CHAPTER LX. PERSONALS.

The first column of the Herald, and a prominent column of nearly all the city papers, bears the above heading. The advertisements in these columns are curiosities in their way. The most confidential communications are inserted here without fear of detection. Where meetings are desirable, and letters would be read by parties interested in preventing such meetings, these personals accomplish the object quickly and without danger. The vilest and most infamous transactions are thus arranged. Roues make appointments with their victims, thieves announce to each other some plan of action for a daring robbery, and false wives notify their lovers of the time and place of a future meeting. All classes use the personal column for all purposes. Some of the advertisements are utterly unintelligible to any but those for whom they are intended. Others are easily deciphered.

                     "SERVED HIM RIGHT."

The following, which we clip from a city paper, will explain one use to which the personal column is put. We need hardly say that all such affairs do not end so harmlessly:

A few months ago, the following personal advertisement appeared in one of our morning papers:

'SWEET FACE AT THE WINDOW. - Will the beautiful young lady who smiles nearly every morning upon the gent who rides past her house on the Eighth Avenue cars, have the kindness to address a note to "Admirer," Station "E," stating when and how an interview may be had?'

Chancing to know the smitten youth, who inserted this amorous 'personal,' we resolved to see what came of it. He was what is generally termed a quiet man, and the last person in the world to engage in a flirtation. It seemed even strange that he should venture to such an extreme in order to make the acquaintance of any lady, and that he must have been desperately in love with that 'sweet face at the window' was the only conclusion that we could arrive at.

The next day he received nine different letters in answer to this advertisement, showing beyond a doubt that there was more than one 'sweet face at the window' that smiled on some fortunate passenger or other, every morning, and who undoubtedly imagined that her face was the one alluded to by this advertiser.

Our friend was in a quandary. Some natures would have embraced them all, but his heart only sought the one 'sweet face' that had haunted him so long, and in his perplexity he sought our counsel. It was finally arranged that he should answer the entire lot, and appoint a meeting with each at a well-known restaurant, where, unknown to all save the one he sought, he could not only have an opportunity of viewing the other 'sweet faces,' but see and recognize the one he sought for without disturbing the expectations of the others.

The evening came, and our friend entered the saloon and took a position at a table where he could observe all who entered. As the hour approached, quite a number of ladies came in, and took seats at various tables. They each bore on their 'sweet faces' looks of expectancy, and after taking a good observation of each gentleman present, they placed themselves in such positions as to be able to see whoever entered after them. There might have been a question about the peculiar 'sweetness' of all of them, but there could be none relative to their matrimonial desires. They all, or a majority of them, had passed that bewitching period when woman's charms are the most enticing, and seemed anxious not to pass into the sere and yellow leaf without some one on whom they could lean for support.

Finally his eye fell upon the object of his search. He left the table and his refreshments, and approached her as she came toward him. The meeting was as cordial as might have been expected, and even more so. He led her back to the table he had just left, and, ordering more refreshments, he fell to talking in the most cordial manner, while the other 'waiting ones' looked on in wonderment. To a few of them the truth was plain, but a majority still lingered in hopes of being made as happy as the other young lady now appeared to be. But our friend soon sought the open air with his fair companion, leaving the others to whatever fate might be in store for them.

She was really a fine looking woman, and those qualities, taken in connection with a good education and a quaint brilliancy of conversation, would have made her really attractive to any man of taste, and, on this occasion, completely carried our poor friend's heart by storm. The hours glided by, like the silvery chime of bells, and before ten o'clock, the hour mentioned as the one bordering her furthest stay, she had completely won our bachelor friend, and counted him among her jewels new.

So sincere and true is he that he is too apt to look for the same qualities in others, and, in this instance, he bared his whole heart and confessed his love. But she had such a delightful way of laughing off a serious proposition, and of disserting that the lover was only trying to make himself agreeable, (which, under such circumstances, was perfect justifiable, she thought,) and that he would probably forget her when out of sight, and in the presence of a handsomer face; that, to say nothing of their short acquaintance, it could not be that he really meant anything of the kind, so that by the time he had arrived at the location of where they were to part, she had completely dazed the poor lover, and leaving him with a kind good-night, he stood riveted to the spot, gazing after her as one gazes on the track of a meteor.

No sleep for him that night. The next morning, as he rode down to business, that 'sweet face at the window' greeted him, more radiant than ever, but at the same time more puzzling; for mingling with the ripple of her smile, there was something that looked like triumph on her face. At all events, from the first hour of their meeting a capital flirtation was kept up on her part, although her victim was in downright earnest, and deeply in love.

With all the ardor of Romeo, he sought to win her love; to turn her from the lightness and frivolity of coquetting, to the more womanly aspirations of home and marriage, and to penetrate the veil of mystery and doubt in which she seemed enfolded, and into which she plunged herself the more closely if followed. But all to no purpose. Weeks and months passed away, and she seemed to be enjoying her new sensation hugely. Drives through the park, excursions to the suburbs, balls, operas, theatres, all, all in the same mode, and all seemingly looked upon as the adjuncts of a splendid flirtation.

At last he awoke from the spell she had cast so bewitchingly around him, and openly accused her of trifling with his affections, and of caring nothing whatever for him beyond the part he acted as beau and cavalier, which part he had become tired of acting. To this she plead not guilty in such eloquent terms, bringing to her aid a woman's most powerful auxiliaries, her tears, that the poor dupe repented of his accusations, and was ready to fall upon his knees and crave her pardon.

She loved him, she said, but why should either of them rush madly and blindly into matrimony, without considering or knowing each other? How could either of them be sure that their present love would continue beyond a honeymoon? In this way she paved the road for another six months' flirtation, during the continuation of which she managed to conceal her identity as effectively as ever.

But there came a time when the mask fell, and the veil was rent in twain. A gentleman waited upon him one evening, an entire stranger, having in his hand a small box, which he placed upon the table, and accepted a seat with coldness and importance. He was, he said, and perhaps unfortunately, the husband of the young woman to whom our friend had been paying his attentions for quite a time, and, as he had been convinced that he was acting innocently and in the dark, he had come to make an explanation.

The poor fellow attempted to speak, but some emotion choked his utterance; and he reseated himself in the chair from which he had arisen. The man went on to state that he had become acquainted with his wife in a similar way to the one which had brought them together; that he had married her, and had been compelled to witness the continuation of her flirtations, and acknowledged that our friend was not the only one with whom she was maintaining such relations even then. He then coolly opened the box and handed him back the various presents he had bestowed upon his wife, after which he retired as politely as possible.

"The lover was cured. He patronizes another line of horse cars, and to this day never allows himself to be led into another flirtation, however attractive may be a 'sweet face at the window.'"