It was not a good thing to be.
Not at all. Not for a woman at least it wasn’t. Women who were single were always on the fringe of society – being invited to social gatherings for reasons other than, well, socializing.
Men, on the other hand, were happily greeted at any gathering large or small, and this was especially true if the man was not only single but also prosperous.
Why to invite a single woman, then? There were lots of reasons to invite single women to a social event in 1840, besides friendship, and usually it was one or more from the list below:
To introduce to eligible bachelors.
To even out the man/woman numbers for dancing.
As a courtesy to her family.
Because she was a wealthy widow.
Because she was a wealthy spinster – which was rather rare but did happen.
For men this was not something they ever worried about, unless they wanted a family that included sons to carry on the family name and inherit their fortune.
But, even within the male population, not every man wished to marry or needed to marry. If he had a brother who was married and had sons that provided an answer to who would be left whatever land and money the family had and the line would also continue – he may decide to stay single.
For women being single in 1840 was a sad matter, especially as they got older. If she was still of child-bearing years there was some hope that if her family was wealthy or at least was at one time, or, had prominent family members, the woman could possibly land a husband even if she passed the age of forty.
Furthering her cause, even though it’s in a rather sad way, was the fact that about fifty percent of women died given birth to a child. For example, a widower, perhaps in his 40s or 50s, already having had sons, might prefer a wife closer to his own age, and so he’d actually be looking for a middle-aged woman.
Of course, none of this applied to the single woman who was not in posession of a respected family name and/or an attractive dowry. She would know from childhood that her chances of marrying a man of wealth and rank would be almost non-existent. Usually, this would be the woman who married very young, her parents happily accepting the first offer that came along.
My heroines are very strong, highly sexual, and refuse to give in to what society was telling them to do in the mid 19th century. They get into trouble, sometimes go way off in the wrong direction, but, they bounce back and continue on smarter and more confident than ever.
Begin reading my CounterClockwise Paranormal Romance Series! It’s heating up more and more as the volumes go on!