Often, these little story books were not just storybooks, but they taught the child something, too. This would include things I can only describe as ‘articles’, where they talked directly to the reader and taught about other countries, their customs, or just simply talk about a picture on the page. In these ‘articles’, they would speak as if the author were right in the room with you, and sometimes speak of first hand experience. This is one such occasion. This comes from Harvest Home.
CHRISTMAS BERRIES AND FLOWERS.
It was the good fortune of the writer to spend last winter in England, and the Christmas holidays at the country seat of a dear friend.
All day on the twenty-third the girls had been busy collecting and arranging in their home a wealth of berries and flowers and foliage—not bunches of evergreens tied here and there in ungainly masses, but places so as to make more beautiful the lines of windows, doors, pictures, and other features of the hall, stairway, and rooms of the house. This beautiful decoration seemed unusually attractive to us, who had been accustomed to the use of green only in our decorations; and we took particular notice of the flowers used as we were told all had been found about the place, and were always plentiful at Christmas.
First of all was the far-famed mistletoe, with its clusters of wax-like berries; then the holly, which is also found in our own country; and a pretty, sweet-smelling plant which had a profusion of delicate, lilac-colored flowers. It is called the “Mezereon,” and a sprig of it is seen above the holly in the picture; the chrysanthemum and the sweet Dutch honeysuckle are familiar to us all; while the hepatica, which resembles the common buttercup is, I believe, found in some parts of the United States. You can readily imagine what a lovely and fitting setting these fragrant flowers were to the richly laden tree which formed part of the Christmas Eve festivities; and the delight which we New Englanders subsequently experienced in plucking at New Year’s a bunch of the same flowers, which were still plentifully growing in the open air.