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the feathers, besides the tinkling of the rich ornaments that the ladies wore in their headdresses. The altar was a blaze of light, a rich carpet embroidered in gold covered the steps leading up to it, and two cushions of red velvet, one worked with the arms of the Swidzinski, the other with those of the Krasinski, were prepared for the bridal pair. They knelt down, the bridesmaids standing at the right, the groomsmen to the left of the high altar. I held a gold salver, on which were the two nuptial rings. My father and mother stood behind Barbe, and the Palatin behind the Staroste.
Then commenced the Veni Creator, after which the Abbé Vincent made a long address, which was almost all in Latin, and the ceremony began. Barbe, notwithstanding her tears, pronounced with tolerable distinctness, “I, Barbe, take you for husband,” but M. le Staroste’s voice was much louder and firmer. After the exchange of rings, the bridal pair knelt down before my father and mother, and then at the feet of the Palatin, who all three gave their blessing. After this, at a sign from the master of the ceremonies, the musicians and Italian singers who had been summoned to the Castle for the purpose, played and sang a triumphal march, and outside our dragoons were firing off carabines and cannons. When the noise ceased, and it was possible to make himself heard, just at the moment when the young couple were in front of my father, he addressed them according to the custom on these occasions in the following words :
May this union that Heaven has blessed and ratified, conduce to the glory of the Eternal Governor of the Universe.
“May your vows, which God has accepted and hallowed by a Sacrament, be the pledge of your happiness. You have both need to be watchful, but the mission of the husband is the more solemn of the two, for he becomes not only the husband, but the father and the guide of his wife. Your virtues and your qualities, my son, inspire me with confidence.
“As for thee, my beloved daughter, duty calls upon thee to be everlastingly grateful to thy mother for the education which she has given thee, and the solicitude with which she has watched over thee from thy childhood. Be virtuous; for virtue, besides being an inexhaustible treasure, is a true friend, a weight that never fatigues, a road that never misleads, and an enduring reputation. Be prudent, discreet, and modest, gracious in thy words, and conscientious in all thy actions. Finally, love God and love thy husband, and obey him as thou hast hitherto obeyed thy parents. Hate all that is evil, exercise control over thyself, and be prepared to meet trials with resignation, and to resist the temptations of the world. Be an example of right judgment, goodness, and faith, and may God bless thee as I do at this moment."
At these last words Barbe, who had been crying all the time, positively groaned, and throwing herself once more at the feet of my parents, tried to speak; she doubtless wanted to say that she would endeavour to follow the coursels of her much loved father, but she could not articulate a word. Then began the congratulations from all sides. The Abbé Vincent, after having blessed and sprinkled us all with holy water, took the paten, and gave it to be kissed, committing a breach of the rights of precedence by offering it first to Madame la Stolnik Jordan instead of to Madame la Castellane Kochanowska, mother of the Prince Royal's representative. My mother, who fortunately perceived the blunder, repaired it by begging Madame la Castellane to be good enough to lead away the bridegroom and his sister, Madame Granowska, which she at once did. The bride was conducted by the king's representative and the Palatin Malachowski to the drawing-room, where we all returned.
Soon after, dinner was announced. The table was immense, and so shaped as to form the letter B. The service was truly splendid. In the middle there was a pyramid, made of sugar, four feet high. For two weeks our French cook had been working at it; it represented the temple of Hymen, ornamented with allegorical figures, but, above all, were conspicuous the arms of the Krasinski and the Swidzinski. There were numberless other ornamental dishes as well as silver baskets and china figures, and the table was so laden, that our dwarf Pierre would not have been able to make his way round it. It was impossible to count the number of dishes that were handed round, and our cup-bearer would have been puzzled to tell how many bottles of wine were consumed. They were endless; but to give some idea, I may mention that a barrel of Tokay was finished during dinner. It was called Mademoiselle Barbe's wine. My father bought it the year of her birth, that it might be ready for her marriage (according to the Polish custom). We each of us have our barrel of wine, and our cup-bearer tells me that if mine remains in the cellar two years more it will be perfect. There were innumerable toasts, they drank to the health of the newly-married pair, to the Republic, to the King, the Duke of Courland, the Royal Princes, the Prince Primate, the Clergy, and the master and mistress of the house, and after each toast they broke the
bottles and fired off cannon amidst shouts and music. After dessert, a perfect calm succeeded to all this noise, and we thought we were going to leave the table, when, upon a sign from my father, the butler placed before him a case of black morocco, which I had never seen before. My father opened it, and drew out a cup of gold enriched with precious stones, and having the shape of a crow. Displaying it to all the company, he said that he had inherited it through his descent from the old Roman family of Corvins, and that it had never been taken out of its case since the day of his marriage. Then receiving from the hands of his cup-bearer a large bottle so covered with mould that it seemed to confirm my father's statement of its being a hundred years old, he emptied it into the cup, but as that was insufficient to fill it, he added some of the same wine from another bottle, and his toast, "To the prosperity of the newly married pair,” was received with enthusiasm, while the music struck up afresh and the cannon roared. The cup went the round of the table, and paved the way for the consumption of many more bottles of old wine, and then after the last hurrah all left the table as best they could. The ladies went up to their rooms to change their dresses, but the bride and we bridesmaids all remained as we were. Towards seven o'clock, when the effects of the wine upon the gentlemen had somewhat worn off, dancing was proposed, and the king's representative opened the ball with Barbe. First, they danced polonaises, minuets, and quadrilles, but as they entered more into the spirit of the amusement, they began mazurkas and cracoviacks. Kochanowski dances cracoviacks admirably, and as it is customary for the gentleman who leads to sing couplets, which the others repeat after him, be improvised this at the moment he was dancing with Barbe,
“ To-day I care not to be king, neither palatin,
With this lovely young bride, 'tis enough to be Starostin."
After a while the dancing and singing were suspended, and a chair was placed in the middle of the room. The bride seated herself upon it, while we bridesmaids surrounded her, and proceeded to remove her headdress, singing plaintively, “Oh, Barbe, have we indeed lost thee?” My mother removed her wreath, and Madame la Palatine Malachowska replaced it with a lace cap. I should have laughed heartily at the travesty if I had not seen Barbe's tears flowing fast; still the cap suited her admirably, and every one assured her that her husband
would be very fond of her—fond of her !—I should think so. How could any one help being fond of so sweet and gentle a creature ! When the cap ceremony was over, dancing was resumed, and by way of showing respect for the custom introduced by the new court, the bride danced the “ Arabant” with the king's representative, then gladly returning to our national observances, the music played a slow polonaise. The Palatine Swidzinski offered his hand to the bride, and she danced by turns with every man in the room, finishing off with my father, who, after taking a turn with her, led her up to the Staroste, and gave her up to him, not only for this dance, but for all her life. After this last polonaise the amusement was at an end for that evening, and my mother desired us to go to bed.
Night was far advanced before the Castle sank into repose. I slept profoundly, and much I needed it, though I do not feel so very tired this morning. I certainly enjoyed myself yesterday, and considering to what an extent I exercised them, my feet do not ache so very much. I danced with the representative of the Prince Royal oftener than with any one else; he is so pleasant, and talks so well, which is not surprising, as he has been to Paris and Lunéville; he only came back a year ago, and since then he has been with the Duke of Courland, of whose praises he never tires. If the servant is so polished, what must the master be?
I am already looking forward to this evening, but we shall have to begin our dancing early, as we are not allowed to continue it after midnight on Shrove Tuesday. Barbe, or rather Madame la Starostine, as our parents have ordered us to call her, I have not yet seen to-day. It seems strange to me not to have her amongst us. I have inherited her bed, her work-table, and all her rights as eldest. Every one now will call me Mademoiselle la Starostine, instead of Mademoiselle Françoise, or even Fanny, as they have hitherto done. Well, I need some consolation.
S. MATTH. XVII.
The Blessed SAVIOUR went,
Who trembling stood attent :
For lo-His Face shone as the sun,
On which no mortal eye,
The brilliance to descry :
So glistering snowy white,
Th’ Eternal Light of Light.
With Him—while bright above
The Father's Voice of Love.
In rapt and silent prayer,
Must awe and rapture share.
He said-sweet words to hear,
And Jesus only near.
Into the unknown vast :-
C. A. M. W.
HOSPITALS FOR THE WELL-TO-DO.
BY LESLIE MAXWELL.
AMONG the many movements now on foot for the good of the community, there are few which are likely to prove more beneficial to society at large than that to promote the institution of hospitals for the well-to-do. Our philanthropic efforts are too much confined, as a rule, to furthering the welfare of one class. We expend all our sympathy upon the poor, on the plea that the rich can very well take care of themselves. But we are too apt to forget that there is a very large middle class between the wealthy, whose means are sufficient to provide them with the luxuries as well as the necessaries of life, and the actual poor, i.e. those whose birth or position does not debar them from receiving charity. And yet it is on this middle class that many of the