Monday, November 25, 2013
Lady Cathcart A Woman Done Wrong Who Had The Last Laugh
The strange disappearance of Lady Cathcart, whose fourth husband was Hugh Maguire, an officer in the Hungarian service, is an extraordinary instance of a wife being, for a long term of years, imprisoned by her own husband without any chance of escape. It seems that, soon after her last marriage, she discovered that her husband had only made her his wife with the object of possessing himself of her property, and, alarmed at the idea of losing everything, she plaited some of her jewels in her hair and others in her petticoat. But she little anticipated what was in store for her, although she had already become suspicious of her husband's intentions towards her. His plans, however, were soon executed; for one morning, under the pretence of taking her for a drive, he carried her away altogether: and when she suggested, after they had been driving some time, that they would be late for dinner, he coolly replied, "We do not dine to-day at Tewing, but at Chester, whither we are journeying."
Some alarm was naturally caused, writes Sir Bernard Burke, "by her sudden disappearance, and an attorney was sent in pursuit with a writ of habeas corpus or ne exeat regno, who found the travellers at Chester, on their way to Ireland, and demanded a sight of Lady Cathcart. Colonel Maguire at once consented, but, knowing that the attorney had never seen his wife, he persuaded a woman to personate her.
The attorney, in due time, was introduced to the supposed Lady Cathcart, and was asked if she accompanied Colonel Maguire to Ireland of her own free will. "Perfectly so," said the woman. Whereupon the attorney set out again for London, and the Colonel resumed his journey with Lady Cathcart to Ireland, where, on his arrival at his own house at Tempo, in Fermanagh, his wife was imprisoned for many years."
During this period the Colonel was visited by the neighbouring gentry, "and it was his regular custom at dinner to send his compliments to Lady Cathcart, informing her that the company had the honour to drink her ladyship's health, and begging to know whether there was anything at table that she would like to eat? But the answer was always the same, "Lady Cathcart's compliments, and she has everything she wants."
Fortunately for Lady Cathcart, Colonel Maguire died in the year 1764, when her ladyship was released, after having been locked up for twenty years, possessing, at the time of her deliverance, scarcely clothes to her back. She lost no time in hastening back to England, and found her house at Tewing in possession of a Mr. Joseph Steele, against whom she brought an act of ejectment, and, attending the assize in person, gained her case.
Although she had been so cruelly treated by Colonel Maguire, his conduct does not seem to have injured her health, for she did not die till the year 1789, when she was in her ninety-eighth year. And, when eighty years of age, it is recorded that she took part in the gaieties of the Welwyn Assembly, and danced with the spirit of a girl. It may be added that although she survived Colonel Maguire twenty years, she was not tempted, after his treatment, to carry out the resolution which she had inscribed as a poesy on her wedding ring.
If I survive
I will have five.
Compiled From Sources In The Public Domain.
Ladies who are abducted and prevail...and those who do not, figure prominently in the plot of Shadows In A Timeless Myth.
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Smiles & Good Fortune,
It is not wealth one asks for, but just enough to preserve one’s dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, frank and independent. W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) Of Human Bondage, 1915