Haines, Matilda

Haines, Matilda       1883 May 12th

An inquest was held at the “Angel” hotel, Fisherton, on Tuesday morning, by the Deputy-Coroner (Mr W C Powning), on the body of Matilda Haines, aged 48, the wife of James William Haines, umbreller maker, of Water-lane – who died on Monday morning under the circumstances detailed in the evidence. Mr I Dare was foreman of the jury.

It appeared that Mrs Haines had not been in good health for some considerable time past. Mr Haines, in his evidence, said that her life had been gradually declining. She had not, however, been attended by a medical man for some years. On Sunday she came down for about half-an-hour in the middle of the day. She complained of pains in her chest and by her sides. The husband offered to fetch a doctor, but she requested him not to do so. During the night she suffered considerable pain. In the morning – at about six – her husband said he should fetch a doctor whether she wished it or no; and she replied “Very well.”

As he was about to leave the room she got out of the bed. He went downstairs and sent his daughter to her, but was immediately recalled by the latter. He then found his wife in the same position as he had left her, but dead. He did not at once go for a doctor –”for,” he said in his evidence, “all the doctors in the world could not call her back – poor thing!”

Shortly after he went to Dr Gordon; not, however, as Dr Gordon stated – to ask him to come to her, but to ask what he was to do and if he could give a certificate. He told him to go Mr Supt Mathews, at whose request he (the doctor) subsequently saw the body. He found the body not well nourished. Death was, however, due to a natural cause – failure of the heart’s action. Dr Gordon saw the deceased about five years ago, and she was then suffering from nervous debility and heart disease. They were – said the doctor – rather peculiar people. On that occasion the man did not call in assistance until almost the last; when he then made a statement as to “all the doctors not being able to do her any good.” He was not, however, surprised at her dying suddenly.

During the hearing the foreman said the husband should have called in medical advise even against the desire of his wife.

The jury returned a verdict of “Natural causes,” but expressed the opinion that the husband should have called in a doctor. The Deputy-Coroner (Mr Powning) repeated this opinion to Haines.

Haines, after hearing the remarks, said, “I don’t wish to hinder time with a reply.”

The Deputy-Coroner : It is not a matter, sir, for a reply. It is a matter in which the jury desire to warn you that it not your place to be a judge as to what medical aid can do.


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