Friday, August 7, 2009
This isn't the first time, and it won't be the last, but I do enjoy seeing these ads. Here is the text:
A young man of 21, once rich, now poor (but respectable) and not so bad looking, wishes to form the acquaintance of a young lady or widow of not more than 25 years who has plenty of means at her command, and would use them to make a young man happy, with a view to matrimony. Address confidentially, for one week, enclosing carte de visite (if convenient), D. Duncan, Station C.
I think someone forgot to give this kid some important pointers about How To Marry a Rich Woman 101. Rule #1: it's probably a good idea to say that you are going to make her happy, not the other way around. Rule #2: face it, a young lady or widow who is 25 or younger with lots of money doesn't need to marry someone to make him happy. Or, at the very least, if she can't find someone any other way than through a matrimonial (which, as my research shows, was often the case), she would probably at the very least look for someone who says he's got an affectionate disposition and a kind heart and all those other appealing qualities that he completely leaves out. Jeez, Duncan, you might be respectable, but you're really not that smart, are you? Maybe that's why you were once rich and now poor. I hope, like the fellows from last week he's just being a bit tongue-in-cheek, but you can take it too far, you know!
Ads like this just tickle me to death, because one of the big things I'm talking about in my dissertation is how upset a lot of people were that matrimonials seemed to be all about money. As you all have seen, they weren't, but you can understand why observers would have been so horrified when you run across a man saying he doesn't want to get a job - he wants to marry a rich woman to make him happy.
Maybe it's a joke?
Having trouble reading the ads? Click one to enlarge!
©2009 Pam Epstein