Monday, September 28, 2009
If this is real, I'm a monkey's uncle (hey, this is a family friendly blog).
"Cavalier desires to marry a very rich, very nice young girl; photos. POSITION, Budapest, restante, Hungary."
Now, when I see a person described as a "cavalier" I tend to equate that with "playboy" - I'm not sure if that's common or if it's just me, but it makes sense given the meaning of the word when used as an adjective. But either way, in the 19th century, I can only assume he's using it in the earlier sense of the word: a courtly gentleman, according to my trusty Mac's dictionary. (Not, however, the earliest sense of the word, which I discovered while looking this up: a supporter of King Charles I. Who knew?) So he's a nobleman, I guess. And he's offering his "POSITION" in exchange for her money. Not very classy, but definitely not uncommon.
But...he's advertising from Hungary? Really? And could you really just write a letter to "Position" in Budapest and it would actually get there? "Restante" essentially means the letter will just go to the post office and "Position" will go pick it up, but I'm having such a hard time believing that there's only one post office in all of Budapest where this letter would be held, you know? The postal service in the United States was extremely efficient almost from the beginning, but nobody is this good.
Moreover, it strains my credulity just a little too far to believe that a man who is saying not-so-subtly that he is connected to the court would be having his mail sent to a post office. I am trying to imagine a courtier wandering into my local post office to pick up his mail and...no. No no no.
My assumption is that this was a scam - some con man posing as a nobleman in the hopes of snaring the wealth of a naive young girl who thinks she's going to marry royalty. But how? Is he going to convince her to come to Hungary? Or to send him some money? In Hungary? All I can say is that any girl who's foolish enough to either hop on a boat or wire some cash (Western Union introduced the wire transfer about 20 years earlier) to some "nobleman" in Hungary who's posting personal ads in an American newspaper deserves whatever she gets.
I know I learned my lesson about such things after responding to that email from the Central Bank of Nigeria. It seemed so real! (I kid, I kid.)
Having trouble reading the ads? Click one to enlarge!
©2009 Pam Epstein