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orpine


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One of the orpine's nicknames is ‘Midsummer Men’, after a love divination custom carried out on Midsummer's Eve and reported all over the country since at least the 18th century. To test the potential relationship between two people, take slips of orpine, stick them upright, and place them side by side in pairs. The mutual attraction or aversion is judged by whether the slips inclined towards or away from each other. John Aubrey (1686: 25–6) claims that in his day it was particularly ‘cooke mayds and dayrymaids’ who were partial to this procedure, but the method and meaning remained remarkably stable until well into the 20th century.

Opie and Tatem, 1989: 295;Vickery, 1995: 270–1.


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