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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/256

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

Practical jokes usually accompany the entertainment. Sometimes a guest enters disguised as an aged man, and after persuading the duenna to bring the bride close to him by a plea that his sight is very dim, he suddenly tosses off his cap and spectacles and appears as a hilarious youth. This creates much merriment. Another popular joke is to leave a bundle of fire-crackers under the bedstead, with a slow match so placed as to explode them after midnight, and this is often accompanied by an artificial shower falling through the roof upon the bridal couch. When the guests depart they frequently carry with them articles which they know the groom will require next day, and which he is bound to redeem from them with packages of confectionery. It is said that a merry company of the fellow-students of a groom decoyed him from his house after his wedding-supper, and fastened him to a tree in a copse, so that he should not be able to return home that night. His parents finally induced them to go to release him, but when they arrived at the copse they found he had been eaten by a tiger. To avoid probable discomforts, the groom sometimes conceals himself from supper-time until after the departure of all the guests. The fate of Ginevra would be possible to a Chinese groom, but not to a Chinese bride.

On the second day the young pair worship the images of the ancestors in the main room of the house, and make obeisance to each of the senior members of the family. In the afternoon the last presents are sent off from the groom's family to the bride's parents. They include pork, fish, cakes, and confectionery, according with the amount stipulated at the time of betrothal. During the second and third days all who choose may enter the house and view the bride, and the crowd of spectators is sometimes large. They say:

"We look at the new, and not at the old;
We all have, at home, old things to behold."

The third day is a busy one for the bride, as she must then formally begin her domestic duties. Early in the morning she washes clothes for herself and her husband, under the direction of the duenna. Then this mistress of ceremonies takes her hand, holds it upon the long handle of a ladle, and stirs up the food in a jar, from which she is to feed and fatten pigs. She meanwhile recites a rhyme, of which this is a close version:

"Stir up the swill, make the jar fume;
Raise hogs that are bigger than cows.
Stir deep and long, stir into spume;
Give thousand-weight swine to your spouse."

At noonday the bride cooks the family dinner, under the superintendence of her mother-in-law. In the intervals between other occupations she begins and completes the making of a pair of