BOOK OF CHRISTMAS - online book

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

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74                              THE BOOK OF CHRISTMAS.
visions into the town, and gave other tokens of their displeasure of a less negative kind. For a few of the shopkeepers in the city, " to the number of twelve, at the most," having ventured to open their shops, in defiance of the general feeling, " they were commanded by the multitude to shut up again, but refusing to obey, their ware was thrown up and down, and they at last forced to shut in."
Nor were the revilings of the puritans against the lovers of Christmas observances suffered to remain unanswered. Many a squib was directed against the Roundheads; and the popular regret for the suppression of their high festival was skilfully appealed to by royalist politicians and favorers of the ancient religion. The connexion between the new condition of things in church and state, and the extinction of all the merriment of the land was carefully suggested, in publications that stole out in spite of penalties, and were read in defiance of prohibitions. As an example, that curious little tract, from which we have more than once quoted, under the title of " An Hue and Cry after Christmas," bears the date of 1645; and we shall best give our readers an idea of its character, by setting out that title at length,—as the same exhibits a tolerable abstract of its contents. It runs thus:—
" The arraignment, conviction, and imprisoning of Christmas, on St. Thomas day last, and how he broke out of prison in the holidayes, and got away, onely left his hoary hair and gray beard, sticking between two iron bars of a window. With an Hue and Cry after Christmas, and a letter from Mr. Woodcock, a fellow in Oxford, to a malignant lady in London. And divers passages between the lady and the cryer, about Old Christmas: and what shift he was fain to make to save his life, and great stir to fetch him back again. Printed by Simon Minc'd Pye, for Cissely Plum-Porridge ; and are to be sold by Ralph Fidler Chandler, at the signe of the Pack of Cards, in Mustard Alley, in Brawn Street." Besides the allusions contained, in the latter part of this title, to some of the good things that follow in the old man's train, great pains are taken by the cryer in describing him, and by the lady in mourning for him, to allude to many of the cheerful attri­butes that made him dear to the people. His great antiquity and portly appearance are likewise insisted upon. " For age this
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