06 Dec 2021

Lovers beaten by life take sad option

Dear Nancy,

Dear Nancy,

This is my last letter to you. I hope you will try and forget me. I am sorry, dear, I have had to come to this bad ending, but perhaps it is for the better.

I must say, dearest, my two years with you have been happy. I feel very sorry for you and that I am going to leave your life full of thoughts about this ending of me. I hope you will come and see the last of me, as I know you will, dear Nancy.

I hope you will excuse this scribble. It is all done in the dark. I suppose by the time you get this my time will have come to a sad end.

Dear Nancy, I will now say goodbye to you for ever. I will conclude my last letter by sending my best wishes and fondest kisses, and remain to the last your loving sweetheart, Ethelbert - Goodbye, Nancy!

Such was the letter Miss Maud Lessmore received from her fiancé, Ethelbert Thomas Newton (22), a baker’s roundsman, of Bickley Street, Tooting, S.E. The sequel was the finding of his dead body upon the I.B. and S.C.R., near Wandsworth Common Station.

At the inquest at Battersea, Miss Maud Lessmore, whose pet name with Newton was ‘Nancy’, said that she had remonstrated with him because he had told her a lie.

“He told me he had given up smoking, and he had not,” she said to the coroner.

Coroner: “Were you anxious he should?”

Miss Lessmore: “Yes.”

Coroner: “Why? It is a harmless habit compared with drinking.”

The coroner said he did not think the act was due to any trouble with Miss Lessmore, and the jury returned a verdict of suicide while temporarily insane.

* * *

Disappointment in love was said to have been the cause of the acute depression and insomnia which resulted in Miss Ellen Clare Campbell Salmon, of Dawlish, the South Deyon lawn tennis player, committing suicide by poisoning herself with laudanum.

Four years ago, it was stated at the inquest at Dawlish on Saturday, Miss Salmon was engaged to be married, but her lover went abroad and married another woman. She became engaged to another man and would probably have been married this summer. For six months she had suffered from insomnia, and to her doctor said, “The colour has gone out of my life.” After her death the following letter, read by the coroner, was found under her pillow:

“I have thought hard for the past six months. I seem to be living in a miserable dream and I hardly know what is going on around me. I have always played fair, but life has beaten me. All I want is rest and peace. I could not decide whether I would or not. Then I saw a verse in Longfellow’s Calendar and that decided me.”

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