Knowing how consumed most single ladies were with the mission of securing a husband, just imagine what harassment England’s bachelors might have been subjected to if the women were given charge of romantic proceedings. The Leap Year tradition of allowing women to make their own amorous advances clearly played on the mind of one print-maker at the turn of the nineteenth century…
While the man in the foreground seems happy enough to have three young ladies throwing themselves at him, those seen behind are more concerned with escaping the embraces they find themselves tangled in.
A second, colour edition of the print includes the following poem (but, sadly, not the wrestling couples in the background, of whom I am quite fond):
The Lasses now so Young & Gay,
All Round me come a hopping O!
Happy hours have skipped away
When in come Leap Year popping O!
I thought to lead a single Life,
And range the Town at large,
But Gad they’ll make me take a Wife,
A heavy, heavy charge.
[with my apologies for Real Life getting in the way of my posting here for a while]