[Note 128.1]

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Although she accuses the steam loom weaver of being flashie, the heroine is unabashed by her pregnancy. Francoise Barret-Ducrocq says that sex before marriage was generally acceptable among the labouring poor during the early 19th century and estimates that during the late 18th century more than 40% of children were conceived outside wedlock.

Reference: Barret-Ducrocq, Francoise (Trans. John Howe) Love in the Time of Victoria: Sexuality and Desire Among Working-Class Men and Women in Nineteenth-Century London (Penguin Books, 1992) p97

 

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