The marriage broke up over allegations of her husband's philandering and her drinking. Her estranged husband stopped paying her support when he learned she was supplementing her income with prostitution.
On August 30, 1888, Polly earned her doss money but spent it on a jolly new bonnet. She earned it again, and then drank it away. Around 1:30 am, she announced her intention of earning the money quickly so that she could have a bed for the night.
Then, she met Jack.