THE following anecdote is recorded
on good authority of a curious custom, strictly Scottish, which used to be
connected with the preliminaries of the baptism service, and which may
occasionally be found in the present day. A young unmarried woman takes
the child to church, and she carries in her hand a slice of bread and
cheese, wrapped up and pinned with a pin out of the child’s dress, which
she is bound to give to the first male person she meets, and which the
said person is equally bound to receive, as the amusing incident about to
be recorded indicates.
An English duke had arrived in
Glasgow on a Sunday, and was wandering in the streets during the time of
afternoon service. To his astonishment, a young woman came up to him with
a child in her arms, and presented a piece of bread and cheese. In vain he
protested that he did not know what she meant—that he had nothing to do
with her or her child—that he was an entire stranger—that he had never
been in Scotland before—that he knew nothing of the usages of the
Presbyterian Kirk, being of the Church of England—and that she should give
the piece to somebody else.
The young woman was deaf to all his
arguments, and continued to hold out authoritatively the bread and cheese.
Thinking, probably, that she did not give him credit for what he said, and
that he would overawe and silence her by a statement of his dignity and
importance, he told her in perfect simplicity that he was an English duke,
and stating his name with that of the hotel at which he had just arrived.
The answer shut his mouth and forced him to hold out his hand for the
proffered dole, namely: