« PreviousContinue »
peated that he was very sorry, but he was afraid speaker musingly. “But why on earth does he he must ask her to come away.
leave her to herself in such a way?" “Oh, Bernard !" she began, but then something “He's been dancing attendance on the eldest unusual in his expression struck her. A feeling Miss Conisbrough all evening, and left this little of something like chill alarm crossed her heart. girl to amuse herself with suitable companions." How dignified he looked ! How commanding ! “On Miss Conisbrough—why, I thought they How different-even she knew—from the feather were at daggers drawn.” brained fops with whom she had even now been “Didn't look like it, I assure you. I can't jesting and laughing!
, make it out, I confess. Only, on my honor, they “Well, if I must, I must, I suppose,” she said, were as good-looking a couple as any in the room. shrugging her shoulders, and taking his arm. And Couldn't help noticing them. But look here, St. with a final farewell to her attendants she went John-will you take the odds-ten to one—that away with her “ lover."
it doesn't come off?”. “ Jove! but that girl is a caution !" observed “The wedding ?—all right. At all-or within one of the young men, giving unrestrained flow a year?'' to his mirth, as Bernard and his betrothed dis “Oh, hang a year !—at all. Ten to one that appeared. “I never had such fun in my life!" Aglionby and the little dressmaker don't get mar
“She'll find it a caution, being married to ried at all.”. Aglionby,” said a second, looking into the future. “Yes; but there must be some time fixed. Ten “Didn't you see him as he came up to us? Luci- to one that it's broken off within a year.” fer himself couldn't have looked more deuced! “In sovs ? Done with you !" stiff.”
Then the band struck up again for one of the “Yes—I saw. They don't look exactly as if last waltzes, and the young men dispersed to find they were created to run in a pair !" said the first their partners for the same.
(To be continued.)
By SARAH WINTER KELLOGG.
In the two leading countries of the world, the / and replenish the earth," an injunction, Sydney United States and England, the question as to Smith remarks, which man has more implicitly what is necessary to constitute a complete and obeyed than any God ever gave him. Barrenness perfect marriage is still unsettled.
the ancient Jews regarded as a judgment from The Bible account of the institution opens with God; a numerous family as a blessing ; indeed, the expression of God's opinion, that it is not good their nuptial benediction was the invoking a for man to be alone, with which opinion some men numerous offspring. Two of the Ten Commandin later and more enlightened ages have asked, ments pertain to marriage. The Bible statutes respectfully, it is hoped, to differ. Metellus regulating this and divorcement are definite and Numidicus said, in an address to the Roman stringent. Adultery, unless, indeed, the offender people, that had nature ordained us to live without chanced to be a man, the Jews punished by death; woman's help, we should be rid of a very trouble- the debauching of a maid was avenged with severest some companion, and that he could recommend retribution. Marriage was a subject about which marriage only as a sacrifice of private pleasure to Christ was repeatedly questioned; it was used to public weal.
express the mystical union between the Church These words are not surprising from the mouth and the Redeemer. He founded one of his most of a pagan, but it is strange that the primitive beautiful and solemn parables on the Jewish marChristians, in the face of the words, “ Therefore riage rites; He sanctioned by his presence the shall a man leave his father," etc., and of God's wedding feast in Cana, and performed a miracle injunction, given before the fall, to the first pair, for the guests' refreshment; marriage is expressly “Be ye fruitful,” etc.-it is strange that they pronounced honorable in all. Indeed, there is should have held as a favorite doctrine, that if | but one passage in the Scripture which may be Adam had retained his original innocency he construed as adverse in any sense to marriage. would have lived forever in a state of virgin purity, This is contained in a bit of advice by St. Paul. and that, by some harmless mode of vegetation, But in this he states that he speaks as a man, and paradise would have been peopled by a race of asserts his liberty to marry. Indeed, there are innocent and immortal beings; that the use of ancient writers, as Clemens Alexandrinus, Ignatius, marriage was permitted to his fallen posterity as and others, who reckon St. Paul in the list of maran expedient to continue the race, and as a re- ried disciples, and he has never availed himself of straint on licentiousness. As to what, in such a spiritual telegraphy to contradict the suggestion. state, would have been the signification of the | Glancing at profane history, we find that marwords father and mother-used previous to the fall riage has enlisted the attention of philosophers —these sages have not left an opinion.
and legislators to no secondary extent. Family This recalls an anecdote of Lamb, by Hazlitt. enjoyments have been very anciently held in high At a literary assemblage the question was, “Whom esteem, and to the security of these marriage was of the dead would you most like to see?” Lamb essential; so by remote tradition the institution is mentioned Sir Thomas Browne, explaining, as the referred to the bounty of the gods. No nation is singularity of his choice provoked laughter and so barbarous that it has not its marriage code, inquiry, “Who would not like to see the linea- even if it aims no higher than that of the Ashanments of a man who, having been twice married, tees, which gives their king three thousand women. wished that men were propagated like trees?". In the Gallic councils, from the fourth to the
Whatever may have been God's designs man- | tenth century, to which Guizot ascribes a vast ward, previous to the fall, if the Bible expresses civilizing influence, there is scarcely one which his will, marriage has his sanction. His injunction has not its marriage enactments. Throughout the to the first pair and the accompaniament to every State the ancient Greeks encouraged marriage, promise of blessing is, “ Be ye fruitful, multiply, and a failure to enter the connubial state was attended by loss of esteem and often by the infliction the people's strongest shelter, and this strongest of punishment. Zoroaster condemned celibacy shelter, except in Protestant Christian countries, is with abhorrence, as a criminal rejection of God's the people's religion. Nations outgrowing priestbest gift. The saint in the Magian religion was craft remove from the custody of the Church a obliged to beget children. The ancient Medes, matter so vital. They recognize the need of according to Strabo, enforced polygamy by law. giving to its protection the strong band of the Abstinence from marriage, when there is no just law. Hence, in these, marriage is a civil contract, impediment, is held by the Egyptians as dis upon which, indeed, the Church, coming to the reputable. A temporary sojourner in Egypt records State's support, lays the hand of benediction, conthat, having occasion to move his residence, he secrating it as the most solemn and sacred of engaged a house and advanced a part of the rent, contracts. when the owner informed him that the inhabitants Polygamy prevails over the greater portion of of the quarter objected to his living among them the earth's surface-Europe, except Turkey, and because he was unmarried.
the United States, except Utah, are unstained by Among the Arabs marriage is considered so it. It is a prevalent idea that the Chinese are honorable and celibacy such a reproach, that a polygamists; but while their laws permit concuwoman will become second wife to a man already binage, they allow a man but one tsy, or wife. married, to escape the obloquy attached to a The station from which she is chosen is different single life. Though with us a man has the privi- from that of his tsie, or handmaid, of whom he lege of living unmarried without incurring loss of may have any number. She is espoused with foresteem, who can claim that woman has such a malities of bewildering number and complexity, prerogative ?
| and is distinguished by a title. Contrary to Christ's testimony, that in heaven The ancient Greeks permitted polygamy only there is no marrying, Mahomet taught that sev-| after a devastating national calamity, as war or enty-two black-eyed girls of resplendent beauty, pestilence. Socrates is said to have taken a second blooming youth, virgin purity, and exquisite sen- wife on such account. The ancient Germans sibility will be created for the meanest believer. allowed a plurality of wives to their princes, Notwithstanding a vulgar prejudice, the heavenly that they might by alliances strengthen the State. gates will be open to both sexes; but Mahomet Though polygamy seems opposed to the genius has not specified the male companions of the of Roman institutions, it was introduced into the female elect, lest he should either alarm the jeal- State by Valentinian. The story, which Gibbon ousy of their former husbands, or disturb their pronounces a fable, is, that the Empress Severa, felicity by the suspicion of an everlasting mar- having repeatedly expressed admiration of Justina's riage.
charms, the emperor was tenipted to take a second So says Gibbon, and this is offered as indicating wife, and by edict extended the domestic privisomething of the Moslem's estimation of the con- | lege to his subjects. nubial state.
If there is felicity in a multitude of spouses, The space the institution occupies in statutes ; woman, for her inequality of privilege in this the volumes given to it-four-fifths of light litera- respect, may find some compensation in the fact ture has this for its topic; the lectures-drawing that polyandria prevails among classes of Hindoos, ones---of which it is the subject; the share it has and in the very singular kind of polygamy pracin advertisements, with many another evidence, ticed in Thibet, where all the brothers of a family all attest its vitality. Even the hostility of cer- have the same wife, chosen by the eldest. tain fraternities is proof of its importance; men Though Mahomet had seventeen wives, a modest do not war against trifles. To the three dominant number when we remember Solomon's seven heart-questions, What shall we eat, what drink, hundred spouses and three hundred concubines, and how be clothed ? a fourth might be added, and when we consider that, by special revelation Whom shall we marry ?
to the prophet, the whole female sex was abandoned Except in Protestant countries, marriage ranks to his desire, the Moslem religion permits a man with the sacraments; for we ever find the institu- but four legitimate wives. Many Mahometan tion, with other valued interests, committed to nations exhibit a noticeable temperance in the exercise of their prerogatives. An Arab rarely engender scandal, and involves the relinquishment takes more than two wives, and often but one, of the dowry. though an Arabian wife-like a few American The bridegroom then bites a bit of candy in wives—is profitable rather than expensive. This halves, eating one and presenting the other to the temperance may explain the rarity of separations. | bride. By this he perhaps indicates his intention These result chiefly from inability to maintain the of sharing with her the sweets of life. Throwing wife, when she is returned to her friends with one of her stockings over his left shoulder, he liberty to re-marry. The Arabs exhibit a liberality places the other under his right foot, and then toward woman unusual with Moslems, allowing a orders all the spectators to withdraw. What these wife ill-treated a divorce.
impressive evolutions are intended to symbolize The Afghan is even more temperate than the is left to the reader's conjecture. Arab, generally contenting himself with one wife, We are used to think with commiseration of and often remaining unmarried until forty, occa- the Circassian maid sold into Persian or Turkish sioned, perhaps, by his poverty, for he purchases slavery. But she leaves her home gladly, having his wife. But though more temperate, the Afghans been dazzled by stories of palaces, jewels, and are less liberal to women, treating them with finery awaiting her in the far-away harem. And jealous tyranny. Away from the towns, however, the mother parts from her without reluctance, this in a measure disappears. The women go after infinite pains to render her worthy the brilunveiled, and the young people, less restrained, liant promotion. This is but an outgrowth of the exercise more choice in mating. Indeed, it is Spartan-like apathy which underlies the Circassian possible for a lover of enterprise to obtain his family system, by which the husband never meets mistress without her parents' consent, by such his wife, except by stealth, until after the birth of heroic achievement as the cutting a lock of her the first child, and is insulted if she is even named hair, snatching her veil, or by throwing a sheet in his presence, and by which the child at three over her, and proclaiming her his affianced wife. years is yielded to some friendly nobleman, not to Their marriage customs nearly resemble those of be seen by the parents until his manhood. We their Persian neighbors.
may believe that removal from such a domestic Among the latter any woman outside the pro- system to that of the Persian harem is promotion. hibited degrees may be taken into the harem by The Persian ladies of rank dress well. There are marriage, purchase, or hire.
meetings to talk gossip and tell stories and to Though parties are often betrothed in infancy, show each other their jewels and finery. They they seldom see each other till they stand before have parties at each others' houses, when they the priest. The nuptial ceremony must be wit are entertained by singing and dancing women, nessed by two men, or by one man and two women, while at the baths all restraint is set aside, and from which it will be seen that with these Orient- full rein given to merriment and scandal. als a woman is reckoned equal to half a man-an Nor is life in a harem necessarily one of idleapproximation toward sexual equality to which ness and luxury. The Grand Mogul Acbar had some nations more enlightened have not attained. a body-guard of Arab women, extremely well Weddings are occasions of such display as would disciplined, and among whom were all the degrees be considered heresy by a prudent Yankee couple that obtain among men. This recalls the fact on the eve of housekeeping and a family.
that at the battle of Yermuk the last line was But in wedding extravagancies they are sur held by Arab women, under the sister of Derar, passed by the Hindoos. A Bengal merchant often who had enlisted in the holy war, and were skilled spends sixty thousand dollars on the procession in the use of the bow and lance, and who thrice and shows, besides vast sums in presents.
drove back, by their blows and their reproaches, The Persian bride being conducted to her re the retreating Arabs against the Roman cavalry. ception-room, the husband enters, and, in a glass, Acbar's seraglio contained over five thousand sees her face for the first time. Though the reve- women, each having her separate apartment and lation of personal charms may be gratifying, their her vocation. The ladies were presided over absence cannot prove very dismaying, since he by duennas, all being under one superintendent. can divorce his wife at will, though the step may Women guarded the interior of the palace, the