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come early; good-bye. I shall have such a scolding for being so long. Yes, I am quite warm enough, thank you. Where's Jacobs? Oh, there you are! Good-bye, good-bye, my dear."
And with these words of kindly farewell on her lips, she stood for a moment, the crimson light from the Doctor's coloured lamp falling on her wrinkled face and white hair. Then she turned, and trotted out into the darkness, the light of the lantern just serving to show the dim outline of her figure, whilst Philip and Myra stood watching her till she reached her own door; and her cheery voice was heard saying, "I'm safe, good night.'" and we echo her words, and repeat, "Good night, God bless her."
Up the staircase, hand in hand, went husband and wife, back into the room where their Christmas-eve guest had lately stood, sanctifying with her gentle presence the home love had already made holy; and standing there whilst the fire glowed and crackled, and the scarlet hollyberries peeped down upon them from amongst their glossy leaves, they raised a heartfelt thanksgiving to Him from whom the blessing came.
Three years have passed since then; and Philip lives in a constantly widening circle of useful
ness; but guineas are plentiful with him now. He could afford a greatcoat every week were he so minded, and Myra has entirely renounced egg-dinners.
And God is praised and served in their happy prosperous home: for well they know that from the Giver of all good things their happiness and their prosperity proceeds. And they keep their Christmas-tide in singleness of heart, thanking Him with lips and life for all His goodness; but most of all, for the One great Gift that came to earth long centuries ago, when the shepherds sang, "Gloryto God in the highest, and on earth peace and good-will to man."
"Ay," says Philip, as they talk their mercies over, "without that one inestimable blessing, vain were all the rest."
And Myra answers,—" Vain, indeed! but that One Blessing sanctifies all others. Ah, I laughed and tried to be merry, when we were so poor—so very poor. Only think, I had but one half-sovereign left, and you had but two pounds; and there was rent, and servants' wages, and "—
"And God taught us • to trust Him, dearest. Behind every cloud there ' is a silver lining,' and that light shines down to us, the sweet reflection of our Father's smile."
By The Editor.
"And is the twilight closing fast ?—
I hear the night-breeze wild;
"Thy work is done, My child.
"Must I not rise at dawn of day?
The night-breeze swells so wild; And must I not resume my toil?"
"No .' nevermore, My child."
"And may I sleep through all the dark ?—
The wind to-night is wild;
"Thou mayest rest, My child."
•' And are the week-day cares gone by?
Still moan the breezes wild;
"All sped away, My child."
"And may I fold my feeble hands?
Hush! breezes sad and wild!
"Yes! close thine eyes, My child."
•■ And shall I wake again, and hear,
Ah! not the night-breeze wild,
"Heaven's endless psalm, My child."
"Oh! sweet this last night of the week!
The breeze sinks low and mild:
"Is passing sweet, My child."
"Oh! passing sweet these closing hours!
And sweet the night-breeze mild;
"The Eternal Day, My child."
"The night is gone,—clear breaks the dawn;
It rises soft and mild:
"Yes! face to face, My child .'"
MEMORANDA OF THE MONTHS.
By The Editor.
"Then came old January, wrapped well
"Ah, bitter chill it was!
"There's not a flower on all the hills, the frost is on the pane."—Tennyson.
We are so accustomed to regard January as the opening month of the year, that we almost forget the fact of there having been a time when it was otherwise. Yet, till within a comparatively recent period, the commencement of the year was subjected to no definite or universal
rule, but depended rather upon the caprice, custom, or prejudice of individual nations. The Athenians used to begin their year in June; the Macedonians in September; the Romans, first in March, and afterwards in January; the Persians on the 11th of August; the Mexicans
on the 23rd February; tho Mahometans some time in July; astronomers generally at the vernal equinox.
In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII having undertaken the reformation of the calendar,—not before it was sorely needed,—ordained, that for the future, the first of January should be acknowledged by Christendom, as the first day of the year. France, Spain, and Portugal, as became faithful adherents of his Holiness, unhesitatingly obeyed, and in the same year, or as some say, in 1 5H5. followed the example of their Transalpine neighbours.
The Protestant countries of Europe, however, just freed from the shackles of papal domination, and lately emerged from the gross darkness and ignorance of superstition, but by no means sufficiently enlightened and strengthened to reject the evil, and to appropriate the good, naturally viewed this purely scientific movement with a most suspicious eye; and long refusing to acknowledge any decree issuing from the suspected quarter, clung pertinaciously to their own system of computation, very much to the confusion of their national and social records, whether legal or historical.
Nevertheless we find that our British Solomon, King Jamie, of Gunpowder Plot, and anti-snuff and tobacco memory, had the sagacity to issue, A.D. 1000, ^proclamation for the required alteration of New Year's Day throughout the realm of Scotland. But upon succeeding to the throne of his spirited kinswoman, Elizabeth, it does not appear that he attempted to enforce this mandate on his English subjects; for though the new chronology was gradually displacing the old for historical and religious purposes, all legal, and many literary documents continued to date the New Year from March 25th, till so late as- 1752, when various wholesome emendations were effected, and the "Old Style" finally dismissed for the New, which provided for the overplus of time, not accounted for in the Julian year, and fixed the New Years' day permanently on the first of January.
Sweden conformed to "New Style" about the same time. Protestant Netherlands, the Lutheran Germans, and the Swiss had preceded England and Sweden by half a century. Some few years ago Russia still adhered to the ancient system of chronology.
Many of the months derive their names, as do the days of the week, from the heathen deities. January is undoubtedly indebted on this score to the Roman god Janus, who .seems to have been a sort of patron saint of the good Nunia Pompilius. Romulus gave only ten months to the year, March, taking the priority; but Numa introduced January and February to the calendar, making the year to consist of twelve lunar months of twenty-nine and thirty days each alternately, making altogether an annual amount of 354 days.
This erroneous division continuing for more than 000 years, caused the most inextricable confusion, and after the battle of Pharsalia. B.C. 48. Julius Caesar assisted by the Alexandrian astronomer Sosigenes, set about the rectification of the calendar, and ordered the year according to the course of the sun. In the year B.C. 44, the reformed system was introduced, and continued till the promulgation of the Gregorian calendar.
But to return to Janus. He is supposed by some persons to be identical with the patriarch Noah, an hypothesis by no means absurd, when we come to remember that nearly all the so-called divine and heroic personages of that long-faded, mythologic world, were magnified and distorted realities; not, as some have imagined, pure fictions, mere fanciful creations of an ignorant and superstitious people. Janus was represented with two or four faces,— the latter but seldom. The two faces looked in opposite directions; the one old, withered, and wrinkled, testifying his retrospective habits; the other youthful, bold, and animated, indicating his powers of prescience. It is his imputed attribute of being endowed with a knowledge of the past and the future, which leads one to suppose that the Janus of Numa Pompilius, may haply be a corrupt or monstrous tradition of the second father of mankind; for Noah must have stood, as it were, between two worlds,—the Past, which none save himself could ever reveal; and the Future, dim, shadowy, and mysterious, into which he was, perhaps, in some degree permitted to penetrate. Still, this must ever be mere matter of speculation, and though interesting as a subject of inquiry, is certainly of no ulterior importance.
To Janus the first day of the month was sacred, and it was celebrated with Bacchanalian feastings, exchange of gifts, good wishes, and compliments. So that probably our own pleasant fashion of making and receiving presents on New Year's Day, was derived from our British forefathers, who learned the custom from those naturalized Romans who settled in the island after its subjugation.
Our Parisian neighbours far exceed us in the beauty, costliness, and number of their New Year's gifts. From the royal family down to the humblest grisette, every one expects a present, and, if necessary, strains every nerve to make one. Immense quantities of bon-bons, and all kinds of sweetmeats are received and presented in wonderful variety and profusion. There are green peas, bunches of carrots, boots and shoes, lobsters and crabs, gridirons and frying-pans, and countless other things, all made of sugar, and coloured to imitate reality, and all hollow within to hold the bon-bons. In 1842, it was said that no less than £20,000 worth of sweetmeats were sold in Paris on New Year's Day. Jewellery is also presented; . gloves, artificial flowers, laces, embroideries, and costliest knick-knackeries of every kind!
In England the custom is gradually falling into disuse; but there was a time when it was observed to the full by all ranks of people. On the first day of 1502, Queen Elizabeth went in great state to St. Paul's Cathedral, and the Dean made her a present of a richly-bound and illustrated prayer-book; but her Majesty fancied, or pretended to fancy
that the pictures had a popish tendency, and refused the gift, and, after the sermon, rated the poor Dean full soundly for his contempt of her proclamation against superstitious images and pictures. In 1575 the royal spinster received from her unfortunate cousin and prisoner, Mary Queen of Scots, a New Year's present of a very elegant head-dress, likewise a collar, cuffs, and other little pieces, en suite, which Elizabeth received amiably, though her ministers demurred at her acceptance of the same. Three months afterwards, when poor Mary again sent a little offering of her skill, Elizabeth accepted it with this remarkable message, "Tell the Queen of Scots that I am older than she is, and when people arrive at my age, they take all they can get with both hands, and only give away with their little finger!" Her Majesty was then in her 42nd or 43rd year.
Let us record some of the gifts which Elizabeth received on the first day of the year. The Archbishop of Canterbury gave her A'40 in money; the peeresses gave rich gowns and petticoats, silk stockings, garters, looking-glasses, fans, and costly trinkets.
Mrs. Cropson gave "a night-coif of cambric, cut-work and spangles, with forehead cloth, and a night border of cut-work edged with bonelace ;" the Court physician, a box of foreign sweetmeats; his wife, a cushion-cloth and a pillow-case of cambric wrought with black silk; the Court laundress, "three handkerchiefs of black Spanish work, edged with bone-lace of Venice gold, and four tooth-cloth* of coarse Holland, wrought with black silk;" Sir Philip Sidney, "a cambric smock with sleeves and collar, wrought with black silk, and edged with small bone-lace of gold and silver, and a set of cuffs flourished and spangled with gold and silver;" Mrs. Carre, "one sheet of fine cambric worked all over with sundry fowls, beasts, and worms in divers colours;" Dr. Huick, " a pot of preserved ginger and orange-flowers; her apothecaries, a box of lozenges, a box of ginger candy, another of green ginger and pots of other conserves; Mrs. Morgan, a box of cherries, and one of apricots; an Italian, two pictures; a cutler, a meat-knifo having a fanhaft of hone with a concert in it; and, finally, the dustman!" two bolts of cambrick." Dr. Drake remarks, that though Elizabeth made returns in plate and other articles, yet she took sufficient care that the balance should be in her own favour. We cannot help being afraid that the "good Queen Bess" was the least bit greedy! Only fancy a throng going up from the West-end and the City to Buckingham palace. His Grace of Canterbury at the head of the procession, the dustman at the tail, with such a miscellaneous collection of goods, to lay at the feet of our own liege-lady Queen Victoria! Certainly, we have improved since those oft-quoted "golden days;" which, all things considered, strike us as scarcely so auriferous as these of the nineteenth century.
The first of January stands also in the calendar of England, as well as in that of the Romish Church, as the Festival of the Circumcision. It is said to have been instituted towards the close of the fifth- century, and not to have been an observance of the primitive Christian Church. It first appeared in the reformed English Liturgy in 1550. This day is also dedicated by Roman Catholicism to a heap of saints, all Irish, I believe; the mere enumeration of their names would be ridiculous. The second of January celebrates the sanctity and miracles of St. Macarius, a gentleman against whom the devil seems to have entertained a very contemptible spite, since, in the legend, he conducts himself like a foolish malicious schoolboy.
The sixth of the month is commonly called Twelfth-day. because it is the 12th day after Christmas; and also Old Christmas Day, a reminiscence of the old exploded Style. It figures in the Calendar, as " the Feast of the Epiphany, or the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles;" —the Gentiles being typified by the Wise Men or Magi, who came from the East with their offerings of gold,
and frankincense, and myrrh. The Romish Church has a tradition that these "wise men," were kings! and they have been accommodated with divers sets of names,—the bestknown triad consists of Jaspar or Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar. The Empress Helena is said to have discovered their remains in the 4th century, and brought their bodies to Constantinople, from whence they were transferred to Milan in 1104, by the Emperor Frederic, and presented by him to the cathedral church of Cologne, where they are to this day regarded by the devotees of a superstitious creed with greatest veneration. Every one has heard of the "Three Kings of Cologne," and its eleven thousand virgins!
Though some persons conclude that the well-known observances of Twelfth-day are of heathen origin, I am more inclined to agree with those who assert that the old-fashioned custom of drawing for king and queen and other characters, sprang from the tradition of those socalled royal personages.
Formerly a bean was kneaded into the "Twelfth Cake," and the person to whose portion it fell became king or queen of the evening; andhence sprang the common French proverb, applied to any particularly fortunate person, "JI a troure la fere au gateau,"—Anglicc, "He has found the bean in the cake. The ancient Twelfth Cake seems to have been composed of flour, honey, ginger, an&pepper! the maker thrusting in at (random a small coin in the kneading. When baked, it was divided into as many parts as there were persons in the family, and each had his share. Portions of it were also assigned to Christ, the Virgin, and. the three Magi, and were given in alms. In France, this observance of the Epiphany was called "La Fete ile .Rots." But in 1792, revolutionary democracy changed its name to "La Fete do Sans Culottes; the old feast was declared anti-civic, and any priest keeping it was deemed a royalist. The word Epiphany signifies manifestation, and is applied to this day, because Christ was,—as on this day,—manifested to the Gentiles