Monday, 12 August 2013

Today in the Pace case: 12 August 1928

Eighty-five years ago on this date, the last instalment of Beatrice Pace's six-part 'life story' appeared in the Sunday Express, the newspaper to which the rights to her autobiography had been sold (on the day after her acquittal for her husband's arsenic murder) for somewhat more than £3,000, which was then a substantial sum.

In the final episode, 'The Beginning of a New Life', Beatrice offered both some final comments on her marriage and a few insights into what--as the title suggested--her life had become.

Sunday Express, 12 Aug 1928, p. 12.

I realise better now that I have to talk about my life on paper, what my feelings towards my husband really were. They were those of a mother with a bad, unruly child much stronger than herself.
I see now that after a very few months I stopped feeling like a wife and began to feel like a mother.

Harry made me feel like that. His carelessness, his dumbness—even his meanness.

Like the meanness of a child who hoards cheep sweets and will neither give them away nor enjoy them himself—all forced me to feel that unless I mothered him he would be quite helpless.

I pitied Harry, I can see that now, and it occurs to me that perhaps he felt it at the bottom of his mind, and resented it.

It may be that I was mistaken to pity him, and that his man’s pride was hurt. It may be that he thought to himself, “Pity me, does she? I’ll show her who’s the best man here!” and perhaps, when his fury was on him, those thought made him more cruel.


You can imagine that with such a life my mind did not move much. We had no pleasures and no outings. As I have already said, I was never allowed to go to the cinema or the theatre, and, in any case, I was too shabby to have gone to either.

I had little time to myself, and all I could think about was my home and my children. They were part of my work, and a big part, but they were also my holiday. Worried and troubled as I was with them, seeing that they were so delicate owing to the way Harry treated me, and the lack of proper food, I don't know what I should have done without them. Theirs were the only smiles I saw at home.

I went to the seaside the other day. It was the first time in my life that I had ever seen the sea. The air was wonderful, and I felt better as soon as I began to breathe it in.


Since then the world has become a new place for me, and I have been living a life that I have sometimes found it difficult to believe real.

But now I know it is real, and I want once more to thank all those who have shown me sympathy, who have helped me with money or gifts or advice when I was in danger of losing my life.

Though I can never repay you all, I shall never forget any of you.

(Sunday Express, 12 August 1928, p. 12)
(For the other instalments in the series, click here.)

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