Monday, February 23, 2009

One for the Road

The ceremony concluded, the party moved to the entrance gallery just inside the porte-cochere where the Pfalzgrafin's Landau, as well as the wagons carrying her trousseau were attended by the unmixing honour guard of Obersaynische Kürrasiere and Waldrecker Dragoons. Pausing at the entrance, His Grace called for the traditional bridal cup, a golden double chalice formed in the shape of a woman holding a basin overhead.

Graf von Kostenwand, Herzog Ignaz's chamberlain, brought the bridal cup forth on a golden salver, followed by four stewards, who bore wine glasses and two bottles of the most highly prized vintage of the duchy, the Bernkasteler Doktor. Filling first the bridal cup, the stewards then filled the other glasses which were distributed to the members of the party by the dowager duchess' ladies-in-waiting. Herzog Ignaz handed the bridal cup to his daughter, remarking "the comte can drink for the Pfalzgraf," and flipped the larger base over his daughter's cup, which she cradled carefully. The duke paused a moment and filled the base as well and gestured to the Comte de Mazan, who stepped to the cup, facing the new Pfazgrafin and grasped the larger base while the duke filled it.

Stepping back, the duke addressed the party.

"A toast:
'With faith there is love,
With love there is peace,
With peace there is blessing,
With blessing, there is God,
With God there is no need.'"

At the conclusion of which, the Grafin von Schirnhausen, taking the bridesmaid's traditional part, declared, "And let who finishes first rule the roost!"

Taking her cue, the new Pfalzgrafin von Waldreck tossed back the golden cup and its golden contents, while the comte paused a moment attempting to deduce the meaning of the Grafin's coda, before drinking from his larger end of the cup. Applause from the party greeted the Pfalzgrafin's completion of her draught well before the comte, whose face assumed something of a flush at his intuition that he had become the object of a joke he did not understand.

Leaving the comte to hold the now-drained bridal cup, the Pfalzgrafin gestured for the stewards, and took the still half-full second bottle, and embracing first her father and then her grandmother topped all the glasses of the party a second time and splashed the dregs into her own cup and, eyes shining, offered a farewell toast in return.

"Father, grandmother, no words can repay the blessings of having been your child and grandchild. I go now to another land, but your love and the love of Hunsruck will remain with me always."

The party sipped their glasses somewhat tentatively at this awkward moment, but the comte insinuated himself into the pause with aplomb, "I came to meet a Prinzessin, but I take away the best and fairest Pfalzgrafin of all the Reich!" and embraced the Herzog and dowager duchess as well, somewhat to their surprise at this Gallic display.

Draining their glasses, the party now made their farewells to the wedding party, who now donned their furs, brought by the stewards, and proceeded outside, the Pfalzgrafin to her Landau, and the Comte de Mazan and Ritter von Trimbach to their mounts at the head of their respective squadrons. Led by the Waldrecker Dragoons, the wedding party now clattered across the courtyard of Schloß Moritzburg to the gate and out to the snowy road beyond.


Bluebear Jeff said...

That wedding cup is neat.

-- Jeff

A J said...

A lovely toast! Best wishes to the happy couple.