Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Double Elopement in 1823

Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Loretta reports:

This story was interesting, partly because of girls’ ages, and partly because it was a double elopement.  The bit in parentheses, I think, tells us something about what was going on, and makes the tale more poignant than it seems at first glance.  If we bear in mind, too, that an elopement left a girl without the financial protection that marriage settlements provided, we’re left with plenty to ponder regarding the back story as well as the couples' futures.
Elopement.—The elopement of the two Miss W——'s from Staffordshire, has excited a strong sensation in that and the adjoining counties. These ladies being nearly connected with the first families in England and Wales, and the youngest only sixteen years of age. It seems, that being at Bath last winter for the completion of their education, (having lately lost their mother) they were closely beset by two young sons of Mars, and to avert the threatened danger, were sent to the house of their aunt, Mrs. A—, who is separated from her husband, and resides in the neighbourhood of Stafford. Here, as it was more than suspected, an attempt would be made to carry them off, they were accompanied by two trusty female servants; but all the eyes of Argus were wanting ; for watching an opportunity, they got out of the drawing-room window, and ran for two miles into the turnpike road, where a coach and four, with their happy swains, awaited their arrival. Their aunt followed them as soon as she could procure four post-horses, but relinquished the pursuit at Newcastle; the lovers having got two hours a head of her in their road to Gretna Green. We understand the parties are safe returned, properly linked in the bands of wedlock.—Globe and Traveller.

The Rambler's magazine, Volume 2, 1823.
Illustration:  Richard Dagley, Taking Amiss, 1821, courtesy Ancestry Images.


Jane O said...

I had never thought about the loss of the protection of marriage settlements that an elopement would mean - how foolish of me!

These little slices of the past are so fascinating. The almost demand speculation about the story that led to this point and the story that will unfold hereafter.

The Dreamstress said...

I wonder who the girls were? And whatever happened to them after their marriages. It's amazing how these little glimpses tell you so much, and yet so little.

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