Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Choosing Brides, Suitability Lists, a little of Heyerian humour

A couple of days ago, I reread Sylvester. Over the last ten years I must have reread it quite a few times but it wasn't until this time that it struck me how very similar its basic premise is to Pride and Prejudice. I know you are saying that most romantic novels are similar to Pride and Prejudice. But I don't mean that. I mean how pride and prejudice can play havoc with a prospective relationship. No matter how the specifics of a context are, the reactions that spring from either pride or prejudice make for interesting story building. Anyway that's not what I wanted to say. Oh yes, digressing a wee bit, I still love to read Georgette Heyer. It is just that thing called literature that I can't digest at the moment. Ha, you admit Heyer ain't literature isn't it? (hush don't go around prompting people L) Err...this is sounding so much like a womanly burst of incoherents, so let's jump to the original intent.

In the book, Sylvester, the Duke of Salford has a conversation with his mother that goes thus:
Sylvester paused and then said quite coolly: 'I am thinking of getting married, Mama.'

She was taken so much by surprise that she could only stare at him. He had the reputation of being a dangerous flirt, but she had almost given up hope of his coming to the point of offering for any lady's hand in matrimony...Recovering from her stupefaction, she said: 'My dear, this is very sudden.'

'Not so sudden as you think, Mama. I have been meaning for some time to speak to you about it.'

'Good gracious! And I never suspected it! Do, pray, sit down and tell me all about it!'...

...Well, I realized- oh, above a year ago!- that it was my duty to marry...So I began some months ago to look about me.'

'You are the oddest creature! Next you will tell me you made out a list of the qualities that your wife must possess!'

'More or less,' he admitted. 'You may laugh, Mama, but you'll agree that certain qualities are indispensable!...(he proceeds to elaborate on the qualities)...

...'Have you discovered among the debutantes (e acute omitted) one who is endowed with all these qualities?'

'At first glance, I suppose a dozen, but in the end only five.'

'Five!' (At this point Mama Duchess becomes speechless! Sylvester then lists out the names of the five eligibles and asks his mother who will be suitable!)

In a recent conversation, a friend mentioned that along with the thought of settling down came the problem of abundant choice. To paraphrase him, I could choose from many suitables. The question is whom!

Ah well, some of us ancients still think that there will be light bulbs and sound effects to indicate the right one!


DoZ said...

:) Good one. I had to laugh when I came to the "light bulbs and sound effects" bit - didn't realize till just then how old fashioned that makes me... But oh well, re-reading Heyer sounds like a might fine idea to me. Off to the library I go. God, it's been ages since I read any Heyer... Thank you for the lovely idea!

Krithiga said...

>>>Ah well, some of us ancients still think that there will be light bulbs and sound effects to indicate the right one!

*Rolls eyes*

Couldn't help. Sorry :-)

Echo/Lavanya said...

Ah Doz, always glad to remind folks of Heyer.

Krithiga - hee, hee. I suppose you are all appreciation for my deft use of such a cliche? ;)