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About The Wageworker. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1904-???? | View Entire Issue (Dec. 15, 1905)
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It to-day has more miles of road operated under
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The St. Panl Road was the first railway to light
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400 electric-lighted passenger cars in daily service.
, Three trains from Union Station, Omaha, to Union
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CITY Officii 1234 0 STREET
BELL 182. AIT0 3812
Union ITvTade Cigars
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The proprietor carries a union card. Confectionery
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135 North 12th St.
Automatic - 3061
UNION MADE SHOES
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1529 0 St., Lincoln
Tie Waits put fomifEeriNelodr
No festival of the whole year is so
generally honored as Christmas, and
by reason of Its general observance
there has crept Into it so many cus
toms and practices that it Is almost
past any one's ability to catalogue
them. There is no other festival, per
haps, so old, and yet so ever new, as
this one is; no other day in the lohg
year so wistfully looked forward to
with anticipations of happiness; but
it has changed like everything else,
and is a Very different day from -r.hat
it once was.
Christmas customs, or rather some
of those adapted to this time of year,
are far more ancient than the festival
itself. It is common knowledge that
the mistletoe, for instance, is a
Christmas fixture, derived from the
Druids, who are also responsible for
the Yule clog or log. The custom of
singing carols formed an important
part of the day's celebration under
the Saxon kings, and the mince pies
are believed to have been a remnant
of cakes consumed at the Roman win
ter sports, always held at this time of
the year. In order to do no violence
to the customs of the people, the
primitive Church selected the time
of the Roman Saturnalia for its
Christmas celebration. Almost any
time of the year might have been sel
ected, for there Is no authority for
Dec. 25 as the date of Christ's birth.
In the Middle Ages.
While the yule flog was burned
upon the hearth upon Christmas eve,
and maids were kissed under mistle
toe in the dark ages, Christmas was
still a religious festival. In order to
make it attractive to the people, and
also to instruct them . in the . Bible
stories, plays were produced with
creat splendor in many a great cathe
dral. As the liturgy of the church was in
Latin, so, too, were the Christmas
plays, but they were easily under
stood by the people, for even if the
words escaped them the costume and
the action conveyed a deep meaning.
As a rule, there was little literary
merit in the plays, having been writ
ten with the sole idea of conveying in
struction in a pleasing manner, and
often containing farcical scenes,
which one may well believs were
well received by the crowds that fill
THE LIGHT AND THE SONG
Not for One Day, but for All the
The fcrst Christmas dawned on the
world I i a flood-burst of light and
song There had been darkness on
the hills and in the hearts, and brood
ing over all was a silence -made heavy
v.ith the worn-out jangle and strife
at men; but suddenly, over the hil s
f Bethlehem, the sky was aglow with
light and the air tremulous with song.
The watchers on the weary, wind-
ed tho cathedrals at
Two of the earliest
Christmas plays that
have come down to us
&i to be toumi iu the
few fragmentary works
of Hilarius, a monk of the twelfth
century, who is said to have been an
Englishman, and who is known to
have been a pupil of tk-e great Abel
ard. Of the three mystery plays
which he is thought to have written
in collaboration with Jordanus and
Simon, probably brother monks, two
were evidently played during the
Christmas season, namely, "The Im
age of St. Nicholas," most likely pro
duced on that saint's day, Dec. 6, and
"The History of Daniel," which seems
to have been intended for Christmas
"The Image of St. Nicholas" shows
more real dramatic ability in its con
struction than these early productions
usually do, for, while its plot is not
complicated, there is undoubtedly a
plot. In brief, the story is as fol
lows: An actor, representing an im
age of St. Nicholas stands in a shrine
and discovers half a dozen robbers,
who have stolen a treasure box which
had been hidden in the shrine for safe
keeping by a barbarian. The latter
returns, and, finding his treasure
gone, bewails his loss, and. Whipping
the image, demands the return of the
goods. The image then goes to the
robbers, and telling them that they
will not thrive wlt'-i the stolen goods,
they give up the treasure to its owner.
The latter, out of gratitude, kneels
to the image and adores it, but the
saint then appears to him and bids
him to worship God alone and praise
only the name of Christ. The bar
barian is then converted and closes
the piece with adoration.
"The History of Daniel."
"The History of Daniel" is a piece
in two acts, and was, no doubt, pro
duced with considerable spectacular
effect for the time. In the first act
we are shown Belshazzar's Feast,
and in the second, which deals with
Darius, King of the Medes and Per
sians, we are shown Daniel denounc
ed and sent to the den of lions. At
Daniel's prayer "there shall appear an
angel of the Lord in the den, having a
sword, who shuts the mouth of
the lions." Darius, . finding Daniel
saved, puts the latter's envious ac
cusers in his place and leads Daniel
to his throne, ordering the people to
adore the true God. Daniel then de
livers a version in rhyme of the phro-
J swept hills lifted glad and surprised
eyes to the light that never was, and
their hearts took up the rare new
music of the angel-song of Peace and
Christmas is still the light and song
of the world. Across the skies of hu
nan thought and endeavor the clouds
it doubt and fear go drifting past;
ie hilltops are storm-tossed and the
phecy (chap, vil., 13-14) of the coming
of the Son of Man, and to close the
play another angel appears, singing,
"Behold, I bring you good tidings of
great joy," etc., "which being finish
ed," continues what might be called
the. stage directions, "if it was done
at matins, Darius begin 'Te Deum
Laudamus,' but if "at vespers, 'Mag
nificat Anima Mea Dominum.'"
"The Slaughter of the Innocents."
Another early Christmas play Has
been found' in an old Orleans manu
script. It has for its- subject "The
Slaughter of the Innocents," and was
no doubt, frequently played during
the Middle Ages in one or another
French cathedral. In France and on
the continent generally the plays
produced were usually the effort of
a local learned doctor, although at
times copies of popular dramas were
made for use by neighboring towns.
In the play just - noted (Interfectio
Puerorum) the part of the innocents
was taken by the choir boys, and the
other characters, Including the wom
en, were represented by monks. In
one part of the church was erected a
manger; in another a throne for her
od. A distant corner was supposed to
represent Egypt, and for fear these
distinctions might not be apparent to
the beholders, signs were hung over
these crude pieces of scenery bearing
the names of the places represented.
Like most of the mystery plays, the
story is briefly told and numerous
anthems are interpolated for the
benefit of the choristers.
Wakefield Shepherds' Play.
Toward the end of the play the boys
(the innocents having arisen from the
dead) go into the choir; Herod's
throne is then taken by an actor, who
represents Archelaus; an angel bids
the Holy Family to return from
Egypt, and then the precentor begins
the "Te Deum," and so the perform
Some of the finest comic touches to
be found in these old religious plays
are to be found in the Wakefield Shep
herds' play, written about the year
1400. The first scene opens with
three shepherds watching their flocks,
all of them complaining of the cold
night. A character called Mak takes
part in their rude sport, and upon
opportunity steals a sheep. Mak's
theft is subsequently discovered, and
he is soundly thrashed, a piece of
"business" which was certain to
arouse laughter in a medieval audi
ence, for it seldom fails to amuse a
modern one. There are certain parts
of this comic scene . that . would . be
valleys are dull with gloom and the
weeping rain; but high over all there
shines a light that never goes out,
and down through the shadow there
floats the rainbow that never with
draws. The toiler turns from his lonely
furrow, and in that Christmas Light
finds the strength to endure and the
hope to overcome. Not yet has the
noonday come for him. The curse
of Cain is still unlifted, ana in the
sweat of his brow he eats his bread.
Selfishness and greed and wasting
strife still add to the primal burden
and make the heart less brave. Class
wars with class and man with man
in the inevitable quest for enough or
in the unsatisfying lust for excess.
The hands are hard with the tools of
toil and the hearts are hollow - with
the pretense of trade, and, when, all
Is over, to what purpose has it been?
But, without flaring, without fading,
the love-light of the Bethlehem Star i
leads to the life of Peace and Goodwill.
considered too broad nowadays, but it
must be understood that at this time
the plays had passed out of the
church, and were now acted on the
movable platforms in the public
streets. This frolic is followed by the
serious scene. An angel appears,
singing ' the "Gloria," after which he
announces that Christ is born at Beth
lehem. So the shepherds go to Bethlehem
and make such presents to the Holy
Child as lie within their powers. One
presents a "bob of cherries," another
a bird and' the other a tennis ball;
"Acts of the Apostles."
During, the reign of Francis I. in
France, the presentation of a grand
mystery of the '"Acts of the Apos
tles," given during the Christmas sea
son, was made the occasion of a spec
tacular proclamation ,in Paris. In an
account of this procession around the
different quarters of the French capi
tal, which is found in a rare little
tract published in Paris in 1541, we
learn that the procession started out
at 8 o'clock on the morning of Dec.
16, attended by "officers of justice,
plebeians and others having the regu
lation of these, rhetoricians and gen
tlemen of the long robe, as well as
of the short." They were preceded
by trumpeters and the mayor's archers
and at every crossway or public
place repeated the proclamation in
the King's name. The day fixed for
the performance was the feast of St.
Stephen, Dec. 26.
Under the Stuarts.
Christmas masques, mere excuses
for gentlemen and ladies of the court
to attire themselves in fantastic, gor
geous or bizarre costumes, were long
popular in Italy and im France, and
Henry VIII., having paid a visit to the
neighboring realm, imported them
During the reign of Elizabeth
masques, the work of poets, and in
the form we now know them, came
into prominence, and the greatest
writer of these pleasant but trivial en
entertainments was Ben Jonson, ho
wrote about three dozen during the
reigns of James I. and Charles I. . '
These were sumptuous spectacular
entertainments, in which the cele
brated architect, Inigo Jones, was
employed to devise "the machinery,"
or scenery, which was certainly more
elaborate in those days than had yet
been attempted upon the professional
stage. While the first Christmas kept
by Henry VIII. cost 584 19s. 7d. for
"disguisings," the masques of James
I. for tm year 1609, nearly a century
later, cost 4.215.
And the Christmas Light shines
steadiest, even as of old, over the
place where the young children are.
It is not by the might of armies nor
by the power of kings, but by the
simple life and the simple mind, that
greatness comes to the world. A
little child shall lead them. Once in
the noisy round of "the year the
hearts of men are young again and
their voices lilt the Christmas carols.
Not for one day, but for all the days,
and for the darker nights of the hard
and troubled after-years, the home
light of Christmas is a lamp to the
feet and a light to the path. Not shy
and evanishing, as though it were
lost and out of place In a world like
this, but with the mild persistence of
strength and right, the Christmas
Star still marks for men the way back
to the place of the Child. The mys
tic light and the song of Peace and
Good-will have kept unfaded the vis
ton tiplendiU, and touched the lowliest
lot with life's wonder and bloom.
These masques, or disguisings.
were participated in by the ladies and
gentlemen of tLe -court; in fact, we
find James'- queen, Anne of Denmark,
appearing with her ivory skin black- .
ened to represent a negress from the
Niger. The young Prince Charles,
afterward the ill-fated Xing Charles I.,
aiso took part in thesn Christmas fes
tivities, as did also the Princess Eliza,
beth and Prince Henry.
The Twelfth Night Revels.
Twelfth Night was the usual time
for 'these Ghristmas revels at White
hall, and, in fact, had been for cen
turies at the English court. Although
Henry VIII. is credited with having
adopted the old Italian custom, as
early as" Edward III.'s time we heard
jot ludi, or plays, exhibited at court in
the Christmas holidays. In 1348, when
Edward kept his Christmas at his cas
tle at Guildford, the dresses for the
maskers consisted of buckram tun
ics of various colors,' masks of differ- .
ent similitudes, namely, faces of wom
en and men, heads of angels, "mu6e
of silver," and mantles embroidered
with heads of dragons, peacocks and
swans. It is not known that the en
tertainment consisted of anything be
yond the most primitive kind of pan
tomime and posturing, and it is very
doubtful if they even suggested the
drama as we know it.
No court entertainments in Eng
land that had gone before equaled in
magnificence the masques written by
.Tnhnann finri Haatvna hv Tnlffn Im 0fi
which made the holidays an annual
pleasure to James I. and. his queen.
King James, notwithstanding the fact
his name is inseparably linked with
the , choicest English version of the
Bible, was given to luxurious pleas
ures, and his young queen, Anne, nad
the reputation of being a most grace
ful dancer at a time when dancing
was regarded as one of the fine arts.
Christmas Masques at Whitehall.
King James ' loved pleasure and
Queen Anne nearly made a bankrupt .
of him to pay her jewelers. She loved
progresses, as they were called, and
in one of her royal visits to Bristol
spent $150,000 on a costly presenta
tion of a masque. From this it may "
be imagined that the Christmas
masques held at Whitehall, wUere
the king then lived, must have cost an '
enormous outlay, in fact, it is known
that one cost $22,000. Ben Jonson
wrote twenty-nine masques for his
king, most of them being produced at
The Christmas season usually' be
gan on Dec. 16 and -lasted until an. 1
6, although in Elizabeth's day, the sea
son had been known to last for full six
weeks or until Shrove Tuesday, her-
alrllnc ilia .siminor nf T snt nut n BtATI
in the mrrvmaklnm.
o ine viciorian era. r.
A growing body of the people in ?
these days took ho part in the merrl- '
ment of Christmastide ; in fact, their
long-drawn faces, sour looking all the
year, were almost unbearable at the
season of joy. Alarmed at the goinfes- S
on at court, mortified at the Keen- V
tiousness of "the ruling class, they i
.vowed worldly joy '-was a detestable !
thing. Life to them was a stern ex-1
istence. Even in Elizabeth's time r
these Puritans had begun their pro-1
tests against Christmas celebrations, f
and against royal pageantries, and in i
the time of James I. their voice grew : .
so loud that they were caricatured
in some of the masques at court, i
They continued, these stern old
roundheads, to grow in number and -in
power, and, having made an end ot -King
Charles I. in a most effectual ti
manner, put their ban on everything
that England loved most, including t
, Under the Commonwealth they;-
stopped the decoration of churches,
at Christmas, and sent a crier about J
London with a proclamation to the!"
effect that "Christmas day and all f
other superstitious festivals should
be put down and that a market should f
be kept upon Christmas .day." Per-! '
sons who insisted upon attending t
church on'Christmas day were imme--diately
arrested.' As for the Lord of
Misrule and Father Christmas they-
were nanisned, and the Parliament by ,
its own act crossed Christmas off the--'
calendar. For- ten long years Eng-;'
land, so closely .allied with the ob
servance of Christmas, was throttled,
but Christm. j was only in exile; he
returned with the royal family when r'
the Restoration was accomplished.
The days of the last of the Georges I
saw the departure of many time-hon-
ored Christmas customs in England,
and the arrival of some new ones. The ;
singing of carols was one of the first
to go, and later in the century the
waits disappeared, although a few
stragglers now and then annoy Lon
doners in the Christmas season, until
a bobby tells them to move on.
Some of the old etchings by Sey- fe
mour, the first illustrator of Pickwick, ;
which are reproduced' on this page,
give a spirited idea of how old Christ- -mas
was observed in England in the i
early days of Victoria's reign, when
the spirit of the season was still alive
and modern ideas had not yet shoved I
the old customs aside. 1
Who doeth right deeds is wise born.
and who doeth ill deeds vile. Sir Ed
AT CHRISTMAS TIME
Within an old cathedral dim ,
Tho white-robed choir chant a hrnm.
That old, old story o'er again.
Of peace on earth, food will toward man.
A holy aileaco Hlla the air,
And every head is bowed in prayer.
While from the tower tho joy .holla chime
At Christmas time. '
Far out upon the briny deep
The mariner his watch doth keep
For his brififht. aiiidins: Bethlehem
The beacon light that shines afar;
And, as be sees it kindly rays.
He thinks of home and other days,
Of loved ones in a distant dime
At Christmas time.
rtfir.rP.sy - - m
Again at tho old homestead's door
Dear friends and kindred meet once more,
To ait around the hearthstone's slow.
And hark to bells across the snow.
They talk of youth and hope and love,
And gently speak of those above.
The missing ones, with faith sublime,
At Christmas time.
Inex Max Felt.
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