Letters to Mr. Knightley, a new blog, is filled with advice from Mr. Knightley, our hero from Emma, such as the following:
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.
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. ... Click here to read the rest of Mr. Knightley's answer