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secret by whom the present had been made. The honest nurse shook her head, and was going to reply, when the voices of Eugenia and Caroline were heard : they were calling their sister to go with them to the countess. The three children were stiil pressed in the caressing arms of their affectionate mother, when Genevieve, who was likewise admitted to have the honor of wishing her a happy new year, entered, and paid her respects in her country manner. The countess listened to her with interest, and answered her tenderly : but what a crimson blush spread over the cheek of Matilda, when, in spite of her prohibition, Genevieve opened her apron, showed all the presents she had received, and asked if she might accept them. The timid and generous girl hid herself behind her sisters, and the sweet confusion which covered her face enchanted her mother. "Yes, accept them, my good Genevieve, accept them,' said the countess, who could scarcely restrain her tears; and you, my child, come to my arms,-come, and be pressed to my heart. You have not only performed an act of gratitude to the person who nursed you, but you have perseveringly laboured that you might be able to perform it: you have borne privations, and have endured raillery, and even suspicion. Bless you, my child, and may you always preserve such feelings! I guessed your secret; and it was in order to facilitate the execution of your plan that I allowed the little pedlar to be admitted the other day, and that I pretended to have my attention occupied on something else, while you were making your purchases. Nothing escapes the vigilant eye of a mother, and happy is she, who, like myself, can discover in the heart of her children no secrets but those of virtue! This day I shall always consider as one of the most delightful days of my life, and your new year's gift to Genevieve is at the same time a new year's gift to your mother.'
On this day, in Japan, all the priests walk in procession to the emperor's palace, where they renew their oaths of allegiance, which, however, is not looked on as a sufficient security to the prince, who has always a confidant in waiting, that obliges them to swear the following sacred oath :-"I call heaven to witness, and all the gods of the sixty-five provinces of the empire, that I will be a loyal subject to my sovereign." All these oaths are ratified by the person swearing, opening a vein and letting out some of his blood, and if it should happen afterwards that he is found perjured, then his life must make an atonement.
It was formerly a custom on this day to perform a new year's ode, written by the poet laureate, before their majesties; this, however, has been discontinued since the year 1790.
We shall, therefore, in lieu of the ode, introduce The Poet's New Year's Gift to a Young Lady.
Whilst others costly presents send
To usher in the new-born year,
And oh! incline a gentle ear
The earth's huge orbit's course hath run;
We deem'd its race were well begun:
With mirth and soul-enlivening glee ;
What shall a poet wish for thee?
May all a parent's boundless love;
Wafted with sighs for thee, above,
On thee his blessings ever pour;
Strength to thy soul, that when the hour
1.-1308.-WILLIAM TELL. On this day the celebrated Swiss patriot, after having shot the tyrant Geisler, joined an association against the power of Germany, to whom they were
then subject. This association previously consisted
BY MRS. HEMANS.
Where freedom's foot hath been;
Ne'er shook that solemn scene.
Was not where spears have cross'd;
'Midst banners won and lost :
Unto thy cup were given,
Pure hands were raised to heaven.
Through every Alpine dell,
Atlantic Souvenir. 4.-HANDSEL MONDAY. In some parts of Scotland, on the first Monday after New Year's day, there is a custom observed of making merry by a holyday with feasting and drinking, which is called Handsel Monday. Sir John Sinclair mentions this day in an account of one William Hunter, a poor collier, who had nearly lost the use of his limbs through an inveterate gout and rheumatism, but who recovered them the morning after having joined in the festivities of a “ Handsel Monday.”
5.-TWELFTH-DAY EVE. This was formerly kept with some ceremony, but has long since grown into disuse, Brand says, “ It is
observed in the ancient Romish calendar, where it is called the eve, or vigil of the Epiphany.” Rudge, in his History of Gloucester, speaking of a custom still prevalent at Pauntley, a village on the borders of Gloucester, says: “On the eve of Twelfthday, all the servants of every farmer assemble together in one of the fields that has been sown with wheat. At the end of twelve lands they make twelve fires in a row, with straw; around one of which, made larger than the rest, they drink a cheerful glass of cyder to their master's health, and success to the future harvest; then, returning home, they feast on cakes made of caraways, &c. soaked in cyder, which they claim as a reward for their past labors in sowing the grain.”
6.-EPIPHANY.-TWELFTH DAY. The Epiphany, is a christian festival, otherwise called the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles, observed on this day in hunor of the appearance of our Saviour to the three magi, or wise men, who came to adore him, and bring him presents. The feast of Epiphany was not originally a distinct festival, but made a part of that of the Nativity of Christ, which being celebrated twelve days, the first and last of which were high or chief days of solemnity, either of these might properly be called Epiphany, as the word signifies the appearance of Christ in the world. The kings of England and Spain offer gold, frankincense, and myrrh, on the Twelfth-day, in memory of the offering of the wise men to the infant Jesus ; the former makes the offering by proxy, in the chapel of St. James's palace. This festival is called by the Greeks the feast of lights, because our Saviour is said to have been baptized on this day; and baptism is by them called illumination.
This day is kept in many parts as a conclusion to the Christmas holydays. It has been observed in
the kingdom," says Dr. Drake, “ever since the reign of Alfred; in whose days," he adds, quoting from Collier's Ecclesiastical History, “ a law was made with relation to holydays, by virtue of which the twelve days after the Nativity of our Saviour were made festivals.”
Twelfth Day, as it was kept by our ancestors, was much the same, in its specific character, as it is now. A king and queen were created at hazard by means of a bean and a pea, or other lots, stuck in a cake, which the company broke up; and a court being formed by their majesties, the characters were kept up till midnight.
On this day the Carnival commences at Rome, Mr. Best, a catholic gentleman, in a series of letters to a friend, thus describes these festivities :
Rome, February 5, 1824. MY DEAR FRIEND,
Have late tourists given descriptions of the carnival at Rome? I am, from the reasons I have already mentioned, unable to answer to myself this question; and shall, therefore, send you a short account of this gay season. It was not, however, the first of the sort that I witnessed: walking, two years before, on the terrace of Nice, to view the ugly, ill-sustained masks below, I heard an Irish lady ask the person she was walking with, “ Don't you think they are the greatest fools on earth ?” “Why, madam,” replied the gentleman she addressed, “I was going to make a very unpolite speech, but what do you think of us who are looking at them ?” Though perfectly agreeing with this cavalier, I have again been a spectator of some of these rejoicings, and wish to make you participate in the ennui they cause; though it is not necessary to descend to the festivities of masquerading, to be convinced that man is more to be pitied in his pleasures than in his misfortunes, according to the sentiment of Pascal.
The space of time, known by the appellation of carnival, is included between the sixth of January-the feast of the Epiphany, or Twelfth Night-and Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. But the masquerading, and other public amusements of the people, do not commence till a few days before Shrove Tuesday. At Rome, the scene of these follies is the Corso,--the rendezvous of all the world, masked or unmasked, in carriages or on foot. On one of the days of last week