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Meanwhile in the hall preparation was being made for the “Yule supper." The large table, of almost the whole length of the room, with benches on either side for the servants, and chairs for “ the family” and guests, was dragged back to its position. Upon it stood a large vessel containing the “furmenty,” or “ frummity,” (a concoction of bruised wheat, milk, molasses, and certain spices).
There was also an immense pile of large buns, called “Yule cakes,” standing in the centre; and at the head of the table a large uncut cheese. This was flanked with jugg of hot spiced ale, and with two tall mould candles, the “Yule candles,” supplied with unfailing punctuality, year by year gratuitously by the family grocer. Like the “log,” they were lighted by the “master” or “the young master,” and that also by means of small pieces preserved from the previous year; and on no account was any light allowed to be taken from them, that being considered the most unlucky act that could be done. By the time all things were thus set in order the company
had again assembled and the supper commenced. No one might refuse to partake of the furmenty. Next a “ Yule cake” was handed to each person, who cut a portion, and the other portion he generally reserved, and carefully laid it by until Christmas should come again, on the plea (which in a sense was perfectly true) that real want would never come to him so long as he had a part of his last Yule cake” stored up. Next the cheese was cut with certain formality by the head of the household and freely served, the whole being supplemented by a copious supply of the Christmas ale.
Supper over, the games and amusements of the early part of the evening were resumed for a time. When the “Eve” came to an end, the unconsumed part of the “Yule log” was removed and carefully put out, to be placed on the morrow among the household treasures for the coming year. Preparation was next made for " bringing in Christmas ” in
Some article must enter the house on that morning before anything whatever passed out. There was a difficulty in arranging this not easily provided for. Usually it was met by a broom, or some similar article, being placed outside the outer door in such a position that, on the door being opened, the article would fall inwards, and hence could be easily conveyed within. A somewhat mysterious bag of copper coins (obtained from the town on the preceding market day) was also produced and placed ready for use in the early morning.
Log bere are ca that morn the bousehold was astir.
22 set the outer door was unbarred and care
TEDE. Zess to the article which was to break the seizinz in access for the year. Very seldom was
de ce gers-or any other singers of carols or
Tere 12 in remote district in those days. But
e es dar care te Christmas-the boys, singly TIPS 572 zee, or more, from the farmhouses, cottages, si saber-stouting at the door,
Essez ces ras the scog,
1: viss des acte, and strong." Sedie Erst is to oter his salutation be a boy with
cz - dark hair," te was taken into the house, feastec vite dides of ide season, and sent away with double the escal the copper bag." But should he be the Cinemate prosessor of “red” or “light hair,” by no means et de ses crer the threshold, nor receive more than the cinay Nore arriving before the ringing of the church best poming service were sent away empty. But the D:D::escar to the house of God was heard, the gifts to the “ Cus ceased, and all prepared to go up to that house wae cer rid: Lear of God's great gift to man, offer the sedie of iharksgiving and sing His praise.
Ca the return from church there was an interval for retiremer: ani meditation, or the performance of necessary duties. Ia fans the whole of the observances on the day were more que: and subiuai than those on “the eve.” A full and quiet, rider than a boisterous, joy seemed to pervade whatever was dide on Christmas Day; probably it was imparted by attendance as the services of the Church, and never thrown entirely off.
The Christmas Dinner which took place soon after mid-day, was an institution duly honoured. All who had
connection with the house,” former servants, near neighbours, especially the aged and the poorer ones, were always welcome guests. torr-eart was not unfrequently sent to bring such as might be unable to walk, “to have their Christmas dinner at the old
place.” And many a cheerful, thankful, happy Christmas party was thus gathered round the hospitable board. Scott's description of the entertainment would only apply in part; certainly—
“There the huge sirloin reeked ; hard by
Plum pudding stood, and Christmas pie;" And also
“Then was brought the lusty brawn;" But “the grim boar’s head” and “savoury goose ” were not
found to grace
“ The huge hall table’s oaken face." On these occasions home-brewed ale, and that in abundance, was the only beverage. Healths were drunk, and mutual good wishes between master and servant, between rich and poor, expressed. When the party dispersed,—the elders to talk over in the ingle, or with the master in the room, the events of the year, or the memories of other Christmases; the younger to the amusements and merry-making congenial to their youthful ardour ;—the poor wended their way to their cottages with a substantial “chine” or piece of "sparerib” for the dinner another day, or with a capacious basket whose contents would show that the sick one at home had not been forgotten.
Such was Christmas in a Yorkshire yeoman's house thirty years ago. The festival as kept there lacked many things which are now associated with the season, while some of its observances would hardly perhaps suit our more fastidious times. It was not, it is true, a festival in which was
Mingled with the friendly bowl
Yet there were ceremonies and observances (superstitious ones it may be) which most men would be sorry to see entirely pass away or be forgotten; and there were feelings of mutual goodwill and respect between employer and employed, fostered and preserved; feelings of confidence and love from the poor towards their richer neighbours engendered, which it would be a great blessing to have more cultivated in these times. The poor, it is true, are entertained and feasted, but not as of old in their richer neighbours' halls, joining and joying together in acts of personal kindness and sympathy, as members alike of the one great family of God.
DOWN THE MOSELLE.
BI THOVAS SHAIRP,
ATSOB OF “C? IN T.B NORTE,” &c. Cerraje me on which days in the week the boats start from Inetas to descend the Moselle ?" inquired a fellow-traveller in array carriage that was taking us down to Luxembourg.
• Brailar sars daily," we answered, with implicit contidence a car o ari trusted friend
* Tes bat in Brussels I was positively assured they go only ker times a rek; and what those days are I am anxious to bove, as I am desirous of getting on rapidly to the Swiss lakes ai Donntains and do not wish to be delayed a day in Irra
Xss it tarpened, we were also anxious not to be delayed, Esring pucia to be down in Norfolk for the 1st of September, ani ope dass delay here would cause us to miss the boat by which ve irrended to return from Antwerp, thus causing a stoppage of two be dars
Weperosed going down to Luxembourg, passing on comfortably Rex iay to Tzeres; and then on the Saturday, which would be swi dars later, descending the Moselle by one of the fleet little stabears that follow the beautiful river's meanderings amid vines and landscapes bounteous with the prolific crops the rich .
cantry yields. But this question raised doubts in our mind which we had no means of solving ; nor could the officials at the railway station of Luxembourg throw any light on the subject. We therefore, to make the matter certain, determined to run through the quaint old town, whose fortifications are manually dwindling away under peaceful neutrality, and go on she same day to Treves, so that, in the event of a boat leaving on the mermuw, we might catch it at that place.
We acunlingly took leave of our fellow-traveller at the railway station, and walked into the town. Containing little
19,000 inbabitants, Luxembourg, from its curious and ?uely picturesque situation, has the appearance of a much
more extensive town. The lower portion of the town, situate on the banks of the little river Else, is far down in a deep valley; while the upper part, built on the rocks above, seems so far removed that it might almost be a distinct colony. A fine viaduct now runs from one side of the valley to the other, far over the roofs of the houses down below, which appear like the toy mansions with which children amuse their hours of play. Grim fortifications appear at every available corner; here a wall of rock surmounted by a fort, there a grassy slope, pierced at its summit with embrasures for guns; here a round tower frowning and grim, there a line of continuous fortification. All, however, appear like the toothless gums of an old warrior; and while the power of biting has been taken away, not even the ability to bark has been permitted to remain. The forts are bare of guns; the round towers are being turned into refreshmentrooms or levelled with the ground; the grassy slopes that led up to earthworks bristling with cannon are now turning into quiet playgrounds for children, or drying places for the laundresses to disport themselves, and spread their white linen in spots that were designed to be strewn with smoke, and bloodstained corses, and dying wretches howling and cursing in the agonies of torn and lacerated flesh. A new suburb, laid out in wide streets lined with lofty mansions, is also springing up; while beyond this incipient Belgravia a level waste is being converted into a handsome park, with grassy meads, shaded walks, and miniature hills, whose summits, gay with flower-beds, smile on the little valleys they overlook. Luxembourg, in fact, has cast aside its war-harness, and assumed the peaceful garb of honest labour, and deserved recreation as its natural concomi
But ho for the Moselle! The same evening, in the very comfortable Hôtel de Treves, in the city which the Romans knew as Augusta Trevirorum, we ask on what day the boats leave for Coblenz.
There are no boats," is the answer. “ The river is almost dry."
This is comforting. The alternative most natural appears to be
"When do trains start? Which is the best ?” “Train to Bingen, and from there to Coblenz.”
"What! I want to go about seventy miles by water, and you say, as there is no water in the river, it is necessary to go three