Will you be my valentine? Seriously?
What would it take? Chocolates? Flowers? A romantic dinner? Some serious jewelry? A discreet but elegant house on Jermyn Street? A big wedding at St. George's Hanover Square? Well, for the Victorians, the key was apparently a big, fancy card. I mean really fancy: hearts, cupids, couples, beads, satin, flowers, feathers, jewels (everything but the house on Jermyn Street).
I must admit that for me, even today, those cards still evoke Valentine's Day. Although Valentine's Day, like many holidays, found its origins in a pagan celebration, the valentine card seems to have come into its own in the 19th centuries. Shall we look at a few? Let's start with this lovely example,
which incorporates hearts, flowers, birds, and maybe a little jewelry. Would you be this person's valentine?
How about if we upped the ante on the flowers and threw in a whole bunch of lace, some butterflies, and a little girl for good measure?
Maybe you'd prefer a little more reality-based card?
You, me, a vine-covered fake tree trunk? What could be more romantic?
Or we could fancy up the reality-based card with a better-looking couple and some more flowers.
I'm sure neither one of us could grow a moustache like that. Are you feeling more, shall we say, juvenile?
I have a card for that. In the mood for a party?
. . . or expecting a cartload of gifts delivered by Cupid?
Interested in more than one of us?
We can accommodate that. Gold and silver lace?
No problem. Or maybe you're just not interested. Just say so.
I can take a hint. There are other valentines in the box.
Myretta Robens, The Republic of Pemberley