BOOK OF CHRISTMAS - online book

The Customs, Ceremonies, Traditions, Superstitions, Fun, Feeling,
And Festivities Of The Christmas Season.

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9)                           THE BOOK OF CHRISTMAS.
season could be restored in its amplitude, we fear that many of the fooleries by which it exhibited itself could not be gravely pro­posed as worthy amusements for a nation of philosophers.
Still these very absurdities furnish the strongest evidences of the right good-will with which men—ay, grave and learned men —surrendered themselves to the merry spirit of the time ;—of that entire abandonment which forgot to make a reservation of their outward dignities, and gave them courage to " play the fool." Our readers need scarcely be told that it must be a man of a very strong mind (or a man who could not help it), who should dare, to make a jack-pudding of himself, in these days,—when all his fellows are walking about the world, with telescopes in their hands and quadrants in their pockets. No doubt it would have a somewhat ridiculous effect to-day, to see the members of the bar dancing a galliard or a coranto, in full costume, before the Benchers,—notwithstanding that certain ancient forms are still retained in their halls, which have all the absurdity of the explod­ed ones, without any of their fun :—and, unquestionably, we should think it rather strange to see a respectable gentleman capering through the streets on a paste-board hobby-horse (in lieu of the figurative hobby-horses on which most men still exhibit),— although even that we think would offer an object less ungracious than a child, with an anxious brow and " spectacles on nose." The great wisdom of the world is, we presume, one of the natural consequences of its advancing age:—and though we are quite conscious that some of its former pranks would be very unbecom­ing, now that it is getting into years, and " knows so much as it does," yet we are by no means sure that we should not have been well content to have our lot cast in the days when it was some­what younger. They must have been very pleasant times ! Certain it is that the laugh of the humbler classes, and of the younger classes, would be all the heartier, that it was echoed by the powerful and the aged,—the mirth of the ignorant more free and genial, that the learned thought no scorn of it. For all that appears, too, the dignities of those days suffered no detriment by their surrender to the spirit of the times; but seem to have re­sumed all their functions and privileges, when it had exhausted itself, with unimpaired effect. Philosophers had due reverence,
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