A Present for Hubby: 1907

Hubby Gets to Wear ‘Em.

“Here’s a new racket that the Cleveland women seem to be working a good deal lately,” said a local jeweller yesterday. “They bring in all the old rings, stick pins, and other junk of that sort that they have received since they were little kids from their various sweethearts, and have the gold melted up into one ring.

“Some of them have them set with a little diamond or pearl, or some other stone, and others just have them plain. Of course a married woman doesn’t like to wear a ring that was given to her by one of her earlier sweethearts, and lots of them have several rings of that sort lying about in their jewelry cases. By having them all melted up into a composite souvenir, the rings all lose their identity, and the husband can have no reason for any tinge of jealousy. In fact one woman came in the other day and had all the rings that she had collected from her old sweethearts melted up and made into a ring to give to her husband for his birthday present.

“Since then whenever I sell a ladies’ ring to a young chap, I wonder where the ring will finally end up. If every young man stopped to think of such things, I’m afraid we jewellers would see our trade falling off.” Plain Dealer [Cleveland, OH] 11 October 1907: p. 6

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: The jeweller’s remark that young ladies have “several rings of that sort” in their jewel cases from “various sweethearts” is a stinging indictment of the Girl of the Period and her fast ways. It may be that the gentlemen are more sentimental about sweetheart rings than the ladies. Here are two anecdotes:

Sir Frederick Treves, the surgeon, told the following: Among the wounded brought in one day from Potgeiter’s Drift was a man who held something in his closed hand. He had kept this treasure in his hand for some eight hours. He showed it to the Sister. It was a ring. He said, ‘My girl gave me this ring, and when I was hit I made up my mind the Boers should never get it, so I have kept it in my hand ready to swallow it if I was taken before our stretchers could reach me.” Anecdotes of Soldiers in Peace and War, J.H. Settle, 1905

On visiting the naval hospital in the Crimea one morning, Sir Harry [Keppel, British Admiral] found a sailor carving a heart on a ring which had been made from the poor fellow’s own thigh bone, previously amputated! When asked what he was going to do with the ring, the gallant tar replied, “I’m going to send it to my girl, sir.” Black and White Budget, Volume 3, 1900

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