In Gone with the Wind, Rhett was a little more direct with his quarry:
“I’m going away tomorrow for a long time and I fear that if I wait till I return you’ll have married someone else with a little money. So, I thought, why not me and my money? Really, Scarlett, I can’t go all my life waiting to catch you between husbands”.
Sometimes you get a bland proposal. But if you do that in an Oscar Wilde play, especially The Importance of Being Earnest, there is a very good chance your intended will come back with a pearler.
Jack Worthing: “You are quite perfect Miss Fairfax”.
Gwendolyn Fairfax: “Oh, I hope I am not that. It would leave no room for developments, and I intend to develop in many directions”.
And our favourite?
In P G Wodehouse’s sublime novel Leave It to Psmith, the eponymous character proposes to Eve Halliday. The slight drawback is that she thinks he is a Canadian poet called Ralston McTodd who has run away from her best friend. Despite that handicap, they go for a moonlit walk. Psmith, gesturing at the stars with “a kindly yet not patronising wave of his hand” gets down to business.
Eve is not impressed.