478 The Book of Indoor and Outdoor Games
finery—if gaudy, so much the better—are welcome for the burlesque imitation of the ancient custom.
Old "Father Christmas" is the charlatan and "Master of the Revels." He leads the van, wearing a ruff, short cloak and peaked hat, and in his train come "Dame Plum-Pudding," "Sir Loin-of-Beef" or "Robin Hood" and his followers. They should carry tin horns and toy drums, and after noisy demonstrations, dance a gay dance, called "The Hobby-Horse." It resembles an old-fashioned quadrille, danced with the "steps" and "pigeon-wings" in favour among our great grandparents, while each man bestrides a stick with a toy horse's head at the end.
"Hippocras" should be served, a beverage so like our modern "cup" that it may well masquerade undei the old-time name. Of course, music must not be lacking—a harpist and an old fiddler would furnish the ideal accompaniment to the dancing. A "Sir Roger de Coverley"—better known among us as the Virginia reel —in which all take part, always makes a merry ending.
Edward German's charming music of the "Shepherd's Dance," the "Morris Dances," etc., of Henry VIII.'s time, would be most pleasing and appropriate. All should join in singing a carol before parting for the night—as a fitting close to the great festival of Christendom.