In the morning to my office, where, after I had drank my morning draft at Will’s with Ethell and Mr. Stevens, I went and told part of the excise money till twelve o’clock, and then called on my wife and took her to Mr. Pierces, she in the way being exceedingly troubled with a pair of new pattens, and I vexed to go so slow, it being late. There when we came we found Mrs. Carrick very fine, and one Mr. Lucy, who called one another husband and wife, and after dinner a great deal of mad stir. There was pulling off Mrs. bride’s and Mr. bridegroom’s ribbons;1 with a great deal of fooling among them that I and my wife did not like. Mr. Lucy and several other gentlemen coming in after dinner, swearing and singing as if they were mad, only he singing very handsomely. There came in afterwards Mr. Southerne, clerk to Mr. Blackburne, and with him Lambert, lieutenant of my Lord’s ship, and brought with them the declaration that came out to-day from the Parliament, wherein they declare for law and gospel, and for tythes; but I do not find people apt to believe them.
After this taking leave I went to my father’s, and my wife staying there, he and I went to speak with Mr. Crumlum (in the meantime, while it was five o’clock, he being in the school, we went to my cozen Tom Pepys’ shop, the turner in Paul’s Churchyard, and drank with him a pot of ale); he gave my father directions what to do about getting my brother an exhibition, and spoke very well of my brother.
Thence back with my father home, where he and I spoke privately in the little room to my sister Pall about stealing of things as my wife’s scissars and my maid’s book, at which my father was much troubled.
This day the Parliament gave order that the late Committee of Safety should come before them this day se’nnight, and all their papers, and their model of Government that they had made, to be brought in with them. So home and talked with my wife about our dinner on Thursday.
The scramble for ribbons, here mentioned by Pepys in connection with weddings (see also January 26th, 1660-61, and February 8th, 1662-3), doubtless formed part of the ceremony of undressing the bridegroom, which, as the age became more refined, fell into disuse. All the old plays are silent on the custom; the earliest notice of which occurs in the old ballad of the wedding of Arthur O’Bradley, printed in the Appendix to “Robin Hood,” 1795, where we read —
Then got they his points and his garters,
And cut them in pieces like martyrs;
And then they all did play
For the honour of Arthur O’Bradley.
Sir Winston Churchill also observes (“Divi Britannici,” p. 340) that James I. was no more troubled at his querulous countrymen robbing him than a bridegroom at the losing of his points and garters. Lady Fanshawe, in her “Memoirs,” says, that at the nuptials of Charles II. and the Infanta, “the Bishop of London declared them married in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and then they caused the ribbons her Majesty wore to be cut in little pieces; and as far as they would go, every one had some.” The practice still survives in the form of wedding favours.
A similar custom is still of every day’s occurrence at Dieppe. Upon the morrow after their marriage, the bride and bridegroom perambulate the streets, followed by a numerous cortege, the guests at the wedding festival, two and two; each individual wearing two bits of narrow ribbon, about two inches in length, of different colours, which are pinned crossways upon the breast. These morsels of ribbons originally formed the garters of the bride and bridegroom, which had been divided amidst boisterous mirth among the assembled company, the moment the happy pair had been formally installed in the bridal bed. — Ex. inf. Mr. William Hughes, Belvedere, Jersey. — B. ↩