Thursday, August 20, 2009

Proposal from widower to widow

I couldn't resist another quick snippet from Ronald Pelham's book of stock letters written in the late 1940s. Here's another common-or-garden situation. You're a widower and you want to acquire a second wife by post. She's a widow and thus in the market.

MY DEAR MRS. MARLOWE
Since my friendship with you and the great pleasure I have had in it, the loneliness of my life and the anticipation of an even more lonely future have seemed to me unendurable. That your life is a lonely and anxious one, too, I have guessed from the confidences with which you have honoured me.
Can we not help to brighten each other's lives and lighten each other's burdens?


I'll spare you the rest, as I'm sure you get the picture.

How many times, I wonder, was this letter sent in the post-war era with only a few modest adjustments? Like changing the lady's name at the top, perhaps?

Pelham is conscious of the fact that his readers may, in fact, include the female recipients. He therefore kindly offers them two possible reply routes. One heralds the ringing of church bells. The other tells the bloke where he can get off.

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