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Damsel in distress

Friday, August 20, 2010

And matrimonial week continues.  Maybe next week will be lovelorn couples week.  In any event, here's another that stands out.


A young lady who is handsome, highly accomplished, and who on coming of age will possess a handsome competence, is anxious to avoid a matrimonial alliance which her relatives are forcing upon her.  With this view she wishes to make the acquaintance of a gentleman of education, refinement, and pleasing personal appearance, who would rescue her from her impending unhappy fate.  Address, for three days, Dulcina, Madison square Post office.

WOW!  Does anyone smell a romance novel in the works?  This is crazy talk!  So this girl must be an orphan; she comes into a handsome competence when of age, which suggests there's an inheritance that's been left to her, and she refers to relatives - not parents.  And who are these cruel, demanding relatives?  Who is this awful guy she doesn't want to marry?  I wanna know!

You know, this is pretty heavy stuff - not to mention dangerous.  She's reaching out and trying to find a random stranger to elope with her, and obviously she's in a time crunch here, so it's not like she's got much leisure for a lengthy courtship.  She's just trusting to fate that the guy she meets isn't a fortune hunter, because (as I recently said) he'll have a lot of control over her money.  She can't be completely stupid; she's got to know the risks.  Which means the man her relatives are trying to force upon her must be pretty darn repulsive.  This is desperation indeed. 

I have to wonder, though, exactly what it is that's so bad about him.  It's obviously more than that she doesn't love him, because she's not trying to find love through the ad - just a husband.  Is it something like he's brutal and cruel?  Or is it more that she's 17 and he's 50 and she doesn't want to marry someone old enough to be her father?  I'm not blaming her if the latter, I'm just really curious what kind of relatives these are if they're forcing her into a marriage with someone she is so incredibly opposed to that she's willing to go to this extreme.  If it's the age scenario, or something like it, they're just being thoughtless.  If the guy's a real, real jerk, they must be Pure Evil. 

I hope she got safely out of this jam.  Definitely an out of the fire, into the frying pan situation here.  However terrible this person is, someone met through a matrimonial could be a lot worse.  If, for example, the man her relatives have picked out for her deserts her, they'd at least be obligated to take her back in (one would think).  But if she elopes they'll cast her off, and if her husband absconds with her money, they'll never take her in again.    I wonder what her relatives are threatening her with if she refuses the marriage - since they couldn't literally force her - this wasn't the Middle Ages.

Poor thing!  It breaks my heart.

©2010 Pam Epstein

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