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Full text of "Christmas comes but once a year : showing what Mr. Brown did, thought, and intended to do, during that festive season"

CHILDREN'S BOOK 
COLLECTION 

* 

LIBRARY OF THE 
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA 
LOS ANGELES 



c Jtybrh 

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA 
LOS ANGELES 



Collection of 
ChiWrcn's J5ooks 



JOHN BROWN ESQ 

AS HE APPEARTD EVERY 





SHOWING WHAT 

MR, BROWN DID, THOUGHT, AND INTENDED TO DO, 

DURING THAT FESTIVE SEASON. 

NOW FIRST EDITED FROM THE ORIGINAL MSS. ( MESS ) . 

OJlitf) liotrs antr Illustrations 
BY LUKE LIMNER, ESQ. 



LONDON: 
WILLIAM TEGG AND CO., 85, QUEEN STREET, CHEAPSIDE. 

M.DCCC.L. 



Sobers, 



JOHN BROWN, ESQ. Citizen of London and Suburban Snob. 

JOHN BROWN, JUN., ESQ. "Fast Gent;" Son and Heir to ttie above "Brick /" I believe you, 

my boys, rattier ! 
MASTER THOMAS BROWN. Apple of Ids Mother's eye " her Tommy-wommy" " lier dear 

boy" " her jewel of a pet" 
CAPTAIN BONAVENTURE DE CAMP. Officer, late of the Hon. E. I. Co's. Service, but now at 

the service of any one. 
LATIMER DE CAMP. Master of (He) Arts; Elder Son of the above, of Nobodynose College, 

Oxford. 

WELLESLEY DE CAMP. Cadet of Sandboys Military College. 

SOAVO SPOHP. Composer; Organist at St. Stiff's the Martyr; Mr. Brown's ex-friend. 
JOHN (BROWN). Footman to John Brown, Esq. ; late Private in the Hthfoot. 
TOBIAS STRAP. Grocer in Greens, Landlord to Mr. Spohf, and Supernumerary help to any body. 
ICHABOD STRAP. (Son of his sire) commonly called " Alphonso* but sometimes "Buttons." 
MRS. BENIGMA BROWN. Rib of John Brown, Esq. Ruler of his roast and boiled. 
Miss JEMIMA BROWN. - Eligible Young Ladies very so to any one inclined to a matter- 
Miss ANGELINA BROWN. J o'-money-all alliance. 

LADY LUCRETIA DE CAMP. Spouse of "the Captain ;" Lady in her own right (and wrong). 
DEBORAH STRAP. (Consort of T. S. above) Pue-packer at St. Stiffs the Martyr. 
Guests, Cooks, Maids, Lanthorn-bearers, extra Flunkeys, Police, $c., Sfc., $c., $c. 
SCENE. Victoria and Albert Villas, Mizzlington, near London. 
TIME. Christmas. 



ILfet of 



PAGE 

JOHN BROWN, ESQ., AS HE APPEARED EVERY EVENING Frontispiece. 

THE CAROL " TIDINGS OP COMFORT AND JOY ! " 1 

THE WAITS SERENADING VICTORIA AND ALBERT VILLAS 5 

CHRISTMAS EVE THE MARKET BROWN BUYING HOLLY 13 

CHRISTMAS DINNERS GOOD LIVING, AT LEAST, ONCE A YEAR ]8 

THE PUDDING, AS IT OUGHT TO HAVE APPEARED 23 

BRINGING IN THE YULE-LOG 25 

BOXING-DAY THE BEADLE OFFENDED 28 

THE PANTOMIME " HERE WE ARE AGAIN ! " 34 

THE COMPLIMENTS OF THE SEASON (A COLD) 40 

THE QUADRILLE CAVALIER SEUL 57 

THE STAIR-CASE CAPTAIN DE CAMP AND THE WALL- FLOWER 63 

FORFEITS THE DOUBLE TOILET 80 

THE CHRISTMAS TREE PRESENTATION OF FRUIT 83 

MUMMERY TRICK OF THE OLD DAME 84 

KITCHEN CONVERSATION 92 




THE SMROL, 

TIDINGS Or COMFORT & JOY. 




ERY cold, very bleak ; the thermometer and snow 
are falling fast; eggs and suet are rising faster; 
everything at this season is " prized/' and every 
body apprizes everybody else of the good they 
wish them, "A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A 
HAPPY NEW YEAR ! " Even the shivering caroller, for " it is 
a poor heart that never rejoices," is yelling forth the " tidings of 
comfort and joy." The snow that descends, making park and 
common alike topping palace and pigsty, now crowns the semi 
detached villas, Victoria and Albert. They were erected from the 



2 CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 

designs of John Brown, Esq. and his architect (or builder), and 
are considered a fine specimen of compo-cockney-gothic, in which 



-.$, - - 




the constructor has made the most of his materials ; for, to save 
digging, he sank the foundation in an evacuated pond, and, as an 
antidote to damp, used wood with the dry-rot the little remaining 
moisture being pumped out daily by the domestics. The floors are 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 3 

delightfully springy, having cracks to precipitate the dirt, and are 
sloped towards the doorways, so that the furniture is perpetually 
trying to walk out of the rooms ; but those apertures are ingeniously 
planned to prevent the evil the doors obstinately refusing to open at 
all, without force. That the whole may not appear too light, few 
windows are introduced. By casual observers the Victoria and Albert 
would be taken for one so united are they ; and had we not seen 
the parting division, we should have doubted also. Of the entrance 
lodges, we have noticed one of the chimneys smoking periodically ; 
and, from the mollient white vapour issuing over the window at 
such times, presume Victoria is washing, whilst Albert is locked 
up and doing nothing. 

Their lord and master is John Brown, Esq., Director of the Dept- 
ford Direct, the Stag Assurance, and Churchwarden of this parish 
St. Stiff the Martyr, a portly upright man ; for had he not been so 
erect, to balance a " fair round belly," he would have toppled on his 
nose. Everybody said that he was clever, too and, moreover, always 
thought so ; for luck had made our friend a rising man amongst the 
suburban aristocracy of Mizzling ton. Of Mrs. Brown, she is his 
match, and portly too ; though older and more crusty a crummy 
dame, to whom her lord must bow ; for, upon his hinting at duty, 
and an obedient wife's commanding her husband, she ordered him 
off, reading the adage as a woman ought. Of the Misses Brown, 
Jemima and Angelina, they are decidedly getting old for young 



4t CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 

ladies, having been "out" for some time; and, like the back num 
bers of an old periodical, are not the more interesting or marketable 
for it. Of the sons, the elder, John Brown, jun., is spoiling himself 




by patronising all that is " fast ; " whilst the younger is being edu 
cated for a faster age, being spoilt first by his mother. 

Having characterised the Brown family, we will now introduce 
you to the first scene of this domestic drama. Victoria Villa a 
dormitory midnight; in the back ground may be seen and heard 




OFTLY O'ER THE , SENSES SttAL 



CHRISTMAS -COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 5 

a lady in a rich mellow snore, whilst distant music the Christmas 
Waits, is " softly o'er the senses stealing," and loud in the promise 
of " a good time coming," provided you will " wait a little longer." 
Mr. Brown is seated at the dressing-table, making up his Diary, or 
rather trying to cram the events of twenty-four hours into the leaf 
of a pocket-book, five and a half inches by three and a quarter his 
usual custom before rest: 

"DECEMBER 21st, Friday. Advertised in this day's 'Times,' to 
let Albert, furnished, from the 25th, with use of servants, if re 
quired (double-house and household at half-price grand effect united 
with economy). Tommy came home from Dr. Tor tern's, with holi 
day-letter, bill, and wonderful crop of hair considering it costs 
me five shillings per quarter to cut ; brimstone and treacle, under 
head medicine, charged ten and six ; firing and broken windows, 
two pounds; &c.: what most unlucky things turn up on a Friday! 
I much wish I had not advertised Albert to-day no one will come." 
With these observations, and a consolatory grumble about Christmas 
coming but once a year, Mr. Brown seeks repose beside his consort ; 
whilst the Waits make the lowing wind, the frigid vegetation, and 
the rattling shutters, dance again to the " Bridal Polka." 

Sweet sleep and morning dawns. The Browns depart, as is their 
daily custom, by the omnibus the elder to chat inside, the younger 
to smoke out; and both to business in the city. Whilst, at home, 
Master Tommy displays the " advancement made in his studies" as 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 



the holiday-letter states, by practising writing in the " Book of 
Beauty;" his knowledge of natural history, by attempting to rear 
gold-fish (like eels) in sand; searching for the tick in an eight-day 

clock ; setting bits of raw beef 
in the back garden, that the 
portion (like potatoes) might 
grow to young bullocks; fill 
ing the bellows' snout with 
gunpowder, that they may 
blow the fire up ; putting 
the cat in walnut-shells upon 
the icy pond, and himself in 
the middle of it ; playing 
racket in the drawing-room ; 
and constructing a snow man 
against the back-door to fall 
in upon Sarah, almost frightening her to death; and many other 
experimental, philosophical tricks, too numerous to mention. 

During this day the semi-detached is besieged by a lady and gen 
tleman in search of a home. The gentleman, dressed in a very tight 
frock-coat, dusty and worn ; a highly-glazed cap, the strap of which 
dangled above a tuft of hair, that graced his chin, its peak resting 
upon the tip of his nose, affording him little more than a view of 
his boots, with a portion of the hose protruding therefrom ; his 




CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 



tightly -strapped trowsers carrying a broad stripe, of which he appear 
ed proud, being engaged in the manufacture of many more in other 
parts, by knocking the dust out of them with a slight cane ; of his 
gloves, they seemed 
determined to end 
their days in their 
normal state, and 
to produce neither 
inits nor finger 
stalls. The couple 
looking very limp 
and tumbled ; a 
thing duly apolo 
gised for, and not 
to be wondered at 
having just ar 
rived from abroad. 
Mrs. Brown being 

much taken with the gentleman for he curried favour by stroking 
only the way of the grain. So, with Lady Lucretia, Captain de 
Camp, of the Hon. East India Company's Service, from Madras 
awaiting his luggage, is at home in the Albert, having given him 
self a character that satisfied Mrs. Brown ; for, he omitted the ob 
jectionable parts (fearing they might distress that good lady), like 




8 CHRISTMAS COMES BUT OXCE A YEAR. 

the woman with a large family, who, finding it impossible to get 
lodgings, sent her children among the graves ; that, when asked, she 
might say, with a sigh, " Alas ! they are all in the churchyard." 

That evening Mrs. Brown's rich mellow snore commenced later 
than usual for she had been loud and long in the praise of their 
new neighbours. Mr. Brown making entry against DECEMBER 22nd, 
Saturday. That Albert was let : whilst, the Waits were playing the 
" Phantom Dancers," and Captain de Camp busy, there, screwing 
his empty trunk to the floor, that it might appear heavy, and full 
of valuables ; and whilst, between the villas in the rear, there might 
be seen a glimmering candle, and by that light be found one not 
unknown to Brown a poor little musician, in a little second-floor 
room, containing a little organ much too large for it, and a litter 
of dirty soft papers, who is not a little perplexed at a note, 
from Mrs. Brown, dispensing with his services: he, the poor little 
music-master, more amiable than handsome, less symmetrical than 
serviceable ; who had, in less favoured times, contracted friend 
ship, and to teach the Misses Brown music at thirty shillings 
per quarter who had gotten so familiar as to love had dared 
to offer that person Nature had deformed, with that mind Nature 
had adorned, to Miss Jemima Brown. There was a time when 
his anecdotes had been prized, and his long, delicate, white fingers 
kept playing to perpetual dancers ; and that fine voice, Nature 
had bestowed in lieu of symmetry, sang the merriest and most 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 9 

sentimental songs for love : the retrospect is too much for poor 
Spohf so he seeks refuge in his organ, much to the annoyance of 
a little tailor in the attic, who has no soul in him save the sole 
he had for supper. 




Sunday. The perpetual bell of 'St. Stiff the Martyr is calling 
to service, as it is wont to do at all times and hours for 
mysterious purposes but little known : it seems as if the bell 
disliked its little wooden cottage, on the unfinished spire ; or was 
inspired, or in a towering passion to live in a tower, or saw no 
fun in waiting for funds ; and so, continually pealed an appeal 



10 CHRISTMAS COMES BCT ONCE A YEAR. 

to the public : however, it was a puny, little, curious bell, with 
a tongue of its own, now clacking for a charity sermon ; and, 
curiously, Mr. Brown thinks a charity sermon always edifies him 
with the headache, and is doubtful about going, as they make him 
a reluctant giver for mere vain show ; but he, curiously, wonders 
where the De Camps go ; and, curiously, Victoria and Albert 
meet at the gate ; and, curiously, the family pue, at St. Stiff's, 
seems capable of accommodating them. 

Mr. Spohf, the little organist, being perched up aloft, sees, 
through the curtain, the Christmas holly and the Captain taking 
care to mark that individual with mental chalk. The musician's 
eyes are in the Brown pue ; but the eyes that used to meet them 
are turned another way all favour is centred upon their spurious 
exotic, who grows thicker, twines tighter, and takes deeper root, 
the more he is encouraged: of the species, or genus, we cannot 
do better than quote Mr. B.'s own words, written against DECEMBER 
23rd, Sunday (whilst the Waits, as usual, were serenading the 
semi-detached, in a full conviction of its being Monday, and the 
possibility of " living and loving together," and " being happy 
yet"). " To church with my new tenant, who is delightful company : 
Lady Lucre, says he is a ' refined duck,' a ' gentlemanly angel,' 
and a" { manly poppet : ' to which I made answer, that I thought 
so too ; and that she was a ' seraphine concert.' Sermon, by the 
Rev. Loyalla a Becket, 'in aid of funds for supplying the poor, 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 11 

during this inclement but festive season, with food for the mind.' 
Captain de Camp did borrow a sovereign of me, to put in the 
plate ; and I was told by my fellow-churchwarden, Mr. Flyntflayer, 
that he did put in a bad shilling, wrapt in paper, and did take 
out fifteen shillings in change: this, I said was untrue as, of 
course, it was ; having lent him a sovereign myself, for the express 
purpose. We are to have Captain de C.'s two noble sons here, 
during the holidays ; one, I believe, comes from Oxford, and the 
other from Sandboys Military College: now is the time Jemy. 
and Angel, must be on the alert, for 

' There is a tide in the affairs of women, 
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to matrimony ; 
Omitted, all the voyage of their life 
Is bound in shallows, and in spinstcrliood. 
On such a full sea are we now afloat; 
And we must take the current when it serves, 
Or lose our ventures.' " 

Monday, the 24th December's sun rises in a fog : everybody has 
lost the day of the week, and come upon what appears an infinity 
of Saturdays rolled into one beginning the week with a grand 
end, for it is the advent of Christmas ! 

The Masters de Camp arrive as was expected. Cadet Wellesley 
exhibiting his military accomplishments by surveying the back field; 
all the holes and corners; riddling the sty and pigs with Mr. 
Brown's blunderbuss ; bivouacking in the pantry at Victoria's ex- 



12 CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 

pence ; and, when remonstrated with, for mere sport knocking the 
plaster Albert off the garden wall into the lane. Mr. Latimer 
de Camp introduces himself more civilly, as Miss Jemima is play 
ing and singing (of course for practice), by accompanying " How 
happy could I be with either," on the wooden partition with his 
thumb, after the fashion of a tambarine. 

This is the annual busy day. Packets and parcels are being deli 
vered unceasingly by uncommonly civil butcher-boys, graceful gro 
cers, and urbanic green-grocers, who are near enough to boxing-day to 
know that silver on the tongue is necessary to charm silver from the 
pocket. The Captain has sent to learn if any consignments are for him, 
to ask the loan of a pack of cards, and Victoria's company to spend 
the evening at the Albert which invitation is graciously accepted. 

It is eve Christmas-eve. Mrs. Brown's candied mixture, the 
pudding, is simmering in the copper; the turkey, chine, and hun 
dred etceteras are on their way from Plumpsworth ; while Captain 
de Camp's baggage is at the very wildest verge of that gentleman's 
imagination, and its appearance would have surprised him more 
than any one else, so speculative was it. 

Mr. Brown is in the City, homeward bound by the omnibus, 
intending to realize "a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year." 
It is so foggy that he finds he is going at an invisible pace, obliging 
him to abandon the invisible vehicle in an invisible street, paying 
an invisible fare. 



IV. 
















EVE. 



: OOC IN PE'R- 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 



13 



He ties a handkerchief round his foot to prevent slipping; and 
has something "short" to keep out the cold; and a little brandy- 
punch to keep out the fog ; and a little egg-flip to keep him 
warm ; and a link that he may see the way, for his vision is not very 




distinct; his head is delightfully buoyant, his optics inclined to 
multiply, and his legs very refractory, having a great desire to 
dance or go sideways, but obstinately refusing, in their eccentricity, 
to proceed in a straight line; for Mr. Brown is more* merry than 
particular taking Newgate Market in his way home to Mizzling- 
ton from the 'Change. Having a great veneration for old customs, 
he buys a boar's head there and boy to carry it; next, being taken 
with a crockery-shop-sign, " The Little Bason" (which, by-the-bye, 
was a very large one), he purchases that also, thinking it will do 
for a wassail-bowl ; likewise some holly ; and an old butcher's-block 

c 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT OtfCE A YEAR. 



to serve as the yule-log ; not forgetting the last new Christmas book 
of sympathy and sentiment, " The Black Beetle on the Hob," a faery 
tale of a register-stove, by the author of the " Old Hearth Broom and 

the Kettle-Holder : " With 
these articles Mr. Brown and 
his retinue reach home in 
safety a miracle, consider 
ing the toast and ale they 
have consumed, the Holly 
being jolly, the Bason groggy, 
the Log stupid, and the Boar 
pig-headed. They find Vic 
toria deaf; for Mr. Brown has 
made her little gothic door to 
shiver, and the bolts to chat 
ter with the blows, yet none 
respond; for the servants are 
very jovial over boiled ale in 
the crypt little thinking or 

caring about their master ; who, after having rung all the bells singly, 
walked backwards, surveyed the windows, tumbled over the block, and 
endangered the wassail-bowl, tries ringing all the bells at once without 
avail ; so enters by the back window, and performs a dexterous sum 
merset down the stairs, in company with some evergreens and a flower- 




CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 15 

stand, ending- in a series of double knocks performed upon the inside 
of the door with the back of his head, and a cuffing from Mr. Brown 
junior, who happens to be coming in with the key, taking his respected 
governor for a burglar. 

The Browns are next door : Victoria is fraternizing with Albert, 
and both are exceedingly happy, although the latter has won greatly at 
the game of speculation having played his cards well ; so, Mr. Brown, 
after being packed in brown paper, steeped in vinegar, and well soda- 
watered, joins the social party ; finding Captain de Camp busy con 
cocting an extraordinary oriental mixture (the name of which we quite 
forget) out of old bottles, from Victoria's cellar ; and telling a tre 
mendous Eastern story of a tiger captured in a jungle, after a chase 
of ten hours he should have said minutes, in a penny magazine ! 

Mr. Brown and the Captain soon became familiar in twenty 
minutes you would have thought them friends of twenty years : so, 
before the last speculator had invested his last weekly sixpence 
in a goose-club, and drawn the last adamantine old gander ; or 
the last Christmas-pudding-sweep swept away the chimerical pud 
dings, that ought to have been very rich, and everybody thought 
everybody else had won ; before the last trader, who had sold 
out, dared to mount a notice, intimating that he had joined an 
" Association to suppress Christmas-boxes," the Browns and De 
Camps had attained that state denominated "thick" an appellation 
that might, with propriety, have been applied to Mr. Brown's 



16 CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 

brains ; for he had obliged Captain de Camp by discounting a 
bill, due twelve days after date (Christmas), and had invited him 
to dine on the morrow, to partake of the poultry, that always came 
up at Christmas, from Plumpsworth ; and was taken out in a visit 
made by the worthy donor, Great-uncle Clay clod, during the "May- 
meetings," when he does a dozen shilling exhibitions in a day, and 
knocks up a fly-horse. So, rather late to bed ; Mr. Brown making 
up his Diary, as usual, on the dressing-table a rule he always 
observed, though, in some cases, it would have been better left 
until the morning ; for, against December 24th, Tuesday, we find 
his feelings richly expressed in cramped caligraphy, upside down, 
bearing evident marks of excitement ; having been penned in a 
dream with hair-dye, mistaken for ink ; pounced with carmine, and 
blotted with the small -tooth -comb in lieu of paper ; it is, moreover, 
curious for its allegorical allusions likening Captain de Camp to a 
" brick," a " downey card," a " sharp file," and several other inanimate 
poetical images. 

Of our mild friend, Spohf, he is sleeping soundly upon a light 
supper obtained from " St. Stiff's dairy "some very thin milk, di 
vested of all unctuous quality that having gone to an epicure 
Captain, at the Albert Villa. Poor Spohfs talent has not put 
many talents in his purse these real racing times run over genius ! 
they would tunnel Helicon, turn Hippocrene to flush a city's drains, 
make Pegasus serve letters by carrying a post-boy, and, in the 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 



17 



end, sell the noble beast for feline food : everything now must be 
tangible. The little organist, who had spent so many a Merry 
Christmas with the Browns he has no pleasure to anticipate on 
the morrow, except the per 
formance of his new hymn, 
" The Star of Bethlehem," a 
composition of which the lit 
tle tailor in the attic thought 
small things, for it did not 
compose him to sleep. 

The 25th of December ar 
rives. The festival of the year 
has come. Christmas-day com 
mences with the rising of the 
cook, who finished the even 
ing, kneading and gaping over 
pies and puddings ; and wakes 
with the same operation, gap 
ing and kneading her eyes, 
which do not fairly open until 

she comes to look after her " 8AFE BI ~ SAFE >-" 

first care the pudding: the fire, having been made up over night, 
is discovered a " beauty ; " but, behold, within the copper, the pud 
ding has dissolved ! there is nothing to be found but a cloth, which 




18 CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 

must have been boiling all night in a rich plum-soup, the string 
having come untied; or rather, never been tied at all, but popped 
in by Mrs. B. without attending to that operation : a piece of 
neglect, for which the cook gets "warning," and all the servants 
rated until the bells of St. Stiff's remind Mrs. B. that it is time 
to depart, for the duties of a Christian, to eschew all the vanities 
of this wicked world, in a rich purple Genoa velvet paletot and 
duck of a plum bonnet. That day Mr. Churchwarden Brown's pue 
would not hold all, so Mrs. Strap, the pue-opener, had to manoeuvre 
by appropriating part of another to their use, losing her Christmas- 
box for the offence against its owner, Mr. Din, the copper-smith. 

Mr. Spohf s Christmas hymn is much liked, and is really so fine 
as to make that essence of gentleness, himself, temporarily egotistical ; 
he wonders what impression it has made upon Miss Jemima, and 
the strange gentleman who is so attentive to her could he do as 
much? But Mr. Latimer de Camp is heedless of other good things 
flying about him ; for, upon the walk home after service, among the 
savoury Christmas dinners that are hurrying in every direction, he 
is so abstracted as to find a sucking-pig in his stomach, and not 
a little gravy spilt upon his trowsers, compelling him to change them, 
upon his arrival at home, for a neat pair of young Brown's. 

Mr, Spohf, having played all out of St. Stiff the Martyr, walks 
home moodily : instead of finding his dinner as usual, the chop and 
potato, he learns that his landlord, Mr. Strap, the greengrocer, has 





llvinot 



a 






CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 19 

stopped the supplies. It is quarter-day! Strap thinks of the five 
weeks' arrears, and Mr. Spohf's inability to pay for his lodgings; 
so, Mr. and Mrs. Strap have surprised him, by preparing a huge 
leg of mutton and pudding ; for they know he does not, as of old, 
go to the " Wilier." After this humble repast, which was relished 
as much as any could be, and was far less likely to leave unpleasant 
sensations than if it had been more costly, they draw round the 
fire ; and master Ichabod Strap, one of the choristers of St. Stiff 
the Martyr, is playing with a shilling, polishing the coin upon his 
sleeve it is the identical one said to have been put in the 
plate by Captain de Camp, and given by Mr. Flyntflayer (the gen 
tleman who held the gothic platter) to Mrs. Strap, the pue-opener, 
advising her at the same time to nail it to the counter a counter 
feit to deter " smashers." But, somehow, the coin seemed doomed 
to remain unholy, for no orifice or artifice could have rendered it 
a lucky one ; it was shown to Mr. Spohf, who thought it bad, and 
that it might have gotten into the plate by mistake ; Mrs. Strap 
knew it bad an intentional perpetration, and, like the giver, not 
worth a dump ; Mr. Strap not only thought it bad, but proved it 
so ; for, after having spun, sounded, and eaten a portion of it, he 
cast the coin into the glowing fire, where the silver quickly changed, 
dropping, like quick-silver, among the ashes, to be picked out by 
Ichabod, very unlike a sterling coin. 

Old Strap, who had taken " the pledge," but since introduced an 



20 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT OJS T CE A YEAR. 



exceptional clause in favour of feasts and festivals, 
gets out the black bottle for fraternity's sake. 
They take a pipe a-piece, and so softened is the 
little organist with their genuine unsophisticated 
kindness, that he sees all his cares fly, and nothing 
but joys in the wreathed curls of smoke be- ^- 
taking themselves up the chimney: ~- 
he sees Messrs. Blow ^ 




CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 21 

and Grumble, the eminent organ-builders, making a fortune by his 
"new movement;" having purchased and patented it: he has found a 
publisher for his church music, and sold his old opera. Captain de 
Camp has vanished in smoke he has exploded of spontaneous com 
bustion, they find him all deceit, leaving a glass eye and a cork leg. 
Mr. Latimer gets the Colonial Bishopric of Bushantee, in New Zealand, 
and cuts Miss Jemima. Mr. Wellesley having gone to India for glory, 
returns with it, a hook, and a patch over his eye. Miss Angelina 
vows to die a virgin. Mr. Brown says to Mr. Spohf, " my son ! " Mr. 
Spohf says to Mr. Brown, " my father !" Mr. Strap is standing in tri 
umph upon a pyramid of " carpets to beat," viewing a lesser one of 
"boots to brush;" having been entrusted with more "messages" than 
mortal ever could " deliver ; " whilst innumerable vans, bearing the name 
of Strap, traverse innumerable roads in " Town and Country." Mrs. 
Strap, dressed in a plain plum silk, turns a mahogany mangle, and 
gets up nothing but "fine things." Ichabod has cut the choir, and 
made his debut in an opera as Herr Strapii, a perfect triumph. 

But here we will leave Mr. Spohf 's reverie for Victoria and reality ; 
where the company is arriving to the annual dinner, and sitting 
about the drawing-room, looking as happy as patients at a dentist's ; 
or festive, as disappointed toadeaters at the funeral of an opulent 
relative, who had left all his property to found an asylum for de 
cayed postboys after leading everybody to expect the lion's share 
of it : the guests, for want of more exciting topics, admiring the 



22 CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 

gimcracks they admired a year ago ; thinking the portrait of Mr. 
Brown "done," twenty years since, at a portrait club, a splendid 
likeness, and that the original grows younger ( query, richer ? ) ; 
stating truths and untruths about the weather ; inquiring energeti 
cally after each other's health not caring for the answers ; with 
other homely pleasantries, too numerous to mention ; until some of 
the juveniles the only ones who really seem at home espy from 
the window a loaded parcel-cart ; this they observe as funny on a 
Sunday (little thinking, at that moment, it was Tuesday). Here 
Mr. Brown descends, to hold an altercation with the guard of that 
cart, who makes light of a huge hamper of game ; whilst the guests 
at the windows above, speculate upon having to eat an uncooked 
turkey, or fancy their ravenous appetites waiting while it is cooked 
the youngsters calculating upon a dinner all pudding. Mr. Brown 
returns, and tenders his arm to Lady Lucretia de Camp in the ex 
citement, leading her down the side where the stairs taper to nothing, 
causing that lady to lose both equilibrium and temper. 

In the hall they are introduced to the viands, all thought to par 
take of; which have arrived too late, and are now displayed in their 
primitive state a picture of still life ; whilst the guests a picture 
of disappointment have to put up with odds and ends, concocted 
to meet the emergency, ending with a series of plum-dumplings, 
in place of the legitimate large pudding. However, the indigent 
relatives, who prefer the cold corners, and take " any part," declare 



~~~^ " V/ e/ i-v. 




"^ 



THE PUDDING, 

AS IT OUGHT TO HAVE APPEARED. 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 



23 




themselves well satisfied : all partaking of everything, and brandy 
afterwards, as if the viands were rich. Master Brown does justice 
to everything, of course that sweet child is now pulling the merry 
thought with his maiden aunt ; he is victor, and, as no one wishes to 



24 CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 

know his thoughts, seems determined to tell them, wishing "Jemy. 
and Mr. Latimer would look sharp, and knock up the match Mamma 
spoke of; as then he should be breeched, have pockets, and money:" 
here the little dear turned to the Captain, saying, " You '11 give me 
a crown, won't you ?" a question at which the maiden aunt blushed 
intensely, as did Mrs. Brown, who attempted to hide her emotion by 
saying, " What strange things children do think of ! " at the same 
time helping a gentleman who had had enough the bashful gen 
tleman, who sat at the junction of the tables, and appeared so in 
commoded by the table-land of one being higher than the table 
land of the other causing his plate to oscillate in a very remarkable 
manner, and discharge its contents in his lap, the conjoined legs 
compelling him either to sit at a fearful distance, and spill the gravy, 
or to split his kerseymeres, by extending them too much for their 
frail make: however, he has at last succeeded in thrusting one knee 
between them, and the shorter leg of the two off Bunyaii's " Pil 
grim's Progress" used to stilt it ; letting the unfortunate gentle 
man's pudding down, and his plate travel, until at last it stops, 
performing a gyration, all to itself, under the sideboard. 

During this clatter, the ladies rise and depart, leaving the gentle 
men to drown all disappointments in the wine. Mr. Brown, " feeling 
called upon," rises, apologizing for certain misfortunes, herein 
described at the same time trusting that such events might never 
happen again ; and, in the end, eulogizing Mrs. B., who is painted 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 25 

in glowing colours, by a painter who said he should not have painted 
it ; or, as any one else might have observed, introduced two vir 
tuously amiable daughters, so prominently in the foreground. After 
a noble reply by Captain de Camp, of the Hon. East India Com 
pany's service, from Madras, and much applause from the diners, 
they ascend, to join the ladies ; forming, round the drawing-room- 
fire, a vast amphitheatre, in the centre of which, gladiatorial children 
contend for nuts and oranges Captain de Camp filling the post of 
honour, making himself at home in Mr. Brown's easy chair and 
slippers. Mr. Wellesley drags in the yule-log, much to the detri 
ment of the Brussels, and the annoyance of the guests ; for, upon 
placing it in the grate, it causes everything to be covered with 
black tadpoles, nearly extinguishing the fire until it ignites, roasting 
the company, and making the pot a white-heat. 

The Captain has repeated last evening's brew, upon a larger scale, 
in the " little bason," or wassail-bowl. Master Wellesley has kissed 
Angelina under the misletoe, suspended from the chandelier, and 
placed in the centre of the amphitheatre, for that purpose. Mr. 
Latimer has " taken the opportunity," as Jemima turned up a re 
fractory burner ; and everybody kissed everybody else they liked, 
or could catch there. The entertaining Captain has narrated an 
effective anecdote of an enraged elephant, and a precious big boar 
speared in a savage jungle to which he might have added, with no 
more personal risk than Mrs. Brown may experience when hunting 

D 



26 CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 

for a boa in her wardrobe. And, Mr. Mouldy, the city merchant, 
who dealt in rags, sang about a little excitable pig, and " Mac 
Mullin's Lament ;" whilst Mr. Snobbins who it was hoped would 
sit and be silent, has broken the spell, dared to remember old 
times, sleeping under a counter, and the pugnacity of Brown, when 
they were in a mess at the blues making Captain de Camp think 
more of a military repast than Christ's Hospital ; until the " blues " 
were dispelled by Mr. Snobbins singing " The gallant 'prentice boy : " 
not that the company would have lacked a military man, had 
the Captain been absent, for there was Cowed, the meek Bermondsey 
tanner, by livery a hatter, and withal a soldier a member of the 
Hon. Artillery Company, he who sang about God blessing the old 
cow's hide, and a 

" Wish that his soul in heaven might dwell, 
Who first invented the leather bottel;" 

and, Mrs. Brown's brother, Mr. Barthe Brick, familiarly known as 
the " Brick," who had just commenced a song, a parody upon Fra 
Diavolo, a something very, very low, supposed to be sung by a 
dealer in hearth-stones ; who, at the end of each verse, vociferates 
"who'll buy," heightening the illusion by trundling a chair, on its 
back, round the family circle, to represent a barrow. 

No one knows where the barbarous atrocities would have ended, and 
all before the refined strangers, too, had not the olive-branches dis 
posed for rest by their several mammas in the room above all awoke 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 27 

at once, tumbled out of bed, and joined in a combined cry ; this breaks 
the family circle mothers fly to pack their turbulent innocents for 
travel ; the candles flare, and carriages clatter, grinding the flints in the 
lane. John, the footman, finds he has a dozen half-crowns, and Mary 
seven. The last fly has departed with the little Bricks ; lights appear 
and disappear in the bed-chambers; and the Christmas-day that comes 
but once a year has vanished, like a dream ! 

Mr. Brown has jotted the events, in his Diary, in a hand scarcely 
legible. It must have been penned in a somnambulistic fit thinking 
he was at a meeting of St. Stiff's vestry, in the union board-room, for, 
after a list of member's present (the names of his guests), Captain de 
Camp in the chair, follow these minutes of proceedings: Firstly, that 
one Spohf be dismissed as organist of St. Stiff's, confined in the idiot- 
ward, fed on water gruel, and handed over to his own parish (Vienna) ; 
proposed by Latimer, and seconded by Wellesley de Camp. The second 
proposition appears to be to the effect that a vagrant named Brick, 
dealer in hearth-stones, be confined in the refractory-ward, and fed 
upon bread and water. 

The morning after the festivities London oversleeps itself: and, 
awaking, finds it boxing-day. Variegated dips are being disseminated 
among delighted, dirty, juveniles ; whilst the boys seem chagrined at 
notices for (( the extinction of abuses," or " suppression of Christmas- 
boxes ;" which seems only to make them the more pertinacious at Victoria 
Villa : for an irregular dustman has chalked the post, and the Postman 



28 



CHEISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 



vowed to mark Mr. Brown ; the Turncock is turned off ; the Waits have 
to " wait a little longer ; " and the Beadle, who declared Mr. Brown 
no generous churchwarden, has, withal, found enough alcohol to make 

him stupid before night causing that 
dignitary to cry a lost boy instead of a 
girl, and to see twice as many posts 
round St. Stiff's as usual ; taking half 
of them to be boys about to vault over 
the other half, he rushes on to disperse 
them, soundly chastising the granite. 

All the little boys secure their mites 
before mid-day ; taking their posts at 
the gallery-door of a popular theatre, 
five hours before opening, to practise 
that rare virtue, patience, at the shrine 
of " Hot Codlings, " and " George 
Barnwell." 

Master Ichabod Strap, in his richest 
yellow breeches, and burnished badge 
of St. Stiff the Martyr, is perambu 
lating the parish with his gay phylactery, or Christmas-piece " The 
History of Joseph," painted, like the coat, in many colours : he shows 
it to Mrs. Brown, who approves the performance ; "stroking the head of 
modest and ingenuous worth that blushed at its own praise ;" measur- 




1 i " 

.'if 

I- 




BOXING DAY. 

AN OFFENDED DIGNITARY OF THE CHURCH . 
'BOLISH THE BOXES, INDEED: -'^PECT NEXT THEY'L 'BQLISH THE 
BI5HOP5.- WHAT5 A SEASON WITHOUT COMPLIMENTS? V^ 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 29 

ing the boy at a glance, and proffering him promotion in the shape of 
an uniform, of buttons, just vacated by a youth called by his peers 
" Nobby Jones," but by his mistress " Alphonso ;" who, having grown 
to the great risk of buttons and stitches, was dispossessed of his regi 
mentals, being sent home one dark night in his bed-gown. " Ichabod" 
promises to resign that title and all connection with the dirty boys, to 
reign as Alphonso the second page ; being missed by Mr. Spohf, for 
whom he used to blow the organ, in the little second floor a bereave 
ment Mrs. B. enjoyed, saying, she wondered how the unworthy little 
animal would raise the wind now. 

There is an universal adage about risking sprats to capture herrings 
a sport not unknown to our cosmopolite Captain, for he had fished 
in troubled waters, and hunted for a dinner many a time ; he knew 
the traps and snares to secure game, the days and seasons ; so, on Box 
ing-day, he baits the servants with crowns ; Tommy with a sovereign ; 
Angelina with " The Keepsake ;" Jemima with a modern-ancient missal, 
or portion of Scripture made dear and difficult to read; presenting 
Mrs. B. with the last new art manufacture " The Knowing Blade, a 
brazen-faced sharper, to remove blunt ;" and procuring for Mr. B. the 
skin of the identical Bengal tiger he killed, as may be seen from a legend 
running up the back bone though an inscription on the tip of the 
tail states it to be sold by Fitch of Regent Street. The bait secures 
its amount of flat-fish ; for that evening, Captain de Camp was more 
than usually lucky he caught enough at ecarte to clear himself; a 



30 CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 

freak of fortune that caused no asperity in the noble breast of Brown ; 
for here are his own thoughts in his own words : " DECEMBER %6th, 
Wednesday (Boxing-day). My dear friend, De Camp, has this day 
given us all tokens of the warmest attachment sadly wanting to do 
something for me ' Colonial,' ' "War, 5 or * Admiralty.' Not requiring 
anything just now, this will form an admirable reserve ; I must, in the 
meantime, profit by his refined society, as I hope and trust the girls 
will by his sons'. If there be any drawback to the delight I feel, it is 
the non-arrival of his luggage ; for I am personally inconvenienced 
by his wearing my best coat. I may be over-scrupulous in wishing 
he would return the books he devours with such avidity : Mrs. B. 
says, she thinks, the paragon of knowledge swallows them ; for they 
are not to be found." 

Next morning Idhabod enters the Brown suit and service, having 
spent Boxing-night and the proceeds of the Christmas-piece at the play, 
where he saw " Jane Shore" and " Harlequin House that Jack built ;" 
the plot and tricks of which he recounted to Master Tommy, as he took 
that young gentleman for a walk, inoculating him with a great desire 
to go and behold it. So, after having coaxed his mother, teased his fa 
ther, and cried his lovely blue eyes into a good imitation of red veined 
marble, the youth triumphed ; for on Thursday evening, they all went 
to the play in the fusty fly from Drone's yard, driven by old Drone, in 
his pepper-and-salt suit of pseudo livery, that looked as if he always 
brushed it with the currycomb ; and so tindery about the breast, from 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 31 

the number of marriage -favours annually pinned there, that it is a 
wonder it holds together. Alphonso rode upon the box, giving the 
vehicle a certain amount of smartness. On their arrival under the dirt- 
embrowned portico of the theatre, they are cordially recognised by the 
De Camps ; who, thinking it a pity the box should not be filled, have 
just dropped down to see "London Assurance" intending to quit 
before the pantomime, but forgetting to do so after alL 

During the play, Master Tommy disposes of a vast quantity of oranges 
and sponge-cakes vanishing between each act to obtain a fresh sup 
ply ; making butterflies of the bill, and causing the double-barrelled 
lorgnette (which was hired for the occasion from an adjacent oyster- 
shop) to slip off the cushion, falling upon a bald gentleman in the pit: 
the excited little pest remarking everything, and fairly shouting at the 
discovery of Alphonso below, until chid by his mother. Oh ! that we 
could participate in thy youthful enthusiasm, or feel pleased at that 
hotch-potch the overture ; or, a thrill when the muffin-bell tinkles, 
causing the lovely drop-scene that combined the grandeur of the 
pretty Parthenon with the sublimity of Virginia Water to vanish into 
its own intensely blue sky ; disclosing the " Harlequin House that Jack 
built," and Mr. John Bull's huge paste-board thick head, snoring like 
thunder, in a " property" summer-house an elephantine blue-bottle on 
his proboscis, and a sleeping bull-dog, the size of an Alderney steer, at 
his feet : here Master Brown, with a grin, calls the house Victoria 
Villa, and the paste-board mask his papa. Now enters the rat, to eat 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 




the good things that lay in the house that John built, represented by a 
stealthy seedy gentleman, who, after reading a board intimating that 
apartments were to let, crept slyly past the sleepy Bull, to mount the 
house-steps ; and there deliver himself of the following doggerel, in a 
mellifluous voice : 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 33 

" I search for lodgings here 's the very thing, 
Though I 've not got a rap, I think I '11 ring ; 
For all I want is to be taken in, 
As I would others take sure 'tis no sin 
To do to others only tit for tat 
So here goes Rat tat, tat a tat !!!!!" 

The orchestra, loud in wishing to know " who 's dat knocking at de 
door ?" and Master Tom, deep in the bill, with Mr. Rat, who is there de 
scribed as a "scamp" an unknown term to Tom, for he asked its mean 
ing ; observing that Uncle Brick said Captain de Camp was a scamp. 
This question remained unanswered ; for no one heard it except the 
Captain, who felt a great itching t< pull a young monkey's ears, but 
did not. The cat (a sort of Puss in Boots, with a short stick and 
strip of paper) entering, to catch the rat, is worried by the dog; 
who is tossed by a cow with a very crumpled horn ; who was milked by 
a maid said to be very forlorn ; who is kissed by a sweet-looking beggar, 
all tattered and torn the loving pair being likened to Jemima and 
Latimer, by Master Tom, causing his sister's face to redden as a fur 
nace, that heightened the more it was fanned ; and when the priest, all 
shaven and shorn (whom Tom called the Rev. Loyalla a Becket), com 
menced marrying the couple, then Miss Jemima entertained serious no 
tions of fainting ; and, probably, would, had not the solemnization of 
matrimony been violated by the priest, who shed his sack-cloth surplice, 
vaulting over the rails of the altar, between the astonished couple, leav 
ing that sanctuary to change into a match maker's appearing, himself, 



34 CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 

a perfect clown, stating that sublime, veritable, truth "here we are 
again ! " working his geometric, chromatic, physiognomy into endless 
contortions, extending his arms like the sails of contrary windmills, twid 
dling his legs like a fly, and when called upon, by unearthly voices, 
for " Tippytiwitchet," appears so scared that he tumbles through the 
big drum, to oblige them with the song from the slips ; instantly after 
wards presenting himself upon the stage, dilating his spotted inexpres 
sibles, until they put him in mind of a friend, Pantaloon, that, by a 
curious coincidence, resides at a tailor's, in the back-ground, having 
just completed a patch-work skin, for Harlequin; who, the instant he is 
fitted, flies through the panel of t door, inscribed " cutting-out room," 
into the next house, Siflorisfs, there to obtain his favourite flower, the 
Columbine, with whom he has a long dance in the centre of a very soli 
tary street ; whilst Clown and Pantaloon arrange a partnership concern, 
which they carry on in the middle of the road, in front of the shop, 
until Clown renders himself more plague than profit, by warming his 
partner's lumbar region with a very red-hot goose, basting him with the 
sleeve-board, and sticking him to the road with wax Clown dissolving 
partnership by walking off, in a new wrap-rascal, with the cash-box, 
that no one may rob them. The best things must come to an end ! 
and so does the Pantomime with a gorgeous display of red fire, tin 
sel and gold, real water and the electric light all chopped off in the 
middle by the descending curtain. The box-fronts have been enve 
loped in their night-gowns ; the Columbine is clattering, in pattens, 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 



35 




THE NOTORIOUS SINGER AT THE " WARREN," SINGING HIS 
CELEBRATED BITS "THE DROP " AND "THE DRAIN," 

Drone's fly is homeward bound, heavily 
laden. The young men of the party have 
dived into " The Welsh Rarebit Warren," 
there to spend the early hours of the morn 
ing, listening to sentimental songs chanted 
amid fumes of tobacco and spirits, to hear 
sorry wit, and make vapid remarks. The 
great feature of the evening being a melo- 



to her lodgings ; the 
Harlequin has been 
bolted out, unable to 
vault through the fan 
light ; and the Clown 
is running in his paint 
ed face, having forgot 
ten to wash it, for at 
home he left a dear wife 
seriously ill, to come 
and be funny in sad 
ness. 




36^ CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 

dramatic dirge, supposed to be sung by a condemned felon a tri 
umphant lamentation and delineation of brutal character, so elo 
quent and thrilling, in its monosyllabic groans of anguish, that it 
is a wonder the kidneys, consumed in such numbers, are ever di 
gested. But, alas ! such is life those most swayed by animal 
propensities see the least warning therein : as, the thief combines 
business and pleasure at the gallow's foot ; so, with the frequenters of 
the "Warren" they imbue their sentiment and supper, only di 
gesting the latter. Wellesley has devoured several " rabbits," and La- 
timer disposed of numberless kidneys, whilst young Brown has had 
to wait the usual forty minutes for a steak ; and, in the interim, had 
five " stouts," four " goes," and several cigars, i. e., with assistance 
from the De Camps ; who have made free, ay, to order goblets of cham 
pagne, and, in the end, not having change to repair the " damage" (a 
mean, but true, term, as often applied), they get young Brown to pay 
the complicated sum added up by the waiter, upon a mahogany ditto, in 
lieu of a slate, with stale stout spilled in the corner, receipted with a 
wipe of the towel : and so, home in the "safety" cab, with large wheels 
and a spanking grey, lettered along the side " Nil desperandum" 
thinking " handsome is as Hansom does ; " tumbling into bed just 
before the peep o' day, and five hours after Mr. Brown had made up 
his Diary writing against December the 27th., Thursday, that he had 
taken Tom and the girls to a pantomime ; been agreeably surprised to 
find the De Camps there, especially the sons, who did sit in front, with 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 37 

Jemy. and Angel., looking made as much for one another as he could 
desire : Tom behaving very sadly; and, were it not for his mother, the 
boy should spend the vacations at a Yorkshire school ; twice every 
year in the Dog-days and December is the house turned topsy-turvy, 
it may be sport to you, Master Tom, but 'tis death to us. 

Thus older grew the year, and fuller got the Diary Mr. Brown 
graphically recounting the doings and disasters of " DECEMBER %8th, 
Friday. Unpropitious, fatal, Friday ! I never knew it lucky save once, 
and then it was I let the Albert. ' Christmas comes but once a 
year,' with a train of nasty bills, not to be bilk'd ; and sorry con 
solation is it thinking you ' paid at the time,' when the receipt is 
not to be found. Miss-Fortune, that never came single, now visits 
with a large family of little pests out of season and uninvited! 
Here is Needy, the pianist, who, one would think, had married her ; 
for he has children enough to fill a charity school. Needy, of No. 9, 
Brown Terrace, has absconded without paying the rent sending the 
key, and 12. lOs., instead of 14., with a shabby excuse about hoping 
to be able to make up the difference some day : this is the return for 
showing compassion to a poor devil ! I ought to have known, when I 
took the cottage-piano for last quarter, though Spohf did say it was a 
six-and-three- quarters, worth three times the money! I am a good- 
natured fool, and ought, in justice to my family, to be a little more 
selfish these mean professionals estimating their rubbish far beyond 
all reason ! My spirits are damped and so are we all, for the water - 

E 



38 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR, 




pipes that that rascal Plummer fixed, at the low contract, have burst 
with this evening's thaw, and were discovered just as the water was 
coming in ; having played, I know not how long, a fountain in the bath 
room, tumbling down the stairs like the falls of the Niagara, obliging us 
to insert tobacco-pipes all over the drawing-room ceiling, to drain the 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 39 

inundation : it has spoilt the watered paper, stained the aquatint of the 
Aqueduct, and 'Wellington at Waterloo,' done for the water-gilding, 
and saturated the ' Momentous Question ;' the ' Heart's Misgivings ' 
is a sop ; and the water-colour of the ' Flood ' is washed away. Al- 
phonso is sitting up in goloshes to empty the pots, and I doubt much 
if 1 shall sleep over the dropping- well." 

How Mr. Brown slept we do not know, but can imagine, for here is 
the Diurnal Record, made up in bed : " DECEMBER 29th, Saturday. 
Dreamed Victoria Villa turned into a hydropathic establishment that 
I was being frozen, thawed, and suffocated ; did wake, this day, with 
an enlarged cheek the influenza compelling me to keep my bed, 
bathe my chilblains, and anoint my nose ; I take slops internally, and 
wear a heart upon the outside of my chest. The kind, considerate 
Captain called, smoking a cigar, that made me cough, and think his 
visit a visitation." 

The first Sunday after Christmas is here : Brown is in bed ; the little 
bell of St. Stiff's has stopped, and many another vibratory sound is 
dying in the distance ; flakes of snow are moodily descending causing 
the fire to spit angrily, and the face of heaven to look black all light 
appearing to come from the earth ; sound is deadened, the carpet is 
darker than usual, and the ceiling lighter ; Mr. Brown's eyes are up 
there, for he is lying, tracing amid the cracks and stains, vast palaces 
like pictures by Martin, or aerial phantasmagorias by Turner. Brown 
is lying, nursing his influenza according to the approved adage ; though 



40 CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 

some read the maxim thus, " Stuff a cold, and (have to) starve a fever." 
Let us hope Brown has the right version. Captain de Camp has come 
to read to the invalid, and drink his brandy and water he has begun 
" Blair's Sermons," or rather the life of Blair, prefixed to the volume, in 
a full conviction of its religious tendency ; whilst in the room above is 
John, the footman, standing upon his bed, breathing on the single pane 
of glass, inserted in the sloped roof, that he may melt the snow, and see 
to read a mysterious document a tumbled note, not on the Bank of 
England, but an epistolatory one, found in the trowsers pockets of Mr. 
Latimer de Camp the same cast off by that gentleman on Christmas- 
day, when he stumbled over the strange dinner, in coming from church, 
and so much deteriorated their appearance as to give them to John ; 
who now, thinking he has found evidence, thinks he always thought 
he thought the De Camps scamps. John is perplexed at the purport of 
the letter ; and feeling a cold thrill run through him, he turns into bed, 
there to reflect for ten minutes upon the downy pillow, pondering with 
intensely closed eyes, considering before he puts himself in the power of 
an enemy for John had been a soldier once, and would have been one 
now, had not his poor old mother starved and mangled together 
enough to buy him off; he bore the stamp of military drill, took in 
" Tales of the Wars," in penny numbers, and had a cheap print of the 
f ' Battle of Waterloo " pasted to the sloping roof, above the bed, in 
which we left him pondering. Having considered enough, he takes once 
more to the document, folding and unfolding it, examining the thimble 



/4V 




COMPLIMENTS 



OF THE REASON. 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 41 

impress on the seal, tasting a corner of it in his excitement, and reading 
it with intense energy for the last time : it is directed to " La timer de 
Camp, Esq., M.A., Albert Villa, Mizzlington ; " and was posted in the 

New Cut : 

" DEAR EDWARD, No - 2 ' GrubVs Rents ' 

" I am anxiously awaiting the f Conspiracy,' do not keep me in sus 
pense ! do DO it, for my benefit. I sadly want money. Is the plot too 
horrible for you! you know how to do for a ' Victoria* company! 
make a domestic tragedy of it shoot the father and son ! you know the 
rest. Pray communicate, or I shall think you in trouble. 

" Your forlorn EMMA." 

For this last perusal John appears none the wiser, being unable to 
divine more than at first murder and treachery seem the plot. John 
thinks the Captain just like Gory, the murderer, in the Chamber of 
Horrors, at the wax-works; and that Victoria Villa resembles " Green- 
acre Hall," depicted in the pictorial newspaper. John is sadly per 
plexed as to where he shall seek counsel of course, thinking of 
every one foreign to the case ; until, happily, he remembers one that 
ought to have been thought of first to Mr. Spohf will he send the 
mysterious note, ask his advice, and act upon it : but, unfortunately, 
John sealed the envelope with Mr. Brown's crest a circumstance that 
made Mr. Spohf think the letter from his old friend Brown ; so he 
answers it as such feeling much pleasure that his advice should be 



42 CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 

sought ; saying, the enclosed note appeared to be about some drama 
some one had to write a document of no serious import. As to stran 
gers, he should advise caution ; for it is the aim of a rogue to look 
as much like a trusty friend as possible ; quiet watchfulness is well, for 
that can harm no one. This answer from Mr. Spohf was promptly 
delivered by the little tailor's daughter to the expectant John ; who 
naturally thought it for him. Curiously, John and his master both 
owned the name of Brown John Brown : now John, the servant, was 
conscientious ; and would not, on any account, have opened his master's 
letters he drew the line of propriety much further off, it stopped at 
reading in at the ends. John felt sure this letter was for him not that 
he liked being called an esquire ; yet, for all that, he felt safe, for 
there, extra-large and important, was the word " Private" a military 
distinction that made him doubly certain ; so, he bore away the letter, in 
great trepidation, to his quarters in the tiles, there to be much relieved 
by its contents ; vowing, as he lay on his bed, to be watchful as the 
Duke on the look-out in his " Battle of Waterloo," and dumb as a 
dead drummer in the foreground. 

Happily Victoria and Albert were ignorant of these despatches, or 
John might have lost his commission and uniform. Confidence is un 
shaken ; for, on DECEMBER 30th, Sunday, Captain de Camp is reported 
a " glorious oriental brick," he having kindly prescribed all sorts of 
good things for his invalid friend, without the slightest regard to ex 
pense ; and, moreover, broken Brown's quinsy by administering an ex- 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 43 

traordinary anecdote, or " crammer," that scarcely any one could swallow; 
but Brown did, and laughed so much afterwards, that the quinsy was 
gone ; for the Captain had anecdotes suited to all times and seasons 
he only wanted listeners, and off he went like an alarum. Sunday put 
him in mind of that day twelvemonths ; and that day put him in mind 
of Richard Spark, of the Native Infantry; Rich. Spark put him in 
mind of how they got that Hindoo millionaire, Makemuchjee Catch- 
muchjee, into a Christian church, by walking him between them, in a 
state of ether ; how he (the Hindoo) was mollified by the sermon, and 
went home melted the Idol, Boobobum, that had golden hair, diamond 
eyes, pearly teeth, coral lips, a silver tongue, and a copper bottom ; how 
he handed her over in lumps to the church ; and yet, with all these 
poetical attributes she was the ugliest and most precious god he ever 
set eyes on. She was the subscription of the district the poor put 
the copper and the rich the gold; the Captain telling of how he made 
a posthumous portrait of her, which is quite correct ; only he forgot 
five bosoms in the bust, and left out a right arm : it is engraved in 
No. 365 of the " Missionary Record." 

This paragraph opens with the last day of the old year. The cold that 
stiffened Mr. Brown's neck, and choked up his throat has thawed ; his 
nose has resumed its accustomed hue ; his temper is unusually good in 
the prospect of vacating his room, and beginning the year with re 
doubled energy. Mrs. Brown is preparing for something important ; 
and, from the delicate scented note you observed inserted in our 



44 CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 

chimney-glass-frame the one with the Brown crest, a rampant locomo 
tive proper, and motto of " Go-a-head" (which, between ourselves, was 
found by a very subtle seal-engraver in Change Alley) ; from that, and 
the remarks of Master Brown, when we called this morning, you may 
pretty well judge : he said Jemy. wrote such a lot o' letters the other 
day ; that they have a pillow-case filled with oranges quite a sack- 
full ; and, moreover, his Ma', just was clever for she said she could kill 
two parties with one chandelier, and make rout-seats hold double! 
The fact is, Mrs. Brown intends to give a ball on the 4th of January, 
and a juvenile party on the 5th the former to be extra-superb, on 
account of the De Camps ; who, of course, are expected having re 
ceived an invitation by post. We wonder the Browns did not write 
to invite themselves ; for John passed the Albert door in taking the 
Captain's letter to the post, and the preparations were as much un 
der the guidance of those worthies as of the Browns themselves. The 
boudoir is in a litter all cuttings of satin and book muslin, in the 
midst of which may be seen pretty Miss Bib and little Madame 
Tucker, very busily employed Lady Lucre tia de Camp proffering 
advice ; and superintending the construction of an amber satin, co 
vered with black lace a dress that Mrs. Brown thought to wear, but 
felt obliged to resign, so much did her kind patron, Lady de Camp, 
dote upon it. 

Above this last-named apartment is Brown's bedchamber, where he 
and the Captain are spending a quiet evening, reviewing their prospects 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 45 

and relating their experiences : the Captain stating his intention of 
living retired upon his property, for all his friend Major Cant's trying 
to persuade him to take an adjoining house in Belgravia. No ! he was 
content to stay where he was Albert was snug ; but if Mr. Brown 
thought of removing to May fair or Tyburnia, why then, a house next 
such a capital individual might be a desideratum : he said it an Army 
Captain that should not say it, but did not care, stock -brokers and 
merchants were men of bottom ; though probably his friend Major 
Cant would say that bottom meant the baser stuff they were composed of 
the joke was better than the simile, and neither bad. After this opi 
nion the Captain paused to think, drink, and with a blow that made the 
table quiver, demand, to know what a man without money was ivorth? 
answering the question, in the same breath, with an emphatic nothing ! 
a man of wealth was a man of worth ! We know not if Mr. Brown 
thought this logic or no ; but he, Captain de Camp, knew it, and in 
tended to let his friends know it also ; for next season he would give a 
grand entertainment, get Spread and Co. to throw a marquee over the 
lawn, and see if Major Cant would come the Captain rather thought 
he would ; or the Hon. Sam. Dummy the coxcomb, who, when asked to 
dine with Alderman Fig, in Bloomsbury Square, said his horses never 
crossed Tottenham Court Road Stinkomalee and the Brutish Museum 
savouring too much of the "people" for the exquisite; but the Cap 
tain winked, and said he knew how the Dummy would get out of the 
fix he would come along the New Road, as the Captain said he once 



46 CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 

knew him do, when in search of an asthmatic poodle that had been 
stolen, and was at a dog-fancier's on Pentonville Hill. Then should 
we have the lane filled with carriages, like at a Chiswick fete ; I would 
introduce my friend to the world, and be at rest ; for we are a couple 
of old boys, willing to make sacrifices for our dear children. 

Having delivered himself of these lofty sentiments as the bells were 
ringing out the old year stopping to strike its knell ; the Captain 
also stopped, to seize a glass and the hand of Brown wishing him the 
merriest, maniest, and happiest of New Years; drinking eternal unity 
to the B.'s and De C.'s at the same time shedding a very visible tear, 
that dropped into his brandy and water, like the pearl of Cleopatra, to 
be sacrificed to self to a very affectionate man so very affectionate, 
that he loved himself, we do believe. 

The spirits and sentiment so overcame Brown, that he buried his 
emotion in the bolster a state of mind the Captain did not fail to 
observe, and take advantage of; for "he supposed Mr. Brown could 
not spare 8, until Saturday ?" An affirmation that gentleman repu 
diated ; for he granted the small favour with pleasure presenting the 
leaf of an oblong book, and his autograph, to the Captain ; who retired 
with the same by an ingenious plan to render it of ten times the 
value adding to the eight a letter y, making it eight?/, and the figure 
to keep company with a naught 80. 

The events of this day are chronicled in the Diary of Brown all 
couleur de rose, the literal purport of which it would be tedious to 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 47 

repeat ; suffice it to say, the aphorisms on the demise of the year ran foul 
of the "occasional memoranda" and were brought to a dead stop by 
the "general accounts;" not that his ideas stopped on paper, for he 
continued them in bed. Brown dreamed " his ship had come home;" 
that he dwelt in a Belgravian palace ; that he was an M.P. ; that he was 
known as Brown, the " King of 'Change" that he ruled with an iron 
ruler that he was enthroned upon a cash-box that he wore a crown of 
dollars that the four quarters of the globe adored him that Great and 
Little Britain worshipped him; that the world told his wife, Brown 
was a great man : but, alas ! trains of wild ideas, like locomotives that 
go too fast, may run off the rail when least expected, or explode as a 
train of gunpowder, without notice ; so, in Mr. Brown's imagination, he 
feels as if shot into the air, after being dreadfully scalded Mrs, Brown, 
kind soul, having applied a bottle of boiling water (forgetting the 
flannel) to the feet of her spouse, before retiring, herself that good 
lady little thinking it was so warm. But there were other things Mrs. 
Brown did not know of ; for she little thought the servants were round 
the kitchen-fire, quiet as mice, all deep in the " Mysteries of the 
Courts and Sewers of London" a work affording the greatest amount of 
horrible excitement at the lowest rate, a book in which Alphonso has 
discovered a Captain de Camp ; and cook, a Lady Thingamy, whom, she 
says, " ain't no better than she should be" a rather vague but signifi 
cant truth, that might as appropriately have been applied to a saint as 
to a sinner, though cook intended it for the latter : as to the Capting, 



48 CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 

the only think she had agin him was a wish he wouldn't spile every- 
think with soy and cayenne, for it got into the wash, and made the 
pigs sneeze. Mary, too, must have her opinion saying Wellesley 
wasn't no gentleman, for he wiped his dirty boots on the towels, and 
would pull the plug out of the wash-bason when there was nothing 
under to catch the soapy water. During this scandal, John, whom 
all thought knew something, only said the Captain was an umbug 
as he noiselessly disappeared, bearing his shoes in his hand ; for it was 
considerably past midnight. 

Young Brown and his two friends are at the " Planets " harmonic 
meeting, stating their intention not to return till morning an useless 
proclamation, for it is impossible to do otherwise, now they having 
been at the Casino, " getting their feet in," for the hop on Friday, 
as young Brown termed the practice of dancing. 

Mr. Spohf is in bed, but cannot sleep so great is his pleasure, 
Messrs. Blow and Grumble having patented " Spohf 's new organ- 
movement." 

" A Happy New Year and may you live to see many of them!" 
The New Year is born with every characteristic of its defunct sire 
seeming no better behaved (as some people would have little boys 
after a birthday or a breeching) : the old year died with a drizzle ; 
and the young one, that everybody hoped promising, is born with the 
same attributes. 

Mr. Brown is at his post again the parish lamp-post at the corner 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 49 

of the lane awaiting the " Favourite" omnibus, that is to bear him to 
the City. He is trying to arrange the thousand and one little commis 
sions he has to execute for Mrs. Brown. How many he remembered 
or forgot we know not ; but that day he purchased a fair blank Diary 
the stationer who sold it not only wishing him " a Happy New Year," 
but that he might " live to fill fifty such :" a wish that made Mr. 
Brown very contemplative thinking 18,250 entries no joke ; of many 
bright, bright days of pleasure ; two score and ten of birthdays ; half a 
century of weddings, anniversaries, and deaths let us hope of peaceful, 
happy deaths, for clouds will sometimes gather, darkening the bright 
est sky ; but, thank Heaven, there is plenty of sunshine for those who 
seek it ay, to find it, too, though it be midnight and beside a kitchen- 
fire. Of this new Diary the first page is penned with more care than 
usual as all first pages are: there the De Camp dynasty reign in 
confidence ; and it is evident that Mr. Brown anticipates a glorious 
future. 

Young Time, we have often imagined, must be born fledged ; for he 
can fly quickly as his sire ! It is the 3rd of January the day prior 
to Mrs. Brown's ball. Thus thought we, wending our way to Victoria 
Villa ; having promised the Miss Browns to step in and practise the 
" deux-temps" with them; but, as we have since heard, it is another 
new double-shuffle that is turning the brains of the dancing world just 
now; however, we went, and found Victoria in a pretty pickle a 
perfect mixed pickle, we may say, our dear young friends being 

F 



50 CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 

much too busy to remember the appointment: for there was the 
" Broad wood" standing upon the landing; and Master Tom cutting 
out slides upon the bare boards in the drawing-room, the carpet being 
taken to St. Stiff's Union, that it might be beaten a thing we exceed 
ingly rejoiced in ; for last year the guests were obliged to beat it with 
their feet, and afterwards to carry the dust home upon their shoul 
ders the first polka being performed as if in the Great Desert, during 
a sand-storm. There was the chandelier ( that looked all the year like 
a giant pear enveloped in holland) being removed to the parlour, and a 
much more splendid one suspended in its stead. We peeped into the 
drawing-room, and had our dignity compromised by a man on some 
steps ; who directed us to " look alive and bring that hammer." So, 
it being very evident we were in the way, we withdrew, tumbling over 
a barricade of fenders and other furniture in the hall, raised during 
our absence by the insurgent housemaids ; who, we are sorry to say, 
seemed rather diverted at the mishap, for we heard them giggle, though 
of course we appeared not to notice, and tried to walk away with a 
joyous air ; at the same time vowing never to visit, even our best 
friends, on the day prior to a party. 

So we took care to keep away until the memorable evening arrived ; 
but being particularly requested to come early, and bring our amiable 
sisters, we wished to do so. The Brougham was waiting, as were we 
thinking to do so for some time : having made up our mind and the 
study -fire diving deep into the first book handy an "Essay upon Light 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 



51 



and Shade in Painting." Well, we were in the dark with Rembrandt ; 
when the room appeared to fill with odoriferous vapour, and a blonde 
fairy stealthily touched our shoulder, making a mock salutation, that 
startled us very much : it was our playful sister, whom we compliment 
ed upon appearance and expedition ; well knowing ladies to be unable 
to dress in a given time for a ball, whatever they may do for an opera ! 

However, we had no 
cause for umbrage on this 
occasion ; for the carriage 
rumbled over the hard, dry, 
ground, just as St. Stiff's 
was striking nine the stars 
above, twinkling, as they 
only can, upon a clear, fros 
ty night. Having knocked 

mildly, for fear of frightening Mrs. Brown thus early, and been 
kept waiting some time, we were admitted ; after being taken for 
Mr. Strap, the help, by John, whom we surprised in his fustian jacket 
and the middle of a fugitive tea. The ladies soon disappeared into an 
upper region, not soon to return, leaving us to find amusement as we 
best could: to examine the tiger-skin, ingeniously sewn upon a form 
to resemble a living animal (which, by the bye, it did not); to peep 
into the parlour, and discover the supper, looking mysteriously vast, 
by the light of one burner, very much turned down ; to pace the 




52 CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 

hall ; warm our kids at the Arnott ; and, standing upon the mat, listen 
to the unsophisticated talk without speculating as to what a foreign 
traveller could divine the conversation to mean, or the diurnal occu 
pation of the lanthorn-men to be : 

1st voice. " Droves, did yer say, in Mad-ox Street?" 

2nd do. " Yes, herds ; I got eight bulls and a hog out of Bullstrode 
Street." 

1st do. " See to that bull's-eye, calf,- and, as there ain't no kids 
a-coming, I'll toss yer for a tanner." 

Here " the noblest study of mankind" was broken off Alphonso ap 
pearing. We left our men, to pace the hall abandoning character for 
a slow march, whilst the page constructed a scaffold of clothes-horses 
and table-covers, forming a repository for hats, over the back kitchen- 
stairs ; the lobby beyond which, we discovered had been metamorphosed 
into a still-room, and was now presided over by two pretty, plump 
damsels, in the finest cobweb caps mere blond buttons, of no earthly 
use, but, withal, very becoming : one of these maids being in converse 
with a young "gent.," who, it appears, has been forgotten in the excite 
ment, and discovered here his face very sticky with candy and cream. 
Master Thomas Brown, fearing that such search might be instituted for 
him, has taken a great affection to the leg of the still-room table ; from 
which he is coaxed by more attractive substances, seized, and borne up 
to bed his yells becoming " small by degrees and beautifully less," 
until lost altogether. 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 



53 




Now comes Mr. Strap, to help and wait at table in his huge white 
cravat, yellow vest, and new pair of second-hand plush smalls, disap 
pearing below to develope his calves, which are enveloped in gaiters, 
gingerly beckoning the man with the bad hat, who had been tuning the 
piano, and Mr. Palaver, the Mizzlington Artist in hair, to follow, that 
they may escape by the back door. 

We had been promenading the hall for some time, having become 
pretty well acquainted with the pattern of the encaustic tiles with 



54 CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 

which it was paved ; and were going towards the entrance for the last 
time, pluming ourself that we might appear to the greatest advan 
tage for we felt assured the ladies were descending, having heard a 
rustling and tittering; when, just turning by the door, we were elec 
trified by three distinct bangs, that subsided into a sharp rat, with an 
infinity of tail, causing the lid of the letter-box to look as if it had the 
palsy, and ourself to retreat like a shot feeling alternately hot and 
cold; whilst Strap, who, upon hearing Mrs. Brown's footsteps, began to 
be very busy, performing a feat of strength with seven waiters, a copper 
scuttle and an ice-pail, is put in such trepidation that he loses his grip 
all coming to the flags ; causing the greatest amount of clamour at the 
smallest amount of sacrifice Mrs. Brown saying she is happy it is not 
glass, and hoping Strap hasn 't been drinking. The effect having an 
nihilated the cause, the door is not opened; so the dose gets repeated, 
with similar gusto, by Fred. Lark for it was he that gave the " stun 
ner," and witnessed the commotion through the attenuated windows 
at either side the door, a piece of pleasantry for which he got stigma 
tised by Mrs. B. as a naughty, noisome, noisy man ; and for which he 
himself proposed the still-room, as an antidote. Now, Mr. Lark is one 
of those funny little men, rather liked, because not over given to sar 
casm, and, quite capable of laughing at his own jokes; or rather the 
jokes he has picked up and disseminates such whimsies in their place 
being very well, but out of it intolerable nuisances. Mr. Lark com 
menced his vagaries in the still-room, when we were taking coffee, 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 55 

placing the toast on the table, and the buttered bread to the fire ; 
proffering the sugar to Miss Angelina ; inquiring of that lady if she 
liked her tea because, if not, she might lump it ; and upon our observing 
some cracknels, as hard, the Lark said it was harder where there were 
none ; and that evening he completely confounded Mr. Brown, by in 
forming the worthy gentleman he had not seen him this year ! no 
thing very remarkable, considering it only three days' old ; but enough, 
withal, to make Mr. Brown think of three hundred and sixty-five 
doubting the statement. 

Now arrive the musicians, with a gentle knock : up goes the harp 
(like a huge blade-bone in baize), followed by the cornet, violin, and 
pianist. We ascend : Mrs. Brown popping and firing her parting in 
junctions in every direction at Alphonso, in the (library) coffee-room; 
at Mr. Strap, by the door ; at John, by the foot of the stairs ; and, I 
was going to say, at the listless supernumerary footman, lolling over 
the banisters ; who appeared in, or rather out of, character, by especial 
desire, for this night only, being lent with the rout-seats at a sure 
salary. As Mrs. Brown passed this latter gentleman in silence, we 
could not help smiling hoping she might have to think as well of his 
powers as he did himself, and that alHitles entrusted to his care might 
be safely delivered ; for we knew Mrs. Bramston would not be called 
Brimstone, without turning fiery ; or Mr. Reynard Sly put up with 
anything but Slee, though he may write it Sly, himself. 

Having gained the drawing-room, and got fairly through the muslin- 



56 CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 

barrier in the doorway, which made the staircase look as if in a fog, 
we found the appearance within very gratifying everything well out 
of the way, and no stinting of wax -lights : altogether exhibiting a 
clearer stage than is often to be met with some antique people invit 
ing you to polk in an old curiosity shop ; as, the other evening, at 
the Dowager Lady Oldbuck's, young Whisk, of the Heavies, brought 
down a buhl table, covered w r ith porcelain gimcracks ; a thing that Lark 
observed ought to cure itself, if people wished to save their Sevres. 
Evening parties are not the slow things they used to be : here the 
back balcony is all evergreens and tissue-paper blossoms, lit up with 
a Chinese lanthorn looking like a fairy bower, tenanted by four gaping 
gold-fish and a dissipated canary ; the little boudoir, beyond, so snug 
in sage and silver, seeming but small accommodation for card-players. 
We thought of Lady Oldbuck's the valuable space occupied by cha- 
perones and corpulent cronies, blessing the new mode; dances now 
being given to dancers, not to dowagers and matrimonial slave-deal 
ers, as heretofore. Mrs. Brown calculates her company; and think 
ing there is enough for a quadrille in either room, she commences 
to form them pouncing, from time to time, upon timid young men 
by the door, who are led forward, like lambs from a flock, to sacri 
fice, until the sets are completed all but one couple Mrs. Brown 
stating herself "distressed for ladies;" a combination of suffer 
ing by no means acute, for she stood up herself, having engaged 
the amiable young Slowcoach to fill the gap. 




g- 



s 



** 





-^ THE QUADRILLE. 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 57 

No sooner did the orchestra commence barely having finished the 
first eight bars of " the Martyrs", than the guests came rushing up from 
the coffee-room, like sheep through a hedge, one bolder than the rest 
leading the way, causing Mrs. Brown to desert her partner in Vite a 
figure the gentleman feels bound to execute twice, though he would 
much rather have been excused either performance ; and upon Mrs. 
Brown's presenting a substitute he became so beside himself as to 
forget the figure a mishap rendered none the clearer by a wag's per 
forming la pastorale, when he ought to have done trenise, and more 
over, not have done it in such a facetious manner, as to render it a 
matter of doubt if he himself could have recognized it ; the audacity 
being accompanied by a certain amount of shyness, that had to be 
hidden, altogether sadly deranging our amiable youth's comprehen 
sion, he being led by his partner, instead of leading her to be left, 
alone, in a mental pillory, a specimen of blushing mortification more 
diverting to behold than to experience ; but, upon being kindly treated 
by his gentle partner, he recovers, in the galop finale, feeling truly 
grateful to the guardian spirit that has conducted him through the 
purgatory. Ladies, be gentle with youthful bashfuhiess it often 
arises from pure feelings, modest diffidence, or unselfishness ; such, 
unlike many proficient dancers, carry their brains in their hats, and 
not in their boots: weigh your "fantastic-toes" against them, and 
see w r hich are the most empty. 

Somehow, the first quadrille is always unfortunate! In the back 



58 CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 

room they succeeded no better than in the front: here, Miss Charmer 
was top of the dance, as she always is, if it can be obtained ; especially in 
the Lancers or Caledonians (which, we dare say, are pleasant quadrilles 
to those who know them, and the Charmer does). Well, she is top, with 
young Hoy (heir to Sir Hobbedy), for a partner, a brave youth at quoits, 
cricket, boxing, or boating his hands, horny as a tortoise and large as 
Polyphemus', over which he split three right-hand gloves : a glance will 
suffice to show how much he is out of his, and she in her, element 
Miss Charmer looking, Lark said, as if she would prefer performing the 
" first set" (or sit) upon a vacant seat, beside Arthur Beau, who has just 
arrived, and by whom, we know, she disliked to be quizzed; so, upon 
the completion of the first eight bars, the Charmer flounced, bringing 
the flounces of her dress into contact with the bars of the grate, causing 
the smoke to come out, and Arthur to come round, that he might lean 
upon the shelf, engage himself for the next dance, and stand behind the 
fair partner, a fire-guard of honour, unable to keep from smiling at Mr. 
Hoy, who dances upon his heels, as though enamoured of his large feet, 
and afraid of knocking his head against the chandelier. Their vis-a-vis 
is a lively lady, apparently taking stock of a bouquet, but, in reality, 
joking an absent gentleman, opposite: it is Miss Gay, whom Lark (her 
partner) is making laugh, by observing the gentleman is not so absent 
as he ought to be ; causing that lady to forget herself making many mis 
takes and false starts ; which, being those of a person who knew better, 
were very diverting. Miss Gay is voluble as volatile, no subject coming 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT OXCE A YEAR. 59 

amiss she is now speculating as to how far the gentlemen will permit 
the buttons to travel down their backs, or their skirts to be curtailed ; 
and Mr. Lark, unable to find a reason, must get up a contrary supposi 
tion imagining some middle-aged ladies to resemble a cork-screw, as 
they have at different periods shifted the waist from the armpits down 
ward : waists making us think of the short lady (in this set) with a very 
long one Miss Price, only child of Alderman Price, chandler and dry- 
salter, of Candle wick ward daughter and hair, as Mr. Lark jocosely 
observed, in allusion to the luxuriant red tresses of that lady ; saying 
her papa was the great crony of Sir Rich. Big, the free vintner, late of 
Portsoken ward, who was found, or rather not found having eva 
porated of spontaneous combustion, before he could get to the civic 
chair, leaving all his money to Price ; who has retired, with his fat 
and the gout, to Bayswater. Miss Price is a lovely dancer, appear 
ing hollow ( a thing Miss Gay did not doubt ), like an India rubber 
ball in flounces ; she is said to have a beautiful hand, so small as 
to require only No. 6. gloves as if a pigmy hand could not be a de 
formity. She is invited, in a hope that young Brown may make her 
a partner, for the dance of life ; and is said to be worth 150,000 
not by the pound weight, as the envious Miss Gay hinted. No ! 
No ! naughty Miss Gay, be satisfied with Nature's gifts, and do not 
covet lucre. 

Here comes young Brown, who has not danced before, to make 
arrangements with Miss Gay, who has and proved herself the belle 



60 CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 

of the room ; but, as gentlemen are now in the minority, she does 
not hint at being " engaged for the next," or propose " the one 
after." 

There is a temporary lull, after the dance : and in comes Captain 
de Camp, looking like a macaw in a dress-coat, leading Lady Lucretia 
do Camp, who resembles an apoplectic canary so glittering is the amber 
satin, followed by the sons, who meander amongst the beaux and bare 
shoulders, in search of the Miss Browns dancing with no one else all 
the evening, causing the gentlemen to think very little of the De Camps, 
and the ladies less of the Miss Browns. Now, then, for a polka ! the 
rattling "Post knock Polka! " Off! away they go, after a great deal 
of reluctance and playful diffidence as to who should lead off Miss 
Charmer with Arthur Beau, twirling round and round, in and out (like 
an eel among skittles) ; followed by Mr. Latimer and Miss Jemima, who 
evidently intended to do great things, but only cause confusions and 
contusions, until they get knocked into the open space, in the centre of 
the human vortex the Charmer spinning, as a top that could not stop, 
while the music continued, like the automata in front of a street organ. 
There, there they go ! that is Lord Towney he who came with Mr. 
Serjeant Wideawake, the Honourable Member for Bloomsbury the 
fellow who got acquainted with Brown, as brother-director of the "Dodo 
Assurance," that didn't do, and was done up. His Lordship is son of 
the Marquis of Mary-le-bone he that is flying with the pink flounces, 
the buoyant, hollow, Miss Price, whose pretty button of a nose we do 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 



61 



believe was impressed with the bas 
ket-work on her partner's fourth 
shirt-stud. Round and round they 
twist backwards, forwards, and 
sideways, between parties parted, 
and openings that close again, 
faster and faster, smiling, frown 
ing, and apologizing, growing 
swifter and swifter, until the floor 
snapped, and rebounded with an 

awful crash. 

* # * * 

The visitors are in the room be 
low a scene of ruin and rueful 
faces ; the supper that was display 
ed there, in all its state, is done for. 
Alas ! the chandelier has been 
polked off the hook a mishap in 
which few sympathise, for the floor 
is said to be safe ; Mr. Lark being 
the first to propose their going above, 
as he jokingly observed to crack 
the party -wall. Now, for that vastly -relished valse, the " Teetotum" 
liked none the less for the late excitement ! deux temps against trois 




62 CHRISTMAS COMES BUT OXCE A YEAR. 

temps the latter getting worsted ; and the Brown girls, who danced 
every dance, with certain gentlemen, only, more and more unpopular. 

As the evening progresses, the Wall-flowers become bolder; some 
finding partners for quadrilles ; others edging up to the vacant recesses, 
rendering it now possible to get out at the door, and obtain air on the 
landing where several young fellows are congregated : there young 
Lark was laughing, we knew, at the Rev. Jewel St. Jones, the clerk 
in orders at St. Stiffs, doing the cavalier seul for we heard him say 
something about early missal, or primitive Christian style, joking the 
reverend gentleman's partner, Miss what 's-her-name, the " lamp-post," 
from No. 4, Bury Court, St. Mary Axe that washed-out, faint, fair 
creature, she, that looks as if you could see the back buttons of her 
dress through from the front that lady well, do you see her ? It is 
said her mother keeps her in a dark closet, that she may look like a 
consumptive geranium : however, Mr. Lark said he did not believe 
it ; and, as no one said they did, the matter ended. The stairs soon 
become a popular observatory several Wall-flowers joining the knot ; 
one of whom mildly remarks something about three silver-grey silks, 
in the fore-ground, and their being " much worn ;" which Mr. Lark 
fully agreed in, as, he said, they appeared to have been turned several 
times a joke, at which the Wall-flower faintly smiles, for the three sil 
ver-greys are his sisters: however, nothing daunted, he is at it again, 
remarking upon marriage, and people that look married; illustrating 
his theory by pointing out the juvenility of an aunt, who he says is a 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 63 

virgin: Lark retorting " virging on fifty !" a notification that begets 
much laughter, making the Wall-flower feel at a discount, and more 
than ever desire to say something smart ; so, he pitches upon a gentle 
man with parenthetical (bowed) legs, observing that Brown has in 
vited his tailor ; moreover, wagering two to one, that if the gentleman, 
so libelled, were asked to look at the splashes on the calf of his leg, 
he would take it up in front, and examine it in his hand, like a nabob or 
tailor, used to sit upon the floor ; were he a Christian, he would look 
at it over his shoulder : here the Wall-flower turned for applause, 
looking over his own shoulder to illustrate the anecdote there to dis 
cover, Captain de Camp, the gentleman who introduced " Parenthesis," 
a staff doctor, from Woolwich (at least so the Captain said). But 
here we will leave them to proceed below, and see how matters pro 
gress in the supper-room : 

The chandelier, the treacherous culprit, that would not swing or 
hang in chains, is being borne away, clanking along the lower hall ; the 
broken glass has been picked out of the pastry, and the oily odour 
overcome with esprit de bouquet presenting, withal, a very effective 
coup- d 1 ceil: though, we could fancy the tipsy-cake, in the form of a 
leaning-tower, if anything, a little more groggy ; and that the composite 
Corinthian temple looked as if it had suffered from an earthquake but 
there it was, for all the intense remorse of the cook, who thought the 
exhibition of so mutilated a work of art would injure his reputation for 
ever but it did not ! Neither did any one notice the loss of the frail 



64 CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 

effeminate brigand, that formerly tenanted the rotunda of barley-sugar ; 
nor was it known that a treadmill had given place to a locomotive and 
tender in sweets. 

The first portion of this banquet disappears merrily ; there being no 
lack of the usual conserves, pasties, and geometrical bread-envelopes 
supposed to contain something, but consumed without the slightest 
knowledge of their contents. 

After the ladies have supped and withdrawn, the gentlemen lay to, 
with immense energy, as if to make up for the time they have been 
kept in suspense, creating great havoc amongst ruined fowls, or any 
thing they can lay hands upon in the excitement, particularity having 
given place to mirth. One gentleman has planted a spoon in his button 
hole, after the fashion of a flower ; and, of course, for his pains, got 
called a " Spooney," by an unknown voice behind Mr. Potts, the tame 
apothecary, who is pouring, or rather measuring out, some cham 
pagne, himself, catching the final drop on the edge of the glass, as if 
it were castor-oil : the " Spooney," thinking it Potts' voice, must make 
a joke in return ; so begins with the rather hackney 'd, but, as he 
thought, appropriate one, of champagne feeing better than real pain or 
quinine wine ; and, upon Mr. P.'s essaying to answer, our " Spoon" 
diverted to some tongue he was consuming, saying he liked it better 
than Potted tongue an observation that made the apothecary's face 
flush, and the " Spoon" liken it to an article before them, a claret-mug. 
At this last allusion the " Pott" got red-hot, and there is no knowing 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 65 

what would have been the consequences, had not the " Spoon" terrified 
the " Pott" by proclaiming " silence ! " in a stentorian voice ; and a 
gentleman risen, Dr. Portbin, the author of that elaborate essay on 
" Dribbling Babies," in one thick volume, royal octavo a work that 
nobody read, but everybody thought a great deal of, for it gained its 
author a vast infantine practice: so, when the M.D. rose, the " Pott" 
trembled feeling greatly relieved to find the doctor only did so to 
propose the "ladies" "health and long life to Mrs. Brown and the 
ladies ! " a toast that was drunk with great enthusiasm, Mr. Lark vo 
ciferously applauding; at the same time stating, in an under tone 
" the doctor meant a long life of ills and bills." Dr. Portbin's sentiment 
is echoed by Mr. Brown, who returns thanks in a stereotype-speech, 
almost as original as a royal one ; to which, in some points, it bore slight 
resemblance, the ideas being very much generalized there was an 
" alliance with foreign powers," " acquisition of territory," and " friendly 
relations:" altogether a prosperous allegory, which causes Captain 
de Camp to be " called upon ;" and, in that style of speech usually 
denominated " neat," give very visible vent to his inexpressible feel 
ings sketching several scenes, commencing at Victoria Villa and 
ending at St. Stephen's, with a verse, intended to look as if composed 
for the nonce ; but, in reality, a work of much study : it was de 
livered with great emphasis a composition for which we had to 
blush, though, as faithful chroniclers, feel bound to insert it ran as 
follows : 



66 CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 

" Victoria and Albert 's big 

With city's wealth and soldier's'glory : 
To Army, Queen, and Country swig : 

Improve, my friends, and prove the Tory ! " 

We do not think the Captain quite liked the word " swig," but he 
could find no better in "Walker's Rhyming Dictionary ;" or the last 
expression but Conservative could not be lugged in any how: how 
ever, we must say, this ostensible improvisatorial effort produced a 
grand effect, and a greater noise ; which had scarcely subsided, when 
Mr. Serjeant Wideawake, the Honourable Member for Bloomsbury, 
and author of " Lays of a Liberal," rose to retort, saying, 

** We beg to doubt your precious rig, 
And I '11 tell you another story : 
To improve is to be a whig ; 
But not to improve-is-a-tory ! " 

The effect of this latter burst of poetic fire was truly electric ; it 
completely extinguished the Captain's impromptu glimmer, lighting 
up that gallant bosom with a passion of another kind he feels miser 
ably "put out;" and, like a dying rush-light in its last moments, 
seemed determined to end with a spark of unusual brightness. The 
Captain stood erect, awaiting his opportunity ; but, alas ! it was one 
that never came ; for the ventriloquist, that caused the rupture between 
Mr. Potts and the " Spooney," made the " Lion" wince, by observing, 
"he hoped there would be no cruelty to animals" a remark that 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 



67 




th 



made our " Lion" roar 
contemptuously, and call 
the company " bears and 
monkeys" he growling, 
with blood-thirsty pug 
nacity, about " satisfac 
tion" and " Chalk Farm," 
the declamatory mania 
causing the irascible mon 
ster to mount a projec 
tion in the recess, cover- 
a curtain, bringing down 



n avalanche of fenders, fire-irons, 
nd other stowage, with a fearful 
crash crowning the "king of beasts" 
with a helmet-scuttle, thus permit 
ting the meaner animals to escape ; leaving, as Mr. Lark (who came out 
last) said, between frightful gusts of laughter oozing from his hand 
kerchief, Jackall Brown, the lion's provider, pacifying the enraged 
brute with claret or soda water ; and John in such an extreme fit of 
awe, that he has taken the state jug, with the hole in the bottom 
stopped with sealing-wax only intended to hold cold water, into use, 
for hot ; and, being unable to stop the orifice with his finger, drops 
the article to the scalding of the already enfuriated " Lion." 



68 CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 



Feet were pattering above as we left this scene of strife no time 
seeming to have been lost during the consumption of the supper ; 
for the hands of the clock, in the hall, pointed to an earlier hour 
than they did when we descended : the truth being, Lark, though 
rather fast himself, thought Time too much so, and put him back 
a little. The Wall-flower is comparing the clock "with his repeater. 
Lark is reprimanding him, saying it is not etiquette to do so ; and 
that really some one ought to tell the vulgar thing, in green satin, 
who wore her button of a watch-face outward (fearing lest it should 
be taken for a locket), to turn the bauble round, for it is time she 
was in bed. 

Having been absent for a short period, we were informed by the 
Lark that we had not lost a treat for Jemima had been singing, 
" Memory, be thou ever true ! " whilst Lark ( perpetrating a dreary 
pun) said, he every moment wished the music-stool would prove a 
fall setto, and precipitate the lady to the ground; for it was a sad 
pity to hear poor Spohf 's songs so murdered. 

They are now at a waltz " the Olga," which is carried on with 
spirit, lasting a very long while young Lark saying he does not waltz, 
for it makes his head swim ; and that he has an objection to stand 
holding by the shelf, experiencing a sensation delightful as standing 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT OtfCE A YEAR. 69 

upon one's head in a swing, before a lady that ought to have your best 
attention ; however, for all Lark's protestations, we saw some one 
sided smiles, as much as to say, his vulnerable part, like that of 
Achilles, lay in the heels an insinuation Lark could well afford to 
allow, for he does not live to dance, alone, like some sage, perfect, 
performers. 

After the " Caledonians" and another polk (which, for diversion, young 
Brown has danced to the tune of the " College-hornpipe" a pleasing 
eccentricity), followed a quadrille, a la Franpaise, danced without sides, 
in two very long lines a style reported to have been imported from 
a Casino, and not held to be proper by sober people. So, Potts got a 
disgust for the polka, and thought it improper a dance he never 
patronised or wished to it being too fast for the dull apothecary ! 
he hated it, because once an inveterate polkist nearly knocked his 
patella, or knee-pan, off, with some hard substance in the flying tails of 
the dancer's dress-coat a huge street-door key, that ought to have 
been left in the palet6t. 

Our evening is drawing to a close : the mouths in the boudoir are 
assuming the shape of elongated O's an epidemic that has extended to 
the Wall -flowers; the "harp" has accompanied his instrument with 
fitful snores ; the " violin " scarcely knows the back from the front 
of his fiddle, or the " cornet " which end to blow into ; yet, upon being 
asked for "Roger de Coverley," they make a desperate effort to 
awake, for they know it to be the last dance which is supported by 



70 CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 

the whole strength of the company, Captain de Camp leading off 
with Mrs. Brown, and Mr. Brown with Lady Lucretia. Thus ends 
the Christmas Ball ! 

The still-room is being besieged for coffee ; and there is a great dif 
ficulty in obtaining hats and coats unfortunately few of the tickets cor 
responding, for Alphonso's ward was precipitated down the kitchen 
stairs, it having been too heavily laden. Lady and Miss Highbury are 
seen to their carriage by Mr. Lark, who departs in Lord Towney's 
cab, with a "Gibus" hat, mechanically deranged all wrinkles, like 
a jockey's boot. Upon being asked, by a Ian thorn-bearer, " if his Honor 
has such a thing as a pint o' beer in his pocket ? " Mr. Lark, with 
playful irony, informs the supernumerary that malt liquor is not a 
solid, neither is it to be obtained at evening parties. 

To and fro, flit the Jack-o'-lanthorns, respectfully touching the bind 
ing of their battered hats, covering the tiers of muddy wheels with their 
coat-tails, that the tulle and tartelaine may not be spoiled hoping 
your Honour will " remember" them! as they cast uncertain shadows 
upon the icy pavement ice that has been rendered none the less 
slippery by their cutting out a slide upon it, with the assistance of the 
police, during the evening : such a banging of doors, clashing of steps, 
and stopping up the way, under the little awning, over the carriage- 
sweep a pretty pass, so narrow that, we are sorry to say, the hackney- 
drivers instituted a private road amongst the hardy shrubs, choking up 
the gates, to the great distress of pedestrians, who are looked upon by 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 71 

the " lanthorns" as " shabby gents," paying nothing for the privilege of 
walking ; they (the " lanthorns ") viewing the immunity, in the light 
of parsimony. However, we think walking home, after a party, under 
the influence of champagne, a dangerous experiment: the clear free 
streets seeming to court a " lark," and the very bells to invite pulling 
"Visitors'," and "Night," "Knock and Ring," (and run) also. 

We have since heard the fate of a rash expedition undertaken at this 
season, the band of adventurers consisting mostly of those gentlemen 
who had passed the last half-hour dying for a cigar ; and yet, by some 
unknown attractive power, felt bound to stay the entertainment out 
probably it was that such kindred souls might depart en masse ; how 
ever, be it what it might, their first care was to obtain a light at some 
sacrifice, for the lamp-post had been newly painted ; and, secondly, 
happening to pass Mr. Spohf 's, they must serenade that gentleman 
with pathetic negro-melodies about the loss of one "Mary Blane," 
and an injunction to " Susannah" not to sob, until driven by the 
police into another beat, there to lose one of their band, who fell 
a victim to an inquiring spirit ; for, seeing an inscription on a door, 
to intimate that its owner, a surgeon, gave " advice, gratis, between 
the hours of four and five, every Saturday," he rang to demand the 
same (having the head-ache), as it was just that time by St. Stiff's ; 
but, unfortunately falling into the clutches of No. 8, of the A divi 
sion, he had to receive the advice, from a magistrate, between eleven 
and twelve, at a fee of five shillings. 



72 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 




We left Mr. Lark in Lord Towney's cab again 
to take up with him, being put down at the end of 
Bloomsbury Buildings, fearing the rattle of wheels 
in that quiet cul-de-sac would disturb the old Larks. 
Having found the door, and spent five minutes by 
the hinges searching for the key-hole, he gets 
within ; and spends five more trying to ignite an 
extinguisher ; cautiously stealing to bed, throwing 
his paletbt over the top banister, and the contents of 
its pockets down the well-staircase, to the awaken 
ing of the whole house. 

At Victoria Villa the last guest has gone : the 
-Ijj- De Camps have gone departed with cordiality and 

ji love for all that is Brown, at the same time sadly 

f mortified with the impression made on that worthy 
gentleman's friends. Mrs. Brown, worn out and 

T exhausted, has given a parting glance round, with 
her night-lamp, and panted up to-bed ; the Misses 

t Brown have retired to their chambers ; John feels 
very much inclined to proclaim his opinion of the 

ii, Captain, but is fearful of the consequences; and 
Mr. Strap, who has fallen a victim to his weak 
ggy point strong drink, is rendered thereby quite inca 
pable of making either a base to his person, or a fluent 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR, 73 

speech, as it seems he wished ; for, upon meeting Mr. Brown by the 
stairs, he made a rush at the esteemed proprietor of that name, pro 
phetically bidding him to " B-B-Beware of Captings in w-w-w-wolf s 
clo-o-othing, fur all isn't gug-gug-gold as gl-1-l-litters, as the Rev-rind 
Miss-s-s-ster B-B-Bucket observes, in the Proverbs of Sol'mon's songs." 
Mr. Strap, after having delivered these sentiments, in what might have 
been called a sotto voice, to an imaginary Mr. Brown (for the reality 
had withdrawn to bed), performs an unsuccessful backward movement 
upon his heels as if to survey his victim, coming to the ground ; 
where he lay until borne off by John, who thinks him a valiant fool. 

The persevering Brown, though much fatigued, does not postpone 
the Diary : " JANUARY 4th, Friday Execrable Friday! We this day 
gave our Annual Ball we, indeed ! why I knew nothing about it un 
til all the cards had been despatched. Mrs. Brown asks just as Tom 
does, if he may have the sugar, when it is half consumed : It was Mrs. 
Brown's ball in every sense. I did hope to have experienced more en 
joyment for the money. I have many a time been happier at half the 
price ; ay, happier when I was clerk at Chizzle and Filch 's, in Alder- 
manbury ; but, somehow, I suppose a man must make sacrifices for his 
friends, as penurious old Chizzle did, when he paid the debt of nature, 
and left to me that he could not take away ! Not that I ever made any 
sacrifices for Spohf no, he never asked it ; cheap trusty friendship is 
something ! I must own to feeling, all the evening, as if my collar had 
too much starch therein ; and more out of place in my own house than 

H 



74 CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 

the ' white neckerchiefs' that waited at supper. I am like a fish out of 
water, and that fish, a flat-fish caught with a bit of red rag ; however, 
there must be a great deal in use another element may be delightful, 
when used to it. There is no doubt my old friend Wideawake's at 
tack upon the Captain was mere envy ; and as to his insinuating that I 
should never eat a peck of salt with that man to say I shall never 
know that man, is preposterous ! as to eating the literal peck, no 
man, probably, will do that ; for the Captain has an aversion to saline 
food, saying it makes the bones soft. I wonder if it has the same 
effect upon brains ! We shall see, Wideawake we shall see : let this 
page bear testimony ! I hope the briny ocean may not swallow up 
the Captain's luggage." 

Victoria and Albert slumber late on the morning of the 5th : 
Alphonso is the first up or rather down, having rolled off his uncom 
fortable bed, constructed upon four chairs, in the drawing-room. Mrs. 
Brown, too, must have risen on the wrong side of her teaster, so testy 
is she this morning thanking her stars that Twelfth-day has arrived, 
to put an end to the Christmas miseries! Soon, now, will that little 
pest, Tom, be packed back to " Tortwhack House ;" and the juvenile 
party, of to-day, it is hoped may appease some rampant mammas un 
invited to the grand reunion rendering any petty excuses that may 
be given the more feasible. 

The day rolls rapidly away, though not with half the speed Master 
Brown could desire the hands of the hall-clock appearing to creep so, 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 75 

that every time Tom passed it (arid that was not seldom), he stopped to 
see if it was going, the day seeming most unusually long, and night as if 
it never would come ; but it did ! firstly, bringing the little " Merry s," 
from Hope Cottage, the Tudor lodge, next-door-but-one Master Wal 
ter Merry being the first to answer Tommy's nubbly note of invitation, 
in intoxicated text capitals, that appeared to be making a desperate 
effort to run off the paper, at the right-hand corner, leaving no room 
to " remain," and scarcely any to " please turn over ;" so folded was it, 
to give the desired angular form, that the paper looked as if it had 
been used to make five hundred geometrical cocks and boats. 

Tom met the Merry s with such fervent joy, that he never thought 
they had healths, or anything else to ask after; his only object, seem 
ing to be the finding of his friend, who is rolled, like a mummy, in 
numberless boas and shawls : during the process of unswathing, which 
was no easy job to one in a hurry, so artfully were the pins introduced, 
Master Tommy treats his friend Walter to a railroad retrospective 
review of the good things in store recounting all the " lummy" things 
left yesterday ; telling about the " nobby" Christmas tree Captain de 
Camp gave them though his ma' did say it was "a pretty give!" it 
was stolen out of his father's garden. My father 's a jolly sight richer 
than your 's he has more trees in his garden ain't we got a " swag" of 
nuts, and a "plummy" twelfth-cake my father won it at an art- 
union, in the city ! I am to draw King if I don't, just see how I '11 
cry !- Mercy Merry shall be Queen. You shall have Punch off the 



76 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 



cake ; and ma' says I shall have " Rule Britannia," as soon as the waves 
and ice have melted away. 

Now a knock brings more 
visitors, the Masters Young, in 
all the ungainliness of hobble- 
dyhoyhood that transmigra- 
tory period when coat-tails 
are first developed: they 
have come with their sister 
Flora, a lovely bud, expected 
" out" next season. Here are 
the Bells, the Petits, and the 
little Larks, with their big 
brother, the " jolly Lark," who 
made his debut over the top of 
the drawing-room-door, stand 
ing upon the shoulders of your humble servant ; who felt the "jolly 
Lark" anything but light, and no joke though the juveniles must have 
thought it so, for we could hear their merry peals of laughter ringing 
joyously, dispelling the silence that had hitherto prevailed, overturn 
ing the sage injunctions of proper mammas, who teach their children 
to behave " pretty" thinking good and quiet synonymous. Somehow, 
the little fellows, unfortunately, take the Lark for Mr. Spohf, who has 
hitherto done the funny in a refined style, scarcely to be imagined an 




CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 77 

elegant, amiable, fun, a mixture of the buffoon and gentleman, the 
sublime and the ridiculous, quite marvellous to behold, making our 
little friend (who you are aware was moulded in one of Nature's odd 
freaks) appear, to tender imaginations, almost supernatural. The mis 
take and misplaced approbation is very galling to Mrs. Brown ; so much 
so that she becomes angry with the tea-urn, and, in turn, burns her 
fingers venting her ire in the shape of a box on the ears of Master 
Bold, who ventured to hint Mr. Spohf's absence a "jolly shame;" and, 
now vows to tell his mamma a thing it is very evident Mrs. Brown 
does not wish, for she has shown a great deal of favour and contrition 
towards the young gentleman since. 

The tea-tray having been removed, the burners of the chandelier 
heightened, and the Snuffle family had their row of little noses polished 
by the eldest sister, preparations begin: Miss Jemima playing the 
pretty little " Hop o'my Thumb Polka," and Tom, who has been sitting 
very quietly beside Mercy Merry (vowing to marry her at fourteen, for 
"his father is so rich that he would give him five pounds a year to live 
upon"), leads off, much to the mortification of those boys who will not 
be " young gentlemen" the many who won't, can't, and shan't dance ! 
but, being bent upon mischief, dispose explosive spiders and chair- 
crackers about the carpet ; one little mischievous fellow wishing he had 
brought some pepper to strew on the floor, and make 'em sneeze ; how 
ever, they get up a little excitement another way with the sofa-pillows, 
a sharn fight, in which a parian Amazon falls beside Marian Bell, who 



78 CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 

" didn't go to do it ;" so dancing is relinquished for games to suit all par 
ties : Hunt the Slipper, a sport carried on with great spirit, until it is 
found there are slippers enough for three a thing everybody holds to 
be cheatery: so that game is abandoned for Blind-man's-buff, the mere 
mention of which, carries us back to childhood ; and, as authors often 
lug in their thoughts (bits of nature) very unceremoniously, and at odd 
times, we may, possibly, be pardoned or praised for so doing. Well, 
we never hear mention of this game but we think of a bump we once 
received during the sport, our blind ardour causing us to flounder in a 
fender, and bruise our head, the remains of which will be taken to the 
" long home." Well do we remember the spotted turban worn on that 
occasion for we recollect, at the time, thinking " Belcher" a new term, 
just coined ; having our crown rubbed with brandy and taking a little 
internally, which appeared attracted by that externally, for it got in 
our head and made us very merry, causing the hiccups to such an 
extent, that we were called Sir Toby Belch of " Twelfth Night ; or, 
What you Will" notoriety (having drawn that character). Thus, brandy, 
Belchers, and Blind-man's-buff, hold an indissoluble partnership in our 
memory a remnant of those days when we imagined a Jew incapable 
of dealing in other merchandise than old clothes ; or of shaving like a 
Christian, or, if he did, would do other than expose a pendant chin, 
resembling the vertebra of a horse's tail. Oh ! those days have flown 
days when we imagined peas split by hand, and thought humanity fools 
for not making soup with whole ones but we are sadly digressing ! 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 



79 



" It 's not fair ! " cry twenty voices " the blind man can see ;" and so he 
could, for he always caught Miss Brown, who, afraid of the piano or pier- 
glass, would stand in the way : so that sport is relinquished for cake 
and Characters ; the former seeming to afford great gratification, and 
the latter little, save to the King and Queen all other characters being, 
like the riddles, " given up," no one car 
ing to know when a sailor is not a sailor ? 
when he 's a-board: or to be bored with a 
door 's being a-^'ar, and a man ^-shaving. 

The rich cake is soon a ruin ; so much is 
every part of it relished, that one young 
gentleman has consumed the head and 
shoulders of Madame Alboni, under a de 
lusion of her being sugar, and not "plas 
ter of parish," as Mrs. Brown afterwards 
said it was. The little fellows soon get 
very mirthful on the ginger- wine ; keep 
ing up a continual buzz, like a colony of 
bees, sadly itching to be at something 
a wish that is not to be realized at once, for little Miss Newsoince 
is going to do that eternal tattoo, the "Rataplan;-" yes, there she 
is, in Tom's felt-hat and polonaise, as" La Vivandidre, "thumping upon 
an empty band-box with two knitting-pins, singing, as some of the 
mammas say, very prettily ; but as the boys, who have heard it many 




80 CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 

times before, designate it " a jolly bother ! " " a great big shame ! " 
" a precious dummy set out ! " and so on, there being no fun in it. 

This hum-drum over, a great cry is raised for Forfeits ! and a desire 
that a lady should go out in a very great hurry, as it would appear, 
almost in a state of destitution; for every young lady and gentleman 
proffers to stand for some article of dress. Having settled what they will 
give, all sit round upon chairs, ready to hear the lady's demands : spin 
goes the trencher, and she wants her Stockings ! forward fly the hose, 
personated by a little fellow, with mottled legs, who had never stood in 
other than socks, but for all that can catch the revolving waiter, look sly 
ly at Bonnet, make him think it his turn, and impudently call out " Cap /" 
so Bonnet and Cap knock head to head, tumble on the trencher, 
and get fined. Bonnet shouts "Boots!" Boots begets "Bustle!" and 
Bustle begets a grand stir, by calling "Double Toilet!" causing the 
whole wardrobe to leap from every chair, in every direction, a general 
confusion, in which the Boa slips off his seat, and forfeits a twenty- 
bladed knife, The Boa, spinning the tray again, calls "Muff!" who, 
not being on the alert, arrives when the waiter has wabbled its last, so 
the .M^has to pay a forfeit ; but having nothing eligible upon his per 
son, is found a substitute, in a very ugly China pug-dog, afterwards called 
" a very pretty thing" by Miss Angelina to Miss Jemima, who awarded 
the penalties, like a blind Justice saying her prayers, passing sentence, in 
the lap of the judge, who demands "Here 's a pretty thing, a very pretty 
thing ; and ivhat is the owner of this very pretty thing to be done to ? " 




HERE'S A LADY GOING OUT, IN A 
VERY GREAT HURRV, AND SHE WANTS- 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 81 

Angelina sentencing the owner of the pretty pug to take a very pretty 
young lady into the corner, and spell " op-por-tu-ni-ty" a spell the Muff 
does not seem to know lies in taking the opportunity to kiss the fair one, 
though he has all the evening been admiring her vastly, and would have 
given anything for such a chance ; but next, having to " lie the length of 
a looby, the breadth of a booby " $c., he is eminently successful yet, 
who shall say the ungainly cub may not one day be an ornament to so 
ciety ! Poor Muff! he has no mother or sisters the only specimens 
of girlhood known to him are the maids at home, and the school-mas 
ter's daughter, that dines with the parlour-boarders at Addle House : 
brave boy, thou art clever, but semi-civilized ! More "pretty things" 
are being redeemed fans, gloves, lockets, handkerchiefs, and chate 
laines, all their owners being appropriately "done to:" the Boa 
condemned to "bite a yard off the poker;" and the Visit e to "salute 
the one he likes best" which Garters fancies will be her; so, she em 
braces the table-pillar, and he the Berthe, instead kissing her, sadly 
to the mortification of Garters, who did think the honour worth some 
trouble. Jemima and Angelina, having disposed of the judicial pawn- 
brokering establishment, stroke down their skirts, and send round the 
currant-wine ; whilst Master Tom and a few other daring youths con 
sume lighted candle-ends, made of turnip, with almond wicks ; and the 
merry little man, Lark, who can no more be quiet than a robin in a rat- 
trap, is now hopping with a paper tail, composed of this evening's 
" Sun" a sun that seems to be incombustible, for the boys are trying 



82 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR, 




to ignite it, but cannot, only waxing Mr. Lark's pantaloons very much 
in the rear, and putting the candles out a trick that caused no end of 
diversion, not only to the performers, but to every one ; who laughed 
immoderately, more particularly when Mr. Lark led down Mrs. Brown 
to supper, the antimacassar adhering to his trowsers the wax, upon 
sitting down, causing it to stick there. 







THE CHRISTMAS TREK 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 83 

This brings us to the supper-table, and the Christmas tree, with its 
blossoms of light a very peculiar species of shrub : we have heard of 
box-trees, plane-trees, lady's slippers, and sun-flowers, but never re 
member to have seen or heard of a toy and candle-tree, figured in any 
work on botany; nor should we have thought our little friends had 
ever beheld one before, for the brilliant supper seemed but small attrac 
tion compared with the illuminated fir all eyes appeared attracted to 
the quarter in which it stood ; and when the youthful company were 
introduced to it, after the banquet, we felt glad the lower boughs were 
out of the reach of the younger branches, or they might, in their eager 
ness, have pulled it out of the disguised tub. As it was, some of the 
recipients took the fruit intended for others : for instance, Stephen 
Sharp ate all Miss Standby's basket of sweets, and then demanded the 
story-book that had his name attached to it. All the fruit was not edi 
ble, for we saw an apple that tasted very much of the wood, being full 
of pips resembling doll's tea-things ; whilst, upon suction, the pears 
emitted musical sounds ; and a biffin, like a pincushion, had the 
flavour of bran probably it was bran-new. 

The tree, now stript, is quite devoid of interest ; for, upon Mr. Lark's 
starting some fun in the corner, none lingered by, not even to listen to 
the bird-organ, that appeared to play under the table. Yes ! there was 
Lark, at it again doing anything to please ! Generous Lark ! his 
face covered with a white handkerchief, a portion tucked in his mouth, 
over all wearing a pair of spectacles, with pupils (currants abstracted 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR, 



from a mince-pie) stuck thereon, causing the Lark to look very curi 
ous and odd the children wondering what he will be at next! for now, 
you must know, he has gone to prepare another excitement ; being in 
the drawing-room, whilst the visitors are in the parlour curious beyond 



all description, be- 
Mr. Brown, who is 
back against the 
egress, just to per- 
which, after a slight 
they rushing, pell- 
ing-room, there to 
broom blazing in 
recess covered with 
ed by forks. In 




seeching the junior 
standing with his 
door, to prevent 
mit them to depart ; 
contest, he does 
mell, to the draw- 
find an old birch- 
the grate, and the 
two sheets suspend- 
front of the sheets 



is a table ; whilst in front of that table, stand the wondering little 
crowd, speculating as to what the burning broom can have to do with 
it, when a dwarf old dame appears, through a slit in the drapery as 
perfect a dwarf as ever breathed, but three feet high, and so really true 
that no one for a moment doubts her identity or vitality. " She is a 
Witch ! " cry all, that has come down the chimney. The dame bows ac 
quiescence, with numberless courtseys, telling the little company of her 
immense age and adventures recounting her history : about the large 
family she kept in the shoe ; about the refractory pig, that would not 
get over the stile ; and her wonderful travels, to sweep cobwebs from 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 85 

the sky ; so, after having danced a hornpipe ; deplored the loss of her 
carriage (broom} ; demanded the grunting pig, behind the curtain, to be 
quiet ; and scraped an infinity of courtseys, she vanishes : the sharpest 
boy in the room, Master Bold, rushing down stairs to catch a glimpse 
of her, but only seeing us, in our shirt sleeves, wonders the more ! 
par parenthhe we were one of the performers, escaping, to make room 
for the Galanti show. So, whilst we leave the company to be amused 
thereby, we will, with the kind permission of Mr. Lark, instruct you 
how to construct an old dame ; and afterwards tell the effect it had 
upon our audience : 

Firstly, procure a pair of small shoes and stockings these place 
upon your hands (which are to represent feet) ; next, tie round your 
neck a short coloured pinafore, reaching down to your hands (or rather 
the old dame's feet) this will represent a gown; now, place your 
shoed hands upon a table, to see effect ; gird the gown with a pro 
portionate apron, the strings of which will bind your arms and body 
together at the chest ; put on a false nose, a pair of spectacles, a lady's 
frilled night-cap, and a comical conical hat; add a little red cloak, and 
draw the table up to a window or recess, the curtains of which pin at 
the back of your shoulders ; and standing thus, with your hands (the 
old dame's feet) upon the table, you will represent the most perfect 
little dwarf (without arms) you can imagine ; the hands are to be sup 
plied by an accomplice, behind the curtain, who is to suit the action of 
those hands to the pleasantries you may invent. Thus, having given 



86 CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 

the necessary instructions, we leave the rest to be supplied by the 
actor ; who may, if he pleases, render the old dame a medium of much 
merry conceit and pleasant mirth. Well do we remember the impression 
made at this party ; for, as before stated, we performed the arms from 
behind the curtain, through which we occasionally peeped, getting a 
good view over the shoulders of Mr. Lark (the old dame), witnessing 
the astonished gaping gaze of the servant, who happened to enter the 
apartment at the moment, and stood transfixed to the spot, until the 
effigy had escaped. One little boy was so impressed with the illusion, 
that he actually went below, with some venturesome companions, in 
search of her ; but soon returned, rushing up stairs in a state of extreme 
terror, declaring to us (as he kept his eyes towards the door, fearing 
every moment she would appear), that he had seen the old dame, and 
heard her pig ; the truth being, one of the party had grunted in a dark 
corner of the lobby, and frightened the youth, who eventually became 
a prey to intense mental anxiety a trembling fear we attempted to 
dispel, without success, until we bore the little fellow below, he cling 
ing tightly to us. In the lobby Mr. Lark showed the scared youth our 
trick, piece-meal in the end, pacifying the young gentleman, though 
much do we think the old dame and her pig will never be forgotten 
by him : he may grow to manhood, have children, loves and cares in 
numerable, traverse the seas, know war and famine, yet do we think 
the old dame will stand boldly out, like a giant image in the desert of 
the past far more so than the Galanti show, exhibited afterwards, 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 87 

because really alive, and capable of reason ! Though, we had more rea 
son to remember the show ; for, the men who performed it hung their 
hats and coats beside Mr. Lark's, and our own ; which, upon leaving, 
they did not identify : though, we think they ought ; as ours were con 
siderably newer one of their hats being a cap, and the other of dirty 
white felt! 

After the departure of the show, we got up some sport with the 
sheets upon which it had been performed, exhibiting our eyes through 
a hole, therein ; those on the obverse trying to guess the proprietor of 
others on the reverse all the owners of bright eyes much enjoying the 
sport. But to recount the many pranks played by youthful blood that 
evening, would require a volume everybody proposing everything ; and 
everybody else, disliking the thing proposed, suggests some other : one 
wanting Hunt the Whistle ; a second, to act Charades ; and a third, some 
practical joke of the old school, such as the game we played with Mr. 
Lark, called Porcelain Mesmerism, deceiving the little innocents into 
a belief that men are simple much more so than they will find them, 
upon arriving at maturity ! There we sat (two full-grown fools) staring 
at each other, with plates of water in our hands, the bottom of one 
sooty, the other clean! There we sat, face to face, alternately rubbing 
the bottoms of the plates, and stroking our physiognomies, in mockery 
of each other Mr. Lark getting his face blacked like a sweep, the 
youngsters laughing at his silliness ! Oh, that a little smut should 
produce such ecstatic mirth ! 



88 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 

<-=Kt, 




There is Walter Merry, looking like an eel in convulsions imagining 
he has been here about an hour: you should have seen the expression 
of the little fellow, when Mrs. Brown gently tapped him on the shoul 
der, saying, " Master Merry, you 're fetched !" Time was annihilated, 
and memory dumbfounded ! The entertainment that had been looked 
forward to for days, counted by the hours, and put so many mammas 
in a pother, is gone ! The hands of the hall-clock are almost per 
pendicular it wants but half-an-hour of midnight! Several anxious 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 



89 




MASTER MERRY AS HE APPEARED WHEN HE WAS " FETCHED " ! ! ! 

mammas have sent several times for their several little ones ; and the 
several servants have been sent away with several evasive answers for 
" the little dears are enjoying themselves so much !" " Mrs. Brown's 
compliments to Mrs. Fidgets, and would she permit the little Fidgets 
to stay just ten minutes longer ?" No ! the Fidgety footman is only 
to depart with them ; so he is sent to the servants' hall, there to wait, 
whilst snap-dragon is being prepared in the library that the even 
ing may end with a grand blue-fire tableaux. The room resembles 
the Black Hole of Calcutta ! Hundreds of little itching fingers are 



90 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 



longing to be amongst that pound of raisins, in spirits all eager, as imps, 
for the fiendish sport ; the darkness and suspense rendering it very ex 
citing causing Master Jewel (a model hoy), who is "wanted directly," 




to make no answer from the sable mass ; until, the summons being 
repeated, he says something that sounds very like " shan't come !" 
and, Master Jewel does not come, until he has had his portion of the 
fiery fpod that is flying about in every direction. 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 



91 




END OF JUVENILE PARTY. 
MASTER BROWN FEELS AS IF HE HAD HAD A GOOD MANY GOOD THINGS. 

During the last hour Cook and John have held a soiree below, to all 
the neighbouring domestics, who are awaiting to escort home their 
little masters and mistresses they are regaling upon ale and sand 
wiches, in the servants' hall ; whilst that most interesting topic, " every 
body's business," is being discussed : Mrs. Pest's maid assuring all, 
upon her sacred word and honour, that Mrs. Pest is not a angel, or 
the " Pest-house" a paradise, though it may look pretty over the gar 
den-wall ; and, moreover, Mrs. P.'s maid said she were of opinion the 
public knowed it, too ; for t 'other night some one painted out the fust 



92 CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 

letters, ag'in our door-post making the direction, at the corner of 
the lane, " Placid Vale," read " acid ale" instead, no compliment, as 
the maid said, to Mr. "Pest, Pewter, and Co.'s Entire;" at the same 
time observing, that it sarved 'em right ! And, " as I hope, afore next 
Heaster, to lose my blessed Virgin Mary name, I 'd go if it wer'n't for 
the pale-ale-tory circumstances, I 'd warn Missus ! It was only yester 
day, jist arter Mr. Pest had gone to Brewhus, in Liquorish St., that we 
had a scrimmage about flounces ; and jist as I was a-going to fling my 
resignation at her 'tending to go out every evenin', till the month was 
up, in a gound zactly like Missus' own (lilock, with seven flounces) 
well, jist when I was on the pint o' naming the word, I think'd o' little 
Ned Pest ; and, as I loved the dear little fellow more than a paltry frock, 
I con'scended to stay!" Here the gardening-groom at the " Snuggery," 
opposite, grinned and winked horribly, observing something about little 
Ned's being a "surfeit of finery" finery that had to be shown and aired, 
airing begetting the society of aubun viskers and hofficer X, 50 ! 
officers, making Mr. "Snuggery" chuckle amazingly, and grin more 
observing hofficers to be all the "kick" now! At the same time, jerking 
his thumb in the direction of the party-wall and the Albert, saying, 
he knew the Captain, met Boultoff at Bath, where he stayed last sea 
son, until the waters were too hot, when he " dried up" (we suppose 
by drying up, the "Snuggery" meant departed). No one appeared to 
notice the different name applied to the Captain or, if they did, said 
nothing, except Cook, who observed her master and the Capting to 




HC HYPOCRIPPLE IYOU DO'NT J?AY jo. 

YES, I PREDICATE HIM TO BE AN H 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 93 

be as thick as soup ! That she thought the former green and soft, as 
over-done spinach, for the Cap ting cut it very fat at master's 'spense ; 
the guvenor ought to save his bacon afore he be done to rags ; if 
missus ud come in for all the grizzle, she (cook) said she would not 
stew and fry herself about it. 

Poor John, now fully assured of the Captain's intention, is very un 
comfortable, indeed; experiencing the combined sensations of goose- 
skin, fever, pins-and-needles, live-blood, and intoxication sensations 
that might have been relieved could they have vanished at the extremi 
ties of his hair ; but, unfortunately, that would not stand erect, so 
plastered and powdered had it been since the Captain's arrival. John 
ruminates upon what has been said, intending to mention the " unmen 
tionables," and break the awful mystery to Mr. Brown, that very night. 
Now, you must know, Mr. Brown and his friend, the Captain, conde 
scended to grace the juvenile party : they sat at an occasional table, in 
the recess, drinking wine, as if for a wager trying to dispose of all the 
surplus decanted yesterday ; so, you may suppose, when John appeared 
with a melancholy face, to impart melancholy news, Mr. Brown was too 
far gone to comprehend it that night he could not stand, much more 
understand; though, somehow, under the inspiration of a draught of 
water and a damp towel, the Diary was made up, as if by instinct : 

" JANUARY 5th, Saturday. Christmas is dead! Expired with the 
Juvenile party we have economically disposed of the scraps. 'A Merry 
Christmas ! ' All the ill luck came upon Fridays we can have no 



94 CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 

more this season altogether, a jolly Christmas, with a jolly friend, who 
is to prove himself a capital one to-morrow owes me 350 bill 
due Monday, says he will clear off all by then ! If ( money ' is said 
to be a 'friend,' what must a friend with money be? A golden trea 
sure, doubly dear a companion that can never be a drag, because too 
well off." 

Thus closes the Christmas portion of the Brown Diary : its author, 
as customary on Saturday, dyeing his hair, before retiring to rest. But, 
somehow, that eventful evening, Brown could not repose in peace ; he 
abused his best friends in sleep dreaming the De Camps capable of 
decamping, after the bridal breakfast, with the dowry, across the sea 
leaving Jemima and Angelina married vestals, to make more money and 
fresh conquests in Virginia or Marryland: whither old Brown feels 
bound to follow, in his night shirt, but is incapacitated, being tied to 
the earth by a pigtail springing from the organs of amativeness, phi- 
loprogenitiveness, inhabitiveness, and adhesiveness ! So exciting is 
Brown's dream, that he fancies the De Camps escaping now, the bang 
ing door of the Albert fairly awakening the sleeper ; who, on attempting 
to rise, finds the pillow really a fixture to the back of his head ; which he 
tears away, in a rage, causing all the pleasing sensations that might be 
experienced on the removal of a tail by the roots. Brown rushes wild 
ly to the window, opening the casement ; and, upon looking into the 
pitch-dark night, he receives a blow from without, that causes him to 
stagger and reel backwards, falling to the floor, with a noise that makes 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 95 

Mrs. Brown rise in a fright, obtain a light, and severely reprimand her 
lord as a drunken fool capable of any wild fancy ! 

The naked truth stands thus : Poor Brown has mistaken a bottle of 
gum for hair-dye, and a closet for the casement bruising his forehead 
against the shelf; so, he creeps back to bed there to lie, moralizing up 
on cause and effect ! Thinking, how trifling things, in themselves, may 
lead to disastrous consequences reflecting upon the rival bottles : one 
black all deceit, the other white and trusty ! "Be not precipitate, nor 
trust to appearances only, lest you be deceived ! " a maxim, Brown 
fears, he cannot apply to the Captain ; for, never did he know less of a 
man, of whom he ought to have known more. 

The 5th of January seemed to Brown as if it would never dawn ! 
The bump that took away and restored his senses, or, rather, sobered 
that gentleman, feels like an egg placed in the centre of his forehead 
he longs for daylight, to examine it : daylight, that comes, and reduces 
the egg to a walnut-shell ! Poor Brown's hat will not go on, for the 
excrescence, so he cannot go to church. At breakfast he recounts his 
dream which is voted fudge by Mamma, stuff by Angelina, and rubbish 
by Jemima ; for they are in no very good humour after the excitement 
of last week. Little Tom is in bed, having broken his fast upon jalap, 
administered to counteract the baneful effects of the sweets consumed 
yesterday the youth being full as a sack of sand ; and, we think, could 
an anatomist have given a section of the different strata of food that 
body contained, in the spirit of a geologist, he would have presented a 



96 CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 

remarkable series of deposits. But, away with scientific speculations, to 
the Browns, who are at breakfast a meal that has been intruded upon 
by John ; who has recounted enough of a certain story to put Jemima 
in hysterics, and Angelina in a fainting fit bringing down a hurricane 
of abuse upon him John, the impertinent menial John, the venom 
ous viper, that has recoiled upon its benefactor John, the dark villain, 
that has plotted with the unworthy man, Spohf, who, of course, out of 
mere envy, mere spite, mere jealousy, would try to overturn that har 
mony that is not to be broken so easily that unity that is not to be 
severed, no, not for a hundred Spohf s ! " Go go, sir, to your fiddling 
garret-friend go and blow his hurdigurdy! Go, sir! Tell him the 
affections of innocent females are not to be played upon like a base 
vile ! Tell him there are ears to pull, horsewhips to be had, ay, and 
noble gentlemen ever ready to lay on in defence of those scandalously 
reviled! You may tremble, sir, for menials can be discharged, and 
have characters to lose ! Sir, I give you warning ! Sir, you may go ! 
Go, sir ! " 

Now, this is the very thing John much wished to do : he had been 
imperceptibly backing, for the last five minutes, towards the door, 
fearing to turn tail upon the enemy the choleric Mr. and Mrs. Brown ; 
who appeared, in their very fierceness, to counteract each other's fire 
each pulling the other back, seeming to get more and more ferocious 
the nearer their victim gained the door, for, when the baited John 
reached it, he turned the handle of the lock behind him, still facing his 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 97 

antagonists, intending to escape by a side lurch ; but, just at that cri 
tical point, there came a knock of great importance at the outer door, 
as if the chimney were on fire, or a baby half out of window : the 
enemy fell back John opened the door, and, lo ! There discovered 




an officer of the Police Force, who wanted a word with John Brown ! 
John, feeling himself the Brown wanted, retreats into the kitchen, 
where he faints away, in a plate-basket, and stops the Dutch clock. 

****** 
The Police Officer has had his word, or rather, word of words, with 
Mr. Brown : news, said to be important, but of the wildest and most 
improbable character news, appearing to that gentleman beyond all 



98 CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 

belief news, that he will not, can not, put faith in ! Allegations, so pre 
posterous, that they may be disproved in a moment "Captain de Camp, 
alias Boultoff, &c., &c., and three other persons, names unknown, 
now incarcerated in Dover Jail, for the robbery of John Brown, 
of Mizzlington" a mistake a foul plot a base fiction ! At least, so 
thought the worthy gentleman, who was as ignorant of any wrong done 
him as the lunatic that resides in the moon. Had the sea-serpent been 
discovered in the back pond, a gold-mine been found in the dust 
bin, or a Sphinx and Centaur been captured in Lincoln's Inn Fields, 
Mr. Brown could not have been more astounded ! He knows it to 
be an imputation that can be disproved in a twinkling, if Mr. Police 
Inspector will just step next door with him ; but, alas ! There the 
fox's tail is left in the trap the skirt of the very coat, borrowed of 
Mr. Brown, a fortnight since, hangs in the door, the very door that 
slammed, when the affrighted gentleman awoke in a dream, last night. 

****** 
The concluding facts of these eventful sixteen days are simply as 
follows : to Mr. Spohf is the issue due he was bound to spend the 
sabbath at Canterbury, with the cathedral and organ ; upon the journey 
thither, he happened to recognise some fellow-travellers, better known 
to him than he was to them. From a slight conversation that trans 
pired, he learned their destination to be Boulogne, or rather, Dover ; so 
he stopped at Ashford, telegraphing their persons to Dover, where, 
upon arrival, they were provided with lodging free of expense ; from that 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 



99 




place news was instantly sent to Mizzlington. Little did Mr. Brown 
think, that morning, as he combed out his matted, gummy, locks, that 
his friend Captain de Camp had lost his, under the cruel shears, in 
Dover Jail ! 



100 CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 



Captain de Camp, as you may suppose, after these lucky stars, again 
entered upon foreign service ; being ordered to New South Wales, for 
fourteen years he sailed in the same transport with his two sons. 
Lady Lucretia stayed at home, leading a very retired life she resided 
in a vast mansion at the " West-end," a castle at Millbank. 

Mr. Spohf, of course, taking advantage of his rival's absence, wins 
upon Miss Jemima Brown in the end, marrying her, to live happy ever 
afterwards ? No, such was not the case ! Mr. Spohf espoused Miss 
Cecilia Lark, who blessed him with a large family and everything else 
that woman can. Spohf s means have increased, annually, with his fa 
mily : all are musical, and the eldest girl is to be an "English Lark," 
that will surpass the " Swedish Nightingale," or any other foreign bird 
the continentalists attribute it to the southern origin of her papa ; 
and, accordingly, claim Cecilia Spohf as their own. 

The Misses Brown still remain open to offers, and are reported to be 
well worth having. Mr. John Brown, Junr., is married to Miss Gay ; 
a better match there could not be they both pull one way ; but, un 
fortunately the wrong one rumour says they are extravagant. Tom 
is at Westminster School ; he has not distinguished himself in any 
particular study, unless it be boating : they say he would have won in 
the last race had he not broken his scull a mishap that sadly terrifi 
ed Mrs. Brown ; for the note, intimating the catastrophe, said nothing 



CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. 101 

about the sculls being more wooden than her son's. Mr. and Mrs. 
Brown are really very happy ! Victoria and Albert are now united 
the party-wall is removed. Mr. B. has retired from business, not even 
discounting bills : he does not go to the city now ; or at least if he 
does, it is behind Mr. Strap, who makes an important coachman, hav 
ing filled out amazingly may be, thinking, " he who drives fat cattle 
should himself be fat ;" for the bays are too corpulent to kick, and 
take the journeys at their own pace. John John Brown, "private," 
now keeps a public house " the Brown Arms," " the Rampant 
Locomotive," "Noted Brown Stout House," at the corner of Brown 
Terrace : it was a beer-shop when John first took it, but he has 
since obtained a licence, and married Mary, the house-maid. 

Mr. Brown is notorious for keeping up the festive Christmas season ! 
He now makes it a rule to invite only those he loves or respects 
not because they are well-to-do in this world, but because he likes or 
admires them ; seeming fully assured of Time's progress, and that 

CHRISTMAS COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR ! 



The Cuts, inserted in the text, are 

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MRS. ARMYTAGE; OR, FEMALE DOMINATION. BY 

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CAPT. MARRYAT'S FRANK MILDMAY. 
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A DAM'S Roman Antiquities. A New Edition (the Twelfth), with Numerous 

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JESCHYLUS. Popular English Specimens of the Greek Dramatic Poets ; with 
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jiESOP'S Fables, with upwards of One Hundred and , Fifty Engravings. 
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AIKIN'S Calendar of Nature, designed for the Instruction of Young Persons, 
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Alls' S WORTH. A New Abridgment of Ainsworth's Dictionary, English and 
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By JOHN DYMOCK, LL.D. Twenty-ninth Edition, 18mo. Roan, 7s- 6d. 

ANTHON'S Q,. Horatii Flacci Poemata. The Works of Horace, with Explana 
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12mo, roan, 7s. 6d. 

ANTHON'S Select Orations of Cicero ; with an English Commentary, and His- 
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ANTHON'S The Anabasis of Xenophon, with English Notes and Maps. A 
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ANTHON'S C. Crispi Sallustii de Catilinas Conjuratione Belloque Jugurthino 
Historiae Animadversionibus illustravit CAROLUS ANTHON, LL.D., Editio 
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Roan, 5s. 

ANTHON'S Greek Reader, selected principally from the Work of Professor 
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Index to Homer and Anacreon, and a Copious Lexicon. A New Edition, 
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ANTHON'S Caesar's Commentaries of the Gallic War ; and the First Book of 
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ANTHON'S P. VIRGILII MARONIS .^NEIS. The ^Eneid of Virgil, with English 
Notes, Critical and Explanatory; a Metrical Clavis; and an Historical, 
Geographical, and Mythological Index. By CHARLES ANTHON, LL.D., Jay 
Professor of the Greek and Latin Languages in Columbia College, New 
York, and Rector of the Grammar School. Edited, with considerable 
alterations, and adapted'to the use of English Schools and Colleges, by the 
Rev. W. TROLLOPS, M. A. 12mo, roan, 7s. 6d. 

ANTHON'S P. VIRGILII MARONIS BUCOLICA ET GEORGICA. The Eclogues and 
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" Fuller's Church History," &c. 12mo, roan, 6s. 

ANTHON'S Homer's Iliad (the First Three Books) according tc the ordi 
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Homeric Glossary. A New Edition, by BENJAMIN DA VIES, Ph.D. Lips. 
12mo, roan, 7 a. 6d. 

ANTHON'S First Latin Lessons, containing the most important parts of the 
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King's College, London. Roan, 4s. 

ANTHON'S Grammar of the Greek Language, for the Use of Schools and 
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. ANTHON'S System of Greek Prosody and Metre, for the Use of Schools and 
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BALDWIN'S History of Rome, from the Building of the City to the Ruin of 
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BALDWIN'S History of Greece, from the Earliest Records of that Country to 
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BALDWIN'S Fables, Ancient and Modern ; adapted for the use of Children. 
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BALDWIN'S Pantheon ; or, Ancient History of the Gods of Greece and Rome ; 

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BARROW'S (Sir John) Memoir of the Life of Peter the Great. Cloth, 5s. 

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BURGESS'S Rudiments of Hebrew Grammar, in Two Parts. Part I. A Table 
of Roots, with the Formation, Inflection, and Composition of Words. 
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of Nouns, Verbs, and Participles; and an introduction to reading with 
Points. Third Edition, by BURGESS, LORD BISHOP OF ST. DAVID'S. 12mo. 7s. 

BURGESS'S Hebrew Elements ; A Practical Introduction to the Reading of the 
Hebrew Scriptures, in Four Parts, viz., 1. Hebrew Primer ; 2. Syllabarium 
Hebraicum ; 3. Hebrew Reader, Part 1 ; 4. Hebrew Reader, Part 2, for 
the Use of Schools. Fourth Edition. By BURGESS, LORD BISHOP OF ST. 
DAVID'S. 12ino. 6s. 

CAMPBELL'S Lives of the British Admirals, and Naval History of Great 
Britain, from the time of Caesar to the Chinese War of 184). With 
Engravings. 12mo. 7s. cloth. 

CARPENTER'S Comprehensive Dictionary of English Synonymes. Third 
Edition, greatly enlarged. 18mo. 2s. 6d. cloth. 

CICERO. Select Orations of Cicero, translated into English ; with Notes, 
Historical, Critical, and Explanatory. By WILLIAM DUNCAN. New Edition 
(Oxford), 8vo, cloth, 7s. 

COBBINS. Pictorial School Hand-book to the Holy Bible, with Wood En 
gravings. 18mo, cloth, 2s. 

COTTIN : S Elizabeth, ou Les Exile's de Siberie. Nouvelle Edition, par VUN-- 
TOUILLAC. 18mo, cloth, 2s. 6d. 

CRABB'S Dictionary of General Knowledge ; or, an Explanation of Words and 
Things connected with the Arts and Sciences, illustrated with 580 Wood 
cuts. Fourth Edition, greatly enlarged. Cloth, 7s. 

DAVENPORT'S Walker'sPronouncing Dictionary and Expositor of the English 
Language ; in which the meaning of every word is clearly explained, and 
the sound of every syllable distinctly shown, exhibiting the principles of a 
pure and correct pronunciation. A New Edition, with the addition of 
Five Thousand words, new type, &c. &c., revised and enlarged. 18mo, 
cloth, 5s. 

DEMOSTHENES. AHM020ENOT2 $IAIHniKOI KAI 2TMBOTAEYTI- 
KOI. Cum Notis Variorum Wolfii, Dounaei, Mounteneii, Hockii, Augeri, 
aliorumque congestis. Textus appositu est Lectio Reiskiana. 8vo. 3s. Gd. 

DUNCAN'S New Hebrew-English and English-Hebrew Lexicon, in Three 
Parts ; to which is appended a new Hebrew Grammar. 18mo, cloth, 7s. 

ENFIELD'S Speaker ; or, Miscellaneous Pieces, selected from the best English 
Writers, and disposed under proper heads, with a view to facilitate the 
improvement of youth in reading and speaking. 12mo. Bound, 3s. 6d. 

ENFIELD's Progressive Spelling Book ; or, a New Introduction to Spelling and 
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ENTICK'S New Spelling Dictionary, in which the Parts of Speech are accu 
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natural Pronunciation of each word, with a Comprehensive Grammar of the 
English Language. Square, 2s. 6d. hound. 

EUCLID. The Elements of Euclid, viz., the First 14 Books, together with the 
Eleventh and Twelfth, printed with a few variations and improvements. 
From the Text of Dr. SIMPSON. A New Edition, corrected and revised. By 
WILLIAM RUTHERFORD, F.R.A.S. 5s. 

ELLIS'S Collection of English Exercises, translated from the writings of Cicero 
only, for Schoolboys to re-translate into Latin; and adapted to the prin 
cipal Rules in the Syntax of the Eton, Ruddiman's, and other Grammars. 
A New Edition, corrected and carefully revised, by Rev. G. N. WRIGHT. 
Cloth, 3s. 6d. 

FINDLAY'S Modern Atlas : forming a complete Compendium of Geography, 
exhibiting in Thirty Maps, the Extent, Divisions, Physical and Political 
Arrangements of every Country in the known world ; and containing the 
Latest Discoveries in the Polar Regions, Africa, Polynesia, &c. ; with an 
Introduction, explaining the Construction and Use of Maps, and a Copious 
Index for reference to the Maps, showing the Latitude and Longitude of 
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4to, 16s. 

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3. Europe. 

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5. Scotland. 

6. Ireland. 
7- France. 

8. Holland and Belgium. 

9. Germany. 

10. Prussia. 

11. Austria. 

12. Sweden, Norway, and Den- 

13. Russia in Europe. [mark. 

14. Spain and Portugal. 

15. Switzerland. 



16. Italy. 

17. Turkey in Europe, and Greece. 

18. Asia. 

19. Turkey in Asia. 

20. India. 

21. China, 

22. Oceanica. 

23. New South Wales. 

24. Tasmania, or Van Diemen's 

25. Africa. [Land. 

26. North Africa. 

27. Canada. 

28. United States. 

29. West Indies. 

30. South America. 



FINDLAY'S Collection of Thirty Outline Maps for Geographical Exercises, 
adapted to facilitate the Study of Geography, and intended as Practical 
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FINDLAY'S Ancient Atlas, according to the latest Discoveries. 26 Maps. 
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4to, 16s. 



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Lift of Maps in FINDLAY'S CLASSICAL ATLAS FOR ANCIENT GEOGRAPHY : 



1. Orbisveteribusnotus. 

2. Roma. 

a Italia Septentrionalis. 
4. Italia Media. 
' 5. Italia Meridionalis. 

6. Athena;. 

7. Peloponnesus et Attica. 

8. Gracia Septentrionalis. 

9. Insulae Maris, ^Egeiet Creta. 

10. Macedonia, Thracia, Illyria, 

Moesia et Dacia. 

11. Britannia. 

12. Insulae Britannica?. 

13. Gallia. 



14. Germania. 

15. Vindelicia, Noricum, RhaHia, 

Pannonia et Illyricum. 

16. Hispania. 

17. Africa Septentrionalis. 

18. -Sgyptus. 

19. Asia Minor. 

20. Palestina. 

21. Syria. 

22. Armenia, Mesopotamia, Assy 

ria et Babylonia. 

23. Arabia. 

24. Imperium Persicum. 

25. Indise. 



26. Plan of Italy. 
FLORIAN. Numa Pompilius, Second Roi de Rome. Par FLORIAN. Nouvelle 

Edition, par VENTOUILLAC. 18mo, cloth, 5s, 

G ARTLEY'S Murray's Grammar and Exercises abridged, comprising the sub 
stance of his large Grammar and Exercises ; with additional Notes and 

Illustrations. By G. GARTLEY, Teacher of English Grammar, &c., 

Glasgow. 18mo, 2s. 
GEOGRAPHY and HISTORY, selected by a Lady for the use of her own 

Children. Enlarged and continued to the present time. By the Rev. G. 

N. WRIGHT, M.A. 12mo, roan, 4s. 6d. 
GOLDSMITH'S Grammar of Geography for the Use of Schools, with Maps and 

Illustrations. A New Edition, by the Rev. G. N. WRIGHT, M.A. 18mo, 

roan, 3s. 6d. 

GOLDSMITH'S Key to Goldsmith's Geography, 18mo, sewed, 9d. 
GOLDSMITH'S History of England, from the Earliest Times to the Death of 

George the Second. Chiswick Edition, 12mo. 6s. 
GRAHAM'S Histories from Scripture, for Children, exemplified by appropriate 

Domestic Tales. Square 16mo. Cloth, 6s. 
GRIESBACH'S Novum Testamentum Grace, ex Editione Griesbachii, Emen- 

dante HENRICO A. AITTON. Glasguae. 32mo, 5s. 

GUTHRIE'S Geographical, Historical, and Commercial Grammar, exhibiting 
the Present State of the World ; to which is added a Geographical Index, 
&c. The Astronomical part by JAMES FERGUSON, Esq. By R. A. DAVEN 
PORT, with numerous Maps, 18mo, cloth, 5s. 

HOLLLNGS'S Life of Gustavus Adolphus, surnamed The Great, King of Sweden. 
18mo, cloth, 5s. 

HOLLINGS-S Life of Marcus Tullius Cicero. 18mo, cloth, 5s. 



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HOMER'S (Rev. P.) Introduction to the Greek Tongue, for the Use of Schools, 
with Notes, intended to explain the Principles on which many of the Rules 
were established. 12mo, roan, 4s. 

BUTTON'S Course of Mathematics, composed for the use of the Royal Military 
Academy. A new and carefully corrected Edition, entirely remodelled and 
adapted to the course of Instruction now pursued in the Royal Military 
Academy, by W. RUTHERFORD, F.R.A.S. 8vo, cloth, 16s. 

HUTTON'S Recreations in Mathematics and Natural Philosophy. A New and 
Revised Edition ; with numerous Additions, and Illustrated with upwards 
of 400 Cuts. By EDWARD RIDDLE, Master of the Mathematical School, 
Royal Hospital, Greenwich. 8vo, cloth, 16s. 

JOHNSON'S English Dictionary in Miniature, with the Addition of several 
Thousand Words, and the Pronunciation in the manner of Walker, adapted 
for the use of Schools. J8mo, Is. 6d. 

JOYCE'S Scientific Dialogues, intended for the instruction and entertainment 
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Philosophy are fully explained. A New Edition, with 185 Cuts. 12mo, 
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JOYCE'S Familiar Introduction to the Arts and Sciences, with original Intro 
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KEITH'S Treatise on the Use of the Globes, or a Philosophical View of the 
Earth and Heavens, designed for the use of Schools and Young Persons. 
A New Edition, enlarged and improved, by the Rev. G. N. WRIGHT. 12mo, 
roan, Gs. Gd. 

LEMPRIERE'S Bibliotheca Classica, or a Classical Dictionary ; containing a 
copious Account of all the Proper Names mentioned in Ancient Authors. 
A New Edition, revised and corrected, with numerous Additions and 
Improvements, by W. PARK, M.A. 13mo, cloth, 7s. 

LENNIE'S English Grammar, comprising the substance of all the most approved 
English Grammars extant, briefly defined, and neatly arranged; with 
copious Exercises in Parsing and Syntax. 18mo, bound, Is. 6d. 

LIVY. Excerpta ex Livio, cum J. B, L. Crevierii, Notis integris Aliorumque 
Selectissimus in usum Scholarum. 12mo, bound, 4s. 

LOC KE'S Essay on the Human Understanding. Twenty-ninth Edition, with 
the Author's last Additionsand Corrections ; also, Notes and Illustrations, 
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MADAN'S Juvenal and Persius, Literally Translated ; with copious Explana 
tory Notes, by which these difficult satirists are rendered easy and familiar 
to the reader. A New Edition, corrected. 2 vols. 870, cloth, 14s. 

MANGNALL'S Historical and Miscellaneous Questions for the Use of Young 
People, with a Selection of British and General Biography, &c. A New 
Edition, corrected and enlarged, and continued to the present time, by the 
Rev. G. N. WRIGHT, M. A. With 40 Illustrations. Roan, 4s. 6d. 

MARMONTEL'S Choix des Contes Moreaux. Nouvelle Edition, par VEN- 
TOUILLAC. 18mo, cloth, 2s. 6d. 

MAYOR'S English Spelling Book, accompanied by a Progressive Series of Easy 
and Familiar Lessons, intended as an Introduction to the Reading and 
Spelling of the English Language. Tegg's Edition. Is. 3d. 

MEADOWS'S New French and English Pronouncing Dictionary, on the basis 
of Nugent's, with many New Words in general use ; to which are prefixed, 
Principles of French Pronunciation, Grammar. 18mo, cloth, 7s. 

MEADOWS'S New Italian and English Dictionary, in Two Parts, to which is I 
prefixed a New and Concise Grammar, to render easy the acquirement of 
the Italian Language. 18mo, cloth, 7s. 

MEADOWS'S New Spanish and '.English Dictionary, in Two Parts, with the 
addition of many New Words ; at the end of both parts is affixed a List of 
usual Christian and Proper Names, Names of Countries, Nations, &c. 
18mo, cloth, 7s. 

MEADOWS'S New Grammar of the SPAOTSH LANSUAGE, comprehending, in a . 
most simple, easy, and concise manner, everything necessary for its com- j 
plete acquirement. 18mo, Is. 6d. 

MITCHELL'S Portable Encyclopedia, or Dictionary of Arts and Sciences, 
comprehending the latest Improvements in every Branch of Useful Know 
ledge, with numerous Engravings. 8vo, cloth, 14s. 

MORRISON'S Complete System of Practical Book-keeping, in Five Sets of Books, 
applicable to all kinds of Business ; of Individual and Partnership Con 
cerns ; by Single Entry, Double Entry, in Present Practice ; and a New 
Method which obtains the same result by two Entries as the present 
practice by four. 8vo, half-bound, 8s. 

MURRAY'S English Grammar, adapted to the different classes of Learners, 
with an Appendix of Rules and Observations. A New Edition, with Cor 
rections and Additions, by the Rev. E. C. TYSON, M.A. 12mo. roan, 4s. 



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MURRAY'S English Grammar, Abridged, with an Appendix, containing 
Exercises in Orthography, &c., designed for the younger classes of Learners. 
Teyg's Edition, 18ino. Is, 

MURRAY'S English Exercises, adapted to Murray's English Grammar ; de 
signed for the benefit of private Learners as well as Schools. A New 
Edition, edited by the Rev. E. C. TYSON, M.A. 12mo, cloth, 2s. 6d. 

MURRAY'S Key to the Exercises, adapted to Murray's English Grammar, 
calculated to enable private Learners to become their own Instructors in 
Grammar and Composition. A New Edition. Edited by the Rev. E. C. 
TYSON, M.A. 12 mo^cloth, 2s. 6d. 

MURRAY'S Introduction to the English Reader, or a Selection of Pieces in 
Prose and Poetry ; calculated to improve the Younger Classes of Learners 
in Reading, and to imbue their minds with the love of virtue. A New 
Edition. Edited by the Rev. E. C. TYSON, M.A. 12mo, roan, 2s. 

MURRAY'S English Reader, or Pieces in Prose and Poetry, selected from the 
best Writers, designed to assist young persons to read with propriety and 
effect, to improve their language and sentiments, and to inculcate some of 
the most important principles of Piety and Virtue. A New Edition. 
Edited by Rev. E. C. TYSON, M.A. 12mo, roan, 4s. 

PARLEY'S Universal History ; on the Basis of Geography. For the use of 
Families and Schools, illustrated by Maps. Cloth. 4s. 6d. 

PARLEY'S Grammar of Modern Geography. With Maps and numerous En 
gravings. Cloth. 4s. 6d. 

PARLEY'S Tales about Rome and Modern Italy. A New and improved Edi 
tion, with numerous Engravings. Cloth. 4s. 6d. 

PARLEY'S Tales about Greece. The Second Edition, greatly improved, with 
numerous Engravings. Cloth. 4s. fid. 

PARLEY'S Tales about the Mythology of Greece and Rome. A New Edition, 
with Engravings on Wood. Cloth. 4s. 6d. 

PASCAL'S Choix des Pensees de Pascal. Nouvelle Edition, par VENTOUILLAC. 
18mo, cloth, 2s. 6d. 

PEARSON'S Vetus Testamentum ex versione Septuaginta interpretum, juxta 
exemplar Vaticanum. Ex Editione, HOLMESII ET LAMBERTI. Bos cum 
praefatione paraenetica JOANNIS PEARSON, D.D. Editio Nova, 2 torn. 12s. 



10 A SELECT CATALOGUE OF BOOKS, 

PERRIN'S Elements of French Conversation, with familiar and easy Dialogues ; 
each preceded by a suitable Vocabulary in French and English, designed 
for the use of Schools. A New Edition, revised and corrected, by CHARLOTTE 
WRIGHT. 12mo, bound, Is. 6d. 

PERRIN'S Fables Amusantes, avec une Table generate et particuliere des 
Mots, et de leur Signification en Anglais, selon 1'ordre des Fables. Revue 
et corrigee par CHARLOTTE WRIGHT. 12mo, bound, 2s. 6d. 

PERRIN'S New Method of learning the Spelling and Pronunciation of the 
French Language, in Two Parts. By CHARLOTTE WRIGHT. 12mo, 2s. 

PINNOCK'S History of England, from the Invasion of Julius Capsar to the 
Death of George the Third ; with a Continuation to the present time ; 
Questions for Examination, Notes, &c. 12mo, bound. 5s. 6d. 

POTTER'S Archaeologia Graeca, or the Antiquities of Greece. A New Edition, 
with numerous Notes and improved Indices, by JAMES BOYD, LL.D., illus 
trated with 150 Engravings. 12mo, cloth, 9s. 

RAMSHORN'S Dictionary of Latin Synonymes, for the use of Schools and Private 
Students ; with a Complete Index. From the German of FRANCIS LIEBEH . 
12mo, cloth, ^s. 

REID'S Essays on the Active Powers of the Human Mind ; an Enquiry into 
the Human Mind on the Principles of Common Sense ; and an Essay on 
Quantity. With Notes, Sectional Heads, and a Synoptical Table of Con 
tents, by Rev. G. N. WRIGHT. 8vo, cloth, 12s. 

REID'S Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man ; to which is annexed, an 
Analysis of Aristotle's Logic. With Notes and Questions for Examination, 
by Rev. G. N. WRIGHT, 3I.A. 8vo, cloth, 12s. 

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