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by the vendors. And herein is suggested
a speculationwhy are hot cross buns
always the same price? Do we get an
advantage when flour is cheap in the
market; and if not, why not? Do Tom,
and Dick, and Lizzy, and Carry, when
they assemble round the breakfast-table
on hot cross bun day, and look out for
their due share of these luxuries, do they
observe that the buns are bigger in some
years than others, as they ought to be
when the four-pound loaf sells for sixpence
instead of eightpence or ninepence? Alas,
we fear that the conventional size of the
hot cross bun, like that of the muffin or
the crumpet, is calculated on the basis of
a dear year in Mark Lane; and that the
makers quite forget to give the public the
benefit of any lowering in the price of
wheat. And the pastry cooks are equally
sinners in this way; a penny bun is a
penny bun, always the same size at the
same shop, whether prices be high or low.
And so of all the pleasant buns and cakes.
Bath and Banbury, Shrewsbury and
Yorkshire, breakfast and wedding, currant and
Savoy, sponge and seed, pound and rout,
school and Twelfth Night: and all the
biscuitscaptains', Abernethy, seedy,
Brighton, buttered, Naples, rout, picnic,
wine, cracknel do we get our due pennyworth
when flour is cheap?

Early in the present century, there were
two noted bun-houses at Chelsea, to which
the young folk of middle-class families
were wont to take a ramble across the
fields, long since occupied by labyrinths of
stucco-fronted houses. The visitors sat on
seats under shady awnings in front of the
houses, and there enjoyed the delicacy of
Chelsea buns. Each house, of course,
claimed to be better than the other; the
one as the Chelsea Bun-house; the other
as the real old original Chelsea
Bunhouse. Most probably they were as nearly
on a level in merit as the numerous Johana
Maria Farinas at Cologne.

There is abundant evidence that the hot
cross bun, the Good Friday bun, had a
religious origin. In very remote Greek days,
sacred cross-bread, called  ????, was offered
up to the heathen deities as a sacerdotal
ceremony; the bread was made of fine flour
and honey. If this be so, then bun has a
very classical origin indeed, in being
derived from ????. This ???? came from Bov?,
ox or cattle; and the name was applied to
the cake or bun because a representation of
two horns was stamped upon it. The bun
was usually purchased by the worshippers
at the entrance of the temple, taken in by
them, and eaten during the sacrificial
ceremonies. In times somewhat later, but
still ancient, a cross was substituted for
the bull horns on the bun; and we are
told: "At Herculaneum were found two
small loaves about five inches in diameter,
marked with a cross, within which were
four other lines. Sometimes the bread
had only four lines altogether, and then
it was called quadra. The bread had
rarely any other mark than a cross,
which was on purpose to divide and eat it
more easily. Similar loaves were
discovered in a bakehouse at Pompeii." When
the Christian Church gradually supplanted
heathen usages, buns were retained; they
were made from the same dough as the host
or consecrated wafer, but were not
themselves consecrated; they were distributed by
the priest to the people after mass, just before
dismissal. Less solemn than the wafer or
host, they had still a sacrificial character
about them: the cross marked on each
bun having a new symbolic meaning
imparted to it. And so, by an intelligible
process, they became specially associated
with one particular day in the year. And
now we eat the buns, hot and spicy, once a
year, without thinking of Greeks or Jews
or Romans, of ???? or ox horns or temples.
There is still to be seen, in some of our
peasants' houses, a bun which hangs from
the ceiling from one Good Friday to the
next; it is regarded as a preservative
against evils.

Whether Sally Lunn still makes
teacakes, we do not know; but such cakes
are certainly among the kinds of dainty
bread which have a curious history, if we
only choose to ferret it out. And so are hot
rolls, those stuffy, puffy aids to indigestion.


ALL spangled are the beech trees, with motes of autumn gold,
And 'neath their spreading red leaves is many a love-tale told:
O'erclouds the sky with shadow, the thunder showers fall,
And fade away the sunbeams awaybeyond recal.

The babbling brook o'er-ripples the pebbles smooth and white,
The water-lilies quiver, and tremble in the light:
Arise the wind and tempest, from whence we may not know,
The brook becomes a torrent, away the lilies flow!

The prisoned lark is straining his little throat to raise
The song that once on green turf he sang to Heaven's praise:
His shrill sweet notes ascending, in melody uprise,
Re-echoing till their music is lost amid the skies.