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Old 11-28-2018, 08:01 AM   #93
issybird
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmw View Post
But it can be worth remembering how young Mary probably was at the time. Older than Grace it seemed (did we ever get an age for Mary?), but Grace was still very young then so I'm guessing Mary might have been 16, maybe. There's a reason YA romance is its own genre: teenagers get soppy and extreme. So I imagine it probably was "lust, wishful thinking and stupidity", and we had it in Mary's own words that she knew better, but knowing and acting are different things, especially for teenagers.
Quote:
Originally Posted by gmw View Post
I, too, was content to accept Mary as a real person in Grace's life (but not necessarily, later, as a real personality in Grace's mind), for pretty much the same reason ... although I wonder how much our impression of this being a common fate is the result of the fiction we read?
Granted, although even given hormones working class children had to grow up a lot earlier than they do now.

It's impossible to know. In fiction, I think there's a zigzag between portraying that illegitimacy happened rarely because of morality and the more recent trope where girls/women are having sex without a thought to the possible consequences, both of which seem unlikely.

I'm projecting here, but my own take is that morality while it mattered was less important than the practical consideration of the catastrophic nature of an unintended pregnancy, which worked to keep girls "good" into the 1960s. Somewhat earlier, another limiting factor had to be opportunity. With little leisure and no privacy, the deed must have been harder to achieve. Aside from general meanness, a reason for servant girls to share a room probably was to limit the opportunities for a young master to find recreation there. But if said young master forced himself on a girl, what could she do? She had no options at all other than finding another situation, which might not be easy to achieve and might be no different.
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