The Last Days of Darrell Figgis (2)

Darrell Figgis did not have a long life, it tragically ended when he was only 43, his last days marred with tragedy. A sad series of events that began a year before his death left those who knew him well not completely surprised, when his lifeless body was found by a housemaid in a Bloomsbury bedsit, London in October 1925.

After the breakup of his marriage a few years beforehand it seemed that his life began to slowly unravel. The tensions of the Revolutionary years along with physical and personal attacks not to mention long periods of incarceration all took a toll on the lives of the Figgis’. All that and the possible discovery that her husband proved too much for Millie.

Sometime afterward the break up of their marriage Figgis met dancer Rita North, who more than twenty years his junior, she became his constant companion and then his lover. It is impossible to say if that his affair with the young woman was the last straw for Millie. One November night in 1924 she hired a taxi to take her to the ominous spot of the Hell Fire Club in the Dublin Mountains. She did not get there, just before the cab left the outskirts of the city, Millie took out a gun, put it to her head and pulled the trigger. She did not die straight away but was taken to the Meath Hospital, where Emily once worked. She lasted the night but died the next day.

Figgis somehow put the pieces of his life back together. His relationship with his mistress continued. They were free now to marry if they wanted to but that was not to be. Within the year both she and he would be dead.

In October 1925 the couple arrived in London. Her with a secret Figgis claimed that he did not know. When she eventually told him she had already booked into a hospital to have a termination. Illegal in those days, when besides such an operation carried serious risk. unfortunately the risky operation proved fatal. She quickly developed toxemia and peritonitis and died as a result. Figgis was called as a witness in the inquest but he too died before the verdict:

“…Peritonitis following an artificial abortion, but there was not sufficient evidence how the abortion was procured.”

Birmingham Daily Gazette 20 November 1924
Birmingham Daily Gazette 28 October 1925
Hendon & Finchley Times 06 November 1925