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Henri

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sometimes when I'm too busy or lazy to write you a clever, funny blog post (I know, so modest!), I will let the actors speak for themselves. Henri, take it away:




Darling - A million times yes. Forsake, deceive, hate me, if you will, I am ever your slave. Henri.

Dearest - Let my love and misery plead for pity and forgiveness. Be cheerful and rely on my eternal devotion. How will you sell those letters by the "bushel?" Henri.


So this is very sweet and terribly sad, but I'm really caught by the last line: "sell those letters by the 'bushel?'" What on earth does that mean?? (By the way, Henri, the question mark should go outside the quote, but you're clearly distraught, so I'll let it go this time.) I am reading this correctly, right? I can't think of anything else it might say other than "sell." (Which also makes sense in the context of the sentence, though not the ad.)

So odd. Perhaps he's written her all these love letters, she's cast him off angrily and to take revenge for something he did wrong and is going to sell his letters (who buys love letters? Maybe he's someone important?) to expose him to the world. He does sound pretty desperate, to say the least.

What do you all make of it?

Having trouble reading the ads? Click one to enlarge!

©2009 Pam Epstein

6 comments:

Liz October 6, 2009 at 10:02 AM  

Gosh, that last line of the second one sounds a lot like blackmail, doesn't it? I wonder about the French spelling of Henri too. Either that, or we're back to code for 'bushel' again...

Pam October 6, 2009 at 11:59 AM  

While code is probably the case in many of these ads, I find it so much interesting to imagine that they're real. They're all dead anyway!

Ms Avery October 6, 2009 at 1:08 PM  

Yeah, it sounds to me like she's threatening to blackmail him, and said something about selling his letters (to the papers?) by the bushel, and he's being snarky and pedantic about it.

HCG October 6, 2009 at 6:01 PM  

"Publish and be damned" as the Duke of Wellington said to the publisher of Harriette Wilson's salacious memoirs. Which are incredibly readable. (I'm assuming you know about them, Pam? Because if not ...)

Pam October 6, 2009 at 6:33 PM  

HCG - I've heard of them, but I've never read them. They sound very spicey!

My blog is pulled on a feed elsewhere and someone on that site suggested that this may have been a breach of promise issue - Henri tried to break off an engagement and she threatened to sell his letters - to the papers, like Ms Avery says, perhaps - and expose him if he did. Don't know if that's true, but I like theory!

HCG October 9, 2009 at 8:36 PM  

Spicy is most definitely the word. Well, that, and funny. And Wilson's narrative (dictated, perhaps?) has a charming stream-of-consciousness quality that makes you feel like a) you're in the room with her, and b) you're welcome. I have an old Virago edition but that's long unavailable. The most recent U.S. edition is out of print but available through the usual booksellers.

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