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A divorce case with most extraordinary features is reported from Hobart. Thomas Barker^ a sawmiller, in Der cember, 1905, maYried a Miss Roughj and between then and 1917 they lived at various, places in : Tasmania.' : Their fourth child was born at a place called Lady's Bay, where they had lived for •s^vei-siF years. : They, had, a.number- of: friends there, and Barker's mate waa a man called John Thomas Martyn. Mrs Barker expressed a wish liio go- to! another place.,,; Waratahi andv.jit:•• was arranged that s,he and■; -her ; children should proceed thither,;.and ..that Barker should follow five ', weeks la^er, his wife to m'eeij' Mm at- Burnie. "She diU, not meethim: at B.arnie,:.iahd iwheny'ih July, 1917, he. reached Waratah, he' found only .a .note, from Jie.r saying that she had gonelaway "for good," She. said he need iiot j; try to; nnd her, for she would not.come vbocki. -'She. ended' the note by,pegging her v husb)and to., let "Xom Martyn", know what,she had doile. .•

The,, husband plaoed two' of-the de-; serted children with relatives, and tw6 in-a Salvation Army Home. In June, 1918, he' was in Hobart, and unsuccessfully sought information -of his missing, wife. He then went down to the fishing, boat Foam; to look up Toni woman with Martyn, whom he introduced as his wife" He had tea with Martyn, his old friend. There was a them, and he told them about his children in the home. Mrs Martyn said she would like to see them, so he' met Mr and Mrs Martyn later in the town, and; they boarded a tram-car' and; set' off for, the r home. On the way, Mrs Martyn., had an ■argument • with the tram conductor, and in the excitement her voice assumed what to Barker was'a'cufibusly familiar ring, but he. could not placeit. j The-children were duly inspected. The children, liked Mrs Martyn. "Oh, Daddy," cried one of the youngsters, \ his arms round the woman's neck, "Isn't she like mummy?"

That started a train of thought in Barker's mind. But his wife had been very dark, and Mrs Martyn had fair hair and. eyebrows... ; Still;-when they took him to their lodgings, he watched the woman carefully, and.his: suspicions grew. ' ' ....-•

Barker called two or three times at the lodgings, and finally was able to get a look at Mrs Martyn's big coat, and easily identified it as. one his wife took away.. •

. That afternoon, in the presence of her landlord, and landlady. Barker began to question the woman, and ; she became confused. "You are my wife," he accused her.

"I am not,' she said, in her assumed voice. "Don't be ridiculous, I have been married to Martyn for ten years."

But the evidence was.too strong, and she surrendered, and admitted, in her natural voice, that she had been merely living, with Martyn. She had dyed her hair and eyebrows and removed two moles from her cheek.

The Judge granted a decree nisi

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Bibliographic details

MAN AND WIFE, Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9596, 28 April 1919

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MAN AND WIFE Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9596, 28 April 1919

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