Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Love and Marriage

A modern collection, entitled The Essential Handbook of Victorian Etiquette, brings together the works of Professor Thomas E. Hill that were originally published between 1873 and 1890.

Professor Hill opines about such subjects as Introductions, Conversation, Calling, Visiting, Behavior at the Table and on the Street, Behavior at the Party and the Ball, and Traveling. The latter half of the volume is entitled “Professor Hill’s Guide to Love and Marriage,” and the Professor gives tips on Love Letters, the Etiquette of Courtship, and so on.

I quote from the section entitled, “Peculiarities Suitable for Each Another”:
Those who are neither very tall nor very short, whose eyes are neither very black nor very blue, whose hair is neither very black nor very red – the mixed types – may marry those who are quite similar in form, complexion, and temperament to themselves.

Bright red hair and a florid complexion indicate an excitable temperament. Such should marry the jet-black hair and the brunette type.

The gray, blue, black, or hazel eyes should not marry those of the same color. Where the color is very pronounced, the union should be with those of a decidedly different color.

The very corpulent should unite with the thin and spare and the short, thick-set should choose a different constitution.

The thin, bony, wiry, prominent-featured, Roman-nosed, cold-blooded individual should marry the round-featured, warm-hearted, and emotional. Thus, the cool should unite with warmth and susceptibility.

The extremely irritable and nervous should unite with the sympathetic, the slow, and the quiet. Thus, the stolid will be prompted by the nervous companion, while the excitable will be quieted by the gentleness of the less nervous.

The quick-motioned, rapid-speaking person should marry the calm and deliberate. The warmly impulsive should unite with the stoical.

The very fine-haired, soft, and delicate-skinned should not marry those like themselves; and the curly should unite with the straight and smooth hair.

The thin, long-face should marry the round-favored; and the flat nose should marry the full Roman. The woman who inherits the features and peculiarities of her father should marry a man who partakes of the characteristics of his mother; but in all these cases where the type is not pronounced, but is, on the contrary, an average or medium, those forms, features, and temperaments may marry either.

An interesting form of eugenics!

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