Christmas Carols, Ancient And Modern

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cxi
St. George and the other tragic performers are dressed somewhat in the style of morris dancers, with white trowsers and waistcoats, shewing their shirt-sleeves, and are much decorated with ribbons and handkerchiefs, each carrying a drawn sword in his hand, if they can be procured, otherwise a cudgel. They wear high caps of pasteboard, co­vered with fancy paper, adorned with beads, small pieces of looking-glass, bugles, &c. several long strips of pith generally hanging down from the top, with shreds of different-coloured cloth strung on them, the whole having a fanciful and smart effect. The Turk sometimes has a turban ; Father Christ­mas is personified as a grotesque old man, wearing a large mask and wig, with a huge club in his hand; the Doctor, who is a sort of merryandrew to the piece, is dressed in some ridiculous way, with a three-cornered hat and painted face. The female, when there is one, is in the costume of her great-grandmother. The hobby-horse, when intro­duced, has a sort of representation of a horse's hide; but the dragon and the giant, when there is one, frequently appear with the same style of dress as the knights.
The play of " Alexander, the King of Egypt," as acted by the Mummers in the North of England, was printed at Newcastle in the year 1788, and bears a great similarity to those just described. Mr. Reddock, in Hone's " Every-day Book," vol. ii. p. 18, gives an account of a similar play in Scot­land. Besides this regular drama of St. George, Guisards, or geese-dancers, as they are called, go about, the males and females frequently ex­changing attire, and visit the different houses. Heath, in his account of the Scilly Islands, in 1750, mentions a similar custom.
There are two or three peculiar games or pas­times used at this time by the lower orders in the

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