CHAPTER XI. MADRAS AND CALCUTTA.
I often heard Europeans remark that they considered the procession of the nuptial couch extremely improper. But as the old saying goes - "A man can see the mote in his neighbour's eye when he cannot perceive the beam in his own;" and it struck me that the manner in which marriages are managed among the Europeans who are settled here, is much more unbecoming. It is a rule with the English, that on the day appointed for the marriage, which takes place towards evening, the bridegroom shall not see his bride before he meets her at the altar. An infringement of this regulation would be shocking. In case the two who are about to marry should have anything to say to each other, they are obliged to do so in writing. Scarcely, however, has the clergyman pronounced the benediction, ere the new married couple are packed off together in a carriage, and sent to spend a week in some hotel in the vicinity of the town. For this purpose, either the hotel at Barrackpore or one of two or three houses at Gardenrich is selected. In case all the lodgings should be occupied, a circumstance of by no means rare occurrence, since almost all marriages are celebrated in the months of November and December, a boat containing one or two cabins is hired, and the young people are condemned to pass the next eight days completely shut up from all their friends, and even the parents themselves are not allowed access to their children.
I am of opinion that a girl's modesty must suffer much from these coarse customs. How the poor creature must blush on entering the place selected for her imprisonment; and how each look, each grin of the landlord, waiters, or boatmen, must wound her feelings!
The worthy Germans, who think everything excellent that does not emanate from themselves, copy this custom most conscientiously.