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Andrews's own evident virtues, "friends or fortune" were "of minor consequence." Jane had only asked for her twin brother's "good advice," but Roland concluded somewhat pompously, "if ... our strolls about the meadows after wildflowers, and the time we went to meeting to the schoolhouse, and the numerous walks to the Point rock, and one time I hid your knife in the sand, and you said 'Oh blast you' have you forgotten all these. It appears that Ruth and James were not unusual in their courtship, either in their activities or in their reliance on prescription. you wrote that there was never was a homesicker man then you all for me but if you fell worse then I do I pity you for I felt very bad[.] I could not go in the frount room for a long time I miss you so." She promised, "George it is you I love no toung tell and Dear George I will not decive you I will be true to you while you are fare fare away from me[.] do not be afraid of it for I will keep my word there is no one that can take your place for you was the first that I can say that ever I love." She closed with just one ending (but with a bit of doggerel that Ruth might have appreciated): "you must escuse all mistakes and bad writting for my pen is porr[,] my ink is pale[,] my love shall never fale." New Bedford spinster Lydia Davenport, whose two sisters both married whalemen, noted the exclusivity implied by romantic love and its paradoxical quality in the maritime setting.
you have well considered the dutys and responsibilities of the married life & the disadvantages and perplexities of a life of celibacy I should cheerfully give my consent to your union with the man of your choice." Jane did so choose; she married Thomas shortly after his return in 1839. They went berrying, riding, picnicking; they sang and danced together at parties and balls." Well into the antebellum period, as in the previous century, "male-female socializing did not depend on special occasions but was integrated into the routine of everyday life." Furthermore, "young people had the autonomy and privacy to develop relationships that were sexually and emotionally intimate, and they did." In an 1850 letter to James Sowle, Ruth Grinnell described in some detail the activities by which she and James courted, which, judging by the research of Rothman and other historians, seem quite typical of their period, region, and socioeconomic setting: "James do you remember our visit to N. [New Bedford], and our walk to look up the horse and carraige, . And oh James the last Sabbath you were here when you came down. Constant reference to ideals of romantic love and companionship was the most important means by which many whalemen and their sweethearts pledged themselves to each other, distinguished themselves from their communities as separate couples, and sustained their ties over such extremes of time and distance. She recorded (rather pettily or maybe drearily) in her diary, "I rode [in the carriage] under rather peculiar circumstances, I felt that I was the 'third person' of the party; it was my dear Sister, and the One she loves best on earth, and who seems to love her with all the fervor of devotion; but" she pointed out, "he is soon to leave her for a long voyage." Lydia ended on a pious and perhaps conciliatory note: "May the rich blessings of Heaven, be shed around their different paths while separated, and may they be reunited and spend many years of happiness, in this world and be prepared, to spend a never ending Eternity in praising God for his goodness toward them." Shared moments of intimacy might be snatched at the Point rocks, in Ma's front room, during a carriage ride despite a sister's presence—or even on a ship in port, as Jared Gardner reminisced to his wife Harriet, in "that burth where once we wer lock in each others armes." Jared remembered "the libertis that I took be fore we wer married," apparently with guilt-free pleasure, since he added, "I have no doubt but that you will forgive me for that.
I think of you both day and night." In fact, she felt so strongly that she declared, "I want you dearest before you come home to make your mind up that you will never leave me again to go to sea for I never could be happy with you at sea and I at home far from you that I love." Separation, especially during courtship, raised all sorts of fears as well as unhappiness.
Elijah Chase asked his mother to give his sweetheart, "Lucritia," "my love in full. he has been at home 3 months now— quite a visit for a Cape horner." With the intermittent and prolonged absences of nineteenth-century whaling voyages, intimate relationships had to develop in short, intense periods of only weeks, interspersed with difficult multiyear separations.
The staccato rhythms of maritime courtship created insecurities on shore and at sea that only repeated reiteration of prescription could allay.
Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000. COURTSHIP WAS THE PROCESS BY WHICH individuals paired up — formed that all-important, exclusive, intimate relationship — and separated themselves off from others in constructing a new family unit.
As it had in the previous century, the performance of courtship rituals and activities continued to occur within a communal context of peers and community-based activities.