BOOK OF CHRISTMAS - online book

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

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THE CHRISTMAS SEASON.                                   79
* With a new study, stufPd full of pamphlets and plays, And a new chaplain, that swears faster than he prays, With a new buttery-hatch that opens once in four or five days, And a new French cook, to devise fine kickshaws and toys; Like a young courtier, &c.
" With a new fashion, when Christmasse is drawing on, On a new journey to London straight we all must begone, And leave none to keep house, but our new porter John, Who relieves the poor with a thump on the back with a stone; Like a young courtier, &,c.
" With a new gentleman usher, whose carriage is compleat,
With a new coachman, footmen, and pages to carry up the meat, With a waiting-gentlewoman, whose dressing is very neat, Who when her lady has din'd, lets the servants not eat; Like a young courtier, &c.
" With new titles of honor bought with his father's old gold, For which sundry of his ancestors' old manors are sold; And this is the course most of our new gallants hold, Which makes that good house-keeping is now grown so cold. Among the young courtiers of the king, Or the king's young courtiers."
In a word, the old English feeling seemed nearly extinct for a time;—and the ancient customs which had connected them­selves therewith, one by one, fell more or less into disuse. The chain of universal sympathy and general observance, which had long kept the festival together in all its parts, was broken; and the parts fell asunder, and were, by degrees, lost or overlooked. Let no man say that this is scarcely worth lamenting ! Let none imagine diet, in the decay of customs, useless or insignificant in themselves, there is little to regret! " The affections," says Sterne, " when they are busy that way, will build their struc­tures, were it but on the paring of a nail;" and there is no prac­tice of long observance and ancient veneration,—whether among nations or individuals,—round which the affections have not in some degree twined themselves, and which are not therefore use­ful as supports and remembrancers to those affections. There are few of the consequences springing from civil war more lamentable than the disturbance which it gives to the social ar-
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