• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Half Title
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Preface
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 "The poor from the gates were not...
 Christmas
 The stage coach
 Christmas Eve
 Christmas Day
 The Christmas dinner
 Notes
 Back Cover
 Spine






Group Title: Old Christmas : from the sketch book of Washington Irving
Title: Old Christmas
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00081236/00001
 Material Information
Title: Old Christmas from the sketch book of Washington Irving
Physical Description: xiv, 165 p., 6 leaves of plates : ill. ; 19 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Irving, Washington, 1783-1859
Caldecott, Randolph, 1846-1886 ( Illustrator )
Macmillan & Co ( Publisher )
Publisher: Macmillan
Place of Publication: London
Publication Date: 1892
Edition: 4th ed.
 Subjects
Subject: Christmas stories   ( lcsh )
Christmas stories -- 1892
Bldn -- 1892
Genre: Christmas stories
fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: illustrated by R. Caldecott.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00081236
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002403340
oclc - 03249532
notis - AMA8271

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page i
        Page i-a
    Half Title
        Page ii
        Page iii
    Frontispiece
        Page iv
    Title Page
        Page v
        Page vi
    Preface
        Page vii
    Table of Contents
        Page viii
    List of Illustrations
        Page ix
        Page x
        Page xi
        Page xii
        Page xiii
        Page xiv
        Page xv
    "The poor from the gates were not chidden"
        Page xvi
    Christmas
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
    The stage coach
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
    Christmas Eve
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 46a
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 54a
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 72a
        Page 73
        Page 74
    Christmas Day
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 94a
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 96a
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
    The Christmas dinner
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 122a
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
    Notes
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
    Spine
        Spine
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First Edition (Extra Crown 8vo) 1875
Refrinted with slight alterations (Crown 8vo) 1875, 1877
Second Edition 1882
Third Edition 1886
Four/t Edition 1892. Recrintea 1894, 1901, 1909, 1925



























PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN


































































"The old family mansion, partly thrown in deep shadow, and partly lit up by the cold moonshine."
Frontispiece.









oSIP

Sketch Book
shingto ii o vfg.


V. London .

Macmillan & Co





~r,.sj~v~~i -Stoi~cS



















BEFORE the remembrance of the good old times,
so fast passing, should have entirely passed away,
the present artist, R. Caldecott, and engraver,
James D. Cooper, planned to illustrate Washing-
ton Irving's "Old Christmas" in this manner.
Their primary idea was to'carry out the principle
of the Sketch Book, by incorporating the designs
with the text. Throughout they have worked
together and con more. With what success the
public must decide.

NOVEMBER 1875.


4844-a

































CHRISTMAS

THE STAGE COACH

CHRISTMAS EVE

CHRISTMAS DAY

THE CHRISTMAS DINNER


PAGE
I


17


41


S 75

S117




















Iw %I S-T -_,()


DESIGNED BY RANDOLPH CALDECOTT,

AND

ARRANGED AND ENGRAVED BY J. D. COOPER.




THE OLD MANSION BY MOONLIGHT-Frontispiece.

TITLE-PAGE.
PAGE
ANCIENT FIREPLACE .

HEADING TO PREFACE V

HEADING TO CONTENTS ii

TAILPIECE TO CONTENTS. Vii

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS IX

TAILPIECE TO LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS XiV

"THE POOR FROM THE GATES WERE NOT CHIDDEN Xvi

HEADING TO CHRISTMAS I








LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.


THE MOULDERING TOWER

CHRISTMAS ANTHEM IN CATHEDRAL

THE WANDERER'S RETURN

" NATURE LIES DESPOILED OF EVERY CHARM"

"THE HONEST FACE OF HOSPITALITY"

"THE SHY GLANCE OF LOVE"

OLD HALL OF CASTLE

THE GREAT OAKEN GALLERY .

THE WAITS

"AND SIT DOWN DARKLING AND REPINING"

THE STAGE COACH.

THE THREE SCHOOLBOYS

THE OLD ENGLISH STAGE COACHMAN

"HE THROWS DOWN THE. REINS WITH SOMETHING OF


AN AIR .

THE STABLE IMITATORS

THE PUBLIC HOUSE

THE HOUSEMAID

THE SMITHY .

"NOW OR NEVER MUST MUSIC BI

THE COUNTRY MAID

THE OLD SERVANT AND BANTAM

A NEAT COUNTRY SEAT.


25

26

28


E IN Tu


29

S30

TNE 32

32

S 34

35








LIST OF ILLUSTRATION


INN KITCHEN. .

THE RECOGNITION. TAILPIECE

THE POST-CHAISE

THE LODGE GATE .

THE OLD PRIMITIVE DAME

"THE LITTLE DOGS AND ALL"


MISTLETOE .

THE SQUIRE'S RECEPTION

THE FAMILY PARTY

TOYS .

THE YULE LOG .

THE SQUIRE IN HIS HEREDITARY CHAIR.

THE FAMILY PLATE .

MASTER SIMON .

YOUNG GIRL .

HER MOTHER .

THE OLD HARPER .

MASTER SIMON DANCING .

THE OXONIAN AND HIS MAIDEN AUNT

THE YOUNG OFFICER WITH HIS GUITAR

THE FAIR JULIA .


ASLEEP .

CHRISTMAS DAY


I.S


S. xi
PAGE
S37

S 40

43

46

S 46

49

52

53

S 54

55

S57

S 58

60




67
61

62

62

65

67

68

70

72

74

S77


*

,








LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.


THE CHILDREN'S CAROL.

ROBIN ON THE MOUNTAIN ASH

MASTER SIMONI AS CLERK

BREAKFAST

VIEWING THE DOGS

MASTER SIMON GOING TO CHURCH

THE VILLAGE CHURCH

THE PARSON .

REBUKING THE SEXTON .

EFFIGY OF A WARRIOR

MASTER SIMON AT CHURCH

THE VILLAGE CHOIR

THE VILLAGE TAILOR

AN OLD CHORISTER

THE SERMON .

CHURCHYARD GREETINGS.

FROSTY THRALDOM.OF WINTER

MERRY OLD ENGLISH GAMES

THE POOR AT HOME

VILLAGE ANTICS .

TASTING THE SQUIRE'S ALE

THE WIT OF THE VILLAGE

COQUETTISH HOUSEMAID.


PAGE
S78

80

81

84

85

88

91

93

S95

S96

S97

S97

98

S 100
Ioo


104
Io4

Io6

109

III

112

II3



116








LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. iii
PAGE
ANTIQUE SIDEBOARD I19

THE COOK WITH THE ROLLING-PIN 120

THE WARRIOR'S ARMS 121

"FLAGONS, CANS, CUPS, BEAKERS, GOBLETS, BASINS,

AND EWERS" 122

THE CHRISTMAS DINNER .1 23

A HIGH ROMAN NOSE 124

THE PARSON SAID GRACE 125

THE BOAR'S HEAD 126

THE FAT-HEADED OLD GENTLEMAN. 129

PEACOCK PIE 130

THE WASSAIL BOWL 132

THE SQUIRE'S TOAST 134

THE LONG-WINDED JOKER 136

LONG STORIES 138

THE PARSON AND THE PRETTY MILKMAID 139

MASTER SIMON GROWS MAUDLIN 140

THE BLUE-EYED ROMP 143

THE PARSON'S TALE 44

THE SEXTON'S REBUFF 146

THE CRUSADER'S NIGHT RIDE 148

ANCIENT CHRISTMAS AND DAME MINCE-PIE 15.1

ROBIN HOOD AND MAID MARIAN 152








-XIV LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
PAGE
THE MINUET. 153

ROAST BEEF, PLUM PUDDING, AND MISRULE 153

THE CHRISTMAS DANCE IN COSTUME 154

"CHUCKLING AND RUBBING HIS HANDS" 155

"ECHOING BACK THE JOVIALITY OF LONG-DEPARTED

YEARS" 157

RETROSPECT 159








~~rliS6r~3p~









































A man might then behold
At Christmas, in each hall
Good fires to curb the cold,
And meat for great and small.
The neighbours were friendly bidden,
And all had welcome true,
The poor from the gates were not chidden,
When this old cap was new.
OLD SONG.


- ff "P-%



















SHERE is nothing in England that exer-
cises a more delightful spell over my
imagination than the lingering of the
holiday customs and rural games of
former times. They recall the pictures
my fancy used to draw in the May morn-
ing of life, when as yet I only knew the world
through books, and believed it to be all that poets
had painted it; and they bring with them the
flavour of those honest days of yore, in which,
perhaps with equal fallacy, I am apt to think the
world was more home-bred, social, andjoyous than
at present. I regret to say that they are daily
growing more and more faint, being gradually






CHRISTMAS.


worn away by time, but still more obliterated by
modern fashion. They resemble those pictur-
esque morsels of Gothic architecture which we


see crumbling in various parts of the country,
partly dilapidated by the waste of ages, and partly
lost in the additions and alterations of latter days.
Poetry, however, clings with cherishing fondness
about the rural game and holiday revel, from






CHRISTMAS.


which it has derived so many of its themes-as
the ivy winds its rich foliage about the Gothic
arch and mouldering tower, gratefully repaying
their support by clasping together their tottering
remains, and, as it were, embalming them in
verdure.
Of all the old festivals, however, that-- of
Christmas awakens the strongest and most heart-
felt associations. There is a tone of solemn and
sacred feeling that blends with our conviviality,
and lifts the spirit to a state of hallowed and-
elevated enjoyment. The services of the church
about this season are extremely tender and in-
spiring. They dwell on the beautiful story of the
origin of our faith, and the pastoral scenes that
accompanied its announcement. They gradually
increase in fervour and pathos during the season
of Advent, until they break forth in full jubilee on
the morning that brought peace and good-will
to men. I do not know a grander effect of
music on the moral feelings than to hear the







CHRISTMAS.


full choir and the
pealing organ per-
forming a Christ-
mas anthem in a
cathedral, and fill-
ing every part of
the vast pile with
triumphant har-
mony.
It is a beautiful
arrangement, also
derived from days
of yore, that this
festival, which com-
memorates the an-
nouncement of the
religion of peace
and love, has been
made the season
for gathering to-
gether of family






CHRISTMAS.


connections, and drawing closer again those bands
of kindred hearts which the cares and pleasures
and sorrows of the world are continually operating
to cast loose;
of calling back
the children of
a family who
have launched
forth in life,
and wandered
widely asunder,
once more to
assemble about
the paternal hearth,
that rallying-place of the affections, there to grow
young and loving again among the endearing
mementoes of childhood.
There is something in the very season of the
year that gives a charm to the festivity of Christ-
mas. At other times we derive a great portion
of our pleasures from the mere beauties of nature.






CHRISTMAS.


Our feelings sally forth and dissipate themselves
over the sunny landscape, and we "live abroad
and everywhere." The song of the bird, the
murmur of, the stream, the breathing fragrance
of spring, the soft voluptuousness of summer, .the
golden pomp of autumn; earth with its mantle
of refreshing green, and heaven with its deep
delicious blue and its cloudy magnificence, all fill
us with mute but exquisite delight, and we revel
in the luxury of mere sensation. But in the
depth of winter, when nature lies despoiled of
every charm, and wrapped in her shroud of









sheeted snow, we turn for our gratifications to
moral sources. The dreariness and desolation
of the landscape, the short gloomy days and






CHRISTMAS.


darksome nights, while they circumscribe our
wanderings, shut in our feelings also from
rambling abroad, and make us more keenly dis-
posed for the pleasures of the social circle. Our
thoughts are more concentrated; our friendly
sympathies more aroused. We feel more sensibly
the charm of each other's society, and are brought
more closely together by dependence on each
other for enjoyment. Heart calleth unto heart;
and we draw our pleasures from the deep wells
of living kindness, which lie in the quiet recesses
of our bosoms; and which, when resorted to,
furnish forth the pure element of domestic
felicity.
The pitchy gloom without makes the heart
dilate on entering the room filled with the glow
and warmth of the evening fire. The ruddy
blaze diffuses an artificial summer and sunshine
through the room, and lights up each counte-
nance into a kindlier welcome. Where does the
honest face of hospitality expand into a broader






CHRISTMAS.


and more cordial smile-where is the shy glance
of love more sweetly eloquent-than by the


winter fireside ? and as the hollow blast of wintry
wind rushes through the hall, claps the distant






CHRISTMAS.


door, whistles about the casement, and rumbles
down the chimney, what can be more grateful
than that feeling of sober and sheltered security
with which we look round upon the'comfortable
chamber and the scene of domestic hilarity ?
The English, from the great prevalence of
rural habits throughout every class of society,
have always been fond of those festivals and
holidays which agreeably interrupt the stillness
of country life; and they were, in former days,
particularly observant of the religious and social
rites of Christmas. It is inspiring to read even
the dry details which some antiquarians have
given of the quaint humours, the burlesque
pageants, the complete abandonment to mirth
and good-fellowship, with which this festival was
celebrated. It seemed to throw open every door,
and unlock every heart. It brought the peasant
and the peer together, and blended all ranks in
one warm generous flow of joy and kindness.
The old halls of castles and manor-houses re-






CHRISTMAS.


sounded with the harp and the Christmas carol,
and their ample boards groaned under the
weight of hospitality. Even the poorest
cottage welcomed the festive sea-
son with green decorations of
bay and holly-the cheerful
I I fire glanced its rays through
the lattice, inviting the pass-
n i'. enger to raise the
latch, and join the

Lr gossip knot huddled
round the hearth,
beguiling the long
evening with le-
gendary jokes and oft-told Christmas tales.
One of the least pleasing effects of modern
refinement is the havoc it has made among the
hearty old holiday customs. It has completely
taken off the sharp touching and spirited reliefs
of these embellishments of life, and has worn
down society into a more smooth and polished,






CHRISTMAS.


but certainly a less characteristic surface. Many
of the games and ceremonials of Christmas hav_
entirely disappeared, and like the sherris sack
of old Falstaff, are become matters of specula-
tion and dispute among commentators. They
flourished in times full of spirit and lustihood,
when men enjoyed life roughly, but heartily and
vigorously; times wild and picturesque, which
have furnished poetry with its richest materials,
and the drama with its most attractive variety of
characters and manners. The world has become
more worldly. There is more of dissipation, and
less of enjoyment. Pleasure has expanded into
a broader, but a shallower stream, and has for-
saken many of those deep and quiet channels
where it flowed sweetly through the calm bosom
of domestic life. Society has acquired a more
enlightened and elegant tone; but it has lost
many of its strong local peculiarities, its home-
bred feelings, its honest fireside delights. The
traditionary customs of golden-hearted antiquity,







CHRISTMAS.


its feudal hospitalities, and lordly wassailings,
have passed away with the baronial castles and
stately manor-houses in which they were cele-


brated. They comported with the shadowy
hall, the great oaken gallery, and the tapes-
tried parlour, but are unfitted to the light showy






CHRISTMAS.


saloons and gay drawing-rooms of the modern
villa.
Shorn, however, as it is, of its ancient and
festive honours, Christmas is still a period of
delightful excitement in England. It is gratify-
ing to see that home feeling completely aroused
which seems to hold so powerful a place in every
English bosom. The preparations making' on
every side for the social board that is again to
unite friends and kindred; the presents of good
cheer passing and repassing, those tokens of
regard, and quickeners of kind feelings; the ever-
greens distributed about houses and churches,
emblems of peace and gladness; all these have
the most pleasing effect in producing fond associa-
tions, and kindling 'benevolent sympathies. Even
the sound of the waits, rude as may be their
minstrelsy, breaks upon the mid-watches of a
winter night with the effect of perfect harmony.
As I have been awakened by them in that still
and solemn hour, "when deep sleep falleth upon






CHRISTMAS.


man," I have listened with a hushed delight,
and, connecting them with the
----- s,:I-re .. rl j,:, Ls occasion, have
-i-; a t l. ni_, J them into an-
other criletial choir, an-
Sn,:.ncing peace and
-ood-will to man-
kind.
How de-
S lightfully the
.'' imagination,
; '-^ '- .
"" whenwrought
-- upon by these
moral influ-
ences, turns
everything to melody and beauty: The very
crowing of the cock, who is sometimes heard in
the profound repose of the country, "telling the
night watches to his feathery dames," was thought
by the common people to announce the. approach
of this sacred festival:-







CHRISTMAS.


"Some say that ever againstt that season comes
Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated,
This bird of dawning singeth all night long:
And then, they say, no spirit dares stir abroad;
The nights are wholesome-then no planets strike,
No fairy takes, no witch hath power to charm,
So hallow'd and so gracious is the time."

Amidst the general call to happiness, the bustle
of the spirits, and stir of the affections, which
prevail at this period, what bosom can remain
insensible? It is, indeed, the season of re-
generated feeling-the season for kindling, not
merely the fire of hospitality in the hall, but the
genial flame of charity in the heart.
The scene of early love again rises green to
memory beyond the sterile waste of years; and
the idea of home, fraught with the fragrance of
home-dwelling joys, reanimates the drooping
spirit,-as the Arabian breeze will sometimes
waft the freshness of the distant fields to the
weary pilgrim of the desert.
Stranger and sojourner as I am in the land
-though for me no social hearth may blaze, no

C






CHRISTMAS.


hospitable roof throw open its doors, nor the
warm grasp of friendship welcome me at the
threshold-yet I feel the influence of the season
beaming into my soul from the happy looks of
those around me. Surely happiness is reflective,
like the light of heaven; and every countenance,
bright with smiles, and glowing with innocent
enjoyment, is a mirror transmitting to others the
rays of a supreme and
ever-shining benevolence.
He who can turn churl-
ishly away from contem-
S"(. ~ plating the felicity of his
fellow-beings, and sitdown
Sparkling and repining in
Shis loneliness when all
around is joyful, may have
his moments of strong excitement and selfish
gratification, but he wants the genial. and social
sympathies which constitute the charm of a merry
Christmas.



















C'1



Aibertson Public Library
ORLANDO, FLORIDA































Omne bene
Sine pcena
Tempus est ludendi;
Venit hora,
Absque mori,
Libros deponendi.
Old Holiday School Song.














-, Mq


THE STAGE COACH.

N the preceding paper I have made some
general observations on the Christmas
festivities of England, and am tempted to
illustrate them by some anecdotes of a
Christmas passed in the country ; in perus-
ing which, I would most courteously invite my
reader to lay aside the austerity of wisdom, and
to put on that genuine holiday spirit:which is
tolerant of folly, and anxious only for amusement.
In the course of a December tour in York-
shire, I rode for a long distance in one of the
public coaches, on the day preceding Christmas.






TIE STAGE COACH.


The coach was crowded, both inside and out, with
passengers, who, by their talk, seemed principally
bound to the mansions of relations or friends to
eat the Christmas dinner. It was loaded also
with hampers of game, and baskets and boxes of
delicacies; and hares hung dangling their long
ears about the coachman's box,-presents from
distant friends for the
impending feast. I
Shad three fine rosy-
cheeked schoolboys
for my fellow-passen-
j?2 ; gers inside, full of
the buxom health and
manly spirit which I have observed in the child-
ren of this country. They were returning home
for the- holidays in high glee, and promising
themselves a world of enjoyment. It was delight-
ful to hear the gigantic plans of pleasure of the
little rogues, and the impracticable feats they were
to perform during their six weeks' emancipation






THE STAGE COACH.


from the abhorred thraldom of book, birch, and
pedagogue. They were full of anticipations of
the meeting with the family and household, down
to the very cat and dog; and of the joy they were
to give their little sisters by the presents with
which their pockets were crammed;_ but the
meeting to which they seemed to look- forward
with the greatest impatience was with Bantam,
which I found to be a pony, and, according to
their talk, possessed of more virtues than any
steed since the days of Bucephalus. How
he could trot! how he could run! and then
such leaps as he would take-there was not
a hedge in the whole country that he could
not clear.
They were under the particular guardianship
of the coachman, to whom, whenever an oppor-
tunity presented, they addressed a host of ques-
tions, and pronounced him one of the best fellows
in the whole world. Indeed, I could not but
notice the more than ordinary air of bustle and






THE STAGE COACH.


importance of the coachman, who wore his hat a
little on one side, and had a large bunch of Christ-
mas greens stuck in the button-hole of his coat.
He is always a personage full of mighty care
and business, but he is particularly so during this
season, having so many commissions to execute in
consequence of the great interchange of presents.
And here, perhaps, it may not be unacceptable
to my untravelled readers, to have a sketch that
may serve as a general representation of
this very numerous and important class of
functionaries, who have a dress, a manner, a
language, an air, peculiar to themselves, and
prevalent throughout the fraternity; so that,
wherever an English stage-coachman may be
seen, he cannot be mistaken for one of any other
craft or mystery.
He has commonly a broad, full face, curiously
mottled with red, as if the blood had been forced
by hard feeding into every vessel of the skin; he
is swelled into jolly dimensions by frequent pota-







THE STAGE COACH.


tions of malt liquors, and his bulk is still fur-
ther increased by a multiplicity of coats, in
which he is buried like a cauliflower, the upper























one reaching to his heels. He wears a broad-
brimmed, low-crowned hat; a huge roll of coloured
handkerchief about his neck, knowingly knotted






THE STAGE COACH.


and tucked in at the bosom; and has in sum-
mer-time a large bouquet of flowers in his
button-hole; the present, most probably, of some
enamoured country lass. His waistcoat is com-
monly of some bright colour, striped; and his
small-clothes extend far below the knees, to meet
a pair of jockey boots which reach about half-way
up his legs.
All this costume is maintained with much pre-
cision; he has a pride in having his clothes of
excellent materials; and, notwithstanding the
seeming grossness of his appearance, there is still
discernible that neatness and propriety of person,
which is almost inherent in an Englishman. He
enjoys great consequence and consideration along
the road; has frequent conferences with the vil-
lage housewives, who look upon him as a man of
great trust and dependence; and he seems to
have a good understanding with every bright-
eyed country lass. The moment he arrives where
the horses are to be changed, he throws down the







TIHE STAGE COACH.


reins with something of an air, and abandons the
cattle to the care of the hostler; his duty being


merely to drive from one stage to another.
When off the box, his hands are thrust in the
pockets of his greatcoat, and he rolls about the
inn-yard with an air of the most absolute lordli-







26 THE STAGE COACH.

ness. Here he is generally surrounded by an ad-

miring throng of hostlers, stable-boys, shoe-blacks,


1? _
~ ~---


and those nameless hangers-on that infest inns

and taverns, and run errands, and do all kinds of






THE STAGE COACH.


odd jobs, for the privilege of battening on the
drippings of the kitchen and the leakage of the
tap-room. These all look up to him as to an
oracle; treasure up his cant phrases; echo his
opinions about horses and other topics of jockey
lore; and, above all, endeavour to imitate his air
and carriage. Every ragamuffin that has a coat
to his back thrusts his hands in the pockets,
rolls in his gait, talks slang, and is an embryo
Coachey.
Perhaps it might be owing to the pleasing
serenity that reigned in my own mind, that I
fancied I saw cheerfulness in every countenance
throughout the journey. A stage coach, however,
carries animation always with it, and puts the
world in motion as it whirls along. The horn
sounded at the entrance of a village, produces
a general bustle. Some hasten forth to meet
friends; some with bundles and bandboxes to
secure places, and in the hurry of the moment can
hardly take leave of the group that accompanies







THE STAGE COACH.


them. In the meantime, the coachman has a
world of small commissions to execute. Some-
times he delivers a hare or pheasant; sometimes
jerks a. small parcel or newspaper to the door of a


public-house; and sometimes, with knowing leer
and words of sly import, hands to some half-
blushing, half-laughing housemaid an odd-shaped






TIE STAGE COACH


billet-doux from some rustic admirer. As the
coach rattles through the village, every one runs
to the window, and you have glances on every
side of fresh country faces, and blooming giggling
girls. At the corners are assembled juntas of
village idlers and wise men, who take their sta-
tions there for the important purpose of seeing
company pass; but the sagest knot is generally
at the blacksmith's, to whom the passing of the
coach is an event fruitful of much speculation.







THE STAGE COACH.
( ~ Il,


The smith, with the horse's heel in his lap, pauses
as the vehicle whirls by; the Cyclops round the
anvil suspend their ringing hammers, and suffer
the iron to grow cool; and the sooty spectre in
brown paper cap, labouring at the bellows, leans
on the handle for a moment, and permits the






THE STAGE COACH.


asthmatic engine to heave a long-drawn sigh,
while he glares through the murky smoke and
sulphureous gleams of the smithy.
Perhaps the impending holiday might have
given a more than usual animation to the coun-
try, for it seemed to me as if everybody was in
good looks and good spirits. Game, poultry, and
other luxuries of the table, were in brisk circula-
tion in the villages; the grocers', butchers', and
fruiterers' shops were thronged with customers.
The housewives were stirring briskly about, put-
,ting their dwellings in order; and the glossy
branches of holly, with their bright red berries,
began to appear at the windows. The scene
brought to mind an old writer's account of Christ-
mas preparations :- Now capons and hens,
besides turkeys, geese, and ducks, with beef and
mutton-must all die; for in twelve days a multi-
tude of people will not be fed with a little. Now
plums and spice, sugar and honey, square it
among pies and broth. Now or never must






THE STAGE COACH.


music be in tune, for the youth must dance
and sing to get them a heat, while the aged
sit by the fire. The country maid leaves half






THE STAGE COACH.


her market, and must be sent again, if she
forgets a pack of cards on Christmas eve. Great
is the contention of Holly and Ivy, whether
master or dame wears the breeches. Dice and
cards benefit the butler; and if the cook do not
lack wit, he will sweetly lick his fingers."
I was roused from this fit of luxurious medita-
tion by a shout from my little travelling com-
panions. They had been looking out of the
coach-windows for the last few miles, recognizing
every tree and cottage as they approached home,
and now there was a general burst of joy-
"There's John! and there's old Carlo! and
there's Bantam!" cried the happy little rogues,
clapping their hands.
At the end of a lane there was an old sober-
looking servant in livery waiting for them: he
was accompanied by a superannuated pointer,
and by the redoubtable Bantam, a little old rat of
a pony, with a shaggy mane and long rusty tail,
who- stood dozing quietly by the roadside, little






THE STAGE COACH.


dreaming of the bustling times that awaited
him.


I was pleased to see the fondness
the little fellows leaped about
the steady old footman, and
hugged the pointer, who wrig-
gled his whole body for joy.
But Bantam was the great
object of interest; all wanted
to mount at once; and
it was with some diffi-
culty that John ar- .;-
rangedthat '
theyshould 1: ,:.oI
ride by i.
turns, and '_1 "
the eldest _
should ride .


with which


first. --- --
Off they set at last; one on the pony, with the
dog bounding and barking before him, and the






THE STAGE COACI. 35

others holding John's hands ; both talking at once,
and overpowering him by questions about home,
and with school anecdotes. I looked after -them
with a feeling in which I do not know whether
pleasure or melancholy predominated: for I was
reminded of those days when, like them, I had
neither known care nor sorrow, and a holiday
was the summit of earthly felicity. We stopped
a few moments afterwards to water the horses,
and on resuming our route, a turn of the road
brought us in sight of a neat country-seat. I
could just distinguish the forms of a lady and






THE STAGE COACH.


two young girls in the portico, and I saw my
little comrades, with Bantam, Carlo, and old John,
trooping along the carriage road. I leaned out
of the coach-window, in hopes of witnessing the
happy meeting, but a grove of trees shut it from
my sight.
In the everiing we reached a village where I
had determined to pass the night. As we drove
into the great gateway of the inn, I saw on one
side the light of a rousing kitchen fire, beaming
through a window. I entered, and admired, for
the hundredth time, that picture of conveni-
ence, neatness, and broad honest enjoyment, the
kitchen of an English inn. It was of spacious
dimensions, hung round with copper and tin
vessels highly polished,' and decorated here and
there with a Christmas green. Hams, tongues,
and flitches of bacon were suspended from the
ceiling; a smoke-jack made its ceaseless clanking
beside the fireplace, and a clock ticked in one
corner.. A well-scoured deal table extended along







THE STAGE COACH.


one side of the kitchen, with a cold round of beef,
and other hearty viands upon it, over which two


zK


xs


foaming tankards of ale seemed mounting guard.
Travellers of inferior order were preparing to






THE STAGE COACH.


attack this stout repast, while others sat smoking
and gossiping over their ale on two high-backed
oaken seats beside the fire. Trim housemaids
were hurrying backwards and forwards under the
directions of a fresh, bustling landlady; but still
seizing an occasional moment to exchange a
flippant word, and have a rallying laugh, with
the group round the fire. The scene completely
realized Poor Robin's humble idea of the comforts
of mid-winter.
"Now trees their leafy hats do bare,
To reverence Winter's silver hair;
A handsome hostess, merry host,
A pot of ale now and a toast,
Tobacco and a good coal fire,
Are things this season doth require."

I had not been long at the inn when a post-
chaise drove up to the door. A young gentleman
stepped out, and by the light of the lamps I caught
a glimpse of a countenance which I thought I
knew. ,I moved forward to get a nearer view,


* Poor Robin's Almanack, 1684.






THE STAGE COACH.


when his eye caught mine. I was not mistaken;
it was Frank Bracebridge, a sprightly good-
humoured young fellow, with whom I had once
travelled on the Continent. Our meeting was
extremely cordial ;' for the countenance of an old
fellow-traveller always brings up the recollection
of a thousand pleasant scenes, odd adventures,
and excellent jokes. To discuss all these in a
transient interview at an inn was impossible; and
finding that I was not pressed for time, and was
merely making a tour of observation, he insisted
that I should give him a day or two at his father's
country-seat, to which he Was going to pass the
holidays, and which lay at a few miles' distance.
"It is better than eating a solitary Christmas
dinner at an inn," said-he; "and I can assure
you of a hearty welcome in something of the
old-fashion style." His reasoning was cogent;
and I must confess the preparation I had seen for
universal festivity and social enjoyment had made
me feel a little impatient of my loneliness. I






40 THE STAGE COACH.

closed, therefore, at once with his invitation: the
chaise drove up to the door; and in a few moments
I was on my way to the family mansion of the
Bracebridges.












It TrlA~ jr4f






















Saint Francis and Saint Benedight
Blesse this house from wicked wight;
From the night-mare and the goblin,
That is hight good-fellow Robin;
Keep it from all evil spirits,
Fairies, weezels, rats, and ferrets:
From curfew time
To the next prime.
CARTWRIGHT.


-r f -"N






















CHRISTMAS EVE.

T was a brilliant moonlight night, but
extremely cold; our chaise whirled
rapidly over the frozen ground; the
post-boy smacked his whip incessantly,
and a part of the time his horses were
on a gallop. He knows where he is going," said
my companion, laughing, "and is eager to arrive
in time for some of the merriment and good cheer
of the servants' hall. My father, you must know,
is a bigoted devotee of the old school, and prides






CHRISTMAS EVE.


himself upon keeping up something of old English
hospitality. He is a tolerable specimen of what
you will rarely meet with nowadays in its purity,
the old English country gentleman; for our men
of fortune spend so much of their time in town,
and fashion is carried so much into the country,
that the strong rich peculiarities of ancient rural
life are almost polished away. My father, how-
ever, from early years, took honest Peacham* for
his text book, instead of Chesterfield: he deter-
mined, in his own mind, that there was no condi-
tion more truly honourable and enviable than that
of a country gentleman on his paternal lands, and.
therefore, passes the whole of his time on his
estate. He is a strenuous advocate for the revival
of the old rural games and holiday observances,
and is deeply read in the writers, ancient
and modern, who have treated on the subject.
Indeed, his favourite range of reading is among
the authors who flourished at least two centuries
Peacham's Complete Gentleman, 1622.






CHRISTMAS EVE.


since; who, he insists, wrote and thought more
like true Englishmen than any of their successors.
He even regrets sometimes that he had not been
born a few centuries earlier, when England was
itself, and had its peculiar manners and customs.
As he lives at some distance from the main road,
in rather a lonely part of the country, without any
rival gentry near him, he has that most enviable
of all blessings to an Englishman, an opportunity
of indulging the bent of his own humour without
molestation. Being representative of the oldest
family in the neighbourhood, and a great part of
the peasantry being his tenants, he is much looked
up to, and, in general, is known simply by the
appellation of 'The Squire ;' a title which has
been accorded to the head of the family since
time immemorial. I think it best to give you
these hints about my worthy old father, to pre-
pare you for any little eccentricities that might
otherwise appear absurd."
We had passed for some time along the wall






CHRISTMAS EVE.


of a park, and at length the chaise stopped at the
gate. It was in a heavy magnificent old style, of
iron bars, fancifully wrought at top into flourishes
and flowers. The huge square columns that sup-
ported the gate were surmounted by the family
crest. Close adjoining was the porter's lodge,
sheltered under dark fir-trees, and almost buried
in shrubbery.
The post-boy rang a large porter's bell, which
resounded through the still frosty air, and was
answered by the distant barking of dogs, with
which the mansion-house seemed garrisoned. An
old woman immediately ap-
peared at the gate. As the
moonlight fell strongly upon
her, I had a full view of a
little primitive dame, dressed
very much in the antique
taste, with a neat kerchief
and stomacher, and her silver
hair peeping from under a cap of snowy whiteness.




















































--










It was in a heavy magnificent old style, of iron bars, fancifully wrought at top into flourishes
and flowers."-PAGE 46.

E






CHRISTMAS EVE.


She came curtseying forth, with many expressions
of simple joy at seeing her young master. Her
husband, it seems, was up at the house keeping
Christmas eve in the servants' hall; they could
not do without him, as he was the best hand at
a song and story in the household.
My friend proposed that we should alight and
walk through the park to the hall, which was at
no great distance, while the chaise should follow
on. Our road wound through a noble avenue of
trees, among the naked branches of which the
moon glittered as she rolled through the deep
vault of a cloudless sky. The lawn beyond was
sheeted with a slight covering of snow, which
here and there sparkled as the moonbeams caught
a frosty crystal; and at a distance might be seen
a thin transparent vapour, stealing up from the
low grounds, and threatening gradually to shroud
the landscape.
My companion looked round him with trans-
port :-" How often," said he, "have I scampered






CHRISTMAS EVE.


up this avenue, on returning home on school
vacations! How often have I played under these.
trees when a boy! I feel a degree of filial
reverence for them, as we look up to those who
have cherished us in childhood. My father was
always scrupulous in exacting our holidays, and
having us around him on family festivals. He
used to direct and superintend our games with the
strictness that some parents do the studies of
their children. He was very particular that we
should play the old English games according to
their original form; and consulted old books for
precedent and authority for every merrie disport;'
yet- I assure you there never was pedantry so
delightful. It was the policy of the good old
gentleman to make his children feel that home
was the happiest place in the world; and I value
this delicious home-feeling as one of the choicest
gifts a parent can bestow."
We were interrupted by the clangour of a,
troop of dogs of all sorts and sizes, "mongrel,







CHRISTMAS EVE.


puppy, whelp and hound, and curs of low degree,"
that, disturbed by the ringing of the porter's bell,
/


U. b


and the rattling of the chaise, came bounding,

open-mouthed, across the lawn.
-- The little dogs and all,
Tray, Blanch, and Sweetheart-see they bark at me "

cried Bracebridge, laughing. At the sound of his






CHRISTMAS EVE.


voice the bark was changed into a yelp of
delight, and in a moment he was surrounded and
almost overpowered by the caresses of the faith-
ful animals.
We had now come in full view of the old
family mansion, partly thrown in deep shadow,
and partly lit up by the cold moonshine. It was
an irregular building of some magnitude, and
seemed to be of the architecture of different
periods. One wing was evidently very ancient,
with heavy stone-shafted bow windows jutting
out and overrun with ivy, from among the foliage
of which the small diamond-shaped panes of
glass glittered with the moonbeams. The rest
of the house was in the French taste of Charles
the Second's time, having been repaired and
altered, as my friend told me, by one of his
ancestors, who returned with that monarch at the
Restoration. The grounds about the house were
laid out in the old formal manner of artificial
flower-beds, clipped shrubberies, raised terraces,






CHRISTMAS EVE.


and heavy stone balustrades, ornamented with
urns, a leaden statue or two, and a jet of water.
The old gentleman, I was told, was extremely
careful to preserve this obsolete finery in all its
original state. He admired this fashion in
gardening; it had an air of magnificence, was
courtly and noble, and befitting good old family
style. The boasted imitation of nature in modern
gardening had sprung up with modern republican
notions, but did not suit a monarchical government;
it smacked of the levelling system.-I could not
help smiling at this introduction of politics into
gardening, though I expressed some apprehension
that I should find the old gentleman rather
intolerant in his creed.-Frank assured me, how-
ever, that it was almost the only instance in which
he had ever heard his father meddle with politics,
and he believed that he had got this notion from
a member of parliament who once passed a few
weeks with him. The Squire was glad of any
argument to defend his clipped yew-trees and






CHRISTMAS EVE.


formal terraces, which had been occasionally
attacked by modern landscape-gardeners.
As we approached the house, we heard the
sound of music, and now and then a burst of
laughter from one end of the building. This,
Bracebridge said, must proceed from the servants'
hall, where a great deal of" revelry was permitted,
and even encouraged,
by the Squire through-
out the twelve days of
Christmas, provided
/F everything was done
/ conformably to ancient
usage. Here were
kept up the old games
of hoodman blind,
shoe the wild mare,
hot cockles, steal the
white loaf, bob apple,
S and snapdragon : the
Yule log and Christmas candle were regularly







CHRISTMAS EVE.


burnt, and the mistletoe, with its white berries,
hung up to the imminent peril of all the pretty
housemaids.*
So intent were the servants upon their sports,
that we had to ring repeatedly before we could
make ourselves heard. On our arrival being


* See Note A.






CHRISTMAS EVE.


announced, the Squire came out to receive us,
accompanied by his two other sons; one a young
officer in the army, home on leave of absence;
the other an Oxonian, just from the university.
The Squire was a fine, healthy-looking old gentle-
man, with silver hair curling lightly round an
open florid countenance; in which a physiogno-
mist, with the advantage, like myself, of a
previous hint or two, might discover a singular
mixture of whim and benevolence.
The family meeting was warm and affection-
ate; as the evening was far advanced, the Squire
would not permit us to change our travelling
dresses, but ushered us at once to the company,
which was assembled in a large old-fashioned
hall. It was composed of different branches
of a numerous family connection, where there
were the usual proportion of old uncles and aunts,
comfortably married dames, superannuated spin-
sters, blooming country cousins, half-fledged strip-
lings, and bright-eyed boarding-school hoydens.































Alb i









92.






S. ,


' The company, which was assembled in a large old-fashioned hall."--PAGE 54.






CHRISTMAS EVE.


They were variously occupied; some at a round
game of cards; others conversing around the fire-
place; at one end of the hall was a group of the
young folks, some nearly grown up, others of a
more tender and budding age, fully engrossed by















a merry game; and a profusion of wooden horses,
penny trumpets, and tattered dolls, about the
floor, showed traces of a troop of little fairy
beings, who having frolicked through a happy
day, had been carried off to slumber through a
peaceful night.






CHRISTMAS EVE.


While the mutual greetings were going on
between Bracebridge and his relatives, I had time
to scan the apartment. I have called it a hall,
for so it had certainly been in old times, and the
Squire had evidently endeavoured to restore it to
something of its primitive state. Over the heavy
projecting fireplace was suspended a picture of a
warrior in armour, standing by a white horse, and
on the opposite wall hung helmet, buckler, and
lance. At one end an enormous pair of antlers
were inserted in the wall, the branches serving as
hooks on which to suspend hats, whips, and
spurs; and in the corners of the apartment were
fowling-pieces, fishing-rods, and other sporting
implements. The furniture was of the cumbrous
workmanship of former days, though some articles
of modern convenience had been added, and the
oaken floor had been carpeted; so that the
whole presented an odd mixture of parlour and
hall.
The grate had been removed from the wide






CHRISTMAS EVE.


overwhelming fireplace, to make way for a fire of
wood, in the midst of which was an enormous log


glowing and blazing, and sending forth a vast
volume of light and heat; this I understood was
the Yule-log, which the Squire was particular in






CHRISTMAS EVE.


having brought in and illumined on a Christmas
eve, according to ancient custom.*
It was really delightful to see the old Squire
seated in his hereditary elbow-chair by the


hospitable fireside of his ancestors, and looking
around him like the sun of a system, beaming
warmth and gladness to every heart. Even the
very dog that lay stretched at his feet, as he
lazily shifted his position and yawned, would look
See Note B.






CHRISTMAS EVE.


fondly .up in his master's face, wag his tail against
the floor, and stretch himself again to sleep, con-
fident of kindness and protection. There is an
emanation from the heart in genuine hospitality
which cannot be described, but is immediately
felt, and puts the stranger at once at his ease.
I had not been seated many minutes by the
comfortable hearth of the worthy cavalier before
I found myself as much at home as if I had been
one of the family.
Supper was announced shortly after our
arrival. It was served up in a spacious oaken
chamber, the panels of which shone with wax,
and around which were several family portraits
decorated with holly and ivy. Beside the ac-
customed lights, two great wax tapers, called
Christmas candles, wreathed with greens, were
placed on a highly-polished buffet among the
family plate. The table was abundantly spread
with substantial fare; but the Squire made his
supper of frumenty, a dish made of wheat cakes







CHRISTMAS EVE.


boiled in milk with rich spices, being a standing
dish in old times for Christmas eve. I was
happy to find my old friend, minced-pie, in the
retinue of the feast; and finding him to be
perfectly orthodox, and- that I- need not be
ashamed of my predilection, I greeted him with







CHRISTMAS EVE.


all the warmth wherewith we usually greet an old
and very genteel acquaintance.
The mirth of the company was greatly pro-
moted by the humours of an eccentric personage
whom Mr. Bracebridge always addressed with the
quaint appellation of Master Simon. He was a
tight, brisk little man, with the air of an arrant old
bachelor. His nose was shaped like the bill of a
parrot; his face slightly pitted with the small-pox,











with a dry perpetual bloom on it, like a frost-bitten.
leaf in autumn. He had an eye of great quickness
and vivacity, with a drollery and lurking waggery
of expression that was irresistible. He was evi-
dently the wit of the family, dealing very much in






CHRISTMAS EVE.


sly jokes andinnuendoes with the ladies, and making
infinite merriment by harpings upon old themes;
which, unfortunately, my ignorance of the family
chronicles did not permit me to enjoy. It seemed
to be his great delight during supper to keep a
young girl next him in a continual agony of stifled
laughter, in spite of her awe of the reproving looks













of her mother, who sat opposite. Indeed, he was
the idol of the younger part of the company, who
laughed at everything he said or did, and at every
turn of his countenance. I could not' wonder at
it; for he must have been a miracle of accom-






CHRISTMAS EVE.


plishments in their eyes. He could imitate
Punch and Judy; make an old woman of his
hand, with the assistance of a burnt cork and
pocket-handkerchief: and cut an orange into such
a ludicrous caricature, that the young folks were
ready to die with laughing.
I was let briefly into his history by Frank
Bracebridge. He was an old bachelor of a small
independent income, which by careful manage-
ment was sufficient for all his wants. He revolved
through the family system like a vagrant comet in
its orbit; sometimes visiting one branch, and
sometimes another quite remote; as is often the
case with gentlemen of extensive connections and
small fortunes in England. He had a chirping,
buoyant disposition, always enjoying the present
moment; and his frequent- change of scene and
company prevented his acquiring those rusty unac-
commodating habits with which old bachelors are
so uncharitably charged. He was a complete family
chronicle, being versed in the genealogy, history,






CHRISTMAS EVE.


and intermarriages of the whole house of Brace-
bridge, which made him a great favourite with
the old folks; he was a beau of all the elder ladies
and superannuated spinsters, among whom he
was habitually considered rather a young fellow,
and he was a master of the revels among the
children; so that there was not a more popular
being in the sphere in which he moved than
Mr. Simon Bracebridge. Of late years he had
resided almost entirely with the Squire, to whom
he had become a factotum, and whom he particu-
larly delighted by jumping with his humour in
respect to old times, and by having a scrap of
an old song to suit every occasion. We had
presently a specimen of his last-mentioned talent;
for no sooner was supper removed, and spiced
wines and other beverages peculiar to the season
introduced, than Master Simon was called on for
a good old Christmas song. He bethought him-
self for a moment, and then, with a sparkle of the
eye, and a voice that was by no means bad,







CHRISTMAS EVE.


excepting that it ran occasionally into a falsetto,
like the notes of a split reed, he quavered forth

a quaint old ditty,-

Now Christmas is come,
Let us beat up the drum,
And call all our neighbours together;
And when they appear,
Let us make them such cheer
As will keep out the wind and the weather," etc.


The supper had disposed every one to gaiety,
and an old harper was summoned from the






CHRISTMAS EVE.


servants' hall, where he had been strumming all
the evening, and to all appearance comforting
himself with some of the Squire's home-brewed.
He was a kind of hanger-on, I was told, of the
establishment, and though ostensibly a resident
of the village, was oftener to be found in the
Squire's kitchen than his own home, the old
gentleman being fond of the sound of "harp in
hall."
The dance, like most dances after supper, was
a merry one; some of the older folks joined in it,
and the Squire himself figured down several
couples with a partner with whom he affirmed he
had danced at every Christmas for nearly half-a-
century. Master Simon, who seemed to be a
kind of connecting link between the old times and
the new, and to be withal a little antiquated in the
taste of his accomplishments, evidently piqued
himself on his dancing, and was endeavouring to
gain credit by the heel and toe, rigadoon, and
other graces of the ancient school; but he had






CHRISTMAS EVE.


unluckily assorted himself with a little romping
girl from boarding-school, who, by her wild
vivacity, kept him continually on the stretch, and
defeated all his sober attempts at elegance ;-such
are the ill-assorted matches to which antique
gentlemen are unfortunately prone!






CHRISTMAS EVE.


The young Oxonian, on the contrary, had led
out one of his maiden aunts, on whom the rogue


played a thousand little knaveries with impunity;
he was full of practical jokes, and his delight was
to tease his aunts and cousins; yet, like all






CHRISTMAS EVE.


madcap youngsters, he was a universal favourite
among the women. The most interesting couple
in the dance was the young officer and a ward of
the Squire's, a beautiful blushing girl of seventeen.
From several shy glances which I had noticed in
the course of the evening, I suspected there was
a little kindness growing up between them; and,
indeed, the young soldier was just the hero
to captivate a romantic girl. He was tall,
slender, and handsome, and like most young
British officers of late years, had picked up
various small accomplishments on the Continent
-he could talk French and Italian-draw land-
scapes, sing very tolerably-dance divinely; but,
above all, he had been wounded at Waterloo:-
what girl of seventeen, well read in poetry and
romance, could resist such a mirror of chivalry
and perfection!
The moment the dance was over, he caught
up a guitar, and lolling against the old marble
fireplace, in an attitude which I am half inclined






CHRISTMAS EVE.


to suspect was studied, began the little French
air of the Troubadour. The Squire, however,


exclaimed against having anything on Christmas
eve but good old English; upon which the young
minstrel, casting up his eye for a moment, as if in







CHRISTMAS EVE.


an effort of memory, struck into another strain,

and, with a charming air of gallantry, gave

Herrick's Night-Piece to Julia:"-


Her eyes the glow-worm lend thee,
The shooting stars attend thee,
And the elves also,
Whose little eyes glow
Like the sparks of fire, befriend thee.

No Will-o'-the-Wisp mislight thee;
Nor snake or glow-worm bite thee;
But on, on thy way,
Not making a stay,
Since ghost there is none to affright thee.

Then let not the dark thee cumber ;
What though the moon does slumber,
The stars of the night
Will lend thee their light,
Like tapers clear without number.

Then, Julia, let me woo thee,
Thus, thus to come unto me;
And when I shall meet
Thy silvery feet,
My soul I'll pour into thee."


The song might have been intended in com-






CHRISTMAS EVE.


pliment to the fair Julia, for so I found his partner
was called, or it might not; she, however, was
certainly unconscious of any such application, for
she never looked at the singer, but kept her eyes
cast upon the floor. Her face was suffused, it is
true, with a beautiful blush, and there was a gentle
heaving of the bosom, but all that was doubtless
caused by the exercise of the dance; indeed, so
great was her indifference, that she was amusing
herself with plucking to pieces a choice bouquet of
hothouse flowers, and by the time the song was
concluded, the nosegay lay in ruins on the floor.
The party now broke up for the night with
the kind-hearted old custom of shaking hands.
As I passed through the hall, on the way to my
chamber, the dying embers of the Yule-clog still
sent forth a dusky glow; and had it not been the
season when "no spirit dares stir abroad," I
should have been half tempted to steal from my
room at midnight, and peegwhether the fairies
might not be at their revels about the hearth.








































-- --





















SIndeed, so great was her indifference, that she was amusing herself with plucking to pieces a
choice bouquet of hot-house flowers."-PAGE 72.






CHRISTMAS EVE.


My chamber was in the old part of the
mansion, the ponderous furniture of which might
have been fabricated in the days of the giants.
The room was panelled with cornices of heavy
carved work, in which flowers and grotesque faces
were strangely intermingled; and a row of black-
looking portraits stared mournfully at me from the
walls. The bed was of rich though faded damask,
with a lofty tester, and stood in a niche opposite a
bow-window. I had scarcely got into bed when
a strain of music seemed to break forth in the air
just below the window. I listened, and found it
proceeded from a band, which I concluded to be
the waits from some neighboring village. They
went round the house, playing under the windows.
I drew aside the curtains, to hear them more
distinctly. The moonbeams fell through the
upper part of the casement, partially lighting up
the antiquated apartment. The sounds, as they
receded, became more soft and aerial, and seemed
to accord with quiet and moonlight. I listened

G






74 CHRISTMAS EVE.

and listened-they became more and more tender
and remote, and, as they gradually died away, my
head sank upon the pillow and I fell asleep.



































Dark and dull night, flie hence away,
And give the honour to this day
That sees December turned to May.

Why does the chilling winter's morne
Smile like a field beset with corn ?
Or smell like to a meade new-shorne,
Thus on the sudden?-Come and see
The cause why things thus fragrant be.
HERRICK.


























CHRISTMAS DAY.

HEN I awoke the next morning,
it seemed as if all the events of
the preceding evening had been a
dream, and nothing but the iden-
tity of the ancient chamber con-
vinced me of their reality. While I lay musing
on my pillow, I heard the sound of little feet


`u ~8~L~ ~VT~L







CHRISTMAS DAY.


pattering outside of the door, and a whispering
consultation. Presently a choir of small voices






















chanted forth an old Christmas carol, the burden
of which was,

Rejoice, our Saviour he was born
On Christmas Day in the morning.

I rose softly, slipped on my clothes, opened the






CHRISTMAS DAY.


door suddenly, and beheld one of the most beauti-
ful little fairy groups that a painter could imagine.
It consisted of a boy and two girls, the eldest not
more than six, and lovely as seraphs. They were
going the rounds of the house, and singing at
every chamber-door; but my sudden appearance
frightened them into mute bashfulness. They
remained for a moment playing on their lips with
their fingers, and now and then stealing a shy
glance, from under their eyebrows, until, as if by
one impulse, they scampered away, and as they
turned an angle of the gallery, I heard them
laughing in triumph at their escape.
Everything conspired to produce kind and
happy feelings in this stronghold of old-fashioned
hospitality. The window of my chamber looked
out upon what in summer would have been a
beautiful landscape. There was a sloping lawn,
a fine stream winding at the foot of it, and a tract
of park beyond, with noble clumps of trees, and
herds of deer. At a distance was a neat hamlet,






CHRISTMAS DAY.


'with the smoke from
the cottage chimneys
hanging over it; and a
church with its dark
spire in strong relief
against the clear cold
sky. The house was
surrounded with ever-
greens, according to
the English custom,
which would have
given almost an appearance
of summer; but the morn- 1
ing was extremely frosty;
the light vapour of the preceding
evening had been precipitated by
the cdld, and covered all the
trees and every blade of grass
with its fine crystallisations. The
rays of a bright morning sun had
a dazzling effect among the glitter-




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