Saturday, September 2, 2017

The Wedding Ceremony in 1893, Japan

A Japanese Wedding Ceremony, 1893.

       One morning, in a certain city in the State of New York, a dignified old clergyman appeared in my room and invited me to attend the Japanese wedding which would take place in his church that evening. I was delighted to receive such an invitation. I thought it quite a treat to attend a Japanese wedding in this Yankee land, so far from my native soil.
       But the facts proved that it was not a true Japanese wedding. His church was behind in his salary, and were trying to raise the deficit by giving a concert where a Japanese wedding should be the attraction. So I was invited, not only to attend, but to give a lecture on Japan also. 
       He asked me earnestly to come, and promised to take me up and down in good order in his carriage, and to give me a warm bed and a warm breakfast. I accepted it cordially, not only for a warm bed and a warm breakfast, but for my curiosity to see a Japanese wedding in America.
       When we arrived at the church it was packed full of people waiting for the performance. Surety, these people take a great interest in Japan. But it took a long time for the actual appearance. Evidently it was a big job to prepare such a wedding ceremony; but after waiting patiently about half an hour the ceremony began with music. Then bride and bridegroom, with her five maids and his five best men, advanced slowly from either end of the stage, and all bowed to the floor, and then sat down in the middle of the platform.
       The bride had a long white veil and loose garment, and her face was painted with white powder. The bridegroom had a pigtail on his head, and a loose garment, and shoes on his feet. The bridesmaids had a peculiar hair dress and funny garments, as had also the best men.
       The first thing that the bride and groom did was to kiss each other, and then he presented her with a gold watch as a wedding-gift. Then the bride and groom drank something with each other at the
same time, from a queer pot which had a mouth on each side.
       During this performance her maids and his men were sitting down on the floor, drinking tea and eating pop-corn.
       This is all I saw of this Japanese wedding. Was it a Japanese wedding? I suppose this is a new invention of a Japanese wedding ceremony for America, or a new importation from Japan to fit American people. I think it more proper to call it a -- cosmopolitan -- wedding, for different national characteristics are represented in it.
       The Japanese never kiss on any occasion before the public to show their affection. A Japanese bride will not wear a long, thin, white veil, and Japanese never have a pigtail on their heads. A pigtail denotes a Chinese, no question. Kissing is an American custom. I don't know to what nation belongs the custom of eating popcorn in a wedding ceremony. Possibly it is an Indian custom. Allow me to describe the true Japanese wedding ceremony in this article.
       Though there are slight differences in the manner of conducting the wedding ceremony in different parts of the Empire, the main part is the same everywhere in Japan. The ceremony never takes place in the morning, as you sometimes have it. Wedding before breakfast -- in such a sleepy and hungry hour! The  "diamond edition of humanity"  are not in such a hurry to get married as that. It occurs with us generally in the evening. Naturally, all will be very anxious about the weather on this important day, so they will get up early and look at the sky, though we cannot depend safely on the weather in the morning. It varies according to the season. This very day will be the busiest and most anxious day of all their lives to the expectant couple.
       The bride will take great pains to polish and smooth her face with rice bran, and paint it with  "Oshiroi" (white powder), and also paint her lips with "Beni" (red color). In my judgment, there are no such skillful painters in the wide world as the Japanese ladies. It takes a longer time than usual to paint and dress her hair for this important event.
       The bride's wedding-dress is generally pure white -- three or four comely patterned, long garments we call "Kimono." Generally a lady's sleeve is one foot four inches long; but the wedding "Kimono's" sleeve is two feet five inches long, so we call such a dress "Furisode." Her sash, called "Obi" is eleven feet long and eight a half inches wide. She wears white stockings with the divided toe, all of these made from rich silk of various kinds. A thick cover made of floss silk hides her head and face. Any Japanese lady dressed in this way will be very pretty, becoming, and attractive.
       The bridegroom is dressed in "Kamishimo," a peculiar dress worn on this occasion, and made of various kinds of silk, its colors differing according to the rank to which he belongs.
       The wedding ceremony will always take place in the bridegroom's house, where the main room has been decorated for the purpose. Wedding decorations are very simple. Of course the room will be cleaned with great care, and generally they will change the matting for new, and the door-sash ought to be recovered with white paper. The ''Tokonoma,'' -- or that part of the room which is raised a few inches above the floor -- should be decorated with pine, bamboo, and plum blossoms in vases, with three pictures appropriate to the occasion hanging on the wall of this ''Tokonoma.'' Pine, bamboo, and plum are very lucky flowers for the wedding. In the middle of the room we put a small table made of white-wood, upon which is an artificial pine-tree, and at either end of the table is an old man and an old woman. These are dolls, dressed in the ancient style. The meaning of this decoration is a wish for long life and prosperity to the bride and groom.
       Before the evening of the wedding-day the bridegroom sends a few persons to the bride's house to welcome the bride. Then, when all things are ready, they kindle a little fire in the entrance to the bride's home, and she is carried by in a ''Kago,'' or ''Norimono,'' to her future home. On this occasion, as at a funeral, the ''Kago'' is carried by two persons, the back end foremost. Her father and mother, the Go-between, the friends who came to welcome the bride, and a few servants, follow in a procession. The servants carry presents for the bride- groom's family, and all have brightly lighted lanterns, bearing the crest of the bride's family. These presents are for every member of the bridegroom's family, including the servants. The bride will be treated by the servants according to the present they have received, so her father must be very generous in the wedding-gifts.
       There are two theories about the custom of using, on such a happy occasion, ceremonies like a funeral -- the bride dressing in white, and being carried in a ''Kago,'' and the kindling of a fire at the entrance of her home. The first is that the fire and the white denote purity, and so are very appropriate to be used on such an occasion. The second theory is that, although the wedding is without doubt a joyful occasion, yet when a girl becomes a bride and leaves her father's home, she is already dead to her father and mother, and lives now only for her husband, and she is going to die in her husband's home. Hence the use of funeral ceremonies.
       This latter theory is nearer the truth, for many other customs at the time indicate the connection in their thoughts with a funeral.
       If the bridegroom lives in the city, then the houses on his street will be decorated with lanterns hung in the entrances for congratulations. When the bride comes to the home of the groom she will be
taken first to the dressing-room. Here, with the aid of the looking-glass and by the assistance of her maids, she will arrange her dress and then wait for the ceremony.
       Now all things are ready, and the bride comes, moving slowly and gracefully, into the chief room, which has been decorated for the ceremony. The bridegroom is already seated on the upper seat on the front of the ''Tokonoma,'' and is waiting in a solemn manner for the bride. She comes and takes the next seat to him, which is a lower seat, and the Go-between sits down in front of the couple. By the side of the bride will sit two married ladies or two little girls.
      When all are seated quietly and in a dignified manner, one or two voices will be heard in the next room singing a Japanese song, ''Utai,'' without instrumental accompaniment, and this solo or duet will continue through the whole ceremony.
       A small table is now brought in, made of white-wood, about one foot square and a foot and a half high. Upon it are three flat cups, the first one small, the second larger, and the third larger still. This is
placed in front of the bride, and one of the ladies or little girls sitting by her will pour out a little  ''sake'' (Japanese wine) into the cups from a wine jar, which is decorated with butterflies made of paper.
       After all have retired, the wife of the Go-between will take the couple to their bedroom, and after they are in bed another cup of wine will be exchanged by the bride and bridegroom in the presence of the wife of the Go-between. This ends the ceremony.
       When a woman marries she simply changes her name, and the new name is registered in the Government office, which is the public acknowledgment by the Government that they are married. There is no regular rule to pay a fee to the Go-between, as in America you do to the minister, but generally he receives a great deal of money as thanks for what he has done for the couple. He naturally expects a good fee, and if it is not paid him he will come often to borrow money. As I have already stated, marriage is a very expensive thing in every way in Japan; but if we are in Japan, we cannot help it -- we must marry, anyway.
       Marriage is one of three great ceremonies in Japan. Every Japanese must observe these three great events. When he is married he has already celebrated two of them -- birth and marriage; and the third ceremony to be celebrated is death. by Tamura Naomi, 1893

Sunday, May 7, 2017

As to the Sex...

"Woman, they say was only made of man, Methinks 'tis strange they should be so unlike,
It may be all the best was cut away To make the woman, and nought was left behind with him."
Beaumont and Fletcher.
         By the unanimous consent of rhetoricians, there is but one sex: the sex, the fair sex, the unfair sex, the gentle sex, the barbaric sex. We men do not form a sex, we do not even form a sect. We are your mere hangers-on, camp-followers, satellites--your things, your playthings--we are the mere shuttlecocks which you toss hither and thither with your battledores, as the wanton mood impels you. We are born of woman, we are swaddled and nursed by woman, we are governessed by woman, consequently we are beguiled by woman, fooled by woman, led on, put off, tantalized by woman, fretted and bullied by her; finally, last scene of all, we are wrapped in our cerements by woman. Man's life, birth, death turn upon woman as upon a hinge. Henry Harland.

"God Gave Me You"

      "God Gave Me You" is a song written and originally recorded by American contemporary Christian music singer Dave Barnes. It was released in January 2010 as the lead single from the album, What We Want, What We Get.
       Barnes wrote the song after the title came to him while he was walking through London, England. He told Country Weekly that "the lyrics just flowed together with the melody" when he wrote it. Barnes also said that he was inspired by his wife, Annie, who supported him "through all the ups and downs of an artist's career." After releasing it, he said that he received mail from fans who said that the song's message "saved marriages or became a theme for a couple's relationship." 

Gretna Green Gossip

       Gretna Green is the name of an insignificant village in the Border country between England and Scotland. It is situated in Dumfriesshire, near the mouth of the Esk, nine miles north-west of Carlisle, and consequently within a mile of the English border. Probably no place of such absence of pretension to size and population has attained the notoriety which attaches to the name of Gretna Green, a distinction it has obtained merely through its being the first place suitable for stoppage after the English border was once passed. This close proximity was utilized by runaway couples, who, dispensing, for various reasons, with the preliminaries of anyone's consent to their union, or the publication of banns requisite by the English Marriage Laws, could, when once on Scottish ground, accomplish their wedding by simply declaring before witnesses their mutual willingness to undertake the contract. To the facility, then, which the Marriage Laws of Scotland offered to amorous and impatient couples (minors or not), the fisher-village of Gretna Green owes its repute as a chosen altar of Hymen. A marriage once declared here was henceforward considered valid, and after exchanging before any witness the mutual promises, the pair might return to England at once, the knot being tied beyond all chance of dispute. As might be expected, haste was a great factor in these summary pairings, and consequently postillions were largely employed to get over the distance between Carlisle and Gretna, a course upon which, no doubt, many a tough race has been run between prudent parent or guardian and ardent runaways.
       The "parsons" of Gretna were the ordinary inhabitants, who were weavers, fishermen (Gretna being at the head of the Solway), blacksmiths, &c., and their fees were entirely arbitrary, being fixed on the spot, according to the private information of the postillions, or according to the appearance and simplicity of the young couple. Marriages have been contracted here for a glass of whisky, while on the other hand a fee of twenty pounds has been paid, as in the case of Lord Chief Justice Erskine, who availed himself of the easy ceremony, and even much larger sums, as in the cases of the Earl of Westmoreland, Lord Deerhurst, and others, who paid to the officiating ''cleric" upwards of one hundred guineas. In the absence of any local person to receive the attestations to the contract, the postillions themselves have been known to assume the sacerdotal functions.
       The first broker in Gretna Green marriages was one Scott, who lived at a point called the Rigg, a few miles from the village. It is said that he commenced his infamous profession about the year 1750, but beyond the fact that he was a crafty fellow, who could turn the emergencies of the time to his own advantage, little is known of him. The next who undertook the remunerative duties of high priest was George Gordon, an old soldier, who invariably wore as canonicals a full military uniform of a by-gone type -- a tremendous cocked-hat, scarlet coat, and jackboots, with a ponderous sword dangling from his belt. His ''church," which had the appearance of a barn, stood a little to the left of the public road; his altar was an ale cask upon which was placed an open Bible. Following Gordon, Joseph Paisley (sometimes called Pasley) became the recognized parson. He was a fisherman, who agreeably united with the duties of that position the pursuits of smuggler and tobacconist. He has been also called a blacksmith, but this was simply a fanciful allusion to the part he took in the Gretna Green marriages, Vulcan being the marriage maker of the gods as well as their smith. He commenced the matrimonial business in 1789, and from being retiring in his manner of dealing, became audaciously unscrupulous, going so far even as to supply fictitious signatures to the certificates, instead of, as at first, resorting to the less culpable proceeding of signing his own name as a witness. It is said of this man that at his death, about 1811, he weighed twenty-five stones. He was a coarse, blatant individual, and habitually appeared in a sort of priestly dress, even in his constant dissipations. At his death the priesthood was taken by his son-in-law, Robert Elliott, who kept an account of his transactions, and afterwards published them under the title of "The Gretna Green Memoirs." In this he states that between 1811 and 1839, not less than 7744 persons were united by him at Gretna. The Times, in a review of the book, doubted the accuracy of the assertion, which drew from him a reply in the form of a letter to that paper. He said,  "I can show registers for that number from my commencement, and which either you or any respectable individual may inspect here, and which I can substantiate on oath."
       We give here an extract from the " Memoirs " of Elliott. He says; ''As the marriage ceremony performed by me and my predecessors may be interesting to many of my readers, I give it verbatim: The parties are first asked their names and places of abode; they are then asked to stand up, and inquired of if they are both single persons; if the answer be in the affirmative, the ceremony proceeds. Each is next asked, "Did you come here of your own free will and accord? "Upon receiving an affirmative answer, the priest commences filling in the printed form of the certificate. The man is then asked, "Do you take this woman to be your lawful wedded wife, forsaking all others, and keep to her as long as you both shall live?" He answers, "I will." The woman is asked the same question, when, being answered the same, the woman then produces a ring, which she gives to the man, who hands it to the priest; the priest then returns it to the man, and orders him to put it on the fourth finger of the woman's left hand, repeating these words, "With this ring I thee wed, with my body I thee worship, with all my goods I thee endow, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen. "They then take hold of eachother's right hand, and the woman says, "What God joins together let no man put asunder." Then the priest says, "Forasmuch as this man and this woman have come together by giving and receiving a ring, I therefore declare them to be man and wife before God and these witnesses, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen."

       The following are among the memorable matches effected through the agency of Robert  Elliott, and recorded in his Memoirs:
       1812. Rev. Wm. Freemantle, an English clergyman. C. Ewen Law, son of Lord Ellenborough, to Miss Nightingale.
       1815. A "droll gaberlunzie without legs or arms, to a comely damsel, both appearing anxious for the ceremony," to the disgust of the not too fastidious parson himself.
       1816.  Lord Chief Justice Erskine. Within a year, however, his lordship unsuccessfully tried to loosen his matrimonial chains by a divorce by the Scottish law.
       1826. E. Gibbon Wakefield, with Miss Turner. Of the trial which ensued upon this union we give particulars - "During the latter part of Elliott's '' ministration " competition in the marrying business became brisk, and he had numerous rivals, the most powerful of these candidates for clerical emolument being another son of Mars, named David Laing. The competition became so pronounced that the rival parsons canvassed for the assistance and co-operation of the postillions, who, commencing by receiving a commission per runaway pair, at last ended by working upon a system of equal shares with their priestly co-partners.
       In 1827, at the Kent Assizes, a Gretna Green marriage was the subject of a curious trial before Mr. Baron Hullock. The action was taken against one Mrs Wakefield and her two sons, for conspiring ''to take away by subtle stratagems " a young lady named Turner, who had not yet left school. The David Laing above mentioned was called as a witness on behalf of the defendants, and he affirmed that the couple were married lawfully according to the Scottish fashion, namely, by putting on the lady's finger a ring. The witness said he was seventy-five years old, and had spent more than half of his life in the performance of marriages. In cross-examination by Mr Brougham, he admitted obtaining £30 for this particular ceremony, or even £50, but could not remember exactly, "being somewhat hard of hearing." The accused was found guilty of causing this young lady to ''contract matrimony without the consent of her father, and to the great disparagement of the King's peace." The chief prisoner, E. Gibbon Wakefield, was convicted of abduction, and the marriage, which excited considerable public attention, was afterwards rendered invalid, and annulled by an Act of Parliament specially obtained. After this flagrant case Gretna Green marriages fell into disrepute, and the business showed a steady decline, though cases of the employment of pseudo-parsons are on much later record. In 1853, a person named Thomas Blythe, a witness before the Court of Probate at Westminster, stated that he lived at Springfield, Gretna Green, and that he obtained his livelihood by means- of agriculture, but that he not unfrequently took advantage of opportunities to increase his income by small strokes of business in the "joining" line. Again, the demise of another "joiner" was announced so late as 1872, when the obituary of Simon Laing appeared in the Glasgow Herald. It is probable, however, that the pursuit of his ''clerical" profession ceased long before the date of his death, for, in 1856, the old law by which the mere verbal declaration of consent before witnesses was sufficient to constitute a Scottish legal marriage became effete through the passing of the Act of Parliament, 19 and 20 Victoria, cap. 96. By this Act the laws of Scotland and England were brought into assimilation, and in that year the occupation of the northern hedge-parsons was virtually gone.

The old blacksmith's shop at Gretna Green.
       It may be said such marriages as those we have described were considered as clandestine and ill-advised in Scotland, as in more southern parts, the Church of Scotland doing all that lay in its power to discourage and prevent them. The only punishment, however, which it had for transgressors being excommunication, the restraint by the Kirk was very slight, its injunctions and fulminary condemnations being treated with contempt.
       Probably the best known of the notable marriages which have taken place at Gretna is that of the Earl of Westmoreland with the daughter of Child, the banker, whose countinghouse was at the sign of the Marygold, in the Strand. The romantic but determined couple had the advantage of an early start, one starlight night in May, but the pursuit was not less hot than the departure had been well arranged, and when within a few miles of the Border the coach was nearly overtaken by Mr Child's carriage. The Earl, however, not to be baulked when so near the end of the journey, shot down one of the pursuing horses, while one of the servants cut the carriage straps behind. The crown of firs which mark Gretna from the surrounding country came quickly into view, the bridge was crossed, and the village was reached by the reckless couple. A parson was found, and quickly the Earl and Miss Child were made one. Within a year Mr. Child died, it is said, of the mortification and disappointment connected with this affair. The elder daughter of the match, Lady Sophia Fane, afterwards married Lord Jersey, and inherited his immense fortune, including Child's Bank at Temple Bar. William Andrews, 1899.
Gretna Anvil Marriage, 1952.

Bygone Marriage Laws and Customs of Scotland

       The laws relating to marriage differ so much in Scotland from those under which dwellers south of the Tweed live, that no comparison of social and religious life in the two countries can be made without knowledge of them. In no part of Christendom have the ecclesiastical laws relating to the relations of the sexes been more strict, or more strictly enforced, than in Scotland, and in no other have there been more irregularities. It was not until more than twenty years after the Reformation that the custom of ''handfasting," which had come down from old Celtic times, fell into disrepute and consequent disuse. By this term was understood cohabitation for a year, the couple being then free to separate, unless they agreed to make the union permanent. Lindsay, the chronicler, says of Alexander Dunbar, son of the sixth Earl of Moray, and Isobel Innes, "This Isobel was but handfast with him, and deceased before the marriage." When Margaret, widow of James IV., sued for a divorce from the Earl of Angus, she pleaded that he had been handfasted to Jane Douglas, "and by reason of that pre-contract could not be her lawful husband." How such marriages were regarded at that time is shown by the fact that the marriage was dissolved by the Pope, though the issue of the Queen's marriage with Angus was pronounced legitimate.
       Sir John Sinclair's "Statistical Account of Scotland" contains a report from the minister of Eskdale Muir, referring to the practice of handfasting as existing in that parish, under ecclesiastical sanction, at a period anterior to the Reformation. At a fair held there, unmarried men chose women to be handfasted with them, and a monk from Melrose Abbey visited the place annually, to marry those couples who wished the union to be made permanent. The first check given to the practice appears to have been the decree of the Kirk Session of Aberdeen, in 1562, that persons cohabiting under the sanction of a handfast contract of marriage should be united in lawful wedlock. But though this practice was discontinued, and those who wished to be thought respectable obtained the blessing of the Church on their marriage, irregularities continued to exist, and even to be permitted. An acknowledgment by a couple that they were husband and wife, either orally or in writing, followed or preceded by cohabitation, was regarded as a valid marriage, both by the Church and by society. In 1563, however, the General Assembly of the Church ruled that no contract of marriage so made should be recognized until the parties had submitted themselves to the discipline of the Church, and the contract had been verified by witnesses of good repute.
       The custom of betrothal was very general, but it varied in form in different parts of the kingdom. The presentation of an " engagement ring," as in England, is not found among these forms, nor does it appear that the sanction of parents was thought necessary ; but after the contract was made it was usual for them to be informed and their sanction sought. Among the upper and middle classes there was usually a betrothal feast, but among the classes living by manual labor this was dispensed with. Dr Rogers says, in his '' Social Life in Scotland," that "In betrothal, the parties usually moistened with the tongue the thumbs of their right hands, and then pressed them together. The violation of a contract so consecrated was considered tantamount to an act of perjury." Another form of betrothal was the clasping of. hands across a stream. In this way Burns, the laureate of the Scottish peasantry, and Mary Campbell vowed fidelity. In some counties silver coins were exchanged by plighted lovers, or a worn one was broken between them, each retaining one of the halves.
David Allan's painting of Highland wedding from 1780.
       Marriages regarded by the ecclesiastical courts and Kirk Sessions as "regular" have always, from a long period anterior to the Reformation, been preceded by the publication of banns. In 1569 a case came before the General Assembly which shows the successive steps taken at that time before the solemnisation of a marriage. It is recorded that ''ane promise of marriage made, before the readers and elders, in ane reformit church, the parties contractit compeirs before the minister and session, and requires their banns to be proclaimit." In 1575 the question came before the General Assembly, whether the form of mutual declaration prior to the publication of banns should be longer continued ; and it was ruled that it should be considered sufficient for the names of the parties desiring proclamation of banns to be given to the session clerk. Banns were ordered to be published, as in England, on three successive Sundays ; but, after the Reformation, it was ruled that, on payment of a larger fee, one public announcement should be held sufficient, the words " for the first, second, and third time " being used.
       It became customary towards the close of the sixteenth century for security to be given, with the notice of banns, for the solemnisation of the marriage, two friends of the parties depositing with the clerk a sum of money as a guarantee, and that for more than one purpose. In 1570 the Assembly ordered that ''promise of marriage shall be made according to the order of the reformed Kirk to the minister, exhorter, or reader, taking caution for abstinence till the marriage be solemnised." The minutes of Kirk Sessions show that, in numerous instances, during the latter half of the seventeenth century, such deposits were retained for the space of nine calendar months after the marriage. The Kilmarnock Kirk Session was not so strict. It was there ordered, in 1670, that the deposit should be returned to the parties on the expiration of half a year. Whatever the term was, if scandal arose before it expired, the deposit became forfeited.
       Kirk Sessions in some cases accepted personal security in lieu of cash, the bondsmen in such cases becoming liable in the event of scandal arising, or the non-solemnisation of the marriage. But this system, so convenient for those who could not raise the caution money, or ''pawn," as it was commonly called, was in course of time abandoned. The Kirk Session of Mauchline instructed the clerk, in 1691, "to take neither bond nor cautioner for consignation money, but to require that the money be laid down, to remain in his hand for the space of three-quarters of a year." The example was followed by other Kirk Sessions, but the custom continued for a long time afterwards, and was never formally abolished, falling into abeyance gradually. Dr Edgar, in his ''Old Church Life in Scotland," states that "on a page at the end of a small volume of scroll minutes still extant there is a writing, under date 23rd November, 1771, which has all the appearance of being a genuine matrimonial consignation bond."
       The First Book of Discipline makes it peremptory that no persons should be married without the consent of the parents, unless it should appear that there was no reasonable ground for the refusal of their consent. The Westminster Directory qualifies this by ruling that the consent of parents should be obtained to first marriages, especially if the parties were under age. It is not clear whether non-age means under the age of twenty-one, or is to be interpreted by the decree of the General Assembly of 1600 that, "considering that there is no statute of the kirk, . . . defining the age of persons which are to be married, ordain that no minister within this realm presume to join in matrimony any persons in time coming, except the man be fourteen years of age, and the woman twelve complete." The same ages are given in the First Book of Discipline.
       Deviations from even this rule sometimes occurred, and may be classed among the permitted irregularities referred to at the beginning of this paper. The marriage of heiresses under the age of twelve was not infrequent, the plea of the guardians, that they feared the abduction of their wards if longer unmarried, being admitted. There is a record of the marriage of a girl in her eleventh year to a boy of fourteen in 1659 ; and no longer ago than 1859 a girl was married at Edinburgh, who was entered by the registrar as in her eleventh year. The official inspector thought there must have been an error in the registration, but inquiry proved that the entry was correct.
       There was no laxity, however, in the matter of prohibited degrees of relationship. In 1731, an irregular marriage came before the Presbytery of Ayr. The banns had been forbidden on the ground that the woman's first husband had been grand-uncle to the second bridegroom. The lovers thereupon proceeded to Carlisle, and were there united in marriage. The Presbytery pronounced them guilty of incest, prohibited them from cohabitation, and the interdict being disregarded, passed sentence of excommunication.
       Marriage might be refused in former times when either of the parties was found to be "under scandal." In 1565, the General Assembly enacted that ''such as lie in sin under promise of marriage, deferring the solemnisation; should satisfy publicly, in the place of repentance, upon the Lord's day before they be married." Many instances are recorded of persons appearing before the Kirk Session, and denying upon oath that they had committed the sin of which they were accused. The Kirk Sessions were equally diligent in their endeavors to prevent scandals. In 1621, it was reported to the Kirk Session of Perth "that Janet Watson holds house by herself, where she may give occasion of slander," wherefore an elder was directed ''to admonish her in the Session's name either to marry or to pass to service."
       But while the Church authorities were so zealous for the morals of the nation and the prevention of scandal, they appear to have sometimes thrown impediments in the way of lawful marriage. In the early years following the Reformation, it was a very frequent ordinance of Kirk Sessions that no persons should be allowed to marry until they were able to repeat to the minister or reader the Lord's Prayer, the Apostles' Creed, and the Ten Commandments. Either a " pawn " was required for the fulfillment of this condition or a fine was exacted in case of failure. In some parishes the Kirk Sessions went beyond this requirement, and insisted on regular attendance at public worship. In 1700, the Kirk Session of Galston, "considering that there were some who lived within the parish who did not join with the congregation in public worship, nor submit themselves to discipline, and yet craved common privileges of members of this congregation, such as proclamation in order to marriage, concluded that none such should have privileges, until they should engage to live orderly for the time to come." And a further entry, of the same date, states that "one of the persons referred to applied for proclamation of banns, and, on the resolution being communicated to him, he engaged, through God's grace, to live orderly, and to wait upon gospel ordinances more particularly, and was then allowed to be proclaimed." 
       There was some difference of opinion in the early days of the Reformed Church as to whether a pre-contract should be an impediment to marriage with another person. The minutes of the Westminster Assembly show that some of the divines maintained that a promise of marriage was a "covenant of God," and could not be broken, even by mutual consent. The Church of Scotland did not adopt this view. In 1570, the General Assembly directed that persons desiring to withdraw from a contract of marriage should, if nothing had followed, be allowed to do so. In the same year, an appeal was made to the Assembly from the decision of a Kirk Session that a man should not be allowed to marry any woman other than a former servant of the appellant, whom he had seduced. He had applied to the Kirk Session for proclamation of banns, putting in the document known as a ''discharge of marriage," signed by the woman he had wronged, for three or four successive years, but it was persistently refused recognition. The Assembly sustained his appeal, gave him the liberty he sought, and added, "yea, and there is injury done to him already."
       Sometimes, however, contracted persons declined to set each other free, and forbade the publication of banns with any other person. In 1689, one John Meikle was cited to appear before the Presbytery of Ayr, to show cause why he forbade the banns of Janet Campbell. He pleaded that Janet had been engaged to him, and on that ground he objected to her becoming the wife of any other man. The Presbytery decided that Janet was free to do so. In 1777 a woman applied to the Kirk Session of Mauchline to have her banns stopped, on the ground that she had changed her mind, and had become engaged to another man. The first lover opposed the application, pleading that she was his "by the covenant of God." The Kirk Session did not admit his plea. The publication of banns was stopped, and a minute of the Session justifies this decision, on the ground that there would be an obvious impropriety in proceeding further in the proclamation, after being certified by the woman of her resolution not to marry the petitioner."
       There were some superstitions connected with marriage as to lucky and unlucky days and seasons. Perthshire couples refrained from wedlock in January, and everywhere it was declined in May. In the Lowlands, Friday was considered an unlucky day for weddings, but in the Highlands, it was the day generally chosen for the ceremony. These notions had no weight with the compilers of the First Book of Discipline, who expressed their opinion that Sunday was the day ''most expedient." On the other hand, the Westminster Assembly advised that marriages should not be solemnisedon the Lord's day. The latter may have been influenced by the same reason that moved the Kirk Session of Perth to adopt, in 1584, a resolution that ''forasmuch as sundry poor desire to, because they have not to buy clothes, nor to make bridals, marriages should be as well celebrated on Thursday, within our Parish Kirk in time of sermon, as on Sunday." The former, on the other hand, probably had in view the disorderly scenes to which a wedding was often the prelude. The General Assembly, in 1645, adopted the view of the Westminster Directory, and marriages from that date were generally solemnised on the day of the weekly lecture.
       In former times, and down to the first quarter of the present century, the celebration of a marriage otherwise than in church was regarded as irregular and clandestine. In 1581, the General Assembly "concluded by common consent of the whole brethren, that in times coming no marriage be celebrated, nor sacraments administered, in private houses." At that time, and long afterwards, ministers were liable to deposition, and were actually deposed, for marrying persons in private houses. It is a fact, nevertheless, that though the law of the Church remains as settled in 1581, marriages celebrated in private houses have not been regarded as irregular since the beginning of the last century; and the records of the General Sessions of Edinburgh show that, as long ago as 1643, private marriages were not infrequent in that city, where, however, they were restricted to the well-to-do classes by a fine of twenty marks.
       Weddings were usually followed by great festivities, which were generally on a scale so extensive, and carried to so great an excess, that the records of Kirk Sessions during the seventeenth century show numerous regulations for their restriction. They fixed the number of guests who might be lawfully entertained on such occasions, and the hour at which the festivities should cease. Many of the customs observed were peculiar to the country, or to certain parts of it. In the Highlands, until about a century ago, the bride walked round the wedding party at the close of the ceremony, saluting each with a kiss. A dish was then passed round, in which each deposited a coin, the amount collected being given to the bride. The term ''penny wedding" appears to have arisen from this custom. Owing to the large number of guests entertained, which Kirk Sessions did not venture to reduce to less than forty, it was usual for the neighbors to assist in providing for them. Landowners gave beef, mutton and venison; farmers, poultry and dairy produce ; and the minister and the schoolmaster lent cooking utensils. The bridal feast was followed by a dance.
       Some peculiar rites, of ancient and pagan origin, were practiced at the home-coming of the bride. The guests assembled at the door, on the threshold of which a sieve containing bread and cheese was held over her head, and, as she entered the house, a cake of shortbread was broken over her head, the young folk present scrambling for the fragments. The ceremony was completed by the bride sweeping the hearth with a broom.
       This paper would not be complete without some notice of an aspect of the matter with which it deals, which has not received the attention to which it is certainly entitled. The law relating to marriage remains unsettled. It has been so constantly regarded as a matter for ecclesiastical regulation, that it has been practically left to be dealt with by Presbyteries and Kirk Sessions. ''As far back as any living man remembers," says Dr Edgar, ''it has taken very few formalities to constitute in Scotland a marriage that is binding in law. A man and a woman have only had to take up house together, and declare themselves husband and wife. The law thereupon pronounced them married persons. But this was not always understood to be the law of the land in Scotland, and the Church of Scotland did not always recognize such unions as marriages." But while writing of what was or was not understood to be the law, he tells us nothing as to what the law really was or is.
       It seems to have been the practice of the Church, in former times, to pronounce her own judgment, and then to ask the State to confirm it. In the first General Assembly held in Scotland, that of 1560, there was a declaration made concerning marriages within certain degrees of relationship, and "the authority of the Estates was craved to be interposed to that finding as the law." There were many of the ministers of the Reformed Church who held that a religious ceremony was not necessary to constitute a valid marriage. One of the members of the Westminster Assembly, in 1644, expressed the opinion, previously given by Luther, that only the consent of the parties was necessary. This view appears to have prevailed very generally among the laity, notwithstanding the action taken so frequently by Kirk Sessions in opposition to it.
       The question continued to be disputed throughout the last century. Writers on legal questions held one view, and judges on the bench pronounced contrariwise. Erskine argued that, in Scotland, the consent of the parties was all that was necessary to constitute a valid marriage. Lord Braxfield affirmed the opposite in 1796. Lord Fraser, on a later occasion, said that the view set forth by Erskine was never judicially pronounced to be the law of Scotland until 1811. Can we wonder, therefore, when lawyers and judges disagree, at the haziness of mental vision displayed by Kirk Sessions, and the frequent want of uniformity in their decisions? William Andrews, 1899.