A Flute Playing Cobbler for Sale | texthistory

Originally posted on texthistory.

My research into wife selling continues to turn up bizarre incidents. This is one of my favourites, from the Dundee evening Telegraph of 28 November 1903, claims to relate to Manchester at the end of the 18th century:

“A woman, named Price, led her husband into the market place, and publicly proclaimed that she would dispose of him to the highest bidder.

The man, who seems to have regarded the matter as huge joke, then stated his accomplishments, which ranged from bootmaking to flute-playing, and the bidding commenced. Several offers were made, and he ultimately exchanged hands for a guinea, a par of fowls, and a new dress. ”

In Leeds the town crier was requisitioned to announce publicly the sale of her husband by Mrs…

via A Flute Playing Cobbler for Sale | texthistory.

Suez Canal: It Will Never Work


The disaster of the Indian mutiny in 1857 and the delays in getting news of it made people consider ways of improving contact between Europe and Asia. But when a ship canal in Suez was suggested, Lord Palmerston responded:

“For the last 15 years Her Majesty’ Government have used all the influence they possess at Constantinople and in Egypt to prevent that scheme from being carried into execution. It is an undertaking which, I believe, in point of commercial character, may be deemed to rank among the many bubble schemes that from time to time have been palmed upon gullible capitalists. I have been informed, on what I believe to be reliable authority, that it is physically impracticable, except at an expense which would be far too great to warrant any expectation of any returns. ”

It was not that he minded investors getting heir fingers burned if they ignored…

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