This entertaining story begins: 'An account of the Comical Courtship between a Fishwife and a Haddie Carter, showing what past while in the Steam-Boat between Newhaven and Musselburgh'.
This broadside recounts how Peggy's illegitimate child, and lack of wedlock at the age of twenty-six, came between her and her only serious suitor, Sawny, who owned a fish stall. Although the tone and moral stance of the text is in quite bad taste today, it is revealing of attitudes of the time. Courtship, marriage, affairs, status and social consequences are all explored here.
This type of record gives the working-class layer of society a unique voice. Most types of formal historical record are kept to ensure ownership and power, and so are written by those in power. Although perhaps purely imaginary, here an 'ordinary' woman's life is exposed for perusal centuries later.
View Transcription | Download PDF Facsimile
Probable period of publication:
1830-1840 shelfmark: L.C.1268
View larger image