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Post Info TOPIC: Ross's Decision To Marry Demelza


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Date: Oct 26 11:36 PM, 2016
RE: Ross's Decision To Marry Demelza
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Wheal Greggy wrote:

I was a little embarrassed after making my post and wondering if Rosss decision to marry Demelza could actually be viewed as acceptable.  I went back and checked the text of the novel and WG wrote something to the effect of that arousing suspicion that he was sleeping with his kitchen maid was one thing , but marrying her was quite another. One would just make him a topic of gossip but the other would make him personally unacceptable in their eyes.



This is a really interesting thread that I have just stumbled across, and I agree with most of what has been posted.

In reference to Greggy's comment above, I wanted to add that in those times it was not unusual for a man to "marry down". While it might cause some talk to start with, and there would always be some nasty people who would not let them forget their origins, in general the woman would be brought "up" to the level of the man's status and accepted.

It was a far greater social disaster for a woman to marry "down", as it was expected that she would drop to his level. There is an element of this with Dwight and Caroline (but not as much as R&D because the difference was not so pronounced) which caused a little friction in their marriage. It was virtually unheard of for a woman of the nobility to marry a miner or fisherman.

And, I have to say that I agree a little bit with the "friend" who said that R married D to thumb his nose at his own class. I don't think it was an actual reason to marry her, and I don't think he would have consciously acknowledged it, but consideration of his social circle would not have stopped him. In some ways, it was a way of showing them that he was better/more honourable than them, because he wouldn't subscribe to the attitude that tolerated gentleman getting their fun below stairs.



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Date: Oct 26 10:05 PM, 2016
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"...  The writer of the new series has portrayed Elizabeth as much more warm      hearted and approachable than in the book.  This may become a problem in the next series.  Elizabeth would NEVER have gone to nurse Demelza - she was extremely jealous of her .... "

 

 

The 1975 series featured a scene in which Demelza and Elizabeth became very friendly with each other, while nursing Francis in Episode 8.  



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Date: May 24 2:05 AM, 2016
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I am so disappointed. I thought I had found a back door that WG had left ajar in "Ross Poldark" in case he had needed it for future mischief. Alas, he was just a better researcher than I am. While reading about Gretna Green's origins, I stumbled upon the fact that the age one had to be to marry without parental consent became 21 after Parliament passed the 1753 Marriage Act. Wait, I thought, Demelza listed her age as 18 (fudging by three-quarters of a year her actual age) when she signed the register on her wedding day. That makes no sense if she needed to be 21 to marry without consent. What gives? Did WG make a mistake or was I erroneously assuming her lying about her age had anything to do with parental consent concerns? Hmm, I must investigate further:

That took me to www.parliament.uk:

The law of marriage

 

Until the middle of the 18th century marriages could take place anywhere provided they were conducted before an ordained clergyman of the Church of England. This encouraged the practice of secret marriages which did not have parental consent and which were often bigamous.

 

Irregular marriages

It also allowed couples, particularly those of wealthy background, to marry while at least one of the partners was under age. The trade in these irregular marriages had grown enormously in London by the 1740s.

In 1753, however, the Marriage Act, promoted by the Lord Chancellor, Lord Hardwicke, declared that all marriage ceremonies must be conducted by a minister in a parish church or chapel of the Church of England to be legally binding.

Parental consent

No marriage of a person under the age of 21 was valid without the consent of parents or guardians. Clergymen who disobeyed the law were liable for 14 years' transportation.

Although Jews and Quakers were exempted from the 1753 Act, it required religious non-conformists and Catholics to be married in Anglican churches.

Restrictions removed

This restriction was eventually removed by Parliament in the Marriage Act of 1836,  which allowed non-conformists and Catholics to be married in their own places of worship.

It was also made possible for non-religious civil marriages to be held in register offices which were set up in towns and cities.

Minimum age

In 1929, in response to a campaign by the National Union of Societies for Equal Citizenship, Parliament raised the age limit to 16 for both sexes in the Ages of Marriage Act. This is still the minimum age.(Dark Mare's note: Where it says "Parliament raised the age limit to 16," it is referring to the minimum age with parental consent. The previous ages were 12 for a girl and 14 for a boy. Yikes!) 

Next I returned to Chapter 27 of "Ross Poldark," which says:

Ross and Demelza were married on the twenty-fourth of June, 1787. The Reverend Mr. Odgers performed the ceremony, which took place very quietly in the presence only of the necessary number of witnesses. The register shows that the bride gave her age as eighteen, which was an anticipation of fact by three-quarters of a year. Ross was twenty-seven.

 ... Demelza did not see her father again that year. A few days after the banns were called, she persuaded Ross to send Jud to Illogan with a verbal message that they were to be married in a fortnight. Carne was down the mine when Jud arrived, so he was able only to deliver the message to a fat little woman in black (Dark Mare's note: presumably this is Demelza's stepmother, Nellie). Thereafter silence fell. Demelza was nervous that her father might turn up and create a scene at the wedding, but all passed quietly. Tom Carne had accepted his defeat. 

OK, banns were called -- check 

Ross and Demelza were married in the parish church -- check 

They were married before the requisite number of witnesses -- check

The ceremony was performed by an ordained Anglican minister -- check

The bridegroom was 27 -- check

The bride was ... how old? Oh dear. Where is her father? Oh dear. Has he given his consent? Oh dear.

Next scene, Rev. Odgers is walking up the gangplank for his 14-year "vacation." Next stop, Botany Bay. Well, at least it's warm there.

Poor Rev. Odgers. Poor Mrs. Odgers and all those children. Say it ain't so.

it ain't so. www.parliament.uk let me down. Wikipedia of all things set me straight -- yeah I know, not definitive, not always reliable, but this time I think I'll trust it because it makes sense.

If Demelza and Ross had chosen to get a license from the archdeacon of Cornwall (as Drake and Morwenna did in "The Angry Tide"), they would have needed Tom Carne's actual permission. However, if banns were called, as they were in this case, parental consent was assumed so the parent had to come forward to lodge an objection. This explains why Demelza was "nervous that her father might turn up and cause a scene." Tom didn't so the marriage was valid. 

How did Ross expect word to get to Tom Carne in Illogan? The miners' version of the "coconut telegraph"? Or was that an escape clause in case things didn't work out -- or Francis dropped dead? Why do I think Ginny Carter told Demelza to insist that her father was notified? A recent underage bride would remember a detail like that.

I have always been a little disappointed that Ross lacked the class to behave the way he would have if he wanted to marry the daughter of someone of his own class. He expected Jim to ask Zacky Martin for Jinny's hand. Why wouldn't he extend the same courtesy to Demelza's father? It would make for a good scene. Another wrestling match, this one broken up by Nellie flogging them with a broom or dowsing them with dirty mop water. And maybe a little advice: "Now that she no longer works for you, count on her always to be two steps ahead of you. Don't fight it, use it. Direct it at the rest of the world. Oh one more thing, at the wedding be sure you have a firm grip on her fingers during her vow so she can't cross her fingers when the minister gets to 'obey.' Her mother did that to me." 

 

 

 

 



-- Edited by Dark Mare on Tuesday 30th of August 2016 02:08:36 PM

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Date: May 10 4:33 AM, 2016
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Pint-of-mild,

I too am jealous of your friend, although I disagree with her assessment of Ross' character. I believe that fundamentally Ross sees everyone as just people and not classes, therefore he doesn't really comprehend why he wouldn't treat Demelza as honourably as he would of any woman of his own class. He would never have slept with a woman of his own class and not offer her marriage, so why would he treat Demelza any differently. The gentry class disgusted Ross, the way gossiped about him and Demelza when she was only thirteen years old and their careless callus disregard for the suffering of the lower classes, so their opinion of him didn't matter. 



-- Edited by MrsMartin on Tuesday 10th of May 2016 04:36:18 AM

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Date: May 9 11:43 PM, 2016
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Mrs. Gimlett,

Actually, I have been obsessed with things "Poldark" since PBS aired the new series last summer. I have read all 12 books (and continually reread sections to refresh my memory of key events -- hooray for eBooks!), seen the original series and the TV movie made from "The Stranger From the Sea" and read "Poldark's Cornwall" and "Memoirs of a Private Man" simultaneously, flipping between them as topics overlap. Amazon Prime recently added the new series to its offerings so I am now revisiting it to compare it with the original. 

 



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Date: May 9 7:31 PM, 2016
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DarkMare,

I hope by now you have read book 1 and 2-12 also!!

If not you have a treasure trove awaiting you



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Date: May 7 10:33 AM, 2016
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Mrs Gimlett, 

I just remembered something kinda funny as I read this snippet in your post from last August: 

 

"...  The writer of the new series has portrayed Elizabeth as much more warm      hearted and approachable than in the book.  This may become a problem in the next series.  Elizabeth would NEVER have gone to nurse Demelza - she was extremely jealous of her .... " 

 

When I saw that scene the first time, I initially thought I saw a pillow on Elizabeth's lap and her position on the bed seemed a little strange. Her shoulders seemed to be parallel to headboard. I thought, "OMG, was she about to try to smother Demelza?" 

I hadn't read Book 1 yet, but in my mind Elizabeth was already a threat to Demelza, I guess. Indeed a more serious threat than even WG thought. 



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Date: May 3 4:53 PM, 2016
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All very interesting, MrsMartin - I like your reasons for them marrying.  All three help us make sense of the event, as it seems to pop up a bit out of the blue in the book.  I feel like WG purposefully didn't go into too much detail regarding the reasons.

I've recently managed to persuade my best friend to read the books, this is quite an interesting side project for me, because she has never read any of them, or seen either version on TV.  She doesn't have any idea about what takes place in any of the books, so, for me, I get the chance to discuss everything with someone who has an utterly unbiased opinion and is experiencing it all for the very first time.  I'm actually pretty damn jealous of her!  How exciting to be able to experience it all for the very first time!

Anyway, she's read the first book now, and I asked her why she thought that Ross married Demelza.  I was quite surprised when she said that she thought it was because Ross wanted to bite his thumb at society, be different, non-conform.  She felt that was the overriding factor for him.  I felt as though it was part of his decision, but she felt that it was a very important 'show' to make to his peers.

I suppose that this would be partly to do with the recent treatment of Jim Carter by Ross's peers.



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Date: Apr 13 12:19 PM, 2016
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I've often wondered exactly when Demelza -- or someone else, like Prudie -- told Ross that the afternoon before he and  Demelza slept together, her father had visited Nampara and told her that he and her stepmother wanted her to move home right away because they had heard rumors of improper goings-on at Nampara. And was Ross told this before or after his proposal? Her father always demonstrated such contempt for Ross, and I have to wonder whether that contempt worked as something like the reverse of a shotgun on him. Did Ross decide to marry Demelza in part because her father disapproved? Was Ross Poldark, squire of Nampara and owner of two mines, not going to let some tribute miner from Illugan tell him he wasn't good enough to marry his daughter?

Or did Ross ask her to marry him before he learned about her father's command? Did he decided he wanted to marry her before he found out that that would be the only way he would be allowed to keep her in his life? 

 



-- Edited by Dark Mare on Tuesday 10th of May 2016 06:54:29 AM

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There are a few reasons for Ross' decision to marry Demelza :

1) I've always felt it had a great deal to do with Joshua and his desire not to be like him or to become a stereotypical "master sleeping with his kitchen wench" kind of man.

2) Ross may not have been in love with Demelza when he married her but he was very fond of her and he felt very protective of her; "I did not take you from your father - for - to-". Ross felt that by sleeping with her and not marrying her, he would be degrading her.

3) After years of feeling rejected by Elizabeth, Ross wanted to be with someone you idolized him, as he knew Demelza did. There is something very intoxicating about being with someone that absolutely loves you. Her love for him and her happiness that summer after he married her is one of the reasons he fell in love with her, as depicted in the beautiful pilchard catch scene.



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Date: Feb 4 6:06 PM, 2016
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I never understood Ross' decision to marry Demelza at that point in the story.  I never did.  Especially since he was not in love with her at the time.  I have the feeling that Graham was indulging in some kind of romantic fantasy.  If Ross had been in love with Demelza at the time of their wedding, I would have understood this decision.



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Thank you so much, Mrs. Gimlett, for your keen insights. Reading the posts on this board , from members like you, has taught me much and opened my eyes to things I just havent seen before.

I was a little embarrassed after making my post and wondering if Rosss decision to marry Demelza could actually be viewed as acceptable.  I went back and checked the text of the novel and WG wrote something to the effect of that arousing suspicion that he was sleeping with his kitchen maid was one thing , but marrying her was quite another. One would just make him a topic of gossip but the other would make him personally unacceptable in their eyes.

The logic you wrote about, I feel, was inspired by WGs words in that chapter, (e.g. the quote you wrote in toward the bottom of your post) and thats why I posed the question. But, then he wrote THAT, seemingly answering my question. Frankly, in that chapter, he presents both points of view. Obviously the books and films show Demelza being accepted to varying degrees by his society as the months and years pass. As they move into different circles with meeting new members of his class as the years pass, Demelzas origins are forgotten. They are, as they become for everyone that strives hard enough to move on from a disadvantaged past, inconsequential.

WG weaves a masterful burgeoning love story between the two. Its marvelous to read and as Ive stated on other threads, I feel the new TV version is closer to the novel.  The walk home along the cliffs after the catch is their version of Ross and Demelza in the little boat in the cove during the catch in the book. I agree, the written scene IS magical, but the film version works on me as well!

 

I was watching a recorded interview with Aiden Turner when he was in New York (must have been before the series ran here in the States, but had run in the UK) and one audience member was totally in synch with me. She had read the books and somehow had seen the series and asked him about the conflict between his characters feelings for Elizabeth and his developing love for Demelza . She noted that the TV version had swung hard to the side of Demelza and, given that, wasnt it going to make upcoming conflicts (we all know the conflict!) almost incomprehensible?  This audience member went further, noting, as you do in your post,  its not just this incredible love story, but the series depiction of Elizabeth as this very warm, caring character that can sit by the bedside of her rival when shes very ill, that will make the next part hard to take. Mr. Turner is evasive in his answer saying something like you have to trust the writers  and that conflict is really what attracts us to stories because its such a part of life. I dunno . . . .well see.



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If you think yourself back to the eighteenth century, marriage was indissoluble.  Ross might have thought he loved Elizabeth, but once she had married Francis, she was lost to him.  The seduction of Ross by Demelza was something she thought of as shocking, even as the thought occurred to her.  It seemed to her though, the only way she could stay at Nampara after her father had called asking her to return to Illuggan.

Ross had been depressed at his homecoming; drank heavily; had unreliable servants and was spending his days rather dejectedly re-building his inheritance.  He was intelligent enough to realise that work was a solutive, and I think he rather despised himself during the first couple of years after his return from America, whilst being unable to pull himself out of it.  He kept all his disappointments and anger just below the surface. 

Demelza, when he brought her home from Redruth was full of vitality, amusing in her attempts to improve herself and they eventually became fast FRIENDS.  Especially so after Verity confined herself more to Trenwith.  Ross tortured himself from time to time by visiting Trenwith and seeing Elizabeth, but in the first edition of Book 1, Elizabeth actually says that they were not right for each other.  If you think about it, could you see Elizabeth living at Nampara and having to do all that work with only the 'help' of Jud and Prudie?  No - I believe she wouldn't have wanted that kind of life.  The writer of the new series has portrayed Elizabeth as much more warm hearted and approachable than in the book.  This may become a problem in the next series.  Elizabeth would NEVER have gone to nurse Demelza - she was extremely jealous of her - and anyway she wouldn't have been well enough herself, anymore than Demelza would have been fit enough to be on a clifftop days after the wrecks came in!!

But going back to Book 1.  Ross was exceptionally loyal and having done what he thought would help Jim Carter in the court in Truro, he returned home in a darker than ever mood, and Demelza took advantage of it by trying to act all grown up and seductive.  I bet she was as astonished as Ross that her stratagem  worked! 

Ross must over the next few days have come to the conclusion that: 1.  His merely sleeping with Demelza was not an ideal situation  2.  The relationship between them had changed, but he was not so lonely and 3. that if he married her it would solve several things.  He thought he knew her quite well; after all they had lived in the same house for four years.  He knew she was loyal, hardworking.  Demelza knew he loved Elizabeth, but Ross thought their marriage would solve his infatuation. Finally Ross probably thought life would go on more or less as it had been but he would have a life partner. In fact he didn't really know Demelza as well as he thought, but in the first few months of their marriage, he fell in love with her, as depicted in that magical scene at the pilchard catch. (which I was disappointed with in the series - women never strung themselves along the cliffs for days, waiting - they had a huer on a high point watching for the shoal) 

Demelza, I guess couldn't believe her luck, but also had sufficient perception to know that Ross still hankered for the unattainable - Elizabeth.  That was the reason for her reluctance to visit Trenwith at Christmas.  For all her youth, her intuition was much deeper than Ross's.  However, Demelza had obvious allures for Ross and they gradually immersed themselves in each other.

As WG writes ' If one overlooked her humble beginnings she was a not unsuitable match for an impoverished farmer squire.  She had already proved her worth about the house and farm, none better, and she had grown into his life in a way he had hardly noticed'



-- Edited by Mrs Gimlett on Sunday 30th of August 2015 06:47:47 PM

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I had typed up my thoughts on Demelza's seduction of Ross to post on a well-buried thread somewhere else when I came around to pondering Ross's decision to marry her. So as to try and not post to a buried thread and risk no responses I've decided to be brave and start a new thread here. At least it will be "up" for awhile to hopefully generate some responses. I'll probably still post the other stuff on the buried seduction thread, but . . . . 

I'd truly be interested in the much more well-read and learned members of this board thoughts on the decision to marry given the two distinctively different versions of the day/days after the seduction from the '70's adaptation and the recent one. As much as I dont like it' I see the '70's version of events as being the most probable, that is, Ross tells her she must now go away. He knows he can no longer trust himself. What is obviously unspoken, but assumed there is, yes, he finds her sexually attractive but he loves someone else. I guess it speaks to some level of care as he appears to also be saying "I dont want to USE you."

The recent version also has Demelza leave after their night together, but it appears to be of her own choosing right after seeing Elizabeth there at the house. Coming into the parlor, with her flowers, Im thinking she intended to stay, interested in how Ross would deal with an altered relationship. Seeing Elizabeth there, for TV, makes her leave and our hearts all scream with joy when he goes after her.

WG writes something different after the Elizabeth visit with both women subconsciously realizing new realities have only, just now, come about. Elizabeth leaves, and Demelza, hearing Ross say, "Im tired." as he sits down in his chair, comes over and sits at his feet and plays with the flowers she's picked. She has, in essence, just claimed her man.

 

The next chapter starts with the announcement of their marriage and WG describes it as something NOT altogether abhorrent given the realities of his situation. He does say that, with his name, he could have courted a landed, genteel young woman with a family name for his class. But I read WG describing his choice as something not totally unthinkable. Is his decision to marry her, actually acceptable? I know the reaction to his decision as portrayed in the TV versions (one of horror among his class) makes for much better television. But Im interested in what some you learned members of this board think of my ponderings. Maybe some of you Brits can give me some insights into previous generations dealings with class distinctions over there.

 

PS: my American society is supposed to have none of the nastiness of strict adherence to class distinctions, but since I teach Economics I have access to all types of surveys and stats. Do you all know that the U.S. ranks well below Britain now in terms of class fluidity related to the distinction factor that is best used now . . . that is . .. ability to dramatically change incomes over a lifespan? Makes me sad for my country. Not that we rank below you, just that we havent done better. 



-- Edited by Wheal Greggy on Friday 28th of August 2015 05:52:45 PM

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