Immagini della pagina
PDF
ePub

wiry trees, and the snow on the ground, the chesnuts, if any body wants an excuse contrasted with the sudden return to to his dignity for roasting them, let him warmth, light, and joviality.

take the anthority of Milton. " Who “ I remember we had a discussion that now,' says he, lamenting the loss of his time, as to what was the great point and friend Deodati, — who now will help to crowning glory of Christmas. Many were soothe my cares for me, and make the for mince-pie; some for the beef and long night seem short with his conversaplum-pudding; more for the wassail. tion; while the roasting pear hisses tenbowl; a maiden lady timidly said, the derly on the fire, and the nuts burst away misletoe; but we agreed at last, that al- with a noise, though all these were prodigious, and * And out of doors a washing storm o'ersome of them exclusively belonging to whelms the season, the fire was the great indis Nature pitch-dark, and rides the thunderpensable. Upon which we all turned our ing elms?'" faces towards it, and began warming our already scorched hands. A great blazing fire, too big, is the visible heart and soul

Christmas in France. of Christmas. You may do without beef and plum-pudding; even the absence of

From a newspaper

of 1823, (the name mince-pie may be tolerated; there must unfortunately not noted at the time, and be a bowl, poetically speaking, but it not inmediately ascertainable), it appears need not be absolutely wassail. The that Christmas in France is another thing bowl may give place to the bottle. But from Christmas in England. a huge, heaped-up, over heaped-up, all “ The habits and customs of the Paattracting fire, with a semicircle of faces risians vary much from those of our own about it, is not to be denied us. It is the metropolis at all times, but at no time lar and genius of the meeting; the proof more than at this festive season. An positive of the season; the representative Englishman in Paris, who had been for of all our warm emotions and bright some time without referring to his althoughts; the glorious eye of the room; manac, would not know Christmas-day the inciter to yet the retainer of from another by the appearance of the order; the amalgamater of the age and capital. It is, indeed, set down as a jour sex; the universal relish. Tastes may de fete in the calendar, but all the ordidiffer even on a mince-pie; but whó nary business of life is transacted ; the gainsays a fire? The absence of other streets are, as usual, crowded with wagluxuries still leaves you in possession of gons and coaches; the shops, with few that; but

exceptions, are open, although on other • Who can hold a fire in his hand

séte days the order for closing them is With thinking on the frostiest twelfth- rigorously enforced, and if not attended cake?'

to, a fine levied ; and at the churches

nothing extraordinary is going forward. “ Let me have a dinner of some sort, no All this is surprising in a catholic country, matter what, and then give me my fire, which professes to pay such attention to and my friends, the humblest glass of the outward rites of religion. wine, and a few penn'orths of chesnuts, “ On Christmas-eve indeed, there is and I will still make out my Christa some bustle for a midnight mass, to which

What! Have we not Burgundy in immense numbers flock, as the priests, on our blood ? Have we not joke, laughter, this occasion, get up a showy spectacle repartee, bright eyes, comedies of other which rivals the theatres. The altars are people, and comedies of our own; songs, dressed with flowers, and the churches memories, hopes ? [An organ strikes up decorated profusely; but there is little in in the street at this word, as if to answer all this to please men who have been acme in the affirmative. Right, thou old customed to the John Bull mode of spendspirit of harmony, wandering about in ing the evening. The good English habit that ark of thine, and touching the public of meeting together to forgive offences and ear with sweetness and an abstraction! injuries, and to cement reconciliations, is Let the multitude bustle on, but not un- here unknown. The French listen to the arrested by thee and by others, and not church music, and to the singing of their unreminded of the happiness of renewing choirs, which is generally excellent, but a wise childhood.] As to our old friends they know nothing of the origin of the day

mas.

and of the duties which it imposes. The Christmas-day, the remains of which, English residents in Paris, however, do when it leaves the table, he requires to be not forget our mode of celebrating this eaten by the servants, bon gré, mauvais gré; day. Acts of charity from the rich to the but in this instance even the commands needy, religious attendance at church, of sovereignty are disregarded, except by and a full observance of hospitable rites, the numerous English in his service, conare there witnessed. Paris furnishes all sisting of several valets, grooms, coachthe requisites for a good pudding, and the men, &c., besides a great number of laturkeys are excellent, though the beef is dies' maids, in the service of the duchesses not to be displayed as prize production. of Angouleme and Berri, who very fre

"On Christmas-day all the English cooks quently partake of the dainties of the in Paris are in full business. The queen king's table." of cooks, however, is Harriet Dunn, of the Boulevard. As sir Astley Cooper among the cutters of limbs, and d'Egville The following verses from the original among the cutters of capers, so is Harriet in old Norman French, are said to be the Dunn among the professors of one of the first drinking song composed in England. most necessary, and in its results, most They seem to be an abridged version of gratifying professions of existence; her the Christmas caro in Anglo-Norman services are secured beforehand by special French, translated by Mr. Douce :retainers; and happy is the peer who can point to his pudding, and declare that it Lordlings, from a distant home, is of the true “ Dunn" composition. Her To seek old Christmas are we come, fame has even extended to the provinces. Who loves our minstrelsyFor some time previous to Christmas-day; And here, unless report mis-say, she forwards puddings in cases to all parts The greybeard dwells; and on this day of the country, ready cooked and fit for Keeps yearly wassel, ever gay the table, after the necessary warming.

With festive mirth and glee.
All this is, of course, for the English. No
prejudice can be stronger than that of the Lordlings, list, for we tell you true;
French against plum-pudding-a French- Christmas loves the jolly crew,
man will dress like an Englishman, swear

That cloudy care defy:
Jike an Englishman, and get drunk like His liberal board is destiy spread,

With manchet loaves and wastel bread; an Englishman; but if you would offend

His him for ever, compel him to eat pluin

guests with fish and flesh are led,

Nor lack the stately pye. pudding. A few of the leading restaurateurs, wishing to appear extraordinary, have plomb-pooding upon their cartes, but Lordlings, it is our host's command,

And Christmas joins bim hand in hand, in no instance is it ever ordered by a

Tu drain the brimming bowl; Frenchman. Every body has heard the

And I'll be foremost to obeystory of St. Louis-Henri Quatre, or who- Then pledge me, sirs, and drink away, ever else it might be, who, wishing to re For Christmas revels here to-day gale the English ambassador on Christmas And sways without controul. day with a plumb-pudding, procured an Now wassel to you all! and merry may you be, excellent recipe for making one, which he And foul that wight befall, who drinks not gave to his cook, with strict injunctions

health to me. that it should be prepared with due attention to all the particulars. The weight of the ingredients, the size of the copper,

There were anciently great doings in the quantity of water, the duration of the halls of the inns of court at Christmas time,' every thing was attended to except time. At the Inner-Temple early in the one trifle- the king forgot the cloth, and the pudding was served up like so much morning, the gentlemen of the inn went

to church, and after the service they did soup, in immense tureens, to the surprise then “ of the ambassador, who was, however, breakfast with brawn, mustard,

presently repair into the hall to

and too well bred to express his astonishmevt. malmsey.” At the first course at dinner, Louis XVIII., either to show his contempt was “served in, a fair and large Bore's head of the prejudices of his countrymen, or to

upon a silver platter with minstralsye."* keep up a custom which suits his palate, has always an enormous pudding on

£ * Dugdale's Orig. Jurid,

[merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

Warton says,

“ This carol, yet with Chaucer alluded to the custom of bearing many innovations, is retained at Queen's- the boar's head, in the following passage college, in Oxford.” It is still sung in of the “ Franklein's Tale :"that college, somewhat altered, “ to the common chant of the prose version of

Janus sitteth by the fire with double berd, the psalms in cathedrals;" so, however,

And he drinkeih of his bugle-horne the the rev. Mr. Dibdin says, as mentioned

wine, before.

Before him standeth the brawne of the Mr. Brand thinks it probable that

tusked swine."

In “ The Wonderful Yeare, 1603," Holinshed says, that in 1170, upon the Dekker speaks of persons apprehensive young prince's coronation, king Henry II. of catching the plague, and says, “they served his son at the table as sewer, went (most bitterly) miching and muffled bringing up the bore's head, with trumup and down, with rue and wormwood pets before it, according to the manner."* stuft into their eares and nosthrils, look An engraving from a clever drawing by ing like so many bores heads stuck with Rowlandson, in the possession of the branches of rosemary, to be served in for editor of the Every-Day Book, may gracebrawne at Christmas."

fully close this article.

[graphic][subsumed][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

There are some just observations on the year, an independent gentleman in the old mode of passing this season, in “ The reign of queen Anne, is described as World,” a periodical paper of literary having " never played at cards but at pleasantries.* “ Our ancestors considered Christmas, when the family pack was proChristmas in the double light of a holy duced from the mantle-piece.” “His chief commemoration, and a cheerful festival, drink the year round was generally ale, and accordingly distinguished it by devo- except at this season, the 5th of Novemtion, by vacation from business, by mer- ber, or some other gala days, when he riment, and hospitality. They seemed would make a bowl of strong brandy eagerly bent to make themselves, and punch, garnished with a toast and nutevery one about them happy; with what meg. In the corner of his hall, by the punctual zeal did they wish one another a fire-side, stood a large wooden two-armed merry Christmas! and what an omission chair, with a cushion, and within the would it have been thought, to have con- chimney corner were a couple of seats. cluded a letter without the compliments Here, at Christmas, he entertained his of the season! The great hall resounded tenants, assembled round a glowing fire, with the tumultuous joys of servants and made of the roots of trees, and other tenants, and the gambols they played great logs, and told and heard the tradiserved as amusement to the lord of the tionary tales of the village, respecting manor, and his family, who, by encourag- ghosts and witches, till fear made them ing every art conducive to mirth and en- afraid to move. In the meantime the tertainment, endeavoured to soften the jorum of ale was in continual circularigour of the season, and mitigate the tion." influence of winter."

The country squire of three hundred a

Grose,

It is remarked, in the “Literary Pocket

ANCIENT CHRISTMAS. Book," that now, Christmas-day only, or at

And well our christian sires of old most a day or two, are kept by people in ge- Loved, when the year its course had rollid, neral ; the rest are school holidays. “But, And brought blithe Christinas back again, formerly, there was nothing but a run of With all its hospitable train. merry days from Christmas-eve to Can- Domestic and religious rite dlemas, and the first twelve in parti- Gave honour to the holy night : cular were full of triumph and hospitality. On Christmas-eve the bells were rang; We have seen but too well the cause of On Christmas-eve the mass was sung ; this degeneracy. What has saddened our

That only night, in all the year, summer-time has saddened our winter.

Saw the stoled priest the chalice rear. What has taken us from our fields and

The damsel dona'd her kirtle sheen;

The hall was dress'd with holly green ; May-flowers, and suffered them to smile Forth to the wood did merry men go, and die alone, as if they were made for To gather in the misletoe. nothing else, has contradicted our flowing Then open wide the baron's hall, cups at Christmas. The middle classes To vassal, tenant, serf, aud all ; make it a sorry business of a pudding or Power laid his rod of rule aside, so extra, and a game at cards. The rich And ceremony doff*d his pride. invite their friends to their country houses,

The heir, with roses in his shoes, but do little there but gossip and gamble; That night might village partner choose : and the poor are either left out entirely,

The lord, underogating, share or presented with a few clothes and eat- The vulgar game of " post and pair.” ables that make up a wretched sub- All hailed, with uncontrouled delight, stitute for the long and hospitable inter- And general voice, the happy night,

That to the cottage, as the crown, course of old. All this is so much the Brought tidings of salvation dowa. worse, inasmuch as christianity had a special eye to those feelings which should

The fire, with well-dried logs supply'd, remind us of the equal rights of all; and

Went, roaring, up the chimney wide; the greatest beauty in it is not merely its Scrubb'd till it slone, the day to grace,

The huge ball table's oaken face, charity, which we contrive to swallow up

Bore then upon its massive board in faith, but its being alive to the sentiment No mark to part the squire and lord. of charity, which is still more opposed to Then was brought in the lusty brawn, these proud distances and formal dolings By old blue-coated serving man; out. The same spirit that vindicated the Then the grim boar's-head frown'd on high, pouring of rich ointment on his feet, (be- Crested with bays and rosemary. cause it was a homage paid to sentiment Well can the green-garb'd ranger tell, in his person,) knew how to bless the How, when, and where the monster fell; gift of a cup of water. Every face which What dogs before his death he tore, you contribute to set sparkling at Christ

And all the baiting of the boar; mas is a reflection of that goodness of Garnish'd with ribbons, blithe did trowi.

While round the merry wassel bowl, nature which generosity helps to uncloud, There the huge sirloin reek’d; hard by as the windows reflect the lustre of the

Plum-porridge stood, and Christmas pie; sunny heavens. Every holly bough and

Nor fail'd old Scotland to produce, lump of berries with which you adorn At such high tide her savoury goose. your houses is a piece of natural piety as Then came the merry maskers in, well as beauty, and will enable you to And carols roar'd with blithsome din; relish the green world of which you show If unmelodious was the song, yourselves not forgetful. Every wassail It was a hearty note and strong bowl which you set flowing without Who lists may in their mumming see drunkenness, every harmless pleasure,

Traces of ancient mystery'; every innocent miřth however mirthful, White shirts supply the masquerade,

And smutted checks the visor made ; every forgetfulness even of serious things,

But, oh! what masquers, richly dight, when they are only swallowed up in the

Can boast of bosoms half so light! kindness and joy with which it is the end

England was merry England when of wisdom to produce, is

Old Christmas brought bis sports again. • Wisest, virtuousest, discreetest, best ;' 'Twas Christmas broach'd the mightiest ale ; and Milton's Eve, who suggested those

"Twas Christmas told the merriest tale ; epithets to her husband, would have A Christmas gambol oft would cheer thought so too, if we are to judge by the A poor man's heart through half the year.

Sir Walter Scott poet's account of her hospitality.”

« IndietroContinua »