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The number of appeals sent to us each month has become so great that we can no longer open our columns to letters of this description, excepting in the form of advertisements on the usual terms. The original purpose of our Correspondence was simply to afford an opportunity to our readers of obtain. ing information on subjects of general interest to the Church, and we shall always gladly give insertion to communications which will further this object. We shall still be ready also to publish appeals which affect the welfare of the Church at large,—such as those which have appeared in our pages for the dioceses of Bombay and Nassau, &c., and are very different from the private and personal requests with which we are overwhelmed, and which we must henceforth decline. We print this month the letters of all those who have had any reason to believe their communications would be inserted, and for the future we trust that our correspondence columns will contain matter of a more edifying description.
8th January. The prophecy has actually come true,-Barbe is really going to be married at the end of the Carnival, and she is to marry M. Michel, for that is, strange to say, the name of M. le Staroste Swidzinski. Yesterday he asked my mother for her hand, and to-morrow they are to be affianced. Poor Barbe was bathed in tears when they came to announce the great news to us; she dreads marriage, and the prospect of leaving her bome is most painful to her. But to refuse this offer would have been very unsuitable, as my father and mother assure her that she will be very happy; M. le Staroste is it appears religious, gentle, upright, and he belongs to a noble, ancient and wealthy family, so what more can one want? The three uncles of the Staroste died as warriors fighting under the command of the celebrated Chodkiewicz, and the mantles of these heroes have fallen upon their
? The battle of Kirchholm in which these heroes fell was one of the most brilliant victories achieved by Polish arms. At the commencement of the engagement the Polish commander Chodkiewicz had only 3,400 men to oppose the 17,000 well trained troops of Charles IX. of Sweden, but just as the battle was about to be fought, the Duke of Courland, a faithful vassal of the crown, having braved the swollen and threatening waters of the Dzwina, appeared on the scene with 300 noble knights, a reinforcement which produced an electrical effect throughout all ranks of the army. Though the Swedes fought with desperate courage, 9,000 of them lost their lives besides leaving in possession of the Poles eleven cannons and sisty standards; while Charles IX. only owed his safety to a horse lent him by one of his knights.
The Pope, Paul V., the Emperor Rodolphus, James I. of England, the Sultan of Turkey, and the Shah of Persia all congratulated the Polish king on this feat of valour accomplished by his soldiers September 27, 1605.
descendants. The relations of the Staroste have already put him in full possession of the Castle of the Sulgostów, and besides the king has appointed him to an important Starostie, and he will soon be made Castellan. The Palatin Swidzinski and the Abbé Vincent came that the marriage might be hastened, they are very much in favour of it. The Palatin is delighted with Barbe, and I am sure when he knows her better he will be very fond of her.
The wedding is to take place at the Castle of Maleszów on the 25th of February. We shall have grand festivities then,-balls, concerts, and dancing to extinction. Barbe will be Madame la Starostine,how hard I shall find it to leave off calling her Barbe. I am sorry I spoke so disparagingly of the Staroste in my journal, but I do not think after all that I have said anything very offensive. If Barbe is only happy-and I think she will be, for she always said she did not like very young men.
The Staroste has certainly reached the years of discretion, and according to my mother, it is the men who have done so who make the best husbands. As my mother says so, of course it must be true, for my own part I like men who are lively and pleasant, and I suppose we have all a right to our own taste. I do not forget that this is the day when the investiture of the Prince Royal to the Duchy of Courland takes place. Happily the king is well again. Colonel Swidzinski speaks most favourably of Prince Charles, whom he knows well, but the Palatin and the Staroste do not wish him to succeed his father upon the throne, they say that the crown ought to belong to a Pole.
10th January. The ceremony of betrothal was celebrated yesterday. We dined at our usual hour. When Barbe entered the drawing-room my
mother gave her a ball of silk to unravel, she became as red as fire, and had scarcely courage to raise her eyes, for every one was looking at her, and M. le Staroste never left her side. Little Macienko laughed with his usual satirical expression, and made all sorts of jokes which amused the society who laughed in fits, but I could not perceive the point of the wit though I laughed more than any of them. After dinner Barbe sat down in the embrasure of the window and began her work, when M. le Staroste went up to her and said aloud,
“ Is it true, mademoiselle, that you will not oppose my happiness?"
Barbe answered in a low trembling voice, “ The will of my parents has always been for me a sacred duty."
And thus the interview terminated.
When the pages, attendants, and servants had retired, the Palatin addressed my father in the following words:
“My heart is penetrated with sincere affection and profound respect for the illustrious house of Corvins Krasinski, I have always wished that the modest arms of the Polkozic should be quartered with the illustrious and renowned ones borne by the Slepowron. My cup of happiness is filled to overflowing at the prospect of your Excellency's granting me that much coveted honour. Your daughter Barbe is a model of virtue and grace, while my son Michel is the glory and consolation of my life. Condescend to give your consent to the union of this young couple, and deign at the same time to confirm your promise. This is the ring I received from my parents, and the one I placed on the finger of my wife, who alas, only lives now, as she will do for ever, in my affections. Permit that my son on a like occasion may offer it to your daughter as a pledge of his love and unalterable devotion.”
And saying these words he placed on a salver held by the Abbé Vincent, a diamond ring. The Abbé also made a speech, but it was so interlarded with Latin that I could not understand it. Then my father made answer to both addresses in these words :
“I have much pleasure in confirming the promise which I made you. I consent to the union of my daughter with M. le Staroste, I give her my blessing, and I make over to your son the right I had over her.”
“I share all the wishes and intentions of my husband," added my mother ; "I give my daughter this ring, it is the most precious jewel of our house. My father, Etienne Humiecki, received it from the hand of Augustus II. when he had succeeded in bringing the treaty of Carlowitzto a happy conclusion, after which the fort of Kamieniec in Podolia was restored by the Turks to the Poles. It was with this ring of treasured memory that I was betrothed, and I give it to my beloved daughter together with my blessing and hearty desires that she
be as happy in her married life as I have been in mine." And she placed on the salver a ring of beautiful diamonds with a miniature of Augustus II.
“Barbe, come to me,” said my father ; but the poor child was so
1 By the treaty of Carlowitz, Turkey was forced to restore to Poland not only Kamieniec, but all its former conquests in Podolia and Ukrania, and also to abandon all dominion over the Cossacks, and renounce her claims to any tribute from Poland.
confused and agitated that she could scarcely walk. I do not know how she accomplished those three or four steps, but she at last stood by my father, and then the Abbé Vincent gave the betrothal benediction in Latin.
One of the rings was given to M. le Staroste, and the other to my sister, and it was her future husband who placed it on the finger of her left hand, which is called the “cordial,” after which he kissed Barbe's hand; and she in her turn offered him her ring, but she was so nervous that she could scarcely make the end of his finger go into it. M. le Staroste then kissed her hand once more, and afterwards threw himself at the feet of my father and mother and vowed that he would thenceforth devote himself to the happiness of their beloved daughter. M. le Palatin kissed Barbe on her forehead, and the Colonel and the Abbé both paid her a million compliments, each one finer than the other. My father in the meantime filled a large goblet with old Hungarian wine, and proposed the health of the young couple, and all the assembled company drank it out of the same cup.
It all seemed so solemn and touching, that I was quite unable to restrain my tears. “Don't cry, little Françoise,” said Macienko, who was present at this scene, “in a year at the latest it will be your turn." In a year would be too soon, but I should not be very sorry if it happened in two. All the Swidzinski family are as amiable as it is possible to be to Barbe, and my parents for the first time kissed her on her face when she went to wish them good night.
Since yesterday all the people in the Castle treat her with the utmost deference, they overpower her too with congratulations and compliments and offers of service. Every one wants to be employed in her house. My father has given a thousand ducatsl to my mother, desiring her to provide her daughter with everything that she considers suitable. There have been long consultations upon the outfit which they purpose to give her.
Tomorrow Mademoiselle Zawistowska is to be ready to start for Warsaw with the Commissioner to make purchases. Mademoiselle Zawistowska is thirty years of age, and has been brought up at the Castle since her infancy. In the store-room are kept four large chests filled with silver plate, and intended for us. My father sent to-day for Barbe's, and after opening it and carefully examining the contents, he ordered it to be sent to Warsaw for the silver to be cleaned.
1 About $400 sterling.