Courting rules dating
But any red-blooded young male who independently set his cap at a particular young lady and approached the parents with a view to instigating a formal courtship was in for a hard slog.
Influential relatives had almost complete control of the course of events.
No priest, minister, magistrate, or license was called for, although it was not unusual for blacksmiths to officiate—the anvil becoming a symbol of where long-lasting unions were forged.
The ceremony could as easily be performed in a field, a garden, an alehouse, or, as was often the case, in a bedroom. It's easy to imagine a libidinous youth promising in a few words to have and to hold in order to secure his wicked way with a young country maiden, later to renege on the deal.
Darcy and the demure Miss Elizabeth Bennett, where ne'er a lusty thought or word between them passed.
But the rituals of Austen's Pride and Prejudice—idealistically drafted in 1796—as shining examples have long since been passed over, and courtship, that delicate art of hooking a prospective mate and playing the fish all the way to a preacher, is all but dead.
Ben and Ellen Knecht exchange vows—with, from left, John Labanish, Pamela Blount, Andre Lane, Mike Luzzi, Teresa Ponziani, Jim Kent, Pat Mahon, and Christina Lane. Not a few parents pine for the courtship rules and rites of, let us say, those halcyon colonial times, when, as they understand it, propriety tempered ardor, virtue checked passion, and abstinence made the heart grow fonder.
The wealth that he could bring to the table came from his kinsfolk: the ones who could promise money, land, and support.But historians say the modern, mixed-up, anything-goes form of bonding that includes physical intimacy and permanent or temporary cohabitation, with children born in or out of wedlock, is not altogether different from some of the practices of segments of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century populations.As far as chaste courtship is concerned, the good old days have been overrated, almost as mythical as the Standish-Mullins-Alden triangle that Longfellow invented.The survival and consolidation of the families' power and prosperity were at stake.Courtship and marriage were arrangements that would be of mutual benefit to the families. There were instances when young women and men tried to circumvent the order of the day.Defying parental prohibitions, youths occasionally caught the quickest ride to their connubial destination.At left, a coach waits for a pair leaving by the back fence in John Collet's The Elopement, from ca. Starting a family at times leapfrogged a wedding—baby-to-be making a party of three. The anxiety is quickened by the feeling that society has been on the road to ruin since maybe Miles Standish's day and that the prospects of their offspring walking the path to the altar with a nice young man or sweet young woman have greatly diminished since John Alden and Priscilla Mullins made the trip.Blame human nature if you like, but for want of a better phrase, hanky-panky was as prevalent among some eighteenth-century folks as it is among some of the twenty-first's.Beyond doubt, most people stayed strictly within the bounds of propriety, but in the mid to late 1700s, more than one girl in three was pregnant when she walked down the aisle.Today, love is popularly considered the reason for a marriage, but for the best part of 150 years, colonial marriages among the gentry were arranged in the same way that they are still agreed upon in parts of the world.The higher up the colonial ladder of success and status, the greater was the pressure for the children to marry well.