Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Elopement - The Ultimate Romance?

The Elopement - Thomas Rowlandson
A clandestine marriage, a runaway romance, a bolt to Gretna Green -- these all have formed the plots of many Regency novels. But what did the press of the day report about these secret liaisons in the first twenty years of the nineteenth century? A great deal:

Morning Post - Wednesday 27 February 1805

Evening Mail - Monday 21 October 1805
 The two flights above might be attributed to young love, and impatience, but the event in the article below has a more sinister tone...
The Globe - London Monday 14 October 1805
The following account appears to document a case of true love, but shows that there could be unpleasant consequences, especially for the gentleman involved.
The Globe - Monday 14 October 1805
 And sometimes the courts were involved with dire consequences:
London Courier and Evening Gazette - Friday 19 July 1816

The following story seems to have a rather odd ending:
Morning Post - Saturday 30 September 1809
Elopements were not always successful.
Chester Chronicle - Friday 14 August 1818

Morning Post - Saturday 14 December 1811
Flights of journalistic hyperbole sometimes accompanied accounts of romantic flight:
Lancaster Gazette - Saturday 03 June 1815
It appears that opinion in the Regency era was divided over the propriety, legality, morality and necessity of elopement. Whatever the truth of the events told in the newspapers, elopements have provided the basis for many a good Regency novel in the twenty-first century. It all does seem rather romantic...

'Til next time,



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