Check out these Personal ads on the front page of the first issue of the Daily Mail, May 4th 1896. Surely, they can’t be for real. The first and the second read like extracts from late Victorian romantic novels (‘There shall be no reproachful letters; but for heaven’s sake, let me hear of or from you…’ and ‘ if you do not come back to me soon, I fear I shall be tempted into accepting one of the many offers of marriage I am receiving almost daily’ ). Then look at the names attached to the second ad:‘ To Oak’ from ‘ Ivy’ . The third ad reads like a Music hall joke.
Uncle Jim---Come home at once. All is forgiven. Bring the pawn tickets with you---Niece
As for the last announcement, this is a neat effort at sardonic humour:
Will the gentleman who took away by mistake the Brown Pony standing outside the Star and Garter on City and Suburban day, kindly send to the same place for the trap, or return pony ? One is no use without the other.
Hurgh hurgh! But back then, the Daily Mail was a light-hearted read for a mere halfpenny, not the tissue of ill-informed opinion that it is today. Along with fashion tips and household hints, it advertised romantic fiction and jolly magazines, announced violin and piano recitals, and even ( horror of horrors ) included an advert for a novel by that dastardly communist Emile Zola !
Those were the days. When did it all go so wrong ?