Sunday, October 18, 2015

Etiquette, Manners and Dollar Princesses

A parody of the brokered marriage of Cornelia Vanderbilt and the Duke of Marlborough? Don't sugar-coat it, Rita. Tell us how you really feel...
"The American Duchess or Countess is only a sham Duchess, or copy of the Countess, and the genuine article makes the imitation look an imitation."



American Marriage a Mere Jest, 
says "Rita"
Our Wives Have No Maternal Instinct, According to Her, and Our Weddings Are of Less Importance Than Business Contracts

By Rita

"That another life may be born, another soul sent into this world of misery and suffering. That high duties and great responsibilities attend this possibility, and these should not be lost sight of beneath the overwhelming importance of worldly considerations."  According to correspondent "Rita," "The American child is allowed to eat any sort of food at anytime of day or night."

"From the obligations of things spiritual to the supreme necessity of things temporal, is not such a wide leap as it appears. Therefore I place the importance of wedlock as only secondary to the importance of those Invisible Mysteries we take in Faith and feed on in secret. Religion and Marriage are both possessed of spiritual significance-rightly considered. Of course this consideration is not obligatory on the contracting persons, even in America, the country of half a million creeds.

It has become the custom to treat marriage as a jest, or a mere legal contract capable of being dissolved at will. Ambition, rank, wealth, policy, necessity, each and all of these are concerned in that contract. What is more concerned and less considered is the one important factor in the matter. That another life may be born, another soul sent into this world of misery and suffering. That high duties and great responsibilities attend this possibility, and these should not be lost sight of beneath the overwhelming importance of worldly considerations. 


When the American bride concerns herself so deeply with the details of her wedding toilet, the latest thing in bridesmaid eccentricity, the probable amount of diamonds she will receive, and the knowledge that a tiara is eminently be coming to a Gibson girl head, she is not entering into the true spirit of marriage. She is merely setting herself up as an ornamental figurehead at which reporters can aim pallets of admiring adjectives, and the monde ou sont amuse may sneer.

The more I see of transatlantic marriages the more convinced I am that they are disastrous to anything like mutual happiness. Of "respect" the less said the better. They begin with a "show" and usually end up with a "show-up." And who can wonder?

The Englishman and the American woman are the most dangerous objects for the experiment of marriage. The one is perpetually running up against ideas, manners, and customs for into his own: the other is engaged in a continuous high-handed battle with such prejudices, manners, and customs. She takes refuge in defiance, and her husband in disdain. The chain girds and irks and tortures both until it is forcibly snapped in twain, or dragged through mire of scarcely concealed scandal."
–The New York Times, 1910



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