Christmas Carols, Ancient And Modern

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xlvi
An amusing little book, called " Round about our Coal-Fire, or Christmas Entertainments," gives an account of the manner of observing this festival among the middling classes towards the beginning of last century, and as the writer draws a contrast between his and former times, in the like spirit of grumbling, he may be supposed to give some in­sight into the amusements of a century preceding himself. He says, that " the manner of celebrating this great course of holydays is vastly different now to what it was in former days: There was once upon a time Hospitality in the Land; an English Gentleman at the opening of the great day, had all his Tenants and Neighbours enter'd his hall by day-break, the strong-beer was broach'd, and the black-jacks went plentifully about with toast, sugar, nutmeg, and good Cheshire cheese; the rooms were embower'd with holly, ivy, cy­press, bays, laurel, and missleto, and a bouncing Christmas log in the chimney glowing like the cheeks of a country milk-maid; then was the pew­ter as bright as Clarinda, and every bit of brass as polished as the most refined Gentleman; the Ser­vants were then running here and there, with merry hearts and jolly countenances; every one was busy in welcoming of Guests, and look'd as snug as new-lick'd puppies; the Lasses were as blithe and buxom as the maids in good Queen Bess's days, when they eat sirloins of roast beef for breakfast; Peg would scuttle about to make a toast for John, while Tom run harum scarum to draw a jug of ale for Margery'' And after­wards, " This great festival was in former times kept with so much freedom and openness of heart, that every one in the country where a Gentleman resided, possessed at least a day of pleasure in the

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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III