Whilst doing research on tooth powder for last week’s entry, I ran across a fascinating item in the March 1, 1807 Monthly Compendium of Literary, Fashionable, and Domestic Advertisements from La Belle Assemblee. The ad reads as follows (see it at right, second item on the left):
The delicate and restrained condition which custom imposes on females, subjects them to great disadvantage,—Mrs. Morris offers to remove them. Ladies or Gentlemen who have formed predilections may be assisted in obtaining the objects of their affection; and those who are unengaged may be immediately introduced to suitable persons; but she cannot assist applicants in any marriage if their characters are not irreproachable, and their fortunes considerable and independent. She will not admit any others.
Apply or address (post paid) at the Bow-window, next door to Margaret Chapel, Margaret-street, Cavendish-square. Ladies who require it, may be waited upon at their own houses.
Well! Talk about intriguing! I'm going to investigate this further, because it inspires dozens of questions: did anyone take advantage of this lady's services? Who were they, and what situation might have led them to seek her help? How much did she charge, and when did she get paid--for making a successful introduction, or just attempting to? How did she operate--did she have a network of friends who helped her track people down so that she could effect introductions for her clients?
Can you picture it? A young girl driving in Hyde Park espies a handsome young man in a Hussar's uniform strolling absent-mindedly down the footpath. No, her friend driving with her has no idea who he is...but she asks her brother, who is slightly acquainted with a few fellows in that regiment, and gets a name...does our smitten young lady sneak a note off to Mrs. Morris in Margaret-street seeking her help?
I'll let you know what I find out...in the meanwhile, what situations can you dream up where the mysterious Mrs. Morris might ply her trade?