MATRIMONY had long turned to acrimony.

"Her relations told me she would not come back even if I covered her in diamonds," John Astridge muttered.

The fact that he and his wife estranged wife Marquerite were in the same court room was remarkable in itself. It had taken her seven years to trace him and summon him.

Their relationship had been short and tempestuous underlining the old maxim of marry in haste, repent in leisure.

They had met when he was working as a barber in Jersey and she was living at home in Guernsey. She spent her £100 savings on wedding dress and he had nothing but little furniture which he had obtained on hire.

They settled in Jersey for three months but his business failed and selling it for a paltry £25, sought work on the mainland. Marguerite remained behind but heard nothing from him and with her suspicions intensifying each passing day she caught the ferry to Southampton.

But the High Court heard there was no make-up, just a break-up as they constantly bickered.

Within a week she was back at home, only to receive an ultimatum - come back to Southampton or accept five shillings a week.

She chose the latter. He replied by sending 10 shillings with a note asking for a receipt.

And that was the last letter she received.

Extraordinarily she could not trace him for seven years.

Accepting the marriage was over in all but name, she issued a summons against him for desertion but that was rejected because under law the separation had to be mutual.

So she tried a different approach and on March 19, 1910, she took him to the High Court for arrears of maintenance.

"I have never been happy with him," she admitted to Mr Justice Grantham. "Directly we got married he started grumbling at me and said I never did anything right. He burnt many of my valuable books and when I tried to save them, he pushed me against a table and the fall hurt me a lot."

She said that when she went to Southampton, she paid for their lodgings and their relationship worsened.

"During that time he quarrelled and one night produced a razor and threatened me. We struggled but after a time I got the razor off him. After that, he took me to the boat, saying that I had better go home until he could improve his position."

The judge then asked: "When you were before the magistrates, did your husband offer to make you a home?"

"No," she replied.

The judge then inquired: "If he had, would you have been willing to stay with him?"

Again she said no. "Not after the way he treated me."

Under cross-examination, she denied telling her husband that if she lived in such a big place as Southampton, she would have needed better accommodation than furnished rooms to live in.

"But it had been wrong of me to say it was his duty to provide a home. I would not have cared what the home was as long as he was not cruel to me."

She told the judge that her husband had found work as a hairdresser on the SS Paul and had also been employed at the Philharmonic Hall in Southampton.

She lamented: "I loved my husband when we were married but he taunted me about a previous engagement and was cruel to me."

Naturally Astridge resented her accusations, adamant he had not been cruel nor had he threatened her with a razor.

"At the end of those five days she worried me so much I let her get back to Guernsey. I had to acquiesce the reason and she told me she didn't like the people in Southampton."

He said his job provided only £2 a week, half of which he paid his mother for lodgings.

"And what about your wife? What does she live on?" the judge asked him, to which he replied: " I don't know, I didn't give her anything because she would not come and I heard about her behaviour in Guernsey.

The judge eventually came down on Marquerite's side, granting her an order for £78 with costs, telling the warring couple: "This is a most unfortunate case."