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wrong to the female and in total opposition to the ordinance of
nature. Wherever polygamy is the custom the female is held in slavish
subjection. It only prospers in proportion to the ignorance of the
sex. Intelligent and civilized woman will always rebel against such
debasement and servitude.
It would probably be interesting to many to describe the marriage
ceremonies observed by different nations, but to enter into a
descriptive detail would occupy too much space. It is sufficient to
say that while some wives are wooed and won, others are bought and
sold; while in some countries the husband brings the wife to his home,
in others, as in Formosa, the daughter brings her husband to her
father's house, and he is considered one of the family, while the
sons, upon marriage, leave the family forever. In civilized countries,
the ceremonies are either ministerial or magisterial, and are more or
less religious in character; while in others, less civilized, the
gaining of a wife depends upon a foot-race, in which the female has
the start of one-third the distance of the course, as is the custom
in Lapland. In Caffraria, the lover must first fight himself into the
affections of his ladylove, and if he defeats all his rivals she
becomes his wife without further ceremony. Among the Congo tribes, a
wife is taken upon trial for a year, and if not suited to the standard
of taste of the husband, he returns her to her patents. In Persia, the
wife's status depends upon her fruitfulness; if she be barren, she can
be put aside. In the same country they have also permanent marriages
and marriages for a certain period only--the latter never allowed to
exceed ninety years.
In fact, the marriage ceremonies differ in nearly all countries. To us
some may appear very absurd, and yet our customs may be just as
amazing to them. It matters but little how a conjugal union is
effected so long as sanctioned by law or custom and it obligates the
parties, by common opinion, to observe the duties pertaining to
THE BASIS OF A HAPPY MARRIAGE.
The state of conjugal union should be the happiest in the whole of the
existence of either man or woman, and is such in a congenial marriage.
Yet in the history of very many marriages contentment or happiness is
palpably absent and an almost insufferable misery is the heritage of
both parties. It is therefore important that previous to the marital
union the parties should take everything into consideration that
fore-shadows happiness after marriage, as well as everything
calculated to despoil conjugal felicity.
The first requisite of congenial marriage is love. Without being
cemented by this element the conjugal union is sure to be uncongenial.
It is the strongest bond, the firmest cord, uniting two hearts
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