35 years in a wedding dress: the story of a love-crazed Eliza Donnithorne
Categories: HistoryBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/article/35-years-in-a-wedding-dress-the-story-of-a-love-crazed-eliza-donnithorne.html
Eliza Emily Donnithorne could have lived a happy and peaceful life, but instead she spent more than 35 years in seclusion and died of a heart attack, being completely alone.
Why Eliza deliberately decided to isolate herself from people and why she wore a wedding dress for 35 years, read our material.
Eliza Emily Donnitor was born into a fairly wealthy family. Her father held a senior position in the East India Company, and her mother took care of the comfort of the house. Eliza's childhood was happy. From a young age, the girl showed interest in science and creativity, was inquisitive and active. Her parents had high hopes for her.
When Eliza was 11 years old, a disaster happened in the Donnitor family – as a result of a cholera epidemic, her mother and two older sisters died. The girl and her father were grieving over the loss. Eliza became withdrawn, aloof, and her relationship with her father worsened every day. Soon James Donnithorne moved to Sydney, and left his daughter in the care of his son and his wife. Only a few years later, the girl returned to her father. They settled in Cambridge Hall, a chic mansion in the center of Newtown (a suburb of Sydney).
When Eliza turned 24, her father began to worry about her personal life. He found his daughters worthy suitors – almost all came from rich families. But the girl flatly refused to marry not for love. Soon she met "the one".
Eliza's chosen one turned out to be an employee of the shipping company George Cuthbertson – a guy from a simple family. They met at St. Stephen's Anglican Church in Newtown and immediately liked each other. Since George and Eliza belonged to different classes, they had to hide their relationship. They conducted secret correspondence, and when the girl's father left the city, they arranged romantic dates at her home. Soon James Donnithorne realized that his daughter was having an affair. And when he found out with whom, he forbade her to maintain any ties with her lover. Naturally, her father's ban only strengthened Eliza's desire to be with George. Then my father tried another way…
James Donnithorne allowed his daughter to openly maintain a relationship with her chosen one in the hope that the feelings would subside and the "sweet couple" would break up. But the opposite happened: George Cuthbertson, having plucked up the courage, made a marriage proposal to Eliza. Of course, she agreed.
The whole district was following the further development of events. Everyone was wondering what the wedding would be like. Someone said that George only wanted money from Eliza, someone said that he proposed to marry her to spite his father, who had always disliked him. It is not known for certain whether there was a mercenary intent in this act. But, anyway, the groom did not come to the wedding…
Eliza waited for George at the altar until the last moment. The girl ordered to leave the festive table untouched, and the gate was ajar, hoping that the groom would appear at any moment and they would start the ceremony. But not an hour later, not a day later, not even a month later, he did not appear. Why-remains a mystery. Some historians suggest that the guy was just scared, others think that Mr. Donnitor could have bribed the young man and persuaded him not to marry his daughter. There were suggestions that the guy was killed…
These events affected Eliza's mental state: the girl locked herself in her room in a wedding dress and stopped contacting the outside world. About a year later, her father died, and his huge fortune passed to her. But Eliza, having become the rightful mistress of the house, ordered all the windows to be boarded up and no one was allowed to see her. Soon she dismissed all the servants, leaving only one person who made purchases. So, alone, Eliza Emily Donnitor spent the next 35 years.
In 1886, at the age of 65, Eliza died of a heart attack. According to legend, at that moment she was wearing the same wedding dress. This fact became very symbolic for the residents of the town, people said: "Mr. Donnithorne's daughter died of a broken heart."
The tragic story of Eliza turned into a famous Australian legend, which was later inspired by the writer Charles Dickens, who created the character of Miss Havisham — the heroine of the novel "Great Hopes". She was also left alone at the altar and did not take off her wedding dress for the rest of her days. There are rumors that the writer was acquainted with a woman who witnessed the sad events of those days. It was she who told him the story of Eliza Donnitor, which he decided to perpetuate in his book. Later, a series of the same name was filmed based on the novel by Charles Dickens.
Why do you think the groom didn't really come? By the way, we told another mysterious story about a modern Chinese wedding – the groom's mother recognized her lost daughter in the bride.