(as indeed she had, very often), and that she never knew in his lifetime how the money went, but that if he had confided in her they might all have been better off that day; with other bitter recollections common to most married ladies, either during their coverture
, or afterwards, or at both periods.
Hee, after EVE seduc't, unminded slunk Into the Wood fast by, and changing shape To observe the sequel, saw his guileful act By EVE, though all unweeting, seconded Upon her Husband, saw thir shame that sought Vain covertures
; but when he saw descend The Son of God to judge them, terrifi'd Hee fled, not hoping to escape, but shun The present, fearing guiltie what his wrauth Might suddenly inflict; that past, return'd By Night, and listning where the hapless Paire Sate in thir sad discourse, and various plaint, Thence gatherd his own doom, which understood Not instant, but of future time.
The final essay, "Coverture
and Women's Agency: Informal Modes of Resistance to Legal Patriarchy" examines the lives of eight women in England and America, ranging from a Lancashire governess to the wife of a US president, to show how wives thought of property as belonging to them, despite the often brutal reality of coverture
Case declares, Beard "did not consider in any detail the possible influence of their personal experience as members of the distinct group of males who had an economic interest, through the laws of coverture
, in the labor and property of the women in their families." (49) She points out that because many framers derived their fortunes from the women in their family, their male constitution permitted men to control property they did not earn.
Calvo, Spouse-Based Immigration Laws: The Legacies of Coverture
, 28 SAN DIEGO L.
prevented a wife from suing her husband, except by a next friend for divorce, and spousal immunity kept her from civil remedies against her abuser altogether.
Although the doctrine of coverture
subsumed Eunice's legal identity to that of her husband, as it did to all married women in the early nineteenth century, from the very outset of their marriage Eunice resisted James's attempts to assert control in family matters.
As her black body testifies to a legacy of slavery, her white body evokes the tradition of marital coverture
, according to which wives "could not make contracts, become autonomous parties to lawsuits, retain earnings...create separate wills, travel without permission, refuse sexual relations, claim separate residences, or retain custody of children after divorce or separation" (VanBurkleo 11).
Dolan argues that there are three major images through which marriage is discussed in the early modern period: the Christian model of "one flesh," the common law notion of coverture
in which husband and wife are one person, and the comic tradition of marital dispute and shrewish wives, where equality leads to conflict.
Nevinson's extended preface deals in the Shavian manner not with the play as such but with its subject which, somewhat surprisingly in view of the controversy still raging, was not the indignities inflicted on those admitted to the workhouse (mentioned here briefly) but the "ridiculous and antiquated law of coverture
" that assumed a woman to be the responsibility of her nearest male relative.
1571 (1996); Williams, supra note 31; Joan Williams, Is Coverture
(5) This was called coverture
, and the wife was termed a feme covert, because the identity of the wife was "covered" by the husband.