My Top 5 Marriage Proposals from Literature
Who doesn’t love a bit of romance between their favourite characters? It gets me thinking about my favourite marriage proposals in literature – starting with Mr Darcy of course.
1. Pride and Prejudice – Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett
Mr Darcy declares his love to Elizabeth, though it took two shots to get it right.
“In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”
2. Anne of the Island – Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe
Another 1 of 2 marriage proposals.
Gilbert [took] her hand in a clasp from which she could not free it. “There is something I want to say to you.”
“Oh, don’t say it,” cried Anne, pleadingly. “Don’t — PLEASE, Gilbert.”
“I must. Things can’t go on like this any longer. Anne, I love you. You know I do. I — I can’t tell you how much. Will you promise me that some day you’ll be my wife?”
“I — I can’t,” said Anne miserably. “Oh, Gilbert — you — you’ve spoiled everything.”
“Don’t you care for me at all?” Gilbert asked after a very dreadful pause, during which Anne had not dared to look up.
“Not — not in that way. I do care a great deal for you as a friend. But I don’t love you, Gilbert.”
“But can’t you give me some hope that you will — yet?”
“No, I can’t,” exclaimed Anne desperately. “I never, never can love you — in that way — Gilbert. You must never speak of this to me again.”
There was another pause — so long and so dreadful that Anne was driven at last to look up. Gilbert’s face was white to the lips. And his eyes — but Anne shuddered and looked away. There was nothing romantic about this. Must proposals be either grotesque or — horrible? Could she ever forget Gilbert’s face?
3. Jane Eyre – Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester
“Come to my side, Jane, and let us explain and understand one another.”
“I will never again come to your side: I am torn away now, and cannot return.”
“But, Jane, I summon you as my wife: it is you only I intend to marry.”
I was silent: I thought he mocked me.
“Come, Jane — come hither.”
“Your bride stands between us.”
He rose, and with a stride reached me.
“My bride is here,” he said, again drawing me to him, “because my equal is here, and my likeness. Jane, will you marry me?”
4. Gone with the Wind – Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara
“Say you’ll marry me when I come back or, before God, I won’t go. I’ll stay around here and play a guitar under your window every night and sing at the top of my voice and compromise you, so you’ll have to marry me to save your reputation.”
5. Emma – Emma Woodhouse and Mr Knightly
“I cannot make speeches, Emma,” he soon resumed; and in a tone of such sincere, decided, intelligible tenderness as was tolerably convincing.—”If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more. But you know what I am.—You hear nothing but truth from me.—I have blamed you, and lectured you, and you have borne it as no other woman in England would have borne it.—Bear with the truths I would tell you now, dearest Emma, as well as you have borne with them. The manner, perhaps, may have as little to recommend them. God knows, I have been a very indifferent lover.—But you understand me.—Yes, you see, you understand my feelings—and will return them if you can.
What did she say?—Just what she ought, of course. A lady always does.—She said enough to shew there need not be despair—and to invite him to say more himself. He had found her agitated and low.—Frank Churchill was a villain.— He heard her declare that she had never loved him. Frank Churchill’s character was not desperate.—She was his own Emma, by hand and word, when they returned into the house; and if he could have thought of Frank Churchill then, he might have deemed him a very good sort of fellow.
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