Monday, December 12, 2011

Colonial American Christian Writers Christmas Party

Good Tidings to all our Colonial friends!


We will have lots of giveaways in
celebration of Christ's birth!

 Please help yourself to some Wassail 
from the delicious recipe Roseanna White shared with us.

And if you care for some Fruit Cake we have another
delightful receipt from Martha Washington.


And have some Christmas Plum Pudding
(watch for the recipe this coming Sunday.)

The Christmas Coach, 1795,  J. L. G. Ferris
Our colonial writers will share about how
they are getting to their Christmas celebrations.  

Some will be on foot and others in fancy carriages. 
Christmas Morning in Old New York (excerpt), Howard Pyle
 
Home for Christmas, 1784, J. L. G. Ferris
Feel free to come in character and tell us all about how you are going to be traveling this Christmastide!  








 Our conversation has taken a delightful turn and many of us are gushing over the lovely Christmas gowns!



 
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102 comments:

  1. Lark Benton here. I am honored to be a guest of the Randels this Christmastide. Though I miss my family something fierce, I'm enjoyed the holiday in the lovely town of Annapolis.

    The wassailers have already come around in days previous. This morning we went to church, of course, over on West Street, where St. Anne's now meets in the old theater. It's so near that we walked, though it did require attaching our pattens, given that snow last year.

    We're back to Randel House now, and the Calverts are due any moment. I find myself sitting here a bit removed from the gift-giving, wondering if my mother remembered to bring out the gifts I'd made everyone at home in Williamsburg. Ah, well. I shall just enjoy the steaming mug of chocolate Mrs. Green has brought for me and enjoy the excitement of the Randel children.

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  2. Pardon me, I meant to say "given that snow last NIGHT." Perhaps I ought to ask for coffee instead of chocolate.

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  3. Miss Benton, I have SO enjoyed your letters from Annapolis. Mistress Gade has decorated SO beautifully, I just want to take it all in. Hot chocolate sounds wonderful. I'll check the kettle.

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  4. Why thank you, madam. And yes, Mistress Gade did a lovely job indeed!

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  5. Suzanne Richelieu here. I am still trying to get my heart beating a little more in rhythm after disembarking the ship yesterday. Thankfully Johan helped me get into the small boat that took us to shore in Yorktown and the water was very calm on the York River.

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  6. Good morning. I'm Mattie Fraser, er, DeChambelle. Please excuse me. I've only had my new name for a couple months and I'm still getting used to it. But adjusting to the handsome guy who gave it to me has been a real treat!

    We just arrived in America. I'd intended on relocating to the Indiana Territory, but it looks like there may be a change of plans. I'd tell you what they are, but it would spoil the surprise. I'd have loved to visit my old neighbor Lila Boyd (I mentioned her once in Chapter 11), but we decided my very English husband should perhaps avoid Washington so soon after the burning.

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  7. A lovely good morning to all, Miss Cassandra Channing here with apologies for my late arrival. My sisters were acting up again and my mother was having one of her "headaches". In addition, that dashing Luke Heaton came to call with a handful of fresh daisies and a smile that would melt an iceberg. Truly, is it warm in here? I daresay, I'd prefer some lemonade to some hot chocolate.

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  8. Best holiday wishes to all! Mrs. Roxanna McLinn here with a handful of redheaded children in tow! They're gobbling all that plum pudding up not to mention slurping all that wassail:) Given our numbers, the Colonel insisted we take the coach though I truly wanted to take the colonial cutter sleigh because of all that fresh snow this morning. I think he's saving the cutter for a romantic outing, just the two of us;)

    Kudos to Mistresses Gade and Pagels for a stellar post/party! I'll check back in later when the children are napping!

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  9. Mattie, so good to see you again after a couple of months apart! Your missives from England kept me spellbound. I was so very concerned for your well-being. And congratulations on your nuptials! Ship journeys are so difficult. I pray you are arriving no worse for the wear.

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  10. Cassandra, so good to see you again, and I might need my fan if you've brought Mr. Heaton with you! How are you getting about to your Christmas festivities this year?

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  11. Mrs. McLinn, your children are remarkably well behaved. We ladies have agreed to watch them during their naptime so that you might take a romantic sleigh ride from Yorktown up to Williamsburg. We've pallets set up in the childrens' rooms and plenty of firewood to keep the house cozy.

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  12. God bless you all, Mistress Sarah Griffith here. I praise the good Lord for the safe journey. My husband and I rode across country on two of his finest horses. One, if you will permit me to boast, I feel certain will do well in a quarter-mile sprint.

    'Twas a cold ride. I cannot tell you how many times I had wet snow topple down from a tree-limb to my riding hood. Praise be to God, we did not freeze.

    We have not yet celebrated Christmastide. Having lived among the Puritans (who frowned upon it) all of our lives until moving to Rhode Island, we've been denied such frivolities. Indeed, had our new partner, Davis Owen, not expressed to us how this was an opportunity to share the good news of Christ's coming with others we would not yet celebrate.

    Nonetheless, I have set my mind to enjoy this time and pray God gives me wisdom as we partake with others.

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  13. What a lovely party, with so many delightful guests whom I have only begun to know through your kind missives. I so appreciate your inviting me here! I'm Constance Ingersoll, of Glassenbury, Connecticut, of late. My new husband, Nathaniel, thought I would enjoy your company and I'm so glad he suggested we come. You see, I miss the Christmas celebration I once enjoyed in England and heard of this great celebration and knew I would enjoy it so. Christmastide passes with not so much as a hush here in Connecticut this mid-century. Although, I did get to help my good Mother-in-law decorate the Red Griffin Inn with some greens in the windows and over the mantels. Of course, Christmas morn we shall go to church and enjoy a dinner with the entire family - all those brothers and some guests at the inn I suspect. Yet, there are no other festivities, nor Christmas balls, even the greens are frowned upon some her in New England. It pleases me greatly to see that you are serving some of my favorite refreshments. I would have brought something to share, but I am still developing my skills in the kitchen, so I thought it to your benefit to refrain. Mayhaps next year, if you will be kind enough to invite us again.

    We had a delightful ride in the sleigh over the snowy hills from Connecticut. We tucked a warm bricks near our feet and covered our laps with a thick bearskin fur. Large, fluffy, flakes fell and we thought we might need to turn back, but they retreated as quickly as they came, though not before I caught a few on my tongue! Before long the sun shone high in the sky, glistening on the snow like tiny diamonds. Thank you for your kind hospitality in agreeing to lodge us for a few days. We shall always treasure this time spent with you all as we!

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  14. Mistress Griffin (or do you prefer Mistress Sarah as I have heard some prefer in these colonies?) In France we did not decorate in the same fashion as I see done here where so many English live. Johan's village in Germany, likewise, baked different treats during Noël. Chocolat chaud anyone?

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  15. So glad to meet some of my favorite people (characters) here. It feels as though I've known you forever. I am particularly interested in everyone's choice of attire this morn.

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  16. Yes, Kim, the ladies gowns are so lovely! I hope they will describe. And the men look so dashing in their finest!

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  17. Thank you for all the generous compliments on the decor for the celebration.I was thrilled to find so many wonderful illustrations and paintings that included transportation scenes at Christmastide. Though it was a bit of a search it was a very enjoyable one indeed!

    Sincerely,
    Mistress Gade

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  18. Thanks to you and your kin for the glimpse into this genteel celebration!

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  19. Mrs. Ingersoll, I have a friend of a friend who grew up in a Congregationalist home on Long Island, so am well acquainted with the quiet, introspective bent the holiday takes in New England oft times. When I first heard of it I was all amazed, unable to fathom a yuletide season without the parties and carols and gifts--but upon reflection, I decided I could see why so many prefer it . . . especially if you find yourself once too often at a party less mannerly than ours! 'Tis too easy to be distracted by the merriment and forget the reason for it.

    And how lovely everyone looks! I chose a dress in green, of course, and hope that my red ribbon is not too brazen--but for this celebration, it seemed appropriate. Perhaps I shall seek out a sprig of holly to set it all off.

    Oh! I see a fresh tray of sweets have arrived! Gingerbread, anyone?

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  20. Thank you for visiting with us today, Beverly!
    Happy Christmas to Ye!

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  21. I (Mistress Sarah Griffith) am afraid my Sunday black petticoat (skirt) does not compare at all to the beautiful gowns of the other woman. I do hope I do not shame our hostess.

    Perhaps I should have accepted my sister-in-law's gown. She has always lived a more colorful life than I, and her dress attests to it. Mistress Josephine (my husband's sister), has impeccable taste, but I struggle to shake free from a more conservative manner. Modesty has always been my style. A testimony to my faith, I feel. Oh dear. Have I said too much? I would not wish anyone to think I look down on them for their own styles.

    Mistress Richelieu, thank you for your kind words. Some Puritans (like my father-in-law) felt that Christmas was a Catholic holiday and should not be celebrated. In truth, I think they work harder on Christmas day than any other, just to prove their point. In 1659 a law was passed in the Massachusetts Bay colony that anyone celebrating Christmas would be fined 5 shillings.

    Praise the Lord we know longer live in that colony and have settled nicely in Newport, Rhode Island. Though, in truth, many in our colony still hold to the same principle.

    How nice it is for me to see you enjoying each others company.

    Pray tell me, how do you acknowledge Christ's birth in your celebrations?

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  22. Madame Griffin, I, like my grand-mère before me, am of the religion catholique. Oui, all our season at home was celebrated with merriment. Johan is of the faith Lutheran. I shiver when I think of being denied the opportunity to enjoy this time of year when we especially show our joy at Christ's birth! Oh, and please, keep my faith secret as I have been told there is an edict in this colony - no other religions except that of the English. Even Johan, whose beliefs are shared by many in Pennsylvania, is finding himself out of step here in coastal Virginia.

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  23. Madame Taylor, you and I are of a long acquaintance, est-ce vrai? You have seen this gown before - rose silk with a beaded burgundy satin stomacher, white French lace at the three quarter sleeves and as a modesty piece. I refused to return it to Monsieur Patterson even when he was kicked off the pages!

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  24. Dear Mistress Richelieu, how I do understand the fear of living in a colony that will not accept your faith. Your secret is safe with me.

    I am curious though, do you give gifts as I hear some do? And is this to reflect the gift of salvation the Christ-child brings? Such a wonderful symbol, and so consistent with Christian charity.

    Mrs. Ingersoll, I feel we must have much in common. I should like to visit your Red Griffin Inn and its decorations. Perhaps I can convince my husband to pass by on our way home?

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  25. katelynmwhitley@yahoo.com Love your blog!

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  26. Merci! Indeed, and our visitor Bev Nault (there is a French surname!) has been gifted with a copy of Madame Laura Frantz's "Courting Morrow Little" to read. May you enjoy this hallowed season, Madame Nault!

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  27. I love all of these comments from colonial characters! How fun!

    I asked Louisa Howe to come with me to the party, but she declined. I suppose its no surpise -- given that she is a British loyalist, and her father and uncle are credited with the loss of the war... She sends her regards and well wishes to ye all, along with Galatians 3:28 and this lovely pound cake.

    Do you like my dress? Louisa let me borrow it. The gown is champagne-colored sheer muslin, and I feel like a queen in it! The bodice is rather low, and I'm thankful to be able to hide under this matching lace scarf. My favorite thing is the multi-layered lace sleeve cuffs and stomacher bows!

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  28. Why thank you so much, I am quite overjoyed, and must sit down to catch a breath in my excitement. And yes, the husband's family are definitely French. Makes for interesting times in our cottage, considering my German roots! Many blessings to you and yours as we celebrate the birth of our precious Savior!

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  29. So happy to see Mistress Nault here:) The winner of CML! Hoping you enjoy Morrow as she has French connections!

    I'm back after having to change out of that blue sapphire silk gown. My boy Jack, rascal that he is, spilled wassail all over the skirt. For shame! And Henry, now that he's toddling has his hands in everything, even the plum pudding. OH MY! But Abby is my mainstay, helping me keep her little brothers in line...

    Oh, all these amazing dresses! I feel smothered in Spitalfield silk! My gown, bless you for asking, is from London's Bond Street. Cass ordered it for me last Christmas and I've only worn it once to a Williamsburg ball. Not much dancing here in the wilds of Kentucky except a frontier frolic or two...

    I see Blogger is misbehaving and trying to kick me off! Bring out the muskets:) I'll have to sign in as anon.

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  30. Madame Gage, You shall not be disappointed, as I am, at the lack of a living creche, indeed any at all, nor any Christmas liturgical dramas here in Virginia. And we are neither Tory nor Loyalist, French nor German, at this party but all Children of the King of Kings during this merry time! The sun begins to dip in the sky - time to gather more candles. The beeswax shine brightest and we shall use them tonight for our special occasion!

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  31. Mistress Griffith, we shall be delighted if choose to partake of our hospitality at the Red Griffin Inn. My husband's mother is the finest hostess in every regard, and a devout Christian example to me and many others. Mayhaps we could travel together the way back. Good company would be welcomed and help pass the time.

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  32. Katelyn, it is so kind of you to say so! We are thrilled that you have stopped by for this festive occasion and do hope to see you again.

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  33. Mistress Richelieu, Your statement touches my heart and is in the true spirit of Christmas ~ "And we are neither Tory nor Loyalist, French nor German, at this party but all Children of the King of Kings during this merry time!" Thank you for sharing that with us all.

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  34. Just found this site through someone posting on facebook. I think I'm gonna like this! Historical fiction is my favorite! Where is says a "receipt" from Martha Washington, should it be "recipe"?
    susanlulu@yahoo.com

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  35. The gowns are so lovely! You have all described them to perfection. As for me, I am wearing one of my finest gowns. An evergreen mantua with ruched trim. It is embellished with gold thread and the ruffled sleeves are of ivory lace, is is my modesty piece. The gown opens in the front to show my deep red calamanco quilted petticoat. My stomacher is embroidered in green, red, and gold upon an ivory background. My shoes are similar to my stomacher in color and design. My hair is done up for this festive occasion, high upon the brow with a curl hanging down over my shoulder, and a lace pinner upon my head (with a little sprig of holly attached). My dear, Nathaniel, keeps doting on me and giving me compliments. Mayhaps it won't be long before he brings me under the mistletoe for a kiss!

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  36. Welcome, Susan! I'm so glad you found Colonial Quills. And just in time for our party!

    "Receipt" is the former way of saying "recipe". Rather quaint, methinks!

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  37. Oh, all the lovely pictures! And the dresses ARE beautiful as well! I loved the old classic looking pictures in the post, they were amazing!

    crazi.swans at gmail dot com

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  38. Faye, I must agree! Constance Ingersoll's clothing is exquisite - as beautiful as any ensemble I ever viewed at Versailles even. I try not to think of those days, but when I see one so lovely as she, well, it brings back many memories...

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  39. Dear Ladies! I am breathless. My heart is pounding with both excitement and fear. Never did I imagine that people would someday speak to one another by tapping keys with letters on them and seeing a message appear on a box with pictures that look as if you are captured within it. As for Christmastide, we have place holly throughout the house and candles in the windows. Fires are blazing in the hearths and our table bountiful with fowl and pasties.
    Happy Regards for the Season,
    Juleah Braxton.

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  40. Seeing those lovely graphics of coaches and carriages arriving almost makes me wish we had some snow outside! It's rather late in coming to the northeast. I am thrilled to peek in and see so many wonderful friends, beautiful clothing and delicious food. I will think of you all when I make my own plum pudding next week.

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  41. Welcome Juleah! Your home in England was described so beautifully in your letters. I understand that we will be sharing those with one of our visitors as well.

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  42. Goodness me, but I'm sorry to be so late to the feast. I would like to introduce myself as Serena Boyd MacKenzie. We've been decorating the castle in evergreens for our 12 day celebration for Christmas, until Hogmonay, the New Year.

    Granted, I'm a couple of centuries older than the rest of ye, but to my credit, I've passed down many of the Christmas Carols ye took to the colonies--along with my special recipe of minced pie and plum pudding.

    I've enjoyed visiting with ye, but I'd better get back to the castle staff. We need a few extra candles burning bright this evening when Akira plays her harp melodies.

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  43. Mistress Marvin welcome!(Johan has been after me to use the English title rather than the French - perhaps next he will be asking me to call him John rather than Johan!) I am wondering what you put in your plum pudding. We are so glad another of our Colonial American Christian Writers was able to travel through the foul weather to our gathering!

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  44. I loved reading all the comments. You ladies are so creative!

    My favorite photo is Home for Christmas, 1784. Last Saturday our family took a horse drawn wagon ride through town to see the Christmas lights. Needless to say we all decided that heat was something that would have been nice! We were wrapped in blankets but still the cold penetrated and shivers were abundant!

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  45. Susan Craft said ...

    Good evening ladies, Lilyan Xanthakos has arrived.

    My dearest husband, Nicholas, and I are so very happy to be here with you for this lovely occasion.

    The first part of our long journey was by coach from our vineyard in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina to Charleston, which took us about eight days, since Nicholas insisted on stopping as often as possible so I would not get overtaxed. He was so solicitous, he insisted on extra lap robes. We were both nice and toasty as the robes are made from the hide of a bison dressed with the hair on and lined on the skin side with fabric. Were you aware that there used to be buffalo in South Carolina?

    Our carriage horses are Cleveland Bays, uniformly bay in color, of good conformation and strong constitution, but seemed to be annoyed by the carriage dogs running beside us, yapping at the “moons” on the sides of the carriage – lamps with oil in square casings.

    The second part of our journey, we sailed upon the schooner, the Paula Gale, from Charleston Harbor to Annapolis. I must say the Chesapeake Bay is beautiful this time of year.

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  46. Susan Craft said ...

    As my hostess gift, since my husband is Greek, I brought Christopsomo, hree-STOHP-soh-moh, or Christ's Bread, which is considered a sacred tradition in many Greek Orthodox homes. I made it with great care as it is said to ensure the well-being of the home in the year to come. Only the purest and most expensive ingredients are used. As is the custom, I decorated the bread with pieces of dough formed into a cross and around it a grapevine and grapes to represent my family’s life. I can give you the receipt, if you desire.

    It is fortunate for my husband and me that our religions--I am Presbyterian and he is Greek Orthodox--are so compatible, based, of course upon Christ as the Son of God. For both of our religions, Christmas tends to be a quiet, solemn season. Some Presbyterians do not even attend services on Christmas Day, as that is perceived as too “Anglican.” Happily for us, both of our religions celebrate the New Year with great parties and feasts.

    I do find great joy in my husband’s traditions. For Greeks, in some areas, Christmas is preceded by a time of fasting. But the season is in full swing by December 6th, the Feast of St. Nicholas when presents are exchanged, and will last through January 6th, the Feast of Epiphany.

    We look forward to the Christmas feast with great anticipation. Pigs, lambs and goats are slaughtered, and we women usually bake ceremonial pastries during this time for the big family meal, served after church services on Christmas Day. Melomakarona are honey-dipped cookies often stuffed with nuts. Kourambiedes are cookies dusted with powdered sugar and very white, Diples are fried dough cookies, dipped in honey.


    On the day and evening before Christmas and New Year's, children sing the equivalent of carols (kalanda) from house to house. These kalandas bless the house. Often the songs are accompanied by small metal triangles and little clay drums. My children, Laurel, Paul, Timothy and Cassia become so excited when, as is the custom, they are frequently rewarded with sweets and dried fruits.

    Did you know that the word carol comes from a Greek dance called a choraulein, which was accompanied by flute music? The dance later spread throughout Europe and became especially popular with the French, who replaced the flute music with singing. People originally performed carols on several occasions during the year. By the 1600's, carols involved singing only, and Christmas had become the main holiday for these songs.
    St. Basil's Day (New Year's Day) is a time for parties and gift giving.

    We also serve vasilopita, or Christmas cake, on December 31. I bake a florin into the cake. Whoever finds the coin in his or her piece of cake will have good luck in the coming year.

    St. Nicholas is important in Greece as the patron saint of sailors. His clothes are drenched with brine, his beard drips with seawater, and his face is covered with perspiration because he has been working hard against the waves to reach sinking ships and rescue them from the angry sea. Greek ships never leave port without some sort of St. Nicholas icon on board.

    In almost every Greek home the main symbol of the season is a shallow wooden bowl with a piece of wire that is suspended across the rim; from that hangs a sprig of basil wrapped around a wooden cross. A small amount of water is kept in the bowl to keep the basil alive and fresh. Once a day, a family member, usually the mother, dips the cross and basil into some holy water and uses it to sprinkle water in each room of the house. This ritual is believed to keep evil away from the house. I have asked Nicholas not to observe this one particular symbol, as it does seem rather pagan to me.

    How long winded I have been, taking over the conversation. I have talked so that I am parched. Would someone, please, pour me a cup of hot chocolate?

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  47. Mistress Gage has been gifted with a copy of the letters from Juleah (Surrender the Wind) which we hope she will enjoy as much as I did!

    I am about to serve Bûche de Noël. There are many French Huguenots in Virginia, though some here for a very long time now. I the young surveyor, George Washington, has grandparents who escaped persecution in France and found there way to Yorktown.

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  48. Oh my, my translation fare poorly. That was find their way to Yorktown. I shall have hot chocolate to you in an instant Mistress Xanthakos. Thanks so much for sharing all that fascinating information. How lovely!

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  49. How lovely, Lady Lilian for you to share your traditions with us. And thank you for the nice pictures which I am reposting within this comment.

    Lilyan Xanthakos' carriage can be found here by clicking
    Nicholas had our carriage painted green to match my eyes. Isn't he quite the romantic!

    Christ's Bread



    If the links don't work cut and paste:
    http://img708.imageshack.us/img708/1286/carriage.jpg

    http://img830.imageshack.us/img830/6001/sbread.jpg

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  50. Mistress Anne is the recipient of another gift...A novel by Gold Keyes Parons - In the Shadow of the Sun King. Anne be sure to send us your email addy or leave it in a comment.

    Blessings all!

    Come back tomorrow for more fun and prizes all week!

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  51. Anne Payne is an old friend of our's and we have entertained her in Yorktown often. I know she will enjoy reading about a French Huguenot family and their escape from tyranny and religious persecution. Suzanne Richelieu here and I did not have to leave until quite a bit later than Madame Parsons' family had to depart. So many of us gathered here for this celebration are very grateful that we shall not die for our religious beliefs in these colonies. Prejudice due to them - well, let's not speak of that any more at this celebration.

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  52. Widow Thomsen of Deer Run in the colony of Massachusetts, here. To my honorable lady friends from the southern colonies, I do greet you with the bond of Christian affection that prompts this letter of return. Whilst I am honored by your request to attend your gathering of ladies, I most humbly decline this invitation. In the spirit of the esteemed Reverend Cotton Mather, I do fear that the mad mirth, hard drinking, and licentious liberty that often overcomes the attenders of such reveling in celebration of our Lord's nativity overwhelms my Christian thoughts with fear and trembling. Whilst I feel certain that you ladies will not seek out such wanton behavior, it is usually the end result of such carousing. May the Lord deliver you from such evil as so often besets these celebrations. As the local midwife of Deer Run, I have too often been witness to the end result of such behavior. I am somewhat perplexed by the nature of your, I am quite certain, well-meant invitation to me, as my simple homespun attire would not fare well next to the lovely silks adorning your guests. I pray that this message from our post rider has been received by you promptly. Your most humble servant, Widow Ruth Eaton.

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  53. Oh dear, I fear Madame Eaton would not wish to partake of the festive dinner we shall enjoy on Christmas day. Nor shall she accompany us to the Christmas evening mass in Philadelphia at St. Joseph's Church. That shall be a somewhat subdued celebration in that despite the Quakers allowing us, well, let me say no more... I understand, ahem, yes I heard you Johan, Mistress Eaton has left behind two copies of her bound missives for one of our visitors today.

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  54. Oh, I almost forgot the hostess gift I had for our CQ webmaster - letters from South Carolina, though I confess this futuristic tale of an American Revolution seems far fetched to me!
    http://www.amazon.com/The-Chamomile-ebook/dp/B005UOA1RI/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1323791766&sr=1-1

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  55. Dearest Ladies of the Southern colonies, Mary Thomsen here. I do pray that you will not take offense at the boldness of my dear mother's declaration to you in the matter of celebration of the Christ child's nativity. I cannot imagine that your kind invitation would include such debauchery as my mother has intimated in her post to you. Whilst I do not celebrate such a holiday myself, I have been informed of the sweet memories of such occasions by a former soldier of the King. Daniel bears much sadness in his new life removed from all that he held dear in England. My heart aches for his loneliness. I see that you have so graciously included a receipt for Christmas Plum Pudding, for which I send my hearty thanks! Daniel's eyes will alight with pleasure when I present him with this gift on 25 of December next. I am beholden to you for this gracious gift and I pray that this letter sent by the same post rider will prompt your gracious forgiveness for any hint of offense from my dear mother. She is off to deliver yet another child, allowing me to pen this note unobserved. (Except by Daniel and my little sister). The way Daniel is looking at me just now, makes my cheeks redden with pleasure! Your humble servant, Mary Thomsen.

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  56. Mistress Thomsen, I can also ensure you that the Christmas plum pudding was not stirred by any gentleman partaking of the odious habit of chewing snuff whilst engaging in this endeavor!!! I must confess I observed Mistress Fancett's great-uncle do so and it quite murdered my appetite for the English dish! It did serve to foment a case of the giggles, however, as we observed others partaking!

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  57. Thank you, Ladies for such a generous gift! I know I shall greatly enjoy the hours spent reading at my leisure :)

    homesteading[at]charter[dot]net

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  58. Madame Richelieu, I am humbled by your gracious reply. And I must say, somewhat overcome with giggles at the thought of Mistress Fancett's great-uncle stirring the plum pudding whilst chewing snuff. But please do not inform my mother of the lack of propriety in my jestful behavior. She would most certainly not approve. And I can assure you that I will most certainly avoid any hint of odious behavior whilst stirring the plum pudding for my Daniel. But please do not inform Mother that I have called him "my" Daniel, lest she force him out into the cold whilst still recovering from his wound.

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  59. I do so miss my dear Maman! I think I could withstand even the most severest of scoldings should she but for a moment appear at my side. And Papa, this is his birthday. Joyeux anniversaire dans le ciel, le père.

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  60. Madame, I understand your loss of your dear Papa, as I lost my own father many years ago. And I must confess, I do not appreciate my mother's scoldings, although I think, were I too lose her as you have your Maman, I would be yearning for one more harsh word from her as well. I do so love her...but my deepest affections yearn for Daniel. Why cannot life be simple as it once was? I try not to despair.

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  61. Do not despair. Your Daniel sounds worth the wait! And speaking of waiting, Johan's special request of springerle cookies are ready to be served. He is so easy to please - what a blessing to me after all those difficult young men at court. http://www.melangery.com/2011/11/springerle-cookies-at-our-house-and.html

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  62. Ladies, I have so enjoyed your party, though I may have done most of it from afar as I lack the elegant words I have been listening to this day.

    derekannette at gmail dot com

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  63. Annette, welcome, and try one of these springerle. There are so many countries represented here in these colonies. One of our English guests pronounced them "quite good" which I believe is her highest compliment!

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  64. What fun! I love the pics and recipes in this post. :) Merry Christmas everyone!

    Salena
    srstormo at yahoo dot com

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  65. Thank you, Madames Richelieu and Braxton, for your lovely gift! I will enjoy it! And thank you for hosting such a festive and wonderful party! Merry Christmas!

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  66. Madame Richelieu! Mother returns from the birthing. I must complete this correspondence forthwith before I am discovered! Many gracious thanks for your kindness and your generous offering of this delicious receipt for Plum Pudding. I bid you a fond farewell. Should you or Johan wish to read my missives, you can peruse them here: www.DeerRunBooks.com. Your most humble servant, Mary Thomsen.

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  67. So that's what wassail is :) Though I can't remember where I've heard it before. I don't know how that smell would go in our Christmas atmosphere since it's hot. Our Christmas lunch consists of cold ham, prawns (shrimps), salad and fruit.

    Love the dress pics too :) Sorry I wasn't able to come in character ... maybe I'm the Ghost of Christmas future?

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  68. Dear Ladies, I must beg your forgiveness for my silence during this glorious party. I must say I've been overwhelmed with all the gaiety and beautiful gowns and delicious treats! It was all I could do but sit and enjoy it all. You see my family has been quite poor for many years, well, ever since Papa left for the war, and we haven't celebrated Christmas in such luxury since then. However, I do believe I have overstayed my welcome and will now excuse myself from your enchanting company. Oh, where is my woolen cape? Ah yes.. here it is. I've noticed it snowing outside and I must find a hackney to take me to the port where my espoused, Luke Heaton, awaits with his privateer to sail me back to Baltimore. I do hope the wind isn't too brisk on the bay this afternoon. It does get so cold when out to sea! But I'm sure Mr. Heaton has a place for me in his cabin with a mug of hot apple cider.
    Anyway, I bid you adieu. And thank you so much for inviting me... Yours, Cassandra Channing

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  69. Merry Christmas, SELENA! Helen, I take it that the Australians do not partake of wassail. Surprised the Brits didn't bring it there with them. That does sound like a delightful lunch HELEN! And as our visitor who has traveled farthest, over oceans so vast, we want you to go home with a little gift bag.

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  70. Adieu, Miss Channing and do give our regards to that handsome Mr. Heaton for us. We are so pleased that you came to visit. We enjoyed your company ever so much.

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  71. Mademoiselle Channing, merci! We enjoyed your visit. Oh, she has left behind a packet. Perhaps a guest can assist us in getting that home.

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  72. From Juleah Braxton.

    Oh, I am so pleased Mistress Gage has been given a copy of Surrender the Wind. She will read all about my adventure with the handsome and daring Seth Braxton, my husband.

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  73. Madame Braxton,I am quite sure she will enjoy your adventures as well as those of the charming Monsieur Braxton.

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  74. Oh my, I failed to greet Mademoiselle Serena, such a delightful girl. And her Mama a truly heroic woman. (I confess I was cleaning up a little after Johan, who left a trail of stollen crumbs all the way to the wassail bowl and I found a copy of Serena's story.) I shall send her a letter in the post and see if someone here might carry this story back to their inn this evening.

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  75. Oh my, Shadrach Clark just arrived from the Shenandoah Valley on horseback and even on foot part of the way when he needed to lead his horse in an unsafe area. "Now I am glad to get here. I made it to the Christy's house. I am so grateful to Mrs. Christy for making that nice hot chocolate. It was the best I have ever tasted. And the party here is pretty good, too. My favorite thing is the cookies." Mr. Clark also said, "I am interested in the people here and their stories. That's all. For now." Thank you Mr. Clark and I believe you shall stay here tonight.

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  76. I am so delighted at this wonderful party! I could tarry here for days! The Nault and McLinn children are getting along spendidly. Although I did spy one or two sneaking off with handfuls of sweet treats.

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  77. Nollaig Chridheil! (Merry Christmas in Gaelic) - I am Seona MacKay and I escaped to this land by ship, ashamed to admit that I stowed away, but I was in fear for my life, you see. I have arrived to your celebration on foot. In my homeland, I was raised by me stern grandmother, also a healer, so I didna have the privilege to celebrate Christmas as those in my country did. I am one from a ship of three-hundred passengers who came over from the bonny shores of Scotland to settle in the Argyll Colony of the Americas. My dress is plain and of simple weave, the lion's head brooch of jewels that fastens my plaid given to me in trust by my cousin, and once the property of a queen. Now I am to deliver it to my cousin's sweetheart, along with a very special message….Have ye seen a man who goes by the name of Rory Stewart? Oh, and if ye should happen to see the agent of the colony, Colin Campbell, please dinnae tell him that ye saw me or about the brooch. 'Twill be our secret...

    On that note, I must go. Many thanks for the kind invitation to visit - I wish all of ye glad tidings and a long and prosperous life.

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  78. Shadrach Clark wanted to tell you what he is wearing. He is normally in buckskins but said he has decided to "fancy up a bit for the party. I am wearing a blue jacket with polished buttons but not the terribly fancy kind. I am wearing silver buckled shoes of black leather. Breeches of red English cloth and a white shirt under the jacket. I found some really good stuff and traded for silk stockings. The stuff I traded I can't tell. I have a green tricornered hat with a feather on it. Around my neck I have a blue, green, and red scarf and it is English which my sister sent as a Christmas gift from Oxford. She is hiding there as a boy but don't tell anybody. I am wearing my gold cross in view above my shirt and I want others to know about my beliefs. And don't ask how I was able to obtain it." Thank you Mr. Clark. My what a fascinating family you must have!

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  79. Oh my, I'm sorry I'm so late, my deahs! I have the remainder of my gifts wrapped and under the tree, and the servants have done such a wonderful job with decorating the plantation. I shall have to give them an extra twopence for their labors. The candles are lit and in the windows, and the smell of spruce is in the air. One can only hope for snow in time for Christmas in SC! I confess to be somewhat under the weather with a sore throat, and my dahling sister in law sent over some roast venison, with carrots and potatoes, and her cook made flaky biscuits as light as a feather. I do declare, I must hire another cook...her biscuits are nowhere near as good!

    This is such a lovely party, and oh, I see MaryLu who came to our neighboring Charlestown just recently. "HELLOOO, MARYLU!" Now why do you suppose she's walking the other way? Why I nevah in all my born days-hmmph! Well, I see now...she is walking towards that handsome Luke Heaton. "YOOHOO, MaryLu." A lovely party indeed, Madame Carrie!

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  80. Venison? Oh my - Johan used to bring this back in the Palatinate and his mother would make the most wonderful roasts. I wonder if I might chance another trip on one of the ships that stays close by the coast. Johan just called out that only pirates do that, oh my! Perhaps if Monsieur Heaton accompanied us. Biscuits - I am afraid I only burn those. So good to see you Madame Flowers and what a lovely gown! The Christ Child's birth will be celebrated regardless of our attire but it is fun to have a new frock, especially after losing everything I had. Well not everything. God spare my life.

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  81. Colonel Christy advises me that it should be God spared my life and that I might consider retiring to my bed chamber for the evening. Bonne nuit!

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  82. OH. MY. Word! So many guests! The room is a crush of silks and satins! So happy to spy Helen here all the way from that land that didn't even exist in the 18th-c. or so she tells me! And Gwen, too, and so many others... I'm afraid I've been a bit under the weather today - not from a surfeit of sweets but because I'm expecting another McLinn:) Can't have enough of those, I guess. I think he wants to man an army...
    Anyway, adieu to you all as Mistress Cassandra said. Till we meet again!

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  83. Carrie, so happy to have made the long trip to join in the party! Thank you so much for the offer of a gift bag ... what a treat indeed :)

    Laura - we were not settled by the British until the First Fleet arrived in 1788, so we only JUST existed as a colony in the 18th century :)

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  84. I'm sorry Miss Carrie that I'm too late for the party. Days are going faster in Europe, so when you were feasting last night, the new day had already started in the Netherlands... and I was sleeping.

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  85. PAMELA, thanks so much for escorting Mistress Seona McKay to the party. We had a great many Scots at court in Versailles. I wonder how many have now come on to the colonies? Oh my, that lovely broach belonged to the Scottish queen? I shall have Colonel Christy accompany you back to Argyll colony. Many blessings as you celebrate our Lord's birth! And I am SO anticipating the sharing of your story. I believe that is after Michaelmas.

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  86. LYNN SQUIRE who accompanied Mistress Griffith has shared a story set far in the future, in the 20th century - can you imagine? I pray my descendants will follow the Lord during that time and cling to Him. It parallels the book of Job and is titled Joab's Fire. Perhaps by the time it reaches HELEN W by ocean, that English colony will have formed and she shall receive it in good order?

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  87. Helen W I'm thrilled that you will be receiving Joab's Fire. Are you at all familiar with the Canadian Mounties? The story is set in 1906 on the Alberta prairies. I will be looking forward to hearing from you.

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  88. Ladies, I am so sorry I have not been able to join in the festivities of these past days.
    Nature and midwifery sometimes take precedence when a dear daughter-in-law is in labor for forty hours. All is well with our Jill and the wee lad, Benjamin Whittaker Palmer.
    Happy Christmas to all,
    Heather Douglas Stewart

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  89. Janet, congratulations to you and your family on little Benjamin. What an impressive name!

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  90. Congratulations JANET on your new grandson!!! You must be in seventh heaven. What a wonderful Christmas present from your family!

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  91. LYNN, HELEN's copy is flying to Australia! We hope she will enjoy. Am looking forward to my Christmas read of Joab's Fire.

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  92. MARYLU, a copy of one of your works is going to MARIAN in the Netherlands. I will let you know which one she chooses. I believe she has read Surrender the Night not sure about Surrender the Dawn.

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  93. I've enjoyed this festive gathering and shall bring two plum puddings next time. I use a bit of candied fruit, raisins and sultanas and dates. Oh but its the warm nutmeg sauce that truly makes it complete.

    As the weather remains unseasonably warm in the far reaches of New England the ride home should be pleasant.

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  94. Lynn, well this might sound a bit lame, but the only thing I know about the Canadian Mounties is from that TV show, "Due South". And I don't think I even really watched it :P

    My grandma was born in 1906 so I will think of her as I read your book! I am looking forward to getting it :) Thank you all for your generosity!

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  95. DEBRA, oh, I want the recipe for the nutmeg sauce - will you share?!!! It is warm enough here to ride without a blanket nor a hot brick in the carriage. Very unusual yet they warm the feel of snow is in the air. I pray our guests are making their way home with haste before the weather turns.

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  96. HELEN, We were so happy to entertain you this visit. It will be interesting to see if you believe LYNN SQUIRE's futuristic book might ever possibly happen. Red coats and horseback - it does not seem that far fetched to moi!!!

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  97. DEBRA, ROSEANNA WHITE's Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland, was slipped inside your reticule for the journey home. Imagine - this colony independent of British rule and a government centered in Annapolis, Maryland (a colony where the Catholic faith is well tolerated). It is a ludicrous idea, but of course I did not share my opinion. Persons from Germany, France, Scotland, Greece, Italy, etc., etc., ALL forming a new government in this colony. Johan and I are getting a huge laugh out of her notions!

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  98. SELENA Stormo, We hope you enjoy Mistress Susan Craft's account of Lilyan Xanthakos's adventures in colonial South Carolina during the American Revolution. Thanks again for stopping by!

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  99. KATELYN Shear Whitley, Mistress Thomsen's stories will be shared with you (via Elaine Marie Cooper who quill-penned them!) Thanks so much for attending our gathering! Merry Christmas!

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  100. Well, I have found our sweet Katie is quite young! We shall substitute our colonial goody bag, Miss KATELYN, and we shall watch for the post rider who is quite busy this week as we approach the birthday celebration of our beloved Saviour!

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  101. FAYE, Mistress Thomsen's stories, might be best put into your capable hands to transport home for the holidays! Be careful out in this cold weather!

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