Engagement and Marriage

A man may not propose when her family object.

Proposal in person.

Asking the father’s permission.

Should the father refuse consent.

The old-fashioned rule that a man must approach the father of a girl before offering himself in marriage to her has now, to some extent, died out. At the same time it is considered dishonourable for any one to propose to a girl in the face of the decided disapprobation of her family. Clandestine courtship is also regarded as dishonourable, except in circumstances where the girl is unhappy or oppressed and needs a champion. The usual way to ask for the admired one’s hand in marriage is in person. This is always preferable to writing, though some men have not the courage to adopt the first course. Should the lady accept the offer, the happy wooer must take the earliest opportunity of seeing her father, or, failing him; her nearest friend, and begging him to permit the engagement. Should he consent, all is well; but in the contrary case, his decision must be accepted. To allow a girl to engage herself against the wish of her family is to drag her into a false position. Very often submission to the decree effects more towards procuring its reversal than violent opposition. It is difficult, of course, for young people to be patient, but if they can only manage a little of it they would find the truth of the French proverb, “All things come round to those who know how to wait.”

The engagement ring.

Immediately upon having the engagement ratified, the accepted suitor gives the lady an engagement ring. This should be as handsome a present as he can afford to buy. Together with all other presents and correspondence on both sides, this ring must be returned if the engagement should be broken off.

One’s duty to one’s betrothed.

A significant announcement.

The accepted man is in duty bound to spend most of his leisure with his intended bride. He must not go off for a sojourn abroad while she is spending some weeks by the sea in England, unless she has expressed a wish to that effect. It would be a considerable “snub” to her to do so. Society has sometimes been amused by the announcement one day of a “marriage having been arranged between Mr. A. and Miss B.,” and on the next of the intention of Mr. A. to start for a tour round the world. This almost always means that the man has been entrapped into a proposal, and would willingly retreat if he honourably could. Such things happen only too often. Manœuvring mothers have much to answer for in the matter. Worldly girls have often sufficient wisdom of the serpent to bring a reluctant wooer to the point and, by immediately announcing the engagement to their friends, to make it extremely difficult for him to retreat.

When a girl takes the initiative.

The unhappy sequel.

Long engagements.

And unsuitable positions.

A man’s duty to look at cold facts.

Sometimes a girl falls so wildly in love with a man that she creates a kind of corresponding, though passing, fervour in him, and while it lasts he believes himself in love, though his emotions are only a mixture of gratified vanity and that physical attraction which needs true love to redeem it from the fleshly sort. Should marriage follow upon such courtships as these, where the girl takes ever the initiative, the

  By PanEris using Melati.

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