Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Desperately seeking matrimony

Advertisement placed by William Corder in The Morning Herald, November 13, 1827

MATRIMONY--A Private Gentleman, aged 24, entirely independent, whose disposition is not to be exceeded, has lately lost the chief of his family by the hand of Providence, which has occasioned discord among the remainder, under circumstances most disagreeable to relate. To any female of respectability who would study for domestic comfort, and willing to confide her future happiness in one every way qualified to render the marriage state desirable, as the advertiser is in affluence, the lady must have the power of some property, which may remain in her own possession. Many very happy marriages have taken place through means similar to this now resorted to, and it is hoped no one will answer this through impertinent curiosity, but should meet the eye of any agreeable lady who feels desirious of meeting with a sociable, tender, kind, and sympathizing compaion, they will find this advertisement worthy of notice. Honour and secrecy may be relied on. As some little security against idle applications, it is requested that letters may be addressed (post-paid) to A.Z., care of Mr. Foster, stationer, No. 68 Leadenhall Street, which will meet with the most respectful attention.

As quoted in "Time to Be in Earnest," by P.D. James
They sure knew how to write personals back then. Beats the hell out of "SWM seeks SWF." [Victorian language and sentence structure absolutely delightes me.]

Of course, Corder neglected to mention in his advertisement that he was on the prowl for a new girl because he had just murdered Maria Marten, his pregnant fiancée, and buried her body in the Red Barn in Polstead, Suffolk, then fled to London.

According to P.D. James, the advertisement worked. Corder set up a private school with his new wife, and after Marten's body was eventually discovered, Mrs. Corder remained devoted to her husband through the trial and up until his execution.

Let this be a lesson to you: if you date through personals, always check out their barn.

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