So, what was romance like for my character, Amy, when she ended up in the eighteen hundreds? Was there any kissing going on?
In the Victorian era, abstaining from any physical show of affection when in public was regarded as the only way to be, really. Kissing in front of others was deemed vulgar and unacceptable, even for those with lower standing in the community. Even newly married couples knew better than to kiss in public; it was regarded as highly conspicuous and quite indecent.
Purity and meekness were rewarded with respect, especially for those already held in some sort of high esteem, whether by family background, profession or monetary status.
To even suggest the subject of kissing in conversation, especially in front of a young man, was considered loathsome. If a young lady heard any such language, she was taught to appear as though she lacked any understanding of the topic, even if she already knew all there was to know, and more.
Due to the lack of cell phones, Facebook or any other kind of social media, a young bachelor had to resort to other forms of communication to address the young lady of his choice: the VISITING card or CALLING card. In a most careful and considerate manner, the bachelor would simply hand the lady one of the cards, informing her of his interest in a date. In response, the young lady, if interested, could respond with her own card, delivered to the bachelor's home by someone other than herself, preferably a servant. Humour was often used by the gentlemen as a means of attracting the attention of his intended.
A first date would consist of a third, older person tagging along (I'm sure you've heard of the third wheel) ensuring the proper guidelines of etiquette and lack of kissing (or anything else!) was maintained.
The fear of never marrying was prominent in the minds of young women and young men in the 19th century. To never marry meant a lack of security and no children for the young woman, and a lack of wealth for the young man if the lady in question had family money - it would be transferred to her husband once married.