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«A Thesis Submitted for the Degree of PhD at the University of Warwick This thesis is made available online and is ...»

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unhappy matches are occasioned by mercenary views in one or both of the parties" and the second:

"Unhappy Marriages are often occassioned from the Headstrong Motives of Ungoverned Passion."

37 J. Gregory, A Father's Legacy to his Daughters (London, 1774), p.1l7; M. Edgeworth, Lettersfor Literary Ladies (1795), ed. C. Connolly (London, 1993), p.25 38 E. Haywood, The Female Spectator (1744-1746), ed. G.M. Firmager (London, 1993), p.131 39 R. Steele, 'The Tender Husband; or, The Accomplish'd Fools' (1731), in The Dramatick Works o/the Late Sir. Richard Steele, p.37 C. Lennox, The Female Quixote; or, The Adventures of Arabella (1752), ed. M. Dalziel (Oxford, 1989), pp.339-40 opportunist and writer of excessive love letters, Mr Scribble. Her father concludes the play with the exasperated statement; "a man might as well tum his daughter loose in Covent-Garden as trust the cultivation of her mind to A CIRCULATING LIBRARy."41 The serious and real dangers of such "ridiculous passion which has no being but in play-books and romances" was also a constant theme in advice literature. 42 One of the many maxims extrapolated from the novels of Samuel Richardson was that women who devoured romances often fell victims to "fops and flatterers" whilst Thomas Gisbome similarly claimed that they could be easily led "into a sudden attachments to persons unworthy of their affection," not to mention "other possible effects."43 Having cautioned their young female readers, many writers then set themselves the task of suggesting ways in which one could distinguish between the genuine, honourable suitor and the opportunist. John Gregory cited "the most genuine effects of a honourable passion" for his daughter's benefit, consisting of a timid, respectful attitude and a desire to conceal one's ardour from the object of affection.44 Such restrained behaviour was opposed to that described in novels in which "all is 41 A Collection of the Most Esteemed Farces and G. Coleman, 'Polly Honeycombe', in Entertainments Perfonned on the British Stage 6 Vols. (Edinburgh, 1786), III, pp.169-94, quoting p.194. Also, see the character of Lydia Languish in R.B. Sheridan, 'The Rivals' (1773), in E.S. Rump, ed., Richard Brinsley Sheridan: The School for Scandal and Other Plays (Harmondsworth, 1988), pp.31-124 42 J. Swift, 'A Letter to a Very Young Lady on her Marriage' (1727), in Franklin, Reflections on Courtship and Marriage, p.61 43 S. Richardson, A Collection of the Moral and Instructive Sentiments, Maxims, Cautions and Reflections Contained in the Histories of Pamela, Clarissa, and Sir Charles Grandison (London, 1755), p.262; Gisbome, Enquiry into the Duties of the Female Sex, p.230 44 Gregory, A Father's Legacy, pp.85-6 dotage, or despair; or else ranting swelled into burlesque. "45 Exuberant courtship was not only false, but distinctly un-English. For example, Wetenhall Wilkes contrasted the "native elegance" of genuine expressions of affection with the ridiculousness of the suitor who "flies into Raptures, calls you an Angel or a Goddess, vows to stab himself like a Hero, or to die at your Feet like a Slave", "no more than dissembl(ing). "46 Warnings against suitors who bandied romantic blandishments and against hasty marriages based on passion were, in part, attempts to discourage clandestine unions. In the early decades of the century, these covert liaisons were centred in the area around the Fleet prison, stimulating thriving businesses for 'parsons' and for the proprietors of alehouses and tavems. 47 Criticism was widespread and became increasingly fervid. In 1750, Henry Gally was prompted to write Some Considerations Upon Clandestine Marriages, a tract that claimed the numbers of such unions to be rising in a manner so "detrimental to the Peace and Good Order of a Nation" and such a disgrace to a civilised country, that an Act of Parliament should be passed to put an J. Fordyce, Sermons to Young Women (1766) 2 Vols. (Dublin, 4th edition, 1766), I, p.107 W. Wilkes, A Letter of Genteel and Moral Advice to a Young Lady (1744) (Dublin, 3rd The Spectator no.525 (1 edition, 1751), p.12!. He is here paraphrasing Addison and Steele in November 1712), in The Spectator, IV, p.371: "Friendship, Tenderness and Constancy, drest in a Simplicity of Expression recommend themselves by a more native Elegance, than passionate Raptures, extravagant Encomiums, and slavish Adoration."

For clandestine marriages, see R.L. Brown, 'The Rise and Fall of the Fleet Marriages', in R.B.

–  –  –

end to them.48 However, when that act came in 1753, it chiefly served to displace the centre of the trade to Gretna Green in Scotland.

Writers and satirists warned that these marriages would inevitably pall and the passion on which they were founded would collapse, leaving no solid affection and companionship in its place. In 1790, The Road to Hymen published an account by a landlady of an inn situated on the way to Gretna Green. The moral of her tale is clear as she recounts how agreeable the couples appear as they make their way up to "the land of promise," and how equally disagreeable they have become by the time they make the journey home. She attributes this rapid disintegration to mercantile motives on the part of the suitors and concludes; "marriages in which there is interest on the one side; and disobedience on the other, are not likely to promise a long harvest of delights."49 This was a common theme of such literature, truisms and platitudes proliferating throughout the century: ''Those that marry in haste, repent at leisure";





''The violent Passion of Love is short-liv'd: It dies upon the Alteration of a Face, or by being too familiar with it"; "Violent Love is a fervor, like all other fervors, that lasts but a little while".50 Such ardour was most frequently compared to a flame that would blaze brightly for a short time, but that would eventually bum itself OUt. 51 Early in the century, Daniel Defoe created a particularly vivid and detailed image of a couple "after the fire is out, and the combustible Matter that kindled it is consumed;" 48 H. GaIly, Some Considerations upon Clandestine Marriages (London, 1750), pp.2, 3, 29 The Road to Hymen made Plain, Easy and Delightful; in a New Collection of Familiar Letters, Pleasing Dialogues and Verses (London, 1790), pp.69-72 Road to Hymen, p.29; Characters and Observations: An Eighteenth-Century Manuscript with a Foreword by Lord Gorell (London, 1930), p.IS7; Richardson, A Collection of the Moral and Instructive Sentiments, p.152 51 Franklin, Reflections on Courtship and Marriage, p.l3: "It is a fire that is soon extinguished;

and where there is no solid esteem and well-cemented friendship to blow it up, it rarely lights again."

the Fondness of the Honey-Moon hangs about them a great while, on some more, on some less. This I call the Pageantry of Matrimony, and the Cavalcade of Love. But the Strife breaks out insensibly; the Contention, the Contradiction, and all the little Thwartings and Waspishness, which lay the Foundation of eternal Discord, these all, like Weeds, grow and spread under the decaying Plant called Love, till at last they check and smother it entirely, and leave the Family a kind of Hell in Miniature. 52 Once again, satirists and artists expressed views on this topos parallel to those articulated in prescriptive and fictional literature. In 1777, Carrington Bowles published a pair of anonymous prints entitled The Honey-Moon (fig. IS) and Six Weeks after Marriage (fig. 16). Like Hogarth's Marriage A-La-Mode, these engravings follow a temporal progression in order to emphasise the effects of the ill-advised union and the process of disintegration. In the first, the couple smile at each other across the tea table, the husband's ann lying across his wife's shoulders and his leg protruding across her skirt in a display of physical affection and intimacy. The second, however, shows the initial romance replaced by discord and even violence as the bride clenches her fist whilst her husband raises a hand as if in self-defence. The motifs employed to emphasise this dishannony are clearly derived from Hogarth's prints, demonstrating the enduring and dominating influence of his work. For example, the device of the dog leaping up at the husband's sword recalls the lap dog of the Viscountess in Plate II of Marriage A-La-Mode. Similarly, the broken tea-table with Defoe, Conjugal Lewdness. pp.103, 106 its smashed equipage lying on the floor is a clear reference to the ruse of Moll Hackabout in Plate II of The Harlot's Progress (1732, The British Museum, London) to distract her keeper from the surreptitious exit of her lover. Another satire of 1777, published by Sayer and Bennett and entitled The Return from Scotland; or, Three Weeks after Marriage (fig.17), made a similar rhetorical point, clearly denoting the breakdown in communication between the couple to be the fruits of a clandestine and hasty union in Gretna Green. Finally, in 1798, an anonymous satirist reiterated the notion that romantic marriages were founded on transient and insubstantial lust when he depicted a young soldier assisting his bride-to-be from the window of her boarding school, a servant loading their luggage onto a coach in preparation for the flight (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York). His lascivious motives are indicated by his clear view up the young lady's skirts as she steps onto his shoulders. 53 However, perhaps the most apt equivalent to Hogarth's denunciation of the arranged, commercial union, was John Collett's series, entitled Modern Love. The Public Advertiser of 15 May 1765 announced that these paintings could be viewed in Maiden Lane and advised the reader that subscriptions were being taken for prints from the series. However, these were not completed until 1782. 54 The first of the four plates depicts the courtship, clearly of the insincere and romantic style so decried by Wilkes (fig. 18). As in the 1798 satire, the young suitor is significantly garbed in See also Six Weeks after Marriage and The Honey Moon published in 1790 by William Holland, now in the Lewis Walpole Library (many thanks to Natasha Eaton for drawing these to my attention). The theme was to continue into the nineteenth century with satires such as James Gillray's Harmony before Matrimony and Matrimonial Harmonics (1803. The British Museum) in which the musical duet of the lovers is replaced by the husband attempting to ignore his wife's caterwauling at the piano as he reads the Sporting Calendar.

T. Clayton, The English Print 1688-1802 (New Haven and London, 1997), p.l98 military uniform, reflecting the popular belief that the head of a susceptible female could be easily turned by "a passion for a scarlet coat."55 The gentleman is prostrate at his mistress's feet, kissing her hand in a manner ironically echoed by her dog. Music has clearly been employed to assist in the wooing process as a flute lies on the ground,

a symbol of present harmony, and a music book lies open to reveal the words:

"Affettusoso/ Each Art he tried the fair One's Heart to move/ He sigh'd, and kist, and swore eternal love." The sentiment of these lyrics reinforces the extravagant style of the suitor's lovemaking and, as the work of one 'Signor Pianissimo,' is decidedly foreign. To the right of the image is a statue of Venus accompanied by Cupid who directs his arrow towards the figures of the lovers whilst trampling a crown underfoot, disregarding all practical considerations of fortune or rank in his aim.

The fruits of the suitor's romantic endeavours are demonstrated in the next scene in which Collett depicts the young couple eloping (fig. 19). He assists 'Miss Fanny Falsestep' over a fence whilst a post-chaise and pair wait 'ready,' as the motto inscribed on the side proclaims, to take them up 'the great Northern Road' to Gretna Green. As in The Elopement from Boarding School, a servant lifts luggage onto the coach as another checks the priming of his pistol in case of disapproving relatives giving chase. The initial period of their successfully achieved union is harmonious as depicted in the subsequent image, entitled The Honey-Moon (fig.20). However, as promised by conduct writers and fictional authors alike, the couple's happiness is 55 1. Swift, 'The Furniture of a Woman's Mind', in Jonathan Swift: The Complete Poems, ed. P.

Rogers (Harmondsworth, 1983), p.327. Similarly, the novelette The Dangerous Effects of a Wrong Education; or, The Fatal Contest in Novelettes Selected/or the Use of Young Ladies and Gentlemen; in Two Volumes Written by Mrs Griffith, Dr. Goldsmith, and C. (Dublin, 1784), p.171 declared: "A tolerable figure in a red coat, though it were but in a common soldier, is more apt to captivate an uneducated female mind, than a handsomer person dressed in black, brown or blue."

short lived and they descend into Discordant Matrimony (fig.21). The once gallant suitor has lost interest in his wife and instead eyes a pretty servant girl who ushers their children into the room, a paper inscribed 'the willing maid' hanging from her pocket. In an ironic parody of the first plate, the dog once again licks his mistress's hand whilst her expression conveys none of the enthusiasm of that initial scene. The numerous devices the engraving employs to emphasise the final result of this clandestine marriage are remarkably similar to those utilised by Hogarth in Plate II of Marriage A-La-Mode, again revealing his persistent influence. The couple are similarly spatially and, by inference, emotionally divided, seated at tables either side of a fireplace. The wife casts a sidelong glance towards her adulterous husband whose attention is directed elsewhere. The motif of the chained dogs reappears, their front paws resting upon a book entitled 'On the Legality of Divorces' as one barks at the other. The prolific use of script, justified by its location on paper and books, is again a device typical of the work of Hogarth. Cupid reappears in a painting over the fireplace without his usual weapon, featured so prominently in the first plate, and the smashed guitar lying abandoned on the floor implies disharmony. The employment of the same pictorial vocabulary to depict the effects of both the romantic and the materialistic marriage echoes the literary pairing of the two as extremes to be avoided, only capable of resulting in unhappiness.



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