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LOCAL BREACH OF PROMISE CASE. ACTION AGAINST A NEATH SOLICITOR. STRONG COMMENTS BY THE UNDER-SHERIFF. DISGRACEFUL, SHAMEFUL, AN tJ CRUEL DEED." PLAINTIFF GETS £300 AND COSTiS. Yesterday, at the Sheriff's Court, Red Lion. 3quare, London, before Mr Under-Sheriff Bur. chell and a jury, the case of Mitchell v. Price, an action for breach of promise of marriage which '!iad beel remitted from he High Court for the assessment of damned, came on for hearing. The plaintiff, Miss Grace Rani Mitchell, is a young lady 19 years of age, living with her aunt, Mr3 Jane Illingwortb, who as her next friend, at ftitterbods, Canterbury grove. West Norwood nd the defendant, Mr Jamess Benjamin Garsed Price, is described as a solicitor, residing at Neath, in the county of THamorganshire. Mr Marshall Hall and Mr Moore (instructed by Mr J. F. Rowe) appeared the plaintiff. CASE FOR THE PLAINTIFF. Counsel in explaining the case said that the parties were oniy in each other's society a matter of four days on board the P. and 0. steamer Carthage, and he believed thac this was the ground on which the defendant suggested that oialy small compensation should be paid to the plaintiff. Miss Mitchell was the daughter of Mr James Mitchell, formerly of West Norwoodi Her mother's sister was the wife of the R ijah Rampal Siiig of Olide, India. Both her parents were dead, she being their oniy child. The Rajah was her god father and had acted in some manner, and especially while she was In India u her guardian since ehe was /erv young. In the months of June, 1892, the plaintiff went by the P. and 0. steames Carthage on a visit to India, and she joined the 1gel at the Loudon docks. She first met the defendant on board this vessel. They were both lirst-class passengers. Miss Mitchell sat at the purser's table to meals, and the defendant jat at the doctor's table. Shortly after the sommencement of the voyage the defendant spoke to the plaintiff on the deck. The plaintiff,although sr&vellmg alone, had been placed m the stewardess's care. The parties became very wet! Acquainted with each other and conversed fre- quently and freely. Oa one occasion the plaintiff told him that when she was in Germany Mr Mahler^ her stepfather, after her mother's death iad wished to marry her, and she was much ipset by this suggestion. A day or two before she vessel got to Malta the defendant PROPOSED MARBIAGB TO HER, And she told him that she must have her guardian's consent first, and afterwards iold him who ber guardian was. Previous to the proposal she had told the defendant she was {oing out to see her aunt in IndIa. The defen, dant left the vessel at Suez and promised to write at once. A great deal of correspondence passed between them during the time Miss Mit- ?hell was in India, but when she returned to England on the 11th of January, 1393, the letters Troin the deFendant ceased, although the plaintiff wrote to him several times. She then wrote to Howell J. J. Price, an uncle of the defend- ant's, and afterwards received the following tele. gram U Poor nephew died very suddenly at Bristol, 15th Dee., of blood poisoning.—Price." Oaring the voyage, Mr Marshall Hall continued, the parties, With the doctor and the captain of the Teasel, had a trip on Malta, where the de- fendant appeared anxious to purchase half the jewel shops in the place. It was at Suez that the premise to marry was conditionally accepted. Mr Price returned hotne over land, and stopped it Shepherd's Hotel, one of THI: GAYEST HOTELS IN THE COUNTRY. He wrote from that place stating that he had nee with An accident, and continuing— In the first place, my darling Grace. I would not tiave m1l.de you the offer had I Bot been in I/o position to treat you as you deserve. He went on to say that from landed estates he had an income of £1,000, besides what he earned in his profession. The letter was couched in terms of endearment, and concluded— All I want is vou, an 1 nothing more, and I promise voti the happiest home that ever" rl had. Many meh mart" without the means, but I have the cage, bUt no bird inside. (L>l.ugl1ter.) I hav a song of yours, "II¡ Wall a drm," set to my music. So far as he (counsel) knew, the cage Wail still empty, although the bird was in court. In another letter the defendant gave a humorous description of the passengers he met with on his voyage home. He said that the cnptain was a muff" and very striet, as he would not allow any afternoon fights." (Laughter.) In another epistle he launched into poetry, and said he was hi-ad over ears in electioneering work on behalf of the Cjnservative party, and also referied to-his dogs, which he had said that he would not know how to do without. "Fancy me," the letter continues, in a snug little room, hftlf-a-dofcen dogs about me-some on the carpet and some on the couch." (Laughter.) In another letter the defendant had addressed the plaintiff liT DABUXe LITTLE GRACE," and said that she did not know how much he had suffered from not seeing her. In a further he said, I'm in domestic trouble again. I've had to discharge my housekeeper, who in my absence I find had been driving about 10 my carriages. I always thought that she was a tile off, but never thought stie would act the goat. (Loud iaughter.) Well, I said, Here's enough of housekeeping. I'm off to Bombay, for you know who." (Laughter.) There then followed a letter from India, in which plaintif faccepted the plaintiff, and he wrote, My own Gracn, you don't know how happy you have made me. I dare nob open the letter for a long Lime. If I had not received the joyful news you nught have had a black-edged card." (Roars of laughter.) Mr Price then proceeded to deal with his pri- vate affairs, stating that he had a spanking tandem team, and finished with the following rerse Though now in another country, And many miles apart, I car.not see mv darling, But 110 other has my heart. {LÐ1Id laughter.) Counsel proceeded to read a large number of other letters, all couched in affec- tionate terms. In one of these he said "All I can promise you, dearest Uracie, is a comfortable home and a loving husband." In his last letter but one he said, "I am going to a spinster's dance to-night." (Laughter.) Possibly (Mr Marshall Hall suggested) that this was the cause of the breaking off of the engagement. (Laughter.) There he 'I might have met another lady, but At ary rate he only wrote one letter afterwards. The last letter was a very shor spistle, but its terms were affectionate He stated that he had sent her a scent bottle and monogram card case. Then followed the telegram announcing the death of the defendant, A more SCAWBOLOUS, DISGRACEFUL PIHOB OF CHICANERY h (Louusel) had never heard of. The man had not the coaragto do the breaking off in a manly fashion. There was not the courage of a wood-louse displayed, and Miss Mi telle 11 wrote a very touching letter to the uncle, in which she thanked him for sending the sad news and concluding My poor Jinr, my heart is broken. I I cannot write more." Sometime after that the young hdy happened to be at Somerset Hcuse on business, and thought that -he would like to see the death certificate of her lover, but when it was produced it was found to be the certificate of death of relative. Then the whole deception was brought to the light of day, and Miss Mitchell seeing that she had been duped, placed the matter in the hands of her solicitor. That gentleman wrote pointing out that his client jid been the victim of cruel and heartless deceotion," and the present action was commenced. In conclusion Mr Marshall Hall said that he did not ask for vindictive damages, but such damages as would compensate plaintiff for the cruel manner in which she had been treated. PLAINTIFF IN THE WITNESS-BOX. Miss Mitchell, the plaintiff, a prepossessing young lady. stylishly dressed, wearing a large feather boa, was thn called and substantially corroborated Mr Hall's opening statement. She added that her mother married a second time, and her stepfather, who was now alive, was an officer In the German Army. She first met Mr Pnee on the hurricane deck of the ship and he paid her considerable attention. Mr Hall You lefused to marry the young man at first. Was he much upset ? Plaintiff Yes. Did he ery?—Oh, I (hesitation). (Laughter.) Examination continued She came back to England in January. 1893, and found some letters frou) her jiøncte. She wrote to the defendant as she received no fro-r him. The letter ran as follows ity otVn darling Jim,—Whatever has happened to yon ? No letter for nine days I hope you are not siek It you are ill. I should think of your frienc1 would write. I am feeling awfully depressed myself. If you are ill do get some one to v»n^. Your ever affectionate and anxious ORACH XXX. She then wiete to the defendant's uncle as she received no letters.and then received the tel "gram of the death. She wrote :— I am awfully cut up at my poor lore's death. Please write me ail particulars of my poor, darling Jina, and return my letter!5 to him. She never received back the letters. When she was at Somerset House she found that the death was registered as Walter Alfred Ape Price Price." Soon after that solicitor on behalf of the defendant called on her. He Said that 8B* HAD BBTTffR AOOKPT £20. 3he said that she bound to go on with the action. Mid the gentleman then said tha.t the judge and jury would laugh at her, and that her position »»■ r»*«kUd. A. neWsnaber rW* pointed to. aad the solicitor Said that fe&i Wonld get nothing. and would have to whistle. Cross<exantmed by Mr Evans (wbd Appeared for the defendant) The gentleman who called upon her east insinuations. He said that he sup- posed that she wanted little poekfet-money. The acquaintance spread over sotne five days. They were acquainted before they reaohed Gibraltar. The Under-Sheriff: Did you come back solely for the purpose of the marriage ? Had it not been proposed, would you hate returned to Eng- land? Plaintiff No, I don't think that I would have returned. Mr Evans But the defendant aid not ask you to return, did he ? Plaintiff No, I came back with my aunt. Mr Marshall Hall And had it not been for this aetion would you not have returned to India long ago, and is not your aunt simply waiting for the end to take you back ? Plaintiff Yes. This was the case for the plaintiff. THE DEFENCE. Mr Evans, for the defence, commented on the fact that the whole period of acquaintanceship did net exceed a week. It Was eertaihly foolish for the defendant to have promised marriage if he had no reasonable thoughts of carrying out that promise. As for the tettera, they were simply the documents that a young man Who was Smitten for a time would have written. The defendant had no idea of saying anything against the young lady, and that would only have exaggerated the injury that the young lady said that sue had been subjected to. There was no glossing it over, Mr Price did tell the young woman a lot of lies. He gave her a highly inflated account of his affairs.andasu matter of fact be had no landed property. He certainly had a horse and lived alone in a eottage of five rooms rated at £20 per yenr. it true that at one time Mr Edwin Price, an uncle of the defendant, was a J.P., and was a landed proprietor. Certain events^ however, occurred with the result that that gentleman was sold up and ruined. By that the defendant was very much affected. He had lent considerable sums of money to that gentleman and lost it. As for the defendant'^ positibri as a solieitof it was a fact that four years ago he bought a practice at Leath for j6400. At the present time his gross inoome to cover all expenses was but £250 per year, and his business was decreasing. He (the learned counsel) adj mifcted it was a foolish thing for the telegram announcing the defendant's death to hate been sent. The defendant knew of the fact but took no notice of Itt instead of writing and contract- ing it. At that time Mr Price was in financial difficulties, and was at the present time. Mr Price had not been able to pay the money for his practice, and owed money still. He would endea- vour to pay any reasonable sum of money that might be awarded to the plaintiff. DEFENDANT UNDER EXAMINATION. The defendant was cailed, and swore that he had not a squarø wch uf land. All his Ie hen about property were pure nonsense. His uncle, who had land in Glamorganshire, was sold up I and went away. Witness had not heard of him for six months. The plaintiff's letter to his unole was addressed to theOgmore Club at Bridgend. He at that time had not given up thoughts of marrying the plaintiff, and explained to the uncle his posi- tion with legard to Miss Mitchell. It was then that his uncle revealed to him his true financial position. Up to that time witness had believed himself to be his uncle's heir. He had had con- iderable trouble. He was compelled to meet a charge of fraud. He being trustee, it was brought against him by relatives, but nothing I came of it. The practice was bought by him for £300, but he had only paid JB50 of that sum. In addition to that he owed his I predecessor about JB80 for rent. When he comfit-need the practice he had to borrow £200 from his sister. The practice was worth £250 a year, and beyond that he had no other means. He was assessed in the income tax at £300. He began his banking again in 1887. He never had two horses. Cross-examined tie was a Welshman. The I statement about having a tandem was true in some part the leading horse was his. Mr Marshall n"n Now, what about this tele- gram ? You say you did not know of it until the evenitig ? Defendant grave no answer. Did you not write the original telegram yonr- self ? Now, mind! Defendant, after some hesitation, admitted that he did. (Sensation.) Further cross-examined, he first began romanc- ing to the plaintiff when he thought he was in good circumstances. The reason he decided to break off the engagement was the communication made to him by his uncle on February 14-th. Mr Marshall Hall Then how is it that you had not written to Miss Mitchell since December 8th 1 No answer. ADDRESS TO THE JURY. In addressing the jury. Mr Hall -aid that he did not hesitate to say that a man who, in the full glare of a public court, went into a witness-box and swore that he did not know of the telegram until the evening, whereas he himself had written the original himself, was capable of resorting to any trick in order to deprive the plaintiff of a verdict. Perhaps, Continued the learned Counsel the Incorporated Law Society might take the matter up. ("Hear, h^r^frtim the back of the court.) It was certainly a pitiable sight to see a profe sional man entering the court of law in such a way, and the defence had endeavoured to Shift the responsibility of everything from thSShodlders of the defendant on to the shoulders bf the dis- appearing nhcle, described as the ruined land- owner, drunken J P., &e. He urged the jury to award to the plaintiff such a sum of money as would compensate her for the ruthless manner with which she had been treated. UNDER-SHERIFF'S SUMMING-UP. The learned Under-Sheriff, in summing up to I the jury, said that the receipt of the defendant's letters, all of which were couched in most endearing terms by the plaintiff must have greatly influenced her. There was a total absence of the last letters cooling, which was so common in such cases. As for the telegram, he had no hesitation in saying that it was conc< cted between the uncle and the nephew. A more disgracefnl, shamefui, and cruel deed had never conie to light before him in the many years he had sat in a court of law. The telegram announcing the death ot the lover and stabbing the poor girl in this manner, to his (the Under Sheriff's) mind exaggerated the case and the damages that should be awarded. The position of the defendant was not to all appearances a glowing one. The plea was poverty, and that was the very feature in the case that induced him to advise the awarding of moderate and reasonable damages. The jury had first to say what had the plaintiff lost, but he could not help saying that happy is the woman who had escaped being the wife ot such a man as the defendant. (Applanse in Court.) THE VERDICT. The jury assessed the damages at :8300. Judgment was accordingly entered with eosts.



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