Monday, February 1, 2010
Microfilm sucks. Sometimes, it's just really hard to get clear images. So this one is really hard to read, but I could tell it must be interesting just from the length and decided that for you, my dear readers, I would decipher it (as best as I could). And I think it was worth the effort:
If the young lady, dressed in black, who, Friday afternoon, February 7, between 4 and 5 o'clock, noticed the gentleman who sat opposite her in the [?] room, on the Brooklyn side of the Hamilton avenue ferry, who was in company with an officer in uniform, and held a book in his hand, and sat opposite her on the ferry boat, saw her enter a Broadway, Bleecker street and Eighth avenue stage, who [stood?] in front of [?] Broadway, with book in hand as she passed in the stage, will send her address to H.C.E, Broadway post office, or through 'Personals,' he will communicate the reasons which have compelled him to seek to form her acquaintance, which are strictly honorable.
So there were definitely a few words there I couldn't make out, but I think we can get the general idea. Interestingly, although he definitely comes off as a little creepy, I kind of think this guy was sincere? I don't know. I think he just saw this girl he genuinely liked and was a little shy and naive. Or I'm just being a little too forgiving. But here goes with my scenario:
Girl sits across from boy at the waiting area for the Hamilton ferry (I can't make out the word before "room" but my guess is that it's some kind of waiting room). She's so pretty that despite having a companion and a book, he can't pay attention to anything but her. So, when they get on the ferry, he makes a point of sitting across from her again. But he's maybe a little shy and awkward so doesn't have the nerve to say anything. Up till now, I'm okay with this story. I mean, if you see someone attractive on the train or ferry, there's nothing wrong with angling to sit or stand close to them - is there? (Wow, now I feel super self-conscious.)
Ahem, anyway. Where this story does go off the rails for me is that he seems to have followed her to her stagecoach (again - the illegibility makes this a little unclear). That's...a little creepy. I want to believe he just did it in the hopes that he'd have the chance to talk to her, but really, those ferry crossings really would have given him ample time to try and make conversation, you know? And it's not like a person can get off and give you the slip since you're stuck on a boat. So why didn't he talk to her? Why did he have to trail her to her stagecoach and stand there all menacingly while she walked by to get inside?
H.C.E., I want to believe you are a good person, but this gives me pause. Still - in the end he does seem really aware of how inappropriate he was, since he says he's "compelled" to seek her acquaintance. So that's, I guess, where I want to believe he did have the best intentions. But, I dunno, if you want to meet a girl I swear there's got to be an easier way!
Having trouble reading the ads? Click one to enlarge!
©2010 Pam Epstein