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CHAPTER VI.

excuse me.

We must return to the wassailersened up at the thought of even this now-we pick them up in a narrow small whet to their appetites. lane leading from the village to the As they entered the garden the vicarage. They had taken their vicar came forth through the winusual beat, and had presented their dow (which opened on the ground) bowl and sung their wassail to those to receive them. After listening who were likely to appreciate either, quietly but with evident effort to seor to show their appreciation in veral verses—which were certainly, what old Kit would consider the according to Kit's caution, given in orthodox fashion. They were not the mildest form of wassail melody merry men all, certainly, but seemed -he stepped forward and said, rather a melancholy band—very “Thanks, my friends, thanks for silent, and very blue at the nose your greeting; but you know I am not at all like men who had been not fitted now to be a good disdevoting their energies to the in- ciple of the jolly wassail, so you'll spiration of the jolly wassail. The

I must, however, sip fact is, that old Kit had most ruth- the bowl for the sake of old times, lessly abided by the established and wish you and yours all the haptactics of the fraternity, and had piness of the season.'

." As he sipped enforced a most rigorous sobriety. he dropped an offering into the

“How foolish 'twud be,” he'd bowl, which met even Kit's views say, “to be a-filling yersels with of orthodoxy in such matters. bread and cheese, and getting “And now, my friends, goodboozy on small sour beer, when night, and God bless you," he said, we've the good ating and the good waving his hand. “The housedrinking in view at Tregarrow. keeper will be expecting to see you, 'Sides, if we wos to go there a-roaring and she will make you merrier than and screaming, and not 'tending to I can.” our chowrus, we shud gie mortal As the band trooped off towards offence to the faarmer.”

the kitchen, that dark figure again So abstinence had been the rule, stole forth, glided silently towards but it had not improved the tem- the window, and looked cautiously pers or added to the cheerfulness of into the parlour, where Arthur the party. They were now turning Versturme stood by the hearth. A the corner and wending towards the long anxious look she took, and vicarage. Still the same dark fe- then a sigh, a deep wailing sigh, male figure followed, hovering escaped her. At this the vicar round them, hanging on their looked up, and she glided back as skirts, and yet never coming into quietly and silently again into the sight-specially did she shun this dark shades of the shrubbery. as the vicarage stood before them. Arthur Versturme mused for a

Now, comrades," said Kit, moment, then rubbed his eyes, and "mind you'm very meek with the then advanced to the window and song,

and very piany with the looked out. “Surely," he said, “I chowrus, for the passon's nerves be heard a sigh and saw a figure here oncommon shaky; and if we'm axed —it could not be fancy." But to drink, let's take a drop of some there was nought to be seen; and ’ut short, for the passon's ale han't 'twas vain to look for traces in got draught enough to be good, and the snow, as the wassailers had the hollands is very superior. The trampled it into a maze of foothousekeeper's curranty-cake, too, is steps. to be depended upun."

"No, it must have been an illuThe members of the bowl bright sion," he said, as he returned to the

hearth, “one of those which spring me—or that poor lost one returning from á heated brain and weak to mourn over the hearth she had stomach. I have kept too long a made so desolate ?—but these are vigil and fasted too much. Yet fantasies.” it seemed so real. Can it be that And so he sat, now fighting with spirits come back to visit us? Could these fantasies, now hugging them it be that dear one,” looking up at to his heart, until the housekeeper the picture of his wife, “coming entered, and forced him back to from the world of angels to call the materialism of supper.

CHAPTER VII.

We will precede the wassailers true to the family tastes and the and await them at Tregarrow. The solids. If they renounced the pomps feast was spread there, and the and vanities of the world half so guests all seated. One table had easily as they did those of the patisbeen placed across the upper end serie, it must have been very gratiof the room, and another branched fying to their godfathers and godfrom it down the middle ; at the mothers. All were now impatient upper sat old Guy, with his rela- for the arrival of the wassailers to tions and friends beside him. From commence operations. Old Penrice this position he could command a sat with his chin just rising over a view over all the tables, and see round of beef-the knife and fork that all his guests were doing jus- held erect on either side of it, in tice to his fare. To say the board readiness for work. Seen thus, he groaned, would be to use a false looked like some grotesque bit of metaphor, and to cast an unjust re- heraldry; the jovial face was the flection on it. It seemed not in the crest, the round of beef the shield, least inclined to groan, but looked the carvers the supporters. very jolly, covered as it was with Presently a crackling of the snow goodly viands, and bedecked with was heard without. laurel and holly berries. It was “Here they come,” cried the certainly heavily laden, but bore yeoman; "shut the doors, quick !” its burden cheerfully. The sight There was a little dramatic acof that supper would have given tion, it seemed, which must precede Soyer dyspepsia for a month, and the entry of the wassailers. Acting have driven Gunter to an asylum up to it, these worthies turned from a hopeless lunatic. There were the closed doors, and ranged themrounds of beef and ribs of beef, of selves outside the window; a wondrous size and fatness ; plump ghostly band they looked, standing hams, goodly to sight and savour; in the cold light—very chill and large pies; legs of roast pork, comfortless as the outs always look succulent and brown with crack to the ins on such occasions. Their ling; huge plum-puddings dark outside part was short, yet many with fruit; cheeses ; great loaves a longing glance was cast at the and cakes, all set in tempting array, warm hearth and the full board interspersed with cans of cider and within. The wassail song was now jugs of ale. Round the dame were struck up with all the strength of scattered a few trifles, such as pat the company. The execution exties, tarts, little bowls of syllabub hibited every degree of nasal twang and cream, and sweet-cakes. These and nasal energy. These, modulatwere for her own delectation, and ed and organised by a Jullien, might that of Lily and the curate. The have produced a novel effect; as it yeoman called them the wife's was, the individual nose was too propomps and vanities, and despised minent and too independent. Thus them heartily. The nieces, too, were ran the first verses of their ditty :

A jolly wassail bowl,

A wassail of good ale ;
Well fare the butler's soul
That setteth this to sale.

With our wassail,

Our jolly wassail.
Good Dame here at your door,

Our wassail we begin ;
We are all fellows poor,
We pray now let us in,

With our wassail,

Our jolly wassail.
Our wassail we do fill

With apples and with spice;
Then grant us your good will
To taste here once or twice

Of our wassail,

Our jolly wassail.
If any maidens be

Here, dwelling in this house,
They kindly will agree
To take a full carouse

Of our wassail,

Our jolly wassail.
But here they let us stand,

All freezing in the cold;
Good master, give command

and be bold,
With our wassail, &c.

To er

Here there was a pause with the in procession-Kit, the arch-priest, minstrelsy, and the yeoman again at the head, the other ministrants gave the word. The doors were following in Indian file and marchthrown open, and in rushed the ed up and took position behind band. Old Penrice chuckled over the master's chair. The song was this bit of pantomime, as though it again taken up, and certainly the had been the most cunning stage refrain was given more con spirito effect ever invented by Scribe or than before :Planché. The wassailers now formed

Much joy unto this hall

With us is entered in ;
Our master first of all,
We hope will now begin,

Of our wassail, &c. The master drank, and then there Song and cup now passed on to was a loud chink' in the bowl. the dame :-

And after his good wife,

Our spicèd bowl will try;
The Lord prolong your life ;
Good fortune we espy.

For our wassail, &c.

A sip, and another chink; and pany, the wassail band singing the on went the bowl with laugh and remaining verses of their ditty :cheer through the rest of the com

Some bounty from your hands,

Our wassail to maintain ;
We'll buy no house or lands,
With that which we do gain

With our wassail, &c.

It is a noble part,

To bear a liberal mind;
God bless our master's heart,
For here we comfort find,

With our wassail, &c.
And now we must be gone,

To seek out more good cheer,
Where bounty will be shown,
As we have found it here,

With our wassail, &c.

Much joy betide them all ;

Our prayers shall be still,
We hope, and ever shall,
For this your great good will

To our wassail, &c.

The chink-a-chinks in the bowl every man's appetite, and drank during the progress had been so with every man's draught. A good numerous that old Kit smiled all performance at the trencher he apover, and was evidently rejoicing in plauded as we would a good hit in the thought that the dregs of his a play. At length his eye lit on bowl would not be so bitter as those young Pretty Tommy. His destiny of festive cups are generally sup. had placed that neophyte opposite posed to be. The departure an- a stuffed leg of pork, and some nounced in the concluding verses friendly hand had helped him was merely pantomimic, like the largely from it. How did the entry, and meant only a temporary young savage devour the savoury seclusion in the entrance hall, where meat, making inarticulate sounds the bowl was deposited, and the the while ! how did he grin with ministrants then returned in their surprise and delight as he sucked private character to the supper- crackling, and crushed the brown table.

skin between his teeth, and the The feast now began in right unctuous sense stole over his palate! earnest. The yeoman's carving was how recklessly he dashed into the a sight to see. How he flourished sage and onions! What a sight he the carvers at each cut! how the was as he stopped for a minute to slices fell before his knife like corn breathe and sigh, his face smeared before a sickle! and how he chuckled, with grease up to the cheek-bones, as empty plates succeeded full ones and his nose even bearing marks in apparently endless succession. As of contact with the onions. His his labours grew a little lighter, he ecstasy reached its climax in a slice would stop to take a view of the of plum-pudding. Crackling and general operations. Epicure Mam- pudding were novelties both to mon's sensualism was not larger sight and sense. The advantages than his benevolence. He ate with which more civilised vagabonds

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have in contemplating such delica- information, and then sputtering cies à la distance, by flattening their and colouring at finding himself a noses against the window of a cook's speaker. shop, had not been his. His was 'Scovy dowg?” said the yeoa virgin palate and a virgin taste as man, inquiringly. far as such things were concerned. “Oh,” explained old Kit, young

“Lor'! 'tis as good as a play, to Tommy seed a 'Scovy duck once, see un," said old Guy, going off in and he always thinks everything a peal of chuckles. “Let un alone furrin is 'Scovy. 'Tis a 'Stralian now-let un enjoy hisself—don't dowg belonging to one of our ye stop un.” This last was a moni- chaps.” tion to Kit, who was endeavouring ""Tis a queer one, whatever to check the youth's ardour. he be," muttered Jim ; and, watch

Melody at length succeeded to ing his opportunity, he slid out feasting, and song was the order of to reconnoitre the stranger. To the day. A Christmas catch was his surprise the dog ran down totrolled by Lily and the uncle—the wards him, but in turning round he curate giving the bass. The yeo saw that his master had followed man struck out, in lusty tones, him out. “Is this dowg your, my

Speed the plough ;” and Lily, by friend ?” he said, by way of comrequest, sang sweetly and simply mencing acquaintance. “I know a bank whereon the wild “ Yes, 'tis," surlily responded thyme,” &c., which the yeoman pro- sailor Dick. nounced worth all the modern fol Well, he's a queer one as ever le-rols, and “the nonsense they was I seed. What may he be good always twaddling nowaday about for, may I ax?-varmint, or fox, or gazelles and being a butterfly.” rabbit?

James, as in duty bound, gave Good for ?—why, sheep, kan“Bright chanticleer;" but if he had garoo.' pursued the fox as feebly in the This conversation was not enfield as he did in song, there would couraging to James, so he stooped not have been so many heads on down to make personal acquaintance the squire's kennel door. There with the strange animal. As he did was one song in which all joined so, sailor Dick laid his hand on his most unanimously. The burden shoulder and whispered in his ear-was a ruthless and vindictive deter- “Jim, you old stupid, don't you mination to hunt the buffalo, which, know me ?” if carried into effect, would have "Lor'-a-massy," ejaculated Jim, led to the extermination of that starting up and trembling all over animal in his native wilds. How with surprise and joy – Lor-athe buffalo had provoked this ani- massy if it ben't Maister Tom ! and mosity did not appear. In one of to think I should be bothering about the pauses, Jim was observed to an old dowg when you was nist me! look very anxiously out of the but I'm cruel glad to see ye again window. “Halloa, James !” cried cruel glad, sure," and with this the host, “what's the matter ? you he set to wringing him by both look skeered as if you had seen a hands. “They'll be cruel glad to see ghost-it must be the ghost of a ye in-doors too. The maister he dowg if anything."

drink your health, and say “I doan't knaw whether it be bless un' to-night-so come along the ghost of a dowg or not, but in, Maister Tom ; and you'm look'tis something nashun queer-look- ing so brave and hearty, I declare." ing—'tis more like a fox or a wolf “Stop, Jim, I can't show myself a-glinting in here with his great yet until I have made one or two saucer eyes.”

little inquiries ; so do you go and “ 'Tis the 'Scovy dowg," said see if you can make a signal to young Pretty Tommy, eager to give Lily to come out.”

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