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money offered with each, proportioned to what it was thought she stood
in need of to bribe a husband to accept her. When a man offered to
accept of any of them, on the terms upon which she was exposed to sale,
the crier proclaimed that such a man had proposed to take such a woman,
with such a sum of money along with her, provided none could be found
who would take her with less; and in this manner the sale went on, till
she was at last allotted to him who offered to take her with the
smallest portion.--When this public sale was over, the purchasers of
those that were beautiful were not allowed to take them away, till they
had paid down the price agreed on, and given sufficient security that
they would marry them; nor, on the other hand, would those who were to
have a premium for accepting of such as were less beautiful, take a
delivery of them, till their portions were previously paid.
SALE OF A WIFE.
In England, the sale of a wife sometimes occurs, even at the present
day, of which the following is an example, from the Lancaster Herald.
"_Sale of a wife at Carlisle_--The inhabitants of this city lately
witnessed the sale of a wife by her husband, Joseph Thompson, who
resides in a small village about three miles distant, and rents a farm
of about forty-two or forty-four acres. She was a spruce, lively, buxom
damsel, apparently not exceeding twenty-two years of age, and appeared
to feel a pleasure at the exchange she was about to make. They had no
children during their union, and that, with some family disputes, caused
them by mutual agreement to come to the resolution of finally parting.
Accordingly, the bellman was sent round to give public notice of the
sale, which was to take place at twelve o'clock; and this announcement
attracted the notice of thousands. She appeared above the crowd,
standing on a large oak chair, surrounded by many of her friends, with a
rope or halter, made of straw, round her neck, being dressed in rather a
fashionable country style, and appearing to some advantage. The husband,
who was also standing in an elevated position near her, proceeded to put
her up for sale, and spoke nearly as follows:--'Gentlemen, I have to
offer to your notice my wife, Mary Anne Thompson, otherwise Williamson,
whom I mean to sell to the highest and fairest bidder. It is her wish as
well as mine to part for ever. I took her for my comfort, and the good
of my house, but she has become my tormentor and a domestic curse, &c.
&c. Now I have shown you her faults and failings, I will explain her
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