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SATURDAY, JANUARY 1, 1825
"Praise us as we are tasted ; allow us as we prove : Our head shall go bare till Merit crows it.... .SBALSPEARE
KEEPING CHRISTMAS. PUTTINGHAM, a writer of Queen Eli- dep'te from London before Xteme zabeth's days, in his “ Art of En- masse, and to repaire to their counglish Poesie," speaking of the country ties, and, there to keepe hospitalitie custom of keeping Christmas, near amungest their neighboures." that period, tells us, that supper at
What was called MUMMING or disChristmas was succeeded by gambols GUISING—that is, dressing in masof various sorts; and sometimes the querade, was then an old custom at Squire and his family would mingle Christmas time, and was kept up for in the amusements, or, retiring to many years afterwards. These sports the tapestried parlour, would leave extended to royalty, and were exhithe ball to the more boisterous mirth bited occasionally with great displays of his household. “ Then,” says he, of grandeur. History informs us, “would the blind harper, who sold that King Henry IV. keeping his his fir of MIRTH For A GROAT, be Christmas at Eltham, twelve of the introduced, either to provoke the Aldermen of London, and their sons, dance, or to rouse their wonder by his rode a mumming, and had great minstrelsy; his matter being for the thanks ; and numerous similar inmost part stories of olden time—as stances are mentioned at the “Christthe tale of Sir Topas, the Reportes of massings” of our early Monarchs. Bevis of Southampton, Guy Earl of In “ Fenns Pastons Letters,” in a Warwicke, Adam Bell, and Clymme letter dated Dec. 24, 1481, we read of the Clough, and such other old that Lady Morley, on account of the romances or historical rimes, made death of her Lord, in the preceding purposely for recreation of the com- July, directing what sports were to inon people at Christmasse dinners be used in her house at Christmas, and brideales!"
ordered that, “ there were none disAt this early period it was getting GUISINGS, nor harping, nor luting, to be no uncommon thing for country nor singing, nor any LOUD DISPORTS; gentlemen to spend their Christmas but playing at the tables, and chess, in London, an innovation which se- and cards; such disports she gave her veral authors complain of, and which people leave to play, and none other.” seems by no means to have met with Among the common people in the Queen Elizabeth's approval. This country, this diversion consisted in we learn from a letter in " Lodge's changing clothes between men and Illustrations of English History." It women, who, when dressed in each is written by Sergeant Fleetwood to other's habits, went froin one neighthe Earl of Derby, New Year's Day, bour's house to another, partaking of 1589, and contains the following
Christmas cheer, and making merry passage :-" The gentlemen of Norff. with them in disguise. and Suffolk, were commanded to In the tract * Round about our
Coal Fire, or Christmas Entertain- While my good dame she bids you all be ments," written in the reign of Charles free, Il. it is observed of this amusement:
And drink to your hearts: desiring. “ Then comes mummings or masque
With the last year's brand light the new rading, when the master's wardrobe
block, and is ranksacked for dresses of all kinds.
For good success in his spending: Corks are burnt to black the faces of
your psalteries play, that sweet luck the fair, or make deputy-mustacios,
Come while the log is a-tending. and every one in the family, except the inaster himself, must be traus
And we are informed by the “Proformed." This account further
vincial Glossary," that in farm-houses
says, “ The time of the ycar being cold and
in the north, the servants lay by a frosty, the diversions are within large knotty block for their Christmas doors ; either in exercise or by the fire, and during the time it lasts they fire side.
Dancing is one of the chief are entitled, by custom, to ale at their exercises : or else there is a match of meals. -blindman's buff, or puss in the corner.
Andrews (Hist. Great Brit.) menThe next game is questions and com
tions “ the humourous pageant of 'mands; when the commander may
Christmass, personified by an old man, oblige his subject to answer any law- hung round with savoURY DAIN"ful question, and make the same obey TIES", which, he says, in common loin instantly, under the penalty of
dancing round the may-pole being smutted, or paying such forfeit and riding the hobby-horse, suffered as may be laid on the aggressor.
a severe check at the Reformation." Most of the other diversions are cards
This personage was emblematic aud dice."
of the luxurious living at this season, Bear-baiting appears to have been
a part of the festivities in which the anciently one of the Christmas sports the moderns. Massinger, in his play
ancients seem even to have exceeded of vur Nobility.
“Our nobles," says Pennant, in his ZoolOUY, “ also kept of the City Madan," hiots at this their bear-ward. Twenty shillings was
sort of feasting in his day : the annual reward of that officer from Men may talk of country Christmasses, his Lord, the fifth Earl of Northum. Their thirty-pound butter'd eggs, their berland. • Whan he coinyth to my
pies of carps' tongues, Lorde in Christmas, with his Lord Their pheasants drench'd 'with amber
gris, the carcasses shippes beasts, for makyng of his Lord
Of three fat wethers bruis'd for gravy, to ship pastyme the said twelve days.''
Make sauce for a single peacock; yet At Rippon, in Yorshire, on Christ- their feasts mas Ere the chandlers used to send Were tasts, compar'd with the city's. ·large mould candles, and the coopers And in " Stevenson's Twelve logs of wood, generally terined "yule Months” (1661), under the head De- logs," which are generally used
cember, are the following notices :Christmas Eve; but should one of these logs be so large as not to be turkeys, geese, ducks, with beef and
“ Now capons and hens, besides burnt all that night, which is fre- mutton, must all die ;-for in twelve cuently the case, the remains are carefully kept until next Christmas Eve. days a multitude of people will not be
fed with a little. Now plumbes, and * With this agree the following lines Herrick's Hesperides :"_*
spice, sugar and honey, square it
among pies and broth. Now a jourCome, bring with a noise, my merry neyman cares not a rush for his merry boys,
master, though he begs his plumThe Christmas log to the firing, porridge all the twelve days. "Now
or never inust the music be in tune, for the youth must dance and sing to
get them a-heat, while the aged sit bv * Compare vol. ii. p. 419, tlie fire. The country maid leaves
half her market, and must be sent encouraging every art conducive to again if-she forgets a pack of cards on mirth and entertainment, endeaChristinas even. Great is the con- voured to soften the rigor of the tention of holly and ivy, whether season, and mitigate the influence of master or dame weares the breeches ; winter. What a fund of delight was and, if the cook do not lack wit, he the choosing of King and Queen upon will sweetly lick his fingers."
Twelfth Night! and how greaily Grose, in his “ Worn-out Cha- ought we to regret the use of minced racters of the last Age," describing PIES, which, besides the idea of merrythe little country 'squire of about making inseparable from them, were 3001. a year, in Queen Anne's days, always considered as the test of schis. says, “ he never played at cards but matics. How regularly were they at Christmas, when a family pack swallowed by the orthodox, to the was produced from the mantle-piece. utter confusion of all fanatical reenHis chief drink the year round, was sants! If a country gentleman should generally ale, except at this season,
be so unfortunate in this age, as to the 5th of Nov. or some other gala be under a suspicion of heresy, where days, when he would make a bowl of will he find so easy a method of acstrong brandy punch, garnished with quitting himself, as by the ordeal of a toast and nutmeg..... In the PLUM-PORRIDGE?". corner of his hall, by the fire-side, The custom of singing Christmas stood a large wooden two-armed Carols, and the widnight performance chair with a cushion, and within the of the Waits, are tlius prettily dechimney corner were a couple of seats. scribed by a modern poet :Here, at Christmas, he entertained his
Now too is heard tenants, assembled round a glowing the hapless cripple, tuning through the fire, made of the roots of trees, and uther great logs, and told and heard His CAROL new and oft, amid the the traditionary tales of the village, glooni respectiny ghosts and witches, till Of midnight hours, prevail thi’ accusfear made thein afraid to move. In
tomed sounds the meantime the jorum of ale was in
Of wakeful WALTS, whose harmony continual circulation."
(compos'd The paper of “ The World" No.
Of hautboy, organ, violin, and flute,
And various other instruments of mirth', 104, very humourously laments the
Is meant to celebrate ihe coming time. decay of these, and other old hospitabie customs at Christmas:
In the West Riding of Yorkshire, Our ancestors considered Christo at Christinas, they have a sort of mas in the double light of a holy rustic ball, which is termed “merry commemoration, and a cheerful festi- night,” which prore so interesting, val, and accordingly distinguished it that the young people cannot be kapit by devotion, by vacation from busió from them. The amusement consists ness, by merriment, and liospitality. of athletic dancing, in all the lower They seemed eagerly bent to make modes of that art; of interludles by themselves, and every one about them masking, mimies and gesticulations, happy, with what punctual zeal did and of the ancient sword-dance. Tea, they wish one another a
cakes, fruit, strong ale, and strong CHRISTMAS! and what an omission punch, besides kissing and romping would it bare been thought, to have with gallantry robust," form an boncluded a letter without the CON- indispensable part of the entertaine PLIMENTS OF THE SEASON! The ment. At midnight all the parties great hall resounded with the tumul- engaged depart in separate group; tuous joys of servants and tenants, cheering the way wiih joeund raillery, and the gambois they played served heartfelt laughter, and shouts of ex
amusement to the lord of the uitation. The bodinys of the howlet mansion, and his family, who, by or night-crow are unliceded by the