Posted by: ushistoryfiles | November 8, 2009

Bundling

For class we are reading Benson Bobrick’s Angel in the Whirlwind.  He is writing of the British surrender at Saratoga and relates the following story on page 283:

The British had been escorted to Boston with many civilities, and some of the officers had even found themselves importuned by adoring girls eager to “bundle with” a Britisher.  One officer, refusing to take to bed a certain Jemima, “a very pretty black-eyed girl of seventeen,” found himself upbraided by her parents for his restraint: “Oh la!  Mr. Ensign, you won’t be the first man our Jemima has bundled with, will it, Jemima?”  to which Jemima archly replied, “Not by many, but it will be with the first Britainer.”  I found the source for this quote here.

Now the technical definition of “bundling” in colonial America was simply the sharing of a bed by two unmarried persons of the opposite sex.  Supposedly with the two parties fully clothed.  Sometimes even with a board between the two.  See here for more details.  I’ll let you decide how innocent “bundling” was.

 

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