1820s, 19th century, common people, living history, Making Things, Museums, Newport, Rhode Island, Rhode Island history
Here’s a nifty little thing you can make: A puzzle purse. This is from the collections of the Rhode Island Historical Society, but the form seems to have been fairly common; I know I’ve seen other fancifully-folded letters.
Because I’ll be spending Valentine’s Day in 1820, I thought I’d try to replicate this token. News on how it turned out later… I don’t feel clever enough to write my own verse, but here is the Rhode Island example transcribed.
My love is true to none but you
My heart expires for your sake
And if you don’t me pity show
My true and tender heart will brake
Here a question you will find
A sweet question you will find
Sweet is the question mark it well
Heart upon heart and so farewell
My Dearest dear and Blest Devine
I’ve pictured here your Heart and mine
But Cupid with his fatal dart
Has deeply wounded my poor heart
There between us sat a Cross
Which makes me to Lament my loss
But I am in hope when the Cross is hone
That both our hearts will be in one
My heart is fix’t no more to Range
I like my Choice to well to Change
Oh that my Heart to yours could meet
Then all my joys would be compleast
If you take this in disdain
Pray send it back from
Whence it Came L M
Lady Smatter said:
I’m so glad you shared this! I posted about three other museum-held puzzle purses from c. 1790-1800 this week, and I was struck by how many features they shared. The verses that start with “My dearest Dear” are linked with the heart designs and with the folds of the “puzzle,” and they seem to be traditional. The additional verses on this example are charming- much less desperate-sounding than an English example I looked at
I also made some replica puzzle purses. Check out how I fared at HerReputationFor Accomplishment.wordpress.com!
I found a 1760s poem with similar language– how neat that the tradition lasts so long & is so pervasive!