« ZurückWeiter »
ary, painted with variegated colours, glitter by “excess of light" from mirrors against the walls festooned with artificial “wonders of Flora.” This “paradise of | dainty devices,” is crowded by successive and successful desirers of the seasonable delicacies, while alternate tapping of hammers and peals of laughter, from the throng surrounding the house, excite smiles from the inmates. The cause of these sounds may be inferred fivrm something like this passing outside. Constable. Make way, make way ! Clear the way! You boys stand aside Countryman. What is all his ; Is any body ill in the shop : 1st Boy. Nobody, sir; it's only Twelfth
day ! 2d Boy. This is a pastrycook's, sir; look at the window ! There they stand! JWhat cakes | 3d Boy. What pretty ones these are 1 4th Boy. Only see that 1 5th Boy. Why it's as large as the hindwheel of a coach, and how thick / 6th Boy. Ah! it's too big to come out at the door, unless they roll it out. 7th Boy. What elegant figures, and what lots of sweetmeats! 8th Boy. See the flowers; they look almost like real ones, Countryman. What a crowd inside / 9th Boy. How the people of the house are packing up all the good things! Countryman. What a beautiful lady that is behind the counter' 10th Boy. Which? Countryman. Why the young one! 10th Boy. What her 2 oh, she's the astrycook's daughter, and the other's er mother. Countryman. mean her, there. » 10th Boy. Oh, her ; she's the shopwoman; all the pastrycooks always try to get handsome ladies to serve in the shop! 11th Boy. I say, I say! halloo! here's a piece of work! Look at this gentleman— next to me—his coat-tail's nailed to the window! Look, look 1 Countryman. Aye, what? All the boys. Ah! ah! ah! IIuzza. Countryman. Who nailed my coat-tail? Constable! 12th Boy. That's the boy that's got the hammier 1 2d Boy. What me? why that's the boy-there; and there's another boy ham
No, not her; I
mering ! and there's a man with a hammer! 1st Boy. Who pinned that woman to the gentleman? Why there's a dozen pinned together. Countryman. Constable ! constable ! 2nd Boy. Here comes the constable. Hark at him Comst. Clear away from the doors : Let the customers go in 1 Make way I Let the cakes come out! Go back, boy! 13th Boy. If you please, Mr. Constable, I'm going to buy a cake Const. Go forward, then Mun with cakes. By your leave by your leave. Const. Clear the way ! All the Boys. Huzza! huzza! More ople puaned — and plenty nailed u "#. explain, to those who may be ignorant of the practice. On Twelfthnight in London, boys assemble round the inviting shops of the pastry cooks, and dexterously nail the coat-tails of spectators, who venture near enough, to the bottoms of the window frames; or pin them together strongly by their clothies. Sometimes eight or ten persons find themselves thus connected. The dexterity and force of the nail driving is so quick and sure, that a single blow seldom fails of doing the business effectually. Withdrawal of the nail without a proper instrument is out of the question; and, consequently, the person nailed must either leave part of his coat, as a cognizance of his attachment, or quit the spot with a hole in it. At every nailing and pinning shouts of laughter arise from the perpetrators and the spectators. Yet it often happens to one who turns and smiles at . duress of another, that he also finds himself nailed. Efforts at extrication increase mirth, nor is the presence of a constable, who is usually employed to attend and preserve free “ingress, egress, and regress,” sufficiently awful to deter the offenders. Scarcely a shop in London that offers a halfpenny plain bun to the porchase of a hungry boy, is without Twelfth-cakes and finery in the windows on Twelfth-day The gingerbread-bakers—there are not many, compared with their number when the writer was a consumer of their manufactured goods,-even the reduced gingerbread-bakers periwig a few plum-buns with sugar-frost to-day, and coaxingly interpolate them among their new made
sixes, bath-cakes, parliament, and ladies' fingers. Their staple-ware has leaves of untarnished dutch-gilt stuck on ; their upright cylinder-shaped show-glasses, con taining peppermint-drops, elecampane, sugar-sticks, hard-bake, brandy-balls, and bulls'-eyes, are carefully polished; their lolly-pops are fresh encased, and look as white as the stems of tobacco-pipes; and their candlesticks are ornamented with fillets and bosses of writing paper : or, if the candles rise from the bottom of inverted glass cones, they shine more sparkling for the thorough cleaning of their receivers in the morning. How to eat Twelfth-cake requires no recipe; but how to provide it, and draw the characters, on the authority of Rachel Revel's “Winter Evening Pastimes,” may be acceptable. First, buy your cake. Then, before your visitors arrive, buy your characters, each of which should have a pleasant verse beneath. Next look at your invitation list, and count the number of ladies you expect; and afterwards the number of gentlemen. Then, take as many female characters as you have invited ladies; fold them up, exactly of the
same size, and number each on the back; taking care to make the king No. 1, and the queen No. 2. Then prepare and number the gentlemen's characters. Cause tea and coffee to be handed to your visitors as they drop in. When all are assembled and tea over, put as many ladies characters in a reticule as there are ladies present; next put the gentlemen's characters in a hat. Then call on a gentleman to carry the reticule to the ladies as they sit, from which each lady is to draw one ticket, and to preserve it unopened. Select a lady to bear the hat to the gentlemen for the same purpose. There will be one ticket left in the reticule, and another in the hat, which the lady and gentleman who carried each is to interchange, as having fallen to each. Next, arrange your visitors according to their numbers; the king No. 1, the queen No. 2, and so on. The king is then to recite the verse on his ticket; then the queen the verse on hers; and so the characters are to proceed in numerical order. This done, let the cake and refreshments go round, and hey! for meiriment!
They come! they come! each blue-eyed sport,
Twelfth-day is now only commemorated by the custom of choosing king and queen. “I went,” says a correspondent in the Universal Magazine for 1774," to a friend's house in the country to partake of some of those innocent pleasures that constitute a merry Christmas. I did not return till I had been present at drawing king and queen, and eaten a slice of the Twelfthcake, made by the fair hands of my good friend's consort. After tea yesterday, a noble cake was produced, and two bowls, containing the fortunate chances for the different sexes. Our host filled up the tickets; the whole company, except the king and queen, were to be ministers of state, maids of honour, or ladies of the bed-chamber. Our kind host and hostess, whether by design or accident, became king and queen. According to Twelfthday law, each party is to support their character till midnight.” The mainte
nance of character is essential to the drawing. Within the personal observation of the writer of these sheets, character has never been preserved. It must be admitted, however, that the Twelfth-might characters sold by the pastrycooks, are either commonplace or gross—when genteel they are inane; when humorous, they are vulgar. Young folks anticipate Twelfth-night as a full source of innocent glee to their light little hearts. Where, and what is he who would negative hopes of happiness for a few short hours in the dayspring of life? A gentle spirit in the London Magazine beautifully sketches a scene of juvenile enjoyment this evening: “I love to see an acre of cake spread out —the sweet frost covering the rich earth below---studded all over with glittering flowers, like ice-plants, and red and green knots of sweetmeat, and hollow yellow
:rusted crowns, and kings and queens, and their paraphernalia. I delight to see score †. children sitting huddled all round the dainty fare, eyeing the cake and each other, with faces sunny enough to thaw the white snow. I like to see the gazing silence which is kept so religiously while the large knife goes its found, and the glistening eyes which feed beforehand on the huge slices, dark with citron and plums, and heavy as gold. And then, when the “Characters” are drawn, is it nothing to watch the peeping delight which escapes from their little eyes! One is proud, as king; another stately, as queen; then there are two whispering grotesque secrets which they cannot contain (those are sir Gregory Goose and sir Tunbelly Clumsy.) The boys laugh out at their own misfortunes; but the little girls (almost ashamed of their prizes) fit blushing and silent. It is not until the lady of the house goes round, that some of the more extravagant fictions are revealed. And then, what a roar of mirth Ha, ha! The ceiling shakes, and the air is torn. They bound from their seats like kids, and insist on seing Miss Thompson's card. Ah! what merry spite is proclaimed—what ostenta| tious pity! The little girl is almost in tears; but the large lump of allotted cake is placed seasonably in her hands, and the glass of sweet wine ‘all round' drowns the shrill urchin laughter, and a gentler delight prevails.” Does not this make a charming picture?
There is some difficulty in collecting accounts of the manner wherein Twelfthnight is celebrated in the country. In “Time's Telescope,” an useful and entertaining annual volume, there is a short reference to the usage in Cumberland, and other northern parts of England. It seems that on Twelfth-night, which finishes their Christmas holidays, the rustics meet in a large room. They begin dancing at seven o'clock, and finish at twelve, when they sit down to lobscouse, and ponsondie; the former is made of beef, potatoes, and onions fried together; and in ponsondie we recognise the wassail or waes-hael of alo, boiled with sugar and nutmeg, into which are put roasted apples, the antiently admired lambs'-wool. The feast is paid for by subscription: two women are chosen, who with two wooden bowls laced one within the other, so as to we an opening and a space between
them, go round to the female part of tile society in succession, and what one puts into the uppermost bowl the attendant collectress slips into the bowl beneath it. All are expected to contribute something, but not more than a shilling, and they are best esteemed who give irost. The men choose two from themselves, and follow the same custom, except that as the gentlemen are not supposed to be altogether so fair in their dealings as the ladies, one of the collectors is furnished with pen, ink, and paper, to set down the subscriptions as soon as received. If a satirical prophecy in “Vox Graculi,” 4to. 1623, may be relied on as authority, it bears testimony to the popularity of Twelfth-night at that period. On the 6th of January the author declares, that “this day, about the houres of 5, 6. 7, 8, 9, and 10, yea, in some places till midnight well nigh, will be such a massacre of spice-bread, that, ere the next day at noon, a two-penny browne loafe will set twenty poore folkes teeth on edge. Which hungry humour will hold so violent, that a number of good fellowes will not refuse to give a statute-marchant of all the lands and goods they enjoy, for half-a-crown's worth of two-penny pasties.” He further affirms, that there will be “on this night much masking in the Strand, Cheapside, Holbourne, or Fleetstreet.” “The twelve days of Christmas,” as the extent of its holidays, were proverbial; but among labourers, in some parts, the Christmas festivities did not end till Candemas. Old Tusser, in his “Five Hundred Points of good Husbandry,” would have the merriments end in six days; he begins January with this advice to the countryman: When Christmas is ended, bid feasting adue, Goe play the good husband, thy stock to renue. Be mindful of rearing, in hope of a gaine, Dame Profit shall give thee reward for thy paire. This was the recommendation of prudence tempered by kindness; a desire for diligence in the husbandman, with an allowance of reasonable pastime to sweeten his labour. From Naogeorgus, in “The Popish Kingdome,” a poem before quoted, and which will be frequently referred to for its lore regarding our ancient customs, it
is to be gathered, that the king of Twelfth-
Mr. Fosbroke notices, that “the cake was full of plums, with a bean in it for the king, and a pea for the queen, so as to determine them by the slices. Sometimes a penny was put in the cake, and the person who obtained it, becoming king, crossed all the beams and rafters of the house against devils. A chafingdish with burning frankincense was also lit, and the odour snuffed up by the whole family, to keep off disease for the year. After this, the master and mistress went round the house with the pan, a taper, and a loaf, against ...'"
So far Mr. Fosbroke abridges Naogeorgus's account, which goes on to say, that
— in these dayes beside, They judge what weather all the yeare shall happen and betide : Ascribing to each day a month, and at this present time, The youth in every place doe flocke, and all apparel'd fine, With pypars through the streetes they runne, and singe at every dore. * - * + There cities are, where boyes and gyrles, together still do runne, About the streete with like, as soone as night beginnes to come, And bring abrode their wassel bowles, who well rewarded bee, With cakes and cheese, and great good cheare, and money plenteousiee. Queen Elizabeth's Progresses by Mr. Nichols, contain an entertainment to her at Sudley, wherein were Melibaeus, the king of the Bean, and Nisa, the queen of the Pea. “Mel Cut the cake: who hath the beane,
shall be King; and where the peaze is,
A citation by Brand represents the ancient Twelfth-night-cake to have been composed of flour, homey, ginger, and pepper The maker thrust in, at random, a smal. coin as she was kneading it. When baked, it was divided into as many parts as there
were persons in the family, and each had his share Portions of it were also assigned to Christ, the Virgin, and the three Magi, and were given in alms. On Twelfth-day the people of Gerniahy and the students of its academies chose a king with great ceremony and sumptuous feastings In France, the Twelfth-cake is plain, with a bean; the drawer of the slice containing the bean is king or queen. All drink to her or his majesty, who reigns, and receives homage from all, during the evening. There is no other drawing, and consequently the sovereign is the only distinguished character. In Normandy they place a child under the table, which is so covered with a cloth that he cannot see; and when the cake is divided, one of the company taking up the first piece, cries out, “Fabe Domini pour qui” The child answers, “Pour le bon Dieu:” and in this manner the pieces are allotted to the company. If
the bean be found in the piece for the “bon Dieu," the king is chosen by drawing long or short straws. Whoever gets the bean chooses the king or queen, according as it happens to be a man or woman. According to Brand, under the old order of things, the Epiphany was kept at the French court by one of the courtiers being chosen king, and the other nobles attended an entertainment on the occasion; but, in 1792, during the revolution, La Féte de Rois was abolished; Twelfth-day was ordered to be called La Féte de Sans-Culottes; the old feast was declared anti-civic; and any siest keeping it was deemed a royalist. he Literary Pocket Book affirms, that at La Féte de Rois the French monarch and his nobles waited on the Twelfthnight king, and that the custom was not revived on the return of the Bourbons, but that instead of it the royal family washed the feet of some people and gave them alms,
drew lots for kingdom” and like kings exercised their temporary authority.” Indeed, it appears, that the question is almost at rest. Mr. Fosbroke affirms that “the king of Saturnalia was elected by beans, and that from thence came out king and queen on this day.” The coinci
dence of the election by beans having been cominon to both customs, leaves scarcely the possibility of doubt that ours is a continuation of the heathen practice under another name. Yet “some of the observances on this day are the remains of Druidical, and other superstitious ceremonies.” On these points, 1: Mr. Fosbroke's Dictionary of Antiquities be consulted by the curious inquirer, he will there find the authorities, and be in other respects gratified.
The Epiphany is called Twelfth-day, because it falls on the twelfth day after Christmas-day. Epiphany signifies manifestation, and is applied to this day because it is the day o Christ was manifested to the Gentiles. Bourne in his Vulgar Antiquities, which is the substructure of Brand's Popular Antiquities, remarks that this is the greatest of the twelve holidays, and is therefore more jovially observed, by the visiting of friends and Christmas gambols, than any other.
Finally, on observances of this festival not connected with the Twelfth-night king and queen. It is a custom in many parishes in Gloucestershire on this day to light up twelve small fires and one large one; this is mentioned by Brand : and Mr. Fosbroke relates, that in some countries twelve fires of straw are made in the fields “to burn the old witch,” and that the people sing, drink, and dance around it, and practise other ceremonies in continuance. He takes “the old witch" to be the Druidical God of Death. It is stated by sir Henry Piers, in genl. Vallancey’s “Collectanea,” that, at Woo. “on Twelve-eve in Christmas, they use to set up as high as they can a sieve of oats, and in it a dozen of candles set round, and in the centre one larger, all lighted; this in memory of our saviour and his apostles, lights of the world.” Sir Henry's inference may reasonably be doubted; the custom is probably of higher antiquity than he seems to have suspected.
A very singular merriment in the Isle of Man is mentioned by Waldron, in his history of that place. He says, that “during the whole twelve days of Christ.