+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error


REMEMBERING as I do, what good and wise
and learned men have said and written of the
strong connexion that exists between the
human heart and the human stomach, may I
(as a humble and commonplace man) broach
the  by no means novel theory, that there is likewise a
strong connecting link between the season of
Christmas and good eating and drinking.

Two or three months before Christmas the
public-house puts forth a notice that a few
members are required to complete a Goose
Club. A picture of a goose, painted in
defiance of nature, with variegated feathers,
and walking in a fair landscape, embellishes
the announcement. The proprietor of the
gin-shop at the corner of the street exhibits
a bill which, disdaining to catch the eye with
a mere picture, seeks rather to startle the
beholder by the gigantic scale of the raffle,
which is to take place there on Christmas
Eve. For one shilling, a chance is to be had;
and the prizes are, three thousand five hundred
geese, two thousand pieces of beef, fifteen
hundred pair of fowls, and a total of bottles
of rum, gin, and other liquors, which would
appear. fabulous if they were not stated, with
an appearance of exactness, in long and
odd rows of figures such as are used to distinguish
public conveyances and Bank of England
notes. The prizes are to be drawn and
distributed immediately, in the presence of the
subscribers; and a glass of any spirituous
liquor is destined to console the unsuccessful
speculator. " Vivat Regina!! " with several
notes of admiration, give a finish, and official
character to the announcement. The grocer,
also, gives notice of a raffle on Christmas Eve.
He, too, gets up things on a large scale.
Nothing will serve him, but four, nought,
nought, nought parcels of currants; three,
nought, six, five ditto of plums; three, seven,
five, four packets of candied peel; and spices
in proportion. He, too, has a balm for unfortunate
subscribers—  hot elder wine and cake
being, in his opinion, the most powerful
agents for that purpose. Another grocer,
accommodating himself to the resources of
the poor neighbourhood, announces some
weeks before Christmas an intention of
opening a series of Pudding Clubs, by which
the immense advantages of combination will
result to the public. There is no risk with
him. Threepence per week will be paid in
advance, and the Christmas pudding will not
be problematical. No glass of any spirituous
liquor, no hot elder wine, no cake, will be
required to soothe any disappointed customer.
His dealings are straightforward; as his
advertisement of " Cat out of the bag! Turkey
chicory at sixpence," will corroborate. Therefore,
if your subscriptions have been paid up,
you will call on Christmas Eve, and take
away your grocery.

The Christmas preparations begin to
thicken. The grocer becomes poetical about
his tea; facetious as to his plums. The
invigorating influence of tea, at this festive
season of the year, is set forth in a poem, in
which the first letters of each line, read
downwards, form the words " John Warmer and
Company's Tea Mart." This invigorating
influence is further insisted on, in a short
history of the tea plant, accompanied by
Lord Bacon's opinion of the properties of
cofiee, printed on the paper which serves to
wrap up those articles. The excellence of the
fruits sold within, and the general wholesomeness
of Christmas pudding, are set forth
in the conversation of a stout gentleman and
his wife, to be found beneath their portraits
in the window. This firm is the original
vendor of " Warmer's celebrated Mixture;"
and is nervously anxious that Warmer's may
not be connected, in any wandering mind,
with any other house in London. The readymade
clothes shop, at the corner of the street,
of which the gin-palace is at the other corner,
though not venturing to imitate its neighbour
with a leviathan clothes-lottery, avails itself
of the season to present the public with a
liberal supply of almanacs, containing two-
pages of a useful calendar, and twenty-four
pages devoted to the praises of the Great
Clothing Establishment. The baker makes a
loaf, which no family, however large, could be
expected to get through before it became
mouldy, and exhibits it in his window,
decorated with blue ribbons. It has entered
the cheesemonger's head to give fantastic
shapes to his butter, besides converting it into
models of the Crystal Palace. Holly sprouts
out of skins of lard, and sides of bacon, and