BOOK OF CHRISTMAS - online book

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

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68                               THE BOOK OF CHRISTMAS.
already alluded,—the old gentleman is introduced, "attired in round hose, long stockings, a close doublet, a high-crowned hat, with a broach, a long thin beard, a truncheon, little ruffs, white shoes, his scarfs, and garters tied cross, and his drum beaten before him ;" and is accompanied by the following mem­bers of his fine family,—Missrule, Caroll, Minced-pie, Gam-boll, Post-and-Pair (since dead), New Year's Gift, Mumming, Wassall, Offering, and Baby Cake,—or Baby Cocke, as we find him elsewhere called, but who, we fear, is dead too,—unless he may have changed his name, for we still find one of the family bearing some resemblance to the description of him given by Ben Jonson.
What a merry masque is this said masque of Christmas ! The old man, like another magician, summons his spirits from the four winds, for a general muster. The purpose, we believe, is to take a review of their condition, and see if something cannot be done to amend their prospects. We are glad to see, amongst the foremost, as he ought to be, Roast Beef, that English " champion bold,"— who has driven the invader, hunger, from the land, in many a well-fought fray; and for his doughty deeds, was created a knight banneret on one of his own gallant fields, so long ago as King Charles's time. We suppose he is the same worthy who, in the Romish calendar appears canonized by the title of St. George,— where his great adversary, Famine, is represented under the figure of a dragon. Still following Roast Beef, as he has done for many a long year, we perceive his faithful 'squire (bottle-holder, if you will), Plum Pudding, with his rich round face, and rosemary cockade. He is a blackamoor, and derives his extrac­tion from the spice lands. His oriental properties have, however, received an English education, and taken an English form ; and he has long ago been adopted into the family of Father Christmas. In his younger days, his name was " Plum Porridge," but since he grew up to be the substantial man he is, it has been changed into the one he now bears, as indicative of greater consistency and strength. His master treats him like a brother! and he has, in return, done good service against the enemy, in many a hard-fought field, cutting off all straggling detachments, or flying par-
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