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Caro
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PostSubject: Elopements and Marriage   Elopements and Marriage EmptyWed 27 Nov 2013, 21:04

A report in our paper that a couple in America had been married for 81 years and began their marriage with an elopement when she was 17 and he was 20, after her parents wanted her to marry someone twenty years older reminded me I wanted to talk about elopements.  The family in this instance comforted themselves with the thought that the marriage wouldn't last. 

We visited Haddon Hall while we were in Sheffield, and one of its traditions was that one of the family members of the 17th century, Dorothy, had eloped with John Manners.  At the time I thought it sounded a little odd, since he was heir to a large estate and title, and the couple were bequeathed Haddon Hall later, and I couldn't se what the objection to the wedding could have been.  But now I see at http://haddon-hall.com/HaddonHallBooks/DorothyVernon.html a rebuttal of this legend, saying it wasn't part of the traditional story of the house till 150 years later. 

But elopements seem a thing of the past, or perhaps it's just that they belong to European (or British only?) tradition. (My son did say that if he had known what was involved in a wedding they would have eloped and married in Estonia, but that is not quite the same thing.)  I couldn't see why anyone would need to elope in New Zealand, for instance, since anyone can marry who they like from the age of 16 (though under 18-year-olds do need parental or court permission); I suppose it used to be from the age of 21, though I have no recollection of it being other than 16, and my friend here was married at 16 55 years ago, long before the age of majority was lowered to 18.  (I see that rather oddly it is 16 with parental consent in NZ, and in Australia 16 with permission from a court and both parents, only granted in exceptional circumstances; that is not the case here.)

In Britain you needed to have the Banns read or get a special license and that apparently allowed parents to find out about a marriage and stop it. (Here you just need a license which has some rules about it - only one marriage at a time, certain relationships forbidden, age restrictions etc.)  But if they didn't find out in advance the marriage still stood, I think, so what grounds did parents have for stopping a marriage beforehand?  Or did they have to have married where it was legal - Gretna Green being the closest place to England?  Lydia in Pride and Prejudice marries clandestinely, though I can't remember if it was an actual elopement or not, in the sense that she could have legally been stopped, which is certainly a theme in many Georgette Heyers, when brothers and fathers and sisters take off to try and catch a couple and prevent the marriage.

I don't know if other cultures have the concept of elopement or not.  It wouldn't be needed if marriage at a certain age was automatically allowed, whether parents permitted it or not, would it?
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Elopements and Marriage   Elopements and Marriage EmptyThu 28 Nov 2013, 10:16

@Caro wrote:
  Lydia in Pride and Prejudice marries clandestinely, though I can't remember if it was an actual elopement or not, in the sense that she could have legally been stopped...  
From far stopping Lydia's marriage, everyone is most anxious that it should take place. Lydia thinks she is going to Gretna Green to be married, but Wickham has no such intention. He leaves Brighton simply to escape his debts and ends up in London with Lydia; living - and sleeping - with her. Lydia, without fortune, isn't worth marrying, as her father sardonically notes: "I mean no man in his senses would marry Lydia on so slight a temptation as one hundred-a-year during my life, and fifty after I'm gone."

Yet without marriage - even to "one of the most worthless young men in Great Britain" - Lydia is ruined for ever: society will make sure of that. The "spiteful old ladies" of Meryton would have preferred that Lydia ended up "secluded from the world, in some distant farmhouse" (ie unmarried and pregnant), but thanks to Darcy (who forks out £10,000 to "purchase" - Austen's own word - Wickham for Lydia) she is made "respectable". Without Darcy's intervention - and cash - Lord knows what would have become of her; her fate would have been similar, no doubt, to the wretched Eliza, the girl seduced and left pregnant by Willoughby in Sense and Sensibility.

Georgiana Darcy very nearly eloped with Wickham too, of course: marriage to her fortune of £30,000 was definitely his intention, but Georgiana, her £30,000 and - it is understood - her virginity are saved in the nick of time.

Won't go on at length about it here, but Maria Rushworth's (nee Bertram) utter ruin after her adulterous elopement (in Mansfield Park) is dealt with by Austen in some detail. It's a sordid business, but I've never been easy with Maria's clergyman brother's description of his sister's infatuation - and adultery - with Henry Crawford as a "crime". Her younger sister, Julia, elopes too - and is married. Marriage means forgiveness is possible: the Bertram girls' father, Sir Thomas Bertram, observes that Julia is guilty of folly, but her sister of vice. The hypocrisy of it all! As the worldly Mary Crawford observes, a second marriage (after divorce, which Rushworth,  Maria's immensely rich husband, does obtain) could have - just about - rescued her reputation:

" 'We must persuade Henry to marry her...My influence, which is not small, shall go all that way; and, when once married, and properly supported by her own family, people of respectability as they are, she may recover her footing in society to a certain degree. In some circles, we know, she would never be admitted, but with good dinners, and large parties, there will always be those who will be glad of her acquaintance; and there is, undoubtedly, more liberality and candour on those points than formerly...' "

Henry doesn't marry Maria, however; her family reject her and she is made to go off to live with the awful Mrs Norris (not the cat) somewhere in the country " remote and private, where, shut up together with little society, on the one side no affection, on the other no judgement, it may be reasonably supposed that their tempers became their mutual punishment."

We are not told what happens to Crawford, but presumably - like Wickham and Willoughby, those other Austen seducers of foolish and infatuated young women - he marries with profit and is completely accepted by society.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Elopements and Marriage   Elopements and Marriage EmptyThu 28 Nov 2013, 12:56

@Caro wrote:
I don't know if other cultures have the concept of elopement or not.
The English concept owes much to the temporary discrepancy between marriage laws in two adjacent jurisdictions between which one could relatively easily travel. It can be traced back to a specific piece of legislation in the 1750s and forward to when the discrepancy was amended. In other words elopement was a feasible option for only about a century, a period however that coincided with a dramatic rise in the production of popular fiction which often included it as a plot device, and therefore became of cultural significance in a manner exceeding either its length of time as a practice or the numbers who actually availed of it.

The USA has its own tradition of elopement for similar reasons, and in fact there the practice is still a feasible option for people in many states, so while it has inherited a lot of the "romance" it originally obtained primarily from its treatment within the British literary tradition it also retains quite a bit of the quality of pragmatism which we can assume also prevailed in Britain when it offered a practical alternative to what the participants regarded as restrictive legislation within their own jurisdiction.

In Europe the practice of elopement marriage also reflects when such discrepancies occurred, especially between adjacent states. However its decline more or less parallels Britain as nation states in post-Napoleonic Europe became more uniform in how they enacted legislation concerning cross-border activity.

In Asia the practice also has a long tradition, though there the motivation has traditionally been primarily to avoid arranged marriages and the destination of the couple, as well as what they must do to contract a marriage, has often less certain legal standing since the marriage often takes place within the same jurisdiction but with either falsified particulars being given in order to circumvent  legislation or the willful participation of officials who disagree with the legislation as enacted (often both, I would assume).

In Africa either of the above motives may apply depending on where one is. If one lives in Zambia, for example, where parental consent is required for both bride and groom up to the age of 25 then hopping over to Angola and availing of the "Alambamento" tradition must induce several below that age to take the elopement option. This is reflected in available Angolan marriage statistics which cite 15% of weddings annually on average being between non-residents.
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Islanddawn
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PostSubject: Re: Elopements and Marriage   Elopements and Marriage EmptyThu 28 Nov 2013, 16:07

@Caro wrote:
I don't know if other cultures have the concept of elopement or not.  It wouldn't be needed if marriage at a certain age was automatically allowed, whether parents permitted it or not, would it?
In Greece there wasn't elopement as such because a woman/girl couldn't marry anywhere without parental consent, however there was what is/was called 'stealing a bride'. If a couple wished to marry and the proposed marriage was against parental wishes the couple would disappear together for a night, thereby forcing a marriage because the woman's reputation/virginity would be in question. The 'stealing' could take place with or without the woman's consent btw, but either way it meant that a marriage would have to take place.

There is too much romantic myth built around the English elopement scenario imo, a young couple (supposedly madly in love) run away together to marry and then live happily ever after proving everyone else wrong etc etc. Well yes, it can happen as Caro's example above proves, but there is also another side that is rarely mentioned when stories of elopement are told.

My husband's aunt was a 'stolen bride', she willingly took off for a night with a man that her parents dissaproved of strongly and (by the traditions of that time) was then required to marry the fellow because her reputation was in tatters. They had 6 children in abject poverty and he turned out to be a wife beating brute who drank incessently, thankfully he also drank himself into an early grave thus giving our aunt and her children a modicum of a life free of fear. Parable of the story is, sometimes parents do know better than silly teenagers with their heads full of romance.
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PostSubject: Re: Elopements and Marriage   Elopements and Marriage EmptyThu 28 Nov 2013, 19:20

There is another form of "elopement" - my niece and her partner went off to the US on holiday, and came back married because they couldn't face the whole palaver of a modern wedding (nor, I suspect, could they afford it).
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PostSubject: Re: Elopements and Marriage   Elopements and Marriage EmptyThu 28 Nov 2013, 19:51

You don't believe it, but i's the first time I see the word "elopement" in English. From the context I saw that it has to be the Dutch "verloving" (the word seems to have some parallel roots with the English word).

In Belgium with the Roman-Catholic tradition (I don't speak about the "new" Belgians) and in the Netherlands with the mixed Protestant (Calvinist)/Roman-Catholic tradition there was till some decades ago a tradition of elopement (even for the Church) and an "elopement feast".
Today it are only the rich and families from the establishement which stick to that event, the man and woman in the street, as most aren't religious anymore, go to live together (perhaps with some kind of ceremony before Wink ) and marry later or when the first kid will be born. Many live also together and have kids...and marry when the links are well established...perhaps a wise precaution Wink...?

Kind regards, Paul.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Elopements and Marriage   Elopements and Marriage EmptyThu 28 Nov 2013, 20:24

Hi Paul

To "elope" really just means to run away and never come back. In the 14th century it came to mean "running away from a spouse" though really this meant in practice running from the husband to another man. Men tended not to run from their property. It wasn't until Jane Austen's time that the word came to mean running away secretly to get married, but what is really nice about this etymological journey is that in coming to mean this the word actually completed almost a full circle semantically. The "lope" part (still a word for running in English) can be traced back to "lep" in Old English, "løp", "löp" or "lup" in Norse and "lup" in Old German, all of which were words which meant run in the bridal sense (the "run" being her journey to her new place and position). In Norwegian "a wedding" is still to this day "et bryllup" - a bride's run.

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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Elopements and Marriage   Elopements and Marriage EmptyThu 28 Nov 2013, 22:58

Nordmann,


of course I was too early in my conclusions...only seeing the ressemblance of "loving" in Dutch with "loping" in English.
Although I knew that etymology was that tricky and without checking...Embarassed 

And yes the English "loping" has to do with the Dutch "lopen" (run)...substantif: "loop"

As for the Dutch "verloving": did some quick research and it is the act of "loven" old-Dutch: for nowadays Dutch "beloven" (promise). Thus the "verloving" is the act of solemny promising to marry...

Kind regards and with esteem,

Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Elopements and Marriage   Elopements and Marriage EmptyThu 28 Nov 2013, 23:00

In Norwegian "forlove" is to get engaged, which when one is an English speaker strikes one as actually very sweet (even if it does only literally mean "undergo promise").
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PostSubject: Re: Elopements and Marriage   Elopements and Marriage EmptyFri 29 Nov 2013, 01:05

I don't think of Norwegian and Dutch as that closely linked as languages but that example is very close.

"Elopements" do seem a sensible thing to do these days, Gil.  Weddings now seem to be most over-the-top occasions, wasting thousands of dollars on all the pretty extras, and sending people half-crazy.  How lucky it was I had boys and didn't have to worry too much about all this fluffing around; people getting offended because there wasn't enough room at the reception area for everyone was bad enough.  (You can always fit more people on your lawn.)  Food now has to be perfect, and brides have to have a degree in interior decorating to get the venue looking perfect, and there seem to be, if the online stuff about weddings is to be believed, all sorts of rules about gifts, and bridesmaids' presents, and who pays for what, and tophats and tails and great long trains for the bride worn, and dozens of bridesmaids or little attendants.  I saw a couple the other day whose venue wasn't available on the day they wanted, so they have decided not to get married at all.  The wedding now seems more important than the marriage. 

Paul, we have friends who have been together for some thirty years and have two adult children.  She told me they were going to get married; I was disappointed we would be away but she said there were to be only the five of them, their family of four and the groom's father.  I have asked both why they hadn't married and now why they are getting married, but there doesn't seem to be any special for either. 

Back to elopements and hypocrisy: I recently read George Eliot's Adam Bede and was rather dismayed by the central action (the only action in the novel really, not that that bothered me - I'd have preferred it with no action) where the 17-year-old Hetty is condemned by the author as silly and shallow when she falls in love with the squire's heir and thinks he will marry her.  There's no elopement for her, as Arthur has no intention of marrying her, having just been bewitched by her beauty and not able to resist it. But Hetty expected a marriage and the fine things that would go with it. Eliot if not particularly sympathetic to her: she seems to have been expected to understand there could be no marriage between her and Arthur as their stations aren't the same, but I didn't see where a young teenager would necessarily get that knowledge.  There weren't other upperclass people in the area for her to see them interacting, and it wouldn't have been a subject of discussion in her rural hard-working household.  Hetty gets pregnant, and I think she is very brave walking and getting rides across the country to try to get Arthur's help, but that isn't how Eliot portrays her.  (I find it a little odd that Eliot, who didn't marry her live-in lover, should be so condemnatory of someone who has sex and love outside marriage.)
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PostSubject: Re: Elopements and Marriage   Elopements and Marriage EmptyFri 29 Nov 2013, 04:29

Quote :
  (I find it a little odd that Eliot, who didn't marry her live-in lover, should be so condemnatory of someone who has sex and love outside marriage.)
Because she wanted to sell her books and a story going against societal/church strictures (of the time) and advocating sin would have gone down like a lead balloon.
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PostSubject: Re: Elopements and Marriage   Elopements and Marriage EmptyFri 29 Nov 2013, 10:50

Caro,

I learn the English language...today: "live-in lover"...Wink . I will hope in the future I will not learn some colloquial "dirty" words without knowing it...

Kind regards from your Belgian messageboard member,

Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Elopements and Marriage   Elopements and Marriage EmptyFri 29 Nov 2013, 11:04

"Live-in lover" - so he was a bidie-in and they were living over the brush then?
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PostSubject: Re: Elopements and Marriage   Elopements and Marriage EmptyFri 29 Nov 2013, 19:01

@Islanddawn wrote:
Quote :
  (I find it a little odd that Eliot, who didn't marry her live-in lover, should be so condemnatory of someone who has sex and love outside marriage.)
Because she wanted to sell her books and a story going against societal/church strictures (of the time) and advocating sin would have gone down like a lead balloon.

Wasn't there a bit more to it than that?

Emily Bronte does a nice take on the perils of elopement in Wuthering Heights.

Isabella Linton elopes with the dark and sexy Heathcliff, but lives to regret it.
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Islanddawn
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PostSubject: Re: Elopements and Marriage   Elopements and Marriage EmptyFri 29 Nov 2013, 19:44

Quote :
Emily Bronte does a nice take on the perils of elopement in Wuthering Heights.

Isabella Linton elopes with the dark and sexy Heathcliff, but lives to regret it.
Isn't Bronte merely re-inforcing the dictates of church, and by extension, society Temp? Isabella may have dared to elope but they didn't live a long and happy life together, so the story is yet another warning to women on what happened if they didn't do as they were told.

What would have happened if Bronte had written a different outcome to the story?
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Elopements and Marriage   Elopements and Marriage EmptyFri 29 Nov 2013, 20:30

Brontë's book is completely a warning about what life throws at people who act on impulse, not just women. And what it says life throws at people is anything but what the church (or society) says it will. Cathy (not Catherine, who despite Kate Bush's insistence is a different person) and Hareton are the ones who benefit when fickle life grants them love and stability, the very things their predecessors had yearned for but could never attain. The price of that stability was dear, but not paid by those who received it in the end. All in all a very astute observation by a woman of 27 and we are blessed she got the book written just before life's fickleness exacted a very cruel and undeserved price on her.

Isabella by the way, though she meets a sad end, can also be seen as the true heroine of the tale. Alone amongst the characters of her generation she avoids creating tragedy for others through pursuit of her own wishes. The others hurt everyone around them, Isabella only hurts herself. Her infatuation with Heathcliff is the result partly of childish self-delusion but also and even more of dogged determination on Heathcliff's part to exact revenge on Edgar. His will trumps hers. However it is to her credit that although contaminated by the contagious tragedy engendered by the others she alone has the will to do the sensible thing and remain aloof from the whole shower once damaged by them - once bitten, twice shy. Had she not died in London one is inclined to think she would have emerged in maturity the strongest of all of them. She was definitely showing the symptoms of an emergent intelligence before she copped it, unlike any of the others who all continued in amoral free fall, unable to arrest the machinations they set in motion.

I really liked that story, even if I never got my head around Hareton's character or what Cathy saw in him. Probably his badly drawn wishy washiness was just the tonic after growing up surrounded by such strong-willed blowhards who in the end blew themselves out.
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Elopements and Marriage   Elopements and Marriage EmptyFri 29 Nov 2013, 20:56

@Islanddawn wrote:
Quote :
Emily Bronte does a nice take on the perils of elopement in Wuthering Heights.

Isabella Linton elopes with the dark and sexy Heathcliff, but lives to regret it.
Isn't Bronte merely re-inforcing the dictates of church, and by extension, society Temp? Isabella may have dared to elope but they didn't live a long and happy life together, so the story is yet another warning to women on what happened if they didn't do as they were told.


Emily Bronte had nothing but contempt for the Church and for society. She also had a pretty healthy contempt for romantic notions of "love". EB's story - so often misread as one of the greatest love stories ever - is brutal, vicious and unforgiving. Just like life. She was a Darwinian before Darwin.

Nelly Dean (who, I should add, is the most unreliable of narrators) says it all in chapter 10:


It ended. Well, we must be for ourselves in the long run; the mild and generous are only more justly selfish than the domineering; and it ended when circumstances caused each to feel that the one’s interest was not the chief consideration in the other’s thoughts.

Primroses in the porridge or not, Hareton and Cathy faced an uncertain future.

Edit: Re Isabella. She was typical of the type of woman "who loves too much". Love there should be in inverted commas. The feminists like to make a heroine of her, but she would have gone back to Heathcliff like a shot had he shown the least bit of remorse for his treatment of her. Such women always do. There is a telling comment in Chapter 17. As she smashes her wedding ring to pieces she declares: "There! He shall buy another one if he gets me back again..."


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Islanddawn
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PostSubject: Re: Elopements and Marriage   Elopements and Marriage EmptySat 30 Nov 2013, 04:46

Nah sorry, don't buy any of it. Bronte was a product of her times, she may have shown contempt for society, church and romance but she still conformed to it to an extent. 

It's probably one of the worst books I've ever read anyway, only the films and tv adaptations of the book possibly exceed it for their ability to bore. 

Ps. No not bore, annoy would be a better word.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Elopements and Marriage   Elopements and Marriage EmptySat 30 Nov 2013, 08:49

ID wrote:
Bronte was a product of her times, she may have shown contempt for society, church and romance but she still conformed to it to an extent.
Eh, ok. But to what extent? Bored and all as you were when you read it you must surely have noted the absence of a morality tale aspect to the story. Not your standard mid-19th century fare at all. Nor is it conformist fare, I would have thought.

And anyway - your description of Emily Brontë above seems to fit just about anyone at odds with a church anywhere at any time. Just like yourself in fact. Products of our times we all are, and so was EB. But if one is going to accuse her on that basis of slipping contemporary morality lessons into her stories one should really back it up with examples (to an extent).
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PostSubject: Re: Elopements and Marriage   Elopements and Marriage EmptySat 30 Nov 2013, 09:48

Temp wrote:
"There! He shall buy another one if he gets me back again..."
Not, you notice "if he wants me back again ...". You can see why some feminists see this as Isabella taking control (albeit belatedly) of her destiny.

Those, like ID above, who find all these characters annoying (and I did too, especially when I first encountered them) are to me missing the point if they then dismiss the story on that basis. Emily Brontë took many of the standard ingredients of the Mills & Boon romantic storyline and presented them for what they actually are when they occur in "real life". Once I twigged that Heathcliff in Timothy Dalton mode giving Glasgow kisses to the local forestry was not in fact a romantic idyll but rather the lad in the pub with ten yards clearance around him at all times who invites sympathy and loathing in equal measure then I got a handle on most of the other characters too. Those who pick up Wuthering Heights for the first time expecting a tale of whirlwind romance in jolly Victorian England (bodices optional) must get very bored and annoyed indeed as it progresses.
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Elopements and Marriage   Elopements and Marriage EmptySat 30 Nov 2013, 10:01

Have a read of this, ID.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2007/aug/11/comment.bookscomment

I'm glad Martin Kettle mentions that Emily was a crackshot with a pistol. Her favourite target practice was the Haworth church tower.

Professor Heger, who taught both Emily and Charlotte in Brussels, said of her that she "should have been a man - a great navigator..." She had shocked him with her essays on "Le Chat" (in which she praises cats because they are like humans - ungrateful, hypocritical and cruel; she illustrated her essay with an unsavoury image of a cat with the half-swallowed tail of a rat hanging from its mouth) and "Le Papillon" and "Le Palais de Mort". What we call "civilisation", she declared in these essays, is only "intemperance and degradation". Nature (here's the Darwin bit) is "a vast machine constructed only to bring forth evil".

EDIT: crossed posts - haven't read yours yet, nordmann, but will send this.

Her French grammar was terrible, but the originality of Emily's mind astounded Heger. She was not yer average Victorian miss - and she had absolutely no desire to be.
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PostSubject: Re: Elopements and Marriage   Elopements and Marriage EmptySat 30 Nov 2013, 13:53

@nordmann wrote:
Temp wrote:
"There! He shall buy another one if he gets me back again..."
Not, you notice "if he wants me back again ...". You can see why some feminists see this as Isabella taking control (albeit belatedly) of her destiny.

But surely "if he gets me back again" shows the extent of the woman's continuing delusion. She seems to be cherishing the notion that this man could still possibly show remorse - that he actually had at one time loved her and that he might try to "win" her back! When Nelly points out: " 'Whatever be your notion of Mr Edgar, you cannot doubt that she has a capacity for strong attachments, or she wouldn't have abandoned the elegancies and comforts and friends of her former home, to fix contentedly, in such a wilderness as this, with you' ",  Heathcliff retorts: " 'She abandoned them under a delusion...picturing in me a hero of romance...I can hardly regard her in the light of a rational creature, so obstinately has she persisted in forming a fabulous notion of my character...It was a marvellous effort of perspicacity to discover that I did not love her.' "

Turning to Isabella (who is listening to all this) he adds: " 'Can I trust your assertion, Isabella? Are you sure you hate me? If I let you alone for half a day, won't you come sighing and wheedling to me again?' " He then turns to Nelly again, saying, " 'The passion was wholly on one side and I never told her a lie about it...the first thing she saw me do on coming out of the Grange, was to hang up her little dog* and when she pleaded for it, the first words I uttered were a wish that I had the hanging of every being belonging to her... but no brutality disgusted her...' "

Any woman who considers that she might be "got back" by a man whose brutalities only stopped short of anal rape is no woman in control of her destiny.

And anal rape, ID, is what Heathcliff means when he says, just after the above: " 'Tell your master, Nelly, that I never, in all my life met with such an abject thing as she is - She even disgraces the name of Linton; and I've sometimes relented, from pure lack of invention, in my experiments on what she could endure and still creep shamefully cringing back! But tell him, also, to set his fraternal and magisterial heart at ease, that I keep strictly within the limits of the law...'" Bronte knew the marriage laws: wife-beating and forced sexual intercourse were allowed; anal intercourse was not. As (nice) young students our mouths dropped open when this was explained to us. Anal rape is not what you expect the average Victorian girl to have known about, let alone write about (however obliquely).

* Heathcliff hangs Isabella's pet springer from a bridle hook - as they are eloping. She still goes with him.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Elopements and Marriage   Elopements and Marriage EmptySat 30 Nov 2013, 14:18

Ah, but Isabella pre-elope and Isabella post-elope are not the same person (except we must assume in Heathcliff's eyes).

Personally I think cinema missed a trick when it failed to cast Oliver Reed as Heathcliff ever. The casting of Isabella however would be a nightmare. Put Gwyneth Paltrow or Scarlett Johansen in the role and alas your opinion would be reinforced. Put a young Bette Davis in it however and Oliver'd better watch his own ass!
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Elopements and Marriage   Elopements and Marriage EmptySat 30 Nov 2013, 18:53

Any young woman contemplating elopement before 1829 (Isabella Linton elopes with Heathcliff in 1784) should have considered that, once married, her property immediately became her husband's, and he then had "absolute power of chastisement" over her - that is he could beat or whip her as he saw fit. After 1829 "absolute power of chastisement" became the right only to administer "moderate correction".

However, as we were told as students (see above), buggery (the term in law) was a different matter:

Sodomy was historically known in England and Wales as buggery, and is usually interpreted as referring to anal intercourse between two males or a male and a female. In England and Wales buggery was made a felony by the Buggery Act in 1533, during the reign of Henry VIII. The punishment for those convicted was the death penalty until 1861. A lesser offence of "attempted buggery" was punished by 2 years of jail and some time on the pillory.

It's a wonder any woman in her right mind ever got married, let alone eloped to do so - especially if she had her own fortune.
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PostSubject: Re: Elopements and Marriage   Elopements and Marriage EmptySat 30 Nov 2013, 19:52

And there was me coming over all gooey about the latest cute guy that's staying here .... while you lot are all discussing the Buggery Act of 1533 ....

Embarassed  

By the way, the last two chaps to feel the full majesty of that particular law were James Pratt and John Smith, who were publicly executed in front of Newgate Prison on the 27 November 1835.

The two consenting adult men were shopped by a third party, William Bonill, who had rented them a room specifically for their tryst, and as now seems likely, to deliberately entrap them. Once arrested, Pratt and Smith admitted their "guilt" and implicated no others, save Bonill. They were both respected workers in their home areas ... Pratt even had a wife and several children ... yet despite numerous people coming forward to testify to their good characters, both were condemned to death. 

Buggery remained a capital offence in England and Wales until the enactment of the Offences against Person Act of 1861.

Buggery remains, even in 2013, a capital offence in several Commonwealth countries of which HM Queen Elizabeth II is head of state .

pale 

Sorry, I didn't mean to preach.
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PostSubject: Re: Elopements and Marriage   Elopements and Marriage EmptySat 30 Nov 2013, 21:13

In the states gay men eloping is big business - while not quite sure about Madge's jurisdiction there it is certainly true that many states, while not outlawing homosexuality, have definitely laws going back to colonial days prohibiting them either consummating their relationship or having any kind of sexual relationship afterwards. Marriage, in the majority of states, is completely out. So not only is there an active and profitable business sector devoted to getting them married (through elopement) but also to gay marriage partners' successful reintegration into that great society which, as we have heard, is home to the free and the brave etc etc.

Here are some good tips about how to elope without ever leaving the land of the free and the brave etc etc

Equally Wed Tips

According to the website elopement worked for Gee and Juan:

Elopements and Marriage Gee_and_juan_6-615-610-407-80

“It felt so natural. Like this is where I was supposed to be all of my life. Right there with Juan living in Holy Matrimony,” says Gee. “The atmosphere of the day was a rollercoaster ride of emotions for me. I was excited at first, a bit nervous on the train ride, and then I felt an overwhelming calmness take over and I realized that life couldn’t get any better than the moment we were sharing at that time,” adds Juan. “I will say that marriage has been the most rewarding experience of my life.”
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PostSubject: Re: Elopements and Marriage   Elopements and Marriage EmptySat 30 Nov 2013, 21:35

Oh purrlease, Sweetie! I mean how camp is that?!?

But seriously though I guess that also means that I've eloped .... once. I had/have a French Civil Partnership (a PACS) registered in March 2003, before such a thing was possible in England, and it has subsequently been recognised under EU and UK law as equivalent to a UK Civil Partnership. So yes, if you like, I left the UK for France and immediately got "hitched" .... for reasons of better rights regarding pension, house ownership, tax, etc  .... oh, and of course also, for lurve!

Wink 

But I do think we're slightly veering off the topic .....
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PostSubject: Re: Elopements and Marriage   Elopements and Marriage EmptySat 30 Nov 2013, 21:43

Can't see how. We're talking about why people elope. I assume "people" means everyone.

I'm probably most concerned about making sure that "elopement" in people's minds isn't confused with romance. It's primarily a practical thing, and historically has always been that. One would hope that it was practical for both parties, but I'm afraid the truth might be a little different ...
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PostSubject: Re: Elopements and Marriage   Elopements and Marriage EmptySat 30 Nov 2013, 22:38

Quote :
It's a wonder any woman in her right mind ever got married, let alone eloped to do so - especially if she had her own fortune.
Well, only if she had her own fortune, really.  The options for women in the past weren't high if they were unmarried.  Austen and Charlotte Bronte might have managed to get their women married to men of principle and honour and wealth and sense, but that wasn't the case for many women.  And even now, where there are ways to escape unpleasant marriages and still maintain some standard of living, a surprising number of women hang on to violent men.  They may be sensible to do so - apparently the most dangerous time for women in violent relationships is when they do leave. 

Marriage generally has been about practical matters and probably still is in many respects, though that doesn't preclude romance and love and support.  My own quite successful marriage (forty years in a fortnight!) was certainly based on a number of practical issues. I seem to recall my husband's proposal was basically, "Do we have to get married then?" (To get our hands freely on my reasonably substantial dowry/assets, which till then were controlled by caring uncles.)

MM, you will have to do as the rest of us with a gorgeous young men - just drool from a distance.
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PostSubject: Re: Elopements and Marriage   Elopements and Marriage EmptySat 30 Nov 2013, 23:03

Caro,

congratulations with your nearing 40 years marriage.

I wanted to say "proficiat", but the word seems to exist only in Southern Dutch and it comes from Latin with the puzzling translation of "may it be helpfull", in Northern Dutch it is "gefeliciteerd" from the French "félicitations"...wonder if "proficiat" exist in any other language...

From a divorced Paul, now already more than 30 years living together (in sin) with a new woman...
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PostSubject: Re: Elopements and Marriage   Elopements and Marriage EmptySun 01 Dec 2013, 00:21

Thanks, Paul.  It has just come into my head that a present might be in order.  I hardly ever go shopping on my own and anyway I don't think my husband wants a ruby ring.  (Or any money spent.) I might have to think of something to write.  Or gather some photos together. 

Cheers, Caro.
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PostSubject: Re: Elopements and Marriage   Elopements and Marriage EmptySun 01 Dec 2013, 09:03

@Caro wrote:
Quote :
It's a wonder any woman in her right mind ever got married, let alone eloped to do so - especially if she had her own fortune.
Well, only if she had her own fortune, really.  The options for women in the past weren't high if they were unmarried.  Austen and Charlotte Bronte might have managed to get their women married to men of principle and honour and wealth and sense, but that wasn't the case for many women.  And even now, where there are ways to escape unpleasant marriages and still maintain some standard of living, a surprising number of women hang on to violent men.  They may be sensible to do so - apparently the most dangerous time for women in violent relationships is when they do leave. 

Caro, your original post is about marriage as well as elopement, so I hope it's OK to post a link to an article I found of great interest:


http://www.historyofwomen.org/wifebeating.html

 
@Caro wrote:
 And even now, where there are ways to escape unpleasant marriages and still maintain some standard of living, a surprising number of women hang on to violent men.
Yes - in the past it may have meant financial and social death to leave one's husband; that is not so today. But these women keep "hanging on", as you say - as indeed do the men. It's a ghastly tango. I know of two women (middle-class, both quite able to earn their own livings) who are in abusive relationships. One has been in her marital hell for over thirty years; she married her beloved even after he had broken her nose and had - in one very dramatic Wuthering Heights type incident, which she would relate with some relish - thrown her out naked into the snow (into their back garden), locking the door on her. But she still stuck with him, and, as I said, went on to marry him (in church).

These women baffle me, especially their everlasting mantra of: "But I love him. I just want him to change. I know deep down he loves me. He can be so wonderful. Do you think he'll change?"

It's not love: it's addiction - as our Emily well understood. Shall we have a little blast of Lou Reed?




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PostSubject: Re: Elopements and Marriage   Elopements and Marriage EmptySun 01 Dec 2013, 10:18

An interesting article on Medieval marriage, which didn't have to be witnessed nor have the blessing of a priest. A mere statement of consent and a consummation was all that was needed to have a marriage contract considered valid. This loose arrangement, of course, could lead to all sorts of sticky situations which is why marriage contracts eventually became more formalised.

http://www.medievalists.net/2013/11/14/love-and-marriage-medieval-style/

In stark contrast to the roll in the hay variety of Medieval marriage, there is this example of an English Royal wedding. And Isabella, daughter of Edward III married for love and quite extravagantly

some of the extravagant expenses for the wedding, which was held on 27 July 1365, at Windsor Castle. This included a payment of £100 for a group of minstrels. The gifts for the bride and groom were lavish – each received a crown, with Isabella’s costing more than a 1000 marks and decorated with sapphires and diamonds. She also received other expensive gifts from her family, including two brooches, four diamonds, four sapphires and four clusters of pearls with a diamond in each cluster. Lutkin notes that at least £4,505 2s 4d. were spent just on work by goldsmiths for the wedding, a fortune during the fourteenth century and much more than was spent at the weddings of Edward’s other daughters.

http://www.medievalists.net/2011/03/09/an-english-royal-wedding-from-the-middle-ages/
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PostSubject: Re: Elopements and Marriage   Elopements and Marriage EmptySun 19 Jan 2020, 13:36

I found this thread from several years ago very interesting at the time, and it came to mind again, recently, while I was doing some family history research.

As Caro's initial post says, until the mid-eighteenth century the usual legal requirements for a valid marriage in England and Wales were that banns should be called or a marriage licence obtained before a marriage could take place, and that the marriage should be celebrated in the parish where at least one of the parties was resident. Those under the age of 21 had to have parental consent if they married by licence; marriages by banns, by contrast, were valid as long as the parent of the minor did not actually forbid the banns.

These requirements were governed by canon law of the Church of England (derived directly from the long-established canon law of the Catholic church) but they were directory rather than mandatory, and the absence of banns or a licence – or even the fact that the marriage was not celebrated in a church – did not render the marriage void. The only indispensable requirement was that the marriage be celebrated by an Anglican clergyman. Thus there was the legal loop-hole for irregular or clandestine marriages to take place either away from the home parish of the spouses (but after banns or licence), or at an improper time and place away from a home parish and without either banns or marriage licence. Until the mid eighteenthe century these marriages, although deemed 'irregular', were still valid and there was a ready market for them as well as money to be made by unscrululous clergymen.

As I've already mentioned, I'm currently doing some family history research and I've come across one such irregular marriage in my own family tree, when one pair of my great-great-great-great-grandparents married in 1745 at "St George's Chapel, Hyde Park Corner", located just to the west of London (it was also regularly known as the Mayfair Chapel or Keith's chapel - to distinguish it from the adjacent St George's Church which was the actual parish church of Mayfair). These premises, which were originally just a private residence, had been established by the Rev. Alexander Keith as 'a chapel' in about 1730, and there he proceeded to perform marriages for a guniea each but without the necessity of a prior licence, the reading of banns, or parental consent being obtained for minors.

The Rev. Keith drummed up custom by frequent advertisements in the press, giving precise instructions on how to reach the chapel and how to recognise it, such as this one in the 'Daily Post' dated 20 July 1744:

"To prevent mistakes, the little new chapel in May Fair, near Hyde Park corner, is in the corner house, opposite to the city side of the great chapel, and within ten yards of it, and the minister and clerk live in the same corner house where the little chapel is; and the licence on a crown stamp, minister and clerk's fees, together with the certificate, amount to one guinea, as heretofore, at any hour till four in the afternoon. And that it may be the better known, there is a porch at the door like a country church porch."

Such was the success of his business that in 1742, while forty marriages were celebrated in the adjacent regular parish church of St George, Hannover Square - "the great chapel" in the above advertisement - more than seven hundred were performed at Keith's chapel. This had a notably adverse effect on the main church's income, so the rector brought a suit against Keith alleging that he had officiated and performed divine service in his chapel without prior licence or leave from the bishop of London. For this he was duly excommunicated at the end of 1742. Furthermore in 1743 a writ was issued against Keith that on 23 November 1742 "with force and arms" he had married a couple in "the church of St George Hannover Square", without banns or licence in contempt of the king and the law. He was fined and when the informant subsequently appeared before the Court of the King's Bench requesting his share of the fine - which Keith hadn't paid - the Sheriff of Middlesex was commanded to arrest Keith. He was committed to the Fleet Prison (a debtor's prison) and in 1743 was convicted, for non-payment of his fine. The chapel and its practice of clandestine marriages continued unil 1754 but Keith was never released and died in Fleet Prison on 13 December 1758.

On his death one of his clerks, James Frith, went to collect his effects. These included three of his marriage registers that he'd kept with him in prison, one of which contains the sole record of the marriage, on 26 October 1745, of my ancestors. If these registers had not been recovered their marriage would be completely unrecorded as obviously it would not appear in either their home parish records or the annual copies (known as Bishops' Transcripts) which had to be made and then sent to the diocese archives. (In England and Wales official parish registers date from 1538 when Thomas Cromwell issued an injunction requiring the parish priest to record all baptisms, marriages and burials conducted in his parish, usually by the priest himself. The ravages of time - rats, beetles, mould, fire, flood, political and social turmoil, suspicion of government motives, or just sloppy record keeping - mean that many of the oldest records are now missing or incomplete, nevertheless they are generally complete and comprehensive for London and southern England during the eighteenth century).

One can only speculate as to why my ancestors married in this somewhat unorthodox way. The groom was then aged 25 or 26, but the bride was (calculating back from her age at death as recorded on her tombstone) about 20 years of age: so still, but only just, under the age of 21 and accordingly she would normally have had to obtain parental consent if they married by licence. This rather suggests that they feared either one or both of the sets of parents would object to the marriage. But why could they not wait for just another few months until she attained her majority and when nothing, barring bigamy or incest, could stop them? Their first recorded birth was about two years later so there's no evidence that an unexpected pregnancy forced their hand, and indeed this birth, as well as all their subsequent fourteen children, were duly registered at baptism in the records of one or other of their parents' original parishes (which were adjacent with the parish churches being just a dozen or so miles apart). So again there is no evidence of any long-standing family ill-feeling over their elopement - if indeed that's what it was - although of course that is not to say none ever existed, but rather that, given the paucity of written documents there's no evidence for it. Nevertheless I'd love to know the exact circumstances that led them to go from their small village in rural Sussex up to the big city 40 miles away; there to get a quick marriage on payment of a guinea and with no questions asked; but then to return to their original two-parish area, to work (he seems to have taken over from either his father or his father's brother as the village miller - a respected job/position); to raise their children; and to generally live long productive lives. 

As well as Keith's Chapel and some other similar establishments around London, irregular marriages were also performed at the Fleet Prison (which is also of course where Keith ended up, although if he continued to perform clandestine marriages while in prison to help pay off his debts, he didn't record them). As a prison the Fleet was claimed to be outside the jurisdiction of the church, although any marriages conducted there still required the presence of an Anglican clergyman, although in practice that might mean a disgraced clergymen (like Keith), or even one who was simply pretending to be a clergymen. 

The Fleet's notorious marriage business brought plenty of money into the local economy: originally the prison warders controlled the trade and took a share of the profit, but when a statute of 1711 specifically imposed fines upon them for doing so, the clandestine marriage trade simply moved outside the prison walls. The trade continued in local houses or taverns, encouraged by local tavern-keepers in the neighbourhood who employed touts to solicit custom for them, while many clerks, or at least those claiming to be clerks, set up in the area specifically to make money from recording these clandestine ceremonies. During the 1740s up to 6,000 marriages a year were taking place in the Fleet district alone (giving employment to perhaps as many as 100 clergymen), compared with some 47,000 marriages a year in England as a whole.

The whole shady business of clandestinge marriages, both at the Fleet and elsewhere around London, was finally stopped by Hardwicke's Act "for the Better Preventing of Clandestine Marriage" which was implemented on 25 March 1754, and finally tightened up the rules. The Act was highly successful in its stated aim of putting a stop to clandestine marriages in England and Wales, but it did not apply to marriages conducted overseas or in Scotland. Accordingly couples could still evade the Act by travelling to Scotland and various Scottish border villages - notably Coldstream Bridge, Lamberton, Mordington, Paxton Toll and most famously Gretna Green (after the construction of a turnpike road in the 1770s passing through this hitherto obscure village) - all became known as places where couples could marry with no questions asked.

Moreover according to Hardwicke's act, while the parent of a minor could forbid the banns and so prevent a marriage from going ahead, a marriage by banns that did take place without active parental dissent was entirely valid. This gave rise to the practice whereby underage couples would resort to a parish where they were not resident to have the banns called without their parents' knowledge. Then the only way in which an aggrieved parent could challenge such a marriage was if there had been a mistake amounting to fraud in the manner of calling the banns.


Last edited by Meles meles on Tue 21 Jan 2020, 19:49; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typos)
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PostSubject: Re: Elopements and Marriage   Elopements and Marriage EmptySun 19 Jan 2020, 19:38

Thank you MM, for this interesting piece of your family related history.

Kind regards, Paul.
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