In the 1800s, The Times of London had an interesting column called “The Agony.” It featured small “ads,” or notes, from one person to another, usually written anonymously, but with enough detail the intended receiver could figure it out, and the general public could follow along with curiosity. For example, if you’ve ever had someone repeatedly send you direct messages on Facebook, check this out from 1801:
“Wednesday July 15, 1801:
To Eliza —
It is with deep regret the Person feels himself again called upon publicly to address ELIZA on the subject of her very unpleasant Letters, after repeated solicitations to discontinue them. He is perfectly satisfied in his own mind to have acted honurably towards her, for her peace of mind sake has candidly and unreservedly make known to her his situation, consequently she well knows he cannot in honor, even if he were disposed, accede to her wishes. It is useless to her therefore to trouble him with more, or to write elsewhere, as she may rest assured, from him they will meet with the fate of the two last, which were committed to the the flames unopened, and likewise in the other quarter, the contempt they justly merit.”
Or if you like missed connections like Sharon Houston, read this one from 1800:
“If the lady who a Gentleman handed into her carriage from Covent Garden Theater, on Wednesday, the third of this month, will oblige the Advertiser with a line to Z. Z., Spring Garden Coffee House, saying if married or single, she will quiet the mind of a young Nobleman, who has tried, but in vain, to find the Lady. The carriage was ordered to Bond Street. The Lady may depend on honour and secrecy. Nothing but the most honourable interview is intended. The Lady was in mourning, and sufficiently cloathed to distinguish her for possessing every virtue and charm that man could desire in a female that he would make choice of for a Wife. Deception will be detected, as the Lady’s person can never be forgot.”
Remember, deception will be detected!