Posted by Caroline on April 04, 1998 at 13:17:24:
In response to Marriage, written by Marie Bernadette on April 03, 1998 at 14:57:47
] I was wondering if, during the Regency, a woman's parents could stop her from marrying someone that they did not approve of if the woman was 21. From the things that I've been reading lately, including the JA bio, it seems that a woman was pretty much treated as a dependent and had very little freedom as long as she lived with her parents.
At age 21, anyone was legally an adult,and no-one could stop them marrying whomsoever they wished, and no-one could force them to marry anyone they did not wish to marry. However, a person who had no indepedant income of their own could still be influenced by those who provided them with a home and board. Both the Ferrars brothers are over 21, but their mother uses her own fortune, and their expectation of inheriting it, to control their behaviour.(unsuccesfully, I might add!)
One reason why Ann Elliot retracts her(original) engagement to Wentworth is because her father declares tha the will not settle anything on her, thus leaving her without any income of her own. She is , at the time, under 21, but he could just have easily done it when she was 27, had he been so inclined. If Captain Wentworth had still been poor the second time, the two fo them would have found life together without Ann's income , severely restricted.
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