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[THE MONMOUTH DIVORCE CASE. ♦ EVIDENCE OF THE DEFENCE. THE VERDICT. The further hearing of this case was resumed and concluded before £ ir James Hannen and a special jury on Saturday. Mr. Inderwick, Q.C., and Mr. Bayford appeared for Captain Noel. Mr. E. Clarke, Q.C., and Mr. Searle for Mrs. Noel, and Mr. Murphy, Q.C., for the co-respondent. Mrs. Noel, the respondent, examined by Mr. Searle, said: Before my marriage I lived with my family at Stroud. I was fond of country life, and especially of horses. I was married in February 1879, and was twenty years of age. After my marriage I continued to visit the stables, and my husband often accompanied me. I had when at Aldershot to complain of the conduct of Marchant I said he ought to be discharged. My husband promised he should be sent away, but he never was. Shortly after wo went to the Elms my husband used to go out hunting. He went three times a week. I went to the stables to see him off, and then I went out riding myself. We had two carriages, as well as horses. I asked my husband to .get me a pony- carriage, so that I could be independent of Mar- chant. He said he could not afford it. While at The Elms we received company. My husband frequently dined from home while the militia was training. I never went to the stables when my husband dined at home. I could not do so without his knowing it on those occasions. When I went to the stables I went through the conservatory and orchard. Jones was the gardener. He would usually be engaged at work in the grounds. I have had to speak to my husband about his fre- quent dinners at the mess while the militia was in training. He said he should have to pay for his dinners; therefore, he might as well go. I recol- lect on my birthday I asked my husband to dine at home. He did not do so, but dined at the mess as usual, and when he came home he said he had forgotten it. On fine evenings I used to take my knitting into the garden, but I never remained out after half-past nine. On the 13th of June Miss Noel came to The Elms. Some- time previous to that, at my husband's wish, I oc- cupied a different bedroom to him. With my hus- band's sanction, I slept with Miss Noel. I recollect us having a. dance at The Elms. Mr. Dewing was one of the invited guests. On the 18th of June I retired to rest with Miss Noel in her room. I un- dressed in my own room, and then I went to Miss Noel's room. While there I heard a door go. I said I wished to go to my husband to inquire about the hour of breakfast the next morning. When I returned I found Miss Noel up. She asked me to take a dog out of the room that was annoy- ing her. I did so, and then I returned and went to sleep. Mr. Searle: You have heard the evidence. Were you at any time that night in Marchant's room ? Witness: I was not. Examination continued: I know I had occasion to leave my bedroom on the Sunday night. When I did so I was not undressed. I met one of the servants. When I went to my husband's room it was about half-past ten. My husband spoke to me, and then I returned, and met one of the ser- vants, and said Good night" to her. On Mon- day, the 19th, Colonel Davis made a communica- tion to me. I tried to have an interview with my husband, but he refused to see me. I wrote him a letter, but got no answer. Mr. Searle: Is there any truth in the charge that you have ever committed adultery with Marchant ? Witness: None whatever. Mr. Searle: You have always acted as a mistress should towards her servant as far as he was con- CP' rf fl. Wit less: I have. Mr. Searle: Have you ever visited the stables at improper times in order to see Marchant. Witness: Never. Examination continued: I recollect on one occasion going to a ball. The servants saw me dressed. I did not certainly specially wish that Marchant should see me. I am certain Marchant never, as far as I was concerned, looked out of the stablea to see that the coast was clear before I left. I never threw stones or sand at the stable window to attract Marchant's attention. When I met Scot- ford on my return to my bedroom I had my shoes on. Cross-examined by Mr. Inderwick: I heard the evidence given by Jones. It is perfectly untrue that I was at the stables as he described. I did not hear the evidence that some of the female wit- nesses have given. I never went into the stable by getting through a gap in the hedge. It is abso- lutely false to say that I was ever in Marchant's room. Colonel Davis on the 19th of June first told me of the charge that was made against me. I asked Colonel Davis for particulars,but he declined to give them to me. The first time I heard that 1 was charged with adultery with Marchant was from my sister-in-law. Colonel Davis only told me I was charged with improper conduct with the groom. I know Colonel Da.vis discharged the groom on the Monday morning. Miss Noel wished me to see Marchant. I consented. She beckoned him up and I spoke to him. I have not since that written to him. I had to complain of the conduct of Marchant towards the female servants while at the Curragh. By Mr. E. Clarke: I have been living with mv mother at Cheltenham since I left The Elms. The incident relative to my husband's visit to the chemist's was not at my desire, but his. Frederick Marchant., examined by Mr. Murphy, said I was formerly in the service of Mr. Hallwell, and after that intbatof Captain Noel. I knew Mrs. Noel before her marriage. She used to come to her father's stables to look after her favourite horses. Mr. Murphy: Is it a fact that she has ever visited the stables of Colonel Noel of an evening for an improper purpose ? Witness: No, certainly not. She always treated me as a mistress should a. servant. The account of her visits given by Jones, the gardener, was untrue. Mr. Murphy: Was she ever in your bedroom ? Witness: Nq,certainly nob. Examination continued: I was discharged by Colonel Davis. I certainly saw Mrs. Noel after that, but she was with Miss Noel. I did not know for what. 1 was discharged. I asked Colonel Davis what I was discharged for. Colonel Davis said servants need not ask that when they get a month's money. I left Mr. Lister's service through an improper intimacy with one of the servants. By Mr. Murphy: I have not been in court except for a few minutes during the examination of the evidence. This was the evidence on the part of the respon- dent and co-respondent. Mr. E. Clarke in addressing the jury for the respondent, said he felt the jury would be fully impressed with the manner in which Mrs. Noel had given her evidence as it bore truth on the face of it. Contrasted with it they had the evidence of the servants, and he contended it was most un- likely that a lady would for a moment, for any purpose, walk with naked feet about the house especially when there was no necessity for her doing so. Curiosity of servants was proverbial, and when scandal arose it was not likely any means would be neglected by such persons to gratify their craving appetites. The plan of the house showed that the evidence of nurse feele was not to be relied on. Was it likely that a lady should walk about the house with a light in her hand and pass through doors, leaving them open in order that persons might be eye-witnesses of her adultery with Marchant? Dealing with the evidence of Mrs. Williams and Caroline Curry. he insisted that it was inconceivable, even it were true, that Mrs. Noel had ever visited the stables as described, that a woman would risk all by going to the groom's bedroom in the manner described, on the Sunday night, knowing she was being watched on all sides. He felt the jury would agree with him that it was not at all within the range of pro- bability that any woman would act in the reckless manner spoken to by these watching witnesses. Mrs. Noel's evidence bore the stamp of truth, and he felt the jury would give it all the grave consi- deration it was entitled to before they came to a conclusion that would be her utter ruin. Mr. Murphy, for the co-respondent, said Mar- chant had taken the only course, under the painful circumstances, that was open to him. He had given a direct denial to the charges that had been made against him, and had presented himself for cross-examination. He denied that he had ever conducted himself improperly towards his mis- tress, and as to the incidents related by the wit- nesses, who had spoken from notes which tbe&had made, he said distinctly nothing of the kincPhad ever taken place. Mr. Inderwick, in replying on the whole case, said undoubtedly it was a matter in which the issue was of the highest importance to Mrs. Noel, and he felt the jury would give that lady's evi- dence their best consideration. But against that he had to ask them why should seven or eight persons come forward and commit wilful purjury in order to ruin a lady who, they had all admitted, was a good and kind mistress towards them ? Stress had been laid on the conduct of Captain Noel, but he asked the jury whether any country; gentleman would ever, for an instant, imagine his wife was committing adultery with her groom, even though he did not dine at home every night. Mr. Murphy had contended that Marchant was the witness of truth, but he (Mr. Inderwick) thought the man Jones, the gardener, was quite as much entitled to credit. What did that man do ? Having seen the lady visit the stables repeatedly, he went to Mr. Watson, the clergyman of the parish, made a state- ment to him, and thus acted as a truthful and honest man. Jones came forward and repeated the statement to the open court, and he insisted that that was not the conduct of a corrupt and per- jured witness. Then with regard to the fact that on the night it was alleged that Mrs. Noel went to Marchant's room she cairied a light in her hand. The jury would recollect the water closet was on the same floor as Mar- chant's room, and thus, in the event of Mrs. Noel being discovered either going or coming she had an ample excuse for being out of her room in- stantly ready at hand. On the visit of Mrs. Noel to Marchant's room being discovered the servants at once went downstairs to tell Captain Noel, but he not being in the house Mr. Dewing was acquainted with that which had occurred. That gentleman at the earliest moment communicated with Captain Noel, who placed himself in the hands of Colonel, Davis. The witness Peele spoke to seeing the re-1 gpondent and co-respondent in bed together, and his learned friend had laid great stress on what he said was the incredibility of any person committing adultery under the circumstances related, but the jury must judge of that by the surrounding cir* cuaetancea, and it would be for them to say whether they believed the allegations in the I petition had been proved. I Sir J. Hannen. in summing up the evidence, said if the jury believed the evidence offered on behalf of the petitioner then they could have no doubt as to the guilt of the respondent; but if they rejected that and accepted the statements of the respondent and co-respondent there was an end of the case. The jury would have to take the whole of the evidence into their consideration. They would remember the lady had denied all visits to the stables at improper hours, and also the throwing sand or stones at the windows to attract the attention of Marchant. There was no pretence for the charge of cruelty raised by the respondent against the petitioner therefore he should make no observations on that point. The jury, after a few minutes' deliberation, found that the respondent had committed adultery with the co-respondent, and also that the petitioner had not been guilty of adultery. His Lordship pronounced a decree nisi for the dissolution of the marriage, with costs against the co-respondent, and gave the husband the custody of the children.


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