The mince pies must be oblong in shape, according to the ancient pattern—in allusion to the manger.
A recipe for making the delicious compound, copied from a cook-book written in the sixteenth century, says:
A pound of suet chopped fine
A pound of raisins chopped, stoned
A pound of currants cleaned, dry.
Two eggs, allspice beat fine, a bit of citron, a little salt, sugar to your taste, and as much brandy, cyder and good wine as you like.
The bonbons, cakes, etc., would be called by the Norman-English "quelque choses," corrupted later into "kickshaws," and so called by Shakespeare.
Of course, all must gather after dinner around the freshly replenished fire and "tell a tale in turn."
The half-light is favourable to ventures out of self-consciousness, and the thought may lie warm at the heart that at no time in all the year is the world so full of happy people.
Around the Yule-Fire
With the best possible intentions, and though fully in sympathy with the Christmas spirit, our wits are not always to be relied upon when we know that something is expected of us.
A little preparation beforehand may spare us embarrassment and enable us to acquit ourselves with credit when asked for our contribution of song or story when gathered about the Yule-fire.
One might tell of the Christmas superstitions, long held as articles of faith—how it was believed that oxen kneel in their stalls on Christmas Eve in adoration of the Nativity, and for one hour have the power of speech. For that one hour, too, on the "holy night," the lost