Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/385

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301
BIRTH— BAPTISM— ETC.

There are sufficient allusions in contemporary literature to establish the fact that the curious custom was then in vogue of brides wearing knives and daggers as part of their wedding costume. In the 1597 quarto Juliet is so provided when she attends the friar's cell, as well as at the time when she took the potion. A bride in Dekker's Match me in London, cries:

"See, at my girdle hang my wedding knives!
With those dispatch me."

And the Witch of Edmonton supplies the quotation:

"But see, the bridegroom and bride come; the new
Pair of Sheffield knives fitted both to one sheath."

Great and elaborate festivities followed the wedding; and though wheat was thrown upon the pair as we now throw rice, symbolical of fruitfulness, and though the old shoe was also thrown as a token of good luck, it was not customary for the groom and bride immediately to depart upon a wedding trip. On the contrary, they remained as the principal figures in the merry-making that followed—often lasting over several days.

The guests wore scarves, gloves, and other favours. The bride cake, which was first carried to the church, was, after the ceremony, distributed among the guests. Dancing was one of the im-