Thursday, August 13, 2009
One of the biggest difficulties in my dissertation is the fact that, of course, these ads are almost all anonymous. So it's virtually impossible to know whether or not they're sincere, and if they were, if anyone actually responded. I believe that you wouldn't find personals for decades in newspapers if they didn't have a pretty decent success rate, but there's a difference between my belief (which is, I think, a reasonable assumption) and actual fact.
So when I find ads like this one, I'm always pleased:
It says "Toronto. - If the young lady, Miss F.M., who answered the matrimonial advertisement from Toronto, will call at the Post office at that place, she will find letters and a parcel for her. C.J.J."
Obviously, one example of someone who answered an ad out of thousands that I've found is statistically worthless. But it's pleasant nonetheless. I looked quickly to see if I could find the matrimonial this refers to, but couldn't find it right away, and stopped trying; it'd be useful to know what C.J.J. said to see what solicited a reply. But it could have been from weeks prior and I don't have that much time to hunt it down. I do have a dissertation to finish here!
In any event, I wonder what the deal is. Did she respond once and then change her mind? He says he sent her letters (plural), which is odd; how many letters did he write her before posting this follow up? And what's in the parcel?? That one really intrigues me. I can't think of anything he'd send to someone he don't know and had never met (I can only assume), other than possibly a photo, which maybe possibly would have needed, I don't know, a larger envelope than typical letter size. But that is just off the top of my head; might not even be true.
Poor fellow, though. Clearly he liked her, but apparently she just wasn't that into him.
Having trouble reading the ads? Click one to enlarge!
©2009 Pam Epstein