FATAL CONSEQUENCES OF CONJUGAL INFIDELITY.
(From the Geelong correspondent of the Argus.)
Wednesday 10th March, 1858.
Another of those melancholy cases that result from the too free indulgence in ardent spirits has just occurred at Steiglitz, The deceased Mr. Yale was a few years ago one of the most sober, steady, and industrious tradesmen in Geelong. His wife was also a very circumspect woman. The wheel of fortune had been turned favourably for them, and, during the golden days, they made a comfortable independence. They visited the old country with their family, and, on returning here Mr. Vale opened an inn at Steiglitz. Latterly he became much addicted to drinking, and a few days ago he died a madman.
The evidence, given at the inquest, will tell a fearful tale of the altered prospects of the children.
DEATH FROM DELIRIUM TREMENS.
The circumstances detailed in the following inquiry disclose one of those painful stories of domestic life that vie in their tragic character with the darkest of those crimes for which the law takes vengeance. It unsettles our confidence in the sufficiency of our institutions of punishment to see the influences by which Vale has been driven to death, and to see the immunity enjoyed by those who must be accounted, at all events, morally guilty of his murder.
The following are the particulars of the case: An inquest was held at Steiglitz, on Saturday last, before Foster Shaw, Esq.; M.D., Coroner, on the body of William Henry Vale, then and there lying dead.
Michael O'Grady sworn, stated : I am a school-master, residing in Vale's Hotel since the 26th of January last. Deceased was given to drink, and was seriously affected through its influence. About three weeks ago, being then in delirium tremens, he was very ill, and continued so for about a week. He recovered. On Friday, the 26th of February, he was again under the influence of' drink. On tho night of the 27th he was going about the house and attending to business. A party of Ger- mans were here on that night. I saw Mr. Vale come into the parlor about 12 o'clock and blow out the lights, and order Frederick Turner, a Ger- man, to leave the house. He did not go, nor did the others. Mr. Yale then fetched a gun, and threatened to shoot this Fred. The gun was not capped or loaded. Fred, laughed at him. Vale then struck Fred, who returned the blow, prostrating Vale on his side, who seemed very much shook. This occurred on Saturday evening week. Afterwards, early on Sunday morning, l saw Fred, in the bar with others. Fred, was carrying Vale in his arms through the passage. He took him to bed, and did not hurt him. The only injury I saw done to Vale was when Frederick struck him. (The witness here became confused in his statements, mingling his evidence in a singular manner for which he was severely reprimanded by the Coroner.) I saw Fred, after both rows go into the yard and take up a stick, which he brought into the house and brandished about. He was then under the influence of drink. Did not see him use any further violence. I remained in the house until the 6th March. During that time l saw Mrs. Vale strike Mr. Vale several times with her fists. On Wednesday last I sat up with deceased, who appeared to be suffering from delirium tremens. I went for Dr. Rae that night, who came and attended deceased. This was at Mrs. Vale's and Mr. Walker's suggestion. Mrs. Vale seemed very kind to Vale during his illness, and everything was easily obtained which the Doctor ordered. Had heard Vale say, that the intimacy between Fred, and his wife had disturbed deceased's peace of mind, and that his wife's conduct had driven him to drink.
By the Foreman of the Jury : On Tuesday night last Vale was drunk and very violent. He was tied to the bed, hands and feet. I heard cries about three o'clock in the morning, as if the deceased was suffering punishment. He was crying out murder. Witness did not take notice of it at the time, as he knew deceased was out of his mind.
By Mr. Barr : Another and myself saw Mrs. Vale on one occasion go into Fred's tent during the night.
Michael Hammerston, being sworn, stated: I am a miner, living close to Vale's Hotel. Have been there for two years. Till within the last four months have been in the habit of visiting the hotel. Last Sunday week, in the forenoon, I saw Mr. Vale coming along the passage of the hotel, with his face bleeding all over. I saw Mrs. Vale come after him, and throw something at him, but could not say what it was. Thinks it was a bottle. Heard her say, " Go in, you wretch ; it's time you were dead." Heard Vale call Mrs. Vale improper names. The hotel being of wood, I could hear rows during the night. Shortly afterwards, on the same day, I saw Mr. and Mrs. Vale fighting in the yard. She was beating him with a stick, and he appeared to be almost incapable of resistance. Did not wait to see the end of the fray, as it was of such a common occurrence. I saw Vale in the evening with a gun, and heard him threaten to shoot his wife and the German.
John Schmidt sworn stated : He recollected being at Vale's Hotel on Saturday night week, but was too drunk to remember what occurred afterwards.
Catherine Bailey sworn stated (after supplicating not to be compelled to give her evidence) : I live next door but one to the hotel. Have lived there for nearly two years. Always thought Vale to be a good husband and kind father. Latterly he has been much given to drink ; but, when sober, he appeared anxious for his family. I think Mrs. Vale did not act uprightly by him. She had formed improper connections with Frederick Turner. I am of opinion this was the cause of Vale's drinking. I am aware of her assaulting and beating him. On this day week he was in my hut. He said he could not live with his wife his heart was broken. I said to him that if he took the proper course he would give her a thrashing. (Applause.) He said he would not abuse her. I have heard repeated rows in the house. I was in the hotel on Saturday evening, or early on Sunday morning week. Saw Fred, the German, stand over one Schmidt while he lay on the floor ; saw him deliberately tuck up his sleeves, put back his hair, seize hold of quartz pot, and strike Schmidt on the face with it as he lay. I told him he was a cowardly man for doing so, and also rebuked Mrs. Vale for encouraging such a man. Latterly, Mrs. Vale and this Ger- man Fred, went into a room together. Saw Fred, fetch in a stick from the back yard, flourish it over his head, and say he would smash Vale if he did not make an apology to him. I did not see Fred, strike Vale. (The Coroner here remarked that the conduct of this man Fred, was most hideous, and ordered the police not to allow him to leave the room.) About 12 o'clock on Saturday night (the night before the death of Mr. Vale), l heard a scream, as I thought from Mr. Vale. I came quickly to the house. When I came in Mrs. Vale was sitting with Fred. Turner, taking supper. (Sensation and cries of shame.) She came to the door and brought me in, accompanying me into Vale's room. I saw that he was dying, and remained about an hour at this time. About half past 8 o'clock the following morning I was sent for by Mrs. Vale. I went and attended upon Mr. Vale. I washed his face and hands, and tried to get him to take some wine and egg. I sent for the doctor, but before he arrived Vale had died. I laid out the body. There were marks upon it, but not serious ones.
By one of the Jurors : I told Mrs. Vale when she spoke about being married to Fred, that it would be most guilty conduct to do so, or to place a ruffian like that (pointing to Fred.) over her family. (Applause from the body of the court, which the Coroner refused to suppress.)
Herman Moritz, sworn, stated : I am a German teacher of music. I have been here since the row on Saturday evening. Saw Fred, carry Vale away. There were two rows. After this was over, several of us were in the little parlor. Vale had told Fred, to go away, as he was the destruction of his family. Vale again came in, and seeing Fred., he called him a low-lived fellow, and asked him to go He refused, and struck Vale, knocking him down, giving him the marks he carries to his grave. Smith interfered, and a general scuffle took place. I left the house, and took home Smith. I sat up with Mr. Vale on Thursday and Friday night. On Saturday night, the evening previous to his death, I went into the bar parlor, having been attracted by Vale's cry of " Murder," he being in delirium tremens at the time. Saw Mr. Fred. with his feet coolly elevated on a chair, and Mrs. Vale serving him with some lemonade. (Sensation.) Mary Marr sworn, stated; l am a servant.
Have lived in Vale's Hotel for four months. About three weeks ago he was ill. Since then he has again been bad with drink. I have never seen Mrs. Vale beat her husband. I saw his face covered with blood last Sunday week, in the yard. He came into the kitchen. He said the mistress had given it him. I never did see her strike him at any time. Whilst he was ill Mrs. Vale attended him, and so did I. Mr. Vale has told me that he took to drinking because his wife was too intimate with Fred. Turner. I have seen Mrs. Vale go into Fred's tent twice in the night. I have known her to be absent for hours during the night. This morning (the morning after Vale's death) Mrs. Vale said that she would make Fred. her husband, and that the people might then talk away. Mr. Vale was then lying dead as she said so. (Great sensation, and Indignant whispers from the body of the room.)
James Allison Rae, M D., sworn, stated : I at- tended the late Mr. Vale when he was under delirium tremens about three weeks ago. He recovered from that attack. On Thursday morn- ing last I was called in again. Deceased was then delirious and feverish. His right eye was discolored, and he had a few scratches on his face. I treated deceased for delirium tremens, and am of opinion that he died from that disease.
W. P. Geoghegan, M.D., being sworn, stated that he had made a post mortem examination of the body of the deceased. Found a black circle over the right eye, which appeared of some days standing, there was also a slight wound or scratch over the left eyebrow. Inspected the body about three hours after death, saw no particular mark. There was a slight mark on the right side, which appeared to be passing away. On turning the body, there were the usual marks of gravitation of the blood. There were no other marks of violence except those already mentioned. Made a careful examination, and found the heart and lungs quite healthy. From the deceased's known habits, was astonished to find the liver healthy also. The stomach was empty and slightly discolored. The general appearance of the intestines was healthy. After close examination from the absence of all organic injury, and from the known habits of deceased, I consider that his death resulted from delirium tremens.
By a Juror : The appearance of the body did not indicate the want of nourishment.
The Coroner, in addressing the jury, commented in strong terms on the conduct of the German and Mrs. Vale, and recommended him to retire to that obscurity which suited men of his stamp.
The jury returned the following verdict:-That deceased died from delirium tremens ; and regretted that it was not in the power of the law to punish the profligate widow and her vagabond paramour.
FATAL CONSEQUENCES OF CONJUGAL INFIDELITY. (1858, March 27). The Moreton Bay Courier (Brisbane, Qld. : 1846 - 1861), p. 3. TROVE