"Your vessels, and your spells, provide,
Your charms, and everything beside."
The first time one slept on a strange bed a ring was put on the finger, one of the shoes was placed below the bed, the bed was entered backwards. The future husband or wife was seen in a dream.
The maid who was desirous of seeing who was to be her husband had to read the third verse of the seventeenth chapter of the Book of Job after supper, wash the supper dishes, and go to bed without the utterance of a single word, placing below her pillow the Bible, with a pin stuck through the verse she had read. The future husband was seen in a dream.
The first time the note of the cuckoo was heard the hearer turned round three times on the left heel against the sun, searched in the hollow made by the heel, and in it a hair of the colour of the hair of the future husband or wife was found.
To find out whether the lover would remain true and become the husband, three stalks of the Carl-doddie, or Ribwort (Plantago lanceolata), were taken when in bloom. They were stripped of their blossom, laid in the left shoe, which was placed under the pillow. If the lover was to become the husband, the three stalks were again in full bloom by morning. If the lover was to prove untrue, the stalks remained without blossom.
Of those that were performed on Halloween, the following were most common:--
Pulling the Castoc.--You went to the kail-yard, and with eyes blindfolded pulled the first stock of cabbage or greens touched. According to the quantity of earth that remained attached to the root and according to the form of the stock, whether well or ill-shapen, were augured the amount of worldly means and the comeliness of the future husband or wife. It was placed inside the door, and the baptismal name of the young man or young woman, who entered first after it was placed, was to be the baptismal name of the husband or wife, according as it was a young woman or a young man that had pulled and placed the castoc.
Sowing Lint-seed.--When the shades of evening were falling, the maiden had to steal out quietly with a handful of lint-seed, and walk across the ridges of a field, sowing the seed, and repeating the words:--
[paragraph continues] On looking over the left shoulder she saw the apparition of him who was to be her mate crossing the ridges, as it were, in the act of pulling flax. 1
Fathoming a Rick.--This incantation was performed by measuring or fathoming with the arms round a stack of oats or barley three times, against the sun. In going round the third time the apparition of the future husband or wife was clasped when the arms were stretched out for the last time.
Wining the Blue-clue.--In this incantation the person had to go to the kiln secretly and in the gloamin, carrying a clue of blue worsted thread. This clue was cast into the kiln-logie. The end of the thread however was retained, and the performer unrolled the clue, forming a new one. Towards the end it was held tight. It was then demanded who held the thread. A voice answered, giving the name of the future husband or wife.
Winnowing Corn.--Go to the barn secretly; open both doors, as if preparing to winnow corn. Take a sieve or a waicht, and three times go through the form of winnowing corn. The apparition of the future husband entered by the one door to the windward, passed through the barn, and made his exit by the other door.
Washing the Sleeve of the Shirt.--The maiden went to a south-running stream, or to a ford where the dead and the living crossed, and washed the sleeve of her shirt. She returned home, put on a large fire, and hung the shirt in front of it. She went to bed, and from it kept a careful watch. The apparition of him who was to be her partner in life came and turned the wet sleeve. 1
Roasting Peas.--A live coal was taken, and two peas (nuts were not always to be had) were placed upon it, the one to represent the lad and the other the lass. If the two rested on the coal and burned together, the young man and young woman (represented by the two peas) would become man and wife; and from the length of time the peas burned and the brightness of the flame the length and happiness of the married life were augured. If one of the peas started off from the other, there would be no marriage, and through the fault of the one whom the pea, that started off, represented.
Eating an Apple in Front of a Looking-glass.--This incantation had to be done in secret, like most of the others. An apple was taken and sliced off in front of a looking-glass. Each piece before being eaten was stuck on the point of the knife and held over the left shoulder of the performer, who kept looking into the glass and combing the hair. The spectre of the man who was to be her husband appeared behind her, stretching forth his hand to lay hold of the piece.
By Three Caps or Wooden Basins.--Three wooden basins were placed in a line on the hearth; one was filled with pure, another with dirty, water, and the third was left empty. The performer was blindfolded, and a wand or stick was put into her hand. She was led up to the caps, when she pointed towards one of them. This was done three times, the position of the caps
being changed each time. "The best of three" decided her fate; that is, choosing the same cap twice. The choice of the cap with the pure water indicated an honourable marriage; the choice of that with the dirty water betokened marriage, but in dishonour. If the choice fell on the empty cap, a single life was to be the lot.
The young women of Fraserburgh, in days "a long time ago," anxious to find out about their lovers and marriage, used the following mode of divination on Halloween. They went to the village of Broadsea, which was hard by, and drew a straw from the thatch of one of the houses, the older the thatch so much the better. This straw was taken to a woman in Fraserburgh who was famed for her wisdom. She broke it; and, if things were to move in the right way with the maiden in her love and marriage, she drew from the broken straw a hair of the same colour as the husband's-to-be.
As for the number of the family, it was divined in the following fashion:--The inquirer into the future went to the stackyard, took a position beside a stack of oats, with the back turned towards it, and from over the head pulled a stalk of oats. The number of grains on the stalk represented the number of the family. If the stalk drawn from the stack by a female wanted the tap-puckle, or top grain, she went to the marriage bed deflowered.
To gain love there were various methods. The roots of the orchis were dug up. The old root is exhausted, and when cast into water floats--this is hatred. The new root is heavy, and sinks when thrown into water--this is love, because nothing sinks deeper than love. The root--love--was dried, ground, and secretly administered as a potion; strong love was the result.
Two lozenges were taken, covered with perspiration and stuck together, and given in this form to the one whose love was sought. The eating of them excited strong affection.
There was another method talked of, but it was of such a nature as that it must be passed over in silence.
Unluckily for all these charms, the love gained by them was
dissipated by marriage, and the hatred of the one on whom the charm had been wrought became as strong as the love had been.
When a live coal tumbles from the fire on the hearth towards one who is unmarried, it is regarded as a token that marriage is at hand. Hence the saying "Fire bodes marriage."
When a young woman's apron-string or garter unloosed itself, she was at that time the subject of her lover's thought.
If a girl mend her clothes on her back she will be forsaken by her lover.
If a woman is forsaken by her lover, she has but to write out the CIX. Psalm, send the copy of it to him, and he will never thrive.
When a young man and a young woman were seen in company, those boys who had manners not very refined used to cry:--
Or, more shortly:--
The lore about colours was embodied in these words:--
Wooing was for the most part carried on under cover of night. At a late hour the young man set out for the abode of his lady-love. By the time he arrived all the family had retired to rest. He tapped at the window. The happy maiden,
was quickly at the door, undid the bar and admitted her lover.
[paragraph continues] If he could not be admitted by the door, the window was lifted, and he made his entrance by it.
The marriage was commonly arranged between the two without the knowledge of the parents. At times the mothers might be let into the secret, but it was only after all the arrangements were completed the subject was broken to the fathers. The marriage day was either Tuesday or Thursday, more rarely Saturday, during the increase of the moon, and any month except May. 1 It was, however, unlucky for two of a family to be married during the same year.
In the interval between the final contract of marriage and its celebration the young woman was busy getting in order all her providan for her future home. One or more days were given to the thiggin of wool from her friends and neighbours. If she had been thrifty, her feather bed, bolster, and pillows, blankets, sheets, &c., had been for some time ready in anticipation of the coming event. On a day some weeks before the marriage the affianced, accompanied by the bride's mother or sister, went to a neighbouring village to buy the bonnie things, that is, the bridal dress, &c., when it was the custom for the young man to present dresses to the mother and sisters of her who was to be his wife. Besides the providan already spoken of, the young woman brought a chest of drawers, or, if that was too costly, a kist. All the providan was sent to the future home a few days before the marriage, and it was sent unlocked and unbound. To have sent it locked or bound would have entailed difficult travail.
The guests were invited by the bride and bride room. The bride, commonly alone, sometimes, however, attended by her who was to do the office of "best maid" called on her friends, and gave them a personal invitation. She chose two young men to lead her to church. The bridegroom, sometimes alone, and sometimes accompanied by the young friend who was to stand as his "best man," gave personal invitations to his party, and at the same time asked two young women to lead him to church.
The invitations were all given, and all the arrangements fully made, before the minister was invited. To have done otherwise
would not have been lucky. A present of a hat was made to the minister by those in better circumstances.
It was customary for each guest to make a present to the bride and bridegroom. It usually took the form of something required for the marriage feast, as a fowl, a few pounds of butter, a bottle of whisky, &c. The present was often reserved till the morning of the marriage-day, when there was a rivalry who should give hansel.
Great preparations were made for the feast, and from the brewing of the bridal ale and the baking of the bridal broad omens were drawn. With respect to the ale, if the wort boiled up on the far-off side of the pot, it was accounted unlucky; if in front, lucky. If it fermented strongly, or, as it was expressed, if it was strong on the barm, good fortune was augured. It was the same if the ale was strong when presented at the feast. In baking the cakes, great care was taken with the first cake lest it should be broken--a broken cake portending unhappiness.
On the Saturday evening previous to the Sunday on which the proclamation of banns, called the beuckin nicht, was made, the bridegroom, if at all possible, presented himself at the house of the bride. A few friends were also present, and a small feast was given. Along with the bride's father, or brother, or it might be with a friend, the young man went to the Session-Clerk to give in the names for proclamation of banns, or, as it was called, to "lay doon the pawns." The banns were proclaimed three times, either on three, two, or one Sunday. For the young woman to have appeared in church on the Sunday on which the banns were published would have been the cause of troubles of many kinds during the married life. Between the Sunday on which the banns were published and the day of the marriage it was customary for the young friends of both bride and bridegroom on meeting them to "rub shoulders" with them, as if to catch the infection of marriage. 1
On the evening before the marriage there was the "feet-washing." A few of the bridegroom's most intimate friends assembled at his house, when a large tub was brought forward
and nearly filled with water. The bridegroom was stripped of shoes and stockings, and his feet and legs were plunged in the water. One seized a besom, and began to rub them lustily, while another was busy besmearing them with soot or shoe-blacking, and a third was practising some other vagary. 1 Such a meeting could not take place without the board of hospitality being spread.
The state of the weather on the marriage day was watched most narrowly, and omens were drawn from it. There might be heard on all sides such expressions as "He's gloomin gey sehr on ir," if the day was gloomy; "He's blinkin fell cantie on ir," if the day was alternately bright and cloudy; or, "She's greetin unco sehr," if the day was rainy, although a shower of rain was propitious:--
[paragraph continues] A bright sunny day indicated as much happiness as can fall to the lot of man in time:--
The bride was usually dressed by her maid, and every article of dress must be new. The bridal dress could on no account be fitted on. When it came to be put on, if it did not fit, it could not be cut or altered, but adjusted the best way possible. If the marriage shoes were too little, evils of many kinds were foreboded. Something borrowed must be worn. A ring was accounted of most virtue.
If it was a younger sister that was married, she had to give her elder sister green garters.
The guests arrived at an early hour, those invited by the bride at her home, and those invited by the bridegroom at his. Breakfast was served up, and consisted of two courses, oatmeal porridge made with milk, well overlaid with sugar, and curds and cream. In later times a tea-breakfast was served. After breakfast it was no unusual thing for all to join in dancing till the hour of going to church came.
Two men, called the sens, were despatched from the house of be bridegroom to demand the bride. On making their appearance a volley of fire-arms met them. 1 When they came up to the door of the bride's home they asked,
"Does ------ bide here?"
"Aye, faht de ye wint wee ir?
"We wint ir for ------," was the answer.
"Bit ye winna get ir."
"But we'll tack ir."
"Will ye come in, an taste a moofu o a dram till we see aboot it?"
And so the sens entered the house, and got possession of the bride.
Both parties arranged their departure from their respective homes in such a way as to arrive at church about the same time--the bride's party always having the preference. The bride, supported by the two young men formerly chosen by herself, walked at the head of her party, and when she set out she was on no account to look back. Such an action entailed disaster of the worst kind during the married life. The bridegroom, supported by two young maidens, walked at the head of his party. On leaving, a few old shoes and besoms or scrubbers were thrown after both bride and bridegroom. In each party there was one that carried a bottle of whisky and a glass, and there was another that carried bread and cheese. The person first met received a glass, with bread and cheese, and then turned and walked a short distance. Great attention was paid to the first fit. A man on horseback, or a horse drawing a cart, after the introduction of carts, was deemed most lucky. Each party was accompanied by pipers, and a constant firing of guns and pistols was kept up.
The church door had been opened by the beadle or bellman, who was in attendance to lead the bridegroom to the bride-steel--that is, the pew that was set apart for the use of those who were to be married. The bride was now led forth and placed beside him, and great care was used to have her placed at the proper
side. To have placed her improperly would have been unlucky in the extreme. Next to the bride stood her "best maid." This office, though accounted an honour, was not unattended with risk. If the bride was enceinte, the maid would within a year fall into the same disgrace. Three times a bridesmaid was the inevitable prelude of remaining unmarried. Next to the bridegroom stood the "best young man." On no account could the bride and bridegroom meet on the marriage day till they met on the bride-stool. Such a meeting would have been followed by some calamity or series of calamities. After the celebration of the marriage the minister frequently kissed the bride. 1 In certain districts the bride pinned a marriage favour to the minister's right arm. The two received the congratulations of all present.
The bridegroom paid the beadle his fee, usually a sixpence. It was no unusual thing for one of the party to go round the guests, and make a collection for him, in addition to his fee, when each contributed a half-penny or a penny.
The procession was again formed, led by the bride, supported by the two sens. Then followed the bridegroom, supported by the bride's two best maidens; and with music and the firing of guns and pistols the two parties, now united, marched along the ordinary road to the home of the bridegroom. On no account was it lawful to take any bye-roads, however much shorter they might be, either in going to church or in returning from it. Bread and cheese and a dram were given as before to the first fit on the homeward journey. On coming near the house a few of the swiftest runners of the unmarried set out "to win the kail," and he or she who did so was the first of the party to be married. 2
When the bride arrived, she was welcomed by the bridegroom's mother, if alive. If she was dead, the welcome was given by one of the bridegroom's nearest relatives. When passing over the threshold there was held over the bride's head a sieve containing bread and cheese, which were distributed among the guests. They were sometimes scattered around her, when there was a rush made by the young folks to secure a piece. At times an oatmeal cake was broken over her head. In later times a
thin cake of "short-bread," called the bride-cake, was substituted for the oatmeal cake. It was distributed among the guests, who carefully preserved it, particularly the unmarried, who placed it below their pillows to "dream on." 1 In some districts, when the sieve was in the act of being placed over her head, or the bread broken, it was the bridegroom's duty to snatch her from below it. She was led straight to the hearth, and into her hands was put the tongs, with which she made up the fire. The besom was at times substituted for the tongs, when she swept the hearth. The crook was then swung three times round her head, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and with the prayer, "May the Almichty mack this umman a gueede wife." The last act of her installation as "gueedwife" was leading her to the girnal, or mehl-bowie, and pressing her hand into the meal as far as possible. This last action, it was believed, secured in all time coming abundance of the staff of life in the household.
In some of the villages it was usually the custom for children to assemble round the door, and demand ba-siller, when a few coppers were given them. Pieces, however, were ordinarily given.
A good many beggars commonly gathered together, and they were regaled most plentifully, and, if any of them had a hankering after punch or whisky, it was not spared.
Now followed the feast, which was laid out in the barn when the marriage was at a farm or croft, or in any other dwelling large enough and reasonably suitable. In villages the guests were at times divided into parties, and the feast was spread in several houses. The feast was at times paid for by each guest, and when such was done it was called a "penny wedding," or "penny bridal." Such feasts gave rise at times to a good deal of excess, and the great authority in the parish--the Kirk-session--enacted laws for their suppression. Thus in 1708:--
"The session [of Cullen] considering that many abuses are committed at penny weddings by a confluence of idle people that gather themselves mainly to hear the musick did and do hereby enact that whoever afterwards shall have pypers att their wedding shall forfeit their pauns and that they should not meet in a change hous the Sunday after their marriage under the same pain."
The Presbytery also enacted laws for the prevention of excesses at "brydalls":--
"At Dumbennand, August 25th, 1631.--In respect of the many abuses and disorders that falls out at penny brydals, speciali of plays and drunkennes, it is ordained that no persone heirefter sall be maryed wlnes thai consigue pands that thai be no abuse at theair brydall, vnder paine of tenne pund." 1
All the tables belonging to the household were called into use, and a few might be borrowed. If these were not sufficient, deals were placed on barrels, or mason's trestles, or boxes. The seats consisted of deals laid on chairs, or the old naves of cart-wheels, or, in corners, on two bags of corn or bere laid on their sides, one above the other. The dishes and spoons were very varied, for they had been gathered in for the occasion from friends. The bride got the seat of honour, the head of the table; and the guests arranged themselves according to their fancy. Those, however, who wore accounted more honourable, were placed nearest the bride. The bridegroom did not take his seat at table. His charge was to serve and to look after the comfort of all the guests.
The feast was abundant. First came a course of milk-broth, made of barley; barley-broth made from beef, or mutton, or fowls, formed the second course. The third course consisted of rounds of beef, legs of mutton, and fowls by the dozen. Last of all came puddings, cooked in every variety of dish, and eaten from saucers, and swimming in cream. Home-brewed ale flowed in abundance from first to last of the feast. When the tables were cleared, big bottles full of whisky were brought in, along with punchbowls, each holding a punch-ladle made of wood, and placed before patriarchs renowned for their skill in making punch. With a firm hand each laid hold of a bottle, and poured into his bowl for a time. He then looked at the quantity in the bowl, and to make sure of the quantity he held up the bottle before him, and measured with the eye what he had poured in. Then he slowly added the sugar, scanning carefully what he cast in. The water was poured boiling over the
whisky and sugar. The mixture was stirred till the sugar was melted. He then took a glass and poured a little of the mixture into it, and tasted it with a knowing smack of the tongue. The glass was handed to another connoisseur of the delicious beverage. It was pronounced good. All the glasses were filled and handed round. The health of the bride and bridegroom was proposed. The glasses were drunk off at once, and the toast received with "a the honours three." Round after round was drunk, each to a toast or sentiment, and the glass emptied at each; bowl after bowl was made till the hour for dancing came. The tables, with their contents, were moved away, and the seats were ranged round the wall, so that the whole area of the barn was left clear for dancing.
The dancing was begun by the shaimit reel. This dance was performed by the bride, the bride's maidens, the bridegroom, and the best young men. The music to which it was danced was called the shaim-spring, and the bride had the privilege of choosing the music. The male dancers then paid the musician his fee. Another dance was performed by the same six, after which the floor was open. In seine districts the shaimit-reel was danced by the bride and her best maid, with the two sens as partners. After it was danced the bride fixed a marriage favour on the right arm of her partner in the dance, and the best maid fixed one on the left arm of her partner. The two sens then paid the fiddler. Frequently the bride and her maid asked if there were other young men who wished to win favours. Two jumped to the floor, danced with the bride and her maid, and earned the honour on the left arm. Dancing was carried on far into the morning with the utmost vigour, each dance being begun and elided by the partners saluting each other. 1
At intervals the dancing ceased, and all seated themselves, when bread and cheese and home-brewed ale and punch reeking hot were served round. Punch flowed most freely during the whole night, and, to keep up the supply of it, a few old men established themselves commonly in the best room, or but ein, and, if the party was large, the firlot was substituted for punchbowls, and there the patriarchs sat and brewed and pledged each
other's health, and with grasped hands again and again swore eternal friendship, and dealt out the inspiriting beverage in large decanters to young women, who carried it to the barn to the dancers, and who, every time they returned empty-handed, reported the progress of the mirth. The old men would go and satisfy themselves that the young folk were behaving in a manner worthy of the occasion and their fathers. Under the influence of punch and music and example they forgot their years, and were back again to the days of youth. Each jumped to the floor with a young maiden in her teens, and saluted her with a kiss that made the kaibbers of the barn echo. When all were ready, they shouted to the fiddler to play up, and away they sprang as if they were but "sweet ane and twenty," snapped the fingers, and hooched
The time for separating came. It was in vain the bride retired in secret. No sooner was she missed than there was a rush to the bridal chamber, which was burst open and filled in an instant to perform the ceremony of beddan. After the bride was in bed a bottle of whisky, with a quantity of bread and cheese, was handed to her. She gave each a "dram" and a piece of the bread and cheese. One of her stockings was then given her, and it she threw over her left shoulder amongst the onlookers. Strong and long was the contest for it, as the one who remained possessor of it was the first of that company who would be married. The guests then retired.
The one who fell asleep first was the first to die. "My anes awa noo," an aged woman was heard to say not long ago, with the tears in her eyes, "an a myne weel he fell asleep first. A speert at ------ (another widow) gehn she mynt filk o them fell asleep first, bit she said she didna myne." 1 In other places it was augured that the one who awoke first was the first to depart.
If the husband arose before the wife, he carried the pains and sorrows of child-bearing.
The kirkin was usually attended by a considerable company; but time reduced the company to the bride's maids and the best
young man. The party never under any consideration took a bye-path to church, however much shorter or more convenient it might be than the ordinary "kirk road," nor did they enter church till the service was well begun; to have done otherwise would have entailed misfortune. If two bridal parties were in church at once, it was an endeavour which should get out first, as the one that left last did not enjoy success and happiness. The party was entertained to a feast by the newly-married pair. Such feasts were it times held in "change houses," when a good deal of drinking was carried on, much to the scandal of decent folk. Kirk-sessions at times stepped forward to put a stop to such practices. Thus in Cullen:--
(1785.) "It was observed by some members of session that a practice prevailed in the parish of people's meeting together in the publick-houses upon the Lord's Day for what they called kirking feasts, where they sat and drank and gave offence to their Christian neighbours."
Early marriage rules among the fishing population.--Their occupation calls for this. Much of its work, such as the gathering of the bait, the preparing of it, the baiting of the fishing-lines, the cleaning and curing of the fish, and the selling of them, is done by women.
The mode of bringing about and arranging the marriage is not uniform. Here is one mode. When a young man wishes to marry, his father is told. The father goes to the parents of the young maiden on whom his son has fixed his fancy, gives a detail of what he is worth as to his worldly gear, and recounts all his good qualities. If the offer is accepted, a night is fixed, when the two meet along with their friends, and the final arrangement is made. This meeting goes by the name of the beukin nicht, or the nicht o the greeance.
On an evening shortly before the marriage day, or on the evening before the marriage, the bride and bridegroom set out in company, often hand in hand, to invite the guests. The bridegroom carries a piece of chalk, and, if he finds the door of any of his friends' houses shut, he makes a cross on it with his chalk. This mark is understood as an invitation to the marriage. A common form of words in giving the invitation
is: "Ye ken fahts adee the morn at twal o'clock. Come our, an fess a yir oose wi ye," or, "Come ane, come athegeethir." 1 The number of guests is usually large, ranging from forty to a hundred or a hundred and twenty.
On the morning of the marriage day, the bride, after being decked in bridal array, goes the round of her own friends in company with her "best maid," and repeats her invitation to such as she wishes to be of her party. The bridegroom, accompanied by his "best man," does the same, and repeats his invitation to those he wishes to be of his party.
If the bride and bridegroom are of the same village, and if the church is within convenient distance, the marriage ceremony takes place in it. The bride with her party heads the procession to and from the church. If the church is at too great a distance, and if there is a schoolhouse or a public hall in the village, the ceremony takes place in it. It is, however, often performed in the house of the bride's father. During the time the guests are absent, the feast is spread, and by the time they return everything is ready.
If the bride and bridegroom live in different villages, the two companies commonly meet in some convenient house between the two villages, and in it the marriage rite is performed. The bride and her company continue their journey to the house of the bridegroom's father, or to the bridegroom's house, where the marriage feast is spread. In days gone by, in some of the villages, the bride put a sixpence or a shilling into her stocking or her shoe. Before entering church or the house in which the marriage rite was to be celebrated the "best man" that led the bride had to put down the heel of her shoe.
It was not an unusual thing for the bridegroom, on entering the house in which he was to be married, to put down the heel of his shoe.
In one, if not more, of the villages, when the marriage takes place at the home of the bride, after the rite is concluded, the whole of the marriage party makes the circuit of the village.
The bride is married in full travelling attire, and all the women present are in the same costume. Special notice is taken of the first fit, and the success of the future life is divined from it. A man with a white horse is deemed most propitious.
When a sailor is married, immediately on the conclusion of the rite, the two youngest sailor-apprentices in the harbour at the time march into the room carrying the Union Jack. The bride is completely wrapped in it along with the youngest apprentice, who has the privilege of kissing her under the flag.
When the bride is entering her future home, two of her female friends meet her at the door, the one bearing a towel or napkin, and the other a dish filled with various kinds of bread. The towel or napkin is spread over her head, and the bread is then poured over her. It is gathered up by the children who have collected round the door. In former times the bride was then led up to the hearth, and, after the fire had been scattered, the tongs was put into her hand, and she made it up.
It is usual, at least among the well-to-do fishermen, for the bride to bring to her new home a chest of drawers, a kist, a feather bed, four pairs of white blankets, two pairs of barred, two bolsters, four pillows, sheets, one dozen towels, a table-cloth, all the hardware, cogs, tubs, and a sheelin coug.
The young maiden begins commonly at an early age to collect feathers for her bed and pillows, and her admirers or her affianced lend help by shooting wildfowl for her. Out of her first earnings is bought a kist, and she goes on adding one thing to another till her providan is complete.
The husband's part is to provide the chairs, tables, &c., and all the fishing gear.
The bride's plinisan is taken home with as much show as possible, and in some villages always much after the same fashion. There are two carts, however poor it is. In the one cart are placed, and in the following order, the chest of drawers, over it the bed, over it the blankets, and on the top of all the bolsters and pillows. In the other cart are carried the kist, tubs, &c. The carts are followed by a train of women, each carrying something that cannot be put on the carts without the danger
of being broken, as a looking-glass, a picture, a chimney ornament. 1
In Crovie, in Banffshire, the marriage very often takes place on Saturday. During the week of the marriage the bridegroom does not go to sea. The bride's plinisan is taken home on Thursday. It is counted unlucky to take it home on Friday. In one case the carter who was to take the plinisan from Gardenston to Crovie could not do so on Thursday, but on Friday. Such a thing could not be allowed, and after nightfall it was put into a boat and taken across the bay. One part of it is always a stool.
The bridegroom is not allowed to enter the house during the time of the feast. His turn is after all the guests have been served.
In Rosehearty marriages were commonly held on Thursday, and the bride's plinisan was taken home on Wednesday. The bed was made up on that day, and on that night the bridegroom and his two best men slept on it. The bridal bed was made up by a young maiden--the bride's sister, if she had one; if not, by her nearest-of-kin. Sometimes a sixpence was nailed to the back of the bun bed.
In Gardenston the bridal bed was made up by a woman giving suck, "having milk in her breasts," under the belief that if any other woman did so there would be no family. In Gardenston at the beddan the room was filled with the unmarried. The bride went to bed first. The bridegroom drew off his stocking and threw it among the bystanders. The one who caught it would be the next to enter the married state.
In Boddam the bride returned to her father's house, and passed the night there, and next day went back to her own house.
Kind friends commonly make presents. In one village, the day after the marriage, the wives or mothers of those who sail in the boat with the bridegroom present themselves, each with a basin filled with oatmeal.
In others of the villages, when the bride is taken to another village, her female friends and well-wishers make their appearance at her home on the day after the marriage, carrying their creels, which contain the little gifts they are to present. These gifts consist of dried fish, meal, pieces of stoneware,--whatever is needed for household use. The bride entertains them to tea, and tradition has it, at times, to a cup more cheering than tea, and that the wives, before separating, have taken to the green to dance when music could be got.
84:1 Cf. F. L. Record, vol. i. p. 33 (107).
85:1 Cf. F. L. Record, vol. i. p. 33 (108).
87:1 Cf. Henderson, p. 35, and F. L. Record, vol. i. p. 12 (44, 45).
88:1 Cf. Henderson, p. 34. Usi nuziali, p. 196, De Gubernatis.
89:1 Cf. Henderson, p. 35.
90:1 Usi nuziali, pp. 121 and following, De Gubernatis.
90:2 Cf. Henderson, p. 34.
91:1 Ralston's Songs of the Russian People, pp. 284, 285. Usi nuziali, pp. 131, 132, De Gubernatis. Cf. Henderson, p. 38.
92:1 Cf. Henderson, p. 39.
92:2 Ibid. pp. 37, 41.
93:1 Cf. Henderson, p. 36. Songs of the Russian People, p. 280.
94:1 Extracts from the Presbytery Book of Strathbogie, p. 4. Spalding Club, Aberdeen, A.D. 1843.
95:1 Usi nuziali, chap, xviii. p. 170, De Gubernatis.
96:1 Cf. Henderson, p. 42.
98:1 Usi nuziali, p. 119. De Gubernatis.
100:1 Usi nuziali, pp. 113-115. De Gubernatis.