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I told him I had long entertained such a Suspicion and really with Pleasure for his Virture and unexceptionable behaviour had long attached my good wishes to him.But as a parent I never took any Liberty with a child but to dissuade where I thought I had reason to do so; but in no instance Whatever to persuade.“After an agreeable ride we at length reached the house about two o’clock, just about the time when Miss J’s beauty was in its meridian splendor. The average man in Virginia married in his mid-twenties.We found her doing the honors of the table with ineffable sweetness and grace. When he began courting Hannah Powell, William Drew was in his twenties and already established as the Berkeley County clerk of the court.During the Victorian Era (1837-1901), romantic love became viewed as the primary requirement for marriage and courting became even more formal - almost an art form among the upper classes.An interested gentleman could not simply walk up to a young lady and begin a conversation.
Courting gave women power; it was their decision whether to accept or reject a suitor. “You know I have never with all my faults betrayed one symptom of vanity, but now if you should discover a little spice of it can you Wonder—just at this moment are at my entire disposal two of the Very Smartest Beaux this country can boast of—what think you of G & B both at my feet at one. The choice of a husband was very important since, once made, only death could undo a marriage. It meant leaving childhood behind, taking on adult responsibilities, and forming a new family.Suppose I tell you now, what I, in my turn, expect, and how you may best please me and make me happy.—Thus then I begin—Let me ever have the sweet consiousness of knowing myself the best beloved of your heart—I do not always require a lover’s attention—that wou’d be impossible, but let it never appear by your conduct that I am indifferent to you." Margaret Davenport Coulter to John Coulter, May 10, 1795.In November 1776, Benjamin and Annabelle Powell of Williamsburg married their elder daughter, Hannah, to William Drew of Isle of Wight County.In doing so, he was similar to most men of his time who waited until they had completed their education and attained some financial security before proposing marriage.Marriage was the next logical step in life as they sought marriage partners who could support their economic efforts while running their households and raising their children.
At the end of the evening the lady would look over her options and chose who would be her escort.