18th century “lonely hearts” add – of sorts.

4 March, 2011 at 4:33 pm 3 comments

I’m currently reading Julie Peakman’s “Lascivious Bodies – a Sexual History of th Eighteenth Century”, which covers far more than sexuality. The reader gains a rather baffling insight into the vices and virtues of the society in 18th century Britain. And it’s amazing how little times have changed. Here’s a contempary complaint about “gangs of young thugs”:

Drinking until drunk, they assaulted wohever crossed their path and terrorized the neighbourhood. At night, they would rampage through the streets, attack the watch and break into people’s homes.

A round of ASBOs, please! Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose…
I’m sure readers of the Daily Fail would find a reason why the behaviour of 18th century ruffians should be blamed on Labour and single mums, though.

But back to the “lonely hearts” of London. The most sought-after courtesans in London could pick-and-choose their gallants, and so it happened ever so often that a gentleman in need of comfort, but not necessarily a wedding ring (or already having one but still seeking for distraction) would place an add in one of the many papers, seeking discreetly for charming company.

Here’s one such example, printed in a London newspaper on 1 March 1754:

If the Lady that was at the last Masquerade, dress’d in a white Domino, trimm’d with the Purple, a Hat of the same, tall and genteel in Person, will be so obliging as to favour the Gentleman who ask’d her to dance, but was refused, with a Line when and where he may have the Pleasure of seeing her, by directing for C.G. at the Cocoa-Tree in Pall-Mall, he intends to propose her something greatly to her Advantage, and hopes it will meet with her Approbation. Note, A Coach and Six, and 7000 l. per Annum, at her Service if she don’t think the Gentleman too old.

Unfortunately, it’s not known if the gentleman in question was successful in his quest…

I’ll review “Lascivious Bodies” in separate parts, as it would be to difficult to squeeze all aspects of the books into one post.

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Entry filed under: 18th century, books, naughty, resource. Tags: , , , .

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. jen  |  12 December, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    Hi, I have searched the papers for this lovely quote, and unfortunately I cannot find. Is there any chance you have a publication title?

    Reply
    • 2. Molly Joyful  |  16 December, 2011 at 2:12 am

      Sorry for the latew reply, had to dig out the book first. So: the source for this quote listed by Julie Peakman is:

      “See newspaper clipping inserted into The Midnight Ramble, Or, The Adventures of Two Noble Females; Being A true and impartial Account of their late excursion through the Streets of London and Westminster (London, B Dickson, 1754).”

      Reprints of this work are available on Amazon, but I don’t know if B. Dickson mentioned the original source of the quote in his work.

      Hope this helps. 🙂

      Reply
  • 3. jen  |  16 December, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    I have now found in Julie Peakman’s Lascivious Bodies – thanks! I am currently researching for my dissertation in which I am writting about the life-styles of eighteenth century courtesans, discussing whether or not it was more attractive than getting married.

    Thanks again, looking forward to reading your review of Peakman’s book.

    Reply

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