On Thursday last the universally-esteemed Vicar of Bosbury, the Rev. Berkeley Stanhope, returned to that place with his bride, to whom he was united on the 27th ult., at the church of Hope-under-Dinmore, in another part of the county; on which occasion a noble tribute was paid to the virtues and excellent characteristics of the bride by those among whom she has lived and to whom she had proved a kind benefactress, and when another honour was added to the many graceful acts of liberality of the worthy owner of Hampton Court. In rapid succession followed the entertainment at Holme Lacy, and the hearty “welcome home” given to the wedded pair on their return to Hampton Court on Saturday se’nnight; but it was reserved for the inhabitants of Bosbury to crown these “bridal rejoicings” by a thorough English welcome to their Pastor and Mrs. Stanhope, and right heartily has this been done.
Bosbury is a large parish within sight of the Malverns, occupying one of those rich apple-growing valleys, which once upon a time made a certain English monarch enthusiastically declare the country to be one well worth fighting for; while its opulence is attested by the many substantial, “good men and true,” living within its boundary; and its fertility by its well-stored rickyards, the cattle feeding in its pastures, and the numerous “little olive branches” you may see, without being at all inquisitive, at the cottage doors by the wayside. We shall not, we suppose, be thought “fibbing” if we add that the population last census was upwards of 1100; and to treat the proportion of poor out of that number it will be at once conceded required something besides music and homilies upon the whole duty of man.
To give practical bearing to this idea a committee was formed of the following gentlemen:—Mr. Wm. Pitt of Temple Court; Mr. Thos. Inett, of Old Court; Mr. Richard Hickman, of the Farm Mr. Edward Smith, of Catley’s Cross ; Mr. A. J. Burrowes, of the Grange ; Mr. Joseph Gardiner, of the Paddles ; Mr. Matthew Hyatt, of Stapelow ; and Mr. Cox, by whom subscriptions were raised sufficient to feast the poor of the parish and the children of the schools.
But while the yeomen of Bosbury were intent upon celebrating the marriage of their vicar in a befitting manner, the ladies of those who may rank themselves amongst the privileged “Benedicts” of this important little place, were not idle, but once asserted the thoughtfulness and kind disposition of the sex by organizing themselves into a “ladies parliament,” where sundry debates took place, and where we had reason to believe the questions that came under their consideration were solved with a facility foreign to those lords of creation who legislate for us in mundane affairs. The scheme for the entertainment of the labourers comprehended the distribution of bread and cooked beef, and for their wives and children plentiful supply of “the cup that cheers but not inebriates,” accompanied by some capital plum buns. How these matters were carried out let another portion of our report determine.
THE ANTIQUITIES OF BOSBURY.
As the bridal party does not arrive until the afternoon, and the sun shines gloriously in mid-heaven, let us take quiet stroll through this delightfully pleasant neighbourhood, so rich in remains of interest to the antiquarian, the historian, the lover of curiosities, and the poet; relics that carry us back to the days of chivalry, of border wars, of deadly feuds between the petty sovereigns who ruled their respective “marches,” and resented a fancied wrong with the exercise of the sword; to the time of the Crusades, and even to the Norman Conquest. Chronicles in old Latin may still be seen among the Harleian manuscripts in the British Museum, wherein ancient “Bosambeozh” is spoken of as an important place, and the favourite residence of the Bishops of Hereford.
Vestiges of the Episcopal Palace may still be traced in the orchard of the Old Court, at the rear of the church, where also, we were informed, “within the memory of man,” were to be seen the ruins and foundations of the once magnificent pile of buildings which covered it.
We read of it (says a paper compiled by the late universally-beloved vicar, the Rev. J. H. Underwood) before the Norman Conquest, to have appertained to the Bishops Hereford, and to be their see until the synod held A.D. 1075, when it was forbidden that Bishops’ Sees should lie obscure in “meane and small townes.” It was place heretofore endowed with many privileges, among which was market, “which its neighbour Ledbury hath now devoured.” The tenants of the manor were also toll-free. After the Conquest it gave name to a family of worshyppe (as most places of note did) of one of whom we find thus written in the “Book of Obijts.” belonging to the Church of Hereford, “Obitus Rogeri de Bosbury qui legavit,” &c. Richard de Swinfield says (Ex. M.S.S. Eccle.)—“There was a great contest betwixt the treasurer of the Church and the Dean and Chapter of Hereford about the offerings at Saint Thomas de Canterbury’s tomb, which this Bishop, A.D. 1295, in 13th year of his consecration, “compossed” (qy. composed) in the parish of Bosbury; and which would appear to have resulted in the following arrangement— “that the treasurer should have two parts of the three of the offerings made; and the Dean and Chapter the remaining three of the offerings at St. Thomas hys tombe—that the treasurer should employ one man under oath, and the Dean and Chapter another, to make a faithful account.”
The spire of Bosbury church was struck by lightning on the 14th of January, 1638) and is thus recorded by the vicar of that day—“Pyramis Bosburiae miio fulmine corrupta decimo quarto, die Janyi., 1638.” Bishop Ethelstan died at Bosambiriz (Bosbury) and was buried in St. Ethelbert’s “chancintry” at Hereford, 1055.
In another M.S. in the same collection, Bosbury is called “Bosambiriz” in ancient writing, which is by some interpreted “Bishop’s Court,” “biriz” being as much as “court,” as Leland, Lambard, and others agree. Before the Norman Conquest, Bosbury is stated to have been the Bishop of Hereford’s “retiring residence,” and that hierarchy continued till the Parliament in 1643 voted it down, and in a few years dispossessed it by their sale for the satisfaction of debts drawn on them.
Consisting of a nave and north and south aisles, is of the 13th century; the chancel is of the same date, but the east window is more recent, probably the 15th century; and the south porch of massive oaken frame is of the same character, so common in the county of Hereford. The church and tower, standing they do apart, suggest the idea of man and his wife divorced. The tower is a solid structure, and probably more ancient than the church ; the extreme thickness of the walls and the narrow window-piercings for iron bars, intimating that was used in early times as a place of defence; water being also obtainable by digging a well of a few feet in depth. Formerly the tower was surmounted by a lofty spire, which was visible from all the surrounding country, but in 1814, through an erroneous opinion of its defective state, it was taken down. There are six bells in the tower, bearing the following inscriptions:
1st Bell.—Charles and John Rudhall, fecit.
2nd.—l ring the praise of God, I sing the woman’s knell.
3rd.—Soli Deo gloria pax omnibus. John Turberville, Peter Harcourt, 1681.
4th.—(Illegible from age).
5th —Gloria Deo in Excelsis, 1640
6th.—All men that hear my rousing (sic) sound
Repent before you lie in ground. 1669.
The stone font is coeval with the church (1200), and in 1844 it was restored and cleared of the white wash and lime which defaced it, and placed upon a raised basement. While removing the mass of masonry which the foundation rested, the workmen discovered the other rude and ancient font of the original church, which 1300 years ago occupied the position of the ancient structure. This relic of the olden times we saw deposited at the rear of the pulpit, which by the way, with the reading desk, contains fine specimens of old wood carving in panels, representing the crucifixion, the resurrection, ascension, and other scriptural events. On either side of the altar is an imposing monument in good preservation, of the Harford family, the figures of the knights being in a recumbent posture on slabs resting on the backs of lions. The accessory ornaments are very elaborate, though in bas relief. The Harfords had large estates here in the time of the Commonwealth, and having embraced the Parliamentary side against King Charles, possessed large interest with the usurping powers, which, it is said was beneficially exerted them in preserving the church and monuments from Puritan desecration. By the entreaties of the then Vicar, added to the recommendation of the Harfords, it is owing that the cross, which stands a few yards from the church, escaped demolition. In order to discountenance any Popish adoration of it, the ruling powers stipulated that an inscription should be placed on the top:—
“Honor not the +
But honor God for Christ.”
The Inscription, defaced by time, may still be faintly traced. The shape is that of St. Cuthbert’s, so-called, because a cross of similar design was found in the tomb of that saint. On removing the cross upon rollers, in 1844 to its present site, a large granite rock weighing upwards of two tons was found under the centre, forming “the rock ” on which the cross was raised. Monuments besides those already mentioned stand here to the memory the Harfords and the Brydges family, the latter of whom succeeded in Queen Anne’s reign to the estates of the Herefords also to the memory of Ralph Hopton, gent., who married a Harford, as did also Paulet, Marquis of Winchester, whose ancestor was created Knight of the Garter, by Henry VIII. Coke, vicar of Bosbury, who was cruelly persecuted by the Parliamentarians for his loyalty to King Charles, and died here in poverty, and was buried in the chancel. To the memory of the late vicar (the Rev. J. H. Underwood), a very tasteful Gothic monument has been erected from the chisel of Mr. B. Jennings, sculptor, of this city.
Morton Chapel, built by Sir Richard Morton, in the reign of Henry VIII, contains a quaint anagram in the centre of the
groined roof; and built into the south wall of the church is a monumental stone to the memory of the father of Bishop Swinfield,
who lived at the palace, now the Old Court, 600 years ago.
“Hic jacet Stephanus quondam pater
Venerabilis patris Domini Ricardi
De Swinford, Dei gratia Epis,
Herefordice, A.D. 1282.”
The old refectory st the palace (the Old Court), with its handsome open roof, is still to be seen converted into a cider cellar. The south window is walled up, but near to it may be seen the “hatch” through which doles were distributed to the poor. In the front of the farm homestead, a rare and almost unique relic may be seen in the old Columbarium of the dole of Edward the First.
At the entrance to the Village stands the Bishop’s steward’s house, now, and for many years past, converted into an inn. It contains a fine old oak panelled room wherein the Episcopal retainers were feasted. Over the mantel-piece are the carved and emblazoned arms of Wrottesley of Wrottesley, whose daughter married a Scroope—a name we find in old chronicles with the Cliffords, Percys, Nevilles, and others in the list of Lords wardens of “the Marches,” a term of Saxon origin, signifying “boundary.” One of the shields has fallen from its position, and is, for ought we know, lost. On the ceiling are three heraldic bosses. True, this fine room with its heraldic bosses and its high tables and tressels remains as at the time of Queen Elizabeth, but will no one rescue these old relics from the violence of the Goths and Vandals who may be found revelling in all our country inns.
now a substantial homestead, in the occupation of a worthy yeoman, (Mr. Wm. Pitt), stands where did once a “chauntry” and station of the Knights Templars and is still a place possessing peculiar interest. It is situated on a gentle slope, a short distance west of the village. The moat which ran round the house and garden is still quite perfect, and many stones and other remains linger about the spot to attest the antiquity of the place. The Knights Templars, we may add for the benefit of those unacquainted with English History, were a body of men who had their origin in the Crusades to the Holy Land, one of the most remarkable enterprises the world has ever seen. About 1097, Peter the Hermit, native of Amiens, in Picardy, a man of great religious zeal and courage, having made a pilgrimage to the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem, and beheld with indignation the treatment Christians received from the Infidels, preached throughout England a crusade against them. High born and low born flocked to his standard. Of the Knights who went to battle with the Infidels, a religious military order sprang up of men, who took their denomination of “Templars” from an apartment in the palace of Baldwin II, near the Temple, in Jerusalem, in 1118. They devoted themselves to the service of God, promising to live in perpetual chastity, obedience, and poverty after the manner of canons. The order flourished, became immensely rich, built temples, &c., but its members becoming insolent and vicious, the order of the Council of Troyes, by which it had been confirmed was suppressed by the Council of Vienne in 1312.
The spirit that prompted the rejoicings was observable in the success which attended the endeavour to give an air of external gaiety to the proceedings as in any other respect. How so much could be done by an isolated— we will not say obscure— village in the way of decoration might be a matter of astonishment were not mentioned that, independent of a lavish display of such ornament as could be readily prepared for the event, a large quantity of flags and banners were collected and contributed by Mr. Griffin, surgeon, of Ledbury, and by some parties from our own city. As we approach the place at an early hour in the day, the village is all bustle and activity,
“Labour’s strong and merry children
Comrades of the rising sun”
were like a population upon stilts, hoisting mottoes, or shrouded in burdens of evergreens and newly-made flowers, hastening like so many “ Queens of May” to sundry erections in course of completion; little banners strung in succession, hoisted aloft between tall elm trees, and toyed with by a brisk breeze, look like joyful hands lifted in the attitude of welcome, while
“The blended voice of morning bells
Steals the southern lea,
Of wedded hearts the tale it tells,
And bridal gaiety.”
The first indication that we were approaching a scene of festivity was observable on Stanley Hill, nearly two miles from the village, by the highroad. Here a very light and pretty archway of evergreens, relieved by made flowers, spanned the roadway, surmounted by a crown of evergreens and red berries, and various bits of bunting waving from the summit, had been erected by Mr. Brooks. It bore the appropriate motto of “Welcome to Bosbury.” Bosbury Gate, at the foot of Stanley Hill, was, however, a great focus in the decorations away from the village. At this point two archways and other festive decorations had been made by Messrs. Griffin and Hickman, having the following inscriptions in large white letters, on a crimson ground, suspended over the drive “Welcome to Bosbury,” facing the entrance; “Honour the Vicar,” on the obverse. The second erection bore the inscription “Honour to the Bride,” in the centre of a “red white and blue” banner and a crimson ditto with “God bless them,” in white letters, surrounded by gilt leaves. A short distance beyond was a triumphal arch erected for Mrs. Greenway, of Staplow Wharf, with suitable mottoes.
The Misses Pitt, of Temple Court, had caused two archways to be put up, one at the divergence in the roadway, and another on the bridge opposite their residence with flags and mottoes depending from the same expressive of very sincere wishes for the long life, prosperity and continued happiness of the bride and bridegroom.
At the point where the presentation of the address subsequently took place a canopy of flags had been put up by Messrs. Cox, Gardiner, Burrowes, and others, and another archway opposite the Crown, in which Mr Jennings took a prominent part.
On the bridge crossing the brook at the entrance of the village Mrs. Inett had superintended the building of a double archway, which bore several suitable inscriptions and was tastefully decorated with made flowers. A large tablet with the words “Welcome Home,” formed the centre of the same, surrounded by bouquets of flowers. From this place up the “High-street,” the archways and festoons followed in close succession, erected by Miss Moore, Miss Bishop, the school children, and Mr Palmer, each bearing appropriate mottoes.
At the Vicarage, Mrs. Drake, and the other domestics of the reverend gentleman, had exhibited a considerable amount of taste in their preparations. The folding doors over both carriage drives were surmounted with light ornamentations in evergreens, surrounding banners with inscriptions; the drive had been fringed with clusters of snowdrops, and the entrance to the house with primulas and greenhouse plants, while over the doorway the words “Welcome Home,” nicely wrought in needlework were surrounded by the initials of the wedded pair and the crest of the Stanhope family. Festoons of berries in imitation of coral beads, and evergreens studded with artificial camellia blooms, very artistically made by Mrs. Furlong, imparted a pleasing appearance to the place.
At two o’clock the Committee, joined by the principal parishioners and many friends from a distance, among whom we noticed John Homes, Esq., of the Birchend, J. B. Downing, Esq., Holme Lacy, and Thomas Pitt, Esq., of Freetown, wearing white rosettes, formed into procession, and preceded by a full brass band from Worcester, wended their way to Bosbury turnpike, where the wedded pair arrived about half-past two amidst deafening plaudits from the large concourse of persons assembled. The horses were taken from the carriage and ropes attached thereto, the procession reformed, and the boys of the first class in Bosbury Grammar School, following the example recently set them by their peers at Eton on the marriage of the Princess Royal, with excellent joy drew their Vicar and his amiable bride towards their residence the band playing alternately “See the Conquering Hero comes” and “Haste to the Wedding.” In this manner the cortege slowly made to the canopy of flags under the elms on the outside of the village.
At this point in the procession, in accordance with a preconcerted arrangement, a pause was made, and the double drum and its
accompaniments having ceased to rival the shouting which rent the air, the senior pupil-teacher of Bosbury Grammar School
(Chadd) advanced to the right hand side of the carriage, and read an address of which the following is a copy:—
“To the Rev. B. S. L., and Mrs. B. Stanhope:
“We, the children of the Bosbury schools, gladly avail ourselves of this opportunity to congratulate you on your marriage, and to express our hope that your lives may be long and happy.
“The love and affection manifested towards Mrs. Berkeley Stanhope, on leaving her home, by those amongst whom she has lived from childhood, and who know her best, and our own personal experience of our Vicar, combine to assure us that much good is in store, under God’s blessing, for for ourselves and parish, and which we doubt not, will be realized by your continued residence and watchful care over us. Children as we are, and poor, we have nothing to offer you but our wishes and our prayers, which we all do from our hearts, that all blessings in time and eternity may be your lot and ours, so that last, they who sow and they who reap may rejoice together.”
The Rev. Gentleman then, in order to make his remarks audible, left the inside of the carriage and, mounting the driving box, replied in terms to this effect:—My dear friends and parishioners—l am much afraid I hardly know how to find words to thank you sufficiently on the part of Mrs. Stanhope and myself for the very cordial reception and the great kindness you have shown in this hearty demonstration on our return to Bosbury, the scene of my labours for the last two years. (Applause.) Whatever I may say I am sure words will fail me in trying adequately to express our deep sense of your kindness in making the flattering demonstration of regard with which we have been greeted. Mrs. Stanhope comes amongst you comparatively a stranger, and yet at the same time scarcely a stranger; for she was born in this county and has lived, the whole of her life up to this moment, at no very great distance from this place. Her very excellent father and mother are well known throughout the county of Hereford for their many sterling qualities; Mr. Arkwright is well appreciated as a good landlord, a kind neighbour, zealous in doing good for the poor, and beloved as an English country gentleman (loud applause), while Mrs. Arkwright fills no less honourable position in the hearts of those acquainted with her and who know how to appreciate her. (Cheers. ) I therefore cannot but feel that under these circumstances Mrs. Stanhope will be expected to reflect in some degree their many excellent qualities. Allow me, then, to say that I am sure you will not receive her as a stranger amongst you, but will always find in her a kind friend, and one ready to sympathise with you on all occasions (Cheers.) I cannot permit this opportunity to pass without reverting to the past, and would most heartily thank you for many acts kindness during my residence among you, and also for the hearty co-operation you have always afforded in promoting any scheme for the welfare of the parish. And I may also venture to look forward. If it should please the Almighty Disposer of all events to spare our lives, I trust that so long as it may be my lot to remain amongst you in my present sphere of duty, the same harmony, good feeling, and mutual confidence may continue to exist— harmony which should ever exist between man and man, and more especially between a vicar and his parishioners. To our young friends—the school-children —we feel much indebted for the kind expressions embodied in their address. l am sorry I had not a copy forwarded to beforehand (as I believe is the custom on such occasions), as I should then have been more prepared to speak to the points therein touched upon than I am in this moment of some excitement, caused by so much unexpected kindness. I should not forget to mention that Mrs. Stanhope had a vary nice address presented to her by the children of Hope School, on leaving that place; and I also may say that I am sure she will take the same interest in your welfare as won for her that elegant token of love and affection. In conclusion, we beg to return our thanks for those kind expressions, good wishes, and prayers expressed in the address just presented by them; that He “from whom all good things do come” may shower on you abundantly His choicest blessings, is our earnest prayer and hope. (Cheers.)
The cortege then proceeded to escort the wedded pair to their home, and after some enthusiastic hurrahs, repaired to the festivities going on in other parts the village.
THE DISTRIBUTION OF BREAD AND BEEF.
To feast the labourers a splendid cow was killed, as the beef already cooked and waiting to be distributed in the shop of the village butcher most amply testified. Wisely, perhaps, and with the view of making good eat and drinking a basis for the manifestation of happiness of spirit, it was determined to cook the meat and give it away with a sufficiency of bread. The cooking of the meat and the preparation of the tea was entrusted to the wife of Mr. William Jennings, who shewed by her excellent management that she was no stranger to the duties incumbent upon a caterer for so numerous a family as had to be supplied. The bread was made by Miss Phillips and Mrs. Thomas, two of the tradespeople of the village. At an hour named, and while the dance was being inaugurated in another part the village, Mr Inett, Mr. Hickman, Mr. Gardiner, and Mr. Bosley (of the Bentleys) did the duties of carvers, and each man was supplied with more bread and beef than he could possibly dispose of at any one meal. A zest was given to this by a liberal supply of good “Herefordshire cider,” a hogshead of which had, with commendable and respectful feeling, been brought about six miles to the spot by Mr. Mutlow, (of Aldersend, Tarrington) formerly a tenant of Sir Edwyn Stanhope, at Holme Lacy. Other gentlemen sent cider, among them we believe Mr. Hickman, of the Farm, but Mr. Mutlow, who was determined his should be consumed on the occasion, persisted in drawing it from the cask himself, and took care to distribute it with such discretion as showed that he had other objects in view beyond the mere giving away of the liquor. Whether the cider was unusually strong we cannot positively say, but we cannot forego mentioning one fact which came under our notice. Here, as is too often the case festive occasions, there was no disposition on the part of the employers to see man’s reason eclipsed by the encouragement of practice to which even brutes manifest an aversion—that of drinking to excess ; for when it was seen that enough to cheer without intoxicating had been dispensed, an order was given to cease drawing, and the surplus was properly reserved for some future occasion.
THE TEA TO THE WOMEN AND CHILDREN.
The treat to the women and children, including those of the latter class in attendance upon the schools of the village, was rational and judicious. An effort was made to render the enjoyment of the labourers and their wives and children continuous, and between four and five o’clock the girls school was filled with ladies and the school-children under the care of Miss Moore. The following verses hurriedly improvised for the occasion, were very creditably sung by the children, led by Mr. Cox to the air of the National Anthem :—
‘O Lord our Pastor bless,
With health and happiness,
Long here to live;
And when this life shall cease,
Do Thou his joy increase,
With Heav’n-born love and peace;
God save the Queen.
God bless his gentle bride,
Whate’er may her betide,
On this dull shore;
Still give her cause to say,
“God bless this happy day.”
Heav’n lend thy holy ray.
God bless the Bride.
Now, Lord, unto Thy care,
We leave this happy pair,
Bless great and small;
O bless their “Houses” too,
With Thy refreshing dew;
Still keep them brave and true;
God save us all.’
The visitors then quitted the premises, and their places were soon filled by the tea-drinkers. A large quantity of good hyson, twankey, or souchong, was “brewed,” each woman and child was supplied with a capital plum bun weighing “nine ounces,” made by Mr. Roberts, confectioner, of Ledbury, and the enjoyment of all, as the cups were rapidly filled, and with almost equal celerity emptied of their contents, was vividly betokened by the smiles on their countenances. Mrs. Inett kindly supplied the milk from her dairy, and the ladies who made the tea were assisted in their work by Messrs. Smith and Burrowes. In the course of the evening the Rev. gentleman and Mrs. Stanhope visited the school-children to see how they were enjoying themselves.
Subsequently the Rev. Mr. Stanhope addressed them kind and encouraging terms. He thanked them very sincerely for their hearty welcome and for dragging them home so merrily after the horses were unyoked, and assured them that it gave Mrs. Stanhope and himself a large amount of pleasure to see so much enjoyment and so many happy faces on the occasion. In their address presented to him and Mrs. Stanhope that afternoon they said “they had nothing to offer but their good wishes and prayers,” but these he regarded as very valuable, for they brought many blessings with them. It was a source of gratification to feel that their wealthier neighbours had so liberally provided for them the means of enjoyment, and thus enabled them to partake in the joyous festivities of the day; while it was delightful to see all bent upon enjoyment, the separation between classes being relaxed, and all intent upon celebrating the occasion right merrily. Mrs. Berkeley Stanhope had always evinced a great interest in schools, and doubtless would soon gain their love and affection as she had done at Hope. In conclusion he prayed that the schools of Bosbury would continue to flourish, and that God’s blessing ; [sic] would ever rest upon them.
The children, whose enjoyment had been well cared for, cheered right lustily, and shortly after broke up and wended their way to their respective homes.
The village rejoicings on this interesting occasion were to have been appropriately brought to a termination by a little devotion to the delights of the Terpsichorean goddess, in the fine but dilapidated old banquetting-room at the Crown Inn, of which we have elsewhere written; but (as often here below every silvery cloud has a darker shade, could we but see it), the niece of the landlord had somewhat suddenly been seized with serious indisposition, and the bells and beaux of the neighbourhood showed not only their good sense, but that they were not destitute of that virtue denominated human sympathy, by abstaining from anything which might disturb the anxious and fleeting moments of a fellow creature’s very precarious existence. However this feeling was not carried beyond the bounds of reason; for shortly after the bride and bridegroom had exchanged mutual congratulations and entered the Vicarage, the band was stationed in an upper room at the Bell, the windows were thrown up, and with a buoyancy of spirit and elasticity of step we have seldom witnessed, despite the keen evening air, relieved only by the feeble beams of the setting sun, which, nevertheless, gilded every object in the landscape with unusual brilliancy, a few ladies and gentlemen initiated the joyous and mazy movement beneath the festoons and waving banners that spanned the frost-hardened roadway of the “High-street” (as it was called by some one whether facetiously or not, we cannot say), which expanded like a circle in the water until the whole concourse swayed by one pleasurable impulse, joined in the airy motion. The scene recalled to the memory a thoroughly Herefordshire word-painted picture in one of Dickens’s Christmas stories, in which the fair daughters of old Dr. Jeddler are so happily depicted as dancing beneath the fruit-laden trees in the orchard of their father—“not like opera dancers—not exactly like Madame Anybody’s finished pupils—neither in the old style, nor the new style, nor the French style, nor the English style; though it may have been, by accident, in the Spanish style, which is a free and joyous one, deriving a little off-hand inspiration from the chirping little castanets.” Thus they continued
“Till the moon,
Rising in clouded majesty, at length
Apparent queen, unveil’d her peerless light
And o’er the dark her silver mantle threw,”
when the company drafted [drifted?] off to the several homesteads in the vicinity, where Herefordshire hospitality was being dispensed with a truly liberal hand. The amusement was subsequently taken up by the villagers, at whose service the boys’ and girls’ schools were placed and they jigged for several hours to their hearts content.
Before midnight the bustle and joyousness of the day had been followed by sweet and refreshing sleep, and the village had resumed its usually peaceful character.