Brothers & Sisters: Clarissa Trant speaks

June 24, 2012 at 12:01 pm (books, diaries, people) (, , , , , )

So many books; so little time! (Working for a living is a curse…)

While flipping through the delightful Journal of Clarissa Trant, 1800-1832, I came across this most telling description of what made for an attractive man in the eyes of a young lady of taste, distinction, and wide travelling-experience.

“What a desert Brighton, gay and brilliant as it is, would have been to me but for them {the Boyles}. Was introduced to their handsome brother Charles, who is just arrived from the Continent. Caddy{Caroline Boyle} may well be proud of her Brother — he is so kind to his sisters and so very prepossessing both in appearance and manner.” [4 Jan 1829]

and then: “To my great annoyance Mr. Charles Boyle called three times whilst I was out.” [7 Jan]

He returns the following day: “At four o’clock Mr. C. Boyle… paid me a visit… He is indeed singularly handsome, but his great merit in my eyes is his devoted affection to his sister.”

Although I have yet to find much interaction between Clarissa and the Smiths of Suttons, the Smiths certainly knew of her — for she married John Bramston of Skreens. Some tense feelings prevailed: John had proposed to Emma’s younger sister Charlotte and not been accepted. Had Charlotte expected John to propose a second time? Or had she already had her eye on Arthur Currie? The family was, I can say, perturbed that John Bramston would involve himself with Miss Trant a while later… Such convoluted little mysteries keep me digging!

Mamma could write Emma the following year: “I have some news to announce… It destroyed the romance of real life, & proves the inconstancy of man. John Bramston has forgot his first love; and taken a second; he writes to Spencer a very chearful & lover like letter… — not a word of his Sister Elizabeth, he is too full of his own happiness. But he desires it may be a secret at present within our own Family, including you & Edward, … so pray be discreet; you may tell Augusta, & do write me all your comments.” Oh! for that letter of Emma’s

As always, a plea: if you have ANY correspondence (diaries count too!) relating to these people, do drop me a line!

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