Last names, first names, etc.
Posted by Woodhouse on June 19, 1998 at 12:19:23:
In response to Things to do with Marriage, written by Venetia on June 18, 1998 at 12:53:14
I believe it was legal for a guardian to wed his charge, and that it happened not infrequently though I have no citations. Remember, at this time, it was often believed that women were rather stupid, and needed to be "taken care of". When much older men wed very young girls, this was considered a fine thing, and she was thought to be a lucky girl. A guardian wedding his charge when she came of age would probably have been looked at in much the same way, just another way of "taking care" of her.
As to names, spouses addressed one another by first names only in private, if at all. One can never be sure, but the "if at all" was probably rare. If the man held a title, the wife would most likely address him by his title only, without the prefix of "Lord". Informally, even in company, it was permissable to call one another "my dear" or "my love" and this was, I believe, often done. Perhaps when the husband addressed the wife, he was more apt to use her first name, but I don't think so. Remember, this was the time period in which even aunts and uncles were often referred to by last names, e.g., "Uncle Smith" or "Aunt Jones". Perhaps Laura Wallace (where are you?) can sail in and clarify some of this for us.
Regrettably, modern historical literature, which sorely misrepresents this issue, has skewed our understanding of the level of formality which existed in the past.
- Last names, first names, etc. Laura W 02:11:06 6/28/98 (0)
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