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These are strange

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I''m going through some pretty busy times right now, which is making blogging hard - not so much because of time (although that's part of it) but because when you're stressed it's hard to be entertaining.  So I thought, without looking too long, I'd try to find some ads which don't need my help in that regard.  These are both from the same day; I don't know what either of them means, but I like 'em both.

Lizzie - Have been unwell, or would have replied sooner.   You are wrong to be "furious" at my using this means of communication.  There is no objection to your coming to the bank.  Don't forget old times.  Must have my glass of water in the morning.  Address as before.  ST.J.A.

I can't tell if that "SP.J.A." or "ST.J.A." but really I guess it doesn't matter too much.  I suppose overall this ad isn't all that exciting.  It's really just the part about how the author "must have my glass of water in the morning."  Huh?  I suppose that's some kind of in-joke, but I wonder what on earth it means?  Also, why would Lizzie be "furious" at ST.J.A. for using the personals?  What's so awful about it?  It's anonymous, so it's not like anyone is going to find out.  Maybe in a previous ad (I didn't see one but I didn't look too hard) ST. said something inappropriate?  Too revealing?  I dunno.

This one's a little more interesting.

Bubke - Are you in the habit of paying $8 for a bottle of wine and an evening's entertainment? I'm astonished.  Police!

Hee hee hee.  I suspect that Bubke maybe had a little too much to drink.  Or did something very, very indiscreet.  Eight dollars back in the 1860s when this was published was actually a fair amount of money (let's put it this way: in the early twentieth century, a factory worker still might not earn that much in a day).  How much a typical bottle of wine cost I don't know.  Given the huge disparity of wealth at the time, $8 might not have been so much for wealthy people.  But bear in mind that a man with $50,000 was considered quite well off, and while that's not an insignificant amount of money, today it's just the median yearly salary in the United States.  And Mr. Darcy, less than 50 years early, was downright rich and only had £20,000 per year.

So, long story short, paying $8 for a bottle of wine and an evening's entertainment was not an insignificant amount of money.  And I do wonder what that evening's entertainment was!  Somehow I get the impression that it was something not entirely, well, respectable.  I get the feeling "Bubke" got super drunk and ended up throwing away a lot of money at some cheap theater on the Bowery.

Well, whatever the case, the tone of the ad is very dry, which is what I like best about it.  "I'm astonished."  Heh.  I'll bet Bubke woke up with one helluva hangover. 

Having trouble reading the ads? Click one to enlarge!

©2010 Pam Epstein


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