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A French Lower-Class Marriage.

Did you ever witness a wedding at a mairie in Pan’s ? If not, go some Saturday, for that is the day which, though never chosen by fashionable people, seems to be set apart specially for the class who labor, and have no time to lose. They have Sunday to faire la noce, and on Monday they put themselves once more at work. About ii 'a.m., generally, the fiances, their relatives and. their witnesses all meet together. Some of the company have brought with; them their ; children, dressed in new clothes for the grand occasion, frizzed, pomaded, and •' got up regardless ” in honor of the festive event. The garcons do noce are blooming in appearance, and the intended husband and wife are critically inspected by all the company. They try, therefore, to put on an air of modest indifference, and, naturally enough, do not make much of a success of it. M. le Maire, or his adjoint, has arrived. Pie puts on the tri-colored scarf across his breast diagonally, which glorious scarf, in the eyes of the people, confers on him alone the power of pronouncing the magic words whose effect no human powe’ - can ever break. He takes in his hands a little book bound in red morocco, gives a glance at th e mirror in order- to assure himself that his cravat is correctly tied, and walks forward to the pretoire, where a low platform supporting a maghony stand represents the tribunal of indissoluble union. A servant playing the role of huissier announces M. le Maire. Pie enters. All rise up. He seats himself. Everybody does the same. Whatever be the reason, however cold it may be, the doors always stand wide open, for the act of marriage is essentially public. A greffier (or recorder) is seated before a pulpit-like' desk with a register before him, which big book resembles a huge ledger in a countingroom. A name is called. Then advance to the little platform the fiances, the relatives, the witnesses; they arrapge themselves in front of the maire in some red velvet arm-chairs, which remind one of the orchestra stalls in our theatres. The greffier read§ the conpnenceraent of the marriage act. Then the maire, calling the candidates of matrimony by name, asks of them each individually if they consent to take the other as a spouse. Their response must be made clearly and loudly, in such a manner as to. be distinctly heard by all present. If there are present the progenitors of : the couple, the maire asks '.them, if they give their consent to the marriage of their children. Then, if granted, he opens the little red book, reads articles 212, 213, 114, of the Code Civil, relative to the rights and duties of the spouses, terminating with article 226, which says : “ The wife may make a will without the authorization of her husband.” The ongs who most often accept this permission are, so it is said, Hebrews, r lhe maire then declares the couple “ united in marriage.” The greffier, resuming his reading, finishes it; the temoins, the relatives and the married couple are all invited to sign the record of the ceremony written down upon the great register of the Etat Civil. The garcon de bureau brawls : “ Don’t forget the poor, s’i! vous plait,” and each one in passing out drops a small coin in the poor box on the table. —Paris American Register.

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Bibliographic details

Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 219, 17 December 1880

Word Count

A French Lower-Class Marriage. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 219, 17 December 1880