When I was looking for an online Christmas romance, I found one by Kate Douglas Smith Wiggin. Her The Romance of a Christmas Card was published in 1916 and demonstrates the miracles that can be worked by three pious women and two Christmas cards. Wiggin's A Cathedral Courtship is an earlier work, an epistolary short story, and with lines like the following, I'm really not sure how seriously one is supposed to take it:
'I witnessed the somewhat unusual spectacle of my nut-brown mayde hopping on one foot, like a divine stork'They certainly don't write heroines like this one anymore, who can say in what appears to be all seriousness that
It is certainly very queer that the stupidest man that breathes, one that barely escapes idiocy, can disentangle a railway guide, when the brightest woman fails. [...] I do affirm that there is hardly any juncture in life where one isn't better off for having a man about.She describes the hero thus: 'Mr. Copley has accomplished something, young as he is. He has built three picturesque suburban churches suitable for weddings, and a state lunatic asylum.' Our heroine, according to Mr Copley, is
the concentrated essence of feminine witchery. Intuition strong, logic weak, and the two qualities so balanced as to produce an indefinable charm; will-power large, but docility equal, if a man is clever enough to know how to manage her; knowledge of facts absolutely nil, but she is exquisitely intelligent in spite of it. She has a way of evading, escaping, eluding, and then gives you an intoxicating hint of sudden and complete surrender. She is divinely innocent, but roguishness saves her from insipidity.Hope you're all saved from insipidity during the holidays too, but hopefully not because you've lost all sense of logic, knowledge of facts and the ability to read a train timetable.