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SMART SOCIETY DIVORCE., Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 63, 15 March 1909
SMART SOCIETY DIVORCE.
STIRLING CASE CONTINUED.
LOBD "Vn-RT-TTT ■ A xrv R ORDEAL. The divorce .proceedings between-Janies; Alexander Stirling, of and' his wife, were continued before Lord Jutkrie in. the Edinburgh Court V Session' "" on Triday, January 29. Mrs. <£therton had""a hostile reception on arriving in Parliament-square.
•Mr. Stirling, recalled, eaid his wife did not say to him: "You do not care for mc, and won't live with mc, altbjougb. I a£k you." !
''Did she not. say: 'If _you will send your brother out -of the house, who spies on mc, I will never see Lord Northland again? , " —"l believe she referred t<> turning my brother out." When he returned to Amberley from London unusually early his wife told him she had been to London, whereas she was with Lord 'Northland at Henley. -
Mrs. Atherton was the next witness. She wore a striking Directoire costume of brown velvet, as formerly, with a large picture hat and sable furs. She was examined at length, by Mr. Clyde aß_ to correspondence with the co-re-spondent prior to defendant's visit to America. She said it was Mr. Stirling who told her the unsatisfactory state of iappin sss between Mr. and Mrs. Stirling, and that was the reason why she telegraphed to LoTd Northland not to see Mr. Stirling before she saw him. Witness thought Mrs. Stirling would go off with Lord Northland, as she threatened to do. Witness was- not in Ches-ham-street the day Mts. Stirling arrived from America. It was that night that Mr. Stirling and witness went down to Amberfey together.
She called for Mrs. StirTrng as the British Hotel, and was told by Mrs. Lewis there to go to a well-known restaurant. She went there, and found defendant sitting on Lord Northland's lap in the eitting-room. She said, '"You must he mad." She -took defendant away. When she went to Amberley that night she occupied the big room opposite the bath room. Mrs. Stirling was in the blue room, next hers. About hilf-past eleven, after she had gone to bed, she heard stones thrown at the window. She thought it might be some one with Mr. Stirling's bag, and sent her maid down to see. She returned saying it was Lord Northland. Witness went down in her dressing gown, and found co-respondent in the drawing-room. She asked him what he wanted, and he said. "Clare asked mc to come." She said he must go away. Mrs. Stirling, -who was present in her dressing gown also, would not let him go. She said, "I must see Fatty. I must talk to him. I asked him to come." Witness implored them to go. but as neither would she went up to bed, saying it was too bad of them to use her house in that way, getting her into trouble. Next morning Mrs. Stirling told her Lord Northland had gone away early that morning.
When the Lord Advocate rose to crossexamine at twelve o'clock, there was a buzz of expectancy in. the Court.
While Mr. Stirling was- endeavouring to set Mrs". Stirling and Lord Northland separated, you were carrying letters secretly between the pair. Why did you do this?— Because I knew that if some letters did not pass Mrs. Stirling would at once rush off to Lord Northland.
You were doing your best for Mrs. Stirling ?—Yes, I wanted to prevent her going through the fearful misery I had
gone through of leaving her husband for a man. she loved and then to be left out.
AVith regard to the incident at Amberler, when Lord Northland called, why did you not call the coachman and get Lord Northland turned out? —It never occurred to mc. If you had stayed with them in the room you might have prevented sin? —I had such a fearful headache I went to bed. Mrs. Atherton said Mrs. Stirling had a revolver. She said she would shoot Lord Northland if -he did not marry her, adding, ""I am not going to 'be treated in the way you have been."
Mrs. Stirling's maid said after Mr. Stirling had gone to town, from Amberley, on one occasion, ilrs. Stirling sent for Lord Northland. He went to he;--bed-room partly dressed, and Mrs. Stirling told Mm to shut the door. lie., did so, and remained with her, about an hour. /Witness had seen Lord 'Northland with iiis arm round Mrs. Stirling's waist and kissing her. . A BEDROOM INTERVIEW. On the. eleventh, day of the case Mrs. New was cross-examined "by Mr. Maitiand. You spoke of an occasion at Am'berley when Mrs. Stirling asked you if Mr. Stirling had gone to London. Was that in June? —Yes.
Is it your opinion that Mrs. Stirling committed misconduct with Lord Northland on that occasion?—l have reasons to think so. That morning iMrs. Stirling had only a nightgown on when she had breakfast in bed. Witness went downstairs and found JSIr. Stirling had gone, and she told Mrs. Stirling so. Mrs. Stirling then said, 'Will you ask Lord Northland to come arid speak to mc?" Lord Korthland passed witness on his way to the bedroom. He was tliefe nearly an hour.
Shortly after this incident "witness saw Lord Northland and Mrs. Stirling coming upstairs after dinner, and she could see them kissing on the bend of the stirs.
■George New, the butler, and husband of the last witness, said his wife told him what had happened that morning ■at; Anißerley, and he -said that if anything more went on he would Tell Mr. Stirling. His wife persuaded him not to do so at that time.
Mr. Douglas Stirling gave evidence to the effect that Mrs. Stirling was uncivil to her husband both in manner and in speech. 'Witness told his 'brother that he thought Lord Northland was not playing the game, and hence they watched Him, tfiough his brother said he could hardly believe that Northland couid be a cad. MRS. STIRLING GIVES EVIDENCE. The third week's hearing was entered upon on Monday. Joseph.. Walsh, chief night attendant of the British Hotel, Jermyn-street, London, said he remembered on one occasion Mrs. Stirling, who had a suite of rooms there in A-ugust, coming in about a-quar-ter to twelve, accompanied by Lord Northland, and having supper with him. Francis Newsham, private detective, snid he was employed to shadow Mrs. Stirling. He gave minute details of Lord Northland's visits to the British Hotel. Mrs. Stirling was very frequently with Lord Northland, always driving together, dining together, and gojng to the theatre together. Ijpvnold Lambert, a. detective in company nf the last witness, corroborated tlir- previous witness' evidence. Mrs. Stirling seemed greatly amused at i;he story related of an incident when he was following her. -He was cycling behind her when the cab' pulled up abruptly, and ihe nearly collided. She came out and said, "I see 70U axe stall foUoifing mc."
This elbsed'the evidence for the' plaintiff, and Mtb. Stirling's defence wat then entered upon.
Mrs. Stirling entered the witne3s-box. She said she got £4000 from her husband in lieu of a marriage settlement and invested it in America in. !her mother's name. ' Her husband asked for it back in 1907, after he lost £30,000. He had got all the money-back again which Be gave her as a marriage settlement. She disclaimed all knowledge of Mr. Stirling's evidence of what happened in connection with the (Paris visit, and her insistence on accompanying Lord Northland. She did not seek that nobleman's exclusive society, but was left alone with him by her- husband.
During one part of Mrs Stirling's evidence, which was of a delicate natiwe,the ladies; in court were requested to retire. She quite broke down when her attention was called to a letter in which she had written, "The sooner I leave this' world the better." Shedding tears, she said she hardly knew what she meant. It was all a nightmare, and she was at that time quite tired of everything.
After a lengthy examination, when the witness came to the repetition of the letter to her husband, in which she suggested it was better to be separated and be good friends than to remain bad lovers, she completely broke down and wept while she gave her answers. One expression in the letter was, "Take care of wee Pat," meaning their child, and this caused a renewed breakdown. She meant in that letter ■when she 'wrote. 'Don't think I am an absolute rotter, though I am very near it." that she was a rotter in the sense that she had fallen in love with Lord Northland, but there was nothing more in ii. Witness, who came late to court, and who seemed even then slightly excitable, and who, when going into the box explained she was suffering from a cold, gave way so completely to her emotion that the court adjourned earlier than usual. MRS STIRLING AGAIN BREAKS DOWN. The hearing was resumed on Tuesday. On Mrs Stirling entering the witnessbox to resume her defence she asked leave to sit. She looked very unwell, while she inhaled smelling salts frequents ly. She denied the testimoy of New, the butler, who said that she was with Lord Northland at Chesham-street, London, the blinds at the windows of the room they were in being down. She explained that Lord Northland was not in the house on that data, and drawn blinds wore the usual thing in summer.
At this stage, when reference was mado in one of the letters to Douglas Stirling, the Lord Advocate objected to Douglas Stirling being so prominently pltced in the court in view of the witness. The witness backed this up by a personal appeal to the judge, and Mr Douglas Stirling thereupon took a back seat. Witness said Douglas Stirling had helped her husband to spy on her. After being further examined, Mrs Stirling was asked to speak more directly to the shorthand writer, and giving way again to emotion aroused by this' little ineidefit. she laid her head on the shelf of th« witness-box and was dumb. The shorthand writer was moved to another scat.
Mrs Stirling emphatically denied the evidence of Mrs Atherton regarding Lord Northland's visit to Amberley, when she said that witness and Lord Northland were left together late at night. It was an absolute lie in suggesting that any impropriety had occurred. When she returned to Chesham-street from Amberley she wished to settle matters amicably with her husband, but he would not dine alone with her. saying Douglas must be with them. They had a conversation later in her bedroom. He said: "You have ruined my whole life; you have wrecked everything. I had a career before mc in the Guards. I left them to marry you, and for want of something to do, vrorked in the City. I have lost a great fleal of money, which I would not have lost if I had still been In the Guards. I should never love you if we stayed together. I won't live with you; I will give tou an allowance if we separate. I will settle £000 on you for life. Then you can marry Lord Northland."
Mrs. Stirling admitted that in September last she purchased a revolver, but she denied that she had any intention of shooting Lord Northland if he did not marry her. By this time ske had left her husband, and she was, so thoroughly miserable that she contemplated taking her own life. In making this confession she was overcome in the witnessbox and crave way to bitter tears.
Mrs. Stirling had again to enter the witness-box to answer tiirther questions by Mr. Clyde in his cross-examination on Wednesday.
If it were not the case impropriety had occurred, why did Lord Northland call on you practically every day while you were in the British Hotel and Gainsborough House? —He did it out of common humanity, and when it was known that I had bought a revolver, that man (pointing to Mr. Stirling) never attempted to do one thing for mc, while Lord Northland paid mc every attention, for fear of what I might do.
What was it you discussed at these interviews? —What game my husband was up to, and' about Mrs. Stirling and Mrs. Atherton. When she wrote to her husband; telling him he could go ahead and get a divorce, she thought it would be on the ground of desertion only; there was no idea of misconduct in her mind, for she had not been guilty of impropriety.
You were contemplating marriage with Lord Northland? —Naturally, yes. We were in love with each other.
Is it a fact that between the 26th of August and the middle of September you and Lord Northland were laying your heads together as to the course you were to follow ?—That' 3 a lie.
You say you looked iorward to marriage with Lord Northland? —I cannot answer that question. Lord Northland has not proposed to mc yet.
At this there was an outburst of laughter. The Judge angrily interposed, saying the conduct of the audience was indecent, and threatened to have the Court cleared.
The night the detectives watched Gainsborough House, said Mrs. Stirling, she and Lord Northland knew, and they manipulated the lights of ro fun. Questioned how Lord Northcote occupied himself, witness said at any rate there was no misconduct. Mrs. Stirling's cross-examination concluded soon after, much to her relief. Before the Court rose, Lord Northland had-been in the witness-box for an hour. His evidence-in-chief was practically a eorroboration of that given by Mrs. Stirling as to his introduction to the Stirlings and Mrs. Atherton, and the events at Paris nnd in the Heuley week. He said he had met Mrs. Stirling two or three times before her marriage. He denied that lie had been guilty of misconduct with Mrs. Stirling. LORD. .SOUTHLAND'S .DENIALS. Lord Northland, resuming on Thursday, said on the morning of the 3rd of July, at Amberley, the housekeeper told him Mrs. Stirling'wished to see him. He went to her iwdiooi
How long,-were you in the room? —Not more than ten minutes. After receiving a letter irom Mrs. Stirling to post to Mrs. "C." I left for Richmond to play golf.
It is alleged you committed adultery with Mrs 'Stirling?— Absolutely untrue; I never did on any occasion.
You haVe heard the evidence regarding the chain on the door at Cheshamstreet, -whenTklr Stirling states he said to -you"; "tHat you had well better go, you cur " ?—I did not know the chain was on the door. I was met at the smoking-robm door by Mr Stirling, and.Mr. Stirling never used the language stated. ' ,'"''■'
He receiv.ed a.letter from Mrs Artherton in August asking him to go to Sandown. He .could not go, and Mrs Atherton came'••-to -London. Mrs Atherton then proposed that Mrs Stirling should come to Amberley along with himself. Mrs Stirling on her return from America was very excited about everything. It was entirely on Mrs Atherton's suggestion that ; he went ■to Amberley, and not on Mrs' Stirling's. :
Asked if TSfrs Atherton said that he had taken a very mean advantage of her house, witness answered, "Nothing of the sort." Mrs Atherton was present during the whole conversation with Mrs Stirling.
You have kept all Mrs'-Atherton's letters and none of Mrs Stirling's. .-"Why is that?—l was fond of "'Mrs Stirling, and destroyed them when we finally parted, as we thought, when she went to America. Referring to a certain interview, ■witness said he had been very fond b'f Mrs Stirling—very much • attached to ier— but he would, not say "thai he had been in love with her. He saw Mrs Stirling when she returned from America, as she was in a very distressed state, and had a revolver. He took her to the theatre at this time to cheer her up.
Mr Clyde: What excuse had you for having any relations with her whatever? —I considered Mrs Stirling was being unfairly treated, and I wanted to see Mr Stirling in order to explain matters to him. Mr Stirling sought an interview with him. and asked him if he would marry Clare, and he replied that he did not know what he might do if she were a free woman. He did not tell Mr Stirling he (Lord Northland) was prepared to stick tc T;er. Aeked whether he had been prepared to marry her. he said he did not come to any determination.
Witnesses were called on behalf of Lord Northland, and the evidence was closed.
The date of counsel's speeches has not vet been fixed.
(Our cables hnve informed us that Mr Stirling was granted his divorce and the counter petition was dismissed.)
SMART SOCIETY DIVORCE., Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 63, 15 March 1909
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