I am going to pass a week at Richmond, while my house in Manchester-square is getting ready; but do not imagine I am going alone.
— The Listener, “Letter from a Young Widow,” La Belle Assemblee, May, 1818
So writes a young widow who publicly states her desire for a companion–not another widow, or even a female.
But a man.
After two years of grieving the death of her husband, she had been left thin and red-eyed as a witch. She’s quite recovered her looks, she hastens to add, even so much as to be proud that her “native” plumpness has returned (!)
Now she will open her London town house and, as she plainly says in her letter to the Listener, she seeks a husband.
“I do not want a philosopher; but a man of mild and agreeable manners, and an easy temper: I would wish him always to be well-dressed; and, above all things, to have his heart in the right place.”
Upon this last quality she dwells a good deal, so that one wonders how unhappy her previous marriage had been. Indeed, there is mention of faithfulness, that women would never stray from their marital vows if their husbands did not cause them to do so. As if afraid she may have revealed too much, she states firmly her clear conscience regarding the matter of her previous marital relationship.
Indeed, the purpose of her letter, she reminds the reader, is one of exigency. The drawing room should be the proper place to seek a second husband, but alas, that place:
“..is frequently deserted for the pleasures of Bacchus; and over the bottle, politics, fortune, and the way to rise in the world, are the favorite topics of men’s discourse, as they have long been the deities of their worship.”
Having failed through normal channels, she offers her hand to the Listener’s well-numbered audience, but in the words of a challenge. If any man should pick up the glove she has thrown down, he must be in earnest, for she will not enter marriage a second time without an abundance of caution:
“I shall take care to acquaint myself with every particular of their conduct and character.”
Signed, Euphrasia, for that well-known herbal remedy to clear the eyes.