THE CHRISTMAS DINNER 135
it reached Master Simon he raised it in both hands, and with the air of a boon companion struck up an old Wassail chanson :
The browne bowle,
The merry browne bowle,
As it goes round about-a,
Still, Let the world say what it will, And drink your fill all out-a.
The deep canne,
The merry deep canne,
As thou dost freely quaff-a,
Fling, Be as merry as a king, And sound a lusty laugh-a.*
Much of the conversation during dinner turned upon family topics, to which I was a stranger. There was, however, a great deal of rallying of Master Simon about some gay widow, with whom he was accused of having a flirtation. This attack was commenced by the ladies ; but it
* From " Poor Robin's Almanack."