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Chapter the Ninth Of the weddings and marriages

Let us now pass to marriage and the wedding-feast. When some young man wished to marry, first of all (as today) a discreet approach was made to the father and mother of the girl to ascertain whether or no they were disposed to marry her to him; if they were, the day was set for the young man to go and pay court to her. He would set off as elegantly as might be on the day arranged, and the sons of lords in particular would go on elaborately caparisoned horses as described above, and dressed l ikewise; it was usual for the suitor always to go for dinner, at which he was made welcome, and the young man and the girl would be seated opposite one another; there was a lot of drinking, and after the meal dancing until midnight and even later; the young man's servant too was made as welcome as possible . At dawn the suitor took his leave and left. I have not seen it done, but have heard from old men, that in the old days it was also the custom (and stil l is maintained among the common people of the · Szekely) that after the suitor' s visit the girl 's father sent two relatives to the young man's house--they were known as 'house­ and-hearth-lookers'--and they, and their servants too, were well received by the young man and hi s family, given drinks and invited to dance ; when they had returned the young man sent go­ betweens, and if the girl's hand was promised he then indicated when he would go for the betrothal. On that day he went [to the girl's house] . Before dinner she was brought out into the dining­ room, in the presence of many of [the young man's] relations and her own; then he would bow the knee to those present and go to the girl, ornately dressed, armed with sword and powder-flask, and by way of binding them to the coming wedding with a handclasp he would very gently touch the ends of her fingers with the ends of his index fingers . But before the girl was brought out for the betrothal she was asked by her father and mother, just as when the go-betweens had been, and when her hand was

requested, whether she was disposed to marry that young man; and if she replied that she was then she was promised and so led forth for the betrothal.