Late 18th century courship and dating in britain
One person who staunchly dissolved of Robert Parker was Elizabeth’s aunt Ann Pellet who made sure, on multiple occasions, to remind her niece about her opinion of her suitor.Ann was confident that Elizabeth could find a better husband than Robert but several seasons spent out in society did little to change Elizabeth’s mind.One 18th century woman Mary Warde, wrote about her feelings of marriage and its finality: “No woman of understanding can marry without infinite apprehensions, such a step inconsiderately taken discovers a Levity and Temper that is always displeasing to a looker on…and if the woman has the good fortune to meet with a man that uses her well it is being happy so much by chance that she does not deserve it.” As for Robert Parker, after seven long years of failed attempts, he finally broke through to both Elizabeth and her father when he mentioned the prospect of marrying another woman to Elizabeth in a letter.Whether this was true or a cleaver trick to make Elizabeth confront her father, it is not know but either way it seemed to have worked.
One particular courtship that became something more of an odyssey, was that of Robert Parker and Elizabeth Parker, two middle class (or genteel) people who waited 7 long years to say I do!
Robert was finally granted another chance of proposition to Elizabeth’s father and a marriage contract was soon drawn.
Eric Rasmussen explains the complex process of getting married in Shakespeare’s England, and the way this worked for young Will himself.
Certain courtship etiquette and conduct was expected of an eighteenth or nineteenth century gentleman, although there were also courtship responsibilities for women.
However, one etiquette book related to gentlemen noted that “courting ought never to be done except with a view to marriage.” A nineteenth century gentleman maintained that “true courtship consists in a number of quiet, gentlemanly attentions, not so pointed as to alarm, not so vague as to be misunderstood.” This meant a gentleman had to walk a fine line.