Displaying one's affections
Posted by Constanza on February 19, 1998 at 20:43:42:
In response to The kiss, written by Kay on February 19, 1998 at 11:47:33
In Austen's time, it seems as any open display of affection was forbidden, and this was carried into Victorian times (except maybe for engaged, avowed lovers).
I would like to know if such lack of display was forbidden or is simply missing in JA's novels. For instance, the fact that children did not speak in her books doesn't mean that real children didn't talk at all. It surprises me that there seems to be so little physical contact between her characters, whether married, engaged, close relatives or whatever. And you know, I haven't even realized that until I took to reading Trollope and was astonished to find "lovers"(in the old sense)holding hands, or actually kissing! (And Trollope was victorian, wasn't him?)
Miss Bartlett can only relate back to her Victorian experience and defines George as a cad and the kiss as an insult. I can imagine George Emerson believes he is expressing his honest emotion and breaking through Victorian hypocracy. Lucy is left in the middle, with yet something new to figure out.
It's interesting the different ways in which the three of them react to the kiss: Charlotte is worried that others may learn of it, but she gives a damn for Lucy's feelings; Lucy would like to analyze her feelings and isn't a bit worried about other people's knowing about the "incident"; and George punishes himself with a long walk under a heavy downpour. Nobody takes the trouble to find out why he has kissed her; and what's worse, that question seems to be completely irrelevant!
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