Saturday, September 15, 2012

Do You Really Know What Bundling Is?

Only one thing comes to mind, now, when you hear the word bundling. But did you know that bundling originally meant when a guy and a gal(unmarried)layed down together to "sleep". Although Puritans were very VERY strict when it came to morality, bundling was somewhat overlooked in many family's. Here is an excerpt from a book entitled It's An Old New England Custom, of which I have been quoting in several different posts.

"To Indulge In Bundling

What is the truth about the old New England custom of bundling, which has its rise in the severe weather conditions which prevail throughout the region during part of the year? Was this antique winter sport as innocent as some have said it was, or was it, as others have alleged, a low and immoral practice? New England has long been taunted with this unpuritan custom which permitted a young courting couple to spend the night together in the same bed either fully or only partly clad,It flourished, paradoxically enough, while the shadow of Calvin was still over the land and the private life of everyone was the intimate concern of the whole community, especially of those ardent investigators into local sin-the clergy.

Yet there were clergymen who condoned bundling, and some who even approved the custom. Others actually engaged in the practice themselves. One candidate for ordination, who later became a distinguished minister, wooed a number of girls, with at least one of whom, according to an entry in his diary, he bundled magna cum voluptate.

The Rev. Samuel Peters, author of the General History of Connecticut(1781), gave bundling a clean bill of health. He said it was not only a Christian custom, but a very polite and prudent one. The modesty of Connecticut females was such, he cleared, that it would have been accounted the greatest rudeness to mention to a lady a garter or leg, yet it was thought but a piece of civility to ask her to bundle. But Mr. Peters as a social historian is unreliable. He had a rich talent for invention, one of his most notorious hoaxes being the spurious code of blue laws, which he promulgated out of whole cloth in the same work in which he discussed bundling. Yet there were people who shared his opinion that bundling was an innocent pastime, a view reflected in the following contemporary lines;

Let coat and shift be turned adrift,
And breeches take their flight,
An honest man and virgin can
Lie quiet all the night.

But when western Massachusetts became a hotbed o bundling Jonathan Edwards at Northampton raised his voice in stern warning against the custom, the consequences of which were only too evident in the number of babies born in less than the orthodox period after marriage. Al over New England during the period of the Great Revival couple after couple stood up in open meeting and confessed to sexual intimacy before marriage.
In 1781, the Rev. Mr. haven of Dedham, Massachusetts, shocked at the increase of sexual incontinence in his vicinage, attacked the growing sin in a memorable discourse in which he attributed the fault "to the custom then prevalent of females admitting young men to their beds who sought their company with intentions of marriage." The trouble was, of course, that marriage did not necessarily follow a course of bundling , and unless nature called a halt and precipitated a choice by the girl, there was danger that indulgence in the4 custom would lead to promiscuity.
It must be said, however that despite the fact that bundling was done under cover in the dark, there was nothing furtive abut it. Parents took the custom as a matter of course, the mother and sisters of the fortunate girl often helping to tuck the courting couple in bed together.
Comtemporary Picture of a Bundling Board, a true likeness though.

Everything was done without self-consciousness. At the same time, the extreme temptation involved in the situation was recognized, as the girl was frequently swathered like a mummy, or her legs were tied together, or a dividing board(bundling board) or other object placed between the bundlers and slight bells attached to the bed. But love laughs at token safeguards of this kind, and whether a case turned out to be one of guilt or innocence, conquest or control, rested ultimately, as it always has, with the young people themselves."

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