British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

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108                             st. valentine's day.                 FEB 14
and the booth of Green, from Inmehouse, was for three generations the emporium of such articles; but these no longer attend. A great deal of money is however spent, as immense numbers of persons assemble from all parts. .Neither is there any lack of incitements to unburthen the pockets: animals of every description, tame and wild, giants and dwarfs, tumblers, jugglers, peep-shows, &c, all unite their attractive powers, in sounds more discordant than those which annoyed the ears of Hogarth's " enraged musician."
In the early part of the last century, an old building, which, before the Reformation, had been a hall belonging to the guild of St. George, after being applied to various uses, was fitted up as a theatre (and, by a curious coincidence, where formerly had doubtless been exhibited, as was cus­tomary at the guild feasts, religious mysteries and pageants of the Catholic age, again were exhibited the mysteries and pageants of the Protestant age) during the mart and a few weeks afterwards, but apparently with no great suc­cess.—Every Day Book, vol. ii. p. 223.
In the parish of Ryburgh it is customary for the children to go round to the houses in the village for contributions, saying:
" God bless the baker; If you will be the giver, I will be the taker."
N. & Q. 4th S. vol. v. p. 595.
Northamptonshire .
In this county children go from house to house, on the morning of St. Valentine's Day, soliciting small gratuities. The children of the villages go in parties, sometimes in considerable numbers, repeating at each house the following salutations, which vary in different districts : *
" Good morrow, Valentine! First it's yours, and then it's mine, So please give me a Valentine."
"* See History and Anti{Uities of Weston Favell (1827, p. 6). Brand in his Pop. Antiq. mentions this custom as existing in Oxfordshire. —1849, vol i. p. 60.
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