A very quaint piece of divination con-sistcd in throwing a plate (full of bride-cake crumbs) down from an upper window as the bride alighted from her carriage. If the plate reached the ground unbroken, it was an unfavourable omen, but if it were shattered into pieces (the more the better) good luck was sure to attend her. This ceremony is very similar to the Jewish custom, which decrees that after the bridal pair have drunk from a glass it must be flung to the ground. If it remains intact sorrow will follow, but if it is broken in pieces they may anticipate a happy married life.
Formerly, brides used to resort to a cross near the ruins of a church in Holy Island, co. Durham, where was a stone known as the 'petting stone." The bride would step upon it, and if she could not stride to the end of it, tradition said the marriage would prove unfortunate.
This custom was once largely followed in the North, and since not every bride could resort to the original stone, a large paving-stone, placed on its edge, and supported by two smaller stones was sometimes placed at the churchyard-gate, and over this the bride had to jump, in case she should repent and refuse to follow her husband.
A strange custom in connection with the marriage of a youngest daughter decreed that all her elder sisters must dance at her wedding without shoes, in order to counteract the bad luck which would otherwise come to them if they married in " wrong order " of age.
In the days when belief in witches still existed, the Highland bridegroom would leave his left shoe without latchet or buckle, to prevent the influence of the witches on his marriage night.
The original dow-purse has now resolved itself into the marriage settlement, but formerly, at the church porch, the poor bridegroom had publicly to announce the amount of pin-money with which he intended to endow his bride, and the amount was considered proportionate to his affection for her ! Sometimes she held out a handkerchief, at other times a purse, into which he poured gold and silver, which was then entrusted to the care of the chief bridesmaid. Occasionally the bridesmaid held the purse all along, and received the coin into it at the words, " With all my worldly goods I thee endow." But by degrees the " dow-purse " fell into disfavour and disuse as more sensitive brides considered it bore too great a resemblance to marriage by purchase.
Finally may be given the bridal lore which sums up the character and disposition of a bride according to the month of her birth.
A January bride will be a prudent housekeeper and very good-tempered
A March bride will be a frivolous chatterbox, somewhat given to quarrelling.
An April bride will be inconstant, not very intelligent, but fairly good-looking.
A May bride will be handsome, amiable, and likely to be happy.
A June bride will be impetuous and generous.
A July bride will be handsome and smart, but a trifle quick-tempered.
An August bride will be amiable and practical.
A September bride will be discreet, affable, and much liked.
An October bride will be pretty, coquettish loving, but jealous.
A November bride will be liberal, kind but of a wild disposition.
A December bride will be well proportioned, fond of novelty, entertaining, but extravagant.
The following are the wedding anniversaries:
And surely that golden wedding anniversary recalls very vividly Weatherley's beautiful words in " Darby and Joan."
" Darby dear, we are old and grey, Fifty years since our wedding-day, Shadow and sun for every one As the years roll on. Hand in hand when our life was May Hand in hand when our hair is grey. Shadow and sun for every one As the years roll on.
Hand in hand when the long night tide. Gently covers us side by side - Ah ! lad, though we know not when, Love will be with us for ever then. Always the same, Darby my own. Always the same to your old wife Joan