In 1840 they would not have said it that way!
But the idea was there all the same. It was an interesting time, the mid-19th century, as the attitudes toward love, marriage and even sex, were all changing and yet some things had not changed and to this writer’s mind – they never should.
Was an instition that was supposed to benefit both parties financially. If you think about it it’s not quite so cold and unromantic as it sounds. Remembering that back then women could not earn a living for themselves (just read Sense and Sensibility again and you’ll see this was a long-established fact) they had to put their Smart Hat on when it came to choosing a husband.
Dowries were made known right away and of course the larger the pot the more the eligible bachelors came to call. Women born to wealth had a distinct advantage, and since it holds true today that money attracts money, it would seem to the outsider that few if any less fortunate women had a prayer when it came to landing the man born with the silver spoon.
This actually did come into play sometimes. Cinderellas did exist, even though they were scarce, and on the occasion, even the woman born into high society married a gentleman of much more modest means.
Physical appearance was as important then as it is today, however, once again the Money Card was the highest trump in the marriage deck.
But love did come into the picture for many of those born on the same level of society and that’s the stuff romance novels are made of – that and adding some of the more snooty, practical characters just for a bit of flavor.
Making it work.
The advice given to girls approaching the altar was to keep quiet, follow orders and be a perfect hostess. They were expected to have children, as many as they could due to the high infant mortality rate, and once that was done they were not necessarily expected to share a bed with their husband.
So intimacy between man and wife was considered to be work, and work that had to be productive, literally speaking.
How then, can so many beautiful stories be written about lovers who bond deeply forever? Because it does happen. Then, now, and forever into the future.
There will always be those who love back like crazy – regardless of what society may dictate, what responsibilities they have, and sometimes, no matter how much distance there is between them.
And that, ladies and gentleman, is the stuff that makes for a good romance novel!