Rules for dating my brother
Consider the titles "Refusal on the grounds of dislike", "Refusal on the grounds of unsteadiness of the suitor", and "Refusal on the grounds that the suitor is much younger than herself".
Upon careful thought, however, these letters can be seen to be sober testimony to the general tenor of society in the third quarter of nineteenth century America.
When you can convince me that, in point of age, fortune, and morals, you are such a person as I can, without reproach, take for my husband, and constitute the guardian of my children, I shall cease to suspect, that motives not the most honorable have induced you to play the lover to a woman sufficiently old to be your mother.
I hope I have said enough to make you ashamed of your conduct..." The young men of 1879 stood between two ways of life in a time of great change in America.
In search of ways to occupy his evenings when his pocket money was limited, he often fell in with other fellows like himself.
It is curious that the same letter writing volume contains a form for a letter between young men-about-town which has the seeds for disaster on which the three foregoing letters touch: "My dear Lloyd.
"The rules and suggestions for courtship and romance occupy most of the space in Victorian etiquette and letter writing books.
Near the end of the section there is generally one curt letter of refusal to a marriage proposal."The rules and suggestions for courtship and romance occupy most of the space in Victorian etiquette and letter writing books.
As to my little fortune, I consider myself merely the trustee for my children....Your conduct during the last two years has been made known to me, and, viewing you in the light of a dangerous man, I do not desire anymore intimate acquaintance.I could not reasonably expect happiness from a union with an individual who has destroyed the mental quiet of more than one young person, by his total disregard for what is due to the weaker by the stronger sex..." Indeed, men of the period seem to have had such a predilection for going astray that the "courtship" section also includes a lengthy epistle entitled "Remonstrance of a young lady against the reckless life of her future husband".There are usually flowery forms for written proposals from the suitor as well as a plethora of gushing acceptances from the bride-elect.Near the end of the section there is generally one curt letter of refusal to a marriage proposal.
The lady writes to her future husband that the company he is keeping of late is "fast" and that his associates are "prejudicial to his future prospects" in business and also, since possessed of greater fortunes than has he, are luring him into a life beyond his means.