The harper at the head of the hall struck up an ancient march, and the dishes were brought in, in grand procession.
The boar's head, garnished with rosemary, with a citron in its mouth, led the van. Then came tureens of plum-porridge; then a series of turkeys, and in the midst of them an enormous sausage, which it required two men to carry. Then came geese and capons, tongues and hams, the ancient glory of the Christmas pie, a gigantic plum pudding, a pyramid of mince pies, and a baron of beef bringing up the rear.
"It is something new under the sun," said the divine, as he sat down, "to see a great dinner without fish."
MR. CHAINMAIL. Fish was for fasts in the twelfth century.
REV. DR. FOLLIOTT. Well, sir, I prefer our reformed system of putting fasts and feasts together. Not but here is ample indemnity.
Ale and wine flowed in abundance. The dinner passed off merrily: the old harper playing all the while the oldest music in his repertory. The tables being cleared, he indemnified himself for lost time at the lower end of the hall, in company with the old butler and the other domestics, whose attendance on the banquet had been indispensable.
The scheme of Christmas gambols, which Mr. Chainmail had laid for the evening, was interrupted by a tremendous clamour without.
REV. DR. FOLLIOTT. What have we here? Mummers?