William Hone to John Childs, 25 December, 1824

[1780-1818] - [1818-1824] - [1825-1832] - [1832-1842] - Hone Correspondence

William Hone to John Childs, 25 December, 1824.1-TEI-

45 Ludgate hill London
Cmas day 1824
Dear Childs,

Yesterday I went to take tea in the temple with Mr. M. T. Baines who is being brought up to what I was brought to — the bar. While quaffing his nectar your basket of ambrosia2 arrived with an apology — both are admitted.

God rest you merrily John Childs,
And yours, all at Bun-gay;
Remembering your behaviour
Upon each Cmas day.
I save my soul, with all my power,
Nor let it go astray,
For your turkey, and chains, to thank you boy!
and its joy!
For this turkey and chains to thank you boy!

You are "sorry this fellow is no larger" — keep sorrow to yourself John, I have "enough on't". Last year you sent us "Gog" — that "fellow" was a "giant" be it known to you, and so might this have been if you had regarded the life of the "ding-dong" rather than the seasonable sustenance of me and mine. You did right, John, according to the constitution of things, to slay him for our use today. "Carpe diem" an old poet that I cann't read, said of old days, and so I say of days to come which, being translated is, according to Francis, as, on reference to Francis, "will more fully and at large appear." Be satisfied — I am—or shall be in half an hour; within which time, or space of time, to wit, the said or aforesaid half an hour, being an equal moiety or half part of an hour, dinner will be ready.

Health to you John! Wassail to your good wife John! Wassail to all around your coal-fire John! Largess! Largess! may you be able to cry and dispense to your friends and neighbours. A boon! a boon! may you be able to grant to all poor creatures who need it for a century to come! Take of the good before you, stir your fire, laugh notwithstanding Chesterfield, take of the good again, let your lungs ring out wassail and the lungs of your young ones and guests ring wassail till sides and cheeks ache with merriment and laughter—so may your time be spent at Bungay.

My wife and I, united as yours and you are, desire our united kindnesses to Mrs Childs and you and in spite of unfashionableness heartily wish you a sportive Christmas and a happy new Year.

Farewell Dear Childs,
Yours faithfully
W Hone

P. S. If you see Mr. Edwards tell him I have a [deserving][?] proof of his portrait of Ben Jonson hanging in my own room and that I say there is no other portrait of rare Ben but rare Edwards's —it is a capital print. What does such a man as that translator of Athenson's picture do at Bungay?

Any new bellman's verses or carols this year? any old ones? Anything else in my way, that nobody at Bungay cares about? No old ballads? No old customs to tell me of, and to describe? Nothing? No old Father Cmas? No mummings? No plough days? no Mayings? or aleings or soulings? nothing? nothing?3 Ah John! I'll 'squire you for this.

John Childs Esq.
Bungay, Suffolk

British Library, Add. MS 40120, ff. 225-26. [return]
The "basket of ambrosia" refers to the Christmas goods that Childs had been sending to Hone annually since 1818. Like the previous gifts, this basket apparently contained an "alderman in chains"—that is, a large turkey ready for the Christmas feast. For more on this pleasant tradition, see Hone's letter to Childs thanking him for the first of these turkeys and also the "conversation" describing the beginnings of the Hone/Childs relationship. [return]
It appears that Hone is already actively collecting materials for his Every-Day Book which would begin to published in weekly installments on the first of January, 1825. [return].
William Hone. Date: 2014-02-20