CHAPTER LIX. MATRIMONIAL ADVERTISEMENTS.

In almost any New York journal you will find such advertisements as the following:

"An honorable gentleman, established in business, desires for a wife a lady of means and respectability. Address M. J. P., Station D, New York."

"A gentleman of the highest respectability, who has lately come into possession of a large fortune, desires to make the acquaintance of a lady with a view to matrimony. Must be handsome, accomplished, amiable, healthy, and pious, and not over twenty-five. Address Husband, Herald office."

It is probable that some of the parties thus advertising may be in earnest, but it is very certain that matrimony is the last intention of the majority of them. There are not many persons who will care to marry a woman won through the columns of a newspaper. Such simpletons would deserve whatever trouble or shame such an alliance would bring about.

Many young men and women insert these advertisements for the sake of "having a little sport," though, as we shall show, the sport thus produced is of a very dangerous character.

                     A DANGEROUS PLEASURE.

A young man, not long since, advertised for a wife through the columns of a city paper, merely designing the affair as a piece of sport. His communication was answered by a woman, whose handwriting was that of an educated person. Several letters passed between the parties, and the young man, wishing to see his unknown correspondent, asked an interview with her. She demanded to know if he really meant to marry her. She would not see him without a positive answer on this point. She enclosed him her photograph. The picture was that of a young and beautiful woman, and of course inflamed the young man's desire to see the original. It would have been well for him if he had dropped the correspondence at once, but he foolishly allowed himself to be led on farther, and wrote to the woman, declaring that he was serious in his intentions, and would marry her if she would have him. He consoled himself with the thought that he had signed a fictitious name to the letter. The next day he received a communication from the woman, asking him to call upon her at her residence, which was given. He did so. He found that her picture had not deceived him - that she was both young and beautiful.

She received him graciously, and in the course of the conversation asked him if the letters she held in her hand, were his. He glanced at them, and assured her that they were. After a short interview, he took his departure, promising to visit her the next day. Judge his surprise when she saluted him, upon his return, by his proper name. In great confusion, he denied his name, but she quietly told him that he had been followed from her house by friends of hers on the previous night. She had taken good care to establish his identity. Besides that, she had had two witnesses concealed behind the heavy window curtains during the previous day, who had overheard his acknowledgment of his written offer of marriage. She told him frankly that she had no wish to marry him, and would surrender to him his letters, and leave him in peace, if he would pay her five thousand dollars. If he refused, she would bring suit against him for ten thousand dollars damages for a breach of promise. He refused her demand, and left the house. He went immediately to a lawyer and laid his case before him. The lawyer consented to see the woman, and report the result of his interview. He did so, and the result was that, finding the woman to be one with whom no man's name ought to be associated in such a matter, and seeing that her case was so strong, he advised his client to comply with her demand, and receive back his letters. This advice was taken, and the young man, who was, fortunately for him, quite wealthy, and able to pay the money, secured his letters and lost his money. He has not advertised for a wife since then.

Men, however, are not often caught in this way. The victims are chiefly young girls, who think it a fine thing to answer an advertisement. One of these foolish girls, living in a neighboring State, once answered an advertisement for a wife, thinking it would be fine fun to carry on such a correspondence. She received and replied to several letters, but as she signed her true name to none of her own, considered herself safe. She was surprised one day by being summoned into the parlor by her father. She there found a villainous looking fellow, who announced himself as her correspondent. He had come from New York with his last letter, and had watched the post-office, until he heard the young girl call for it, and had followed her home. He had all her letters with him, and demanded five hundred dollars as the price of them, threatening, in case he was refused, to make the matter public in the town. The girl was overwhelmed with shame and confusion at her folly, and her father was very angry with her. He threatened to have the man arrested for endeavoring to extort money in such a manner, but the fellow reminded him that such a course would only make the scandal greater. There was no help for it. The girl had been foolish, but had done nothing to merit the scandal which would ensue if the matter were made public, so the father bought back the letters at the scoundrel's price, and the affair was hushed up. The girl was cured of her folly, and will never again commit so thoughtless and foolish a blunder.

By far the greatest number of advertisements of this kind are inserted by persons who wish to levy black mail upon those who are foolish enough to reply to them. Persons unaccustomed to these wretches cannot imagine how patiently and persistently they will work to discover the names of their correspondents. Distance is no obstacle to them, for they can follow a letter anywhere. The best plan is not to notice matrimonial advertisements at all.

                     MATRIMONIAL BROKERS.

There are several women in the city who advertise to introduce strangers into the best society, and to procure wives and husbands from the same element for their customers. As a general rule, these women are simply procuresses. If, however, a man desiring to marry a woman in this city, seeks their aid, they will always find some means of assisting him. The charge for their services is either a percentage on the lady's fortune, or a certain specified sum. The woman, or broker, will devise some means of making the acquaintance of the lady against whom her arts are to be directed, and will proceed cautiously, step by step, until she has caused her victim to meet the man for whom she is working. The arts used vary according to circumstances, but they rarely fail of success. Men who wish to accomplish the ruin of some innocent girl, also seek the aid of these brokers, and frequently, through their assistance, effect their purpose. If it is necessary, the victim, after being allured to the broker's house, is drugged. These women are the vampires of society. It is very difficult for the authorities to make a case against them, and they generally go unpunished.