Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Love Potion Scandal Reaches Headlines Of New Orleans Times, 1870

Blogger Note:  For those of us suffering from a Valentine's Day candy hangover, a quirky yet *true* story of how an 1800s love potion failed to deliver.  The resulting passages are taken straight from the headlines and equate to, for the time, a wildly sensational cautionary tale.  It can bear to be said yet again, sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

New Orleans Times April 10, 1870 Article Not Strong Enough:

One of the last and most romantic cases of domestic dissension yet reported from the legendary Fauboury (Faubourg) Treme, is that between two of the fair of the portion of Crescentia, and arises as to the possession of a sweetheart.

The affair commenced with the application of Loise Lapatrie to a lady herbalist or doctoress, of some fifty or sixty summers, of an accommodating character, and who pretends to be of assistance in all kinds of sickness, whether of the mind or body, whether from pangs of childbirth to those mental disturbances which will form a desire to know the future or from the cruel indifference and neglect of some indifferent lover.  In other words, M'me Bourges deals in philters (Blogger note: A philter or the plural philters is a drink supposed to arouse love and desire for a particular person in the drinker; a love potion) and love potions, and the lover must be very obstinate indeed who can resist her spells.

Louise having made application and stated her case to this party, went off joyful, and lost no time iin giving Charles Raynor, the love one sought, a small dose of the purchased charm, by way of experiment.  The philter worked admirable; he made more protestants and promised more new dresses than he had ever done before in the whole course of the acquaintance.  The only trouble was that he went away and seemed in no hurry to return.

The love-stricken, Louise now ascertained that Charles, the traitor, had been in the company of her rival almost ever since leaving, and lost no time in increasing the dose.  Again Charles worked around, but the second visit concluded, he seemed to hover as much as ever between his two flames, and to oscillate, with the regularity of a pendulum, from the house of one rival to that of the other.

Louise, now rather badly disgusted with her love philter, made another application to the sage femme, and the latter listened with great attention when Louise told the names of her sweetheart and fair rival.  'There is no trouble about the matter at all,' said the midwife, assuming an air of wisdom; 'the fact is this, that Charles Raynor is married to your rival, and the latter is, besides, very jealous.  For that reason I am now able to inform you that she made an application to me a little before you did, to keep her husband's love.  What is worse, is that she paid double the money for her charms that you did for yours, and consequently it has twice the strength.  However, yours, you can see, had some effect, or else the young man would not have been moving about, not knowing which one to take from one house to the other.' 

The unfortunate Louise reflecting that her prospect was rather slim of winning the permanent affections of Charles, if he was already married, and having besides no money to purchase a charm of the required strength, found it much more convenient to abuse the philter-vender as an imposter to the police, though without thus far much hope of seeing her money returned."