Page:Our American Holidays - Christmas.djvu/157

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CHRISTMAS

WASHINGTON IRVING

But is old, old, good old Christmas gone? Nothing but the hair on his good, gray, old head and beard left? Well, I will have that, seeing I cannot have more of him.

Hue and Cry after Christmas.
   
A man might then behold
     At Christmas, in each hall,
Good fires to curb the cold,
     And meat for great and small.
The neighbors were friendly bidden,
    And all had welcome true,
The poor from the gates were not chidden,
    When this old cap was new.
Old Song.

There is nothing in England that exercises a more delightful spell over my imagination than the lingerings of the holiday customs and rural games of former times. They recall the pictures my fancy used to draw in the May morning of life, when as yet I only knew the world through books, and believed it to be all that poets had painted it; and they bring with them the flavor of those honest days of yore,

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