THE BREATH OF SCANDAL
NZ Truth , Issue 884, 4 November 1922, Page 6
THE BREATH OF SCANDAL
Breaks Up a Happy Home
"Who Frew Those 'Chicken FeWers Round Ma- Door?"
In this hard old world with its few joys and many sorrows, the scandalmonger should be ruthlessly squashed, for it seems that no more potent agent exists for the dissemination of the seeds of unhappiness than this unfortunately übiquitous pest. How the action of one of these garrulous birds, misinformed as usual, led to the estrangement and continued unhappiness of a young married couple was disclosed m the Divorce Court m "Wellington on Thursday, when a well set-up young man, Norman Reardon, who is In business as a paperhanger and painter m Opunake, applied for a'decree for restitution of conjugal rights with his young wife, Mary Cecilia Reardon. Titular distinction was lent to the affair by the presence of Sir John Salmond on the bench and Sir John Fihdlay as counsel for petitioner. Mr W. Perry was on deck on behalf of the little lady whose married life had been so unhappy, and who had the action of some scandalmonger unknown to thank for her estrangement -from hubby. Petitioner stated m evidence that he was married m July, 1918, and sailed 10 days afterwards for the front. After the ceremony, he waS with his wife for A COUPtE OF DAYS ONLY and then returned to camp. His wife resumed her occupation m El tham as a talloress and received the soldier's wife's allowance due to her. Prior to the marriage lie was m .camp for a couple of months. The following May, while m camp m England, he' received' a notification, of the birth of his child, and wrote '"to his Wife expressing his pride and joy 1 m affectionate terms (letter produced). Some time afterwards, however, he received a long letter from a friend m New Zealand, who made very definite charges regarding his wife's conduct, alleging, that he (petitioner) was NOT THE FATHER of the child (letter produced)* He was distressed and angry, and wrote to his wife saying he never wished to see her again. At the same tlmo he explained the position to the military authorities with the object of having her allowance stopped. All correspondence between the couple ceased thereupon',, and nothing was done, until he returned -to New Zealand, arriving m May, 1920. He made Inquiries then and ascertained that the writer of the letter had acted entirely on hearsay and that, moreover, the allegations against his wife's honor were grossly unfounded. The "priest m, Elthara, then approached him and arranged for the couplo. to meet. He apologised then, but declined •to 'divulge the name of the writer of the letter, which she insisted upon with a vlewjto Exacting an apology to CLEAR HER NAME. The meeting thus proved fruitless, and the next happening was the result of proceedings instituted by his wife for separation and maintenance orders m respect to herself and the child. At the hearing he handed the Magistrate a scaled envelope containing the name and address of the writer of the letter, which he stipulated should not be given to his wife until she returned, to him. The proceedings were then adjourned for .a month In order to allow his wife time to consider the position, but, as she still declined to return to him, the order was eventually made, and he had compiled with it so far. Subsequently he wrote to his wife asking her to live with him, end she replied that she would not until a public apology was exacted from the writer of the letter (both letters produced). He was ready and willing to provide a home. Mr Perry: Why did you- not go and see your wife when you returned? You don't realise WHAT A MOTHER-IN-LAW i have been unlucky enough to have. And you didn't go to see her and apologise? It would have been unsafe for me to have put a foot inside the gate or to have approached, her m the street, because she was always with her' mother. Why, did your wife's mother' ever knock you about? No, she never knocked me about. Do you seriously say, then, that you did not go and see your wife because of her mother? Yes. I could sooner stand all the hidings she could give me than her tongue. How long had you known her beforeyou ware married? Six or seven years, but I did not know I was MARRYING THE MOTHER, TOO. Did Father Moore come to see you? No, he did not come to see me, but he gave me a crack to go on with m the street. Father Moore did?— Oh, I thought* you said father-in-law. Witness went on to say that Father -Moore had approached him as and, had said to him that they should not continue estranged us they wefe. Respondent,- In evidence, sa.- she (had gone to the priest and asked him to approach her husband and secure the name of the writer of the letter. Petitioner had never come to see either her or the child. To Sir John Flndlay, respondent stated unequivocally that the only i reason she now had for not returning to her husband was that he would not divulge the name of the writer oi the letter m order that an apology might be exacted to clear her' name. Eltham was a small place, she said, tind PEOPLE HAD BEEN TALKINQ. To his Honor she stated that the military authorities had stopped her allowance for two months, but had then re* sumed the payments and paid the amounts due for the interval. When she received the letter from her husband she waa shocked and distressed. Ho said ho did not want to hear from her nor sco her face again, and she took him at his word. Respondent's mother, Mrs Green, of filtham, said sho did .not think petitioner was a man to have written suph a letter to his wife. Sir John Flndlay: And you took an opportunity of telling him so m good round terms when you saw him at Hawera. did you not?— Witness replied that sho did. Did you shout out, "YOU ARE A DIIITY ROTTER?" Witness said she may have done ho. She was very excited at the time. However, sho only Hpolco about 10 words to him. I'os, but they might have been 10 very good, round words?— They wero; but I did not use uny swear words. In reply to further questions uhe said ahe did not think nny man who could have written ouch a letter to his wife was fit for her daughter to assoclato with. -There aro two question's only to be answered," said his Honor: 'Firstly, whether she has any just cause for refusing to live with her husband;- and, secondly, whether respondent (a ntneero In asking htx wlfo to come back, or whether, on the contrary, ho 1h using tlu'sc proceed lnjjs an n i ovico for a divorce. 1 am wUltfflcd that petitioner I* entitled to a decree on both ihofie Ixhuch. Undoubtedly, h« acted In a most regrettable manner In writing to hl» wlfis us ho did. 1 Bhould think that a husband receiving a letter accu.sfni; his wife of Infidelity would have made Iniulrk*s before writing and definitely her. Sho wojj quite entitled to TAKE THAT LETTER TO HEART ami to be deeply affected and deeply angry." Hl» Honor went on to May that now. however, petitioner had apologised am! wan ready to keep her. There was nothing n«atr.st him In tho way of misconduct of any port, nml th<> t.nly reason «lu> had tar not rvturnin;; wan tliul thi* narm' ot llie writer r>( thu letter wt»» withheld, preventing her from exacting nn apology. Ml* ll.utor could not accept thnt an a reason fur a vouritf