This sardonic broadside begins: 'MADAM, / The great love and tenderness I have hitherto expressed for you is false. And now I feel that my indifference towards you increases proportionately every day.' The letter was written by W. Geoff to Miss M. Wi[llia]ms. There are no further details attached to the sheet.
There are many of these anonymous love letters or 'Dear John' letters contained in the National Library of Scotland's collection - although much of their authenticity is to be questioned. Like many other broadsides, some of this songs appeal seems to lie in laughing at someone else's misfortunes, and the sardonic humour of a reverse love-letter. It could even have been a moral warning. Certainly there are other broadsides which detail stories of young women seduced by dashing cads and then left broken an pregnant.
Broadsides are single sheets of paper, printed on one side, to be read unfolded. They carried public information such as proclamations as well as ballads and news of the day. Cheaply available, they were sold on the streets by pedlars and chapmen. Broadsides offer a valuable insight into many aspects of the society they were published in, and the National Library of Scotland holds over 250,000 of them.
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