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That one chance of Hymen
Are frightened to speak).
No'to a woman ne'er yet have I said,
In fear, dash my wig, am I -
Twenty times o'er.
The year sixty-four.
Then bachelors all, be advised and take warning,
There's a great deal more danger than many suppose
Of their dreams they will wake out
On Valentine's Day.
"Be mine, love, I pray!'
This petticoat government's acts will be terrible,
Over our hearts most tyrannic in sway;
For there's no need for angling-
For bridesmaids a score;
Leap Year, sixty-four.
VOL. V.-NO, XXVII.
one seems to know at what divert the thoughts of the people
into a different direction, substituted —that peculiarly decisive kind of the names of saints for those of rapping'-began to be specially young women; but the people, findheard on St. Valentine's Day. Two ing this not half so exhilarating, or three quidnuncs have propounded reverted to their old practice. And this question, to be answered by so it gradually came about that, on other quidnuncs; but the answer or near the Feast of St. Valentine, has not yet come. As to the worthy young persons were accustomed to saint himself, who lived sixteen hun- select their lovers and mistresses by dred years ago, he appears to have a sort of lot or chance. In more been an unconscious originator of a recent times the custom spread to system which has culminated in the other countries, modified in its desending of anonymous love-letters tails. We learn from Chambers's (sincere or satirical, as the case may ' Book of Days'—a storehouse of be) on the 14th of February. At curious information not easily accesRome, long before the Christian sible elsewhere—that Misson, a Era, there was a festival about the learned traveller about two cenmiddle of February, during which turies ago, described a pretty custhe written names of young wo- tom as then prevailing in England men were put into a box, and and Scotland on the eve of St. Vadrawn out by the young men pre- lentine's Day :-'An equal number sent, as a preliminary to a sort of of maids and bachelors get together; chance love-making. The Christian each writes their true or some priests in later ages, willing to feigned name upon separate billets,
which, they roll up, and draw by account the artistic and poetic quaway of lots, the maids taking the lity of nine-tenths of these missives, men's billets, and the men the we cannot escape the conclusion maids'; so that each of the young that St. Valentine has but little reamen lights upon a girl that he calls son to be proud of his votaries. his Valentine, and each of the girls There are no direct means of ascerupon a young man whom she calls taining how many valentines are hers. By this means each has two sent by post, or by any other chanValentines; but the man sticks nel; seeing that valentine-makers faster to the Valentine that has do not communicate to each other fallen to him than to the Valentine the extent of their trade, and that to whom he has fallen. Fortune postmen are not authorized to peep having thus divided the company too curiously inside the envelopes, into so many couples, the Valen- even were they so inclined. The tines give balls and treats to their authorities at the General Post mistresses, wear their billets several Office, about ten years ago, ascerdays upon their bosoms or sleeves; tained that, in the week containing and this little sport often ends in the 14th of February, 800,000 more love.' There does not appear to be letters passed through the post than any antecedent partiality provided in the average of weeks about that for in this programme: it is simply period of the year; but we suspect a love-lottery or raffle between the that the valentines which are actumaidens and bachelors--'all prizes ally sent must now far exceed this and no blanks.' And indeed destiny, number. or something distinct from
mere will As for the productions themand determination, has often been selves, as combinations of pictures accepted as the ruling power in this and verses, they are pretty readily matter. It was an old English be- separable
into three groups lief that the birds select their mates classes—the elegant, the vulgar, and on St. Valentine's Day; and that an the sentimentul. The elegant valeninfluence or potency was inherent tines are those which have come in the day which rendered in some into fashion in recent years, since degree binding the lot or chance by ornamental stationery has been prowhich any bachelor or maiden was duced in such excellence, and at the at this time led to fix his or her same time so cheaply. The vulgar attention on a person of the oppo
valentines are those well-known site sex. Another popular belief caricatures of cooks, housemaids, was, that the first maiden whom a nursemaids, coachmen, ‘Jeameses,' bachelor might see, or vice versa, gardeners, grooms, butlers, 'buton the morning of the 14th of tons,' policemen, tailors, tinkers, February, would be, not only the cobblers, &c.; servants and workValentine, but in good time the people, extravagantly drawn and destined spouse; and hence sundry gaudily painted; and accompanied little cunning contrivances-such as by verses about as good (or as bad) lying in bed to a late hour, or look- as the pictures: while some of the ing the other way, or shutting the specimens at the lowest extremity eyes—to insure that the first per- of this group are so exceedingly son seen should be some special or gross as to be fit only for the dens already-selected favourite. Herein of Holywell Street. The sentimental å small attempt was made to cir- valentines have been humorously cumvent Destiny by Inclination. described thus:
—Hearts transfixed But the ‘Postman's Knock' is by darts; turtle-doves apparently another aspect of the affair, and, as commiserating each other on the we have said, is not easily traceable absurdity of the position they are to its origin. It is not known when made to occupy; a profusion of the custom began, of sending pic- small fat boys, principally remarktorial love-letters by post, with no able for their disinclination to patrosignature to denote from whom they nize the cheap clothing establishcame. Comparatively modern it ments of the day-descendants, we certainly is. When we take into always imagine, of our progenitors
the ancient Britons, whose costume berries, flowers, birds, butterflies, &c., was principally flesh-colour, with ready to be cut out by scissors; the addition of a little paint; pretty, plain-printed sheets of Cupids, Hybut otherwise highly insipid young men, angels, fairies, cherubs, altars, gentlemen; and mincing young flames, hearts, wreaths, and other ladies, looking fit for anything but prettinesses, to be coloured by hand, useful domesticated wives.'
and then cut out; thin sheets of There are some noticeable fea- richly-coloured adhesive gelatinetures connected with the manufac- that beautiful substance brought ture of valentines. It is not one into use a few years ago; small that requires large factories. Al- pieces of satin, silk, and velvet, though the numbers made annually painted by hand (often by women of must be reckoned by hundreds of taste, whose lot in life is below the thousands, yet—as there is a whole level of their accomplishments) ; year available for producing that small productions in coloured camwhich is wanted for one single day bric and other material, such as are only-small establishments will suf- fabricated by or for artificial flowerfice. There are many such in Lon- makers; embossed papers and cards, don, and probably in some of the with or without gold and silver as larger provincial towns. The actual parts of the embossment; plain printing, from stone, wood, or type, tissue-paper and cardboard of variis the work of men and boys in the ous kinds—such are the component usual way; but nearly all else is elements of the more expensive and fabricated by women and children- elaborate class of valentines. And a light employment, paid for as then comes the process of putting women's and children's work usually together. The master (or mistress) is, humbly. The valentines which of the workshop must be a person we have placed in the 'vulgar' of some tact and taste, able to devise class are, when printed, handed new forms and combinations, and to over to children, who daub them superintend the arrangements for with staring, bright colours, in imi- realizing them in the finished valentation of a pattern set before them- tine. Scissors and gum are greatly not always such patterns as young in request. If we follow the example eyes and minds should be called of that famous juvenile hero who upon to attend to.
In the sen- made experimental researches on timental' valentines of the last the pneumatic principles of a pair generation, before lace-papers and of bellows-or, at any rate, if we coloured gelatine-sheets had come spend a few pence on an elegant' into vogue, the process of manu- valentine, and analyze it, with a facture was the same in kind but view to discover its mode of probetter in quality, the printing being duction-we shall find that a good finer, the colours of the ‘loves and deal of ingenious work is bestowed doves, hearts and darts’ more care- upon these little productions: much fully managed, and the tender roman- more than seems consistent with the tic versification written in a ladylike small price at which the articles are hand instead of being printed. The
sold. All is head-work or fingerelegant' valentines of the present work in these making-up workday, however, are far more preten- shops, aided by a few small simple tious affairs, calling for the exercise tools: no scope for large machines of some inventive power—not of a and apparatus after the sheets have high order, it is true, but still some- once been printed, stamped, and thing a little out of the common. embossed. The materials, very varied in cha- The principal valentine-makers racter, are procured from diverse must necessarily have some little sources. Lace-paper, a really beau- capital to fall back upon. During tiful production, wrought by a com- the greater part of the year they are bined process of stamping and per- paying for labour and materials to forating; lace-cardboard and cards, produce articles which are only purof similar character; colour-printed chased by the public for one single sheets of small leaves, twigs, fruit, day's use, and by the shopkeepers
chiefly in the month of January, in the following :- Octavo embossed good time for the eventful 14th of Comic and Sentimental, sorted.' February. The invested capital need Cupid hovering over the Forgetnot be large, however, for the costly me-Not (bouquet in satin backvalentines are few in number, and all ground).' Satirical Alphabet Vathe rest are very cheaply produced. lentines (of which one specimen is, The Trade' have their talk about “S stands for Sneak, the name valentines at three, five, seven, ten, reads a bitter one; and yet, truth and even a greater number of gui- to speak, for you there's no fitter neas each; of royalty sending such one”), Butterfly Valentines (with elegancies to royalty; of a wealthy printed verse under the wing).' cit who was wont some time ago to Slightly Comic (of which one is, give to each of his daughters a five- “Oh, name tho happy day when I guinea valentine every year. These, shall call thee mine!” lift up the however, are the 'Upper Ten Thou- centre, and there stands the old sand' of the valentine world, exert- Gentleman. N.B. This will be sure ing very little influence on the trade to take).' * Comic tinted envelope in general; and we may fairly sur- Sell Valentines (packets of “Commise that secrecy is not sought for forts for Old Maids,” and “Discomnor maintained in regard to the forts for Bachelors,” neatly packed name of the sender of such ex- up in envelopes, with appropriate pensive presents.
mottoes).' A neat Comic ValenWhen the end of the year is tine (the picture poster for Monkeys,' approaching, and the shopkeepers Jackasses, Bores, Puppies, Slovens, are laying plans for new enterprises and other worthless animals).' The after the Christmas and Twelfth Valentine Blind (“Pray gently lift Night trinkets shall have been all the window-blind, the lesson there sold, the principal valentine-makers you'll find”).' 'A very neat imisend their trade-circulars to their tation of a straw hamper, which, customers to denote what tempta- when opened, contains two little tions are in store for the 14th of boys, with words in writing, “I February. These circulars are cu- send you a present, to add to your riosities in their way. Each maker joys, and make life more pleasant, has been striving during the year to two nice little ” with label atstrike out something new; and in tached to the cover, “ Pledges of this, as in muslin-printing and many affection ")
Companion to the other trades, a new pattern will by above, containing the clothes. The a lucky chance prove an immense Arrow of Love, and Wheel of Forsuccess, a sensation, not at all tune (arrow moves round a circle, guessed or anticipated beforehand; and points to the fortune of your while others, regarded as equally love).' * Coloured drawings, rather hopeful in the first instance, fall funny, with appropriate written dead upon the market: One such mottoes (such as a picture of a success, a year or two ago, was the gentleman examining his shirt and valentine with a slide, door, cur- exclaiming, “ Not a single button tain, or other little mechanical con- on !");' Silver-faced Clock Valentrivance, revealing certain amazing tines, on which you can move the secrets when drawn aside—such as hands to point out your friend's Mr. Caudle nursing the baby, while sore places.' Cupid's Letter-box, Mrs. C. is comfortably lying between gilt and decorated (words outside the sheets; or the removal of a false denoting the tenderness within ; inhead of hair from a fashionable beau; side there is a touching love-letter, or the un-crinolining of an old stamped and ready for despatch).' Foung lady, exhibiting her as Trifles towards housekeeping (vaskinny-de-leany; or the opening of a rious domestic articles attached to cupboard-door, and bringing to the octavo lace-paper: such as a pair light of day a policeman or a clan- of scissors, bellows, a broom, a chopdestine lover, The trade-circulars ping-board, dust-shovel, &c., with of which we have spoken contain illustrative words).' Caught at multitudes of such choice bits as last (effective landscape background,