Every year during December I post entries which are more Christmas in Books than Clothes in Books, and kind readers say it puts them in a seasonal mood.
This year we may need this more than ever, and they will continue through to some New Year entries in January.
And if you have a favourite Christmas book or scene not featured yet – please let me know
the book: The Daisy Chain by Charlotte M Yonge
[excerpt from the book]
[Margaret] spent three hours in heart-beatings on Christmas Eve, when Hector, Mary, Tom, Blanche, and the dog Toby, were lost the whole day. However, they did come back at six o'clock, having been deluded by an old myth of George Larkins, into starting for a common, three miles beyond Cocksmoor, in search of mistletoe, with scarlet berries, and yellow holly, with leaves like a porcupine!
Failing these wonders, they had been contenting themselves with scarlet holly, in the Drydale plantations, when a rough voice exclaimed, "Who gave you leave to take that?" whereupon Tom had plunged into a thicket, and nearly "scratched out both his eyes"; but Hector boldly standing his ground, with Blanche in his hand, the woodman discovered that here was the Miss Mary, of whom his little girls talked so much, thereupon cut down the choicest boughs, and promised to leave a full supply at Dr. May's.
comments: Last week we had Robertson Davies’s story of collecting holly in Wales. So this is another expedition, with mistletoe too, but a lot earlier.
The Daisy Chain was a book I had intended to read for years, and finally got round to this year: see earlier posts here and here. It is a very strange book, and equally strange is its place in the popular culture of its time, and Charlotte M Yonge’s phenomenal success as an author.
Apparently it was her scenes of family life that readers liked so much, and in fact surprisingly there isn’t as much of the great moments as you might think – the book covers several years, but Christmas doesn’t feature much, and nor do other celebrations. A lot of death though.
Not a book that I am free-handedly recommending, although I am very glad I have now read it…
The picture is from a book called The Coming of Father Christmas, in the British Library, one of the many they have digitized and made available. It was published in 1894, but those children and their clothes plainly date from ‘idealized Victorian children time’ so not worried about the date.
Hmm... it certainly sounds like a different sort of book, Moira. Interesting, isn't it, how some authors are extremely popular during their lives, or to certain generations, and then fade (sometimes very quickly). This one certainly seems like a solid look at a time and a place (and a custom).ReplyDelete
It is so difficult to see, sometimes, why one author lives for ever and another just fades away... I do always like the Christmas scenes in any book, they always entertain.Delete
I am currently reading Little Women, and was surprised to find that it has non one but two Christmas celebrations in it. I am only halfway through so maybe there are more.ReplyDelete
I will be so interested to read your take on Little Women. She does the big moments like Christmas very well. I am surprised that Thanksgiving only features in one of the later books.Delete
She is an acquired taste, I agree, but she kept me going through a day of heavy rain on a holiday in Cornwall.ReplyDelete
I love that, I think it would be the ideal book to read in those circs, there's something just right about that. And Yonge's very much the kinds of book you will find on other people's shelves...Delete
Unsurprisingly, I'm not vibing this one.ReplyDelete
Please don't even think about it! Not for you.Delete