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to the inquisitive bore who leads that piece of
music in a most impertinent manner, by wanting
to know all about everybody's private affairs)
that he was the man with his white locks flowing,
and that he was upon the whole the weakest
pilgrim going.

Finally, I remember that when I got into my
little bedroom I was truly wretched, and had a
strong conviction on me that I should never like
Joe's trade. I had liked it once, but once was
not now.


ALTHOUGH collegians generally spread
themselves over the country to spend their Christmas-
time at their respective homes, yet the halls and
colleges are far from being deserted at the most
festive of seasons. For instance, that student
of Queen's, at Oxford, who, during a contemplative
Christmas walk, choked a wild boar that
was about to devour him by dashing the book
he was reading into its jaws, originated a festival
which has been kept up without intermission
since the days of Edward the Third. Mirth,
merriment, good fellowship, and good cheer
abound " in hall" at more than one college of
the university, chastened by an indescribable
gravity, which ancient and revered customs cast
over the scene.

We were invited to spend our Christmas at
one of the Oxford colleges, and arrived there on
the morning before Christmas-day, welcomed by
our host, its president, on the threshold of his
quaint and ancient abode. The medieval sensation
which the dining-room, with its antique
furniture and portraits of bygone worthies called
up as we sat there at luncheon, was a little
disturbed by a curious flavour of Manchester
communicated to the apartment, by an assortment of
woollens and other packages, denominated in
their natural sphere " goods," and compactly
arranged in one part of the room. This thin
shade of incongruity was explained, as soon as
luncheon was over, by the entrance of a tottering
crowd of old people, who had been invited to
receive articles of warm clothing. Each recipient
received also a kind and sympathetic word from
the donor, the president's wife. Sometimes a
strange claimant appeareda substitute. Where
was old Margaret? Old Margaret was ill abed,
or Betty was too weak to face the cold: so the
cloak or petticoat was handed over to the
husband or neighbour who had come to fetch it.

A fine choral service in the chapel, which we
next attended, was succeeded by a treat for the
young in the president's house. Some seventeen
girls, belonging to our hostess's own school,
took tea with us, and afterwards shared the
pretty fruit of a Christmas-tree set up in
another room. After tea succeeded dinner,
according to the new order of things, which has
driven the dinner hour on to about the time of
night at which our forefathers supped. Then
came the great festival of the evening, Christmas-
eve celebrated in the hall of the college.

Through the cloisters, in the keen, crisp,
clear air, that will be marked in the almanacks as
having given us the coldest night ever known in
England, into the College Hall. The president,
vice-president, fellows, and other members of the
college who had not "gone home" dressed in
their respective academicals, choristers, pupils
from a neighbouring school, and other young
gentlemen, took their appointed seats round the
hall at the tables, which were all laid out with
supper, except the cross-table at the top, on
which was displayed, gorgeously, the college
plate. The supper consisted of oysters, barrels
of which were set in the middle of the tables at
not very wide intervals in Indian files of good
cheer, furmitythat refined hasty-pudding which
our forefathers loved and thrived uponand
mince-pies. Some of the oysters were scolloped,
perhaps as a relic of Crusader's fare. In due
time, capacious tankards of a beverage which we
spectators in the gallery divined to be something
strong, steaming, spicy, and very comforting,
were brought to table. In the midst of the hall
grew and flourished an enormous tree, the top
of which touched the very timbers of the ceiling.
Countless candles sprouted from its branches;
but they were not yet lighted.

The galleries were filled with ladies, who,
enjoying the superior advantages of a general view,
had a keener appreciation of the scene than the
actors in it had themselves.

Overshadowed by the huge Christmas-tree,
stood a grand pianoforte; and, everybody in the
hall having found a place, the choir commenced
Handel's Messiah, the whole of the first part
of which they sang admirably. Then came the
lighting of the tree, a performance too important
to be trusted to common hands, and which was
achieved by the third dignitary of the college
(upon a ladder held firmly but perpendicularly
by three men) in a manner so masterly, that
not even the ladies in the galleries appeared to
suffer from the nervousness which such a
dangerous feat might otherwise have occasioned.

When the supper commenced in earnest,
'twas indeed " merry in hall;" though it would
hardly be true to add (as the Bishop of
Rochester will be glad to learn) that "beards
wagged all." Furmity was the first course.
The principals of the college attended to the
wants of their guests with unremitting attention.
The skill of these eminent scholars in
opening oysters, amazed all beholders. Furmity,
oysters, and mince-pies, wereto translate
Brillat-Savarin literally- "irrigated" with the
contents of the steaming tankards; and the tall,
handsome grace-cup was passed round, from
hand to hand and mouth to mouth, with the
cordial but stately drinking courtesies of old.

Nor were the fairer guests forgotten. The
galleries always had a broad front ledge; that
ledge was now utilised, and converted into a
railway, by the clever and very popular alumnus
who had illuminated the Christmas-tree.
First came a train of furmity, which stopped,
as all succeeding trains did, at convenient
stations for ladies to help, not only
themselves, but those behind them. Then came an