Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: The Etiquette of Engagement and Marriage - Describing Modern Manners and Customs of Courtship and Marriage, and giving Full Details regarding the Wedding Ceremony and Arrangements
Author: Devereux, G. R. M.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Etiquette of Engagement and Marriage - Describing Modern Manners and Customs of Courtship and Marriage, and giving Full Details regarding the Wedding Ceremony and Arrangements" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



The Etiquette of Engagement and Marriage

Describing Modern Manners and Customs of Courtship and Marriage, and
giving Full Details regarding the Wedding Ceremony and Arrangements


By G.R.M. Devereux
Author of "Etiquette for Women," etc, etc.


First published January 1903

This etext prepared from the reprint of March 1919 published by C.
Arthur Pearson Ltd., Henrietta Street London and printed by Neill
and Co. Ltd., Edinburgh.



LIST OF CONTENTS

                                                         PAGE

INTRODUCTORY REMARKS      13

CHAPTER I
THE BEGINNINGS OF COURTSHIP--FAVOURABLE OPPORTUNITIES--INTELLECTUAL
AFFINITY--ARTISTIC FELLOWSHIP--ATHLETIC COMRADESHIP--AMATEUR
ACTING--SOCIAL INTERCOURSE--DIFFERENT IDEAS OF ETIQUETTE      16

CHAPTER II
INTRODUCTIONS--RECOGNITION OF AFFINITY, OR LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT--HOW TO
FOLLOW UP AN ACQUAINTANCE--KINDLY OFFICES OF RELATIONS AND
FRIENDS      21

CHAPTER III
INTERCOURSE BETWEEN UNCONFESSED LOVERS--THE QUESTION OF
PRESENTS--EXCHANGE OF HOSPITALITY--THE MAN WHO LIVES AT HOME--THE MAN
IN ROOMS      25

CHAPTER IV
INTERCOURSE WITH (1) THE HOME GIRL; (2) THE BACHELOR GIRL; (3) THE
BUSINESS GIRL; (4) THE STUDENT OR PROFESSIONAL GIRL--FRIENDS WHO
BECOME LOVERS      30

CHAPTER V
FLIRTS, MALE AND FEMALE--HE CHANGES HIS MIND ON THE VERGE OF A
PROPOSAL--HOW SHE ACCEPTS THE SITUATION--HOW SHE MAY GIVE
ENCOURAGEMENT OR WARD OFF AN UNWELCOME OFFER      36

CHAPTER VI
THE QUESTION OF AGE--YOUNG LOVERS--YOUNG MEN WHO WOO MATURITY--OLD MEN
WHO COURT YOUTH--MIDDLE-AGED LOVERS      41

CHAPTER VII
PROPOSALS: PREMEDITATED, SPONTANEOUS, PRACTICAL, OR ROMANTIC--NO RULE
POSSIBLE--TACT WANTED IN CHOICE OF OPPORTUNITY--UNSEEMLY HASTE AN
INSULT TO A WOMAN--KEEN SENSE OF HUMOUR DANGEROUS TO SENTIMENT--SOME
THINGS TO AVOID--VAGUELY WORDED OFFERS--WHEN SHE MAY TAKE THE
INITIATIVE      46

CHAPTER VIII
ENGAGEMENTS--THE ATTITUDE OF PARENTS AND GUARDIANS--MAKING IT KNOWN IN
THE FAMILY, TO OUTSIDE FRIENDS--CONGRATULATIONS--THE CHOICE AND GIVING
OF THE RING--MAKING ACQUAINTANCE WITH FUTURE RELATIONS-IN-LAW,
PERSONALLY OR BY LETTER      51

CHAPTER IX
HIS VISITS TO HER HOME--THE ENGAGED COUPLE IN PUBLIC--IN
SOCIETY--VISITING AT THE SAME HOUSE---GOING ABOUT TOGETHER,
ETC.--THE QUESTION OF EXPENSES      56

CHAPTER X
LOVE-LETTERS--LONG OR SHORT ENGAGEMENTS--BROKEN
ENGAGEMENTS--CLANDESTINE ENGAGEMENTS--JUSTIFIABLE IN CERTAIN
CASES--WHERE THE MOTHER SHARES THE SECRET--FRIENDS WHO ACT AS
GO-BETWEEN      60

CHAPTER XI
FOREIGN ETIQUETTE OF ENGAGEMENTS--BETROTHAL MUCH MORE SERIOUS THAN IN
ENGLAND      65

CHAPTER XII
MARRIAGE--FIXING THE DAY--PREPARATIONS--SELECTING THE BRIDESMAIDS AND
THEIR DRESSES--BUYING THE WEDDING-GOWN--THE
TROUSSEAU--INVITATIONS      71

CHAPTER XIII
WEDDING PRESENTS--CHOOSING AND FURNISHING THE HOUSE--WHAT THE
BRIDEGROOM SUPPLIES--THE BRIDE'S SHARE IN THE MATTER      77

CHAPTER XIV
THE NATURE OF THE CEREMONY, RELIGIOUS OR CIVIL--BANNS OR
LICENSE--LEGAL FORMALITIES--SETTLEMENTS, ETC.      81

CHAPTER XV
THE WEDDING-DAY--WHAT IS EXPECTED OF (1) THE BRIDE; (2) THE
BRIDESMAIDS; (3) THE BRIDEGROOM; (4) THE BEST MAN; (5) THE BRIDE'S
PARENTS--AT THE BRIDE'S HOUSE--DRESSING--STARTING FOR THE
CHURCH--THE TYING OF THE KNOT--SOCIAL ASPECT--RECEPTION OR
BREAKFAST      86

CHAPTER XVI
THE GUESTS--THE WEDDING PRESENTS ON VIEW--STARTING FOR THE
HONEYMOON--DRESS AND LUGGAGE--WHERE TO GO AND HOW LONG TO
STAY--INEVITABLE TEST OF TEMPERAMENT--POSSIBLE DISAPPOINTMENTS AND
DISILLUSION, PASSING OR PERMANENT      92

CHAPTER XVII
THE RETURN HOME--A PLUNGE INTO THE PRACTICAL--HOUSEKEEPING--WEDDING
CALLS--THE NEWLY-MARRIED COUPLE AT HOME AND IN SOCIETY      97

CHAPTER XVIII
MIXED MARRIAGES--DIFFERENCES OF COLOUR, NATIONALITY, AND
RELIGION--SCOTCH MARRIAGES--MARRIAGE OF MINORS AND WARDS IN
CHANCERY      102

CHAPTER XIX
FOREIGN ETIQUETTE OF MARRIAGE--VARIOUS CUSTOMS      107

CHAPTER XX
RUNAWAY MATCHES--RE-MARRIAGE OF WIDOWS AND WIDOWERS--THE
CHILDREN--THE HOME--DRESS--COMPARISONS      113

CHAPTER XXI
MARRYING FOR LOVE; FOR MONEY; FOR A HOME; FOR A
HOUSEKEEPER--CONCLUDING REMARKS      117

INDEX      121



{13}

THE ETIQUETTE OF ENGAGEMENT AND MARRIAGE


INTRODUCTORY REMARKS

The word _Courtship_ has an old-world sound about it, and carries the
mind back to the statelier manners of bygone days. Nowadays we have no
leisure for courtly greetings and elaborately-turned compliments. We
are slackening many of the old bonds, breaking down some of the old
restraint, and, though it will seem treason to members of a past
generation to say it, we are, let us hope, arriving at a less
artificial state of things.

During the march of civilisation Marriage and the circumstances that
lead up to it have undergone many and wonderful changes, though the
deep-seated fundamental idea of having a mate has remained unaltered
in essence.

Just as the savage of to-day steals or fights for his dusky bride, so
did our own rude forefathers of past ages look to rapine and the sword
as the natural means of procuring the mate who was to minister to
their joys and necessities.

As the Chinese girl of the twentieth century is bought by her husband
like a piece of furniture or a cooking utensil, so the child bride of
ancient Rome used to take a formal farewell of her dolls and
playthings, making a solemn offering of them to the Gods, before she
was sold to the husband who was legally entitled to beat her if he
liked, she being nothing but his slave in the eyes of the law.

We have travelled far since then, and it would be impossible even to
touch upon the main points of development that have {14} placed
Engagement and Marriage upon their present footing amongst us. It is
to be noted that no two countries have moved quite side by side in this
matter. We find the written and unwritten laws which regulate the conduct
of man to woman different to some extent in every land, and what would be
an act of courtesy in one country would be regarded as a serious breach
of etiquette in another.

No one has made a clean sweep of all the old formalities; there are
still certain things which may and may not be done; and it is for this
reason that a few hints on this ever new, ever-engrossing subject of
Courtship and Marriage may be found helpful to those who are
contemplating the most important step in the life of man or woman.

We are very free and easy now in England, though not quite as
unconventional as they are on the other side of the Atlantic. We have
abolished a great many of the false barriers erected by Mrs. Grundy or
her predecessors, which kept young men and women from enjoying each
other's society in an innocent, natural way. Of course there is no
gain without a certain amount of loss, and while we have advanced in
freedom we have retrograded in chivalry, deference, and courtesy.

The girl who daily meets a man on common ground in his business or his
sport is not regarded by him with the same "distant reverence" which
the devout lover of former days cherished for the lady of his heart.
Perhaps as we are but human beings it is as well that we are more
natural, and less given to idealise our beloved. Women are no longer
brought up in the belief that it is a disgrace not to get married, and
a still greater disgrace to show the least sign of being anxious to
fulfil their destiny. Every normally-minded woman who is honest with
herself must confess to her own heart--even if to no other--that
marriage rightly understood is the life for which she was intended,
and the one in which she would find the highest, purest happiness. If,
however, the right man fails to appear, she can make herself very
happy. She does not think that each man of her acquaintance is
desirous to marry her, or that a ten minutes' _tête-à-tête_ will
expose her to the risk of a proposal.

As things go now men and women in England have abundant opportunities
for seeing and knowing each other before linking their lives together.
This freedom of intercourse, {15} however, is fettered here and there
by what we call Etiquette, which varies considerably in the different
scales of social life. The coster may have less ceremony in his wooing
and wedding than the nobleman; the royal prince is hedged in by
formalities unknown to the middle classes; but in every rank there are
accepted traditions, written and unwritten rules, to which men and
women must submit if they will be self-respecting, law-abiding
citizens.



{16}

CHAPTER I


_The Beginnings of Courtship--Favourable Opportunities--Intellectual
Affinity--Artistic Fellowship--Athletic Comradeship--Amateur
Acting--Social Intercourse--Different Ideas of Etiquette._


Who can fix the exact time at which Courtship begins? It may or may
not be preceded by Love; it may coincide with the birth of the tender
passion; it may possibly be well in advance of Cupid's darts; or, sad
to say, it may be little more than the prelude to a purely business
transaction.


Opportunities.

Men and women meet each other on very varied planes, and each walk in
life has its own opportunities. The intellectually minded may begin
their courtship over musty books or choice editions, and advanced
students will make love as ardently as a country maid and her rustic
lover. A dry mathematical problem may be as good a medium for the
lover as a nosegay or a verse of poetry.


A Love of the Arts

implies an emotional element that lends itself to love-making. Music
is responsible for a great deal. The passion of the love-song, the
pathos of the composer so easily become the language of the
interpreter, when love is in the heart.


Athletic Comradeship.

The fascinations of Art are more sensuous than the vigorous, breezy
pleasures of outdoor pursuits. For healthy-minded love-making this
comradeship yields golden opportunities. {17} The outdoor pair may not
look so sentimental as the artistic couple; but their hearts may be
as tender and their love as true, though their hands meet over the
mending of a tyre or the finding of a tennis ball instead of being
clasped in the ecstasy born of sweet sounds.


Amateur Acting.

I know of an Amateur Dramatic Society that has been nicknamed the
Matrimonial Club from the number of marriages that have taken place
among the members. This amusement does pave the way for courtship, for
in no other are the conventionalities so completely set aside for the
time being. Those who have thus been brought together in make-believe
are not always anxious to resume formal relations. Acting affords
priceless opportunities.


Making up his Mind.

Now when a man has made up his mind that he wants to marry a certain
girl, he emerges from the indefinite stage of observation, admiration,
or flirtation, and begins to make his intentions known. In view of the
impossibility of a universal law of etiquette, it may be said that the
remarks in these pages apply to that largest section of society known
as the middle classes.

When a man is in a position to marry, he should be especially careful
not to single out a girl by his attentions if he does not intend to
propose to her, for the way in which his conduct is regarded will be
greatly influenced by his banking account, and one with a small income
and smaller prospects may do things with impunity that a man in more
affluent circumstances could not do without the risk of having a
serious construction put upon them.


"Ineligibles."

I once heard a very rich young man bewail his fate on this score. He
said: "A fellow with only a hundred a year gets all the fun. He can
talk to any nice girl he likes as much as he likes, and nothing is
said, because people know he can't marry. But if you have a little
money (_his_ ran into thousands) {18} they say you're engaged the
second time you're seen with a lady!"

This may sound mercenary, but after all it is only practical. When it
is known that a man neither is nor is likely to be in a position to
marry, parents encourage his visits to the house, or permit his
attentions to their daughters, at their own risk. Not that lack of
means will prevent falling in love--far from it! When parents think
marriage impossible they sometimes give opportunities to an
_ineligible_, and then are aggrieved at his making good use of them.

There are many things to be considered at the beginning of courtship.
Much must depend upon the family of the lady.


Social Intercourse.

In a household where there is neither father nor brother on the scene
a man must walk warily. He is sure to be chaffed about any special
intimacy with such a family, and even well-meant chaff sometimes
spoils a situation. A woman who has no grown-up son, and has lost, or
is temporarily separated from, her husband, will do well to avoid any
undue eagerness in cultivating masculine society. She should exercise
her own intuition, and extend a cordial, unaffected welcome to such
men as she thinks suitable friends, or possible husbands, for her
daughters. She should be equally careful to eschew any sign of
match-making intrigue or narrow-minded suspicion. If she is the right
sort of mother the men will probably find in her a charming companion
and valuable friend.

It is most essential that girls who have been mainly brought up under
feminine influences should have ample and varied opportunities of
learning something about the other sex, by personal intercourse,
before there is any question of their marriage. If this is not done it
will be found that they generally fall a prey to the first suitor who
comes along. They have formed unreal, impossible, and often foolish
ideas about men, and are unable to distinguish the tares from the
wheat. A girl with brothers or men friends is far more likely to make
a wise choice than one who has formed her ideas from heroes of
fiction.

Where a man is introduced by the son of the house, his path is on
smoother ground. As "Charlie's chum" he has a {19} perfectly reasonable
and innocent excuse for his frequent visits, even though Charlie may
receive a minimum of his attention. On the other hand, fathers and
brothers are not always aids to courtship. They hold different views
about the man to those of their womenkind, and _may_ make things
unpleasant for all parties. A man can soon establish himself as a sort
of oracle in a feminine circle, and has countless chances of making
himself useful to the ladies. He may have to consider the proprieties
a little more, but then he is master of the situation, with none of
his own kind to point out the weak joints in his armour.


Tact.

A tactful suitor will be courteous to every member of his sweetheart's
family. He will not for a moment let it be thought that he considers
her the only one worthy of his notice. Even younger brothers and
sisters are preferable as allies, and it will make the whole position
much pleasanter if he is liked by her own people. He will especially
make it his business to stand well with her parents. By prettily
filial attentions to Mollie's mother his cause will be materially
strengthened, and though the young lady may grudge the time he spends
in discussing politics or stocks and shares with her father, her own
common sense will tell her that it is a very good investment for the
future. Moreover, a really nice-minded girl would never tolerate a man
who was discourteous to her parents, however flattering his attitude
might be to herself.


A Breach of Etiquette.

When a girl is staying with friends, no man should pay his addresses
to her unknown to her hostess or against that lady's wishes. It is
better to end a visit than to abuse hospitality. The hostess is
responsible to her visitor's parents for the time being, and the
lovers should consider her position. Whatever social or domestic
restrictions may stand between a man and the woman he wishes to woo,
he must pay a certain regard to them for her sake, if not for his own.
No two households are regulated by the same code in the smaller
details of etiquette.

{20} In one family old-world notions of decorum prevail, and the lover
will want self-restraint and prudence; in another the law of liberty
reigns supreme, and the young people do pretty much as they like. In
such a circle the lover's presence will be taken for granted--one more
or less does not matter--and courtship is made easy. Man being by
nature a hunter who values his spoils in proportion to the dangers and
difficulties overcome in the chase, is not always so keen to secure
the quarry that costs the least effort, so the free and easy parents
often find that their daughters remain unmarried.



{21}

CHAPTER II

_Introductions--Recognition of Affinity, or Love at First Sight--How to
Follow up an Acquaintance--Kindly Offices of Relations and Friends._


Introductions.

There are definite laws of etiquette in the matter of introductions. A
man has seen the lady once, or, it may be, has watched her from a
distance with longing eyes for months past. He may not make himself
known to her without the aid of a third person, who should first
ascertain whether his acquaintance will be agreeable to the object of
his admiration. It may happen that the gods will send him some lucky
chance of rendering her a timely service. He might rescue her dog from
a canine street fray, pick up a trinket she had dropped, or, better
still, like the people in novels, travel with her on a long journey
and prove himself a tactful cavalier. Under any of these circumstances
the ice would be broken, and possibly an informal introduction would
take place. It ought, however, to be supplemented by more regular
proceedings before any recognised intercourse is possible.

A girl is not supposed to ask for an introduction to a man,
but--low be it spoken--she often does; not publicly, of course, but
she simply confides in her married lady friend or favourite brother,
neither of whom would naturally give her away.

A man ought not to haunt a girl whose acquaintance he wishes to make.
There is a wide margin between accepting invitations to houses, or
turning up opportunely at parties where he may expect to meet her, and
walking obtrusively past her house several times a day, or shadowing
her out shopping and at public places of amusement. A very young girl
{22} might think this romantic, though youth is terribly matter-of-fact
nowadays. Her elders would certainly consider it rude, and put him
down as a man to be avoided. An elderly sentimental spinster would be
in a flutter. A level-headed girl would think him a bore, if not a bit
of a fool.


Love at First Sight.

This seems a very large order, for love means so much. That there is
often a wondrous _recognition of affinity_, a sort of flash from soul
to soul kindling the desire for closer union, is undeniable. A man
suddenly sees the one whom he resolves to win for his wife. A woman
realises that she has found the man of all others to whom she would
gladly give herself. This is not love; it is but the herald that goes
before the king.

Opinions on the subject of marrying one's first love are much divided,
and one has rather to beg the question by saying that it is mainly a
matter of temperament. The age at which you begin falling in love has
also to be taken into account. A modern writer gives it as his opinion
that "A wise man will never marry his first love, for he knows that
matrimony demands as much special attention as any of the learned
professions. Unqualified amateurs swell the lists of the divorce
court."


The Man's Case.

It may be taken for granted that the man who has some experience of
women and their ways makes a better lover than one who knows nothing
of them. Love may supply him with essentials, but only practice can
perfect details. A man of five-and-twenty may be supposed to know his
own mind.


The Girl's Case.

The girl in her teens who gives her love and herself may find full
satisfaction in her marriage; but blind self-confidence and impulsive
inexperience may lay up a store of sorrow for the future. No man is
wise to hurry a young girl into marriage.


{23}

How to follow up an Acquaintance.

Once the introduction is over it remains mainly with the man to make
the most of his advantages. He obtains permission to call; and it is
not a bad plan to allow a short interval to elapse before availing
himself of the privilege. He must not seem neglectful, but may wait
just long enough to give the lady time to think about him, to wonder,
to wish, to long for his coming. He will be careful not to transgress
any detail of etiquette in this his first call, but he will not leave
without having made some distinct advance, having found some pretext
for a less formal visit. He will convey to her in a subtle, meaning
manner that the sun will not shine for him till he sees her again.


Her Family.

He will find out what interests her people. He will bring her father
rare cuttings for his garden, or introduce him to a choice brand of
cigars. He will lend her mother books, sing or recite at her pet
charity entertainments, or even make a martyr of himself at
flower-shows and bazaars. He will bring designs for her sister's
wood-carving, or teach small Tommy to ride a bicycle.

As to the lady of his heart, he will begin by sharing her pursuits
only as a means to an end, for when love-making once steps in other
pursuits are neglected, if not totally shelved, for the time being.
This transition stage requires great tact. He must not startle her by
too sudden a development. Some women may like to be taken by storm, to
be married by capture as it were, but the average girl likes to have
time to enjoy being wooed and won. She basks in the gradual unfolding
of his love; she rejoices over each new phase of their courtship; she
lingers longingly on the threshold of her great happiness. She is
intoxicated by the sense of her own power; she is touched by the
deference which curbs his ardour.


Kindly Offices of Relations and Friends.

Outsiders can often make or mar a possible marriage. When the third
person undertakes to introduce two people in a case {24} where even a
one-sided attraction is supposed to exist, no remark should be made
about it. The lady friend who tells a girl that a man "is very much
taken with her," strikes a fatal blow at the unconscious grace with
which the girl would otherwise have received him. The blundering
brother who blurts out: "My sister says that girl's awfully gone on
you, old chap!" probably makes his chum fight shy of the girl, or
indulge in a little fun at her expense. It should be remembered that a
nearer acquaintance does not always confirm impressions formed at a
distance.

A sister who will discreetly play the part of Number Three is
invaluable. A brother who will bring the man home to dinner, or
arrange cycling expeditions, is a treasure. The aunt who gives dances
or river parties just when he has his holiday is inestimable. The
uncle who has a fancy for stage managing, and casts the two for the
lovers' parts in a charmingly unconscious fashion, is a relation worth
having. Married friends on either side can afford many extra and
delightful opportunities of meeting. While thus smoothing the path of
love, all obtrusive allusion to the suspected or recognised state of
things should be carefully avoided. It is an unpardonable breach of
etiquette for any one to draw attention to the movements of a couple
by a laugh, a nod, or a wink which, though not intended to reach them,
gives frequent rise to unpleasant situations. Her friends should guard
against anything savouring of a husband-trap; his friends should avoid
any indication that they look upon her as his lawful prey.

There should be no questionable chaff or talking at the possible
lovers. Older people who have forgotten how tender their own
sensibilities once were are rather fond of cracking jokes, and make
tactless, pointed remarks. The old friend of the family who slaps the
prospective suitor on the back, and in the lady's presence challenges
him to kiss her under the mistletoe, only succeeds in making them both
uncomfortable. The elderly relative who nods her cap, saying: "Oh yes,
we know all about it! We were young ourselves once!" probably has the
best intentions, but has chosen the worst way of showing them.



{25}

CHAPTER III

_Intercourse between Unconfessed Lovers--The Question of
Presents--Exchange of Hospitality--The Man who lives at Home--The Man
in Rooms._


Unconfessed Lovers.

There is a fascinating, yet withal tormenting, insecurity in the
intercourse preceding an actual Declaration of Love. It may be the
ante-chamber to an earthly paradise. It may but prove to be a fool's
paradise. George Eliot describes two of her characters as being "in
that stage of courtship which makes the most exquisite moment of
youth, the freshest blossom-time of passion--when each is sure of the
other's love and all its mutual divination, exalting the most trivial
word, the slightest gesture into thrills delicate and delicious as
wafted jasmine scent."

It may be that he has some honourable reason to forbid his speaking
when he would. He may fear to lose her altogether if he is too hasty.
Possibly there is another man in the case. She may be revelling in the
new joy of life without analysing its source. If she has faced the
secret of her own heart she will mount guard over herself lest word or
look should betray her, before he has told her that she does not love
in vain.


Breaches of Etiquette.

When a man finds that his attentions are unwelcome, and a woman has
used every means in her power, short of actual rudeness, to show him
that she does not desire his nearer acquaintance, he has no right to
force himself or his love upon her. He has no right to make sure of
any woman's love before he has asked her for it, unless, of course,
she has {26} betrayed herself by an unwomanly want of reticence. It is
both foolish and ill-bred for him to play the part of dog-in-the-manger
and to object to her receiving attentions from any one else. Until he
has declared himself he can assume no control over the disposal of her
favours, still less should he stoop to put a spoke in another man's
wheel.


The Question of Presents.

A line must be carefully drawn between the gifts of an unconfessed
lover and of a _fiancé_.  The former may send flowers, bon-bons, and
pretty trifles of that sort, or he could give her a dog or a Persian
kitten; but he must not offer her articles of jewellery or any item of
her toilette. He might give her the undressed skin of an animal that
he had shot, but he could not order a set of furs to be sent to her
from a shop. It must be remembered that ostensibly they are as yet
only friends, and though every gift will have its inward meaning, it
should not have any outward significance.

In offering a present the unconfessed lover will do well to enclose a
little note [footnote in original: For those who wish to study the art
of letter-writing there is a most excellent guide to all sorts of
correspondence, entitled, "How Shall I Word It?" published at one
shilling by C. Arthur Pearson (Limited).] couched in some such terms
as these:

"Dear Miss Grayson,--You said the other day that you could not grow
lilies of the valley in your garden, so I am venturing to send you the
accompanying basket, which I hope you will be kind enough to
accept.--Believe me, sincerely yours,      Duncan Talbot."


Exchange of Hospitality.

Where both families are acquainted, and in a similar social position,
the interchange of hospitality will probably be somewhat increased in
virtue of the growing intimacy between the possible lovers. Until
there is an acknowledged engagement it would not be etiquette for his
family to single her out from the rest of her own people by inviting
her alone. A parent, {27} brother, or sister ought to be included. It
would also be diplomatic on the part of her friends not to extend too
gushing a welcome to him, while they take his belongings as a matter
of course. Because the one family can give dinner parties it does not
follow that the other should not afford just as much enjoyment by a
simpler form of hospitality. The possible lover does not come to
criticise the cuisine of the household in which the object of his
desires is to be seen.


The Man Who Lives at Home.

It will often happen that a man makes acquaintances who become friends
quite independently of his own family. But if he is seriously
contemplating matrimony he will be anxious to introduce his chosen one
to his womenkind. Supposing that his people were the older residents
in the place, he would pave the way by saying that his mother, or
sister, as the case might be, would so much like to call, and might
she do so? Unless there should be some purely feminine feud the
permission would be cordially given. If, on the other hand, the girl's
family were the first comers to the locality he would then ask the
lady to call on his people, intimating that they were longing to know
her and her daughter, and what a personal gratification it would be to
him to bring the desired meeting about. In the present day the old
hard and fast rules which used to regulate calling are no longer
observed. If acquaintance is really sought there will be no difficulty
for a woman of tact and judgment to cultivate it.


A Danger.

Women are very quick to see when they are being courted for their sons
or brothers, and they do not always like it. It is discourteous, and
very transparent, to send an invitation to a girl the day after her
brother has come home on leave in which you hope "that Captain Boyle
will be able to accompany her," when practically you have ignored her
existence since the last time he was at home. It is not kind or
considerate to try and monopolise the society of any man whose {28}
business or profession only permits of his being at home at long
intervals. A girl may want to have him with her very much indeed, but
she should not be piqued and feel injured if he excuses himself on
the ground of having to take his sister out, or spend his evening with
his parents. He will be all the better husband for this courtesy to
his own relations. Of course his people may be very dull, possibly
unpleasant, and in that case real friendship will be a labour, if not
an impossibility; but, for the man's sake, they must be treated in
such a way as not to hurt either his feelings or their own. The same,
naturally, holds good with regard to her belongings.


The Man who Lives in Rooms

is a much easier person to cultivate. You take it for granted that he
is dull, that his dinners are not well cooked, and that he misses the
delights of home. So you ask him to drop in when he likes. "We are
nearly always in to tea;" or "We dine at 7.30, and if you take us as
we are, there will be a place for you." As soon as a man sees that
this sort of invitation is really meant he will not be slow to avail
himself of it. Not that he will come to dinner every other night, but
he will drop in to tea, and turn up in the course of the evening for a
little music and a chat. He gets into the habit of coming in on Sunday
afternoons, and generally ends by staying to supper.


As a Host.

All this means a great deal to a lone bachelor, and makes him long for
a home of his own. In return for this delightful hospitality he will,
perhaps, ask a sister to stay with him and give a tea-party in his
rooms. Later on he will have seats for a theatre, and arrange a nice
little dinner or supper in town. Where dramatic delights are out of
reach he will plan a river or cycling expedition, he will entertain
his friends at a local cricket match, he will inspire his fellow
bachelors to give a dance; and there will be only one guest whose
presence is of any importance to him.

He will not let it appear that he is paying a debt; he will {29}
imply, rather, that the ladies are conferring a favour upon him. He
will consult her mother as to many arrangements, and make sure that all
the guests are to her liking. He will not be afraid of asking a possible
rival, who might be more dangerous when absent than present. While
thus entertaining the lady of his choice, the suitor must discern
nicely between paying her special honour and taking it for granted
that she already belongs to him. He must not advertise the fact that
the party is given for her, by neglecting his other guests, or by
omitting pleasant courtesies to less-favoured maidens.



{30}

CHAPTER IV


_Intercourse with (1) The Home Girl; (2) The Bachelor Girl; (3) The
Business Girl; (4) The Student or Professional Girl--Friends who
become Lovers._


The Home Girl.

As has already been said, the would-be lover will do well to study the
workings of his lady's home. If she has many domestic duties to
perform he will arrange his spare time to fit in with hers. He will
not call at such times as would be inconvenient and run the risk of
ructions, simply because he knows _she_ will be glad to see him. He
will not look aggrieved if she refuses to go out cycling with him
because she has promised to take the little ones out blackberrying. He
will seize a golden chance and go with them. When he is at her home,
he will not act as if the whole place belonged to him, and he will be
careful not to become a bore.

Men of leisure, and men whose professions place them on confidential
terms, such as doctors and clergymen, have the greatest opportunities
of knowing the Home Girl at her best, and at her worst. The last two
see her under conditions that show what she is really made of, and not
merely what she appears in society, for they have access to the house
in times of trouble when outsiders are excluded.


The Bachelor Girl

is pretty sure to be out of her teens, but not necessarily in the
thirties. She will probably have girl chums who, like herself, are
living in a more or less independent fashion. She sometimes indulges
in anti-matrimonial theories, and it may prove most interesting to
convert her from the error of her ways. A man has such beautifully
sure ground under his feet when she has given him plainly to
understand that she prefers {31} friendship to love. A would-be suitor
will find his opportunities of intercourse regulated by her standard
of conventionality. She is free to make her own life, with her own
code of conduct, her own ideas of responsibility.

She meets him frankly on what she deems common ground; but he sees the
other side of things, for men and women never can and never will look
at life from the same point of view. His knowledge should make him all
the more jealous of her fair fame, but he must walk warily lest he
wound her womanly dignity. She will do nothing wrong, her heart is too
pure for that, but he must not let her do what may even appear to be
wrong. At first she will be a little intoxicated with the sense of her
own freedom. He must never take advantage of that, for he knows that
the woman always pays.

They will probably include one of her chums in their cosy tea-parties
at her rooms, and there will be no secret of his coming and going. He
will see her home from the theatre, concert, or lecture, but he will
not go and smoke in her flat till the small hours. He will
discriminate as to the restaurant where they have lunch together, and
he will not invite her to a _tête-à-tête_ supper after the play. She
will entertain him at her club, and he will guard against the
assumption of rights that are not his.


The Business Girl.

The daily life of the Business Girl is of necessity a regular one, and
the man who wants to know more of her knows where to find her. If by
chance he is employed in the same firm, he has daily chances of making
headway with her. He can often render her little services, help her
over rough places, and make life as pleasant again for her. All this
can be so managed that no one, save perhaps a lynx-eyed rival, will
know anything about it. He will certainly not make her the talk of the
office by bragging of his conquest, and laying wagers as to his chance
of success, or get her into hot water by hindering her at her work.

She will keep her own counsel, and not giggle with other girls when he
comes along. Of course she will tell her special friend all about it,
for what is the good of a love-affair if you cannot talk to some one
on the all-engrossing subject?

{32} She will not display the buttonhole he bought her on the way from
the train to all the other girls as his gift, nor will she be foolish
and give herself away by hanging about his room door in the hopes of
seeing him. She will always find time for a word or a bright glance
when they do meet, by accident of course.

He will not make her conspicuous by always travelling home with her,
but he will be at hand to pilot her through a fog, to help her out of
a crowd, or to get her a place when there is anything to be seen. He
will make it plain that he thinks of her, and is ever on the alert to
play the part of her cavalier.

She is practical and self-reliant, as a rule, but she does not object
to be courted. When they plan a Saturday outing she will not propose
what she knows to be beyond his means, but she will pardon him for a
little extravagance in her honour.


Social Inequality.

When a man in a superior position begins paying attentions to a girl
filling a subordinate post, he will probably expose her to the
jealousy, and possible malice, of her fellows; but this will depend
greatly upon the girl herself. In this case the suitor must steer
clear of anything like patronage. If she is worthy of his notice she
is worthy of his respect and consideration. He will be careful not to
take her to any place of amusement where she would feel out of her
element, or run the risk of being snubbed by any of his own rich
friends. The son of a wealthy merchant would not give as much pleasure
to a girl earning thirty shillings in his father's office if he took
her to supper at the Carlton, as if he selected some less magnificent
restaurant. She would feel more at home on the river, or at Earl's
Court, than on the lawn at Hurlingham. He would show her that his
pleasure was to be with her, and he would wait till he could call her
his wife before introducing her to a new world.


The Student or Professional Girl.

There is a little country called Bohemia, whose laws rule the kingdom
of Art, and whose government seems a trifle erratic to those who live
outside the charmed circle. Students of {33} music, painting,
sculpture, and the drama have a code of Etiquette that may be called
adaptable; but it does not follow that because a man is an artist he
must therefore be deficient in courtesy to women; nor is it yet
inevitable that when a girl develops a talent for drawing she should
violate all the proprieties.

Falling in love with music-masters is a very old story, but it is not
quite a thing of the past. A man has no right to work on the emotions
of his pupil merely for his own amusement or to gratify his vanity. He
may find that it infuses more soul into her music, but she is a woman
as well as an artist. Where both have the artistic temperament highly
developed, it is playing with fire indeed.

_The Dramatic Student_ is thrown into very mixed society. She is left
with a great deal of spare time on her hands when merely
understudying, or out of an engagement. She is forced to keep late
hours, and may be exposed to many unpleasant experiences. I know of
one man who was so distressed at the girl of his heart having to cross
London by the last 'bus every night that he changed his quarters and
took rooms as near to where she was living as he could, in order to be
able to see her home without making the fact unduly conspicuous.

This was a delicate act of courtesy, and I am glad to say that they
are now happily married.

_The Medical Student and Hospital Nurse_ are generally women with a
special turn of mind, and in the former case the work of training is
so absorbing that it can hardly be run concurrently with the delights
of courtship. The nurse soon learns to take care of herself, and has
many special opportunities of studying the lords of creation. She sees
some of the noblest and most gifted of them at their work, the wildest
of them at play, and all and sundry in their hour of weakness; and
this experience should be borne in mind by the man who seeks to win
her. She will not regard him as a demi-god, nor as a hero of romance.
She will not appeal to the man who wants a mere plaything in his wife.
She will have far higher gifts than the society doll, but she will be
a woman to be wooed, and worth the winning.


{34}

Friends who become Lovers.

There are those who say that friendship excludes love, and there is a
kind of friendship which can only exist where love is impossible and
undesired. On the other hand we know that sometimes the boy and girl
who have grown up side by side, who have shared each other's pranks and
penalties, do wake up one day to find a new element asserting itself
in their intercourse. A certain shyness springs up between them only
to be dispelled by fuller, sweeter comradeship. This development
sometimes takes place during a period of separation, or when a
possible rival appears on the scene. It usually assumes concrete form
in the man's mind first. He may hide his love under the guise of
friendship till he feels he has a right to make it known. It may be
that he has to go abroad to seek the wherewithal to start a home, and
when he has succeeded he will write some such letter as this:--

"My Dear Clari,--When I threw up my berth at home you wondered why I
was in such a hurry to leave the old country, and home, and you, and
it was very hard not to tell you the real reason. I came out here to
make enough money to set up housekeeping, and, dear, I want you to
come and help me, now I have succeeded so far. I know it is a
tremendous thing to ask, and that I am entirely unworthy of the
sacrifice you would be making; but, dear, we know each other pretty
well by this, and I hope you can trust yourself to me. If you only
knew how I have longed to tell you this through the last two years of
our sweet, but to me unsatisfying, friendship you would not keep me in
suspense any longer than you can help. You have been the one thought
and object of my life ever since I came out, and I have lived in fear
of some other fellow getting in before me.

I think I must always have loved you, it seems a part of myself, but
it was your first ball that woke me up.

Let me know soon, dear.--Ever and always your devoted

                                               "GORDON."

However the change from friendship to love comes about, the man must be
just as courteous as if she had only crossed {35} his path in the
fulness of her young womanhood. He must not take her for granted because
he knew her in pinafores, nor slight her sensibilities because he taught
her to climb trees. If he is negligent other men will supply his
deficiencies. As a lover he is bound to appear in a new light, and he
must look to it that he does not suffer by the change. The friend
ought to make the best lover, for he knows the tastes and weaknesses,
the temperament and surroundings of the woman he has chosen. They will
be bound by countless old associations, but this very familiarity may
breed, not contempt, but a matter-of-fact mental attitude that will
rob courtship of more than half its charm.



{36}

CHAPTER V

_Flirts, Male and Female--He Changes his Mind on the Verge of a
Proposal--How She accepts the Situation--How She may give
Encouragement or ward off an Unwelcome Offer._


It may be questioned whether there is any etiquette in flirtation.
Yes, I think there is. Flirts of both sexes may be divided into two
large classes--(1) the wanton and deliberate; (2) the kindly and
spontaneous.


Flirts.

The first class are birds of prey. The man is probably very charming,
a delightful companion, an ideal cavalier, a man whose society a woman
always enjoys--especially if she does not take him seriously. It is
she who fails to realise that she is only one of a large number who
fall victims and suffer accordingly. She blissfully accepts his subtle
suggestion that she is _the_ one woman in the world for him--so she is
while they are together--and flatters herself that though he may have
flirted with others he is really in love with her. When once the sport
of the moment is over he leaves his prey, more or less cruelly
wounded, and gaily seeks new fields for his prowess. This sort of man
likes young and inexperienced girls or women whose confiding trust
exceeds their power of discernment.

It is an unpardonable breach of etiquette for a man to abuse
hospitality and the privilege of intercourse by wanton conduct of this
kind.


Making a Girl Conspicuous.

A man should remember that it is the woman who suffers from the breath
of slander or the pettiness of gossip. Such {37} things affect him but
little, if at all. Suppose that two young people belong to a public
tennis or dramatic club. The man singles out one particular girl by
his attentions, makes a point of always seeing her home, establishes
himself as her constant cavalier, and thus puts it in the power of the
gossips to say "Well, if they are not engaged they ought to be!" After
a time he cools off, for no other reason than that he is tired of the
girl or has possibly seen a fresh and more attractive face. It may
have dawned upon him that he might be asked his intentions, and he
does not care to confess that he never had any. This course of action
is especially unfair in the case of a young girl whose experience of
men's ways is but beginning. An older woman ought to be able to take
care of herself, and if she thinks such a game worth the candle, no
one can blame the man for helping her to play it.


The Female Flirt.

A woman in the first class of flirts is possibly more dangerous than
the man. She has no heart, only insatiable vanity. She uses her powers
on all who come in her way, regardless of any claim another of her sex
may have upon them. Lover, husband, and friend, they are all fair game
for her, and if hearts are damaged, well, she is always sure that her
own will remain intact. Her veracity is as elastic as her conscience.
Her charms are equalled by her unscrupulousness.

She will keep the youth in bondage without the slightest intention of
ever marrying him. She will fool the mature man who is desperately in
earnest, while she is angling after some one wealthier or more
amusing. If she does elect to wed one of her victims, it is, in all
probability, only to carry out her devastating tactics on a larger
scale.


Kindly, Spontaneous Flirts.

The members of the second class, men and women, are charming without
being dangerous. They love the society of the other sex; they have the
art of pleasing and make use of it, but they play the game fairly.
There is no poaching, no snares are laid for the unwary, and if harm
is done it is because people have misunderstood them. The man flirts
because he loves {38} to say pretty things to a woman. He revels in an
interchange of banter and repartee which makes her eyes sparkle and
his pulses beat the faster. The girl flirts out of the abundance of
her joyous vitality. She suits herself to the companion of the hour.
She knows nothing of the tender passion, she is not taking life quite
seriously yet, but she has the delicacy to draw back when she sees
danger signals in the eyes or the lingering clasp of her friend's
hand. She will not make a fool of him. She is too straight for that.


Withdrawing Gracefully.

It is no easy matter to change the course of things when one has
drifted into a flirtation. It behoves a girl then to choose her man
carefully, and not to place herself in any false position towards him.
If he is not chivalrous enough to take a delicately conveyed hint, he
will only imagine that she is playing a more subtle game of coquetry,
and by redoubling his attentions make himself the reverse of
agreeable. No man with any regard for the most elementary rules of
etiquette would either embarrass a lady by keeping up a tone that she
had even indirectly discouraged, or insult her by insinuating that she
had led him on.


He Changes his Mind on the Verge of a Proposal.

This is bound to be an awkward development for both parties, and it
will take all a man's tact to avoid giving pain, and possibly gaining
credit for having behaved badly. It is, nevertheless, the best time
for a change to come. It may be that he has idealised the object of
his attentions, looked at her through eyes blinded by her beauty, or
dazzled by her fascination. He has not stopped to think what sort of
woman she really is, what lies beneath that fair exterior. Then the
word is spoken, the action witnessed, the mood revealed which makes
him shrink from the thought of making her his wife.


His Way of Escape.

He will either seek safety in flight after a perfectly polite, but
clearly-defined farewell; or he will gradually withdraw {39} from the
terms of intimacy upon which he has stood. In no way must he be
discourteous either to the lady or her friends.


Slow Awakening.

A man may change his mind almost imperceptibly. He will not turn
against the woman, but he will realise that she can never be more to
him than a friend, a genial chum. The cause of this is most likely the
advent of the right woman. Force of contrast has a way of sorting
people out. He will tell his friend the truth, and she will like him
all the better for his confidence in her.


How She Accepts the Situation.

A brave, self-respecting woman will not like being left any more than
her weaker sister, but she will take the blow standing, and be able to
rejoice in the happiness of others. She will face her own sorrow alone
and will utter no sound of complaint. It is an impertinence for
acquaintances to condole with her. The sympathy of her loved ones will
be hard enough to bear. She will be perfectly loyal to the woman her
friend has chosen.


How She may give Encouragement.

There are women who leave the men very little to do in the way of
courtship. Encouragement can, however, he given in a true womanly
fashion. She can wear his flowers in preference to any others, and may
judiciously let him see that she has kept the best in water after the
dance. She will accept his escort and receive his attentions
graciously, so as to show that they are valued.


Due Reserve.

She should never bestow effusive attentions on her lover, nor boast of
his devotion to her. She may let him see that he stands well with her
without telling him that he comes first. It is good for him to see
that other men are in the running, and she must not let her feeling
for him lead her into {40} discourtesy to any one else. She can let him
do the wooing without being either haughty or capricious, for no man
likes a woman who openly runs after him.


Transparent Devices.

A nice-minded girl does not always try to detach her lover from the
rest of the company, though she enjoys a _tête-à-tête_ as much as he
does. She does not want to be sent with him on fictitious errands to
the bottom of the garden. She leaves him to find the opportunities,
and has a horror of her matchmaking relations.


How She may Ward off an Unwelcome Offer.

It is commonly agreed that a woman ought to be able to do this in the
vast majority of cases. Her own intuition is seldom at fault. Even at
the eleventh hour she may save the situation by a timely jest, a
kindly bit of inconsequence, a sudden humorous inspiration--not at his
expense, of course--and the man who is not a fool will see that it is not
the psychological moment. Above all she must avoid being alone with him.
Let her keep a child at her side, pay attention to the greatest bore,
listen with grateful patience to the most prosy person she knows, rather
than leave the ground clear for him. She should not go for moonlight
strolls, nor to look for the Southern Cross on board ship, if she really
wants to stave off his proposal. There is no need to be rude, and even
if she has to appear unsympathetic, that is better than to humiliate him
by a rejection. Some women glory over their hapless suitors as an Indian
counts his scalps. This is the height of bad taste and heartlessness.
We may be forgiven for hoping that they get left in the end themselves.



{41}

CHAPTER VI

_The Question of Age--Young Lovers--Young Men who Woo Maturity--Old Men
who Court Youth--Middle-aged Lovers._


The Question of Age.

At what age should the responsibilities of the married state be
undertaken? In the best years of life if possible. Not in the physical
and mental immaturity of early youth. How can the child-wife of
seventeen fulfil all the duties of her position, and endow her child
with the needful strength for the journey of life? How can the boy of
twenty be expected to work for three without getting weary before his
day has well begun? And how can either of them really know wherein
true happiness lies? Most probably such a pair will learn to curse
their folly before they reach maturity.

But marriage should not be shelved, and driven off to the vague period
called middle-age, without excellent reason. The woman of thirty-eight
and the man of forty-five will spoil their children immoderately while
they are little, and be out of touch with them as they grow up. The
average mother of sixty is unable to keep pace with her young
daughter. The man who is nearing seventy has travelled very far away
from his son who is just starting life under present-day conditions.


The Best Age.

What is a suitable disparity between the ages of man and woman? A girl
of two- or three-and-twenty and a man of twenty-eight or thirty are my
ideal of a suitably matched couple.


{42}

Young Lovers.

"Love at twenty-two is a terribly intoxicating draft," says a writer,
and the sight of young lovers is one that softens all but the most
cynical. We smile at their inconsequence; tremble, almost, at their
rapturous happiness; yawn, it may be, over their mutual ecstasies,
still we know they are passing through a phase, they are lifted for
the time being out of the commonplace, and we make excuses.

But these blissful young people are apt to take too much for granted.
Because Doris worships Harry it does not follow that her family are to
be inflicted morning, noon, and night with his presence or his
praises. She has no right to imply that every moment spent apart from
him is wasted. She has no call to give up her share of household
duties or to forsake her own studies, just to wander about restlessly
counting the minutes till he shall come, or to spend the intervals
between his visits in dressing for his next appearance. She should not
look bored directly the conversation turns away from him, or exalt her
idol over those who have loved and cared for her since infancy.


Young Men who Woo Maturity.

There seems to be a tendency nowadays for the surplus years to be on
the woman's side. This is, in most cases, a grievous mistake. The
girls are often to blame for it. In the pride of their youth they snub
the young admirers whom they do not think worth their notice. An older
woman knows how to heal the wound thus inflicted, and with her
experience, her greater tolerance, and her charms mellowed, but not
yet faded by age, she can win passionate devotion from one of these
singed butterflies. She welcomes him with a dash of maternal
tenderness in her manner, she takes an interest in his doings and
subtly flatters his vanity, while her own heart is glad that she still
has the power to please.


Drifting.

He soon feels quite at home with her and grows more venturesome. She
feels her youth renewed, and they drift into {43} closer relations.
She salves her conscience with the thought that she is keeping him out
of harm's way. She makes no secret of the disparity between them,
though she may avoid the cold fact of figures. He fondly thinks she
will never grow old. Such a connection may be the salvation of an
unstable youth, especially if she does not let him marry her. She may
make a man of him, a good husband for a girl young enough to be her
daughter. She will not tell him to go and marry the girl, if she is in
earnest, as such a course would only call forth his protests of undying
devotion to herself; but she will imperceptibly let him see that she
is no mate for him, and he will think he has found it out for himself.
He may feel a little ashamed at leaving her, but she will make it easy
for him, and perhaps give a sigh of relief that she has been saved
from making a fool of herself.


The Dark Side.

For the woman who marries a man much younger than herself there is the
inevitable picture of later life to be faced. The ridicule of society
will be felt if it is not heard. The advance of age is relentless and
will make her an old woman when he is just in his prime. She may pray
for death to come and set him free, or she may paint her face and wear
a golden wig, accentuating the ruthless lines round her tired eyes;
but if they live long enough both husband and wife will suffer.


The Old Man who Courts Youth.

"The older we get the younger we like them!" was a favourite saying of
an old fox-hunting squire I used to know. There are old men who seem
to have lost but little of youth's vitality, and whom many a girl
would be proud to marry. There are others--and it seems like an act of
sacrilege to let any young life be linked to what remains of theirs.

The old man disarms suspicion by his fatherly attitude, and the
beginnings of courtship are made easy by the latitude allowed to his
years. His experience stands him in good stead. An old unmarried man
has generally either a very {44} good or a very bad reason for being
single. The girl who marries her grandfather's contemporary will
probably regain her freedom while still in her prime; but she cannot
calculate beforehand what price she will have paid for it.

The real love of an old man must have much pathos in it, and she who
accepts it must deal tenderly with it, even in her moments of
disillusion. The elderly rake who buys a young wife from entirely
selfish motives will see that he does not lose by the bargain.


Middle-aged Lovers.

No one would wish that the couple to whom love has come when youth has
passed should take their pleasure sadly, but one does look for a
self-restraint and dignity that shall be compatible with maturity.
The woman of forty-five can love perhaps more deeply than the girl of
eighteen. She can experience the full joy of being beloved; but she
only exposes herself to ridicule if she takes the public into her
confidence. It is not only bad taste to see such a one gushing over
her lover, aping the little ways of sweet seventeen and coquetting
like a kitten, telling the curious world, in fact, how rejoiced she is
to be no more "an unappropriated blessing."

Poor soul! It may be that she has put through weary years of heart
loneliness, but surely she might have learnt to hold her joy as sacred
as her sorrow. Let her smarten herself up, by all means. Her happiness
will suit nice gowns and dainty lace. Let her choose warm colours and
handsome fabrics, and shun white muslin and blue ribbons.


The Man.

The middle-aged lover may be as impulsive as a boy, and his friends
will smile, but not with the contempt they would show to the woman. He
is generally very much in earnest, even if his motive be practical
rather than romantic. He should be most careful never to hurt the
woman he has chosen by neglecting her for younger, fresher faces. He
should not suppose that she is too old to care for lover-like
attentions. No woman is ever too old for that. He should {45} not make
her a laughing-stock by talking as if she were "sweet and twenty," or
draw notice to the fact that she has passed her first youth. She will
enjoy being taken care of, being planned for, and being eased of her
burdens; but while showing her all courtesy let him give her credit
for some self-reliance, for she has managed so far to get through life
without him.



{46}

CHAPTER VII

_Proposals: Premeditated, Spontaneous, Practical, or Romantic--No Rule
Possible--Tact in Choosing the Opportunity--Unseemly Haste an Insult
to a Woman--Keen Sense of Humour Dangerous to Sentiment--Some Things to
Avoid--Vaguely Worded Offers--When She may take the Initiative._


Proposals of Marriage.

The modes of making an offer of marriage are as manifold as the minds
of the men who make them. The cautious, long-headed man, whose heart
is ever dominated by his head, will think out the situation carefully
beforehand, and couch his offer in moderate and measured terms. The
impulsive lover will be carried away by a wave of emotion, and,
perhaps before he has really made up his mind, will pour out the first
passionate words that come to his lips. The clear-headed business man
will not lose sight of the practical advantages to be gained from the
union he suggests. The creature of romance will be poetic and
delightful even if utterly impossible. It may be safely said, however,
that no general rule can be laid down, and that no man ever asked this
important question exactly in the words or at the time he had
previously selected.


Tact in Choosing the Opportunity.

The great thing is to seize the auspicious moment, to strike the
responsive chord when the two minds are in harmony. A man who tries to
propose when a servant is expected to arrive with a scuttle of coals,
or when the children are just tumbling in from school, is not likely
to meet with much {47} favour. We cannot all have the momentous
question put in the witching hour of moonlight, or in the suggestive
stillness of a summer's eve, but the tactful man will know when to speak,
and how to turn dull prose into the sweetest rhythm.


Too Much Haste.

I do know of a case where two young people made acquaintance, wooed
and married in something over a fortnight. No sane man would advocate
such haste. It seems almost an impertinence for a lover to ask a woman
to give herself into his keeping when he has only just made his
entrance into her life. It must be admitted that Love defies time as
well as locksmiths. A few hours may bring kindred souls nearer to each
other than double the number of years would do in an ordinary
acquaintance. On board ship, especially in the tropics, things mature
with a rapidity seldom found ashore. Certain circumstances conspire to
hasten the happy development, and certain conditions may justify
exceptional haste. When a long separation is pending a man may be
forgiven for hurrying to know his fate; but for the ordinary
stay-at-home man to be introduced one week and propose the next is,
to put it mildly, a doubtful compliment.


Too Keen a Sense of Humour.

A momentary realisation of the comic side of things may dash the cup
of happiness from a woman's lips. An involuntary smile will be taken
for heartlessness by the man who is so terribly in earnest. A humorous
word will be little short of an insult, a jest but a proof of scorn.
His vanity, if not his heart, will receive a wound that is not lightly
to be healed. There are those who laugh from sheer nervous excitement;
let them not lose the men they love by a lack of self-control that may
be so cruelly misconstrued.


Some Things to Avoid.

The nervous, unready wooer both endures and inflicts agonies of mind
if he tries to make a verbal offer. He had {48} much better write, for
then he will at least be intelligible. The vacillating woman has no
right to let a man propose to her and then accept him just because she
cannot make up her mind to tell him the truth. She may mean to be
kind, but she only causes unnecessary pain. No woman is justified in
keeping a man in suspense while she angles for a better matrimonial
prize. No honourable offer of marriage should be rejected rudely,
unkindly, or with scorn. Let there be but few words spoken, but let
them be simple, courteous, and, above all, definite. Let him see that
you are sensible of the honour he has done you, even while you retain
the right to dispose of your heart as you think best.


Vaguely Worded Offers.

It is said that the indefinite form of proposal is in favour at
present. It would seem that, however he may elect to say it, the man
should clearly make the lady understand that he is asking her to be
his wife. She cannot very well urge him to be explicit, and, while a
modest woman might thus lose her lover, an intriguing female might
annex a man who had never intended to propose to her. The suitor
should be quite frank as to his social position and means. It may be
necessary to enter into private details of his past life. He should
not conceal anything like family disgrace from the one he is asking to
share his name.


Her Point of View.

A woman who loves will not need to be told how to answer her lover's
request. Both lips and eyes will be eloquent without a teacher. There
may be cases where a woman is justified in accepting a man for whom
she only feels liking and respect, provided she has been quite frank
with him, and he is content to have it so. If a man has the fidelity
and pertinacity to ask a woman a second or third time he may find that
the intervening years have worked in his favour; but no woman should
say Yes merely because she is tired of saying No.


{49}

When She May Take the Initiative.

Old-fashioned folk say "Never." An American writer, who calls himself
"A Speculative Bachelor," has quite another idea on the subject. He
asks: "Shall Girls Propose?" "Why is it that in the matter of
initiative a coarse, unattractive young man should have the privilege
to ask any unmarried woman in the whole world to marry him, while his
refined and much more accomplished sister must make no motion towards
any choice of her own except to sit still and wait for some other
girl's mediocre brother to make a proposal to her?"

He goes on to suggest that the practice is a survival of Asiatic
barbarism. While there is no denying the truth of the above picture,
it does go against the grain to think of a woman asking a man to marry
her. We know that ladies of queenly rank have to do it, and lose no
dignity thereby; but we are not all anxious to be royal. There is
something repellent in the idea of a direct offer of marriage coming
from a woman's lips. Indirectly, however, she may do much to further
her own happiness.


When She May Help.

A lady of high rank may take the initiative in breaking down the
barrier of social inequality which she sees is standing between her
and her lover, for a man who would be held back by such a
consideration would be worth bending to. The very wealthy woman, who
is so often wooed for her banking account, yet is well worthy to be
loved for herself, may see with secret joy that only his comparative
poverty is holding back the man of her choice, and she lets love melt
the golden barrier that is keeping them apart. The woman whose heart
has gone out to one physically handicapped in the race with his
fellows; who knows that were he as other men he would woo her with the
love he is now too noble to express, surely she may take the
initiative, and only gain in womanly sweetness by so doing? The woman
who realises that the assurance of her love and faith will impel the
man to more strenuous effort, and make his working and waiting {50}
brighter for the goal that lies beyond, may be forgiven if in her
intense sympathy she betray somewhat of her desire to crown his
success.


A Warning.

There must be no mistake made. The wish must not be father to the
thought. She must be sure that she is beloved and desired. She must
throw out the most delicate feelers, so sensitive that they will at
once detect coldness, and withdraw into the shell of her reserve. She
must not offer herself unsought. She may not fling herself into the
arms of any man's pity.

Whether there are any women who avail themselves of the supposed
privilege of Leap Year, is a question that can only be answered by
those who possibly prefer to keep silence. It is a questionable joke
when a man says before his wife that "she married him"; but can any
self-respecting woman conceive the humiliation of having such words,
with the sting of truth in them, flung at her in the moment of passion
or with the cool contempt of scorn?



{51}

CHAPTER VIII

_Engagements--The Attitude of Parents and Guardians--Making it
Known--In the Family--To Outside Friends--Congratulations--The
Choice and Giving of the Ring--Making Acquaintance of Future
Relations--Personally or by Letter._


Engagements.

In former days Etiquette demanded that the suitor should first make
his request to the lady's parents. This may still be done with
advantage in exceptional cases, notably that of a young man with his
way still to make, but whose love and ambition prompt him to choose a
wife from the higher social circle to which he hopes to climb. In the
ordinary run of life the suitor goes first to the principal person,
and when fortified by her consent bravely faces the parental music. It
is not honourable for a man to make a girl an offer when he knows that
her parents have a pronounced objection to him as a son-in-law. So
long as she is under age, or in a dependent position, he has no right
to ask her to either deceive or defy those to whom she owes duty and
obedience.


The Interview.

"Asking Papa" is often a momentous matter. Some fathers are quite
unreasonable, but the more honest and straightforward the suitor is
the better. Let him be modest, but without cringing. There should be
no suspicion that he is conferring a favour; he is rather asking a man
to give him of his best, and it is his love that emboldens him to make
the request.

He should state plainly what his income and prospects are, the
probable date at which he will be able to marry, and how he {52}
proposes to provide for his wife. He must not resent being somewhat
closely questioned before his reception into a family, and should be
ready to give all particulars respecting himself that may be required.
Parents who value their daughter do right to exercise wise forethought
before entrusting her to a comparative stranger. He should carefully
avoid any unseemly curiosity as to what marriage portion his bride
will have. Most men state plainly how their daughters will be dowered,
unless they have reason to suspect the suitor of mercenary motives.

The father in his turn owes a measure of confidence to his child's
lover, and there are some warnings that it is cruel to withhold,
notably where there is any taint of insanity in the family. In the
case of a fatherless girl the suitor must address himself to her
mother, nearest relative, or guardian.


Refusal.

Where consent to the engagement is refused, a man of honour and
good-feeling will abide by the decision, and not try to force his
way into a family where he is unwelcome. He need not necessarily be
fickle. Time may bring things about that will enable him, without loss
of dignity, to make another and more successful attempt.


Attitude of Parents and Guardians.

Parents are often placed in great difficulties by their daughters'
love affairs. They may refuse to countenance an engagement, but they
cannot change the minds of the young people. On the contrary,
opposition brings a sense of martyrdom which will strengthen the
misplaced affection, while with judicious indifference it might have
died a natural death. It is a question whether the affair shall go on
in secret, nominally unknown to them, or whether they shall so far
countenance it as to leave no excuse for deception. Now that so much
legitimate freedom is given to girls, I cannot think that a man is
acting honourably in wooing his love "under the rose," and exposing
her to the matter of scandal-mongers.

Where there is nothing against a man's character or {53} antecedents, if
he is able to support a wife, and the lovers are attached to each other,
it seems tyrannical for parents to refuse their consent, and thus
spoil their daughter's happiness.


Making it Known.

Once the engagement is ratified by the consent of the powers that be,
a few days should elapse before the event is made public. The lady's
parents generally give a dinner party to their most intimate friends,
or an At Home if they wish to include a larger number of guests, at
which the important announcement is made. The father or mother will
tell the news to the most important guest or nearest relation, and it
will gradually spread. Possibly the health of the happy pair may be
drunk.


Friends at a Distance.

The mother of the lady writes to tell friends at a distance, but the
_fiancée_ would tell the good news to her own particular chums in an
informal way. A motherless girl must do it all for herself. The man
tells his own people and friends of his good fortune in the way that
suits him best.


Congratulations.

There are many ways of offering good wishes to the engaged couple. A
warm clasp of the hand and a few heartfelt words are better than all
the studied elegance of phrase in the world. It is often difficult to
be quite sincere in offering our congratulations, for our friends
choose rather oddly, to our tastes, sometimes. When the choice of your
dear friend falls on your pet abomination the case is hard indeed. You
can congratulate _him_, though you want to tell him she is worlds too
good for him; but what to say to _her_ when you feel that she is
making a disastrous match is a painful problem. You can honestly wish
that her brightest dreams may be realised, even where you have little
hope of it. Let there be no bitterness in the congratulations. Respect
the happiness of the lovers even if you cannot understand it.


{54}

The Ring.

In choosing the ring the lover should first think of its durability
and then of its sweet symbolism. It should be the best he can afford,
and the small detail of fit is not to be ignored. The choice of stones
and style will depend upon taste and the money available, but,
personally, I like an engagement ring to be of special design, unlike
any that other women are likely to wear. One good stone is far better
than a number of smaller ones.


Making Acquaintance with Future Relations.

This is one of the bride-elect's sorest trials, for even when people
like a girl very well as a friend, they do not always welcome her as a
member of their family. She must face the fact that they have not
chosen her, and the more simply and naturally she bears herself under
the inevitable criticism the better. It is fatal to _try_ and make a
good impression. Tact and intuition will do a great deal for her, but
much lies in the power of his relations to make or mar the happiness
of her entry into their midst. I know of a girl, who lived a long way
from her _fiancé_, who was made quite miserable during her occasional
visits to his home by the discourtesy of his sisters. He was in town
all day, and of course knew nothing of the discomfort she endured in
his absence. He knows now, and it has not increased his brotherly
love.


What She Should Avoid.

It is bad manners in a girl to try and show off her power over her
lover in his own home, or anywhere else, for the matter of that. It is
foolish to pretend that she does not care for him, or to talk of her
wedding-day as if it were her execution. I have known girls who did
this. She should not devote herself exclusively to him, and thereby
fail in courtesy to his family or their friends. She should not boast
of her own people, or infer that her home is superior to theirs. She
should guard especially against anything that looks like wishing to
oust her lover's mother from her place in his affections. Women are
nearly always a little jealous of the girls their sons marry, and care
must be taken to disarm this.


{55}

Letters.

When the introductions take place mainly by letter, many
stumbling-blocks are removed from the path of the bride-elect. It only
behoves her to reply with ready, grateful recognition to the words of
welcome, which should be gracious and warm-hearted on the part of his
friends. The following may serve as an example:--

From his Mother

"My dear Sybil,--Frank has told me of his engagement to you, and I am
writing to tell you how glad I am and how fully I enter into his
happiness. I feel sure, my dear child, that he will make you a good
and loving husband, for he has been such a dear son to me.

"I have always prayed that he might find a wife who would appreciate
his love and share his highest interests. I am now satisfied that he
has done this, dear. I want you to come and stay with me as soon as
you can, so that we may learn to understand each other. It ought not
to be difficult, now that we have so much in common.--With kind love,
believe me, affectionately yours,           Alice Stanley."

The above letter would imply that the mother knew a good deal about
the girl her son was going to marry, and of course she would try to
write in a cordial strain, even though she was taking her future
daughter-in-law upon the son's recommendation.

The girl's answer might be on these lines:--

"My dear Mrs. Stanley,--You cannot think how glad I was to receive
your most kind letter. It is such a relief to feel that you do not
disapprove of Frank's choice. I only hope that you may still approve
when you know me better. I am delighted to accept your kind
invitation, and can come on the 14th if that will suit you. I can
hardly yet realise my great happiness, and feel that I can never do
enough for Frank.--With many thanks for your kindness, believe me,
with love, yours affectionately,                   Sybil Carlton."



{56}

CHAPTER IX

_His Visits to her Home--The Engaged Couple in Public--In
Society--Visiting at the same House--Going about together--The
Question of Expenses._


His Visits to her Home.

If distance parts the loving couple he will only be able to spend his
leave, or annual holidays, with her, and will make a point of
consulting her movements before he lays any plans for his leisure
time. If he could meet her abroad, or at the seaside, he would not go
off yachting without her, nor postpone his holiday till the shooting
had begun rather than spend the month of June with her in the suburbs.
If he lives in the same neighbourhood as his beloved he will have many
opportunities of being with her. He ought never to neglect his work
for his courtship, and a girl should be very careful not to propose
such a thing. It is a poor lookout for their future if they put
pleasure first. He will probably be expected or permitted to spend two
or three evenings a week at her home, dine there on Sundays, and, if
he is busy all the week, devote Saturday afternoons to her entirely. A
man of leisure can make his own arrangements; the business or
professional man must do his love-making when he can.


The Engaged Couple in Public.

"Some men like to advertise their kissing rights," said an engaged man
to me the other day; "but for my part I don't think there should be
anything in the bearing of an engaged couple in public to indicate
that they are more than friends." Here, I think, we have the etiquette
of the matter in a nutshell. Wherever the lovers are they will be
supremely conscious of each other's presence, but it need not be writ
{57} large over their actions. It is sometimes debated whether lovers
should kiss in public. As the sweetest kisses must ever be those
exchanged "under four eyes," as the Germans put it, there seems little
advantage in a mere conventional "peck" in the public gaze. A close
clasp of the hand, a silent greeting of the eyes, will be truer to the
love that is held too sacred for exhibition.

The man's attentions should never merge into questionable hilarity. He
ought to respect as well as love the woman he hopes to marry. She
should equally avoid gushing and tyrannising over him. To see a girl
ordering her _fiancé_ about, making him fetch and carry like a black
boy, and taking his submission as her due, is enough to justify the
hope that the worm will turn to some purpose when she least expects
it. There should be nothing abject in love on either side. It hurts to
see the dog-like look of entreaty in human eyes. Things should be more
on a level; the hearts of man and woman should give and take gladly of
their best, with love that is pure, brave, and unashamed.


In Society.

Mutual friends will be sure to invite the engaged couple to various
social functions. Where it is possible and convenient they will arrive
and leave together. He will naturally be eager to escort her about as
much as he can; they must, however, be prepared to sacrifice
themselves on such occasions. He will see that she has all she wants
at a garden party or At Home, but he will not glare at another man for
handing her an ice or a cup of tea; nor will he neglect his duties to
sit in his sweetheart's pocket, or stand behind her chair to warn off
intruders. On the other hand he will not attract attention by devoting
himself to any one particular lady, or play into the hands of the
wanton flirt.

A well-bred woman or girl will not give herself away by allowing
awkward pauses to break the conversation because her thoughts and eyes
are hungrily trying to follow her lover, who is manfully assisting the
hostess. She will not make herself conspicuous in her behaviour with
any other admirer, but be perfectly at ease with any man to whom she
may have occasion to speak.

If any of the lady's friends wish to make her _fiancé's_ acquaintance
they will send him an invitation to a dance or party through her, not
an informal message, but a card such as they send to their other
guests, which she will pass on to him.


{58}

Visiting at the same House.

The engaged couple are not considered good company by outsiders, so
when they are included in a house-party they should exercise a little
healthful self-control. The cosy corners, shady walks, and secluded
nooks are not their monopoly. The two who are beginning to make love
ought to have a chance. Others may have business to discuss,
arrangements to make, or letters to write for which they desire
privacy, and the pervading presence of the betrothed pair is apt to
become irritating. When etiquette requires that they should be parted,
it is their duty to fall in courteously with any arrangement their
hostess may make.


Going about Together.

The amount of _tête-à-tête_ intercourse will differ in almost every
case. It seems most natural that lovers should go about together as
much as possible, seeing that they are learning to pass their lives
together. The girl who has taken little expeditions with her _fiancé_
will be spared much of the embarrassment that might mar the opening of
the honeymoon if she felt shy and strange, cut off from all her old
moorings. They will spend long days on the river, take rambles into
the country, see the sights of the town, and do a hundred other things
that will be doubly delightful just because they are alone together.


The Question of Expenses.

It is sometimes taken for granted that the _fiancé_ must pay all
expenses when he takes his sweetheart about. This, I think, should
depend upon circumstances. The rich lover does well to lavish his
money upon his future wife, and will {59} take a pride in so doing. The
man of moderate means who has to work for his income will do well to
put by all he can for future emergencies, and if the girl to whom he is
engaged has her own money or an ample allowance, it is much better
that they should come to an understanding to share the cost of their
pleasures, in view of possible necessities.

This need not prevent the poorer man from spending a certain amount
upon his love. Every now and then there will be special days when he
will play the host, and they will be red-letter days to both. If she
is going anywhere by his special invitation he would naturally defray
her expenses; but on their weekly jaunts why should he be put to the
double outlay when he wants to save all he can to start their home?
Why should he reduce his balance at the bank by first-class fares,
theatre tickets, and taxis two or three times a week, when he may have
to borrow money to buy their furniture? No girl ought to expect or
encourage this sort of thing. She is not afraid of being under an
obligation to him, for love knows no such thing, but she has the
wisdom to look ahead.



{60}

CHAPTER X

_Love-Letters--Long or Short Engagements--Broken
Engagements--Clandestine Engagements--When Justifiable--The Mother in
the Secret--Friends who act as Go-Between._


Love-Letters.

There are, I believe, engaged couples who, after parting from each
other at 7 P.M., write a long letter before going to bed that night,
containing all that they had not time to say. If they have the time
and energy to spare it concerns no one but themselves; but it seems a
pity to make a rule of this sort, as it may become a tax, and the
breaking of it on either side may cause pain if not friction.

There will be times without number when delightful little
love-letters will have to be written. They will come as a joyful
surprise and be twice as sweet as those that are expected.

When daily or even frequent meetings are impossible, then the
love-letter has a most important part to play in the course of true
love. Letters are a very valuable addition to personal intercourse. It
is not safe to judge a person entirely from them, but taking them side
by side with personal knowledge they throw a good deal of light on a
character. The glamour of the beloved presence is not there to blind,
the charm of manner or voice is not powerful to fascinate, so the
words stand on their own merits. Sometimes they do not quite fit in
with what we know of the writer. They show us another side of one we
love. It may be endearing, it may be the reverse. In any case the
letters that pass between an engaged couple should be kept absolutely
private. We know the story of the man who wrote the same love-letters
to two girls, who {61} discovered his treachery by comparing their
respective treasures. Such a case is, I hope, purely fictional, but
there ought to be some exceptionally good reason for divulging the
sweet nothings that go to make up the typical love-letter. For the one
to whom they are addressed they will be sublime, to the outsider they
will probably be only ridiculous.


The Length of Engagements.

Considering what a vital change marriage is bound to bring into the
lives of those who make the contract, it would seem the height of
rashness to hurry into it with a person of whom one knows but little.
It may be contended that the mutual attitude of lovers during their
engagement is not calculated to enlarge their real knowledge of each
other. Certainly not, if the marriage is to take place while they are
at fever-heat, living in a whirl of emotional rapture. But let an
engagement be long enough for their love to settle down into a more
normal state, where their reasoning faculties will be able to
work--then they will gain a clearer estimate of their mutual fitness,
and may learn a good deal about each other.

It has been said that no man should make an offer of marriage till he
is in a position to support a wife. This is a little hard. If a man is
worth having, he is worth waiting for. He has no right to speak till
he has some definite prospect in view, or unless he is fully
determined to do his best to further his own interests. No girl or
woman should be expected to waste her youth and wear out her heart as
the promised wife of a man who is not trying to make their marriage
possible. Above all, no man should be mean enough to take money from
the one to whom he is engaged merely to indulge his own idleness.

A year or eighteen months may be taken as a fair time for the
engagement of those who have known but little of each other
beforehand. In the case of long intimacy six months will probably
suffice. A girl exposes herself to much unpleasant criticism by urging
on a hasty marriage. Even if she feels impatient, she should let that
sort of thing come from the man. If he lets the time drag on with
seeming {62} indifference or satisfaction, she should ask one of her
parents to speak to him on the subject, and if she guesses that he has
no real desire to marry her, she had far better give him up altogether
than urge him to take the step unwillingly.


Broken Engagements.

It sometimes happens that during this period of courtship either the
man or the woman realises that a mistake has been made; if so, let it
be rectified before a still more serious one be committed. It is a
delicate matter for a man to take the initiative. No woman should
drive him to do so. Let her make him a present of his freedom before
he has to ask for it. It is due to a man's self-respect to break
with a woman who openly and wantonly disregards his wishes on any
important point. In the same way if a man will not give up bad
habits, such as gambling, intemperance, or whatever it may be, for
the sake of the girl he is engaged to, she may be pretty sure that
he will not do it when she is his wife. Let him choose between her
and his vices.

Once the engagement is at an end the ring and other presents should be
sent back, unless by special mutual arrangement to the contrary.
Letters are either burnt or returned to the writer. There is a good
deal of sentiment about these written proofs of a love that has proved
a failure, on one side at least. The two who have been so nearly one
now become mere acquaintances again in the eyes of the world, and will
probably not be anxious to meet for some time to come.


Clandestine Engagement.

The obstacle to true love in former days was parental authority, which
often savoured of tyranny. In these days of liberty the young people
have it more their own way. When parents object to a lover on the mere
ground of his poverty, or some personal prejudice, a girl may be
excused for making her own choice when she is of age. If she binds
herself secretly to a man whose moral unfitness is objected to, she is
courting certain misery and possible disgrace.


{63}

A Justifiable Case.

It would seem, then, that where parental consent is refused on the
ground of advisability, not of vital principle, the girl is justified
in holding herself bound till such time as she is free to give her
hand in marriage. She will use this bond as a defence against other
suitors who may be urged upon her. She will not flaunt her decision in
the parental face, nor cause ructions by tactlessly obtruding the bone
of contention; but she will be firm and loyal, true to herself and to
him she loves.


Where the Mother Shares the Secret.

Where the father is somewhat of a Spartan there is not unfrequently a
gentle, sympathetic mother, who will dare much to make her child
happy. The daughter is well advised to make such a mother her
confidante. A woman who schemes to entangle a young man of wealth or
high rank into a secret engagement with her daughter, who she knows is
no suitable wife for him, is neither honest to him nor kind to her
child. Such unequal marriages seldom answer in real life. There must
be sympathy, and a certain community of interests to make marriage a
success.


Friends who act as Go-Between.

There is a spice of romance in helping distressed and persecuted
lovers; but young people should be very careful not to mix themselves
up in such matters. Their own experience is too limited to qualify
them for the task. Older friends must take the consequences of such
interference. Sometimes their help is most ill-advised; still, for a
time at least, the lovers will be intensely grateful to them. There is
one thing that seems quite unjustifiable, and that is for a secretly
engaged pair to make a friend's house their rendezvous without telling
the friend exactly how matters stand. It is an abuse of hospitality,
for it is pretty sure to bring unpleasantness to the friend, who will
inevitably be blamed by the parents when the secret leaks out, or an
elopement takes {64} place. Trains, telephones, and telegraphs have robbed
the latter episode of all its old-world reckless charm, and it really
seems hardly worth the doing.

In some cases a married friend may intervene to prevent any scandal
from touching the wilful bride. If the young folks will not listen to
reason, it is as well for their folly to be carried out as respectably
as possible; but all such sympathy should be tempered by judgment, for
the making or marring of two lives is in the balance, and the
happiness of many hearts may be at stake.



{65}

CHAPTER XI


_Foreign Etiquette of Engagements--Betrothal a much more Serious Matter
than in England._


In no other country is an engagement so informal as in England. We
find all sorts of ceremonies connected with the plighting of a troth
which seems but little less important than the tying of the marriage
knot itself. There is less spontaneity and exercise of private
judgment on the part of the young people; in fact, there are several
countries in which they are allowed no voice in the matter.


In Italy

girls are kept quite in the background, and have a very dull time.
This makes them ready to accept any suitor their parents may choose. A
meeting is arranged between the young people, and after that he pays
stiff visits to her home, generally in the evening, but they are never
left alone together, and he is not allowed to pay her any marked
attention even before others. They may exchange photographs, and she
may work him a little present; but it is all lifeless, passionless,
and business-like. Among the peasantry there is more of the
picturesque, and many quaint customs still survive. Marriage-brokers
do a good trade, and get a percentage on each pair that they see
through the ordeal of a wedding. In Frascati, parents with
marriageable sons and daughters assemble on Sunday afternoons in the
chief piazza. The men sit on one side and the women on the other. In
the intervening space the candidates for matrimony walk about--the
girls near their mothers, the youths under their fathers' eyes. By
some mysterious process of selection they sort themselves into
couples, or, rather, the parents make mutual advances on behalf of
their children and they are betrothed.


{66}

In France

similar restrictions are placed upon lovers, and no one under the age
of twenty-five can contract a legal marriage without the consent of
his or her parents. If three appeals have been made in vain for
parental sanction, there may be an appeal to the law. The proposed
marriage must also be publicly announced beforehand, or it is invalid.
In _Brittany_ there is a strange mixture of the romantic and the
practical. The village tailor is the usual negotiator who interviews
both the lovers and their parents. When he has smoothed the way, the
intending bridegroom pays his first visit, which is accompanied by
many pretty customs. He is allowed to take his sweetheart aside, and
no one dares to interrupt this, their first, _tête-à-tête_. Meanwhile
the elders discuss business, and when the lovers come back to the
family circle a feast is enjoyed, at which the parents bless the food,
and the lovers are only allowed one knife and plate between them. The
signing of the wedding contract later on is another festivity, and the
presents are mostly of a useful nature.


German Betrothals

are more or less formal, though the young couple are allowed to choose
for themselves. The suitor has not much chance of seeing the lady
alone before he has made up his mind; he must be circumspect, or his
intentions will be promptly inquired into. He puts on his Sunday
clothes with lavender kids when he comes to ask the important
question, and as soon as a satisfactory answer has been obtained the
happy pair are congratulated by the family, and the table is decorated
for the festive meal. They go out arm-in-arm to call upon their
friends in a day or two, and a formal announcement is not only sent
round to all their acquaintance, but is also inserted in the daily
papers. Great attention must be paid to the exact title possessed by
every one connected with the happy pair, as titles count for much in
Germany. The engaged girl is called a bride, and her lover a
bridegroom, before marriage. She shows her prowess in the culinary
line by preparing the meals to which he is invited. They are not
supposed to travel alone; even if they are going to stay with his
relations, some lady must {67} accompany them. In many cases the
parents have qualms about allowing too much _tête-à-tête_ intercourse
to the engaged couple, but greater liberty is gradually being given.


In Russia

it is considered a disgrace for a woman to be unmarried, and if no
suitor offers himself, she leaves her home and settles in a strange
place as a widow. She may prefer to travel for a time, and return home
with a pitiful tale of the husband she lost at sea, or who died at the
beginning of the honeymoon. The priests often act as intermediaries,
but sometimes a woman versed in dark lore makes the arrangements. At
the betrothal feast the girl gives her lover a long lock of her hair,
and he gives her a silver ring set with turquoise, bread and salt, and
an almond cake. This interchange of gifts is equal to a marriage bond.
All the presents have a symbolical meaning; the rings are bought from
and blessed by the clergy, and are treasured as heirlooms in the
family.


In Spain

girls are most jealously guarded, and marriages are arranged by the
parents. Still the romantic element is not wanting. The young man sees
the lady who steals his heart, and begins to woo her from a distance
with eyes and voice till he can gain an introduction to her family.
The main joy in a Spanish courtship is the clandestine prelude to the
actual engagement. He may follow the lady about and serenade her,
according to regulations, but he may not speak till he is introduced.
She appears to ignore his attentions, but she misses nothing. The
courtship is often protracted, but the girl is given freedom of
choice. The law can come to the assistance of lovers whose union is
prevented by their parents, in the same way as in France.

The amount of liberty given to the engaged couple differs in various
districts, but throughout Spain the love making may be said to end
with marriage. In Murcia they may not meet or speak unless her mother
is present, and the lover may neither touch the hand nor kiss the lips
of his sweetheart till she is his wife.


{68}

Sweden.

Unmarried girls in this country enjoy an unrivalled reputation for
gaiety and merriment. Bread is considered a love charm, and the two
who eat from the same loaf will fall in love with each other. The
suitor often sends an ambassador to a girl he has never seen, and if
his proposal is accepted he calls the next Sunday. The lady is not
supposed to take any notice of him, but continues her knitting in a
stolid fashion. In some parts there is a religious betrothal ceremony,
when plain gold rings are exchanged; but the more usual way of
celebrating an engagement is by a social festivity. The lover must
give a "Yes-Gift" to his future bride, which consists of a gold or
silver cup--the size is not stipulated--filled with coins wrapped up
in quite new white tissue-paper. He also gives her a prayer-book,
while she offers in return some garment she has made for him herself.
If it is a shirt he wears it on his wedding-day, and then lays it
aside to wear in his grave. These quaint customs are mostly found in
the country districts. Town-dwellers merely send out cards with the
names of the pair printed on each one, and further announcements
appear in the papers.


In Switzerland

there is not much romance in either wooing or wedding. The Swiss may
not marry till the youth is eighteen and the girl sixteen, and up to
the age of twenty the consent of parents or guardians is necessary.
When the time draws near for the wedding, the pair must go together to
a civil officer, and must each present him with a certificate of
birth, and tell him their ages, names, professions, and where they and
where their parents live. He then writes a deed containing their
promise of marriage, which must be made public for at least a
fortnight in the places where they were born, where they are living at
the time, and where they wish to be married. If nobody makes an
objection the ceremony can take place. May-Day is sacred to lovers in
Lucerne. He plants a small decorated pine-tree before her house at
dawn, and if he is accepted a right royal feast is prepared for him.
The little tree is {69} treasured till the first baby appears. A Swiss
peasant girl is often compelled to take the lover who lives nearest to
her home, as the introduction of an outsider is resented by the men of
the place.


The Hungarian

likes to linger over his wooing, and he is a past master in the art.
The lovers have absolute freedom of intercourse, and secure privacy in
the family circle by making a tent of his large, graceful cloak, under
which they sit and make love undisturbed. All the actual formalities
go through a third person, and much ceremony is observed in the
negotiations. The first stage of courtship is marked by the "Loving
Cup" feast, and the binding betrothal is known as the "Kissing
Feast."


In Norway

courtship is of necessity a very long process among the peasant folk,
for money is not easily earned, and no man may marry till he is a
householder, while houses may only be built in certain places and
under fixed regulations. Seven years is quite an average time for an
engagement, during which they do their love-making in a simple,
unaffected manner. No man ever jilts a woman, and broken engagements
are almost unknown.

In _Greece_ parents pay a man to marry their daughter, and no man may
marry till all his own sisters are provided with _trousseaux_ and
dowers.

The girl who _accepts_ an offer of marriage in _Greenland_ is for ever
disgraced. Her father may give her away or her husband may drag her by
her hair to his own tent, and it is all right. She must be married by
capture, against her own will, and the love comes afterwards, if at
all.

A Thuringian girl gives her suitor sausage to eat as a sign that he is
rejected. A Spanish maid presents her lover with a pumpkin as her way
of saying "No." In the Russian district of the Ukraine the lady does
the courting, and {70} besieges the man in his own house. Courtesy will
not let him turn her out, so if he does not want her he has to seek other
quarters for himself. On the Isthmus of Darien either man or woman can
take the initiative, so every one gets a good chance all round.

It is not possible, here, to touch upon the elaborate betrothal and
marriage customs of the East.



{71}

CHAPTER XII


_Marriage--Fixing the Day--Preparations--Selecting the Bridesmaids and
their Dresses--The Wedding Gown--The Trousseau--Invitations._


Marriage.

The aim of all true Courtship is marriage, which should take place as
soon as an engagement has lasted long enough to serve its purpose, and
when other circumstances are propitious. When the man's financial
position is sufficiently secured, and the woman is willing to renounce
her freedom for bonds that should be blessed, he asks her to "name the
happy day."


Fixing the Day.

In foreign countries there are many superstitions as to the fitness or
unfitness of days, times, and seasons; but in England May appears to
be the only month supposed to be unlucky for weddings. The reason for
this does not seem clear. The couplet

  "If married in Lent
  You are sure to repent,"

is an echo from the days when Church discipline was stricter than it
is now, and the time set apart for spiritual sorrow was not considered
suitable for the crowning of earthly happiness. Even in the present
day very few marriages are celebrated during the season of Lent.

There are many people and things to take into account when fixing the
important date. If the bridegroom elect is not his own master a time
must be chosen when he is sure to be at liberty. It was said of the
late Sir Walter Besant {72} that he was so overwhelmed with business
that he hardly had time to be married. The bride's father has also to
be considered, and if any particular church dignitary is required to
perform the ceremony his engagements will have to be taken into
account.

When possible it is well to let a good interval elapse between the
final decision and the day itself. A month or six weeks is none too
much; more than this is often allowed.


The Bride's Burden.

There is a great deal of mental wear and tear for the bride-elect to
go through in the few weeks immediately before her marriage, and it is
a pity that it should be so. The fuss and display at an
up-to-date wedding make it a thing to quail before. Dress has become
so extravagant and absorbing that in the matter of her clothes alone
the girl has her time pretty well taken up. Instead of being able to
prepare calmly and restfully for the most vital step in life, she is
kept in a ceaseless whirl of mental and physical excitement till she
is well-nigh worn out. In any case care should be taken to avoid a
rush at the last. Let her have at least a few days of peace and
quietness in which to prepare for the great event. How can she realise
the solemnity of the vows she is going to make, or the gravity of the
responsibility she is taking upon her shoulders, if she never has a
moment to think and is being hurried from milliner to dressmaker, from
jeweller to shoemaker, from furrier to glovemaker, day in day out?


The Choice of the Bridesmaids.

In some families this is a difficult matter, and may be the cause of
much friction. The bride's sisters, if she has any, take precedence.
There may be a dear friend who has been promised this office since she
and the bride were at school together, but then _his_ sisters expect
to be asked, and they may be neither attractive nor very young. When
the desired number is but small, the problem is sometimes solved by
having two or three children and forswearing all adults. This is
certainly a prettier and less expensive arrangement, for children look
more picturesque as bridesmaids than the {73} average half-dozen
grown-up girls who cannot be chosen for their appearance. Elderly
bridesmaids in youthful frocks and girlish hats are ridiculous to the
unthinking, but pathetic to those who look below the surface.


Wedding Frocks.

"Married in white you have chosen all right," says the old rhyme, and
the "ivory duchesse satin" seems to have come to stay. There should,
however, be some regard for the future social position of the bride in
choosing the wedding gown. The girl who is marrying a man with a small
income, and who is prepared to begin housekeeping on a simple scale,
is not likely to want a magnificent satin dinner-gown with a court
train. A much less expensive frock would answer her requirements far
better, for, with the ever-changing fashions, the costly material
would have to be cut up and altered many a time before it was worn
out. It is a pity to weigh down a young girlish bride with heavy
brocades and silks that stand alone. Her freshness and beauty will
stand a simpler setting, and look all the sweeter in it. There are so
many soft, diaphanous fabrics made now, which fall into graceful
draperies, that I would like the young bride clad in some of them.


The Bridesmaids' Dresses.

The choice of a costume for the bridesmaids is not an easy matter. You
can find one that will suit two sisters to perfection, but there are
the others, with possibly such colouring as to forbid the very thing
that another will look her best in. White is taken as being generally
safe and becoming, but when worn unrelieved in the daytime it is very
trying to some. There are also the height and build of the various
girls to be considered, so altogether the matter demands much care and
taste.


Expense.

The question of cost should not be ignored unless the bride is in a
position to give all the dresses, then she may be as lavish as she
thinks fit.

It is hardly fair to expect her friends to go to the most {74}
expensive house and to buy the most costly hats and frocks, which will
perhaps be of little use to them afterwards, merely for her personal
gratification. This is especially the case where two sisters are asked
to be bridesmaids. A girl may long to attend her friend to the altar,
and yet be obliged to decline because her parents cannot afford the
outlay necessitated by the extravagance of the costume. If one has her
frock made by an artiste, the others must follow suit or the picture
is spoilt.

The bride who is married in her travelling dress does not have
bridesmaids but attendants, whose dresses should harmonise but not
eclipse her own. Due regard should be paid to the time of year in the
choice of materials. White gauzy frocks look chill and comfortless in
mid-winter, even if the wearers do not shiver perceptibly and are not
afflicted with red noses; but soft, thick fabrics like white cloth or
velvet trimmed with touches of fur, suggest the warmth that lies
beneath the snow. The flowers of the season may well provide schemes
of colour, for Nature is the prince of artists. Primrose and daffodil
tints for the spring, the warm tones of the chrysanthemum for the
autumn, while summer sunshine makes everything look well.


The Trousseau.

A young friend of mine who was going to be married last year said to
me: "Oh! my things are so lovely! I never knew how delightful it was
to be able to have all the beautiful things you want." This sentiment
will be echoed by most of the fairly-well dowered brides of to-day.
There is generally a fixed sum set apart for the trousseau, and the
amount must necessarily control the extent of the purchases. The
_lingerie_ and underwear can be obtained from about ten guineas, with
prices varying according to the number and quality of the garments, up
to forty or fifty guineas. Dresses, boots and shoes, and all out-door
wear, including hats, must be added on to this outlay.

Few people buy many dresses at once now, on account of the changeful
whims of fashion; but the great point is to have the few gowns of good
material and excellent cut.

There are a hundred items, only known to a woman {75} or her maid, with
which the bride should be well stocked. It is a disgrace to don a
costly opera-cloak when you have not a decent dressing-gown, or to
load yourself with finery when your stockings are in holes. Feminine
attire is so dainty and fascinating in the present day that there is a
danger of setting more value on the trimmings and make than on the
quality of the material. Let the bride-elect try to picture her pretty
things when they emerge from the ruthless hands of a laundress, and
she will realise the value of quality. Where anything like regular or
hard wear is required, it is always good economy to buy the best. All
garments that need to be marked must have the initials of the bride's
married name upon them. All women are supposed to love shopping.
Surely no expeditions can be so delightful as going to buy the
trousseau with a well-stocked purse!


Invitations.

These are sent out by the bride's mother, or whoever acts in that
capacity. Any good stationer will have plenty of printed cards, such
as are generally used, from which a choice may be made. Simplicity of
design is always a mark of refinement. The wording would be as
follows:

  Mr. and Mrs. Carstairs

  request the pleasure of

  Captain and Mrs. Boyd's company

  at

  _the Marriage of their Daughter_

  Gladys

  with

  Mr. Sydney Boroughs,

  at

  S. John's, Beckenham,

  _on Wednesday, April 17th, at 2 p.m.,_

  and afterwards at the Grange.

                       R.S.V.P.

Any friend who has sent a present before the invitations are out must
be invited. The general feeling seems to be that {76} an invitation to
a wedding involves a present, and that is rather a tax. It also takes
away from that purely voluntary spirit which is the beauty of a gift.
In some cases friends are only asked to the church, the reception at
home being confined to members of the two families.

A bridesmaid who lives at a distance must be asked to stay at the
bride's home for a few days before the wedding.

The death of a near relation would necessitate the postponement of the
wedding, and this would cancel all invitations. In cases of loss more
remote from the young couple, the wedding takes place soon after the
first date, "but quietly, owing to family bereavement." A notice to
this effect is often put in the papers when a marriage has been
publicly announced, but in a more private affair, notes would be sent
to those who had been invited.



{77}

CHAPTER XIII


_Wedding Presents--Choosing and Furnishing the House--What the
Bridegroom Supplies--The Bride's Share in the Matter._


Wedding Presents.

With the increasing luxury and love of display that marks modern life
the wedding-present tax, as I have heard it called, becomes a burden
proportionately heavy to the social ambition of the giver. It seems a
pity that there should be so much vulgarising advertisement about what
are supposed to be private weddings. There is also too much routine in
the choice of the gifts themselves. The perennial mustard-pots and
salt-cellars are monotonous, and while comparative strangers may be
driven to make a conventional offering, private friends might leave
the groove and strike out a new line.

Cheques are only given by old friends or relations of the recipient.
They are always acceptable. The future position of the couple should
be taken into account. Good silver is always a joy, except perhaps
when you have to keep it clean. The young wife with only one servant
will have to rub up her own silver backed brushes and sweetmeat dishes
if she wants them to look nice. Of course it may be said that extra
silver can be put by till circumstances improve, or that it might be
useful in a financial emergency. This last idea is rather a gruesome
one to take to a wedding, and it is in the early days of her
housekeeping that the young wife likes to have her pretty things about
her. Why an artistic chair or table should not be as suitable as an
_entrée dish_ I do not quite see, and if a place is to look homelike
pictures are quite as necessary as silver pepper-pots.


{78}

A Temptation.

Both bride and bridegroom receive presents, some for individual,
others for mutual use. The bride must promptly and personally
acknowledge all those that are sent to her, and the bridegroom does
the same on his own account. Presents from mutual friends would be
mutually acknowledged, especially if the gift were sent to both of
them. When one does not feel very kindly disposed to the man or woman
whom our dear friend is going to marry there is a great temptation--I
don't know that it need be resisted--to send a gift that will be the
property and pleasure of that friend, and not to give the mutual
mustard-pot into which both will dip the spoon.


How to Send Them.

All wedding presents should be nicely and daintily packed up.
Sometimes they are better sent from the shop direct, but in that case
the card or cards of the donors should accompany them. Many people tie
their cards on with narrow white ribbon, and anything that adds to the
daintiness of a present is to be commended. It is a very sensible plan
for relations to let the young people choose their own sideboard or
dinner service, instead of buying it for them. There is only one
drawback to this arrangement. The thing that costs the most is so
often the thing we want most, even before we know the price, and it
would not be nice to feel we had trespassed on the generosity of the
giver by inducing him to spend more than he intended. It is becoming
the fashion for members of a family to club together and give a
handsome piece of jewellery, instead of each one presenting a smaller
trinket. This might well be done with more practical presents.


The Art of Giving.

Much of the pleasure afforded by a gift is contained in the way it is
given. There is an exquisite art in giving. Many people choose a
present just because they happen to like the thing themselves, whereas
a gift should be selected entirely with a view to the pleasure or use
it will afford to its future owner. A grand piano is no good to a girl
who will not have {79} a room large enough to hold it and herself.
Costly china is only an encumbrance to a woman who is going to follow
the fortunes of her soldier husband, and who will not have a settled
home for years. There must be kindly sympathy in the choice of gifts as
well as tact and courtesy in the offering of them.


The Selection of the House.

Whenever it is possible the young or newly married couple should start
their life together in a home of their own. I would warn all brides to
superintend the choice of that home. A man, certainly one of the
nicest kind, has not what may be called a domestic eye. If he is
artistic he will choose a dwelling for its picturesqueness, regardless
of drains and dank ditches near the house. An inert man will value his
home for its proximity to the station. Another considers the garden
the most important feature. The stay-at-home will be influenced by the
place which affords the most scope for the pursuit of his hobbies. Men
cannot gauge the amount of work that may be made or saved by the build
of a house and the arrangement of its rooms. The all-important
question of cupboards and store-rooms, the aspect of the larder and
condition of the kitchen range are things that do not appeal to the
masculine mind, especially when that mind is in love. If the bride is
young and inexperienced she will do well to visit the projected abode
with some practised housewife. The expeditions taken by the engaged
couple in search of their new home ought surely to be among their
sweetest experiences, even taking into account the misleading tactics
of the house agent.


Furnishing.

In olden days, when the daughters of Eve span, the bride provided all
the household linen, most of which had taken shape under her own fair
fingers. Now the intending bridegroom furnishes the house throughout.
If the bride's father were wealthy and generous enough to make them a
present of the lining for the nest, I do not suppose the bridegroom or
the bride would have any objection. One argument for not furnishing
till after the wedding is that many of the presents in money and kind
might be valuable adjuncts; {80} but then those presents would come
from near relations who could tell the young people what to expect. A
chest of plate or a box of linen, a piano or some such handsome item
often comes from some one in the bride's family, but failing such gifts,
the bridegroom must supply the new home with all needful articles.


The Bride's Share in the Matter.

As she is to be the mistress of the establishment, the bride should
have a voice in all that concerns it. Many departments of house
furnishing do not require the assistance of the male mind at all. They
will both like to choose the actual household gods, to discuss schemes
of colour and decoration together; but no woman need take a man to buy
saucepans, or request his opinion on such soft matters as pillows and
blankets. It will please his mother if the bride consults her about
domestic details, and in any case she will profit by the advice of one
who has been there.


Things to be Considered.

However small it is, the newly married pair should have their home to
themselves, and it is as well not to settle immediately under the
parental eye on either side. Like Kipling's ship, they have to "find
themselves," and they will do it far better alone together. At the
same time it is not good for a bride to be set down in an utterly
strange neighbourhood, where she will not know a soul till the people
are thoroughly satisfied as to her respectability. This, as we shall
see later, may constitute a grave danger.

The husband should think of his wife's daily round as well as of his
own train service to town or the house's proximity to the golf links.
They should go to some place within easy reach of friends, or where
they have good introductions to possible people. When preparing to
start life together they should not be too ambitious. Because she has
been brought up in a big house, he is doing her no kindness by
saddling himself with a higher rent than he can really afford to pay.
She is quite willing to take him in exchange for the extra
accommodation that she is giving up. That is, if she is the right sort
of woman.



{81}

CHAPTER XIV

_The Nature of the Ceremony--Religious or Civil--Banns or
Licence--Legal Formalities--Settlements._


The Nature of the Ceremony.

In most foreign countries a civil contract has to precede any
religious ceremony that may be desired. In England the marriage is
either religious or civil, though in order to make the union valid
certain legal formalities must be observed with every religious form
of marriage.


The Religious Ceremony

will not lightly be set aside by those who regard marriage in its
highest aspect; but the nature of the service will differ according to
the views of the contracting parties. A valid marriage can only take
place in a church or chapel duly licensed by the bishop for the
solemnisation of such a ceremony.


Banns.

This word, which we now connect exclusively with the one idea, applied
in former days to any public proclamation. Where marriage by banns is
desired due notice must be given, so that they can be published on
three Sundays, before the ceremony, in the parish or parishes where
the intending bride and bridegroom live at the time. If the wedding is
to take place elsewhere the clergyman who has published the banns
signs a certificate to that effect, which must be given to the one in
whose church the service is performed. If wrong names are wilfully
given in, with intent to deceive, the {82} publication of banns is
invalid, and the marriage will be null and void. If only one party be
guilty of fraud in this respect the proceedings are legal. Unless the
couple are married within three months of the publication of their banns
they must be republished or a licence procured. One object of these
restrictions is to check runaway matches, and to ascertain whether the
parties are of legal age, or are marrying with proper consent from
parents or guardians. A marriage may be performed in a church without
banns on production of a registrar's certificate. I know of a runaway
couple who were married in church as soon as their parents found out
that they had been before the registrar.


Licences.

These are of two kinds, the common and the special. A common licence
is given by the archbishop or bishop, and can be obtained in London at
the Faculty Office, 23 Knightrider's Street, Doctors' Commons, E.C.,
or at the Vicar-General's Office, 3 Creed Lane, Ludgate Hill, E.C.,
between the hours of 10 A.M. and 4 P.M., on all week days, except
Saturday, when they close at 2 P.M. Licences from these two places are
available for use in any part of England or Wales. They cost thirty
shillings, with an extra twelve and sixpence for stamps. In order to
prevent fraud, no licence can be given till one of the parties has
made a declaration on oath that there is no legal impediment to the
marriage, and that one of them has lived for fifteen days in the
parish or district where the wedding is to take place. This last
restriction is often evaded by the bridegroom's taking a bedroom in
which he possibly sleeps one night, and where he is represented by a
bag containing--stones, or a collar, if he likes.

Those licences obtained from the bishop's diocesan registry can only
be used in the diocese where they are issued. They cost from £1, 15s.
to £2, 12s. 6d., according to the diocese. The vicar or rector of any
parish will give full particulars as to how they are to be obtained in
country places.


The Special Licence

costs about £30, and is given by the archbishop through the Faculty
Office under certain conditions. It dispenses with {83} previous
residence in the district, and can be used anywhere and at any time,
providing satisfactory reasons have been given for its issue.


Witnesses.

No marriage should be performed in any church or chapel unless at
least two witnesses are present, who also attest the signing of the
parish register. The ordinary fee for the certificate, or "marriage
lines," is 2s. 7d., including the stamp, but this charge may vary a
little.


The Civil Contract.

This may be done by certificate or licence. If a certificate is
required, one of the parties must give formal notice to the
superintendent registrar of the district in which both have lived for
seven days immediately preceding the notice. If the couple live in
separate places, similar notice must be given by each one. A solemn
statement that there is no legal obstacle to the marriage must be
made, together with notification of their places of residence, and, in
the case of a minor, whether the consent of parent or guardian is
forthcoming. The certificate may not be issued for twenty-one days
after the notice has been entered, and this certificate is only
available for three months.

After the expiration of twenty-one days the wedding may take place at
the Registry Office, in the presence of the superintendent registrar,
a registrar of the district, and two witnesses, within the appointed
hours, from 8 A.M. to 3 P.M. The mutual declaration is short and to
the point. A ring is usually employed, but I have heard of strange
substitutes being used at a pinch.

If a licence is desired, similar formalities must be observed as when
procuring one for use in a church, and one day must elapse between its
issue and the wedding.

No minister of religion need be present at a civil contract, even if
it take place in a chapel or building certified for marriages. Members
of the Society of Friends may, after giving notice as above described,
be married in their Meeting House;  but to make it legal, the fact
must be duly registered {84} by the officer of the district as soon
after the ceremony as possible.

The presence of a registrar is not necessary at marriages performed in
Nonconformist chapels if they are duly certified and an "authorised
person" (that is, one duly appointed by the trustees or governing body
of the building) is present during the proceedings. Certain
declarations, similar to those made before the registrar, must be
included in any form of service. The "authorised person" must register
the marriage at his earliest convenience.


Fees for Civil Contract.

A marriage by certificate costs about ten or twelve shillings. With a
licence, the expense mounts up to about £2, 15s.


Settlements.

This is a matter of cold unromantic fact, and one which very ardent,
impossible lovers regard almost in the light of a desecration. As the
prosaic side of life has to be faced, it is very necessary that money
matters should find a place in the matrimonial preparations.

An honourable man is always anxious to effect some arrangement by
which his wife may be safeguarded from ruin or extreme poverty. If she
has money of her own, he will see that it is settled upon her
absolutely. Should he raise, or even hint at, an objection to this
plan, he will lay himself open to a serious charge of possessing
mercenary motives. A man with private means would settle a certain
portion upon his wife; but, in the ordinary course of things, she
would only have the interest of this amount, and would not have
control over the capital during his life. At the same time, it could
not be touched by his creditors.

In more legal language: "By marriage settlements the property to be
settled by one or both of the parties is conveyed to trustees upon
trust as to the lady's property for her separate use during her life,
and after her decease for the husband for his life. The husband's
property is settled on him for life with remainder to the wife for
life. On the death of the survivor the trust is for the children of
the marriage in such {85} shares as the husband and wife, or the
survivor, appoint, and in default of appointment among the children
equally." Clauses as to maintenance and education of the children,
and powers of investment of trust funds, are inserted. In settling
large estates and sums of money various modes of settlement are adopted
to suit the circumstances, but the above is the outline of an ordinary
settlement. Large landed estates are generally settled, after the decease
of the settlers, upon the first and other sons in tail male with cross
remainders between them, and in default of male issue among the
daughters.


The Bride's Dowry,

or marriage portion, is of very ancient origin. Even two centuries
before Christ the wealth possessed by a woman brought her an increase
of respect from her husband, and lessened the humiliation of her legal
and social position. By degrees the rich wife gained the upper hand,
and what the law would not give to her sex as a right, she obtained by
virtue of her money.



{86}

CHAPTER XV


_The Wedding-Day--What is expected of (1) The Bride; (2) The
Bridesmaids; (3) The Bridegroom; (4) The Best Man; (5) The Bride's
Parents--At the Bride's House--Dressing--Starting for the
Church--The Tying of the Knot--Social Aspect--Reception or Breakfast._


The Wedding-Day.

"Happy is the Bride that the Sun shines on!" runs the old adage, but
we may hope that the lives of all English brides are not as grey as
the skies under which they are often married. We can also hope that
every bride will have the sunshine of joy in her heart on her
wedding-day. Most weddings now take place at 2 o'clock or 2.30, in
consequence of the extension of the marriage hours, and this has in
a great measure abolished the old "breakfast," which was a rather
trying affair for all concerned. Now, a more informal reception takes
place on the return from church, with champagne, tea, ices, and all
sorts of pretty light refreshments. Those who, from choice or force
of circumstances, decide upon the morning for the ceremony, would
naturally give a luncheon, but the smarter section of society has
spoken in favour of the reception.

I know of a capricious couple who played their friends a very shabby
trick. The invitations had been issued for a Wednesday, and at the
last moment they decided to be married on the Tuesday morning. They
went quietly to church in the early hours, left the town separately
during the day, met in London, and started for the honeymoon. The next
afternoon their friends assembled to find that the objects of their
congratulations were away across the Channel. This was a most serious
breach of etiquette, as there was no reason for such rudeness.


{87}

What is Expected of the Bride.

However long and frequent the visits of the _fiancé_ may have been to
his sweetheart's home, tradition decrees that he must not sleep under
the same roof with her the night before the wedding, nor is he
supposed to see her on the day, till he meets her in all her bridal
beauty. She is supposed to keep in retirement even from the members of
her own household during the early part of the day; but this is a
matter of opinion, and all old ideas are giving way to more modern
views.

On her wedding-day, at least if it is to be a smart affair, the bride
is handicapped as well as adorned by her clothes, as seems to be the
general lot of women on all important occasions. Let us hope that
every care has been taken to minimise the minor anxieties as to the
fit of her frock, the set of her veil, the comfort of shoes and
gloves. She must feel  something like a _débutante_ dressing for her
presentation at court; but while the latter is only making her entry
into society, the bride is entering upon a condition that will affect
her eternally, and one that ought to have the blessing of God upon it.
One would therefore like the bride to be free from such inconveniences
as will drag her down mentally. Let her be free to respond to the high
inspirations and holy desires that best become a woman on this great
day of her life. She will probably be nervous, and small wonder, but
she will be none the less attractive for a little maidenly diffidence.
The bride who marches triumphantly through her wedding does not show
the best taste. In the rush and excitement of the wedding morning some
one must make a point of seeing that the bride has proper food to
sustain her through her part in the day's proceedings. Her appearance
will not be improved by the look of strained weariness that combined
fatigue and exhaustion will bring even into the youngest face. She is
expected to look her best and to have her emotions under control
nowadays. The weeping bride is out of date. She is expected to look
happy, for is she not completing the choice which she freely made? If
her shoes pinch, or she is faint from hunger, those expectations
cannot be fulfilled.


The Bridesmaids.

These attendant maidens must be at the church awaiting the bride,
ready to follow her up the aisle, and the chief one {88} takes her place
so as to be prepared to receive the gloves and bouquet from the bride
before the putting on of the ring. One or more of them will help the
bride, later in the day, to change into her travelling costume, and
they can be of assistance in countless ways, both to the hostess and
her guests. Sometimes, however, a bridesmaid is too occupied preparing
for another wedding, in which she will play the chief part, to have
much time for any one else.


The Bridegroom.

Though of the highest and most vital importance, the bridegroom never
seems quite so much to the fore as the bride. It is probably a mere
matter of clothes. He is expected to have the ring in readiness, to
provide a conveyance to take himself and the best man to the scene of
the ceremony, and, above all, to be in good time, waiting in proud
anticipation for the bride's arrival. He does not always look happy or
quite at his ease with the eyes of the curious congregation upon him,
but that is only his modesty. He has to give the bridesmaids a present
(generally some trinket is chosen), and the bride receives her bouquet
from him. Sometimes the best man gives the bridesmaids their bouquets,
but it is generally the bridegroom, unless they are all related
together.


The Best Man.

I have heard it said that the office of the Best Man is to see that
the bridegroom does not run away at the last moment. We will hope he
does not often have hard work in that case. He certainly has to see
that love does not make the bridegroom oblivious to the practical
details of life. He escorts him to church and supports him through the
service. He pays the fees of clerk and clergyman and calls the
carriages when the register is signed. He is a very busy and useful
person, if he does his duty, and much of the success from a social
point of view may lie in his hands.


The Bride's Parents.

The heaviest burden of responsibility falls upon the shoulders of the
bride's mother. She has to arrange with a caterer for the
refreshments, unless she prefers to have all the trouble of {89}
preparing them at home; she must order the carriages, arrange the meals
for guests staying in the house, and settle the order in which the
wedding party is to go to church. She has to see about floral
decorations wherever they are wanted, and now flowers play such an
all-important part in every festivity. She will be the one to whom every
one will go for instructions, and it may be her own heart will be very
sore at the thought of parting with her daughter. Where there are other
grown-up girls they would naturally take some portion of the work off
her hands, but she is nominal head of affairs in most households.

The _father_ has to escort his daughter to church and bestow her upon
her husband. In the event of his being prevented from doing this, her
mother would drive with her, and the relation or friend who was acting
as her father's deputy would meet her at the church door. The bride's
father pays all the expenses of music or decoration in the church in
addition to those of entertainment at home and conveyances. He will
find the bill a large one in these days of lavish display and
increased luxury. The idea that a reception is much cheaper than a
luncheon is balanced by the facts that a far larger number of people
can be included in the former and that champagne cannot be dispensed
with.


At the Bride's House.

Before the appointed hour, bustle and possible confusion will reign in
the bride's home. The young people will take a pride in decking the
reception-rooms with flowers. The presents will be in a room by
themselves, and will probably have been arranged the day before, but
there are always a hundred little finishing touches to be put to
everything. The caterer will, if required, supply all needful glass,
china, tables, and attendance for the reception or breakfast. Everyone
should be dressed in good time. There will be belated presents,
telegrams of congratulation, and all sorts of minor distractions.


Dressing the Bride.

In many cases the dressmaker who has _created_ the wedding gown comes
to see it put on, but where such skilled help is not required the
loving hands of mother, sister, or friend would deck the bride. One
thing I would suggest. It is a risk {90} to dress the hair to suit the
veil rather than the face. I remember seeing a bride quite spoiled by
having her pretty hair dragged up under her veil, when as a rule she
wore it in soft, natural waves round her face and ears. The less
jewellery a bride wears the better, and some recent leaders of fashion
have exchanged the bridal bouquet for a prayer-book, which they
carried in ungloved hands. A bride who is married in the veil of a
happy wife is supposed to be lucky. It is a pretty idea for a girl to
wear her mother's bridal veil.


The Tying of the Knot.

When she is ready and all the others have started for the church, the
bride drives with her father or mother, as the case may be, away from
her old home and her maiden name. These few moments are too sacred for
an outsider to speak of. Upon her arrival the bells ring out, the
choir and clergy form the head of the procession, and she goes up to
the chancel step on her father's right arm to take her place on the
left side of her expectant bridegroom. It seems almost an impertinence
to tell her how she should look at this solemn time, but it is not
necessary or seemly for her to smile and nod to her friends in the
church. She should remove both gloves on taking her place, so that she
may be prepared to take the bridegroom by the hand and to receive the
ring.


Arrangement of Seats.

The brothers or cousins of the bride show the guests to their seats in
church. The bridegroom's family and friends sit on the right as they
enter, the bride's party on the left. Parents and nearest relations
occupy the front seats, then others in order of kinship.

As soon as the service is over, the newly-wedded pair, and such of
their relations and friends as have been asked to do so, withdraw to
the vestry, where the register is duly signed and witnessed.


The Social Side.

The bride and bridegroom drive off first from the church, so as to be
in readiness to receive the congratulations of the {91} guests, who
greet them immediately upon returning to the house. They are the
principal people for the time being. The parents follow in the next
carriage, her father taking his mother. Where there are many guests,
no one should expect to take up much of the bride's attention, as she
will have to divide her favours among the company. If there is a
sit-down meal, she would be between her husband and father. The
newly-married pair would either take the head of the table or sit in the
centre of one side of the festive board. The practice of making long
speeches has fallen into disuse, and every bride must be thankful for
the relief. At an informal reception, where there is a chance to move
about, the strain is not so great; but whichever form of entertainment
is chosen, the bride _must cut the cake_, and every one is invited to
partake of it.


Some Items of Expense.

The supply of carriages should be sufficient to enable all the guests
to be conveyed to and from the church with as little delay as
possible, and each carriage and pair will cost from 12s. 6d. to 15s.,
while a guinea is charged for the bride's special equipage. Grey
horses are extra, but few people have them now, as it gives the
situation away. Each driver will expect a tip of a few shillings.

A simple 5lb. wedding-cake can be had for 8s. or 10s., but the larger
and more elaborate ones run up to £5 and £8, the ornamental stands
being extra. Of course there is practically no limit to expenses if
people wish to throw money about. One American wedding cost over a
million dollars. At another the wedding-cake was stuffed with
expensive gewgaws, and as it weighed a quarter of a ton it was
conveyed on silver tram lines up and down the table or buffet.

The bouquets for the bridesmaids cost anything from 15s. to £5, while
that for the bride may run from £4 to £10, or as much more as the
bridegroom likes to give.

Many people who do not want their homes turned upside down or whose
houses are not convenient for a wedding, entertain their friends at an
hotel or a restaurant. This has its advantages, but is not so homelike
for the bride's farewell to her old associations and home life.



{92}

CHAPTER XVI


_The Guests--The Presents on View--Starting for the
Honeymoon--Dress and Luggage--Where to Go and How Long to
Stay--Inevitable Test of Temperament--Possible
Disappointments--Disillusion, Passing or Permanent._


The Guests.

The average crowd, mainly composed of women, who throng to see a
wedding are unfortunately notorious for their utter lack of reverence
and total want of manners. The invited guests do not always behave in
accordance with the rules of etiquette. One hears a running fire of
comments, such as: "They say she's marrying him for his money!" or
"Well, her mother ought to be glad; she's worked hard enough to catch
him." "He's stepping into a nice thing. I suppose the old boy paid his
debts!"

Frequent allusions to former flirtations, or worse, are made in a
stage whisper, and open expression is given to the question: "How long
will it last?" by the cynics who seem to have come to be disagreeable.
A wedding is bound to call forth both retrospective and anticipatory
thoughts, but all unkind words should be silenced by a common desire
to let that one day pass happily for all. Guests who snatch at
wedding-favours to take home, who are boisterous in their leave-taking
of the departing couple, who stay to the bitter end and pocket morsels
of bridecake, who loudly appraise the value of the presents, or
audibly speculate as to "what it has cost So-and-So to get his
daughter off," have as yet to learn the rudiments of etiquette.


{93}

The Presents on View.

The hostess should see that all the guests have opportunities of
seeing the wedding presents; but it is not judicious for visitors at a
big function to poke about among the gifts unless accompanied by one
of the family or, perhaps, a bridesmaid, because it is generally
deemed wise to have a detective present on such an occasion, and he
might misinterpret this friendly interest to the discomfort of the
prying guests. In arranging the presents a nice thoughtfulness and
tact are necessary. Let the smaller offerings have due prominence, for
the sake of the kindly thought that prompted them. One who had not
been able to afford a gift in any proportion to her affection would
feel touched by its occupying a place of honour.


Starting for the Honeymoon.

As the time for departure draws near the bride will slip away to doff
her bridal splendour for her travelling costume. Her sister, the
favourite bridesmaid, or her mother will doubtless go and help her,
and probably some of the real "Good-byes" will be spoken before she
rejoins the company. The dress will have been chosen with reference to
the journey she is now undertaking. If she has but a short distance to
go it may be a picturesque, dainty creation, but if she has hard
travelling before her it will be of the tailor-made type, at once
stylish and business-like, devoid of unnecessary fallals.

All present will be anxious to take leave of the newly-wedded pair,
and to wish them God-speed. There is often deep sorrow under the
surface of merriment at such partings. It is the moment when young
brothers and frivolous cousins perform impish pranks, while the
parents, and maybe the bride, are feeling the keen pang of separation.
Paper confetti are a harmless substitute for rice, which is not
soothing to receive in the eye or ear. The throwing of old shoes is
said to be a relic of the sticks and stones hurled in wrath by the
defeated friends of the bride when the victorious bridegroom carried
her off as his prize and captive.

{94}

The Journey.

Many are the devices resorted to by the newly married to escape
detection on the wedding journey. Some take old battered portmanteaux.
I have heard of a baby being borrowed to block up the window of the
railway carriage; but matrimony, like murder, will out. The bridegroom
will naturally do all in his power to make the journey an ideally
pleasant one, and he will do well to remember that his bride has had
much more to strain her nerves and weary her than he has.


Luggage.

At any time it seems well to avoid a number of small parcels, but on
this occasion it is doubly advisable. Even if the husband and wife can
fix their minds on such prosaic things, it is hardly fair for her to
hang him round with her bags, hat-boxes, and other feminine
impedimenta. On the other hand, if he has brought his cycle, his golf
clubs, his fishing-tackle, and his camera, his attention is bound to
be divided between the safety of his possessions and the comfort of
his bride.


Where to Go.

The destination of the honeymooners will depend upon the time they
have to spare, the money they can spend, and their combined tastes.
There are a few practical hints that may be given. It is often said
that travelling is one of the best tests of temper, so let the woman
who soon feels fretted and looks jaded or is physically indisposed by
a long railway journey take her honeymoon near home. Let no one who is
not reliably happy on board ship attempt to cross the water and run
the risk of ending her wedding-day in the terribly unbecoming
condition caused by _mal de mer_.


How Long to Stay.

The modern tendency to shorten honeymoons seems born of wisdom as much
as of expediency. It may sound brutal, but undisturbed possession soon
palls, and man was made {95} for something more virile than perpetual
billing and cooing. The long honeymoon makes a very heavy demand upon
the emotions. It is fatal to try and keep up a lost illusion. The
moment a man or woman sees that the sweetness is beginning to cloy,
and the inaction to bore, it is time to return to everyday life.


Inevitable Test of Temperament.

The honeymoon is bound to disclose many hitherto unsuspected phases of
character. These revelations will be in proportion to the amount of
previous mutual understanding. The lover who has been free-handed
may turn into the husband who haggles over his hotel bills. The girl
who has always looked like a dainty picture (because there was some
one to take care of her things) may be careless and unkempt when there
is no one but her husband to see her. The man who had preferred a
sandwich in the woods with his beloved, may be the one to swear at the
waiter if the made dishes are not exactly to his taste. The sweetheart
who has been all smiles, may prove but a sorry companion when exposed
to discomfort, and show herself quite unable to rise cheerfully to an
emergency.

On the other hand, surprises of a pleasant nature may be in store for
bride and bridegroom.  Unthought of qualities may be called into play,
deeper feelings may be aroused, and the full sweetness of a character
only be fully revealed in the sacred privacy of the honeymoon.


Possible Disappointments.

A modern writer says: "How many ideals are shattered by the intimacy
of marriage, simply because the antenuptial love has been based upon
fiction and misunderstanding. If only a man and a woman made their
several motives for marrying quite clear to one another, and were not
quite so anxious to preserve a veneer of romance up to the very altar,
matrimony would not be the terrible iconoclast it too often is." This
is plain speaking, and one wonders how many marriages would ever take
place if this precept were carried out. It is true that much has to be
revealed after marriage. The {96} lover has only seen his sweetheart
when she has placed herself on view, so to speak. They were both kept
in check by the uncertainty of their position. The husband sees his
wife under all circumstances, in mentally trying moments, in
physically unbecoming situations. In fact, she has to appear before him
with her hair out of curl, actually and metaphorically, to use a homely
illustration.


Disillusion, Passing or Permanent.

The mental relations between husband and wife must necessarily differ
from those between lovers, and the more honest and sincere they have
been during their courtship, the less painful will be the awakening
after marriage. Where there is both love and trust, coupled with
common sense, a little humour, and a broad view of life, the
disillusion should only be a passing cloud that makes the sunshine all
the brighter for its temporary shade. Where there has been conscious,
or even involuntary, deception, an unreal position or exaggerated
idealisation on either side, the pain of disillusion will be poignant,
and its effect permanent. Things can be sorrowfully and bravely
patched up for mere outward use, but there will be a smart under the
smile, and a blank in the life that should have been so full.

Whatever mental crisis may follow marriage, the two who suffer, for
one seldom suffers alone, will do well to keep their own counsel. If
the silence is too great a strain, it is wiser, though perhaps not so
natural, to seek help from some trusted friend unconnected by kinship
with either family. Relations cannot take an unprejudiced view of the
case; they are bound to be biassed in favour of their own, and even if
family jars are not openly discussed the leaven works, and its effect
is soon perceptible.



{97}

CHAPTER XVII


_The Return Home--A Plunge into the Practical--Housekeeping--Wedding
Calls--The Newly-married Couple at Home and in Society._


The Return Home.

It is the unanimous and unqualified opinion of those who know, that
the first year of married life practically answers the question "Is
Marriage a Failure?" The bride who can emerge triumphantly from this
searching ordeal will hold her own for the rest of her career as a
wife. The newly-married girl or woman has everything to try her
mettle. The end of the honeymoon sees the beginning of her real work.
She has won her husband; she has charmed and satisfied him in the
hours of love in idleness; she has now to keep him true to his
allegiance through the dull prosaic days of ordinary, humdrum life.
For the husband the change is not nearly so great. He has his usual
daily avocations to follow; his business or professional duties have
undergone no alteration.

We will hope the wedded pair have a nice cosy home awaiting their
return. If the honeymoon has been short, the bulk of the preparations
will have been made before the wedding, and a mother or sister will
have put the finishing touches during the bride's absence, but no one
should be awaiting them in their new home except the servants they
have engaged. It may be that there is a visit to be paid to relations
before settling into the new home, and this will be a little trying.
Those who love them and who watch them start on their wedding journey
will eagerly scan their features for some sign to indicate how things
have gone with them in this important interval. A happy heart need
shun {98} no such scrutiny, but where the slightest wound is hidden
under smiles the loving solicitude will give pain.


A Plunge into the Practical.

Whatever the nature of the new home may be, whether mansion or
cottage, town flat or suburban villa, even if it be but the temporary
resting-place of furnished rooms, the wife will do well to begin by
studying her husband's comfort, and finding out any special likes and
dislikes that may not as yet have come under her notice. He, for his
part, must not expect too much, and should try not to make her
painfully conscious of her shortcomings. He might also reflect with
advantage, when things are not to his taste, that he has himself to
thank for a good deal. He chose his wife for her youth, her beauty,
her charm, or her money it may be, and he then asked for no other
qualification. He took up all her thoughts and her spare time during
their engagement, and all he asked was that she should look nice and
let him make love to her. She was purely ornamental in those days, and
he was content to have her so. Once marriage is over he expects her to
develop exactly those domestic gifts that shall best minister to his
comfort and well-being. This cannot be done in a day.


Housekeeping.

Apart from the strangeness of her position, her probable isolation
from all familiar faces, her mingled sense of freedom and
responsibility, the young wife has much to contend with. Housekeeping
comes more easily to some women than to others, and the one who has a
domestic gift scores a big point in starting married life. The girl
who has had no previous training or practical experience will spend
many a bitter moment face to face with her own utter incompetence. The
servant question alone is enough for most people. The young maid knows
her new mistress is but a novice; the experienced cook regards her
either from a motherly point of view or in the light of lawful prey.
She has, however, to maintain her dignity in the face of all this. She
knows her ignorance will be detected and possibly laughed at, behind
her back, but she {99} must not compromise the position in which her
husband has placed her by undue familiarity, or undignified relations
with those over whom she is to preside. By this it is not meant that a
mistress should be afraid of being civil and even friendly with her
maids; but she must discern nicely between that which breeds contempt
and that which adds affection to respect.


Money Matters.

Many girls have had no money to manage beyond the spending of a dress
allowance, with an indulgent parent always ready to make up the
deficit. It would be well for every mother to give the housekeeping
accounts into the hands of her engaged daughter for at least a month
before she marries. She will not master the subject, but she will
acquire some idea of the just prices of household commodities, and the
quantities that should be ordered. The bride who suggested the leg of
beef "for a change" is happily fictional, but it is to be feared that
many do not much exceed her in knowledge. Some men give their wives a
regular weekly allowance for domestic expenses, and this seems a fair
way to do things. Others believe in paying everything by cheque, and
thus keep all the money in their own hands. Provided the husband is
pleasant when the cheques are drawn out the wife is saved a great deal
of trouble; but the man who swears over the monthly bill, and wants an
account of every pound of meat consumed in that time, creates a
perpetual burden for his luckless partner. The early mismanagement of
household expenses is fraught with sorrow to the well-meaning wife and
heart-searchings to the husband, who begins to ask anxiously: "Could I
really afford to marry?" Whatever the precise nature of the
arrangement may be, there should be a clear understanding as to how
the expenses are to be divided. Supposing the wife has her own income,
or an allowance from her husband, she ought to know exactly what that
sum is expected to cover. She is also entitled to a definite knowledge
as to the extent of his income. Many a tragedy might have been averted
if the wife had been taken earlier into the husband's confidence.


{100}

Wedding Calls.

There is much diversity of opinion as to how the bride is to make her
home-coming known to her friends. The fashion of sending wedding-cards
is pronounced out of date, and they are only now tolerated when
enclosed with wedding-cake to old friends. It is no longer necessary
for the bride to sit at home in expectant and solitary grandeur,
waiting for the callers to make their appearance. She is free to go
out and about as she pleases, unless, of course, she has fixed any
date upon which to receive friends. She must be careful to return all
the calls made upon her in due time, and should note the At Home days
and addresses of her new acquaintances. The simplest way is to let the
date of return filter out through friends, and if any one is really
anxious to call she will find out when to do so. In the suburbs and in
country towns the bride may quite well give an At Home to the friends
who gave her presents, and to those who were at her wedding, without
waiting for them to call upon her. The invitations would be sent out
in the wife's name only, but her husband would put in an appearance if
possible. The bride would receive her friends in one of her dainty new
frocks, and though there would be no formal display of presents, those
who had given her pretty things would be pleased to see them put to
their appointed uses. It is not a bride's place to start an
acquaintance with older married people, nor is she expected to
entertain upon a large scale during the early part of her married
life. In certain cases, notably those of professional men, the social
success of the young wife may materially affect the financial position
of her husband. I knew of a doctor's bride who gave great offence to
his patients by omitting to return her wedding calls until after her
first child was born.


The Newly-married Couple at Home.

Loneliness is one of the bride's trials. She is alone the greater part
of the day. Her things are all new, and do not require much attention
in the way of mending or altering. Her household is but small, and
once she has had her morning interview with the cook there is not much
for her to do. The novelty of her position makes her restless, and
averse to {101} going on with the pursuits that have been interrupted by
her marriage. The old familiar home life is exchanged for solitary sway,
and she does not always know how to fill up the long hours. She gets
nervous, over-wrought, and is sometimes driven out of her new home in
search of excitement.

The woman who marries on a small income and has plenty of work to do
is not so liable to this unfortunate development.

The husband should be prepared for the effect of this uprooting on his
young wife. He must not grudge her the little diversions that will
help to pass the time while he is away. A woman with tact will choose
the right moment for unburdening her mind of domestic woes. It is
generally considered a wise plan to give a man a good dinner before
you tell him anything unpleasant. The less she tells him of her petty
worries the better a wife will get on, and the more her husband will
admire her. Real troubles and grave anxieties should always be shared,
and both authority and responsibility should be divided in a household
if things are to run smoothly. It will be well for the young wife if
she can feel the matrimonial ground firmly beneath her feet before she
is called upon to bear the additional anxieties and physical trials of
approaching motherhood.


In Society.

The bride is the honoured guest at any party given on her account. She
would naturally appear in white, and if it were a grand affair she
might don a modified edition of the wedding gown. I know a youthful
bride who, having been married in a travelling dress, ordered a white
satin frock at her husband's expense in which to make her social
_début_. The average newly-married couple are not the most
entertaining companions. Their own little world is too absorbing for
them to take much interest in the trifles outside it, but it is
beautiful to see their happiness. Sometimes they are tiresome. The
bride is the chief offender. She quotes her Adolphus as the
world-oracle, and dilates on her own recent domestic discoveries as if
they were what civilised humanity had been waiting for through dark ages
of perplexity. Her superior attitude towards unmarried friends not
unfrequently leads to friction.

We must have patience with her, for she is learning a great deal, and
has not yet had time to sort it out into proper proportions.



{102}

CHAPTER XVIII


_Mixed Marriages--Differences of Colour--Nationality and
Religion--Scotch Marriages--Marriage of Minors and Wards in Chancery._


Mixed Marriages.

Love overleaps all barriers, and it is of but little use to try and
bind it. Marriage, however, is another thing, and can be prevented
even where love exists. How far it is right or advisable to do so must
be a matter of individual judgment decided by the facts of each
separate case. To take an instance. There is a very strong feeling,
especially among medical men, against the marriage of cousins. Now
love deep and true may exist between two cousins; but, seeing the
physical deterioration that comes from the intermarrying of members of
one family, it may be a plain duty to unborn generations for these two
to abstain from marriage with each other. Where there is any
hereditary disease of mind or body it is little short of criminal to
contract such a union. In the matter of _Mixed Marriages_--namely,
those between men and women differing from each other in colour,
nationality, or religion, it is generally thought that they are
fraught with grave risks.


The Question of Colour.

This does not affect us here in England as much as it does in India
and those parts of the empire where there is a coloured native
population. To those who have lived among {103} it the question is one
of burning importance. We cannot go into it here, but, seeing that
these marriages do take place even in England, a word of warning may not
be amiss. Women who are fascinated by coloured men would do well to note
that there is not a white man, good, bad, or indifferent, who does not
abhor the idea of a white woman's marrying a coloured man. This is not
the outcome of jealousy, nor yet of ignorance, for the more the
European has travelled the more rooted is his aversion to such unions.
He knows, as man with man, what the real mental attitude of those
dusky gentlemen is towards women. He knows what lies behind the
courtly manner, the nameless grace, and sensuous charm of these
impassioned lovers. No woman can know this till after marriage, and
then the knowledge does not do her much good. Let any woman who
contemplates a marriage with a coloured man, no matter how high his
caste may be, take counsel with some man who has lived among the dark
races and who cannot possibly be suspected of jealousy, and she will
learn that which may save her from an infinity of suffering.


Different Nationalities.

Among Europeans intermarriage is fairly frequent, and may turn out
well. No doubt it is a success in many cases, but where it is, I think
it will be found that either the man has become cosmopolitan in his
ideas or the woman has lived long enough abroad to fit in with
continental modes of life. The English girl who has been educated in a
French convent will not have the same difficulty in pleasing a French
husband or adapting herself to his ways as the home-reared girl who
meets "Monsieur Blanc" on her first visit to the Continent.

Without a fairly wide knowledge of the home life to which marriage
with a foreigner will lead, an English, Scotch, or Irish girl is
running a great risk by taking such a final step as matrimony, for in
no other country in Europe have women quite the same position as in
the British Isles. The more restricted the mental horizon of the one
may be, the less likelihood is there of perfect sympathy between
husband and wife.


{104}

The Necessary Formalities.

Where such a marriage has been decided upon, there are many
preliminary regulations to be observed. As my legal friend remarks: "A
strict observance of the marriage laws of foreign countries, where one
of the parties to a marriage is English and it takes place in England,
is most necessary, or a person may find herself or himself married in
England but legally repudiated abroad. In France the consent of
parents is required up to the age of twenty-five, and if refused, what
are called three respectful summonses are to be made. If consent be still
withheld, the party can marry legally." There was a case recently in the
English papers of a marriage between two French people being annulled
because the ceremony had been performed in England without the proper
formalities having been observed in France.

"In Germany the fact of the betrothal and intention to marry must be
advertised in newspapers circulating in the district or districts in
which the parties reside, and if one of them resides in England then
in an English newspaper. In Germany notice has also to be given to the
town-clerk or some like official."

Any marriage that is legal in the country where it is contracted is
valid in Switzerland. An Englishwoman marrying an Italian may be
married in England according to the rites of her own church, but a
copy of the marriage certificate must be sent to the nearest Italian
consul, who forwards it to the authorities of the man's native town or
place of residence. There should be no delay in doing this, as no
marriage is legal in Italy if not registered within three months of
its celebration.

There have been so many sad results from irregular mixed marriages
that at the February meeting of the Lower House of Convocation at York
a resolution was moved: "In view of the grave scandals arising in
respect to marriages between English and foreign subjects asking the
Upper House to consider the desirability of issuing an order to the
beneficed clergy and the diocesan registrars requiring that when a
foreigner gives notice of his intention to be married to an English
subject the marriage should not be solemnised till a consular
certificate was produced that the laws of the foreign country had been
complied with."


{105}

British Subjects Living Abroad.

No British subject, especially a woman, should agree to any form of
marriage without having first applied to the British consul of the
district, or to the embassy if there is one, for full particulars and
instructions for the contracting of a legal marriage in a foreign
country under the _Foreign Marriage Act of_ 1892. An Englishwoman
takes the nationality of the man she marries.

A marriage that would be illegal in England is unaffected by any
ceremony performed in the presence of authorised persons abroad should
the parties return to this country. For instance, a man who wishes to
marry his deceased wife's sister can go to a country where such a
marriage is legal and be married; but if the couple return to England
they are not man and wife in the eyes of the law.


Different Religious Persuasions.

Where there is a difference of religious faith and practice between
the man and woman, there will not only be the marriage ceremony to
arrange but there should be a clear, written agreement as to which
faith any children that may be born are to be reared in. The Roman
Church does not recognise marriage except when solemnised by her own
priests, but if one of the parties is not a Romanist the ceremony may
be afterwards gone through in an English church or Nonconformist
chapel. A Jew in England can be married by a registrar, but probably
the majority of Jews in England are married in a synagogue, in which
case a registrar is in attendance.

Any one who marries a Romanist should bear in mind that the dearest
aim of every faithful member of their Church is to bring others into
the fold. Many Nonconformists are willing and even anxious to be
married in the parish church of their district. It may be generally
said, save in the above-named case, that the woman gets her own way
about the religious ceremony. Where strong prejudice exists on either
side the matter may be settled by a civil contract; but apart from the
real question of religion, marriage before a registrar has not the
{106} social prestige which still clings to the time-honoured custom
of exchanging marital vows in the House of God.


Scotch Marriages.

The old law as to Scotch irregular marriages has been modified of late
years, and Gretna marriages are no longer recognised.

Twenty-one days' residence since 1896 is required, but otherwise
acknowledgment before witnesses is a legal marriage. In the year 1878
an Act entitled _An Act to encourage Regular Marriage in Scotland_ was
passed, and under it ministers may celebrate marriages on a
certificate from a registrar, which is equivalent to the publication
of banns. This certificate is issued by registrars on receiving notice
of the intended marriage. The registrar posts the notice in the
prescribed mode, and, if no objection is received, grants his
certificate. The notice must be given to the registrar of the district
or districts in which the parties have resided for fifteen days at
least.


Marriage of Minors and Wards in Chancery.

If a minor who is a ward in Chancery marries without the consent of
the Lord Chancellor (who takes care that proper settlements are made
of the ward's property), he or she commits a contempt of court, and is
liable to punishment accordingly. A minor who will inherit property
can be made a ward by settling £100 upon him or her and making a
proper application to the court. There is no law against two minors
marrying, but the consent of parents is required.



{107}

CHAPTER XIX


_Foreign Etiquette of Marriage--Quaint Customs and Strange
Superstitions._


Continental Weddings.

Many of the national, picturesque customs have disappeared from the
weddings of the townspeople and the more educated classes on the
Continent; but many distinctive points of etiquette still remain, and
we shall find that in matters of detail there is much that differs
from our English ways.

In _Germany_ it is impossible for young people to marry without the
consent of their parents or legal guardians, and unless certain
prescribed forms are gone through, the marriage will be null and void.
So many certificates of birth, parentage, etc., have to be produced
that, it is said, the working classes can neither afford the time nor
the money necessary for a legal marriage; so many of them do without
it. The husband is the lord and master; his wife's property passes
into his keeping and is at his absolute disposal. He may compel her to
work, and even if the pair be divorced he still retains her money. As
German girls are brought up to expect this, it does not strike them as
any hardship, and most of them are quite happy to be under the sway of
their liege lords.

The chief festivity of a German wedding is the _Polterabend_, a
somewhat hilarious party given the night before. The young friends of
the bride enact charades, or give living pictures illustrative of the
chief events in her childhood and youth. There is much merriment, and,
I believe, the breaking of crockery has a part in the proceedings. The
bridesmaids are accompanied by an equal number of young men, called
_Brautführer_. The bridal wreath is always of myrtle, not orange
blossom, and the bride and bridegroom exchange rings. Customs vary
according to social station and locality.

{108} At a South German peasant's wedding there is wild rejoicing and
much ceremony. The guests are invited by a messenger, who draws devices
on the doorsteps of those he has to summon to the feast. There is music
and dancing, processions are formed to and from the church, the bride
is hailed with flowers, and all sorts of emblematical offerings are
taken to church. The bridegroom stuffs his pockets with samples of
what he hopes will constitute his worldly wealth. If he never looks
back between the house and the altar, the bride knows that he will
never want a second wife. For those who have the leisure and
opportunity to study these peasant marriages a curious compound of
sentiment, superstition, and practical common sense will present
itself.


In Norway

the bride who has preserved her maiden state untarnished--it is not
necessarily expected of her--is crowned with a high, glittering crown
inlaid with gems, which is the property of the church, and can be
hired for five dollars. Special music is also performed in her honour
by the rustic musicians. Wedding festivities are marked by unbounded
hospitality. There is food and drink for all. When the procession is
formed the bride walks last, clad in a gorgeous  costume which also
may be hired. There are both bridesmaids and bride-leaders, the latter
being married women who lend their moral support to the bride. The
couple kneel in the church under a sort of canopy made out of shawls
and scarves held up by the bridesmaids. After the ceremony an amount
of eating, drinking, and dancing go on that we can hardly imagine. The
bridegroom has a last sort of romp with his bachelor friends, and has
to be wrested from them by the married men. The bride dances off her
crown, is then blindfolded and surrounded by a ring of her
bridesmaids, and places her crown upon the head of one of them who is
claimed as the next bride. Before the cake is cut each friend lays a
coin upon it, and toasts are drunk with enthusiasm. In some provinces
the bride has to run away and hide the day after the wedding. A grand
search is then made, and she is carried home with much ado. This
practice still prevails among some of the native African tribes and
the aborigines of Australia.


{109}

In Brittany

the bridegroom pretends to "capture" his bride. He makes a mock
assault upon her house, which is carefully closed with locks and bolts
against him. The besieging party take bagpipes to while away the time.
Much parleying goes on, and every female member of the bride's family
is offered to the bridegroom by one of her male relations, who is the
chosen tormentor. When she finally does appear the pair exchange
sprigs of myrtle or orange blossom, and there is a dance. Before the
party starts for the church they all kneel in prayer, and the bride
takes a touching farewell of her parents. Feasting and revelry finish
up the day.


In Italy

the bride becomes entirely one of her husband's family, and his mother
is all-powerful. Before the marriage the couple, accompanied by three
witnesses, must go before the appointed authorities, and a document is
drawn up stating that they wish to marry. The witnesses sign this
paper to show that there is no impediment to the marriage. The
document is then posted up outside a stated public building for the
inspection of the passers-by. If no one makes any objection before the
end of a fortnight, the couple may then make a legal civil contract,
and nothing more is required. This arrangement was made to check the
power of the priests, who manipulated marriages much to their own
fancy under the Papal government. A youth must be eighteen and a girl
sixteen before they can marry. There are many superstitions about the
lucky and unlucky days for marriages. Sunday is the favoured day.
There are hardly ever any bridesmaids at an Italian wedding, as girls
are not supposed to be present on such occasions, so the married women
accompany the bride.


In Russia

no man under thirty nor woman under twenty-five may marry without the
consent of parents, but in the event of unreasonable opposition an
appeal may be made to the law. Both bride and bridegroom must give
costly presents {110} to the Church. The man comes to claim his bride
from her parents, and she kneels before them to ask pardon for all she
may have done to vex or grieve them. They raise her with a kiss of
forgiveness, and give her bread and salt in token that they will never
let her want. When she leaves her old home the door is left open as a
sign that she may always return to it. Rich brides wear nothing but
white and orange blossom; but pale blue and a coronet of silver ribbon
are more in accordance with the national custom. The religious
ceremony has all the ritual and grandeur of the Greek Church. The
bride has to prostrate herself before her husband in token of entire
submission. The best man attends the bride, not the bridegroom, and is
chosen by her. Seven o'clock in the evening is the time for Russian
weddings to begin. Mostly newly-married couples live with the
husband's family, who greet them on their return from church with
bread and salt. A dance follows, during which the bride has to change
her dress as many times as she has different costumes in her
trousseau. The supper is served at daybreak, after which the guests
depart. In Russia the wife's name is always a little different from
that of her husband, owing to the fact that the family name when borne
by a male is a substantive and can be used alone, while in a lady's
case it is only an adjective which requires completion to give it full
meaning.


In Sweden

a rainy day is considered lucky for a marriage, as it foretells
wealth. There is barbaric feasting at the wedding, and departing
guests are given a bottle of brandy and a huge ring of wheaten bread
with which to treat those they meet on their way home. The bride is
dressed by her particular friend, or by the pastor's wife, and wears a
black, beribboned gown, ornamented with mock gems, tinsel, and
artificial flowers. She has a myrtle wreath or a crown like her
Norwegian sister. Her shoes have some symbolical reference to possible
motherhood. In the left one her father places a silver coin, while her
mother puts gold in the right shoe. These represent the necessaries
and luxuries with which they hope she will be provided. On her return
from church her mother places a sweetmeat in her mouth to make her
gentle of speech.


{111}

In Spain

the bride always retains her maiden name attached to that of her
husband, and both must be used together. Flowers form a great feature
of Spanish marriages, and in each district blossoms have special
significance. In Valentia the ceremony takes place at night, and there
is a mock "marriage by capture." All the guests must leave by 1 A.M.
In Catalonia only the nearest relations of the pair are allowed to
attend the service, but many guests are asked to the house, and each
must bring a gift. It is an insult to refuse an invitation of this
kind. The guests are divided according to sex, and when the bridegroom
is tired of the men he goes and throws sweets at the ladies, exclusive
of his wife. Then dancing follows. The bride's father gives his
daughter her house, furniture, and trousseau, while the guests are
supposed to supply her dowry. In Andalusia no ring is used, but every
married woman wears flowers in her hair over the right ear as a mark
of her matronly dignity.


In Hungary.

A society has been formed in South Hungary to enable the bride to have
her name joined with that of her husband, and it may be noted, in
passing, that in Germany and Austria the wife takes the title as well
as the name of the man she marries. She is Mrs. Dr. Braun or Mrs.
Sanitary Inspector Meyer, Mrs Colonel Schmidt, and so on. The day
before a marriage in Hungary there is a grand display of the bride's
presents and trousseau, and the more garments, household linen, and
beds she has, the prouder she feels. Two matrons and six maids clad in
white, each of the latter carrying a crown, escort the bride to
church. After the service she goes to her husband's home, where the
feast lasts for days with occasional intervals. Each guest may have a
dance with and a kiss from the bride, for which payment is made in
small coins.


In Switzerland,

as in France, the civil marriage must precede the religious ceremony.
A widow or a woman separated from her {112} husband may not marry again
till at least ten months have elapsed since the death or deed of
separation. At a peasant's wedding there is often a mistress of the
ceremonies, who distributes red and blue handkerchiefs among the
guests, in return for which she receives money for the bride. The sum
thus collected is not given to her till she has been married for
forty-eight hours. They marry young, and life is too hard to leave
them much leisure for love-making. The Swiss are not an emotional
people on the whole, and the head, generally dominates the heart with
them. Customs vary according to the locality and the canton in which
the marriage takes place.


In Denmark

the same plain gold ring does duty both for betrothal and marriage,
the bridegroom changing it from the third finger of the left hand to
the third finger of the right at the marriage ceremony.


In France

women of the upper and middle classes often wear no wedding-ring. They
seem to regard it as a badge of servitude, and leave it to their
humbler sisters. In a Roman Catholic French church the bride is
attended by one bridesmaid and a groomsman, who after the service make
a collection from the guests and hand it over to the priest. The two
perform this act very gracefully. The gentleman turns one hand palm
upwards and the lady lets her fingertips rest upon his with her palm
downwards, while, as they pass down the aisle together, each holds an
alms-bag to the company with the other hand.

At one point in the service both bride and bridegroom are, given
lighted candles to hold. Rather risky for the wedding dress! thinks
the careful woman. The bride wears a costume similar to that worn in
England, but the bridesmaid is in more ordinary afternoon dress, and
the same may be said of the guests, who do not assume a distinctively
bridal appearance. Sometimes the civil marriage takes place
immediately before the religious one, or it may be performed on the
preceding day. The Protestant service is of course very simple. Most
married men in France wear a wedding-ring.



{113}

CHAPTER XX


_Runaway Matches--Remarriage of Widows and Widowers--The
Children--The Home--Dress--Comparisons._


Runaway Matches.

The old glamour and romance that idealised the runaway match in the
days of post-chaises and wayside hostelries have been destroyed by the
express train and the telegraph wire. In spite of the change that has
come over our social life, the clandestine marriage does still take
place; in fact it has been rather boomed in high circles of late; but
it might rather be called a "walkaway" than a runaway match. It can
all be done in such a quiet, business-like manner that no notice need
be drawn to what is going on. The man who urges a young girl into a
secret marriage lays himself open to some ugly charges, for parental
tyranny is out of date, and that alone provided sufficient excuse for
such a grave step.

The man who is mean enough to bind a girl to himself by marriage
before he has a home to give her, and then sends her back to her
parents as if nothing had happened, is not calculated to make a good
husband, unless his offence has the excuse of extreme youth. Let him
work his hardest and trust the girl to wait for him. If she will not
do that, it is certainly not worth while to commit a dishonourable
action for her sake.

The couple who marry and keep the fact a secret because they are
afraid of losing some one's money if they tell the truth, would have
done better to wait, or to tell each other that love was not good
enough without the wherewithal to gild it. In England no one can be
forced into a marriage, and all are free to choose whom they like {114}
as soon as they are of age; so why stain the start of their wedded life
by deception and falsehood? The seeds of distrust and contempt may
thus be sown in hearts where there should be mutual love and trust,
and then bitter fruits will spring up when once the novelty is over.
Given patience, honesty, and fidelity, there need be no secret
marriages in this empire.

A private marriage celebrated in the presence of only a few chosen
friends is what many may prefer and desire; but considering the
inevitable slur contained in the words: "_Why_ did they do it?" the
woman, at least, would do well to refrain from the sweets of stolen
waters.


Second Marriages.

Dr. Johnson pronounced a second marriage to be "The triumph of Hope
over Experience." Others who are less epigrammatic affirm that to take
a second partner is the highest compliment that can be paid to the
departed first. In some cases the real romance of marriage only awakes
with the second wooing. It by no means follows that it must be a dull,
prosaic, practical transaction.


The Children.

The great question in the remarriage of parents with children under
age is the welfare of those children, and the choice of husband or
wife, especially the latter, should be largely influenced by this
consideration. The step-father is not held in such disfavour as the
step-mother, probably because his relations with the young people are
not so intimate.


The Widow.

A genial student of womankind says: "A little widow is a dangerous
thing! She knows not only her own sex but the other too, and knowledge
is power. She is experienced, accessible, and free, and withal fatally
fascinating. There is a great charm in loving a woman who is versed in
the lore of love, and is practised in all the sleight-of-heart tricks
of it." Her courtship is more untrammelled than that of a {115} single
woman. Her position is all in her favour. If she is very young, she
will probably have a companion, or live with some relative. If she has
small children they can afford a very convenient element of propriety
when a lover comes to woo.

She does not always have a second engagement ring; she may prefer some
other trinket. It is also a matter of taste whether she retain her
first wedding-ring in its place or not. If she decides to banish it
she should do so before going to be married.


Dress.

Grey is no longer the compulsory shade for a widow's wedding frock.
Any light, delicate colour may be worn; but a woman has only one
_white_ wedding and one bridal veil in her life. The widow is not
supposed to make a display over her wedding. An air of somewhat
chastened joy is considered more suitable. Instead of bridesmaids she
has one lady attendant who should be in her place in church before the
bride arrives, and be ready to move to her side when required, to take
the gloves and bouquet (which should not be composed of purely white
flowers, nor is orange blossom permissible). There may be a second
edition of the wedding cake and the presents, but favours and floral
tributes are things of the past.


The Home.

If the widow has a nice home of her own she and her husband may decide
to live in it; but he will need to exercise tact in taking up his
position as master of a household that has hitherto gone on quite well
without him. An entire change of servants would probably be advisable
if not inevitable. The wife would be careful to give him his full
dignity, and not to let it appear that he was to be regarded in the
light of a pensioner on her bounty.


The Widower.

A man whose wife dies leaving him with young children, or even one
baby, is in a most pathetic position, and the best thing he can do is
to find some nice woman to console him and mother the little ones. It
is a pity that the two {116} qualifications cannot always go together.
It is rather risky for a sister or a niece to regard the home offered her
by a widowed brother or uncle as a permanency. Men who are apparently
satisfied with existing arrangements have a way of springing surprises
upon their devoted womenfolk, and when the new wife appears, the
sister or niece who has tided him over the worst part of his life must
find a home elsewhere. Of course the man is quite within his rights,
but I would warn those who may be living in a fool's paradise.

The widower with a house or estate would, naturally, consult the
future mistress of it about any alterations he proposed making before
his marriage. On her visits of inspection she would either be
chaperoned by her mother or some married relation; but, if more
convenient, he would ask a lady friend to come and meet her. If he had
a grown-up daughter she would continue to preside over his household
till after his marriage. It is not fair for a man to take a second
wife without giving any previous intimation to his adult sons and
daughters who may still be making their home with him. The
installation of a girl step-mother over youths of her own age places
them all in rather a difficult position, and has the possible making
of a tragedy in it. The widower who marries a spinster may go through
all the glories of a smart wedding for a second or third time if he
likes, seeing that it is the condition of the bride that decides such
matters.


Comparison with the Predecessor.

Those who play the role of No. 2 must make up their minds to be
compared, in thought if not in word, involuntarily if not
intentionally, with No. 1, and the process need not necessarily be
painful. Unless there has been some distressing or tragic element in
the first marriage, why should the memory of the dead be banished,
except by jealousy or inconstancy? It is not generous of No. 2 to try
and sweep away all traces of the predecessor. The man or woman who
will lightly abandon all the memories of the partner of youth, is not
so calculated to make an ideal companion for middle age as the one who
cherishes a tender regard for the dead side by side with an honest
love for the living.



{117}

CHAPTER XXI


_Marrying for Love; for Money; for a Home; for a
Housekeeper--Concluding Remarks._


Marrying for Love.

In spite of all that the cynics and pessimists may say, Love should be
the Lord of Marriage.

  "How sweet the mutual yoke of Man and Wife
   When holy fires maintain Love's heavenly life!"

True happiness cannot exist without it, however great the wealth or
exalted the position of the married pair may be, while the worst evils
of life are lightened and made bearable by its presence. Marrying for
love need not mean improvidence. Only an unreasoning passion based on
selfishness will plunge the beloved into privation and want. The
highest, truest love has its substratum of common sense,
self-restraint, and thought for others.

It is very hard to draw the line, for vices and virtues tread somewhat
closely on each other's heels. The division between prudence and
cowardice is often ill-defined. The love that rushes into poverty that
it is not strong enough to endure, has in it an element of the
selfishness that makes another sit still in comfort while the path is
being made smooth for her soft tread.

There are those who laugh at love, and say that mutual respect and
sufficient means are the only two reliable things with which to enter
upon matrimony. Both these excellent possessions may, however, be
quite compatible with love, in fact the former is bound to be included
in the softer passion or it will not wear very well. No one will deny
that a marriage founded on mere mutual respect may one day be {118}
crowned by true and lasting love; nor yet that pre-matrimonial love may
die a speedy or even violent death soon after the lovers are united;
but these possibilities do not alter the fact that taking things all
round, Love is the best and most precious asset with which to begin
married life.


Marrying for Money.

There are many marriages that are casually put under this heading
which do not deserve to be. A man's position may be such that it will
mean ruin to him if he adds to his expenses by taking a wife without a
penny. He honourably refrains from making any advances to girls who
are so situated; but that does not prevent his becoming really
attached to one whose income will make married life possible for him.
The possession of money does not make a woman unlovable for herself,
though it may give her an unenviable experience at the hands of the
fortune hunter.

The cold, calculating nature that deliberately plans a mercenary
marriage is probably satisfied for the time being by the acquisition
of the coveted wealth. Little pity will be given when the long-starved
human element of the man or woman begins to cry out for something more
than money can buy.

There are excuses for some mercenary alliances. The sorely-tried
daughter of impecunious parents, whose youth has been clouded by grey,
grinding poverty, and who sees the prospects of her brothers and
sisters blighted by lack of means to start them in life, is to be
pardoned, if not commended, when she marries for money, but she should
not deceive the man who gives it to her if she does not love him.

The man with talents and high ambitions may easily be tempted to take
the wife whose money will open a field for the realisation of his
hopes. He would be more of a man if he fought his way through alone.
The curse of it all is that no one marrying for money dares say so. It
would be brutal, no doubt; and unless there were some fair equivalent
to offer in exchange, probably few such marriages would take place.
When the cloak of simulated love is thrown over the real motive, often
only to be cast aside as soon as the prize is secured, it is hard not
to feel contempt and indignation.

{119} Marriage _with_ money is a necessity; marriage _for_ money is a
mere business affair, a travesty of the sacred institution.

"He that marries for money sells his liberty." It is humiliating
enough for a woman, but immeasurably mean in a man.


Marrying for a Home.

The woman with strong domestic instincts, who dreads to face life
alone, or has grown weary in the attempt to wage the fight
single-handed, often yields to the temptation of marrying one who can
give her a home, with only a secondary regard for the man himself. If
she duly counts the cost and does not ask too much, the plan may
succeed very well; but the entirely domestic woman does not hold the
highest place in a man's mind. He may fully value the creature
comforts she ensures for him, but she so soon becomes a drudge, and so
soon loses touch with the higher side of his nature that he will
probably seek sympathy elsewhere, and salve his conscience with the
thought that he has given her what she really wanted most.

She must never forget that she has to reckon with the man who has
provided her with a home; and she will probably have to repay him in
whatever coin he may choose.


Marrying for a Housekeeper.

The man who must keep a home together and maintain appearances grows
tired of wrestling with domestic problems, and either dreads the
sudden departure of his cook-housekeeper or trembles under her
tyrannical sway. He finally takes a lady who cannot give him a month's
notice, nor leave his roof by stealth without unpleasant consequences
to herself. When he thus primarily marries for a housekeeper who will
promote his own comfort, he should be satisfied if she shows the
needful domestic efficiency. He sometimes finds that the one who was
intended to be little more than a dependant turns out to be his
mistress. There are plenty of level-headed women who have done with
romance, and who are perfectly willing to take up the position of wife
to a man who honestly states that he requires a companion to {120} help
his digestion by conversing at meals, to manage his house, entertain
his guests, and darn his socks. When such a couple meet together let
them show mutual respect for each other's motives, and invest the
arrangement with comfort and dignity in the absence of tenderer
emotions.


Concluding Remarks.

However short a marriage may fall of the high ideal standpoint, there
should never be recrimination in public between man and wife, nor the
utterance of taunts as to the avarice, expediency, or cowardice that
may have influenced either side in the presence of a third person. Few
attain to the highest happiness of which we are capable in this state:
few, perhaps, make the most of what they have; yet it is very rare to
find a married woman who honestly wishes herself single, and that is a
powerful argument in favour of an institution which seems to give the
weaker sex her full share of the burden. There is much soul-disquieting
discussion nowadays on the relative positions of the sexes. The following
lines express that which surely might make marriage a very heaven on
earth:--

                 "This is Woman's need;
  To be a beacon when the air is dense,
  A bower of peace, a lifelong recompense--
    This is the sum of Woman's worldly creed.

  And what is Man the while? And what his will?
    And what the furtherance of his worldly hope?
    To turn to Faith, to turn, as to a rope
  A drowning sailor; all his blood to spill
  For One he loves, to keep her out of ill--
    This is the will of Man, and this his scope."



{121}

INDEX

Courtship and Marriage, Etiquette of--
  Acting as a host during, 28
  Amateur acting and, 17
  Artistic fellowship in, 16
  Athletic comradeship in, 16
  Best age for, 41
  Between friends who have become lovers, 34
  Breaches of etiquette in, 19, 25
  Danger to be avoided in, a, 27
  Dark side of an unequally aged, 43
  Drifting in, 42
  Etiquette for the man who lives at home in, 27
  Etiquette for the man who lives in rooms, 28
  Exchange of hospitality in, 26
  Hints to the man about the girl's family, 23
  Hints to the man making up his mind about, 17
  "Ineligibles" and, 17
  Intellectual affinity in, 16
  Kindly offices of relations and friends, 23
  Love at first sight, 22
  Middle-aged lovers, 44
  Old men who court youth, 43
  Opportunities for, 16
  Question of age in, the, 41
  Question of presents, the, 26
  Social inequality in, 32
  Social intercourse and its etiquette, 18
  Tact shown in, 19
  The girl's case, 22
  The man's case, 22
  With the bachelor girl, 30
  With the business girl, 31
  With the dramatic student, 33
  With the home girl, 30
  With the medical student and hospital nurse, 33
  With the student or professional girl, 32
  Young lovers, 42
  Young men who woo maturity, 42

Engagements--
  Attitude of parents and guardians in, 52
  Breaking off, 62
  Clandestine, 62
  Congratulations on, 53
  Etiquette of in former days, 51
  Friends who act as go-betweens, 63
  Going about together, 58
  His visits to her home, 56
  In France, 66
  In Germany, 66
  In Greece, 69
  In Hungary, 69
  In Italy, 65
  In Norway, 69
  In Russia, 67
  In Spain, 67
  In Sweden, 68
  In Switzerland, 68
  Justifiable clandestine, 63
  Length of, the, 61
  Letters from and to future mothers-in-law, 55
  Love-letters, 60
  Making acquaintance with future relations, 54
  Making them known, 53
  Parent's refusal to, 52
  Question of expenses in, 58
  Telling friends at a distance, 53
  The engaged couple--
    In public, 56
    In society, 57
    Visiting at the same house, 58
  The interview with the father, 51
  The ring, 54
  What the girl should avoid in, 54
  When the mother shares the secret, 63

{122}

Etiquette--
  How to follow up an acquaintance, 23
  Of intercourse between unconfessed lovers, 25
  Of Introductions, 21

Flirts--
  Female--
    Due reserve of, 39
    How they accept a changed situation, 39
    How they may give encouragement, 39
    How to ward off unwelcome offers, 40
    Methods of, 37
    Transparent devices of, 40
  Kindly spontaneous flirts, 37
  Male--
    Making a girl conspicuous, 36
    Slow awakening of, 39
    Two classes of, 36
    Ways of escape for, 38
    Who change their minds on the verge of a proposal, 38
    To withdraw gracefully from a flirtation, 38

Honeymoon, the--
  Disillusion, passing or permanent, 96
  How long to stay on, 94
  Inevitable test of temperament, 95
  Possible disappointments in, 95

House, the--
  Bride's share in the matter, 80
  Furnishing, 79
  Selection of, 79
  Things to be considered, 80

Marriage--
  Bride's burdens, the, 72
  Bridesmaids' dresses, 73
  Choice of bridesmaids, the, 72
  Concluding remarks about, 120
  Different nationalities, between, 103
  Expenses of, 73
  Fixing the day, 71
  Invitations to the, 75
  Mixed, 102
  Necessary formalities in mixed, 104
  Of British subjects living abroad, 105
  Of different religious persuasions, 105

Marriages--
  Of minors and wards in Chancery, 106
  Proposals--
    A woman's point of view, 48
    A warning to women, 50
    Methods of, 46
    Some things to avoid in, 47
    Tact in choosing the opportunity for, 46
    Too keen a sense of humour in, 47
    Too much haste in, 47
    Vaguely worded offers, 48
    When a woman may help, 49
    When the woman may take the initiative, 49
  Question of colour, the, 102
  Scotch, 106
  Trousseau, the, 74
  Wedding frocks, 73

Marrying--
  For a home, 119
  For a housekeeper, 119
  For love, 117
  For money, 118

Newly married couple, the--
  At home, 100
  In society, 101

Return home, the--
  Housekeeping, on, 98
  Money matters, on, 99
  Plunge into the practical, on, 98
  Wedding calls, 100
  What it means, 97

Runaway matches, 113

Second marriages--
  Children, the, 114
  Comparison with the predecessor, 116
  Dress for a widow, 115
  For and against, 114
  Home, the, 115
  Widower, the, 115
  With a widow, 114

Wedding, the--
  Banns, 81
  Bride's dowry, the, 85
  Civil contract, the, 83
  Licence for, 82
  Nature of the ceremony, the, 81
  Religious ceremony, the, 81
  Settlements, 84
  Witnesses for, 83

Wedding day, the--
  Arrangement of seats on, 90
  At the bride's house, 89
  Best man, the, 88
  Bride's parents, the, 88
  Bridegroom, the, 88
  {123} Bridesmaids, the, 87
  Dressing the bride, 89
  Etiquette of, 86
  Guests, the, 92
  Journey, the, 94
  Luggage on, 94
  Presents on view, 93
  Social side, the, 90
  Some items of expense, 91
  Starting for the honeymoon, 93
  Tying of the knot, the, 90
  What is expected of the bride, 87
  Where to go for the honeymoon, 94

Wedding presents--
  Art of giving, the, 78
  How to send them, 78
  Temptation, a, 78
  What to give, 77

Weddings, Continental--
  Breton, 109
  Danish, 112
  French, 112
  German, 107
  Hungarian, 111
  Italian, 109
  Norwegian, 108
  Russian, 109
  Spanish, 111
  Swedish, 110
  Swiss, 111



THE END





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Etiquette of Engagement and Marriage - Describing Modern Manners and Customs of Courtship and Marriage, and giving Full Details regarding the Wedding Ceremony and Arrangements" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home