These idle, luxurious Virginians love by chance. They never calculate. They love honor, and generosity, and refinement, when well gotten up and exquisitely embodied.
We all know how danger only stimulates young lovers; and how opposition will often change quite a commonplace and lukewarm passion into an heroic and sublime affair. How absence and parental tyranny have done more for the wily god than all the arrows in his quiver.... In short, how Cupid only enlists obstinate parents in his service, and makes them fight blindly against themselves.
This brisk, light-hearted domestic comedy by Rebecca Brodnax Hicks came to my attention while I was collecting and transcribing the anthology Working a Passage, and Other Stories. Originally published in 1853 in the first five issues of Putnam's Monthly, it was praised by Charles Frederick Briggs in his introductory article for the 1868 reboot of the magazine. While perhaps not quite attaining the perfection of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, I think Virginia in a Novel Form comes close enough to deserve a blue ribbon.
The text was taken from this scan of Putnam's Monthly, Volume One. Any obvious typographical errors were corrected; in one case, an inconsistent spelling of "Epsy" vs. "Epsey" was resolved in favor of the latter.
So here it is: the master HTML version, the home-brew Kindle version, and the actual Amazon publication.
As Jenny says: "And at dinner may you sip the choicest wines, and astonish with your wit and brilliancy, oh martyr reader mine!"
August 2, 2021
ffred's nearly-forgotten treasures