Imatges de pÓgina


him leave her ; that her money stood restless impatience, and finally, as the days
between them like a wall ; and that, more slipped away one after the other, and the
over, his own peculiar position as her guard posts came in in regular succession, and
ian made it almost a breach of trust to the brought him many others, but never the one
dead that he should aspire to be her lover. letter he looked for—finally his waiting be-
One consideration alone, he said, could sur- came despair.
mount these objections—the consideration The last day of his stay in England
of her happiness. If, indeed, she loved him dawned. He was obliged to go about his
so entirely that without him she could not business to a few shops and to his banker's
live nor be happy, then indeed, and then -- but all day long he kept returning to his
only, would he throw all these most weighty hotel to ask feverishly if there were no let-
objections to the winds, and devote his whole ters for him, to receive ever the same answer
existence to her : And in this case he en- --none.
treated her to write to him at once and Then late in the afternoon he went to see
recall him to her side ; but if it was not so, a friend whom he could trust, and charged
if it was merely a grateful affection, a gene- him solemnly to go the last thing at night,
rous friendship, or even but a brief-lived and again the first thing in the morning, to
fancy, which had made her for one short his hotel, after he had left, and, if he found
hour imagine that she loved him-in that there any letter for him with a certain post-
case he prayed her to put his letter into the mark, to telegraph to him on board the “Sul-
fire, and to send him no answer whatever to tana," at the Southampton Docks, to stop his
it; he should know too well how to interpret starting.
her silence. He concluded his letter by The friend promised faithfully-and then
naming to her the very latest date at which he could do nothing more, and he was obliged
he could receive an answer from her in town to go down to Southampton. To the last he
before starting for Southampton, and by would not give up hope ; he watched and
telling her that up to the very last minute watched all that night and all next morning
he should still not despair, but hope to hear from the vessel's side, long after he had gone
from her.

on board, for anything in the shape of a
Even when he had directed and stamped telegraph boy ; and he would not have his
this letter, Colonel Fleming did not imme. things taken into his cabin, nor settle even
diately post it. He was still so doubtful that he was going, until the very last.
about the wisdom and the propriety of writ- And then all at once the anchor was raised,
ing to her at all that he walked about with and it was too late.
the letter in his pocket the whole of the next And as the good ship “Sultana" steamed
day. It was only on the third day that, hav- slowly over the grey waves of Southhamp-
ing, I think, previously tossed up a sover- ton Water in the early morning, and stood
eign, drawn lots from a number of blank out to sea in a light and favourable wind,
slips of paper for one marked slip, and made Colonel Hugh Fleming beneath his breath
use of sundry other most childish and un- cursed his native land, and Sotherne Court,
dignified tricks of chance, in every one of and Juliet Blair, with deep and bitter curses.
which the luck came to the same decision, “She does not know how to love-she
he finally determined to send the letter, and, could not stand the test, Her pride has
going out with it on purpose, dropped it ruined us both!”
himself into the pillar-post.

And he turned his back on the white And then he waited-at first confidently' shores of the old country, and set his face and patiently-then, after a day or two, less fixedly and determinedly towards that far confidently, but still patiently—then with Eastern land to which he was bound.

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God save you, merrie gentlemen,

Mystery Plays of the Middle Ages cease to And send you Christmas cheere.

be absurd. The sanctity of religion satisMONG the antique institutions that fied the stirrings of superstition ; faith ac

are fast dying out in England, and cepted the realistic, and as the common have not been imported into America, are mind, thus filled, discerned in them no the celebrations of May-day and Christmas. touch of profanity, the educated intellect of The literature of the latter is very quaint to-day can regard them as respectable, if and curious.

not venerable. Lyric Poetry is commensurate with the The august event of the Nativity is the feelings and emotions of man. Poetry and basis of the Christian belief. Apart from song (for the terms are synonymous) are as its vital import, it contains all the splendour natural to the human race as to the birds of poetry. Its incidents appeal to human on the bough. The untutored savage, roam- affections. The Saviour was a man of like ing his native wilds, has a poetic shade in passions with ourselves. All the incidents his nature that outlines for itself myths of of His incarnation are sympathetic with humuch beauty, such as have been crystallized man experience. The circumstances of His by the poet of Hiawatha. The desert- birth are full of domestic sentiment. In dweller sings the inspiration of his heart, all His advent are combined the bases of pity fragrant of the rose, as leaving behind him and the gladness awakened by the coming the flowery oasis he plods along the sands of the first-born. And as in this world the with the slow-moving caravan. The inha- joys outweigh the sorrows, the feeling of bitants of “the northern regions cold” are gladness preponderated, and the Nativity full of poetic fire; their weird mythology came to be popularly regarded and celehas a statuesque grandeur that is almost brated as a joyous event-a consummation awe-inspiring; while their love-chants and of exceeding joy. A devotional mind drinks pastorals are redolent of the soft, sweet sum- in its details and is permeated with their mer that leaves them all too soon. In the sublimity. But, as the sublime is beyond earlier stages of civilization it is natural that the reach of most, the popular intelligence the language of the lyric should directly em- striving to rise to the occasion could only body the feelings, untrammelled, as well as reach the pleasant and affectionate. And unadorned, by the artificial fetters of re- such is the character of the literature of finement. Hence, the more intense the Christmas. emotion, the more quaint the thought and The majestic grandeur of the event, as familiar the words that embody it. Not only narrated in the unadorned simplicity of is the lyric the expression of pastoral, ami- Scripture, has drawn around it an accumutory, or warlike feeling, but in a larger de- lation of legend that brings it more within gree it is the handmaid of religion, and the the grasp of the uneducated. In like manvehicle for conveying the cravings of the ner as the principle of evil has among all soul. The fervid worshipper sees nothing rude peoples been personified and been irreverent in the interchange of words of given the material elements of an embodied endearment between the Human and the terror, material accessories have clustered Divine. The vulgar mind is at once super- around the Holy Childhood to bring it stitious and eminently realistic. As a con- within popular comprehension as an embodsequence, the language of the untutored can ied joy. The ideal Nativity is too spiritonly be increased in intensity by pressing ual for the multitude. By being materialinto it the more ardent phrases of human ized it became a pleasing entity, and within affection. From this point of view the the grasp of an appreciative faith.


is the type :

From the initial ages of the Church the

“Alleluia ! Alleluia ! anniversary of the “dayspring from on

There is a blossom sprung of a thorn

To save man-kynd that was forlorn, high" was doubtless held in regard. With

As the prophets said beforne ; out doubt the disciples celebrated its recur

Deo patria rence with "psalms, songs, and spiritual

Sit glor-ia-ia!hymns.” From the catacombs must have ascended the voice of praise. In the gener- There are several popular variations of al recognition of Christianity, and its sub- the following rhyme, of different dates, but sequent ever-increasing corruption of form, always sung to a rollicking hunting air: the Christmas celebration would primarily share. The taste that authorized the Carni

“O, of a maid a child is born, val would sanction an outburst of genial

On a tree he shall be torn,

To deliver folks that are forlorn." licence at Christmastide. Naturally the celebration would in time separate itself into the Or of date about Henry VI's time devotional exercises of the altar and the quasi-religious festivals of the people. At

“Gesu the Son that here be born,

His head is wreathéd what time this distinction widened so as to

a thorn,

And 's blissful body's all a-torn, have become recognizable is not clear, but

To save mankind that was forlorn." it must have been at a very early date. The records of all Christendom show that the The above, however, are only vaguely depeople universally gave vent to their geni- votional, and not sufficiently circumstantial ality in Christmas carols or familiar songs. -a fault that cannot be asserted of the class The Troubadours, in the twelfth and thir- of descriptive carols of which the following teenth centuries, were famous for their Christmas lays, and in Provence at the pre

“A shepherd upon a hill he satt, sent day are current many such composi

He had on him his tabard and hatt, tions both old and new. Several interesting Hys tarbox, hys pype, and hys flagatt, collections of such lyrics have been pub- His name was calléd joly-Joly Wat. lished both in France and England, the

Chorus-Can I not sing but hoy! earliest known in English having been

When the joly shepherd he made much joy, printed by Wynkyn de Worde in 1521.

For he was a gude herdis boy, We have at present to do with those of

Ut hoy! England only.

For in hys pype he made much joy. The natural events of the Holy Nativity,

“The shepherd upon a hille was layd, as recorded in the Gospels, were few and, Hys doge to his gyrdylle was tayd, but for the accompanying miracles, simple. He had not slept but a lytelle brayd, A child was born and cradled in a manger,

But • Gloria in excelsis' to hym was sayd.” and wise men from the East came to offer gifts to the babe, they being guided to his Lying on the hill with his hand under his resting place by the light of, to them, an

head this jolly shephered saw above him a unknown star. In the popular carols these

star “red as blood," whereupon he forthevents are related in a descriptive manner,

with placed his flock in care of a woman more or less graphically, and (as we have named Mall and his assistant Will

, and set said) more or less augmented by legendary out to follow the ruddy orb and see the accessories. Where the custom of carol “fairly sight.” Arrived at “Bedlem,” Wat singing still lingers in the more secluded found " Jhesu in a symple place, between

an ox and an asse.” Reverently addressing parts of England, the church bells are chimed to usher in the happy morn.

the Christ, he proffered his rustic gifts, then

Then sally forth the singers who itinerate the vil

returned home joyously carolling his chorus : lage, carrolling their quaint and olden lays “Can I not sing but hoy! Ut hoy!” to the sprightliest of tunes. The custom is

And so forth.
pleasant, the voices often being trained,
though in a rude way; still it must be con- “ Jhesu ! I offer to Thee my pype,
fessed that sad work is often made with My skyrte, my tarbox, and my scrype,
the Latin choruses :

Home to my fellows now wille I skype,
And loke unto my shepe."

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Other events, real or supposed, of the later in the life of the Child, is a favourite Saviour's infancy are likewise embodied in subject, affording as it does scope for the inthe carols. The offerings of the Magians- vention of romantic adventures. In place a favourite subject, from which originates of multiplying extracts we prefer giving a the custom of Christmas gifts—is quaintly more modern rhyme, now published for the related in a carol of a date older than the first time, wherein are set forth the various liscovery of America :

legendary incidents, all on the authority of the

old painters. The rhymed story of Zinga“There came iij kings from Galilee In-to Bethlem that fair citie

rella (gipsy woman) and the Bambino [little To seek Him that should ever be

boy] is well known to students of mediæval By right-a

literature : Kyng, lord, and knyght-a !

As they came forth with their offeryng
They met with Herod that bloodie kyng

[Joseph sayeth it.]
And this to them he said-a :
O whence be ye, you kyngs iij ?'

“ Dear Mary, hap young Christus well,

And pin his little tucker on,
Magi. Of the East as ye may see,

And wrap Him in his new mantel,
To seek for Him that ever should be

For ere night falls we must be gone,-
By right-a

And wear your blue serge petticoat,
Kyng, lord, and knyght-a !”

And eke your warm red ridinghood, *

And I will don my redingcote, It is somewhat typical that in several of the

And take my staff of crab-tree wood. English and Dutch carols the kings come by sea ; although indeed some commenta- “Edward, mine ass, is fierce and fier, tors would make out that their "three ships”

For he hath ate of beans and corn, indicate the Trinity, an allegory too deep

And we shall be far leagues from hence

By breakfast-time to-morrow morn, -+ for the vulgar mind. A ship figures fre

For Mary, in a dream of night quently in the imagery of the dwellers along- A spirit stood by my right hand, shore :

And told with Him to take our flight

From Heraud's wrath to Egypt's land.” “ As I sat on a sunny bank, A sunny bank, a sunny bank,

Went forth the Holy Familie, As I sat on a sunny bank,

In sad procession thro' the town, On Christmas Day in the morning,

And reached the gate of El Gebre

Just as the red son sank adown ;I spied three ships come sailing by,

The sentry called out rough and wild : And who should be with those three ships ?

“Who goes there?” Joseph said: “Fair But Joseph and his fair lady,

cheer ! On Christmas Day in the morning.

This is my spouse, and this Her Child, “ O he did whistle and she did sing,

And me, I am a carpentere."
And all the bells on earth did ring
For joy that our Saviour they did bring

The soldier growled : “wood-spoiler, pass !” On Christmas Day in the morning.”

And, turning, clanked along his beat,

While Joseph led the bridled ass, Sometimes these water-poets soar out of the And happed a shawl 'round Mary's feet, descriptive into the higher region of romance.

And tucked well in the gentle boy

To keep his baby brow from damp, In one well-known Dutch effusion a laden

And then, heart-full of thankful joy, galiot comes into port with the Madonna Went on their way with steady tramp. on the quarter-deck, and an angel steering. In another the ship had a yet more illus- The night falls sudden in those climes, trious crew :

Stars' light was none, nor lightsome moon's,

But doleful sounds, like eerie rhymes,
“ Saint Michael was the steersman,

Came sighing from the sand lagunes ;
Saint John was in the horn,

As, keeping to the sandy track,
Our Lord harped, Our Lady sang,

They made some leagues upon their way,
And all the bells of Heaven they rang

Though earth met sky in brooding wrack, On Christ His Sunday morning.'

And overhead was misty grey. Many other monastic legends have been Blue and red, the colours of the Virgin, in which engrafted on the scriptural account, and are she is always pourtrayed. set forth in various rhymes of

lesser or greater Egypt is so generally represented as a night scene,

+ Joseph arose by night,” hence the flight into antiquity. The Flight into Egypt, although I usually, however, illumined by the moon and stars.

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