Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Ideal German Wife

In "The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin" by H.W. Brands ( a book I recommend not just as a biography of Franklin, the author also gives inciteful descriptions of the way life was in Franklin's time) , the author writes that there came a point in the 1750's where the Pennsylvania Assembly worried about the integration of the German immigrants and the English colonists (sound familiar?). Peter Collinson suggested that intermarriage between Germans and English be subsidized. Franklin said this would never work, because:

The German women are generally so disagreeable to an English eye that it would require great portions to induce Englishmen to marry them. Nor would German ideas of beauty generally agree with our women; dick und starcke; that is, thick and strong, always enters into their description of a pretty girl, for the value of a wife with them consists much in the work she is able to do. So that it would require a round sum with an English wife to make up to a Dutch man the difference in labour and frugality.
No wonder Rainer was all into me ;-)

So I guess if we have German ancestors, we can assume the women were probably dick und stark (I know in my family this trait has been passed down to the current generation despite the addition of tiny asian person genes).


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