An English Christmas Home!

The Christmas Holly Cart. — Drawn by Foster. — 14.2 cm high by 22.9 cm wide. P. 408. Illustration for "The Streets at Christmas Time" — "By The Oldest Inhabitant." Christmas Supplement, The Illustrated London News (1848): 407. Click on image to enlarge it.

Love in the kitchen could not prosper without holly; and the policeman, in search of affection, or of cold mutton, would think the kitchen of his “fair friend” unseasonable in its appearance, if the sprigs of dark green, intermingled with bright red berries, were absent from the window. The holly-cart, of which a most admirable representation is given in our engraving, is also a pleasant sight in the streets — either of the outskirts of the metropolis, as represented by the artist — or of the dense heart of the old city. Holly is a great article of commerce at Christmas time, and yields a good profit both to those who cultivate it and those who vend it in the streets. Never was it more in request than it is now; never may it be less sought after, as the verdant symbol of the loving-kindness of the season! [407]

Dickens's theme of memory as the defining quality of identity in The Haunted Man might have been on thoughtful readers' mind as they studied Foster's drawing, for the symbol of "keeping my memory green' in the last of the Christmas Books (which had just been published) was holly.

Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham from a copy in the Robarts Library, University of Toronto.[You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]

Created 16 August 2015