A Budget of Christmas Tales by Charles The Project Gutenberg eBook of A Budget of Christmas Tales by Charles Dickens an d Others, by Various

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restr ictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms o f the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenb erg.org Title: A Budget of Christmas Tales by Charles Dickens and Others Author: Various Release Date: February 26, 2009 [eBook #28198] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 ***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK A BUDGET OF CHRISTMAS TALES BY CHARLES D ICKENS AND OTHERS*** E-text prepared by David Edwards, Martin Pettit, and the Project Gutenberg Onlin e Distributed Proofreading Team (http://www.pgdp.net) from digital material gene rously made available by Internet Archive (http://www.archive.org/) Note: Images of the original pages are available through Internet Archive. See h ttp://www.archive.org/details/budgetofchristma00dick A BUDGET OF CHRISTMAS TALES. By Charles Dickens and Others. Published by The Christian Herald Louis Klopsch, Proprietor. Bible House, New Yo rk. Copyright 1895. by Louis Klopsch. Press and Bindery of Historical Publishing Co., Philadelphia. TABLE OF CONTENTS. PAGE A Christmas Carol 13 CHARLES DICKENS. The Christmas Babe 73 MARGARET E. SANGSTER. A Western Christmas 74 MRS. W. H. CORNING. Joe's Search for Santa Claus 83 IRVING BACHELLER. Angela's Christmas 87 JULIA SCHAYER. The First Puritan Christmas Tree 100 (ANONYMOUS.) First New England Christmas 103 HEZEKIAH BUTTERWORTH. The Chimes 106 CHARLES DICKENS. Billy's Santa Claus Experience 170 CORNELIA REDMOND. Christmas in Poganuc 173 MRS. H. B. STOWE. The Christmas Princess 192 MRS. MOLESWORTH. Widow Townsend's Visitor 210 (ANONYMOUS.) The Old Man's Christmas 223 ELLA WHEELER WILCOX. The Christmas Goblin 239 CHARLES DICKENS. The Song of the Star 244 C. H. MEAD. Indian Pete's Christmas Gift 252 H. W. COLLINGWOOD. My Christmas Dinner 264 (ANONYMOUS.) The Poor Traveler 272 CHARLES DICKENS. The Legend of the Christmas Tree 287 (ANONYMOUS.) The Peace Egg 290 JULIANA HORATIA EWING. CHRISTMAS TALES. A CHRISTMAS CAROL. BY CHARLES DICKENS.

STAVE ONE. MARLEY'S GHOST. Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The regis ter of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and th e chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. And Scrooge's name was good upon 'Change, fo r anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was dead as a door-nail. Scrooge knew he was dead? Of course he did. How could it be otherwise? Scrooge a nd he were partners for I don't know how many years. Scrooge was his sole execut or, his sole administrator, his sole assign, his sole residuary legatee, his sol e friend, and sole mourner. And even Scrooge was not so dreadfully cut up by the sad event, but that he was an excellent man of business on the very day of the funeral, and solemnized it with an undoubted bargain. The mention of Marley's funeral brings me back to the point I started from. Ther e is no doubt that Marley was dead. This must be distinctly understood, or nothi ng wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate. Scrooge never painted out Old Marley's name. There it stood, years afterward, ab ove the warehouse door: Scrooge and Marley. The firm was known as Scrooge and Ma rley. Sometimes people new to the business called Scrooge Scrooge, and sometimes Marley, but he answered to both names. It was all the same to him. Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wren ching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as fl int, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret and self-cont ained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, ni pped his pointed nose, shriveled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes re d, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rim e on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge. No warmth could warm, no wintry weather chill him. No wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling sn ow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty. Foul weather didn't know where to have him. The heaviest rain, and snow, and hail, a nd sleet, could boast of the advantage over him in only one respect. They often "came down" handsomely, and Scrooge never did. Nobody ever stopped him in the street to say, with gladsome looks, "My dear Scro oge, how are you? When will you come to see me?" No beggars implored him to best ow a trifle, no children asked him what it was o'clock, no man or woman ever onc e in all his life inquired the way to such and such a place, of Scrooge. But what did Scrooge care? It was the very thing he liked. To edge his way along the crowded paths of life, warning all human sympathy to keep its distance, was what the knowing ones call "nuts" to Scrooge. Once upon a time--of all the good days in the year, on Christmas Eve--old Scroog e sat busy in his counting-house. It was cold, bleak, biting weather: foggy with al: and he could hear the people in the court outside, go wheezing up and down, beating their hands upon their breasts, and stamping their feet upon the pavemen t stones to warm them. The city clocks had only just gone three, but it was quit e dark already--it had not been light all day--and candles were flaring in the w indows of the neighboring offices, like ruddy smears upon the palpable brown air . The door of Scrooge's counting-house was open, that he might keep his eye upon h is clerk, who in a dismal little cell beyond, a sort of tank, was copying letter s. Scrooge had a very small fire, but the clerk's fire was so very much smaller that it looked like one coal. But he couldn't replenish it, for Scrooge kept the coal-box in his own room; and so surely as the clerk came in with the shovel, t he master predicted that it would be necessary for them to part. Wherefore the c lerk put on his white comforter, and tried to warm himself at the candle; in whi ch effort, not being a man of strong imagination, he failed. "A merry Christmas, uncle! God save you!" cried a cheerful voice. It was the voi ce of Scrooge's nephew, who came upon him so quickly that this was the first int imation he had of his approach. "Bah!" said Scrooge. "Humbug!"

He had so heated himself with rapid walking in the fog and frost, this nephew of Scrooge's, that he was all in a glow; his face was ruddy and handsome; his eyes sparkled, and his breath smoked again. "Christmas a humbug, uncle!" said Scrooge's nephew. "You don't mean that, I am s ure?" "I do," said Scrooge. "Merry Christmas! What right have you to be merry? What re ason have you to be merry? You're poor enough." "Come then," returned the nephew gaily. "What right have you to be dismal? What reason have you to be morose? You're rich enough." Scrooge having no better answer ready on the spur of the moment, said, "Bah!" ag ain; and followed it up with, "Keep Christmas in your own way, and let me keep i t in mine." "Keep it!" repeated Scrooge's nephew. "But you don't keep it." "Let me leave it alone, then," said Scrooge. "Much good may it do you! Much good it has ever done you!" "There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say," returned the nephew, "Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round--apart fro m the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that--as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and wo men seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of peo ple below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not an other race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has don e me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!" The clerk in the tank involuntarily applauded. Becoming immediately sensible of the impropriety, he poked the fire, and extinguished the last frail spark for ev er. "Let me hear another sound from you," said Scrooge, "and you'll keep your Christ mas by losing your situation. You're quite a powerful speaker, sir," he added, t urning to his nephew. "I wonder you don't go into Parliament." "Don't be angry, uncle. Come! Dine with us to-morrow." Scrooge said that he would see him--yes, indeed he did. He went the whole length of the expression, and said that he would see him in that extremity first. "But why?" cried Scrooge's nephew, "Why?" "Why did you get married?" said Scrooge. "Because I fell in love." "Because you fell in love!" growled Scrooge, as if that were the only one thing in the world more ridiculous than a merry Christmas. "Good afternoon!" "Nay, uncle, but you never came to see me before that happened. Why give it as a reason for not coming now?" "Good afternoon," said Scrooge. "I want nothing from you; I ask nothing of you; why cannot we be friends?" "Good afternoon," said Scrooge. "I am sorry, with all my heart, to find you so resolute. We have never had any q uarrel, to which I have been a party. But I have made the trial in homage to Chr istmas, and I'll keep my Christmas humor to the last. So a Merry Christmas, uncl e!" "Good afternoon!" said Scrooge. "And a Happy New Year!" "Good afternoon!" said Scrooge. His nephew left the room without an angry word, notwithstanding. He stopped at t he outer door to bestow the greetings of the season on the clerk, who, cold as h e was, was warmer than Scrooge; for he returned them cordially. "There's another fellow," muttered Scrooge; who overheard him: "my clerk, with f ifteen shillings a week, and a wife and family, talking about a merry Christmas. I'll retire to Bedlam." This lunatic, in letting Scrooge's nephew out, had let two other people in. They were portly gentlemen, pleasant to behold, and now stood, with their hats off,

and decrease t he surplus population. They had books and papers in their hands. If I was to stop half-a -crown for it. hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts. when I pay a day's wages for no work. this very night. when Want is keenly felt. for they had been two kindred spirits. At the ominous word "li berality. and having re . at the end of a lane of boys. a few of us are endeavoring to raise a fund to buy the poor some meat and drink. and in a more facetious temper than was usual with him. presenting his credentials." observed the gentleman. and Scrooge walked out with a growl." "Many can't go there." "Are there no prisons?" asked Scrooge. With an ill-will S crooge dismounted from his stool. The offic e was closed in a twinkling." Scrooge returned." said the gentleman. "Have I the pleasure of addressing Mr. Be here all the earlier next morning. "Plenty of prisons.in Scrooge's office. Scrooge. gentlemen!" Seeing clearly that it would be useless to pursue their point. "Since you ask me what I wish. I help to support the establishments I have mentione d--they cost enough." said Scrooge." "We have no doubt his liberality is well represented by his surviving partner." said Scrooge. twenty times. What shall I p ut you down for?" "Nothing!" Scrooge replied. At length the hour of shutting up the counting-house arrived. Besides--excuse me--I don't know that. and the clerk." said one of the gentlemen. and those who are badly off must go there." The clerk promised that he would. "He died seven ye ars ago. Marley?" "Mr. "And yet. "Scrooge and Marley's. the gentlemen wit hdrew. or Mr. and handed the credentials back. and Abundance rejoices. "You wish to be anonymous?" "I wish to be left alone. because it is a time. Good afternoon. sir. "they had better do it. and then ran home to Camden Town as hard as he could pelt." said Scrooge." "But you might know it. "A poor excuse for picking a man's pocket every twenty-fifth of December!" said Scrooge. "And the Union workhouses?" demanded Scrooge. "Are they still in operation?" "They are. and I can't afford to make idle people merry. "you don't think me ill-used. "At this festive season of the year. to pla y at blindman's buff. I believe. Mine occupies me cons tantly." said the gentleman. Mr." "It's not convenient. Scrooge resumed his labors with an improved opinion of himself. laying down the pen again. you'd think yourself ill-used." The clerk observed that it was only once a year." returned the gentleman. of all others. Many th ousands are in want of common necessaries. "It's not my business. that is my answer. "If quite convenient. and tacitly admitted the fact to the expectant clerk in the tank. "It's enough for a man to understand h is own business. who instantly snuffed his candle out. taking up a pen. and means of warmth. and put on his hat. We choose this time. referring to his l ist. and many would rather die. Scrooge took his melancholy dinner in his usual melancholy tavern. Scrooge. "I wish I could say they were not. with the long ends of his white comf orter dangling below his waist (for he boasted no great coat). I'll be bound?" The clerk smiled faintly. buttoning his great coat to the chin. and bowed to him. and shook his head." Scrooge replied. It certainly was. "and it's not fair. Marley has been dead these seven years. Un der the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude. I don't make merry myself at Christmas." Scrooge frowned. and not to interfere with other people's. "But I suppose you must have the whole day. sir. I suppose?" said Scrooge. who suffer greatly at the present time." said the gentleman." "If they would rather die. went down a slide on Cornhill. gentleme n. in honor of its being Christmas-eve. Still. "it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provi sion for the poor and destitute." said Scrooge. "You'll want all day to-morrow.

Upon its coming in. and then he heard the noise much louder. and with a strange. As he threw his head back in the chair. "Who are you?" "Ask me who I was." He was going to say "to a shade. where it had so little business to be. "It's humbug still!" said Scrooge. took off his cravat. Darkness is cheap. Half a dozen gas-lamps out of t he street wouldn't have lighted the entry too well." Scrooge asked the question. which was not his custom." "Can you--can you sit down?" asked Scrooge. together. "What do you want with me?" "Much!"--Marley's voice. but it seemed an hour. appeared to have a separate peal of echoes of its own.ad all the newspapers. for a shade. no doubt about it. The chain he drew was clasped about his middle. "I can. Thus secured against surprise. They were a gloomy suite of rooms. inexplicable dread. then. He lived in chambers which had once belonged to his deceas ed partner. not caring a button for that." His color changed though." "Do it. he saw this bell begin to swing. Jacob Marley. he walked through his rooms to see th at all was right. as though it cried "I know him! Marley's ghost!" and fell again. padlocks. and dreary enough. slowly too: trimming his candle as he went. Scrooge then remembered to have heard that ghosts i n haunted houses were described as dragging chains. it might involve the necessity of an embarrassing expla nation. a disused bell. The same face: the very same. It was old enough now. and clasped his hands before his face. put on his dressing gown and slippers. and sat down b efore the fire to take his gruel. They were succeeded by a clanking noise deep down below. and locked himself in. as if he w ere quite used to it. caustic and cold as ever. It was with great astonishment. as more appropri ate. double-locked himsel f in. and heavy purses wro ught in steel. he. then coming straight to ward his door. and beguiled the rest of the evening with his banker's-bo ok. his gl ance happened to rest upon a bell. "You're particular. as if some person were dragging a heavy chain over the casks in the wine-merchant's cellar. But before he shut his heavy door. on the floors below. He fastened the door. . Every room above. playing at hide-and-seek with other houses. and co mmunicated for some purpose now forgotten with a chamber in the highest story of the building. and walked across the hall. looking doubtfully at him. This might have lasted half a minute. because he didn't know whether a ghost so transparen t might find himself in a condition to take a chair. It swung so softly in the outset that it scarcely made a sound. or a minute. went home to bed. ledgers. that one could scarcely help fan cying it must have run there when it was a young house. The be lls ceased as they had begun. without a pause. raising his voice. it came on through the heavy do or. "How now" said Scrooge. "I won't believe it. when. he closed his door." but substituted this. that as he looked. It was long and wound about him like a tail. that hung in the room. for nobody lived in it but Scrooge. the other rooms being al l let out as offices. and his night-cap. Quite satisfied. the dying flam e leaped up. and felt that in the event of its being impossible. in a lowering pile of building up a yard. But the Ghost sat down on the opposite side of the fireplace. "In life I was your partner. and Scrooge li ked it. and it was made (for Scrooge observed it closely) of cash-boxes. then coming up the stairs. keys. and have forgotten the way out again. Scrooge fell upon his knees. and so d id every bell in the house. Scrooge was not a man to be fright ened by echoes. and passed into the room before his eyes. Up Scrooge went. and up the sta irs. so you may suppose that it w as pretty dark with Scrooge's dip. and every cask in the wine-merchant's cellars below. The cellar-door flew open with a booming sound. but soon it rang out loudly. deeds." "Who were you then?" said Scrooge.

" replied the Ghost. "You are fettered. and shook its chain and wrung its shadowy hands. forbearance. "On the wings of the wind. and if that spi rit goes not forth in life. "Seven years dead. "that the spirit within him s hould walk abroad among his fellow-men. Is its pattern strange to you?" Scrooge trembled more and more. "No rest. Pondering on what the Ghost had said. Jacob. though with humility and deference. The common welfare was my business. Jacob. and travel far and wide." Scrooge observed. and double-ironed. why do you trouble me?" "Man of the worldly mind!" replied the Ghost. as if that were the cause of all its unava iling grief. and weary journeys lie before me!" It was a habit with Scrooge. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in t he comprehensive ocean of my business!" It held up its chain at arm's length. I cannot rest."Mercy!" he said." cried the Phantom. It is doomed t o wander through the world--oh." said Scrooge. "And traveling all the time?" "The whole time. Incessant torture of remor se." the Ghost replied. "I must. but he could see nothing. "Old Jacob Marley. and never raise t hem to that blessed Star which led the Wise Men to a poor abode? Were there no p . to other kinds of men. The Ghost. he did so now. Ebenezer Scrooge. "Tell me why?" "I wear the chain I forged in life. who now b egan to apply this to himself. "I suffer most. "I made it link by link. Nor can I t ell you what I would. in the expectation of finding himself su rrounded by some fifty or sixty fathoms of iron cable. "the weight and length of the strong coi l you bear yourself? It was full as heavy and as long as this. and is conveyed by other ministers." replied the Ghost. for this earth must pass into eter nity before the good of which it is susceptible is all developed." "You travel fast?" said Scrooge. "You must have been very slow about it. or getting off his knees. "not to know that ag es of incessant labor. tell me more. mercy. on hearing this set up another cry. My spirit never walked beyond our coun ting-house--mark me!--in life my spirit never roved beyond the narrow limits of our money-changing hole. whenever he became thoughtful. I cannot linger anywhere." said Scrooge. whatever it may be. by immortal creatures." said the Ghost." faltered Scrooge. You have labored on it since. "You might have got over a great quantity of ground in seven years. in a businesslike manner. wringing its hands again. seven Christmas E ves ago. will find its mortal life too short for its vast means of usefulness." pursued the Ghost. it is condemned to do so after death. Not to know th at any Christian spirit working kindly in its little sphere. and yard by yard. bound." the Ghost returned. "do you believe in me or not?" "I do. "At this time of the rolling year. Jacob!" "I have none to give. and benevolenc e. and why do the y come to me?" "It is required of every man. I girded it on of my own free will. charity. "Slow!" the Ghost repeated. and clanked its chain hideously. "Mankind was my business." said Scroog e. A very little more." the Spectre said. trembling. were. "Business!" cried the Ghost. "Dreadful apparition. "Jacob. no peace. is all permitted to me. all my business. and turned to happiness!" The spectre raised a cry." mused Scrooge. "Or would you know. but without lifting up his eyes. "It comes from other regions. Why did I walk through crowds of fellow-beings with my eyes turned down. and of my own free will I wore it. I cannot stay. Not to kn ow that no space of regret can make amends for one life's opportunities misused! Yet such was I! Oh! such was I!" "But you were always a good man of business. bu t might have shared on earth. Speak comfort to me. It is a ponderous chain!" Scrooge glanced about him on the floor." he said imploringly. woe is me!--and witness what it cannot share. to put his hands in his breeches' pockets. and flung it heavily upon the ground again. "Oh! captive. But why do spirits walk the earth.

or the dull conversation of the Ghost. He was endeavoring to pierce the darkness with his ferret eyes. It was double-locked. "Is that the chance and hope you mentioned. in a white waistcoat. "Was it a dream or not?" . "I am here to-night to warn you. Every one of them wore chains like Marley's ghost. Jacob! Pra y!" "How it is that I appear before you in a shape that you can see. and fell asleep upon the instant. Scrooge shivered. And being." "You were always a good friend to me. and floated out upon the bleak. Whether these creatures faded into mist. The air was filled with phantoms. that. without undressin g. and the more he endeavored n ot to think." said the Ghost. "That is no light part of my penance. went straight to bed. dark night. or the laten ess of the hour. STAVE TWO. Jacob?" he demanded. in human matters and had lo st the power for ever. looking out of bed. he could not t ell. The third." "I--I think I'd rather not. that they sought to interfere. The misery with them all wa s. the more he thought. He tried to say "Humbug!" but stopped at the first syllable. Look to see me no mo re. and have it over. and the night became as it had been when he walked home. wandering hither and thither in restless haste .oor homes to which its light would have conducted me?" Scrooge was very much dismayed to hear the Spectre going on at this rate. desperate in his curiosity." It was not an agreeable idea. who cried piteously at being unable to assist a wretched woman with an infant. whom it saw below upon a door-step. Many had been personally known to Scrooge in their lives. "Why it isn't possible. clearly. much in need of repose. and look that." said Scrooge. Ebenezer. Scrooge followed to the window. or his gli mpse of the Invisible World. and could make nothing of it. He had been quite fam iliar with one old ghost. none were free. for your own sake. He looked out. "Thank'ee!" "You will be haunted. "you cannot hope to shun the path I trea d. it was so dark. or mist enshrouded them. when the bell tolls One. from the emotion he had undergone. "Expect the second on the next night at the same hour. he could scarcely distinguish the transparent window from the opaque walls of his chamber. Scrooge closed the window." said Scrooge." "Couldn't I take 'em all at once. Jacob?" hinted Scrooge." "I will. and wiped the perspiration from his brow. Expect the first to-morrow." said Scrooge. "Without their visits. The more he thought. and moaning as they went. A chance and hope of my procuring." pursued the Ghost. "My time is nearly gone." said Scrooge. "Hear me!" cried the Ghost. for good. as he had locked it with his own hands. and the bolts wer e undisturbed." resumed the Ghost. and be gan to quake exceedingly. "that I can have slept through a whole da y and far into another night!" Scrooge lay and thought and thought it over and over. "It is." Scrooge's countenance fell. upon the next night when the last stroke of Twelve has ceased to vibrate. that you have yet a chance and hope of escaping my fate. in a faltering voice. But they and their spirit voices faded together. with a monstrous iron safe attac hed to its ankle. THE FIRST OF THE THREE SPIRITS. Marley's ghost bothered him exceedingly. and examined the door by which the Ghost had entered. s ome few (they might be guilty governments) were linked together. when the chimes of a ne ighboring church clock struck twelve. or the fatigues of the day. "by Three Spirits. you remember what has passed between us!" The apparition walked backward from him toward the window. I have sat invisible beside you many and many a day. the more perplexed he was. "But don't be hard upon me! Don't be flowery. When Scrooge awoke. I may not tell.

in singular contradiction of that wintry emblem . thou gh gentle as a woman's hand. the sheen of which was beautiful. a great extinguisher for a cap. which it now did with a deep. whose coming was foretold to me?" asked Scrooge. which hung about its neck and down its back. Its ha ir. Scrooge expressed himself much obliged. sir. this was perhaps the wisest resolution in his power. Its legs and feet.Scrooge lay in this state until he remembered. and considering that he could not go to sleep. At length it broke upon his listening ear. Th e arms were very long and muscular. and missed the clock. hollo w. they passed out. by a hand. winter day. triumphantly. viewed through some supernatural medium. But the strangest thing about it wa s. The Spirit must ha ve heard him thinking." Scrooge remonstrated. and. and stood upon an open country road. "and liable to fall. with fields on either hand. found himself face to face with the visitor who drew them. starting up into a half-recumbent attitude. was white as if with age. which gave him the appearance of hav ing receded from the view. Singularly low. dull." said the Spirit. It wore a tunic of the purest white. "Who. "I am!" The voice was soft and gentle. He was more than once convinced he must have sunk into a doze unconsciously. The grasp. was not to be resisted. and night-cap. and round its waist was bound a lustrous belt. dressing-g own. Take heed!" It put out its strong hand as it spoke. It held a branch of fre sh green holly in its hand. and the curtai ns of his bed were drawn. but those to which his face was add ressed. by which all this was visible. clasped its robe in supplication. clasping his hands together. and what are you?" Scrooge demanded. and Scrooge. that the Ghost had w arned him of a visitation when the bell tolled One. and the tenderest bloom was on the skin. "I am a mortal. that he was clad but lightly in his slippers. "Your welfare!" said the Ghost. I tell you. It was a strange figure--like a child: yet not so like a child as like an old ma n. "Rise! and walk with me!" It would have been in vain for Scrooge to plead that the weather and the hour we re not adapted to pedestrian purposes. Your past." Scrooge then made bold to inquire what business brought him there. it were at a distance. "Are you the Spirit. "The hour itself. most delicately formed. had its dress trimmed with summer flowers. like those up per members. "No. for it said immediately: "Your reclamation. Not a vestige of it was to be seen. but could not help thinking that a night of unbroken rest would have been more conducive to that end." "Long Past?" inquired Scrooge. "Good Spirit!" said Scrooge. laying it upon his heart. on a sudden. Not the curtain s at his feet. as if its hold were of u ncommon strength. "nothing else!" He spoke before the hour bell sounded. and which was doubtless the occasion of its using. with snow upon the ground. and that he had a cold upon him at the time. i n its duller moments. then. Light flashed up in the room upon the instant. cold. as he looked about him . were. He resolved to lie awake unt il the hour was passed. and y et the face had not a wrinkle in it. which it now held under it s arm. and being diminished to a child's proportions. The curtains of his bed were drawn aside. bare. The darkness and the mist had vanished with it. nor the curtains at his back. as if instead of being so close b eside him. melancholy ONE. for it was a cle ar." "Bear but a touch of my hand there." said Scrooge. The curtains of his bed were drawn aside. and clasped him gently by the arm. "and you shall be upheld in more than this!" As the words were spoken. that bed was warm and the thermometer a l ong way below freezing. He rose: but finding that t he Spirit made toward the window. the hands the same. The city had entirely vanished. "I am the Ghost of Christmas Past. observant of its dwarfish stature. that from the crown of its head there sprung a bright clear jet of light.

" Scrooge said he knew it. each one connected with a th ousand thoughts. its church . who called to other boys in country gigs and carts. bare. a nd a bell hanging in it. a chilly bareness in the place. when all the other boys had gone home for the jolly holidays. u ntil the broad fields were so full of merry music. until a little market-town appeared in the distance. and hopes. and as they came. and the coach-houses and sheds were overrun with grass. and disclosed a long." The Ghost smiled thoughtfully. and Scrooge sat down upon a form. to a door at the back of the house. with its bridge. on the roof. putting his hand in his pocket. for t he spacious offices were little used. the Ghost and Scrooge. He was not reading now. forgotten! "Your lip is trembling. Scrooge knew and named them ever y one. long. And he sobbed. and wept to s ee his poor forgotten self as he had used to be. "I wish. the windows cracked. They went. "Remember it!" cried Scrooge with fervor. "Let us go on. that it was a pimple. fragments of plaster fell out of the ceiling. "A solitary child. as they parted at cross-roa ds and bye-ways. appeared still present to the old man's sense of feeling. "Nothing. is left there still. and vas t. "I could walk it blindfold." "What is the matter?" asked the Spirit. drive n by farmers." said the Ghost. "These are but shadows of the things that have been. I was a boy here!" The Spirit gazed upon him mildly. neglected by his friends. which a ssociated itself somehow with too much getting up by candle-light. Fowls clucked and strutted in the stables. Scrooge looked at . and winding river. Scrooge knew no more than you do. a nd begged the Ghost to lead him where he would. He was conscious of a thousand odors floating in the air." said Scrooge. There was an earthy savor in the air. Why was he rejoiced beyond all bounds to see them? Why did his cold eye g listen. that the crisp air laughed to hear it. and not too m uch to eat. for their several homes? What was Merry Christmas to Scrooge? O ut upon Merry Christmas! What good had it ever done to him? "The school is not quite deserted. "And what is that upon your cheek?" Scrooge muttered. The panels shrunk. "They have no consciousness of us." said the Ghost. and tree. and glancing throu gh the open doors of many rooms. and post. and soon approached a mansio n of dull red brick. cold. It was a large house. for entering the dreary hall." said the Ghost. their win dows broken. after drying his eyes with his cuff: "but it's too late now. and the room became a little dar ker and more dirty. Some shaggy ponies now were seen trotting toward them with boys upon their backs." The jocund travelers came on. their walls were damp and mossy. and waved its hand: saying as it did so. with a little weathercock-surmounted cupola. All these boys were in great spirits. and joys. Scrooge recognizing every gate." "Strange to have forgotten it for so many years!" observed the Ghost. and shouted to each other. and the naked laths were shown instead." They walked along the road. "You recollect the way?" inquired the Spirit. with an unusual catching in his voice. and looking about hi m. melancholy room. though it had been light and instantaneous.. Its gentle touch. and his heart leap up as they went past? Why was he filled with gladness when he heard them give each other Merry Christmas. alone again. by a well remembered lane. and their gates decayed. made barer still by lines of plain deal forms and desks. but walking up and down despairingly. they found them poorly furnished. At one of these a lonely boy was reading near a feeble fire. There was a boy singing a Christmas Carol at my door last night. "Nothing. Nor was it more retenti ve of its ancient state within. across the hall. "I was bred in this place. He only knew that it was quite correct: that everything had happened so: that there he was. but how all th is was brought about. but one of broken fortunes. It opened before them. and cares long. They left the high-road. "Let us see another Christmas!" Scrooge's former self grew larger at the words." Scrooge muttered. I should like to have given him something: that's all.

oily." "I have come to bring you home. the children bade the schoolmaster good-bye right willingly. and all the strife and tumu lt of a real city were. from his shoes to his organ of benevolence. Dick. He was very much attached to me. to be sure!" said Scrooge to the Ghost. "Know it!" said Scrooge." said the Ghost. and getting int o it. and sent me in a coach to bring you. adjusted his capacious waistcoat. "before a man can say Jack Robinson!" You wouldn't believe how those two fellows went at it! They charged into the str . but it was evening. Poor Dick! Dear. and asked Scrooge if he knew it. with a sharp clap of his hands." said the Ghost." Although they had but that moment left the school behind them. Master Scrooge's trunk being tied on to the top of the chai se. that I was not afraid to ask him once more if you might come home. "But she had a large heart!" "So she had. "Yes. accompanied by hi s fellow-'prentice. At sight of an old gentleman in a Welsh wig. and tried to touch his head. clapping her tiny hands. and answered briefly. as I think. and bending down to laugh. "and are never to come back here: but first. and have the merriest time in all the world. little Fan!" exclaimed the boy. "To bring you home. sitting behind such a high desk. "Yes. in her childish eagerness. Ebenezer. "and had. Christmas Eve. and put ting her arms about his neck. fat. "Was not I apprenticed here!" They went in. I will not gainsay it Spirit. and looked up at the clock. drove gaily down the garden-sweep: the quick wheels dashing the hoar-frost and snow from off the dark leaves of the evergreens like spray. Then she began to drag him. dear brother." said the Ghost. home. "Dick Wilkins. for good and all. there! Ebenezer! Dick!" Scrooge's former self. "Bless me." Scrooge returned.the Ghost. laughed a ll over himself. toward the door. A terrible voice in the hall cried. Home. glanced anxiously toward the door. for ever and ever. laughed again. which pointed to the hour of seven. and he said Yes. was Dick." "One child. The Ghost stopped at a certain warehouse door. but being too li ttle. "You're right. "Your nephew!" Scrooge seemed uneasy in his mind. came briskly in. and a little girl much younger than the boy. "No more work to-night. acc ompanied her." "You are quite a woman. and with a mournful shaking of his head. it's old Fezziwig! Bless his heart. "Bring down Master Scrooge's box." cried old Fezziwig. Ch ristmas. Scrooge cried in great excitement: "Why. "Home. and threw him into a dreadful state of mind by sha king hands with him. home!" "Home. And you're to be a man!" said the child. and stood on tiptoe to embrace him. and the streets w ere lighted up. It opened. who glared on Master Scrooge wi th a ferocious condescension. "True. and called out in a comfortable. yes. where shadowy carts and coaches battled for the way. where shadowy passengers passed and repassed. it's Fezziwig alive again!" Old Fezziwig laid down his pen. by the dressing of the shops. and often kissing him." said the child. nothing loth to go. came darting in. whom a breath might have withered. children. we're to be togeth er all the Christmas long." cried Scrooge. my boys!" said Fezziwig. rich. Let's have the shutters up. there!" an d in the hall appeared the schoolmaster himself. "Always a delicate creature. that home's like Heaven! He spoke so gently to me one dear night when I was going to bed. and he. that here too it was Christmas time again. Father is so much kinder than he used to be. It was made plain enough. God fo rbid!" "She died a woman. dear!" "Yo ho. little Fan?" returned the boy. She clapped her hands and laughed. There he is. jovial voice: "Yo ho. now grown a young man. that if he had been two inches taller he must have knocked his head against the ceiling. dear brother!" said the child. He rubbed his hands. brimful of glee. addressed him as her "Dear. you should. they were now in the busy thoroughfares of a city. o pening her eyes.

enjoyed everything. It was done in a minute. remembered everything. and bright a play-room as yo u would desire to see upon a winter's night. "Nothing particular. some pushing. "No. There were dances. with her cousin. Fezziwig. some pulling. and there was a great piece of Cold Roast. in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count 'em up. but it produ ced an immediate effect. which were under a counter in the back-shop. and made an orchestra of it. a pleasur e or a toil. two. When everybody had retired but the two 'prentices they did the same to them. perhaps. During the whole of this time. wished him or her a Merry Christmas. I think?" the Ghost insisted. the lamps were trimmed. beaming and lovable. and the lads were left to their beds. when the bright faces of his former self and Di ck were turned from them. and thus the cheerful voices died away. and with his former self. The spirit signed to him to listen to the two apprentices. "to make these silly folks so full of gratitud e. It was not until now. and there was cake. eight. "A small matter. who were pouring out their hearts in praise of Fezziwig. "Clear away." He felt the Spirit's glance. There was an eager." said Scrooge. He corroborated eve rything. this domestic ball broke up. I n came all the young men and women employed in the business. the milkman. fuel was heaped upon the fire . Fezziwig took their stations." said Scrooge. and there were mince-pies. or couldn't have cleared away. some gracefully. one on either side the door. "Hilli-ho!" cried old Fezziwig. in they all came . the baker. and let's have lots of room here!" Clear away! There was nothing they wouldn't have cleared away. and stopped. five. Mr. He was older now. that he remembered the Ghost. some boldl y. Say that his power lies in words and looks. "It isn't that. Every movab le was packed off. and tuned like fifty stomach-aches. is quite as great as if it cost a fortune. In they all came. and the warehouse was as snug. as if it were dismissed from public life for evermore. one after another. nine--and came back before you cou ld have got to twelve." said Scrooge. three--had 'em up in their places--four. In came the housema id. heated by the remark. I should like to be able to say a word or two to my cle rk just now. and became conscious tha t it was looking full upon him. That's all. my lads. "My time grows short. with old Fezziwig looking on. skipping down from the high desk. and dry. His heart and soul were in the scene. while the light upon its head burnt very clear. not his latter self. one vast substantial smile. a man in the prime of life. In came a fiddler with a music-book. some shyly. panting like race-horses. some awkwardly. and Mrs. When the clock struck eleven. the fl oor was swept and watered. "Why! Is it not? He has spent but a few pounds of your mortal money: three or fo ur. "What is the matter?" asked the Ghost. and more dances. and there were forfeits. and shaking hands with every person individually as he or she went out. and there was a great piece of Cold Boiled. In came the cook. He has the power t o render us happy or unhappy. "Quick!" This was not addressed to Scrooge. and underwent the strangest agitation. "Something. but it had begun to wear the signs of care and avarice." "Small!" echoed Scrooge. six--barred 'em and pinned 'em--seven. and when he had done so said." said the Ghost. to make our service light or burdensome. gre . Spirit. anyhow and everyhow. His face had not the harsh and rigid lines of later years. with wonderful agility. In came the three Miss Fezziwigs. Scrooge had acted like a man out of his wits. or to any one whom he could see. with her brother's particular friend. For again Scrooge saw himself. Is that so much that he deserves this praise?" "It isn't that." His former self turned down the lamps as he gave utterance to the wish: and Scro oge and the Ghost again stood side by side in the open air.eet with the shutters--one." observed the Spirit. and speaking unconsciously like his former. what then? The hap piness he gives. and went up to the lofty desk. "No. and warm. In came Mrs.

do not blame me!" "Remove me!" Scrooge exclaimed. of being in his own bed-room. for the especial purpose of holding a conference with the s . upon him. then?" "In a changed nature. and I release you. restless motion in the eye." "Have I ever sought release?" "In words. and there is nothing it professes to condemn with such severity as the pursuit of wealth!" "You fear the world too much. in another atmosphere of life. but she left him and they parted. Gain. but sat by the side of a fair young girl in a mourning-dress: in whose eyes there were tears. If this had never been between us. what then? I am n ot changed toward you. for the love of hi m you once were. Awaking in the middle of a prodigiously tough snore. in an altered spirit. "Your own feeling tells you that you were not what you are. very little." she answered." "I was a boy. engrosses you. and can release you. in whi ch some strange way there were fragments of all the faces it had shown him. "Even if I have grown so much wiser. you were another man. we could improve our worldly fortune by our patient industry. wres tled with it." He was about to speak. "I am . It is enough that I have thought of it." said the girl. and." "What idol has displaced you?" he rejoined. gently. Never. choosing her." She shook her head. You are changed. STAVE THREE. "There is nothing on wh ich it is so hard as poverty. which sparkled in the light that shone out of th e Ghost of Christmas Past." she returned. "I cannot bear it!" He turned upon the Ghost. until. and overcome by an irresistible drows iness. I will n ot say. "Am I?" "Our contract is an old one. With a full heart. as I would have tried to do. No. Why do you delight to torture me?" "I told you these were shadows of the things that have been. In everything that made my love of any worth or value in your sight. which showed the passion that had taken root. Scrooge had no occasion to be told that the bell was ag ain upon the stroke of One. further. How often and how keenly I have thought of this. do I not know that your repentance and regret wou ld surely follow? I do. He felt that he was restored to consciousness in the right nick of time." he said impatiently. "It matters little. but with steadiness. I have no just cause to grieve. Another idol has di splaced me. and sitting up in bed to ge t his thoughts together. Haunt me no longer!" In the struggle--if that can be called a struggle in which the Ghost." said the Ghost. before he sank into a heavy sleep. "All your other hopes have merged into the hope of being beyond the chance of its sordid reproach. "Leave me! Take me back.edy." she said. "can even I believe that you would choose a dow erless girl: or. "Spirit!" said Scrooge. He was not alone. "A golden one. I have s een your nobler aspirations fall off one by one. He had barely time to reel to bed." "In what. softly. until the master-passion. THE SECOND OF THE THREE SPIRITS. is fraught with miser y now that we are two. with no vi sible resistance on its own part was undisturbed by any effort of its adversary-Scrooge was conscious of being exhausted. and seeing that it looked upon him with a face. "show me no more! Conduct me home." "This is the even-handed dealing of the world!" he said. That which promised happiness when we were one in heart. looking mildly . Have I not?" "What then?" he retorted. When it was made. It was made when we were both poor and content to b e so. in good season. "T hat they are what they are. and if it can cheer and comfort you in time to come. "To you. anoth er Hope as its great end. a nd where the shadow of the growing tree would fall.

he wa s taken with a violent fit of trembling. game. he lay upon his bed. I went forth l ast night on compulsion. where (for the weather was severe) the people made a rough. and bade him enter. and which." said Scrooge. red hot chestnuts. that it looked a perfect grove. mistletoe. which streamed upon it when the clock proclaimed the hour. from whence. and. barrels of oysters. submissively. But it had undergone a surpr ising transformation. who bore a glowing torch. established a sharp look-out all round the bed. as he was powerless to make out what it meant. let me profit by it. being prepared for almost anything. "Come in!" exclaimed the Ghost "Come in! and know me better. The Ghost of Christmas Present rose. For he wished to challenge the Spirit on the moment of its appearance. to form a kind of throne. consequently. being only light. from every part of which. The whole scene vanished instantly and they stood in the city streets on Christm as morning. and held it fast. whence it was mad del ight to the boys to see it come plumping down into the road below. on further tracing it. All this time. Perhaps it was the pleasure the good Spirit had in showing his sympathy with all . as he came peeping round the door. geese. The crisp leaves of holly. He aped up on the floor. He was not the do gged Scrooge he had been. however. glorious to see. cherry-cheeked apples . plum-puddings. and lying down again. Have you had many brothers. he put them every one aside with his own h ands." said the Spirit: "Look upon me! You have never seen the like of me before!" exclaimed the Spirit. "I am the Ghost of Christmas Present. meaning (for I a m very young) my elder brothers born in these later years?" pursued the Phantom. In easy state upon this couch there sat a jolly Giant. It was his own room. mince-p ies. At last. and such a mighty blaze went roaring up the chimney. "I am afraid I have not. bright gleaming berries gl istened. poult ry. Now. He obeyed. or for many and many a winter season gone. man!" Scrooge entered timidly. he be gan to think that the source and secret of this ghostly light might be in the ad joining room. to shed its light on Scrooge. "conduct me where you will." "Touch my robe!" Scrooge did as he was told. or Marley's. and hung his head before this Spirit. There was no doubt about that. long wreaths of sausages. and held it up. but bris k and not unpleasant kind of music. brawn. and though the Spirit's eyes were clear and kind. "A tremendous family to provide for. "Have never walked forth with the younger members of my family. "Never. he d id not like to meet them. and no shape appeared. when the bell struck One. i f you have aught to teach me. and ivy reflected back the light. in shape not unlike Plenty's horn. luscious pears and immense twelfth-cakes. Five minutes." said Scrooge. and I learnt a lesson which is working now. as that dull petrifaction of a hearth had never kno wn in Scrooge's time. a strange voice called him by his nam e. he got up softly and shuffled in his slipper s to the door. it seemed to shine. and did not w ish to be taken by surprise and made nervous.econd messenger despatched to him through Jacob Marley's intervention. The walls and ceiling were so hung with living green. sucking-pigs." muttered Scrooge. great joints of meat. and from the tops of their houses. the very core and centre of a blaze of ruddy light. in scraping the snow from the pavement in fr ont of their dwellings." said the Ghost. and splitting into artificial little snowstorms. But. ten minutes a quarter of an hour went by. Spirit?" "More than eighteen hundred. were turkeys. he was not by any means prepared for no thing. "Spirit. as if so many little mirrors had been scattered there. was more alarming than a doze n ghosts. find ing that he turned uncomfortably cold when he began to wonder which of his curta ins this new spectre would draw back. "I don't think I have. To-night. The moment Scrooge's hand was on the lock. juicy oranges. that made the chamber dim with their delicious steam. yet nothing came. This idea taking full possession of his mind. high up." Scrooge made answer to it.

how late you are!" said Mrs. with which they soon returned in high procession. he bore a little crutch. and bore him off into the wash-house. and Bob had hugged his daughter to his heart's content. assisted by Belinda Cratchit. Cratchit." replied the girl. who made l ame beggars walk and blind men see. to look seasonable.poor men. screamin g that outside the baker's they had smelt the goose. and sh e laid the cloth. "and had to cle ar away this morning. lest they should shriek for goose before their turn came to b e helped. and taking off her shawl and bonnet for her with offici ous zeal. and Tiny Tim upon his sh oulder. but when she did. Then up rose Mrs. and when the long-exp . while the t wo young Cratchits hustled Tiny Tim. hide!" So Martha hid herself. "Sit ye down bef ore the fire. "Hide. with at least three f eet of comforter exclusive of the fringe hanging down before him. holding to his robe." cried the two young Cratchits. and had his limbs supported by an iron frame! "Why. Somehow he gets thoughtful. Bob took Tiny Tim beside him in a tiny corner at the table. and mounting guard upon their posts. for he had been Tim's blood horse all the way from church. "Not coming upon Christmas Day!" Martha didn't like to see him disappointed. mother!" "Well! never mind so long as you are come. if it were only in joke. and have a warm. And now two smaller Cratchits." Bob's voice was tremulous when he told them this. Master Peter mashed the potatoes with incredible vigor. who were everywhe re at once. "Here's Martha. He told me. and on the threshold of the door the s pirit smiled. bless your heart alive. which are cheap and make a goodly show. Martha!" "Why. boy and girl. "Not coming!" said Bob. and his thread bare clothes darned up and brushed. dressed out but poorly in a twice-t urned gown. "and better. mother. Mrs. looking slowly all along the carving-kni fe. came tearing in. and back came Tiny Tim before another word was spoken. Where's our Martha?" cried Bob Cratchit looking round. "We'd a deal of work to finish up last night. as Mrs. Cratchit. Lord bless ye!" "No no! There's father coming. and stopped to bless Bob Cratchit's dwelling with the sprinklings of his torch. Cratchit's wife. so she came out prematurely from behind the closet door. At last the dishes were set on. and known it for their own. the two young Cratchits set chairs for everybody. and to ok Scrooge with him. Cratchit." cried the two young Cratchits. Cratchit. my dear. second of her daughters. for there he went. crammed spoons into their mouths. "What has ever got your precious father. also br ave in ribbons. Cratchit. "And how did little Tim behave?" asked Mrs. Cratchit. Miss Belinda sweetened up the apple sauce. because he was a crip ple." said Bob. Martha. when she had rallied Bob o n his credulity. with a sudden declension in his high spirits. then?" said Mrs. and grace was said. and thinks the strangest things you ever heard." said Mrs. Alas for Tiny Tim. "Not coming. ki ssing her a dozen times. Martha dusted the hot-plates. the father." said a girl appearing as she spoke. His active little crutch was heard upon the floor. co ming home. and trembled more when he said that Tiny Tim was growing strong and hearty. "And your br other. Cratchit made the gravy (ready beforehand in a little saucepan) hissing hot . "Hurrah! There's such a goose. escorted by his brother and sister to his stool beside the fire. that he might hear the pudding singing in the copper. Tiny Tim! And Martha warn't as late last Christmas Day by half-an-hour!" "Here's Martha. mother. and Master Peter and the two ubiquitous young Cratchits went to fetch the goose. not forgetting themselves. my dear. while Master Peter Cratchit plunged a fork into the saucepan of potatoes. and had come home rampant. but brave in ribbons. and ran into his arms. sitting by himself so much." said Mrs. prepared to plunge it in the breast. Cratchit. and in came little Bob. and it might be pleasant to them to remember upon Christmas Day. that led him straight to Scrooge's clerk's. "As good as gold. that he hoped the people saw him in the church. It was succeeded b y a breathless pause.

"Mr. a wonderful pudding! Bob Cratchit said." said the Ghost. Scrooge!" said Bob." "My dear. Eked out by apple sauce and mashed potatoes. that he regarded it as the greatest success achieved by Mrs. kind Spirit! say he will be spared. But he raised them speedily on hearing his own name. What then? If he be like to die. beat on the table w ith the handle of his knife." replied the Ghost. Then Bob proposed: "A Merry C hristmas to all." "I see a vacant seat. the cloth was cleared." returne d the Ghost. as if he were deliberating w hat particular investments he should favor when he came into receipt of the bewi ." Scrooge hung his head to hear his own words quoted by the Spirit. were the themes of u niversal admiration. and feebly cried Hurrah! There never was such a goose. what men shall die? It may be that in the sight of Hea ven you are more worthless and less fit to live than millions like this poor man 's child. The two young Cratchits laughed treme ndously at the idea of Peter's being a man of business. she would confess she had her d oubts about the quantity of flour. with an interest he had never felt before. But now the plates being changed by Miss B elinda. one murmur of delight arose all round the b oard. Cratchit said with great deli ght (surveying one small atom of a bone upon the dish).ected gush of stuffing issued forth." said Bob. Cratchit left the room alone--too nervous to bear witnesses--to tak e the pudding up. The mention of his name cast a dark shadow o n the party. it was a suffi cient dinner for the whole family. and calmly too. and I hope he'd have a good appetite for it. Bob said he didn't believe there ever was such a g oose cooked. and a cru tch without an owner. meaning half a one. but nobody said or thought it was at all a small pudding for a large family." Scrooge was the Ogre of the family. and bring it in. in what Bob Cratchit called a circle. upon his little stool. and was overco me with penitence and grief. not adamant. and decrease the surplus population. and dreaded that he might be taken from him." said Scrooge. Cratchit since their marriage. Oh. At last the dinner was all done. "Oh. reddening. I'd give him a piece of my mind to feast upon. he had better do it." said Scrooge. the Founder of the Feast!" "The Founder of the Feast indeed!" cried Mrs. Oh. they were ten times merrier than before. "if man you be in heart. and even Tiny Tim. "tell me if T iny Tim will live. "Man. the hearth swept. forbear that wicked cant until you have discovered what the surplus is and where it is. He sat very close to his father's side. and Peter himself looked thoughtfully at the fire from between his collars. Bob Cratchit told them how he ha d a situation in his eye for Master Peter. Mrs. and th e fire made up. the last of all. every one!" said Tiny Tim. God! to hear the insect on the leaf pronouncing on the too much li fe among his hungry brothers in the dust!" Scrooge bent before the Ghost's rebuke. If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future the child will die. Mrs. and trembling cast his eyes upon the gro und. After it had passed away. God bless us!" Which all the family re-echoed. "in the poor chimney corner. my dears." "No. Cra tchit said that now the weight was off her mind. carefully preserved. It woul d have been flat heresy to do so. Any Cratchit would have blushed to hint at suc h a thing. Apples and oranges were put upon the table and a shovelful of ch estnuts on the fire. size and cheapness." "If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future none other of my race. as if he loved the child and wished to keep him by his side. which was not dispelled for full five minutes. Its tenderness and flavor. as Mrs. excited by the two young Cratchits. Cratchit. "Spirit. "God bless us. no. from the mere relief of Scrooge the Baleful being done with. "I'll give you Mr. they hadn't ate it all a t last! Yet every one had had enough. indeed. Will you de cide what men shall live. Scrooge. Everybody had something to say about it. no. "I wish I had him here. Then all the Cratchit family drew round the hearth. "the children! Christmas day. "will find him here. Bob held his with ered little hand in his.

expressed the same opinion. and contente d with the time. with the Spirit standing smiling by his side." "Indeed. noble adjustment of things that while there is infect ion in disease and sorrow. and very likely did. and when they faded. Scrooge's niece. And their assembled friends being not a bit behindhand. the inside of a paw nbroker's. With a dimpled. and they must be allowed to have been competent judges . to-morrow be ing a holiday she passed at home. perfectly satisfactory. They are always in earnest." "More shame for him. When Scrooge's nephew laughed in this way. "I am sorry for him. "He's a comical old fellow. and to find himself in a bright. their shoes were far from being waterproof. I couldn't be angry wi th him if I tried. parlors. Here. "Ha. Scrooge's niece's siste rs. By and by they had a song. roared out lustily. and all the other ladies. with hot plates baking through and through before the fire. I have!" said Scrooge's nephew. a ripe little mouth that seemed made to be kissed--as no doubt it was. was wonderful. and be the first to greet them. They were not a handsome family. then told the m what kind of work she had to do. brothers. uncles. "Oh. that melted into one another when she laughed. to know a man more blessed in a la ugh than Scrooge's nephew. Ever ybody else said the same. you know. ha. Bless those women ! they never do anything by halves. even-handed." "I have no patience with him. pleased with one another. Intr oduce him to me. holdi ng his sides. to hear a h earty laugh. rolling his head. surprised-looking. who had a plaintive little voice. aunts. and how many hours she worked at a stretch. all the children of the house were running out into the snow to meet their married sisters. and he won't come and dine with us. the flickering of the blaze showed preparations for a cosy dinner. but s atisfactory. She was very pretty. from Tiny Tim. dry. laughed as heartily as he. ha. However. his offences carry their own punishment. until the last. by any unlikely chance. "He be lieved it. he takes it into his head to dislike us." said Scrooge's nephew. too. all kinds of good little dots about her chin. their clothes w ere scanty. There. gleaming room. It was a much greater surprise to Scrooge to recognize it as his ow n nephew's. the brightness of the roaring fires in kitche ns. Also how she had seen a countess and a lord so me days before. they we re not well dressed. indignantly. there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagi ous as laughter and good-humor. I should like to know him too. and I have nothing to say against him. exceedingly pretty. and as Scrooge and the Spirit went along the streets. What's the consequence? He don't lose much of a dinner. all I can say is. and espe cially on Tiny Tim. Here. "that's the truth: and not s o pleasant as he might be. There was nothing of high mark in this. and I'll cultivate his acquaintance. by marriage. capi tal face. grateful. Fred!" said Scrooge's niece. and twisting his face into the most extravagant contortions. Scrooge had his eye upon them. and Peter might have known. It is a fair. a nd how she meant to be abed to-morrow morning for a good long rest. ha! Ha. who was a poor apprentice at a milliner's. Who suffers by his ill whims! Himself. and looked happier yet in the bright sprin klings of the Spirit's torch at parting. always. But they were happy. I think he loses a very good dinner." observed Scrooge's niece. about a lost child traveling in the snow . ready to be drawn to shut out co ld and darkness." at which Pet er pulled up his collars so high that you couldn't have seen his head if you had been there. Oh." interrupted Scrooge's niece. "Ha! ha! ha!" If you should happen. Altogether she was what you would have called provoking. It was a great surprise to Scrooge. and how the lord "was much about as tall as Peter. and looking at that same nephew with approving af fability! "Ha! ha!" laughed Scrooge's nephew. and sang it very well indeed. as I live!" cried Scrooge's nephew. cousins. Martha.ldering income. By this time it was getting dark and snowing pretty heavily. and deep red curtains. too. as he meditated on these scenes. ha!" "He said that Christmas was a humbug. and all sorts of rooms. and the sunniest pair of eyes you ever saw in any little creature' s head.

that's somethin g. and loved her love t o admiration with all the letters of the alphabet. he softened more and more. to the secret joy of Scrooge's nephew. and further to assure h imself of her identity by pressing a certain ring upon her finger. But she joined in the forfeits. For his pretending not to know her. What do you say. was an outrage on the credulity of human nature. monstrous! No doubt she told him her opinion of it when. whet her he likes it or not. wherever she went. which would have been an affront to your u nderstanding. bumping up against the pia no. and never better than at Chris tmas. in spite of all her silken rustlings. My opinion is. . He wouldn't catch anybody else. When thi s strain of music sounded. "that the consequence of his t aking a dislike to us.. that he los es some pleasant moments. "Well! I am very glad to hear it. "Do go on. and thought that if he could have listene d to it often. either in his mouldy old of fice. he encouraged them in their merriment. and not making merry with us. and saying. tumbling over the chairs. he might have cultivated the kindnesses of life for hi s own happiness with his own hands. another blind-man being in office. they were so very confidential toge ther. and that the Ghost of Christmas Present knew it. After awhile they played at f orfeits." said Scrooge's nephew." It was their turn to laugh now. Likewise at the game of How. 'Uncle Scrooge. as I think. The way he went after that plum p sister in the lace tucker. and I think I shook him yesterday. years ago. by lamp-light. he caught her. that it was a done thing between him and Scrooge's nephew. and her rap id flutterings past him. all the things that the Ghost had shown him. Of course there was. (as some of them did) on purpose. b ut he can't help thinking better of it--I defy him--if he finds me going there. Whereat Scrooge's niece's sister--the plump one with the la ce tucker: not the one with the roses--blushed. because they had just had dinner. for he ans wered that a bachelor was a wretched outcast. He may rail at Christmas till he dies. When." said Scrooge's nephew. or his dusty chambers. in a snug corner where the Ghost and Scr ooge were close behind her. and Where. and played among oth er tunes a simple little air (a mere nothing: you might learn to whistle it in t wo minutes). After tea they had some music. Kn ocking down the fire-irons. came upo n his mind. th en his conduct was the most execrable. Scrooge's niece played well. which could do him no harm. and a certain chain about her neck. at the notion of his shaking Scrooge. and. Stop! There was first a glorious game at blindman's buff. which had been familiar to the child who fetched Scrooge from the b oarding-school. as he had been reminded by the Ghost of Christmas Past. I am sure he loses pleasan ter companions than he can find in his own thoughts. But they didn't devote the whole evening to music. But being thoroughly goodnatured. Fred. were cl ustered round the fire. there went he! H e always knew where the plump sister was. "because I haven't any great faith in these young housekeepers. behind the curtains. but was made comforta ble with a large chair and a footstool. his p retending that it was necessary to touch her head-dress. for I pity him. in good temper. Scrooge's niece was not one of the blind-man's buff party. for it is good to be children sometimes. and would instantly have sidled off in the direction of the plump sister. when. without resorting to the sexton's spade that buried Jacob Marley. he would have made a feint of endeavoring to seize you. how are you?' If it only puts him in the vein to leave his poor clerk fifty pounds. A nd I no more believe Topper was really blind than I believe he had eyes in his b oots. If you had fallen up against him. clapping her hands. "He never finishes w hat he begins to say! He is such a ridiculous fellow!" "I was only going to say. and with the dessert upon the table. and it really was not. so that they l aughed at any rate. I mean to give him the same chance every year. year after year. Topper?" Topper had clearly got his eye upon one of Scrooge's niece's sisters. smothering himself amongst the curtains. he got her into a corner whence there was no escape. and not much caring what they laughed at." said Scrooge's niece. when its mighty founder was a child himself. is. she was very great. But when at last. was vile. She often cried out that it wasn't fair. who had no right to express an opi nion on the subject.

But this the Spirit said could not be done. looking down upon them. blunt as he took it in his head to be. for the sharpe st needle. approached. Scrooge started back. meagre. its face. miserable. Beware of them both. and pulled them into shreds. "They are Man's. appealing from their fathers. It was shrouded in a deep black garment. "Spirit. and lifting up h is eyes. turning on him for the last time with h is own words. wholly forgetting in the interest he had in w hat was going on. "Are there no prisons?" said the Spirit. "And they cling to me . In almshouse. on foreig n lands. No ch ange. draped and hooded. and far they went. ragged. he remembered the prediction of old Jacob Marley. Much they saw. The Spirit stood beside sick beds. its form. that while Scrooge remained unaltere d in his outward form. As the last stroke cease d to vibrate. and separate i . warranted not to cut in the eye. was not sharper than Scrooge. no degradation. and so did Scrooge. Having them shown to him in this way. but prostra te. wolfish. too. as Topper could have told you. and clung upon the outside of its garment." From the foldings of its robe. "Look here. too. and many homes they visited. hideous. which concealed its head. Scrooge looked about him for the Ghost." said Scrooge. The whole scene passed off. and looked upon him with such favor." said the Spirit. and all of their degree. in their humility. clearly older! "Forgive me if I am not justified in what I ask. and they were close at home. in any grade. Is it a foot or a claw?" "It might be a claw. that he begged like a boy to be allowed to stay until the guests de parted. and glared out menacing. save one outstretched hand. looking intently at the Spirit's robe. but they al l played. but always with a happy end. hospital. and twisted them. he tried t o say they were fine children. and they were cheerful. and j ail. the Ghost grew older. and barred the Spirit out. for in the very air through which this Spirit moved i t seemed to scatter gloom and mystery. and touched them with its freshest tints. in misery's every refuge. Scroog e bent down upon his knee. When it came near him. and tau ght Scrooge his precepts. and saw it not. had pinched. li ke that of age. by poverty. The Ghost was greatly pleased to find him in this mood. through all the m ysteries of wonderful creation. for the flesh there is upon it. are they yours?" Scrooge could say no more. devils lurked. fright ful. that his voice made no sound in their ears. if it were only a night. and he and the Spirit were again upon their travels. where vain man in his little brief authority had not made fast the door. and they were patient i n their greater hope. because the Christmas Holidays appeared to be condensed into the space of time they passed together. STAVE FOUR. abject. too." "Have they no refuge or resource?" cried Scrooge. The Phantom slowly. no perversion of humanity. but the words choked themselves. rather than be p arties to a lie of such enormous magnitude. but Scrooge had his doubts of this . and not belonging to yourse lf. It was strange. THE LAST OF THE SPIRITS. "but I see something strange. but most of all beware of this boy. Yellow. it brought two children. he sometimes came out with his guess quite loud. It was a long night. and it was rich. There might have been twenty people there. for. young and old. by struggling men. silently. and left nothing of it visible." was the Spirit's sorrowful reply. he left his blessing. beheld a solemn Phantom. They knelt down at its feet. protruding from your skirts. But for this it would have been difficult to detach its figure from the night. This girl is Want.beat her sisters hollow: though they were sharp girls too. coming like a mist along th e ground toward him. a stale and shriveled hand. This boy is Ignorance. "Are there no work-houses?" The bell struck twelve. Wher e angels might have sat enthroned. They were a boy and girl. appalled. Where graceful youth should have filled their featur es out. scowling. has monsters half so horrible and dread. and very often guessed right. wretched. gravely.

"You are about to show me shadows of the things that have not happened." said the same speaker. "Ghost of the Future!" he exclaimed. and he found that he could hardl y stand when he prepared to follow it. He hasn't left it to me. "Lead on! The night is waning fast. But Scrooge was all the worse for this. as observing his condition. and it is precious time to me. and encompass them of its own act. I am prepared to bear you company." observed the gentleman with the exc rescence on his nose." said the first speaker . "Is that so. I only know he's dead. Spirit!" The Phantom moved away as it had come toward him. He knew no more. Suppose we make up a party and volunteer ?" "I don't mind going if a lunch is provided. "No. He was at first inclined to be surprised that the Spirit should attach importance to conversations appare ntly so trivial. Will you not speak to me?" It gave him no reply. Spirit?" The upper portion of the garment was contracted for an instant in its folds. and chinked t he money in their pockets. could see not hing but a spectral hand and one great heap of black. as if the Spirit had inclined its head. Scrooge advanced to listen to their talk. and so forth. Observing that the ha nd was pointed to them. I believe. Scrooge knew the men. "It's likely to be a very cheap funeral. "for upon my li fe I don't know of anybody to go to it. I am the most disinterested among you. I know. Scrooge feared the silent sh ape so much that his legs trembled beneath him. as Scrooge had seen them often. "Lead on!" said Scrooge. "I am in the presence of the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come?" said Scrooge. but will happen in the time before us. "Well. That's all I know. "I fear you more than any spectre I have se en. "I don't know much about it ei ther way. "Last night. But I'll offer to go. and giving him time to recover.t from the darkness by which it was surrounded. for we used to stop and speak whenever we met. He felt that it was tall and stately when it came beside him." "When did he die?" inquired another. "for I never wear black gloves. to know that behind the dusky shroud. he set himself to consider what it was likely to be. and do it with a tha nkful heart. and mixed with other groups. i f anybody else will. But there they were in the heart of it. I'm not at all sure that I wasn 't his most particular friend. but feeling assured that they must have some hidden purpose. which bore him up. and trifled thoughtfully with their great gold seals. By e. They could scarcely be suppos . while he. and looked at their watches. That was the only answer he received. bye!" Speakers and listeners strolled away. Scrooge followed in the shadow of its dress. They scarcely seemed to enter the city. and I never eat lunch." "What has he done with his money?" asked a red-faced gentleman with a pendulous excrescence on the end of his nose. he thought." said a great fat man with a monstrous chin." Another laugh. "I haven't heard. perhaps. if I make one. The Spirit paused a moment. there were ghostly eyes intently fi xed upon him. The hand was pointed straight before them. The Spirit answered not." This pleasantry was received with a general laugh. The Spirit stopped beside one little knot of business men. Lead on." Scrooge pursued. yawning again. on 'Change. and conversed in groups. "Left it to his company. and that its myste rious presence filled him with a solemn dread. But as I know your purpose is to do me good and as I hope to live to be anot her man from what I was. for the city rather seemed to spring up about them. amongst the merchants. Although well used to ghostly company by this time. When I come to think of it." said the man with the large chin. after all. who hurried up and down. and carried him along. for the Spirit n either spoke nor moved. but pointed onward with its hand. "But I must be fed. though he stretched his own to the utmost. that shook like the gills of a turkey-cock. It thrilled him with a vague uncertain h orror. and looked toward the Spirit for explanation.

alone by himself. and having trimmed his smoky lamp (for it was nig ht). the woman who had already spoken threw her bundle on the floo r and sat down in a flaunting manner on a stool. a pair of sleeve buttons. came in too. beetling shop. than they had been upo n the recognition of each other. a wicked old screw. and a brooch of no great va lue. where iron. Dilber. slipshod. and she was closely followed by a man in fa ded black. and looking with a bold defiance at the other two. where Scroo ge had never penetrated before. were piled up heaps of rusty keys. and let me know the value of it. They were severally examined and appraised by old Joe. "Now. The old man raked the fire t ogether with an old stair-rod. if I was . with the stem of his pipe. to whom he could apply them. he'd have had someb ody to look after him when he was struck with Death. and dirt. I'm not afraid to be the first. nor afraid for them to see it. ugly. files. Nor could he think of any one immedi ately connected with himself. "Come into the parlor. drunken. produced his plunder." said old Joe. by a charcoal stove. "Let the laundress alone to be the second. you may depend upon it." The parlor was the space behind the screen of rags. for that was past . chains. then!" cried the wom an. made of old bricks. "It's a judgment o n him. when another woman. weights. Upon the floor within. they all three burst into a laugh . After a short period of blank astonishment. by a frowsy curtaining of miscellaneous tatters hung upon a line. "and it should hav e been. Secrets that few would like to scrutinize were bred and hidden in mountains of unseemly rags. Far in this den of infamous resort. nails. and the whole quarter reeked with crime. "If he wanted to keep 'em after he was dead. and refuse iron of all kinds. They left the busy scene. disgorged their offences of smell. crossing her elbows on her knee s. Open the bundle. put it into his mouth again. old Joe. While he did this. upon the wall. Speak out plain. It was not extensive. Scrooge and the Phantom came into the presence of this man. But she had scarcely entered. Joe. who chalke d the sums he was disposed to give for each." "I wish it was a little heavier judgment. and life. similarly laden. and added them up in to a total when he found that there was nothing more to come. although he recognized its situation and its bad repute. and this Ghost's province was the future." said Joe." replied the woman." pursued the wo man. there was a low-browed. mas ses of corrupted fat. scales. in which the old man with a pipe had joined them. I believe. the shops and houses wretched. upon the straggling s treets. "Let the charwoman alone to be the first!" cried she who had entered first. bottles. like so many cesspoo ls. just as a woman with a heavy bundle slunk into the shop. Dilber. below a pent-house roof. indeed. "Who's the worse for the loss of a few things like these? Not a dead man. The ways were foul and narrow." But the gallantry of her friends would not allow of this. and sepulchres of bones. hinges. I suppose. a pencil-case." said Mrs. was a grey-haired rascal. and let the undertaker's man alone to be the third. who had screened himself from the cold air without. Look here. before we met here. here's a chance! If we haven't all three met here without meaning it!" "You couldn't have met in a better place. were all. "That's your account. his old partner." "No. old Joe.ed to have any bearing on the death of Jacob." said Mrs. removing his pipe from his mouth. and greasy offal were bought. "why wasn't he natural in his lifetime? If he had been. with filth and misery. who was no less startled by the sight of them. and smoked his pipe in all the luxury of calm retirement. Sitting in among the wares he dea lt in. A s eal or two. if I could have laid my hands on anything else. the peopl e half-naked. old rags. Open that bundle." "It's the truest word that ever was spoke. "and I wouldn't give another sixpence. and went into an obscure part of the town. bones. mounting the breach first. We knew pretty well that we were helping ourselves. Alleys and archways. nearly seventy years of age. instead of lying gasping ou t his last there. laughing. and the man in faded b lack.

to be boiled for not doing it. Who's next?" Mrs. Dilber was next. Sheets and towels, a little wearing apparel, two old-fashi oned silver teaspoons, a pair of sugar-tongs, and a few boots. Her account was s tated on the wall in the same manner. "I always give too much to ladies. It's a weakness of mine, and that's the way I ruin myself," said old Joe. "That's your account. If you asked me for another p enny, and made it an open question, I'd repent of being so liberal, and knock of f half-a-crown." "And now undo my bundle, Joe," said the first woman. Joe went down on his knees for the greater convenience of opening it, and having unfastened a great many knots, dragged out a large heavy roll of some dark stuf f. "What do you call this?" said Joe. "Bed curtains!" "Ah!" returned the woman, laughing and leaning forward on her crossed arms. "Bed curtains!" "You don't mean to say you took 'em down rings and all, with him lying there?" s aid Joe. "Yes, I do," replied the woman. "Why not?" "You were born to make your fortune," said Joe, "and you'll certainly do it." "I certainly shan't hold my hand, when I can get anything in it by reaching it o ut, for the sake of such a man as he was, I promise you, Joe," returned the woma n coolly. "Don't drop that oil upon the blankets, now." "His blankets?" asked Joe. "Whose else's do you think?" replied the woman. "He isn't likely to take cold wi thout 'em, I dare say." "I hope he didn't die of anything catching? Eh?" said old Joe, stopping in his w ork, and looking up. "Don't you be afraid of that," returned the woman. "I an't so fond of his compan y that I'd loiter about him for such things, if he did. Ah! you may look through that shirt till your eyes ache; but you won't find a hole in it, nor a threadba re place. It's the best he had, and a fine one too. They'd have wasted it, if it hadn't been for me." "What do you call wasting of it?" asked old Joe. "Putting it on him to be buried in, to be sure," replied the woman with a laugh. "Somebody was fool enough to do it, but I took it off again. If calico ain't go od enough for such a purpose, it isn't good enough for anything. It's quite as b ecoming to the body. He can't look uglier than he did in that one." Scrooge listened to this dialogue in horror. As they sat grouped about their spo il, in the scanty light afforded by the old man's lamp, he viewed them with a de testation and disgust, which could hardly have been greater, though they had bee n obscene demons, marketing the corpse itself. "Ha, ha!" laughed the same woman, when old Joe, producing a flannel bag with mon ey in it, told out their several gains upon the ground. "This is the end of it, you see? He frightened everyone away from him when he was alive, to profit us wh en he was dead! Ha! ha! ha!" "Spirit!" said Scrooge, shuddering from head to foot, "I see, I see. The case of this unhappy man might be my own. My life tends that way, now. Merciful Heaven, what is this?" He recoiled in terror, for the scene had changed, and now he almost touched a be d: a bare, uncurtained bed: on which, beneath a ragged sheet, there lay a someth ing covered up which, though it was dumb, announced itself in awful language. The room was very dark, too dark to be observed with any accuracy, though Scroog e glanced round it in obedience to a secret impulse, anxious to know what kind o f room it was. A pale light rising in the outer air, fell straight upon the bed: and on it, plundered and bereft, unwatched, unwept, uncared for, was the body o f this man. Scrooge glanced toward the Phantom. Its steady hand was pointed to the head. The cover was so carelessly adjusted that the slightest raising of it, the motion o f a finger upon Scrooge's part, would have disclosed the face. He thought of it, felt how easy it would be to do, and longed to do it; but had no more power to

withdraw the veil than to dismiss the spectre at his side. "Spirit!" he said, "this is a fearful place. In leaving it, I shall not leave it s lesson, trust me. Let us go!" Still the Ghost pointed with an unmoved finger to the head. "I understand you," Scrooge returned, "and I would do it if I could. But I have not the power, Spirit. I have not the power." Again it seemed to look upon him. "If there is any person in the town, who feels emotion caused by this man's deat h," said Scrooge, quite agonized, "show that person to me, Spirit, I beseech you !" The phantom spread its dark robe before him for a moment, like a wing; and withd rawing it, revealed a room by daylight, where a mother and her children were. She was expecting some one, and with anxious eagerness; for she walked up and do wn the room; started at every sound; looked out from the window; glanced at the clock; tried, but in vain, to work with her needle; and could hardly bear the vo ices of her children in their play. At length the long-expected knock was heard. She hurried to the door and met her husband; a man whose face was care-worn and depressed, though he was young. The re was a remarkable expression in it now; a kind of serious delight of which he felt ashamed, and which he struggled to repress. He sat down to the dinner that had been hoarding for him by the fire, and when s he asked him faintly what news (which was not until after a long silence), he ap peared embarrassed how to answer. "Is it good," she said, "or bad?"--to help him. "Bad," he answered. "We are quite ruined?" "No. There is hope yet, Caroline." "If he relents," she said, amazed, "there is! Nothing is past hope, if such a mi racle has happened." "He is past relenting," said her husband. "He is dead." She was a mild and patient creature, if her face spoke truth; but she was thankf ul in her soul to hear it, and she said so, with clasped hands. She prayed forgi veness the next moment, and was sorry: but the first was the emotion of her hear t. "What the half-drunken woman, whom I told you of last night, said to me, when I tried to see him and obtain a week's delay: and what I thought was a mere excuse to avoid me, turns out to have been quite true. He was not only very ill, but d ying, then." "To whom will our debt be transferred?" "I don't know. But before that time we shall be ready with the money; and even t hough we were not, it would be bad fortune indeed to find so merciless a credito r in his successor. We may sleep to-night with light hearts, Caroline!" Yes. Soften it as they would, their hearts were lighter. The children's faces, h ushed and clustered round to hear what they so little understood, were brighter; and it was a happier house for this man's death! The only emotion that the Ghos t could show him, caused by the event, was one of pleasure. "Let me see some tenderness connected with the death," said Scrooge; "or that da rk chamber, Spirit, which we left just now, will be for ever present to me." The Ghost conducted him through several streets to poor Bob Cratchit's house; th e dwelling he had visited before: and found the mother and the children seated r ound the fire. Quiet. Very quiet. The noisy little Cratchits were as still as statues in one co rner, and sat looking up at Peter, who had a book before him. The mother and her daughters were sewing. But surely they were very quiet! "'And He took a child, and set him in the midst of them.'" Where had Scrooge heard those words? He had not dreamed them. The boy must have read them out, as he and the Spirit crossed the threshold. Why did he not go on? The mother laid her work upon the table, and put her hand up to her face. "The color hurts my eyes," she said. The color? Ah, poor Tiny Tim!

"They're better now again," said Cratchit's wife. "It makes them weak by candlelight; and I wouldn't show weak eyes to your father when he comes home, for the world. It must be near his time." "Past it rather," Peter answered, shutting up his book. "But I think he has walk ed a little slower than he used, these few last evenings, mother." They were very quiet again. At last she said, and in a steady, cheerful voice, t hat only faltered once: "I have known him walk with--I have known him walk with Tiny Tim upon his should er, very fast indeed." "And so have I," cried Peter. "Often." "And so have I," exclaimed another. So had all. "But he was very light to carry," she resumed, intent upon her work, "and his fa ther loved him so, that it was no trouble: no trouble. And there is your father at the door!" She hurried out to meet him; and little Bob in his comforter--he had need of it, poor fellow--came in. His tea was ready for him, and they all tried who should help him to it most. Then the two young Cratchits got upon his knees and laid, e ach child, a little cheek against his face, as if they said, "Don't mind it, fat her. Don't be grieved!" Bob was very cheerful with them, and spoke pleasantly to all the family. He look ed at the work upon the table, and praised the industry and speed of Mrs. Cratch it and the girls. They would be done long before Sunday, he said. "Sunday! You went to-day, then, Robert?" said his wife. "Yes, my dear," returned Bob. "I wish you could have gone. It would have done yo u good to see how green a place it is. But you'll see it often. I promised him t hat I would walk there on a Sunday. My little, little child!" cried Bob. "My lit tle child!" He broke down all at once. He couldn't help it. If he could have helped it, he a nd his child would have been farther apart perhaps than they were. "Spectre," said Scrooge, "something informs me that our parting moment is at han d. I know it, but I know not how. Tell me what man that was whom we saw lying de ad?" The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come conveyed him as before into the resorts of bu siness men, but showed him not himself. Indeed, the Spirit did not stay for anyt hing, but went straight on, as to the end just now desired, until besought by Sc rooge to tarry for a moment. "This court," said Scrooge, "through which we hurry now, is where my place of oc cupation is, and has been for a length of time. I see the house. Let me behold w hat I shall be, in days to come." The Spirit stopped; the hand was pointed elsewhere. "The house is yonder" Scrooge exclaimed. "Why do you point away?" The inexorable finger underwent no change. Scrooge hastened to the window of his office, and looked in. It was an office st ill, but not his. The furniture was not the same, and the figure in the chair wa s not himself. The Phantom pointed as before. He joined it once again, and wondering why and whither he had gone, accompanied it until they reached an iron gate. He paused to look round before entering. A churchyard. Here, then, the wretched man whose name he had now to learn, lay u nderneath the ground. It was a worthy place. Walled in by houses; overrun by gra ss and weeds, the growth of vegetation's death, not life; choked up with too muc h burying; fat with repleted appetite. A worthy place! The Spirit stood among the graves, and pointed down to one. He advanced toward i t trembling. The Phantom was exactly as it had been, but he dreaded that he saw new meaning in its solemn shape. "Before I draw nearer to that stone to which you point," said Scrooge, "answer m e one question. Are these the shadows of the things that will be, or are they sh adows of the things that may be, only?" Still the Ghost pointed downward to the grave by which it stood. "Men's courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they mu st lead," said Scrooge, "But if the courses be departed from, the ends will chan

STAVE FIVE. it's all true. dong. "they are not torn down. trembling as he went. ha. I'd rather be a baby. and tell 'em to bring i t here. and going round the fire-place." replied the lad. calling downward to a boy in Sunday clothes. no. and the room was his own. Never m ind. may be dispelled." said Scrooge. that his broken voi ce would scarcely answer to his call. and back again. "They are not torn down. "I'll send it to Bob Cratchit's.ge. no!" The finger still was there. starting off again. at the corner?" Scroog e inquired." "Walk-ER!" exclaimed the boy. The father of a long." replied the boy. no. "To-day!" replied the boy. THE END OF IT. "No. rings and all. "I am in earnest. Best and happiest of all. glorious! Running to the window. "Go and buy it. "What's to-day?" cried Scrooge. They are here--I am here--the shad ows of the things that would have been. collapsed. rubbing his hands. ding. a most illustrious laugh. Scrooge crept toward it." whispered Scrooge. upon his knees." "It's Christmas Day!" said Scrooge to himself. ding. and following the finger. "Is it?" said Scrooge. "Do you know the Poulterer's." The boy was off like a shot. to make amends in! He was so fluttered and so glowing with his good intentions. long line of brillian t laughs! "I don't know what day of the month it is. Clash. clang. Hallo! Whoop! Hallo here!" He was checked in his transports by the churches ringing out the lustiest peals he had ever heard. clash! Oh. "An intelligent boy!" said Scrooge. Holding up his hands in a last prayer to have his fate reversed. bell. "Am I that man who lay upon the bed?" he cried. I know t hey will!" He had frisked into the sitting-room. "I should hope I did. "Eh?" returned the boy. CHRISTMAS DAY. for a man who had been out of practice for so many years. folding one of his bed curtains in his arms. "A remarkable boy! Do you know whether they' ve sold the prize turkey that was hanging up there?" "It's hanging there now. with all his might of wonder. EBENEZER SCROOGE. I don't know anything. and I'll give you a shilling. he opened it and put out his head. ham mer. They will be. It shrunk. Yes! and the bedpost was his own. "I haven't missed it. Bell. "No. hammer. The Spirits have done it all in one night." said Scrooge. Go and buy it." cried Scrooge. the time before him was his own. The bed was his own. dong. Ha. in the next street but one. it all happened. and spli . my fine fellow!" "Hallo!" returned the boy. that I may give them the directions where to take it. He had been sobbing violently in his confl ict with the Spirit. it was a splen did laugh. he saw an alter ation in the Phantom's hood and dress. read up on the stone of the neglected grave his own name. The finger pointed from the grave to him. ha!" Really. I don't care. my fine fellow?" said Scrooge. and was now standing there: perfectly wind ed. "What's to-day. clash. "Why. "I don't know how long I have been among the Spirits. and dwindled down i nto a bedpost. Spirit! Oh. Come back with the man. who perhaps had loitered in to look about him. Say it is thus with what you show me!" The Spirit was immovable as ever. "There's the door by which the Ghost of Jacob M arley entered! There's the corner where the Ghost of Christmas Present sat! Ther e's the window where I saw the wandering Spirits! It's all right. glorious. I'm quite a baby. and his face was wet with tears. Hallo. "There's the saucepan that the gruel was in!" cried Scrooge.

quickening his pace. It was very ki nd of you. He looked so irresistibly pleasant. please. The people w ere by this time pouring forth. and walking with his hands behind him. and sidled his face in. Nice girl! Very. tho se were the blithest in his ears. But he made a dash. He had not gone far. "I am much obliged to you. They were looking a t the table (which was spread out in great array). Will you come and see me?" "I will!" cried the old gentleman." said Scrooge. in a word. somehow. with his hand already on the dining-room lock. "He shan't know who sends it. "Come and see me. I'll show you up-stairs. "Is your master at home. and walked about the streets and watched the people hurrying to and fro. as he had seen them with the Ghost of Christmas Present. if you please. and I fear it may not be pleasant to you. and he took it. Will you do me that favor?" "My dear sir. "Fred!" said Scrooge. He had never dreamed that any walk--that any thing--could give him so much h appiness. shaking hands with him. sir. I believe?" It sent a pang across his heart to think how this old gentlema n would look upon him when they met. . but he knew what path lay straight before h im. "I'll go in here. were only to be exceeded by the chuckle with which he sat down breathless in his chair again. I assure you." and got out into the streets." said Scrooge. "Yes. A Merry Christmas to you. that three or four good-humored fellows said "Good morning. Fred?" Let him in! It is a mercy he didn't shake his arm off. Allow me to ask your pardon. He dressed himself "all in his best. sir. "I don't know what to say to such munifi--" "Don't say anything. and looked down into the kitche ns of houses. and did it. He knows me. Scrooge. along with mistress. And it was clear he meant to do it." retorted Scrooge. "He's in the dining-room. and like to see that everything is right. ready for the coming of the poulterer's man. sir! A Merry Christmas to you!" An d Scrooge said often afterward. Nothing could be heartier.tting with a laugh. and found everything could yield him pleasu re. He was at home in five mi nutes." "Thank'ee. Will you let me in. A great many back payments are included in it. and said "Scrooge and Marl ey's. are you serious?" "If you please. Scrooge regarded every one with a delighted smile. "Lord bless me!" cried the gentleman. In the afternoon. "My dear sir. and taking the old gentleman b y both his hands. my dear." said Scrooge. sir!" "Mr. Your Uncle Scrooge. and the chuckle with which he rec ompensed the boy." The hand in which he wrote the address was not a steady one." said Scrooge. for these young housekeepers are always nervous on such points. when coming on toward him he beheld the portly gentleman. Bl ess you!" He went to church. round the door. but write it he did . as if his breath were taken away. that of all the blithe sounds he ever heard. "Why. "That is my name. Scrooge?" "Yes. "Not a farthing less. and chuckled till he cried." "Where is he?" said Scrooge." He turned it gently. before he had the courage to go up and knock. he turned his steps toward his nephew's house. and up to the windows. And will you have the goodness"--here Scrooge whis pered in his ear. It's twice the size of Tiny Ti m. He passed the door a dozen times. "how do you do? I hope you succeeded yesterday. I thank you fifty times. "My dear Mr. "Thank'ee." said Scrooge. w ho had walked into his counting-house the day before. and patted the children on the head. The chuckle with which he paid for the Turkey. I have come to dinner." said the other. "who's that?" "It's I. bless my soul!" cried Fred. and went down-stairs to open the street door. my dear?" said Scrooge to the girl.

on earth's f irst Christmas Day. and endeavor to assist your struggling family. on Christmas Day.-. and we will discuss your affairs this very after noon. cradled close in Mary's arms. if you p lease. sir. Step this way." said Scrooge. A WESTERN CHRISTMAS IN THE OLD DAYS. Our blessed Lord came down. In Mary's arms th at day. with an earnestness that could not be mi staken. and to Tin y Tim. His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him. "I am behind my time. God bless Us. and little heeded them. A lowly manger for His bed. as the good old city knew. he did! The clock struck nine. I think you are. and as good a man. And he did it. Oh." said Bob. All heaven is stirred! All earth i s glad! For down the shining way." "Now. SANGSTER. We would have followed fast. and catch Bob Cratchit coming late! That was the thing he had set his heart upon. at which so me people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset. Bob Cratchit!" Scrooge was better than his word. Through Cross and shame before Him stretched. Now breaks the latest Christmas Morn! Again the angels sing. or any other good ol d city. "Hallo!" growled Scrooge. as He lay. driving away with his pen. that he might see him come into the tank. Our gifts. The blessed Babe of Bethlehem. And therefore I am about to raise your salary!" "A Merry Christmas. "What do you mean by coming here at this time of day?" "I am very sorry. No Bo b. Scrooge sat with his door wide open. as have the malady in less attractive forms. as if he were trying to overtake nine o'clock. He was full eighteen minutes and a half behind his time. sir. A quarter past. my friend. yes. He was on his sto ol in a jiffy. and it was always said of him. my good fellow . before he opened the door. in the good old world. he was a second father. May that be truly s aid of us. ever afterward. and all of us! And so. town. Make up the fires. I'll tell you what. but lived upon the Total Abstinence Principle. and buy another coal scuttle before you dot another i. He did it all. If he could only be there first.But he was early at the office next morning. If we had dwelt in Bethlehem. There. Comes yet. And far and near th e children throng Their happy hymns to bring. His hat was off. To which. "A Merrier Christmas. Every One! THE CHRISTMAS BABE. Bob. sir. . as g ood a master. W. If we had been in Bethlehem. He became as good a friend. sir. than I have given you for many a year! I'll raise your salary. or borough. and infinitely more. "It shall no t be repeated. CORNING." "It's only once a year.His pathway to His Throne ." "You are!" repeated Scrooge. in his accustomed voice as near as he could feign it. Bob!" said Scrooge. We too had hasted fain To see the Babe whose little face Knew neither care nor pain. that he knew how to ke ep Christmas well. He had no further intercourse with Spirits. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him. H. as he clapped him on the back. The cattle near in stall. his comforter too. but he let them laugh." pleaded Bob. and knowing that su ch as these would be blind anyway. That little mountain town. for he was wis e enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe. he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins. "Yes. The Lord who came to Bethlehem. appearing from the tank. No Bob. I was making rather merry yesterday. He came unto Hi s own. our songs. "I am not going to stand thi s sort of thing any longer. BY MRS. Like any little child of ours. if any man alive possessed the knowledge. he was early there. who did NOT die. the Lord of all. our prayers h ad been An offering. We love to think of Bethlehem. as Tiny Tim observed. BY MARGARET E. for good. And where the Star ha d led our feet Have knelt ere dawn was past. He slept.

y ou know. something to be t alked about for six months beforehand. and puttin g her arms around her neck." There had been mysteri ous preparations the night before. an d yellow. but what can you want of it?" "Couldn't tell no ways. pr eparations commenced in the kitchen. "I always did despise to sew. indeed." said the child. and her fingers were anything but nimble in the operation. and the bran keeps tumbling out. O! how I wish Christma s was come. and all them. "I don't care. and to be remembered as long after. giving up her much-prized runs on the prairie. thought that the regular routine of school duti es would be less fatiguing. but such a succession of dining days. then giving up the morning to the jo b. Days before. heard down at the quart ers. and I thought a cu shion would be so nice. you may take it. baked. She did not thank Fanny in words for her assistance. flushed face and said : "Miss Fanny. she had looked up with a tired. and resisting all the children's entreaties to play with th em. Tom. and sitting down. and there's a little shoat thar roasted whole." There never was a prouder. she examined the poor cushion. and the faint tooting of an old horn. yes. "I want to give aunty a Christmas gift. and vi siting days. and long before daylight. Various smells issued from thence--savory s mells of boiled." said Maud. getting all in order. while her fingers were busily at work upon a few pieces of faded silk. Maud tried to hide them at first. was up ready to "march in Christmas. and night parties. The children were all kept out of the kitchen. and the beati ng of eggs were constantly heard. "There's six pound-cakes all in a row on the store-roo m shelf. "Aunty wouldn't think half so much of it if I didn't. Christmas morning came. and when "somefin' good" w as to be transferred therefrom to Miss Car'line's store-room." Coming suddenly upon Maud one day. happier child. and. It acts awfully. but that night she came softly behind her. Miss Fanny. but finding by Fanny's question of "What is it. as though some one was rehearsing a part. "but I'm going to make this cushion for aunty anyhow." Fanny searched her piece bag and brought forth bits of gay ribbon. and the chopping of sausage-meat. the pounding of spices. as Maud expressed it. Miss Fanny." said Cal. and day parties. and fitted and basted together. Ma ud?" that it was too late. a proceeding which called forth an exclamation of surprise from Mrs. till the Christmas gift was finished. Fanny was also astonished by an a pplication from little "darky Tom" for permission to use her school-bell." said Fanny. for Maud most he artily hated to sew." said Tom. has burst a great hole. It wa s a time of feasting and recreation for both master and servant. under Maud's hands.Christmas week there was no school. don't you tell now! will you? I'm makin' a pin-cushion for Aunt Pho ebe. Everything was carried on with the greatest se crecy. so bad. Catlett. and sweet delicious smells of warm pa stry and steaming cakes. she cut and planned. such as the hiding of tin pans and glass bott les under the bed. that Fanny. so that Maud could do the sewing herself. Christmas at La Belle Prairie was the one jubilee of the year. and roasted meats. gave her an earnest kiss. every child upon the place. bo th black and white. "Mebbe Miss Fanny kn . "You see. 'cause her old one that she wears pinned to her waist. I'm going to m ake her a right nice one. Aunt Tibby came sa iling in. the sight of which threw Maud into ecstasies of delight. Well and faithfully Maud performed her labor of love. 'cause aunty likes red. was not soon likely to come in to shape." she said. for Maud was very chary of h er caresses. but it won't come square. and Marthy says one of 'em got curra nts in it. "O. It was no small task. "was just as beautiful as it could be. I see 'em when ma opened the door. who looked forward to the week as a season of rest. the sa id cow-tinkler not being remarkable for sweetness of sound. with a grin. Aunt Tibby was rolling pie-crust or stirring cake all d ay long. which. holding it high above the reach of the curious little heads." It was finished at last. Fanny found her with her apron half full of b ran." "Let me see what the trouble is. all I can do. only I wish 'twas brighter.

while their atten dants were Mr. and dismounting one by one from the horse-block in front of the house." Fanny wondered what she called plenty of room. though scarcely reco gnizable in their close hoods. combs. released for a whole week from their daily tasks. while as many servants were flying about. and visits to friends and kindred on distant plantations. the rattling of bits of iron and pieces of wood. and creating the most dire confusion in their efforts to supply the want s of their respective mistresses. "don't you wish Christmas lasted the whole ye ar round?" The short December day was fast drawing to a close. One of those night parties. The beds and chairs were covered with dresses. accordingly. the town gentleman. while the ladies themselves kept up a continual stream of conversation with each other and their attendants. Just at dusk. twis ting. and brushes. It was received with tolerable good-humor by all but Nanny. Shaking hands all round. It was i mpossible to forget for a moment that it was Christmas. One could see it in the faces of the servants. Thicker . but had yet to learn the signific ation of the term when applied to the dressing-room of a western party. "Now we can have a chance at the glas s. and in troducing Fanny. Into the house. were it only to hear their extravagant expressions of gratitude and delight. they walked up the road. and the great dinner--the one dinner of the year--in the preparation of which Aunt Tibby had exercised all her skill. where the young performers went through with the same operations. and were me t in the porch by Miss Bell Turner. on purpose to enjoy the Christmas festivities on the prairie. The ladies. t he beating of tin pans. the children marshaled themselves into marching order. The children. and carried off in triumph to the quarters. seemed determined to bear it in mind. with long curls and a very slender waist. and curling. and all the paraphe rnalia of the toilet. and parties. in itself. our party reached their journey's end. stumbling over each other. In this order they commenced "marching in Christmas" to the music of the horn. with their attendants. raved at the juvenile disturbers of the peace. braiding." Morning did indeed bring an explanation of the mystery. "How nice to get here so early. deprived of her morni ng nap by the tumult. ribbons." and bearing sundry carpet-bags and valises.ow in de mornin'. capes. mounted upon old "Poke Neck. of which Nanny had talked so much. while little black Tom brou ght up the rear with Fanny's unfortunate cow-bell. too. as a party of four rode leis urely along the road crossing La Belle Prairie. performed the duties of hostess in a f ree and easy manner. where a fire was bl azing on the hearth. they all marched with their horrid din." said little Joy. and plenty of room to move about in. and bidding Viny un pack the things. and finally threw her shoes at them as they stood on the stairway. were none other than Miss Nancy Catlett and our friend Fanny. seemed to proclaim that it was Ch ristmas. long blue cotton riding skirts. bearing an old tin horn. Miss Fanny. These were directly seiz ed upon as trophies. Maud. "Oh. was to come off at Col. Into this scene Nanny entered with great spirit. Chester. this. and thick gloves." she said. they were to remain unt il the next day. black Viny rode a little in the rear. being ca ptain. containing th e ladies' party-dresses. with their boisterous merriment and constant talk about the holidays. I n accordance with the customs of society in these parts. and this was the place of their destination. the jin gling of bells. Turner's. and rej oicing in the prospect of dances. and it was well worth while to give them some trifling present. Here a dozen or more were engaged in the mysteries of the toilet. curling-irons. and Massa Dave Catlett. and the clapping of hands. flowers. were conducted upstairs to the dressing-room. This young lady. she set about dressing in good earnest. who had come over from his new home in Kansas. "Christmas gift! Christmas gift!" was the first salutation from the servants thi s morning. Assembling in the yard. and taking the lead. and up-stairs to the very doors of the sleeping-rooms. she hastily threw off her bonnet and shawl. while the ladies. ushering the gentlemen into the parlor. and. who. of course. Nanny's particular friend.

mind my wr eath!" "Jule. Mr. Dresses of thin mater ial. Fanny had never heard before. the young people mak ing up in activity what was lacking in gracefulness of motion. and they proceeded forthwith to a log building in the yard. ere long. men are crazy ove r horses you know. Fanny could not tell. in short such a Babel of sounds as filled the room for an hour or two. more gravely. but at last the ladies were dressed. now! don't them slippers fit beautiful?" "Why don't that girl come back?" "O. it was admirably suited to the guests who partook of it. and a piece of pound-cake and a little preserved fruit for dessert. Chester. innocently. be obliged to relinquish their places in our party. Mr. Chester." "In plain words. and she was not disappointed. she seat ed herself upon one of the beds. "What calls the gentlemen up-stairs so frequently?" inquired Fanny. The long table was bountifully spread wit h the substantials of this life." "Are you in earnest. all through the attractions pr esented to them up yonder. they are talking about horses up there. or tried their power s of fascination upon some long-limbed specimen of humanity. the ladies vying with each other to see who should laugh the most." "I never will. Hot coffee." "Did you know Tom Walton was here? I see him in the passage. with short sleeves. cut low in the neck. and. as groups of two and three disappeared up the steps leading to the room above." said Mr. indeed. Chester? I think it is perfectly scandalous." "How can you joke about it. with pickles and cheese. there is serious danger that some of these light-footed young gentlemen may. gave the l adies a handsome appearance. former ly used as a school-room. and watched the proceedings with great interest . directly. "You are not aware. "One living at the w est becomes accustomed to such things. Mi ss Eveline done get her coat all wet. corn bread and biscuit were passed to each guest. and it being necessary that each lady should under go a thorough transformation in dress. constituted the side-dish es. indeed. it is bad enough. and were carried on with great vigor." "I don't in the least know what you mean. do hurry. Completing her own toilet as soon as possible. Such hur ryings to and fro." "Well. A roa sted "shoat" graced each end of the board. bring me some more pins. seemed to be the order of the nigh t. that the signal wa s soon given. such knockings down and pickings up. Games soon commenced. Turner would provide. the last sash pinned. such scolding and laughi ng. they all descended to the parlor. Miss Hunter. Game after game w as made out. girls. "No. what a formidable rival the ladies have up in the loft ?" said Mr. or I could convince you in a moment. "You Suke. both ladies and gen tlemen manifested such eagerness to adjourn to the play-room. Liza. while those who were left chatted gayly together in groups." How it was all brought about. till the night's amusements commenced." "A set supper. a side of bacon the centre.and faster came the arrivals. cut in thin slices. and found the gentlemen strolling about. "but honestly. employing themselves as the y could. Chester?" "Certainly I am. that's a dear girl!" "Come. which with wreaths. Miss Ellen. . gravely. I suppose. and though not in the style of an entertainment in Fifth Avenue. though there was a comical expression about the co rners of his mouth. before making her appearance down-stairs. I only hope you may not witness the overpowering influence sometimes exer ted by this same rival." "There. just fasten up my dress. while sal ted beef. I would have stayed at home." "Miss Belle." Nanny had several times expressed a hope that Mrs. that's my starch-bag. how much longer are you goin' to keep the wash-bowl?" "Dar now." "Well. and the last curl adjusted. With Miss Belle at the head. for ladies to intrude upon thei r modest retirement." "O please." said Fanny. we shan't be dressed to-night. "If I had known these Christmas parties countenanced such impoliteness. then. then. It would not answer." said her companion. the labor and confusion necessary to bring this about can be imagined. and bunches of artificial flowers in the hair.

But oftenest prayed for a new suit of clothes. Their home had no father--the two were bereft Of all but their appetites--those never left! Joe's grew with his thought. the history old Of Christ's cruci fixion was reverently told. they made a hearty repast." says the old Scotch proverb. wher e the telegraph weaves Its highway of wire. At sunset. Chester. there's none that I know As good as the story about lit tle Joe. Their windows revealed many wonde rful sights. To Him the boy learned to confide all his woes. It grieved his proud soul to be seen in the s treet. my child? Well. A thousand times worse. just under the eaves Of a tenement high. "It rather shocks your Yankee ideas of looking out ahead. But reached one conclusion by various routes-. And Joe looked so queer. to waken that sound. and sitting up in bed. when shiny and whole . 'Twas a terrible blow To hear that old Santa Claus. as the arrows of light slanted higher. audit was with a sigh of relief that Fanny at last saw Uncle Jake lay down the tortured fiddle. apologetically." "Oh! Miss Fanny. three young ladies who declared that t hey were "all but starved. The lining of gold on the clouds hanging low. and must have something to eat before they could go t o sleep." JOE'S SEARCH FOR SANTA CLAUS. And makes the night musical when the wind blows. "Of course. The last thing in sight was the great cross of fire. Each day. when quiet seemed restored. And remembrance grew sad as he strutted around And tried hard. Nan. she was arou sed by her neighbors in an adjoining bed. Mary's high tower Ablaze with the light of that magical hour. He'd seen them. and the flushed fac es and increased volubility of the gentlemen gave too certain evidence of the tr uth of Mr. once. "We are used to such things out this way. from his head to his feet." said Nanny. And sometimes he cherished a secret desire To own a hand-sled. "and they had to send three miles over the prairie to Mr . Since those that he wore didn't fit h im at all-. made breakfast so late?" said Dave the next mornin g. At last. He thought how the old pair. And surely God's miracles never have ceased-. Why. John Turner's to borrow some. but vainly. "The langest day maun hae an end. "Belle says they never thought a word about it till this morning. Had squeaked in a way that delighted his soul. people can't remember everything. and the guests with lingering steps and wishful eyes retire to seek the few hour s of repose that were left of the night. and Fanny was sinking into a peaceful sleep.Joe's hunger grew less whe n his sorrows increased. of a night's witching hour He . as they were returning home. with the candle before them." One of the black women was despatched to the store-room for some slice s of cold bacon. The day before Christmas brought trouble for Joe. you can't eat half as much as you want at table." "What in goodness' name. god of his dreams. The cross on the top of St. They'd not hing for supper! The words were so sad That somehow they drowned all the hunger he had. An d still. you see. BY IRVING BACHELLER A story. Chester's assertions." said Nanny. and no flour in the house?" said Fann y. they hadn't any wheat flour in the house for th e biscuit. When the coal ran out in winter's worst storm. laughing.The coat was too large and the trousers too small. a da y never passed He spent not in hunger to make the food last. And days when his m other silently went And stood by the windows--Joe knew what it meant." "Why.He could have better fun with a new pair of boots. Would not come that year with his fleet-footed teams. as it vanished. The fire burnt the harder that kept their hearts warm. Long acres of roofing and high-flying kites." "Twenty people invited to stay over night. "I thought one while we wasn't g oin' to get any. in amazement. He lived with his mother. "Confusion worse confounded" reigned fo r a time in the apartment appropriated to the ladies' use. the great v ault of heaven aglow. or to buil d a bonfire." said Mr. and the numerous couc hes spread upon the floor increased the difficulty of navigation." said one of the yo ung ladies. you know. or rather noon.There was plenty of laughter and hearty joking at the table. Miss Hunter. that everywhere goes. "one always wants to appear delicate-like before the gentlemen.

"I knowed you would come. And said. its hope undefiled. And the wires sang merrily all the nex t night. and tried hard to think of his prayers. regretfully. For still the boy thought that. And bright ened the windows. And back of the rail." The rector stops praying--his face wears a frown. An d. that she had conquered. you are right. And suddenly w aking." (Joe tre mbled. His heart beating time to the sound of their hoofs. "Of such is the kingdom of Heaven. He turned to the peo ple and solemnly said: "We pray that the poor may be sheltered and fed. It was her mother's smile. but could not. and at length. Was li ttle Joe lucky? Well." But hark! there is music. when t he first rays of light Had fathomed the infinite depths of the night. A ragged yo ung gamin is pulling his gown. looking across the breakfast table with a smile. beginning to worry over these things. The children of mankind He leaves to man's care. And Joe tried to speak. as with sad tears he crept into bed. the feeling was grand! And while he was musing the walls seemed to sway. where the clergyman knelt. Say! what are ye go in' t'give mother an' me? Le'me see what 'tis. dear. BY JULIA SCHAYER. with the will of a man. because."He'll not com e again! no. a deep-swelling sound Is sweeping on high as if heavenward bound. but mark how the faith of the child Stood firm as a fortress. A radiance fell on his uplifted face That came from the cross gl eaming far overhead-. "Let the old women take care of the charities. "I hate to see you at your age. Y ou keep on dancing in the sunshine a while longer. half in fright-. And tenderly laying his hand on Joe's head.A symbol of hope for the living and dead. He sat on the cushi ons to see how they felt. Th ey mocked him. "I am twenty." said the boy. if Santa Claus knew How great w ere their needs and their comforts how few. who was reading a prayer. And down the long stairways on tiptoe he ran. and they sang in their strife. And we l eave it to Heaven to furnish the bread. "He is not a bad boy. and the girl had filled her mother's v acant chair for more than a year. as he lay thinking. He would come. Of storms yet to come in the winters of life. "Then it is 'yes. How soft was that velvet he stroked with his hand! But when he lay down. looking hither and thither. long-robed.) He lifted Joe's eyelids." Angela's smile grew graver. daughter. When Santa Claus came and sat down by his side. the helpless. And a great wave of feeling swept over the place. the long strings of wire Sang low in the wind like a deep -sounding lyre. He thought. now. "A tenement boy! humph! he probably swears." Ephraim F razier said." And kissing Joe's face the preacher said then. Santa Claus--please le'me see!" T he rector looked down into Joe's honest face. dear. Then out in the sn ow. Ye know. but not less sweet. and Angela knew. Poor b oy! he was trying to find Santa Claus. ho! there he come s! with his big pack and all. A moment he look ed at the great house of prayer. "Provide for the fatherless children. he'll not come again!" And oh! how the depths of his spirit were st irred By thoughts that were born of the music he heard! How cold were the winds. if he died.saw them jump over the cross on the tower And scamper away o'er the snow-covere d roofs. he patt ed his brow. He hurried along through the snow-burdene d street As if the good angels were guiding his feet. oh. The eyes of the father and daughter met. the b ond and the free. And entering softly he wandered at will Through pathways of velvet. And Joe caught the notes of this solemn refrain-. And slowly the windows went moving away." she said. Then slyly peeked in to see what was there. Amen!" That day Sant a Claus came to many a door He'd forgotten to call at the evening before. and I cannot help . ANGELA'S CHRISTMAS. What. before a word was said ." said he "The widowed.' father dear?" said Angela. And saw the light grow on a wonderful scene Of ivy-twined columns and arche s of green. anyhow. Not coming this yea r? Santa Claus must be dead. Joe saw kneeling there The rector. And as the sun rose in the heavens apace. He went. deserted and st ill."I knowed you would come--I was watchin' all night. "Too old to dance all the time. Joe cautiously crept Out of bed: and he dressed while his moth er still slept. Down the sunbeams that slope from the high-windowe d wall. while He feedeth the fowls in t he air.

thinking, you know. And--it's no use, papa dear! I must do something! It is 'ye s,' isn't it?" "You are sure you won't mind being criticised and ridiculed?" "Quite sure!" answered Angela. "And sure you won't take your failures and disappointments to heart too deeply?" "Quite sure I can bear them bravely," answered the girl. "If only one, just one, of those poor creatures may be helped, and lifted up, and brought out of darkne ss, it will be worth trying for!" "And what does Robert Johns say about it?" A glow kindled in Angela's face. "Robert is in perfect sympathy with me," she said softly. Then again, this time having risen and gone around to his side, to speak with her face against the old banker's smoothly shaven cheek, "It is 'yes,' isn't it, daddy dear?" "Well, yes! Only you must go slow, dear. You are not over strong, you know." And soon it came to pass that on a vacant lot, hitherto given over to refuse hea ps, haunted by stray cats, ragpickers, and vagrant children, in one of the viles t quarters of the metropolis, there sprang up, with magic swiftness, a commodiou s frame building, surrounded by smooth green sod, known in the lower circles as the Locust Street Home; in upper circles, laughingly denominated "Angela's Exper iment." Angela did not mind. It was mostly goodnatured laughter, and many of the laugher s ended by lending willing hands and hearts to the cause. It was wonderful how t he news spread through the city's purlieus that here was a sanctuary into which cold, hunger, and fatigue dared not intrude; a place which the lowest might ente r and be made welcome, and go unquestioned, his personal rights as carefully res pected as though he were one of the Four Hundred. That was Angela's theory. No man, woman, or child should be compelled to anythin g. First make their bodies comfortable, then surround them with ennobling influe nces and examples, entertain them, arouse them, stimulate them, hold out the hel ping hand, and leave the rest to God. "They shall not even be compelled to be cl ean!" she said, laughing. "If the beautiful clean bathrooms and clean clothing d o not tempt them to cleanliness, then so be it! I will have no rules; only influ ences. You will see!" And people did see, and wondered. Sometimes, on warm, pleasant evenings, the spacious, cheerful hall, with its tab les and chairs, would be almost empty; but on nights like that on which this sto ry opens, a dark, cold December night, the seats were apt to be well filled, mos tly with slatternly, hard-featured women, and dull-faced children, who sat stari ng stolidly about, while the music and speaking went on; half stupefied by the w armth and tranquillity so foreign to their lives. Outside, a dismal sleet was falling, but from the open door of the vestibule a g reat sheet of light fell upon the wet pavement, and above it glowed a transparen cy bearing the words: "A Merry Christmas to all! Come in!" It was while the singing was going on, led by a high, sweet girl's voice, that a human figure came hobbling out from a side street, and stopped short at the ver y edge of the lighted space. A woman by her dress, an old, old woman, with a seamed, blotched face; an ugly, human wreck, all torn and battered and discolored by the storms of life. Such wa s old Marg--"Luny Marg," as she was called in the haunts that knew her best. Her history? She had forgotten it herself, very likely, and there was no one to kno w or care--no one in the wide world to care if she should at any moment be tramp led to death, or slip from the dock into the black river. The garret which lodge d her would find another tenant; the children of the gutters another target for their missiles. Not that she was worse than others--only that she was old and ug ly and sharp of tongue, and the world--even her world--has no use for such as sh e. For some time this forlorn creature continued to hover on the edge of the lighte d space. The sleet had become snow, and already a thin white film covered the pa vement, promising "a white Christmas," and the cold increased from moment to mom

ent. The woman drew her filthy shawl closer; her jaws chattered, yet she seemed unabl e to tear herself from the spot. Her eyes, alert under their gray brows, as a ra t's, were fixed now upon the open door, now upon the transparency, yet she made no motion toward the proffered shelter. Two men, hirsute and ragged, stopped nea r her and, after a moments consultation, slunk across the square of light and di sappeared in the building. As the door was opened, there came a fuller burst of song, and a rush of warm air, fragrant with the aroma of coffee and oysters. The old woman's body quivered with desire; food, warmth, rest--all that her mise rable frame demanded--were there within easy reach, for the mere asking; nay for the mere taking; yet still the devils of stubbornness and spite would not let g o their hold upon her. But finally, as a bitter blast swept the snow stingingly against her face, she uttered a hoarse snarl, and glancing about to see that no jeering eye was upon her, the poor creature crept across the pavement, clambered up the stone steps, and, pushing open the door, slipped into the nearest vacant seat. The chairs and benches were unusually well filled. Numbers of women and children were in the foreground. A few men were also present, sitting with their bodies hanging forward, their hats tightly clutched between their knees, their eyes fix ed on the floor. The women and children, on the contrary, followed every movemen t of the young women on the platform with furtive eagerness. The simplicity of attire which Angela and her friends had assumed did not deceiv e even the tiniest gutter-child present--these were "ladies," and one and all ac corded them the same tribute of genuine, if reluctant, admiration. Old Marg, after the embarrassment of the first moment, took everything in with o ne hawk-like glance--the Christmas greens upon the clean, white walls, the curta ined space in the rear which hid some pleasant mystery, the men and women on the platform. At the organ sat a young girl, leaning upon the now silent keys, her face toward the young man who was speaking. Old Marg could not take her eyes from this face --white, serious, sweet, set in a halo of pale golden hair. The sight of it arou sed strange feelings in the bosom of the old outcast. Fascinated, tortured, bewi ldered, she sat and gazed. It was long since she had thought of her youth. This girl reminded her of that forgotten time. Like a violet flung upon a refuse-heap , the thought of her own innocent girlhood lay for an instant upon the foul mass of memories accumulated by sixty-miserable years. "I was light-haired, too!" ra n old Marg's thoughts. "Light-haired, an' light-complected, like her!" The perfume of that thought breathed across her soul, and was gone. Still she ga zed from under her shaggy brows, and, without meaning to listen, found herself h earing what the speaker was saying. He was telling without rhetoric or cant the story of Christ, and with simplicity and tact presenting the lesson of His life. "This joy of giving, of sacrificing for others," the young man was saying in his earnest, musical voice, "so far beyond the joy of receiving, is within the reac h of every human being. Think of that! The poorest man or woman or child who bre athes on earth to-night may know this joy, may give some pleasure, some help, so me comfort, to some fellow-creature. Whether it be a human creature or a dumb be ast, matters not. It is all one in God's sight, being an act of love and kindnes s and sacrifice." Old Marg looked down upon her squalid rags; her rough features writhed with a sc ornful smile. "That's a lie!" she muttered. "What could the likes of me do for a nybody, I'd like to know!" Still she listened; but at last, as the warmth stole through her sodden garments , and into her chilled veins, and the peace of the place penetrated the turbulen t recesses of her soul, the man's voice became like a voice heard in a dream, an d the old outcast slept. A confused sound greeted her awakening. Some one was playing the organ jubilantl y; people were moving about--girls with trays loaded with steaming dishes; child ren were talking and laughing excitedly. The curtain had been drawn, and a great Christmas-tree almost blinded her with its splendor. She stared about in bewild erment. She looked at the tree, at the people, at her own foul rags. A fierce re

vulsion of feeling swept over her. Rage, shame, a desire to get out of sight, to be swallowed up in the darkness and misery which were her proper element, seize d and mastered her. She staggered to her feet. A young girl approached her with a tray of tempting food. The sight and smell of it goaded the starved creature t o madness. She could have fallen upon it like a wolf, but instead she pushed the girl roughly aside and fumbled dizzily at the door-knob. A hand was laid upon her arm. The girl with the sweet, white face was looking at her with a friendly smile. "Won't you stay and have something warm to eat before going into the cold?" the girl asked gently. Old Marg shook the hand from her arm. "No!" she snarled. "I don't want nothin'! Let me go!" With a patient smile Angela opened the door. "I am sorry you will not stay," she said softly. "It would give me great pleasur e. There is a gift for you on the tree, too. It is Christmas Eve, you know!" A hoarse, choking sound came from the woman's lips. She pushed by into the vesti bule. Angela followed. "If you should feel differently to-morrow," she said, in her kind, gentle voice, "come here again, about eleven o'clock. I shall be here." Without waiting for a reply, she re-entered the hall. A young man, the same who had been speaking, me t her at the door. "Angela!" he exclaimed. "You should not be out there in the cold!" She smiled ab sently. "Did you see her, Robert?" "That terrible old woman? Yes, I saw her. A hopeless case, I fear." Angela's eyes kept their absent look. "It was awful to see her go away like that, into the cold and snow, hungry and h alf-clad!" she said. The young man leaned nearer. "Angela," he whispered. "You must not let these thi ngs sink into your heart as you do, or you cannot bear the work you have underta ken. As for that old creature, it is terrible to think of her, but she seemed to me beyond our reach." "But not beyond God's reach through us!" said Angela. Meantime old Marg was facing the storm with rage and pain in her face and in her heart. The streets were deserted, and lighted only by such beams as found their way through the dirty windows of shops and saloons. From these last came sounds of revelry and contention, and at one or another the poor creature paused, list ening without fear to the familiar hubbub. Should she go in? Some one might give her a drink, to ease for a time the terrible gnawing at her breast. Might? Yes; but more likely she would be thrust out with jeers and curses, and, for some re ason, old Marg was in no mood to use the caustic wit and ready tongue that were her only weapons. So she staggered on until the swarming tenement was reached, s tumbled up the five flights of unillumined stairs, and almost fell headlong into the dismal garret which she called her home. Feeling about in the darkness, she found a match and lit a bit of candle which s topped the neck of an empty bottle. It burned uncertainly as if reluctant to dis close the scene upon which its light fell. A smoke-stained, sloping ceiling, a b lackened floor, a shapeless mattress heaped with rags, a deal box, a rusty stove resting upon two bricks, supporting in its turn an ancient frying-pan, a chippe d saucer, and a battered tin can from which, when the scavenger business was goo d, old Marg served afternoon tea--such were her home and all her personal belong ings. There was no fire, nor any means of producing one, but upon the box was spread a piece of paper containing a slice of bread and a soup-bone, whereto clung some fragments of meat--the gift of a neighbor hardly less wretched than herself. The old woman's eyes glittered at the sight, and, seizing the food, she sank wea kly upon the box and began gnawing at it; but her toothless jaws, stiff with col d, made no impression upon the tough meat and hard crust, and letting them drop to the floor, the poor creature fell to rocking to and fro, whimpering tearlessl y, like a suffering dog. Strangely enough, within the withered bosom of this mos t wretched creature there had welled up, from some hidden source of womanly feel

then. rubbing her lank body caress ingly against it. The cold increased. grew and swelled in . and sent one broad white ray through the dingy window a nd across the floor. rebellio us old woman. twisting her withered fingers restle ssly. a malicious pleasure. order. In young and passionate days she had often thought of seeking that way out of li fe's agonies. and gay--too pretty and too gay for a p oor working girl! That was where the trouble began. No! How could I be? Little the likes o' her knows what the likes o ' me has to face! Lord!" The bit of candle guttered and went out. became a cat--a lean. the window! With an inarticulate cry the woman arose and hobbled along the shining moon-ray to the window. and a keen wind had arisen. an' a good girl. With a keen eye old Marg measured the distance. Bare. which crept meekly toward the window. fawning unsuspectingly against the arm that had threatened. All at once the great bell began to strike the midnight hou r. so new to this forlorn creature.ing. with a burning care where her heart had been. too! Not like her." said the old woman. Awed by the stern beauty of the heavens. pale. bitter. "Light-haired. and innocent. its white bosom traced with the sharp shadow of the to wer. when she. lit up the witch-like features. arching its starved frame. and. gentlene ss--had brought to pass. and threw open the sash. and light-complected! A pretty girl. looking out and down. a brutal cu nning. its mingled vibrations filling the garret with tumultuous sounds. from Sin to Virtue? This suggestion commende d itself highly to her sense of humor. Startled. rising on four long and skinny legs. and only one thought . Far below lay the deserted square. Reaching out one sk inny arm. and that white surface would be broken by a black sh apeless heap. "I was light haired. too. and old Marg was herself again. but at its worst there is always some sweetness left in the cup--w hen one is young! It was not so now. "if sh e ain't a-tryin' to purr! Wall. placing her on the floor. a sheer descent of fifty fe et. "She ain't always been like this. Death--yes. was young. and pretty. a swift fall. that beats me!" The poor beast continued its piteous appeal for aid. That fair young girl-tall. "Lord!" muttered old Marg. It had ceased snowi ng. And presently the moon climbed up behind the belfry of the old c hurch across the square. Nothing to break the fall--nothing! One movement. its lank jaws parted in a vain effort to mew. she called coaxingly: "Puss! Puss!" The cat dragged herself up to the outstretched arm. and she had enough. With an impulse new to her misery-hardened heart. This was what a moment's contact with all that she had so long abjured--purity. Far from resisting. glancing from the animal to the pavement below. pointing toward the past. Her eyes glittered as she cast a look about the silent room. or the good people on their way to early mass--ah! The seamed countenance lit up suddenly with a malignant joy. t oo. a ghastly Christm as offering from Poverty to Riches. or some drunken revel er would stumble over it. one desire. The vision of the fair girl faded." moaned old Marg. sweet as an Easter lily--stood before her like an incarnate memory. Why not wait until they began to pass--those pious. the splendor of the moon tangled in the lace-like carvings of the belfry as in a net. cunning old face softened suddenly. even of the m eans to this end! Ah. that was best. waving its tail. old Marg drew the animal in an d closed the window. old Marg drew back f or an instant. The dregs only had been hers for many a yea r. respectable people in their comfortable furs and wools--and cast herself into their midst. black cat. tearing the clouds into shreds through which the stars gleamed. the cat nestled against her with every sign of pleasure. a passionate self-pity. A policeman would find it on his next round. the far-distant past. With a hoarse chuckle she was about to cl ose the window when a portion of the shadow that lay alongside the chimney showe d signs of life." The divine emotion of pity. "She's been somebody's pet. left in her desperate mind--the thought and the desire of death. a no less passionate self-loathing. its phosphorescent eyes gleami ng. The cruel. she leaned some moments against the sill. a hard.

who stopped short on the threshold. either!" said Angela. can ye? No more could I! We're in the same box. but the hand of a lady. thinking to have reached the root of the difficulty. A little water or tea remained in it. and m orning dawned." Still old Marg looked doubtful. some shame-faced and shy. and at last the d oor opened slowly to admit old Marg. The moon-ray crept along and spread itself over the heap of rags. in twos and threes. Here was another of God 's creatures as miserable as herself--nay. Angela watched and waited. ignoring the beautiful han d she dared not touch. which devoured it now eagerly. suspicious. Wiping her cheeks with a corner of the shawl." A profound wonder came into the old face--then it began to writhe. "No. miss. with a peal of bells and the sound of footsteps on the pavement b elow. seeking a channel amid the seams and wrinkles of the sun ken cheeks. appealing. the seamed old face. mistrustfully. and passed on to the feast. ashamed. letting the moonlight shine into its rusty depths. "Poor beast!" she said. "Not a 'sylum. "You will let me be your friend. . receiving her Christmas guests. "Never mind that. comfortable home----" "I can work. s ome eager.her bosom. Each one was pleasantly we lcomed. The old woman felt a keener pang of pity. "Not an asylum. with a bitter smile. the starving creature gnawed greedily at the bone an instant. "you may work all you are able. and still the two slept on. for she had a roof to shelte r her! And she could share it with this homeless one. an' toothless. more so. the scant tears of age. Ah!" Her eyes had fallen upon the discarded food. with a look at once stubborn. not a bite or a sup. drawing the ragged covers over them. and with this she moistened some of the bread and placed it before the cat. "Have you a family. "You were tired. I guess. the knotted fi ngers resting on the cat's rough fur. We'll have to starve together. a in't ye? an' I ain't got nothin' to give ye. "Seems to understand every word I say!" old Marg muttered. helping to keep things clean and comfortable. and both slept. "Let me be your friend. "Never mind!" Angela answered sweetly. The cat nestled against her side. and from each eye oozed scant tears. stroking the rough fur. she examined the battered tin can. puss? Christmas day! Lord! Lord!" The cat rubbed against her skirts. too. Like a wild animal on the alert for the faintest sign of repulsion or danger. you shall never be cold or hungry again. clean. Then she took the animal in her arms and laid herself down on the mattress. after all. "If only I had a drop o' mil k for her now!" Hobbling to the stove. t hen looked up with a hopeless mew. Still old Marg wept silently. An' it's Christmas day! Did ye kno w that. proffering her white." urged Angela. They came straggling in. sh e half turned toward the door." "I am a bad old woman!" said old Marg. some indifferent." said Angela quietly. The man at the hall had not lied. "I can wash. some boldly and impudently. puss! Old. an' nobody belongin' t o us. A home--a bright. soft hand. miss!" put in old Marg. "Poor puss!" muttered old Marg." said old Marg huskily. suspicious glance darted from the wet eyes. "You shall have a pleasant home and----" A swift. the warmth of the two poor bodies mingled. please!" said the old woman. but Angela only smiled. but all poverty-pinched. "I was ugly to ye last night. If you will. "A Merry Christmas!" she said brightly. her eyes fixed upon her benefactor's. it passed away. "Ye can't eat 'em. Angela stood near the door. she stood there. destitute of jewels. doubling her knotted hands to show their st rength. or any one belonging to you?" asked Angela. an' scrub----" "Yes. Eagerly she seized it and placed it before the cat." said Angela. "You're starvin'.

was lifted in a blanket and gently carried by his m other into the beautiful presence." she added."Yes. with a bit of a burning stick. really true. and told the m to get up and come into the kitchen. with a laugh which was good to hear. "I understand you perfectly. contentedly munching her Christmas dinner. "I have adop ted her--and her cat!" she answered." A half-hour later entered the young man Robert. Before they had time to say a word." So. "See! Roger. You and your ca t shall not be separated. "She looks more human already." said the boy. I see! I see! O mother. in trooped the three children. mother?" whispered Robert. Very early the next morning. It was too tall.) Mrs. she must go. arousing him. She fas tened upon the twigs of the tree the gifts she had bought in Boston for her boys and girl. "Keep still unti l I come back!" The little lad. "Get one that is straight and tall. Where I go. shouting something to somebody. so they took it out again and cut it off two or thre e feet at the base. yes. and there will be good times there. they all went to bed. she began. handsomest young hemlock tree that they could find." "O mother!" he cried. "I wish to fetch Roger in and wake him up before it. "What will they do to us for having the tree? I wish we hadn't it. and no dream at all? Y es. while Lucy clung to her mother's gown and shrieked with all her strength. and bade them go to the pine woods and get the fine st. "I have a cat. . After that she softly called Rupert. while the stars shone on the snow-covered hills--th e same stars that shone sixteen hundred years before on the hills when Christ wa s born in Bethlehem--the little Puritan mother in New England arose very softly. J ust as the last one was set aflame. And when Roger was quietly sleeping in the adjoining room. Angela pointed silently to old M arg." she said. with their hatchets they hew ed it down and brought it safely home the next night when all was dark. there were knocks at the door--and it was as yet scarcely the break of day! There were voices also. "That's all!" THE FIRST PURITAN CHRISTMAS TREE. and put it where you can draw it under the wood-shed after dark. they were silenced by their mother's warning . and the door being doubly barred to prevent any one coming in. The boys went to Pine Hill. Olcott called her boys. and blankets being fastened over the curtains to prevent any one look ing in." "Yes. Then she took as many as twenty pieces of candle and fixed them upon the branches. fast asleep." she said. but here in New England we have a w hole Christmas-tree. the stars did sing when Chri st was born! They must be glad." he added. in heaven. I know they must. mother." said his mother. mother?" What was it that they heard? The little Olcott home had never before seemed to t remble so. and keep Christmas. "there will be good times there. that same laugh which goes to one's heart so. "I have a cat of my own. and said. She went out and lit the kitchen fire anew from the ash-covered embers. then. now that I've seen the Christmas-bo ugh. (ANONYMOUS. it is so beautiful! Were all the trees on all the hi lls lighted up that way when Christ was born? And. see!" she said. too." "Then. "why. too!" Angela patted the grimy hand. and the curtains being down over th e windows. "What have you done to her?" he asked. "We will take this one." regretted Ru pert. "It is Christmas morning now! In England they only have Christmas-boughs. I--What is that. sitting in a warm corner. "I sha'n't mind going. Then they propped it up. my boy. clapping h is little hands with joy at the thought. and there they picked out the finest young tree on a ll the hill. There were taps at the window." said the old woman stoutly. "O Lucy! Is it really. "Shall I put out the candles. Robert and Lucy." Angela laughed again. Hurrying back. to light the candles. with well-boughed branches on it. Roger. they dragged the tree into th e kitchen.

until. no choirs to sing. because you've brought my father back again.-. The snow came down on the vacant seas. if mother will let you. cold Christmas Day. You may talk of th e old town's bells to-night. For an instant nothing was thought of except the jo yous welcoming of the Captain in his new home. no c hoirs to sing. BY HEZEKIAH BUTTERWORTH. or king.-.-. or king. or king. and in walked Captain Olcott.But ra ng the axe 'mong the evergreen trees And followed the Sabbath day. Immanuel waits at the temple gates Of the nation to-day ye found. no!" sternly spoke Mrs. mother did. drew near with faces ste rn and forbidding. up went the curtain.-. Let your axes ring to-day. This gray. "If Christ was born on Christmas Day. no choirs to sing. When the Lord of Life was born?" The white hills silent lay. When your work for the Lord is done. The white hills silent lay. and gazed and gazed. And the workmen said at dawn: "Shall our axes swing on t his day of days. One man. the sternest there. or lord. No chapel of baron. Remember ye Malabarre Bay. cold Christmas Day. until one and another and yet another so ftened slowly into a smile as little Roger's piping voice sung out: "She made it for me. when the first excitement was passed. or lord.-For there were no ancient bells to ring. That gray. out of the knocking and the tapping at her door. To-day let your axes sound!" The sky was cold and gray. her only thought to screen her mother.And here are no ancient bells to ring. "Rachel! Rachel! Rachel!" "Unbar the door!" she cried back to her boys. And your boats return. and all the pretty thi ngs that are on it. no choirs to sing. br oke off a little twig and said: "I'll take it for the sake of the good old times at home. no choirs to sing. Then low at H is feet the evergreens lay And cradle His church in the West. And sweet on the Zuyder Zee. They a re ringing sweet on the Harlem Meer. or lord. The sky is c old and gray. The pines are frosted with snow and sleet." he added. That gray. No priests to chant. And white on the lone rocks lay. "Tell the truth!" "It's--a--Christmas-tree!" faltered poor Lucy. No priests to chant.And there we re no ancient bells to ring. or lord. "Your axes wield. or lord. And they drifted away from Provincetown Bay In the fireless light of the sun. cold Christmas Day. . "What's this? What is it? What does this mean?" was asked again and again. Olcott.-.For there were no ancient bells to ring. And the coven ant there with the Lord ye sealed. No chapel of baron. ready to meet her fate. And they came to a harbor fair. Olcott. That gray. too. But you may have it now. "No. With rain and sleet were the tall masts iced." THE FIRST CHRISTMAS IN NEW ENGLAND. No chapel of baron. And the day by Him is blest. N o chapel of baron. And the Lord delights in no form al rites.An d there were no ancient bells to ring. cold winter day. cold Christmas D ay. No chapel o f baron. or king."It's Indians!" Pale and white and still. Neither Pilgrim nor Puritan frowned at the gift. child. No priests to chant. It was a voice calling. But not yet was their journey done. stood Mrs. Pilgrims and Puritans all. They thought they had come to their port that day. Then rose the sun in a crimson haze. Shall we our axes wield When the chimes at Lincoln are ringing sweet And the bells of Austerfield?" The air was cold and gray. "The old town's bells we seem to hear: They are ringing sweet on the Dee. One and another and another. and with it t he long lost Captain Olcott. "It's welcome home to father!" said Lucy. No priests to chant. its gifts still hanging. And gloomy and chill was the air. But they looked from the crystal sails to Christ. "it's your father calling!" Down c ame the blankets. her heart caught a sound. as the tall young pine stood aloft. or king. and the shallop's light Shall follow the light of the sun. followed by every man and woman in Plymouth who had heard at break of d ay the glorious news that the expected ship had arrived at Boston. its candles ablaze. No priests to chant. Then the master said. That gray. open flew the door.

-. or already growing down again--there are not. had these Bells. and seeking out some crevices by which to enter. and bent on being hea rd. There are not many people--and as it is desirable that a story-teller and a stor y-reader should establish a mutual understanding as soon as possible. muttering. sitting snugly round the fire! It has an awful voice. Far from it. Not speechless. if needful to his satisfaction." as Toby Veck said. trust me. sounding voice s. dwelt the Chimes I tell of. ay. Much too sturdy Chimes were they. is the wild and dreary place at night: and high up in the steeple of an old church. and tempting the deep organ. far above the light and murmur of the t own and far below the flying clouds that shadow it. high up in the steeple! There the foul blast roars and whistles! High up in the steeple. until m orning. before an old church door. fighting gallantly against it when it took an adverse whim. singing in a church! But. But it applies to Night. and far and wide they might be heard upon the wind. then flings itself despairingly upon the stones below. BY CHARLES DICKENS. It must be argu ed by night. They had clear. that wind at midnight. But Time had mowed down their sponsors. no choirs to sing. an d Henry the Eighth had melted down their mugs. who will meet me singly in an old churchyard. into the vaults. these Bells (for my part. "all to fits. soars up to the roof. they had been sometimes known to beat a blustering Nor'Wester. I don't mean at sermon time in warm w eather (when the thing has actually been done. or some lone wi fe whose husband was at sea. For the night-wind has a dismal trick of wandering round and round a building of that sort. but in the night. besides. they would pou r their cheerful notes into a listening ear right royally. And they thought of Malabarre Bay. in the church tower. it wails and howls to issue forth again. O n the lonely heights of Burial Hill The old Precisioners sleep. They had had their Godfathers and Godmothers. But did ever men with a nobler will A holier Christmas keep. by the way. on stormy nights. loud. nameless and m ugless. No priests to chant. and moaning as it goes.--for though they chose to call him Trotty Veck. that the register of their baptism was lost long . and of trying with its unseen hand. or king. a nd gliding round and round the pillars. though. once or twice). and not content with stalking through the aisles. in the broad bold Day. the wind ows and the doors. Ugh! Heaven preserve us. I know. and to twist and twine itself about the giddy stair. b y this position. I would rather incur the responsibility of being Godfather to a Bell than a Boy). as one not finding what it seeks. That gray. No chapel of baron. When the sky was cold and gray. They were old Chimes. And I will undertake to maintain it successfully on any gusty winte r's night appointed for the purpose. cold Christmas Day? THE CHIMES. with any one opponent chosen from the rest. and twirl the groanin g weathercock. and had had their silver mugs. and passes. I say. moreover. many p eople who would care to sleep in a church. A great multitude of persons will be violently astonished. where it is free to come and go through many an airy arch and loop hole. his name was Toby. and strives to rend the rafters. and make the very tower shake and shiver! High up in the steeple of an old church. lusty. he having been as lawfully christened in his day as the bell . by some poor mother watching a sick child. and they now hung. Centuries ago. I beg it t o be noticed that I confine this observation neither to young people nor to litt le people. long before the memory of man. And they cheerily sang by the windy seas. young and old: yet growing up. for. and no one knew their names. to be dependent on the pleasure of the wind. And when it has got in. whatever that may be. no doubt.Their axes rang through the evergreen trees Like the bells on the Thames and Tay . and alone. FIRST QUARTER. or lord. but extend it to all conditions of people: little and big. and nobody could make it anything else eith er (except Tobias).A nd there were no ancient bells to ring. these Bells had been baptized by bishops: so many centuries ago. and wi ll previously empower me to lock him in.

all through the steeple? "Dinner time." said Toby. and passing Toby. And whatever Toby Veck said. for a minute or two. And a breezy. And oftentim es it seemed to come upon him sooner than it had expected. Here's last week's paper. I confess myself of Toby Veck's belief. hard by. In fact he was a ticket-porter." taking a very dirty one from his pocket. "Ah!" Toby's nose was very red. as implying the possibility of their being connected with any Evil thing. "full of obserwations! Full of obserwations! I like to know the news as well as any man. slowly. from the confines of the earth. For my part. And I take my stand by Toby Veck. "more regular in its coming round than dinner time . Being but a simple man. and he winked very much . it would suddenly wheel round again. I wonder whether i t would be worth any gentleman's while. They hung there in all weathers. red-eyed. although he did stand all day long (and weary wor k it was) just outside the church-door. and very often in his thoughts. and a ltogether he was evidently a long way upon the frosty side of cool. and he very often got such a crick in his neck by starin g with his mouth wide open. now. and waited there for jobs. "It seems as if we can't go right. but alwa ys in his good opinion. and putting it in his pocket again: "but it almost go es against the grain with me to read a paper now. express. father!" said a pleasant voice. blue-nosed. and his shoulders were very near his ears. to cure it." said Toby. "There's nothing. now. But Toby. so far off. as Toby Veck well knew. and talking to himself. goose-skinned. to buy that obserwation for the Pap ers. or do right. and nothing less regular in its coming round than dinner. I say. or be righted. and his legs were very stiff. stony-toed. was humming like a melodious monster of a Bee . often heard and never seen. trotting up and down before the church. strong melody. to have a blow at Toby. "Ah-h-h-h!" He took a silent trot. as if it cried "Why. and holding it from him at arm's length. and incapable of participating in any of the good thing s that were constantly being handed through the street doors and iron railings t o prodigious cooks. and not by any means a busy Bee. in the winter-time. I don' t know what we poor people are coming to. that he regarded them with a species of awe. and sometimes when he looked up at the dark arched windo ws in the tower. It's took me a long time to find it out. so full of such a deep. at the steeple where they hung. here he is!" Toby was curious about the Bells because there were points of resemblance betwee n them and him. eh!" repeated Toby." said Toby. after that. so h igh up. not hearing it continued to trot backward and forward: musing as he we nt. The wind ca me tearing round the corner--especially the east wind--as if it had sallied fort h. using his right hand muffler like an infantine boxing-glove. for bouncing round th e corner. "Dinner time. with the wind and rain driving in upon them. facing only the outsides of all the houses. The very thing he was in the act of doing one cold day. or the Parliament!" Tony was only joking. It frightens me almost. when the last drowsy sou nd of Twelve o'clock.s had been in theirs. father. They were so mysterious. eh!" said Toby. and yet was what he heard so often sounding in the Chimes. "I ha . for he gravely shook his head in self-depreciation. they were very often in his ears. just struck. and his eyelids were very red. fo lding it a little smaller. he invested the Bells with a strange and solemn character. that he was fain to take an extra trot or two. tooth-chattering place it was to wait in. Toby Vec k. though with not quite so much of solemnity or public rejoi cing. for I am sure he had opport unities enough of forming a correct one. afterward. and punishing his chest for being cold. For all this T oby scouted with indignation a certain flying rumor that the Chimes were haunted . That's the great dif ference between 'em. In s hort. "Why! Lord!" said Toby. Lord send we may be coming to somethin g better in the New Year nigh upon us!" "Why. "The Papers is full of obserwations as it is. he half expected to be beckoned to by something which was not a Bell. never getting any near er to the blazing fires that gleamed and shone upon the windows or came puffing out of the chimney tops. and so's t he Parliament.

Toby heard it this time. I can't think of taking it out till you guess what it i s. Now guess!" Meg was in a perfect fright lest he should guess right too soon. and speaking very s oftly. "I can bear up as well as another man at most times. delighted. Ain't it?" Meg was in ecstasy. as if she were afraid of being overheard by something inside the basket. "What's to-do? I didn't expect you. He could not have gone wider of the mark than Trotters--exce pt Polonies. One way or another. just the lit-tle ti-ny cor-ner. stopped. And yo u must guess what it is. ha. with Hope so buoyant." said Trotty. and all men an't. we are always being complained of and guarded against. Meanwhile Toby. It's v ery nice. It improves every moment. as she held the basket toward him. father dear. but supposing it should really be that we have no right to a New Year--supposing we really are intruding----" "Why. "Ha. bent down his nose to the basket. We seem to do dreadful things. which had b een directed a long way off as seeking for enlightenment in the very heart of th e approaching year. the grin upon his withered face expanded in the process. honest. shrinking away. What's that!" Toby took the shortest possible sniff at the edge of the basket. and I can't make out whether we h ave any business on the face of the earth." said Meg. and beaming with Hope. myself. not flashingly or at the owner's will. no!" cried Meg." said Meg . not alone!" "Why you don't mean to say. an d said: "I think we have some business here--a little!" Trotty kissed the lips belonging to the eyes. we fill the papers. with a sort of kick." said Meg. "that you----" "Smell it. "there. father!" said the pleasant voice again. Bright eyes they were. "It's scalding hot!" "But what is it father?" said Meg. we seem to giv e a deal of trouble. Now. Dark eyes. mournfully. With Hope so young and fres h." "Neither did I expect to come. claiming kindred with that light which Heaven called into being. Don't be in such a hurry! Wait a minute! A little bit more of the cover. putting a hand on each knee. . "Nothing like Polonies!" "No. and sometimes I think we must be intruding. ha!" roared Toby. suiting the action to the word with the utmost gentleness. and laughing softly the whole time. started. after another sniff. "It ain't--I suppose it ain't Polonies?" "No. it's hot!" "It is burning hot!" cried Meg. a nd took a long inspiration at the lid. that reflected back the eyes which searched them." cried the girl. no. "Lengthen it out a little. no. father. stopping he r ear with her hand. "No. "It's--it's mellower than Polonies. curling up her pretty shoulders. and shortening his sight. I get so puzzled someti mes that I am not even able to make up my mind whether there is any good at all in us. "Only smell it!" Trotty was going to lift up the cover at once. nodding her head and smi ling as she spoke. Pet. "But here I am! And not alone. and looking c lose into her eyes. but with a clear. "Ah! It's very nice. and squeezed the blooming face bet ween his hands. you know. when she gayly interposed her hand. It's too decided for Trotters. Eyes that were beautiful and true. or not. "Why. father. in a great hurry. found himself face to face with his own child. to-day. no. as if he were inhaling laughing gas. fo r I am as strong as a lion. that they became a voice to Trotty Veck. Let me just lift up the corner." observed Trotty. Eyes that would bear a world of looking in. or whether we are born bad." said Toby. Meg." said Toby. with the glee of a child. when I was young. despite the twenty years of work a nd poverty on which they had looked. patient radiance. better than a good many. ha! It's scalding hot!" "Ha. "Come! you haven't guessed what it is. before their depth was fathomed. as if by so doing she could keep the right word out of Toby 's lips. vigorous and bright. and cried out i n a rapture: "Why. Talk of a New Year!" said Toby. ha.dn't much schooling. calm. looking curiously at a covered bas ket which she carried in her hand. Sometimes I think we must hav e--a little.

"But they're always a bringing up some new law or other. there's no law to prevent me. as she set the basin. It an't faint enough for pettitoes. my dear. to the exclusion even of t ripe. "Always." "And according to what I was reading you in the paper the other day. As he was stooping to sit down. I mean." "Then here." answered the unconscious Toby. for there's a potato besides. "And where's the di fference? If I hear 'em. that man. "No. She had. "very bad indeed. Very much so!" "He'd eat his dinner with an appetite. clapping her hands. it an't!" cried Meg." said Trotty. "Never fails. "And so. and Meg. keep a good heart Toby! Toby Veck. "I'll lay the cl oth at once. job coming soon. Eat it while it's hot. falling to with great vigor." s aid Meg." said Toby. cheerfully. father. father. taking his seat." cried Trotty. and if I like to be proud for once. my dear. father!" laughed Meg. father. but had be fore him some imaginary rough sketch or drama of her future life. keep a good heart Toby!' A million times? More!" "Well. busying herself exultingly with her basket." said Meg. now. Post in wet. Pettitoes? No. Toby Veck. It's chitterlings!" "No. suddenly recovering a position as nea r the perpendicular as it was possible for him to assume. and a knife and fork before him. ha ! What a mistake! My goodness me. and becoming more animated under the influence of dinner. Trotty had been standing look ing at her--and had been speaking too--in an abstracted manner. almost at the worst. Come!" Since his discovery of the contents of the basket. it was the best tripe ever stewed." "And it comes--at last. Two pla ces to choose from!" "The steps to day. pointing at the tower with his fork. my dear. "When things is very bad." said Toby. Toby Veck. my dear. Toby Veck. or on the Steps? Dear. father. and call it a cloth. father? On the Post. whoever he was. b y her cheerful summons. but they're rheumatic in the damp. after a moment's bustle. how grand we are. dear. There's a mildness about it tha t don't answer to liver. Where will you d ine. because of the sitting down." "The Bells do. Toby V eck. we poor people are supposed to know them all. "Amen!" said Trotty. 'Toby Veck. is there fathe r?" "Not that I know of. my Pet. it an't!" "Why. for I have brought the tripe in a basin. what does it matter whether they speak it or not? Why b less you. "and they'd be very fond of any one of us that did know 'em all. Toby!' That way. he shook off a melancholy shake of the head which was ju st coming upon him. And I know it an't sausages. in a burst of delight "No. "Steps in dry weather. and spread tha t for a cloth. father?" cried Meg. Ha. I never!" cried Meg. all ready! And beautiful it looks! Come. if they could. which showed tha t though she was the object of his thoughts and eyes." said Trotty. the Chimes rang. with a touch of sadness in her pleasa nt voice. communing with himself. It's tripe!" Tripe it was. I'll tell you what it is. "how often have I heard them bells say. He'd grow fat upon the work he'd get. I am sure. "They broke in like a grace. "Amen to the Bells. how clever they think us!" "Yes. if it smelt like this. "here it is. Toby! Toby Veck. "Make haste. "I shall forget my own name next."Liver?" said Toby. Roused. my Pet. wha t the Judge said. "They'd say a good one. and be popular wi th the gentlefolks in his neighborhood. in high joy. in half a minute mo re. then it's 'Toby Veck." said Meg. and tied the basin up in a pocket-handkerchief. For it was Toby's constant topic. "Well!" "Seem to. protested he should say." said Trotty. Many's the kind thing they say to me. though--over and over again. what am I a thinking of!" said Toby." said Meg. you know. It w ants the stringiness of Cocks' heads. pulling off his hat and looking up toward them. The re's a great conveniency in the steps at all times." . he neither saw nor thought about her as she was at that moment. job coming soon. and trotted to her side." said Trotty.

Meg dried her eyes. after a little hesitation." "Nonsense. and think we might have cheered and helped each other! How hard in all our lives to love each other. father--" Another stoppage. with her arms folded. growing old and gray. when----" "But I have broken it. father. Meg?" asked Toby. but we are young now. and as he brought his dinner with him when he ca me to see me. like the great ladies. with here a laugh. "He says then. father." said Meg. and said it in his way. to see each other working. and there a sob. when it is so unlikely we shall ever be be tter off than we are now? He says we are poor now. without the recollection of one happy moment of a woman's life. with an unctuous and unflagging relish. or my wedding dresses to be made. and here a laugh and sob together: "So Richard says. an d gorging myself. and went to work." said Meg. "Oh!"--because she waited. So Trotty took up his knife and fork again. never so much as breaking your precio us fast." said Trotty. I'll tell you how and where. encountered Meg: sitting opposite to him. and never changed it. father. people in our condition. But happening now to look all round t he street--in case anybody should be beckoning from any door or window. and live to have it slowly drained out every drop." Meg continued. father--isn't it?--but I haven't my fortune to be settled. as if he were not at all pleased w ith himself. He say s that if we wait. and--something else besides. the best and happiest day. and to grieve. "Two dinners in one day! It an't possible! You might as well tell me that two New Year's Days will come together. Lord forgive me!" said Trotty. but quite plainly. and cut and chewed. to stay behind and comfort me. lifting up her eyes at last. "cramming and stuffing. apart. how har d to have a heart so full as mine is now. and cut and drank." interposed his daughter. father. from tripe to hot potato. Even if I got the better of it. coming nearer to him. I have had my dinner. dropping his knife and fork." "I have had my dinner. father. for all that. and how your dinner came to be brought. in coming back again. and as I love him and have loved him fully three years--ah! longer than that. and all . and only busy in watching his progress with a smile of hap piness. the way will be a narrow one indeed--the common way--the Grave. "with--with Rich ard. father. to grow old and die. "A nd if you'll go on with yours. t o deny it. father. "And Richard says. and forgot him (which I never could). father dear. "What does Richard say. we--we had it together. an d dodged about. Then stopped. and said more gayly: that is to say. motioned him to go on while the meat w as hot. It's a short notice. "I had my dinner." said Toby." A bolder man than Trotty Veck must needs have drawn upon his boldness largely. "Richard's a long time saying it. "My love! Meg! why didn't you tell me what a beast I was?" "Father?" "Sitting here. he says. or that I have had a gold head all my life. "Richard says.While this discourse was holding." Toby still appeared incredulous. and we shall be poor then." Trotty said. and years will make us old before we know it. so strong and earnest. changing." said Trotty. But much m ore slowly than before. hav e I? And he said so much. but cut and ate. until we see our way quite clearly. and one that is almost sure to bring good fortu ne with it. laughing. father. in the whole year. but she looked into his face with her clear eye s. for a po rter--his eyes. His dinner-time was early. and speaking in a tremble. and laying her hand upon his shoulder. "Why. and from hot potato back again to trip e. and make me better!" Trotty sat quite still. "all to bits. in penitent explanation. "And how hard. father. and shaking his head. and where is the use of waiting on from year to year. and you before me there. father--" Meg resumed. as his work was yesterday made certain for some time t o come. father. Trotty made no pause in his attack upon the sa vory meat before him. oh. if he knew it!--will I marry him on New Year's Day. nor wanting to. Trotty held his peace. "another year is nearly gone.

that I said I'd come and talk to you. and a sly fellow too! A knowing fellow. a full sized. Alderman Cute. but with a n expression of having important and wealthy engagements elsewhere. that'll do!" said the gentleman. well-conditioned gentleman. must you! You can't go and give a turn to none of the neighbors never. sleek. what's the matter?" said the gentleman for whom the door was opened. It was the voice of the same Richard. or won't you?" Strictly speaking. well-made." said Trotty. Up to everything. and a white cravat. "commonly known to the laboring population of this country by the name of tripe. and they both drew near together. very large and dog' s-eared from that custom. wearing creaking boots. But Mr. and winked. with eyes that sparkled like the red-hot droppings f rom a furnace fire. you are. and a smile--a smile that bore out Meg's eulogium on his style of conversation. Oh. and as you have fared very poorly for a whole week. "to let our door-steps be." repeated Trotty. and a disconsolate face. One was a low-spirited gentleman of m iddle age." sai d the footman with great emphasis to Trotty Veck. upon your bended knees. looking down upon them with a face as glowing as the iron on which his stout sledge-hammer daily rung. who had come upon them unobserved. I am su re!)." said Filer. leaving it behind him in a corner. This gentleman had a very red face. when the house-door opened without any warning." The Alderman laughed. heavy pace--that peculia r compromise between a walk and jog-trot--with which a gentleman upon the smooth down-hill of life. father. "This is a description of animal food. father. of a meagre habit. Alderman. "What's the matter. Not she!" Trotty. Why don't you let 'em be? CAN'T you let 'em be?" "There! That'll do. as they had already done it . will you! You must always go and be a-settin on our steps . with brig ht buttons. sir. and a footman very nearly put his foot in the tripe. that Toby's heart leaped up into his mouth. may come out of his house: not only without any abatement of his dignity. "See how he leaves it cooling on the step!" said Richard. can't y ou? Will you clear the road. powerful youngster he was. "Come here. for he was a merry fellow. and was not particularly well brushed or washed. "Bring it here. a nd was going to address him in a great hurry. in a blue coat. "Meg don't know what h e likes. the last question was irrelevant. Mr. "Don't leave it there!" exclaimed the gentleman. and as I couldn't help wishing there should be something to make this day a sort of holiday to you as well as a dear and happy day to me. "Halloa there! Porter!" bec koning with his head to Trotty Veck. coming out of the house at that kind of light. was obliged to go so close to the remnant of Toby's dinner before he could make out what it was. bring it here! So! this is your dinner." "And see how he leaves it cooling on the step!" said another voice. I made a little treat and brought it to surprise you. and clean linen. who kept his hands contin ually in the pockets of his scanty pepper-and-salt trousers. all action and enthusiasm. which per haps accounted for his having also the appearance of being rather cold about the heart.the time so kind and gentle. looking with a fixed eye and a watery mouth at the piece of tripe he had reserved for a last delicious tit-bit. A handsome. and sto od before the father and daughter. immediately reached up his hand to Richard. "What's the matter? What's the matter?" "You're always a-being begged. And as they paid the money for that work of mine this morning (unexpectedly. as if an und ue proportion of the blood in his body were squeezed up into his head. What's that? Your dinner?" "Yes. sir. Two other gentlemen had come out with him. He who had Toby's meat upon the fork called to the first one by the name of File r. Filer didn' t eat it. which the gentleman was now turning over and over on the end of a fork. Not to be imposed upon . making little punc hes in it with a pencil-case. black hair that curled about his swarthy temples rarely. and prayed. Filer being exceedingly short sighted. a watch-chain. The o ther. is it?" "Yes. "Out of the vays here.

"Who eats tripe?" said Mr. too--practical though! Oh. and the most wasteful article of consumption that the markets of this country can by possibility produce. for he was nettled by the question. were well founded. "Who eats tripe?" Trotty made a miserable bow." thought Tr otty in despair. "by the estimated number of existing widows and orphans. "You have heard friend Filer. yes. to take her away. and of many other mornings. "You do. t he good old times!" It is possible that poor Trotty's faith in these very vague Old Times was not en tirely destroyed. Alderman. "The good old times. We can't go right or do right. would victual a garrison of five hundred men for five months of thirty-one days each. Filer. no. in the midst of his distress. Filer. chucking her familiarly under the chin. It was a relief to get rid of it. talking to her softly at a little distance. he's a robber. "Then I'll tell you something. "What is to be said? Who ca n take any interest in a fellow like this. "Put that down indeed. reasonably well butchered. was plain to him. which had somehow got into his breas t in spite of this decree. "There is no good in us. in the blush of her b rief joy. we were thinking of it." returned Richard quickly. "Tripe is without an except ion the least economical. simultaneously with Alderman Cute. Consequently. are you?" said Cute to the young smith. the grand old t imes. jocosely. There's nothing now-a-days. and all th at sort of thing. "No. "Your daughter. "Married!" "Why. properly understood." said Trotty. "She will know it soon enough. do you?" said Mr. sir. "I'd sooner die of want!" "Divide the amount of tripe before-mentioned. to the young smith. He seemed to have starved a g arrison of five hundred men with his own hand. "And we are going to be married on New Year's Day. very prac tical!--and. if boiled." said Richard. therefore. with a groan. the Alderman had not yet had his say. would yield--I find that the waste on that amount o f tripe. "And you're making love to her. in case it should be Put Down first." "Ah!" cried Filer. Ah!" sighed the red-faced gentleman. in fact. anyhow. of the red-faced gentleman in the blue coat. the great old times! Those were the times for a bold peasantry. the Waste!" Trotty stood aghast. Tripe is more expensiv e. than the hot-house pine-apple. We are born bad!" But Trotty had a father's heart within him. faintly. seven-eighths of a fifth more than the loss upon a pound of any other animal substance whatever." Trotty was so shocked that it gave him no concern to see the Alderman finish the tripe himself. his misgivings of that morning. my friend. should have her fortune read by these wise gentlemen. "And what do you say?" asked the Alderman. that he only became consci ous of this desire. "We're rather in a hur ry you see. warmly. Those were the times for every sort of thing. and a February over. I believe you! "But who eats tripe?" said Mr." He anxiously signed. Cute did. The loss upon a pound of tri pe has been found to be. You snatch your tripe. that however these gentl emen might differ in details. and he could not bear that Meg. Alderman. and you'll do . and for ming a low estimate of the quantity of tripe which the carcases of these animals . Master. but he was a philosopher. eh?" said the Alderman. out of the mouths of widows and orphans. What do you say?" "What's it possible to say?" returned the gentleman." "I hope not. to wit. Taking into account the n umber of animals slaughtered yearly within the bills of mortality alone. Filer. The Waste. however. Filer. He didn't seem to know what he was doing though. Not a grain is left for that man. "in such degenerate times as these? Look at him! What an object! The good old times. at that moment." said Mr. as he had no idea of losing any portion of his audience. One thing. Now." thought poor Trotty. for he felt vague enough." meaning Trotty." "What do you mean?" cried Filer sharply. and the result will be one pen nyweight of tripe to each. and his legs shook under him. Deep in the people's hearts! He knew them. he cried " Stop!" Trotty took Meg's hand and drew it through his arm. "God help her. looking round. "Yes. in the boiling.. But he was so busy.

or hang yourself. turning with even increased cheer fulness and urbanity to the young smith. "Now. a s Cute! "You are going to be married. you dull dog." said the Alderman. within the last few minutes. and wander up and down the streets. for I have made up my mind to Put all suicide Down! If there is one thing. and run wil d in the streets without shoes or stockings. because I' m a Justice. you silly fellow? If I was a fine. Those boys will grow up bad. to see that Meg had turned deadly white. it is to Put suicide Down. desp erately and ungratefully. I'm going to give you a word or two of good advice. Don't think to plead illness as an excuse with me. and come to be a distressed wife. of all sorts and kinds. strapping chap like you. "A man may live to be as old as Methuselah. and may heap up facts on figur es. wrathfully. But. ha! now we understand each other. my dear. You know I'm a Justice. for I am resolved to Put all wandering mothe rs Down. And marriage seemed as reasonable and fair a d eed as they need have in contemplation. Married! Married!! The ignorance of the first principles of political economy on the part of these people. I should be ashamed of being milksop enough to pin myself to a woman's apron-strings! Why. you 'll quarrel with your husband. Alderman Cute! "There! Go along with you. because I tell you so. isn't it ! Ha. with all the girls looking after you. That's the phrase. So don't try it on. Not arm in arm. Don't make such a fo ol of yourself as to get married on New Year's Day. he came forward with a stride as Meg approached and stood beside her. facts on figures." pursued the Alderman. but you will. don't be brought before me. to drown your self. Perhaps your husband will die young (most likely) and leave you with a baby. Now don't wander near me. long before next New Year's Day: a trim young fellow like you. their wickedness is by Heavens! enough to--Now look at that couple." Toby knew not whether to be agonized or glad. my young friend! I'll convict 'em summarily every one. their improvidence. setting a constraint upon h imself. All young mothers. So. and he can no mo re hope to persuade 'em that they have no right or business to be married than h e can hope to persuade 'em that they have no earthly right or business to be bor n. you say. "Yes." said Mr." But everybody knew Alderman Cute was a Justice! Oh dear . You'll have children--boys. The young blood of her lover had been mounting. And that we know they haven't.something. facts on figures. mountains high and dry. so active a Justice always! Who such a mote of brightness in the public eye. or hand in hand. Then you'll be turned out of doors. "Very unbecoming a nd indelicate in one of your sex! But never mind that. You may think n ot. and impiously. "As for you. "and may labor all his life for the benefit of such people as those. will you!" Well! They were worth looking at. that I ha ve made up my mind to Put distressed wives Down. with a draggle-tailed wife and a crowd of squalling children crying after you wherever you go!" Oh. or interchanging bright glance . you know." said the Ald erman. but I'm afraid not) I am determined to Put Down. he knew how to banter the common people. my girl!" said Alderman Cute. you ng. "on which I can be said to have made up my mind more than on ano ther. my girl. There! Go along with you!" They went along. "and repent. "It's my place to give advice. We reduced that to a mathematical certainty lo ng ago!" "Come here. in his nice easy way." said the Alderman. of course. Tr otty kept her hand within his arm still." said the Alderman. You'll think very differentl y of it. After you're married. Down. And if you attempt. and he was indisposed to let her come. for all sick persons and young children (I hope you know the church-se rvice. don't you?" Meg timidly said. it's my determination to Put Down. Now. but looked from face to face as wildly as a sleeper in a dream. for I am determined to Put boys without shoes or stock ings. and fraudulently attempt. Filer. or babies as an excuse with me. she'll be an old woman before you're a m iddle-aged man! And a pretty figure you'll cut then. with his self-s atisfied smile. I give you fair warning. and dropped her lover's hand. "what are you thinking of being married for? What do you want to be married for. I'll have no pity on you. Mind.

Take care of her!" W ith which. he gloomy and down-looking. It must have been the greatest district of the town. to his thinking. Wrong every way!" said Trotty clasping his hands. but Mr. and trotted off. "Born bad. that she'll come to no good. He pressed his bewildered head between his hands as if to keep it from splitting asunder. The patient Year had lived through the reproaches an d misuses of its slanderers. But. winter. for finding the letter in one of them. he hurried off again. "How old are you?" inquired the Alderman. "Sir!" said Toby. and would fit itself to nothing else. made the very air spin. SECOND QUARTER. Then the Alderman gave an arm to each of his friends. Put 'em do wn. but this was really carryi ng matters a little too far." cried Mr. "The tune's changed. "Porter!" said the Alderman. The Alderman (a bl essing on his head!) had Put them Down. int o his usual trot. I shouldn't wonder." Toby. sir. I clearly see.s. to the end o . he immediately came hurrying back alone. you know. but she in tears. Put 'em down! Good old Times. and thought himself very well off to get that. "Take care of that daughter of yours. "There's not a word of all that fancy in it. "Wrong every way. Put 'em down! If they said anything they said this. melancholy as it was. Filer clearly showing that in that case he woul d rob a certain given number of persons of ninepence-half-penny a-piece. made shift to murmur out t hat he was very quick. Put 'em down! Facts and Figures. and thinking of the tripe. b reaking in as if his patience would bear some trying. It had labored through the destined round. No. "She's been and robbed five hundred ladies of a bloom a-piece." thought Toby. and walked off in high fea ther. Facts and Figures! Good old Time s. who had been looking after Meg. and sounding--but with no encouragement. A well-timed action. Full. summer. "Oh! This man's a great deal past the average age." "Even her good looks are stolen from somebody or other I suppose. Oh dea r me!" The Alderman cut him short by giving him the letter from his pocket. quite stupidly. as it happened. until the brain of Toby reeled. Were these the hearts that had so lately made old Toby's leap up from its faintness? No. Toby would have got a shilling too. Let me die!" Still the Bells. pealing forth their changes." said Toby. The greatest district of the town. as if he had forgotten somet hing. loud." said Toby. autumn. he only got sixpence. The letter Toby had received from Alderman Cute. sir. even that one. in the New Year or the Old." said the Alderman to Toby. and very strong. Put 'em down!"--his trot went to that measure. Can you be quick? You're an old man." repeated the Alderman. N o business here!" The Chimes came clashing in upon him as he said the last words. The Year was Old. It's very dr eadful!" "She's much too handsome. Good old Times! Put 'em down. She's much too handsome. was addressed to a great man in the great district of the town. but. and now laid down its weary head to die. he fell. "The chances are. mechanically. that day. and being by that means reminded of his charge." cried the old man. "you shall carry a letter for me. Good old Times! Facts and Figures. brought him. looking at the sixpence in his hand. my man. Filer. Spring. because it was commonly called "the wor ld" by its inhabitants. Trotty had no portion. Why should there be? I have no business with the New Year nor with the old one neither. as he listened. "As you happen to be here. in due time. and faithfully performed its work. "I feel I'm intruding. "I--I misdoubted it this morning. Facts and F igures! Put 'em down. "I am over sixty. not a drop. no. "Put 'em down. Observe what I say.

But I ask no other title. where.f his journey. he was told to enter from within. My friend. and took the way pointed out to him. with great r espect. Knocking at t he room door. "You have no bill or demand upon me--my name is Bowley. while another. as if the family were in the country. Quite anoth er thing. and a much statelier gentleman. "Everything goes straight in. who was greatly younger than the gentleman. sir. Every description of account is settled in this house at the close o f the old one. "I don't agree with Cute here. and nothing of t hat sort has any business with him. As such I have been taunted. holding out the l etter. and taking the letter from Toby. with one hand in his breast. My fri end. were a stately lady in a bonnet. opening from the hall. present it. I hope." returned Sir Joseph." "My dear Sir Joseph!" said the lady. and desired that even Trotty should have an opportunity of being improve d by such discourse. walked up and down. You're not a bit too soon. Fish begged pardon. but hushed and covered up. and an older. "I don't agree with the Filer party. having breathed h imself by coming incautiously out of his chair." Toby wiped his feet (which were quite dry already) with great care. at a table strewn with files and papers. "How shocking!" "My Lady Bowley. pointing to a room at the end of a long passage. "the cord of existenc e--my affairs would be found. "As such I may be taunted. Fish. whose h at and cane were on the table. "You're to take it in yourself. and looked complacently from time to time at his own picture--a full length. Member of Parliament. "From Alderman Cute. "To sever. "I am the Poor Man's Friend." "Bless him for a noble gentleman!" thought Trotty. for instance. with great asperity. is my business. Fish. and doing so found himself in a spacious library. Possibly he had this end before him in still forbearing to break the seal of the letter. and a not very stately gentleman in black." returned Sir Joseph. in my district. When he had found his voice--which it took him some time to do. in a state of preparation. "at this season of the year we should think of--of-ourselves." said Sir Joseph. a v ery full length--hanging over the fire-place. I don't agree with any party. Such a Porter! Not of Toby's order. Porter?" inquired Sir Joseph. floundering now and then. without first taking time to thi nk about it and compose his mind." suggested Mr. We should feel that every retu rn of so eventful a period in human transactions involves matter of deep moment between a man and his--and his banker. We should look into our--our accounts. on this day of the year. Fish. There is a cheque-book by the side of Mr. observing as he went that it was an awfully grand house ." said the Porter. though. To the mansion of Sir Joseph Bowley. the Poor Man. glancing at the poor man pres ent. will you have the good ness to attend?" Mr. handed it. Toby replied in the negative. "Mr. No man or body of men has any right to interfere between my friend . So that if death was to--to--" "To cut. as in the great depth of his observations. Sir Joseph." "Is this all? Have you nothing else." observed Sir Joseph. Sir Joseph Bowley--of an y kind from anybody. and in telling Trotty to wait where he was a minut e. "If you have." Sir Joseph delivered these words as if he felt the full morality of what he was saying. His place was the ticket. "What is this?" said the last-named gentleman. and they have only come to town for a couple of hours. a'purpose. has no business with any thing of that sort. The door was opened by a Porter. for the carriage is at the door now. for it was a long way off and hidden under a load of meat--he said in a fat whisper: "Who's it from?" Toby told him. who wrote from her dictation. I allow nothing to be carried into th e New Year. This Porter underwent some hard panting before he could speak. the Poor Man. have you?" said Sir Joseph. not Toby's.

I say. from habit. when I introduced pinking and eyelet-holing among the men and boys in the villag e as a nice evening employment. he had nothing for it but to make his bow and leave the house. and was very low-spirited. sir. "You have heard. indeed!" Sir Joseph looked at his lady. and the duty imposed upon us of settling our affairs. he opened the Alderman's letter. Now . He came up to London. twice all round." exclaimed Toby. the Alde rman is so obliging as to remind me that he has had 'the distinguished honor'--h e is very good--of meeting me at the house of our mutual friend Deedles. Th e Alderman observes (very properly) that he is determined to put this sort of th ing down. of course. poor Trotty pulled his worn old hat down on his he ad to hide the grief he felt at getting no hold on the New Year. and that they so unded to his fancy." Sir Joseph still repeating "Take the letter. too. He knew. turning his back on Trotty. It oughtn't to be owing. and being prepared. and carried next morning before the Alderman. Also a--a little money on a ccount of rent. at such a time." faltered Trotty. sir." said Trotty. like voices in the clouds. Bless the squire and his relations. "Very polite and attentive. But he only made . for them to sing the while. stepped forward wi th a rueful face to take the letter Sir Joseph held out to him. And in the street. how he can lie down on his bed at night. Sir Joseph! Make an example of him!" Trotty." "To Mrs. who had long ago relapsed. the ban ker. but giving additional force to the request by motion ing the bearer to the door. and get up again in the morning. "that I am a--a--li ttle behind-hand with the world. A very little. but we have been hard put to it. perhaps. "Take the letter! Take the letter!" "I heartily wish it was otherwise. and say that you also have m ade preparation for a New Year?" "I am afraid. 'I humbly ask your pardon. sir. in the same tone as before. looking meekly at him. and knew that it wa s growing dark and that the steeple rose above him indistinct and faint in the m urky air. "How a man. sir. an old man. and read it. 'My good fellow. take the letter!" and Mr. I am sure!" exclaimed Sir Joseph. and said. "certain remarks into wh ich I have been led respecting the solemn period of time at which we have arrive d. "Last winter. I will treat you paternally.and me. Oh let us love our occupations. that the Chimes would ring immediately. this very Fern--I se e him now--touched that hat of his. "that there's a matter of ten or twelve shi llings owing to Mrs. even among this improvident and impracticable race. sir. anywhere. "We have been tried very hard. my friend. to look for employment ( trying to better himself--that's his story). I know." "Let him be made an example of. oracularly. and he does me the favor to inquire whether it will be agreeable to me to h ave Will Fern put down. by all means. and being found at night asleep in a shed. "My lady." "Behind-hand with the world!" repeated Sir Joseph Bowley. "in the general line. He halted there a moment. Chickenstalker!" repeated Sir Joseph. a ma n grown grey. Fish. Chickenstalker. w ho can expect anything but insolence and ingratitude from that class of people? That is not to the purpose. "I am afraid. He then made a despondent gesture with both hands at once. And always know our proper stations. He didn't even lift his hat to look up at the Bell tower when he came to the old church on his return. I assume a--a paternal character toward my fr iend. however." said Sir Joseph. and-There!" he said." stammered Trotty. "A shop. he will be happy to begin with him. in a tone of terrible distinctness. can look a New Year in the face with his affairs in this condition ." returned the lady. can you lay your hand upon your heart. one after another . it seems. and had the lines.'" With that great sentiment. That is the ground I take. as if he gave the thing up altogether. and at Mr. set to music on the new system. Live upon ou r daily rations. but an't I something different from a great girl?' I expected it. Fish not only saying the same thing. was taken into custody. and that if it will be agreeable to me to have Will Fern put down. and at Trotty. my lady . anxious to excuse himself.

The subject of his history listened to it with a calmness that surprised him. and what character he had received. pulling up his hat in great confusio n. Toby was not such an absolute Samson. asleep. "Fern! Will Fern!" said Trotty. Friends and Fathers. come up this alley. seemed undecided whether to return or go on. Before he merged into the darkness the traveler stopped." penetrated Trotty's heart. however. that it was a comfort to him to be able to thank anyone. but he bore him company. where every furrow he had ploughed seemed to have set its image in little. he glanced at a little girl he carried in his arms. "I hope I haven't hurt you?" The man against whom he had run. I'm sure!" said Trotty. clinging round its neck.the more haste to deliver the Alderman's letter and get out of the way before th ey began. and said again." His new acquaintance looked as if he thought him mad. "That's my name." As to hurting anybody." to the burden they had rung out last. and I'll tell you what I mean. and I'd rather ask you than another--where Alderman Cute lives. Don't go to him. n evertheless. with all possible speed an d set off trotting homeward. He wa s so jaded and foot sore. So. "Nor the child. that he wa s in real concern for the other party. Here. The tone in which he said "I thank you kindly." "It's impossible. stared at him for a moment. friend. which was at best an awkwar d one in the street. and between the hat and the torn lining." replied the other. "I thank you kindly. At the figure in the worn shoes--now the very shade and ghost of shoes--rough le ather leggings. and passed his freckled hand over a brow. which didn't improve it. "I hope I haven't hurt you. He had such an opinion of his own strength. "You can tell me. but that he was muc h more likely to be hurt himself. Af ter doing first the one and then the other." cried Toby with a start. wit h grizzled hair and a rough chin. and looked about him so for lorn and strange. "I'll show you his house with pleasure. "but I am uneasy under suspicion. "for Heaven's sake don't go to him! Don't go to him! He'll put you down as sure as ever you were born. fixing his head into a kind of bee-h ive. blind to the whole street. he answered: "No. maybe he'll forgive my going to his house to-night. He nodded his head now and then--more in corroboration of an old and worn-out story. and once or twice threw back his hat. then. went slowly on." said the man." returned the man. it appeared. "Why. Toby stood gazing after him as he plodded wearily away." "Close at hand. You have not hurt me. and so soiled with travel." replied Toby." said the man with a faint smile. a sun-browned. he came back. no ma tter for how little. country-looking man. and looking round and s eeing Trotty standing there yet. as if he suspected him to be in jest. common frock and broad slouched hat. and indeed he had flown out into the road like a shuttle-cock. But he did no more. "and if you can I a m sure will. and s hading her face with the long end of the poor handkerchief he wore about his thr oat." "Nor the child. perhaps. than in refutation o f it. and all about it. he trotted against somebody in less than no time and was sent staggering out into the road. Trotty stood gazing. And at the child's arm. turning on him in astonishment. Trotty told him what he k new. satisfied of his good faith. and Trotty went half w ay to meet him." As he said so. "I beg your pardon. sinewy." "I was to have gone to him elsewhere to-morrow. wit h the child's arm clinging round his neck." cried Trotty. accompanying Toby . I hope?" said Trotty. He did not contradict or interrupt it once. therefore. for he dreaded to hear them tagging "Friends and Fathers. But what with his pace. When they were shrouded from observation. and want to clear myself and to be free to g o and seek my bread--I don't know where. Toby discharged himself of his commission. "that your name's Fern!" "Eh!" cried the other. and what with his hat. . But. seizing him by the arm and looking cautiously round.

They'd have taken care on her in the Union--eight and twenty mile away fro m where we live--between four walls (as they took care of my old father when he couldn't work no more. a nd stand her on the ground beside him. "She's my brother's child: a o rphan. however hard. Come home with me! I'm a poor man. You might tell 'em off by hundreds an d by thousands. inquired if his wife were livin g. and end that way. I'm afeared. I should do the like to-morrow. sooner than by ones. Ac t your Plays and Games without me." said Fern. but it's a large place. "I don't so much as know your name. More room for us to walk about in. I only want to live like one of the Alm ighty's creeturs. "and I'm not likely. and she's lived with me ever since. "If that's the name they give him. while she hung about his du sty leg. and be welcome to 'em and enjoy 'em. and you see--!" pointing downward with his fin ger."It's true enough in the main. and never held it back from work. "but I've opened my heart free to you. or their lives is strict indeed. There's others like me. shaking his head. master. or a fine Speechmaking. and was looking about in wonder. living i n a poor place. Whoever can deny it. when I see a whole working life begin that way." he returned. and I AM out of sorts. Ne ver mind. Come . he might do it. Nine year old. I'd sooner bear a cheerful spirit if I could. This Justice. he checked himself to say a word or two of foolish prattle in her ear. and hardly worth the keeping. "master. and shook his head to signify as mu ch. you don't know wher e. though Go d knows. I believe. "I'm not a cross-grained man by natur'. I'm sure. then I say to the gentlefolks 'Keep away from me! Let my cottage be. though he didn't trouble 'em long). For myself. th at I am Hungry. let him chop it off! Bu t when work won't maintain me like a human creetur. without a shelter for your heads. to get a better. to my misfortun'. I'm best let alone!'" Seeing that the child in his arms had opened her eyes. A Happy New Year!" "Stay!" cried Trotty. and the m that can and do. but without a friend to spe ak a word for me. I can't help it. afore they'll help us to a dry good word!--Well! I hope they don't lose good opinion as easy as we do. if we part like this. Her mother had a friend once. And to-morrow wi ll try whether there's better fortun' to be met with somewheres near London. "I never had one. and easy satisfied." he said. Then slowly winding one of her long tress es round and round his rough forefinger like a ring." Trotty knew that he spoke the truth in this. but I took her instea d. but let it be as 'tis. and to find work too. We are trying to find her. though you'd hardly think it. My doors is dark enough without your darkening of 'em more." suggested Toby." he said. with good reason. "Stay! The N ew Year never can be happy to me. "I've got a bad name this way. What odds? I have gone against his pla ns. Lilly!" Meeting the child's eyes with a smile which melted Toby more than tears. if I see the child and you go wandering away. As to cha racter. at the child. he shoo k him by the hand. to divert the current of his thoughts. Well! I don't know as thi s Alderman could hurt me much by sending me to gaol. "Ah!" he said. catching at his hand. Goo dnight. The New Year can never b e happy to me. in London h ere. and have it as free from spot or speck in us. go on that way. he said to Trotty. when my living is so bad. but she's tired and worn out now. t hat Toby. as he relaxed his grip. and pry and pry. I could sift grain from the hu sk here and there. or what not. for I'm thankful to you. and gazed upon her with an air so stern and strange. I can't--I don't--and so there's a pit dug between me. I bear no ill will against none of 'em. We've no w to do with one another. 'Tan't lawful to be out of sorts. without a chance or change. He sunk his voice so low. I never took with that hand"--holding it before him--"what wasn't my own. or poorly paid. out of doors and in. Don't look for me to come up into the Park t o help the show when there's a Birthday. I'll take your advice and keep c lear of this--" "Justice. but I can give you lodging for one night and never miss it. them gentlefolks will search and search.

"You're crazy to-night. and it'll bile in no time!" Trotty really had picked up the kettle somewhere or other in the course of his w ild career. My wits are wool-gathering. and broken down for want of rest. myself. half an ounce of tea lying s omewhere on the stairs. but declared was perfectly unin teresting to him. Ay. beneath the load he bore. proceeding in his cookery . she sleeps wi th Meg. and presently came back. "To be sure. caressing her. "all corre ct! I was pretty sure it was tea and a rasher. "Now. lifting up the child. You come along with m . while Meg. taking about six of his trotting paces to one stride of his fatigued companion. for all this." said Trotty. for ready money. I'm very fast. "A pret ty one! I'd carry twenty times her weight. ran into her arms." said Toby. to-night. my precious Meg. with the assistance of the toasting-fork. that Trotty could have blessed her where she kneeled.home with me! Here! I'll take her!" cried Trotty. As I d on't remember where it was exactly. "With Meg." said Trotty. and havin g kissed him. which he appeared to eat with infinite relish. "Here we are." Meg looked toward him and saw that he had elaborately stationed himself behind t he chair of their male visitor. and I'm pretty sure there was a bit of bacon too. we shall be ready immediate. won't she? I'm Meg's father. and here we are indeed. Meg my pet. and here we are. speaking very loud to impress the fact upon his gue st. Uncle Will. set the child down before his da ughter in the middle of the floor. but trusting everything she saw there. looked lovingly down into the de pths of that snug caldron. you come along with me . Meg looked toward their guest. I like to see other peo ple enjoy 'em. Tell me if I go too quick for you. they are disagreeable. "as I was coming in. half hidden in her lap." "That's right. running round the room and choking audibly. "The little one. and do ubting nothing in that face. while your unworthy father toasts the bacon. setting out the tea things. at first in the dark." "With good Meg!" cried the child. You're tired to death. I'll tell you what. when the child went timidly toward him. Chickenstalker's. and w hen he poured the boiling water in the tea-pot. "but to me. he ne ither ate nor drank.' wrote upon a board. and here we go!" cried Trotty." said Trotty. when they entered. for he had seen that. a mere morsel for form's sake . with 'T. "To be sure! I don't know what I am rambling on about. and she laughed at Trotty too--so pleasantly. and here we go. and wit h his thin legs quivering again." Mightily delighted Trotty was. and pulled off her shoes. here's a fire you know! Why don't you come to the fi re? Oh here we are and here we go! Meg. "Why." Yet Trotty sniffed the savor of the hissing bacon--ah!--as if he liked it. seating the child in a warm c orner. she was sitting by the fire in tears. at Mrs." With this inscrutable artifice." said Trotty. Will Fern. Veck. However. but well known to my frien ds. "Down the Mews here. in a breathless state. prete nding that he had not been able to find them. who leaned upon her chair. if you'll j ust make the tea. so ch eerfully. "curious. and now put it on the fire. that I never care. as food. I always was!" Trotty said this. Uncle Will. surprising you!" With which words Trotty. Tick et Porter. nor for tea. and never know I'd got it. and wreathe his head and face in a thick cloud." said Trotty. I think. and step at the black door. The little visitor looked once at Meg. I'll go myself and try to find 'em." said Trotty after tea. "And I shouldn't wonder if she'll kiss Meg's father . my dear. "Here. and dried her wet feet on a cloth. I don't know what the Bells would say to that. I think. So it is. and suffering the fragrant steam to curl about his no se. knelt down on the ground before her. for rashers. father!" said Meg. fondled the child's head. where with many mysterious gestures he was holdi ng up the six-pence he had earned. where's the kettle? Here it is and here it goes. Toby withdrew to purchase the viands he had spok en of. and with his face turn ed from her. It's a curious circumstance. except at the very beginning. I know. "But here they are at last. "I see. my precious darling. fell back upon Meg again.

drag him to us!" Deafeni ng the whole town! "Meg. he found that t he door. Haunt and hunt him. coming bare-headed to the church. "If the tower-door is really open. but his courage aided him immediately. door open wide Toby. Fancy. with her face toward him all the time. haunt and hunt him. and once more listened by himself . all I've heard to-day. "It's too true. or a co mpanion. father. Toby listened. he relapsed into his former train.e. haunt and hunt him. tapping at her door. and puttin g his hand into this dark nook." "Is she asleep?" said Toby. and which the day's events had so marked out and shaped. Toby Veck. an adjoining room. their energy was dreadful. that there was more hinge and lock than door. He remained here a little time. waiting for y ou Toby! Come and see us. But it underwent no change. Dearly"--so her word s ran--Trotty heard her stop and ask for his. It was impossible to bear it. Again. and had so rarely seen it ope n. Toby Veck. I don't want any other satisfaction. "So peacefully and happily! I can't leave her yet though. or of getting a light. and he determined to ascend alon e. again. Returning before Meg. too full of pr oof. and ringing in the very b ricks and plaster on the walls. making an excuse for peeping in. She didn't understand them. resumed his seat by the fire." said Toby. but being alone again. and reading of the crimes and violences of the people. That's enough. softly." The hand released from the child's hair. Surely they're very loud to-night. and draw his chair to the warm hearth. For this same dreaded paper re-directed Trotty's thoughts into the channel they had taken all that day. with a certain misgiving that it might be unexpe ctedly seized. trembling. which opened outward. But when he had done so. and a shivering propensity to draw it back again. Drag him to us. in a dark nook behind a column. fancy! His remorse for having run away from them that afte rnoon! No. talking without intermission. " Haunt and hunt him. "Do you hear anything?" "I hear the Bells. that he couldn't reckon above three times in all. but with an e arnest and a sad attention. "too just. "what's to hinder me from going up in the steeple and satisfying myself? If it's shut. And what was that. and clear. and when she had remembered Meg's name. and skimming up and down the columns. b ut never thinking of his hat. Trotty withdrew. Carelessly at first." He was pretty certain as he slipped out quietly into the street that he should f ind it shut and locked. Toby Veck. waiting for you Toby! Toby Veck. Break his slumbers. into Trotty's ha nd. Toby Veck. on the first surprise. an d a happier one." said Trotty. and yet a dozen times again. he listened for an instant at the door of her little chamb er. for the time. We're Bad!" The Chimes took up the words so suddenly--burst out so loud. Drag him to us. come and see us. and sono rous--that the Bells seemed to strike him in his chair. So Trotty. Look how she h olds my hand!" "Meg!" whispered Trotty. father. door open wide Toby-" then fiercely back to their impetuous strain again. had fallen. hastily laying aside his apron. It was a low-arched portal outside the church. and had trimmed the light. The child was murmuring a simple Prayer before lying down to sleep. His interest in the two wanderers had set him on another course of thinking. "Dearly. and had such great iron hing es. no. he took his newspaper from his pocket and began t o read. very soon. of going back. Nothing of the kind. led him out as tenderly and easily as if he had been a child himself. drag him to us. break his slumbers! Toby Veck. they said? "Toby Veck. for he knew the door well. and such a monstrous lock. But what was his astonishment when. actually stood ajar! He thought. "Listen to the Bells!" She listened. Toby Veck." Toby muttered. It was some short time before the foolish little old fellow could compose himsel f to mend the fire. .

would have thr own himself. The narrow stair was so close to the door. They have cheered me often. Giddy. that there was something startling even in that. And very quiet. He listened and then raised a wild "Halloa!" Halloa! was mournfully protracted by the echoes. he couldn't open it again. "How?" "I am a poor man. But. "What visitor is this?" it said. or the Goblin of the Great Bell. all power of motion had deserted him. poised in the night air of the tower. The dust from the street had blown into the recess. higher up! Until. up. Otherwise he would have done so--ay. "I hardly know why I am here. and lying there. and frightened. and went on. and pausing with his head just raised above its beams. "Have you never done us wrong in words?" "No!" cried Trotty. "cries to man. the Great Bell. and wicked wrong. rather than have seen them wat ching him with eyes that would have waked and watched. there are no dates or means to te ll. Trotty groped his way. eagerly. raising his hands in an attitude of supplication. up. Then and not before." So he went in. "and could only thank them in words. When and how the darkness of the night-black steeple changed to shining light. and darkly watchful of him. I have listened to the Chimes these many years. as he climbed int o this airy nest of stone and metal. for going on. that he stumbled a t the very first. Trotty was about to answer "Never!" But he stopped and was confused. his be . a figure and the Bell itself." "And you have thanked them?" said the bell. higher. with their draped and hooded heads merged in the dim roof. a nd how the solitary tower was peopled with a myriad figures." w hen and how he ceased to have a sluggish and confused idea that such things were . As it died away. and out of breath. and up. up. became a voice exclaiming in the waking ears of Trotty. THIRD QUARTER. and Trotty fancied that it sounded in the other figures as well. and sunk down in a swoon. A heavy sense of dread and loneliness fell instantly upon him. confused. like a blind man. The voice was low and deep. as he stood rooted to the ground. "Never done us foul."What have I to fear?" said Trotty. "The voice of Time. "I thought my name was called by the Chimes!" said Trotty. or how I came. made it so soft and velvet-like to the foot. heaped up. motionless an d shadowy. he came among the Bells. ascending through the floor. feeling his way as he went. for the Chimes were silent. His head went round and round." said the Phantom. and have forgotten to shut the door. head-foremost. spoke. but there they were. Advance! Time is for his a dvancement and improvement. however. did Trotty see in every Bell a bearded figure of the bulk a nd stature of the Bell--incomprehensibly. when and how the wh ispered "Haunt and hunt him. and shutting the door upon himself by striking it with his foo t. too. up. from the steeple-top. and standing on his feet upon the boards where he had lately lai n. and false. his greater happiness. he saw this Goblin Sight." breathing monotonously through his sleep or swoon. for. A blast of air--how cold and shrill!--came moaning through the tower. for it was very dar k. "Break his slumbers. higher. although he saw them by some light belonging to the mselves--none else was there--each with its muffled hand upon its goblin mouth. grave. and dumb. This was another reason. Mysterious and awful figures! Resting on nothing. "A thousand times!" cried Trotty. in words?" pursued the Goblin of the Bell. and causing it to rebound back heavily." "And always so?" inquired the Goblin of the Bell. and dark. Shadowy. awake. "It's a church! Besides the ringers may be t here. companioning a host of others that were not. It was barely possible to make out their gre at shapes in the gloom. Shadowy and dark. Toby looked about him vacant ly. Up." faltered Trotty. Gigantic . and round and round. He could not plunge down wildly through the opening in the floor. although the pupils had b een taken out. for his greater worth.

Who seeks to turn him back. have suffered. "but she is livin g." returned the Bell. "I have!" said Trotty. "Meg is dead. See every bud and leaf plucked one by one from off the fairest stem. sir. dead imaginings of youth. "Oh. lived. dead fancies. one note bespeaking disregard. ever. "The Spirit of the Chimes is your companion. up. A solemn strain of blended voices rose into the tower. Learn from the creature dearest to your heart. And you have do ne that wrong to us. I wouldn't go to do it. who hears us make response to any creed that gauges human passions and affections. falling on his knees. awakening agitated hearts within the burly piles of oak. how bad the bad are born. as it gau ges the amount of miserable food on which humanity may pine and wither. by showing men how much it needs their help when any ears can listen to regrets for such a past--who does this. the Chimes. does us wrong. Her spirit calls to me. I he ar it!" "The Spirit of your child bewails the dead. It was a very low and mournful strain--a Dirge--and as he listened. Expanding more and more. Swelling by degrees. or stay him o n his course. "If you knew. or joy. the iron-bound doors." said the Goblin of the Be ll. which Trotty thought he recognized as having heard before." said the figure." "Who puts into the mouth of Time. higher. higher up. "Listen!" said the Shadow. and know how bare and wretched it may be. the hollow bells. how often you have cheered me up when I've been low." said Trotty." Trotty's first excess of fear was gone. his progress onward to that goal within its knowledge and its view. clasping his hands earnestly--"or perhaps you do kno w--if you know how often you have kept me company. No wonder that an old man's breast could not contain a sound so vast and mighty. and mingles with the dead--dead hope s. "Go! It stands be hind you!" . "Listen!" said the other Shadows." cried Trotty. and be the fiercer and the wilder. you won't bear malice for a hasty word!" "Who hears in us. Ages of darkness. But he had felt tenderly and gratefully toward the Bells. "a cry of lamentation for days which have had their trial and their failure. and died--to point the way before him. That wrong you have done us!" said the Bell. or of its servants. and she and me were left alone. as you have seen. "Listen!" said a clear and child-like voice. "She is dead!" exclaimed the old man. and violence. up. the stairs of s olid stone. how you were quite the plaything of my little daughter M eg (almost the only one she ever had) when first her mother died. have come and gone--millions uncountable. higher. and filled the choir and nave. and Trotty put his hands bef ore his face." said Trotty. the melody a scended to the roof. "Listen!" cried the other Shadows. does a wrong. a nd set there. in the period when Time and he began. "Listen!" said the child's voice. Follow her! To d esperation!" Each of the shadowy figures stretched its right arm forth. or stern regard. Learn from her life. of any hope.tter life. or sorrow. "It was quite by accident if I did. wickedness . his heart was touched with penitence and grie f. and have left deep traces of it which the blind may see--a cry that only serves the present time. a living truth. forgive me!" "Spare me. and it soared into the sky. The organ sounded faintly in the church below. or pain. I'm sure. it rose up. the Chimes. It broke from that weak prison in a rush of tears. Trotty heard his child among the singers. arrests a mighty engine which will strike the meddler dead. until the tower walls were insufficient to contain it. "for Mercy's sake!" "Listen!" said the Shadow. up. for its momentary check!" "I never did so to my knowledge. and when he heard himself arraigned as one w ho had offended them so weightily. and pointed downward. of the many-sorrowed throng.

Changed. that he might only see her. which he had often . and saw--the child! The child Will Fern had carried in the street . "Dead!" "Dead!" said the figures altogether. so many long. to scrape toget her just enough to toil upon. and want upon. Following her eyes. you look so anxious and so doubtful. not to live upon enough. "Now you do. "They take such shapes and occupations as the hopes and thoughts of mortals. and don't see you. there the Bells were. He looked down. but Hope. and beheld his own form." said Lilian. that they frighten you?" asked Meg. "No more a living man!" cried Trotty. he s aw the self-same curls. but now. "I missed my way." said the figures. at a companion. that he m ight look upon her. working at the same kind of embroidery. he saw a something reigning there: a lofty somet hing. fell down--a year ago?" "Nine years ago!" replied the figures. Do I not?" she answered: smiling on her. on the outside: crushed and motionless. and the recol lections they have stored up. speaking in a tone of strange alarm." said the dark figures. around the lips. "but not usually. for him. and keep alive in us the consciousn . long nights of hopeless. che erless. and rising to em brace her." said Lilian." said Lilian. "How often you raise your head from your work to look at me!" "Are my looks so altered. beside him? Looking with awe into its face. "What are these?" he asked his guide. "What!" he cried. There is little cause for smiling in this hard and toilsome life. which made it hardly more than a remembrance of that child--as yonder figure might be--yet it was the same: the same: and wore t he dress. Such work. but to earn bare bread. M eg?" "I do so. and coming on the outside of thi s tower in the dark. "sometimes the only thing that made me care to live so. hush!" returned the child. now turned inquiringly on Meg. In the woman grown. Hope ." "Am I not now?" cried Meg. Ah! Changed. they recalled their outstretched hands. the child's expression lingering still. undefined and indistinct. he recognized her at a glance. As they gave the answer. give them. mean room. the child whom Meg had watched. was presented to his view." "And you. but you wer e once so cheerful. fervently kissing her." returned the child." said Trotty. his own dear daughter. "If I am not mad. so many days. to-night. Hope." said Trotty. "Nay. "What are you?" "Hush. oh. and brushed away the blinding tears. In the long silken hair. But he held his trembling breath. where was the fresh Hope that had spoken to him like a voice! She looked up from her work. never-ending work--not to heap up riches. The light of the clear eye. He made no effort to imprint his kisses on her face. The tower opened at his feet. not to live grandly or gayly.Trotty turned. he knew that such endearments were. wildly. how dimmed. the old man sta rted back. one and all. asleep! "I carried her myself. shuddering. no more. what are these?" "Spirits of the Bells. Their sound upon the air. and where their figures had been. When you think I'm busy. he did not strive to clasp her to his loving heart. "Do I make our weary life more weary to you. See! In the eyes. Lilian?" "You have been the only thing that made it life. there shone the very look that scanned those features when he brought her home! Then what was this. seen before her. lying at the bottom. as she had ever been. "Gracious Heaven! And the New Year--' "Past. su ch work! So many hours. "Look here!" In a poor. however coarse. "In these arms!" "Show him what he calls himself. how fad ed from the cheek. dear! But you smile at that yourself! Why not smile when you look at me. Beautiful she was. Hark! They were speaking! "Meg. that I hardly like to raise my eye s. Meg. Meg. The bloom. often. hesitating.

with other beauties of the like description. some faint impression of the ringing of the Chimes. the Spirit of the child had taken fli ght. with a maw as accommodating and full as any shark's. with the Spirit of the chil d attending him. and h aving a small balance against him in her books. and in the crooked and eccentric line of life. blacking. soap. * * * * * FOURTH QUARTER.ess of our hard fate! Oh. matches. Meg! Wither me and shrivel me. and free me from the dreadful thoughts that tempt me in my yout h!" Trotty turned to look upon his guide. with a small low tab le between them. evidently) had made a fair division of the fire betwe en them. birch brooms. the table had seen service very lately. now waking up again when some hot fragment. faces of her patrons. stay-laces. now nodding off into a doze. who had conn . then. as if it wanted to be measured for a glove. that more years had passed. loaves of bread. and looking in her face imploringly. a perfectly voracious little sho p. Fat company. bird-seed. firewood . not to say the greasy. and in their proper places in the corner cu pboard. Cheese. and glancing. there remain ed no other visible tokens of the meal just finished. But a ll the cups and saucers being clean. A little shop. some hurried knowledge. some giddy consciousness of having seen the swarm of phantoms reproduced and reproduced until the recollection of them lost itself in the confusion of their numbers. This cosy couple (married. and unless the fragrance of hot tea and muffins lingered longer in that room than in most others. but t hey were red enough for ten. eggs. Some new remembrance of the ghostly figures in the Bells. and on the panes of window-glass in the door. sweetmeats. shuttl ecocks. Chickenstalker's partne r in the general line. quite cram med and choked with the abundance of its stock. and sat looking at the glowing sparks that dropped into the grate. as if the fire were coming with it. and putting back her hair from her wet face. though calculated to impre ss the memory. how conveyed to him he knew not. stationery. table-beer. The great broad chin. and all articles were in its net. cold ham. peg-tops. and glistened in the graci ous. The features of her companion were less easy to him. Was gone. that seemed to expostulate with themselves for sinking deeper and deeper into the yielding fat of the soft face. like one in pain. at one of the two faces by the parlor-fire. red h errings. came rattling down. It was in no danger of sudden extinction. They were but two. "W hy. for it gleamed not only in th e little room. "The worst of all! The worst of all! Strike me old. bacon. Trotty could at first allot to nobody he had ever known: and yet he had some recollection of them too. an apoplectic innocent. the short thick throat and laborin g chest. he recogni zed the former porter of Sir Joseph Bowley. lard. butter. Meg!" she raised her voice and twined her arms ab out her as she spoke. and the less cheerful radiance of two smoky lamps which burnt but dimly in the shop itself. and the brass toasting fork hanging in its usual nook. Lilly! You! So pretty and so young!" "Oh. rosy-cheeked company. At length. boys' kites. as though its plethora sat heavy on their lungs. salt. however. stood looking on at mortal company. larger than the rest. the astonished eyes. comfortable company. hearth-stones. They sat before a bright fire. Meg!" she interrupted. Mrs. than such as purred and wa shed their whiskers in the person of the basking cat. with creases in it large enough to hide a finger in. Chickenstalker: always inclined to corpulency. and spreading its four idle fingers out. and slate-pencils. but in the little shop beyond. everything was fish that came to the net of thi s greedy little shop. But. Meg. and Trotty. vinegar. holding her at arm's-length. and on the curtain half drawn across them. the nose afflicted with that disordered action of its func tions which is generally termed The Snuffles. "How can the cruel world go round. pickles. soothing her. Glancing at such of these items as were visible in the shining of the blaze. Trotty had small difficulty in recogni zing in the stout old lady. even in the days when he had known her as established in the general line. and b ear to look upon such lives!" "Lilly!" said Meg. mushroom ketchup. in Mrs.

"that we've ever had a word upon. a nd when I turn them out of house and home. and his hand in his pocket. "In the workhouse." said the gentleman: Tugby having stood in silent co nsternation for some time. Mr. Trotty had little interest in a change like this. Mr." "Then. "The back-attic. "he must Go. myself. So desolate was Trotty." "Not the back-attic can't!" cried Tugby. When my widow's name stood over that door." returned his wife. with an air that added. Mrs." She made this apology to a gentleman in black. Mrs. my love!" Attentive to the rattling door." said Tugby. Anne?" inquired the former porter of Sir Joseph Bow ley. "What sort of a night is it. "Not for that! Neither did I marry you for that." "I don't think you can move him. but they were strange to him. "is coming down-stairs fast. "Here I am if it's bad. turning to his wife. bringing the butter-scale down upon the cou nter with a crash. played a tune upon the empty part. and having found it. I knew him as a ha ndsome. you know. C hickenstalker's far and wide. she and me. and on coming into the business had looked pretty sharp after the Chickenstalker defaulters.ected himself in Trotty's mind with Mrs. "Now. Tugby had already risen. and infinitely fewer than of old. "are like Christians in that respect. "I would n't take the responsibility of saying it could be done." said the gentleman. This one hasn't many days to run. sir. There was no record of his name. I knew her as the sweetest looking. that it was a sorrow to him. Tugby. Chickenstalk er's ledger." said the gentleman. sw eetest tempered girl. by giving him admission to the mansion where he had confessed his obligations to that lady. Chickenstalker years ago. childest-hearted man. Tugby. Tugby. many years: the house being known as Mrs." "It's the only subject. after the changes he had seen. I like him all the better. manly. an d will be below the basement very soon. before he's Gone . There's a customer. Going to die in our house!" "And where should he have died. He can't live long. "is Going. Tugby. eyes ever saw. and rubbing as much of them as his short arms could reach. I didn't think it was you. who. that ever drew the breath of life. by weighing his fist on it. "Ay. and never known but to its honest credit and its g ood report: when my widow's name stood over that door. and I d on't want to go out if it's good. where the accounts of credit customers were usually kept in chalk . hardest working. for the simpl est. sat do wn astride on the table-beer barrel. I won't have it. passing out into the little shop. Some of ' em die hard. and never see your face again. "The man can 't live. may angels turn me out of heaven. ay! Years. Tugby. some of 'em die easy. as it did for many. shaking her head. he fel l down from the steeple walking in his sleep. shaking his head. "The back-attic. I won't allow it. and so mournful for the youth and promise of his blighte d child. and is maki ng a fight for it." said the gentleman. and nodded in return. As they would! And serve me right!" . Tugby. with great energy. I knew her father (poor old creetur. then!" said that lady. steady. Tugby. Don't think it. I 'd be separated first. but association is very strong sometimes. after all. and look what it comes to! He's going to die here. "What's wanted? O h! I beg your pardon." Looking by turns at Tugby and his wife." he returned." said Mr. and he looked involuntarily behind th e parlor-door. "This is a bad business up-stairs." said Tugby. Going to die upon the premises." "Hard weather indeed. and killed himself). You had better l eave him where he is. independent youth. with his wristbands tucked u p. stretching out his legs before the fire. "What are workhouses made for?" "Not for that!" said Mrs. even to have no place in Mrs. a nd drawn on his unlucky head such grave reproach. Some names were there. from which he argued that the porter w as an advocate of ready money transactions. I'm sure. coming out into the shop to join the co nference. Tugby?" cried his wife. he sounded the barrel with his knuckles for the depth of beer. and his hat cocked loungingly on one side.

how she mi ght take it. and of its being wicked to be man and wife. He never said so. Mrs. his health. and they were to have been married on a New Year's Day. and never did a woman grieve more truly for a man." "And she?--Don't distress yourself. said it ever had been so. and tha t he'd soon repent it. more's the pity! He took to drinking. Tugby. and kneeled to her. How did she come to ma rry him?" "Why. they lingered and lingered. ask me to trust you no more. everything was settled.' And he said he had come . and I want to know how he gained her. and when she dried her eyes. Richard got it into his head. than she for Richard when he first went wrong. I think hi s mind was troubled by their having broke with one another." "She came to me that night to ask me about living here. I don't know that he rightly understood himself. ' she said. said it was so. for what should follow. sir. sir. was far too well accustomed. 'What he was once to me. that he might do better." "Oh! he went wrong. and made a prayer to her to save him. When they were a young and beautiful couple. miseries enough to wear her life aw ay. there's only one person in the world who has a chance of reclaiming you. with a panting heart. go where he would. But. Tugby. That's my belief. he'd have gone through any suffering or trial to have had Meg's pro mise. who appeared to be some authorized medic al attendant upon the poor. He sat softly whistling. taking a seat near him. to interpose any remark in this insta nce. that no one would employ or notic e him. for th e love of the light-hearted girl (you remember her) who was to have been married on a New Year's Day. bad companions: all the fine resources that were t o be so much better for him than the Home he might have had." said Mrs. he went to her. This went on for years and years. sir. And the gentleman frightened her. when he passed her in a proud and careless way. you see. he sinkin g lower and lower. and that a young man of spirit had no business to be married. and that but for bei ng ashamed before the gentlemen. even now. who knew his history. joyfully. Knowing nothing yet. "because he gai ned a wife. "Well. to little di fferences of opinion between man and wife. Tugby." "Ah!" said the gentleman. that. He lost his looks. poor thing. Tugby. And in short. who had often and often tried him (he was a good workman to the very end). But I ha ve thought of this. she and Richard. his friends. seemed to shine out of her as she said these words. and a good deal more of it. and of her children com ing to the gallows. with an expre ssion of firmness which it was quite clear was not to be easily resisted. until there was a perfect calm: when he raised his head and said to Mrs. through what the gentleman told him. and cast out. until she tries to do it. many years ago . "Bless her! Bless her!" Then he listened. Trotty said. pulling out the vent-peg of the table-beer. late Chickenstalker: "There's something interesting about the woman. sir. Mrs. "Well?" "Well. his work: everything!" "He didn't lose everything. But the fault was his. and doors were shut upon him. and turning little drops of beer out of the tap up on the ground. side by side with what I was to him. and that she wasn't good enough for him. You see they kept company. Applying from place to p lace. and I will make the trial. which had been a plump and dimpled one before the changes which ha d come to pass. that gent leman. and perhaps for being uncertain too. and for the love of her Richard. and shook her head and her handkerchief at Tugby. in a moment. she enduring. and so at last was the match. The gentleman upon the table-beer cask. but that they spoke of Meg. his strength." returned the gentleman. I've seen her heart swell. "is not the least cruel pa rt of her story." "I'm coming to it. 'is buried in a grave. idling. and coming for the hundredth time to one gentleman. in his anger and vexat ion. somehow.' Something like that. his character. She would have married him. At last he was so cast down. evidently. said. In the hope of saving him. and made her melancholy. and door to door. and Meg's hand again. 'I believe you are incorrigible. and timid of his deserting her. sir. did he?" said the gentleman. many times afterward s. and their trust in one ano ther was broken. and trying to peep down into the barrel through the hole.Her old face.

in dire and pining want. and hanging down her head upon. and rolling his head with immense intelligence. I hardly know!" "I know. And this was she. Tugby. passing through the air. and had its Being knitted up with hers as when she carried it unborn. and I have heard him call her 'Meg. and pressing to her breast. she was in want: languishing away. but she was constant to it. followed by Mrs. how sickly. and how poor an infant? Who can tell how dear? "Thank God!" cried Trotty. I think he has always felt for her. shaking her head and wiping h er eyes. With the baby in her arms. she has lost it." muttered Mr. and I saw them. sat down at her feet. patient with it. and when they came home here. "She loves it! G od be thanked. he saw it harass her. and all was still. the room left to herself and to the child. now. The gentleman moved hurriedly to the door. I hoped that such prophecies as parted them when they were young. I believe. He saw the day come. her father's pride and joy! This hag gard. He clung t o it as her only safeguard. floated up the staircase like mere air. observing: "I suppose he used her ill. Tugby. and the night again. weeping by the bed. may not often fulfill themselves as they did in this case. and saw it rising from him. Patient! Was its loving mother in her inmost heart and soul . mournful. "Follow her!" it said. and hold h er with its little hands upon the rack. and she never could forget th at. And vanished. and stretched himself. did any work for any wretched sum: a day and night of labor for as many farthings as there were figur . he soon fell back a little. she wandered here and there in quest of occupation. shed tears with her. she has not been able to do her old work. "He went on better for a short time. He set his father's hope and trust on the frail baby. God be thanked! She loves her child!" Again Trotty heard the voices. How they have lived. and looking up in hers. "Learn it. while Mr. with the child beside him." The gentleman got off the cask. so prematurely old. these weeks and months. w hen his illness came so strong upon him. and wi th its thin face lying in her lap. the day. so dreadful in its gravity. looking at the till. listened for one note of her old pleasant voice. miserable wail. and when she slumbered in exhaustion. I've seen him in his crying fits and tremblings. the night. encourage her. and Lilian had trusted to him. I a m sure he has. So they were married. an infant? Who can tell how spar e. Trotty. he heard it moan and cry.to her from Lilian. and by not being able to be regular . or I wouldn't be the makers of them for a M ine of Gold. she loves it!" He saw the woman tend her in the night. Between him and her bab y. the house of death relieved of death. and round the shop. watched her every look upon it as she held it in her arms. "My friend. wretched woman. even if she could have done it. as the last unbroken link that bound her to enduranc e. set nourishme nt before her. if it deserved that name. saying. and at hi s wife. Tugby. looked up into her face for one trac e of her old self. He almost worshiped it. "Follow her!" He turned toward his guide. and was falling fast back. the time go by. He was interrupted by a cry--a sound of lamentation--from the upper story of the house. his habits were too old and s trong to be got rid of. holding up his folded hands. and cried a thousand times. from the creature dearest to your h eart!" It was over. and tire her out. so plain tive in its feeble." he said. he ran up-stairs. return to her when her grudging husband was asleep. drag her back to consciousness. All this time. gentle with it. It was over." Saying so. "O. There he has been lying. He hovered round her. as soon as they were married?" "I don't think he ever did that. He flitted r ound the child: so wan. try to kiss her hand. Tugby panted and grumbled after them at leisure: being rendered more than commonly short-winded b y the weight of the till. "you needn't discuss whether he shall be rem oved or not. He has spared you that trouble. in which there had been an inconvenient quantity of co pper. "Follow her! Follow her! Follow her!" He heard the ghostly voices in the Bells r epeat their words as he ascended. looking back.' and say it was her nineteenth birthda y." said Mrs. but.

and tell me you'll forget me from this hour. She paced the room with it the livelong night. and after pausing for an instant. He looked at her but gave no answer. If she had quarreled with it. She told no one of her extremity. After a short silence. her eyes so wild . "Margaret!" he said. "Learn it. vain expenditure of ca re upon such squalid robes!--and once more tried to find some means of life. She sat down stupefied. looking round." he said. and looked upon the infant's face. when I want the courage to look at it! Let he r be. when her door was softly opened. my race is nearly run. if she had neglected it. Let me hold your c hild. without a parting word w ith you. wildly. "I'm glad of that!" He seemed to breathe more freely. he made a gesture with his hand. I won't hurt her. "William Fern!" "For the last time. At those times. She loved it always. It . when she gazed upon it. and wandered abroad in the day lest she should be questioned by her only friend: for any help she received from her hands. now." "When Lilian's mother died and left her!" she repeated. "Is it a girl?" "Yes. her love so fierce and terrible. Without one grateful word. "It is Love. and said: "It's long ago. She loved it more and more. and try to think the end of me was here. then it was that something fierce and terrible began to mingle with her love. but he was gone." she answered quickly." She called to him. and took it. she had struck it! No! His comfort was. Margaret. I couldn't finish it. "How shrill you speak! Why do you fix your eyes upon me so? Margaret!" She sunk down in a chair. from the creature deares t to your heart!" "Margaret." He put his hand before its little face. but--What's her name?" "Margaret. One night she was singing faintly to it in its sleep and walking to and fro to h ush it. "See how weak I'm grown. from head to foot. bending over her. It's long ago. until her infant rou sed her to a sense of hunger. cold. it is Love. took away hi s hand. And he trembled as he took it. Margaret. as if he brushed it aside. "For the last time. and pressed the infant to her breast. She'll never cease to love it. Margaret? Let me have it in my arms. "Like Lilian when her mother died and left her!" Why was her step so quick. She said at intervals. occ asioned fresh disputes between the good woman and her husband. Then it was that her old father quailed. Good night. She loved it still. "Follow her!" was sounded through the house. But covered it again. to look anxiously in its face: th en strained it to her bosom again. but that night is as fresh in my memory as ever ' twas." "What have you done?" she asked: regarding him with terror. she released it from her embrace. But a change fell on the aspect of her love. in the frenzy of an instant. "I'm glad of that. "Margaret. and wept over it . where she owed so much. a moment. Sometimes. as if he set her questio n by. "It's Lilian's." he said. whenever she repeated those words? "But." he added." He put his hat upon the floor. and it was new bi tterness to be the daily cause of strife and discord. hushing it and soothing it. and a man looked in. immediately. My p oor Meg!" She dressed the child next morning with unusual care--ah. if she ha d looked upon it with a moment's hate! if. and darkness." said Fern. Good bye! Put your hand in mine. Your child." said Trotty. "that we should ever mee t like this. We little thought then." "Lilian's!" "I held the same face in my arms when Lilian's mother died and left her. and kissing her upon the brow: "I thank you for the last time." He listened like a man pursued: and spoke in whispers.es on the dial. and gave her back the child.

Here. she recognized the master of the house. She repeated the same mute appeal. and say to this one. without any money. Looking up. in a low voice. who was quite a retail Friend and Father. "I wonder you an't ashamed of yourse lf. "She loves it!" he exclaimed in agonized entreaty for her. "To desperation! Learn it from the creature dearest to your heart!" A hundred voices echoed it. you'd be better out of it. Come! Don't you think you could manage it?" She said. dark. and I won't carry ill-blood and quarreli ngs and disturbances into a New One. at every gasp he drew. Oh. a nd the dark lowering distance. cutting night: when pressing the child close to her for warmth. that it was very late." to make a foot-ball o f another wretch. Then. "Come next week. from house to house. tearing his white hair. and never broke her fast . The air was made of breath expended in those words. to call up te nder recollections in a brain on fire! For any gentle image of the Past. and looked in a sudden manner at the sky. turn her back!" . for something to awaken her! For any sight or sound. not that once preached upon a Mount). And that was qui te enough. "and what you mean. And still she hurried on. If you haven't any business in the world. from hand to hand. It was night: a bleak. I don't want any quarrels. She loved her child. and question them. turn her back!" exclaimed the old man. All at once she stopped. "Have mercy on her. to rise up before her! "I was her father! I was her father!" cried the old man." said Tugby." She put her hair back with her hand. to carry such practices into a New Year. I'm speaking softly to avoid a quarrel. too. down the dark street. To-morrow. now?" said Mr. whose claims allowed of no delay. "Oh!" he said softly. you've been a pretty constant customer at thi s shop. they only pointed to her." he said. and not to be escaped. that she saw no one standing in the doorway until she was close upon it. "Chimes! she loves it still!" "Follow her!" The shadows swept upon the track she had taken like a cloud.was the last day of the Old Year. But you shan't come in. Go along with you!" "Follow her! To desperation!" Again the old man heard the voices. or started up and robbed. and you delight in setting them by the ears. to please you nor anybody else. "My child! Meg! Turn her back! Great Father. until he wearied and lay down to die." to that one. He seemed to take them in. she arrived outside the house she called her home. she failed. until it pleased some officer appointed to dispense the public charity (the lawful charity. that I am determined." said Tugby . I'll speak out loud. "You have come back?" She looked at the child and shook her head. and always making disturbances between man a nd wife. "Now. "This is the last night of an Old Year. who had s o disposed himself--with his person it was not difficult--as to fill up the whol e entry. Tugby. "Don't you think you have lived here long enough without paying any rent? Don't you think that. She tried till night. She mingled with an abject crowd. he saw the figures hovering in t he air. "Go to such a place. and on me! Where does she go? Turn her back! I was her father!" But. and wished to have it lying on her breast. and about to enter. "Now I see what you want. She tried in vain. the same light in her eyes. and you shall cause words loud enough to pleas e you. but if you do n't go away. to call them in. You know there are tw o parties in this house about you. "And suppose you provide you rself with another lodging. as she hurried on. who tarried in the snow. and pointing where she went. stretching out his hand s to the dark shadows flying on above. She was so faint and giddy. They were everywhere. but to be always giving way. and so be came a higher sort of criminal. "Suppose you try and deal somewhere else. or scent. and pass him here and there.

And with her dry li ps. he kept running up to Meg and squeezing her fresh face between his hands and kissing it. steady friends. as torches that were burn ing there to show the way to Death. when such seed bears such fruit. happy wedd ing-day!" . a generous and jolly voice it was. He might have said more. kissed it in a final pang. and last long agony of Love. father. my pet!" cried Trotty. Mine ! I have been waiting outside the house this hour to hear the Bells and claim it . that he leapt upon his feet. Heaven meant her to be good. To the River! To that portal of Eternity. on the deep. So quietly happy. and running up again like a figure in a magic lantern. and b roke the spell that bound him. the old familiar Bells. the wild distempered form. Oh. but the Bells. To the rolling River.In her own scanty shawl. she set its sleeping face against her: closely. going down to its dark level. and dies herself. and never stopping in it for one single moment. as though she never would resign it more. co nstant. "as one in whom this dreadful crime has sprun g from Love perverted. * * * * * "And whatever you do." said Meg. from the strongest. She paused a moment on the brink. Putting its tiny hand up to her neck. With her fevered hands. you never in all your life saw anything at all approaching him! He sat down in his chair and beat his knees and cried. Where no abode of living people cast its sha dow. his own dear. before the dreadful plunge. swift and dim. she smoothed its limbs. so gayly. "Have mercy on her!" he exclaimed. have mercy on my child. composed its face. means mercy to her own. "Your real. You never in all your life saw anything like Trotty after this. her desperate footsteps tended with th e swiftness of its rapid waters running to the sea. Good gracious!" She was working with her needle at the little table by the fire. the Chimes. where Winter Night sat brooding like the la st dark thoughts of many who had sought a refuge there before her. ne xt to her distracted heart. H e fell down on his knees. so lustily. which had fallen on the hearth. I don't care whe re you have lived or what you have seen. so happily. so merrily. then flew to clasp her in his arms. dressing her si mple gown with ribbons for her wedding. being--that's the truth--beside himself with joy. began to ring the joy-peals for a New Year. even a t this pass. so full of beautiful promise. He followed her. swept by him like the wind. he sat down in his chair and beat his knees and laughed. and whatever he did. the desperation that had left all human check or hold b ehind. my darling wife!" And Richard smothered her with kisses. going from her backward not to lose sigh t of it. who. my precious prize. and som ebody came rushing in between them. he got out of his chair and hugged Richard. he sat down in his chai r and beat his knees and laughed and cried together. that he uttered a great cry as if it were an A ngel in his house. arranged its mean attire. "Not even you. and perils her immortal s oul. and in a shriek addressed the figures in the Bells now hovering above them. the f ierce and terrible love. and holding it there. But he caught his feet in the newspaper. "And to-morrow's your wedding-day. he got out of his chair and hugged them both at once. she wrapped the baby warm. Not even you. His strength was like a giant's. impenetrable. deepest Love we fallen creatures know ! Think what her misery must have been. melancholy shade. There is no loving mother on the earth who might not come to this. stea dily against her: and sped onward to the river. so blooming and youthf ul. Meg. He held her now. He tried to touch her as she passed him. for how you have been going on . within her dress. The first kiss of Meg in the New Year is mine. Where scatter ed lights upon the banks gleamed sullen. to save it!" She was in his arms. "don't eat tripe again without asking s ome doctor whether it's likely to agree with you. he was constantly sitting himself down in this chair. "No!" cried the voice of this same somebody. red and dull. but. he got out of his chair and hugged Meg. if such a life had gone before. In her wasted a rms she folded it. a happy year! A life of happy years.

" said Meg. my boy!" cried Trotty." At this moment a combination of prodigious sounds was heard outside. who had been going round and round her in an ecstasy-"I should say Chickenstalker--bless your heart and soul! A happy New Year. Richard? Such a h eadstrong. Where would hav e been the use?" "Richard." said Trotty. "But I wouldn't let him. when he had saluted her--"I should say Ch ickenstalker--this is William Fern and Lilian."To-day!" cried Richard. ha. as one I found. closely followed by the marrow-bones and cleavers and the bells--not the Bell s." said Trotty. half dressed. And here we are." Trotty was backing off to that extraordinary chair again." and meeting hastily they exchanged some hurried words together. came running in. Meg!" "A Happy Wedding!" "Many of 'em!" and other fragmentary good wishes of that sort. than he would of--" "--Kissing Meg. my boy! It's got about that your daughter is going to be married t o-morrow. Only that." "Because he's such a bad fellow. saluted Trotty on his cheek again of her own free will." "O!" said Trotty. How kind an d neighborly you are! It's all along of my dear daughter. "Never! I couldn't rest o n the last night of the Old Year without coming to wish you joy. and putting him down I don't know where. and a goodhumored." "What a happiness it is." suggested Richard. "to be so esteemed. of which the upshot was that Mrs. or that kno ws her and don't wish her well. "Will Fern. Her uncle answered "Yes. comely woman of some fifty years of age. and be lonely. "An't you. father. when the child. "And like to prove a'most as good a friend. shaking hands with him. Not if I had been bed-ridden. if that can be. Tugby. "Here's little Lilian! Ha. too!" Stopping in his trot to greet him he artily. turned very pale and very red. to play it in accordin gly. So here I am. noble Bells. Not a bit more. father." said Trotty. screaming: "A Happy New Year. and many of 'em! Mrs. melodious." The worthy dame. "O. w hen I came home. my pet. and the actors in them. Or that knows you both and don't wish you both a ll the happiness the New Year can bring. "Not Lilian Fern. violent man! He'd have made no more of speaking his mind to that grea t Alderman. There an't a soul that knows you that don't wish you well. came running i n. Hear them!" They WERE ringing! Bless their sturdy hearts. The Chimes are ringing in the New Year. Uncle Will. Doing it. father. too. cast in no common metal." "Mrs. through lodging you! O. And think ing you might miss me. I'm sure. and not tell me. and Trump s you must be until you die! But you were crying by the fire to-night. putting a hand on each of Trotty's shoulders. "Not the friend tha t you was hoping to find?" "Ay. here she is!" cried Trotty catching her up. to his surprise. and took the child t o her capacious breast. "Please to play up there. here we are and here we go again! And here w e are and here we go! And Uncle Will. when had they ever chimed like that before? "But to-day. but a portable collection on a frame. my pet." said Meg." said Trotty. She deserves it. ha! Here we are and here we go! O. Uncle Will. Meg!" cried the good woman. attended by a flock of neighbors." said Trotty. "Married. who ha d been awakened by the noise. "You was turned up Trumps originally. the vision that I've had to-night. I couldn't have done it. "To-day. Chickenstalker shook him by both han ds. a band of music burst into the room . pulling on his right-hand muffler. made b y no common founder. they WERE ringing! Great Bells as they were. my good friend!" Before Will Fern could make the least reply." returned Will. "No. the obligations that you've laid me under by your coming. but a d . Tugby. Why did you cry by the fire?" "I was thinking of the years we've passed together. whose mother died in Dorsetshire?" said she. Will you have the goodness?" Had Trotty dreamed? Or are his joys and sorrows. "You and Richard had some words to-day. Chickenstalker!" And sat down and beat his knees again. The Dr um (who was a private friend of Trotty's) then stepped forward and said: "Trotty Veck. or thereabouts. Trotty said: "It's Mrs. "Why. deep-mouthed. Meg.

the teller of this tale a dreamer. I was jes' stuck. Then I woke up all in the dark with my head f eeling queer. I had brought my bicycle lantern with me and I lighted it so as Tommy could see me when I came down the chimney into the room. and not the meanest of our brethren or sisterhood debarred their rightful share in what our great Cr eator formed them to enjoy. Of course I don't believe in any such person as Santa Claus. I went to bed pretty early on Christmas Eve so as to give my parents a chance to get the presents out of the closet in mamma's room. where they had been locked up since they were bought. specially the p ains all over me.ream. Simmons 'broidered for the church fair and piled all of the kid's toys into it. aged six. BILLY'S SANTA CLAUS EXPERIENCE. Then. cryin'. but kept right on. After a while papa came into the room with a lot of things that he dumped on Tommy's bed. trimmed with roses." I heard papa strike a light and then the wood began to crackle. but as always happens when I try to amus e anybody I jes' got myself into trouble. I fastened it to my back with papa's s uspenders. that I would if I could. Then I put the fur rug around me and pinned it with big safety pins what I found on Tommy's garters. happy to many more whose happiness depends on you! So may each year be happier than the last. but the ceiling in our room was not very high and I had often jumped mo st as far. and pretty soon I heard mamma's voice saying to papa: "Those must be sparrers that are making that noise in the chimney. but I was stuck and couldn't. O listener. pinchin' myself to keep awake. I did not kn ow about anything for a long time. I hurt my fingers some opening the scuttle. and I suppose I went down. Tom my is my little brother. try to bear in mind the stern realities from which these shadows come. so I jes' let her go. Then I crawle d over to the chimney that went down into our room and climbed up on top of it. Then papa called out very stern: "William. I kep' my clo'es on except my shoes. improve and soften the m. and when I tried to turn over in bed I found I wasn't in bed at al l. dear to him in all his visions. Then I waited. Then I began to cry. and pretty soon he and John from the stable w ent up on the roof and let down ropes what I put around me and they hauled me up . but Tommy does. Then they bot h went out very quiet. by jinks! it began to get hot and smoky and I screamed: "Help! Murder! Put out that fire lest you want to burn me up!" Then I heard papa stamping on the wood and mamma calling out: "Where's Billy? Where is my chile?" Next Tommy woke up and began to cry and everything was terrible. There did not seem to be any places inside the chimney where I could hold on by my feet. and then my arms and legs began to hurt terrible. BY CORNELIA REDMOND. I kep' on pinchin' myself and waitin' for a time. I tried to get up but I couldn't because my bones hurt so and I was ter rible cold and there was nothing to stand on. what Mrs. waking but now? If it be so. Then I got mamma's new sc rap-basket. and then when I was sure that everybody was asleep I got up. It was snowing ha rd and I stood and let myself get pretty well covered with flakes. Anyway. So may the New Year be a happy one to you. Then mamma came in and put some things on mine and in our two stockings that were hung up by the chimney. Then I heard papa gettin' dressed. . Last Christmas I thought I'd make some fun fo r the young one by playing Santa Claus. if you are in that chimney come down at once!" and I answered. himself a dream. and her sealskin cape that was hanging on the closet door. and then I started for the roof. The first thing I went into was my sister's room and got her white fur rug that mamma gave her on her birthday. and soon all the lights went out too. mostly one arm that was dou bled up. Jes' touch a match to the wood in the boys' fireplace. and put my night gown over them so as I'd look white if any of them came near me. and in your sphere--none is too wide a nd none too limited for such an end--endeavor to correct. I tied the cape on my head with shoest rings and it made a good big cap.

and my arm and all my bruised places hurt me awful for a long time. older people and the opening and shutting of distant doors. Sprin g--her faithful attendant. She began to pity herself and cry softl y on her pillow. leaving only a square of dusky dimness in place of daylight! All who remember these will sympathize with Dolly. closing the door after h er. and make me a good girl. She heard the runners of sleighs squeaking and crunching over the fro zen road. CHRISTMAS IN POGANUC. I had spoiled my sister's white rug and broke n all of Tommy's toys. "Now be a good girl. The little head sunk into the pillow." and "I pray God to bless my dear father and mother and all my dear friends and relations." and ending with "'Now I lay me down to sleep. She got up a nd opened her door. an d she couldn't go to sleep. and say your prayers. freezing night. her friend a nd confidential counselor in many a solitary ramble--Spring had gone with the bo ys to see the sight. Now. She lay and listened to all the noises outside. If I live t o be a million I am never goin' to play Santa Claus ag'in. and she heard the loud shutting of the kitchen door and Nabby's voice chatting with her attendant as she went off to the scene of gaiety. Everybody scolded me excep' mamma. and left her alone. till the nerves quivered and vibrated. besides I guess it cost papa a good deal to get my ar m mended. who was hustled off to bed by Nabby the minute supper was over. when the least sound clinked with a metallic resonance. the most loving and sympathetic of dogs. Everybody had gone out of it. w ashing up dishes. however. innocent days in New England villages nobody thought of locking house doors at night. and the sound went to her heart. bright. and she knew she could run to the paternal bed in a minute for protection. But then this was when everybody was in the house and asleep. pass b . and how dismal was the dar kness as sunshine faded from the window. and go right to sleep . she knew the house was empty. THE FIRST CHRISTMAS.It was jes' daylight and I was all black and sooty and scratched and my arm was broken. and the snow what went in through the scuttle melted and marked the parlor ceiling. and there is something fearful to a little lonely body in the possibilities of a great. In those simple." had been Nabby's parting injunction as she went out. nearer. BY HARRIET BEECHER STOWE. But by and by that was all over. For a while she could hear Nabby's energetic movements below. There was in those times no idea either of tramps or burg lars. The wide. empty house. that she might have the decks clear for actio n.'" But sleep she could not. and the little ears were strained to catch every sound. clear. Nobody would believe that I had jes' meant to make some fun for Tommy. putting back chairs. It w as a still. shut your eyes. hearing distant vo ices. and laughs of more fortunate. She heard the shouts of Tom and Bill and the loud barking of Spring as they swept out of the door. but pretty soon its ticking began to strike louder and louder with a nervous insistency on her ear. and the lively jingle of bells. and Dolly recited her usual liturgy of "Ou r Father who art in heaven. as her way was of producing order. that told of scenes of animation and interest from which we were excluded? How doleful sounded the tick of the clock. while the great outside door of the house lay broad open in the moonlight. and the "tick-tock" of the old kitchen clock for a moment se emed like company. and many a night in summer had Dolly lain awake and heard the voices of tr ee-toads and whip-poor-wills mingling with the whisper of leaves and the swaying of elm boughs. and giving energetic thumps and bangs her e and there. wistful blue eyes lay shining like tw o stars toward the fading light in the window. when th e door of her parents' room stood open on the front hall. They would come nearer. Can any of us look back to the earlier days of our mortal pilgrimage and remembe r the helpless sense of desolation and loneliness caused by being forced to go o ff to the stillness and darkness of a solitary bed far from all the beloved voic es and employments and sights of life? Can we remember lying.

All made way for the child . but Dolly's blood had a racing. healthy tingle to it. So down-stairs she ran. came down just as the little one was sitting up with a dazed. lying beyond some dark river. Dolly was sitt ing in a little nook under a bower of spruce. and he made a side dart into the thicket where Dolly was sleeping. But the elm boughs a little obstructed her vision. She wrapped her cloak around her and tied on her hood and ran to the front w indows. Dolly. bright. she thought of the bells ringing in the celestial city. and the clear air and romantic scenery of a mountain town ha d fed her imagination. when he suddenly smelt something which called for immediate at tention. as if to say. She might have had the fortunes of little Goody Two-Shoes. except in the Bible and the P ilgrim's Progress. and there were Squire Lewis and old Ma'am Lewis . the Father Almight y. and go off in the distance. had all the more attraction from their vagueness. and on earth peace. dog-fashion. wake up!" At the same instant Hiel. Dolly was a fancif ul little creature. Dolly. every pane of which was sending streams of light across the glittering snow. and there was one place where they all bowed their heads and all the ladies ma de courtesies--all of which entertained her mightily. whether in the body or out she could not tell. God. had not two friends united to find her o ut. she would go there and look. smelling at the heels of gentlemen and ladies. In haste she sp rang out of bed and dressed herself. but her very soul had vibrated with the descriptions of the c elestial city--something vague. but fa ster and faster the little hooded form scudded across the snowy plain and pushed in among the dark cluster of spectators at the door. bewildered air." Her heart throbbed and beat. we worship Thee. she could no longer contain herself. till he came near the do or of the church. for how could a minister's dog form a suitable judgment of any new procedure if he was repressed from the use of his own leading faculty? So. When the sermon began Dolly got fast asleep. Heavenly King. Spri ng went round the church conscientiously. She could see the church f rom the front windows of the house. good will toward men. the rustle and murmur of people kneeling. There it was. and then they all rose and there was the solemn buzz of voices repeating the Creed with a curious lulling sound to her ear." Dolly's soul was all aglow--her nerves tingled and vibrated. Finally a bright thought popped into her little head. Dolly's soul was fired. Then came reading. she trembled with a strange happiness and sat as on e entranced till the music was over. she didn't mind co ld. lying in a little warm roll back under the shadows of the spruces. we bless Thee. smelling of the greens. whose history was detailed in one of the few children's books then printed. b ut as she opened the door the sound of the chant rolled out into the darkness wi th sweet and solemn cadence: "Glory be to God on high. Danforth with his spectacles on. the Christ mas greens. w ith his nose. gazing at the star and listening t o the voices: "We praise Thee. after service began a tour of investigation. giving short barks occas ionally. how came you out o' bed this time o' night? Don't ye know the nine . and began licking her face and hands and pulling her dress. smelling at pew doors. we give thanks to Thee for Thy great glory. who had got into the slip with the boys. "Why. Stories she had never read. reading with a pompous tone. There was a crowd around the door. There was old Mr. glorious. O Lord God. and men and boys looking in at the windows. It was sharp and freezing in the fireless c hamber. who had seen her from the gallery. "Come. we glorify Thee. She was so tired and so sound asleep that she did not wake when the service ende d. and slept as quietly as a pet lamb in a meadow.y the house. and been an equally attentive a nd edified listener. lying serenely curled up. The gold star. she t hought she would go down and look at it from the yard. as if to witness a good confession for the church. Those were the happy folks going to see the gold star and the Christmas greens in the church. to be sure--the little church with its sharp-pointed windo ws. and Nabby's rude account of what was going on in the church suggested those imag es. and in a moment. Spring. and having perhaps pleasant dreams.

Cushing. no matter what attractions might be on foot in the community. and how she just we nt down to look from the yard." said Mrs. I will." said Dolly. Cushing came and covered the little girl up warmly in bed. behind which was placed a candle." put in the parson. nor was Christ born anywhere near the 25th of December." said Parson Cushing. and there were voices that sung. wife." for Parson Cushing was a soft-hearted gen tleman and couldn't bear the sight of Dolly's quivering under lip. Much was gained." "After all. where the gate of the celestial city swung open." And then that wonderful star. There were not many little girls t hat would have dared to do that. "I wish. and was just entering th e house door with her as the sleigh drove up with Parson Cushing and his wife. after they were retired to their room for the night. and I was so lonesome!" Hiel took her up in his long arms and carried her home. and if Nabby don't give you a sugar dog. there. So Dolly told her little story. don't you cry. "go to bed. She had been terribly frightened at first. saying in an apologetic fashion: "They were all gone away. there." he added. The child had a vibrating. "Dolly. but you know we don't keep Christmas. and how she couldn't go to sleep. I shall preach a sermon right away that will se t all this Christmas matter straight. "Wal. being a young la dy of native artistic genius. Matthew. he did not think the lovely scene of the night before a wicked one.o'clock bell's jest rung?" Dolly knew Hiel well enough--what child in the village did not? She reached up h er little hands. Dolly." * * * * * The next morning found little Dolly's blue eyes wide open with all the wondering eagerness of a new idea. your folks has all ben to the 'lumination--Nabby and Bill and Tom and Dolly here. thinking over every feature of the wonder. you might have caught a dreadful cold and been sick and died. This Christmas dressing is all nonsense." "Why. so that it gave real light. and it was all clear gain. however. And when Mrs. "our little Dolly is an unusual child. when she was brought home from the church. Why not? Dolly was at the happy age when anything bright and heavenly seemed credibl e. whatever the unexplained m ystery might be. in a way most astonishing to untaught eyes. "There is not a shadow o f evidence that the first Christians kept Christmas. and the sway and rush of the chanting still sounded in her ears and reminded her of that wonderful sto ry in the "Pilgrim's Progress". but when her papa kissed her and promised her a sugar dog she was quite sure that." he said to his wife the last thing after they were settled for the night. with a piteous bleat. and give the children some advice upon the proper way of ke eping Christmas. nobody knows anything about Christm as. Dolly. Parson. ." "I was all alone. "There. "bu t the child's not to blame--it was natural. and then we should have lost our little Dolly. "Oh. that shone just as if it were a real star--how could it be! For Miss Ida Lewis. Dolly Cushing!" exclaimed her mother. It wasn't kept for the firs t three centuries. Never mind." "Well. musical organization. found her all rolled up in a heap like a rabbit under the cedars . had cut a little hole in the centre of her gilt pa per star. "Blessing and honor and glory and power be unt o Him who sitteth on the throne. there. how she had been promised a sugar dog by Nabby if she'd be a good girl and go to sleep. "Get her off to b ed. my dear. don't say a word." said the Doctor." said the Doctor. In Dolly's simple view it verged on the supe rnatural--perhaps it was the very real star read about in the Gospel story. "What upon earth got you out of bed this time of night? You'll catch your death o' cold. and forthwith the little fa nciful head proceeded to make the most of it. "that to-morrow morning you would read the account of the birth of Ch rist in St. sh e only said to her. Dolly had her wise thoughts about Christmas." So Dolly promised quite readily to be good and lie still ever after. and how the music drew her right over. and had the child-faith to which all things were possible. you must never get out of bed again at night after y ou are put there.

and went home marveling yet more about this mystery of Christmas. He rose up early on the following Sabbath and proceeded to buy a sugar dog at th e store of Lucius Jenks." "Now. yes." "But isn't it Christmas?" asked Dolly with a puzzled air."You know what I mean. That is my cross--we have all one--to carry. and there is nothing in the Bible to tell us when to keep Christmas. a nd speaking under her breath." he said when all was over. I am not surprised at all that the children got drawn over last night to the service. a child that thinks a good deal. nobody knows when Christ was born. go to school and mind your lessons. b ut I don't want it to begin by taking away our own children. that is the picture of my poor boy who died--ever so many years ago . and they sung the old hymn: "While shepherds watched their flocks by night. Dolly is a bright one. and I know by experience just how attractive such things are. I shouldn' t wonder if this other church should draw very seriously on your congregation. the best way to keep it is by doing all our duties on that day better than any other . "Wel l. she put her little tongue advisedly to the back of her sugar dog and found that he was very sweet indeed--a most tempting little animal. my dear. children. not because it is Christmas. but to make him last as long as possible. Dolly is an inquisi tive child. though I have been out of the way of it so long. "No. and when Dolly came down to breakfast he called her to him and presented it. "Dear child. her papa had told her so--a heresy which Bessie forthwith reported when she went home at noon. I cannot help a sort of ki ndly feeling toward these ways. and when her confidential friend. after school. She accepted thankfully and with her nicest and best executed courtesy a Christm as cooky representing a good-sized fish. in fact. "Poor little child--and did she say so?" asked gentle old Grandmamma Lewis. with Hiel s eated on high. where the fire was snapping behind great tall brass andirons and all the pictures were overshadowed with boughs of spruce and pine. dear. the only worldly treasure that he was at all rich in." Dolly did not half understand these words." And so. As for Dolly. but she saw tears in the gentle old l ady's eyes and was afraid to ask more. Over one of the pictures was s uspended a cross of green with flowers of white everlasting. "You know that my mother and her family do keep Christmas. who sat in her rocking-chair in the front parlor. "you must be good children and go to school. I think it's the most natural thing in the world. displayed her Christmas gifts. "What is that for?" asked Dolly." replied his wife. you mustn't blame her--she don't know any better. Dolly's an uncommon child. S he wrapped him tenderly in cotton and took him to the school with her." said the Doctor. Bessie Lewis. As she was crossing the green to go home the Poganuc stage drove in. and even now. whipping up his horses to make them execute that grand entrée which . though she shook her curly head and informed Bess ie in strict confidence that there wasn't any such thing as Christmas. Dolly went in to see dear old Madam Lewis. and she'll be asking all sorts of q uestions about the why and wherefore of what she saw last night." And then in family worship the Doctor read the account of the birth of Christ an d of the shepherds abiding in the fields who came at the call of the angels. Dolly gazed about her with awe and wonder. Your duty is to be good children." "Oh. child. Dolly had something on her side to show. but because he loves his litt le Dolly. You bring the little one in here to-night and I'll give her a Christmas cooky. I always heard of it when I was a child. I'm sorry for such chi ldren. saying as he kissed her: "Papa gives you this. pointing solemnly with her little forefinger. If we are going to keep any day on account of the birth of Christ." Tom and Bill were quite ready to fall in with their father's view of the matter. with fins all spread and pink sugar-plu ms for eyes. She even went so far as to nibble off a bit of the green ground he stood on--yet resolve d heroically not to eat him at once. wh o had a pardonable pride in his children--they being.

this comes to give every one of you some of the crumbs which fall from the chu rch's table." said Hiel. first to o ne horse then to another." handsom ely bound. However . and imagined them saying." Meanwhile the bundle was soon opened. Cushing. and he generally had the satisfaction of seeing all the women rushing distractedly to doors and windows. "Reckon I'll be over when I've put up my hosses. but fact is--" "Well. for I won't take it . when Dolly had said her prayers that night and thought the matter over. Want to ri de? You may jest jump up here by me and I'll take you 'round to your father's do or." and so Dolly reached up her little red-mittened hand. and a bonnet trimming for Mrs. while Nabby. for the boys. and Mother says she wishes you all a pious Christmas." "You tell him there's sap enough in his head to fill it. and slipped noiselessly over the smooth froze n plain. An illumination might do very well to open a church. and "Robinson Crusoe" and "Sanford and Merton. I hope he will come! I'd jest like a chance to show him how little I care for him. calling on her to join their acclamations. the stage is in!" "Hulloa. Cushing. and Hiel drew her up beside him. He said there was brass enough in your face to make a kettle of. after finishing his detour. "'Xpect ye want a bit of a ride. the children rushed in a body into the kitchen and showed the m to Nabby. drawing up with a suddenness which threw the for e-horses back upon their haunches. down o n South Street. "DEBBY KITTERY. Hiel cracked his whip more energetically and shouted louder. and contained a store of treasures: a smar t little red dress and a pair of red shoes for Dolly." said Nabby. but this year economy had begun to make its claims felt." and he drove away at a rattling p ace. She is in good health and talks daily of wanting t o see you and the children. On the whole. "you jest look out or you'll get suthin.was the glory of his daily existence." "Hiel Jones. and I kn ow you've been a-pinin' after me. "Your affectionate sister. composedly. once more the Episcopal church wa s being dressed with ground-pine and spruce." he said to Nabby when he hande d down the bundle to her. anyway. Good-sized bundle 'tis. Dolly!" he called out. she concluded that her Christmas Day had been quite a success. which she thi nks is better than a merry one. "There's Hiel. THE SECOND CHRISTMAS. to make up for the loss of the rattling wheels. a half dozen pocket-handke rchiefs for Dr." There was a scene of exultation and clamor in the parsonage as these presents we re pulled out and discussed. Nabby." "I 'xpect to get a kiss when I come 'round to-night. Jim Sawin said last night you was the brassiest man he ever see. now." said Nabby. with flashing eyes. "I've got a bundle for your folks. reckon it'll come handy in a good man y ways. Once more had Christmas come round in Poganuc. If I didn't lay violent hands on her she would u se all our substance in riotous giving of Christmas presents to all the beggars and chimney sweeps in Boston. These were acco mpanied by a characteristic letter from Aunt Debby Kittery. now. so I guess I'll go 'round that way to make it longer. Nabby. but t here were many who said "to what purpose is this waste?" when the proposition wa . "don't give me none o' your saace. and I've got a bundle for Widder Badger. Hiel Jones. with flushed cheeks and snapping eyes. opening as follows: "DEAR SISTER: "Mother worries because she thinks you won't get any Christmas presents. and I hope before long you will bring some of them. I 'xpect t his 'ere bundle is from some of your ma's folks in Boston--'Piscopals they be an d keeps Christmas. you jest shet up with your imperence. "Ta ke care o' that air bundle. mebbe there's glass or crockery in't. and come and make us a visit. and when all possible joy was procured from them in the sitting-room. Hiel landed his little charge at the parsonage d oor." said Hiel. "I hain't been to see you much lately. soliloquized: "Well. "Go od bye. Now that the stage was on runners. I'll come 'round this evenin'." So.

quite readily promised to dismiss at three o'clock that afternoon any scholar who should bring a permission from p arents." said Bessie. Dolly alone saw a cloud in the horizon. which c onsisted of bits of confectionery wrapped up in printed couplets of sentimental poetry. But the first thing that saluted her on her arrival was that Bessie Lewis--her o wn dear. That candles were a necessity of life he was well convinced. was quite anoth er: she was terrible as Minerva with her helmet on." So. and mottoes. a most e . by that time it'll be all over. and your ma'll be busy waitin' on her. and by faith he dim ly accepted the fact that one day in the year the whole house was to be devoted and given up to this manufacture. and raisins. and children in those days never presumed to make any exceptions in obeying an absolute command of their parents. and Mis' Persis. and cakes. "We are going to have nuts. girls?" said Bessie. with leave to play with the girls at school. and they were sent off to school with the injunction on no account to show their faces about the premis es till night. Bessie assured them that her papa had sen t clear to Boston for them. A great kettle was slung over th e kitchen fire. Both boys and girls. The Doctor. and of course she 'll let you. warned of what was going on. were an unheard-of refinement. with a train of boards un derneath to catch the drippings. comprising the children of all ages from the best families of Poganuc. Never had a party been heard of which contemplated such a liberal entertainment. to keep himself out of the way till it was over. select one. thought Miss Titcome. She had been sent away with strict injun ctions not to return till evening. as she p acked her basket with an extra doughnut or two. and whoever got one would have his or her fortune to ld by it. serenely above the lower cares of earth." Dolly trotted off to school well content with the prospect before her: a nooning . was. the teacher. as he understood it. had been invited. and more than a year wiser. "because you know a party is a thing that don't happen every day." and Do lly saw that there was no getting any attention in that quarter. certainly. of course she will. w ith artless triumph." said all the older girls. in a gracious Saturday afternoon mood. anyway. clearly. so we sh all just have a pick-up dinner. with a brow like one of the Fa tes. "There won't be much of a dinner at home. and raisins and almonds stood for grandeur with them. and his part of the business. announced: "Now we can't hev any young 'uns in this kitchen to-day. Consequently it was resolved to hold the Christmas Ev e service with only that necessary amount of light which would enable the worshi pers to read the prayers. and the children nothing doubted that such a permission was obtainable. but Mis' Persis in her arm or. was not an unpleasant idea. "I've got to go to church to-day . retreated to his study a t the top of the house. sitting in her own tent-door dispensing hospitalities and cookies. and all with great impartiality. in which cakes of tallow were speedily liquefying. On this Christmas Eve Dolly went to bed at her usual hour with a resigned and qu iet spirit." said Nabby to Dolly. he saile d off into President Edwards' treatise on the nature of true virtue. But these mottoes. of course. The news of this bill of fare spread like wildfire through the school. and your mother would think it strange if you didn't come and ask her. particular Bessie--was going to have a Christmas party at her house tha t afternoon. She felt herself a year older. too.s made to renew it yearly. was one thing. Dinner-baskets for all the children were hastily packed. "But. and was around distributing invitations right and left among the sc holars with a generous freedom. 'cause I'm one of the singers. Mis' Persis. and you be sure not to come home till night. won't she. Mis' Persis appeared on the ground by day-dawn. than when Christmas had first dawned upon her consciousness. "Oh. The school was a small. with her loins girded and a hard day's work to be conquered. a frame was p laced quite across the kitchen to sustain candle-rods. where. Miss Titcome. concerning which he was preparing a paper to read at the next association meeting. for the rising generation of Poganuc were by no means wearied with indulgence. you will go home at noon and ask your mother.

scholar after scholar rose and departed. in the decisive tone that mothers used in the old days. it's foolish to think of it. Cushing looked. Just then the stage stopped at the door and a bundle from Boston was handed in. Mrs. you don 't want to go to parties. there's going to be a party at General Lewis'--Bessie's party--and t he girls are all going. "Don't trouble your mother." said the Doctor. the Christmas gift of he r grandmother in Boston." said the Doctor. ." said her mother. until at last Dolly was the only one remaining in the school-room. "As sure as I'm alive! if there isn't Dolly Cushing comin' back--runnin' and tea rin' like a wild cretur'. looking out of the door. Run away now. we must take her somewhere to make up for it. she went away crying. "She'll be in here in a minute and knock everything down!" Mrs. suddenly called to discuss with a child some new and startling proposition to which at the moment she cannot even give a thought. it's impossible. "I really feel sorry about poor little Dolly." said Mrs. and with a quick movement stepped to the door. It's just impossible for me to attend to her now. but this was of twice the size. "There. When Dolly came home that night the coast was clear." he said. and the candles were finish ed and put away to harden in a freezing cold room. kept in a fluid state by the heat of a portable furnace on which it stood. why. and immediately he came out behind his wife. Just here we must beg any mother and housekeeper to imagine herself in the very midst of the most delicate. mamma--" "Go!" said her mother. and she most inconsiderately used up the little stock of breath that she wo uld want to set her cause in order before her mother. Dolly's former darling was old and shabby. When three o'clock came. and so Dolly rushed home after the morning school was over. and increasing in mental excitement as she ran. a little older than her father and mother. the tears freezing on her cheek as she wen t. who always moved and spoke and thought as became a schoolmistress. the kitchen was once more res tored. and Do lly is wild to go. "Your best dress isn't ready to wear. "Dolly! what are you here for? Didn't I tell you not to come home this noon?" "Oh." said Mis' Persis. perplexing and laborious of household tasks. so that. you can't. although she was in reality only twenty yea rs old. and there's nobody can spend time to get you ready. run away to school." "But. "Yes. her curls flew behind her in the w ind. mamma. Dolly. Dolly considered her as a very advanced and ancient person--if anything. "What's all this about?" asked the Doctor. poor child. "Why. Dolly's tears were soon wiped and dried. and do n't think any more about it--there's a good girl!" Dolly turned and went back to school." said Mrs. "there's going to be a party at General Lewis'. looking as if a new possibility had struck his mind. Cushing to her husband. indeed. A long train of half-dipped candles hung like so many stalactite s from the frames on which the rods rested. by the side of a caldr on of melted tallow. As for not thinking any more about it--that was impossible. and Nabby bustled about getting supper as if nothing had happened. when in terruption is most irksome and perilous. and w ith cheeks exhibiting a state of the most florid health." "Wife. Cushing. w hen arguing with children was not a possibility. mayn't I go?" "No. and her mourning was turned into joy wh en a large jointed London doll emerged from the bundle. Cushing was sitting in the kitchen with Mis' Persis.xemplary." "Oh. "Do you think she cared much?" asked the Doctor. but what could I do about it? I couldn't stop to dress her. Her bonnet blew off upon her shoulders. Even she was of opinion that Dolly might properly go home to lay a case of such importance before her mother. Go right back to sc hool. precise and proper young lady. and the two were patiently dipping s et after set and replacing them again on the frame. running with all her might. I don't want her intimate at Lewis's.

Then Nabby took her seat by Hiel in front. something for every member of the family. and h aving wings. the dismal long straight seam. and make up for the loss of he r party. with Dolly in between. Cushing. with all their bells jingling. "we'll take Dolly. and the sleigh drove round for old Mrs. In the olden times there lived a king who was worthy of the name. with explosive barks. which stretched on before her as life sometimes does to us. of course. Spring. then. The Doctor insisted on giv ing up his place to her and tucking her warmly under the buffalo robe. Got t o stow the grown folks in fust. MOLESWORTH. and I think we'll sort o' make the snow fly. Hiel had brought the Doctor a message to the following effect: "I was drivin' by Tim Hawkins'. whence Tom and Bill. it yet seemed but a short time bef ore the party drove up to the great red farmhouse. and we're ev er so much obliged to you. as ev erybody knows. as usual in grandmamma's Christmas bundle. whose lighted windows sent st reams of radiant welcome far out into the night. for the excitement of her company. "Wal. wife. He loved his p eople. The stars blinked white and clear out of a deep blue sky. little dreaming of the joy just approaching. and could hardly sleep. Poor little Dolly! only that afternoon she had watered with her tears." said Hiel. which. for it was called the Kingdom of the Four Orts. and so the evening went on festive wings. It was not so large." said the Doctor. but before bed-time no cricket in the hear th was cheerier or more noisy. Then hot bricks were handed in to keep feet warm. Doctor--ef it's all one to you. on whose broad gre en leaves the tufts of snow lay like clusters of white roses." And so first came Mrs. I've jest got two new strings o' bells up from B oston. She had come home crying. means that he had possessions north. burst forth with irrepressible shouts of wel come. "Then. east. disagreeable and cheerless. but that he was able to manage it well for himself . at least it appears to be beyond doubt that it extended a good way in different dir ections. who were in a wild state of hilarity. "Wal. Hawkins had forced i nto her hand at parting. "I'd like to take y e over in my new double sleigh. however. raced first on this and then o n that side of the sleigh as it flew swiftly over the smooth frozen road. Meanwhile. and his people loved him in return. The keen clear air was full of stimulus and vigor. is the sensation of being borne over the snow by a pair of spirited horses who enjoy the race. His kingdom must have been large. and west. Everybody had petted her. boys. and she would like to hev y ou and Mis' Cushin' and all your folks come--Nabby and all. at school . and so Hiel's proposition to take the longest w ay met with enthusiastic welcome from all the party. while he took the middle seat and acted as moderator between the boys. "Don't get things in a muss gen'ally. and the buffalo robe was tucked down securely. Hiel. She took the new dolly to bed with her." said Hi el. we shall be delighted to go in company with your mother. south. who had been waiting with caps and mittens on for the last half hour. and been delighted with her sayings and doings.Besides this there was. and the path wound uphill among cedars and junipers and clumps of mountain laurel." Punctually at six. and Mis' Hawkins she comes out and says they're goin' to hev an apple-cuttin' there to-morrow night." said Mrs. Our little Dolly had had an evening of unmixed bliss. S'pose there'd be no objecti ons to takin' my mother 'long with ye?" "Oh. I'll be round by six o'clock. Hiel's two horses. Cushing and the Doctor. apparently." continued Hiel. boys kin hang on anywhere. and were installed on the back se at. stood at th e door of the parsonage. as much as those they draw. She had spent a really happy Christmas! THE CHRISTMAS PRINCESS. don't haul them buffalo skins out on t' the snow. and talked to her. and she was c arrying home a paper parcel of sweet things which good Mrs. bare. BY MRS. "Take care now." The Doctor and his lady of course assented. Next to being a bird. Jones. Though Hiel contrived to make the ride about eight miles. wait for your ma and the Doctor.

or almost winter. however. however that may have been. and a few snowflakes even had fallen be fore their time. It was late autumn. as to that I cannot say--in human affairs. and when the next morni ng the ground was all white. ho wever. "The Fairy of the North must be on her way. Are you ready? You must have seen I was coming. and always ready to take part in any sche me for the good of their people.--that is to say. "Are you ready?" she repeated. The King. These sisters were very beautiful as well as very wise. For instance. For the help which. and a tall. "You are wanted. They were very much attached to each other . Strong as she was. the trees and the bushes covered with silvery folia ge. Human beings knew much more than they do now about the other dwellers on the earth. and the warm air of t he room was oppressive to her. she seemed tired with the rate at which she had traveled. For the moment she took no notice of the Queen. which was already scarce. who was beginning to feel a little frightened at the continuance of the storm. of course. and she had been much spoilt in her youth at her own home. His wife was young and charming. and she welcomed the signs of its ap proach on this account. and the Queen's delight was unbounded--nor was th e King's joy less than hers." She threw off her mantle as she spoke and sank on to a couch. doubtless. Now. was his in g overning his people was that of four very wise counselors indeed--the four fairi es of the North and the South. though they made it up afterward. when a great trouble befell the pretty Que en. they always looked young. provided it did not separate her from her husba nd. sor ely wanted. with certain help which I will tell you of. Though older than the wo rld itself. in my part of the world. Many things were different in those times: many things existed which nowadays wo uld be thought strange and incredible. Brave-Heart. he looked graver still. white -shrouded figure stood before them. and refuse to let the poor folk have it. perhaps . and a ll the palace servants went hurrying and scurrying about to make great fires and hang up thick curtains and get everything in order for the cold season. And early the next morning. looked grave. as I said. The people are starving: the season has bee n a poor one. nevertheless. "Something is amiss." But. he r gray eyes full of anxiety." he said. it was no uncommon case to find learned men who were able to converse with animals quite as well as wit h each other. more heavily than before. beautiful features looked harassed. though they had been married for some years. were often visible to mortal eyes. Her clear. and devotedl y fond of him. an icy blast filled the room. But Queen Claribel only clapped her hands at the sight. And the advice t hey gave was always to be relied upon. A year never passe d without his visiting every part of his dominions and inquiring for himself int o the affairs of his subjects. for evil. King Brave-Heart was married. which makes up for a good deal. She was sweet and loving. though they seldom met. quietly. "It will not last. And good King Brave-Heart was especially favored in this way. and i t is not yet time for her visit. and there has been bad faith. for wit h the winter she hoped the baby would come. Some few powerful men have bought up the grain." said the King. N othing will save their lives or prevent sad suffering but your own immediate pre sence. Perhaps--who can say?--the world was not so big i n those days. The weather had grown suddenly cold. . "I have come to fetch you." And that very afternoon the snow fell again." she said abruptly. and it must be confessed that sometimes on such occasi ons there were stormy scenes. Fairies. but at last t here came the hope of an heir. But she was of a rather jealous and exacting disposition. there were not so many folk living on it. and the f rost-wind whistled down the chimneys and burst open the doors and windows. "In a few days there will be milder weather again. he still looked grave. They had no children. the double doors of her boudoir suddenly flew open. and it was considered quite natural that they should interfere for good--sometimes. the East and the West. which t hey had not expected so soon. as he was sitting with the Queen.

. A ll the grand people of the neighborhood were bidden to it. she had chosen the unus ual position. his tender affection and his delight in his little da ughter made it impossible for her not to "forgive him. explaining to the King as they journeyed exactly the measures he must take and the difficultie s to be overcome. She would scarcel y bid her husband farewell: she turned her back to the fairy with undignified pe tulance. was occup ied by the fairy of the South. The four fairies were invited. found h erself placed at the King's left hand." as she expressed it. "She will learn better some day."Yes. as you can under stand. For when she saw Brave-Heart again. A great feast was arranged in honor of the christening of the little Princess. She glanced round her calmly. the Queen's spite could be no longer concea led. All she said but made the Queen more indignant. And the feast progressed with the accustomed splen dor and rejoicing. But she gave instructions that this rule s hould be departed from. or that there would be something dreadful the matter with it. But she resolved in her own mind to do all in her power to show that she was not the welcome fairy. The severe weather disappeared again as if by magic." It was no use. Sh e did nothing but cry and abuse the fairy. as she was sometimes called. but took no notice. believe me. for it was a matter of course that they should be the baby's godmothers. Take courage. o therwise very certainly they would never have come again. you may be sure. nor. tho ugh she could not take any interest in his accounts of his visit to the north an d all he had been able to do there. So Queen Claribel ought to have been happy. Think of the suffering mothers and their little ones whom your hus band hastens to aid. and at such a time. she dared not even hint a t such a thing. And though th e Queen would gladly have excluded the Northern fairy." said the Northern spirit. imagining that by her own choice perhaps. a prey to all kinds of terrible anxiety? Then s he turned to the fairy and upbraided her in unmeasured language. But at the end. and the Queen well knew that the first place was due to the Northern spirit. and never doubted that it was his duty to obey. Would h e leave her. as he rose to his feet. which seat. instead of next to him on the right. when human beings were honored by the presence of fairy visit ors. And when the winter did s et in for good at last. But she was determined not to be. "Poor child!" she said. All will be well with you. Even among fairies the mselves there are ranks and formalities. But though the King had the greatest faith in her advice. these distinguished guests were naturally given precedence of all others. "Foolish child. Claribel! Show your self a queen. But you. "it is a shame that I should suffer so. must b e brave and unselfish. as pretty and l ively and healthy as could be wished. I am ready!" said Brave-Heart. But the spirit of the North glanced at her with calm pity." And even when on Christmas Eve a beautiful little girl was born. Claribel still nursed her resentment . His presence was effecting all that the fairy had hoped. and that if ever her baby came she was sure it would n ot live. did the good King forget the poorer folk. The tidings were cheering. his heart was sore. and even though the next day brought the a nnouncement of the King's immediate return. on the contrary. separated from him by her sister of the W est. The sights I have seen of l ate have been so terrible that they absorb me. From time to time news reach ed the palace of the King's welfare. with bitter crying and reproaches. made no remark. too." Then she gave all her attention to the matter she had come about. "It is not fair. Things turned out as he had said. though in the end it came to be directed entirely against the fairy. and the Snow fairy. "I had almost forgotten you." she kept saying. On such occasions. But the Queen threw herself upon him. when the moment arrived at which the four godmothers were expect ed to state their gifts to the baby. and the King. and some weeks of unusually mild days followed. declaring that she would never see he r dear Brave-Heart again. it was with no great rigor.

her red robes falling majes tically around her. "I would I knew!" she said. while her blue eyes pierced far into the distance. with a bright. would fain have held back. my sister. for Claribel stood." she exclaimed. The fairy of the West threw back her auburn hair with a gesture of impatience. foolish woman. "Sister. as she drew her white garments more closely round her with a majestic a ir. but the King on one hand. and to myself. cold-hearted fairy. but what the words were no one heard. "What would you propose?" she said coldly." The King started and grew pale. her three sisters on the other. She shall not know the suffe ring you dread for her with so cowardly a fear. though indeed by this ti me she might have included the Queen in her sympathy. horrif ied at the result of her mad resentment." "And you. and how can tender feelings find entrance into a feelingless heart? Alas! alas! I can but predict what sounds like a mock ery of your trouble. which so quickly changed from bright to sad . fortunately for you all." said the Queen bitterly. mysterious Eastern fairy linked her arm in that of her Western sister. while the thoughtful-eyed. and already she was beginning to feel half sorry for what she had done. "Have pity!" exclaimed the former. "'Tis a hard knot you have tied. "Say something to soften this hard fate. "health--perfect health and strength of body. making him neg lect me as he never would have done but for your influence--what will you give m y child? Will you do something to make amends for the suffering you caused? I wo uld rather my pretty baby were dead than that she lived to endure what I have of late endured. lovable spirit of the West--for once grew still and statue-like. star ted forward to detain her. is the nature of the chang eful. "you. for it was not many that dared stand near to her. in truth." "And I. she shall be known for w hat she is--Princess Ice-Heart. the Northern fairy's gift may be the last in order instead of t he first. half tremblingly. so terribly cold was her presence." she said. as my gift to the pretty child. soft-voiced fairy of the South. bethink you. But the Snow fairy signed to h er imperiously to speak. The beautiful. For that which would mend the evil wrought seems to me impossible while the evil exists-the cure and the cessation of the disease are one. as all know. I know. She shall be what you choose to fancy I am. "I give her great powers of intellect and intelligence. breezy flutter of her sea-green garments. who have done your best to kill me with misery. Or. How could the heart of ice b e melted till tender feelings warm it. cannot touch th e child. i n her glowing golden draperies. and kissed her hand in farewell." The Northern fairy murmured something under her breath." said the spirit of the East." said the latter."I request. turning to the King. "the gift of great beauty." said the Northern spirit calmly. allow me to mitigate it if I can." said the Western fairy. who came between my husband and me. "So your rash words. t he tears springing in her blue eyes. low forehead. "Hearke n!" and her expressive face. her dark hair lying smoothly in its thick masses on her broa d." she went on." "And I. And the green-robed spirit tried to smile throug h her tears in farewell as she suffered herself to be led away. and whispered that the solution of the problem shou ld have her most earnest study. The graceful spirit of the South fluttered her golden locks. as pale as Brave-Heart himself. for her affection for her sterner sister was largely mingled with awe. "that for reasons well known to herself." "Life and death are not mine to bestow or to withhold. "I bestow upon the Princess Sweet-Heart. But something--much--I can do. who came next. and I will. the Western fairy adding beseechingly. over which sunshine and showers were wont to chase each other as on an April day--for such. at le ast. "The day on which the Princess of the Icy Heart shall shed a tear." She turned to go. to the King . ." The Snow fairy stopped. that heart shall melt--but then only. and with a little sigh drew her radiant mantle round her. she was far from hard-hearted or remorseless. And instead of the name you have given her. Undo it you cannot.

It was no use sending for doctors-no use doing anything. "my poor Claribel. was. She put up her tiny hand and. as she would then reign instead of him. It seemed as if people could not help it. and soon gave signs of unusual intellig ence. as beautiful as the fondest of par ents could desire. as no infant sheds tears during the earliest weeks of its life. brushed them off. But the baby did not mind. and when she saw her mother break into s obs at her unnatural speech she stared at her in blank astonishment. and she had learnt with ease and interest. then to a year. but she had no feeling. And so things went on until Ice-Heart reached her seventeenth year. though the baby looked quite well otherwise. a sense of sorrow and dread hung over all who remained. Her education had been carefully directed. placid. She was seldom put out. "Sweet-Heart we cannot name her. for. and the mo ther hastened to the nursery. in the region of the heart. there was the strang est coldness over her left side. The next morning she found it covered w ith chilblains. but he shook his head." she exclaimed. with a fretful expr ession." Brave-Heart pitied his wife deeply. Sh e now felt nothing but shame and regret for her own wild temper.So the four strange guests departed. to teach me a lesson. and the soft cambric and still softer flannel of the finest wh ich had covered the spot were stiff. Claribel flew to the baby's cradle. sh e looked rosy and content--a picture of health. And it was true. She was beautiful and healthy and intelligent. for sweet she i s not. that the Snow fairy uttere d those terrible words. Her own delicate hand when she laid it on the baby's hea rt was. The little Princess was sleeping soundly." Claribel did not answer. She could speak in several languages. The head nurse sent for the Queen while she was undressing the child. she seemed contented in almost all circumstances. as if they had been exposed to a winter nig ht's frost. observing that if he never came home again it would be rather amusing. "Princess Ice-Heart" she was called far and near. "She seems just as usual. and before long everyone not immediately conn ected with the palace respectfully but silently withdrew. she was also exceedingly strong and healthy. as a rule. though occasionally violent. She flourished amazingly. as regarded her outward appearance. "Alas!" exclaimed Claribel. heart or no heart. The little Pr incess seemed annoyed by them. but their absence was not followed by the u sual outburst of unconstrained festivity. In spite of all her royal parents' comman ds to the contrary. On the contrary. But when she gr ew to six months old. and the powers o f her mind were unusual. Her mother called eagerly to the King. And the name "Ice-Heart" clung to her. slept well. then to two and three. though with never a tear! At first this did not seem strange. as it were." he said. and was near her fo urth birthday without ever crying. By this time she was. when King Brave-Heart started on some of his distant journeys she bade him good-bye with a smile. strange to say. it became plain that the prediction was indee d to be fulfilled." was murmured by all who came in contact with her. The fa iry is true--true as steel--if you could but have trusted her! Had you seen her. Sweet she certainly was not. She was perfectly healthy. but when angry she expressed her feelings by loud roars and screams. but that was all. The skin looked per fectly colorless. but her tears dropped on the baby's face." For. "Perhaps--oh! perhaps after all I have done no harm. leaving the King and Q ueen to their mysterious sorrow. blistered with cold." she went on. When her good old nurse died. "Perhaps. she remarked coolly that she hoped her new attendant would dress her hair more becomingly. her resentment against the Northern fairy had died away. Her t emper. In some ways she gave little trouble. And that very evening the certainty came. "it was but to try me. as I have done--full of tenderest pity for suffering--you could never have so m aligned her. her paintin . "I dare not comfort you with any such hopes. The attendants were standing round in the greatest anxiety. ate well.

in one or two cases she had replied t o her parents that she had no objection to marry Prince So-and-so. This proclamation diminished at once the number of suitors. the most exciting and moving dramas were enacted before her. There was but one pec uliarity about her. no stone had been left unt urned in hopes of awakening in the unfortunate girl some affection or emotion. But all in vain. Queen Claribel trusted fondly that cure might come. was powerless to move her to aught but admiration of the performers' skill or curiosity as to the construction of their instruments. she was encouraged to see sad sights from which most soft-hearted maidens would instinctively flee . some in annoyance--took their departure." "But a heart she has. So beautiful and wealthy and accomplished a maiden was naturally not without sui tors. from which much had been h oped. But all this time the mystic sisters were not idle or forgetful. no more appeared--so well did it come to be known th at the attempt was hopeless. So King Brave-Heart thought it best to try no such experiment. another his lute. and begged him to allow her to witness the performance--she had never s een anyone drown. one by one. the first time the idea struck her. at first. She would express interest and ask intelligent questions with calm." So lovers were invited. would attempt the bold stroke of telling Ice-Heart that unless she could respond to his adoration he would drown himself. But all was in vain. the poor Queen dared not come near her child. or simple knight. to her satisfaction. And in future no gentleman was allowed to present himself except with the understanding that he a lone who should succeed in making Princess Ice-Heart shed a tear would be accept ed as her betrothed. too. And for more than a year Princess Ice-Heart was left to herself--very much. Each p rince. And she saw them go with calmness. Indeed." persisted the mother. the troupe of aspirants--some in disgust. she was taken to visit the poor of the city in their pitiable homes. Love rs of every description--rich and poor. a third sighs and appeals. The sight of tears was evidently disagreeable to her. "My poor dear!" replied the King. appa rently. or a man who is always twiddling a fiddle or making verses I could no t stand. "It is only. but her voice was metallic and unpleasing. She had also been taught to sing. More certainly than anything else did t he signs of weeping arouse one of her rare fits of anger--so much so that now an d then. some in strange fear. and tea rs were to her a frequent relief from her lifelong regrets. But she could discuss scientific and philosophical subjects with the sages of her father's kingdom like one of themse lves." she said. a fourth. did his best: one would try poetry. though they could not have explained why. unmoved features and dry eyes. like the winter stream which bursts forth again into ever fresh life and m ovement with the awaking spring. She only smiled. to love. she could play with brilliancy on various instruments. "If she could but fall in love. for days together. handsome and ugly--so lon g as they were of passable birth and fair character. duly instructed in the sad case. Even music. as they were skillful and well executed. or Count Such -another. "to see. So. s eemed to Ice-Heart's unhappy parents to hint at some shadowy hope. Several of the aspirants to Ice-Heart's hand had been chosen by them and conveyed to the neighb . and from this direction. im agining he had made some way. "Though a sighing and moan ing lover." she would add contemptuously. if they desired it--it would be rather agreeable to have a husband if he gave her plenty of presents and did all she asked. preferring a more ord inary spouse than the bewitched though beautiful Princess. which sometimes. asleep--fr ozen. you must have eyes. after one or two candidates had failed. you must have a heart.gs were worthy of admiration. as it were. though. old and young. And besides all this care bestowed upon her training. or duke. King Brave-Heart was not to o particular--in the forlorn hope that among them one fortunate wight might rous e some sentiment in the lovely statue he desired to win. E very day the most soul-stirring poetry was read aloud to her by the greatest elo cutionists. and lovers came and were made welcome by the dozen.

"I hear on the best authority that Ice-Heart is feeling rather dull and bored at present." For the poor King was fast losing all hope of his daught er's case. "But listen--my power is gre at in some ways. "but where is the Prince?" As she said the word the cortége halted. However. "'Tis as good as a show. "Now is your time. Indeed. for he could be serious enough w hen seriousness was called for. accompanied by a magnificent retinu e. "not a very prince-like name. but he pitied her still more. He admired the beautiful girl. the messenger from the unknown candidate for the hand of the beautiful IceHeart had been expressly charged to say that the Prince Jocko--such was the newcomer's name--was fully informed as to all particulars." she said. were awaiting their guest. "Gracious!" exclaimed the Princess. The parents and their daughter stared at each other and gasped. followed by a troop of white mules with negro riders in gorgeous attire. "You made her smile by your liveliness and fun. but that is th e most that can be said. he was full of lif e and adventure and brightness. and am most willing t o employ my utmost skill for my unfortunate god-daughter. and this pity was the real mot ive which made him yield to the fairy's proposal that he should try again." but befor e there was time to say more the curtains of the litter were drawn aside. "She did not actually dislike me. nothing would induce me to wed a bride who could not return my affection. "I hope he is not a molly-coddle.orhood of the palace by their intermediacy from remote lands. but still they could not forbid the attempt. at the summit of which th e King." she said. with closely drawn curtains. "but it is useless. when she arrived one day at the Prince's home to talk over her new idea." A few hours later the royal pair and their daughter. The Princess' parents smiled somewhat bitterly. A litter. And soon a blast of trum pets announced his approach. They had no hope. So it came to pass that very shortly after the conversation I have related there was great excitement in the capital city of the Kingdom of the Four Orts. I could scarcely feel any for such a one. in great state and ceremony. defiled before the great marble steps in front of the palace. and she will welcome any distraction. "Prince Jocko?" said the King." said Brave-Heart to the messenger announci ng the arrival of the stranger at the gates." And she proceeded to arrange all the details of her plan. dr ew up at the foot of the steps. it matters little. in conclusion. who forthwith proceede d to ascend the steps. "He may try as the others have done. and prepared to comply w ith the conditions. And among these. and however I may feel for her. I believe we have been on a wrong track all this time. then musicians. succeeded by the Prince's immediate attendants. It is some time since she has had the variety of a new suitor. with the Queen and Princess. horsemen in spl endid uniforms. however I may admire he r beauty and intelligence." She then unfolded to him her scheme." she said. and in another moment an attendant had lifted out its occupant. After an interval of more than a year a new suitor had at length presented himself fo r the hand of the Princess Ice-Heart. Prince Jocko was neither more nor less than a monkey! ." said the fairy. with all their attendants. he was growing aged and care-worn before his time. He was not one of the sighing or sentimental order of swains. and obtained his consent to it. "Does he know the terms attached to his acceptance?" inquired the Queen. "You pleased the poor child." "Ah no! I agree with you entirely. Ice-Heart clapped her hands. gravely. was seated in state. His retinue was indeed magnificent." "What do you propose?" said Francolin. For I was there when you little knew it. and his heart was warm and generous. The girl has been overdosed with senti mentality and doleful strains. o ne of the few who had found some slight favor in the maiden's eyes was a special protégé of the Western fairy--the young and spirited Prince Francolin. Yes. Only the King and Queen received the news with melancholy indifference. I am well versed in ordinary enchantment.

Clear. But still the parents' hearts were sore. "I cannot break my word. she soon revived. And who can describe the feelings of the King and Quee n when she turned to them with a smile such as they had never seen on her face b efore. a t hree-cornered hat in his hand. his sword sticking straight out behind. his words and gestures were a hundred times more so. He stepped up to Ice-Heart and." All was rejoicing when the wonderful news of the miraculous cure spread through the palace and the city. h is own keen sharp eyes gradually growing larger and deeper in expression. "I owe him too deep a debt of gratitude to think of such a thing . turning round. merry laughter. If his appearance was too funny. And at last a sound--which never before had been heard. and again the lit ter. "Sweet-Heart! my own Sweet-Heart!" she whispered. The Princess was laughing as if she could no longer contain herself. And Sweet-Hea rt stood. He laid his little brown paw on his heart. Queen Claribel smothered her face in her handkerchief. and fi nally began an oration. "Yes. He was more comical than words can express. She pressed her hand to her side. he declaimed. No. he posed and pir ouetted like a miniature dancing-master. And Ice-Heart stopped laughing. There was great excitement in the palace. till t hey assumed the pathetic. "how I love you! Those strange warm drops that filled my eyes seem to have brought new life to me. All sorts of ideas occurred to the King. "help me! help me! Am I dying? What has happened to me?" And. ringing. "Ah. and much alarm." So again the cortége of Prince Jocko made its way to the palace. long drawn sigh she sank fainting to the ground. and his little cracked voice rose highe r and higher as his own fine words and expressions increased in eloquence. with its closely drawn curtains. dearest mother. and now with hi s retinue he was encamped outside the walls. while a curious e xpression stole into her beautiful eyes. But when the Princess had been carried indoors and laid on a couch. till--she flung herself at her mother's feet. and. for was not th e King's word pledged that his daughter should marry him who had effected this h appy change? And this was no other than Jocko. "No. but calm and smiling. Sweet-Hea . the effect was irresistible. And the Princess whispered back. beseechingly into her face. respectfu lly raising her hand to his lips. fetching of docto rs. his tail sweeping the ground. Princess Ice-He art opened her pretty mouth wide and forgot to close it again. Princess!" he murmured. save faintly--made every one start. dear child. hurrying to and fro. wistful look of appeal one often sees in those of a no ble dog. He rolled his eyes. gazed earnestly. "Father! mother!" she cried. King Brave-Heart turned his he ad aside." she said." said a bright voice beside her. mamma!" she exclaimed. "Dearest father. to welcome her ridiculous betrothed. "Where is Jocko? Why. "Jocko?" she murmured." But the Princess would not hear of this. But who is this that quickly mounts the stairs with firm and manly tread? SweetHeart nearly swooned again. Was it a trick? No. bowed again. drew up at the marble steps. And on sh e went. call me by that name always. But Prince Jocko suddenly grew silent. laughing ever. "Oh. coughed. which it did one's heart good to hear. "but we might try to persuade the little mons ter to release me from it. the tears r olling down her cheeks. And in his eyes I read more than I can put in words. dear father! you must summon him at once to be presented to our people as my affianced husband. pale. "I never--" and then she went off again. this is Prince Francolin!" "Yes. the monkey! The Prince had disappeared at the moment that Ice-Heart fainted." she said. sneezed.But such a monkey as never before had been seen." and as the Queen passed her arm round the maiden she felt no chill of cold such as used to thril l her with misery every time she embraced her child. Prince Jocko proceeded to speak. and bowed to the ground." he said. and when at last he stood before them. with a strange.

She's worn to a shadow. though she never will own it. a candle. she took the girl's hand and pressed it against her own heart. and how much I use to care about him! I wonder wha t has become of him! Jerusha says he went away from our village just after I did . "How fond Mr. resting her elbow on the tabl e and her head upon her hand. and a monthly rose. with cheeks as red as the apples. "Yes. with her sisters. Over the chimney hung several fine hams and pieces of dried bee f. had suddenly arrived. to sa y nothing of pots of violets that perfumed the whole place whenever they took it into their purple heads to bloom. on the window ledge s. and a p itcher of cider. lying full in the reflection of the blaz e. "it seems as if it were more than fif ty. and yet I don't look so very old neither. In one of these chairs sat a comfortable-looking woman about forty-five. She was thinki ng of her dead husband." so the widow's reverie ran. The floor was carefully swept. a dish of red cheeked apples. with her six boys. T. "Seven years. down in that part o f the Old Dominion called the "Eastern Shore. is as warm as is now your own. He r meditations took a new turn. Even the grave fairy of the North smiled with pleasure and delight. "Never misjudge me. The fire crackled cheerfully on the broad hearth of an old-fashioned fireplace i n an old-fashioned public house in an old fashioned village. too. and Christmas nigh here again. horse-shoe geraniums." The widow took an apple from the dish and began to peel it. just budding. Townsend used to be of these apples! He'll never eat any more of t hem. and no other!" The universal joy may be imagined. possibly because all her work being done. and the servan t gone to bed. under my icy mantle. and seemed determined to tick the louder for it. and dew-plants. and I am sure they have done it." she whispered. and looking thoughtfully into the fire. and was always looking eagerly to see if the peel had formed a capital S. filled a little table between them. and eyes as dark and bright as they had ever been. as other people have. a pair of spectacles. Townsend stopped short and blushed." A cat and three kittens basked in the warmth. the sight of his empty chair at the other side of the table. "How handsome Sam Payson was. during which the widow looked very steadfastly at the em pty arm-chair of Levi Townsend. There were plants. "Cold as I seem to those who ha ve not courage to approach me closely. for I don't suppose they have apples where he has gone to. indeed! Francolin. we might see for ourselves if it is so. wrinkled his black nose approvingly. Her fingers played carelessly with the . Levi Townsend. that's my opin ion. and who knows but what. What a silly thing that quarrel was! I f it had not been for that--" Here came a long pause. Look at my sister Jerusha. and no one has ever heard of him since." And so it was. deceased. and. Per haps it's not having any children to bother my life out. made her a little lonely. poor fellow. Sweet-Heart. Hei gho! I remember very well how I used to throw apple-peel over my head when I was a girl to see who I was going to marry. for in those days she did not know Mr. my heart. the long settle near the fireplace shone as if it had been just varnished. WIDOW TOWNSEND'S VISITOR. a newspaper. Apples were festooned along the ceiling.." Mrs. who had been mouldering into dust in the neighboring churchyard for seven years and more. the chairs had not a speck of dust upon leg or round.rt beheld the Western fairy. This was Widow Townsend. as he turned his hind feet where his for e feet had been. and other signs of plenty and good c heer were scattered profusely about. in the K ingdom of the Four Orts. T hey may say what they like--children are more plague than profit. and a decrepit yellow dog. as she kissed her pretty god-daughter. and lived happy ever after. "relict" of Mr. and the eight-day clock in the corner had had its white face newly washed. Two arm-chairs were drawn up at cozy distance from the hearth and each other. who. and the silence of the room. Where can we get a better ending than the time-honored one? Francolin and SweetHeart were married. they are living happily still? If only we knew the way thither.

apple-peel: she drew it safely towards her, and looked around the room. "Upon my word, it is very ridiculous, and I don't know what the neighbors would say if they saw me." Still the plump fingers drew the red peel nearer. "But then they can't see me, that's a comfort; and the cat and old Bose never wi ll know what it means. Of course I don't believe anything about it." The peel hung gracefully from her hand. "But still, I should like to try; it would seem like old times, and--" Over her head it went, and curled up quietly on the floor at a little distance. Old Bose, who always slept with one eye open, saw it fall, and marched deliberat ely up to smell it. "Bose--Bose--don't touch!" cried his mistress, and bending over it with beating heart, she turned as red as fire. There was as handsome a capital S as any one c ould wish to see. A great knock came suddenly at the door. Bose growled, and the widow screamed an d snatched up the apple-peel. "It's Mr. T.--it's his spirit come back again, because I tried that silly trick, " she thought fearfully to herself. Another knock--louder than the first, and a man's voice exclaimed: "Hello--the house!" "Who is it?" asked the widow, somewhat relieved to find that the departed Levi w as still safe in his grave on the hillside. "A stranger," said the voice. "What do you want?" "To get a lodging here for the night." The widow deliberated. "Can't you go on? There's a house half a mile farther, if you keep to the righthand side of the road, and turn to the left after you get by--" "It's raining cats and dogs, and I'm very delicate," said the stranger, coughing . "I'm wet to the skin: don't you think you can accommodate me?--I don't mind sl eeping on the floor." "Raining, is it? I didn't know that," and the kind-hearted little woman unbarred the door very quickly. "Come in, whoever you may be; I only asked you to go on because I am a lone woman, with only one servant in the house." The stranger entered, shaking himself like a Newfoundland dog upon the step, and scattering a little shower of drops over his hostess and her nicely swept floor . "Ah, that looks comfortable after a man has been out for hours in a storm," he s aid, as he caught sight of the fire; and striding along toward the hearth, follo wed by Bose, who sniffed suspiciously at his heels, he stationed himself in the arm-chair--Mr. Townsend's arm-chair! which had been kept "sacred to his memory" for seven years. The widow was horrified, but her guest looked so weary and worn -out that she could not ask him to move, but busied herself in stirring up the b laze that he might the sooner dry his dripping clothes. A new thought struck her: Mr. T. had worn a comfortable dressing-gown during his illness, which still hung in the closet at her right. She could not let this po or man catch his death, by sitting in that wet coat. If he was in Mr. Townsend's chair, why should he not be in Mr. Townsend's wrapper? She went nimbly to the c loset, took it down, fished out a pair of slippers from a boot-rack below, and b rought them to him. "I think you had better take off your coat and boots--you will have the rheumati c fever, or something like it, if you don't. Here are some things for you to wea r while they are drying. And you must be hungry, too; I will go into the pantry and get you something to eat." She bustled away, "on hospitable thoughts intent," and the stranger made the exc hange with a quizzical smile playing around his lips. He was a tall, well-formed man, with a bold but handsome face, sun-burned and heavily bearded, and looking anything but "delicate," though his blue eyes glanced out from under a forehead as white as snow. He looked around the kitchen with a mischievous air, and stre tched out his feet decorated with the defunct Boniface's slippers.

"Upon my word, this is stepping into the old man's shoes with a vengeance! And w hat a hearty, good-humored looking woman she is! Kind as a kitten," and he leane d forward and stroked the cat and her brood, and then patted old Bose upon the h ead. The widow, bringing in sundry good things, looked pleased at his attention to her dumb friends. "It's a wonder Bose does not growl; he generally does if strangers touch him. De ar me, how stupid!" The last remark was neither addressed to the stranger nor to the dog but to hers elf She had forgotten that the little stand was not empty, and there was no room on it for the things she held. "Oh, I'll manage it," said her guest, gathering up paper, candle, apples, and sp ectacles (it was not without a little pang that she saw them in his hand, for th ey had been her husband's, and were placed each night, like the arm-chair, besid e her) and depositing them on the settle. "Give me the table-cloth, ma'am, I can spread it as well as any woman; I've lear ned that along with scores of other things, in my wanderings. Now let me relieve you of those dishes; they are far too heavy for those hands"--the widow blushed ; "and now please, sit down with me, or I cannot eat a morsel." "I had supper long ago, but really I think I can take something more," said Mrs. Townsend, drawing her chair nearer to the table. "Of course you can, my dear lady; in this cold fall weather people ought to eat twice as much as they do in warm. Let me give you a piece of this ham, your own curing, I dare say." "Yes: my poor husband was very fond of it. He used to say that no one understood curing ham and drying beef better than I." "He was a most sensible man, I am sure. I drink your health, ma'am, in this cide r." He took a long draught, and set down his glass. "It is like nectar." The widow was feeding Bose and the cat (who thought they were entitled to a shar e of every meal eaten in the house), and did not quite hear what he said. "Fine dog, ma'am, and a very pretty cat." "They were my husband's favorites," and a sigh followed the answer. "Ah, your husband must have been a very happy man." The blue eyes looked at her so long, that she grew flurried. "Is there anything more I can get for you, sir?" she asked, at last. "Nothing, thank you; I have finished." She rose to clear the things away. He assisted her, and somehow their hands had a queer knack of touching as they carried the dishes to the pantry shelves. Comi ng back to the kitchen, she put the apples and cider in their old places, and br ought out a clean pipe and a box of tobacco from an arched recess near the chimn ey. "My husband always said he could not sleep after eating supper late unless he sm oked," she said. "Perhaps you would like to try it." "Not if it is to drive you away," he answered, for she had her candle in her han d. "Oh, no; I do not object to smoke at all." She put the candle down; some faint s uggestion about "propriety" troubled her, but she glanced at the old clock, and felt reassured. It was only half-past nine. The stranger pushed the stand back after the pipe was lit, and drew her easy-cha ir a little nearer the fire, and his own. "Come, sit down," he said, pleadingly; "it's not late, and when a man has been k nocking about in California and all sorts of places, for a score of years, he is glad enough to get into a berth like this, and to have a pretty woman to speak to once again." "California! Have you been in California?" she exclaimed, dropping into the chai r at once. Unconsciously, she had long cherished the idea that Sam Payson, the l over of her youth, with whom she had so foolishly quarreled, had pitched his ten t, after many wanderings, in that far-off land. Her heart warmed to one who, wit h something of Sam's looks and ways about him, had also been sojourning in that

country, and who very possibly had met him--perhaps had known him intimately! At that thought her heart beat quick, and she looked very graciously at the bearde d stranger, who, wrapped in Mr. Townsend's dressing-gown, wearing Mr. Townsend's slippers, and sitting in Mr. Townsend's chair, beside Mr. Townsend's wife, smok ed Mr. Townsend's pipe with such an air of feeling most thoroughly and comfortab ly at home! "Yes, ma'am. I've been in California for the last six years. And before that I w ent quite round the world in a whaling ship!" "Good gracious!" The stranger sent a puff of smoke curling gracefully over his head. "It's very strange, my dear lady, how often you see one thing as you go wanderin g about the world after that fashion." "And what is that?" "Men, without house or home above their heads, roving here and there, and turnin g up in all sorts of odd places; caring very little for life as a general thing, and making fortunes just to fling them away again, and all for one reason. You don't ask me what that is? No doubt you know already very well." "I think not, sir." "Because a woman has jilted them!" Here was a long pause, and Mr. Townsend's pipe emitted short puffs with surprisi ng rapidity. A guilty conscience needs no accuser, and the widow's cheek was dye d with blushes as she thought of the absent Sam. "I wonder how women manage when they get served in the same way," said the stran ger musingly; "you never meet them roaming up and down in that style." "No," said Mrs. Townsend, with some spirit, "if a woman is in trouble she must s tay at home and bear it, the best way she can. And there's more women bearing su ch things than we know of, I dare say." "Like enough. We never know whose hand gets pinched in a trap unless they scream . And women are too shy or too sensible--which you choose--for that." "Did you ever, in all your wanderings, meet any one by the name of Samuel Payson ?" asked the widow, unconcernedly. The stranger looked toward her; she was rummaging the table-drawer for her knitt ing work, and did not notice him. When it was found, and the needles in motion, he answered her. "Payson--Sam Payson? Why, he was my most intimate friend! Do you know him?" "A little--that is, I used to, when I was a girl. Where did you meet him?" "He went with me on the whaling voyage I told you of, and afterward to Californi a. We had a tent together, and some other fellows with us, and we worked the sam e claim for more than six months." "I suppose he was quite well?" "Strong as an ox." "And--and happy?" pursued the widow, bending closer over her knitting. "Hum--the less said about that the better, perhaps. But he seemed to enjoy life after a fashion of his own. And he got rich out there, or rather, I will say, we ll off." Mrs. Townsend did not pay much attention to that part of the story. Evidently sh e had not finished asking questions, but she was puzzled about her next one. At last she brought it out beautifully: "Was his wife with him in California?" The stranger looked at her with twinkling eyes. "His wife, ma'am! Why, bless you, he has not got any wife." "Oh, I thought--I mean I heard"--here the little widow remembered the fate of An anias and Sapphira, and stopped short before she told such a tremendous fib. "Whatever you heard of his marrying was all nonsense, I can assure you. I knew h im well, and he had no thoughts of the kind about him. Some of the boys used to tease him about it, but he soon made them stop." "How?" "He just told them frankly that the only woman he ever loved had jilted him year s before, and married another man. After that no one ever mentioned the subject to him, except me."

" "Yes." said the stranger.--that is to say.' he used to say. her husband--was very good and kind." "Still--might she not have been happier with Sam? Be honest. "But did he ever tell you the name of the woman who jilted him?" "I know her first name." "I am glad to hear it." said the widow piteously." He drew his chair much nearer hers. then. And now I have a secret to tell you." "She was not happy. thinking of the lonely grave out on the hillside rather penitently." "Mr. for a long. "Does she?" "How can I tell?" "Are you still friends?" "Yes. "Yes." "Did he blame her much?" "Not so much as himself. Was he not Samuel's dear friend? If he was not the rose. You and I are the friends of both parties: we can rejoice with each other. Townsend laid her knitting aside. There never was a harsh word between them. with another." said the little woma n. and the dar k beard bent so low that it nearly touched her shoulder. but he thought sometimes if he had only gone back and spoken kindly to her. on your h onor. she would have married him after all. what you say to me never shall be repeated to any mortal man. upon my ho nor. and speaking unsteadil y. 'I've nothing to live for. I suppose. but it was a magnetic touch. now." . and looked thoughtfully into the fire.' It's a sad thought for a man to have. "and they lived very pleasantly together. Tell me. the rosy palm lay quietly in his. It did not matter much. isn't it?" Mrs." There was a dead silence. I think. "He was another specimen of the class of men I was speaking of.Mrs. looking keenly at her. had he not dwelt very near it." "Well." "What was it?" "Maria. 'It matters very litt le what takes me off." said Mrs. long time? "It was a foolish quarrel that parted them. and took her hand. "Did you know her. too?" he asked. "no. "She has owned it to me more th an a thousand times. a nd you must break it to her." "But how?" "As kindly. One moment the widow resi sted. the name was spoken so e xactly as Sam would have said it. shading her face with her hand. you must promise me. But if I do." "Madam." The plump little widow almost started out of her chair. Townsend sighed as she said she thought it was." "Then you ought to know. He said that his jealousy and ill-temper drove her to b reak off the match. and you do. on board the whaler." "Bravo! that is what I wanted to come at. for his sake. and say just w hat you think." "Intimately?" "Yes. softly. "Did he tell you about it?" "Yes. and there's no one that will shed a tear for me when I am gone. and never giving a t hought to the poor fellow she drove out into the world?" "No. as he could wish. then." "Ah! but still she never thinks of Sam. if you ever meet him again." "I am sure she would. I have seen him face death a score of times as quietly as I face the fire. she does remember him." "Where is she now? Still happy with her husband. her husband is dead. never to tell him." "I'm sure I don't know why I should. Townsend.

Whatever went wrong. and say to her. who have got over all thes e follies.Mrs.'--wh at makes you start so?" "Nothing. She may live where sh e likes and how she likes. if she will let him ." "And what do you think she will say?" he asked. "What can she say but Come!" "Hurrah!" The stranger caught her out of her chair as if she had been a child. stop! Quiet people like you and me. I will only add that two hearts were very happy. "'Liz'beth" was the direct or indirect cause. and l eaning on the mantel-piece. that. to be sure. a nd that he will be faithful till he dies." The Californian broke off suddenly." He rose from his seat. Will you tell her this?" The widow did not answer. and he is coming to share it with her. and covered her face with it. She had freed her hand from his. He had a word of praise and e ncouragement and approval for every housewife in the neighborhood except--his ow n. Though there was wrong on both sides. Ben's mother had died when he was fifteen years old and his father had never mar ried again. and so lay down to sleep again. BY ELLA WHEELER WILCOX. The widow had married her First Love! THE OLD MAN'S CHRISTMAS. By and by she looked up again--he was waiting patiently. dear reader. on Christmas Eve. But after her death. was much richer than he really was. Townsend looked rather scared. Then he came back. and walked up and down the room. I. he used her name as a synonym for all that was undesirable. "Don't--oh." as his dutiful son called him. there was a wedding at the house that made the neighbo rs stare." "I will tell her. he began to work hard at making a fo rtune. The widow gave one little scream. and Ben was an only child--a spoiled. Anson English. take the rest of the message. "I will tell her. and that one week aft erward. He has got it. The widow answered still." and always to her disadvantage. or the "ol d man. Yet it was not any allegiance to her memory which had kept Anson Eng lish from a second marriage. "Well?" "I will tell her. but not cold. stroked the yellow hide of Bose with his slipper. once in a while. "I am Sam's Maria!" "Well--I am Maria's Sam!" Off went the dark wig and the black whiskers--there smiled the dear face she had not forgotten! I leave you to imagine the tableau. "Make her quite understand that he wants her for his wife. high-tempere d lad." "Do I? Well. only it must be with him. He remembered her. that Bose concluded after a while that all was right." "Say he has grown old. and kissed her. that he loves her now perhaps better than h e did twenty years ago. that he has been faithful to her all through his life. in an altered tone. in doors or out. "What is it?" "I want you to go and see her. Tell her that Sam loved her through t he whole. wherever she may be. only you speak so like some one I used to know. when he heard she was free. 'Maria. don't!" she cried out. who had grown up with the idea that his father. and scarcely a day p assed without his mentioning her. . and wondered if he was on his heels or his head. and t hat he had no need of any personal effort--any object in life. have no business he re. they never would have separated had it not been for the old man. He compared everybo dy to "'Liz'beth. as during her weary life. He was Ben's father. even the cat got up to look. and Bose sat on his stump of a tail. and then she-But. and can do nothing but turn up our noses at them. aside from the pu rsuit of pleasure. selfish.

caressing way when he chose. S he's a good girl. Anson found how much help she had been to him. and grew pas sively indifferent--an indifference which lasted until death kindly released her . he had been without a woman's guidance or care. selfishness. I love her. to whom he wa s fond of paying informal visits. and if she's treated well all round. He knew he could never fi nd any one to replace her.During the first five years of her married life." he said. You'd better shin e up to Abby. if she'll take me. and hire his work done. Ben. and his father told him so. and was surprised at his suggestion." continued the "old man. father. And Ben would not waste his time and means on half a dozen. Ben." he said. but would stay at home. Elizabeth made strenuous exerti ons to please her husband. conceit. I mean to marry Edith Gilman. to make it convenient like for men folks. as you please. "Edith Gilman?" he repeated. At eighteen he was all that arrogance. father. I'd a good deal rather have a little more dirt. and that's all there is of it. I have other plan s in my mind. with her ways. "I'm already thinking of it. and settle down into a sensible. Women never seem to have no system about work matters--n o power of plannin' things." he would tell his neighbors. that won their admiratio n and pleased their vanity. and a warm. A man likes order when he goes home to rest from all his cares. than so much tearin' 'rou nd. She's got the muscle of a man. Ben ought to marry. Ben smiled. Anson English favored early marriages. practica l business man. till the house is a sight to see--she's gettin' dr eadful slack. more to my taste. and I think she will. Yes. so I cleared out. What are you thinkin' of?" "Of love. Th ere's Abby Wilson. . he would often say--"Liz'beth's at it again--s weepin' and cleanin'. she allowed her house to look after itself. when in the indifference of despair which seized upon Elizabeth before her death. "I'd like to see you settle down before you're twenty-one. I guess. She wept her sweet eyes dim over her repeated failure s. no doubt. and she'll bring him money in time. And her father has a fine property--a growin' property. and as money considerations were t he main ones in his mind he believed it would be the better economy to remain a widower. He had expected opposition from his fathe r." A dark frown contracted Anson English's brow. and ain't afraid of anyth ing. Anson was no better satisfied . how wonde rful her economy had been. 'll never help you to get a livin'. "'Liz 'beth's let things 'cumulate. that puny schoolma'm." Yet after she was gone." as Ben already designated him. "why. somehow. Elizabeth had been a tidy housekeeper during these first years. "I'd as soon marry a dressed-up boy. how light her expenditures. Yet he was a favorite with the fair sex for all that. she'll make a good wife. to die in hayin' time. Abby'll make a man a good. now. with her baby face and weak voice. Never see her without out a broom in her hand." Ben gave a contemptuous laugh. "S he's more like a boy than a girl in her looks and in her ways. and to his neighbors." Yet. and high temper cou ld render him. "Everything got to stop-hay spoilin'--men idle. if she'll take me. as he was now do ing. "I've come over to find a place to set down. But you want to make a good choice. 'Liz'beth tires me." Even when she died she displeased him by choosing a busy season for the occasion . "Just like 'Liz'beth." he said. She could do the work better than hired help. and you can like it or lump it. vigorous helpmate. And I shal l marry her. and began to think it would be better all around if Ben should bring a wife home. "You'd scrub and scour a man out 'er house an' home!" was all the praise her hus band gave her for her order and cleanliness. in these respects. So during those most critical years of Ben's life. "Yes. as he had a manly figure. Then she found that she had been attempting an impossible labor. and keep the money all in the fami ly.

II. too. And I'll show you that I'll not bear everything. "You're always a-fixin' up some new sort of trash for the table. Edith was a quiet little creature. and give her a re st. Indeed. and he did not like to hear the baby cry. it was a bond to unite them all. and Ben was ha sty and harsh." he said to her one day. I'll tell you how. and I want to make you happy if I can. and you killed her too. for the first time since her marriag e losing control of her temper and answering back. you call it? 'Nuff to make a man's patience desert him to see sugar and flour wasted so. and he goes w rong. and became a famous cook. Ben would do as he pleased. "She's just like 'Liz'beth. "Dessert is it. Edith shrank from his rough words. "she don't make home entertainin' for her husband." The old man groaned aloud." sighed the old man. "I want you to love me. and it was not repeated. "She looks as white and puny as 'Liz' beth did the year she died. 'Liz'beth liked your fancy cooking. and the old man was not slow to express his dissatis faction. the old man saw that plainly. and brought h er home. It was not a success. and was an object of fear to the child and of reproach to the . But you won't succeed so well with me. when I get in my tem pers. I don't ask any woman to marry me and be my drudge. Edith left the table in tears. I mean to take her home. "and she had a temper of her own at times th at would just singe things. so void of the sympathy and love she longed f or. with a soft voice. So long as the inf ant lay pink and helpless in its mother's arms or in its crib. not decrease. But Ben isn't balanced like me. and he migh t as well submit. as sweet natur es always are when they have once broken over the rules which govern their lives . and he was absolutely indiffe rent to all the work and care of the farm and family." "Yes. "Everybody says you worried h er into the grave.and she's the only woman that can put the check rein on me." "Well. and make good bread. I want to call you father." cried Edith. "She's worse'n 'Liz'beth. But she did not please her husband's father any the better by this achiev ement." He came home the worse for drink occasionally. I never was."--and he laughed harshly. That'll make me happy. and tried to make good bread. and a pale. The right kind of a woman could keep him at h ome. and Ben married Edith on his twenty-first birthday. it would add to." "She's overworked in the school-room. She came up to Anson English when she entered the house. Edith eventually conquered the difficulties of bread making. sweet face." the old man retorted. an d frail figure. the family expenses." the old man said to his neighbors. Ben's ideas were positively ruinous. "I have had no father or mother since I can r emember." Ben passed most of his evenings and a good part of his days at the village "stor e. and put her hands timidly upon his arms." insisted the father." It was all over in a moment. He did submit. Yet the old man always spoke of Edith as a virago after that." he said. with naughty ways which needed correc tion. Edith was kinder a nd gentler and more submissive in her manner after that for days." "But she can't work. She'll make a man of me yet. "Another dribbler--'Liz'beth was always cryin' just that way over every little t hing. it was another element of discord. I will live just to de fy you. So he stayed more and m ore at the store. but I cur ed her of it. But she discharged the girl within a week. "Discharge the hired girl." she said. if no more. If he married th is girl. But it was useless to oppose. He's excitable. So soon as it began to be an active child. The old man did not think Edith capable of controlling the child. however. I expect my wife will ke ep help." After a child came to them matters seemed to mend for a time.

Ah. she let him do 'bout as he pleased. She bullied him. Liz'beth never had no notions of how a boy shoul d be trained. but he still paid frequent visits to his neighbors. and the old man constantly widened the breach betwee n them. instead of r estraining him as the old man had hoped. w hen Ben struck Edith a blow. "Ben's early trainin' wasn't right." Strange to say. and he looked and seemed much older. The old man was highly pleased at the turn affairs had taken. Ben applied for a divorce on the plea of desertion. and the hope and stay of his ol d age. She had grown int o a voluptuous though coarse maturity. and he remained firm in the Adam-like idea that Elizabeth had been the root of all evil in his life. seemed to feel a curious respect for this Amazon who had subjuga . leaving her a fine property. Her harshness and neglect were matters of common discussion in the neighborhood. when she went. One year from the time Edith left him. They drifted farther apart. it seemed to Anson that she took with her whatever of gentleness or kindness lurked in Ben's nature. he was cowardly at heart. He fell ill of a low fever soon after Ben's second marriage. Poor old Anson English! He was nearing his sixtieth year now. and frightened him into silence when he began to find fault with her extravagances. lazy. He'd a' come out all right if I'd a' managed him from the start. His father saw that at last. he married Abby Wilson. 'Liz'beth. one day. "She'll come back. She had always coveted Be n." he confessed to a neighbor w ho had broached the subject. For she was extravagant--there was no denying that. but she concluded to come back and try it over again. An d this new wife seemed to encourage him in every extravagant folly. and selfish. After all these ye ars Ben was united to the woman he had chosen for him so long ago. He spoke little at home now. Ben's second wife. the old man missed the child. "'Liz'beth. She was not at all like Edith. more's the pity. and often left the old man t o prepare his own food. And B en's new wife frightened him into silent submission by her masculine assumption of authority and her loud voice and well-defined muscle.mother when he did return. and did not delay the nuptials from any sense of delicacy. Like all men who worry the lives of women in the domestic circle. and when he rose fr om his bed he seemed to have grown ten years older. or through th e neighboring villages. "Yes. III. And strive as he would to banish the feeling. no! he was not happy in this new state of affairs. and was dashing in dress and manner. And someway Ben had never been the same since Edith went away. but rather hastene d the hour which should make him legally her own. she started o ff to leave me once. but the old man. the old man was bre aking down. who had been so bitter and unjust toward his own wife and Edith. He grew very old during the next two years. and this new wife of Ben's h ad little patience with him. while she and Ben dashed over the country. behind the blooded span she had insisted upon his purcha sing soon after their marriage. Ben would nev er develop into a practical business man. He was more childish in his fault-finding. Ben's letting the place run down pretty bad. Her father had recently died. he never was known to speak one disparaging word of Abby. and now surel y Ben would settle down. which he had so rejoiced over at the first. He was unstable. She cared only for show and outward appearance. but since then--well. And he was but a reed--a reed. He had been none too good or kind to his father before t hat. Edith never appeared against him. Ben was his only earthly tie." the old man said. In truth. and take the care off his shoulders--shoulders which we re beginning to feel the weight of years of labor. and more irritable than ever before. Months afterward they heard of her in a distant par t of the State teaching school and supporting her child. and he obtained it. She neglected her home duties. In less than an hour she had gone. and told her to take her child and leave t he house. They had been married six years." But Edith did not come back. and the baby girl was four years old. no one knew whither. and left only its brutality and selfishness.

and besides it isn't safe to have h im in the house. and the holidays were close at hand. "just as crazy as can be. He'd be better off. as if seeking. close room. in a place like that. and so clean and nice.ted him. ventilated only by one high. He needed constant care and attention. Abby is. and when i t left him. she had. She walked with n ervous haste. Abby meant to enjoy them. Well. Hired help refused to take the burden of the care of the tro ublesome old man without increased wages. I believe. if I'm doctored up . 'Liz'beth never would a' thought of sending me away--'Liz'beth was so easy like. with all I have to endure. She made an application to the keeper of the County Poor to admit her husband's father to the department of the incurably insane." The authorities looked into the matter. "We are going to take you where you will have medical treatment and care. and invited all her relatives to a time of ge neral feasting and merrymaking. and Abby rebelled at the confinement and restraint i t imposed upon her. she'd a' made a noise in the world. narrow window." she said. "Oh! yes. and the old man saw the savings of a long life of labor squandered in folly and vic e. Presently the attendant pushed open a partly closed door. Thanksgiving. "He will be so much better off. Or. The farm ran down. and the old man tal ks and cries half the night. he was totally blind. yes--Abby thinks I'll get my sight back. and almost stifled her. and Abby finally carried out a resolve which had at first caused even her hard heart some twinges. So he was t aken away." So he babbled on as they carried him to the Poor House. if he was in the care of the county. N ew Year. and the lady stepped in--and paused. and get so much more sk illful treatment. It was just a year later when a delicate. It is really an excellent home for him. I'm not able to take care of him--I seem to be brea king down myself. He needs a strong man to look after him. and from face to face. But Abby has a powerful mind to plan things--a powerful mind. with no word of complaint. Christmas. and Abby dressed and drove in like ratio. I suppose. and her eyes glanced from room to room. and Ben could not and Abby would not i ncur this added expense. now the old man has gone. and his pride kept him silent. We have been all through it. It was quite evident that the old man would be bet ter off in the County House than he was in the home of his only son. for he talked constantly of his poverty. She'd a' flung things. o ften walking the streets in animated converse with himself." he said. "She ain't afraid of nothin' or nobo dy. and can't be broken of his rest. you know. Abby ought to a' been a man." Ben drank more and more. Ben's never at home. which led into a small . . and quite helpless. but I'm pooty old--pooty old for the doctors to patch up. "I feel as if a great nightmare were lifted off my heart and brain. and was wildly delirious for weeks. He could not be left alone even for an ho ur. and later her abuse. which was adjacent to the Poor House. he remembered how eager he had been for the marriage. Ben was seldom at home. sweet-faced woman was shown through th e wards of that "excellent home" for the poor and unfortunate. during the last year. some object." they told him in answer to his trembling queries. It was November. an d we all would. "He's crazy. and Abby had her freedom at last. People said it was turning his brain. The air was close and impure. It was a high fever. and he will have plenty of company to keep him from being lonesome. We can't do anything with him. perhaps. and he has everyt hing to look after any way. I think he's getting worse all the time. "She's a brave one." IV. "This is the room. Certain it is that he bore her neglect. And at length he fel l ill again." he would say. it is your daughter's request. and found that at least a portion of the lady's statements were true." she said. Ef she'd a' been a man. and debts accumulated--debts which Abby refused to pay with her money. Ben drank more deeply and prolon ged his absences from home. maybe so. Servants gave warning. and even spoke of her sometimes with praise. They are very kind in that ins titution. or else we never should have sent him there. yet dreading.

whi le she was in the school-room. In this cri b. and a visible effort. father? do you not have food enough here?" "Oh. I'm one of many here." she whispered--"he does not know me. And you've never been to see me. "What is wanted?" he asked. Let me take your hand. Or she could hire assistance if he were as troublesome as report had said. wise and woma nly beyond her years. He half arose upon his elbow. and some times when they bring it I can't eat it. Abby. Well. but you'll not mind that: I shall make you so comfortable.--let him keep it for the present. and the interrupted studies could be pursued in t he evening. and I've been so lonesome. And then he hadn't oughter married that sickly sort of girl that ran off an' left him. Ben--how is Ben." whispered the woman as she listened. "Don't I hear a child's voice?" he asked. And I'm so hungry. for I can't see yet. Abby!--do you think you could manage to get the old man a little something to eat before we start home?" The woman had grown paler and paler as she listened to these words which the old man poured out in eager haste. aloud. And. "does anybody want me? Has anybody come for me?" "O father. "Don't you remember me? Mamma says you used to love me. but which was raised now. Oh. clasping his wit hered hand in her two soft palms. and then when I want it most I can't ge t it. Abby. "Why. like the last rays of th e sunlight over a winter landscape. nor Ben. she said: "You are hungry. So soon as Edith learned of the old man's desolate fate. Abby?" "Why. upon a hard mattress and soiled pillow. no. But 'Li z'beth wan't no kind of a mother for such a high-strung lad. you've come at la st. it's Abby. it's Abby. Ah." Edith's heart stood still. He had been a harsh old man.On the opposite side of the room she saw a large crib with a cover or lid which could be closed and locked when necessary. They don't seem to hel p me here as you thought they would. And would he be angry . Surely now he would understand. It seems a long. Ben was a nice little boy--a nice little boy. But he remembers his old father at last." Then. Abby." Then with a sudden brac ing of the nerves. Abby? does he want to see his old father again? Ah. and had helped to widen the breach between h er and Ben. it's your own little granddaughter Eva. she said: "Ben is away from home now. I must not. long time since I came away. So she brought him home. lay the emaciated form of an old man. Eva could attend to his wants during the day. But then I knew you 'd come for me all in good time. daughter." cried the child. But you must be Abby come to take me home. He is happy in this delusion. Abby. But he was the father of the man she had married. "Don't you know me? It is I--and I have come to take you away--to take you away home with me. W ill you go?" A glow of delight shone over the old man's wasted face. But my appetite's varying. father. I have my share. either. don't he? And he wants to have me home to die. I want you at home during the h olidays. I have my share. "Who is it. to th e comfortable home which Edith had provided for herself and child in the years s ince she left Ben. "You called me father. as Eva came dancing out to greet them. feebly. Sakes alive! what a temper she had! It sort of broke Ben down living with her as long as he did." So he went out from the horror and loneliness and gloom of the Poor House. I thought you'd come at last. Eva was a precocious little maiden of nine now. s he resolved to bring him home. He turned his sightless eyes toward the door as he heard the sound of footsteps . Ben has a good heart after all!" "I must not tell him. "He does not know me. like one whose thoughts and feelings long pent w ithin himself for want of a listener now rushed forth pell-mell into speech. and leaned for ward as if trying to see the speaker. and it made your voice sound kind o' strange and brok en like. I will not und eceive him now. But you've come at last. father!" cried the woman in a voice choked with sobs. "Bitter to me as his deception is. come at last!" he said. and she could not let him die in the Poor House. He will not be there to meet you. didn' t you--and you was crying. I must let him remain in it.

Somehow I've been thinkin' lately 'bout the Christmas days when Ben was a little boy." "He is well covered. "He must never be undeceived. Then he roused a little. as Edith put her hand on his brow." he said. You're so careless." The journey left the old man very weak indeed. to take the little girl home. spite of his rough ways. Then he fell asleep. "And it's gettin' colder." Then turning his face to the woman who was guiding his faltering footsteps. to pay even a last visit of mercy. and not quite right in his mind." he would say. Business. After he sort o' outgrows 'Liz'beth's trainin'. when Christmas comes and Ben does not appear?" she thought. But I hope he'll get back for Christmas. and how long the night seems! To-morrow is Christmas. I s'pose i t was a good place. "I see the light breaking. and his voice was f ainter. bitter cold. Sakes alive! how he prized things he f ound in his stockin' Christmas mornin's! I got to thinkin' 'bout it all last Chr istmas out at that there Institute. He was fond of his old father. but I knew better--I knew better. Some folks said it was the Poor House. In the morning he seemed very weak. in a choked voice. It was pooty lonesome--pooty lonesome. he asked: "And is Edith dead?" "Yes. 'Lis'beth. off there at that pla ce--that Institute where you sent me. no matter if twan't no more'n a sweet cake. How dark it is." And to Eva she said a little later: "Dear. and spoke his mother's name many tim es. Seemed to me if I could just see Ben's face again. And he's all I've got. 'Lis'beth.and harsh with her? The old man's face lighted. Abby?" "I hope so. Abby--but why don't Ben come?" "Ben is away. I wa s so home-sick like." she thought." in a whisper. I suppose." he said. He ta lked of people and things unknown to Edith. "What will I do--how can I explain to him. and that she could never send for him to come to her house. Did you put something in Ben's stockings. and Ben too. and I just laid an' bawled like a baby. somehow. your grandfather is very ill. Is he covered up? It's bitter. I see." "Yes. The old man seemed to doze again. yes. "But I knowed you had a good heart. "Edith is dead. But you hain't no real sense for trai nin' a boy. He'll make a fine man. Sometimes I was cold and hun gry and all alone for hours and hours. I see." "Oh. "It would be too severe a blow. father. Hadn't you better look after Ben a little? See if he's covered up well in his crib. We allus put something in his stockin' that night." answered Edith." she answered quietly. I'm so glad to be awake and find it isn't true. "Such a strange dream." he said musingly. and smoothed back the thin. "Ah. "Abby and Ben have taken the little one ho me. 'Lis'beth. "It's dawn. Ben and you would never send me there. 'Lis'beth. "Such a strange dream as I have had. She knew very well that Ben would not go across the street to see the father he had deserted. but they had too many patients. Abby. It must be Edith is dead." Edith answered. yes. the truth might kill him. But the way was shown her by that great Peace-Maker who helps us out of all diff iculties at last. the boy' ll take his death o' cold yet. it's good to be back home with you--y ou. it'l l be enough. the old man's constant chatter grew flighty and incoherent. and had left me alone --all alone to die. And now I think if I can just hear his voice again. Oh. but I cannot tell. but he talked almost constantly. He thinks my name is Abby." And added "to you. I thought Ben had grown into a man. Ben'll turn out all right at last. "It was so good of you. Little Ben'll be crawling out f . dear father. She was such a puny thing. and you must not correct him or dispute any strange thing he ma y say. white hair. 'Lis'beth? I have forgotten. her heart se eming to break in her breast as she listened. a f ine man if you don't spoil him. Christmas Eve. Do you think he'll git home for Christmas." Edith answered softly. I always thought so. I'd ask nothin' more of Heaven.

BY CHARLES DICKENS. but he was so pleas ed at having stopped the small boy's singing that he took little heed of the sca nty progress he had made when he had finished work for the night. Gabriel Grubb chuckled to himself and entered the churchyard. and feeling very low. "What do you here on Christmas Eve?" said the goblin. and he thought his questioner might be in the excise depar tment of the goblins. "And who. Gabriel?" . grinning at Gabriel Grubb with such a grin as only a goblin could call up. "Gabriel Grubb! Gabriel Grubb!" screamed a wild chorus of voices that seemed to fill the churchyard. Gabriel started up and stood rooted to the spot with terror. "What have you got in that bottle?" said the goblin. sternly. He took off his coat. surly fellow. dead. He was an ill conditioned cross-gra ined. consequently he was not a little indignant to hear a you ng urchin roaring out some jolly song about a Merry Christmas. Gabriel waited un til the boy came up. with his hand to his head.or his stockin' pooty quick: I oughter had the fire made afore this. He strode along until he turned into the dark lane which led to the churchyard-a nice. 'Liz'beth! You don't never seem to have no foresight. raising his voice. perhaps. and looked dow n into the grave with grim satisfaction. THE CHRISTMAS GOBLINS. who consorted with nobody but himself and an old wicker-bott le which fitted into his large. a long. raising the bottle to his lips again. At any other time this would have made Gabriel very miserable. A few feet of cold earth when l ife is done. "It was the echoes. he thought it might raise his s pirits. and betook himself toward the old churchyard. sir. for he had a grave to finish by next morning. Gabriel. as he set himself down on a flat tombstone. But the earth was hardene d with the frost. The invisible chorus replied. Strange you couldn't a' waked me." Then the old man fell back on Edith's arm. murmuring as he gathered up his things: "Brave lodgings for one. "Hollands. put down his lantern. worked at it for an hour or so with right good will. And as the boy hurried away. which was a fa vorite resting-place of his. then. Seated on an upright tombstone close to him was a strange. "I came to dig a grave. Ho! ho! ho!" "Ho! ho! ho!" repeated a voice close beside him. and getting into an unfinished grave . In an old abbey town. mournful place into which the towns-people did not care to go ex cept in broad daylight." replied the sexton. deep waistcoat pocket. then rapped him over the head with his lantern five or six times to teach him to modulate his voice. sir. to warm his little toes. what do you say to this?" said the goblin. "Who drinks Hollands alone. as he grinned a broad er grin than before. and drew forth his wicker-bottle. locking the gate behind him. A little before twilight one Christmas Eve. The sexton gasped for breath. is our lawful prize?" exclaimed the goblin. and it was no easy matter to break it up and shovel it out. and in a churchyard on such a night as this?" "Gabriel Grubb! Gabriel Grubb!" exclaimed the wild voices again. "A coffin at Chri stmas! A Christmas box." said a deep voice. Gabriel shouldered his spade. "What man wanders among graves on such a night as this?" cried the goblin. "It was not. long while ago there officiated as sexton and grav edigger in the churchyard one Gabriel Grubb. if he went on with his work at once. "What do you think of this. for he had bought it of the smugglers. gloomy." said he." stammered Gabriel. for his eyes rested on a form that made his blood run cold. brave lodgings for one. unearthly figure. He was sitting perfectly still." "Ho! ho!" he laughed. lighte d his lantern. "Gabriel Grubb! Gabriel Grubb!" "Well. trembling more than ever.

"See here. "what work?" "The grave. So on the father entered and the children ran to meet him. "ho! ho! ho!" As the goblin laughed he suddenly darted toward Gabriel. sir." replied the horror-stricken sexton. and brushing the frost off his coat." "Work!" said the goblin." "Oh! yes. Many a time the cloud went and came." said the sexton. MEAD. laid his hand upon his collar. But he was an altered man. "I--I am afraid I must leave you. but Will's h and remained down. Will. and very pretty. "Leave us!" said the goblin. they don't know me. if we newsboys didn't supply 'em with papers ? All in favor of having a banquet. C. No sooner had he formed it than the cloud closed over the last pict ure seemed to settle on his senses and lull him to repose. they have. "Gabriel Grubb! Gabriel Grubb!" "I'm afraid my friends want you. it's mighty close times up at o ur house. sir. "And now. "But see here. and found himself lying on the flat gravestone . with good features. "What do you think of that?" said the goblin. As he sat down to his me al the mother sat by his side and all seemed happiness and comfort. And when he had had time to fetch h is breath he found himself in what appeared to be a large cavern. "Show him some more. shrill laugh which the echoes returned twenty-fold. turned his face toward the town. sir. sir ." "Oh! the grave." said the goblin. if you please. and tak es a pleasure in it?" Again the voices replied." The speaker was a manly little newsboy. surrounded on all sides by goblins ugly and grim. or gamboling round her chair. A fruga l meal was spread upon the table and an elbow-chair was placed near the fire."It's--it's very curious. His clothes looked neat. Christmas only comes once a year. And he came to the conclusion it was a very respectable sort of a worl d after all. sir." replied the sexton. THE SONG OF THE STAR. The day had broken when he awoke. "Under favor. very curious. "I don't think they can. He got on his feet as well as he cou ld. and as the last one disappeared he sank to sleep. BY REV. and why shouldn't we fell ers have our banquet as well as the silk-stockings? What would they know about t hings going on in the world anyway. sir. "But I think I'll go back and finish my work." said the goblin. One by one the goblin s faded from his sight. hold up yer hands!" Up went a score of hands--some dirty. boys. though they were adorned with numerous patche s. "Oh. some clean and some speckled. sir. I don't think the gentlemen have ever seen me. with the wicker-bottle empty by his side. you can count me out on that--all I can get goes to my mother and sis ters for Christmas." Here the goblin gave a loud. making an effort to mov e. H. He saw that men who worked hard and earned their scanty bread were cheerful a nd happy. Little children were gathered round a bri ght fire. fried chicken and pound cake don't come our way. eh? Who makes graves at a time when other men are merry. turkeys roost too hig . Gabriel. Will. what's the reason you won't stay by us?" The boy hesitated a moment and then said: "Boys. clinging to their mother's gown." said the king of the goblins. and sank with him through the earth. a clean face and bri ght eyes. and many a lesson it taught to Gabriel Grub b. he had learned lessons of gentleness and good-nature by his strange adventures in the goblin's cavern." As the goblin said this a cloud rolled gradually away and disclosed a small and scantily furnished but neat apartment. seated in the centre of the room on an elevated seat--his friend of the churchyard--"show the man of misery and gloom a few of the pictures from our great storehouses. Gabriel murmured something about its being very pretty. We know the man who struck the boy in the envious malice of his heart because the boy could be merry and he could not. half-dead with fright.

" blurted out big Tom. all unconscious of what had happened. I will not worry. Every stitch of mother's needle and thread is a stitch of love. I'll go and tell Will's mother. A few more days. it will be a good day whatever it brings. and tell her easy about this. and a bright night it was. and his body bruised in a number of places.h for us. fellers. W ill lay sleeping on the bed. one of you g o up to our house. no. The man she loved was not the fashionable fop her father had selected for her as a husband. and I'm going in for a square meal at Christmas. boys. and are going to bring yer something tha t Will can't bring now. when her husband died suddenly. "but I have." "Well. Her children were a comfort to her. until three years ago. no banquet for me. and Josie. and we will have a good Christmas yet. "This busts up our banquet. and one ni ght not long ago. "Christmas hasn't come yet. All went well. When Christmas comes round. fell ers. and Maggie. maybe I'd feel th e same way. she struggled on as best she could. the best thing I've got in the world is my mother. leaning hard on the God whom her mother had taught her to love. say. shan't I tell her we wil l give our banquet money to help her out at Christmas?" A hearty "You bet we will. "for we fellers has given up havin' a banquet. and. for as she thought. and Tot. Poverty and hunger had failed to rob her of her beauty. his mother near by. don't burst in sudden and scare her. but in real ity using the dear old Bible as a shield to hide the tears that trickled down he r cheeks. It was soon discovered that his a rm was broken." said Will." The boys wiped their eyes and one of them said. she also lis tened to the voices of her two youngest children who were standing over by the w indow together. and then Christmas Eve came round. and there was an air of refinement about her that told of better days an d happier surroundings. and the best Chris tmas gift I ever had is my mother's love. The moment he regaine d consciousness and found what had occurred. for they had inherited the natural goodness of both their parents. See these stockings! My mother has been mending this same pair of stockings for more than a year. Her tears now fell fast. Too proud to apply to her father for help. as long as I know my mother is starving herself that we children may have more to eat. boys. just tell her I love her. and. though this isn't exact ly the kind of a Christmas gift I meant she should have. If I had a million dollars. and thinking fast. Don't yer worry a bit. Mrs. See these patches! My mother put them on. and was soon carried into a neighboring dru g store. and secretly she had given her hand to the man to whom long before she had given her heart. she will take care of me somehow." and here the rough fellow burst into tears. I opened my eyes and saw my mother's tears dropping on the sle eve of my coat at the same time she was putting the patch on this elbow. and it needed but one glance to know t hat she was the mother of Will. . and she found herself with no means and four ch ildren to take care of. but everything was as neat and tid y as could be. W ill. and she washes and irons them after I've gone to bed at n ight. I' ll come out of this all right." was the response." "It will bring yer heaps of things. if I never has another. Say. A woman stood at the door. "if I had a mother like that. "No. little Will was knocked over. too. Sandford. It was only a little over thirteen years since her father had closed the door in her face and told he r never to return. I tell you." The boys. boys. No. and--well. Don't you worry. The mother was thinking. mother. and you. I'd give t hem all to my mother in return for her love. boys. but all we get at our house is a good licking from a drunken mother." replied one of the boys. so long as I have God. if you must know it." The mother kissed him tenderly as she said. about the only good thing w e kids have up there is our mother's love. and rushed out of the house. and--well. as big Tom sped away to carry the news to Will's mother. while kind hands helped carry the injured boy to his home . were suddenly startled b y a cry "Look out there!" and the next moment a runaway horse dashed into their midst. gathered on the sidewalk by one of the parks. It was a poor home into which he was borne. but tell her it isn't dangerous. he said: "Take me to my mother. pretending to read.

Far above. and then all unconscious of the people. and I must hurry home and tell mother all about it. Josie?" She told him. and a s she gazed. she sang:-I think." "I think so. How He called little children. come. That I might have seen His kind look. He won't forget us. Maybe Jesus is in dat star. her upturned eyes. do you see the star? I am sure it has some 'good tidings' for us at ou r house." he said. toys and turnips. That's a very bright st ar--it must be the one that was seen by the shepherds at Bethlehem. but when we got the things all together. cried out: "See that star!" He avenward went the gaze of the multitude. side by side walked plenty and poverty. her face took on a new light and into her heart came a great peace. and look quick. Out in the streets of the big city. on opening which. "Who are you. provisions and poultry. "Sandford. so we've brought 'em to-night. would ever have thought o f. which shall be to all people. On the steps of a st oop leading up to a lighted mansion stood a little girl who looked like a bright angel from heaven. Big Tom was the spokesman for the happy company. too. when I read that sweet story of old. for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy . and down upon all the bright star shone. I should like to have been wit h Him then. Tot. The sleeping boy was awakened by the voices. her uplifted hands. while others carried burdens in their hearts. failed to alarm her." The gentleman gave a start and said. and he. and things that no one but those who had lacked for them. and even her hands were lifted towa rd it. her gaze was fixed on the star. I wish that His hands had been placed on my head. and once more there seemed to come to t hem a voice. her voice. shone the bright star that Maggie and T ot had seen. The star with its "good tidings" was over her head and in her heart as well. and I guess He loves them yet. will He?" And Tot looked at Maggie as the latter said: "Jesus loved little children. my child?" said a gen tleman who had come up on the steps where she stood. for steps were heard on the stai rs. in a rich. for Josie. overhead. "Let the little o nes come unto Me. the g ood God watched. and somehow felt that the star that had brought "good tidings of great jo y" to the shepherds on Bethlehem's plains. and in response to other questions." It had come. Jesus must love mother. Oh! Maggie. it was their star and it was her star. and then entering the room quiet ly. Some carried bund les in their arms. an angel had appeared in their midst--her face. and if He is."Say. too. told of mother. That His arms had been thrown around me. gladness and grief. good-will and grapes. she went up to her mother and said: "Have you seen the star. "If yer please. when He was on the earth. had come again and to bring once more "good tidings. Sandford." The face of Josie was illumined and even the mu ltitude that had gathered. does yer see dat bright star up dere? I wonder if dat is de star w hat de shepherds seen! If it is." And where was Josie all this time? The mother thought she had gone into a neighb or's. and I think He has sent that star to tell us to look out for good news. sweet voice." Away sped the child until she reached her home. They bore bundles and baskets. Good-bye. held them spell-bound. and if it isn't too so . "and may be Josie will hear some of dem 'good tidin gs' while she is out. "We've seen it. cheer and celery. had discover ed it." said Tot. we just couldn't wait any longer." She had mounted the steps to get nearer the star. and--something else had come. sir. When Jesus was here among men. The people looked at her. until some one looking up in the direction she pointed. s unshine and sugar. as lambs to His fold. Over all. where she frequently went. I am Josie Sa ndford. followed by a knock on the door." The mother we nt quietly to the window. mother?" Maggie and Tot cried out. Maggie. "there's our banquet. But what is that? Sudd enly on one of the streets the people stopped and listened. Mrs. "Please. brother and sisters. she is so good. it seems to be looking right down at us. in came a company of news boys headed by big Tom. when He said. too. Josie Sandford? Pray wh ere do you live. sir. too. weal th and wretchedness. made his way to the w indow and looked at the star. mother. and there beheld a star of wonderful brightness. We wasn't going t o come until to-morrow morning. saying: "Fear not." As she sang. and so felt no anxiety. "At evening time it shall be light. "Oh. happiness and hunger.

how your mother and I have prayed for this time to come. boys?" "Indeed we does!" responded the boys. In the first place. as if the shadow gave him fresh courage and dignity. Mrs. and oh. but he was not a very dignifi ed person even at his best. and eat ing and drinking as much as possible: such was the messenger. Then. She resembled her mother and was her na mesake as well. We have said that Pete had reasons for his conduct.' doesn't we. The mission was wo rse yet. and for years I have hunted high and low for you. was once more filled. Not a "noble son of the forest." and she th rew a kiss up to the star. Pete did not present a surpassingly dignif ied appearance as he skulked through the clearing." Lazy and worthless. and it shines brighter than before. that Pete's method of departure was hardl y appropriate for one who had been selected by the citizens of Carter's Camp to go on an important mission." did you inquire? Just ask those newsboys who came at two o'clock if they ever had such a banquet before or since. the star is here yet. But Pete had his own reasons for his actions. and I knowed He see Maggie and me looking up at it ." such as Cooper l oved to picture. the daughter was in her father's arms once more. The faces of that mother and her children were a sight to behold. and little Jos ie sprang toward him at the same moment. The newsboys looked on in wonder. he drew himself upright." said Mrs. or whether they ever saw a home in which the "Star of Bethlehem" shone with greater splendor. and Tot a 'Merry Chri stmas. Smiles and tears greeted the boys. The snow covered the ground. boys. Most persons would have said. for I want you a ll to take Christmas dinner with us to-morrow." said a gentleman w ho had not been noticed as he stood in the hallway." "Yes. pi cking up a living about the lumber camps. as my grandchild. The citizens of Carter's Camp were not remarkably fastidious. ma'am. and Maggie. can you forgive me for the harshness with which I drove you years ago fr om my door? God only knows how I have suffered. COLLINGWOOD. They knew but one form of celebration. but a mean. until to-night I saw your face and heard your voice once more. working as little as he could. yellow-faced "Injun." Long before he had finished. and Josie. But all was in vain. Sandford and her children to-mor row. we wishes you. Sandford started as the owner of the voice entered the room. I knowed it! De star had Jesus in it. And over the earth the star still shines ." "Well. Then Tot said: "I knowed it. BY HERBERT W. Sandford as he said to her: "Josie. dirty. and they had no thought of hunting out new ones. and started at a sharp trot down the road toward the village. Christmas morning came and found them all in a home of plenty. "you shall have your banquet. In her I found you again. A chair that had long stood vacant at that table.on. He cre pt along behind the stumps and logs till he reached the forest. I think. grandpa. They were good ones. boys. Sandford. It was Christmas Eve. an d the children were clinging to their new-found grandparent. Was it a "Merry Christmas. and will continue to shine until all mankind shall yet have a "Merry Christmas . and have advertised time and again. and Will. and near it were four oth er chairs for the new-found grand-children. and suddenly little Tot ran to the window and then cried out--"Oh . Josi e. stood singing on the steps and gazing at the star. The moon was just peeping over the pines as Pete Shivershee slunk down the road from the lumber camp into the forest. and the ice had stilled for t he time the mouth of the roaring river. The gentleman stretched out his arms toward Mrs." INDIAN PETE'S CHRISTMAS GIFT. and the mother and he r three girls had a kiss for each of them. but it must be at the home of her parents and not here. you shall all take dinner with Mrs. The one th . It was Saturday night as well. he was an Indian. and for s ome time past the lumbermen had been considering the advisability of keeping the good old holiday with some form of celebration suited to the occasion.

Bill prided himself somewhat on his ability to "git work out of Injuns. to think how her work had gone for nothing. but la y all day on the little bed in the corner. The money jingling in his pocket suggested unlimited pleasures. He came nearer to feeling like a man at Jeff' s house than at any other place he knew of. t hat the drinkers might "enjoy" themselves. and then slunk away down the road for the forest. like all "lords of creation. Hunt was the only woman near the camp. Laundry work in the pine woods implies mending and darning. as we have seen him. in keeping the house supplied with wood and wat er. Christmas had come. It was a pure question of political economy. and the poor little woman had her hands full of work surely. turning a corner of the road. though. but it had been noticed that the amounts of l abor and whisky were in inverse proportion. in which stood a s mall log house. as well as wash ing and ironing. as she saw how day by day the little form grew thinner. the oldest. the cheeks mor e flushed." but they always said "Mr. perhaps. The more whisky. Pete was a regular visitor at Jeff's and always a welcome one. Shivershee. He would stake his repu tation upon it. but over every one hung Bill's hard fist. but there was nothing she could do. One night while carrying home the clothes." Pete muttered only "all right. she must sit up a nd mend the clean clothes. all but poor little Marie. while his fis t and foot would take the place of witness and counsel. Hunt's tears. he came upon a little clearing. Here lived Jeff Hunt with his wife. He had forcibly stated. He took him out of doors and expl ained the business in hand. for the most part. watching her mother with sad. Hunt and little Ma rie called him only "Injun. and Jeff kindly giving his advice from his comfort able corner. The foreman had often stated that he w ould prosecute to the fullest extent of the law the first man caught bringing wh isky into camp." he considered himself the legal and proper head of the fam ily. it was Bill's fist. It was rub. coming as it did from the largest man in camp. that should a c ase be brought before him. day after day. Mrs. he would himself act as judge and jury. a nd now at last she was dying of consumption. . while his wife bent over her tub." The "Meester Shivershee" of the little Frenchwoman was the nearest claim to respectability t hat Pete felt able to make. The two were sure to go tog ether. and so all the laundry work fell to her. Pete was in a hard position. She had never been strong. and their troop of children. There was something so t errible in this statement. and the drinking element in Carter's Camp proposed that Pete Shivershee--the "Injun"--be sent to town for a quantity of the liquid poison. however. it was whisky. as well as one of the mainstays of society. with the children runn ing about like little wolves. over the steaming tub. He never minded the whipping Bill Gammon gave him half as muc h as he did poor Mrs. Not that the moral sentiment o f the place was particularly high. that v ery little whisky had thus far been brought in. * * * * * Bill felt so confident of the success of his experiment that he did not hesitate to inform the boys that Pete was "dead sure" to return. running ab out all day. If there was anything he feared. the less labor." He took the money Bill gave him. rub. The brave little Frenchwoman's heart almost failed her at times. and in smoking his comfortable pipe in the corner. Pete knew the place well.ing needful to make a celebration completely successful was--liquor. The foreman did not attempt. Jeff was a person of little importance by the side of his wife. She knew the signs too well. till. His work was to c arry the washing to and from camp. rub. She could not sit up at all. If he loved anything in this world. beautif ul eyes. Everyone but Mrs. he droppe d them in the mud. What a pack of children there were! How rough and strong they seemed. The temperance laws of Carter's were very strict. He ran several miles through the forest. to deny that his knowledge of the law was somewhat crude. His part of the family governme nt consisted. And even after the children were in bed at night. This they m ust have in order to do justice to the day. a French woman. Bill Gammon found Pete curled up by the stove. the eyes more beautiful.

." said Jeff. ye see. Christmas? Wall. Mrs. "Me no stop. Hunt's e xplanation. in response to Jeff's polite invitation. But Mrs. The thought of supper was too much for Pete and he slunk in after Jeff and stood in the corner by the door." must have passed thro ugh his mind. paused to talk with him." And Jeff concealed his own ignorance. "Goin' to town. I s'pose. Injun. h e noticed that she had been crying. I hardly think Pete gained a very clear idea of the day. to change the subject. "Oh. he "s at by" and began supper. sweet home. be ye? Great doin's ter camp ter-morrer. as many wiser and better men ha ve done. by assuming a tone too lofty for his audience. while the rest formed a sorrow ful group about an old box in which were two or three simple plants frozen and y ellow. glad of any chance to interrupt his work. an' git yer supper. provided light for his p urpose. As she looked up at Pete. It is kinder bad. "What flowers fer?" he asked. there seemed between them a gulf that could not be bridged. I goin' ter town. "It eez the day of the good Lord. Meester Shivershee." explained Jeff. Little gals. but his present errand was of far more importance than mere laundry work. "Set by. He made haste to make Pete feel at home." Pete nodded. It eez the day when the go od Lord He was born. "What matter is with kids? " he asked. hung on a stump. Three o f the larger children were sobbing in the corner. but walk in. But he was only a despised "Injun. He was not aware of this love of diminutive females. "Oh. too?" "What Crissmus?" put in Pete. it's a sorter idee of the wimmin. an' them kids they hed an idee they'd hev some flowers fer te r dekerate thet corner where the little gal is. and yet if Pete had been a white man some thoughts of "home. It's somethin' like other days. "Wall. Great work. "they kep the flowers away from the little gal. Jeff was the very prince of hosts. like some hopeless convict gazing through his pris on bars upon some fair saint passing before him. All these things hez t er come inter keepin' house. Injun. they're jest a-yellin' about them flowers. even from Mrs. even if Jeff could not. But jest this afternoon they gut ketched by the fr ost." continued Jeff. In the corner l ittle Marie lay with the firelight falling over her poor thin face. an d yet cunningly to keep its object concealed." By which vague hints he meant no doubt to impress Jeff with a sense of the dignity of his mission. I don't s'pose ye would understand ef I wuz ter tell ye. ye see. "Wall. Hunt was frying pork over the hot stove. and Jeff. like sech things. an' now there they be stiffer'n stakes.As Pete came trotting down the road." A rough board table was laid for supper at one side of the room. an' see the wimmin. It was. The room was hardly an inviting one. ye know. hospitably. Ter-morrer's Christmas. it's a sorter day like. Injun. but the woman will hev 'em all up soon--walk in. Pete stopped from sheer force of habit in front of the house." It suddenly came over Pete that this was his night for taking the clothes home. an ' yet it ain't. all Greek to him. ain't it--'specia lly ez it's Christmas. ye know. "Ye see they he v been a-trainin' some posies indoors against ter-morrer. Pete must ha ve felt. when they ain't wel l. So the boys is goin' ter kinder cellybrate ter-morrer. Hunt could explain. She seemed to be in another wor ld than his. but it would n ot show very good breeding to appear ignorant. I'll be round ef I kin git away. Large bizness. "Looks kinder pooty to see flowers round. "Yer clo'es ain't quite ready. A lantern. kinder slicks up a room like." and Jeff opened the door for Pete to pass in. Injun. as he looked at her. Injun. I fear. as. "Walk in. ye see. Jeff stood in front of his house chopping s tove-wood from a great log. ye see." With which broad explanation Jeff h elped himself to a piece of pork. and when all people should be glad. be they?" But Pete felt that his mission must not be disclosed. But then. meanin' ter s'prise her like. She paused on the way to th e stove with a dish of pork in her hand." But the little woman b elied her own creed as she thought of little Marie and the dead flowers." explained Jeff.

too. and the sad eyes of M . He knew how wel l he and all his race are protected by the government. The little sufferer on the bed saw this action. clever little gal as ever lived. Surely Bill was right. "Neve r mind. Her explanation was certainly more poeti c. Let us imagine what Pete's thoughts were as he shuffled mile after mile through the snow. but the beautiful eyes were filled with tears. and with much love we plac e them upon the walls. as he trotted away toward the town. It was quite late. He did not go in at the front door where the higher-bred white men were made welcome. and we make others happy with them. It had been decided that no one should be allowed to sell liquor to an "Injun"--at least at the regular b ar. Makes it kinder bad. He is pleased. and as Pete glide d down the sawdust street it needed all the remembrance of Bill's fist to keep h im from parting with a portion of the jingling money for an equal amount of good cheer. What is more beautiful than the flowers? We take the flowers. Only here and there some l ate worker showed a light. "Injun" that he was. she could not help wiping her eyes upon her apron. and most of the shops were closed. fo r she knew that mamma would mind--that she could not help it. Pete was wondering how he could help matters out. Pete stopped in the dark alley for a moment to watch them. whos e business was it? Pete knew the way of bar-tenders. * * * * * I wonder what Pete was thinking about as he ran through the forest. He finished his supp er. seeing the sobbing children and the f rozen plants. mamma." answered Jeff. They seemed to be looking at him from every stump. will ye?" "All right." out there in the dark alley. and when such sad eyes as Marie's haunt one all along a lonely road."--but here. and pay an extra price for his liquor. By their side stood a basket of artificial flowers and bright ribbons. and he went straight on to the last bar -room. But the fist had the best of it. A man sat asleep in a chair by the stove." How queer it was that the children should cry because the flowers were kille d! How little Marie had looked at him! Somehow Pete could not drive those sad ey es away. But the miracle was performed.But Mrs. "Little gal ever git well?" asked Pete. The y were filled with tears now--could it be because the flowers were frozen? It is no wonder that when at last the few lingering village lights came into vie w. It seemed to Pete that he had never before seen anything so beautiful." however. Jeff followed him out. Hunt was bound to explain too. ye see." muttered Pete. and when Pete least expected it. It was a milliner's store and had been closed for some hours. and the good Lord. S top in an' git yer clo'es when ye come back. The thought of the thrashing he would receive on the one hand. yet when one comes from s uch a scene as Pete had just witnessed. but the women worked on with tireless fingers. But in the back room two women were working awa y anxious to finish a hat. wh o loves us all. Meester Shivershee. Her voice was almost gone. He had been in the business before. could so far lose sight of his personal dignity as t o come sneaking in at the back door. There was no light in the store next the bar-room. and then slunk out at the door again. The bar-rooms were open full blast. "There ain't no hopes held out fer her. Pete listened to all this attentively. The hat was growing more and more brilliant under their quick touches. but slunk down an alley by the side of the building. Pete knew better than to go into the front door of the bar-room. How ki nd Mrs. Hunt had always been to him! She was the only one that called him "Miste r. Nothing but a miracle could stop him. If an "Injun. Here were flowers-why could he not get some for the little sick girl? It was a severe struggle for the poor "Injun. from every tree. "No. I don't s'pose she will. "It eez the way we show our love for the good Lord. of course he could n ot understand it all. meaning to go in the back way. The scene he had just left rose before his dulled "Injun" mind." she whispered. even an "Injun's" thoughts must be worth noticing. Nice. and yet he could hardly help seeing something of the sorro w that the loss of the flowers had brought upon the family. An "Injun's" thoughts on any ordinary subject cannot be very deep. evidently intended for some village belle's Christmas .

The milliner's man. For fear that he should los e courage. Sick. "Give me flowers--I pay. taking the money fr om Pete's hand.arie on the other. Hunt sat nodding over her work. No fade. at the sight of which the standing army of the mi lliner's store paused. thinking of the great flowers in his pocket. "Want anything in our line. "What be ye after here. He had left the jug and fled. But if Pete's conduct produced such a sad effect upon the festivities at Carter's. and obtained his jug. with masses of groun d pine and red berries. ye wanter buy sum of them artyficial flowers. "Hump yerself outer here--git a-goin '!" But Pete pulled out his money. while Mrs. Hunt's thanks. and entered without ceremony. Make her think Crissmus. do ye? This is a pooty time o ' night ter come flower huntin. but Pete. naturally wished to retain the patronage of such a model cus tomer. Hunt woke with a start." figured up the merchant." came dancing and sparkling over the trees. catching up his bundle. Pete made up his bundle of clothes. swinging trot. Marie was asleep. The idea of an "Injun" pushing hi s way into the back parlor of a milliner's shop was too much of a revolutionary proceeding to pass unnoticed. he found the jug at the foot of his bunk. The Christmas celebration at Carter's was a very tame affair. Resolutely fast ening in the stopper. pointing to the basket. Over her head were hung long clusters of moss. the joy it caused at Jeff Hunt's cabin made matters even. and a white flower. an' then c limb out!"--and he held the basket out at arm's length for Pete to select. and what whiskey he could buy with the rest of his money. The box of frozen plants still stood by the table." "I want flowers. No wear out. Pete took a great red rose." "Oh. No smell. "Them is wurth about ten shillins. Hiding h is jug behind a log. glad with the promise of the "old. Only com e a little afore bed-time when ye come again. The women dropped their work with a little scream. It might perhaps excuse even such an action on the part of an "Injun. selected the largest and gau diest. Pete's money was nearly gone. * * * * * When Bill Gammon woke in the morning. At any rate the eyes conquered and Pete braved the fist of Bill. he started for camp at his long. The light was burning on the table. Pete grinned as he saw them. and not even raising the jug to his mouth. He laid them on the table with-"Flowers fer little gal. and then pull ed out the great red rose and the white flower. I can assure you. but at sight of Pete smiled in her weary way. Many were the curs es showered upon Pete. or it may have been just the out-cropping of the d esire to repay a kindness which even an "Injun" is said to possess. with "Injun" instinct. old story. stopp ing only once at the pump to fill the jug to the top with water. while the man started from his chair with most violent intent upon poor Pete. But Pete was nowhere to be seen. she had fallen asleep. He slunk in at th e back door of the bar-room. rendered affable by the most surprising bargai n he had just made. yet Pete did not stop till Jeff Hunt's cabin came in sight. I doubt if even the tho ught of the famous miracle would have sustained him in the beating he would have received. and started for the door. There was not very much of a sto ck to select from. out of town. he crept up to the window and looked in.' ain't it? Jest pick out yer flowers. Injun." But Pete slunk out at the door an d did not hear him. All color. he slunk away wi thout waiting for Mrs. Mrs. with the jug in his hand. What could he do? But even an "Injun" can remember a kindness . The glad Christmas sun. Mile after mile was p assed over. Then up the street he ran again. S he had been mending the clothes so that Pete could take them back with him. Pete stole to the door and went in." Pete said." Then. There was a great commotion. and looked down in wonderful tenderness upon the humbl . Injun?" he growled. Good flowers. and had that worthy been present. but he had a scheme in his head. jest call round an' we'll please ye. It may have been a miracle. he pushed against the door of the room. Money has smoothed over many an outrage. Tire d out. Pete carefully placed the flowers in the pocket of his ragged coat.

and by dividing a rheumatism and a sprained ankle between my sym pathetic cousins. Perhaps the glad sun. to enter with any spirit into the subject of conversation. and told him something of its happiness. the felicity of eating plum-pudding with an angel. I declined this also. it was discovered. I began to despair of any more invitations.--to say nothing of the album. to empty the entire contents of his counting-hous e into his little dining parlor. at Clapham. for the above reason. I could not. with ten names obliterated--being those of persons who had not asked me to mince-meat and mistletoe. and again declined. Let us hope so at any rate. and when violent hands. reducing him to the necessi ty of advertising for another candidate for Cape and turkey.e cabin. are laid on one. by a prophetic view of the portfoli o of drawings fresh from boarding-school--moths and roses on embossed paper. when the c onsultation was suddenly brought to a close. when the servant brought up--not a letter--but an a unt and a brace of cousins from Bayswater. P. but not exactly the letter I was longing for. It may be that the good old Christmas sun even hunted out poor despised Pete. I rung for gil t-edged. Would it be believed!--but I will not stay to mystify--I merely mentio n the fact. it is true. consa nguinity required me. how soon she would forget all her care and trouble. at all these festivals. I was expecting. The twenty-third dawned. with whi te kid gloves. that one little accompaniment of the roast beef had been entirely ov erlooked. It was on the twentieth of December last that I received an invitation from my f riend. I walked out. pleaded a world of polite regret. i nstead of waiting for the two that were still hopping about the bush. How wonderful they were ! Where could they have come from? The face of the little girl was more patient than before. But by far the most prevailing reason remains to be told. I began. They showed her the rose and the white flower nestling in the evergreens. viz. sauntering involuntarily in the directi on of the only house in which I felt I could spend a "happy" Christmas. to dine with him in Mark Lane. As soon as they were gone. The eyes seemed more t ender. and Christmas was not my own. and was hourly in the hope of receiving. it is sometimes difficult to effect an escape wi th becoming elegance. Now my cousins kept no album s. let loose upon a turkey. on dining there ten Christmas Days ago. the same good sun that had look ed upon that far-away tomb from which the stone had rolled.. but no card came. give up my darling hope of a pleasan ter prospect. h owever. The twenty-first came. and. and with it a neat epistle. The first was that Mr. that had been the favorite in the family for three days. I am sure he deserved it. Another invitation--to dine with a regiment of roast-beef eaters. The ch ildren came and stood in wonder before the rude flowers. Phiggins. in which I stood engaged to write an elegy on a Java sparrow. indeed. and you consequently sit down to dinner with si x white-waistcoated clerks. as it played about her face. whispered to her. I had seve ral reasons for declining this proposition." Ver y tempting. to debate within myself upon the policy of securing this bird in hand. Mr. I had been anticipat ing for some days. makes it a rule. on the strength of my imagi nary engagement. I showed them the Court Guide. and for one oth er. Breakfa st was hardly over.. sealed with violet-colored wax . "Dine with the ladies--at home on Christmas Day. P. however. an invitation to spe nd my Christmas Day in a most irresistible quarter. on si tting down. As I app . that. The next day arrived. they are really as pretty as cousins can be. They fought with me in fifty engagements--that I pretended to have made. how soon the stone would roll from her life. They had forgotten the horseradish. The second was that I am no t sufficiently well read in cotton and sugar. and enter the land of sunshine and f lowers. and to repent of my refusals. and I ultimately gain ed my cause by quartering the remains of an infectious fever on the sensitive fe ars of my aunt. MY CHRISTMAS DINNER. And the third was. on Christmas Day. however. that I never drink Cape wine . and is. from Upper Brook street. time was getting on rather rapidly. and yet not so sad. The first bright beams fell upon the bed where little Marie was lying. I returned a polite note to Mr. They would listen to no excuse.

and that the chief cardinal virtue is misanthropy . who had be en." and read myself into a sublime contempt of mankind. when the arrival of another epist le suddenly charmed me from this state of delicious melancholy and delightful en durance of wrong. I was in a state of delirious delight. they know that I am in town. and everybody seemed to have a delightful engagement for the next day. and presented my compliments. I hes itated--for the peril of precariousness of my situation flashed on my mind. Alack! no letter came. They served. ragin g to behold the object of my admiration condescend. They discovered a most tempting dessert. My sp irit became a prey to anxiety and remorse. Every chance seemed to have expire d. I sunk into still deeper despondency. In such a frenzy as mine."--where I should inevitably sit next to a deaf lady. it was my fixed determination not to avail myself of so protracted a piece of politeness. Paulo. dinner was removed w ith unlifted covers. I sat "nursing my wrath. and in less than half an hour a no te was brought to me. but to render it invisible--to be invited perhaps to a tart fabricated by her own ethe real fingers. After the first burst of excitement. I went out. and with it an heiress of some reputation. It was dated----. not to eat a custard. n othing was to be seen but raisins and rounds of beef. it seemed writte n on the leaf of a lily with a pen dipped in dew. I called--I could not help it--at the ho use to which I had so fondly anticipated an invitation. and trembled as I opened it. and uttered many poetica l things about the wings of Time. I opened it--and had nearly fa inted with disappointment. or my Lord North." thought I. indeed. and I hurried back by another street to receive the somuch-wished-for invitation. was of course immediately expressed. Regret that I could not have the pleasure of meeting Mr. composed of forbidden fruit. It was from a stock-broker. Munden's monument was in Westmi nster Abbey or St. I felt. Rothschild before dinner. it was not the letter. etc." Immediately afterward a servant issued with a letter. I began to perceive that merrime nt is only malice in disguise. with such possibilities before me. At length. Paul's?"--I seized a pen. "A present from the countr y. amidst all these invitations. December the twenty-fourth--I began to count the hours. but to increase my uneasiness. requesting the honor. I arrived--but there was no letter. crue lly neglected. as they opene d prospects of happiness in which I could take no share. she coul d not recollect which--had taken tea with the author of "Junius. and finishes it with the fourth bottle--and who m akes his eight children stay up to supper and snap-dragon. but hope had still left me a straw to catch at. they do dine at home. I happened to reflect that his pantom ime was to make its appearance on the night after. the desired despatch had come. who begins an anecdote of Mr. "and coming mince pies cast their shadows before. and despatched my warmest regards in a whirlwind. in a spirit of calmer en joyment than I had experienced for some days. It g rew dark--I sustained a still gloomier shock.roached. they must ask me. But I was too cunnin g for this. how could I think of joining a "friendly party. patted on the head by Wilkes. that though I called in the hope of being asked ." but had forgot ten his name--and who once asked me "whether Mr. I could not eat. I alon e was disengaged--I felt like the Last Man! To-morrow appeared to have already c ommenced its career. and practiced wisdom for once. My mind became restless and agitated. and I at length succeeded in resisti ng this late and terrible temptation. mankind had anticipated the future." In this state of desolation and dismay. My protes t must here however be recorded. but no matter.--yes. "yes." till it scorched me. No: my triumph would have been to have annihilated them with an enga . I wrote a most irritable apology. he took the nea rest way to my lodgings. and that his object was to pe rpetrate the whole programme upon me. I sat down to wait. I took down "Childe Harold. I once lost a tooth. In macadamizing a str ay stone in one of his periodical puddings. I sickened as I surveyed. a porter brought a large hamper to the door. I wandered about like Lear --I had given up all! I felt myself grated against the world like a nutmeg. and the rest of the literati to be then and there assemble d. I received a note from a distinguished dramatist. and a welcome. The world seemed to have acquired a new face. when a little girl.

that I had fallen into the Serpentine while skating. and did not immediately a ttend. passed in a dioramic view befor e my eyes. and touches the harp divinely. and. I recounted the chances I had missed. Despair was my only convenient refu ge. "and after all." The struggle was made--"I should not dine at home. in the event of my having no engageme nt abroad. Then. The last plank. And for what? Four o'clock. I went to bed. I only be gged that if any letter arrived. payable three months after date.gement made in September. or the meaning of a melodrama:--any or all of these I might have accomplished. Sometimes I fancied myself se ated in a roaring circle. I rung--how unlike a dinner bell it sounded! A girl at length made her ap pearance. and the pantomime writer--the stock br oker. and I may yet win my race. But to request me to define my dinner--to inquire into its l atitude--to compel me to fathom that sea of appetite which I now felt rushing th rough my frame--to ask me to dive into futurity." This w as the only phrase left me. In this la st particular I was not disappointed. But it was a cold night--I went home and threw mysel f on my miserable couch. I sti rred the fire and read Zimmermann alternately. roasting chestnuts at a blazing log: at others. She has a very small. I gave an agitated knock--they were stoning the plums. but I will cling to it to the last moment. no chance remained. though unborn. Alas! it was the twenty-fifth of the month--It was Christmas Day! Let the reader. and pr escribing balm for my wounds. Hope was perfectly ridiculous. with a mouthful of citron. Here was a question. and could not get into Elysium after all. I had passed one dinnerless day. I hardly knew whither. o nly her fingers are so punctured by the needle--and I rather think she bites her nails. or asked me the way to Brobdingnag. whose stories one forgets. I was floating about with no hope but the chance of something almost impossible. on looking up. I will not even now give up my hope. I had been walking upon the hair-br idge over a gulf. She had repeated the question before I could collect my senses around me. I dozed and dreamed away the hours till day-break." not with my glory. if he possess the imagination of Milton. had now given way beneath me. No. With these feelings. I perceived a heavy sh . pretty hand. She paid me the usual compliment. a procession of apparitions. unluckily. conceive my sensations. and that the Humane Society were piling upon me a Pelion. Ther e are still four hours left. and the peril is past. My first impulse was to go to some wharf and inquire what vessels were starting for America. had she set me a l esson in algebra. and the elderly lady who forgets her stories--t hey all marched by me. In other words. I rushed down the steps. unless something should drop from the clouds. The dinners I might have enjoyed. just as the Lethean tide within me was at it s height. Phiggins and his six clerks--the Clapham beef-eaters--the charms of Upper Brook street--my pretty cousins. or rather a Vesuvius of blankets. yet the promised land was as far from sight as ever. and half of anoth er. let me not be seduced by this last golden apple. my landlady broke in upon my lethargy. for I could not say that "I should dine out. sir?" abruptly inquired she. Even my landlady's invitatio n. the last splinter. I swallowed an atom of dry toast--nothing could calm the fever of my soul. I awoke a little refr eshed. it might be brought to me immediately. a Gordian tangle to untwist." Alas! that an event should be at the same time so doubtful and so desirable. and chased away by a single wor d all the little sprites and pleasures that were acting as my physicians. had she desired me to show her the North Pole. It was yesterday but a straw--t o-day it is but the thistledown. and become the prophet of pies and preserves!--My heart died within me at the impossibility of a reply. Even reason--the last remedy one has recourse to in such cases--came at length to my relief: I argued myself into a philosophic fit. I had been catching moonbeams. for the first time it occurred to me that. Mr. No Span ish inquisitor ever inflicted such complete dismay in so short a sentence. Lucy Matthews is a charming girl. One desperate struggle . they will not dine till six. my landlady meant to invite me! "There will at least be the two daugh ters. was not forgotten in summing up my sacrifices. for. but with an appetite that resembled an avalanche seeking whom it might devour. But. informed me that the family had gone t o spend their Christmas Eve in Portland Place. and then--"Do yo u dine at home to-day. I recollect. They had "left me alone. and running after notes of music." I whispered to myself. Had s he given me a Sphynx to expound.

THE POOR TRAVELER. on foot. 'On earth . who were poor travelers. peace: Good will toward men. but he thought he might as well ride to death as be at the trouble of walk ing. and took up that of Doubledick. and was glad to get drunk and forget all ab out it. How long I wandered about is doubtful. in their way. with a determination to be shot. After the meal. he seemed to be swallowing a bit of Paradise. height. too. I staggered against two or three smiling rascals. when the travelers have gathered around the fire. yet I was obliged to venture forth. but it was sealed up. Richard! Heaven forgive you!" This finished him. His hea rt was in the right place. with Lucy and several lovely creatures in a semi-circle. There was no time for consideration--to hesitate was to perish. and there--to sum up all my folly and felicity in a single word--I DINED. I darted from the spot. He dr opped his own surname on the road down. too. my friends. My relative's Christian name was Richard. to the town of Chatham. th rowing himself back in his chair choked with ecstasy. a single glance disclosed to me a blazing fire. There was not a more dissipated and reckless soldier in Chatham barracks. entertainment and fourpence each. twenty-two. You are to know that this relative of mine had gone wrong. like a spectre at day-break. There. He had been betrothed to a good and beautiful girl. if a cavalry r egiment would have him.'" Then each traveler was invited to relate a stor y." In honor of the day a special meal is provided for the travelers then in the charity. to take King George's shilling from any corporal or sergeant who would put a bunch of ribbons in his hat." I flung my coat round me. with an area in front. five foot ten. and with some ham in the window that looked per fectly sublime. but in an evil hour he had given her cause to say to him solemnly. if not. so he e nlisted into a regiment of the line. At last I happened to look through a kitc hen window. when the Shepher ds. Another was feasting with a graver air. They had just arrived--to make the tour of Turkey. whom he had loved better than she--or perhaps even he--beli eved. I found a fire. native plac e. with not a farthing in his pocket. I will live single for your sake. His object was to get shot. it was indeed "a banquet-hall deserted. but he was better known as Dick. I could not of course remain at home. which he had never been near in his life. and criticising its flavor. Where to go I knew not: I was like my fi rst father--"the world was all before me. There was no cavalry in Ch atham when he limped over the bridge with half a shoe to his dusty feet.ower of snow. which provided for the entertainme nt of "six poor travelers who not being rogues or proctors might receive gratis for one night lodging. in the year one thousand seven hundred and ninety-nine. and hurried forth with the feelings of a bandit longing for a stiletto. age. than Private Richard Doubledic . BY CHARLES DICKENS. their entertainer gives them t he reason for the unwonted feast as "Christmas Eve. priding themselves upo n their punctuality. This made him Private Richard Doubledick. but Mary Marshall's lips"--her name was Mary Marshall--"never address another word to you on earth. a relative of mine came limping down." The very waiters had gone ho me to their friends. heard the Angels sing. At the foot of the stairs. He was p assed as Richard Doubledick. and only a few yards further discerned a house with rather an elegant exterior. He was a poor traveler. My relative came down to Chatham to enlist in a cavalry regiment. and saw a villain with a fork in his hand. however. Fancy. How I ha ted them!--As I rushed by the parlor. and run wild. "Richar d. for being supposed to dine out . This brought him down to Chatham. Go. [Dickens' introduction to this story describes his going to Rochester on Christm as Eve and seeing there a quaint old charity. This was too much for mortality--my appetite fastened upon me like an al ligator. I entered. gave me a glimpse of a sprig of mistletoe--I vanished from the house. Exmouth. and among those told was the following. I will never marry any other man.] In the year one thousand seven hundred and ninety-nine.

handsome. 'He is my son!'" ." returned the Captain. but I have never been so pained to see a man determined to make the shameful journey as I have been. he had less fancy than ever for being seen by the Captain. In the stale and squalid state of a man just out of the Black hole. dark eyes.--but they were the only eyes now left in his narrowed world that Private Richard Doubledick could not stand. Unabashed by evil report and punishm ent." said the Captain." Private Richard Doubledick began to find a film stealing over the floor at which he looked. and was constantly under punishment. and made a miserable salute of acquiescence. He was reproached a nd confused. defiant of everything else and everybody else. he was ordered to betake himself to Captain Taunton's quar ters. sir. with pride and joy. took a stride forward. you have sunk l ower than I had believed." said the Captain. Pri vate Richard Doubledick pulled off his cap. through the whole army. but he was not so mad yet a s to disobey orders. "I would rather. whose eyes had an expression in them which affected Priva te Richard Doubledick in a very remarkable way. and the breast of his disgrace-jacket swelled as if i t would fly asunder." said the young Captain. Now the Captain of Richard Doubledick's company was a young gentleman not above five years his senior. "were sounded from mouth to mouth throu gh the whole regiment.--what are called laughing eyes generally." said Private Richard Doubledick. than encounter those two handsome. as he went along. when Private Richard Doubledick came out of the Black hole. you wo uld wish she had lived to say. "And very fast. with grave indignation. and. "see this in you. They were bright. He associated with the dregs of every regiment. he was as seldom sober as he could be. rather stead y than severe. twisting and breaking in his hand s. "Doubledick. sir. and go any distance out of his way. "I am only a common soldier. I have been pained to see many men of promise going that road. sir. looking up to stea dy his vision. where he ha d been passing the last eight and forty hours. met the eyes that had so strong an influence over him.k. and in which retreat he spent a g ood deal of his time. meaning what you say. also to find the legs of the Captain's breakfast-table turning crook ed. How low that must be." The legs of the table were becoming very crooked. He put his hand before his own eyes. "of education and superior advantages. "and then the r egiment and the world together will be rid of me. In his worst moments. to see you. a boy of seventeen.--troubled by the mere possibility of the Captain's looking at him. and consequently went up to the terrace overlooking the par ade-ground. knowing what I know of your disgrace. "It signifies very little what such a poor brute comes to. "Come in!" cried the Captain. There was a slight pause. ever since you joined the regiment." "I hope to get shot soon. "Doubledick. "Yes." returned the Captain. he would rather turn back. One day." "You are a man. "since I entered his Majesty's service. dark. where the officers' quarters were." "If your praises. "do you know where you are going to?" "To the devil. when serious. He could not so much as salute Captain Taunton in the street like any other officer. as if he saw them through water. Private Richard Doubledick had put the straw in his mo uth." faltered Doubledick. Doubledick. a bit of the straw that had formed the decorative furniture of the Black hole. Doubledick. and if you say that. bright eyes. and seeing what I see." Private Richard Doubledick turned the straw of the Black hole in his mouth. I leave you to consider. sir." said he. and was gradually doubling it up into his windpipe and choking himself. and felt very conscious that he stood in the light of the dark. than I w ould see five thousand guineas counted out upon this table for a gift to my good mother." returned the Captain. Have you a mother?" "I am thankful to say she is dead. It became clear to the whole barr acks that Private Richard Doubledick would very soon be flogged. bright eyes. he had but to know that thos e eyes looked at him for a moment. when he knocked with his knuckles at the door. and he felt ashamed. through the whole country.

at Badajos. led. "I am dying. there t he boldest spirits in the English army became wild to follow. * * * * * In eighteen hundred and one. there. on a coat spread upon the wet clay. with the dark. the French were in Egy pt. was a year of hard fighting in India. and in a very jungle of horses' hoofs and sabres. It was over in ten minutes more. inspired all breasts. It had then become well known to thousands of men. He particularly noticed t his officer waving his sword. and En sign Richard Doubledick had risen from the ranks. that wherever the two friends. that he was specially made the bearer of the colors he had won. dark eyes--so very.--the two officers found themselves hurrying forward. and passing his arm round his neck to raise his head. encouraging his men. In the very next year. kissed that officer's hand. with the dark. bright eyes. when they fired in obedience to his gesture.--saw such wonders done. gallant officer of five-and-thirty. Major T aunton's uniform was opened at the breast. "She would never have heard any good of me. besides being the great year of Trafalgar. Major Taunton.--this regiment fought its way through the Peninsular war. truest. and would have always had. and rallying his men with an eager and excited cry . Eighteen hundred and five. who made a stand." said Doubledick. who cut his way single-handed through a solid mass of men. recovered the colors of his regiment. Captain Taunton's regiment was on service in India. which had been seized from the hand of a poor boy shot through the heart. by this brave Sergea nt-Major. in Germany. I have heard from Private Richard Doubledick's own lips. Love and c ompassion she might have had. "Dear Doubledick. and Doubledick returned to the spot where he ha d laid the best friend man ever had. no!" exclaimed the other. which Ensign Ri chard Doubledick had saved. that he dropped down up on his knee.--no. but saw well. bright eyes." said he. Sorely cut up in every battle. and on his shirt were three little sp ots of blood. up to the investment of Badajos in eighteen hundred and twelve. an altered man. Again and again it had been cheered through the British ranks until the tears had sprung into men's eyes at the mere hearing of the mighty British v oice. I say. were seen to go. true as the sun." "For the love of Heaven. where not? Napoleon Bonaparte had likewise begun to st ir against England in India. the Indian army were on the coast of Egypt. "Taunton! My preserver. now. whil e life beat in their hearts. who was down. would be certain to be found. and most men could read the signs of the great trou bles that were coming on. kindest of human beings! Taunton! For God's sake!" The bright. one thousand seven hundred and ninety-nine. "My friend--" began the Captain. nor in the whole line. but always reinforced by the bravest of men. and Ensign Richard Doubledick. but not--Spare me. and went out of the light of the dark. quite at your mercy!" And he turned his face to t he wall.--for the fame of following the old colors. and Major Taunton dropped.-than Corporal Richard Doubledick. but in repelling a hot sally of the besieged upon our men at work in the trenches. That year saw such wonders done by a Sergeant-Major. Sergeant Richard Doubledick. and rescued his wounded Captain. arose. One day. who had given way. that famous soldier. ever at his side. who was devoted to him. sir! I am a broken wretch. my witness! Dearest. sir!" sobbed Private Richard Doubledick. and brave as Mars. whom Doubl edick saw hurriedly. kneeling down beside him. and they were recalled. firm a s a rock. that wherever Captain Taunton . "God bless you. sir. handsome. shot through and through. face to face. close to him. and there was not a drummer boy but knew the l egend. in Italy. in the pale face--smiled upon hi . In that year. my gu ardian angel. very dark. bright eyes. and stretched out his imploring hand. Next ye ar was the year of the proclamation of the short peace. I know. almost momentarily.--not in the great storming. when we formed an alliance with Austria against him. And th ere was not a finer non-commissioned officer in it. so exultant in their valor. There was an officer at their head."Spare me. Sh e would never have had any pride and joy in owning herself my mother.--a courageous. against a party of Fre nch infantry.

forever bless him! As He will. he left the garden. Though he was weak and suffered pain. to let it be re vealed. in to any ear except his reclaimer's. or the name of Mary Marshall." he related every thing. Duri ng his stay in England. near his heart. that he had striven and suffered. Lieutenant Richard Doubledick. in the year eighteen hundred and fourteen. or a word of the story of his life. He had firmly resolved that his expiation should be to live unknown. and. That previous scene in his existence was clos ed. had he relieved French officers lying disabled. the quiet garden into which he had slowly and painfully crept. reading th e Bible. "I know he is in heaven!" Then she piteously cried . He brought the hair with him. bereaved man. Lieutenant Richard Doubledick. came home to England invalided. compassionate w ords that naturally present themselves to the mind to-night. in searching with men and lanterns for his wounded. as I have heard him tell. O God. became the boundary of his home. and the bodily reality upon the other--until the battle of Toulous e was fought. that very passage in it. or Lieutenant breathed his right name. and she was a widow. Many a French o fficer had he seen since that day. . she came to the door quickly. so scarred and pierced now. remembering the words he had cherished for two years. Corporal. made me a human creature. in an awful sti llness of many men. it gradually seemed to her as if in her bereavement she had found a son. that when he and the French of ficer came face to face once more.--one. won me from infamy and shame." He spoke no more. died. "Tell her how we became friends. it would be time enough--time enough! But that night. arise!" He had to pass the window. and fell upon his neck. He smiled again when he saw that. "But O my darling boy. He heard the words: "Young man. as it comforts me. the other. reading to herself. You will see home again. shadowy through the mist and drizzle of a wet June forenoon. He buried hi s friend on the field. to dist urb no more the peace that had long grown over his old offences. when he was able to rejoin h is regiment in the spring. but faintly signed for a moment toward his hair as it fluttere d in the wind. seven-and-thirty years of age. gently turning his face over on the supporting arm as if for rest. dark eyes of his debased time seemed to look at him. where Taunton's mother lived. It will comfort her. and it was. In the returns sent home appeared these words: "Severely wounded. there would be weeping in France. a stranger. Her heart told her who he was. The Ensign understood him. Tell her how we became friends. and the hand he had kissed thirteen years ago laid itself fondly on his breas t. "he was the only so n of his mother. "Write to my mother. and then. and the lady sat at her quiet garden-window. It gradually seemed to him as if in his maturity he had recovered a mothe r. Beyond his duty he appea red to have but two remaining cares in life. Sergeant-Major. my darling boy!" Never from the hour when Private Richard Doubledick enlisted at Chatham had the Private. but not dangerously. He stood beside them." At midsummer-time. He will!" "He will!" the lady answered. and had never forgot ten. in a trembling voice." It was a Sunday evening. when he was dead. he lost not an hour in getting down to Fro me in Somersetshire. that they would scarcel y hold together--to Quatre Bras and Ligny. Sergeant. A new legend now began to circulate among our troops. to preserve the little packet of hair he was to give to Taunton's mother. bu t the mental picture and the reality had never come together. It will comfort her. and the bright. Ensign. "He saved me from ruin. now a browned soldier. No dry eye looked on Ensign Richard Doubledick that melancholy day. thinking was this indeed the firs t time he had ever turned his face toward the old colors with a woman's blessing ! He followed them--so ragged. In the sweet. with h is hand upon the breast in which he had revived a soul. many a dreadful night. to encounter that French officer who had rallied the men under whose fire Taunton fell.m. if they could forgive him and believe him--well. The war went on--and through it went the exact picture of the French officer on the one side. I say unto thee. as it comforts me. and became a lone.

and when people flocked about the open carriage to cheer and congratulate Captain Richard Doubledick.--the form that had been Lieutenant Richard Doubledick. heavy wagons." and she held him in her arms. And down to that hour the picture in his mind of the French officer had never been compared with the reality. his lips trembled. beyond. to the peaceful life of a fresh. with the sun full in his sight. and the birds were singing in the leafless thickets of the early spring. There it was tenderly laid down i n hospital. in which were moving leaves and sweet-smell ing flowers. which she always drew back when he aw oke. at last. Through pits of mire and pools of rain. but making some little advance every day. and held his hand. and there it lay. and a woman's voice spoke. From that time. but they were happy through it al l. when he was seen to fall. week after week. quiet room with a large win dow standing open. until the harvest. he soon beg an to remark that Mrs. his mother's. my name--" He cried out her name "Mary." The lady kissed his cheek. But th e curtain of the bed. mother?" "A great victory. and of faces that had been familiar to his youth. that wer e pounded and ploughed to pieces by artillery. You were moved here long ag o. The snow had melted on the ground. spared by war. presenting faint glimpses of army surgeons whom he knew. The famous regiment was in action early in the battle. "Will you like to see a strang er?" "Stranger!" he repeated. We have nursed you many weeks. soothing him. "Can you bear to see a stranger?" it said softly. "It comforts her. and had been shot in the body. again. lost through so many years. bright summer d ays. "Where is the regiment? What has happened? Let me call you mother. Then he recalled his preserver's dying words. heavy dream of confused time and place .on the field of Waterloo. dear. and asked her to read to him. pouri ng its golden radiance on his bed. Slowly. What has happ ened. along deep ditches. But it swept on to aveng e him. was conveyed to Brussels." One day he awoke out of a sleep. dead. through the long. so disfigured by blood and mud as to be ha rdly recognizable for humanity. To the beautiful life of a calm aut umn evening sunset. that she might see him from her table at the bedside where she sat at work. for he had been desperately wounded in the head. The voice awoke old memories. When he had gained sufficient strength to converse as he lay in bed. he sobbed. dear Richard. and the regiment was the bravest in the field. He was very weak. too weak to move his hand. and left behind it no such creature in the world of consciousness as Lieu tenant Richard Doubledick. w ith a solicitude upon it more like reality than anything he could discern. jolted among the dying and the dead. softening the light. and the struggle of every wheeled thing that could carry wounded soldiers. are you near me?" A face bent over him. which was not hers. refreshed. "I came to nurse you. when those three were first able to ride out toge ther.--Lieu tenant Richard Doubledick came back to life. . It was a long recovery. had ripened and was gathered in. * * * * * Well! They were happy. with whose p raises England rang. before the days of Privat e Richard Doubledick. It was so tranquil and so lovely that he thought he had passed into another worl d. as to any sentient life that was in it. was held undrawn. Do you remember nothing?" "Nothing.--dearest and kindest among them." it said in tones that thrilled him. "Taunton. Slowly laboring. through a long. and the tears ran down his face. an d yet alive. once roads. "A stranger now. tramp of men and ho rses. but not a stranger once. a balcony beyond. the clear sky. The war is over. and received its first ch eck in many an eventful year. and thought. and his head lay on her bosom. Not his. Taunton always brought him back to his own history. And he said in a faint voice." His eyes kindled. Mary Marshall's. " Richard. he recovered.

stood the French officer--the officer whose picture he had carried in his mi nd so long and so far. In the gallery. unhappily. The carts were laden with the fair fruits of the earth. then returned to England. To him who had so often seen the terri ble reverse." thought Captain Richard Doubledick. He walked into a lofty stone hall. from time to time. handsome man in the full vigor of life. The intimacy began in her often meeting among the vineyards a prett y child. to complete his recovery in the climate of Southern France. in their own château near the farme r's house she rented. Taunton. he did not take such a note of my face. She wrote regularly to her children (as she called them now). and these duels. Captain Doubledick. "And at Badajos. Traveling through all that extent of coun try after three years of peace. not trodden underfoot by men in mortal fight. dispatched a court eous reply. who was never tired of listenin g to the solitary English lady's stories of her poor son and the cruel wars. S he went to the neighborhood of Aix. and followed it in person. that day. he sat down to con sider. The corn was golden. Compared with the original. Extending along the four sides of this hall was a ga llery. and a high leaden roof. at last--in every lineament h ow like it was! He moved and disappeared. and how to avoid this officer's hospitality . Captain Richar d Doubledick. "this is a ghostly beginning!" He started back. Still no bel l was to be seen. as I took of his. The entrance doors stood open. and at length she came to know them so well that she accepted their invitation to pass the last month of her residence abro ad under their roof. and ext inguishers. and there. as doors often do in that country when the heat of th e day is past. ashamed of the clanking of his boots. soliciting. Mrs. The family were as gentle as the child. "Faith. refreshingly cool and gloomy after the glare of a Southern day's travel. and they brought him in a softe ned spirit to the old château near Aix upon a deep blue evening. six months. and felt his face turn white. who had often carried her s on in his arms. The smoke rose up fro m peaceful hearths. "H ow shall I tell him?" "You were at Waterloo. many deplorable duels had been fought between English and French officers arising out of the recent war. So she went with a faithful servant. s udden look upon his face." said the Captain. much such a look as it had worn in that fatal moment. There was a bright. broader across the chest and shoulders than he had ever been before. was bound in sheav es for food. by Captain Richard Doubledick. together. and how shall I tell him? At that time. and at last enclosed a polite note. halting. looking down at h im. It was a large château of the genuine old ghostly kind. "I was. and Captain Richard Doubledick heard his steps coming quickly down into the hall. on the occasion of his approaching mission to that neighbo rhood. and they to her. and it was lighted from the top. resolved to go back for a year to those parts." said Captain Richard Doubledick. instead of returning to Engla nd. they lived there. piecemeal as it came about. not with wounds and death. the honor of the company of that man so justly celebrated. at the year's end." Left alone with the sound of his own stern voice in his ears. growing old after three years-though not so old as that her bright. not blazing ruins. now a hardy. and the Captain saw no bell or knocker. these things were beautiful indeed. and walked in. a girl with a most compassionate heart. not drenched in unnatural red. and more windows than Aladdin's palace. within a ride of the old town of Avignon. with round towers. All this intelligence she wrote home. leading to suites of rooms. he blessed the better days on which the world ha d fallen. They found a spo t upon the Rhône. which was all they could desire. He entered through an archway.But even then it became necessary for the Captain. dark eyes were dimmed--and remembering tha t her strength had been benefited by the change." said the French officer. she grew into intimacy with a family belonging to that par t of France. and within view of its broken bridge. and she was to be rejoined and escorted home. Monsieur le Capitaine Richard Doubledick? Enchanted to receive him! "He has not remembered me. as I have remembered him. What shall I do. from the head of t he château.

made the s econd strong resolution in his life. nor to the mother of his departed friend. and the children gave him the best they had to eat. that this man did his duty as thou didst. who gained a scanty living by cutting wood. saying. poor child! Lie down on our bed. holding golden harps in their hands. THE LEGEND OF THE CHRISTMAS TREE. nor to any soul. wake. while this poor child has only heaven for his roof and the cold earth for his sleeping-place. pray! I am a poor little child. saying: "C ome in. "Blest be the house wherein thou liest. all the way I have drawn to meet this man. Happiest on earth." When their father and mother went to bed." The children listened. c overed him over. Most children have seen a Christmas tree. the snow and the wind raging outside. and the girl was called Mary. were the uppermost thought in Captain Richard Doubledick's mind.--that neither to the French officer." said he. Amazed at this sight. and said to each other: "How thankful we ought to be! We have w arm rooms and a cozy bed. and. and soun ded like beautiful voices singing to the tones of a harp: "O holy Child. the children were still gazing out of the window. "Thou. respecting t he origin of this custom. would he breathe what only he knew. and listen to the sweet music under the window. with nothing to eat. poor little child! We have not much to give you. then they stepped softly to the window to see who might be without.--and as I did. that day at dinner." The stranger-child came in and warmed his frozen hands and feet at the fire." the Captain thought. while they ate their supper of dry bread." Valentine and Mary jumped up from the table and ran to open the door. One winter eveni ng. Mary and Valentine lay quite contented ly on the bench near the fire. too . and a great comfort to their parents. There stood the stranger-ch . we greet thee! bringing Sweet strains of harp to aid our singing. In the east was a streak of rosy dawn. with his head buried in his hands. It was sweet music indeed. when a gentl e tap was heard on the window. and I shall die of cold and hunger unless you let me in. "How shall I tell her?" "Spirit of my departed friend. The story is called "The Little Stranger. While we our watch without are keeping . but whatever we have we will share with you. laid him on the bed. holy Child." Then said the little stranger-child: "Thank God for all your kindness to me!" So they took their little guest into their sleeping-room. and a childish voice cried from without: "Oh. the blessings of the altered time? Is it thou who hast sent t hy stricken mother to me. and in its light they saw a group of chil dren standing before the house. this happy little family were sitting quietly round the hearth. and many know that the pretty and plea sant custom of hanging gifts on its boughs comes from Germany. "is it through thee these better though ts are rising in my mind? Is it thou who hast shown me.--and that he did no more?" He sat down. while a solemn joy filled their hearts. The boy's name was Valentine. when he rose up. in peace art sleeping. saying: "You must be tired. And when he touched that French off icer's glass with his own. dear. let me in. "His mother.. he secretly forgave him in the na me of the Divine Forgiver of Injuries. which has wholly saved me here on earth. while either of the two was living. we can sleep on the bench for one night. through thy guidanc e. above all. to heaven the highest . before they fell asleep: "The stranger-ch ild will be so happy to-night in his warm bed!" These kind children had not slept many hours before Mary awoke and softly whispe red to her brother: "Valentine. good children." and runs th us: In a small cottage on the borders of a forest lived a poor laborer. clothed in silver garments." Then Valentine rubbed his eyes and listened. but perhaps few h ave heard or read the story that is told to little German children. They were obedient. when a light tap caused them to turn round. and no home to go t o. He had a wife and two children who helped him in his work. to stay my angry hand? Is it from thee the whisper com es.

w hich was quite reason enough. so that there was very little of the rather tedious dialogue. in his opinion. Such is the story told to German children concerning their beautiful Christmas t rees. one might say. with competent means. the discomforts of shipboard and of . but with an obstinate will that not even s he dared thwart. Sad. yet we may gather from this story the same truth which the Bible pl ainly tells us--that any one who helps a Christian child in distress. and who had never seen his o wn grand-children. and was disowned and disinherited. everything that heart could desire. He made a very good husband too. though she had no mother. though it was Christmas Eve. contented people." he said." THE PEACE EGG. and was a good and clever officer. devoted to each other and to their children. it will be counted unto him as if he had indeed done it unto Christ himself. and people are sometimes sad even in the Christmas holid ays." No sooner had he done this than he vanished. Sad--and in the nursery this was held to be past all reason-though the children were performing that ancient and most entertaining play or Christmas mystery. with a gleaming radiance round his curli ng hair. a comfortable house on a little freehol d property of their own. which he planted in the ground. but that w ent for nothing against the old man's whim. though they were good people. and the mother dropped tears as well as pennies into the cap which Tom. At last he gave her her choice between the Captain and his own favor and money. The play was none the worse that most of the actors were too young to learn part s. and from this he broke a twig. looked bonny enough to warm any father's heart. Every one ought to be happy at Christmas." and had been quite happy on C hristmas Eve. Many. and now you shall have my blessing for what yo u have done. for his daughter to sacrifice the happiness of her future life by giving up the soldier she loved. The Captain and his wife were sad. and. brought round after the performance. c old and homeless. "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren. too. and with him the little choir of an gels. still the Captain and his wife sighed nearly as of ten as they smiled. Sad. with plenty of occupation for mind and body. though we know that the real little Christ-child can never be wandering. who had never held any intercourse wi th him or his wife since the day of their marriage. ye have done it unto me. and yet are not. and he had never forgiven her. It w as when she married the Captain. but even this did not move his father-in-law. Happy. The old man had a prejudice against soldiers. II. and shall bring forth fru it year by year for you. But though Robert." A fir tree grew near the house. and though Nicholas did not cry in spite of falling h ard. Happy. and Dora. again in our world." for their benefit and behoof alone. But there are many things which ought to be. "who wanders through the world bringing peace and happiness to good children. many years back the Captain's wife had been a child herself. known as "The Peace Egg. treading accidentally on his lit tle finger in picking him up. only plenty of dress and ribbons. Amid the ups and downs of their wanderings. blessed with good health. "I am the little Christ-child. and on its branches h ung golden apples and silver nuts every Christmas-tide. saying: "This twig shall become a tree. The Captain bore a high character. though they were in the prime of life. a s he marched up and down with an air learned by watching many a parade in barrac k-square and drill ground. She had lived to thwart it. and of fighting with the wooden swords. inasmuch as he is safe in heaven by his Fa ther's side.ild before them clad in a golden dress. though her father was a st ern man. very fond of his only child. and had laugh ed to see the village mummers act "The Peace Egg. whose peace of mind had a firmer foundation than their earthly goods alone. But the fir-branch grew and became a Christmas tree. You took me in and cared for me when you thought me a poor child. BY JULIANA HORATIA EWING. who took the part of the Doctor. as the King of Egypt. th e eldest of the five children. She chose the C aptain.

tall and stout for hi s age. and had. This bitter disappointment made the Captain's w ife so ill that she almost died. It preyed upon the Captain too. been so bitter a task to the Captain's wife. the Captain's t enderness never failed. and artillery. Though the Captain had left the army. The grey hills and over-grown lanes of her old h ome haunted the Captain's wife by night and day. On e foot of the dear. with the Captain's regular features. and unwonted sicknesses. an d that the Captain's wife and her father lived on opposite sides of the same roa d. N ever before had the packing to which she was so well accustomed. "I should like a resting-place in our own country. He was apt--like his grandfather--to hold hi s own will to be other people's law. however small. She never knew it. Now and then he would say. I wi . So generous was the affection w hich he could never conquer. "If you please. and he never asked for what he knew he might have had--the old man's authority in his favor. cavalry. Withal. nursemaid a nd cook to his family. his very profession kept him neat. an idea that nobody filled these offic es quite so well as himself. he might be persuaded to peace and charity this time. and. moreover. If the life was rough the Captain was ready. and active. engineers. he kept silence. fretfully. doctor. He was named Robert.stations in the colonies. according to his whim. flouncing in upon the Captain. sir. and in one month the Captain's hair became iron gray." said Sarah. after all. "to kill her at last. and (he flattered himself) the Capta in's firm step and martial bearing. sir. and (happily for the peace of the nursery) this opinion was devoutly shared by his brother Nicholas. But the hard old father still would not relent. than miles of the unclouded heavens of the South." The continued estrangemen t from the old man was an abiding sorrow also. After two years at home his regiment was ordered again on foreign duty. and never was colonel more despotic. before everybody is dead ! But the children's prospects have to be considered.--"If you please. The eldest of the Captain's children was a boy. dull home sky was dearer. He was a fair. that he constantly tried to reconcile the father to his children whilst he lived. and seemed to have inherited a good deal of the old gentleman's char acter. In the roughest of their ever-changing quarters he was a smart man. and they had hopes that. by turns. "It will be a legacy of peace. when he died. sick-nurse. "The old man canno t hold out when she and her children are constantly in sight." And thus it came about that the Captain's regiment went to India without him. And (thinking of his own children) he even r eproached himself for having robbed the old widower of his only child. New scenes were small comfort when they heard of the death of old friends. The Captain alone was a match for his strong-willed son. He had been . and never changed his manner from that of the lover of his wife's young da ys. waving above his head a letter which changed all their plans. ju st as he was about to start for the neighboring town. and they prepared to move once more--from Chatham to Calcutta. the Captain and his wife grew tired of travelin g. He reproached himself for having ever taken the daughter from her father. for when he saw that she had given her heart to his younger rival. At last they were sent home. mixed with gentler traits. His brothers and sisters were b y turn infantry. who yet had loved her with a devotion as great as that of the yo ung Captain. in one strait or another. As years went and children came. And it may please GOD that I shall know of the reunion I have not been permitted to see with my ey es. Robin continued to command an irregular force of volunteers in t he nursery. on his death bed. carpenter. Now close by the old home of the Captain's wife there had lived a man. well-dre ssed." as he said. much olde r than herself. bad servants. if only they could get home. It was at the darkest hour of this gloomy time that the Captain came in." he thought. fine boy. he bequeathed his house and sm all estate to the woman he had loved. He failed to effe ct an exchange. He returned their letters unopened. old. after his g randfather. one morning. III. and home-sickness (that wearies t of all sicknesses) began to take the light out of her eyes before their time.

'Who goes there?' says he. "Let me out!" shrieked Sarah. but he only said.' f or he pays no more attention to his ma than to me.' So I says. by-and-by. But I'm for sentry-duty to-night. but he listened patien tly to Sarah's complaints. the Captain quietly locked him into his dressing-room. and says he's going round the guards. "Who goes there?" said the Captain." The Captain fingered his heavy moustache to hide a smile. 'As sure as I live till morning. The next night he was very glad to go quietly to bed. but he got away and ran all over the house.' And off he goes to bed as bold as brass. 'I promised not. The Captain's children sat at breakfast in a large. to-night." continued Sarah. sir. "You're for sentry duty. and he promised not to go roun d the guards again.' And say what I would to him." And on duty poor Robert had to remain. "Mayn't I go to bed. he gives me all the sauce he can lay his tongue to. what's the matter?" "Night after night do I put him to bed." sai d Robert." said the Captain. me hunting him everywhere. IV." said the Captain. "Yes." "Have you spoken to your mistress?" asked the Captain." said the Captain. It was the r oom where the old bachelor had died. in her shrill treble." "I've no doubt of it. and she went back to the nursery. Good-evening. "When I opened the door last night. for the Captain had a will as well as his son. for it was breakfast-time. "and night after night does he get up as soon as I'm out of the room.sh you'd speak to Master Robert. and also o f surprise." said Sarah.' says he. "The carpet-brush is in th e corner. He's past my powers. Sarah. from which the bed had been removed. "Certainly not. "Well. So he rolled himself up in his father's railway rug. I'll go to your pa. At half-past twelve o'clock he f elt as if he could bear it no longer. and now her children made it merry. when Robert. "but he goes round the beds and wakes up the other young gentlemen and Miss Dora. They all sat round the table. please?" whined poor Robert. "And missis spoke to him. sir. and promptly locked her in. There were five of them ." As his father anticipated. and goes about in his night-shirt and his feet as bare as boards. when Robert went up to bed." he shouted. "It ain't so much him I should mind. bright nursery. and not a sign of him. darted forth." she continued. till he jumps out on me from the garret stairs and nearly kn ocks me down. and long before the night had half worn away he wished himself s afely undressed and in his own comfortable bed." With this Sarah had to content herself." said Sarah. "I will attend to Master Robert. Robert was nowhere to be seen. On this the unwary nu rsemaid flounced into the bed-room to look for him. Robert was soon tired of the sentry game in these new circumstances. 'all's well." thought the Captain.'" And he departed to the farmya rd to look at the ducks. sir. "for 'preferring frivolous complaints. 'You awdacious boy!' says I." "Please to see that the bed is taken out of my dressing-room." "Has he broken his promise?" asked the Captain. This wa s just what he would have wished. 'You mustn't speak to a sen try on duty. "what should I see in the dark but Master Robert a-walking up and down with the carpet-brush stuck in his arm. and remain there. 'I've visited the outposts. "You're under arrest. through the keyhole. and slept on the floo r. all he had for me was. one after another. That night. "You're on duty. a nd when I speak to him. and made no reply to her summons. who was hidden beneath a table. nor to any one else. "I'll send a file of the guard to fetch you to the orderly-room. The other night I tried to put him back in his bed. and knocked at the Captain's door. 'Didn't you promise your ma you'd leave off them tricks?' 'I'm not going round the guards. with a look of anger.' says he. and says he's orderly officer for the evening.

He stood when we were kneeling down. "I can keep a secret. "But your ma wo uldn't like to know I've said such a thing. catching at her skirts. Pax. the black retriever. He was as silent an d sagacious as Sarah was talkative and empty-headed. And Master Robert wouldn't be so mea n as to tell tales. Though large. stood defiantly on his dignity (and his short stumps). would he. in the seat near the pulpit?" he asked. and he was at the door in a moment. the pug. I know you don't know. "I didn't mean to break my promise." said the unscrupulous Sarah. I know well enough who the old gentleman is. even at meals. you'd tell. it'll only make your ma angry. "What lies you do tell. and five bowls of boiled bread-and-milk smoked before them. and. There. his thick curls standing stark with curiosity. "if you did. Sarah!" "Oh. Master Robin. To keep a secret was beyond Sarah's powers. "and I don't tell tales. but Sarah ." said Robin." With which parting threat Robin strode of f to join his brothers and sisters. and would rather gossip with a child than no t gossip at all. who acted as nurse till better could be found) was waiting on th em. "Never you mind. Then he said. Almighty and most merciful Father. However." said Robin stoutly. that gentleman's your own grandpapa. there's a dear Sarah." Sarah knew who the old gentleman was. on the contrary. "and if you do I shall tell her. peeping through the gate at the end of the drive." "I forgot. then. and that their parents did not see fit to tell them as yet. and said. do tell me. Master Robin. "What did you tell me so for?" "It was all my jokes and nonsense. who is that tall old gen tleman at church. curly back swayi ng slightly from the difficulty of holding himself up. indignantly. and knew also that the children did not kn ow. and you tell you know what. his long. After Robert left the nursery he strolled out of doors." "You wicked boy!" cried the enraged Sarah. besides. nodding sagaciously. Do. V. love." said Robin. gossiping girl." "No. and his solemn hazel eyes fixed very intently on each and all of the breakfast bowls. he was unassu ming. his arms fell by his side. emphatically. only you'd go straight off and tell again. I won't go this time." "I'll go and ask her. "Little boys aren't to know everything. alarmed by the thought of getting into a scrape herself. it was all my nonsens e. Sarah. But she does tell--a hem!--you know what. "you're ripping out all the gather s. no.. and by the table sat Darkie. and is tall enough for a Life-guardsman." she said. who had drawn near. caught him by the arm . but I'll tell you w hat--if you tell tales of me to papa any more." she said." Robin lost his hold on Sarah's dress. and perhaps I migh t tell you. and you promised not to say it again. I'll tell him what you said about the old gentleman in the blue cloak. Sarah (a foolish." said Robin. and listen while I whisper. who came up to the first joint of Darkie's leg. he saw a party of boys going through what looked . As sure as you're a living boy." "I do. "how dare you say such a thing. "Sarah. "Don't you go. only all blue. and then I shall know you know. "Your ma's forbid you to contradict." said Sarah. "He wears a cloak like what the Blues wear. He always placed him self in front of the bigger dog." "Ah." And he danced round her." replied Robert." "Then it's not true?" said Robin. Robert's tongue was seldom idle." said Sarah. indeed I can! Pinch m y little finger. "Mamma said 'lies' wasn't a proper word. "You don't. and try. love?" "I'm not mean. louder than anybody. but you do. "Do let my dress be. and he stood wi th his brows knit for some minutes. Robin!" cried Nicholas. and e verybody in the place knows he's your ma's own pa. and made a point of hustling him in doorways an d of going first downstairs. thinking. Master Robin. But she had a pa ssion for telling and hearing news. I wouldn't!" shouted Robin.

it's a sword." said Nicholas. not adapted for a child's play. don't you enjoy it?" cried Robin. and asked so many questions that he soon got to know all a bout it. She had n ot been altogether pleased that Robin had bought the play. and people give them money. and so far from being a play of peace. as in a play. They were practicing a Christmas mumming-play. The boys also showed him the book from which they learned their parts. with a good deal of fighting." Robin explained. and oh. which were charming. and then you can pretend to fight w ith him. Nicholas the valiant Slasher. Robin bought a copy of "The Peace Egg. Robin thought that Christmas would never come. "I'm sure it's quite Christmas enough now. Robin went with the boys to the sexton's house (he was father to one of the characters called the "King of Egypt") where they showed him the dresses they we re to wear. except that of the "Black Prince of Paradine. it was made up of a serie s of battles between certain valiant knights and princes. he joined them." said Robin. that mamma used to tell us about?" said Robin. The boy hesitated a moment and then said. They decided among themselves to leave out the "Fool. no great boon. It was a very old thi ng. and to take the chief part himself. made quite as good a story of it as if the y had done the whole. "the little one who comes in at the end ." VI. a nd he'll run in before everybody else too. The others were willing for what he w ished. "We like it well enough. as there was nothing whatever ab out eggs in it. and act in people's kitch ens. and these were always good. she said. and the collar with the little bells. "We'll have 'The Peace E gg' to-night. In the first place. "for you know he will come if Darkie does. There were times now when the Captain almost regretted the old bachelor's beques t. "When you wave your stick he'll jump for it." Christmas Eve came. and there were only five children. "and it will do very well. Robin was St. Dora the Doctor." "And what's Pax to be?" asked Dora. the door opened. and Pax can have his red coat on. "She felt it less abroad. but there were difficulties. "A home in which she frets herse lf to death. If Mamma thought t he parts not quite fit for the children to learn. These were made of gay-colored materials.like a military exercise with sticks and a good deal of stamping." "And do you go out in the snow from one house to another at night. Mamma had her reasons. They had hoped it might bring reconciliation with the old man. The familiar scenes of her old home sharpened his wife's grief. and which. but. Darkie may be the Black Prince. I suppose we are. "Let Darkie be the Black Prince. is after all." "Then he must be the Fool. or indeed mentioned. and covered with ribbons. they all spoke by turns. George." which was black. What may have been wanting otherwise was made up for by th e dresses." Why it was called thus they could not tell him." thought the Captain. and P . but with not a look of tenderness for his only child. To the Captain and his wife it se emed to come too fast." and Mamma said that another character was not to be ac ted by any of them. which they learned easily. instead o f mere words of command. for the Fool comes in before the rest. To see her fa ther every Sunday in church. there are eight characte rs in the play. called "The Peace Egg." said Robin. "However. and very queer. they found them much too long: so in the end she picked out some bits for each. and which was to be bought at the post-office store. The rehearsal being ov er." He was resolved to have a nursery perfor mance. this tried her sorely. and the oth er two Hector and the King of Egypt." the lad admitted." said Robin. Not being at all shy." "It's not a stick. "And now we've no Black Prince!" cried Robi n in dismay. as became his ti tle. "Then are you the mummers who come round at Christmas. but it seemed they had hoped in vain. with marks of age and infirmity upon him." So as the Captain and his wife sat sadly over their fire. "Well.

so that it did not wet their feet. the nursery mummers stole away." "We're Christmas mummers. I know.." "Hurray!" shouted the mummers." responded Nicholas." said Nicholas. Robin seized the other hand and kissed it tenderly. It might have been a prison. they shouldered their sticks. and said "Hush!" The mummers pricked their ears. as they turned into the high road. and the mummers' gay dresses hidden by motley wrappers. Robin w as sorely afraid that this would betray them. It made everybody laugh." said Nicholas." said Robin. "at this time of night. It was a very fine night. and yet. There was a pause. "But will mamma let us?" he enquired. At this moment Pax took a little run. but on the trees and shrubs it hung soft and white." said Robin. with a ludicrous inappropriateness worthy o f any clown." "We don't know where it is. " Only of course we must take care not to catch cold. where. sitting facing the company. "It's much jollier being out at night than in the daytime. "You're going to the front door. Robert raised his hand.ax ran in shaking his bells. and unlocking. h e opened his black mouth and yawned." "Where shall we go first?" asked Nicholas. "This is the first house. mamma?" said Robert. But no sooner did Darkie and Pax behold the coats. and at last a sound of much un barring. "Much." said Robin. and rather sad." said Robin." said Robert. we'll go real mumming instead. "Mummers ought to go to the bac k. but there was only a distant harsh and scraping sound. and marched with composure. "What is the matter. We must all be very kind and good to poor dear mamma. such as mamma used to tell us of when we were a broad. and perhaps we shall get a good lot of money. rugs. hastily. it will be all right if we're back by supper-time. dear. as has been said. "I know all about it." he said. t he Captain's wife shed tears." and all pressed in as quic kly as possible. Then lights shone. I don't like these sticks. than they at once began to leap and bark . "we didn't know the way to the b ack door. stoutly. They don' t want us. Come and help me to get some wraps. "We'll go a wassailing next week. Look here. "and Sarah told me they meant t o finish the mistletoe. who held a tallow candle above her head. and jumped on to mamma's lap. He was very fond of his mother. but though the Captain and his wif e heard the barking they did not guess the cause. Pax leaping from his seat just in time to hustle the Black Prince in the doorway. etc. VII. with intense feeling. "Don't tease mamma with questions. "Who's there?" she said. "And now we'll go and act in the kitchen. and they ran off. but----" ." Robert went on. steps were heard." The old oak chest in which spare shawls. Then the door wa s opened by an elderly. When the dining-room door was shut. and coats were kept was soon rans acked. Once safe within the grounds. "she is not very well. as it was their custom to do when they saw any one dressing to go out. I wish it wasn't so long bet ween one Christmas and another. and have everything cleaned up by supper-time. It was by no means pathetic. "They're cleaning the passages. "And we are going to ha ve real frumenty and Yule cakes. That will be fun!" Nicholas grinned with delight. as of stones rubbed together." shouted the Captain. "We'll act here. and he rang the front-door bell. "Supper at nine o'clock." and the Capt ain raised his wife's hand to his lips as he spoke. timid-looking woman. "Oh." said the Captain. The performanc e was most successful. and followed by the nursery mummers. and then we'll buy tin swords with scabbards for next year. The snow was well-trodden on the drive. unbolting. Oh. remember. abruptly dropping his sword and runnin g up to her. So the front door being very gently opened and closed.

slowl y. . drawing "The Peace Egg" from his pocket: "there. and Pax has to be the Fool. too. you 're the last person I should have employed. "Speak. The old man was seated in a carved oak chair by the fire. He said." Nicholas said candidly. "She knows we're mummers. so I'll show you the book. It was the old gentleman of the blue cloak." "I don't suppose she ever thought of it. "Yes. Shall I take them to the kitchen." shouted her master. whose only form of argument was reiterati on. "Mamma said we weren't to mention him." said she." "I meant no harm." said her master." The old man's stern face relaxed into a broad smile as he examined the grotesque woodcut. "I will see them." said Robin. "what do you do for the eighth?" "Oh." said the housekeeper. but I don't think she'll mind our having come if we get back in time for supper. grimly watching the proceedings. gaunt old man. "Be off with you. and----" "Are they ready?" said the old man. "You see there are e ight people in 'The Peace Egg. "for she helped us. and then withdrew. "if I had wanted somebody to think for me. from sheer nervousness." he went on. the housekeeper helping them. sir?" "----for you and the other idle hussies to gape and grin at? No. She didn't exactly send us." said Robin. they talk quite genteel. on the last page." he snapped. which made her start as if she had be en shot. in a hoarse voice.' and there are only five of us. but I was so flusterated hearing the bell go so late." said Robin. Bring them in." he said. "I never said the dogs were to come in. "Master'd no more let y ou nor any other such rubbish set foot in this house----" "Woman!" shouted a voice close behind her. confidently. that's the little one at the end." said Robin. who had stood like a ghost in the dim light of the flaring tallow candle. as fast as you can. "Go and ask your master and mistress if t hey wouldn't like to see us act. wonderin g where he could have seen somebody very like him. We do it very well. and his eyes shone like hot coals with anger. boldly. The children threw off their wraps. and chattering ceaselessly. and then stalked off. I might ha' knowed they we ren't like common mummers. and Robin stared at him for some minutes. please. "But we can't do without them." He was a tall. sir." "You're only the servant. and so we have to have them . sir. wagging his cu rly head from side to side." "You impudent boy. sir." "Five and two make seven. He had seen Robin's name. I'm sure. "I never thought you would have seen them----" "Then you were wrong. When we were abroad. "but I thought you'd nev er----" "My good woman. but I think that's because we're children. to be sure. Bring them to t he library. black. before you've asked him? The boy is right. leading the way." said the housekeeper. yo u know. not to th ink. "their dresses are pretty. "who authorizes you to say what your master will or will not do. At last he remembered. The housekeeper accordingly led them to the library. "Who sent you here?" he asked.--You're grown up. who slipped in last like a black shadow." "I'm sure. You are the servant. I hire you to obey orders. and speak the truth! D id your mother send you here?" Robin thought the old man was angry with them for playing truant. "Well. that's the picture of him. and you can see for yourself. "N--no. with a grim smile." said the old man. And they seem quit e a better sort of children. be off with you!" repeated the woman. and it is not your bus iness to choose for me whom I shall or shall not see."And don't you know better than to come here?" said the woman. Mamma never forbid our going mumming. nearly f alling on her face as she left the room by stumbling over Darkie. with horns and a tail. but when he turned to the first page the smile vanished in a deep frow n. you know. and so Darkie has to be the Black Prince.

and you'd have us to see you. when they were all marching round and round. and jumped on to the old man's knee. and come to see her. isn't she!" said Nicholas. and lifted his face suddenly." said Robin. It was jus t at the end. As the children acted the old man's anger wore off. I think. and he kissed her hand. "She's our nurse. and perhaps give us Christmas-boxes. I wish y ou were. "and so's papa.. in childish pitying tones. and stroking his head." and singing "A mumming we will go." he added." said Robin. turning indignantly around." "Who's Sarah?" asked the grandfather." said Robin. "She said you were our grandpapa. she used to tell us about the mummers acting at Christmas. a nd be very fond of her. and so I mean to be. "if you were our mamma's father. It was wet with tears. a nd staring up at the wall before him. "Look there!" cried Nicholas. "Why. and tak en Dora on to it." And though the old man did not speak or move. Robin looked." that Nicholas suddenly brought the circle to a stand-still by stopping dead short. "Oh. and said abruptly. "She's so good." . or perhaps she'll be frightened. slowly. "I can't think what's the matter to-nigh t. "It's Dora. "and she tells--I mustn't say what she tells--but it's not the truth. "But then. you know. "and you can't see her face for her things. and then he uttered a sharp cry. is she?" asked the old man. "It's very odd." Robin added with a sigh. So then I knew she was telling you know what. fretfully. He had put Pax off his knee. Dor. holding on by each ot her's swords "over the shoulder. but Dora ran up to him." "Which is Dora?" asked the old man in a strange. and so we thought we'd really go mumming. and I won't obey any woman but mamma. The boys stood stupefied. she we nt on coaxing him. and after the encounter was over. in his own particular fashion. He watched them with an inte rest he could not repress. "Why. raising his sword. "What are you stopping for?" said Robert. She told one about you the other day. and so we acted to papa and mamma. and with out more ado he began to march round and round. Mamma was crying too when we were acting." said Robin. as they dragged her forwar d. and then yawned at the company.you know." said Robin and Nicholas in one breath. and we've got several other house s to go to before supper-time. and I kissed her hand too. When Nicholas took some hard thwacks from Robert with out flinching. and the perfo rmance went off quite as creditably as before. But I'm always do ing something I oughtn't to. sharp tone. "It would be very nice. swaying his curly head from side to side as usua l. And papa s aid we must all be very good and kind to poor dear mamma. too. and papa said we weren't to tease h er with questions. we'd better begin. s he's so good. And then you'd be our grandfather. The old man was s tartled. "Here she is. and buried his head upon h is hands. it is like her!" It was the portrait of her mother as a child. And I think we'd better go home. "She's always good. I don't pre tend to obey Sarah. At this m oment Pax took one of his unexpected runs." said Robin. The old man looked as the peaked cap and hood fell away from Dora's face and fair curls. of course." he added. said." "How did you know it wasn't true?" the old man asked. he said he would not have had the dogs excluded on any consideration. you're crying!" exclaimed the children with one breath. when she wa s a little girl. pointing to a little painting which hung above the old man's head. I don't care a fig for Sarah. you'd know her. "Oh. There! Oh. "She's the Doctor. I am so sorry! Have you got a headache? May Robin put the shovel in the fire for you? Mamma has hot shovels for her headaches. and so we thought we'd act to the maids." Robin added. take off your cap and pull back that hood. on which the hair was white. the old man clapped his hands. etc." said Robin. and so we thought we'd be mummers. emphatically. but they were cleaning the passa ges. "About me?" said the old man. and putting her litt le hands on his arms. but of this the nursery mummers kn ew nothing.

who was half asleep and very comfortable." whispered one under the shelter of his hat. thinking it was the frument y and the Christmas cakes. Some of them were in church the next day. There was a general rejoicing . Creating the works from public domain print editions means that no one owns a Un ited States copyright in these works. Then the Captain bowed and passed in. complying with the rules is very easy. You may use this eBook for nea rly any purpose such as creation of derivative works. put her little arms about hi s neck as she was wont to put them around the Captain's. apply to copying and distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works to protect the PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm concept and trademark. They may be modified and printed and given away--you may do practicall y ANYTHING with public domain eBooks. and the old man followed him. Redistribution is subject to the trademark license. "She's gone into his seat. They would have hid their faces. There was now no doubt about the matter. turning pale. performances and research. unles s you receive specific permission." he said. "Very much. If you do not charge anything for copies of t his eBook. "They can't quarrel publicly in a place of worship. reports. Project Gutenberg is a registered trademark. with her child in his arms! VIII. The children had not been missed. indeed. and left the childre n alone. where the Captain and his wife sti ll sat by the Yule log." wearily. "I will see you home." added her sister. they said. very tenderly. especially commercial redistribution. But only the grandfather and his children knew that it was hatched from "The Pea ce Egg."Would you like it?" asked the old man of Dora. incautiously aloud. She said "Come in.zip ******* This and all associated files of various formats will be found in: http://www." He put her down at last.org/dirs/2/8/1/9/28198 Updated editions will replace the previous one--the old editions will be renamed . "They've met in the porch. The old man in his blue cloak stood for a few moments politely disputing the question of precedence with his handsome s on-in-law.txt or 28198-8.gu tenberg. The Captain had many friends who knew of the sad estrangement between his wife a nd her father." cried a girl in a shrill whisper. which was Christmas Day . but for the startling sight that met the gaze of the congregation. The old grandfather walke d into church abreast of the Captain. by using or distributing this work (or any other work associ ated in any way with the phrase "Project Gutenberg"). when the Captain's wife came in. almost unwillingly. By the time that the service was ended everybody knew of the happy peacemaking. By-and-by he returned." ***END OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK A BUDGET OF CHRISTMAS TALES BY CHARLES DIC KENS AND OTHERS*** ******* This file should be named 28198-8. This was a proper Christmas. and said. set forth in the General Terms of Use part of this license. Special rules. But it was her father. "And the children after her. so the Foundation (and you!) can copy and distribute it in the United States without permission and without paying copyrig ht royalties. The clock had only just struck nine when there came a knock on the door of the dining-room. dressed in the blue cloak. and was glad. and took Dora up agai n. *** START: FULL LICENSE *** THE FULL PROJECT GUTENBERG LICENSE PLEASE READ THIS BEFORE YOU DISTRIBUTE OR USE THIS WORK To protect the Project Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting the free distribution o f electronic works. and may not be used if you charge for the eBooks." said another. And Dora. you agree to comply with a . One old friend after another came up with blessings and good wishe s.

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