This chapter concentrates on cross-class couples. Cross-class unions combined exploitative and advantageous elements for men and women, both defying and deferring to class and gender expectations. The participants in most cross-class cohabitation expected them to be temporary. These cohabitees broke into two groups: professional mistresses and poor women who preferred to marry, but chose to live with better-off men rather than lose them. Professional mistresses earned a good living. Mistresses had prosperity in the short run, but little security; thus, they had to be both romantic and businesslike, an uneasy combination. Both partners' families were unenthusiastic about the relationships in cross-class unions. Cross-class cohabitees defied two conventions of Victorian life: they had sexual relations outside of their social strata and without marriage. Cross-class couples resembled those who could not marry, since many of the men did not believe they could reconcile their families to marriages with unsuitable women.
Manchester Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.
To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.