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Traditionally, in England and some other European countries, "walking out" was a declaration of something close to engagement. It was formal and ritualized and made a public declaration that this twosome was indeed a couple.
In Canada, going for a walk together was a chance for privacy in public, spending time in conversation and getting to know each other better. Library and Archives Canada has a series of delightful prints of a courting couple on a sleigh ride and sledding at Montmorency Falls in 1868. Such occasions were public enough to be "proper," but private enough for emotional intimacy (Ward, 91-92).
More Love Messages
Small gifts were exchanged by courting couples. In Québec City, for instance, Honorine Tanswell gave her suitor, George Stephen Jones, a song she had written. He gave her a ring (not an engagement ring), for which she needed parental permission to accept. She gave him a seal for his watch chain and a pencil case (Ward, 11-12).
As always, lovers wrote poems to each other. Amédée Papineau penned these lines for Mary Westcott, when he feared their relationship was ending:
"But it must not be I never must wish,
To receive from those lips affections sweet kiss;
For you, all my humble pretensions would waive
For the noble and high, the gifted and brave:
I must seek in another land my lot,
And strive dear Mary to love thee not." (quoted in Noël, 54-55)