Boldwood, it is painful to have to say I am surprised, so that I don’t know how to answer you with propriety and respect—but am only just able to speak out my feeling—I mean my meaning; that I am afraid I can’t marry you, much as I respect you.
But propriety has nothing to do with reasons.
There are no more uses of "propriety" in the book.
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While she took comfort in propriety, he saw it as a straitjacket.
She was known for losing all sense of propriety once she had a few drinks.