Old Christmas Recalled - online book

Washington Irving's description of Old Christmas, Illustrated

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would be for the nobility and gentry to pass more time on their estates, mingle more among the country people, and set the merry old English games going again."
Such was the good Squire's project for miti­gating public discontent; and, indeed, he had once attempted to put his doctrine in practice, and a few years before had kept open house during the holidays in the old style. The coun­try people, however, did not understand how to play their parts in the scene of hospitality; many uncouth circumstances occurred ; the manor was overrun by all the vagrants of the country, and more beggars drawn into the neighbourhood in one week than the parish officers could get rid of in a year. Since then he had contented himself with inviting the decent part of the neighbouring peasantry to call at the hall on Christmas day, and distributing beef, and bread, and ale, among the poor, that they might make merry in their own dwellings.
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