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seldom used: and the solitary traveller passes the most dismal roads and dreary wilds devoid of fear of insult or depredation. Nor are his views rendered unseemly, or the country disfigured by gallows and gibbet. A positive proof that this people are yet uncorrupted by an intercourse with their more opulent neighbours ; and that the greater crimes are the offspring of luxury and infidelity.
to Among a variety of Welsh customs, those in courtship, marriage, and at funerals, cannot fail to excite attention. Hymeneal negociations are literally carried on by the Welsh peasantry in bed. The young Stréphon frequently goes several Welsh miles to visit the object of his choice ; either to her place of servitude, or the residence of her friends. The young couple retire to a bed-room, and between the blankets 'converse on those subjects which the nature of the occasion may suggest. The youth generally goes on a Saturday night, and returns to his work on the Monday morning. This familiar intercourse continues for the space of two or three years, and seldom fails to terminate to the honour and happiness of the parties.
This singular custom, which has been compared, not very happily, to the American Bundling, is one of those that served to mark the original British character ; and among many others, remains to distinguish this people to the present day. To those who conjecture that every familiarity must be accompanied by improper ideas, this mode of making love must appear highly objectionable; and those, who
consider every custom that differs from their own as founded in barbarism, will be inclined to censure it as productive of evil.
I was almost illiberal enough to suppose, so near a contact of the parties, at a time of life when passion is seldom subservient to reason, must have a dangerous tendency. An attention to facts, however, soon corrected this hasty judgment upon what has been for ages the custom of a country. Inquiring of those, who, by long residence, have had opportunity for observation, I found this mode to be as innocent as any other : that it is considered so by the parties themselves is evident from the case with which it is conducted. No awkwardness of guilt appears. in Strephon's step, nor blush of confusion in the fair one's check. The parents never refuse to acquiesce in it; nor do the most fastidious of the sex offer a single objection. · It has been observed, that a custom otherwise perilous, by becoming general, loses' much of its dangerous tendency; and that, what is considered as a matter of course, seldom produces improper ideas. The power of habit, sanctioned by popular opinion, may rise superior to passion; and the desire of fame above the charms that inspire it.
Such, (says an elegant writer,) is the nature of human depravity, that what is common is not esteenied a precious opportunity; what is most difficult to attain is thought the most desirable; and the fruit of stealth more delicious than that more easily and more publicly gained ; and privacy be
quences are not sometime:
comes dangerous, not because no eye sees, but because to privacy is ever attached the idea of suspicion. After all, depravity of conduct is generally the off. spring of impurity of ideas ; and though the reverse is not uniformly the case, yet, for the most part, he that thinks no evil, seldom commits any ; and where simplicity of manners and conduct abound, the gartered motto may be more aptly used than on the original occasion,
“ Honi soit qui mal y pense.”
By this justification of a custom that appears strange because it is singular, I do not mean to insinuate that virtuous love is confined to the moun-tains of North Wales; or that degrading consegressus cubiculares; but this I may assert, that the Cambrain fair goes more frequently from the chamber of wooing to the altar of Hymen, than the more polished females to the East of the Severn.
Marriages, among the Welsh, are no less singular than their courtships. There are two kinds of marriage amongst the Welsh, distinguished under th titles of the great and little wedding; the former resembles the confarreatio, and the latter de usu, among the Romans. In the little wedding persons cohabit together; and if, after trial, they have reason to be satisfied with each other, the friends are invited to witness the intentions of the parties; and they are after considered as man and wife. If the parties, prior to this, are dissatisfied, the woman is dismissed; and such repudiation is not considered an hindrance
to future marriage: but this is chiefiy now confined to the borders of Cardigan.
The great wedding is thus conducted: When two young people have agreed to enter into a state of wedlock, a friend undertakes to perform the office of Gwahaddor, or bidder to the wedding; who goes round the neighbourhood to all persons in nearly the same station of life. If the wedding is of the better sort of people, he carries circular letters ; if among
poorer, he docs it viva voce. The import and form of the message is nearly as follows:-
« Sifi, ..
My daughter's wedding-day is appointed to be on Saturday, the 14th instant next, at Eglwys Newydd, at which time and place. I humbly beg the favour of your good company; and what further remembrance you shall be pleased to confer shall be gratefully retaliated by me, who am,
In consequence of this, or a similar invitation, the friends and neighbours for a great extent, make a point of attending the wedding, laden with presents; ; consisting of money, butter, cheese, &c. &c. these are carefully set down by the clerk of the wedding, opposite to each respective name, wþich are to be paid in the same public manner, and on the same occasions, whenever demanded. This.custom is called Pwrs a Gwregys; and making the presents termed, paying Pwyddion. As an ancient usage, it is
considered on refusal as recoverable by law; but al sense of the reciprocal duty generally prevents have ing recourse to such a mode of recovery.
It has sometimes happened, that a species of ma-, trimonial swindling has heen practised; persons in distress have made feigned nuptials, to recall the presents they may have made, and obtain those of others. The day fixed, a few, assembled for the
purpose at the bridegroom's friends, proceed to the house of the intended bride, and demand her in marriage. And though the bride, attended by her relatives, has been waiting in anxious expectation of the dear summons, yet delicacy or custom throws a temporary obstacle in the way; to bliss. .
The friends of the bridegroom, in rude poetic strains, recite the virtues of their hero, and the eligibility of the connection ; while those of the bride oppose the match in equally cogent argılments.
After this sham contest has continued the customary length, the father, or some near relative, steps forward, the bridegroom is introduced, the friends are treated; and, after a short interview, they proceed towards the church. But reluctance on the part of the fair is still shewn, who makes frequent attempts to escape; exhibiting symptoms of strong aversion to her change of state, by unmeaning tears and forced lamentations. This farce acted, she at length quietly submits; and the ceremony at church performed, they repair to the house of the bride, and proceed to celebrate the wedding in conó