History of courting dating england

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He could not pay exclusive attention to any particular woman unless he was serious and wanted to pursue marriage, and he could not attend church with a woman regularly, give her costly presents, or be her constant escort unless he had serious intentions.

If he neglected “all others to [solely] devote himself to a single lady he [gave] that lady reason to suppose he [was] particularly attracted to her …

For that reason, one etiquette book noted that a gentleman should be “decidedly respectful” toward a woman’s parents, and, because the nature of courtship required an exaggeration of a person’s good qualities and a person’s manners, they were to be above reproach.

Mothers, in particular, watched “with a jealous care the tendencies of their daughter’s affections.” If for some reason she found a gentleman unacceptable, the advice to the mother was to try to turn her daughter’s head by finding a more suitable person.

[and there was] danger of her feelings becoming engaged.” In addition, by avoiding such singular-focused behavior, a gentleman would avoid winning a love he could not reciprocate, stop wasting his time and money, or sidestep falling in love with someone considered unworthy.

Before a gentleman could even consider courting a woman, he had to have already met her or finagled an introduction through society’s proper channels.

When the candles burnt to the metal at the top of the candle holder, it was time for the suitor to promptly leave.

However, the father could change the height of the candle based on how comfortable he felt about the suitor.

He would have to ascertain where she lived and then make discreet inquiries, respecting her family and avoiding compromising her name by not even mentioning it in the course of his inquiry.

Then, hopefully, he could somehow work towards an introduction.

The conclusion was that “if you prize your own happiness … Better that you underestimate.” On the other hand, a gentleman was to make himself as attractive as possible and use every power he possessed, whether it be attractiveness of manner, physical characteristics, education, money, position, skill, or strength, because “to do less would be injustice to yourself; to do more, would be injustice to others.” Gentlemen were also advised to never “give your best impression at …