Brev. Brig. Gen'l
- Feb 14, 2012
- Central Pennsylvania
A letter Sarah Hale had the kindness ( and sense of humor ) to print deserves a bride out of Godey's Lady's Book
This is wonderful. Little pre-war, Godey's received a letter that must have tickled Hale- she printed it. Some terms and references might be obscure- thought I'd add footnotes......
" A Wife Wanted,
The writer of the following poem ( we omit a few flourishes ) seems in earnest. If any Lady wishes go “ Out West “, the opportunity is now offered . Of course she will study the map, and Mr. Benton’s book and find out where the ‘ snug little town’ is before she makes up her mind.
Dear Mr. Godey, and you, Mrs. Hale,
Will excuse, I am certain, this desecration of the mail,
For I have weighty reason as you will find ere I am done,
Perhaps they fill a bushel , perhaps it’s only one,
Bushel baskets and romance do not seem to go together like PB & J, how wrong we can be.
When I tell you where I hail from, And I find out what’s to pay,
Perhaps we’ll strike a bargain in an honest merchant’s way.
Merchant's wife, Paris, 1620- she could have been advertised for in Godey's
Well then out in Missouri there’s a snug little town,
All graveled, graded and macadamized all around,
With plank roads and railroads and rivers, a few
Well, logs were used, too
That reach round creation and back again, too
Perhaps a little incident will bring to mind it’s name
For it ships a pile of bacon and a mighty lot of grain.
I don't know why. It was there waiting to be found
Or, if I still have the vantage, you will find it if you look,
On Uncle Sam’s big map and Mr. Benton’s book
Thomas Hart Benton , b. 1782, wrote “ 30 Years View “ and a number of articles on western expansion- could have been either ‘ book ‘ referred to here. A Tennessee Senator born in North Carolina, lawyer Thomas Hart Benton, was a five term senator with views on our black citizens so progressive as to be unbelievable. As early as 1809 Benton campaigned for the vote for the black population and was wildly unpopular over his fight to keep slavery from expanding into the territories. Western expansion was his greatest interest, Missouri in particular. Missouri , his new home after becoming unpopular in Tennessee ( not over slavery- brother Jesse shot Jackson in the arm, long story ) , benefitted hugely from Thomas Benton’s various enthusiasm althoughtrelieved the state of a fellow lawyer- killed in a duel. Benton is a great story, look him up.
‘Tis a little west of sunrise and eastward of the hill, pockets fill.
With a river just before it and a prairie in the rear,
Where the comets dance a Scottisch in the winter of the year
A kind of slow polka popular through several eras
Now, there many things do happen in this little town of ours.
Which set the buck and bachelors gaping by the hours,
Young men, some town's bucks ( probably really students but you get the idea )
And as I am just midway between those doubtful ages,
I am entitled to the counsels of editors and sages,
Now I think with your assistance , if you make my wishes known,
My prospects and appearance are rather good, I own,
I’ve a snug house in the country and a hundred acres ‘ round,
And another in the city of this little mighty town,
And then I have a mule team, and rockaway and sleigh,
That can beat a steamboat walking in the two and forty way!
And these I wish to barter for the requisite of life,
A helpmate and a better half, in other words, a wife.
Now I am not particular about either form or face,
But would like a pleasing countenance with just a touch of grace,
An eye that beams with pleasure, a a spirit light and gay,
As the winds upon the prairies when the zephyr are at play.
Marie Taglioni, 1830's dance icon playing a zephyr- really a wood nymph of mythology. Tough to post a pic because they seem to have detested clothing.
And if you think there is one who would like to come out West,
I’ll send along the Golden Boys by Adam’s Express
Golden Boy- slang for money
Adams Express, still delivering pretty much anything, anywhere, was founded in 1854- an office at Fort Monroe in 1861 is the backdrop to this ( Leslie's? ) illustration.
I would add a postscript but this must go out tonight,
And I hasten to subscribe myself,
Billy Carroll White
OH I hope he picked up his bride at the nearest Adam's Express off and lived happily ever Missouri.