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with one or two elisions, I give in been known that were Easter Sunthe appropriate sentences of the days in some parts and not Easter writer: it is from the column'usually Sundays in other parts, two or three devoted to the gossip of the colony, hundred miles away; and if there and therefore called 'Town Talk.' really could be 'no Sunday next
Christmas Eve! which being the Sunday, why could not Christmas case, and as all men say that honesty Day be transferred to the winter is the best policy, I think I had time? I am sure if Christmas had better make a clean breast of it at fallen a few months back, in that starting, and confess that I don't cold weather when the snow was on mean to write anything at all to-day, Table Mountain, we could have except Christmas talk. In the clustered round the fire in right English “Prayer Book" you occa- earnest, punished the roast beef and sionally see the heading, “ For the plum-pudding in prime style, and Epistle" instead of “ The Epistle," as done the port wine and walnuts usual; in the same way let the afterwards gloriously. To-morrow reader suppose_ the title of this I hope we shall do our best to column to be “For Town Talk” in behave like true Britons and loyal place of “ Town Talk.” And then, subjects of her Most Gracious Mawhen he has read thus far, he can, jesty. If it is not possible to eat as if he so please, skip all the rest. If, respectable a dinner with the therhowever, he is a good, genial sort of mometer at eighty as at thirty, it is man, he won't do anything of the sort, possible to be jolly and good-tembut read it right through, by way of pered, and, what is still better, kindimpressing upon his mind that it is hearted and considerate to all about Christmas: for unless one is a very us-as, indeed, we ought to be every old stager here, or has the honour of day.' being colonial-born, it is not quite People with the newest, most imso easy to realize the presence of proved, and enlightened ideas have Christmas. The old gentleman got hold of the notion that Christcomes amongst us here in a garb so mas-boxes and revelry, and all that very different from that in which
sort of thing, are by no means sage. you and I used to hail him in the
Your servant sells you his labour, olden time, that sometimes he does they say, and you buy it; why not seem like the same individual. should he want Christmas-boxes Church folks, I suppose, would not any more than the man who sells hear of an Act of Parliament, “For
you so many yards of cloth or calico? the transfer of that holiday com- Now I venture to think that the monly called Christmas Day to the good-natured reader who has read coldest part of the winter season.” thus far will see the weakness of I don't know why they should not, this style of argument. As a very though; Church authorities have jolly friend of mine, rolling along done such things before now. There under sixteen stone weight of rohave been endless quarrels about tundity, or thereabouts, but a very the proper time of keeping Easter- shrewd and a very successful man in fact, I am not quite sure that the withal, used to say, 'You must Greeks and Romans have come to
grease the wheels sometimes ;' and in the settlement of the question yet. your mind's eye don't you see that old And then, you will remember, also, woodcut in Æsop's Fables' of the that it is written in history how a unbent bow lying on the ground ? notice was once affixed to a Devon- But there is a motive for keeping shire church-door, « There'll be no Christmas which is far more beautiSunday here next Sunday, 'cause ful and altogether excellent than measter's gwaun tu Dawlish to greasing of wheels and unbending preach."* Eryo, if Sundays have
of bows, and that is, the godlike * In a village which I knew well, the parson, as was common years ago, had to terms ;— Notice is hereby given, that our perform the duties at two distant churches; parson will preach here and at St. Edmund's and to provide for this, the announcement each Sunday to all eternity.' He meant to was made by the clerk in the following say “alternately.'
• Green is the land,
White is the sand :
feeling of benevolence, the genuine, tive climate; and the mountain earnest desire to inake others happy, ranges of the interior, not being so witbout the shadow of a thought of inaccessible or so distant as the any benefit to be derived by oneself. Himalayas in India, most of the That is the sort of feeling to keep planters, at least, can contrive to Christmas with; and let the thermo- spend the very hottest seasons, at ineter stand at what degree it will, such an elevation as materially to the man who is actuated by it will alleviate the fervid tropical heat. be sure to have a merry time of it. Of the colonies in Europe, we He won't be afflicted with abstract know, to our cost, Gibraltar and mental calculations about Christmas- Malta, which figure for so much in boxus; no sense of dignity and self- the expenditure of the year. Few Tespect will withhold him from join- people, however, know anything of ing in the merry dance and song, the little colony of Heligoland ; and even though his voice be none of the possibly to many the lines following sweetest, nor his movements of the will reveal, for the first time, the most graceful. If you look at it true etymology of the name, and the rightly, a certain degree of abandon meaning of its flag, which is triat Christmas-time, springing from colour:pure benevolence, is highly respectable, and a dance, ‘join hands, up
Red is the cliff, the middle and down again,' a most praiseworthy occupation. And sup
These are the colours of the Holy Land.' pose you admit that it is all vanity Well! these colonies of ours are of vanity, yet out of such vanity delicious places in many respects ; comes recreation in the truest ety
but though climate, and luscious mological meaning of the word; a fruits and large sense of freedom, forgetting of past vexations and
and plenty to be had in return for quarrels, and a girding up of one- littlo labour, are recommendations, self with the voluntary obliteration
yet they have their drawbacks: for of past trials, to the fresh battle
myself, nothing would compensate which we all have to wage, year by me for the attacks of mosquitoes, year, with life.
cockroaches, vampires, rats, ants, In almost all the colonies there
and other obnoxious insects, more are Church establishments; and the or less the bane of most of our religious celebrations peculiar to
tropical colonies ; and as to weather, that especially interesting season of I am inclined to be of the opinion of the Church are, of course, carried!
our merry monarch, Charles II., out with all the zeal which charac
who thought that of all countries in terizes the season in England. the world, England had the happiest
There must be, however, a very climate, since in it one could be out appreciable difference in the manner
of doors more days, and more hours physically of celebrating our greatest of the day, than in any other country and pleasantest anniversary. We
under the sun. have seen something of these differ
While, then, I am glad that those ences as they occur in Canada, Aus
of my countrymen, who, either by tralasia, and Africa. India falls out
choice or through the imperative of our subject, for it is not a colony.
calls of business or professional life, Ceylon, I believe, in distinction to
can enjoy the good old Christmas the peninsula, is a colony, and here
festivities, under every variety of the colonists, principally nutmeg climate, and under every diversity of and coffee planters, spend their
circumstance, I must congratulate Christmas at a time of year when
myself and my home readers on the the fervid tropical heat is somewhat fact that we can celebrate this great lessened by the declination of the
annual festival at home in Merry sun to the south, though the tem
England. Where the salutation is perature is even then of a kind to astonish the new colonists for a year
God save you, merry gentlemen,
Let nothing you dismay, or two. Ceylon has, however, the
For Christ our Lord in Bethlehem advantage of possessing an alterna- Was born this happy day.'
NEW YEAR'S EVE.
Why desert me so soon, with no sweetness distilled
From thy fair summer roses?
As the old era closes.
O hurry not on! thoughts are crowding so fast;
Old Year, ere thou diest;
Too quickly thou fliest.
Hark! the bells have begun! 'tis thy death knell, Old Year;
The year that is dawning:
E'en now welcome the morning.
What bring'st thou, New Year? dare I look in thy face,
The pathway before me?
God's mercy is o'er me.
Oh! friends, I pray for ye! the wayworn and old,
And love seems a glory;
And the dangers before ye.
Till one voice hath spoken;
Must the Idol be broken?
Now the bells are all silent, the Old Year is gone;
With a quiet step and pressing;
M. DE Lys.
CHRISTMAS WITH GRAMPUS.
WINGS of Mnemosyne bear me to the county town of P- The Goddess of Memory sets me down at the age of ten before an oldfashioned, red - brick mansion, guarded by curiously-wrought iron gates, in which the initial letters of my name are cunningly introduced and twisted round with divers flourishes. Two venerable linkextinguishers which, to my infantile mind, seemed poor relations of my grandmother's ear trumpet, adorn the portal. The keystone of the arched doorway is carved into the
likeness of a jovial satyr, whose portrait alternating with that of a serious nymph, is repeated all along the street. The bust of an amiable panther with a ring in its mouth, constitutes the knocker, which has been no sooner raised with a gentle rat tat, than Peter opens the door. Peter is a diffident youth, in mulberry-coloured smalls, rather groggy—to use a modern phrase—upon his pins, and with a decided tendency to falter in his speech, the result of a long and continued series of blowings-up from his master, my uncle, of whom he stood in chronic terror. Then follows a pattering of tiny, snowbesprinkled feet upon the hall floor, a throwing off of cloaks, tippets, turnovers, pelisses, clogs (observe the antiquated character of these now-discarded garments) by my sisters; then a triumphant entry of my great-aunt Tabitha, borne by two purple-nosed gentlemen in a sedan-chair (like a female sentry-box off duty), and now we are all inside the house.
A queer old house it was to be sure, with high wainscot panels running along the walls, elaborate plaster cornices running round the ceilings, and sturdy old twisted oaken banisters running up the stairs. The windows were deeply recessed in massive walls—you could lean upon the heavy sash-bars without breaking them; the small side-panes were filled with yellow glass, through which you seemed to look upon perpetual sunshine in the garden behind the house, though the day was never so gloomy. Seen through this cheerful medium, the very snow flakes fell like showers of gold in Danaë's lap (there was a picture of that mysterious subject over a sideboard in the dining room, which I often looked at in childish wonder), and when Peter stepped across to the coach-house beyond, his complexion assumed a beautiful gamboge tint. The dead, dank leaves which lay about the grass were and the watch comes out with an transformed into golden fragments; awful jerk. It must have had firstthe gravel paths became a mass of rate works to withstand the shock. sparkling amber. What a lovely An inferior article could never have atmosphere enveloped everything survived such treatment. As for as we peeped through those yellow replacing it in its original position, panes! How cold and dull the self- after finding out the time, that was same scene appeared through ordi- à feat which my uncle never atwary glass! I have often thought of tempted in society. My impression that dear old window in later years, is that it could not have been done and how pleasant it would be to look without assistance. I used to think upon the world through some moral that he rang for Peter to help him transparency equally enlivening. I when we were gone; but on this think there are some of us who have point that trusty retainer, on being this happy gift-who see life and questioned by us, persisted in a its cares, disappointments, losses, discreet silence. uglinesses, all thus delicately tinted. My uncle's features are tolerably To them, the absence of a dear good. He has a large kind eye and friend, the arrival of a dun down- a capacious forehead.
His nose, stairs, the failure of a favourite perhaps, partakes too much of that scheme, the faithlessness of a mis- metallic hue which is said to be the tress, the faults and imperfections result of an over-partiality for port of mankind at large appear en wine, and his lips, especially in couleur de rose. Ah! lucky mortals, winter, are somewhat purple, but who can thus see all things through altogether he is rather a goodthis sweet and mellowed light! looking old gentleman. I must not,
My uncle is an old gentleman in however, forget to state, that he has a dark-blue coat and brass buttons. no teeth-at least in present wear. The collar of this coat is of the an- Two or three sets of grinders decient type, padded and rolled, and signed by dental artists of celebrity, so large that it touches the back of we know, have been made for him, his head. His legs are enveloped and were, indeed, discovered by my in drab-coloured cloth breeches and brother Tom (a youth of great protightly-buttoned gaiters, terminat- mise, and an inquiring mind) stowed ing in a pair of highly-polished and away on the third shelf of the leftvery square-toed shoes. His cuffs, hand library cupboard, one morning instead of contracting at the wrist, when my uncle was out, but he expand in that direction like a never wore them. flattened muffin bell, and nearly Nature, ever bountiful in comcover his hands, only leaving to pensating for such defects, enabled view on either side a row of shiny him to digest his food without their nails--so oval in shape that they assistance, although his manner of resemble tiny plovers' eggs, split eating-when nose and chin came down lengthwise. A ponderous into close proximity — caused us chronometer is concealed in a fob children
some surprise, and inabout S.S.E. of the lowest button of duced disrespectful comparisons behis waistcoat. From this depends tween our revered relative and a a massive gold chain of such dimen- grotesquely - carved wooden nutsions that any individual link would cracker which we used at dessert. make an average-sized signet-ring. Whether it was this peculiarity, or As my uncle inclines to corpulency, the general awe which we felt for it requires some effort, and no small him suggested the name, I cannot amount of puffing and blowing, to remember, but he was familiarly extricate this machine from its re- known to us under the sobriquet of ceptacle. That operation is usually Grampus. Grampus belonged to effected by resting his elbows on the that fine old school of British arm-chair, seizing the bunch of worthies who entertain a profound seals with both his hands, and contempt for the abilities of the gently swaying his body to and fro, rising generation. He was peruntil the desired end is attained, petually cross-examining us on the