5 More Times Love Conquered AllOn February 3, 2021 by Elyse
Who doesn’t love a good love story at this time of year? If you couldn’t get enough of last year’s unpronounceable surnames and coffin-themed pickup lines, you’re in luck. As an early Valentine’s Day present, Second Glance History is bringing you a new assortment of chocolates, er, stories with unexpected fillings. Whether you’re googly-eyed over your significant other or ranting about the commercialization of holidays, there’s something for every palate.
A young Belgian, named Deneck. . . was engaged to Celeste Voison, the pretty daughter of a Bethune peasant, and the wedding was fixed at the mayor’s office. Relatives and guests assembled, and the pair stood side by side before the mayor.
♪ Here comes the bride, all dressed in white. . . ♪
When, however, the mayor was about to pronounce the words which would have made them man and wife, Deneck yawned. The mayor had never seen a would-be bridegroom yawn, and he stopped the service.
At this point, for those of you old enough to remember them, please imagine a record scratch.
Deneck yawned again, and angry whispers were heard among the relatives. Then Deneck relieves the tension.
. . . By apologizing and chugging the coffee he had stashed away in his suit, right? If only.
“I have thought better of it,” he said. “And I do not think I want to marry at all.” Then he started to leave.
This is the long-awaited prequel to “Runaway Bride:” Sleepy Groom.
But he had reckoned without the Voison family. Celeste rushed after him, and smote him in the ear with all the force of her dimpled fists. Her three brothers followed suit, and pummelled the recalcitrant lover until he shrieked for mercy, and pleaded to be allowed to marry the girl.
Finally he was rescued by the mayor and his clerk, and taken to hospital. He is now taking proceedings against the Voison family.– The Evening Express, June 22, 1905
Maybe true love didn’t exactly win in this case. However, since no one in this story appears to have been in love, it didn’t lose either.
The scene opens on “a young ploughman on a farm north of Blairgowrie [Australia]” on his wedding day. Lights, camera, action:
The local police, however, received information that the bridegroom was “wanted” on a charge of theft, and fully half an hour before the time fixed for the wedding he was arrested, and conveyed to the lock-up passing the minister who was to have married him en route.
Dun dun dun!
The articles he is alleged to have stolen are a gold brooch and a gold ring, but he emphatically denied any knowledge of them. Inspector Small and Constable McBean visited the bride at her home, and asked her to show them her presents, which she proceeded to do, being ignorant of her intended’s arrest. Among the presents were the brooch and ring reported to have been stolen, and these were taken possession of by the police.
Is she devastated that he lied to her? Flattered that he turned to a life of crime to support her expensive tastes? Miffed that he regifted?
When told that her lover had been arrested on a charge of stealing them the bride gave way for a time to uncontrolled grief, and later on called at the Police Office and asked that the marriage be allowed to be proceeded with in the cells. Needless to say, this request was refused, but during the evening the accused was liberated on bail of £3, and the couple proceeded direct to the manse. . . where the knot was duly tied.– The New Zealand Times, February 13, 1904
What’s a little light larceny when it comes to true love? No word on if the next ring he gave her was acquired honestly. If not, we can all look forward to the sequel, where the police will surely interrupt the newlywed’s honeymoon as well.
On August 6, 1901, the RRS Discovery departed from the Isle of Wight in the UK and sailed to Antarctica, an important chapter in the humbly named Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. No wonder a young man named William Weller gave up his job with the London Fire Brigade to join the crew and take care of the ship’s dogs. However, on the three-year British National Antarctic Expedition, he did far more than support the team’s geographical and scientific findings and chase penguins:
When the vessel called at New Zealand on the return voyage festivities were arranged for the crew, and Mr. Weller was introduced to the daughter of a wealthy sheep ranch owner. A feeling of affection sprang up, and the young couple were married before the Discovery left. Mr. Weller was bound to return to England, and after visiting his family at Whitstable he sailed on Saturday by the New Zealand Shipping Company’s Ruapehu to re-join his bride, and become a rancher.– The Weekly Mail, November 12, 1904
An extremely long-distance relationship? Inhospitable weather? Culture shock? That niggling feeling that “wealthy” sheep ranch owner was a significant detail? Love had its work cut out for it on this one.
Divorce court records contain no case more peculiar than that of Mrs. Sarah Alley-White, now a resident of the Indian Territory. It seems that in 1842 this lady, who was then some years younger than she is at present, allowed her affections to be won by a certain William White. Where the winning was done is not made clear in the account now at hand, but it was undoubtedly a charming romance, and unconventional in that it ended, so far at least as the preliminary stages were concerned, in a wedding, to whose solemnization nobody made any objection.
After a while Mr. White mysteriously disappeared, a fact which his wife, who knew her own value, took as clear proof of his death, and in due course of time she set her affections again and on Mr. G. D. Alley. That was in 1858. Mr. Alley remained visible until 1881, when he too disappeared, not mysteriously, however, but under a coffin lid, and was buried in the regular and respectable way. Years went on and Mrs. Alley remained faithful to Mr. Alley’s memory as a good provider and a man who observed the conventionalities of life.
Last summer Mrs. Alley learned that Mr. White did not wither away in loneliness quite so quickly as she had supposed. Instead he had lingered along rather robustly , in some out of the way place, until the [Civil War] broke out. He enlisted, fought more or less nobly, and was finally killed in battle.
Instantly Mrs. Alley remembered that if she had remained Mrs. White she would be entitled to a pension. Almost as instantly it occurred to her that she had ever really been Mrs. White, and she flew to the United States Judge at Muscogee to have her second marriage declared null and void, in other words, nonexistent.
The Judge took his time, but reached a decision this month. It was in her favor, and now the rehabilitated Mrs. White had applied for her pension, with every chance of getting it, so her lawyers say.– The New York Times, quoted in the Progressive Farmer, August 10, 1897
Admittedly, this is less of a win for love and more for bureaucracy and revenge. Still, someone triumphed in the end, so let’s not split hairs.
Once in a while, fake news, er, love conquers an inconvenient truth.
The story had got abroad that Goss, a Crimean veteran, of 78, was to marry an old sweetheart, and a large crowd gathered to see the ceremony.
It was a slow news day, and the precursors to the paparazzi needed something to do.
Disappointment awaited them, however. The clergy and officials had just told the people that no such wedding was to take place, when a strange thing happened. An Army veteran named Borret [Editor’s note: not to be confused with “Borat”], proudly displaying a row of medals, walked up to the church, accompanied by his wife, and the crowd, making certain that this was the bride and bridegroom they had come out to see cheered them heartily and followed them into the church. The people declined to accept the assurance that Mr. and Mrs. Borret had come on the same mistaken errand as themselves.
Faithful readers of Second Glance History know that bad things can happen in cases of mistaken identity. Fortunately, Mr. Borret’s evil twin wasn’t in the crowd that day.
The old soldier and his wife were taken into the vestry, and after a while left by a side entrance. Once outside, they were surrounded by the excited crowd, who, thinking that the marriage had actually taken place, clapped the old man on the back and cheered loud and long.– The Flintshire Observer, July 8, 1909
There appears to have been much love in the crowd that day, even if it was given under false pretenses. Here’s hoping the Borrets scored some free wedding gifts out of the confusion.
Can’t get enough of love? Click here for more charming stories highlighting the appallingly low bar for romance in the early 20th century.
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Disclaimer: The modern era is far from the first to grapple with rampant “fake news.” As I am neither a historian nor journalist, I make no claims about the accuracy or lack thereof of the above sources. I assert only that they make for a good story.
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About This Blog
Welcome to Second Glance History! This blog seeks to uncover the people and the stories forgotten by history and give them another read through a modern lens. Join me every week as we examine the differences that divide and the common threads that connect the then to the now.