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CHRISTMAS IN THE COLONIES.

• Through varied climes, o'er many a plain and steep,
Doth England's vast colonial empire sweep;
See Canada, which Boreal blasts assail;
Ceylon oft parched with Equinoctial gale;
Forests, and gold, and corn, Columbia's pride,
While tea-plants clothe the Assam mountain's side.
The straits where Sincapore the trade divides
Between two worlds, and queens it o'er the tides
of Indian and Pacific Oceans vast;
The boundless scenes of many a triumph past;
And where the Austral heats rich fruits beget ;-
A diverse realm whereon the sun doth never set.'

DR.

R. JOHNSON defines the word As in ancient times, no people

colony as 'a body of people colonised so widely, so substantially, drawn from the mother-country to and so systematically as the Romans, inhabit some distant place'-a very so, in modern times, no nation has short definition, and not one which colonised so extensively as our own. is absolutely exhaustive. The French Other European nations have a long Protestants, for instance, who settled list of colonies; but they are, for the in the United Provinces and in most part, small in territorial extent, Spitalfields, come exactly under this only that of late years France has detinition of a colony, and yet were conquered and colonised Algeria, not, in fact, colonies. The true and and is now in process of subduing a full meaning is—a body of men who part of Cochin China and the peningo to some outlying possession pre- sula of Malacca. The subjects and viously taken by the mother-coun- colonists of that empire on which try by discovery or conquest, and in the sun never sets must naturally modern times fostered and governed enough pass that festival which wo until sufficiently grown to establish have just celebrated, under every a kind of local government, subject variety of circumstance which difto the imperial government and ference of latitude or longitude, and under its protectorate.

therefore difference of climate and The colonies of Greece usually products, necessitates. formed, at each exodus, a new state, We hail Christmas, or used to do in most respects independent of the —for an old-fashioned Christmas is parent one, and subject entirely to now rare—beneath a pale-blue sky, local and separate government, but and a crisp and dry and frosty air; still keeping up the friendly rela- the green foliage of the summer tions which descent, language, and trees lost, it is true, but abundantly customs would continue. Perhaps supplied by the hoary fancies of the relations kept up on a national Jack Frost; the bells of the neighscale between the daughter state, bouring church pealing out in jovial and that from which it sprung, tones, and announcing, in almost might find somewhat of analogy or articulate voice, ' Peace on earth and illustration in the connection, ex- good will towards men.' It is a emplified individually and socially, misfortune that the first instalment which subsisted between patron and of their song appears far from being client in the palmiest days of ancient realized; but in England, and with Rorne.

Englishmen, in all parts of the For a Greek colony to make war world, there is no mistake about the upon its parent state was accounted second. a sort of parricide, or rather matri- There are somewhere about thirtycide. Hellas was wherever Greeks two colonies of England on the surwere, just as to-day England is face of the globe, and therefore our wherever waves its flag. Thus was readers will pardon us for relieving Asia Minor, and thus were Sicily and their anxiety at the outset by saying Magna Græcia colonised.

that we do not propose to describe VOL. V.-NO, XXVI.

0

so many different Christmas dinners, dent:-'The English reader must but merely two or three, with a picture to himself a Christmas Day short description of their surround- passed amidst the scenes of summer; ings.

a population turning out on New Tasmania, an island nearly as Year's Day to play at cricket, or to large as Ireland, situated southward make pleasure excursions on the from Australia, possesses, according water; and an exhibition of fruits to some persons well qualified to and flowers in December. We are speak of it, one of the finest climates the antipodes of home: the 21st of in the world. It has a winter not December is the longest day; the more severe than that of the south of thermometer frequently stands, at France, a summer not hotter than Christmas, at 70° in the parlour. that of London, and not so close Now the citizen chooses the shady and dusty; a spring equalling that side of the street, or indoors throws of Montpelier, and an autumn like up the window and lets down the that of the south and west of blind. Beyond the precincts of England. The temperature is not town, the country is one vast exmarked by extremes of heat or cold; panse of verdure: the tall corn it free fr marsh miasmata, waving in the gentle summer breeze, neither remittent nor intermittent while haymaking is going on, or fevers occur; the cool nights of the some early crop courts, by its yellow summer prevent the heat of the day tints, the sickle of the reaper. In from being relaxing, and the cold of the garden one is pleased with winter is not such as to prevent flowers of every hue, and tempted agricultural and outdoor operations by luscious fruit. The farmer flings being carried on. Here are, through- himself on his back on the lawn, out the colony, homes marked with and with merry child-faces around all the characteristics of an English him, eats strawberries and cream to house. The small, thatched, hut- a delicious extent. In our everlike house, built of slabs, and covered green forests, the cattle begin to to the roof-tree with geraniums. seek the shelter of the trees, under The dairy farm-house, with its vines whose grateful shade, in some cool and trained flowers; the sunlight brook, the boys are wont to bathe. streaming through the leaves of Parroquets, in green and gold, flash English forest-trees, planted with a past with their brilliant colours ; careful hand all round the house, to the birds are merrily singing, and remind the settler, in the land of the locust makes his summer life his adoption, of his old home sixteen one ceaseless song. No fire can be thousand miles away ; and the hand- borne save in the kitchen; doors some and solid stone-built mansions, and windows are thrown open; overshadowed by the oaks of Old flowers and evergreens grace the England, with their wide domains of dining-rooms for lack of the tracultivated paddocks and green pas- ditional holly; but the roast beef tures, their hedgerows of hawthorn and plum pudding of Old England and sweet-briar, or in some cases of retain their place of honour on the fuchsias six feet high ; their orchards festive board. At that board the of tall pear-trees and apples; their colonist, mindful of the custom of haystacks, corn-ricks, barns, wool- fatherland, unites his family, and sheds, and outhouses larger than the after service in the neighbouring mansions themselves.

church, entertains his friends with Every house has its garden, in grace and no stinted hospitality. which the flowers most carefully And if Christmas does not come to tended are those of home--the simple him with the old associations of his Howers of our childhood, primroses youth---with its wind in gusts howland cowslips, pansies and daisies; ing through leafless trees or fastwhile the sweet little violet blooms falling snow; if scene and clime and under hedges of ever-flowering gera- season invest the festival with a niums ten feet high. We quote a short different aspect to that familiar to and lively account of a Christmas here the Englishman at home, he is not from the pen of a forty years' resi- the less happy; nor is he saddened by the reflection that his neighbour idea of the size of men there, for is too poor to enjoy with him the describing the emu, a bird very like good things of the season, with its an ostrich, he says :- This bird holiday and feasting; for it is Christ- often stands nearly as high as a mas to every man, woman, and man, varying from five to seven feet.' child in Tasmania, and there are The emu, however, in its great and none so poor that they cannot have increasing rarity, is fast becoming in abundance the immemorial fare; * simillima nigroque cygno.' and on all sides is heard the old These adjuncts following, do not, English greeting, “ A merry Christ- however, promise any increase of mas and a happy New Year.” As comfort to the Australian settler. the daughters of the Pharaohs, who Snakes and lizards are numerous, in the marble palaces and gilded and the deaf adder, a disgusting and balls of their foreign husbands dangerous creature, guanas, a kind sighed for a draught of the waters of lizard four feet in length. Frogs of the sacred Nile, so do the daugh- are numerous, and sometimes intrude ters of Tasmania, under the burning into the settler's dwelling. Scorpions, suns of India, though they possess centipedes, and other smaller memall the rich fruits and gorgeous bers of the reptile tribe, are also flowers of the tropics, and live in sufficiently, and more than suffipalaces, yet sigh for the delicious ciently, numerous. Snakes, especlimate of their own loved home, cially, appear to exist in inconand prefer the scent of the simple ceivable variety, for there are snakes mimosa to the most noble rhododen- of the following variety of namedron of the Sikkim Himalaya.' black, brown, diamond, ringed, hazel,

The Australian colonies generally whip, and many others. The black have, if not quite, very nearly the snake, when broiled on the fire, has advantages of Tasmania. Here, also, the very good gastronomic quality nature is prodigal of her gifts, the of becoming white as an eel and forests abounding in beautiful trees, tender as a chicken. and thronged with birds of the These are the reptile torments, gayest plumage — the Australian but the insects are really the greatest mocking-bird, called by the colonists nuisance, on account of their more the laughing jackass, is a species of constant presence, and the greater woodpecker. The following curious difficulty of guarding against them. account is given of its vocal perform- A colonist says: The mosquitoes ances. His chant, frequently kept up and flies constitute, during six for a lengthened period, is the most months of the year, an intolerable laughter-provoking of sounds. It nuisance: these detestable items of is, indeed, impossible to hear with a

entomology are a perfect torment grave face the jocularities of this to the settler, leaving him no peace, feathered jester. He commences either by day or night; the moswith a low, cackling sound, gradually quitoes ruthlessly exact their tribute growing louder, like a hen in a fuss. of blood from beneath his irritated Then suddenly changing his note, and tortured skin. Fortunately, it he so closely imitates Punch's is chiefly to new comers that the trumpet, that you would almost bite of the mosquito is extremely swear that it was the jollyroo-too- annoying, and it does not often too' of that old favourite that you produce any swelling on those who heard. Next comes the prolonged have become by long residence bray of an ass, followed by an almost habituated to it. Then there are articulate exclamation, which might “ lion-ants”-ugly, venomous, black very well be translated, “Oh! what creatures, the sting of which is as a guy!' and the whole winds up severe as that of a wasp; woodwith a suppressed chuckle, ending ticks, that burrow under the skinwith an uproarious burst of laughter, and other abominations. Towards which is joined in by a dozen others the North, in the neighbourhood of hitherto silent.

Cape York, there are ant-hills of an A writer on the Australian colo- enormous size, sometimes twelve feet nies would give us an extraordinary in height. The ants are of a pale

wax.

brown colour, and a quarter of an was taken. I bought a load of fireinch long. These, however, must wood, split it, and piled it indoors, bide their time, for they have no that my children might not have to white settlers to provoke at pre- go out to fetch it, and carefully sent.'

stopped all the chinks and openings The common flies are a more in the walls and floor to exclude the general nuisance, settling so thickly cold. I then laid in a small store of and pertinaciously on every article salt pork and potatoes, and with a of food, as to make it almost impos- wallet on my shoulder, and one sible to avoid swallowing some dollar in my pocket, started before during the progress of every meal. daylight on the morning of ChristOne small matter on the other side mas Day, after a sorrowful leaveis, that the native bees do not sting, taking, to walk over the hills eighty and produce very fine honey and miles to the nearest city, where I

hoped to meet with some occupation However, the climes of the sunny by which I might be able to support south do not contain more than my wife and family till the genial their share of English colonies; for spring returned. As I closed the where in the wide world exists any outer door of the house, I seemed to considerable extent of country that lose half the courage that had bears not Englishmen; and what hitherto animated me. The morning sea or port where does not wave was dark and starless; heavy clouds

obscured the sky; the sullen roar of • The flag that's braved a thousand years The battle and the breeze?"

the ice, drifted up and down by the

tide in the neighbouring river, was That Christmas in the colonies wafted drearily to my ears: everymay be anything but merry, let us thing seemed to be in accordance see how a poor unsuccessful emigrant with the depression of my feelings; spent Christmas Day some years and after walking about an hour, ago in the remote wilds of Canada. my reflections became so painful Here, though the summer months that I turned round to retrace my are hot, the winter is perfectly steps. The feeling, however, was Russian. The rivers are frozen

but temporary,

Go ahead !" came over, or blocked with ice for six

to my mind; I fancied, like Curran, months of the year. About Christ- that my little boys were pulling in mas the atmosphere is dry and ex- the opposite direction, and I once hilarating, and soon after come great more turned my face to the East. falls of snow; then the smooth- To add to my discomfort, with the gliding sleighs make their appear- appearance of daylight it began to ance, drawn by horses, to whose rain, at first slightly, then heavily, harness bells are attached, that and at last settled into a downright jingle merrily as they trot over the pour. After walking thirty miles, frozen surface of the roads. All Í felt so jaded, from the constant work, of course, is at a standstill, soaking and bad condition of the and nothing attended to but visiting, roads, that I was glad to stop at a sleighing, and enjoyment among the tavern, which opportunely appeared well-to-do classes.

at nightfall, but where little denoted Amidst the festivities and jollity of Christmas save the blazing logs, a Canadian Christmas, however, one of which there was no stint, and by poor emigrant at least hal a sorry which I gladly recovered from the time of it. He had been unsuccess- soaking and cold I had suffered. ful, and his stock of money and certainly to me this Christmas was provisions exhausted, hoping against no merry one, nor were the proshope for work, but in vain; and, to pects of a happy new year very crown all, Christmas came, but no bright.' work. In the words of the poor Our good neighbours, the French, man himself, . This was the climax. do not call us les perfides Anglais I counted the contents of our scanty for the first time in the last century purse, and small, indeed, was the or two; but we shall hardly expect to sum that remained. My resolution learn this fact from a Frenchman of

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the time when Agincourt was just The expatriated Englishman looked fought, and Crecy no very remote forward with considerable pleasure tradition. It may, be said fof the to his pudding, and under such cirEnglish, neither in war are they circumstances almost considered the brave, nor in peace are they faithful; rosbif, and especially French rosbif, and as the Spaniards say, “ England a bore. Looking longingly for the is a good land with a bad people.' introduction of the anxiously-waitedAgain he says: "The people are for luxury, he beheld his chef de proud and seditious, with bad con- cuisine, anxious for his credit, bearsciences, and are faithless to their ing the pudding himself-in a soup word, as experience has taught. tureen! The vexatious truth inThese villains hate all sorts of stantly flashed upon our countryforeigners; and although they have man, that although he had taken a good land and a good country, every precaution to insure the they are all constantly wicked, and proper mixing and manipulation of moved by every wind, for they will the pudding, he had forgotten the now love a prince; turn your head, mention of the pudding-bag. And they will wish him killed and cruci- so it came about that an English fied. The people of this nation plum-pudding became French soup; mortally hate the French, as their and though by no means soupold enemies, and always call us maigre, I do not suppose it was France chenesve (French knave), eaten with any relish, if at allFrance dogue, and so on.'

which latter hypothesis I take to be Again: 'In this country you will not the most probable. meet with any great nobles whose re- There is another pudding whose lations have not had their heads cut history is preserved in the traditions off. Certes,

I should like better to be of the English colony at Paris. a swineherd, and preserve my head : Briefly, for our subject is voluminous for this affliction falls furiously and our space scanty, the contriver upon the heads of the great nobles.' of the second pudding, with the

But what can be expected of experience of the former failure in people who call our national dish his memory, not only superintended rosbif, and 'prefer' marsh chickens' the manipulation of the pudding, to the most tender delicacy?

but, putting aside his dignity for At the risk of cavil I choose to the occasion, tied it in a bag himself. call, for the purposes of this paper, Knowing the necessity, well known the English community in Paris, a also to our fair caterers, of leaving colony-I have seen it so called by room for the expansion of the other people, and it suits me now. unctuous contents of the pudding

There are two immortal plum- bag, he tied it loosely, and left it to puddings celebrated in the annals of the care of his cook to boil. the English colony at Paris; and I When this second Parisian colonial am only sorry that I cannot just now plum-pudding came to table, it made unkennel the records where their its appearance in the shape of a memory is preserved, but must trust great bullet or shot, harder than to a somewhat treacherous memory. lead, and altogether like a stone. An English colonist in Paris, deter- The contriver of the pudding demined to have an English plum-pud- manded an explanation, and was ding for his Christmas dinner, gave informed that the cook, finding the his French cook the most elaborate bag tied so loosely, had taken the directions as to the composition and responsibility of tying it tighter; preparation of the delicious com- and so again, the most anxious prepound, according to the dictates of cautions of an Englishman to secure Mrs. Glasse. Having thus insured an English plum-pudding for his the proper preparation of the pud- dinner at a Parisian Christmas were ding, he left it to his cook, with in- disappointed. structions for it to be well boiled, From a paper in a Cape Town which my fair readers who are journal I extract a very graphic versed in the coquinary art know description of the anticipations of to be most essential,

Christmas in Cape Colony, which,

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