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In the 16th century Tusser prescribes for Christmas, good drink, a good fire in the hall, brawn, pudding, and mustard withall, capon, or turkey, cheese, apples, and nuts, with jolly carols. Some few years after this the feeding must have been of a more scientific description, though something of the richest, for Massinger, in the City Madam, (act ii. sc. 1.) says,
Men may talk of Country Christmasses—
Their thirty-pound butter'd eggs, their pies of carps tongues,
Their pheasants drench'd with ambergris, the carcases
Of three fat wethers bruised for gravy, to
Make sauce for a single peacock ; yet their feasts
Were fasts compared with the City's.
Heath,-}- in the middle of the last century, states that formerly the Christmas feasts were observed with greater magnificence in Cornwall than in any other part of England, but that the clergy had rather discountenanced them, as partaking too much of a celebration of Ceres and Bacchus. However this may be, true Christmas hospitality and many of the good old customs are still preserved in the country, and long may they there flourish.
No one who has not joined actively in these strenuce inertice can properly judge of the grateful relaxation they afford from the constant and neces-
* " Le Roman de la Rose," from whence this account was taken by Chaucer, says as to her drinking (1. 14190-1). " Et si doit si sagement boyre, Que sur soy n'en espande goutte." t Account of Scilly Islands, p. 445.