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*


      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.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA


      In doing which, it is quite likely that, we follow the identical line of travel and colonization--viz: from Old to New England, and from Netherlands (the father-land) to New Netherlands--by which the custom of bundling was really transplanted to these western shores. For, although the grave and (sometimes) veracious historian of New York, Diedrich Knickerbocker, hath endeavored to fasten upon the Connecticut settlers the odium of having introduced the custom into New Netherland,[21] to the great offense of all properly disposed people; yet we may reasonably doubt whether the young mynheers and frauliens of New Amsterdam, in that day, were any more innocent of this lover's pastime, than their vivacious Connecticut neighbors. Indeed, can it be for one moment supposed that the good Hollanders--a most unchanging and conservative race--should have been so far false to the traditions of their fathers, and the honor of the fatherland, as to leave behind them, when they crossed the seas, the good old custom of _queesting_, with its time-honored associations and delights? Or can it be imagined that those astute lawgivers and political economists, the early governors and burgomasters, were so blind to the necessities and interests of a new and sparsely populated country, as to forbid bundling within their borders? Indeed, it would be but a sorry compliment to the wisdom of that sagacious and far-sighted body of merchants comprised in the High and Mighty West India Company, to believe that they were unwilling to introduce under their benign auspices, a custom so intimately connected with their own national social habits, and so promising to the prospective interests and enlargement of their _new plantations_, as this.

      And, truly, Diedrich himself, doth, in another part of his book, inadvertently betray the fact that bundling was by no means a purely Yankee trick, for he speaks of the redoubtable Anthony Van Corlaer--purest of Dutchmen--as "passing through Hartford, and Pyquag, and Middletown, and all the other border towns, twanging his trumpet like a very devil, so that the sweet valleys and banks of the Connecticut resounded with the warlike melody, and stopping occasionally to eat pumpkin pies, dance at country frolics, and _bundle_ with the beauteous lasses of those parts, whom he rejoiced exceedingly with his soul-stirring instrument." Which passage, while it proves that the practice of bundling prevailed in Connecticut, proves equally well that Anthony the trumpeter was by no means inexperienced in its delights, nor unwilling to enjoy its comforts, whether under the name of _bundling_ or _queesting_.

      Indeed, we do most truly believe that the cunning Knickerbocker, in his desire to vindicate, as he thought, the character of his race against the accusation of immorality, hath by his denial not only committed a grievous sin against "the truth of history," but hath greatly added thereto, by attempting to foist off the opprobrium of the same on to the shoulders of the Connecticut folks. But history will not remain forever falsified, and the day has at length arrived when every historical tub must "stand on its own bottom," and the world will henceforth know that the New Netherlanders did not take bundling by inoculation from the Yankees, but that they brought it with them to the New World, as an ancestral heirloom.

      This point being thus satisfactorily settled, to the honor of the Dutchman, and the extreme satisfaction of all future historians, we next proceed to investigate the bundling prevalent in the New England States.



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