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Not your typical missed connection

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Every now and then I run across missed connection ads that are a little more complicated than the typical - saw you in a stagecoach, do you want to meet me? Like this one, which I find a little bit confusing, to say the least:

The smallest of the two young ladies, who came to New York on Monday last, by way of the Flushing Railroad, wearing a dark hat, [?] furs, black basque and dark silk dress, who crossed the Fulton ferry to Brooklyn, will confer a favor upon an ardent admirer who wishes to be honored with her acquaintance; am acquainted with the gentleman who escorted her from the boat. Address Eugene, Herald office, stating where and how an introduction can be had.

First of all, I find it so amusing the way he says that she came to New York on the Flushing Railroad. Sounds like she's just traveled in from, you know, far, far away - the way he writes it, it seems like quite a journey, right? But Flushing is in Queens! Now, granted, that doesn't mean it's right next door to where she ended up. If she was taking the Fulton ferry to Brooklyn, she traveled a pretty long distance even by today's standards. But still, the way it's written makes it sound like Flushing is in a whole other world (and in fact, it was a whole other city - Queens wasn't incorporated in the NYC until 1898). Just an interesting reminder of how much longer distances were in the nineteenth century.

In terms of the content of the ad, it's also intriguing. He says she came in on the Flushing Railroad and then crossed on the Fulton ferry to (or possibly "at" but that makes less sense - so hard to read these sometimes!) Brooklyn, and then she got off the boat and was greeted by some guy. does he know all this? If Eugene was at the terminal of the Fulton Ferry and all he saw was her getting off the boat, then that's one thing, but how did he know she came in on the railroad? I'd think he stalked her (either on the railroad, or perhaps he saw her alight and followed her across the ferry), but that is a really long trip to make just to follow a girl, and what are the odds that he would happen to be acquainted with the man who escorted her away?

And, on that note, if Eugene really did know that gentleman, who couldn't he obtain an introduction through him? He has to be all secretive? If he know that guy well enough, couldn't he have just gone up to them as they were leaving the boat and started chatting up his "acquaintance" in order to meet the girl? So confusing!

Anyway, I'm pretty sleepy and you guys are often really good at coming up with interpretations that I hadn't thought of (which often make more sense than the convoluted ideas I have), so anyone who wants to give it a go - chime in.

Having trouble reading the ads? Click one to enlarge!

©2010 Pam Epstein


Unknown March 25, 2010 at 9:14 AM  

Not a solution, but re. your questionable word - could it be 'light furs'?

Pam March 25, 2010 at 11:08 AM  

Ah - that's probably right. Thanks!

Rachael March 25, 2010 at 6:24 PM  

Perhaps he was acquainted in a way that prevented him from obtaining a favorable introduction from the man she met. Maybe they had had a falling out or the writer was an employee of the meeter. Or maybe the acquaintance-ship was of an unsavory nature. Or perhaps the writer was married and the meeter knew that. Just throwing out ideas.

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