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THE STIRLING DIVORCE CASE.

• COUNSEL AND M»S. ATHBRTON. At Edinburgh on Friday, February 12, before ILord Guthrie, in the Court of Session, counsel were heard In the cross-actions for divorce brought by John Stirling and Ills wife. Mr. Ure, K.C., Solicitor-General for Scotland, appeared for Mrs. Stirling In place of the Lord Advocate, Mr. Shaw, who •had returned his brief in view of pending legal changes. Mrs. Atherton and Lord 'Northland, co-defenders In the actions, were present, bnt Mrs. Std-rflng was absent. The feature of the opening proceedings was the brevity of Mr. Ure's speech, which lasted only an "hour and three-quarters. lie held that Mr. 'Stirling had committed a matrimonial offence at Sandown between August 1 and August 7, and that Mrs. Stirling was entitled to the remedy she was seeking. Tie trouble in their married life, 'he said, seemed to date from the advent of Mrs. Atherton, who even then was not unkown to fame. Her record was not unImpeacha'ble, her career was not entirely without distinction of a kind, 'her mental equipment seemed to liave been more than respeotab-le, her talent for intrigue was eigoal, 'her personal attractions were magnetic, and her virtue was easy. Between her and Mr. Stirling an acquaintanceship very rapidly ripened into something more. ißeplylng ibo Lord Guthrie, (Mr. TJre said •he threw Dagonne'a evidence over, so far as resting a chafge of misconduct on it was concerned, but not so far as It went to show familiarity. ■Lord Guthrie remarked that It was dimcult to reconcile the statement that these people were In improper relationship with Mr. Stirling's letters to his wife asking her to come back, and ihls employing Mrs. Atherton as the agent to bring about the reconciliation. Mr. Ure said be had not the slightest hesitation In saying that Mr. Stirling's letter did not express his genuine desire, because he inrposed conditions which he knew it was impossible for Mrs. StlrHng te accept. ■Mr. Clyde then addressed the Court for Mr. Stirling. He saia "the allegations against Mrs. Atherton could not be true unless sTie were a human fl«nd. She and Mr. Stirling visited places tnd conducted themselves In a manner which made secrecy impossible. There was all the difference in .the world between weak human nature and the complete degradation and abandonment to everything which the evidence sought to bring atjout. Mr. Clyde strongly criticised the SolieltorGeneral for dropping the charges alleged on record as having taken place at Amberley and Ohesham street. From the evidence, lie argued, Mrs. Stirling was aware that the Sandown visit was to take place, and irrangeS that her own child was to be tfiere. fle also analysed the evidence of the three chambermaids at Sandown in order to break down tfie charge of misconduct alleged to have taken place there, anil •contended tlrat thfe evidence was absolutely Insufficient to justify any finding of misconduct.—This closed Mrs. Stirling's ease. On Monday .Mr. Morrison said that Lord Northland Was simply carrying on a friendship with Mrs. Stirling, while air. Stirling was occupying the whole attentions of Mrs. Atherton. With regard to the dinner, the first to which he was invited to the 'house, Lord Nbrthlaud went on the understanding that it was sanctioned by ths husband. Wit* regard to the incident at Chesham-street, whldh-was alleged to be a suspicions one, counsel wanted to point out the exactitude of the time In order to discredit the Inference of adultery. Lord Northland In the whole circumstances wa3 acting as the confidante of the wife in «er distress. Lord Guthrie: "The letter whkh. he wrote to Mrs. Stirling in such endearing terms Is a very unfortunate incident for him. Counsel: He is an impressionable young man* and the proceedings caused him anxiety. l»ord Guthrie: I take him as a man of honour, and he. wrote a most aislionourabie letter. When a man does that Be m-ust be Influenced and over-mastered by some ruling Influence. I Mve formed a good opinion of Lord Northland, and anyone who had hat good opinion had a strong point against film In -the letter. ■Lord Guthrie remarked Inter that up to August of last year. It was a very curious thing that Mrs. Atherton acted along with' him, and entirely with her approval, but then she suddenly disappears. He considered that Mr. Stirling's case was hampered with the relations of Mrs. Atherton In the case. Counsel said it was to Lord Northland's credit that he did not accompany Sirs. Atherton oh such an extraordinary proposal as going to America with her. In conclusion. Lord Northland's counsel stated there was no evidence to justify the Inference of adultery. If judgment tvere given against Lord Northland It meant the ruin of Ms career. Counsel doubted if any jury would convict Lord Northland on such slender evidence, .as the letter was written, out of pure sentimentality to a woman who had been wronged and driven from Home without a friend In England. (Dord Giitnrle reserved judgment. [■Sir. Stirling , , our cables have Informed us, was granted Els divorce; and the counter petition of Mrs. Stirling was dismissed.]

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THE STIRLING DIVORCE CASE. Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 80, 3 April 1909

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