Wednesday, July 15, 2009
ADORED darling. - How dark my life without the light that you shed upon it, how cold without the warmth of your love! Dearest on earth, my heart languishes for the rich treasure of your love. Longing to see you, if no other news, will be this evening same place as last time. Kindly grant my request. Remember, sweet, noble soul, you are my everything in this wide world, and I press you in my arms as I worship you.
BEST BELOVED. - How shall I endure this separation when my heart screams for your dear, sweet angel face, which I miss immensely? I implore you, sunshine of my life, let me admire you. I assure you open arms with a heart full of love will welcome you, my beloved idol. God bless you, and believe me thousand tender thoughts are with you.
Yeah. That's what they say. I don't really have much to editorialize here; these two babies speak for themselves. I have an enormous amount of trouble taking these ads seriously; it's impossible for me not to be skeptical, and it's possible they were jokes. We know for sure that there were joke ads. But then again, even in the late nineteenth century when these ads were published people could get pretty, er, eloquent. Maybe someone really, really was this miserable and in love?
What I can say is that, as overwrought and flowery as this language might appear to us, it wouldn't have been entirely out of the ordinary in the 1890s when these were written. That is, not everyone talked like this - I suspect most people didn't - but while I think we can all agree no one today would ever say anything like this, back then, it was believable. Half the time I read these and think, "no friggin' way." And then I read them again and think, "I dunno, maybe." What do you think?
ETA: I just have to give credit where credit is due: one thing I had considered about these two ads is that they might be code for something, but I didn't give much thought to it. However, one commentator below came up with what I think is a brilliant possible interpretation. True or not, it's worth checking out.
Having trouble reading the ads? Click one to enlarge!
©2009 Pam Epstein