"It is only for the last forty-eight years that Mrs Seton has had a penny of her own"
'The Proposal' (1860) - a painting by Alfred W. Elmore (1815-1881)
Public Domain'The Proposal' (1860) - a painting by Alfred W. Elmore (1815-1881) - Credit: Alfred W. Elmore

This is a reference to the Married Women's Property Act of 1882 which reformed the law regarding married women's property rights. Prior to this date, women's property had passed automatically to their husbands when they married.