Easter Eggs.

Scribners monthly 6, APR 1872

The good old days are past when everybody, everywhere, all the Christian world over, prepared, ate, and exchanged "Pasque" eggs on an Easter morning. Far up in the North-English Counties the youngsters still run to and fro singing the old "Pace-Egger's Song":

—"Here are two or three jolly boys all of one mind,
We've come a pace-egging, and hope he kind.
We hope you'll prove kind with your eggs and your beer,
And we'll come no more near you until the New Year."
And in the remote East, amid the followers of the Greek Church, gayly decorated eggs with shells of red-and-gold, are still exchanged between friends with the salutation, "Christos voskres," and the accompaniment of a kiss. But even there the centuries with their incsorable sumptuary law have interfered to abate the practice. Easter week is shorn of half its glories the gifts and the osculations are limited to a single morning, and no longer, as of yore, do "Men and women continue in kissing and exchanging of eggs for four days together."

Here, in our own country, little is known of these ancient customs. In farm-house kitchens and over nursery fires, little people with smuggled-in sauce-pans, bits of "unreliable" calico and the assistance of the bluing-bag, still produce various spotted and oddly-colored spheres for the enchantment of Mamma on Easter morning. Here and there a "Church" bakery displays a nestful of red or purple shells couched in green moss; and occasionally some youthful artist, using for her canvas that white surface which walls in such mystery of life, contrives to produce a pretty effect with paint-brush or pencil. But the perfection, the high art of Easter egging is known no more among us. It has gone out with wassail, with the may-pole, with Yule-logs—and that work-a-day creature, the hen, is finally deposed from her place in the heart of Christendom.

For the benefit, however, of those same little people with saucepans and bluing-bags, we propose to revive two or three of the old recipes for ornamenting Pace (or Paschal) eggs. The process is not very difficult, nor the material expensive: so it may be that Mamma would permit, and the nursery wights enjoy the experiment.

First, then, you select your dyes — vegetable or wood dyes they should be, blue, crimson, yellow, according to fancy — and, procuring a small portion of each from a druggist, you place them in separate vessels. Then dropping the eggs into hot water for a few moments, you draw on the shell with a bit of tallow any design you please, — names, dates, leaves, crosses. The prevents any discoloration in the spot it covers, so when the egg has been submitted to the boiling dye, the pattern appears in white on a tinted ground with very pretty effect.

Another method, more laborious but infinitely more artistic, is to dye the whole egg, and afterward scrape out the pattern with a sharp pen-knife. This way admits of a greater range of taste and skill than the other. The egg may be divided into compartments, each holding come tiny vignette, a landscape perhaps, or an angel, or cupid, or a line of verse, with the date, all framed in solid, bright color. In old days, eggs treated after this fashion did duty as Valentines, and were frequently preserved in the after-homes of the happy pairs, each egg carefully enshrined in a deep, long-stemmed wine-glass, through which the inscription could be read without removing it.

"Golden" eggs, which are covered with thin sheets of leaf gold, aie beautiful things when mixed with others. A cheap way of making them is to use the dye of the furze-blossom, which is said to communicate a fine yellow color.

Any boy or girl, clever at drawing, can produce, with little trouble, a variety of designs which shall have the added merit of originality. What could he prettier than a knot of Easter-flowers, snow-drops, violets, or lilies of the valley, painted in water color on the white shell, or sketched gracefully and lightly in sepia or India-ink. Pencil drawings are singularly soft and pretty on the same pure background, and, set with boiling water, are not easily defaced. A monogram in bright, illuminated tints and gold is also effective; in short, there are a dozen charming fancies which will at once suggest themselves to the mind of any young artist who begins to think upon the subject, and we advise such by all means to try.

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