Due to other commitments I've had to write and post early today. This has been made easier by the insertion of newspaper articles written at the time, two of which I've included in the following excerpt:
My relationship with my mother was a mixture of admiration and shame and there were long periods when we were estranged so I don’t know what happened to her second husband, but on 29 May 1871, she married Henry Parsons at Deloraine[i], another union cemented by a shared dependence on alcohol. I had enough trouble trying to keep my own head above water as, unable to bring a living child into the world, my husband began to look to more fertile women and there was nothing I could do to steer my mother from her path of self destruction. Seven years later she died from a combination of alcohol and exposure. Her legs had finally given out on her after a day on the drink and she was unable to walk the distance to her home, her husband leaving her by the roadside as he had so many times before. This incident caught the sympathies of many in the district as can be seen by the following correspondence to the newspaper:
DEATH FROM EXPOSURE
To the Editor of the Examiner. Sir,- Can it really be true that we live in an enlightened age? One would hardly think it possible that a poor fellow creature should be left exposed to bitter cold and rain from ten o'clock on Sunday morning until the following day, not half a mile from a populous township, and notwithstanding the inclemency of the weather a much, frequented road. I refer to the unfortunate woman Redding, who was found dead near Deloraine on the 17th instant. Some persons passed by, one of whom gave information to the police respecting the unfortunate creature. Who is to blame for her death and how can the repetition of such a lamentable occurrence be avoided?
Yours faithfully, Justitle Soror Fides[ii]
(From our own Correspondent) One or two of your correspondents have been somewhat severe with reference to the death of the woman Parsons, or Gadsbury. The circumstances are briefly these: the woman had been drinking with her husband on the township during Sunday week, and started for home in the evening. On reaching the new cut to Chudleigh she refused to proceed further, and her husband left her as, according to his own statement, he had done a hundred times before. The police, on discerning her, did not consider her incapable and left her, imaging she would reach home safely. The coroner's jury evidently saw no inhumanity in the matter; the idea of the police being, that they were conferring a favour on the old woman by not apprehending her.[iii]
My mother died as she’d lived, tilting her nose at survival.