Monday, April 26, 2010
Well, the guy's not looking for romance, but at least he's honest:
A young man is preparing to open a dry goods store in Spring, wishes an introduction to a lady suitable for a wife and assistant, and partner in business; owns the store, dwelling and stock, with $10,000 in small lots; wishes the lady to have some means; he is an American, Protestant, and twenty-seven years of age, genteel person, temperate, mild and domestic, rather diffident in habits; his time is all required in other business at present, some distance from New York; his father is very old and desires to see his son settled; he has been a matter-of-fact business man; he has no family; will give undoubted references; the party is worthy of respect, &c.; full confidence. Address W.S.T., Broadway Post Office, pre-paid, one week; delicacy observed.Hey, W.S.T.: they've invented this amazing grammatical device called a "period." You should try using one sometimes. They're a fun and handy alternative to semi-colons.
Oy. What a stick in the mud! Basically he wants to get married because: he needs a business partner, an assistant, a little extra money (she must have "some means"), and his dad wants to see him settled. Sounds tempting. Also, he sounds really boring. No offense, W.S.T., because all your habits are good ones, but if you're temperate, mild, domestic, matter-of-fact, and "rather diffident" you can't be much fun to be around. Aren't you also affectionate and kind-hearted? Maybe you have a great sense of humor and like to take long walks along the beach at sunset? Anything?
Still, in his own way, W.S.T. was quite a catch. The owner of a successful dry goods store could really be quite prosperous, and it sounds like he had enough capital and solid investment to be off to a good start. After all, Macy's started out as a dry goods store, and look where it is now! And while someone of his characteristics might not be the most fun to be around, a man who takes care of his elderly father, is a good Protestant, a non-drinker, mild, domestic, and shy is going to treat his wife well. She might not being in the most loving marriage, but she'd certainly be in a stable, secure, and comfortable one, and for a lot of women that probably was enough.
Who knows? Maybe he started out on this matrimonial venture because he felt obligated to. He began corresponding with some young lady, thinking it was all going to be an onerous task, and then fell madly in love. You never know.
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©2010 Pam Epstein