It was not long after our widow poured her desire into the Listener’s ear that she received a response.
“To the young widow who seems desirous of marrying again..this challenge of yours operates like an electric shock, and revives my hope of still being married.”
— “To the Young Widow Who Seems Desirous of Marrying Again,” The Listener, La Belle Assemblee, May, 1818
Signed Frederic Freeman (italics mine), the respondent, rather cleverly, admits that he has had ill luck at love. The woman he intended to marry was, alas, naught but a coquette who cast him and his extended courtship of her hand aside with nothing more than “an unfeeling nod.”
He makes some noise of appreciation over the widow’s declarations of “plain dealing.” Her warning about conduct and character does not dismay him and agrees that such practical considerations can be dealt with later.
With that said, he busies himself with a more important task at hand–the kindling of romance.
“If I should be the man of your choice you never would have red eyes with crying for the coldness and unkindness of your husband (as too many of our modern ladies have); neither would you look “like a witch” through sorrow, or decrease your “native plumpness” through vexation.”
What shall I wear to please you? he asks, since the widow is ready to cast the color of black aside. Any color in the rainbow, he swears, if only to show her how accommodating a spouse he would make. As for those drawing room gentlemen she complains of–he is not of their ilk, that class of males called rakes. Indeed, he staunchly declares, such a suitor would make Euphrasia the worst of a second husband.
He speaks with peculiar authority on the matter, I daresay.
In any case, it is amusing to speculate on the result of such determined courtship on the part of a gentleman who exquisitely relates his past experience at love as a whipping by “Lucretia’s” lash. But that is all in the past, for he is filled with confidence that he is the man she will choose, and calls upon the Greek god of marriage as witness:
“If you, Madam, will take me for better and for worse, I also will be preparing my wedding garments. Then Hymen will announce to all his neighboring deities that Euphrasia and Frederic shall be an example of connubial felicity.”