Matchmaking 101 - advice from leading ladies of period films

♫ Matchmaker, Matchmaker, make me a match,
Find me a find, catch me a catch... ♫

20 Tips on snagging a husband...

Let's face it. Many who enjoy period dramas, are pulled in by the romantic elements. For those looking to find love, perhaps we can glean some lessons from our favourite leading ladies.

I would say one of the first orders of business might be to obtain the services of your very own matchmaker. You might want to enlist Yente (Fiddler on the Roof). She's one of the more infamous ones out there but then again, you might want to rethink that choice after you hear about her ideas of a great catch:
Bachelor 1: He's handsome, he's young! Alright, he's 62.
Bachelor 2: He's handsome, he's tall, That is from side to side.

Lady Catherine de Bourgh showed us in Lost in Austen that besides her normal interest in the marital outcome of her nephew Darcy, she was eager to offer assistance to Mrs. Bennett in marrying off her 4 daughters. After seeing the excellent match of Jane Bennett and Mr. Collins, she thought nothing of recommending Collins' brothers as suitable suitors for the Bennett girls and promptly sent Probity, Elizium and Tinkler to Longbourn. Then again, upon inspection of these gentlemen, you might want to rethink engaging the services of Lady C.

Emma Woodhouse may be worth consideration as your matchmaker. She is a self-professed expert whose motto is "The most beautiful thing in the world is a match well made." Her unwavering belief that everyone deserves a someone holds great promise that she might be the one to hire! She even has had to endure the skepticism of her own papa who has his own unwavering belief that "marriage is so disrupting to one's social circle." And yet, she marches on in her duty, warning those ill qualified to not trifle in her matter of expertise, even her close friend is chastised for stepping on her turf, "Mrs. Weston, please do not take to matchmaking, you do it ill!" If it's confidence you seek in your matchmaker, you'll find it in Emma. But after seeing how Emma interfered with poor Harriet and Robert Martin, and how Emma came close to ruining her own chance of happiness with Mr. Knightley, she might not be the perfect matchmaker after all.

That leaves us with Mrs. Bennett from Pride and Prejudice, who although she can be a tediously annoying woman, somehow managed to have 3 of her 5 daughters married when all was said and done. We can't really give her the credit but given the credentials of the previous matchmakers mentioned, 3 out of 5 ain't bad! (cue to Meatloaf singing 2 out of 3 ain't bad ♫)

Now for a few tips from the leading ladies...

Engage him with your fine eyes.
Never underestimate the power of a batting eyelash.

Follow Caroline Bingley's example and take a turn about the room.
Darcy's reply: Either you are in each other's confidence and have secret affairs to discuss,
or you are conscious that your figures appear to the greatest advantage by walking.
If the first, I should get in your way. If the second, I can admire you much better from here.

Exercise your female prerogative to change your mind.
After carrying the torch for 7 years, Anne Elliot finally tells Wentworth how she feels.

Be patient, steadfast and true.
Elinor's heart almost broke with the thought that her love was unrequited
but happily, it was most certainly reciprocated!

Engage him in a discussion of muslin.
Religion and politics are definitely off topic but a gentleman who buys his own cravat
might turn out to be an excellent judge of buying fabric.
[Northanger Abbey]

Take in a London season.
Nan, Virginia, Conchita and Lizzy all found husbands
although not what they had necessarily hoped for...
[The Buccaneers]

Play the damsel in distress.
You need someone to pretend to be your husband for a few days
AND then save your family's vineyard.
[Walk in the Clouds]

That sounds so simple doesn't it? In Fancy Day's case,
she finally put aside her qualms about societal rules and chose to marry for love.
[Under the Greenwood Tree]

Let your hair down.
Ned: "I love you. And that's scary, Matty.
A lot scarier than being seen with your hair down."
[Berkeley Square]

Learn the art of pouring a cup of tea.
Capt. Mason: I always think the way one pours tea, says so much about a person.
Isabel: In what way?
Capt. Mason: Well if I were to tell you before you finished the procedure,
you might adjust your actions accordingly.
Isabel: Oh, how utterly terrifying. So here I am innocently pouring tea and you're assessing my character
on the basis of the way I hold the teapot. Here, take this before I reveal something alarming...

[Berkeley Square]

Publicize the fact that you've never been kissed.
After Gus kisses her, Felicity blurts: Gus Pike, how dare you?
Gus: Better than kissin' my dog.
(and hope for a better comparison)
[Road to Avonlea]

Hit him over the head. Literally.
Breaking her chalkboard on Gilbert's head appears to have worked for Anne.
[Anne of Green Gables]

Knock him off his horse. Again, literally.
Danielle De Barbarac certainly found a way to get the attention of Prince Henry.
[Ever After]

Practice the art of elocution.
At least that's what Mrs. General would advise:
"Papa" is a preferable form of address. "Father" is rather vulgar.
Besides, the word "papa" gives a pretty form to the lips. "Papa", "potatoes", "poultry",
"prunes" and "prism" are all very good words for the lips - especially "prunes" and "prism".
[Little Dorrit]

Pretend to be a woman of property.
Sophronia Lammle did land a husband but unhappily discovered
that he also was pretending to be a man of property. Oops.
[Our Mutual Friend]

Tell him that you have NO property.
For Amy, telling Arthur that she had lost her fortune was the most welcome news.
[Little Dorrit]

Advertise as a mail order bride.
Sarah and Jacob hit a few bumps along the way
but their results bode well for anyone considering this method.
[Sarah, Plain and Tall]

Make him indebted to you.
Edward Fairfax Rochester: There you are! You're back! Ungrateful thing, I give you leave for a week and you're gone a whole month! I want my money back, since you have me so little in your thoughts.
Jane Eyre: I said I was going to be gone for as long as I was needed. And I was. And you still owe me wages.
[Jane Eyre]

Hang out at train stations.
There's no telling who might turn up.
[North and South]

Practise the art of using a fan.
If you can get Wickham to teach you, all the more fun.
[Lost in Austen]

Make him grow accustomed to your face.
Put on your dingy clothes, speak with a cockney accent and wait for your professor to show up.
[My Fair Lady]

Now that you have these matchmaking tips at your disposal,
please follow Collins advice and put them to use forthwith!


  1. Just a delightful post for a boring saturday. Thank you very much!

  2. I'm definitely thinking of starting to hang out at train stations!

    *making haste to her nearest one!*

  3. I'm glad you included Little Dorrit... Mrs General knows how to catch a man. Her perfect pronunciation of the P's led to a proposal!

  4. Ooooh, you know your movies. Ah, I'd hang out at train stations too if anyone even as remotely handsome as Mr. Armitage showed up. What a fun post. Thanks for sharing! Vic

  5. I think I'm going to hustle to the train station to reserve my own bench!

  6. Hehe this is so great! Thanks for posting this - I quite enjoyed reading it!

  7. Thanks! It was a fun way to spend my Valentine's Day...

  8. The sad thing is that I ALWAYS hang out at train stations but Mr Thornton is never there!



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