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One last before I go

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I'm about to head out for a 10-day trip to Portugal and Amsterdam, but wanted to leave you all with one last post to ponder until I get back - at which time I will launch this blog's big debut!

This one reminds me a lot of Charlie's ad, but for reasons I can't explain I'm more inclined to believe this one's for real. The image is very hard to read, unfortunately, but the transcription is below:

Not intended to be "cruel words." That note seemed to strongly confirm what had been told me. My mind could not help realizing that it might be so, while my heart could not believe you so changed. My faith says, "you still truly love and will be faithful to me in this world and the next and would become mine if permitted to decide your duty uninfluenced by the prejudices of others."

Physicians of the highest reputation and clergymen of your own denomination fully endorse my view.

When convinced that your present idea of duty is wrong, and your fears groundless, I believe you will become mine. Is it not so? Write soon. Try to see me at least once. You will never regret it. Darmstadt.

I can't figure out where the names come from - Boulogne is a city in France and Darmstadt is a city in Germany - that's the best I can find.

In any case, love this ad, almost as much as I love Bertram's. There's something very touching and poignant about it. I wish I could find out it if Boulogne ever came around and whether or not she and Darmstadt lived happily ever after. That's really the hardest part of this project, for me: the not knowing. Partly because I want to know, but even more because it gets me emotionally involved in my own topic. It's hard to write good history when you get invested in the people you're writing about.

That aside, the thing that strikes me about ads like this one, as well as pretty much all the "correspondences," is the willingness of the players to put these things out into the open. I mean, if it's real, it's almost like walking out in a public place completely naked. Sure, nobody knows who you are (presumably), but that doesn't mean they're not staring and that you're not exposing yourself to the whole world.

The newspaper this comes from had a national circulation; it one of the largest papers in the country at the time. If this was real - and I like to believe it was - someone just put himself (I assume it was a "he") on display for the world to see. If it was real, it was truly an act of bravery, of true love and devotion...and this is where I get attached to my subjects, and want to believe in them. If it's a fake, I feel like I've been betrayed.

Just imagine for a moment, however, that you're a reader of this paper (perhaps a starry-eyed girl) and you run across this ad while perusing the personals. How would you react?

I guess I'm just a romantic at heart.

©2009 Pam Epstein


Ms Avery June 20, 2009 at 1:13 PM  

Any idea what he means by the reference to physicians?

Pam June 20, 2009 at 2:48 PM  

I think he's basically saying that everyone agrees you should be with the person you love no matter what. It is an odd statement, but I think he's trying to appeal to her apparent deference to authority figures.

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