|It happened that the undersigned spent the last
in a foreign city where there were many English children.
In that city, if you wanted to give a child's party, you could
not even get a magic-lantern or buy Twelfth-Night
characters--those funny painted pictures of the King, the Queen,
the Lover, the Lady, the Dandy, the Captain, and so on-- with
which our young ones are wont to recreate themselves at this
My friend Miss Bunch, who was governess of a large family that
lived in the Piano Nobile of the house inhabited by myself and my
young charges (it was the Palazzo Poniatowski at Rome, and
Messrs. Spillmann, two of the best pastrycooks in Christendom,
have their shop on the ground floor): Miss Bunch, I say, begged
me to draw a set of Twelfth-Night characters for the amusement of
our young people.
She is a lady of great fancy and droll imagination, and having
looked at the characters, she and I composed a history about
them, which was recited to the little folks at night, and served
as our FIRESIDE PANTOMIME.
Our juvenile audience was amused by the adventures of Giglio and
Bulbo, Rosalba and Angelica. I am bound to say the fate of the
Hall Porter created a considerable sensation; and the wrath of
Countess Gruffanuff was received with extreme pleasure.
If these children are pleased, thought I, why should not others
be amused also? In a few days Dr. Birch's young friends will be
expected to reassemble at Rodwell Regis, where they will learn
everything that is useful, and under the eyes of careful ushers
continue the business of their little lives.
But, in the meanwhile, and for a brief holiday, let us laugh and
be as pleasant as we can. And you elder folk--a little joking,
and dancing, and fooling will do even you no harm. The author
wishes you a merry Christmas, and welcomes you to the Fireside
W. M. THACKERAY. December 1854.