Paying A Handsome Tribute To Woman ; Introducing A Bride, And Preparation For The Bridal; Giving The Origin And Plan Of Chipmunk Cathedral; Sketching A Grand Southern Ritualistic Wedding; And Showing How Our Correspondent Was Once "Up To Snuff".
Chipmunk Court House, Jane 18, 1868.
From those passionate days when the arms and feats of Woman had so wrought upon the feelings of a British army that it toasted the Maid of Orleans, there has been a marked tendency amongst owners of mothers-in-law to let the Toast be Dear Woman. But we must remember, that, in the time of Joan of Arc, protracted celibacy often subjected the unwedded fair one to the rigors of a convent; and, rather than come to that, many a maiden was willing to accept a suitor who was half-a-loafer, upon the principle that half-a-loaf was better than nun. The English troops may have regarded Miss Joan's late proceedings in the light of a loaf; and, having cut her off from the latter, felt justified in toasting her over the same fire with their stake. At any rate, the historical precedent from which modern mother-in-lawyers take inspiration for their malevolent convivial mots, has no force at all for those genuine admirers and respecters of the sex who ask no toasting for the modest, domestic young woman who is home-maid bred.
If, in following my mention of the heroine of Orleans with the name of Matilda Munchausen, I should also greet the latter as a Maid of Four Liens,-because at least four liens are held against the estates of the Munchausen by low Northern persons having mortgages thereon, - there are those who would accuse me of greatly exasperating them with a hideous pun. I think, therefore, that it will be well for me to respect the unhappy prejudices of such critics, and save them from a degrading display of their bad temper, by not doing so. Suffice it to say, then, that the lady of the ancient Southern chateau, which I am now aiding to reconstruct, is certainly worthy the proud old name of Penruthers, attained by her to-day in the bond and mortgage of matrimony; nor shall the apparent slight coolness of herself and her family toward me keep back my delicate tribute of admiration on such an occasion as the present. Her chamber in the luxurious Munchausen chateau has hitherto been immediately above mine; and, early this morning, while she, with all her windows open (to disguise the absence of a whole pane of glass from any one of them), was getting ready for the bridal, I overheard her softly singing to herself the following graceful little chanson.
Avez vous mon parapluie? Celni-la, ou oelui-ci ?
Il n'a celui de personne : N'a-il pas son pantalon ?
Qui a soin de mon cheval T A quel pied a-t-il mal ? Je suis vena pres de vous, Il est vena pres de nous.
Manger trop est dangereux : Bonne renommee vaut mieax, Il fait un bon ordinaire - Pensez-vous quo je puisse faire ? *
* I take these sprightly lines .(probably one of the lighter lyrics of lingo) to be expressive of pleasant girlish badinage. The young bride jocosely asks her lover if he has her umbrella (synonymous with parasol at the South just now). To which it is answered, that he has not;-that he really has hut the clothes be stands in. This is the French way of stating that he is very poor. Then the bride, in the same spirit again, wants to know who is to take care of her pet saddle-horse after she is married, and attend to its ailings; as the creature must now come very near to two persons instead of one ? But, in the last quatrain, woman's heart at once accepts the situation frankly, contends that a good name is better than gluttonous living, hints that those are rich enough who have the former, and archly asks a compliment for the fair philosopher. The lines may be freely rendered into English, thus, -
Have you my umbrella there ? This or that one-I don't care I He has no one's; his is thus, Propria quae maribus.
Who will tend my pony, now ? Tell which foot is sorest, too ? As I come the nearer thee, He to us should nearer be.
Peril 'tis to eat too much,- Better honest name than such; He fares well who sticks unto it; Do 70U think that I can do it ?
The translation scarcely does justice to the gracefully coquettish spirit of the original, but conveys its sense. - Ed.
(Nonsense! The "lines" are merely so many hap-hazard and disconnected phrases from the "Exercises" of some French Grammar, or Reader! -Publisher.)
Unconscious of a hearer, the lovely songstress was taking French-leave, so to speak, of her girlish days. As the student returned from a college where he has acquired great facility in misunderstanding- Latin will occasionally sing bits of supposed verse in that language in a way to sadden everybody, so did this affianced Southern bride warble the plaintive lines she had, perhaps, learned at her happy early boarding-school, where French was the language if desired by parents. And while I listened to the melodious strain, and imagined the beautiful strainer dropping a final tear to the memory of her sunny days of girlhood, I could not but envy the haughty bridegroom destined to have her for his own; and wonder how the mischief he was ever going to support her.
Even while I mused thus, the sound of another voice saluted my ears from below the casement, -the voice of Captain Munchausen, who, in consequence of an accident to his ancestral treasury, had just borrowed three dollars from the aged'colored seneschal, of the chateau, to aid in the approaching nuptial pageant.
"Seneschal," says he, coldly, "if this is all that the varlet Yankees have given thee in largesse, I will e'en place it in my gipsire for want of more".
The seneschal appeared to heave a sigh, and says he, " Dat's all I got, Mars'r Captain ; and I hope Mars'r 'll let me go and vote for de Convention dis mornin' before, Miss 'Tilda gits married".
His former owner scowled thoughtfully at the ignorant black, and says he, " Seneschal, what is this Convention to do?"