It is thus CHOKEPEAR begins his Christmas-day. He comes to celebrate the event of the Incarnation of all goodness; to return “his most humble and hearty thanks” for the glory that Providence has vouchsafed to him in making him a Christian. He—Tobias CHOKEPEAR—might have been born a Gentoo! Gracious powers! he might have been doomed to trim the lamps in the Temple of Juggernaut—he might have come into this world to sweep the marble of the Mosque at Mecca—he might have been a faquir, with iron and wooden pins “stuck in his mortified bare flesh”—he might, we shudder to think upon the probability, have brandished his club as a New Zealander; and his stomach, in a state of heathen darkness to the humanising beauties of goose and apple-sauce, might, with unblessed appetite, have fed upon the flesh of his enemies. He might, as a Laplander, have driven a sledge, and fed upon walrus-blubber; and now is he an Englishman—a Christian—a carriage holder, and an eater of venison!
It is plain that all these thoughts—called up by the eloquence of Doctor MANNAMOUTH, who preaches on the occasion—are busy in the bosom of CHOKEPEAR; and he sits on his soft cushion, with his eyelids declined, swelling and melting with gratitude for his blissful condition. Yes; he feels the glorious prerogative of his birth—the exquisite beauty of his religion. He ought to feel himself a happy man; and, glancing round his handsomely-appointed pew—he does.
“A sweet discourse—a very sweet discourse,” says CHOKEPEAR to several respectable acquaintance, as the organ plays the congregation out; and CHOKEPEAR looks round about him airily, contentedly; as though his conscience was as unseared as the green holly that decorates the pews; as though his heart was fresh, and red, and spotless as its berries.
Well, the religious ceremonies of the day being duly observed, CHOKEPEAR resolves to enjoy Christmas in the true old English fashion. Oh! ye gods, that bless the larders of the respectable,—what a dinner! The board is enough to give Plenty a plethora, and the whole house is odoriferous as the airs of Araby. And then, what delightful evidences of old observing friendship on the table! There is a turkey—“only a little lower” than an ostrich—despatched all the way from an acquaintance in Norfolk, to smoke a Christmas salutation to good Mr. CHOKEPEAR. Another county sends a goose—another pheasants—another brawn; and CHOKEPEAR, with his eye half slumbering in delight upon the gifts, inwardly avows that the friendship of friends really well to do is a fine, a noble thing.
The dinner passes off most admirably. Not one single culinary accident has marred a single dish. The pudding is delicious; the custards are something better than manna—the mince pies a conglomeration of ambrosial sweets. And then the Port! Mr. CHOKEPEAR smacks his lips like a whip, and gazes on the bee’s wing, as HERSCHELL would gaze upon a new-found star, “swimming in the blue profound.” Mr. CHOKEPEAR wishes all a merry Christmas, and tosses off the wine, its flavour by no means injured by the declared conviction of the drinker, that “there isn’t such another glass in the parish!”