“BUT REALLY, AND UPON MY HONOUR, I WILL TRY TO DO WHAT I THINK IS WISEST; AND NOW I HOPE YOU ARE SATISFIED.”––Elizabeth Bennet
This lead me to think about the Regency world and how so many times women are compromised with what seems like such a simple act now in our day. It could be as simple as being alone in a room with a man, visiting a man at his house, found kissing, or it could be more significant and her virtue could be taken. Either way, a lady was felt to be compromised with the slightest infringement or questionable situation.
I then wondered about why they call gambling debts “debts of honor”. I recently read a book where a crucial plot twist described how cheating at cards was almost worst than being a rake and seducing women. This surprised me since I consider sexual immorality to be one of the worst things that one can do. But considering that not only is a woman’s virtue and honor so valued back in the 1800’s but a man’s was just as important. Where homes could be lost, carriages broken, wives and children die, sometimes a man’s honor was all he had. This is why duels were so popular. Defending one’s honor or the honor of your family was a matter of life or death.
As I researched honor when I prepared for this blog, I learned that honor is one of the few values in society that is timeless. In writing, a good hero is one who is honorable and even if he was at one time a rogue, he has to change his ways to possess, give and earn the honor that turns readers hearts towards him. A good heroine is one who feels the stirrings and desire but maintains her virtue and reputation. These are the kind of characters that readers fall in love with. Those who value honor and integrity beyond the immediate gratification builds the character up, and I’m not talking about fictional characters anymore.
One more point I wish to make is that although Latin is considered a dead language, it is interesting to note that the Latin translation of “honor” is “honor”. There is not a difference. It is the same today as it was back then. I think you see where I am going with this.
My point is that those of us who romanticize the “olden days” or any other time when it seemed that a woman’s or a man’s honor seemed to be held in highest regard, the universal truth is out there: there were honorable men back then just as there are today. There will be those who dishonor others now just like back then. But society has not changed their moral view on what constitutes an honorable man. Even the worst rogues turn out to be the best heroes when they alter their ways and realign their lives with honorable intentions, and often in fiction and in real life, it is in the name of love. And don’t we all want to fall in love with an honorable man?
I’m excited to announce that I have started writing my first Regency romance. Inspired By Grace will be my first attempt to veer away from Jane Austen inspired novels. My job will be to create a character that the reader will love; I can tell you now that he will be a man of honor. I’m half in love with Gavin already. Look for the first chapter on my blog soon.
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