GREAT BRITAIN: A Christmas Hope

Heaped up on the floor, to form a kind of throne, were turkeys, geese, game, poultry, brawn, great joints of meat, sucking pigs, long wreaths of sausages, mince pies, plum puddings, barrels of oysters, red-hot chestnuts, cherry-cheeked apples, juicy oranges, luscious pears, immense twelfth-cakes and seething bowls of punch that made the chamber dim with their delicious steam.

—A Christmas Carol, Dickens.

Britons last week could only hope that the Ghost of Christmas Present would provide a transformation for them, as it had for Scrooge. Instead, they chuckled grimly over a bitter Christmas jest, "Starve with Strachey, shiver with Shin-well" (Fuel Minister...

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