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Must have parents

Monday, March 15, 2010

Here's something you don't see every day.



A gentleman of 25, of wealth and high social position, desires to find a young lady about 18 years, with a view to matrimony, of prepossessing appearance; one living in good style, with her parents, and accustomed to the best society; must be well educated and refined. Such a lady will find a true gentleman by addressing Paul May, Herald office.

Mostly a typical ad, I grant you, but what really struck me was the "living in good style, with her parents." What a strange thing to include! I mean, it's the 1860s! She's eighteen! Of course she's living with her parents! I guess this is his rather bizarre way to fend off, like, prostitutes or (more likely) women "in distress." This is a way to ensure he's meeting a girl who is truly respectable. He doesn't want to marry a woman who's in "reduced circumstances" and only looking for a husband to support her. Note, after all, that he never says he has money; it's implied by the "best society" "high social position," etc, but there were plenty of people who had position but no cash flow. Maybe he really is high society, but needs a wealthy wife to pay his bills (he never says that she must have money, but again, that's implied by the "living in style").

So, this really stuck out to me. I've never seen anything like that before. Maybe he's hoping to move in with her and her parents? I can't help thinking he must be sincere, though; if you're planning to rip a girl off, you hardly want to stress how important it is that she live with her parents, you know? Unless that's a way to gain trust? Aargh! I have no idea. You all know I just make this stuff up half the time anyway.

Sorry for another short post. Frankly I've been a bit under the weather. Hopefully will be back to my usual loquacious self tomorrow.

ETA: Someone pointed out in another locale that the ad says right on top that he's a gentleman "of wealth"! Whoops! This is what happens when you try to write a blog post when you should still be in bed sleeping off bouts of illness.

Having trouble reading the ads? Click one to enlarge!

©2009 Pam Epstein

2 comments:

drwende March 15, 2010 at 7:21 PM  

Not only is he warding off damsels in distress, he's protecting himself from girls who are living with collateral relatives. He wants to be sure he gets a good look at her parents and finds them respectable -- no "well, my sister ran off with a traveling salesman who drinks, but the child of that unfortunate union is a dainty tot, so we'll rear her properly and bring her out."

Pam March 16, 2010 at 11:33 AM  

Ha ha - good point!

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