|GR: Some trandom houghts
Written by KerstinM
(11/12/2003 12:12 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, GR: Thoughts from chapter 2, penned by Kim in AK
] "...none of the women studied here expected to endure tyranny...and they were fully conscious of what was owing to their dignity and rank. Abject feminine servility was the ineradicable mark of the kitchen maid not her employer." p.8
] " When the perfect gentleman disclosed a sincere and honourable passion, he diffidently stressed his own unworthiness, in contrast to the estimable qualities of his chosen object." p47
] I was struck by just HOW inappropriate and un-gentlemanlike Darcy's first proposal really was.
Yes, in this light Darcy’s proposal was way of the mark!
What makes me wonder when I read those lines were how and if this attitude later changed. Last year I visited the post office museum in Frankfurt which exhibited German love letter from the 19th century (mainly from the later decades). What stroke me as odd was the amazing number of written proposals of genteel men who remarked not at all on their own unworthiness but on the suitability of the chosen bride and how they thought that the object of their desire would make them a good, dutiful and pious housewife. Nearly all of the letters seemed to indicate in tone that the chosen wife should praise her lucky fate, to have deemed worthy by her suitor (very Darcy-like, but less aggressive and more patronizing). The funny thing was that the ladies in questions were obviously delighted to receive such immodest offers (the answering letter were exhibited, too)! It was them who remarked on their unworthiness, but the willingness to live up to the expectations!
Hmm, either the customs had changed dramatically in the Victorian era or German women were quite a sorry lot! It might be also a possibility that such proposals were what was desired and thought proper but nevertheless many suitors were too conceited for appearing so humble, who knows.
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