Imagens das páginas

a considerable present) an agreeable Woman, for no other reason than because she wants it, such Person or Persons (if such there be), may by giving their Address in this Paper, be informed of an occasion to exercise their disinterested Generosity.

There seems to have been no hurry on the part of the gentlemen to respond to this appeal, which might have stirred the heart of a knight-errant, but which had no effect on the bloods and fribbles of the middle of last century. In this year 1752, as previously noticed, the Act was passed forbidding a notification of " no questions asked" in advertising lost or stolen property.* The Edinburgh Courant of October 28, 1758, supplies us with our next example, and also shows that the course of true love was as uneven then as now :—

E Robert M'Nair and Jean Holmes having taken into con

* * sideration the way and manner our daughter Jean acted in her Marriage, that she took none of our advice, nor advised us before she married, for which reason we discharged her from our Family, for more than Twelve Months; and being afraid that some or other of our Family may also presume to marry without duly advising us thereof, We, taking the affair into our serious consideration, hereby discharge all and every one of our Children from offering to marry without our special advice and consent first had and obtained; and if any of our Children should propose or presume to offer Marriage to any, without as aforesaid our advice and consent, they in that case shall be banished from our Family Twelve Months, and if they should go so far as to marry without our advice and consent, in that case they are to be banished from the Family Seven Years; but whoever advises us of their intention to marry and obtains our consent, shall not only remain Children of the Family, but also shall have a due proportion of our Goods, Gear, and Estate, as we shall think convenient, and as the bargain requires; and further if any

* This Act seems to have been forgotten, or capable of evasion, for a statute of the J & 8 Geo. IV., c. 29, s. 59, imposes a penalty on any person who shall advertise, or print, or publish an advertisement of a reward for the return of property stolen or lost, with words purporting that no questions shall be asked, or promising to pawnbrokers or others the return of money which may have been lent upon objects feloniously acquired.

Glasgow, Octob. 23, 1758.


one of our Children shall marry clandestinely, they, by so doing, shall lose all claim or title to our Effects, Goods, Gear or Estate; and we intimate this to all concerned, that none may pretend ignorance.

There is something original about discharging a member of one's family for twelve months or seven years, and then taking her back again; and so there is in the idea that all members of this same house are not only over-anxious to marry, but that they are unduly sought after. The family must have been, indeed, a large one to necessitate notification through the public press; and though our ignorance may be lamentable, we must confess to not knowing why Mrs M'Nair declined to call herself by her husband's name. We presume—nay, we hope—that Robert and Jean did not upon principle object to wedlock, though the advertisement, coupled with the fact of the dissimilarity of names, might lead any one to suppose so. Marriage was much thought of in 1758, so far as advertisers are concerned, as the following, culled from many of the same kind, which, now began to appear in the Daily Advertiser, will show:—

A PERSON of character, candour and honour, who has an entire knowledge of the World, and has great Intimacy with both Sexes among the Nobility, Gentry and Persons of Credit and Reputation; and as it often happens, that many deserving Persons of both Sexes are deprived of the opportunity of entering into the state of Matrimony, by being unacquainted with the merit of each other, therefore upon directing a letter to A. Z. of any one's intention of entering into the above State, to the advantage of each, to be left at Mr Perry's, Miller's Court, Aldermanbury, Secrecy and Honour will be observed in bringing to a Conclusion such their Intention. Any Person who shall send a Letter, is desired to order the bearer to put it into the Letter-box for fear it may be mislaid : and it is desired that none but those who are sincere would make any application on the above subject.

That people were, however, quite capable of conducting their own little amours whenever a chance offered, the foL. lowing, which is another of the love-at-first-sight effusions, and a gem in its way, will show. It is from the London Chronicle of August 5, 1758 :—

A Young Lady who was at Vauxhall on Thursday night last, in company with two Gentlemen, could not but observe a young Gentleman in blue and a gold-laced hat, who, being near her by the Orchestra during the performance, especially the last song, gazed upon her with the utmost attention. He earnestly hopes (if unmarried) she •will favour him with a line directed to A. D. at the bar of the Temple Exchange Coffee-house, Temple-bar, to inform him whether Fortune, Family, and Character, may not entitle him, upon a further knowledge, to hope an interest in her Heart. He begs she will pardon the method he has taken to let her know the situation of his Mind, as, being a Stranger, he despaired of doing it any other way, or even of seeing her more. As his views are founded upon the most honourable Principles, he presumes to hope the occasion will justify it, if she generously breaks through this trifling formality of the Sex, rather than, by a cruel Silence, render unhappy one, who must ever expect to continue so, if debarred from a nearer acquaintance with her, in whose power alone it is to complete his Felicity.

This goes to prove what we have before remarked, that the concocters of these advertisements were in the habit of falling in love with the women whom they saw with other men; and so it is only natural to suppose, that however honourable they may have protested themselves in print, they were in reality mean, cowardly, and contemptible. The well-known Kitty Fisher finds the utility of advertising as a means of clearing her character, and in the Public Advertiser of March 30, 1759, puts forth the following petition, which had little effect upon her persecutors, as the little scribblers continued, as little scribblers will even nowadays, and "scurvy malevolence" also held sway over her destinies for a considerable peiifld :—

'"P O err is a blemish entailed upon Mortality, and Indiscretions seldom or ever escape from Censure; the more heavy as the Character is more remarkable; and doubled, nay trebled, by the World, if the progress of that Character is marked by Success; then Malice shoots against it all her stings, the snakes of Envy are let loose; to the human and generous Heart then must the injured appeal, and certain relief will be found in impartial Honour. Miss Fisher is forced to sue to that jurisdiction to protect her from the baseness of little Scribblers and scurvy Malevolence; she has been abused in public Papers, exposed in Printshops, and to wind up the whole, some Wretches, mean, ignorant and venal, would impose upon the Public by daring to pretend to publish her Memoirs. She hopes to prevent the success of their endeavours by thus publicly declaring that nothing of that sort has the slightest foundation in Truth. C. Fisher.

We have already referred to an article written by Dr Johnson, in an Idler of 1759, on the subject of advertisements. It is very amusing, and in it he says that "whatever is common is despised. Advertisements are now so numerous that they are very negligently perused, and it is therefore become necessary to gain attention by magnificence of promises, and by eloquence sometimes sublime and sometimes pathetic." He then passes in review some of the most inflated puffs of that period, and continues: "Promise, large promise, is the soul of an advertisement. I remember a washball that had a quality truly wonderful— it gave an exquisite edge to the razor. And there are now to be sold, for ready money only, some duvets for bedcoverings, of down, beyond comparison superior to what is called ottar down, and indeed such, that its many excellences cannot be here set forth. With one excellence we are made acquainted — it is warmer than four or five blankets, and lighter than one. There are some, however, that know the prejudice of mankind in favour of modest sincerity. The vendor of the beautifying fluid sells a lotion that repels pimples, washes away freckles, smooths the skin, and plumps the flesh; and yet, with a generous abhorrence of ostentation, confesses that it will not restore the bloom of fifteen to a lady of fifty. The true pathos of advertisements must have sunk deep into the heart of every man that remembers the zeal shown by the seller of the anodyne necklace, for the ease and safety of poor toothing infants, and the affection with which he warned every mother, that she would never forgive herself if her infant should perish without a necklace. I cannot but remark to the celebrated author, who gave, in his notifications of the camel and dromedary, so many specimens of the genuine sublime, that there is now arrived another subject yet more worthy of his pen—A famous Mohawk Indian warrior, who took Dieskaw, the French general, prisoner, dressed in the same manner with the native Indians when they go to war, with his face and body painted, with his scalping knife, tom-axe, and all other implements of warl A sight worthy the curiosity of every true Briton! This is a very powerful description: but a critic of great refinement would say that it conveys rather horror than terror. An Indian, dressed as he goes to war, may bring company together; but if he carries the scalping knife and tom-axe, there are many true Britons that will never be persuaded to see him but through a grate. It has been remarked by the severer judges, that the salutary sorrow of tragic scenes is too soon effaced by the merriment of the epilogue: the same inconvenience arises from the improper disposition of advertisements. The noblest objects may be so associated as to be made ridiculous. The camel and dromedary themselves might have lost much of their dignity between the true flower of mustard and the original Daffy's Elixir; and I could not but feel some indignation when I found this illustrious Indian warrior immediately succeeded by a fresh parcel of Dublin butter. The trade of advertising is now so near to perfection, that it is not easy to propose any improvement. But as every art ought to be exercised in due subordination to the public good, I cannot but propose it as a moral question to these masters of the public ear, Whether they do not sometimes play too wantonly with our passions? as when the registrar of lottery tickets invites us to his shop by an account of the prizes which he sold last year; and whether the advertising controversists do not indulge

« AnteriorContinuar »