456 The Book of Indoor and Outdoor Games
A TWENTIETH-CENTURY CHRISTMAS
There is little need to review our own observance of the great festival, which is familiar to all, but a feast was given last Christmas at a large country house that proves that its traditions are still cherished.
The woods near at hand having been laid under contribution for every sort of evergreen, the vast dining-room was like a bit of the forest itself.
All the colour was massed on the table. Holly and mistletoe formed the centrepiece, and the note of scarlet was repeated in all the decorations and dainties.
The room was lighted only by the glow of the blazing logs in a fireplace (that enlarged forever one's ideas of what a fireplace could be) and with many wax candles.
The dinner began with green turtle soup, followed by a salmon—plentiful in the time of Queen Bess, and called "the king offish."
Next, a "venison pasty" was served—the nearest approach to an entree known at medieval banquets— and then a turkey, most successfully cooked with all its feathers on. Our "national bird" was almost as picturesque as the peacock, with advantage on its side as to palatableness.
A trumpet next sounded, and the cook, in full official costume of white linen surcoat and cap, entered, bearing aloft a boar's head, "crowned with bays," with a lemon in its mouth.
Another flourish of trumpets later and the cook again entered, carrying a large round plum-pudding, a sprig of holly atop, and burning with blue fire—followed by the butler with a huge mince pie, and he in turn by his assistants, carrying the ingredients for mixing the "wassail bowl,?'