The Fishing Fleet : Husband-Hunting in the Raj
by Anne De Courcy
Editor: Orion Publishing Co
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The adventure of young women who sailed to India during Raj in search of a husbandFrom the late 19th century, when Raj was at its peak, many of Great Britain’s best and brightest young men came out of India to work as administrators, soldiers and businessmen.With the advent of the steamer of travel and the opening of the Suez Canal, innumerable young women, the suffering of the absence of eligible men in Great Britain, in their wake.This amorphous group was composed of girls, returning after their teaching English, girls invited to stay with married couples, sisters or friends, and others whose declared or undeclared purpose was simply to find a husband.They were known as the Fishing Fleet, and this book is their story, until then unpublished.For these young women, often away from home for the first time, one thing they could be sure of was a joyful good time.At the beginning of the 20th century, the social scene was stirred up, with dances, parties, amateur theatrical, picnics, tennis tournaments, cinemas and gymkhanas, with perhaps a tiger shoot and a shimmering dinner in a palace of raja thrown into the open air.And, with more men than women about four to one, novels were made at an alarming rate and marriages were common.But after the honeymoon, often in life changed dramatically: illico in a remote outpost with a few other Europeans for the society, and where constant vigilance is necessary to guard against the disease, they found it far from the social whirlwind of their arrival first.Anne de Courcy’s sparkling story is enriched by a multitude of firsthand sources – unpublished memoirs, letters and diaries, saved from the attic – that bring this forgotten era to life.
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