80 . THE BOOK OF CHRISTMAS.
rangements—were it but to the meanest of them. It is impossible that customs long identified with the feelings should perish without those feelings (though from their own eternal principle they will ultimately revive and find new modes of action) suffering some temporary injury. It was a beautiful assertion of Dr. Johnson that his feelings would be outraged by seeing an old post rooted up from before his door, which he had been used to look at all his life,—even though it might be an encumbrance there. How much more would he have grieved over the removal of a village May-pole, with all its merry memories and all its ancient reverence !
The Christmas festival has languished from those days to this, but never has been, and never will be extinct. The stately forms of its celebration, in high places, have long since (and, in all probability, for ever) passed away. The sole and homely representative of the gorgeous Christmas prince is the mock-monarch of the Epiphany:—the laureate of our times with his nominal duties, in the last faint shadow of the court bards, and masque-makers of yore ;—and the few lingering remains of the important duties once confided to the master of the royal revels are silently and unostentatiously performed in the office of the Lord Chamberlain of to-day. But the spirit of the season yet survives ; and, for reasons which we shall proceed to point out, must survive. True, the uproarious merriment—the loud voice— which it sent, of old, throughout the land, have ceased ; and while the ancient sports and ceremonies are widely scattered, many of them have retreated into obscure places, and some, perhaps, are lost. Still, however, this period of commemoration is, everywhere, a merry time; and we believe, as we have already said, that most of the children of Father Christmas are yet wandering up and down, in one place or another of the land. We call upon all those of our readers who know anything of the " old, old, very old, grey bearded gentleman," or his family, to aid us in our search after them ;—and, with their good help, we will endeavor to restore them to some portion of their ancient honors, in England.