Hearts and Minds: Canadian Romance at the Dawn of the Modern Era, 1900-1930

By Dan Azoulay | Go to book overview

1
The Woman of His Dreams

If Canadian men were clear about one thing in their letters to the personal columns, it was about the qualities they wanted in a wife. True, some seem to have had few standards to speak of. Many bachelor farmers out West, for example, clearly became far less fastidious with each year of toiling away in lonely isolation. “I believe I could live with almost any one who could cook a good meal, wash the dishes, and not grumble because it had to be done” remarked one Alberta farmer.1 At the other extreme were those who demanded too much from a potential partner – and who were reprimanded accordingly. Referring to the “ideal woman” such men described, one indignant female correspondent shot back,

The list of qualities she must possess if she would aspire to be
the wife of any one of these gentlemen is simply appalling:
docility, amiability, cheerfulness, patience, education, intelli-
gence, a graduate in the arts of music and cooking and every-
thing else that goes to make up an angel and a housekeeper.
When I read one of these ‘What I want for a wife’ letters, I am
forced to exclaim: ‘Has God – thou fool – worked solely for
thy good, thy joy, thy pastime, thy attire, thy food?’ I wonder,
does it ever occur to one of these gentlemen to think of what a
woman, who possesses all these qualities, might require in the
form of a husband?2

-21-

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Hearts and Minds: Canadian Romance at the Dawn of the Modern Era, 1900-1930
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowlegments ix
  • Introduction - Why Romance? 1
  • 1 - The Woman of His Dreams 21
  • 2 - The Man of Her Dreams 53
  • 3 - The Dos and Don’Ts of Romance 91
  • 4 - Courtship Hardship 127
  • 5 - Love and War 165
  • Epilogue - The New Order 205
  • Glossary 235
  • Notes 237
  • Index 287
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