Jumping off the balcony of your hotel room into the Grand Canal is not exactly the conventional way to behave on one's honeymoon, but that is exactly what George Eliot's husband, John Cross, did on the morning of June 16th, 1880.
The newlyweds were staying at the Grande Albergo l'Europa (today, the Palazzo Giustinian). Cross leapt with such strength that he sailed over the gondolas, which were moored below, and landed in the middle of the Grand Canal. No real harm was done, as he was swiftly rescued by the gondolier who had been rowing the couple around Venice for the previous twelve days.
Cross's suicide attempt did not come completely out of the blue. Eliot had noticed that her husband had been losing a great deal of weight and that his mood had become agitated and depressed (not really the signs a woman wants to see in her husband during their honeymoon).
John Cross was two decades younger than his famous bride, the writer of Middlemarch, one of the greatest novels in the English language. Eliot, who had become Mrs John Cross, summoned her brother-in-law to join them and the honeymoon continued in Verona.
The marriage only lasted seven months, for Eliot died on December 22nd, 1860, a month after her sixty-first birthday.
Blogging about Venice:
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My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England.
Since 200I I have been living in Italy, where I run private tours of Florence, Rome &
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