Posts Tagged ‘The Secret Garden’
I’ve been living in the Victorian era in books recently (not an unusual thing for me!) and today it led to a few musings.
It all started when I got this sudden urge to re-read The Secret Garden. (Which actually, was all because we’d watched The Chatterley Affair the other night, and I had an urge to read “a bit o’ th’ proper Yorkshire” dialect — I do so adore the Northern accents!)
My Master gave me a stack of books about Victorian times last Christmas, and they’ve been sitting in lovely heap ever since, waiting for “the right time.” Well, the right time seems to have come! I started out with What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew: From Fox Hunting to Whist-The Facts of Daily Life in Nineteenth-Century England, which I’d been looking forward to reading for a long time. As I go along in it, of course, I can’t help but find things which fire my (kinky) imagination.
‘Once a woman has accepted an offer of marriage,’ advised The What-Not, or Ladies Handbook in 1859, ‘all she has or expects to have become virtually the property of the man she has accepted as husband and no gift or deed executed by her is held to be valid…’
This is silly, but it makes me feel all gooey and romantic. I like to think that now that I’ve married my Master (and this is pretty obvious, considering that I call him Master), that I have become “virtually the property” of him. That, like a Victorian woman, I must answer to my husband in all things, and that in the eyes of the law I am pretty much just one of his possessions. That thought makes me feel so comfortable and happy. Continuing in that theme…
When the husband and wife exchanged vows, they became one person, and, in the words of jurist William Blackstone, ‘the husband was that person.’ The wife, as noted earlier, upon marriage lost virtually all powers over any property that she possessed. All her personal property automatically became her husband’s property to do with as he saw fit…. He could “correct” her if he wished, too, a right which was supposed to mean only verbal chastisement, but in practice often meant physical punishment.
Whee! All of the above for me, please!
And, from the section discussing men’s clothing,
And the cane, of course. No gentleman was ever without one
Absolutely! I’m sure you all agree with that. How can you properly chastise your wife without one?!
I’m going to wander off and daydream about living in a Victorian world….