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return homewards the better and the happier
for the annual commemoration. Away
from the chief towns, and more especially along
the Malabar coast, the small primitive chapels
are thronged by the rustic Christians bearing
offerings to the poor and worthy Padré, in
the shape of wheat sheaves, fruits, cheeses,
conserves, and whatever their own poverty
will permit. Herein, their offerings resemble
the contributions of the Irish peasantry to
Father Luke or Father Brady.

While early service is performing in the
Roman Catholic places of worship, the servants
of the Protestant householder are busy
testifying their respect for "master." By
dawn, the portico of his house has been hung
with festoons of marigolds or Mogree, (the
Indian Jasmine). Wreaths and branches of
laurelthe tropical substitute for holly
adorn the columns of his verandah, and the
entrances to his rooms.

Now, "master," or the saheb, has breakfasted,
and the head-servant announces that the rest
of the domestics claim permission to pay their
respects. What procession is this? Is a
marriage-feast toward? Behold the sircar,
or clerk, who keeps the saheb's accounts!
Attended by a coolee, or porter, he makes his
salaam, and lays before his employer a huge rooee
or seher fish, a plum-cake charmingly frosted
with sugar-candy, a copper tray of almonds
and raisins, two vast cauliflowers, and a nose-
gay. His offering is graciously accepted, and
a small present cancels the obligation. Now
comes the Khetmudghar, or body-servant. He
has brought a leg of mutton, some oranges, a
smaller cake, and a quantity of kissmissthe
small Sultana raisin from the shores of Persia.
Kissmiss! whence the word? Has it been
adopted by the Hindoos, because it is acceptable
at Christmas? We never could divine
the etymology. Kissmiss is a pretty dessert
fruit to play withand isn't it suggestive
of the standard joke of the old Qui hye?
He accidentally on purpose rolls a mango
towards the fruit-plate, and exclaims with a
chuckle, "See how naturally man goes to
Kissmiss! " The children laugh; and a
faint smile plays about the lips of the adults,
who have heard the veteran jest a score of
times. The Khetmudghar is dismissed with a
present. Anon comes the Sirdar bearer, the
tailor, the washermaneven the poor mehtur
(sweeper), each with the Christmas present
and each receives a suitable douceur or
buksheishoften pronounced buxis, and so
suggesting the notion, that we have borrowed the
term and converted it into " boxes."

Blessed and blessing, the master now
dismisses his domestics, and the carriage is
ordered to the door to carry the family to
church. Service is performed with the extra
solemnity suitable to the occasion. The
church is garlanded with laurel and other
evergreens; an appeal is made to the charitable
feelings of the congregation; and as the
organ peals the final voluntary, the bank-notes,
and the silver coin, are freely dropped
into the churchwarden's plate, to provide
food and clothing for the indigent of all castes
and classes.

Home! and the family are greeted at
the door by visitors, native and European,
of the highest grades. More cakes, more fish,
more legs of mutton, more oranges, more
almonds and raisins, crowd the hall and

The question is, how to dispose of all this
perishable matter; for Khansumagee, the
butler, takes care that all these supplies
shall not interfere with his usual bazaar
arrangements. He has, in anticipation, made
the market for the day. So, when the children
are satisfied, the perishable presents are given
to the poor.

As evening closes in, the house of each
family of respectability opens its hospitable
doors to the reception of friends; and the
roast beef and the plum-pudding, and the
mince pies, the port wine and the champagne,
attest the attachment of the English to old
home-honoured usages. The glass goes round;
good wishes are exchanged; many a thought
is directed to friends and relatives at a distance,
and the day closes much as it closes in
England. In Calcutta, fires are burnt in
English grates, in the months of December
and January; and although a handsome
bouquet of roses decorates the drawing-room
table and the chiffoniers, there is a wintry
feel about the atmosphere; and as the chairs
are drawn round the fire-place, and the
whiskey-punch is brewed, the cherished idea
of home on Christmas Day is suitably and
completely realised.


Think of Christmas in the tremendous
wastes of ice and snow, that lie in the remotest
regions of the earth! Christmas, in the
interminable white desert of the Polar sea! Yet
it has been kept in those awful solitudes,
cheerfully, by Englishmen. Where crashing
mountains of ice, heaped up together, have
made a chaos round their ships, which in a
moment might have ground them to dust;
where hair has frozen on the face; where
blankets have stiffened upon the bodies of
men lying asleep, closely housed by huge fires,
and plaisters have turned to ice upon the
wounds of others accidentally hurt; where
the ships have been undistinguishable from
the environing ice, and have resembled themselves
far less than the surrounding masses
have resembled monstrous piles of architecture
which could not possibly be there, or
anywhere; where the winter animals and birds
are white, as if they too were born of the
desolate snow and frost; there Englishmen
have read the prayers of Christmas Day, and
have drunk to friends at home, and sung home
songs. In 1819, Captain Parry and his brave