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day next, at from half-past one to a quarter
to two P.M." Later in the day, a friend came
to see me. He remarked the more than
usual radiant and agreeable expression of my
countenance.

"You look as if you were going out courting,"
said he.

"I think of putting my foot in it, for the
first time, on Wednesday next," said I.

"Would you object to my making you a
little present?" said he.

"No, I shouldn't," said I.

He took his leave. An hour afterwards, a
very small, very thin, very square, parcel
arrived for me. I opened it, and found a
book inside, called The Etiquette of Courtship
and Matrimony. I read the book on
the spot. The effect of it was, first, to fill me
with feelings of the deepest gratitude towards
the friend who had sent it to me as a joke;
and, secondly, to inspire me with such a
horror of Courtship and Matrimony, that I
instantly gave up all idea of making my proposed
offer, and resolved to consult my own
convenience, by preserving a bachelor's freedom
to the end of my days.

To state the proposition, generally, at the
outset, I assert that the whole end and object
of the Etiquette of Courtship and Matrimony
is to insult, persecute, and degrade the bride-
groom. I first became satisfied of this
disgraceful fact at page thirty-six of the Hand
Book or Manual. In the earlier part of the
volume it was assumed that I had fallen in
love, had made my offer, and had been
accepted by my young woman and her family.
Etiquette is hard on my heels all through
those preliminary processes, and finally runs
me down as soon as I appear in the character
of an engaged man. My behaviour in my
future wife's company is of the last importance
and there Etiquette has me, and
never lets me go again. "In private," says
the Manual, "the slightest approach to
familiarity must be avoided, as it will always
be resented by a woman who deserves to be
a wife." So! I may be brimming over with
affection I may even have put on a soft
waistcoat expressly for the purpose but I
am never to clasp my future wife with
rapture to my bosomI am never to print upon
her soft cheek a momentary impression of
the pattern of my upper shirt-stud! She is
to keep me at arm's length, in private as
well as in publicand I am actually expected
to believe, all the time, that she is devotedly
attached to me! First insult.

A little further on (page thirty-eight) the
family have their fling at me. I "must not
presume to take my stand, thus prematurely,
as a member of the family, nor affect that
exceeding intimacy which leads," et cetera.
Thus, the father, mother, brothers, sisters,
uncles, aunts, and cousins, all keep me at
arm's length as well as the bride. Second
insult.

First persecution. During my engagement,
I am to be " very particular, and even
punctilious, in my dress. My visits, which, for
the most part, we may presume will occur in
the evening, should be made invariably in
evening dress."Indeed? I have been at
my office allday I have dined at my lonely
chop-house. I fly, at the risk of indigestion,
witli my "follow-chop " and my love contending
for the uppermost place in my bosom,
to the door of my charmer. I suddenly stop
with my hand on the knocker, remember
that I have a pair of grey trousers on, and
turn away again to case my legs in black
kerseymere, to change my coloured shirt, to
make pomatum pills and rub them into my
hair, to put fresh scent on my handkerchief
and a flower in my dress-coat, to send for a
cab, and to drive up, at last, to my young
woman's door, as if she had asked me to a
party. When I get in, does she slip into the
back dining-room and privately reward me
for my black kerseymere, my pomatum pills,
and my scented handkerchief? Not she!
She receives me, in the drawing-room, at
arm's length; and her family receive me at
arm's length, also. And what does Etiquette
expect of me, under those circumstances, for
the rest of the evening? Here it is at page
forty-three. I "must never be out of spirits
but when my fair one is sadnever animated
but when she is cheerful; her slightest wish
must be my law, her most trifling fancy the
guiding-star of my conduct. In coming to
her, I must show no appreciation of time,
distance, or fatigue"—By Jupiter! if this
does not disclose the existence of an organised
plan for the harassing of bridegrooms, I
should like to know what does? I put it to
the women themselves: Are you any of you
really worth all that? You know you're
not! What would you privately think of a
man who was afraid to come and see you of
an evening in grey trousers, and who tried to
conceal from you that his poor corns ached
a little after a long walk? You would
privately think him a fool. And so do I,
publicly.

Second persecutionin case the wretched
bridegroom has survived the first. As the
wedding-day approaches, I "must come out
of the bright halo of my happiness " (happiness!)
"into the cold, grey, actual daylight
of the world of business." I must "burn all
my bachelor letters"— (why I should like
to know?) " and part with, it may, be, some
few of my bachelor connections"— (does this
mean "some few" of my relations, my blood
relations who adore the very ground I tread
on?) and I must, finally, "bid a long farewell
to all bachelor friends!"—"Did you say all?
O, hell-kite!—all?" Yes, there it is in
print, at page sixty-two. My affectionate
tendencies, my grey trousers, my comfortable
shooting-jacket, my appreciation of time,
distance, or fatigue, my bachelor letters, my
few connections, my bachelor friendsall
must disappear before this devouring Moloch

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