Possibly my favourite possession in the world is my little collection of eighteenth-century newspaper scraps, apparently compiled by a Georgian gent with a particular interest in matrimonial adverts (fascinating) and buying horses (not so fascinating). Frustratingly I have no idea who he was, although his few helpful scribblings suggest that he was busying himself with it between the 1770s and the 1800s. Perhaps he was looking for love himself or maybe, like me, he was just a nosey bugger.
For your delectation, voila one of the Georgian ‘lonely hearts’ ads (sadly with no date):
‘A Young Lady, of respectability and character, amiable disposition, property Six Hundred Pounds, wishes to enter into the Married State, as she is left without friends. Would give the preference to a military man, therefore non but an Adjutant or Quarter-Master of respectability need apply.
If any Gentleman wishes for farther particulars, by giving his reference, and writing to the Lady, A.B. (post paid), at No. 452, Strand, London, he will receive information.’