A maid and youth each places a chestnut to roast on fire, side by

side. If one hisses and steams, it indicates a fretful temper in owner

of chestnut; if both chestnuts equally misbehave it augurs strife. If

one or both pop away, it means separation; but if both burn to ashes

tranquilly side by side, a long life of undisturbed happiness will be

lot of owners.

These portentous omens are fitly defined in the following lines:

"These glowing nuts are emblems true

Of what in human life we view;

The ill-matched couple fret and fume,

And thus in strife themselves consume;

Or from each other wildly start,

And with a noise forever part.

But see the happy, happy pair,

Of genuine love and truth sincere;

With mutual fondness while they burn,

Still to each other kindly turn;

And as the vital sparks decay,

Together gently sink away;

Till life's fierce trials being past,

Their mingled ashes rest at last."

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