aneurism, and required an operation which must have left me scarred for life. . . . Our old nurse, Effie, had arrived at a different conclusion. She was convinced of the truth of the popular belief that a dead man's hand laid upon my cheek and brow would effectually remove the marks. . . . An old man at last did die in one of the nearest cottages. I must have been taken there asleep, as no child would have forgotten it, had she been carried awake to the bed of the dead man and seen and felt his cold hand placed on her face ; and I was old enough to have remembered it, for I have the most distinct recollection of being constantly stopped in our walks by the widow, who always examined my cheek in order to ascertain the state of her husband's body in the grave, — as the marks, as she told my nurse, would certainly fade away as he turned into dust. . . . Whatever the cause of the cure, the red marks faded away as I grew older, and in time disappeared." — The Refninisce?ices of Lady JVake. 1909. Ed. Lucy Wake, pp. 34-35.
On St. Valentine's Day, in most of the villages round Stratford- on-Avon as lately as thirty years ago children used to go round singing for Valentines. In Armscote, a small Worcestershire hamlet, about eight miles from Stratford, they sang these words : —
" Morrow, morrow, Valentine, I'll be yourn if you'll be mine, Please to give us a Valentine."
They always begged for apples, which were saved to make apple fritters on Shrove Tuesday.
The old saying in Armscote is —
" Mid- Lent Sunday more'n any other. Every child goes home to its mother."
In most of the villages in this neighbourhood young girls reckoned on a holiday from service to go home on Mothering Sunday.