The Pardoner's mitten. Whoever put this mitten on would be sure to thrive in all things.
He that his hondë put in this metayn, He shal have multiplying of his grayn, Whan he hath sowen, be it whete or otes, So that ye offre pans [pence] or ellës grootes.
To give one the mitten. To reject a sweetheart; to jilt. (Latin, mitto, to send [about your business], whence dismissal; to get your dismissal.) Some say, it is to get the mitten instead of the hand.
“There is a young lady I have set my heart on, though whether she is
going to give me hern, or give me the mitten, I ain't quite
“I don't believe but what that Hammond girl's given him the mitten, else he wouldn't a come. I wouldn't play second fiddle for any fellow.” —M. E. Wilkins: A Tardy Thanksgiving (American).
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894