Saturday, February 14, 2015

Saturday Spotting - Cupid and Cash

Published in November of 1898 in the New York Herald out of New York, New York
Sued for Breach of Promise, Abraham Levy Demands $300 as a Preliminary to Marriage.
Miss Messinger Says She Is Still Ready to Wed, but That Her Feelings Are Lacerated.
Bride Elect, Who Became a Valentine, Asks a Golden Salve for Wounded Feelings.
As an indication of the ruling market price for husbands, no less than of the devious methods of Cupid in some instances, certain statements made by Abraham Levy in an affidavit may be of value. Annie Messinger has, brought suit against him for breach of promise of marriage. In answer he admits the promise, but sets up breach of contract, declaring that Miss Messinger had agreed to pay him $300 four weeks before the date set for the wedding. Failing to receive this, Mr. Levy declined to fulfill his promise.
     That a mere matter of finance should thrust itself between two hearts which seemed destined to beat as one, is sad enough, but the papers in the case breathe such a unified desire that the separation, not to speak of the young woman’s demand for $50,000 damages, seems a hollow satire. Both parties proclaim their willingness to enter matrimony, but each points to the others obduracy and calls for judgment.
     According to Miss Messinger’s lawyer, Jacob S.  Straht, the young persons met at an entertainment two years ago. Miss Messinger is twenty-three years old and Mr. Levy is twenty-six. There was from the first a mutual attraction and the courtship flourished.
     Ignoring those early days when all the world seemed gay, Miss Messinger, in her complaint, speaks of February 14 last as the day when she intrusted her heart, a fluttering valentine, to Abraham’s keeping on his promise of marriage. Upon consultation, she says, June 7 was named as the date for the ceremony, and preparations were made with that in view. And when that summer day dawned and faded, she declares, she was “ready and willing” to approach the altar with Abraham Levy, who “neglected and refused” to redeem his alleged pledge, to her distress of mind and the laceration of her feelings. Wherefore she prays $50,000 damages.
     There is no evidence that Mr. Levy is possessed of this sun; indeed, there is ground for believing that he has it not. But gallantry, or something, forbids him to deny the possession of such wealth. He contents himself with denying Miss Messinger’s allegations, as stated, and then begs her to hark back to the roseate days of August, 1896.
HE WANTS $300.
     There was then, he says, an agreement in writing that they two should marry, and “in consideration of that promise,” he declares. Annie “agreed to give him, at least four weeks prior to the date set for the marriage the sum of $300,” which she refused, and, he adds plaintively, “still refuses.”
     Just why the bride to be was to pay $300 cash in advance is not disclosed, but Mr. Levy’s perseverance in demanding it is noteworthy. To further illustrate his adherence to principle, he declares that he is “ready and willing,” using Miss Messinger’s precise terms, to contract the marriage, should the lady comply with her agreement and give him “said sum.”
     Speaking for Miss Messinger, Mr. Stahl denied the existence of any monetary agreement. Mr. Levy once before, he said, broke his promise to Miss Messinger, but renewed it at the solicitation of his own family. So far had matters progressed he asserted, that a hall at No. 62 Pitt street had been engaged for the ceremony and a joint bank account was started by the young persons.
     But now, alas, Miss Messinger wants nothing less than $50,000 to remain single, and Mr. Levy demands at least $300 to become married.

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