Getting Tangled in the Undergrowth…

Dear Mr. Knightley, 

I am not a lady to throw myself in the path of other men; on the contrary, I am twice as likely to throw myself off of it…especially when the man is one I admire.

I know this is most impractical. Firstly, however, I am terribly shy. Secondly, I cannot shake the feeling that to pursue the object of my admiration under pretenses of friendship would be dishonest. For I feel, you see, so much more, though I am hardly well-enough acquainted with the gentleman to justify more direct flirtation.

But I tire of hiding in bushes as my gentleman passes by. It is degrading, and further more, I’m beginning to acquire leaf stains on all my favorite frocks. In short, I most humbly beg your advice.

I am yours, etc.

Offroaded Admirer




Dear Offroaded,

Let me begin first by saying that those women who throw themselves so wantonly in the path of men at the blink of an eye are most certainly not acting as any true lady ought to. A lady does herself no favor in so desperately pursuing a man, no matter what his rank may be. For not only will her motives be questioned but she will also find that men take greatest delight in the pursuit of a beautiful woman but when they find their target too readily or too easily, they often lose interest fairly quickly. It is much better to let a gentleman pursue you, giving him small signs and tokens of affection but holding back slightly, as to arouse his curiosity and enhance your own air of mystery. But keep in mind, having a reception too cold, too modest, or too dignified may thwart a gentleman’s suit all together.

However, it seems to me that your currently methods, of throwing yourself off the path all together, may mean that you never even reach this point. A gentleman cannot pursue your heart if he does not have the opportunity to do so. This is why it is so vital to stay upon the road. Even as the wanton must resist pitching themselves at the gentleman, the trepidatious must resist the urge to flee. Love requires bravery, as all things of true worth do.

Regarding your thoughts on using friendship, there is a crucial difference to be grasped. Pursuing the object of your desire under the pretense of friendship is dishonorable indeed, however, pursuing the honest friendship of the one you desire is in no way dishonorable. It is only in knowing him a little better that you may realize if he truly is the man of integrity and honor that his impressions have painted him to be. And it may be that in gaining your friendship that small ember of love may be quickened in his heart as well.

Let me warn you though from bitter truths reaped from my own path, it is by no means easy, to be so close and intimate with the one you truly love and respect and regard above all others, and to know that they may not ever see you in the same light. But a very wise man once wrote, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things. And Love conquors all.”

If what you feel is so strong, then draw strength from it and stand strong upon the road. Let him draw nearer to you, and draw near to him as well. Learn to know your gentleman a bit better and allow him to know you more. It is only this way that mutual admiration and regard can blossom into the sweetest of all life’s blooms.


Mr. Knightley

Post Script. You may find this helpful in dealing with your stained frocks


About Mr. Knightley

There is one thing a man can always do, if he chooses, and that is his duty. View all posts by Mr. Knightley

4 responses to “Getting Tangled in the Undergrowth…

  • mrsjenings

    Good Heavens Mr. Knightley!

    You are ever so droll! For you see, you have quite forgotten the part that the young ladies friends may play! For you may not be aware of how significant a little nudge in the right direction can be!

    Now, My Dear Offroaded,

    This is what you must do! Have one of your friends accost the gentleman in any way she can, perhaps asking for his assistance at the piano forte, or at a game of lawn bowling. Then, she should do her utmost to seem quite unable to do the most basic element of it.

    Now this, mind you, is the most important part! She must then direct her attention to you, as if spotting you for the first time, and call out loudly and energetically to get your attention, but also, to direct his attention in the direction of yourself. She may take this time, to comment on your ability that so far surpasses her own. Then, as you politely accept his invitation to join them, she should serendipidously remember that she promised to take some ribbon to a friend. Leaving the two of you alone to continue in the past time.

    This will enable you to act as coy and coquettishly as need be, while the gentleman has a chance to impress you with his skills. This is of course the moment in which your door has opened, and if all goes to plan, he shall ask you for a stroll among the grounds, and you shall be wed by Michaelmas!

    Now, take care, that you chose the friend to do this wisely. For if she is not a trustworthy companion, she may end up stealing him for herself. In which case, there will be very little left to rectify the situation, and you had best have a good cry and find your next suitor.

    Never underestimate the influence a friend may have!

  • Martha

    I daresay this column should be a he said/ she said of sorts, with the dear Mrs Jenings as the female counterpart. One must own that diversified views are always to be applauded!

  • charlotecollins

    I couldn’t agree with you more Martha. Having a feminine voice of reason is precisely what Mr. Knightley needs. Were I to be of any assistance to poor Offroaded here I would most certainly have given her more sound advice. Such as the fact that she ought not to act coy or coquettish as Mr. Knightley and Mrs. Jennings have suggested. Rather, she should show more affection than she even feels. For she should secure him as soon as possible, as not to lose his suit to some other woman. I disagree most heartily with Mr. Knightley, especially regarding mutual admiration arising from greater understanding. I believe it is better for them to know as little of each other as possible, so that their mutual faults do not serve to hinder them from the future contentment they would find in each other’s companionship.

  • missmariannedashwood

    My dear Offroaded,

    I know all too well the feeling of burning with love and affection for a gentleman. You must pursue him. Not for friendship but for more. There are a million subtle ways of sending him quite a clear message of just how deeply you admire and love him. Keeping your eyes locked with his, just a bit longer than anyone else would. Letting him drown in the depths of your gaze. A lingering touch, or just a softest sigh can all send him the message he needs. That you are interested in his suit and that he should pursue it. Do not falter in your resolve. Give love a chance.

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