BUNDLING


by Henry Reed Stiles
BUNDLING "A man and a woman lying on the same bed with their clothes on; an expedient practiced in America on a scarcity of beds, where, on such occasions, husbands and parents frequently permitted travellers to _bundle_ with their wives and daughters."--_Grose, Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue_.

BUNDLE _v.i._ "To sleep on the same bed without undressing; applied to the custom of a man and woman, especially lovers, thus sleeping."--_Webster, 1864_.

BUNDLE _v.n._ "To sleep together with the clothes on."--_Worcester, 1864_.

     
*Origins*

SAVAGE NATIONS


      Among the amatory customs of various Savage Nations and tribes, there are certain which somewhat resemble _bundling_, except in the greater degree of freedom allowed--a freedom which, in the eyes of civilized nations, is absolute immorality. Of this description is the manner of wooing described by La Hontan as prevalent among the Indians of North America.[19]

      Yet, in many of these instances, if we were to carefully examine the social system and customs of our savage friends, and were willing to judge them rather by the results of our own observation, than by our preconceived opinions, we should probably find that the absolute _practical morality_ of these _untutored natives_, was quite equal, if not superior, to that of the educated and civilized whites.[20]

      Among these _customs de amour_, however, to which we have alluded as existing among different savage tribes, there are none which bear so perfect a resemblance to _bundling_, as that described by Masson in his _Journeys in Central Asia, Belochistan, Afghanistan,_ etc. (III, 287.) He says:

      "Many of the Afghan tribes have a custom of wooing similar to what in Wales is known as _bundling-up_, and which they term _namzat bezé_. The lover presents himself at the house of his betrothed with a suitable gift, and in return is allowed to pass the night with her, on the understanding that innocent endearments are not to be exceeded."

      Spencer St. John tells us, in speaking of the piratical and ferocious Sea Dayaks of Borneo, that "besides the ordinary attention which a young man is able to pay to the girl he desires to make his wife--as helping her in her farm work, and in carrying home her load of vegetables or wood, as well as in making her little presents, as a ring or some brass chain-work with which the women adorn their waists, or even a petticoat--there is a very peculiar testimony of regard which is worthy of note. About nine or ten at night, when the family is supposed to be fast asleep within the musquito curtains in the private apartments, the young man quietly slips back the bolt by which the door is fastened on the inside, and enters the room on tiptoe. On hearing who it is, she rises at once, and they sit conversing together and making arrangements for the future, in the dark, over a plentiful supply of _sirih-leaf_ and _batle-nut_, which it is the gentleman's duty to provide, for his suit is in a fair way to prosper; but if, on the other hand, she rises and says, 'be good enough to blow up the fire,' or 'light the lamp' (a bamboo filled with resin), then his hopes are at an end, as that is the usual form of dismissal. Of course, if this kind of nocturnal visit is frequently repeated, the parents do not fail to discover it, although it is a point of honor among them to take no notice of their visitor; and, if they approve of him, matters then take their course, but if not, they use their influence with their daughter to ensure the utterance of the fatal 'please blow up the fire.'" And now, having discussed the custom of bundling as it formerly existed in Great Britain, and having proved its identity with the _queesting_ of Holland, and the _namzat bezé_ of Central Asia, we propose to follow our investigations to the continent of America, and to trace, if we can, its origin and progress in the Americas.



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