White House Romances

It was a night of yes.

Yes to the White House masquerade. Yes to a private tour by President John Tyler himself. Yes to hearing the soft strings and lull of party conversation as they ventured further into the candlelit corridors.

It was a night of yes for Julia Gardiner until it wasn’t at all.

“No!” She couldn’t possibly have heard him right. President Tyler shouldn’t have— wouldn’t have asked for her hand in marriage. “No.”

A forceful shake of her head caused the tassel of her hat to slap him. “No.”

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Paper Hearts: Victorian Courtship Correspondence

Victorians engaged in long distance relationships—especially when both parties were present in the same room. The hustle and bustle of courtship etiquette was truly more hampering than a crinoline!

With such limitations, it comes as no surprise that couples resorted to delivering flirtations by postage stamps, fans, and flowers.

Thankfully, love letters preserved a myriad romances like Mark Twain’s. . .

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The History of Sealing Wax

The use of wax seals dates back to the Middle Ages. At first, seals were the exclusive purview of royalty in issuing decrees and authenticating documents. Each individual had his or her own seal, and in a time when many were illiterate, they were used in place of a signature. It was common practice to destroy a seal when its owner died to prevent posthumous forgeries.

It wasn’t until the late 13th century that the use of seals spread to the general public. In a time when marriages were prearranged, true words of love were often written and exchanged by secret lovers. A seal secured the letter, ensuring the recipient that their secret passion would remain unbeknownst to others.

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