In Competition No. 1382 you were asked for a classified matrimonial advertisement on behalf of some famously unattractive fictional character.
When Lord Horder set this competition in the Spectator almost 30 years ago he limited the advertisers to Caliban, Medusa, Mrs Malaprop, Nero, Apollyon, Jezebel or Dracula, and got some splendid responses. Apollyon described himself as 'an influen- tial gentleman from "down under" with worldwide interests in sulphur deposits', Dracula, looking for 'a young lady of sanguine temperament', confessed to being `fond of games — is a first-class bat', and Medusa wanted to 'meet monumental mason or sculptor to whom valuable tech- nical assistance could be offered, leading to substantial reductions in overheads'. With a wider range of choice you did just as well, offering me Polyphemus (`back-to-Nature freak') seeking a 'petite' friend (minimum height 9ft 3in), Big Brother advertising from the Ministry of Love ('discretion doublesure, unsurveillance guaranteed. Unperson unpackdrill'), and even Claggart in matrimonial mood: 'Naval quartermas- ter desires sling hook. Traffic warden or prison wardress preferred'. There is room for seven winners dividing £49 equally
38 THE SPECTATOR 17 August 1985
among them, and Pascoe Polglaze gets the bottle of Veuve Clicquot Gold Label 1979 Vintage Champagne (the gift of NERA).
Illegible Widow of implacable taste and de- bauchee of the Arts, wishes to meet a Gentle- man similarly circumscribed in the Bath area. Need not be an invertebrate romantic, or rich as Crusoe, but kindliness is presumptuous. No objections to Widower with good figure and Bank references in duplicate. (The Advertiser herself enjoys a small legate from a diseased husband with Irish roots.) The Applicant would be expected to wait — like patients on a muniment — and carry all parcels willingly, without fumigating, when out shopping. Though Gentlemen are preferred, any Tradesman may apply if profitably in the Millinery, or Carriage, or the Licensed business. Reply, stating age and
maritime state. (Pascoe Polglaze) An Ordained Clergyman of the Church of England, recently disappointed in love, is in search of a suitable Helpmeet, Such a one must associate herself with his views, which are of a moderately Evangelical character, and assist him in his strivings for Preferment, whereby a not unworthy Sower may spread the Gospel abroad from a more elevated Pulpit than is presently accorded to the Bishop's Chaplain at a certain Cathedral. The advertiser, obedient to God's Command (Gen. ix.1), must insist upon luxuriant tresses in the successful applicant. Let her consult Luke, vii.38; and thereafter reply without delay to 'OS', Post Office, Barchester.
LORD KENNY WIDMERPOOL has decided to appoint a fresh wife. Those aspiring to this not altogether uncoveted position should not be deterred by awareness of physical uncharm or other feelings of personal inadequacy — howev- er well-justified — from dispatching a scrupu- lous CV. All reputable applicants will receive a 100-page brochure listing LORD WIDMER- POOL's major honours and achievements and embellished with fifty full-colour photos of LORD WIDMERPOOL in the robes of those universities whose honorary degrees he has seen fit to accept. After preliminary probing, short- listed candidates must be prepared to make themselves available for rigorous medical ex- amination at a clinic of LORD WIDMER- POOL's appointing. LORD WIDMERPOOL's decision will be final and no correspondence with heartbroken applicants can be entered into.
(Jon Fernside) Slim, bearded gent., retired sea-faring, seeks mate for companionship and outings, view permanent relationship to relieve loneliness. Bright-eyed, engaging conversationalist with never-ending fund of shipboard tales, keen on shooting (crossbow) and fishing, some lay preaching (weddings a speciality), no family ties. Seeks tolerant and patient mate, basic know- ledge of nautical terms an advantage, non-bird- lover preferred. Would welcome a bassoonist. Must be a good listener. (D. A. Prince) Extremely well built and vigorous man in prime of life, fond of campanology, church music and acrobatics, seeks soulmate to share unique life style in his eyrie at the top of Paris's finest building with unsurpassed views over the city. Candidates must have a good head for heights. Character more important than looks, short sight a positive advantage. Applicants should ring three times on the main bell of Notre Dame Cathedral, stand clear and prepare for the descent of the advertiser. (Rory Stewart)
Swiss millionaire, widower, seeks mature, soph- isticated lady to act as hostess in beautiful lakeside mansion Geneva with extensive gar- dens and disciplined staff. No sentimental in- volvement but marriage of convenience a possi- bility. Must have considerable appreciation of good wine and a varied cuisine and be prepared to entertain small select social circle meeting frequently for formal and al fresco dinners. No ski-ing or music of any kind permitted. Interest in theology acceptable. Sense of black humour
essential. (Katharine Onslow) The Reverend William Collins.
Encouraged by the condescension of a lady of elevated rank (whose esteemed patronage he deservedly enjoys), a superior clergyman, newly ordained and richly endowed with all gentle- manly qualities, including high moral principles and a serious demeanour, solicits the acquaint- ance of a genteel young lady of elegant appearance, compliant nature and adequate fortune tempered by decent habits of thrift. She should be acceptable to good society and, if found suitable in all respects, might be offered the inestimable advantages of marriage to a suitor of exceptional merit. (Phyllida Garth)