Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/370

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A sweetheart's picture as well as her bracelets were frequently in possession of her lover. In case of a quarrel all presents were immediately returned to the rightful owner.

It was not considered good form to propose to a girl until after the parents' consent had been obtained; and then it was as often they as the lover who submitted the proposition to the young woman for consideration. The old plays furnish us with more allusions to the need of the lover's endeavour to gain the aid of the mother in his suit than of the father. Gifts to the mother are of great service in Heywood's The Fair Maid of the Exchange. One necessity for this previous sanction of the parent was due to the fact that it would be a reckless lover indeed who forgot the marriage portion, no matter how deeply he was in love. The father's will for a marriage was all in all to the daughter, and few girls dared to express dissatisfaction with a marriage already planned. Neither of these facts is exaggerated in the following quotation from Lyly's Mother Bombie (i. 3):

"Parents in these days are grown peevish, they rock their children in their cradles till they sleep, and cross them about their bridals till their hearts ache. Marriage among them has become a market. What will you give with your daughter?