THE CHRISTMAS SEASON. 63
and, we dare say, created a great deal more fun at a far less cost. As to the Scottish practices, our readers will not fail tc observe, from our last quotation, that the lordly Abbot and his train were little better than a set of morris-dancers themselves; and that so much of their practices as was innocent differed nothing from those which Stubs and his brother puritans deemed so ridiculous in a set of parish revellers. In fact, the Lord of Misrule seems to have set himself up all over the land ; and many a village had its Master Simon, who took care that the sports should not languish for want of that unity of purpose and concentration of mirth, to which some directing authority is so essential.
We have already stated,—and have made it quile apparent, in our descriptions,—that the Christmas celebrations of the more exalted classes are not put forward for the consideration of our readers, on the ground of any great wisdom in the matter, or humor in the manner, of those celebrations, themselves. But we claim for them serious veneration, in right of the excellence of the spirit in which they originated, and the excellence of the result which they produced. The very extravagance of the court pageantries,—their profuse expenditure, and grotesque displays,— were so many evidences of the hearty reception which was given to the season, in the highest places—and so many conspicuous sanctions, under which the spirit of unrestrained rejoicing made its appeals, in the lowest. This ancient festival of all ranks, consecrated by all religious feelings and all moral influences—this privileged season of the lowly—this sabbath of the poor man's year—was recognized, by his superiors, with high observance, and honored by his governors with ceremonious state. The mirth of the humble and uneducated man received no check, from the assumption of an unseasonable gravity, or ungenerous reserve, on the part of those with whom fortune had dealt more kindly, and to whom knowledge had opened her stores. The moral effect of all this was of the most valuable kind. Nothing so much promotes a reciprocal kindliness of feeling as a community of enjoyment :—and the bond of good will was thus drawn tighter between those remote classes, whose differences of privilege, of education, and of pursuit, are perpetually operating to loosen it, and threatening to dissolve it altogether. There was a great deal of wis-