between Mrs Charrington and Harrison, said, they were like mother and son. When Mr complained about his wife he said she had not been playing the game, that she had been indiscreet and foolish, but not immoral. Subsequently he mentioned that he had altered his will to the detriment of his wife, but said she would not starve. This very much upset Mrs Charrington.

Daughter and the Co-Respondent.
Miss Eileen Charrington, the 19-year-old daughter of the parties, was called, and was asked regarding her father-

Was he a sober or a drunken man ? — I am afraid I have never seen him sober.

Her mother was always unhappy and miserable and crying because she was so upset by her father. Harrison and she played together as children, and their friendship grew in time and developed into affection. Her mother told him not to make love "because I was too young. I always looked upon him as a brother."

Witness described how Harrison and she would have breakfast in her mother's bedroom, and how he hid under the eiderdown, jumping up and upsetting the tray she was carrying.

He also gave a humorous turn to a visit paid to her her mother's Keswick home. He arrived two o'clock in the morning, and she thought when he threw stones at the window that it was a burglar."
Evening Telegraph - Tuesday 01 December 1925, page 9.

See - Charrington was still a pisshead. I love the daughter's claim to have never seen him sober.

Another newspaper report included this gem from Eileen:

"Have you got any good to say about your father?— Yes. He has always been very kind to me and just and very generous. She said she had lunched recently with her father. "He was sober, but not as an ordinary man," she said.

Mrs Florence Doland, formerly a housemaid Jermyn Street, whose evidence was taken on commission, deposed to two occasions when she saw women leaving Mr Charrington's flat late at night.

Mr Charrington then re-entered the witness box and denied ever committing adultery. He also denied ever telling his wife that he had been court-martialled in France for drunkenness. He was discharged from the army with the rank of lieutenant. "
Dundee Courier - Wednesday 02 December 1925, page 3.

Not sober as an ordinary man - what could that mean?

The testimony of Mrs. Doland seems to have been about all the evidence they had of Mr. Charrington's adultery. Pretty thin stuff.

I'm confused about Eileen and Harrison. Earlier it was said that Harrison became acquinted with the family through son Reggie when they were both preparing to join the Navy. Yet here Eileen claims to have known him as a young child.

I still can't get Eileen's relationship with Harrison. She claims to have been in love with him, yet was undisturbed by her mum kissing and hugging him, or even being in her mum's bed. Had the mother warned Harrison off Eileen because she wwanted him herself? It's all as clear as mud.

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