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white cambric handkerchief to the minister as
an offering.' The same custom is kept up in
Kent, as may be seen in Lewis's History of
the Isle of Thanet.

The number of sponsors for each child was
prescribed by the 4th Canon of the Council of
York, in 1196, to be no more than three
persons;—two males and one female for a boy,
and two females and one male for a girl;—a
rule which is still preserved. A custom sprung
up afterwards, which reversed the old state of
things. By little and little, large presents
were looked for from sponsors, not only to
the child but to its mother; the result was
that there grew to be a great difficulty in
procuring persons to undertake so expensive an
office. Indeed, it sometimes happened that
fraudulent parents had a child baptised thrice,
for the sake of the godfather's gifts. To
remedy these evils, a Council held at l'Isle, in
Provence, in 1288, ordered that thenceforth
nothing was to be given to the baptised but a
white robe. This prescription appears to
have been kept for ages; Stow, in his
Chronicle of King James's Reign, says, ' At
this time, and for many ages, it was not the
use and custom (as now it is) for godfathers
and godmothers to give plate at the baptism
of children, but only to give christening shirts,
with little bands and cuffs, wrought either
with silk or blue thread, the best of them
edged with a small lace of silk and gold.'
Cups and spoons have, however, stood their
ground as favourite presents to babies on such
occasions, ever since. ' Apostle spoons 'so
called because a figure of one of the apostles
was chased on the handle of eachwere
anciently given: opulent sponsors presenting
the whole twelve. Those in middling
circumstances gave four, and the poorer sort
contented themselves with the gift of one,
exhibiting the figure of any saint, in honour of
whom the child received its name. Thus, in
the books of the Stationers' Company, we find
under 1560, 'a spoone the gift of Master
Reginald Woolf, all gilte, with the picture of
St. John.'

Shakspeare, in his Henry VIII., makes
the king say, when Cranmer professes
himself unworthy to be sponsor to the young

' Come, come, my lord, you 'd spare your spoons.'

Again, in Davenant's Comedy of ' The
Wits,' (1639):

        ' My pendants, cascanets, and rings;
        My christ'ning caudle-cup and spoons,
        Are dissolved into that lump.'

The coral and bells is an old invention for
baptismal presents. Coral was anciently
considered an amulet against fascination and
evil spirits.

It is to be regretted that, at the present
time, the grave responsibilities of the sponsors
of children is too often considered to end with
the presentation of some such gifts as we
have enumerated. It is not to our praise that
the ties between sponsors and god-children,
were much closer, and held more sacredly in
times which we are pleased to call barbarous.
God-children were placed not only in a state
of pupilage with their sureties, but also in the
position of relations. A sort of relationship
was established even between the God-fathers
and God-mothers; insomuch, that marriage
between any such parties was forbidden
under pain of severe punishment. This
injunction, like many others, had it appears
been sufficiently disobeyed to warrant a special
canon (12th) of the Council of Compiègne,
held so early as 757, which enforced the
separation of all those sponsors and God-children
of both sexes who had intermarried, and the
Church refused the rites of marriage to the
women so separated. A century after (815)
the Council of Mayence not only reinforced
these restrictions and penalties, but added



SCENE, a stupendous region of icebergs and snow. The bare
mast of a half-buried ship stands among the rifts and
ridges. The figures of two men, covered closely with furs and
skins, slowly emerge from beneath the winter-housing of the
deck, and descend upon the snow by an upper ladder, and
steps cut below in the frozen wall of snow. They advance.

1st Man. We are out of hearing now. Give thy
heart words.

[They walk on in silence some steps further, and then pause.

2nd Man. Here 'midst the sea's unfathomable ice,
Life-piercing cold, and the remorseless night
Which never ends, nor changes its dead face,
Save in the 'ghast smile of the hopeless moon,
Must slowly close our sum of wasted hours;
And with them all the enterprising dreams,
Efforts, endurance, and resolve, which make
The power and glory of us Englishmen.

1st Man. It may be so.

2nd Man. Oh, doubt not but it must.
Day after day, week crawling after week,
So slowly that they scarcely seem to move,
Nor we to know it, till our calendar
Shows us that months have lapsed away, and left
Our drifting time, while here our bodies lie
Like melancholy blots upon the snow.
Thus have we lived, and gradually seen,
By calculations which appear to mock
Our hearts with their false figures, that 'tis now
Three years since we were cut off from the world
By these impregnable walls of solid ocean!

1st Man. All this is true: the physical elements
We thought to conquer, are too strong for man.

2nd Man. We have felt the crush of battle side by side;
Seen our best friends, with victory in their eyes,
Suddenly smitten down, a mangled heap,
And thought our own turn might be next; yet never
Drooped we in spirit, or such horror felt
As in the voiceless tortures of this place,
Which freezes up the mind.

1st Man. Not yet.

2nd Man. I feel it.
Death, flying red-eyed from the cannon's mouth,