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Christmas was also preceded in Edinburgh, and all over the country, by the appearance of guisards or guiserts, young men and boys, who, in antic habiliments and masks (called in Edinburgh fause-faces), went round the houses in the evenings performing fragments of those legendary romances or religious moralities, which were once the only dramatic representations of Britain. Of the former, the general subject was Alexander theGreat, accompanied by two other kings, and several knights, who "said their say," fought their battle, and received their reward in the hospitalities of the season. The subject of the latter, I believe, was the well known one of the Abbot of Unreason, which the reader, curious in such matters, will find lively pictured in the romance of the Monastery. One of the masquers in this last, represented the Devil, with a formidable pair of horns; another personated Judas, designated by carrying the bag; and there was likewise a dialogue, fighting and restoring the slain to life at the conclusion of the piece. The opening of the scene commenced by the recital of a rhyme beginning thus:
Redd up stocks, redd up stools, Here comes in a pack of fools, &c. But the guising is now on the decline, and the older masquers have given place to young boys, who now carol the most common songs at the doors of the citizens for halfpence.
Another prelude to the approach of Christmas, was the appearance of flocks of geese, driven from the south to be massacred and eaten on this day. These, however, were chiefly destined for the solace of gentle stomachs, the prevailing Christmas dish among the common people and peasantry, being the national one of fat brose, otherwise denominated Yule brose. The large pot, in almost every family of this description, well provided with butcher meat, (if bullocks' heads or knee bones may be so called,) was put on the fire the previous evening, to withdraw the nutritive juices and animal oil from the said ingredients. Next day after breakfast, or at dinner, the brose was made, generally in a large punch-bowl, the mistress of the ceremonies dropping a gold ring among the oatmeal upon which the oily soup was poured. The family, or party, (for on these occasions there was generally a party of young people assembled) provided with spoons
and seated round the bowl, now began to partake of the half-boiling brose, on the understanding that the person who was so fortunate as to get the ring in their spoon, was to be first married.Reader, if you were ever young and unmarried, you must have felt what it would have been to be assured of not always living in unprofitable and unrespected celibacy; of moving through the world as unserviceable to its continuance, as half a pair of scissars, or the single lever of a pair of snuffers, which, according to the proverb, can neither clip nor cut. But I am tired of description; let the parties who enjoyed these scenes speak for themselves.
"Is a' the young folk come?" said old Mr Callimanky to his wife, as he entered his house, having left his shop in the Luckenbooths for the purpose of enjoying the brose in the persons of his children and their friends: "there's no muckle doing in the shop the day. Except three spats o' prins, and a remnant o' duffle for big-coats to the Laird o' Mosshag's dochters, 1 haena measured an ell o' claith sin' I gaed down."- "Ye're ne'er content wi' your selling," answered Mrs Callimanky; an ye were as gude at getting in, as ye are at gi'en out, we might hae been at the Citadel bathing this year, as weel as our neighbour the button-maker, and his yellow-faced dochters. Ye might hae been writing your accounts for half-an-hour langer, had ye liket; for Sandy's playing at the shinty wi' Geordy Bogle in the Krames, and the M'Guffies winna be here till twall, they're sae thrang cleaning currants." "Weel, I see I'm ower soon, sae I'll just gang down the length o' Gillespie's and hear the news till they a' gather," said Mr Callimanky.
Ye had better gang ben to the parlour and see what the weans are about," rejoined the lady; "Mr Columbus's auldest son's been there this good while, rampin wi' Jean and Margaret, and cuttin paper leddies to the young anes:-ye see I'm thrang wi' the pye that I promised them-them that eats, little kens the trouble aforehand." "Od, I'm glad ye've gotten young Mr Christopher wi' nae I'll ye; gang ther, he has sae muckle to say about auld-farrant things that happened lang ago."
Mr Callimanky saying this, immediately proceeded to the parlour, and
nade his entrée, while his eldest daugh-
-I've catched you at last!"
We had scarcely arranged ourselves in becoming order after this interruption, before old Miss Callimanky, a maiden sister of my friend, appeared, leading in Sandy with a bloody nose. He had been engaged in single combat with a boy in the street, who had unnecessarily interrupted his sport at the shinty. This was resented by Mr Alexander in a becoming manner, and a battle "ower the bannets" was the consequence, which, on the testimony of Geordy Bogle, I beg to say, was nothing discreditable to young Callimanky's courage, though claret, according to the modern phrase, was drawn on both sides. "Pit the muckle key down his back," said the old lady, "and that'll stop the bleeding. Ma wee man, I hope ye gied the little Heritor as gude as he's gien you." The house key was procured and put next his neck; the bleeding ceased, as Miss Callimanky the elder had predicted and a piece of shortbread, and a bawbee to buy snaps, soon effaced all remembrance of the battle.
The two Misses M'Guffie now appeared; "three muckle buns, which had to gang to the carrier's in the morning," being their apology for not appearing earlier at the fishing of the ring in the kail-brose. Mrs Callimanky having, it would seem, finished her apple-pye, " ready to send to the baker's," now made her entrance, followed by a girl with the meal-can. The punch-bowl was placed on the table; a sufficient quantity of oatmeal was deposited in it; a gold ring dropped among the meal; and the bowl was taken away to have the necessary liquid supplied from the muckle pat. The bowl was placed on the table, and all hands grasped their spoons. "Tak care, and no burn yoursells, bairns," said Mrs Callimanky, as she endeavoured to repress an eagerness which might have been followed by a scalded mouth; "just take time-some o' you maun get the ring."-" See, aunty Betty, Meg's takin twa soups for my ane," said Miss Callimanky.-" Ye maun just sup faster, Jean," was the reply." I've gottin't," cried Miss Susan M'Guffie, as she was blowing a hardened piece of meal between her teeth.-The supping was suspended for a moment.-"Eh no, it's just a knot o' meal.”
The search commenced with greater eagerness. "Aunty, will ye no try't?" said Sandy to old Miss Callimanky; 4 S
"Ye're no married yet, ye ken.""Me married, my dear! trowth na; after refusing Mr M‘Scrankie the writer, and Deacon Fell, besides entering into a correspondence wi' Dominie Boyd, that was afterwards a minister, and mony a ane mae that I could name, it wadna set me to houk men out o❜a brose-bicker at this time o' day." "Tuts, Betty," answered Mr Callimanky, "the bairn's but jokin; tak a spoon and be like the rest. There's nae saying where a blessing maylight. Sandy M'Scrankie's neither dead nor married yet; and mony a ane aulder than you gangs afore the minister." -"Aulder than me, brither! what do ye mean? It'ill no be the better for either you or yours suld I change my condition."
Miss Betty, however, allowed herself to be persuaded, and began to dig in the mine for husbands with the eagerness of one who had not yet lost hope. She had not emptied many spoonfuls, before her teeth arrested something of a harder texture than oatmeal; and in the act of chewing to ascertain its quality, the said body stuck fast in the hollow of an old tooth. "Gude preserve me, what's this!" mumbled out Mrs Betty, in an agony of pain, the tears starting from her eyes as she hastened to apply a handkerchief to her mouth. Our aunty's gotten the ring," roared out a little fellow who observed the incident, "our aunty's gotten the ring, and she has it in her mouth-spit it out, aunty!"
The appearance of the old lady, and the assertions of the boy, put a stop to further search. "Wae worth your ring and your brose too, they've gien me a rheumatism in my chafts," continued aunty Betty; for she would have counted it a heresy had any one hinted that her teeth were failing; "I wish I had your ring out o' my mouth.""Can ye no get it out, Betty? let me see where it is sticking,” said Mr Callimanky.—“ Miss Betty will haud a good grip, I warrant ye, when it's in her power," remarked Mrs Callimanky, with a laugh; "she'll no tyne the haud, gie her't wha will." Aunty Betty, at the risk of exposing her deficiencies in mark of mouth, was glad,
however, to allow an examination which should rid her of the incumbrance and pain. "I see it now," said her brother, as with spectacles to assist his vision he was searching the round of
her open mouth; "it's a yellow thing, but it's no a ring gape wider and I'll pu'd out till ye.' The article, which proved to be a small button, was now extracted, amidst the laughter of the younger part of the company, who were not sorry that Mrs Betty had failed in securing a help-mate upon the present occasion. "How's the button gotten among the meal?" said Mrs Callimanky, who now got posses sion of the brass article. The thing was unaccountable, till Sandy cried out-"Eh, mother, as sure as ony thing the button's mine, see it's come aff the sleeve o' my jacket."
Miss Betty retired from the contest, and the youthful candidates again began, with unwearied application, to the double task of searching and eating. The large bowl was pretty well emptied of its contents, and conjecture was at work in supposing that some of the company, with sufficient plenitude of throat, might have unconsciously swal lowed the landlady's ring, when Miss Callimanky was fortunate enough to secure the actual prize. "Weel done, Jean," said her papa, as she held the ring in triumph between her fingers; “that's just as it should be- the auldest aye first." -" Jeanie, gie's a kiss, my dear," said her mamma; " ye deserve a man, and I hope ye'll get a good one." Aunty Betty, in spite of her defeat, also congratulated her fa vourite niece; and "Jean's gaun to be married!" was sung out by the younger branches in full chorus, "and we'll a' get gloves and new frocks, and sweet-things, and the piano to oursells." The Misses McGuffie, however, were not over much pleased at the result. "She ken't weel where to find it," whispered the one. "It's a' nonsense to think that finding a ring's to gar ony body be married," said the other. "'Deed, it's perfect nonsense, said Mr Callimanky, in a tone of consolation; "howsomever, I've often seen the thing happen for a' that." Conjecture was now at work to find out who was to be the happy "They'll no be ill to please," whis pered the elder Miss M'Guffie to her sister. “They'll ne'er rue their bargain but ance, and that's aye," replied
"Div ye no think that Mr Christopher there and our Jean wad make a very good match, my dear?" said Mrs Callimanky to her spouse, "Stand up, Jean, and measure wi
Mr Christopher," answered her papa; they'll no make an ill match, after '," said he, as Miss Jean and I were arranged back to back; " but let them please themselves." The young lady seemed not much displeased with the arrangement which had been chalked out for her; and as we stood back to back, I thought I felt her press her head gently to mine, as much as to say, "Christopher, what do you say to all his?" Miss Jean, though a very good girl, happened to be rather dumpy for ny taste in female beauty; and I cannot but say, if the old people had hought it proper, that I should have referred Miss Margaret for my profered partner in life, as she was both younger and taller, and in my apprehension much prettier than her sister. However, I had by some accident put ip my hand to feel our difference in height, which was asserted by Mr Calimanky to be a scrimpit quarter," by his sister to be "little more than a andbreadth,” and by Mrs Calliman‹y to be “ just a nail," and the young ady, probably to ascertain the same act, reached up her hand at the same noment. Aunty Betty, who had now completely recovered from the spasm ccasioned by the button, and who, it was reported, was to leave her pose to Miss Jean, should she die unmarried, observed the occurrence with woman's keen eye for observation, and immeliately called the attention of the company to the incident, by crying aloud, See, they're joining hands already! Gudewife, we maun hae a glass o' your best to the health of the young couple." Miss Callimanky's hand and mine were withdrawn in confusion; she blushing like a rose, and my face (for I blushed too) like a full-blossomed carnation. Cake and wine were produced; the healths of the day went round, with pointed allusion to the projected alliance; and I was not allowed to depart without a promise to come up exactly at three, and tak a slice o' beef, and taste the goose and the apple-pye, which were the eatable attractions of the day. I escorted the
Misses M'Guffie home, and though they did not venture openly to say anything to the disadvantage of my proffered spouse, they pretty broadly insinuated, in a general way, that "handless taupies, wha couldna set their hands to a turn, but play upon pianos, and read Shakespeare's novels and Smollett's plays, might do very weel for a gentleman o' fortune," but were not likely to contribute much to the happiness of those to whom domestic economy was an object worth caring for.
I returned to my dinner as invited; the Misses M'Guffie came to tea at six, and we passed a very amusing evening "gieing guesses," expounding riddles, in music, singing, and dancing. Time slipped away so unperceivedly, that I was not aware it was ten o'clock, till Mrs Callimanky, upon the striking of that hour in St Giles's, gave us the hint to depart by saying, "Now, sirs, there's nane o' you to gang awayye'll just stay and tak a rizzered haddie." I was proof, however, against the temptation; and having deposited the M'Guffies in Baillie Fife's Close, I closed the celebration of Christmas by going home.
In the country the same day was held much in the same manner, but there all work was suspended, and the ceremonies began by a public breakfast, supported by lunches and drams in the forenoon, and terminated by a dinner and dance, at which Christmas ale (generally brewed for the purpose) was not spared. Some traits of religious feeling, however, still mix with the observance of Christmas in the country; and it is a received opinion among the simple inhabitants, that at twelve o'clock on Christmas eve, all the bees in the hives may be heard singing the advent of the Saviour of the world. Naturalists say, that this will or will not happen, as the temperature is high or low; but one almost regrets the investigations which dissipate a superstition so amiable, as that of believing that all nature expresses her gratulations at an event which is of importance to man alone.
REMARKS ON SHELLEY'S ADONAIS,
An Elegy on the Death of JOHN KEATS, Author of Endymion, &c.
BETWEEN thirty and forty years ago, the Della Crusca school was in great force. It poured out monthly, weekly, and daily, the whole fulness of its raptures and sorrows in verse, worthy of any "person of quality." It revelled in moonlight, and sighed with evening gales, lamented over plucked roses, and bid melodious farewells to the last butterfly of the season.' The taste prevailed for a time; the more rational part of the public, always a minority, laughed and were silent; the million were in raptures, and loud in their raptures. The reign of "sympathy" was come again, poetry, innocent poetry, had at length found out its true language. Milton and Dryden, Pope and the whole ancestry of the English Muse, had strayed far from nature. They were a formal and stiff-skirted generation, and their fame was past and forever. The trumpet of the morning paper, in which those "inventions rich" were first promulgated, found an echo in the more obscure fabrications of the day, and milliners' maids and city apprentices pined over the mutual melancholies of Arley and Matilda. At length, the obtrusiveness of this tuneful nonsense grew insupportable; a man of a vigorous judgment shook off his indolence, and commenced the long series of his services to British literature, by sweeping away, at a brush of his pen, the whole light-winged, humming, and loving population. But in this world folly is immortal; one generation of absurdity swept away, another succeeds to its glories and its fate. The Della Crusca school has visited us again, but with some slight change of localities. Its verses now transpire at one time from the retreats of Cockney dalliance in the London suburbs; sometimes they visit us by fragments from Venice, and sometimes invade us by wainloads from Pisa. In point of subject and execution, there is but slight difference; both schools are "smitten with nature, and nature's love," run riot in the intrigues of anemonies, daisies, and buttercups, and rave to the "rivulets proud, and the deep blushing stars." Of the individuals in both establishments, we
are not quite qualified to speak, from the peculiarity of their private habits; but poor Mrs Robinson and her correspondents are foully belied, if their moral habits were not to the full as pure as those of the Godwinian colony, that play "the Bacchanal beside the Tuscan sea.' But we must do the defunct Della Crusca the justice to say, that they kept their private irregu larities to themselves, and sought for no reprobate popularity, by raising the banner to all the vicious of the community. They talked nonsense without measure, were simple down to the lowest degree of silliness, and "babbled of green fields" enough to make men sicken of summer, but they were not daring enough to boast of impu rity; there was no pestilent hatred of every thing generous, true, and ho nourable; no desperate licentiousness in their romance; no daring and fiendlike insult to feeling, moral ties, and Christian principle. They were foolish and profligate, but they did not deliver themselves, with the steady de votedness of an insensate and black ambition, to the ruin of society.
We have now to speak of Mr P. B. Shelley and his poem. Here we must again advert to the Della Crusca One of the characteristics of those childish persons was, the restless interest which they summoned the public to take in every thing belonging to their own triviality. If Mrs Robin son's dog had a bad night's repose, it was duly announced to the world; Mr Merry's accident in paring his nails solicited a similar sympathy; the falling off of Mrs R.'s patch, at the last ball, or the stains on Mr M.'s fulldress coat, from the dropping of a chandelier, came before the earth, with praise-worthy promptitude. All within their enchanted ring was perfection; but there the circle of light and darkness was drawn, and all beyond was delivered over to the empire of Dulness and Demogorgon. The New School are here the humble imitators of those original arbiters of human fame.
Keats, a young man who had The present story is thus:-A Mr a decent calling for the melancholy