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in the town of Patare, and threw bags of money into it, at the window, that his daughters, three young and pretty girls, who had been reduced by the misfortunes of their father to seek their maintenance by evil courses, might be enabled to find husbands, and abandon their wicked life.
Whatever may have been the origin of the circumstances we have recorded, it is certain that St. Ni. cholas is still held in great veneration in the ancient province of Lorraine, one town of which still bears his name, that of St. Nicholas, near the city of Nancy. He is, in this country, the patron Saint of children of both sexes, and of adolescence in the male. At the age of ten or twelve years, the girls lose the protection of this great Saint, to pass immediately under the pious guardianship of Saint Catherine, their common patron; the boys, to the day of their marriage, remain devoted to the worship of St. Nicholas, whose fête is celebrated every year with feasting, and other pleasant meetings. The fathers and mothers, among the common people, instil into their children, from their earliest infancy, the notion, that on the night of the 6th of December, the day of the fête of Saint Nicholas, he descends into all tbe houses through the chimney, and lcaves for every child some mark of his satisfaction or displeasure, according as the infant has been good or naughty in his behaviour. Saint Nicholas, they say, travels in the air, followed by an ass, laden with two panniers; one of them full of sugar-plums and good things,-and the other of rods : he leaves his ass at the top of the chimney, and descends alone into the room. That the Saint's opinion of the young family may be known, each of them is ordered to put, near the principal fire-place in the house, one or two of the shoes they are accustomed to wear; for it is there that the great distributor of rewards and punishments to children places his sweetmeats or his rods." · On the 5th of December, in the evening, all the
children, boys as well as girls, before they go to bed, bring a clean pair of shoes, and place them under the chimney; and the pext morning, very early, every one runs with eagerness to receive the present of Saint Nicholas. The parents, who have for a long time previously to this day, threatened and promised the youngsters in the name of the great St. Nicholas, put something in the shoes, according to the bebaviour of the children. They commonly fill the shoes with sweetmeats, pastry, dry confectionary, and other niceties; sometimes they put in money, or a particular toy for which the child has expressed a wish; and lastly, rods, the length and thickness of which are proportioned to the age of the child and the offences it has committed. Sometimes a sprig of birch accompanies the sugar-plums, to show that the Saint is still somewhat angry, and as a warning to the child to behave better in future. The moment of visiting the shoes, for the sake of discovering their contents, is always an interesting one to the parents, who watch with anxiety the joy of some, and the tears of others of their children. "
This singular custom was, before the Revolution, observed by all classes of society, and the poor children who had no leather shoes, placed their sabots (wooden shoes) under their parent's chimney; who, instead of sugar-plums and sweetmeats, furnished the sabots with some fruit or cheap cakes. This was also the custom in Holland, as appears by a picture of Cornelius Troost's, a Dutch painter distinguished by his portraits and historical pieces. This painting was engraved in 1761, by the celebrated Jacob Houbraken, under the name of the Fête of Saint Nicholas. It represents the interior of a Dutch house, at the moment when four children come to examine their shoes, and receive the gifts of the great Saint Nicholas, in the presence of the father and mother. One of the children is crying, because he has found no
large garden, e saw this amusem the top of tr
thing but rods, while the others are sufficiently pleased with their toys and cakes.
Mad. de Genlis says, that in Swisserland, on St. Nicholas's day, playthings are hid among the flowers and fruits, and a part is put on the top of trees for the boys. We saw this amusement take place in a large garden, and the crowds of children assembled formed one of the most animating and pleasing sights.
A singular instance of superstition, as it respects St. Nicholas, lately took place in Devonshire :-see our last volume, p. 366.
7.-SECOND SUNDAY IN ADVENT.
Hymn for this Day, by Professor MIMAN,
Bp. Heber's Hynins. 8.-CONCEPTION OF THE VIRGIN MARY. This festival was instituted by Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, because William the Conqueror's fleet, being in a storm, afterwards came safe to shore.
eve: 0 son to be sung froem, which,
13.--SAINT LUCY. Lucy, a virgin martyr, was a native of Syracuse, who suffered in the year 305.
*14. 1826.-M. MALTE-BRUN DIED, Author of Political, Physical, and Mathematical Geography,' in sixteen volumes octavo; “A Summary of Universal Geography;' and other valuable and important works.
- 16.-0 SAPIENTIA. This is the commencement of an anthem, which, in the Romish church, used to be sung from this day until Christmas-eve: 0 sapientia, quæ ex ore Altissimi prodisti, &c.
17, 19, 20.—EMBER DAYS. See p. 50.
21.-SAINT THOMAS THE APOSTLE. St. Thomas is said to have preached the Gospel in Media and Persia, and, about the year 73, to have been pierced through with a dart.
This is the shortest day, and is at London 7 h. 44 m. 17. s.; allowing 9 m. 5 s. for refraction.- Let us remember that life itself is but one long day, divided into the four portions of infancy, youth, manhood, and age; the morning, noon, eve, and night, of our earthly sojourn in this vale of tears. With what beauty and pathos does the amiable author of the Pelican Island' dilate upon the different periods of life!
Life is the transmigration of a soul
What he is now, but cannot long continue,
- The Man ;-as father of a progeny,
Man giveth up the ghost,-and where is He?
Heaven and earth
O thou that readest! take this parable