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served that he exercised rather a mischievous sway with his wand over the smaller personages of the pageant.
The irruption of his motley crew, with beat of drum, according to ancient custom, was the consummation of uproar and merriment. Master Simon covered himself with glory by the stateliness with which, as Ancient Christmas, he walked a minuet with the peerless, though giggling, Dame Mince Pie.
It was followed by a dance of all the characters, which, from its medley of costumes, seemed as though the old family portraits had skipped down from their frames to join in the sport.
Different centuries were figuring at cross hands and right and left; the dark ages were cutting pirouettes and rigadoons; and the days of Queen Bess jigging merrily down the middle, through a line of succeeding generations.
It was inspiring to see wild-eyed frolic and warmhearted hospitality breaking out from among the chills and glooms of winter, and old age throwing off his apathy, and catching once more the freshness of youthful enjoyment.
There was a quaintness, too, mingled with all this revelry, that gave it a peculiar zest; it was suited to the time and place; and as the old manor-house almost reeled with mirth and wassail, it seemed echoing back the joviality of long-departed years.
THREE ENGLISH SCHOOLBOYS.
In the course of a December tour in Yorkshire, I rode a long distance in one of the public coaches, on the day preceding Christmas. 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. I had three rosy-cheeked boys for my
fellowpassengers inside, full of the buxom health and manly spirit which I have observed in the children of this country. They were returning home for the holidays in high glee, and promising themselves a world of enjoyment.
They were full of the 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 looked 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 could take ! There was not a hedge in the whole country that he could not clear.
2 The famous horse of Prince Alexander, bū sěf'å lŭs.
The boys 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 fellows, clapping their hands.
At the end of the lane there was an old soberlooking 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 a long rusty tail, who stood quietly by the roadside, little dreaming of the bustling times that awaited him.
I was pleased to see the fondness with which the sturdy little fellows leaped about the steady old footman, and hugged the pointer, who wriggled his whole body for joy. But Bantam was the great object of interest: all wanted to mount him at once, and it was with some difficulty that John arranged that they should ride by turns, and the eldest should ride first.
Off they set at last: one on the pony, with the dog barking and bounding before him; the others holding John's hands, both talking at once, and overpowering him with questions about home, and with school anecdotes.
Sweet Auburn ! loveliest village of the plain,
While many a pastime circled in the shade,