Miss Havisham A Jilted Bride
Poor Miss Havisham. I honestly did not think I would ever feel sorry for that strange woman. Pip’s visits to her home were always so bizarre, belonging more to the world of Wonderland than Great Expectations. However, after Herbert Pocket’s story about her misfortunes, I actually feel a pang of sadness for her.
Sometimes I think that being rich must be such a burden. I am not saying I wouldn’t like to try it sometime but it would be a hassle. Think about dating for example. You’d always be questioning if the person loved you or your money. Hopefully it wouldn’t go quite as far as what happened to Miss Havisham but it would sting just the same. It’s almost better to be poor and have people come in with no expectations. I have always thought that about the members of the royal family. How do William and Harry even make friends. Although I do supposed, with them, that only a person who really cared about them would put up with all the crazy paparazzi.
The chapter on Miss Havisham got me to thinking about the dating etiquette of the Victorian era. Here is what I found:
- Marriage was a carefully contemplated subject for a woman; since she would lose control over any possessions once married, it was not something entered into lightly, and a woman was not required to accept her first proposal.
- The financial aspects of both families were discussed openly. They can be compared to today’s prenuptial agreements. A woman’s father was responsible for retaining a “jointure” for his daughter; this was a provision in the event that she might outlive her husband, so that she was taken care of monetarily.
- After the business aspects were secured, the engagement followed. The husband presented his fiancee with a ring; the woman could give her fiance a ring as well, but it was not required. The woman’s mother was responsible for throwing an engagement dinner for the couple.
- Engagements lasted anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. After it was “official,” the couple was permitted to be more intimate: they could hold hands in public, take walks together, take private carriage rides (but the carriage had to be open), and even spend time alone behind closed doors, as long as they were properly separated by nightfall (Because nothing could happen during the day).
- Any failure to follow these rules of conduct meant a ruined reputation for the woman; the engagement would most likely be called off and she would spend the rest of her life as a spinster. An honorable man would typically marry her anyway, but then again, an honorable man would not become engaged to a woman who would disobey societal rules.
Chapter Challenge – 23-25