Victorian London - Women - Courtship, Marriage and Romance

WHOM TO MARRY, WHEN TO MARRY, AND HOW TO BE MARRIED.

By the Author of "Courtship and Marriage Etiquette."

MARRIAGE, we all know, is a duty. Economists, with bullets for hearts and gruel for brains, may write and talk nonsense against it; the depraved may sneer, and the weak put off the engagement until too late in life to be of use to them; but, notwithstanding all that may be raved, jeered, or inveiged about the institution, our instincts and sacred necessities inform us with convincing force, that it is not only ordained in nature, but in reason and religion. It was the first earthly contract mankind entered into, and it will be the last. We—who, for upwards of a quarter of a century, have upheld the obligation in all its sanctity, have never wielded pen in its behalf but with a feeling of reverence—would deem it a piece of impertinence to offer any reply to its detractors, we the rather choose, having nature and conscience on our side, to take up for the subjects of a few articles the obstacles to marriage, the difficulty of making a suitable choice, the proper time and age to assume the responsibilities of the contract, and what will be of great interest to thousands of our readers, the various legal methods by which it may be entered into.
    And first, as to the obstacles. Those who have not given the matter much attention would, upon keen inquiry, be amazed at their number and variety. After a little reflection over the formidable array of impediments that could be set up like columns of speaking figures they would wonder, not at the number of marriages in this marrying country, but how it came to happen that so many couples did marry, week after week and year after year. Independent of money and the want of money, the severities of our social code, added to the reserve or shyness inherent to the English character, are such that the difficulties in the way of marriage are more like having to conquer a virgin soil, by felling the trees, than the homely task of winning a bride and setting up housekeeping in a civilized land.
    From our experience on this Journal, and extended observation in daily life, we could build up a terrible catalogue of these difficulties, but must content ourselves with the one—a leading one, however—which is constantly coming under our notice. How is it that young people come to be introduced to each other? In polygamous countries wives are bought; in France, Spain, Italy, among all the Latin races, the parents generally undertake the preliminary negotiations ; in Russia there are annual exhibitions of marriageable girls—something like our hiring fairs, only the hiring is for life—a custom of immense antiquity in the East, as old as Babylon, as unearthed antiquities inform us; but in our politically free country our young people have to catch whom they can, in short, if not exactly left to their own devices, they are dependent a good deal on accidents, hence the rough foundation for the proverbial saying that "marriage is a lottery."
    In our villages there is a neighbourly familiarity which has grown up from childhood; but even in these quiet places it is rare for the chosen playfellows in infancy to mate in maturity. Somehow or another the law of affinity, or shall we say natural selection, puts an extinguisher on early impressions, and the boy and girl lovers when grown up become as widely separated as if they had never known each other.
    But it is not in rural retreats that the difficulty of introduction prevails; to seek out that we must go into the towns among high and middle-class life, even the very humblest, for the national character for exclusiveness will assert itself to the very lowest rung of the social ladder. Etiquette is as rigid in a squalid court as in a terrace of mansions. In high life marriages of convenience largely prevail; at all events, property as well as the proprieties are consulted, and the bride, drilled into obedience in the school of caste, accepts her destiny as a matter specially prepared for one of her exalted position.
    For the real difficulties, and bow they are got over, we must come lover in the scale; we must get fairly among the middle and industrial classes—the millions, who are the broad back and great limbs of the population. And here, at the very outset, we are met with the question whether our social code could be relaxed, and if so, would it be advantageous to the community in the present and the future? We apprehend that the answer, after serious consideration, must be in the negative. The general voice would say that the old lines have done so well that it would be inexpedient to alter them. The country has prospered under the rule. It is, not even excepting Germany, the most marrying one in the world; it is the mother of many nations; Its aggregate mortality stands out in bright relief against that of any other people on the face of the earth; and there is also the potent significance that in physical vigour and intelligence it challenges the strongest comparison. And again, supposing it to be admitted that some relaxation was advisable, to what extent should it be allowed, and in what direction should it go? Our daughters are not brought up in nunneries or pensions, our sons not conscripted for the army or navy, or placed under parental surveillance until, long past the age our laws have fixed as the period of legal manhood. At twenty-one they may marry whomsoever they like, and our girls, once wedded, even if under age, and without the consent of guardians, are rarely—indeed, very rarely—torn from the embraces of their husbands by the decision of the Divorce Court. The English law so favours marriage that both the letter and the spirit are against the annulment of a single one irregularly contracted, unless the grossest fraud has been completely proved.
    All this being borne in view, it follows that we must abide by our present arrangements—the old-fashioned etiquette of courtship must be observed. It served our progenitors well ; and we, having neither the will nor the ability to alter it, have no other resource than to adhere to it with traditional and truly English tenacity. Still, with all due reverence for a system that has worked so well, and is so hallowed by time and custom, it is permitted to look upon its features critically as well as curiously. Marriage with us, not being an affair of barter or pen-and-ink negotiation between the heads of families, how is it that our young people get introduced ? That is the difficulty that hits to be got over. That is one of our social problems which to solve would he both amusing and instructive.
    Our middle-classes are as strait-laced and exclusive in their stations as the higher ; so are the lower. All through English society there runs the element of restraint. As a people, we are frank and jolly, but in our private relations we habitually dread intrusion, and only become familiar after approved acquaintance. We are saturated with ideas of respectability, position, birth, means, occupation, antecedents, and appearance. There is no out-door life among us, no promiscuous mingling. in busy or merry throngs; self-contained, exacting, austere, suspicious, we reside in our own castles, and only visit those who reside in castles as good or better than our own. But it is consolatory, as well as funny, to be well aware that all our social fortifications cannot keep the sexes asunder. Love laughs at our prudish if wholesome restraint, and chance, accident, the force of circumstances, the very genius of the passion, or what you will—any general phrase will serve for an explanation—enables the difficulty we briefly dwell upon to be got over somehow or another. And really when we glance at a few of the ways in which the fortress of our national and patriotic reserve is stormed, it would appear as if its very strength was the exact point of its weakness.    
    Independent of introductions brought about promiscuously—we once heard a barber say that he "courted his wife in a wan"—or through the questionable agency of audacity—what can prevent Mary the housemaid gossiping with the butcher or baker, the cook flirting with a policeman, or the daughter of very pious parents being struck with the curled locks and fine proportions of a shopkeeper's assistant. There are such things as balls, concerts, parties, picnics, excursions, and, thanks to the growing enlightenment of the age, literary and musical institutions, the members of which, being of both sexes, by virtue of their membership become acquainted. There are also steamers, which will roll in the English waters, and all Englishmen having Norse blood in their veins, will rush to the succour of damsels, who are not expected to have sea-legs. The railways contribute something, especially the second and third-class trains. Then there are accidents in our crowded streets—they will occur. Horses bolt, pavements are slippery, and, to the scandal of our boasted civilization, roughs, well-dressed and otherwise, abound. But the best and most numerous tiders over of the " difficulty" are brothers, cousins, and mutual acquaintances. These are the light cavalry—the Uhlans—who break through the lines of our strict etiquette with as little ceremony or reserve as they would crack an egg or smoke a cigar. Were it not for these beneficent and chivalrous creatures, our spinster countrywomen would be in sad case. They are the chief mediums by which the fairer half of our humanity is introduced to the other ; and thus it happens that out of the friendships and acquaintances formed by our young men, the foundations are commenced of a genial familiarity, which, ripening, leads to the majority of those tender preferences which end in engagements and matrimony.
    The "difficulty" being surmounted, then comes the question of questions—whom to marry ! Our young men, being in the minority, can pick and choose: our young women, being so numerous, are restricted to a judicious selection. For both, however, the task is equally solemn—Whom to Marry!

[Part 2]

A distinguished author has asserted in song that "the one you loved the first is the one you loved the best," and her opinion is generally loudly echoed by the voices of the young, also by many well advanced in years, for such sayings are liberally circulated In society, as, "If I had married the man I wanted!" "If I had married the girl I wanted!" thus giving currency to the very cant of regret, and casting hypocritical reflections on decisions that cannot honestly be reversed. Now, this dictum may be well enough in poetry, but is it supported by any real experience? Is it founded on fact? Is it not a more sounding of the soft flute of conceit, or a hoarse bray of the trumpet of wilful deception? There is a musical ring in it which commends it to the life-long leaning, to the earliest recollections; but when fairly examined, we fancy it will be found to be all sound and hollowness—a few words, prettily arranged, to soothe the pangs of conscience, or appease the hunger of disappointments brought on by neglect or folly. Wounded vanity, being a hard matter to cure, may also have something to do with the explanation. We all know it is an indisputable maxim—"deny it who can"—that " love is lord of all ;" but what is love ? Can the first promptings of the instinct be dignified by that title? Shakespeare, who has sounded all the depths and shoals of the passion, pursued it through all its mazes and eccentricities, tells us that

Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,
And therefore is wing'd Cupid painted blind ;
Nor hath Love's mind of any judgment taste.
Wings, and no eyes, figure unheedy haste,
And therefore is Love said to be a child,
Because in choice he is so oft beguiled.

And in illustration of this immortal text, he presents us with the character of Romeo, who, in the thrall of a first love, has sense enough left to exclaim that

Love is a smoke, raised with the fume of sighs;
Being purged, a fire, sparkling in lovers' eyes;
Being vexed, a sea, nourished with lovers' tears.
What is it else? A madness most discreet,
A choking gall, and a preserving sweet.

This was while this flighty young gentleman—a mirror in which most young lovers may see themselves—was entranced with Rosaline; but no sooner had he seen Juliet than fitly might the accommodating old friar remark-

Holy St. Francis ! what a change is here!
Is Rosalind. whom thou did'st love so dear,
So soon forgotten? Young men's love, then, lies
Not truly in their hearts, but in their eyes.

So it has ever been with a violent first impression.

O, how this spring of love resembleth
The uncertain glory of an April day,
Which now shows all the beauty of the sun,
And by and by a cloud takes all away!.

First love, therefore, however thrilling and delightful, cannot be trusted; it may enchant the senses, make the pulses dance to wild tunes, but at beat it is a vagary—"the uncertain glory of an April day"—and as a rule, not only ends in smoke, but rarely leaves an ember behind that the most eager breath could kindle into a flame. Few marry those on whom they first cast the glance of affection; in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred they are mercifully sundered by circumstances. Providence effects what the passion-blinded judgment cannot attempt. And here we would enter an earnest protest against the cruelty of long courtships. Such " make-believes" in love are heretics to true affection ; letting "I dare not wait upon I would," they waste the flower of their days in bitter and barren mockery.
    Dismissing the firstlings of the heart from serious consideration, chiefly because young people daily and hourly change with their growth—experience alters if it does not ripen the judgment—the eyes see things in new lights ; the voice, nay, the very texture of the brain, acquires a recognizable difference as the days pile up into months and years—we can at once face the solemn question, whom to marry and how to set about it. And, as a preliminary, we should at once contend that, in order to make a judicious selection, there should be no undue haste. If too much tardiness shows miserable weakness, headlong speed leads to the opposite extreme of stupid recklessness. The middle course, warmed up with an adequate supply of fire, exhibits the wise was or woman. People must, or rather ought, to marry ; but there is not the shadow of a reason for their marrying in such a hurry as to invite the idleness of repenting at leisure. The choice of a wife and husband should be controlled by some wholesome restraint—passion should not be allowed to usurp the function of sober discrimination. We are fully cognisant of the potency of the law of affinity which attracts the sexes to each other as if they were drawn together by a rope, which, winding round each, becomes stronger as it shorten; but inasmuch as the majority of marriages are not brought about by any such occult agency—on the contrary, are the result of association, friendship, acquaintanceship, strong contrasts in characters, mutual interests, equality in worldly position, with, it must be admitted, the influence of a good personal appearance—it follows that the inquiry whom to marry can be treated in such a manner as to allow it to enter in some degree into the calm region of calculation—at all events, of reflection. People marry for something besides the legal right to live together as man and wife. The ordained relation is naturally coveted—it is the primal consideration in the contract ; but there are others equally necessary and binding ; and when we find that some marry for beauty, some for money, others for rank, position, or a home, it is surely pertinent to criticize some of the principles on which the selection is usually made.
    The ideal husband and wife are sweet creations of the fancy. The real husband and wife are everywhere; they are flesh and blood creatures, whose diet is stronger than any ambrosia the imagination yields. Consequently, the setting up of their co-partnership is a building of homes and society, and how it should be most fittingly done, a business that concerns every one who, from the sunny brow of youth, is sensible that looking to the unknown future demands something more thee the gratification of present wants, or a blind reliance on chance. The choice of to-day is the foundation of the home of the future ; and the general features of the question become of leading importance. Marrying for beauty so far from being a fault is commendable. In all the wide and wealthy realm of beauty there is nothing in a man's estimation to be compared to a beautiful woman ; and in the woman's sight what is there superior to a handsome man? Setting a high value on this beau ideal cannot be a sin—the ancient Greeks erected physical perfection into an institution ; and in this direction some of their rules might be copied by us moderns with great advantage—but to pursue beauty for mere beauty's sake is rank idolatry ; it is an animalism, which, indulged to excess, is fraught with the worst consequences. Beauty unadorned is an article dear at any price; it is the adornments—the graces of mind, of manner, habit., morals, and intelligence—that render it a thing to be prized; mere symmetry of face and figure, with no mental capacity or acquirements to accompany it, is to be worse than a statue, for the latter has no appetites. Therefore, seeking a husband or wife for their garniture of good looks alone is one of those weaknesses which, if pardonable, are sorely to be lamented. A pair of handsome dolls joined in wedlock is not a spectacle for the God.. But it fortunately seldom happens that the very good-looking mate with their like. In that case the affinities, mental or sexual, seem to be dead against such matches. Some law of compensation steps in and awards to plain men—plain, probably, only to the superficial eye—beautiful brides, and to the Apollos of their sea gives spouses whose outward merits are not disclosed to their longing vision in the looking-glass.
    From this it would seem as if great disparity in personal appearance was a powerful promoter of happiness in the marriage condition ; at all events, the very strong contrasts we so frequently gee between husbands and wives proves that, absolute deformity apart, there is no such thing in existence as positive ugliness. That wonderful organ the brain, when cultivated, pours over the visage, and the whole ensemble of the individual, a flood of radiance, which brings out in shining and bold relief the better and nobler part of the inner being—that other self, which is to the complete man and woman the soul of this life and the one to come. Still, marrying for beauty, the other influencing circumstances being compatible, cannot be objected to ; it has nature and education to give it countenance, and where it is possible and rational it should be allowed the full swing of its somewhat imperious sway. Carrying out the same principle, marrying for money is not an evil, because an equality, or an approach to equality, in pecuniary affairs is one of the safe guarantees of happiness in a worldly sense; it is the marrying for mere money that is wrong, for that is a gross sordidness that sullied the nuptial bond even with the signing. Marrying for a position or rank is also allowable, provided it is the woman who does so; because marriage exalts a wife of lower birth or breeding to her husband's station, but it never lifts the husband of inferior degree to the social elevation occupied by his wife. He must always feel the inferiority, and eat the bitter "bread of dependence."
    Nor is marrying for a home censurable ; for a good girl without a penny in her pocket, brings her fortune with her in the sunshine she carries into the household, whether cot, mansion, or palace, over which she is placed as the wife of its sensible lord and master. The opposite of this case is repugnant. A man marrying for a home becomes a sort of upper-servant in his own family—nobody respects him, not even his wife; and he does not respect himself—how could he, when he is little better than a quack of a spouse, not entitled to any degree Hymen could bestow.
    These are among the generalities of our subject; its special details have to come in their due course. Among them, the foremost one, temperament,  which in its composition and variety exercises an immense influence on persons in the situation of husband and wife; the character of the family with whom a matrimonial alliance is intended ; the worldly occupation of the intended husband, and the previous training of the intended wife ; the proper ages at which a man or woman should engage to be married, together with the incidentals which crop up abundantly whenever such a fertile soil is turned up by the plough of comment.

[Part 3]

FROM the thousands of letters we have received on the subject of marriage from both sexes we have derived much instruction, and not a little amusement. Our fair friends, in stating their wants in the matrimonial line, lay great stress on personal appearance. The young gentlemen of their choice "must be tall and dark ;" they are, however, not indifferent to money; they seem to have a keen eye for the comforts of this life, but they persistently add the unvarying tag that the men they would marry "must be tall and dark." Those who decidedly say they would prefer fair men are in the proportion of one in a hundred, not more. Our correspondents of the other gender, and we refer to ninety-nine out of a hundred, do not show any peculiarity in this direction. Most of them declare their liking for comeliness of face and figure, but the points upon which they mainly insist are domesticity, fondness of home, tidiness, love of music, and education. Whether the girls sought be tall or short, fair or dark, they must have some education ; the latter is a stern requisition with the bulk of the young and middle-aged men who have sought our advice in the matter. And to us, personally, the feature is gratifying, because it goes far to prove that the young men of this generation are so far improved, that while not losing a particle of the national chivalry or partiality for the sentimental, they have acquired those solid graces which belong to the cultivation of the higher faculties of the mind, and range themselves under the generic title, "common sense."
    It way not be gallant to say it, but it is the truth, the young men of our day, in their appreciation of the solid virtues and general views of home-life, are much superior to our young women. They think more of the future ; in fact, with all their faults, have a larger stock of prudence on hand. And this, to our apprehension, is clearly exemplified in the circumstance, that while the vast majority of the thousands who come under our notice are not so silly as to be indifferent to receiving money with a wife, they do with a refreshing unanimity insist that she should have some education, and be home-loving. They know that money has wings, but feminine culture and domestic habits are a property which could only be lost through inevitable misfortune or gross negligence. Not that our young lady friends, as a rule, are improvident; on the contrary, they are very peremptory on the happy man having sufficient to keep them, whether they have anything or not. But the amusing part of their behaviour is that they ask, not only for the cash with the man, but that he should be endowed with an extraordinary share of manly beauty, and their constant ideal is a "tall, dark man."
    This very peculiar feminine peculiarity is additional evidence that the education of our women within the past two or three decades has not kept proportionate pace with that of the other sex. This mania for tall, dark men is a continuance of the Byronic fever which raged intensely far into the reign of Queen Victoria. Our young men a quarter of a century ago cured themselves of it by breathing a healthier literary atmosphere; our young women refused to be cured—consequently have transmitted the complaint to their daughters, who on paper and in conversation have a predilection for men on long legs and a profusion of dark hair—the Laras and Conrads of a sickly imagination. In this day there is no excuse for such a weakness, for our girls know as well as we do that the supply of tall, dark men is limited. The people of these islands are naturally fair; the minority of darker tinge are of foreign extraction ; and those who, from long residence, are as much English as the fairest among us, are by no means tall - indeed, the men, as dark men, run rather shorter than the women. The majority of Englishmen of the average height and above it are fair in complexion. And as to Englishwomen, is it not a patriotic boast that they are the fairest of the fair? And have not some of our best painters declared that a real English brunette was not to be met with? But this fastidiousness as to complexion is not altogether to be quarrelled with, inasmuch as it finds some countenance in the laws of physiology.
    Women like to mate with their opposites, and wishing to have uncontrolled liberty of selection impose a sort of tyranny on their fancy. While they are free they would pluck the largest roses in the garden of manliness; what a pity it is for them that the supply is so limited! Why is their rage for a selection dictated purely by uncultivated sentiment? Why do they not attend to the more serious part of the business? All men are not tall, nor all women short. Nature, as wise as merciful, controls the wandering taste even of those who give loose rein to the imagination.
    The explanation of the general desire of women to have tall husbands must be sought in the fact that while their thoughts are naturally fixed heavenwards, as becomes their native characteristic, they would have there arrested a reasonable distance from the earth ; they would be governed, yet wish to govern; they would look up to the man, and yet pay little heed to the bargain they make with the man. In the natural search for a violent disparity, they give no commensurate attention to the essentials. And thus it happens that we see so many ill-assorted matches—a very tall man married to a woman no higher than his elbow, and a woman of imposing presence trailing her stumpy spouse after her as if he were a sunshade. Such violent contradictions revenge themselves: the offspring of Maypole fathers, if daughters, shoot up scarlet-runner fashion to the stature of their male parent, and the sons, as if afraid of growing, seldom get beyond the unsightly breadth of pudginess. It is the reverse with little husbands and big wives— the daughters are stunted, the sons are Anakim candidates for any regiment of guards in Europe. Now, these excessive disparities in' personal appearance, which are frequent, are to be deplored. They offend, not only the sight, but lead to consequences which, trivial at first, in time become exceedingly grave. The husband or wife becomes ashamed of being seen out of doors with a disproportionate spouse. Thus alienation commences, and the seeds once sown, soon spring into trees bearing the bitterest of apples. It may be asserted that these incongruous marriages are exceptional. That may be quite true; but that is no valid reason why they should not be avoided if possible. Love may be a leveller of distinctions and differences, but in its wildest moods it is subject to laws of propriety and expediency ; and when we know that the millions who intermarry must be of the average stature of their sex, and of fair complexion, it is surely only right that there should be between them some approach in character and personal appearance. And referring to character, we are at once introduced to the all-important question of temperament. A woman of a bold, sanguine disposition should not marry a man hasty in speech—a veritable Hotspur in the domestic circle and the field. Such a couple would be sure to disagree, to have a diversity of interests, and to be constantly jangling in the harshest tones. A lymphatic man would suit such an ardent woman, because she would take a good deal of trouble off his hands, or, probably, as frequently happens, while she appeared to lead and domineer, he would actually quietly be supreme in his marital authority. Big talkers have seldom much stamina ; those gifted with common sense speedily reduce them to a very common level. In this matter no fixed rule can be laid down, because husbands and wives indoors and out of doors are different beings the prevailing influences are not the same; the faces they show to each other are not the faces they show to the outside world. But this much may safely be assumed, that a man given to excess of words has little solid to fall back upon ; his vocabulary, also, is as limited as a woman's—most women can get on well enough with about three hundred words, they are so clever in ringing the changes — and altogether he is not a personage to inspire confidence. Some girls, who judge superficially, may look upon him as something like an "inspired idiot;" but let one of them marry him, and to her intense chagrin, she will soon discover what a wind-bag of a fellow she has yoked herself to.
    The chattering woman is, if it could so be, worse than the chattering man. Her experience is necessarily so limited that she must talk about the same thing over and over again. If she is not fond of reading—which she seldom is—she is a nuisance. If given to strong-mindedness, sermonizing proclivities, ragged-schools, mothers' meetings, and literary "swarries," she is simply an abomination. Such a shallow creature cannot make a good wife. As for a man over-gifted with sound and fury or dulcet nonsense, his wife early begins to despise him, and he, wounded in his most delicate part—his vanity—early discovers that she does so. On the other hand, a woman who prides herself on her brevity of speech is generally a sullen creature, and the man who has the reputation of being very reserved will, upon close examination, be usually found to be constantly chewing the cud of his ignorance. In view, therefore, of such fruitful sources of acrimony, it is essential for young men and women, in choosing wives and husbands, that each should attend a little to assimilation in tastes and pursuits—that the girl should be able to converse rationally, and the lover not be above acknowledging that he would like his wife to be blessed with some intelligence. There should, in short, be between them some common ground of agreement—some cordial mutuality in sentiment; not that too common divergence which affords the too frequent and dismal spectacle of a married couple only agreeing to differ. The temperament is, therefore, a very important element in dealing with the question, whom to marry? A little disparity affords a healthy stimulus to love ; if excessive, it weakens, and ultimately snaps it in two like a bit of rotten wood. So that the girlish theory that fair women should wed dark men, and the latter dark women, has some foundation in fact. Men and women are not constituted alike ; their instincts and training are in strong contrast, although they converge for common purpose; but, inasmuch as we have before observed that in these islands the blonde style of complexion is prodigiously in the ascendant, the requisites to wisdom in selecting fit and proper partners for life must be sought in the moral and mental qualities of both, and the total absence of vulgarity in either. A vulgar woman is a monstrosity. The girl should have a liberal share of common sense, and the man be domestic, industrious, sober, have some religious feeling, an not be given to that stupid dissipation hypocritically called "sowing wild oats."

[Part 4]

BEFORE continuing our remarks on the personal qualities essential to be studied in order to make a judicious choice in marriage, we may here pertinently observe that on the subject of cousins marrying there is much diversity of opinion. Medical men themselves are at issue as to the consequences of such unions ; but it appears to those who form their judgment from facts, not theories, that the weight of evidence is not against the advisability of cousins marrying; physiology does not authoritatively pronounce against their doing so; and the experience of the peoples of all ages who have closely intermarried proves quite the contrary of what a certain set of dogmatists in this matter have attempted to set up. The Bible, the Church, and the law all pronounce such marriages legal, and it is pretty certain that they were only objected to in the days of ecclesiastical tyranny for the purpose of bringing grist to the sacerdotal coffer by means of dispensations. So that they never practically were illegal ; and we fancy that much of the prejudice now abroad respecting them is merely traditional—a relic of the time when the priesthood, for their own pecuniary ends, meddled overmuch in the domestic affairs of their flocks. For our own part, we think that when the family circumstances are congenial, such marriages should be encouraged, as tending, not only to enlarge the domestic circle, but keep it select, also as promoting an extended co-partnership in the enjoyment of property and community of interests. But the rule in this country, and in process of time it has become natural, is to extend the family circle as much as possible: sons and daughters prefer to marry outside their relations—the stranger is more welcome than the consanguineous or even the affine; consequently the marriages of cousins are exceptions. They are comparatively few in number; and as they cannot possibly do injury in any commensurate way, either to the individuals mostly concerned or society in general, the talk against them way be dismissed as unworthy of serious consideration.
    All marriages, therefore, outside the prohibited degrees being legal, we, with justifiable consistency, again revert to the habits and personal characteristics of the parties intending to enter into the contract of marriage. And it is a contract, not a sacrament, and never was in law in this country. Whether entered into in a church, chapel, private dwelling, or registrar's office, it is simply and purely a contract—a solemn agreement between a man and woman to live together as husband and wife. So that, to build up, if not at the very outset create, the higher attributes of the union, those idealized by sentiment and affection, it is, we imagine, indispensable that the preliminary requisites to a happy selection should at the least not be objects of indifference. Whom to marry, therefore, becomes religiously significant when viewed in its lifelong aspect. Not only to sanctify the engagement, and make it what it was ordained to be—sacred, but to render it binding in a worldly sense, it mutt be sustained by elements to command respect and ensure endurance. That is why we urge, and always have urged, that reflection before marriage is more necessary, wise, and becoming than afterwards; for then, as the old song says
        The die is cast, the deed is done—
        The cord is fast that makes you one.
        Were married now, you know,
        So say no more about it.
    Negatives are pre-eminent in illustration, so that the text, "whom to marry," can be eloquently dwelt upon by at once going into the wide question of whom not to marry. And here any one presuming to offer advice can be familiarly and unhappily much at home. The wise girl will shun the drunkard—the poor young fellow who, yielding to an insensate become conviviality, threatens to become a sot, or in the hypocritical phraseology of the day a dipsomaniac. Such a weak being could not possibly make a desirable husband. He might reform as his responsibilities increased; but what a task for his wife! Expecting sunshine in the dawn of her married life she would be at once plunged into the darkness of coarse dissipation. Why the attempt at reclamation would at once cast a blight on her hopes, and by plunging her into disgust, wreck her energies, and cast her into the deep pit of despair. Happily, the young men of this generation are not, as a class, in bondage to strong drink. They are not alone gifted with the mural strength to avoid such a vulgar temptation, but can see neither amusement nor profit in taking periodical baths in brewers' and distillers' vats.
    As to our young women, no caution is needed in this respect. Woman, as women, young or old, are sober by nature. It is only those abandoned to a cheerless and cruel destiny who seek relief from their misery and their conscience in alcohol. For these forlorn creatures there should be the utmost pity ; but for young men addicted to the vice of drunkenness there should be nothing but contempt and reprobation, and young women, by peremptorily refusing to associate, with them when single, could wonderfully aid in bringing them back to their true and former selves, for the habit is oftener than otherwise contracted thoughtlessly, or by keeping company with middle-aged men, who were trained in a school upon the reminiscences of which the majority turn their backs in disgust. Thirty years ago tavern haunting was regarded with lenience, now it is deemed disreputable. Even the attractions of music-halls do not make the young men of the day drunken ; other and manlier excitements engage their attention. And we have observed, with no ordinary and patriotic pride, that one result of this wholesome change in what was a national habit is that the growing youths, and young men from twenty to twenty-five, who are to be the fathers of the families to come, are taller, stouter, broader and deeper in the chest, brighter-eyed men in the aggregate, than the same classes were in the times when a Marquis of Waterford set an insane fashion, and Dickens wrote his "Pickwick," which from beginning to end is an apology for inebriety.
    Next to the drunkard, and only one degree lower, is the idler, the loafer—a miserable creature, who cannot justly be likened to a worm, for the latter has a mission to fulfil ; but rather to a log, which does not support the house against which it leans. The idle young man is a monstrous excrescence in these bustling days. As a thing per se, he may not altogether be idle for lack of occupation, but he is idle because he shuns decent and honest work. Addicted to billiards, late hours, and profane language, he may be identified in any respectable crowd. He abhors hard work, and if he can jog on as a go-between, or on commission, or by sponging on his relations and acquaintances, or by putting a white rag round his neck and calling himself a "missionary," or swindling tradesmen, or deluding silly girls whose parents have some means, resorting to any subterfuge, he laughs at decency, spurns correction, and exists—he does not live, he does not know what real life is—more like a prowling cur, whose only home is the streets, and whose end is to be knocked on the head by a policeman's staff.
    What woman possessed of even ordinary discernment would link her earthly destiny with such a libel on manhood—a bad cross between an ape and a wolf. That they do find victims is only too certain ; but how long does the union generally last? Is it not in the main terminated by one or both entering either a workhouse or a prison. But the subject is too repugnant to be pursued further; and taking up the other side, that of the idle young woman, we will only remark that if her shameful peculiarity be discovered before her marriage, the young man who takes her to wife will do as "all for the worse," with his eyes wide open, and few will pity his misfortune. He had far better fill his coat pockets with his mother's flat-irons and jump from a penny steamboat. There would be an end of him then, and a coroner's verdict would give him Christian burial; but for him knowingly to marry an idle, gossiping, down-at-heeler, tangled-haired slattern, would be a living death, and the universal jeer would be, “ Served him right!"
    Happily such young women are rare; they do exist, more is the pity. They are usually the daughters of careless, indolent, or tippling mothers. The active and more reticent instincts of sex prevent most girls from falling into either cold-blooded sluggishness, or resorting to the shocking shifts which idle young men embrace with vagabond alacrity.
    There is an innate sense of industry in women which preserves them from the slavery of wilful and wicked idleness. Their domesticity is a portion of their social salvation—that training helps them to save them from themselves. And here we would earnestly direct the attention of young men seeking wives to a special bit of prudence to be observed before finally making a selection.
    Let them study the characters of the mothers of the girls with whom "they keep company." if those household props are sound, it is a pretty safe guarantee that the whole edifice is in good condition. Good mothers make good daughters! Let lovers visit the homes of their sweethearts, or those they desire to make such, early iu the forenoon, and if they find them tidy, the rooms in apple-pie order, and the mother neatly attired, they may rely upon it that the home education of the daughter has not been neglected. If they should find them habitually otherwise, and the mother grimy, grumbling, or bawling out complaints in a state of huddled-on clothing, more like a pauper nurse than a decent matron, the wisest thing they can do is civilly to bid such a family good morning, and for the last time. It would be next to a miracle if a good wife came out of a slovenly household.
    And here we would remark that the study of dress is an important element in the home culture of woman. A passion for adornment is inherent in the sex, and a stimulant undoubtedly, materially aiding them in acquiring habits of industry.
    As a clever lady wrote some years ago in a leading magazine, "it is woman's business to be beautiful," and all men of sense and feeling subscribe to the dictum. Women know that business well; they know that even natural beauty is enhanced by tasteful adornment. There is, consequently, little excuse for any woman, however slender her means, to be sordid in her attire, for those who have adequate resources there is none; indeed, a clumsily or overdressed woman exposes herself to the satire of her own sex and the reproaches of the other. But women, as a rule, do stress well, and a young man, in revolving the query in his mind "whom to marry," would do well to be more than a little observant in his glance over the figure of the girl to whom he meditates, or is "paying attentions." If she is trim about her feet, wears clothes that fit her and become her complexion, also has a natty, even if rather a saucy way of carrying her head, with its mystery of decorations, he may conclude that what cannot be exhibited has not long been out of the hands of the laundress. A nicely-dressed girl is one of the fairest flowers a man could gaze upon.
    And on the other side of this detail do not women like to see men tastefully clothed ? If the one sex is attracted and pleased by external appearances, the other is so also, although it be is a lesser degree. Women like to look upon men, whatever their station in life, who give some heed to costume. And is it not a common saying that girls turn up their noses at shabby men? A shabby or untidy suitor offends that instinctive sense of what is due to themselves. Young men, as a rule, do not overdress, it is true: the fop, sui generis, is becoming extinct; but are they not prone to fall into the opposite extreme?
    A lover, whatever his station, raises himself considerably in his ladylove's estimation by striving to appear as well as he can be a gentleman. But on such a point, what better advice could be given than that of Polonius to his son? -
     Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy.
    But not express'd in fancy; rich, not gaudy
    For the apparel oft proclaims the man.

[Part 5]

IN the contract of marriage, the health of the parties should be an important part of the consideration. We have already dwelt upon the moral portions, and they are among the essential, but those of the body and mind are not, cannot be, among the least. Diseases are more readily transmitted than fortunes. The sins of parents are the curses of generations. And therein we are presented with a terrible exemplification of the truth of the Hebrew law, which, enacted as a warning and a penalty, has its foundation in nature. Our physical organization is a part of our immortal inheritance, and when wronged it seeks redress in the endeavour to compensate itself by a kind of chastisement, which, by divine dispensation, mercifully ends in exhaustion. We are not all-sufficient for ourselves, we must think of others. The present bears in its bosom the seeds of the future. The world is with us early and late, because it is a portion of ourselves ; but there is another world within that, which belongs as well to this life as that to come.
    We belong to hereafter, and the responsibility of being here makes itself felt in all the transactions we, as rational beings, have with our entire destiny. We cannot ignore any of the conditions imposed upon us for our guidance and welfare. And having the accumulated experiences of ages for a revelation, none of us can say that we are without instruction. The laws of health are written in as plain characters as the laws of life. And to break any of them is to solicit correction, and to invite the decay of faculties, glorious in themselves, but hideous in their deformity. Therefore, venturing to comment upon such a subject with gentle reverence, we would say to all young people contemplating marriage, that it would be an exercise of religious wisdom—heaven would smile on the effort—if they gave some natural heed to the obligations which no veil of sophistry or passion can conceal from the conscience. In marriage there should be a sound mind in a sound body. Men and women looking from the brow of youth in the generous sunshine of Providence, into the not far distant future should reflect, should understand, think, know, that they are not alone in the grand mystery of creation. Creatures of circumstances are also the creatures of duty. And the more men and women are trained, the higher becomes their mission to obey the sacred call on themselves.
    Thoughtlessness is no excuse for folly. Many do err innocently; but bow many do wrong wilfully, giving themselves but little trouble to think that they are about to inflict injury, not only on themselves, but on those upon whom, in the growing years, they will associate all that they esteem as precious and lovely in this life and the one to follow! The neglects, omissions, and delinquencies of youth become the bitter sorrows of the creeping years, and often the unavailing atonements of age. What we undo in the autumn and winter we might have left undone in the spring and summer. Sins of omission and commission may be pardoned by Him who pardons all; but nature never pardons those who tread with irreligious feet across the frontier of the territory whose boundaries she has marked out so clearly that none can mistake them. In this view of what men and women owe to themselves and their posterity, it can surely be excused in one who has studied humanity in most of its phases, and who has had, moreover, a kindly excuse for ordinary foibles and frailties, that he should, with some moderate show of concern, say unto those about to marry, that they should not rush into engagements that might bring upon themselves, personally, remorse, and upon their offspring suffering and worldly disgrace.
    Among the disorders to which our pliable human nature is subject, insanity is the most common. Like the gout and kindred diseases, it is hereditary; and when it afflicts a family, it attends upon them with more fidelity than the rent-roll. The law allows of divorce when it can be proved; but previous circumspection is better than having recourse to proceedings which at the best are costly, and carry with them, however unreasonably, some slight discredit. Consequently, in studying whom to marry, care should be taken to avoid entering into families upon which the awful taint of lunacy has fallen. A man or woman with a softened brain is a dismal beginning to the setting-up of a home. A union of that kind, if entered upon with the full knowledge and consent of both parties, would be a sort of insolvency, which, beginning business on credit, ends with a whining appeal to Providence for help; and when the mischief has been done, no help can come, for, in the divine nature of things, those only are really helped who have made earnest efforts to help themselves.
    The rods with which we are whipped are of our own growing. No doubt in the noon of exultation it is difficult to form a judgment in so important a matter, and no general rule can be laid down ; but surely a little inquiry might be pursued even by the most impetuous and impatient. There are outward signs by which mental weakness may be suspected, if not recognized. The watery eye, the loose carriage of the mouth, the vacant stare, the rickety gait, are certain tokens that the spinal column is out of order. The boisterous laugh, full of sound, signifying nothing, and all the reckless assumptions of importance or authority, soothing as they may be to a self-begotten vanity, are to those who would give themselves time to make observations pretty accurate indices by which they might, by a conscientious digestion of the thoughts suggested, take upon themselves the solemn responsibility of saying yes or no to the promptings of passion or first liking.
    As we have hinted, we cannot pursue this subject in a publication like ours in the manner that it ought to be done; but we can without offence distinctly declare that those about to marry should regard it as a sacred preliminary that all inquiries into the character of the families with which they contemplate alliance are allowable, not only by custom, but prudence, and a reverent regard for those whom we in our heart of heart wish to be better than ourselves. Even in the luxuriance of our summer days we do not enjoy the rank monopoly of living for ourselves alone.
    The sun of enjoyment may be high in the heavens, but as the days shorten the shadows lengthen one is always at the elbow of mortal man. Counsel, therefore, with duty and self-respect should be taken in the morning of experience ; not in the afternoon, when regret knocks impotently on the door of repentance.
    The young man or woman who wilfully contracts marriage, who blindly rejects all the suggestions of accumulated wisdom, and the "love that is stronger than death," enters into bonds with fate, and hereditary alliance with that worst of curses, disease.
    It becomes, therefore, a distinctive duty that those about to marry should early make themselves familiar with the character of the families with whom the proposed alliances are contemplated. And in that aspect of the matter there are other disabilities besides the purely physical. We leave the further consideration of the latter to the cultivated sense of those whom it so dearly concerns. The moral diseases in families are as dangerous in their several degrees as those of the poor frail body—frail, only let it be insisted upon as a creed, because neglected and abused. If we bestowed as much care upon the grand house we live in as we do upon its tenant, the latter would not in the end have much to complain about.
    But it will be asked how the moral disabilities, those disorders of the mind and soul, are to be recognized. To that we unhesitatingly reply that sound observation will supply all the information that lovers could reasonably expect to obtain under the peculiar and ruling circumstances, for even in such a case an excess of suspicion might bring before the view more than really existed. The judgment, unbiased by passion or generous excuses, must be made to play an active part in the matter. Consequently, young people in seeking a wife or husband in a family should look to the character that family bears in the world, and the appearances it wears, not only unto others but itself. There is a good deal of hypocrisy in the domestic circle. Those who have much, or indeed anything, to conceal try to hide it even from themselves. In secret they hold the candle to evil spirits, but blow it out the moment a looker-on comes upon the scene. The heads of families are, then, the persons to be attentively studied, for when people marry they acquire a kind of second parentage, and become mixed up with both its past and future.
    Fathers-in-law, and mothers-in-law, therefore, become objects of more than curious inquiry, for many a young life has been wrecked in its morning through association with those relatives by marriage who, vicious in themselves, vitiate, or, at all events, deteriorate all with whom they come in contact. That description of person is difficult to guard against ; but the outward signs by which they may be known are numerous, and not to be mistaken. They may be avoided if only the commonest prudence is exercised. And we without scruple hold up to warning and reprobation the male head of a family whose avocations are involved in mystery, and whose dealings with his fellow-men are crooked.
    However humble his daily business may be, if honourable, he can pursue it without concealment. If the outside of it be well varnished, what lies under it will not well bear the light of day. The most frequent of this class who offend society by their assurance are those who, to adopt a slang expression of the time "live by their wits." Disdaining " honest labour," they levy tolls on the honey that might have been theirs for the gathering. In general, they are men soft-spoken in speech, much given to whisperings in the ears, and carry about them a demeanour of slyness that is very offensive. They are addicted to asking young men, with an insinuation of manner which, when closely examined, can readily be seen to be a vulgar leer, to put their names to 'little bills,'' just for temporary accommodation, nothing more—oh, no!—it "is only the form of the thing, and it won't be heard of again." Their doctrine is, "What is the use of having a friend or acquaintance unless you make good use of him?" Thousands of young men, in the heyday of their prospects, are thus led astray by these wolves covered in the sheepish clothing of an assumed family respectability. Because the scoundrels reside in decent houses, for which they never pay rent, and have wives and children who are dressed decently, they take upon themselves the appearance of being responsible and apparently well-to-do members of society.
    A little inquiry would soon drag the veil from their shocking imposture. Ask the baker, the butcher, the grocer, the widow who keeps a chandler's shop, the draper, how such a family stands in their books, and the mournful information will be that they have obtained credit solely on the strength of their appearance, or the audacity of a glib-tongued mother, who, with a brace or so of showy daughters, have been corrupted by the utter profligacy of the father's roguery. Go to the neighbouring tavern, and you will find him seldom in debt, because it is part of his systematic way of "living on his wits" that be will not run the risk of being talked about over the bar of a public-house. It would be as well also to search the records of the Bankruptcy Court, and ascertain the sort of schedules such "a family man" has been obliged frequently to file. At the same time it would not to a waste of time or money to go to Chancery-lane, and see whether there is a hill of sale registered on the goods he has obtained from confiding tradesmen to furnish this "highly respectable" house he lives in. And while about that duty it seems to us that it would naturally follow that the criminal calendar might not be barren of instruction ; or if such a suspected father had a dissipated son stalking abroad in his brazen impudence, or a daughter upon whom the dark mantle of disgrace had fallen, would it not be wise to at once condemn him as wholly unsuitable for an alliance which is not, cannot be for a day?

[Part 6]

IN our last article much stress was laid on the necessity there exists for fathers-in-law being, not only respectable, but honest, in their dealings with the world, for if the head of a family is wanting in integrity some portion of the stigma will attach to his children, even if his evil example has not corrupted them. And the young man or woman entering such a family can scarcely hope to escape being soiled by some of the dirt with which its walls are plastered. On the present occasion, to pursue and conclude this portion of the subject, we would venture to observe that if honour and honesty are required in fathers-in-law the domestic virtues are equally required in mothers-in-law. The matronly crown on the brows of the queen of the household should be bright, and worn with conscious dignity. It is the mother that forms the domestic character of her children. The father imparts to them the sterner elements by which they are strengthened for the battle of out-door life. It was a saying of the great Napoleon, that good mothers make good men. We is England, being more home-loving, believe that good mothers lay the foundations of goodness in all their children, but especially in their daughters, for sons as a rule run away from the maternal apron-strings as early as they call.
    It is the father, then, that chiefly makes the future man, husband, and father—the mother, the future woman, wife, and mother. Their duties, however, are inseparably linked : the mother is caressive and persuasive, the father a teacher and corrector—together, they cast upon the waters those who are either blessings or curses to themselves and all around them. Therefore, in contemplating marriage, the sort of mother-in-law a young man or woman is likely to have should be matter for the most serious consideration. And here we would point out that both sexes should put wholly aside the vulgar prejudices about mothers-in-law which are rife, and about which so much senseless and un-Christian sarcasm is put in circulation. It is chiefly the men who growl out inanities about their wives' mothers. Wives are not so prune to be harping against the mothers of their husbands, for the simple reason that their instinct and common-sense tell them, that if by a mother's counsel her son's interests are advanced, the wife must obtain a liberal share of the accruing profit.
    This kind of fault-finding, so peculiar to husbands, is a miserable weakness, which only ignorance can excuse, or cringing subservience to a cowardly habit extenuate. At the table of a husband, next to his own mother, what guest should be more honoured than the mother of his wife? A woman when she marries does not cast off her relations, and of them all her mother is the nearest and dearest. And it should be taken into account that a young wife often needs the advice and experience which only a mother can judiciously give. As to the plea of undue interference in the household concerns, which is set up with such ridiculous anger, why, it will not in the majority of cases bear examination, for it will be found that it is the husband who unduly interferes. If he would let his wife alone, if he would not insult her by insulting her mother, both of them would soon settle down into their proper places, for the maternal love of parent and child, by reciprocal action, would place the wife firmly in her natural and appointed position of authority.
    A wife, however uncertain her temper, was not made to the perpetually snubbed and contradicted by a husband. And men can "nag"—too many of them a good deal worse than women. A woman, especially when married, is privileged to utter more than she thinks or believes. A married man is too apt to encroach on that privilege, and in a petty spirit "nag" about grievances that never existed, or would not, unless he had created them by his spiteful plagiarism of a weakness that ought to be strictly feminine, and allowed to exhaust itself. A man fluent in small talk, or glib in the utterance of peevish complaints, is a libel on his sex. There is great wisdom, consequently, in a husband leaving small matters to be adjusted by those best able to deal with them.
    And concerning a man, whether married or single, presuming to be as contradictory as a woman, we can at this moment call to mind a couple of instructive anecdotes. A certain Mr. Brown, after the burial of his fifth wife, was asked by a husband, who had the reputation of being henpecked for thirty years by one wife, how he had managed to survive the infliction of so many spouses.
    "Very easily," replied Mr. Brown. "I never contradicted them ; I let them have it all their own way, and they wore themselves out. Contradiction to women is like oil to a cart-wheel—it makes them run smooth and last longer."
    "How is it, Jones, you get on so well with your mother-in-law—mine is a perfect pest to me ?" Jones smiled placidly, as he answered-
    "I took her advice until she got tired of offering it. I flattered her vanity, paid homage to her judgment, indeed so plied her with deference, that even my wife got jealous, and by some womanly coup-de-main put an end to all interference with her. My bondage to the old girl cost me little, and now we are the best of friends."
    A little of such philosophy is useful to married persons; it is only another reading of the "bear and forbear doctrine." It is a kind of guarantee of peace; but young people should begin to put some of it in practice before marriage, in the shape of the exercise of prudence, and having recourse to a discretion which if once broken may be repaired, cobbled up for is few years, but never can be effectually mended. So that it becomes a duty to avoid having bad mothers-in-law.
    The tokens by which they may be recognised are too numerous and glaring to escape an attention sharpened by self-respect, and a impossible anxiety about what the future may bring forth. The women who are more than likely to be ineligible as mothers-in-law are those addicted to secret tippling, who are almost sure to wink at that shocking habit in their children, if only as a bribe for silence. The daughters of such mothers inherit that vice, because systematically taught it. The sons of inebriates more frequently than otherwise shun the rock on which their parents were wrecked.
    Women who are notorious gossipers, idlers at the door and at street corners, those who take a wicked delight in scandal, and rarely have a good word for a neighbour, those over-given to entertainments better adapted for their youthful days, those who are slip-shod in dress, loose in speech, boisterous in their laughter, cackling one moment like hens, and the next screaming like hyenas; all, indeed, is whom the grace of mature womanhood is smeared and blotched over by vulgarities. are to be shunned, for out of such gross materials it would be expecting a miracle to think it even possible that they could by any after circumstances, however favourable, be the kind of beings that should be fitting second mothers to another generation.
    The theme is not inviting; on the contrary, distasteful, for it goes against the grain of any man to have to cast women's transgressions in their teeth. But we have written conscientiously, and will only repeat that if young men or women earnestly desire tranquillity in their married life they must not be burdened with mothers-in-law odious in their own dwellings, and infinitely more so when in the homes of those to whom their presence is a misfortune.
Closely allied to this subject of timely precaution, in fact, cropping out of it, are the worldly condition, the occupations, of the families with whom marriage is proposed. Besides health, temper, and character, there are many things to be seriously thought over in discussing the grand question " whom to marry." There are equalities to be sought and inequalities to be prevented. In high life rank and wealth are usually to be found on both sides, constituting a correspondence in position. There is an equivalent rule among the very affluent among the middle-classes, and coming down through all the gradations of classes we find something like it prevailing as an established characteristic. Men and women are only equal in their own station. If a lord and lady are socially superior to a merchant or manufacturer and his wife and daughter, so is the tradesman or the shopkeeper and his female belongings to the artizan and his wife and children, and the latter to the day labourer and his family.
    There is constantly going on an effort to climb upwards. Talent and fortune raise people to higher levels in these days, and on the other hand there is a persistent and beneficent reluctance to descend lower. But for the passing time, and to carry out the arrangements of society, the barriers between class and class are as distinctly marked as geological formations in the bosom of the earth.
    And in marriage these are daily respected from the highest to the lowest ranks. The same principle that causes a nobleman to refuse his daughter to a merchant or farmer induces a mechanic to scorn bestowing the hand of his child upon a chimney-sweep. And among women this actuating conduct is far stronger than among men.
    In the female organization the aristocratic element reigns supreme. The mothers and daughters of England nourish no communist or republican theories. They look up, not askance or downward. And that bias is natural, as in an early article we took some pains to show. In marriage the wife is elevated to her husband's station or rank; the husband, if inferior, is never raised to the social eminence of his wife. So that, as regard marriage, worldly occupations and conditions become as integral portion of the inquiry, " whom to marry."
    As we have before observed, the higher and the upper strata of the middle classes have a fixed etiquette by which the matter is settled ; and something  approaching it prevails among the great body of the people. But young persons in love, or who imagine they are, which, perhaps, is the same thing, do not give themselves the trouble to be informed of the exact nature of the worldly rules by which, in the majority of instances, they are unconsciously governed. A woman, then, may marry above her without losing caste, a man cannot; therefore he ought to look at this portion of the ordering of his destiny with particular attention. He has no more right to sell himself to a rich wife than he has to throw himself away upon one blighted by ignorance, aggravated by extreme poverty. In the one case, the rich relations of his wife will despise him, in the other poor relations will eat him out of house and home. He will always be insolvent; and feeling his degradation, he will make his affairs worse by flying to devious courses.
    It would not be advisable to enter into details; some broad generalities will better serve the purpose intended. We will also steer clear of the prevalent complaint that our English women are deficient in the art of cookery. Too much has been said and written on that point, for women are quick to learn; and when they have not been taught who is most to blame? The grumblers, we opine, may have fact on their side, but equity is not altogether with them.
    No, let us take the average of our young countrymen ,and countrywomen, and it would be hard if they could not come to some conclusion as to whom they should marry.
    There are in these islands about a million female domestic servants; and we are bound to say this much for them, that, as a class, they make excellent wives, for one reason—and it is a leading one—that they receive a domestic training out of the humble, too frequently neglected, homes in which they were born.
    Accordingly, they are sought in marriage with avidity by our hardy labourers, our sturdy mechanics, sometimes by our genteel clerks ; and it is an every-day occurrence for a master tradesman or shopkeeper to lift his servant-girl from the kitchen to the parlour, and never regret it.
    Our work-girls—another numerous class—are also ardently wooed by our young men who are proud to earn a living by honest labour. But is it always advisable for a skilled artizan or clerk to take unto himself a wife who, however desirable or attractive in other respects, cannot write? or, being able to read, have no taste for proper reading? And to go a little further, is it necessary or wise that a young man who has received some education should marry a girl who has none, or if any, not of the sort available for him who has to rely solely on his weekly wages? For instance, should a hard-handed mechanic wed a shop-girl or dressmaker, who scarcely can tell an apple from a potatoe  It appears to is that it is in the power of all our young men and women to bring into play a discrimination, an effort of the reasoning faculties, independent of passion, before entering into a contract which only death or sin can annul.

[Part 7]

After "Whom to Marry" comes the deciding question, "When to Marry ?" And here, on the very threshold of the inquiry, we are met by a tremendous array of authorities. Law, medicine, religion, morality, economy—all the faculties—seem to have conspired to confuse or intimidate young people on this vital point. The theories afloat about it are as numerous and vexatious as flies in summer. Few of them, in our humble judgment, are of any value, for Nature, disdaining to recognize most of them, drives them, with small leniency, into the limbo of absurdities. Our grand humanity will neither be coerced, cajoled, nor deceived. Sublimely locomotive, it goes on to its destiny straight, whatever the kind of road it has to journey over. Leaving, therefore, the economists and the philosophers to their subtleties and sophistries, we will at once enter upon a consideration of the two matters that really mostly concern those about to marry; and these are the proper ages at which both sexes should marry, bearing in close view the years they have already respectively numbered, and the income upon which they could reasonably rely for the maintenance of the honourable estate upon which they enter.
    As to age, Shakespeare—that sweetly wise man, he who was familiar with every throb and want of the heart, every pulsation of the brain—writing, probably, from sad personal experience, authoritatively says
        Let still the woman take
    An elder than herself; so wears she to him,
    So sways she level in her husband's heart..
    For, boy, however we do praise ourselves,
    Our fancies are more giddy and unfirm,
    More longing, wavering, sooner lost and worn,
    Than women 's are.
            Duke : "Twelfth Night." Act 2, scene iv.
In the "Passionate Pilgrim" be distinctly declares that—
    Crabbed age and youth
    Cannot live together;
    Youth is full of pleasure,
    Age is full of care:
    Youth like summer morn.
    Age like winter weather;
    Youth like summer brave,
    Age like winter bare.
Othello was a man, according to his own admission, "declined into the vale of years ;" but what does Desdemona proudly say of him?
    That I did love the Moor, to live with him,
    My downright violence and storm of fortunes,
    May trumpet to the world; my heart's subdued
    Even to the very quality of my lord:
    I saw Othello's visage in his mind,
    And to his honours and his valiant parts
    Did I my soul and tortures consecrate
            "Othello." Act 1, scene iii.
Again, borrowing a simile from Holy Writ, which to him was part of the "daily bread" he gave his mind, he wakes a wife say to her husband
    Thou art an elm, my husband, I a vine,
    Whose weakness, married to thy stronger state
    Makes me a with thy strength to communicate.
        "Comedy of Errors." Act 2, scene ii.
    We need not go further for texts on the subject. The experience of all time and all races has made it a law that the husband should be older than the wife. The numerous infractions of that law and their consequences, often co miserable, only prove its universality and strength. Throughout all Europe girls are marriageable, with the consent of their natural and lawful guardians, at twelve years of age; boys at fourteen; but by general custom, especially among the western and northern nations, the contract is rationally postponed until much later periods. In this country, it is a crime knowingly to marry a girl under sixteen without the sanction of her parents, or, if she has none, her legal guardians ; it is also a grave misdemeanour to marry a girl under twenty-one without such sanction, because the declaration required by law would be false, and the person making it commit an offence amounting to perjury. The Matrimonial Causes Court also has power to set aside all such irregular marriages; and it cannot be too widely known that neither sex is of legal age, so as to be entirely freed from parental or other control, until twenty-one. The general rule and the law, however, are pretty well known. Accordingly, we find, from the statistics of the Registrar General, that the average age at which men marry is twenty-five, women twenty. That is the average of the entire population—viz., young, middle-aged, and old—also of the large manufacturing towns and agricultural districts, in which very youthful marriages are common.
    With the latter imprudent and inexcusable exceptions, in which it must be observed in extenuation that the male in years is always ahead of the female, the bulk of our population do not enter into the bonds of wedlock at immature ages, and the husband is usually the elder.
    We will not deal with the unions of mere boys and girls, they are indefensible ; but inasmuch as they cannot be prevented—perhaps it would not be politic to do so—we will pass them entirely over, and come at once to the ages at which the majority of our countrymen and countrywomen do really contemplate marriage. It is in the full bloom of their spring and glory of their summer. Those who marry in advanced life are chiefly widowers and widows, who from fixed habit would be unhappy if they remained single: our gregariousness accompanies us to the edge of the grave. In the presence of that cheering fact, and always insisting, with Shakespeare and nature, that the "woman take an elder than herself," it becomes an agreeable duty, in discussing the question whom to marry, to indulge in some remarks on the periods at which the responsibility is generally undertaken, and what should he the amount of the disparity.
    As to the latter, that strong, hearty, but much prejudiced Englishman, the late William Cobbett, strenuously advocated the necessity and wisdom of the husband being at least eight year the senior of his wife. Ladies, we are aware, object to such a superiority as excessive ; but if the average of the whole nation is only about five years, what serious, if any, difference can three, or even five more years, make, especially when women age in constitution and appearance much sooner than men? When the disparity is much on the side of the husband, be and his wife grow old together without either perceiving the ravages of time, until they become so manifest to each other that neither is surprised, and cannot with any grace at all go into the pot-and-kettle business. Eight years may be too high for a standard, but these and ten are very common; fifteen and sixteen, and so on to twenty, is not rare; and this much can safely be averred of such marriages, that in the aggregate they are happy ; the conjugality is purified and sustained by the wife leaning with a large confidence on the matured heart and brain of her husband. We are no advocates for such a preponderance of age in the man ; we are simply commenting upon what we know to be the truth, and have observed in society. Nor do we take into the account second marriages—widowers and widows will re-marry—we are simply referring to the assuring circumstances that the wives of husbands eight or more years older than themselves are the least given to complaining.
    It is those more nearly or closely allied in the number of their birthdays who contribute most recruits to the irrational army of grumblers. Still we must admit, and it is exceedingly illustrative of this part of the subject, that the ladies, in objecting to excessive disparity in point of age, have facts and nature on their side. Statistics inform us that the average difference in age among married people is only about five years, and that is precisely the difference between the periods when old age begins with both sexes. A woman falls into the sear and yellow leaf of the autumn of her days at about her forty-fifth year, a man after his fiftieth year. So if the minimum is placed at five years, not lower, neither party to the contract will have any just cause for finding fault with the other on the score of age.
    Conceding, then, to the ladies what they seem to be warranted to ask, let us glance at the various ages at which, all the other attendant circumstances favourably concurring, young people should marry. A young man of twenty-one, being free to choose, should, according to the above rule, select for a bride a girl of sixteen ; if twenty-two one of seventeen, if twenty-three one of eighteen, and so on ; but it so happens that the mass of our English girls are not married until they are eighteen, and very properly, for they have not attained their full growth until then. It follows from this, that if the rule is to be strictly observed, the young man of twenty-one must defer his marriage until he is twenty-three, and then he and all of his ascending class will start fair with the girls who are blooming and healthy, and springing upwards from radiant eighteen. Now, if twenty-three is the desirable age when a young man should marry, all difficulties in making suitable selections as to the respective ages of the parties vanish as if touched by an enchanter's wand.
The bulk of our young men do marry at and beyond twenty-three, our girls are only eligible at eighteen, therefore, keeping the distance of five years between them, which oven the ladies allow to be reasonable, up to thirty-five and thirty, when both sexes are in their prime, a judicious choice is within the power of each. So that the programme being endorsed by society, if the young man of twenty-three should wed the girl of eighteen, the young man of twenty-five should mate with the young lady of twenty, the man of thirty with the lady of twenty-five; and when thirty-five is reached the bachelor or widower should be quite satisfied with a wife of thirty summers. It appears pretty clear, indeed is admitted by experience, that something like this substantial level ground on which to build up a home would be among the surest guarantees of domestic peace and comfort. There must inevitably be breakages in the line of procession; but our deliberate opinion is that they should not exceed ten, or at the very utmost fifteen, years. A man of forty, if sound in constitution, might, without impropriety, marry a young lady who was only twenty-five; but for one of fifty to take unto himself a wife half as young as himself is a gross violation of what clearly appears to be a natural and social law of selection, established for the welfare of both the parties to the marriage contract, not one alone.
    Where there is an over amount of selfishness, the mutuality which is a necessary inherent in the agreement is wanting, and it would be hoping against hope tote to expect it to be carried out is its integrity by both parties. And if there is to be suffering, which is more than probable, one will have a larger share of it than the other, and that one is as frequeutly the husband as the wife, because the latter, being so much younger, is more exposed to temptations to do wrong in some shape "flat rebellion" against marital authority being the earliest, most persistent, but let it be added, for the credit of the sex, most flagrant symptom.
    It is, therefore, plainly advisable that men of mature age, whether widowers or bachelors, in seeking wives, should take to their hearts the sober reflection that, although they may fancy they can win the love of young women, they cannot hope to retain it as their years accumulate. And are there not such obvious imperatives to be considered as offspring and family arrangements?
    As to the marriage of women upwards of forty with young men, they are outrages on decency. If such wives fancy they can retain the affections of their juvenile spouses their faith is great indeed, and they deserve to be admired. The improbable is a dreary look out for any one; how much more so must it be for a woman, who, after her fourth decade, instead of marrying, should be preparing herself for that mysterious change in her life, which, as it is managed, either heralds death before fifty, or a happy and cheerful decent into a calm and honourable old age?
    Of the young men who offer themselves up on such altars it is difficult to write calmly. Generally broken, in fortunes, reckless, and characterless, they involve poor, infatuated women in a host of troubles without remorse, and for the cowardly gratification of having a refuge—a home it will never be—in which to hide their craven heads.
    Let it not be implied from these remarks that there are valid objections to late marriages; there are none that we are acquainted with. All that should be insisted upon is that the disparity should not only not be violent, but, if possible, not be of any commensurate amount. Felicity in marriage among people of all ages demands as a basis a near approach to an equitable equality, and that nature, custom, and fact have combined to obtain, by placing between husbands and wives, for the sustenance of both, such a superiority in the former, that when it is weakened or absent each cure to grief, this proving the great necessity for its ever present and uniform existence.
    Having thus referred to age as a prime element in the condition of marriage, we come to the last portion
of the subject we set ourselves to write about, before diving into the mysteries of the law regulating the nuptial contract, and that is what lovers and poets affect to despise—money and position.

[Part 8]

"STRANGE, that honey can't be got without hard money," so sang that bright, but impracticable genius, Keats, and lovers, we are afraid, are much given to echoing his dolorous complaint. Money and position bear powerfully on the momentous question, when to marry. The theories about love in a cottage vanish at the touch of worldly experience. Still may not the whole matter be considered with moderation and confidence, inspired by faith in ourselves, and trust in the future.
     Circumstances, if looking a little adverse, brighten when faced with courage. Marriage, being a duty, as we have had so often to insist upon, it has to be entered into by both sexes at some period of their lives. Neither, as good members of society and agents in the Divine scheme of existence—solemnly responsible to the Great-hereafter—can shirk the engagement, therefore let the discussion of its pecuniary aspects be under taken with spirit, and while respecting the sentimental deal honestly but vigorously with the material.
     We have in former articles shown to what a horrid state of things the Malthusian doctrines would bring as to; we pointed to France, enervated by a low morality, chiefly the result of disrespect of the marriage tie, to the United States of America, which would be depopulated in fifty years were it not for immigration, and all through an ungodly heresy an the subject of marriage, and referred to Germany and our own happy land, which are strong in all that makes strength noble and useful, where wives and husbands, by cultivating the domestic virtues, have built up around their fortresses which defy assault from without and treason within. Bearing these leading—and really they are grand—illustrations closely in view, the money-side of the matter can be approached with dignity, and examined without having recourse to any reflections based on timidity or prudent hesitation, and dismissing quite out of sight as cowardly all apprehensions as to ability to meet the probable exigencies of the future.
     Consequently, it being a social and religious duty to marry, when young people are of suitable age for entering into the contract what should be the amount of the income they ought to have to start with. Of course we have nothing to do with the sons and daughters of the rich, but with those of the millions; they are the clients whose great cause we have taken in hand with cheerful alacrity, well knowing it to be sustained by both might and right. We will also exclude from consideration improvident marriages, because the bulk of them are made so by the parties themselves, and might be made better if only one or both would try. Such marriages are generally fraudulent in their beginning, there was self-deception of some kind practised, not alone on parents, but themselves. And it is not poverty that always attaches the stigma to such unhappy unions. Neglect, waste, a want of due government of the temper, and the absence of a generous tolerance of each other's failings, all contribute to make capital out of the much abused matrimonial state generalised under the word improvidence.
     There is a miserable proneness prevalent to lay too much blame on the money part of the contract for that, the health permitting, can usually be obtained by the honest and industrious. No, it is in a great measure the hypocrisy of married life, which would shift its sins of commission and omission on to the shoulders of something or somebody else, and money happens to be a very ready and convenient scapegoat. And in this respect it would be difficult to say which of the parties should be most censured. A Mr. Fuddle and a Mrs. Muddle could not be expected very well to get on harmoniously together, for what the one dissipated out of doors the other would finish by slovenly waste and dirt in doors. It is not with these sort of people we propose to deal—it is with the vast multitude who, blessed with integrity of intention, have to study, when about to marry, what they will have to live upon, for it is a fixed and healthy law of society that neither honey, nor anything else purchasable, can be got "without hard money." And it is not exactly where that is to come from, but how it is to be expended, that " puzzles the will, and perplexes the understanding" of the sensibly prudent when contemplating the assumption of a responsibility which, just as it is managed, makes or mars their future.
     Here we may judiciously mention that neither party intending to marry should be in debt. We advisedly say neither, because, although now a husband is not liable on his wife's contracts before marriage, he may be so annoyed by the importunities of his wife's creditors as to discharge their claims, and when aggravated throw the fact in her teeth. In addition, it is well to bear in mind that a wife can be sued, if she has separate property and earnings. What a pretty kettle of conjugal fish it would be if the wife had an execution against her pots and pans, and the husband one against his chairs and tables, both in the house at the same time, and being short of money had to go to their landlord and beseech him to put in a broker for rent, probably not due, in order to turn out the sheriff's men. Such a circumstance might happen, and then a long farewell to the tranquillity of that couple. But in the "when-to-marry" business we must not dwell on the contingencies. It is the income present and probable that has to be looked in the face with hard matter-of-fact severity. And here we are reminded of discussions on this very point that crop up periodically in the public press. A few years ago it was asked whether a couple could with propriety marry on three hundred a-year. A good deal of ink was shed on the occasion, and to little effect, for those to whom the problem chiefly applied were of the hungry-expectant class who had lax views on the subject of living beyond their means. With them it was not so much the living on the three hundred a-year as living on tradesmen, and being exposed to the inconvenience of soliciting relief every now and then from the Bankruptcy Court. Truly improvident, they only cast ridicule on the inquiry. Since then the directors of the Union Bank issued an ukase that no clerks in their employ should marry until their salaries were £150 a-year and upwards, on pain of dismissal after the customary notice. In the audacity of their experience, these wise men of the City thought that no young man with a wife could be honest unless he had at the least £3 a-week. The intention may have been good, but the insult was glaring, and touched the sensibility of a vast body of clerks who live purely and in comfort and rear families on an average of less than the income at which bachelor honesty was insured and the integrity of Benedicts became open to suspicion. The directors of the great joint-stock concern, besides casting their slur so broadly, committed a flagrant violation of the English law, which for hundreds of years has peremptorily laid it down that all restraints of marriage are illegal. As we have before explained, our law is so scrupulous and tender on this point, that while it sternly prohibits improper marriages, it will not dissolve one irregularly contracted, unless the attendant circumstances are offensive to public morals and the well-being of society at large.
     But some men, in their brief day, fancy they are wiser than whole centuries of ancestors, hence these vagaries with the pen, and the publishing of resolutions that could be evaded with impunity, and also hold out encouragement to irregularities which it is one of the objects of marriage to prevent. For our age, that boasts so much of its progress, we are often presented with sorry exhibitions of ignorance and lamentable interferences with the laws of nature and Providence. In this very question of income we have ample assurances that all classes of the people were never in a better condition to marry. They are better off in every essential respect than those of their equivalent positions in life were forty or fifty years ago, and if we go back a century or so the contrast is startling. All conditions of men and women are now better fed, better clothed, better lodged, and better educated than they were in any period of the national history. The rates of wages are high, and necessaries can be obtained at minimum prices. Can any one, however narrow-minded or given to perversities, say that the England of this day is in any degree like what it was at the beginning of the eighteenth century? If any such wilfully obtuse individual cumbers the land that gives him him daily bread, let him refer to Mr. Knight's admirable work on "England," and in Volumes V. and VII. he will find eloquent commentaries on then and now. We quote one sad passage:
     " Our Saviour s reproach, 'I was sick and in prison, and ye visited me not,' was unheeded. London and our great towns were swarming with destitute children, who slept in ash-holes and at street doors. They were left to starve or become thieves, and in due course to be hanged. The Church in 1701 established 'the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts' - the worse than heathen at home were left to swell the mass of sin and sorrow, until the whole fabric of society was in peril from its outcasts, and no man's life or property was safe—a fifth of the population were paupers." In this year of 1871 the proportion is under one in twenty.
     But it cannot be seriously disputed that the nation is enormously rich, and that its wealth to is more equitably distributed than will he admitted by the chronic grumbler, or can be by the densely ignorant. And as regards marriage, we unhesitatingly repeat that it never was in such prosperous circumstances to undertake its worldly obligations. Therefore, let us, without further comment, come to the gist of the whole matter. It is not the amount people have to live upon, but what they can live upon, that should be considered. We have known persons with a thousand a year worse off than those with only a hundred, and those with the latter not so comfortable as those with half that sum. The secret is in knowing how to live, in the style of the housekeeping, and, above all, in keeping out of debt. It is the needless getting into debt that drives peace from the doors of so many households. Therefore, those about to marry should take into the chamber in their mind and conscience a few wholesome facts for their future guidance, if they will do that, they will require no telling when to marry. They will be so prepared that they will regard it as a sacred duty to be got off their hands without delay. And among those facts are those which will instruct them as to their personal conduct. Both sexes expend vast sums in superfluities which they could very well do without. Some young men who complain that they cannot afford to marry have shockingly extravagant habits; they smoke and drink too much, lavish money on the fripperies of fashion, and instead of saving up and buying good clothes with ready cash obtain them from a tallyman at double the real market price. Our young women, thank goodness do not drink or smoke, but they are not economical in the matter of dress, are careless as to darning and patching, and too fond of that social bete noire, the tallyman. Whenever we see that individual, so reckless with his credit—for he will trust anybody—knocking at a door we know that in that house there is no small amount of gnashing of teeth. And while thus throwing out hints to young people what to avoid, and suggesting that they should fall into regular, even methodical, habits of expenditure, we may remind them that all the necessaries of life can be purchased cheaply for ready money, and that all the year round women a clothing costs less than men's. In the matter of bonnets they may be given to excess, but in the other articles, if a husband and wife, in the ranks below that of the publican, whose wives are notorious for their display in costume, were to keep a separate account of what they each spent during a year, and compare them just before New Year's-day, the husband would be disabused of many an erroneous impression be had entertained on that point. So that coat of dress and food are not deterrents of marriage house-rent may be, but there are :always respectable lodgings to be had, and in our large towns it is not any humiliation not to rent a house for yourself. Indeed, young couples just starting on their matrimonial journey ought to be rather glad than otherwise to be relieved from the burden of paying taxes.
     It is always advisable, however, to look confidently forward to the time when they will rent a dwelling of their own, or buying one, which, by joining a building society, they could accomplish in about eleven years. We should here add a caution that furnished apartments should be looked upon as costly snares. If a young man cannot get the ''sticks" together for a suite of decent rooms, he is certainly not in a position to marry. The when to do so with him should be postponed until he has saved the means wherewith to obtain now furniture, for, with women generally, we look upon second-hand goods as a beggarly beginning to keeping house. Young wives detest them, and very properly, for, as she comes to her husband in all the freshness of her youth and beauty, her surroundings should be new and tasty—not faded, and groaning with "wear and tear." 'These may appear little things to be noticed by us; but let it be borne in mind that half the vexatious and miseries of life are caused by little things, and they are so apt to multiply, and become a terribly big bundle to those who caused or permitted them.
    The "Whom to Marry" question, therefore, in our opinion—and it is founded on extended and varied experience—may be easily settled by every young couple starting with the honest resolution to live within their present means. and only increase their expenditure as their income becomes augmented. It is not the mere style of living that should be looked to, but the comfort, happiness, and honour that can be got out of that style, whatever it may be.
     And now, on bringing these articles on " Whom to Marry" and When to Marry" to a conclusion—we reserve a full explanation of the marriage laws of the United Kingdom for future numbers—we would ask our young gentlemen and lady friends to bear in serious view the all-important fact that, although society is divided into classes, and necessarily so, comfort and happiness in one is as possible as in another. It is not money that makes either the man or woman—it is indispensable, therefore should be zealously sought and carefully guarded—there are other and prime requisites — sobriety, honesty, neighbourly feeling, generous estimates of character, and complete abstinence from all envy and suspicious watchfulness of  others, not being among the least. Of course, love crowns the domestic edifice.
    
[Part 9]

WE have arrived at the third stage of our subject— "How to be Married"—and to the scandal of our tasted civilization find that the marriage laws of the United Kingdom are not only numerous but complex. As regards Scotland and Ireland they are in many grave essentials in a state of disgraceful uncertainty. But as they will have to be amended—Parliament and the country are fully agreed upon that point—our plain duty is to lay before our readers as intelligible an account of them as we possibly can.
     We will commence with the legal aspect of the contract itself. Here all is apparently plain sailing. We say apparently advisedly, as we shall subsequently prove it is not. The law as to the legal capacity of persons to contract marriage is, with certain exceptions peculiar to Scotland, the same throughout the United Kingdom. Minors, under the age of fourteen, if male, and twelve, if female; persons of unsound mind; persons physically unqualified, and persons under the bond of a prior subsisting marriage, are disabled from marrying; and persons related to each other within the prohibited degrees of consanguinity and affinity are incapable of intermarrying together.
     For the marriage of members of the Royal family—except the issue of princesses married into foreign families—it is a condition precedent that they must either have obtained the consent of the reigning sovereign, or being of the age of twenty-five years or upwards, have given twelve months' notice to the Privy Council, without an expression of dissent from the marriage during that period from both Houses of Parliament.
     All other persons are legally capable of the marriage contract in England and Ireland, and in Scotland also, except that is Scotland the law in some respects is stringent in respect to re-marriage after divorce. We way here mention that in England, upon a dissolution of marriage by sentence of the Divorce Court, the bond of the dissolved marriage does not cease so as to enable the parties to marry again till after the lapse of the time allowed by the statute for appeal; or in case of appeal, till after it has been disposed of.
     In other respects the marriage laws of England and Ireland differ most materially from those of Scotland ; and the laws of England and Ireland, while they agree in their leading principles, differ in many important particulars, and do not apply those principles in a uniform, or always in a consistent manner.
     The laws of England anal Ireland agree in requiring for the legal constitution of marriage within their respective jurisdictions a solemn and formal contract, deliberately entered into either in the presence of a minister of religion of the Established Church, or of name other denomination recognized by law, or of a civil officer duly authorized, and in accepting as sufficient for this purpose either a religious or a purely civil solemnity.
     They also agree in prescribing various conditions, as residence, notice, place, time, and other matters, with a view to prevent the clandestine and unlawful, and to regulate the lawful celebration of marriage—compliance with some of these being essential to the constitution and validity of the marriage, with others not essential. An important exception, however, to this general agreement is found in Ireland, in the case of Roman Catholic marriages, for which no conditions of the latter kind are prescribed.
     But in both countries provision is made for the general registry of marriages, with a view to their greater publicity and more authentic proof; but the validity or proof of marriage is not made dependent upon such registration, or upon any other particular kind of evidence.
     In this and future articles the points of difference in the marriage laws of England and Ireland will be clearly explained. Therefore, we will at once proceed to show how persons may be married in England. And we commence with the Established Church, in which more than five-sevenths of all the marriages contracted in England are solemnized.* [* We have not before us at present any of the later returns; but as they all agree in the relative proportions, that for 1864 will suffice for illustration. In that year the total number of marriages in England and Wales was 180,387. Or these 24,286 were celebrated in Human Catholic and Dissenting chapels, and 14,611 in Superintendant-Registrars' offices. The rest, 141,490 were marriages by the Established Church.]
     For the legality of any marriage contracted in the Church of England it is necessary that it should either be preceded by the publication of banns for three Sun days in the parish church or public chapel of the parish or chapelry, or of each parish or chapelry, if the parties reside in more than one, in which the parties to be married shall "dwell," or be authorized by a licence or registrar's certificate. The great majority of such marriages are by banns, for which fees of inconsiderable amount, though varying in different places. and often of doubtful lawfulness, are by custom payable. Generally—that is, taking the average of the whole country—they are under twenty shillings, more frequently only two or three shillings, above the fees justly payable under the Act of Parliament to a registrar, which are about 8s. 6d. This is the most ancient. and all the solemn circumstances of the contract considered, the most respectable and honourable form of marriage in Christian England.
     As the Rev. S. C. Willis, M.A., in his valuable communication to the Royal Commissioners on the laws if marriage, well observes, "Banns have, from early times, been associated with the hallowed rites of marriage. In a primitive state of society they fulfilled their duty, and even in our own age and nation are by no means powerless. I believe the day is not distant when our noble and dignified families, and every refined mind of every grade, will consider it paltry affectation to prefer, except for some good cause, a 'hugger-mugger' licence to the public announcement, as Spenser has it, for banns are as poetical as holy
     Such grace I found, and means I wrought,
         That I that lady to me spouse had won;
     Accord or friends content of parents sought,
         Affiance wade, my happiness begun.
Nor would 'that lady' blush that friends, and neighbours, and tenantry should know and approve the vows which she was about shortly to ratify at the sacred altar. Then will banns be rescued from the stigma of plebeianism, and restored to their proper jurisdiction. Wheatley said that the partiality of the gentlemen of the spiritual courts for licences was 'because banes are a hindrance to fees.' "
     It must be a consolation to the reverend gentleman to know that banns are still the popular form of marriage, and likely to continue so until some fresh and uniform law has been established. So to our subject. Although banns are intended as a security against clandestine and unlawful marriages, the law has given the clergyman no power to call for or compel any information as to the age, kindred, history, or other circumstances of parties unknown to him, except that he may, if he think fit, require from them seven days' notice, with a statement of their names, places of abode within his parish or chapelry, and length of residence in such places of abode. No legal penalties, however, are incurred by the false statement of any of these particulars.
     A marriage founded on banns can only be solemnized in one of the churches or chapels in which the banns have been published, and banns cannot law fully be published in all churches and chapels, but only in parish churches, and in other churches and chapels specially authorized by episcopal licence or Order in Council.
     No publication of banns is available as legal authority for the solemnization of any marriage at any time more remote than three mouths from the date of the last publication.
     Of licences there are two kinds: a common licence, which is granted by the ordinary, through his chancellor and surrogates, and a special licence, which is granted only by the Archbishop of Canterbury. For the latter no fixed period of residence is necessary, and it authorizes marriage at any hour of the day or night, and at any place, whether consecrated or not. It is granted only on special grounds, and for a pecuniary payment so large as to be prohibitory to all who are not in very affluent circumstances. It is seldom applied for or issued; on an average, about twelve special licences in the year are issued from the Faculty-office.
     A common licence may be obtained by any person who is prepared to make the requisite payments, and to declare on oath that one of the parties has, for the preceding fifteen days, had his or her usual place of abode within the parish or district, in the church or chapel of which the marriage is to be solemnized ; that there is no lawful impediment known to the deponent, and if either party be a minor, not previously married, that the consent of the proper parent or guardian has been obtained. No further inquiry is made, either by the surrogate, or (except the solemn admonition to disclose any known impediment addressed to the parties in the course of the Church service) by the clergyman called upon to solemnize the marriage. No kind of publicity is given to the application, and no interval of time is required to elapse between the application and the grant of the licence, or between the grant of the licence and the solemnization of the marriage.
     A man or woman may obtain a licence at ten in the morning, and be married before twelve at noon the same day, provided the necessary arrangement has been made with the clergyman of the church in which the marriage is intended to be contracted—the name of the church, by the way, being duly inserted in the body of the licence.
     No marriage, under either a common or special licence, can be celebrated after the expiration of three mouths from the date of its being granted.
     The "requisite payments" vary. At Doctors'-commons, or rather, to be correct, at the Vicar-General's and Faculty Office, and in the Bishop of London's office, the charge for a licence is £2 2s. 6d. ; of that 12s. 6d. is for stamps. In the provinces it is more, but generally under £3. The following is a fair sample of the expenses of a marriage by licence of a well-to-do in-the-world couple in the country. Surrogate's licence, £1 l5s. 6d.; fee to surrogate, £1 1s. ; fee to clergyman, £1 1s.; clerk, 10s. 6d. Total, £4 8s.
     But there is no fixed scale as to the church fees in church. The clergyman fixes his own ; and then there are the sexton, beadle, pew-openers, even the grave digger, who expect to be tipped, so that marriage by licence in "style" is no joke to a poor man, consequently he must resort to banns or the registrar's office.
     Every marriage by the Established Church requires for its celebration the ministry of a duly ordained clergyman, and every such marriage, unless by special licence, must be celebrated between the hours of eight and twelve in the morning, and the law directs that it shall be attended by two witnesses, besides the officiating minister.
     With respect to the marriage of minors, the law is substantially the same, whether the marriage is intended to be solemnized by the Established Church or otherwise. The consent of parents or guardians, subject to an appeal to the Court of Chancery in case of unreasonable refusal, is so far required by law that the parent or guardian, by publicly forbidding the banns or the solemnization, or by caveat, or by entry in the registrar's marriage-notice-book, may prevent the beaus from proceeding, or the licence or certificate, as the case may be, from issuing, or the marriage from taking place. The consequences of the marriage of a minor without the proper consent may be that the Court of Chancery will deprive the offending party of any pecuniary benefit from the marriage. But it is at incumbent on any clergyman, surrogate, or superintendent registrar to call for any proof of consent, beyond the declaration by the parties when the licence is a applied for, or notice given to a registrar, and the marriage of a minor if actually solemnized without the requisite consent is valid in law.     
    We cannot better conclude this article than by summarising the effect of non-compliance with legal requisites:
    1.     The false statement of any of those particulars, as to which affidavits or statutory declarations are required, is punishable as perjury or misdemeanour, or by forfeiture of pecuniary interests, but does not vitiate a marriage.
     2.    The wilful celebration of a marriage by a clergyman of the Established Church, or a registrar, in contravention of the law, is felony by statute.
     3.     No evidence can be offered after a marriage for the purpose of showing non-compliance with the provisions of the law as to residence.

[Part 10]

     Those desirous of knowing how to be married, and who do not wish to resort to the rites which the Established Church has provided for them by several statutes, commencing with that of 1836, are informed that they have the alternative of marriage according to the religious usage of any other denomination, or marriage by a purely civil ceremony. Whichever alternative may be chosen, certain preliminary proceedings are required to be taken in the office of the superintendent-registrar, which come in place of the banns or licence of the Established Church; and the presence of a civil registrar at the solemnization of the marriage is in all cases required, except when the marriage is according to the usages of Quakers or Jews.
     Either of the parties intending to marry must give notice to the superintendent-registrar of each district (if more than one) in which they reside of such being their intention. The form of notice is always to be had at the registrar's office, being printed in blank, and the fee charged for it is one shilling. The registrar generally will obligingly fill it up, and, as it contains a very solemn statutory declaration, and is far more stringent than the notice for Church banns, we lay the substance of it before our readers, with some running comments.
     It contains- 1. Christian names and surnames of the parties. 2. Their condition—that is, whether bachelor or widower, spinster or widow—often a necessary item, as minor widowers and widows can marry without the consent of parent or guardian ; also to prevent bigamy, by affording the offender's own evidence of falsification—an offence punishable as perjury. 3. Rank or profession. 4. Age. This particular is most important, as it at once leads to the question of minority and consent. If of full age, the declarant says, " I further declare that I am not a minor under the age of twenty-oue years, and that the other party herein named and described is not a minor under twenty-one years of age." 5. The dwelling-place of the parties. 6. Length of residence. He or she is made to say, "I solemnly declare that I have resided at such and such a place for the space of at least seven day's immediately preceding the giving of this notice." 7. Church or building in which the marriage is to be solemnized. This is to prevent parties who seek clandestine marriage waiting to the last to choose the bride or bridegroom's neighbourhood, as may happen to be best for concealment. 8. District and county in which the parties respectively dwell. 9. If a minor, or both are minors, and never married, the declarant says, "I further declare that the consent of and — (as the case may be), whose consent is required by law, has been duly given." 10. "I solemnly declare that I believe there is no impediment of kindred or alliance, or other lawful hindrance, to the said marriage." 11. "I make the foregoing declarations solemnly and deliberately, conscientiously believing the same to be true, pursuant to the provisions of an Act passed in the nineteenth and twentieth years of Her Majesty Queen Victoria, intituled 'An Act to Amend the Provisions of the Marriage and Registration Acts,' well knowing that every person who shall knowingly or wilfully make and sign or subscribe any false declaration, or who shall sign any false notice, for the purpose of procuring any marriage under the provisions of the said Act above mentioned, or of the several Acts therein recited, shall suffer the penalties of perjury." 'These declarations are to be subscribed in the presence of the registral official before the notice can be received, and will be forthcoming as a charge of perjury for wilfully false declarations.
     This notice is entered by the superintendent-registrar in the marriage-notice-book kept by him, which is exhibited in the register-office of the district, and is always accessible to the public, who have liberty to search and examine it. By this publicity, a caveat, or entry of prohibition in the registry, alleging any legal impediment to a marriage stops the issue of the registrar's certificate or licence until the objection is disposed of in due course of law.
     After this preliminary as to the notice, the marriage may tube place, either upon the "certificate" or upon she " licence" of the superintendent-registrar. In the former case, the notice must state a previous residence of at least seven days in the district, and a copy of the notice most be suspended in some conspicuous place in the superintendent-registrar's office during twenty-one successive days next after the entry in the notice-book. In the latter. the declaration must show a residence in the district for at least fifteen days next before the notice, and a licence authorizing an immediate marriage may issue on the second day after the entry in the notice-book. So that, under a registrar's licence, the parties may, if one of the parties has resided in the district fifteen char previous days, be married on the day after that on which the notice was given—a process nearly as expeditious as that afforded by the Church, and, unless it be deemed gravely objectionable in any case, far more privately. The parties to be married by certificate must, as we have stated, wait for three weeks after the notice.
     The fees payable for a marriage at a registrar's office by licence are—registrar's licence, £1 10s. ; Government stamp, 10s. ; registrar's fee, 10s. Total, £2 10s. The fees legally payable for a marriage by certificate are, or, rather, should be, under 9s.; but "tips," whether from rich or poor, are expected, and generally cheerfully made ; but the practice is a bad one, and "more to be honoured in the breach than the observance," for the object of the Legislature was not only to facilitate, but to cheapen marriage.
     And now, as to the marriage itself. It may here, however, be convenient to state that, if one of the parties resides in Ireland or Scotland, notice to the Irish registrar, followed by his certificate according to she Irish marriage law, or a due publication of banns in Scotland. is accepted as an equivalent to an English notice or certificate. The marriage may be solemnized in three several ways—first, at the office of the superintendent-registrar ; secondly, at a registered place of religious worship; thirdly, at the parish church, or any church or chapel licensed by the bishop of the diocese for the celebration of marriages according to the rites of the Church of England—for, under the Acts, the notice to the superintendent-registrar, and his certificate, are held to be equivalent to a publication of banns. The production of the certificate is sufficient authority for the officiating clergyman; but he is not bound to solemnize marriages under these certificates, and a small proportion only of the whole number of the marriages by the Church are so celebrated.
     With regard to the vast majority of marriages under the Acts of Parliament prescribing for those other than is the Church of England, the certificate or licence always specifies the place where the marriage is to be solemnized, which may be either in the office of the superintendent registrar himself, or a registered building, or, in the case of persons professing to be Quakers or Jews, a place where marriages are celebrated according to the usages of those sects.
     If the marriage be in a registered building, it must, as a general rule, be within the district, or one of the districts, in which the notice was given; but the certificate or licence may authorize its solemnization in the usual place of worship of the parties, if not more than two miles beyond the limits of the district, or in a registered building within the nearest district in which the ceremonies they wish to adopt are used, upon special cause being shown for cases is which adherence to the general rule might be inconvenient or impracticable. No marriage can be solemnized under the registrar's certificate in any church or registered place of worship without the consent of the minister of such church or place of worship.
     As to the qualification of places of worship for marriage, every separate building certified under 52, George III., cap. 155, as a place of religious worship, may, under Lord Russell's Act (6 & 7 William IV., cap. 85). be registered as a building for the solemnization of marriages, upon the application of a proprietor or trustee, accompanied by a certificate of at least twenty householders that they have used such building for one year as their usual place of worship, and that they desire it to be registered ; amid any part of a building licensed and used for public religious worship as a Roman Catholic chapel only is deemed for this purpose a separate building.
     Every marriage in the registrar's office must be solemnized in the presence of the superintendent-registrar, and every marriage in a registered building must be solemnized in the presence of one of the registrars, under his superintendence. Both in the registrar's office and in registered buildings, the marriage must be solemnized in the presence of two witnesses, and between eight and twelve o'clock in the morning; and the parties must declare that they take each other as husband and wife, knowing of no lawful impediment. No other form of solemnization is prescribed—the addition of any kind of religious ceremony being permitted to a registered building, but prohibited in a superintendent-registrar's office; but if parties wish subsequently to add the religious ceremony used by the Church of which they are members, ministers are permitted to read or celebrate the marriage service of the Church to which they belong. We may here mention that in France, where the Code Napoleon requires that all marriages shall be entered into before the civil magistrate—usually the mayor, or his deputy at the mayoralty—if they are Roman Catholics, which is generally the case, they, at the close of the civil ceremony, forthwith repair to church, where the priest, on receiving the indispensable certificate, unites the pair spiritually at the altar, thereby, to use the words of the great Napoleon "impressing the seal of religion on that union whist has already received the seal of the law."
     In England it is very uncommon for the parties civilly married to have recourse afterwards to any religious observances, for the plain reason that they went to the registrar's office to avoid them, owing to their conscientiously regarding marriage purely in the light of a civil contract.
     In concluding this branch of the subject, we should state that in all the respects we have above detailed the law and practice is uniform, whether the parties are Roman Catholics, Presbyterians, or of any other religious denomination except Quakers and Jews. The marriages of Jews and Quakers having been excepted from the operation of the Acts prior to 6 & 7 William IV., cap. 85, are now subject to a peculiar legislation. The same notice is required from there as from other nonconformists, and, like others, they must be married under the superintendent-registrar's certificate or licence. But trey are not restricted to marriages in registered buildings, or in places within the district is which the parties dwell. Any place within the superintendent-registrar's district its which marriages can be properly solemnized according to their respective usages may be named in the certificate or licence, and the presence at the marriage of their own registering officer in case of the Quakers, or of an officer certified in a particular manner in the case of Jews, is accepted as sufficient to authenticate the contract, without the presence of a civil registrar.
     For the benefit of our fair readers we may here interpolate, and inform them that the marriage of Quakers is a very simple ceremony, being somewhat after the fashion of that which in Cromwell's time prevailed over all England. "The man to be married taking the woman to be married by the hand, shall plainly and distinctly pronounce 'I — do, in the presence of God, the searcher of all hearts, take thee for my wedded wife, and do also, in the presence of God, and before these witnesses, promise to be unto thee a loving and faithful husband.' The woman promised in the same form to be a loving, dutiful, and obedient wife." So runs the ordinance of the Commonwealth. The Jews are more elaborate. With them, marriage is not merely a civil contract, but bears an essentially religious character. To render the marriage normal and valid according to Jewish laws the following is required
     1. That it be fully ascertained that the persons between whom the marriages to be contracted do not stand within the degrees of affinity or consanguinity prohibited by the Jewish laws and the laws of the land.
     2. Evidence is needed that both the parties are Jews.
     3. In the case, of a widow or widower, who are about to be married, convincing proof of the death of the former husband or wife is required.
    4. Two fit and proper witnesses must be present during the solemnization of the marriage, and attest the same.
     The religious ceremony consists of the putting of the ring on the finger of the bride by the bridegroom while pronouncing the words, "Thou art wedded unto are according to the laws of Moses and Israel;" the pronouncing of the benediction by the minister before and after the marriage vow; and the publication of the marriage contract.
     We have in this and the preceding article fully explained how parties can be married according to the marriage law of England, religious and civil ; but there are certain auxiliary parts too important to be omitted. And first, as to nullities. No want of attestation or other mere defect of form will vitiate any marriage contracted in good faith. But it may be vitiated and rendered null in law by the falsification, or even by a slight disguise, through the fraud of both parties, of a Christian name or surname in the publication of bands. though not in a licence, and possibly also in a registrar's certificate.
     Church marriages are void if both the parties have "knowingly and wilfully" intermarried in any other place than a church or chapel in which banns may be lawfully published, unless by special licence, or have "knowingly and wilfully intermarried without due publication of banns, or licence from a person having authority to grant the sane, first had and obtained, or have knowingly and wilfully assented to or acquiesced in the solemnization of such marriage by any person not in holy orders." So runs the statute 4 George IV., cap. 76, and under the 6 & 7 William IV.,  cap. 85, which first authorized marriages in registered building and registrar's offices, a marriage is declared to be null and void if both parties shall "knowingly and wilfully intermarry in any place other than the church, chapel, or registered building specified in the notice and certificate, or without due notice to the superintendent-registrar, or without the superintendent-registrar's certificate duly issued, or without his licence when necessary, or in the absence of a registrar or superintendent-registrar when his presence is necessary under the Act."
     With respect to registration—a matter of vital importance. All marriages solemnized by the clergy of the Established Church ought by law to be contemporaneously recorded in the proper church registers, under the custody and responsibility of the incumbent or other officiating minister, and duplicates of these registers are required to be sent once in every year to the Diocesan Registry.
     For the purposes of civil registration there is a General Register Office in Loudon, under the registrar-general, and the country is divided into districts, each of which is under a superintendent-registrar. In every district subordinate registrars are appointed to be present at marriages.
     Marriage register-books, in a prescribed form, and forms for certified copies, are furnished free of cost by the registrar-general to the superintendent and subordinate registrars, the clergy of the Established Church authorized to solemnize marriages, and the registering officers of the Quakers and certified secretaries of the Jewish synagogues.
     Every officiating minister of the Established Church, registering officer of Quakers, secretary of the husband's synagogue in the case of Jews, or civil registrar present at a marriage, is required by law to enter in one of these books, as soon as may be after their celebration, all marriages solemnized by him, or in his presence, and to send duplicates, or copies, every three months to the superintendent-registrars ; or in ease of the clergy of the Established Church, to some registrar of the district, by whom such duplicate, or copies, are  to be transmitted to the superintendent-registrar; and each superintendent-registrar, four times in each year, is required to transmit the duplicates or copies, so sent to the registrar-general, in whose office they are permanently deposited.
     Both the ecclesiastical and the civil registers thus kept are receivable in all courts as evidence of marriage, and are by themselves sufficient for the prima facie legal proof of its due solemnization. But the fact of marriage may be otherwise proved when the circumstances are such as to render such proof credible, not-withstanding the absence of register evidence.

[Part 11]

IN the contract of marriage, the health of the parties should be an important part of the consideration. We have already dwelt upon the moral portions, and they are among the essential, but those of the body and mind are not, cannot be, among the least. Diseases are more readily transmitted than fortunes. The sins of parents are the curses of generations. And therein we are presented with a terrible exemplification of the truth of the Hebrew law, which, enacted as a warning and a penalty, has its foundation in nature. Our physical organization is a part of our immortal inheritance, and when wronged it seeks redress in the endeavour to compensate itself by a kind of chastisement, which, by divine dispensation, mercifully ends in exhaustion. We are not all-sufficient for ourselves, we must think of others. The present bears in its bosom the seeds of the future. The world is with us early and late, because it is a portion of ourselves ; but there is another world within that, which belongs as well to this life as that to come.
     We belong to hereafter, and the responsibility of being here makes itself felt in all the transactions we, as rational beings, have with our entire destiny. We cannot ignore any of the conditions imposed upon us for our guidance and welfare. And having the accumulated experiences of ages for a revelation, none of us can say that we are without instruction. The laws of health are written in as plain characters as the laws of life. And to break any of them is to solicit correction, and to invite the decay of faculties, glorious in themselves, but hideous in their deformity. Therefore, venturing to comment upon such a subject with gentle reverence, we would say to all young people contemplating marriage, that it would be an exercise of religious wisdom—heaven would smile on the effort—if they gave some natural heed to the obligations which no veil of sophistry or passion can conceal from the conscience. In marriage there should be a sound mind in a sound body. Men and women looking from the brow of youth in the generous sunshine of Providence, into the not far distant future should reflect, should understand, think, know, that they are not alone in the grand mystery of creation. Creatures of circumstances are also the creatures of duty. And the more men and women are trained, the higher becomes their mission to obey the sacred call on themselves.
     Thoughtlessness is no excuse for folly. Many do err innocently; but how many do wrong wilfully, giving themselves but little trouble to think that they are about to inflict injury, not only on themselves, but on those upon whom, in the growing years, they will associate all that they esteem as precious and lovely in this life and the one to follow! The neglects, omissions, and delinquencies of youth become the bitter sorrows of the creeping years, and often the unavailing atonements of age. What we undo in the autumn and winter we might have left undone in the spring and summer. Sins of omission and commission may be pardoned by Him who pardons all; but nature never pardons those who tread with irreligious feet across the frontier of the territory whose boundaries she has marked out so clearly that none can mistake them. In this view of what men and women owe to themselves and their posterity, it can surely be excused in one who has studied humanity in most of its phases, and who has had, moreover, a kindly excuse for ordinary foibles and frailties, that he should, with some moderate show of concern, say unto those about to marry, that they should not rush into engagements that might bring upon themselves, personally, remorse, and upon their offspring suffering and worldly disgrace.
     Among the disorders to which our pliable human nature is subject, insanity is the most common. Like the gout and kindred diseases, it is hereditary; and when it afflicts a family, it attends upon them with more fidelity than the rent-roll. The law allows of divorce when it can be proved; but previous circumspection is better than having recourse to proceedings which at the best are costly, and carry with them, however unreasonably, some slight discredit. Consequently, in studying whom to marry, care should be taken to avoid entering into families upon which the awful taint of lunacy has fallen. A man or woman with a softened brain is a dismal beginning to the setting-up of a home. A union of that kind, if entered upon with the full knowledge and consent of both parties, would be a sort of insolvency, which, beginning business on credit, ends with a whining appeal to Providence for help ; and when the mischief has been done. no help can come, for, in the divine nature of things, those only are really helped who have made earnest efforts to help themselves.
     The rods with which we are whipped are of our own growing. No doubt in the noon of exultation it is difficult to form a judgment in so important a matter, and no general rule can be laid down ; but surely a little inquiry might be pursued even by the most impetuous and impatient. There are outward signs by which mental weakness may be suspected, if not recognized. The watery eye, the loose carriage of the mouth, the vacant stare, the rickety gait, are certain tokens that the spinal column is out of order. The boisterous laugh, full of sound, signifying nothing, and all the reckless assumptions of importance or authority, soothing as they may be to a self-begotten vanity, are to those who would give themselves time to make observations pretty accurate indices by which they might, by a conscientious digestion of the thoughts suggested, take upon themselves the solemn responsibility of saying yes or no to the promptings of passion or first liking.
     As we have hinted, we cannot pursue this subject in a publication like ours in the mantles that it ought to be done; but we can without offence distinctly declare that those about to marry should regard it as a sacred preliminary that all inquiries into the character of the families with which they contemplate alliance are allowable, not only by custom, but prudence, and a reverent regard for those whom we in our heart of heart wish to be better than ourselves. Even in the luxuriance of our summer days we do not enjoy the rank monopoly of living for ourselves alone.
     The sun of enjoyment may be high in the heavens, but as the days shorten the shadows lengthen : one is always at the elbow of mortal man. Counsel, therefore, with duty and self-respect should be taken in the morning of experience; not in the afternoon, when regret knocks impotently on the door of repentance.
     The young man or woman who wilfully contracts marriage, who blindly rejects all the suggestions of accumulated wisdom, and the "love that is stronger than death," enters into bonds with fate, and hereditary alliance with that worst of curses, disease.
     It becomes, therefore, a distinctive duty that those about to marry should early make themselves familiar with the character of the families with whom the proposed alliances are contemplated. And in that aspect of the matter there are other disabilities besides the purely physical. We leave the further consideration of the latter to the cultivated sense of those whom it so dearly concerns. The moral diseases in families are as dangerous in their several degrees as those of the poor frail body—frail, only let it be insisted upon as a creed, because neglected and abused. If we bestowed as much care upon the grand house we live in as we do upon its lenient, the latter would not in the end have much to complain about.
     But it will be asked how the moral disabilities, those disorders of the mind and soul, are to be recognized. To that we unhesitatingly reply that sound observation will supply all the information that lovers could reasonably expect to obtain under the peculiar and ruling circumstances, for even in such a case an excess of suspicion might bring before the view more than really existed. The judgment, unbiased.by passion or generous excuses, must be made to play an active part in the matter. Consequently, young people in seeking a wife or husband in a family should look to the character that family bears in the world, and the appearances it wears, not only unto others but itself. There is a good deal of hypocrisy in the domestic circle. Those who have much, or indeed anything, to conceal try to hide it even from themselves. In secret they hold the candle to evil spirits, but blow it out the moment a looker-on comes upon the scene. The heads of families are, then, the persons to be attentively studied, for when people marry they acquire a kind of second parentage, and become mixed up with both its past and future.
     Fathers-in-law, and mothers-in-law, therefore, become objects of more than curious inquiry, for many a young life has been wrecked in its morning through association with those relatives by marriage who, vicious in themselves, vitiate, or, at all events, deteriorate all with whom they come in contact. That description of person is difficult to guard against ; but the outward signs by which they may be known are numerous, and not to be mistaken. They may be avoided if only the commonest prudence is exercised. And we without scruple hold up to warning and reprobation the male head of a family whose avocations are involved in mystery, and whose dealings with his fellow-men are crooked.
     However humble his daily business may be, if honourable, ho can pursue it without concealment. If the outside of it be well varnished, what lies under it will not well bear the light of day. The most frequent of this class who offend society by their assurance are those who, to adopt a slang expression of the time "live by their wits." Disdaining "honest labour," they levy tolls on the honey that might have been theirs for the gathering. In general, they are men soft-spoken in speech, much given to whisperings in the ears, and carry about them a demeanour of slyness that is very offensive. They are addicted to asking young men, with an insinuation of manner which, when closely examined, can readily be seen to be a vulgar leer, to put their names to "little bills,'' just for temporary accommodation, nothing more—oh, no!—it "is only the form of the thing, and it won't be heard of again." Their doctrine is, "What is the use of having a friend or acquaintance unless you make good use of him ?" Thousands of young men, in the heyday of their prospects, are thus led astray by these wolves covered in the sheepish clothing of an assumed family respectability. Because the scoundrels reside in decent houses, for which they never pay rent, and have wives aril children who are dressed decently, they take upon themselves the appearance of being responsible and apparently well-to-do members of society.
     A little inquiry would soon drag the veil from their shocking imposture. Ask the baker, the butcher, the grocer, the widow who keeps a chandler's shop, the draper, how such a family stands in their books, and the mournful information will be that they have obtained credit solely on the strength of their appearance, or the audacity of a glib-tongued mother, who, with a brace or so of showy daughters, have been corrupted by the utter profligacy of the father's roguery. Go to the neighbouring tavern, and you will find him seldom in debt, because it is part of his systematic way of "living on his wits" that be will not run the risk of being talked about over the bar of a public-house. It would be as well also to search the records of the Bankruptcy Court, and ascertain the sort of schedules such "a family man" has been obliged frequently to file. At the same time it would not be a waste of time or money to go to Chancery-lane, and see whether there is a bill of sale registered on the goods he has obtained from confiding tradesmen to furnish the "highly respectable" house he lives in. And while about that duty it seems to us that it would naturally follow that the criminal calendar might not be barren of instruction ; or if such a suspected father had a dissipated son stalking abroad in his braise impudence, or a daughter upon whom the dark mantle of disgrace had fallen, would it not be wise to at once condemn him as wholly unsuitable for an alliance which is not, cannot be for a day?

[Part 12]

The marriage law of Scotland is the simplest, and yet, unfortunately, about the least understood of that of any civilized nation. We will be as clear and concise as we possibly can on the subject. Some portion of it being highly objectionable to be introduced into our pages, if we fail to be as legally explicit as some of our readers would desire, the fault must be charged to inevitable suppression, not to any negligent omission.
     Marriages in Scotland, then, are divided into three distinct classes. Regular marriages, irregular marriages (which are of two kinds), and the questionable one of  "habit at repute," or the reputation of being married persons, acquired among relatives, friends, and acquaintances, by persons living together as husband and wife; but this the Scotch, repudiate, and contend that such reputation dues not constitute, it is merely evidence of, marriage.
     We shall, therefore, avoid that delicate ground, and give a general view of the legal constitution of marriage in Scotland. Under the 19 & 20 Vict., cap. 96, commonly called Lord Brougham's Act, it is necessary for the validity of a marriage contracted in Scotland that one of the parties should either have his or her usual place of residence in Scotland at the date of the marriage, or have lived in Scotland for twenty-ono days preceding such marriage. Before this marriage law it was very common for English persons to contract clandestine marriages in Scotland at Gretna Green and other places, immediately after crossing the border—a practise which this Act effectually suppressed. With this exception, marriage in Scotland depends not upon the observance of any solemnities, or other condition prescribed by statute, but upon the ancient common law, which, although now altered generally in the Roman Catholic Church, and superseded in every other part of European Christendom by civil legislation, still remains in force in Scotland, subject only to such modifications as it has undergone from time to time by the application of the rules of evidence established in that country.
    It seems that at the Scottish Reformation the Scots sternly refused to adopt the reformation of the marriage law introduced by the Romish clergy at the Council of Trent, so that all the European nations, Scotland only excepted, have departed from the more ancient canon law, and have required the interposition of Church or of State, or of both, to validate a marriage. Thus, what was the law of all Europe, while Europe was barbarous, is now the law of Scotland only, when Europe has become civilized.
     But it should be observed that penalties are impend by several ancient laws upon the clandestine solemnization of marriage ; and by recent enactments the power of formal solemnization is conferred on the ministers of all religious persuasions, and provision is made for the registration of marriages. None of these enactments however, alter or in any way limit the application of the ancient canon law as to the constitution of marriage.
     Under this system of law it is not requisite that the contract should be made or authenticated in the presence of any minister of religion or civil officer, or by use kind of solemnity, formal declaration, or other definite act.
     " The leading principle," said Lord Daas, in a well-known judgment, " is that consent makes marriage. No form or ceremony, civil or religious, no notice before an publication after, no writing, no witnesses even, are essential to the constitution of this, the most important contract which two parties can enter into, whether as affecting their domestic arrangements, or the pecuniary interests of themselves or their families. Matrimonial consent may be verbally and effectually interchanged when no third party is present; and if it can be proven even at the distance of years, by subsequent written acknowledgments, or oath of reference, or in any ether competent way, that such consent was seriously and deliberately given, the parties will be held to be married from that time forward." And in the course of the same judgment his lordship further remarked "that the consequence of these peculiarities of our marriage law is that there are at all times in Scotland a large number of individuals who cannot tell whether they are married or unmarried, and a still larger number of children as to whom none can affirm whether they are legitimate or not."
     Professing to he founded on the ancient principle that "consent makes marriage," the language of the Scottish law recognizes three distinct modes of constituting marriage—one called "regular" and two called "irregular." Regular marriages are those which are solemnized according to certain rules of procedure, established by custom or statute, in the presence of a minister of religion. Irregular marriages are those which are not thus solemnized.
     To render a marriage under the various statutes lawful and regular, the previous publication of banns in the Established Church of Scotland, in the church of the parish in which each of the parties resides, was, and is still, in all cases required, whether either or both of the parties belong to that Church or to any other denomination. For this purpose application is made to the session clerk of the parish. Every such applicant must state — and the statement must be verified by the certificate of two householders or one elder of the parish —that the parties, or one of them, have or has resisted for six weeks in the parish, and are or is personally known to the certifying householders or elder, and that they are unmarried, and not related to each other within the prohibited degrees. The publication of banns takes place by the session clerk in the parish church at the time when the congregation is assembled for, and immediately before the commencement of Divine service. It must be repeated three times, and it ought properly to take place at three successive Sundays; but the general practice is, in fact, to make all the three publications on the same Sunday, on payment of fees considerably larger than those which would be payable if the more correct practice were observed.
     It is not necessary that regular marriages in Scotland should be solemnized in any particular form, or at a particular time or place. The presence of any minister of religion at the time of solemnization, wherever it takes place, or, in the case of Quakers and Jew, at their proper offices, entitles them to the character of marriages in facie ecclesiae and, except in the cases of Roman Catholics and Protestant Episcopalians, whose general practice is to marry in their own churches or chapels, they are, in fact, usually solemnized in private houses, and indiscriminately, at all hours of the day. A registrar's presence is not required at any regular marriage, although his attendance, if the parties require it, may be obtained on payment of 20s. Non-compliance with the legal conditions of regular marriage, as to banns or otherwise, may subject the parties to statutory penalties, but cannot affect the validity of the interchange of consent as constituting marriage, the utmost effect of such non-compliance being to make the marriage irregular.
     As we have already stated, nothing more is necessary to constitute actual marriage by the law of Scotland, as now established, than a present interchange of consent in whatever manner given, to become thenceforth husband and wife. If this be done without publication of banns, or without the intervention of a minister of religion, it is irregular; and it falls equally within this category whether the consent is declared in the most open and authentic manner before a justice of the peace, or before a civil registrar, or before any unauthorised person taking upon himself to celebrate marriages, as used to be the practise at Gretna Green, or in the most secret and private manner between the parties themselves, with or without witnesses, and with or without any subsequent open acknowledgment.
     The first class of these irregular marriages is said to be constituted by some present interchange of consent to be thenceforth man and wife, privately and informally given. The second class is by a promise of future marriage, without any present interchange of consent to be husband and wife. The law, however, is very unsettled, and it would not be in good taste to dwell on many of its obnoxious features ; and history furnishes souse excuse for Scotch laxity in this respect. According to the testimony of Dr. Stark, Superintendent of Statistics, and Assistant Census Commissioner to Scotland, till a comparatively recent date regular marriages could only be established by ministers of the Established Church of Scotland. By Act 10 Anne, cap. 7, Episcopal clergymen who had taken the oaths to Government were allowed to perform the marriage ceremony. This privilege was afterwards extended, by an Act passed in the reign of William IV., to all persons in holy orders, of whatever communion, but only on condition that the banns of marriage should be previously proclaimed in parish churches of both parishes, and, if the parties were Episcopalians, also in the chapel to which they belonged. The evil effect of restricting the power of performing the marriage ceremony to the ministers of the Established Church of Scotland, aided greatly by also intolerant Clandestine Marriage Acts of 1661 and 1698, was strikingly evidenced in Scotland, where the people have always rebelled against intolerance and tyranny. Under these restrictive laws, regular marriages in many parishes and districts became the exception, and not the rule; and to such an extent did these intolerant Acts urge the people of Scotland to resist the ecclesiastical tyranny which was thus laid on them through the civil power, that it may safely be assumed that, during the whole of the eighteenth century, a third of the marriages in Scotland were contracted irregularly; and even far into the nineteenth century the number of marriages contracted irregularly was very great.
     The improved legislation above alluded to, which allowed every minister of every denomination to perform the marriage ceremony, and letting the Clandestine Marriage Act fall into abeyance, has done much to promote regular marriages; and now that public opinion regards an irregular marriage as implying a stigma, and that Lord Brougham's Act has put an end to Englishmen crossing the border to avail themselves of the Scottish law of marriage, irregular marriages have become rare. A small number are still contracted, but they are only in the proportion of about one for every thousand regular marriages. But with regard to these irregular marriages, it should be widely known that the law of Scotland, so far from regarding them with favour, or even indifference, while justly recognizing them as marriages, imposes severe penalties on all concerned in their celebration. Thus by the Clandestine Marriages Acts before referred to—Acts still unrepealed —every couple marrying, otherwise than before a clergyman, and after publication of banns, may be summarily apprehended, and confined for three months in gaol, besides having to pay certain summary fines. The celebrator of the marriages is liable to banishment from the realm, not to return under pain of death, and to such pecuniary and corporal pains as the Lords of the Privy Council shall be pleased to inflict, while the witnesses are each liable to a fine of £100 Scots money, or £8 6s. 8d. sterling. Such severe penalties are never now imposed.
     But the principles of a sound marriage law for the whole of the United Kingdom have yet to be established. Those in vogue are obscure and frightfully numerous, and we quite agree with Mr. Boyd Kinnear, an eminent advocate and barrister-at-law, when he urged upon the atteution of the Royal Commissioners on the Marriage Laws, that "a good general marriage Act ought to embrace the maximum of simplicity and the maximum of certainty. Of simplicity, because it affects every class, and almost every person—the most humble and illiterate, as well as the most exalted and learned ; and because it has to be known and acted on in the absence of, not only legal advice, but often the absence of even ordinary common sense counsel. Of certainty, because it affects a contract and social relation the most important that can arise between human beings; because it affects the foundations of society itself, and influences the fate, it may be the eternal fate, of innumerable individuals. It is thus not an unreasonable practical test of the propriety of any marriage code to be that its provisions ought to be such as every woman, not only can understand by study, but is correctly acquainted with through the common understanding of society; had that its security should be such that all persons, if intending to marry, should be able to place their contract, by the adoption of the ordinary means, beyond the reach of doubt."
     To complete our article on "how to be married" in Scotland it is necessary that the system of registration should be explained. In its general features it is somewhat similar to that of England and Ireland. There is a General Register Office in Edinburgh, under a registrar-general, and each parish in Scotland has a district within which there is a resident registrar.
     Parties about to contract a regular marriage must obtain from the district registrar a schedule containing the particulars to be entered on the register. This they are required to produce, together with the certificate of proclamation of banns, to the officiating minister, or, in the cases of Quakers and Jews, to their proper officer. At the time of the celebration, this schedule is required to be signed by the parties, by the minister, or person officiating, and by two witnesses ; and the married parties are required to return the schedule, so filled up and signed, for registration to the district registrar within three days after the marriage, under the penalty of £10 on the husband, or, if he makes default in payment, on the wife.
     The only provisions made by law for the registration of irregular marriages are contained in 17 & 18 Vict., caps. 48, and 49, and Lord Brougham's Act. Under the former Act, persons convicted before a magistrate or justice of the peace of an irregular marriage are authorized and required to register each marriage in the parish in which the conviction has been obtained ; and the magistrate or justice is bound, under a penalty, to give notice of the conviction to the district registrar. And in the case of any irregular marriage being established by a decree of declarator of a competent court, either party is authorized to register such marriage in the parish of the domicile, or of the usual residence of the parties ; and the clerk of the court is required, under a penalty, to give notice of such decree to the district registrar.
     Under Lord Brougham's Act any parties who have contracted an irregular marriage may, within three months after such marriage, not later, jointly apply to the sheriff, or sheriff substitute, of the county where the marriage was contracted, and on being satisfied of the fact of marriage, he may grant his warrant to the registrar of the parish or burgh where the marriage was contracted, who shall enter such marriage in his register, and grant a certificate thereof to the parties. For a registration of irregular marriages which have been the subject of a conviction, or of a decree of declarator, a payment of 20s. is required. For registration upon the application of both parties within three mouths, under Lord Brougham's Act, a payment of 5s. only.
     To render our articles complete, so that they may confidently be referred to by British subjects in any part of the world, we append a brief resume of the law of marriage with respect to its celebration in India, the colonies, and British subjects in foreign countries.
     As to the empire of India, the marriages of British European subjects in that country are governed by the Indian Marriage Act of 1865. Under that statute, marriages may be solemnized between European British subjects. 1. By any person who has received episcopal ordination, provided it be solemnized according to the rules, rites, ceremonies, and customs of the Church of which he is a minister. 2. By any clergyman of the Church of Scotland, provided it be solemnized according to the rules, rites, ceremonies, and customs of the Church of Scotland. 3. By or in the presence of a marriage registrar under the provisions of previous statutes. 4. By any minister of religion who, under the provisions of the Act, has obtained a licence to solemnize marriages.
     In the colonies the most important imperial statute which regulates marriages is the 28 & 29 Vict., cap. 64, which rendered valid all marriages previously contracted according to the peculiar laws and customs prevailing in Her Majesty's various possessions abroad. The passing of this Act was occasioned by the previous passing of various Acts by the Legislatures of several colonies, for the purpose of establishing the validity of marriages, of which it seems doubts had been entertained.
     Thus the Legislature in New South Wales, in 1855, had passed an Act whereby every marriage in that colony before the commencement of that Act, by any minister of religion, or person ordinarily officiating as such, was declared, notwithstanding any irregularity of form, a perfectly legal and valid marriage to all intents and purposes. Similar laws have been passed at various times by most of the Australian colonies; and it was in consequence of doubts having been suggested as to the provisions in such colonial Acts for the confirmation of previous marriages being operative beyond the limits of each colony that the imperial statute was passed, declaring explicitly that these retrospective enactments should have their intended effect throughout Her Majesty's dominions. But it must remarked that in this imperial statute it is provided that nothing contained in it shall give effect or validity to any marriage, unless at the time of such marriage both of the parties thereto were, according to the law of England, competent to contract the same.
     Thus, although under this imperial statute marriage with a deceased wife's sister may be legal in a colony, it is not legal in the United Kingdom no regards their status in the mother country.
     With respect to marriage of European British subjects in various countries, various decisions of the courts, and a conformatory statute, passed in 1849, have laid down the principle, that all marriages of British subjects contracted in foreign countries according to the forms required by the lex loci contractis (the law of that land) are recognized as valid marriages by the English courts, except in cases where the parties would not be competent by the law of England to contract a valid marriage.
     These exceptions include marriage with a deceased wife's sister, as was proved in the celebrated case, Brook v. Brook, to which we have often referred in our correspondence page. That kind of marriage is allowed in various European and American states, and many of our colonies ; but wherever contracted between British subjects it is not valid in any part of the United Kingdom.
     But to continue our subject. It may not be always possible for a British subject in any foreign country to avail himself of the lex loci contractis, by reason of a difference of religion, as in Mohammedan or heathen countries, or by reason of a difference of confession, as in some Christian countries, where marriage can only be lawfully established between parties who confess themselves to be members of the established Church. Accordingly, in foreign countries, where either by express treaty, or by the comity of nations, the privilege of ex-territoriality has been enjoyed by British subjects within any defined limits, such as the factory of a trading company, or the hotel of an ambassador, the marriage of a British subject solemnized within such limits, according to the law of England has always been upheld by English courts as a valid marriage. Upon a similar principle, the marriage of a British subject according to the same law within the lines of a British army serving abroad has been upheld as a valid marriage by the English courts.
     A marriage solemnized on board a British vessel of war on any foreign station by a minister of the Church of England, or the Church of Scotland, in the presence of the commanding officer, is also legal.
     As to marriages on board of merchantmen, they appear to be regulated by the Merchant Shipping Act of 1854. It is provided by section 282 of that Act that every master of a merchant ship shall enter in the official log-book of the vessel every marriage taking place on board his vessel, with the name and ages of the parties ; but there is no statutory authority for the solemnization of any such marriage on board a British merchant ship, nor has any statute ever been passed to give retrospective effect to any such marriage. In the case, however, of both the parties being British subjects emigrating to a British colony, if their marriage has been solemnized on board a British merchant vessel by a priest in holy orders, the validity would probably be upheld in any English court, upon the analogy of legal declaration that British emigrants carry with them the common law of England until they become subject to some other law.

The London Journal, 1871