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"Merrie Christmas"---Past and Present

Condensed from The Woman's Home Companion

Laura Spencer Portor

"MERRIE CHRISTMAS" the gayety and delight of it; what a way it has of getting into the heat, and effecting a transformation there! A merry Christmas blooms and blossoms as it were in a hundred love


ways; there are the old cus

that have always made a Merrie Christmas" dear, and new hings have been added to the old Customs that have made Christmas a reker and lovelier festival today than eva it was.

There is, for instance, the huge Christmas candle that our ancestors


Chr des the


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e such a point of lighting first on istmas Eve. Such a size it was! gned to burn heartily throughout

entire holidays, until Twelfth ht closed the long festivities; e being enough of it left, even , to serve for lighting the Christcandles of another year. bere was always the gathering the mistletoe and holly preparto the year's best festival. And Yule Log was brought in with

rejoicing-in old England one he gayest and gladdest of the day festivities. There was the ving and twining of green gar

s and the lighting of many can

; and especially of those canthat were set in all the windows,

so that if any traveler chanced that way Christmas cheer should shine across his path.

Then later, on Christmas Eve, there came with our ancestors, as with us, the fat filling of the Christmas stockings and the gay trimming of the Christmas tree. And in good old England-merrie England-while these preparations, and others, were going forward, there were sure to be grouped outside in the village street the waits, the village musicians, playing the gay old Christmas tunes; and when these went by there would come, to a certainty, bands of carol singers going from house to house, singing any and many of the splendid old English carols.

And speaking of Christmas trees, it is interesting to remember that it was on a frosty night that Luther, once walking beneath pine trees, saw the stars beam so bright through the dark boughs, and struck by their wonder and their beauty, resolved to bring indoors a small spruce; he set candles upon it, and lighted them to the glory of Godthe first Christmas tree.

But to return to the Christmas Eve festivities, of the oldtime Merrie Christmas. It is close upon twelve o'clock. On the very stroke of mid

night, bark! in the ohurch helfry the bell-ringers are ringing the chimes that usher in Christmas. Then, the rest of the night, there is one, they used to believe, who does not sleep, the whole night long! For the Christmas cock keeps watch hour by hour, and announces over and over at intervals, to drive away any chance evil spirits, "Chris-ChrisChristmas is here!"

So comes Christmas day with all its shared festivities. The good oldfashioned peacock-pie is brought in, carried by the fairest guest; and the boar's head is borne with pomp and splendor. Feasting, and good cheer, and well-being, and songs and talk and laughter! A day given over to friendliness and comradeship and to old ties renewed.

But the merriment of the best sort was reserved, usually, until Christmas evening. Then, all in

equalities of station and fortune set aside, the villagers trooped to the manor house, to the Christmas dance, and the lord of the manor led out into the merry maze the prettiest girl of the village; and the dancers kissed gayly beneath the mistletoe. Then, presently the masked mummers came, and acted for the benefit of the entire company some favorite play or pageant. Then, the sport growing madder and merrier still, there came the Christmas "Lord of Misrule" and his assistants, specially deputized to stir up the fun of Christmas and to see that the merriment did not flag.

Ah, they knew how to live Christmas, these ancestors of ours! how to make it friendly and comfortable, and comforting and happy.

People wag their heads and say, "Oh, Christmas is not what it used to be!" There is not, it is true, nearly so much mad fun and frolic; and the waits and carol singers, and the peacock pie, and the mummers, and a good many more of the old Christmas

keeping people and castoma, ays more memories now.

Yet there is something, too, in our modern Christmas that we would not relinquish, even for the old; something to be proud of; a spirit of sharing; a love of giving; and a largeness of vision; a fine democracy. Never were there so many gifts given in the world as are given today. They made their Christmas one of merriment in the old days; we make ours one of giving!

Well, we have heard it said that every vice is only a virtue overdone. The only danger we see, then, as to our modern Christmas-God bless it!-is lest we overdo our virtue of giving; lest we give not too much in a spiritual sense there is never any danger of anyone doing that-but lest we give too many gifts of a material sort; and too much time to selecting and preparing them; until Christmas, that should rest light and warm on the shoulders like a gay cloak, becomes instead a heavy burden, and a weariness and a vexation.


We would like to see the gay, simple, communal, unburdened sharing of Christmas as it used to be. We would like to see "Yule" brought in; and Christmas garlands gathered and hung as gayly as of old; we would even like to hear some village musicians playing gay Christmas tunes; we would delight to hear the splendid old carols sung out in the frosty hight right under the stars; moreover, would like-yes, we confess it!-that big, generous Christmas candle, symbolic of Christmas gayety and spirit, enough to round out twelve whole days of merry-making; and we have an especial leaning, besides, to hose smaller wayfarers, Christmas ight s set cheerfully and infallibly of Chris mas Eve, and Christmas night, in all the windows-and the mummers the pageant, and the dance!-ye would like these, too! W. H. C., D. '22.


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Turkey and Enlightened

Condensed from The World's Work

1. European vs. American diplomacy.

2. The need for preventive statesmanship.

3. The Turk a barbarian.

4. Turkey and the Philippines. 5. The only permanent solution.

UROPEAN diplomacy is seen at

EUROPEAN in the Near East; and

nothing more startling brings into relief the essential difference between Europe and America. Without indulging in any unwarranted selfcongratulation, it is permissible to point out that the motives which have directed recent events in the Near East are not the motives that have directed American history. With the kind of thing that has been going on there, the United States will have nothing to do. These motives do not seek to promote the welfare of the Ottoman peoples and to accomplish something in the way of solving the ugliest problem of Europe; their purpose is to readjust European jealousies and to prevent one power from obtaining what seems to be a slight advantage over another. It would be strange if the charitable spirit with which the American people respond to the constant appeal for help in rescuing from starvation the subjects of the Turk were not clouded with a slight feeling of impatience. To suggest that these solicitations are misdirected would be the extreme of brutality; yet there seems something absurd in the fact that Americans should be constantly called upon to feed and lothe the millions that suffer con

tinuously from Ottoman rule. These are fine efforts; yet America is really handling the problem in the wrong


2. Perhaps the greatest shortcoming of modern statesmanship is the fact that it pays so little heed to the teachings of modern science. The great triumph of modern medical art is preventive medicine. The scientific method is to find the cause, destroy it, and so prevent the plague from getting a foothold. Its purpose is only primarily to cure, its primary aim is prevention. The greatest need of the world at present is similarly preventive statesmanship. The business of the rulers of nations should be to go to the cause of the ills that now assail the world, and remove these.

3. As far as the Ottoman Empire is concerned the diagnosis at least is not a difficult matter. The rulers of that country are a tribe of Asiatic barbarians who for nearly five centuries have maintained an armed camp in what was once one of the most prosperous and civilized parts of the world. The word "barbarian" is used advisedly, for the Turk has none of the qualities that make up what is known as European civilization. He has no art, no literature, nothing that, in the modern sense, resembles a science of government or of orderly living: in the 500 years that he has pitched his tent by the Bosphorus he has erected no great buildings-even his own Mohammedan mosques are practically all former Christian churches. He is a brave fighter, but, unassisted by enlightened peoples, he cannot even make war, for the mechanics and chemistry of war are entirely beyond his grasp. Modern conceptions of citizenship and demoo

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