Thursday, December 5, 2013

Old Christmas

The great cavelike kitchen looks magnificent, Stella thought, and well it might, for she and Mother Sprigg had been laboring at it for days.  Fir and holly decorated the dresser and all the odd crannies and shelves, and the grandfather clock had a branch of yew from the tree on Bowerly Hill.  Mistletoe that had been cut from the Duke of Marlborough hung from the central beam.  The great table, pulled back against the dresser, was loaded with food.  Arranged in rows at the back were rabbit pies, mutton pies, pigs' trotters in brawn, a round of cold beef, and a huge frilled ham sprinkled with brown sugar.  In front were apple pies, mince pieces, syllabubs, Devonshire splits, saffron cake, and mounded dishes of Devonshire cream and candied fruits.  The great wassailing bowl stood ready with its ladle, and the holly-trimmed platter was waiting for the Christmas bread.  There was ale and cider, and Mother Sprigg's homemade damson wine, elderberry wine, and sloe gin.  Throughout Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day the front door of Weekaborough would stand wide in welcome to any who might come, be he angel, prince, or peasant.

-- Elizabeth Goudge, Gentian Hill


Lori said...

I've never read her... would I like her? What book do you recommend? 8-D

Brianna said...

Wow! I don't know what half of that food was, but it sounds yummy ;) I can't wait for christmas!

Julie said...

I'm with you, Brianna!

Lori - I think you would like Elizabeth Goudge. She has a unique writing style and depth of insight of the human soul. She weaves her stories with a magical beauty that I find difficult to describe. I've only read a tiny fraction of her books - our library system doesn't carry many nor do I often find them at used book sales. Of the ones I've read, The Dean's Watch has been my favorite so far. Hope you can find one to try!