If there was one type of story that the Victorians enjoyed as much as a good crime story, it was a tale of romance.
Indeed, sentimentality was a trait that featured time and time again in Victorian newspaper articles.
And, if a tale of romance could be tinged with tragedy, then so much the better for the Victorian reading public!
One such story, that delivered just the right mix of romance and tragedy appeared in many newspapers in March, 1889.
The following version of the story is from The Shields Daily Gazette, of Friday, 15th March, 1889:-
MARRIAGE AND DEATH ON A SLEIGH
A REMARKABLE STORY
“Canadian mail news to hand brings a report of an extraordinary marriage, followed immediately after by the death of the bridegroom, the story being one of love, constancy, death, and mystery.
Mr Ralph B. Husson, the son of a gentleman of a large estate in England, having a mansion in Brighton, and a town residence in Loudon, went out to Canada two years ago for the benefit of his health, and resided at Montreal, where he fell in love with Miss Mary Mulcahy, who is described as a simple and modest girl.
He pressed the young lady to marry him and accompany him to England, but the mother objected on the ground of her youth, and he returned to London last year.
HIS HEALTH GREW WORSE
Shortly after, Husson fell into a decline.
The best physicians were consulted, and he was told that he must take the utmost care of himself.
He corresponded regularly with his fiancee, and the marriage was fixed for today, the 15th of March.
But the decline deepened, and Mr Husson, feeling that his end was approaching, determined to brave the winter storms of the Atlantic and go out to marry the young lady.
HE WOULD NOT SURVIVE THE VOYAGE
In vain, it is stated, the father, who idolised his son, dissuaded, and the family doctor warned him that he would not survive the voyage.
He was not to be denied.
HE HEADED FOR NEW YORK
Early last month, accompanied by his father, the doctor, a priest, and a friend of the family, he started from England for New York, and arrived there after a rough voyage.
Mr. Husson was in a dying state, and Miss Mulcahy was telegraphed to at Montreal to be sure and meet the New York train at Bonaventura Station, as Mr Husson was going to be on there.
Miss Mulcahy did so, and she found Husson as pale as death.
AN AFFECTING MEETING
The meeting between the lovers was affecting.
The party got into sleighs, and were driving off to Mrs Mulcahy’s house when Husson became livid, and gasped for breath.
THEY WERE MARRIED IN THE SLEIGH
It was felt that he was dying, and in that solemn and tragic moment, he motioned that the priest should many them.
Miss Mulcahy, who was greatly overcome, consented, and there, in the open sleigh, in the cold air, “without,” as the account says, “altar or flowers,” Mr Husson and Miss Mulcahy were made man and wife.
Two minutes afterwards, Mr Husson fell back in the sleigh dead.
DETAILS OF WHAT TRANSPIRED
Mrs. Mulcahy, the bride’s mother, gave details reluctantly.
The two were married, she said, just as the party came out of the railway station.
Husson’s father, she said, is one of the richest men in London, and would allow the young widow an income to keep her.
THE MYSTERY OF THE CORPSE
Mrs. Mulcahy added that she knew nothing about the corpse, but she supposed that the father took it home to England.
He had been angry because the bride would not go back to England with him, and told her mother nothing.
No intelligence of the removal of the body could be gained at the railway stations, and the deceased’s name could not be found in the list of burials, though it was explained that there could be an interment the “Cotes des Neiges” Cemetery without the death being first registered and the three days allowed for notice of same had not expired at the time that the inquiries were made.
NO UNDERTAKERS HAD BEEN INVOLVED
Seven of the leading undertakers had been questioned, but not one of them had supplied a coffin for the person named, and extreme anxiety was shown to know what had become of the body of Mr. Husson.
The marriage and death were advertised in the Gazette Montreal as having taken place on the 25th February, the wedding notice stating that it took place at the bride’s home, but this is denied.
A detective was engaged in the case.”