I am a reasonably attractive noble lady with an modest dowry provided by my late Lord Father, but I am dependent upon my Uncle’s hospitality as I dwell with he and his family. Their country estate is very nice, and they treat me with every courtesy, but it is not my own home. I have never had a season at court, sadly, but that is not the circle my Uncle moves within. I am feeling a bit past marriageable age, for no real reason I can discern, other than my Lady Aunt has not been interested in seeking a match for me. I fear she has come to rely on my help with her babes.
And now I have a gentleman paying suit to me. He his not a nobleman, but he is a man of moderate means. He seems to have fine horses and appropriate attire. He’s reasonably pleasing to look upon, and not aged nor enfeebled. Although I do not know much of his family, I’m passing concerned about a rumor of Norse ancestry. No good can come of going-a-viking!
Now I face a dilemma. If he should make an offer to my Lord Uncle, should I beg for acceptance? Or should I continue to dwell in harmony with my family until a more suitable noble match can be found?
My dear, confused child, please allow me to lay your fears to rest. I would suggest that you poke further into the history of your suitor’s house, for you may find that a gem lies hidden underneath the rough exterior…after all, you speak of fine horses and appropriate attire, true? Perhaps this man with “Norse ancestry” is more than he appears?
I suggest you delve into his place of birth at once. Does he speak with an accent, perhaps from Normandy? Do you not know that the Normans are descended from those who once went a-Viking across the known world? Perhaps this man of moderate means is actually a Norman lord in disguise, bent on ascertaining your character and appetites before revealing himself to you. But take care in the questions you ask. Many a noble lady has ruined her chance at a good match by asking questions too early in the courtship. For example, one should never query into the number of bed chambers contained in the manse of one’s paramour, for fear that the intended suitor might start to think that it is the prospect of more rooms for wardrobe rather than his innate charms that the lady is thinking of. (Of course, room for more gowns and jewels cannot be thought of as “wrong,”… .) By all means, do ask about his family, his likes and dislikes (I wonder who he fancies to win the joust at the Emprise next season), and such things as will flatter his manly ego. Men like to be flattered, my dear. In fact, their fragility often requires it.
But, I digress. Should thine Uncle receive an offer for your hand, I would encourage him to take it, and quickly, lest you be left a maid all your days with no babes of your own to care for. Or, even worse, if this gentleman does not make an offer, you may be left with the prospects of marrying one of those Spanish curs who are often to be seen slinking about the palace…I wonder what they are up to…