Sorry I’ve been occupied this weekend, laying three tons of concrete, so I missed a spate of comments concerning M’selle.
When pointing out her dilemma I wasn’t playing the gentleman, but trying to understand what it must have felt like to be taken summarily from a comfortable environment and dragged into a darkened room with three men, one who couldn’t talk to her, one acting like a zookeeper and one who appears to be insane. I have a sneaking feeling that I might ask daft questions and be somewhat non-plussed.
I had in my mind a model of an 18th century teenager whose whole life might be centred around that which the following letter, written in 1753, suggests might be the world she was used to.
Miss Georgina Morton to Miss Lynn.
“Without a thought that can entertain or a subject to amuse, I sitt down to address My Dr. Miss Lynn, noble materials you’ll allow to render an Epistle in the least degree amuseing or interesting, tho’ the latter I Am so vain as think alway’s bear’s some part of my Friend’s Idea’s when she receives’ a Letter from those she esteem’s sincere, in the first place give me leave to return you my best and most gratefull thanks for yr. last kind favor, I need not at this late period of our acquaintance add, that it gave me true pleasure, as you are I hope sensible, that every intelligence from you, afford’s me real satisfaction, and must repete that the oftoner ye favor me with yr. Letters, the more you please and oblige me —to give you an account of my proceedings, Its as usual, visiting, and receiving visitants almost every day, last Thursday we Dined at Mr. Wilkinson’s where we met the family from Coxal, Mr. Bewicke and several more, in the Evening we went to the Assembly, there being a very large party of us, we made a very formidable appearance, and by the addition of a part of the Gentlemen and Ladies in the Town, we danced fourteen couple’s, which for a private Assembly in Durham was very extraordinary, there was a Miss Steward, and a Miss Tweddle, who Dined with its at Mr. Wilkinson’s, their dress was very Capital, and in my unfashionable opinion, very ridiculou’s, (without exception) I never in all my Life, saw any point so preposterously high as their heads, their hair was immense, their Cap’s the same, with the addition of three large plumes of white feather’s, two of which, was at one side, the third most frightfully fix’d in their hair behind, with Bell Lappets which reach’d half way down their back, their gown’s was extremely elligant, the Italian Dress, trimmed with fringe Gause, Grapes, &c., Gause cuffs ornamented with Flower’s, and nothing but a very narrow tucker round their Neck, in short they were compleately fashionable and the very essence of politeness, in every punctilio, and to Crown all (I hope I am not uncharitable in saying) I realy beleive they were painted,—Miss Scaiff who I have heard you mention Drank Tea hear a few days ago, she is staying with Mrs. Hall, an agreeable Lady who I visit, the former was at the Assembly but I believe was only a spectator, which situation to a young woman who likes Dancing, I shou’d sopose very mortifying and disagreeable. —I am happy to find by yr.” Letter, that you spend yr. time so agreable, pray is it a fair question to ask, from what part of the world your Beau’s comes from,—when you make yr. visit at Cassop I hope you will do us the favour of yr. company to Dine and spend the Day, I was much disappointed at not seeing yr.’sister
Dolly in her way home. Mr. Sewen has some very smart Beaus Dines with him to Day, therefore time not paper allows me to add no more, then our Compts. to Mr. Mrs. Lynn and family wishing them many returns of the approaching season, accept the same to yourself, with my love in an abundant share, and be assured I am most affectionately
“Yours, G. Ord Morton.”
“Durham Monday Morn.”
HHW Vol. VIII no.187 22-10-1853 Page 192
Written 1753 just before Xmas?
Miss Georgina has her head filled with beaus, balls and boas or has she? I am not sure. What ever character she might have I should think her reaction to the situation would be somewhat like that of M’selle. ????? Best hold on making judgements.
Peter suggests that Dickens was projecting a Victorian image of innocence on behalf of his paramour. If that was the case then he was setting himself up for a drubbing from those around him who might portray her a little differently.