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More beautiful than ever

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Yet another ad right out of a romance novel.

Etta - Saw you; more beautiful than ever; will treasure the vision and carry it with me to my Western home, a thousand miles away; I am glad to find that you are, as I am quite prosperous; God bless you; true love never dies; I leave for the West on Tuesday evening. Farewell. Harry J.

I sometimes can't believe people really, truly talked like this. I know they did; I've read 19th-century love letters and some of them - many of them - are in this style. Today it sounds so...so manufactured. No one expresses themselves with this kind of language, right? But they did - they actually did.

Imagine! You didn't get to mail these in back then, you know, or submit them by email. You had to go to the newspaper's office, write out the ad (or perhaps dictate, like a telegram - this is still unclear to me), and stand in front of the clerk while he read your intensely private notes. Sure, then they go in the paper, where everyone reads them, but at least then it's anonymous. How exposed people must have felt! And yet they did it anyway.

So, anyway, this story - so sweet. It reminds me of Leo, although thankfully this one is slightly happier. Both are doing well (I think that it would more accurately be: "I am glad that you are, as I am, quite prosperous," note the extra comma I've added after "am." It's not there, but I think it's what he meant). They seem to have good lives. But it is one of those stories: lovers forced to part - he had to move, or she was forced into a marriage with someone else - but he remains faithful in spite of the thousands of miles of separation! Ah, the romance! I can hear the number one hit single on the country-western charts now. Oh wait, it's already been written.

Having trouble reading the ads? Click one to enlarge!

©2010 Pam Epstein

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