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Broadside ballad entitled 'The one pound two'


This ballad begins: 'Now, Maggy dear, I do declare, / You have been on the spree, / Where is my whole weeks' wages gone, / I pray now tell to me.'

This humorous conversation between a man, who is questioning how his wages are spent, and his wife, who explains it in full, is rather entertaining. It must have been amusing for the audience. It remains today as an illuminating list of household goods and maintenance and their expenses. It also reinforces, both for contemporary readers and those today, that a wife's role at the time, was in the home, while her husband was the working breadwinner. A further enlightening glimpse of women's education is also provided, as the wife is praised for good housekeeping and can reckon more than adequately.

Broadsides are often crudely illustrated with woodcuts - the earliest form of printed illustration, first used in the mid-fifteenth century. Inclusion of an illustration on a broadside increased its perceived value, especially among the illiterate. To keep costs down, publishers would normally reuse their limited stock of generic woodcuts.

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Probable period of publication: 1840-1850   shelfmark: L.C.1270(007)
Broadside ballad entitled 'The one pound two'
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