I enjoy reading stories that take us back many years, like the year 1679, on a very cold night in Scotland, where Lady Jane Josephina Catherine is courting six gentlemen, who hope to win her hand. Some people are not in favor of romance, thinking it old-fashioned, yet there are somethings that never grow old.
Part of the way men got to court women respectfully, was through the introduction, and in this case the Jane of Bellhaven Castle was to meet her chosen suitors, who would demonstrate their skills in a competition, by her aunt Margaret, who invited them into the castle. Since her father's will stipulated for her to be married by Christmas Eve, being now December, her task in order to secure the Lennox wealth and hold on to her home was immanent.
She had but twelve days to make a decision in order to inherit all that was left to her, as there was no time to contest the will. Her father and brother had gone off to fight a war, and six months later, it was presumed they had been killed in action. Mother had died years earlier in childbirth, giving birth to her brother, when she was three. Her father never got over her, and did not remarry.
It was thought by her aunt, that one of the suitors would keep Bellhaven safe? Men were known as protectors in a marriage. If Jane failed to chose one of them, her cousin would automatically inherit the whole estate, --the castle, land, fortune, would all become his. But if he married her, all would be his, including Jane.
The contest had begun and all six men greeted Jane and extended a gift to her in order to win the contest. What is interesting is the gifts that were given to her. One gave her a pearl necklace, another a puppy. The cousin, gave her wilting flowers, a first clue that perhaps he will not win her heart. Another gave her chocolates, and there was a doll that had been missing since childhood, and the most impressive to Jane, was a dance, in which music was provided for by his three men, who with lutes, and a flute played the "Outlandish Knight." She found him to be handsome and polite. She laughed with enjoyment and was carried away with feelings of euphoria. He flashed a charming grin, it was a beautiful gift.
Much has changed since the sixteen hundreds and courting. Yet, I had to admit most of us still like to dance and most of the gifts presented her, would be very much appreciated today by most of us, especially, when given with a grin from a charming suitor.
When you come down to it, just like the song says--"It's still the same old story a fight for love and glory, a case of do or die.."
Almost A Minyan
4 months ago