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when a bustle at the other end of the street,
the rattle of wheels, and the yellow and brown
liveries, told me again of the approach of the
important little court of his Effulgency. The
carriages drew up at the house where the
festivities were going on "over the way," and
the whole court, who seemed to have
enlarged the borders of their garments for the
occasion, descended from their carriages.
The band, playing the National Anthem of
Schwarzwurst-Schinkenshausen, immediately
afterwards gave notice that the Margrave had
entered the ball-room.

Wondering what might be going on, and
knowing the simple habits of the petty German
princes often take them to public places
of no very select or exclusive character, and
that they frequently live with their subjects
in a manner almost patriarchal, I crossed the
street with the intention of finding out if the
usual twopence or threepence sterling would
make me also a partaker in the homely revel.
Although the time has long arrived for me to
think large assemblies of any kind the most
weary things under the moon; yet not so
profitless but that we may learn a lesson of
life, sometimes, in seeking them.

My surmises, however, did not prove correct.
The little festival was given, I learned,
in honour of the Golden Hochzeit (golden
wedding) of the burgomaster of the town;
and this functionary having rendered most
important services to the court during the
recent troublous times of '48, his Effulgency
the Margravebeing, as the reader already
knows, in the townhad resolved to honour
the feast by his august presence.

I was just going away, with my indolence
half gratified to escape back into the air of
the summer evening and my own desultory
thoughts, when a hand was laid upon my
shoulder, and, turning round, I saw little
Snapsgeldt the G├Âttingen doctor, with whom
I have so often talked mysticism and ethics,
and discussed riddles that might have
perplexed the Sphinx, over coffee and pipes,
during my visit to His Excellency my Uncle.

Under his protection, and being dressed for
the evening, I immediately obtained
admittancen; and I think that a more touching scene
I never witnessed, or one which affected me
so strongly, and had about it such a genuine
air of real pathos. We all know the pretty
legend of the "Flitch of Bacon," as the prize
of the rustic couple who could live together
happily for a year after their marriage; but
I had never before heard of the custom which
prevails, I believe, throughout Germany, and
of which I was then accidentally witnessing
the celebration. When a pair have been
wedded fifty years, it is usual for them to be
married again, and this is called the Golden
Wedding. There is another custom, too,
called the celebration of the "silver wedding,"
which takes place after twenty-five years of
wedlock; but it is not of such universal
observance. The priest pronounces a simple
blessing over those who have lived through
good and ill so long together, and seldom
fails to improve the occasion by a short but
fitting exhortation to his flock to avoid evil
courses, and to go and do likewise. The whole
ends by a dance and a supper, to which all
the friends and relations of the parties are of
course invited. It is a time when old
rancours and bickerings are forgotten, when
the scapegrace is forgiven and the prodigal
received back into his father's house, when
daughters are portioned, and sons and grand-sons
started in life. When I entered, the
marriage ceremony was over, and His
Effulgency the Margrave and his court were
full of condescension and congratulations, and
loud empty talk, which made up by its noise
for its want of meaning. They all seemed, as
Germans of all ranks always do seem, to be not
a little alarmed for their own dignity and importance,
but through the whole flowed a vein
of very great kindliness; and a tear of pleasure
at the notice of his sovereign was in the hale
old man's eye, as he stood up with his
partner of fifty years to lead the dance once
more, followed by his children and his grand-children.
I could see that his grasp tightened
on his wife's hand when they stopped
after the dance was over, and both their
hearts were very full. Perhaps they were
thinking of the time when he was young and
friendless in life, and of their long courtship,
and how it seemed at one time so hopeless,
till energy of purpose, and honesty of heart,
and hard work did for them what wealth and
friends do for others; and slowly they had
won their way upwards to honour, dignity,
riches, troops of friendshonours and dignities
which to us may seem of little worth, yet which
were to them the height of their simple ambition,
and now this was the crowning and
well won triumph of their lives. The beautiful
spirit of Burns' "John Anderson my
joe, John," rose up instinctively in my
memory: I could fancy the good wife's eyes
were singing it, as she looked so proudly and
fondly at her husband, and they stood there
hand in hand; and surely, surely, he might
have answered her true heart in the sweet
and tender lines of Cowper

"To be the same through good and ill,
In wintry change to feel no chill,
With me is to be lovely still,
My Mary."

I would not sell the impression of enduring
truth, and faith, and love, which this simple
scene has left upon my mind for the baldric
of an earl.

Just Published, price 5s. 6d., neatly bound in Cloth,
THE FIFTH VOLUME
OF
HOUSEHOLD WORDS
Containing the numbers issued during the half-year ending
on Saturday, September 11th, 1852.