BOOK OF CHRISTMAS - online book

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

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CHRISTMAS DAY.
175
as if all the world were made of minced-pies, plum-pudding, and furmity.' And we might produce other quotations, to show that, as the name hackin fell into disuse, about this period, it was gene­rally supplanted by that of plum-pudding."
Plum-pudding is a truly national dish ; and refuses to flourish out of England. It can obtain no footing in France. A French­man will dress like an Englishman, swear like an Englishman, and get drunk like an Englishman ; but if you would offend him for ever, compel him to eat plum-pudding. A few of the leading restaurateurs, wishing to appear extraordinary, haveplomb-pooding upon their cartes; but in no instance is it ever ordered by a Frenchman. Everybody has heard the story of St. Louis— Henri Quatre,—or whoever else it might be—who, wishing to regale the English ambassador, on Christmas-day, with a plum-pudding, procured an excellent receipt for making one; which he gave to his cook, with strict injunctions that it should be prepared with due attention to all particulars. The weight of the ingre­dients, the size of the copper, the quantity of water, the duration of time,—everything was attended to except one trifle ;—the king forgot the cloth ; and the pudding was served up, like so much soup, in immense tureens, to the surprise of the ambassador,—who was, however, too well bred to express his astonishment.
Amongst our ancestors, the duties of the day which followed first after those of religion, were the duties which immediately spring out of a religion like ours—those of charity,
" When Among their children, comfortable men Gather about great fires, and yet feel cold, Alas ! then for the houseless beggar old !"—
was a sentiment of which they never allowed themselves to lose sight. Amid the preparations making for his own enjoyment, and the comforts by which he set at defiance the austerities of the season, the old English gentleman did not forget the affecting truths, so beautifully embodied in words, by Mary Howitt:—
" In rich men's halls, the fire is piled, And ermine robes keep out the weather ; In poor men's huts, the fire is low,
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