National Geographic : 1968 Dec
THE NIGHT WATCH held his lantern high above his head. Drum Major George P. Carroll raised his mace. The sturdy yeomen of Capt. Nicholas Payne's militia swept their pine-tar torches through the bonfire and formed a flaming column. Paradiddle double diddle flam! beat the drums. From cupped hands the fifes sang out "Joy to the World," and away we marched through the December dusk of Williamsburg. "Mr. Wetherburn, light your candles!" tolled the voice of the watch. Light sprang up in every window of Wetherburn's Tavern. Rotamacue, rotamacue, rotamacue, flam! I glanced behind to see that each window in the Capitol had opened a golden eye. I saw, too, the throng behind us, a happy hurly burly of men, women, and children flowing down mile-long Duke of Gloucester Street, through the heart of this restored capital city of the royal colony of Virginia. "Mr. Prentis, Mrs. Paradise, light your can dles!" With each swing of his lantern, the watch summoned shining candles from the dark, until a wake of twinkling windows spread behind us. We were illuminating our 792 city for the holy season. We were bringing in Christmas as it used to be (preceding pages). And it seemed there were others parading with us, ghosts of Christmas Past-Lord Bot etourt, the governor, dressed all in red with trimmings of gold braid, laughing a regal laugh as his spirited team stepped its way invisibly through the crowd; young Tom Jef ferson and his friend John Page, two college lads prancing with holiday excitement; the rollicking company of James Craig, the gold smith, William Parks, the master printer, John Galt, the apothecary, and Christiana Campbell, tavernkeeper, described by a pa tron as "a little old Woman, about four feet high & equally thick." Up ahead would be Patrick Henry, in buck skin breeches; George Washington, who had married the local widow, Martha Custis; Peyton Randolph, a portly giant going at a fast gait; elegant William Byrd III, anxious to get to a game of cards; and the slender ghost of the lady whose house I now inhab ited, Mary Stith. "Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat," shrilled the fifes. Paradiddlediddle flam!