Obrazy na stronie

matron—as little would the latter whole in a clean sheet of white exchange her tight-fitting coat for letter-paper. With this coin in the wide - hanging cloak of the his pocket, he repairs to the next other woman.

village dance, and takes an opporUntil quite lately, unions have tunity of slipping it unobserved very seldom taken place between into the maiden's hand while they members of these two races. Only are dancing together. By no word within the last twenty years, have or look does she betray any consome of the Saxon men awoke to sciousness of his action, and only the consciousness that the Austrian when back at home she prowomen made better and more ac- duces the gift, and acquaints her tive housewives than their own parents with what has taken place. phlegmatic country - women, and A family council is then held as to have consequently sought them in the merits of the pretendant, and marriage. Even then, when both the expediency of accepting or reparties are willing, and all prelimi- jecting the proposal. If the latter naries have been arranged, many a be decided upon, the maiden must projected union makes shipwreck hasten to intrust the silver coin to on the inflexibility of the two a near female relation of the young fathers, who will neither con- man, who, on receiving it back, is cede the least trifle to the other's given thereby to understand that wishes. Thus, for instance, when he has nothing further to hope in the Saxon father of the bridegroom that direction ; but if three days demands that his future daughter- have elapsed without the gift being 'in-law should adopt Saxon attire returned, he is entitled io regard when she becomes the wife of his this as a consent, and may comson, the Austrian father, as likely mence to visit in the house, on the as not, will take offence, and with- footing of an official wooer. In draw his consent at the last mo- cases of rejection, it is considered ment. Not a pin nor a bow will as a point of honour that no word either of these two consent to should betray any hint of what sacrifice to their children's hap- has passed to the outside world—a piness.

delicate reticence one is surprised Thus many hopeful marriages to find in these simple folk. have been nipped in the bud, and This giving of the silver coin is those few which have been accom- probably a remnant of the old cusplished, have been almost invari- tom of buying the bride, and in ably based on the understanding many villages it is still usual to that each party retains its own talk of the Braut Kaufen. attire, the daughters following the To return, however, to the land mother, the sons the father, in the of oats, where, after the harvest matter of costume.

has been got in successfully, the Among the Ländlers, the mar- bridegroom prepares to make fast riage proposal takes place in a way the matter, or, in other words, offiwhich deserves to be mentioned. cially to demand the maiden's hand The youth having secretly fixed of her parents. It is not consistupon the girl he would like to ent with village etiquette, however, make his wife, prepares a new that the bridegroom in spe should silver thaler (about 25. 6d.) by apply directly to the father of his winding round it a piece of bright- intended, but he must depute coloured ribbon, and wrapping the some near relation, or an intimate

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friend, to bring forward the re- presence herein may in no wise
quest. The girl's parents, on their inconvenience you or put you
side, likewise appoint a represen- to shame, but that I may always
tative to transmit the answer. comport myself with honour and
These two ambassadors are called propriety, and that you may have
the Wortmacher, "wordmakers" no cause for displeasure in listen-
-sometimes also the Hochzeits- ing to the few words I have come
väter, “ wedding fathers ”—and are hither to say.
treated with marked consideration It has not remained unknown
and deference during the wedding to me, dearest neighbour, that

many years ago you were pleased Much talking and speechifying to enter the holy state of matriare required to transact a peasant mony, taking to yourself a beloved wedding correctly from beginning wife, with whom you have lived to end, and a fluent and eloquent ever since in peace and happiWortmacher is therefore a much- ness; and that furthermore, the prized individual. Each village Almighty God, not wishing to has its own set formulas for each leave you alone in your union, of the like occasions—long-winded was pleased to bless you, not only pompous speeches, rigorously ad- with transitory temporal goods, but hered to, and admitting of neither with

offspring - with curtailment nor alteration. The dearly beloved children — to be following fragment of one of these your joy

comfort. And speeches will give a correct notion amongst

these dearly beloved of the general style of Saxon ora- children is a daughter, who has tion.

prospered and grown up in the It is the Hochzeitsvater who, in fear of the Lord to be a comely the name of the young man's pa- and virtuous maiden. rents, speaks as follows :

" And as likewise it may not “A good morning to you here- be unknown to you, that many with, dear neighbours, and I further years ago we too thought fit to wish to hear that you have rested enter the holy state of matrimony, softly this night, and been enabled and that the Lord likewise was to rise in health and strength this pleased to bless our union, not morning. And such being the with temporal goods and riches, case, I will thank the Almighty but with various beloved chilfor His mercies towards you; and dren, among whom is a son, who should your health, and the peace has grown up, not in a garden of and happiness of your household, roses, but in care and toil, and in not be as good as might be desired fear of the Lord. in every respect, so at least will i " And now this same son, havthank the Almighty God that He ing grown to be a man, has likehas made your lot endurable, and wise bethought himself of enterbeg Him further to send you in ing the holy state of matrimony, future only so much grief and and has prayed the Lord to guide trouble as you may be enabled him wisely in his choice, and to patiently to bear at a time. give him a virtuous and God-fear• Furthermore, I

your ing companion. forgiveness that I have made bold " Therefore he has been led over to enter your house thus early in mountains and valleys, through the morning, and trust that my forests and rivers, over rocks and


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precipices, until he came to your misfortune is not so great, and house, and cast his eyes on the it will then be time enough to virtuous maiden your daughter. seek for a divorce.” And the Lord having been pleased When the answer to the proto touch the hearts of the two posal has been a consent, then the young people with a mighty love compact is sealed by a feast, called for each other, they have begged the Brautvertrinken (bride-drinkme to come hither to crave your ing), to which are invited only the consent to letting them become nearest relations on either side, man and wife.”

the places of honour at the head Probably the young couple have of the table being given to the grown up within sight of each two ambassadors who have transother, the garden of the one father acted the business. adjoining the pig-sty of the other, A second banquet, of a more but the formula must be adhered solemn nature, is held some four to notwithstanding, and neither weeks later, after the rings have rocks nor precipices omitted from been exchanged in the presence of the programme of the speech; and the pastor. even if the parents of the bride be The 25th of November, feast of a byword in the village for their St Katherine, is in many districts noisy domestic quarrels, yet the the day selected for tying all these little fiction of conjugal happiness marriage-knots. When this is must be kept up all the same, not the case, then the weddings with a magnificent sacrifice of ver- take place in Carnival, oftenest in acity to etiquette worthy of any the week following the Sunday diplomatic newspaper discussing a when the gospel of the Marriage royal alliance. And in point of at Cana has been read in church, fact, a disinterested love-match and Wednesday is considered the amongst Saxon peasants is about most lucky day for the purpose. as rare a thing as a genuine court- The preparations for the great ship between reigning princes. day occupy the best part of a week Most often it is a simple business in every house which counts either contract, arranged between the a bride or a bridegroom among its heads of the families, who each inmates. There are loaves and of them hope to reap advantages cakes of various sorts and shapes from the contemplated alliance. to be baked, fowls and pigs to be It too often happens that young slaughtered — in wealthier houses girls of fifteen, and even younger, even the sacrifice of a calf or ox is having no experience of life or of considered de rigueur for the wedtheir own feelings, are persuaded ding feast; and when this is the by their parents to give their case, the tongue is carefully rehand with indifference, or even moved, and, placed upon the best dislike, to some man whose pro- china plate, with a few laurel-leaves perty happens to fit in conveni- by way of decoration, is carried to ently; and when they urge the the parsonage as

the customary want of sympathy to the husband offering for the reverend Herr Vater proposed, these objections are met (the pastor). by the practical advice of the The other needful provisions for long-sighted parents—“try him for the banquet are collected in the a time, and perhaps you will get following simple manner. On the to like him; and if not, well the afternoon of the Sunday preced


ing the wedding, six young men bunches and bundles, is stretched belonging to the brotherhood are across the entrance. The women despatched by the Altknecht from now advance with much clatter of house to house, where, striking a pots and pans, and pretend to deresounding knock on each door, fend the yard against the besiegers; they make the village street re- but the men tear down the rope echo with their cry, Bringt and drive in triumphantly, each

, Rahm !_bring cream.

catching at a straw bundle in passThis is invitation which ing. Some of these are found to none durst refuse. All those who contain cakes or apples, others only belong to that neighbourhood are broken crockery or egg-shells. bound to send contributions in the The young men sit up late into shape of milk and cream, eggs or the night, splitting up the logs into butter, lard or bacon, to the wed- suitable size for firewood. Their ding houses within their quarter. duties further consist in lighting Every gift, even the smallest one the fire, drawing water from the of a couple of eggs, is received with well, and putting it to boil on the thanks, and the bringer rewarded hearth. Thus they work till well by a draught of wine.

into the small hours of the mornNext day the women of both ing, now and then refreshing themfamilies assemble to bake the loaves selves with a hearty draught of for the wedding feast; the future home-made wine, the women meanmother-in-law of the bride-elect while having lain down to rest. keeping a sharp look-out on the When all is prepared, it is then girl, to note whether she acquit the turn of the men to take some herself creditably of her household sleep, and they wake the girls with duties. This day is in fact a sort an old song, running somewhat as of final exarnination the bride has follows:to pass through, in order to prove herself worthy of her new dignity;

“ All in the early morning grey and woe to the maiden who is dil

A lass would rise at break of day.

Arise, arise, atory in mixing the dough or awk- Fair lass arise, ward in kneading the loaves !

And ope your eyes, While this is going on, the

For darkness fies,

young men have been to the forest to

And your true love will come to-day. fetch wood; for it is a necessary The lassie would so early fill condition that the wood for heat- Her pitcher at the running rill. ing the oven where the wedding

Awake, awake, loaves are baked should be brought

Fair lass awake,

The dawn doth break, in expressly for this occasion, even Your pitcher take, if there be small wood in plenty

For come to-day your true love will." lying ready for use in the shed.

The cart is gaily decorated with Another song of equally ancient flowers and streamers, and the origin is sung the evening before wood conveyed home with much the marriage, when the bride noise and merriment, much in the takes leave of her friends and relaancient English style of bringing

tions : in the Yule log. On their return from the forest, the courtyard gate is found to be closed, or else a rope “I walked beside the old church wall, from which are depended straw My love stood there, but weeping all.




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I greeted her, and then she spake : Woe's me! but those who part can teil • Dear love, my heart is like to break. How sharp the pain to say farewell! I must away, I must be gone; When to return, God knows alone! And when I came before the gate, When to return?_when the black crow The bolt was drawn, and I must wait; Bears on its wing plumes white as And when I came to the wooden bench, snow!'

Thy said, •She's but a peevish wench!'

Woe's me! but those who part can tell I set two roses in my father's land- How sharp the pain to say farewell ! O father, dearest father, give again thy hand!

And when I came to the strangers' I set two roses in my mother's land

hearth, O mother, dearest mother, give me They whispered, “She is little worth ;' again thy hand!

And when I came before the bed, I must away, I must be gone;

I sighed, would I were yet a maid ! When to return, God knows alone!

Woe's me! but those who part can tell When to return ?-when the black crow

How sharp the pain to say farewell ! Bears on his wing plumes white as snow!

My house is built of goodly stone,

But in these walls I feel so lone ! I set two roses in my brother's land- A mantle of finest cloth I wear, o brother, dearest brother, give me But 'neath it an aching heart I bear. again thy hand!

Loud howls the wind, wild drives the I set two roses in my sister's land

snow, O sister, dearest sister, give again Parting, oh, parting is bitterest woe! thy hand!

On the belfrey tower is a trumpet shrill, I must away, I must be gone;

But down in the churchyard the dead When to return, God knows alone!

lie still." When to return ?--When the black crow Bears on his wing plumes white as snow!

Very precise are the formalities

to be observed in inviting the I set again two roses under a bush guests.

A member of the bride's

family is deputed as Einlader O comrades, dearest playmates, I say (inviter), and, invested with

my last adieu ! No roses shall I set more in this my of his office, he goes the round

brightly painted staff as insignia native landO parents, brother, comrades, give of the friends and relations to be me once more your hand !

asked. I must away, I must be gone;

It is customary to invite all When to return, God knows alone!

kinsfolk within the sixth degree When to return ?-when the black crow Bears on his wing plumes white as of relationship, though many of snow !

these are not expected to comply

with the summons—the invitation And when I came to the dark fir-tree, in such cases being simply a matter An iron kettle my father gave me; of form, politely tendered on the And when I came unto the willow,

one side, and graciously received My mother she gave me a cap and a pillow.

on the other, but not meant to be Woe's me! but those who part can tell taken literally as being but honorHow sharp the pain to say farewell! ary invitations.

Unless particular arrangements And wben unto the bridge I came, have been made to the contrary, I turned me round and looked back it is imperative that the invita

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again; I saw no father nor mother more,

tion, in order to be valid, should And I bitterly wept, for my heart was

be repeated with all due formalities, as often as three times the


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