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Stories Before 1850. 0139: Anon., Holiday Entertainment; or, the Good Child's Fairing

Author: Anon.
Title: Holiday entertainment; or, the good child's fairing. Containing the plays and sports of Charles and Billy Welldon, and other little boys and girls who went with them to the fair
Cat. Number: 0139
Date: No date
1st Edition: Unknown
Pub. Place: Glasgow
Publisher: Lumsden and Son
Price: 2d
Pages: 1 vol., 32pp.
Size: 10 x 6.5 cm
Illustrations: Decorated front cover plus seven woodcuts

Images of all pages of this book

Page 002 of item 0139

Introductory essay

Holiday Entertainment adds to that genre of children's books which depict a trip to the fair. Other titles in the same tradition in the Hockliffe Collection include Robin Goodfellow (0044) and Fun Upon Fun (0115), the latter of which was also published by J. Lumsden and Son of Glasgow. In fact, in Holiday Entertainment the majority of the book details the occupations of the four young protagonists as they wait for days for the rain to stop so that they may take their trip. The children play a number of games (hide and seek, 'questions and commands', building houses of cards, and playing with alphabet sets - pp.13-15) and read several books, namely Cinderella (0012 and 0013 in the Hockliffe Collection), the History of Little King Pippin (0126) and The History of Tommy Trip (0114). They are also fortunate in having 'the old man that lived under the hill' visit them to tell them stories and distribute the presents that they deserve. While the good Charley Welldon receives a gilt book as his reward, his bad tempered brother, Billy, is given a rod, enough to 'keep him in the sullens all the evening' (p.11). Billy later shows that he merits this 'prize' by kicking the dog and insisting on riding in a car drawn by dogs, against the advice of the housekeeper, which results in a minor crash. Yet this is rather half-hearted didacticism compared with the majority of moral tales and even the other 'fair books' in the Collection. Even once the children reach the fair, the author does not draw the usual moral lessons from the various rides and stalls, but simply allows the chidren to enjoy their time there (save that a horse and a dog which are proficient with an alphabet set are enlisted to shame any boy or girl who cannot do the same: p.27). Indeed, it is only on the outside back cover that a more conventional moral lesson is forthcoming. Here, in as concise a form as can be possible, the simple formula underlying so much late eighteenth and nineteenth century children's literature is given: work hard at school and you will become rich.

Lumsden's of Glasgow also published several other books in the Hockliffe Collection: 0008, 0049, 0115 and 0187. Little is known about the company, but it seems to have produced books from the 1790s through to the 1840s, while continuing to be primarily an engraving, stationery and printing firm. For more on Lumsden and Sons see Roscoe and Brimmell's James Lumsden and Son of Glasgow, pp.58-59, where c.1820 is tentatively suggested as a date for Holiday Entertainment.

Roscoe, S., and Brimmell, R. A., James Lumsden and Son of Glasgow. Their Juvenile Books and Chapbooks, Pinner, Middx.: Private Libraries Association, 1981