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the spirits, thus protected, would go forth in the spring to reclothe the forests with beautiful foliage and unlock the ice-bound streams. A survival of this superstition was found among the English peasantry not more than two hundred years ago. They hung evergreens in their cottages in the belief that they would attract sprites, and that the boughs would remain unnipped by the frosts and furnish a shelter for the woodland deities. «Standard trees” in the city were originally “nailed fule of holme and ivy” showing that the external aspect of Christmastide was a public concern in the days of our ancestors. In Poor Robin's Almanac,” 1695, is this allusion to the Christmas evergreens:

« With holly and ivy,

So green and so gay,
We deck up our houses

As fresh as the day.
With bays and rosemary

And laurel compleate
And every one now

Is a king in concrete.”
These must be taken down by Twelfth

« Down with the rosemary, and so
Down with the baies and mistletoe,
Down with the holly, ivy, all
Wherewith you drest the Christmas hall
So that the superstitious find

No one least branch there left behind.” As mistletoe and holly are our principal decoration, it may be well to know the origin of their use and their supposed power. The Druids at Yuletide used to cut the mistletoe to place upon their altars with elaborate ceremonies. Their name for it was All-Heal or All-Healing. There was a large procession, headed by the Druidical priests, with bards singing canticles and hymns; then a herald preceded three Druids, furnished with implements for severing the sacred plant; then the prince or chief of the Druids, accompanied by all his followers. The chief mounted the oak and with a golden knife detached the mistletoe and presented it to the priest, who received and bore away the branches with great reverence. Two white bulls were sacrificed during the rite. On the first day of the new year, the branches, after resting on the altars in the interval, were distributed among the people as a sacred and holy plant, the Druid priest crying, “The mistletoe for the New Year.” Just when the mistletoe became known as the “kissing-bush” is not known. There are many superstitions in regard to the mistletoe,- it being usu

ally accounted friendly in British traditions, though in other nations it has been used for evil. In Northern mythology it was used to destroy the "god of light.” Balder, the “white god ” or the god of light,” dreamed that his life was in danger, and his mother, Frigga, exacted a promise from all animate and inanimate things, from sickness, and from fire and water, that they would bring no harm to her son.

Because she thought the mistletoe too insignificant she omitted to make the same request of it, and the evil god Loki fashioned an arrow of it, which he put into the hands of Hoeder, Balder's blind brother, who, joining the other gods in playful attacks upon the invulnerable Balder, unconsciously gave him the fatal wound.

Many English girls believe that they will not be wedded inside of twelve months unless they have at least one kiss under the mistletoe. In many counties a berry is plucked from the mistletoe with each kiss, and when there are no berries no kisses are allowed. Mistletoe used to be considered a charm or amulet to ward off the baleful influence of witches. It was also considered that its influence was irresistible, that no one could possibly pass beneath it without yielding to its power, and hence both matron and maid must submit to the salutation which has since become customary.

The holly, with its traditions and customs, comes down to us from the old Romans and Teutons, and “bringing in the holly” used to be a matter of some ceremony. The good folk of Rutland, England, never bring holly into the house before Christmas Eve, believing that to do so would entail upon them a year of ill luck; and in Derbyshire it is believed that the roughness or smoothness of the holly that comes into a house at Christmas foreshadows whether husband or wife will rule during the coming year.

The'superstition that the holly is to remind us of Christ's suffering is of later origin than most of the Christmas customs. A little Christmas carol, in the Christmas number of “Harper's Magazine, 1898, prettily embodies this idea:

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a The holly berry's red as blood,
And the holly bears a thorn;
And the manger-bed is a Holy Rood,

When Jesus Christ was born." In the Black Mountains at the present day the custom of bearing home the Yule log is still carefully observed in all its ancient detail. The house-father fells the chosen tree, then he utters a prayer, and carefully lifts up his log and bears it home on his shoulder. His sons follow his example, each bearing a log for himself. The father then leans his log up against the house, being careful that the freshly cut end is uppermost, the lesser logs or ends surround it. As the father places each log he says, “A merry log day.”

The fire thus kindled is not allowed to go out until the following year, or great evil will befall the household. Portions of the preceding Yule log lighted the new logs, and the remains of each year's fire were carefully stored away among the household treasures for this purpose.

In the Highlands of Scotland it is, to this day, considered a great misfortune if the fire goes out, and it is said « Tae nae luck, ye've let oot the fire.” The Yule log of England is chosen for its knots and rugged roots, a cross-grained block of elm being usually chosen, as it will burn longer. This used to be decorated with garlands of greens and ribbons and drawn to its place with much merriment.

Formerly the members of a family and the guests sat down in turn upon the Yule log as the throne of the Master of Revels or the Lord of Misrule, sang Yule songs, drank to the Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, and as part of the frolic ate Yule dough or Yule cakes, drank furmenty, spiced ale, and from the wassail bowl.

Then they played Yule games, and finally kindled the Yule log from brands kept from the previous year.

Herrick writes: « Kindle the Christmas brand, and then

Till sunneset let it burne:
Which quencht, then lay it up agen,

Till Christmas next returne.

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customs, for very early it was made symbolical of the « Light of the World,” and its burning became a religious observance. Whether it was, as is claimed, a pagan rite, offered to the sun for its returning warmth at Yuletide, is not really known.

Used as a Christian symbol, however, the Christmas candle grew larger and larger until it assumed such huge dimensions as to last the whole twelve nights of the holidays. The candle was often ornamented with a lamb, typical of the Lamb of God. These candles are still sold in various places at Christmas time. In the buttery at St. John's College, Oxford, may still be seen an ancient stone candlestick bearing a figure of the Lamb. This candlestick used to be placed upon the high table » each of the twelve nights of the Christmas festival, and in it burned the famous candle of St. John's.

One of the Christmas games used to be “jumping the candles.” Twelve candles, representing the months of the year, were placed at intervals on the floor, and each person in turn was required to jump over them. If all were successfully passed over and still burned brightly, good fortune would be the jumper's during the coming year; but if any candle flame was put out it betokened ill-luck coming in the month it represented. If all were put out, the bachelor or maid who committed the direful deed would not only not marry during the coming year but might expect a disappointment in love. This custom is now used on Halloweennight.

A hundred years ago the English chandlers used to pay tribute to their patrons in the form of huge mould candles, and the coopers presented their patrons with great logs, called Yule dogs or blocks, and direct descendants of the Yule log.

The poor little Puritan children were not allowed to keep Christmas, because to do so savored of popery in their elders* eyes. Governor Bradford, on the second Christmas in the New World, 1621, wished people to work, but if they would not work they must not play; if they kept Christmas at all it must be as a matter of devotion.” One thing, however, the children did have in the early days of New England was the “Christmas candle.» This candle was home-made, of tallow, large, with the wick divided at the lower end to form three legs, while at its heart was concealed a quill well filled

" Part must be kept, wherewith to teend

The Christmas log next yeare;
And where 'tis safely kept, the fiend

Can do no mischief there." A similar custom was retained on the Continent called Souche de Noël. In Norfolk and other counties, as long as any part of the Yule log remained burning, all the servants were regaled at their meals with the best of cider and ale.

The early English and Irish people called Christmas the Feast of Lights” and used to burn the Christmas candle,” which was so large as to burn several nights before being consumed. It is one of the most interesting of the Christmas

with gunpowder. On Christmas Eve it This tree symbolized humanity — the upwas lighted, and the quaint little Puritan per lights being the souls of the good, folk sat around it, telling stories, until those below, of the wicked, while the suddenly the candle went off with a bang, child represented Christ. The poetic idea filling the children with glee, and giving of the Christmas tree as a symbol of the them their only taste of holiday fun. renewed life of nature which begins with

Germany is the Fatherland of the the lengthening of the days comes from Christmas tree and of Kriss Kringle, the Germany. From the Norse mythology «Merry Man;and Kriss Kringle still comes the suggestion of the Christmas adorns the top bough of every tree, large tree as typical of the new-born sun in or small, in Germany.

that it was bedecked with lights, and was It is said that Christmas trees were used an emblem of spring on account of its to place gifts upon as early as 1632; they rich green. Probably the Norse mytholcertainly were by 1744, as Goethe in « The ogy was the origin of the tree of candles » Sorrows of Werther » alludes to the cus- more than of the present Christmas tree. tom. France adopted the Christmas tree On the introduction of Christianity the about 1840, and Prince Albert introduced Christmas tree, although not known then it into England the first Christmas after by that name, became the type of Christ. his marriage. The Queen still keeps up The following quotation from L. P. this custom, having a tree for her own Lewis gives these emblems of the Christgifts, one for her children and grandchil- mas tree: dren, and one for the household. Since « The tree itself, stately and tall, was symthen the custom has become world-wide. bolical of His Majesty and grandeur ; the

green, The « Tree of Candles," is of more ancient of His godliness and immortality; the lights, of date. There is an old French romance of His glory and of the Star in the East, and the the thirteenth century in which the hero

angel on top (which was then never omitted), sees a tree whose branches from top to

of the angels who gave to the shepherds the bottom are covered with burning candles,

words still spoken each Christmas Day, Peace

on earth, good-will to men.) » while on the top is a figure of a child

ELIZABETH T. NASH. shining with a still greater radiance.



O ARTICLE of our varied manufactur- plated, and the cheaper varieties, which ing trades seems to reach nearer for our present purpose will be considered

the individual heart than does a as brass, pure and simple. piece of jewellery. Its selection and pos- The terms, (solid gold,” «solid 18-K session is a source of pleasure and of joy gold,” (solid rolled gold,” solid gold to both giver and recipient. In these filled,” « 14-K rolled gold filled,” «solid 14days of rapid change in fashions, fads, and K rolled gold .plate,” etc., as set forth in novelties, no subject of such general in- the thousands of advertisements daily unterest to the public heart seems less un- der the eyes of the masses of our people, derstood than does that which relates to prompt the first question,—What is solid the fabrication of these articles of domes- gold? tic trade. To the jeweller versed in the Strictly speaking, the only solid gold general methods of the art, the errors of that should be so recognized is the pure impression, tradition, and hearsay held metal, or gold of twenty-four karats fine, by our people in general are often as which is the fine gold” of the jewellery ludicrously wide of the truth as, doubtless, trade. Trade usage as well as general are his own upon other subjects apart custom calls any alloy or melted mixture from his training and experience.

of metals containing gold, solid gold.” To answer the queries embodied in the The varying quantity of gold in proporone forming the heading of this article tion to the other metals mixed with it denecessitates the formulation of a series of termines the quality,” “karat,” or “finequestions frequently asked of the practical ness of the mixture: thus, a mixture of jeweller. They are best classified under

eighteen parts of fine gold and six parts headings pertaining to solid gold, gold- of “alloy” is known and recognized as


solid eighteen-karat gold. Fourteen parts average of quality used will even reach of fine gold and ten parts of alloying the standard of ten karats fine.

In a secmetal give us fourteen-karat solid gold, ond sense it is true, also, that a large and so on.

In every case there are enough class of our people wear a better grade of parts of alloy added to the presupposed jewellery than formerly, owing to the karat quality to reach the twenty-four cheapening influence of modern tools and karats equivalent to fine gold. This gives machinery and the production of larger us the manner of preparation of the many quantities of articles at low figures. They grades of solid gold in the gold jewellery are thus able to wear a medium-grade of the trade. The various qualities run gold article where, under old conditions, from eighteen karats down through the plated or other wares had to answer their medium and lower grades even to the purpose. poorest, which in its wearing quality is A common impression of many inquirers no better than so much brass. In mixing of the jeweller is that our gold coins are the metals the alloy used in reducing the pure or fine gold. It is often hard to confine gold to the required quality is largely vince them, when disposing of mutilated copper and silver, in a general proportion coins, that they are but nine tenths fine, of two and a fraction to one, respectively. or but twenty-one and sixth tenths karat, Other metals are often used in small pro- and not twenty-four karat gold. portions with copper and silver for many The higher the quality of solid gold and varied technical reasons.

alloy, the greater is its specific gravity. To the question, as applied to our jew- The experienced jeweller is at once suspiellery, What is solid gold? we can there- cious of the piece of jewellery that first fore answer that, regardless of quality, it impresses him as light in weight for its is an alloy of metals containing gold apparent size, and the acid-bottle, file, throughout its length and breadth and shears, or other tearing-out tools or tests thickness. As to its quality we must take are at once used. The better grades also the word of the jeweller of whom it is show a yellower tone or color, as a rule, purchased; he purchasing the goods him- than the lower qualities. This is often self from the manufacturer who furnishes too closely imitated in the lower grades them to the trade and who alone can by the makers using alloy to produce this guarantee the quality as represented. color even at the sacrifice of other condi

Fine gold itself is of too soft and ductile tions more desirable. As a rule the lower a nature to be satisfactory as a piece of grades have a red tint partaking of the jewellery. The other metals are added color of red gold. with the view of giving greater hardness Red gold is usually a twelve-karat alloy and resistance to wear, of attaining a de- of equal parts of fine gold and copper. It sirable color and an alloy capable of re- is used mainly for color effects with green ceiving and retaining a high finish, and and yellow gold, etc., in trimmings for of giving a large show for the money. jewellery articles, though an entire article

A standing joke on many of the old- is at times made from it. time jewellers who used the old-fashioned Green gold is usually an eighteen-karat large copper cents for their alloys was gold with the alloy entirely of silver. It that in weighing up the metals they would is very soft and is used mainly for trimnot stick at a cent in giving good weight, mings, such as leaf and similar effects. but would throw in an extra one for good Roman or Etruscan gold is simply a measure. The value of that great copper name given to the finish of gold jewellery, disc before and after melting can be ap- and is closely imitated in all grades dowis preciated even by the uninitiated.

to brass goods. The genuine Roman gold The average quality of the gold jew- of to-day is usually a fourteen-karat alloy ellery worn has, in one sense, materially specially prepared to take the Roman and steadily dropped for many years. finish. The articles are made from this Where, twenty-five years ago, fourteen alloy; then, instead of being polished and kai metal was considered poor enough,

finished in the ordinary manner, they are the same line is now drawn at ten karats. dipped in a solution of sal-ammoniac, The great quantities of goods of even lower salt, saltpetre, and muriatic acid. This quality that, placed on the market, find a combination, properly manipulated, eats ready sale as substitutes for better goods,

from the surface of the articles every parmake it a matter of extreme doubt if the ticle of the alloy and leaves a finely fretted



and satin-like finished fine-gold surface. The grades between vary in color from This is the Roman » of it. The United one to the other, and neither would, from States » of it is often in the substitution its appearance, ever be accused by the of any old thing” for the fourteen-karat novice of being gold. gold, the imitation of the finish of the This brings us to the question, What is surface by sand-blasting scratch- rolled gold plate as differing from other brushing, and the electro-plating of the gold plate? entire article with fine gold. Brass SO Rolled gold plate may be described as a treated can only be distinguished by cut- mechanical rather than chemical applicating into it, if properly finished and tion of a sheet of gold to a bar of brass, plated; and articles so made, if well and as distinct from a chemical or electro dethickly plated with fine gold, are infinitely posit of a film of gold upon a purely brass cheaper than the genuine Roman manu- or other metal article previously fashioned facture, and, being so, give a reasonable as a piece of jewellery. For rolled plate satisfaction in that they will often wear the sheet or ribbon of solid gold obtained well until the purchaser becomes tired of as described, - by melting and rolling, -them or the style becomes so obsolete as after being brought to the relative weight to consign them to the box or drawer of desired in proportion to the bar of brass, old jewellery relics to be found in most is after due preparation securely fastened families.

to the flat surface of the brass by strong After weighing the metals to secure the clamps, placed in a fire or furnace, and desired proportions, they are placed in a either soldered or fused upon the brass crucible, melted and stirred thoroughly, bar. and poured into an ingot or mould. The For colored effects in rolled plate, “variresultant bar of gold is then rolled between egated" plate is made by soldering narthe flat rolls of a rolling-mill and reduced row strips of colored gold alloys upon the in thickness to a strip of the required bar of brass. These strips of red, green, measurement. From this may be cut the yellow, etc., are laid lengthwise upon the many forms desired. The strain and brass bar in contrasting color or alternapressure of the rolls soon hardens the tion, and are clamped and plated as if of slowly thinning strip of metal, and many one piece. The fastenings being removed alloys quickly become quite brittle, partic- and the plated bar cleansed in "pickle,” ularly if not melted carefully and intelli- it is rolled under heavy pressure into a gently. The experienced workman knows plated ribbon of the desired thickness. at once when this hardening has gone far Any grade or karat of gold ribbon may enough, and overcomes it by annealing thus be applied to both sides of the bar or the piece. Heating it uniformly to a red to a brass rod. Twelve-karat is the qualheat accomplishes this, and restores it to ity used for most of our rolled plate, its native degree of malleability. Alloyed though ten-karat is put into more populargold, when annealed, acquires a rusty- priced goods. The proportion of gold to brown color and loses a small fraction brass varies in view of the needs of the of its weight by reason of the oxidation of

goods to be made, from one quarter gold the copper in the surfaces. It looks to to a thinness of proportion far beyond one the novice far more like a piece of choc- one-hundredth and often requiring the olate than what it is. The oxide is re- plating of a ribbon of the first rolled plate moved by dipping or boiling the piece in upon a second bar to get the gold thin a “pickle” made from nitric or sulphuric enough to meet the demand for cheapacid. To prevent oxidation in annealing,

In the poorer grades there is little the piece is coated with a solution of bo- beyond the color of the gold left on the racic acid or similar chemical, which forms finished jewellery, but be the rolled plate a light glaze over the surface while hot, ever so poor it is still superior in wearing and thus keeps the air from it. The color quality to electro-plate. of the metal as it comes from the pickle To see a sheet of gold of the apparent varies with its quality and general alloyed thickness of writing-paper — so thin that proportions. Eighteen-karat gold has a when sharply shaken it emits a sound yellow appearance approaching the fine- much like the shriek of a strong wind gold color, yet it is of a green tinge. to see it thus plated upon a bar of brass of Eight-karat metal has a dirty white color, the thickness of one's finger, the two more or less toned by green or yellow. being thereby made one; then to see it


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