Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 39.djvu/224

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

of Macassar have first a sham, fight outside the town, then a feigned resistance at the gates, and afterward, from point to point, a show of disputing the advance of the bridegroom and his party, until they have made their way to the bride's house.[1] In Abyssinia, the party of the bridegroom go through a sham fight outside the bride's house, then enter it, and the bridegroom, taking the bride, hurries her out and hands her over to some of his friends. Returning to the house again, he then takes part in the deball, or war-dance, which is a simulated combat with guns, spears, and swords, and in which the parties of the bridegroom and bride are ranged on opposite sides.[2] "In New Zealand," says the Rev. R. Taylor,[3] "even in the case when all were agreeable, it was still customary for the bridegroom to go with a party, and appear to take her away by force, her friends yielding her up after a feigned struggle." In Berry, France, the house of the bride is barricaded, and a sham assault of it takes place. After some parley the bridegroom's party is admitted, and a struggle for the possession of the hearth is then simulated. In Little Russia, in peasant weddings, when the bride's tresses have been unplaited and the cap is being put on her head, she is bound to resist with all her might, and even to fling her cap angrily on the ground. Then the groomsmen, at the cry of "Boyars to your swords!" pretend to seize their knives and make a dash at the bride, who is thereupon surrounded by her friends, who come rushing as if to her rescue.[4]

It is interesting to note that this form survived among the Celtic inhabitants of the British Isles until very recent times. Lord Karnes describes it as it existed in his day among the Welsh, as follows: "On the morning of the wedding-day the bridegroom, accompanied by his friends on horseback, demands the bride. Her friends, who are likewise on horseback, give a positive refusal, on which a mock scuffle ensues. The bride, mounted behind her nearest kinsman, is carried off, and is pursued by the bridegroom and his friends with loud shouts. It is not uncommon on such an occasion to see two or three hundred sturdy Cambro-Britons riding at full speed, crossing and jostling, to the no small amusement of the spectators. When they have fatigued themselves and their horses, the bridegroom is suffered to overtake the bride. He leads her away in triumph, and the scene is concluded with feasting and festivity."[5] Sir Henry Piers's description of it, as observed by the Irish, is: "On the day of bringing home, the bridegroom and his friends ride out and meet

  1. Moore's Marriage Customs, p. 196.
  2. Life in Abyssinia, p. 51.
  3. Te Ska Amani, p. 163.
  4. Ralston's Songs of the Russian People, pp. 284, 285.
  5. History of Man, p. 449.