An extraordinary case--Bainbridge v. Atkinson.
--The London Times
, of a recent date, contains the following report of the most extraordinary breach of promise case we remember to have read or heard of:
This was an action for breach of promise of marriage.
, Q. C., and Mr. Maule
were counsel for the plaintiff, and Mr. Overend
, Q. C., was for the defendant.
It appeared that the plaintiff was a person who had long passed the period of juvenility, being 52 years of age, and the defendant was of a corresponding age; but their courtship had been a long one, having continued ever since the plaintiff was 17 or 18 years old, and although failing to result in a marriage, it had, in the earlier part of it, produced a child, a daughter, who was now 24 years of age. The reason given by the defendant for not fulfilling his engagement was, that it was to come off conditionally only on the death of his mother, and, unfortunately for the lovers, the old lady lived to the extreme limit of 99 years, dying only in the spring of last year; but the defendant refused to fulfill his engagement upon the tardy happening of this event, and pleaded the Statute of Limitations, to which the limited promise which he had at first made was replied, the statute beginning to run from the breach only, and not from the making of the promise.
The plaintiff was a dressmaker living at Appleby
, and the defendant a "statesman," or farmer, in that neighborhood.
The rather extraordinary necessity was forced upon the plaintiff of calling her illegitimate daughter to prove the promise to marry, and she stated that she had been put to school at Brough
, and always treated kindly by the defendant and his mother, the latter of whom they were to succeed in her house upon her death, and when her father and mother "got married." She spoke to a number of conversations with her father, containing expressions indicative of his intention to marry her mother.
The main dispute was about the value of the property of which the defendant was possessed, and of the enjoyment of which the plaintiff had been deprived by the breach of the promise to marry her, and the jury gave her 25 damages.