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Re: "throwing their caps (bonnets) over the mills"

Posted by ESC on October 06, 2006

In Reply to: Re: "throwing their caps (bonnets) over the mills" posted by ESC on October 05, 2006

: : I'm putting this query to the readership a second time hoping for other suggestions.

: : I have seen two Oscar Wilde references to women "throwing their caps (bonnets) over the mills":

: : 1) From The Picture of Dorian Gray.. "Dorian was one of her especial favourites,and she always told him that she was extremely glad she had not met him in early life. 'I know, my dear, I should have fallen madly in love with you', she used to say, 'and thrown my bonnet right over the mills for your sake. It is most fortunate that you were not thought of at the time. As it was, our bonnets were so unbecoming, and the mills were so occupied in trying to raise the wind, that I never had even a flirtation with anybody.'

: : 2) From Lady Windemere's Fan: DUMBY:Awfully commercial, women nowadays. Our grandmothers threw their caps over the mills, of course,but, by Jove,their granddaughters only throw their caps over mills that can raise the wind for them.
: : What is the origin and meaning of the expression?

: The previous response was:

: Posted by Victoria S Dennis on September 13, 2006

: In Reply to: Re: Throw your cap posted by Gary Martin on September 13, 2006

: : : I have seen two references in Oscar Wilde's writings to women "throwing their caps (bonnets) over the mills". By context, I think it must refer to defying the usual social traditions regarding marrying for financial security...am I close?

: : Yes, defy social convention. Not necessarily for financial reasons through. Why? I don't know.

: It's usually "over the windmill". I'm afraid I don't know the origin of the metaphor either.(VSD)

I still haven't found anything. Two thoughts. "Setting her cap for a man" means a woman is trying to snare him. One reference says this means wearing her best bonnet or cap to look her best. I wonder if there is any relation between the two sayings. The other thought. I think "throwing your cap" means sexual abandon. Just my opinion.