Fifth Day of Advent

The earth, in colours brown and gray,
Seems to forget to lure the sunbeam’s ray,
And bathed in shadow, loves the shrouding mist,
That cometh silently, and having kissed
The hill-crest, and the valley, fades from sight.

From ‘Christmas Joy and Peace’ by Dora Ross, published by the Religious Tract Society, 1897


The Religious Tract Society pamphlets we catalogued on the Tower Project, while mass produced for widespread distribution for evangelical purposes, were nonetheless often attractively presented, with colour illustrations such as this charming winter snow scene.

Most of them were pious moral tales, with rather too many harrowing deathbed scenes in which the sufferer’s steadfast faith saw them through their agonies to a better place. To our modern sensibilities these tracts were rather dreary, but doubtless comforted many readers at the time – we can only hope so. They put me in mind of the indomitable Drusilla Clack in The Moonstone, forever secreting such improving publications in the homes of the unsuspecting people she visited, in the hope of bringing them into the fold.



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  1. I love these pictures, especially December 3rd and 5th, the indoor and outdoor spirit of yuletide. Wonderful use of the Tower Treasures.

    1. I’m so glad you’re enjoying the Advent Calendar. I like your point about the indoor and outdoor spirit of yuletide, with the comfort of indoor cosiness and the beauty of winter scenes. I am impressed by the imagination of the illustrators who created such beautiful images in rich, saturated colours to delight children.

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