This article first appeared in the Cardiff Times on January 13th, 1934:
SUICIDE OF BRILLIANT WELSH AUTHORESS
Poignant Message Found on the Body
"I am killing myself because I have
never sincerely loved any human being all my life. I have
accepted kindness and friendship, and even love, without
gratitude and given nothing in return."
This was the poignant message left in a last letter by Miss Dorothy Edwards, the brilliant young Welsh authoress, whose mutilated body was found on the railway line near Caerphilly on Saturday.
The disclosure was made at the inquest at Caerphilly on Tuesday, when, after a verdict of "Suicide during temporary insanity" had been returned, the court stood in silence as an act of condolence with the relatives.
The inquest was conducted by Mr. Archibald Daniels, deputy coroner.
Evidence of identification was given by Dr. William Bertram Jones, of Cambridge Road, Middlesbrough, Miss Edwards's uncle, a consulting surgeon.
In answer to the coroner, he said Miss Edwards was 31 years of age, single and an authoress. He saw her about six months ago in London. At the time she was working very hard on a book she was writing. She was bright and showed no sign of any depression. He had never known her to suffer from fits of depression, and he had heard of nothing that would lead him to believe she was suffering from depression any more than anyone else. She was generally bright.
Richard Charles Rich, Railway-terrace,
Caerphilly, said that about 9.35 p.m. on Friday night last he was
leaving his house to go to work when a young lady came towards
him going in the direction of the allotments. She was
"pretty well-built," about 5ft 4in. in height, and wore
a fawn cape and dark hat. She was walking fast and looking ahead.
The girl, who was a stranger to him, did not speak.
The allotments ran alongside the railway and one could get to the line through the railings. He subsequently read in the Press that a young lady had been found dead on the railway and thought the description given answered to that of the young lady he had seen.
David Lewis Jones, Penallta-Road, Ystradmynach, a timekeeper at the Wernddu Brickworks, Caerphilly, said he was walking along the railway to his work at 7.20 on Saturday morning when just below the goods shed he saw on the up line the body of a girl lying between the rails. He could see she was dead and informed the railway people.
Police-sergeant Alfred Smith said that as the result of a telephone message he went to the railway on Saturday morning and saw the body lying face downwards across the four footway, with the head towards Caerphilly Station. The body was removed on a stretcher to the mortuary at the Miners' Hospital, Caerphilly.
The sergeant handed the coroner a letter
which he said was protruding from the young lady's pocket. The
coroner perused the letter and asked Dr. Jones, the girl's uncle,
if he could say it was in Miss Edwards's handwriting. Dr Jones
replied, "I should think it is her handwriting."
The Coroner then read the note which is published above.
The Coroner observed that there was no address.
Continuing his evidence, Sergeant Smith said there were no shoes on the body, and no shoes had been found since.
He produced the following articles which were also found in Miss Edwards's possession. A small purse containing 4s.10d. in cash, a key, two bus tickets, and two pocket-knives. The body was later identified as that of Miss Dorothy Edwards, Pen-y-dre, Rhiwbina.
Dr. Edward Savage said that, receiving a message on Saturday morning, he went to the railway and saw the body as described by Sergeant Smith. Miss Edwards had been dead several hours. Her injuries included extensive abrasions on the right side of the face, there was a little haemorrhage from the right ear and nose, a small indentation in the temple regions and both great toes had been crushed. There was also injury to the spine.
The Coroner: Was there anything to indicate that an engine had gone over her? - Dr Savage: I think she must have been knocked down by an engine. Death was due to a fracture of the base of the skull, caused, in his opinion, by a passing train or vehicles.
Thomas Edwin Lewis, stationmaster, Caerphilly, gave evidence as to the trains that had passed the spot where the body was found between 9.35 p.m. Friday and 7.20 a.m. Saturday.
The Coroner, summing up, said it was a very sad case. He was satisfied in his own mind, having regard to the note which was found on the body, that Miss Edwards had determined to put an end to life and that she was determined to do that by throwing herself on the railway in front of a passing train. He thought from the description of the injuries received that there could be no doubt she was either struck, or knocked down by, in all probability, a train which passed at 10.34 p.m.
The only other thing he had to consider was the state of her mind at the time. He had come to the conclusion from the wording of the note that at the time she committed the act she was not of sound mind. He, therefore, returned a verdict that she committed suicide whilst of unsound mind.
The Coroner said he would like to express his sympathy with the relatives. Apparently Miss Edwards was a well-known authoress, who undoubtedly had a brilliant career before her, which unfortunately had been cut short. He felt sure that all present would like to express sympathy with the relatives in the bereavement they had suffered. The court thereupon, as stated, stood in silence.
SHORT STORY WRITER
Struck New Note in English Literature
By the death of Miss Dorothy Edwards,
Wales has lost one of her most promising writers of the younger
school. She was 31 years of age.
From Howell's School, Llandaff, she went to the University College, Cardiff, where she obtained her degree in Greek and philosophy.
Miss Edwards proceeded to Vienna to continue her studies. She wrote several short stories for magazines which later were collected and published in one volume under the title of "Rhapsody."
It was said by the leading critics that her work struck a new note in English literature. Her book attracted much attention, both in this country and in America when it appeared in 1927, and she was hailed as one of the three great writers of the year.
Her next work, which was eagerly awaited by the critics, was "Winter Sonata." This was also favourably received and revealed her a born writer of short stories.
It is understood that she was preparing a further book of short stories at the time of her death.
Dorothy Edwards had a strong Welsh nationalistic bent, and it was her avowed ambition to write a novel about Wales. Whether she achieved this ambition remains to be seen.
She travelled widely, and spent some time in Italy and Greece.
Miss Edwards, who did not go to school until she was eleven years of age, was the daughter of the late Mr. Edward Edwards, a schoolmaster, of Ogmore Vale, and of Mrs. Vida Edwards.
With her mother, who has been an invalid for a long period, Miss Edwards went to live at Pen-y-dre, Rhiwbina, soon after the death of her father, about thirteen years ago.
Her grandfather was the late Rev. Taliesin Jones, of Groeswen.
Speaking of Miss Dorothy Edwards, a
member of the firm which published her books said on Monday :-
"Miss Edwards had been in London for a month shopping and going to concerts and so on until about the beginning of the New Year. I had a note from her only a few days ago in which she sounded very cheerful.
"Before she left London she told me that she was returning to Cardiff and that she was taking a bungalow in which she would settle down to work on her book.
"Miss Edwards was highly gifted," he added, "but she was what she herself called a lazy worker. She took enormous pains, but that would not account for the long time which passed between the publication of her books. She found difficulty in settling down to work. Because she was conscious of this she was not willing to bind herself to a contract and accept an advance on royalties."