Late 18th century courship and dating in britain
Certain courtship etiquette and conduct was expected of an eighteenth or nineteenth century gentleman, although there were also courtship responsibilities for women.
However, one etiquette book related to gentlemen noted that “courting ought never to be done except with a view to marriage.” A nineteenth century gentleman maintained that “true courtship consists in a number of quiet, gentlemanly attentions, not so pointed as to alarm, not so vague as to be misunderstood.” This meant a gentleman had to walk a fine line.
One person who staunchly dissolved of Robert Parker was Elizabeth’s aunt Ann Pellet who made sure, on multiple occasions, to remind her niece about her opinion of her suitor.
Ann was confident that Elizabeth could find a better husband than Robert but several seasons spent out in society did little to change Elizabeth’s mind.
These flirtations were almost always supervised as it could be perceived as a lack of virtue for an unmarried woman to be alone in the company of unmarried men.
In the early modern period, customs of courtship and marriage were undergoing significant shifts.
Even the most head-over-heels in love woman could still have her doubts about her choice and its easy to see why since these women, in most cases, were truly bound to their husbands ‘until death do us part.’ Courtship was the golden age of romance for most women, a time when the could sit back and allow the men to woo and flatter them, for once, they had a choice and they held the power of judgement.