From the Carlow Post, 1857:
“An extraordinary case just occurred in Kingstown [now Dun Laoghaire] Police Court. It appears that a gentleman who recently held a commission in the 95th Foot was about to be married to a lady in that town. On passing through Birmingham, last week, he purchased jewellery to the value of about £45 or £50, and gave a draft on a London bank, in the name of Lord Charles Hay, and then proceeded to Ireland. The draft, on being presented in London, was declared to be worthless – the drawer not being known. The jeweller, with a Birmingham police officer then started for Kingstown, where the offender was discovered on Sunday morning last, suffering in a frightful manner from delirium tremens. He was arrested and brought to the police-office. Informations were taken, and, on his being identified, he was transmitted to Kilmainham, prison on remand, to be forwarded to Birmingham as soon as the fit was over. The young lady’s mother received so terrible a shock, almost on the eve of the day fixed for her daughter’s wedding, that she was struck with apoplexy, and died on Sunday afternoon. The gentleman was a Crimean officer.”
In an era in which marrying off one’s daughters was a second career for society women, a broken engagement could be nearly as traumatic for the mother of the bride as the bride herself. I wonder were the jewels a present for the wedding party – if so, the shock of losing them may also have contributed.
Some might think the young lady here had a lucky escape!