“She must be young, handsome (I lay most stress upon a good shape), sensible (a little learning will do), well-bred…” Alexander Hamilton Describes His Ideal Wife

From Alexander Hamilton By Ron Chernow

In one of Hamilton’s letters, he describes the ideal wife for whom he was searching (think of it as an early version of an online personal ad):

She must be young, handsome (I lay most stress upon a good shape), sensible (a little learning will do), well-bred (but she must have an aversion to the word ton, chaste and tender (I am an enthusiast in my notions of fidelity and fondness), of some good nature, a great deal of generosity (she must neither love money nor scolding, for I dislike equally a termagant and an economist). In politics, I am indifferent what side she may be of (I think I have arguments that will easily convert her to mine). As to religion, a moderate streak will satisfy me. She must believe in god and hate a saint. But as to fortune, the larger stock of that the better. You know my temper and circumstances and will therefore pay special attention to this article in the treaty. Though I run no risk of going to purgatory for my avarice, yet as money is an essential ingredient to happiness in this world–as I have not much of my own and as I am very little calculated to get more either by my address or industry–it must needs be that my wife, if I get one, bring at least a sufficiency to administer to her own extravagancies.

Good luck on that, Al.

 

The Madeleine Notion

madelIn Remembrance of Things Past, Proust’s – well, Proust’s remembrance of things past is triggered by a madeleine cake (a small, rich cookie-like pastry) or as Proust writes,

And suddenly the memory revealed itself: The taste was that of the little piece of madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray (because on those mornings I did not go out before mass), when I went to say good morning to her in her bedroom, my aunt Léonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of tea or tisane.

Proust thus transcends time barriers to experience the past simultaneously with the present.

On occasion, I find nuggets in books, music, videos, TV, or theater that perform a comparable kind of magic, revealing something beyond their own content. On that slender and admittedly precarious link to Proust and his cookie, I offer these morsels: quotations, pertinent points, overviews, images, themes, and other tidbits that seem similarly catalytic.

 

Credit Due Department: Madeleine photo by Bernard Leprêtre (Own work) CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikipedia

Originally posted Mar 21, 2006 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of AllanShowalter.com

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