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More brotherly love

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

It's like a total repeat of Marguerite and Brother, except about 10 years apart.  What is it with the siblings?

Josephina N. - Good bye, good sister, I leave town Sunday next.  Please send me your daguerreotype back to the place you sent your last letter.  Inform your suffering friend, from time to time, of your happiness, and if you need anything, Apply sure to me as promised.  You will never be forgotten by your Fernando.

Now of course I don't really think that Josephina and Fernando are brother and sister involved in some gross incestuous relationship.  I'm not even sure I think they are brother and sister at all, since he calls himself her suffering friend.  I don't know many people who would use the word friend in that context to refer to a sibling.  Though of course people did crazy things back in the nineteenth century.  A couple of you suggested that Marguerite and Brother might have been members of a religious group - Shakers, perhaps - who commonly addressed fellow congregants as brother and sister; perhaps that's the case here again.

But I do think they were (unrelated) lovers of some sort.  Or in any event, they were, since clearly they've been torn asunder.  Does anyone besides me get the impression that Josephina broke this relationship off?  I sense a slight note of bitterness in Fernando's tone.  Josephina, apparently, is going to be happy, while he expects to be suffering.  And all he asks from her is a picture (if anyone is not familiar with daguerreotypes, see here).  I hope she did send him one - seems like the least she could do if he's going to be off suffering somewhere while she's living it up in the Big Apple.

I think for my next ad I'm going to try to find some happy lovers.  After all, Valentine's Day approaches, and (despite being single and thus bitter), I think some more cheerful ads are in order.  Of course, these being what they are, finding happy ads in the personals might be a hard task, but for you, I will do all that I can.

Having trouble reading the ads? Click one to enlarge!

©2010 Pam Epstein

2 comments:

Diane February 3, 2010 at 10:02 AM  

Minor point: Shakers referred to each other as brother/sister (as members were expected to live a celibate life), but Quakers did not.

Pam February 3, 2010 at 10:31 AM  

Oops, thanks for the catch, Diane. Irreligious Jew here. ;)

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