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A Leap Day Love Quiz: Literary Proposals

Perversely, Leap Day (or in less strict circles, a whole Leap Year) is apparently traditionally the only time a woman may propose marriage to a man. I’d never heard of this before today, but I’ve heard mention of it many times since this morning, so I must have been living under a rock. What a bizarre notion, tongue-in-cheek or not – they only occur every four years! That seems a long time to wait if you’re head-over-heels for somebody. But I do like this bit, according to wikipedia:

“Supposedly, a 1288 law by Queen Margaret of Scotland (then age five and living in Norway), required that fines be levied if a marriage proposal was refused by the man; compensation was deemed to be a pair of leather gloves, a single rose, £1 and a kiss.”

By that logic, a woman could just wander around all day, proposing to men wildly out of her league, and if she didn’t have a husband by day’s end, she’d have a decent chunk of pocket money and a nice bouquet of flowers.

The Guardian has another fine literary quiz in honor of the day, this time to do with literary proposals. I scored a woeful 4 out of 9. I hang my head in shame. See how you do.

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About Beth Carswell

I've been reading, selling, researching, loving and writing about books with AbeBooks since 2000.

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