he heroines are all very similar to one another. Their hair, it is true, may change color, and the luster of their eyes shine blue or black, but they are mainly the same person. Alice Lorraine is the exception to this statement, for as a character she belongs to Annie's group, though technically she does not fall in with this category. The chief distinction, however, of the heroines is one of situation rather than of individuality. It is true that they are beautiful, like Lorna, and that they are always in birth equal to their suitors, and frequently their superiors. They have dignity, truly; but they have also the magnetic melancholy of the persecuted. It is this latter which evokes the protective instinct and eventually love in the hero, as it evokes a measure of solicitude from the reader. Belovedly feminine and dependent; noble of mien and of character; helpless before difficulty, though not wholly innocent of stamina; these women are none the less not without some charm of a sweet and clinging sort. They lack the initiative and natural fire of characters such as Annie, and they have not much wit. Their fragility and the persecution to which they are subjected are their chief claims upon their lovers.
To a lesser degree, and with more numerous exceptions, this is true also of the heroes. Usually modest and good men, they are honorable and chivalrous, owning a rapturous devotion toward the women they adore, and toward these same a somewhat consciously clumsy humility. They are undeniably brave and strong, and eager to endure hardship for their darlings. Men of the soil, or men of the sea, or, in one or two cases, young baronets, they are of gentle impulses, orthodox faith, and the dignity of steadfast English manliness, like Blackmore himself. Except for the fact that they are not usually handsome, one could hardly find more blameless men. [52-53; emphasis added]
Burris, Quincy Guy. Richard Doddridge Blackmore: His Life and Novels. Urbana: University of Illinois, 1930.
Last updated 25 April 2006