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ID you hear what the o0l
man said to me when he
gave me the ten?" asked
Robert Allcrton of the
bright-faced cashier as
they prepared to close the
office the night before
Christmas. "He said: 'Take that and
make a merry Christmas for your fanm
"Well, wasn't that a very appropri
ate Christmas suggestion?" inquired
"My family!" said the young man,
fiercely. "You tell me where my fam
ily is, will you? Other fellows have
pnothers and fathers and sisters to
make a Christmas for. I never had a
single soul on the face of the earth,
so far as I know, that I could call my
family. What good is Christmas, or
ten-dollar gold pieces, or anything,
for a fellow who don't belong any
where?" and Robert gulped down
something that sounded suspiciously
like a sob.
"Cheer up, and come over to our
house to-morrow; we'll help you to
forget your troubles," said his tender
"It isn't merely a good time I want,"
said Robert; "I'm not a baby; it is to
have somebody that belongs to me to
make a good time for."
"Why don't you adopt a family of
your own for Christmas?" asked the
girl, with a sudden inspiration.
Robert stared at her in amazement.
"But, really, why couldn't you?
There are thousands of people, young
and old, in this city, who never have
anyone to make a Christmas for them.
There's my car; sorry I must go.
Don't get blue; take my advice, adopt
a family of your own for Christmas,"
and the girl hurried away.
"Adopt a family, great idea!" said
Robert to himself; but the idea still
lingered in his mind, and really there
was something strangely fascinating
in the thought of the ownership of a
real, live family.
He stood on the corner, undecided
where to go, because it did not really
matter to anybody where he went; a
bright-eyed, clear-brained, loving
bearted youth, candidate for sonship
to some loving mother or father; pos
sessed with a perfect passion for help
ing those weaker than himself; a
youth to make a mother's heart su
premely happy, and a father proud
"I'm earning enough," thought Rob
ert. "I could support a mother and a
sister, too; and I'm going to be pro
moted. Mr. Wilkins, the manager,
told me so to-day. But what's the
use? It will only be a few more dol
lars to put away in the bank. It does
seem as if things were pretty well
tangled up in this world sometimes.
I'd give up my job any day if I could
have a family like John Witherbee's,
and yet he is always grumbling be
cause he has to help at home."
As Robert walked aimlessly down
the street, he found himself uncon
sciously scrutinizing every woman and
child, with the idea of possible pro
The door of a church stood inviting
ly open, and because Robert did not
belong anywhere in particular, he en
tered and sat down in acorner. Some
thing unusual was evidently in prog
ress. A man stood on the platform,
and seemed to be acting as auctioneer.
"Who'll take them, a family of
seven, two sick babies, three little
girls, an old grandmother, and a lame
father? Deacon Bliss? I know your
generous heart; you always bid for
the biggest and hungriest) family.
The next one is a sick mother and
three small children. Perhaps I'd bet
ter stop to explain before I proceed
farther. I see there are a number of
strangers who have come in since I
was talking. We have 12 families on
our list for a Christmas celebration;
none of them will know that to-mor
row is Christmas unless you help us
to tell them. Now, get in your bids
quick, for they are going fast. Re
member the good Lord's 'Whosoever,'
and snap them up lively;" and the
voluble deacon proceeded with his list.
Robert sat and listened with added
interest. "It's not such a preposter
ous idea, after all, this adopting a
family for Christmas," thought he. "I
wonder if there are any left that will
fit my case."
"Here's the last on my list," called
out the deacon; "a mother-and a
dear little woman she is, too--and two
little maideas of three and ten; her
only son killed ia a railroad accident
six months ago. Nobody want them':
Dear me, that is too bad! Yes, Iknow
you have every one of you taken your
share; but we mustn't let that family
go; I'll take it myself first, although
I've five booked against my name al
ready. What's that, young man?
You'll take them? Bless your heart,
you'll never regret it. One shake of
the dear old mother's hand will pay
It did not take Robert more than
five minutes to get directions as to
street and number, and all the time
he was doing some close calculating
as to the investment of the ten-dollar
"A fine dinner you're getting for
your family," said the grocer, as he
packed the basket full of good things.
"Are there many of them?" "Only a
mother and two little girls," Robert
answered with a blush, and yet with a
feeling of satisfaction.
"Supposing I should not like them?"
he thought, as he knocked at the door
of a tiny cottage on an unpretentious
His first look into Mrs. Robbins'
motherly, worried face settled that
"I think there must be sonme mis
take, sir," said the little widow;
"they're surely not for us," and her
voice trembled as she looked down at
the two little daughters who were
hovering expectantly over the bulky
basket. "Are you the grocer's young
man, and are you sure you have the
"Yes," answered Robert, 'tit's just
the right number and description; a
dear little mother and two little maid
ens of three and ten."
For a minute or two Mrs. Robbins
feared she was harboring an escaped
lunatic, but Robert, perceiving her
perplexity, hastened to explain.
As he graciously listened to Mrs.
Robbins' words of gratitude, he took
a mental inventory of the possibilities
of the Robbins' household with a view
to a Christmas-day celebration. The
field was evidently undeveloped. Not
a doll, nor a picture-book; not a set
of dishes nor a Noah's ark was to be
seen. "It's all straight sailing on the
toy question," thought Robert. "and
by the appearance of their clothes, I
guess I can't go far wrong if I lay in
a complete wardrobe for the girls."
0 sons and brothers who grumble
over Christmas shopping for mothers
and sisters, you can never experience
the zest with which Robert Allerton
started upon his first Christmas shdp
ping tour. It was the realization of
the accumulated dreams of a dozen
years. When other boys had dreamed
of fame and tender romances that
were to come into their lives. Robert
had longed only to satisfy the heart
hunger of many motherless, sisterles,
It would be impossible to describe
the raptures of the next day, when
Robert Allerton let loose upon the un
suspecting Robbins' household a
pent-up Christmas enthusiasm of
years. "For 24 hours I'm going to
abandon myself to the pleasant fancy
that I, like others, am the center of a
home circle; for one Christmas day
I'll have my Christmas rights."
It was in the twilight of the Christ
mas day, as Robert sat holding Nan
nie in his arms, telling her for the
seventh time the wonderful story of
Saint Nick, that the child drew his
head down to her lips and whispered:
"Janie says you're only a Christmas
day brother. It isn't so, is it? You're
an all-the-year-round brother, aren't
He satisfied the little one with a
A little later when Mother Robbins
bade him a motherly 'good-by, she
"You've been so generous in your
gifts, dear boy, and made the little
ones so happy. and I've nothing to
give you in return but the love I've
been saving all these 17 years for my
own dear boy, who needs it no more.
I thought to lavish it on. him in his
young manhood, but the Lord knew
better. It's ready and waiting for such
another brave, true son."
"Perhaps, after all. this is more a
universe of law and order than I had
imagined," said Robert, as he looked
up at the Christmas stars shining
steadily in their appointed places. "It
was surely something more than mere
chance that brought me with my long
ing for a mother to the one dear little
woman who most needed a son." -
I'm waiting fer th' holidays ; some
how it seems ter me
They's lots more joy in Christmas now
'an whut they used ter be:
Th' sunshine seems lots brighter. th'
Jskes a deeper blue
Than any o' th' Christmuses 'at us old
When we wuz harum scarum (idr. an'
laid awake all nrght.
An' went tiptoein' down th' hall afore
it s(erce was light.
An' (etched poor dad a-ramblin' round an' lookin' almost froze.
A-paddlin' bar-foot across the floor an' wigglin' of his toes.
JNow standin' stork-like with one foot
raised off th' cold. cold floor.
"; I An' lookin'fer the whijsers 'at he wore
th' year before.
j So's he could play at Santa Claus an'
fool us fellers. My
How us kids sneaked back a-.rniggerin'
till we was like ter die I
An' crawled bacA inter bed ag'in.
a-waitin' fer th' yells.
The "Whoa I now ! you ol' reindeers!"
an' janglin' o' the' bells
'At told us all was ready; an' nuts, an' cake an' things
a1iz up afore our visrion, till we went down stairs on wingsI
, * An' dad, he looked so happy. an'
St / mother smilin' so
V My! but they was a happy pair!
S Them days we didn't know
What Christmas day could mean ter
. " them. but now I guess we do.
Since we'v'e jot youngsters o' our own.
ol' feller. me an' you :
I -An' so th' world's lots brighter now:
o they's 'somethin' in th' shine
O' eyes a-looAin' in your face. an' eyes
'at look in mine.
An' in our hearts th' kind o' loile 'at makes a feller glad!
Till we're as happy nowt, I Iuess, as mother was, an' dad.
It N 34@
DRESSING THE TREE.
How It May Re Done to Secure the
The Woman's Home Companion
gives some hints on decorating a
Christmas tree safely. It is well
known that when tapers are fixed
to the laden branches, after the
gifts are taken off the lightened
boughs spring up and often set each
other on fire. The mode indicated
here avoids all that.
"First," says the Companion, "thin
cut the branches sufficiently to al
low the gifts to show to good ad
vantage. Then with an auger bore
holes in a spiral row about four
or five inches apart the whole length
of the trunk. Have some flat sticks
prepared, an inch wide and half an
inch thick, and of varying lengths.
Sharpen one end, and insert them
according to their graduated lengths,
giving each a blow or two with a
hammer to insure its being firmly
fixed. Paint them green. At the'
'& Sweets of Christmas Time.
While children's hearts with gladness glow
At happy Christmas time,
And elders eager int'rest show
As when in early prime.
Not all the sweets for these are sent
On that thrice-blessed day
King Cupid in the merriment
With Santa Claus holds sway.
FRANK. 2. WELCH.
outer end the candle holder is firmly
To the topmost branch before the
tree is put up, affix the "Christ-child"
-the winged doll, secured by slight
rubber bands under the wings. Gilt
paper stars and crescents are pret
ly, affixed here and there to the
boughs. Gay silk and tarleton bags
full of nuts and candy, oranges and
apples, bundles of stick candy tied
v ith ribbons, little baskets and
cornucopias of figs and raisins, gild
ed walnuts, popcorn balls, strings of
popcorn and cranberries, candy
canes, paper chains-all these and
other things they will suggest will
decorate a tree so prettily that the
children for whose pleasure it is con
structed will forget, in their delight,
that it is not weighted down with
No holiuay joy can be complete to
those who have not tried to make
other hearts happier. This is Christ
mas etiquette.-Ladies' Home Journal.
Theese He Reeeived Were Always of
the Usetfu Kind.
The following short story, says
Youth's Companion, will excite va -
ous emotions. Some readers vll
laugh at it; others will be indignant;
and every boy that reads it will be
glad his name is not Freddy Keedick.
"' think I shall have to get a Christ
mas present for little Freddy
Keedick," said Mrs. Dillingham to her
husband one evening early in Decem
"Don't you think you have enough
little nephews and nieces to provide
for in that way?" asked Mr. Dilling
"We have enough, that's true, but
Mrs. Keedick was so very kind when
Nellie was sick in the summer, that I
feel somewhat under obligation to
"Then I would get Freddy a Christ
mas present, by all means. What do
you suppose would be suitable?"
"I have not been able to make up my
mind as to that. What do you think?"
"Oh, don't ask me!"
"I have an idea!" exclaimed Mrs.
Dillingham. "I'll make a call on Mrs.
Keedick this afternoon, and try to find
out what sort of a present would be
acceptable to Freddy."
In pursuance of this resolve, Mrs.
Dillingham was shown into Mrs. Kee
dick's parlor on the afternoon of the
next day, an'd after a few preliminary
exchanges of opinion on unimportant
matters, the conversation was led
around to Christmas by the caller.
"I suppose Freddy receives quite a
number of gifts each Christmas," said
"Oh, yes," replied Mrs. Keedick.
"He has a few relatives who always
remember him, but really the presents
we appreciate the most are those his
papa and I give him."
'That is because you know what
pleases him best," said Mrs. Dilling
"Yes, that's it. I haven't much pa
tience with the toys that his Uncle
Henry and his AuTnt Polly bring."
"Oh, I prefer something useful!
Now that French clock on the mantel
there has given me more satisfaction
than any other present Freddy has
ever received at Christmas."
"Was that a Christmas present to
Freddy?" asked Mrs. Dillingham, in
"Yes. We needed a clock in this
room, and 1 told Mr. Keedick that as
we had to get Freddy a Christmas
present we might as well buy him a
"Does Freddy like it?"
"Well, he doesn't exactly go into
raptures over it, but I find it very use
ful indeed. Then Freddy has plenty
of trash given to him at Christmas,
co that it really doesn't matter. Then
I like him to have useful things, you
know. That writing-desk there was
another Christmas present to Fred
"But that is a lady's writing-desk."
"I know it is. You see I had decided
that he ought to have a writing-desk
because it would be so useful, but
when I went to buy it, I could not find
a desk suitable for a small boy. How
ever, I saw that lovely lady's desk for
sale at a bargain, and I thought it
would be sinful to lose the opportun
ity of getting it for Freddy, as I had
gone out for the very purpose of buy
ing him a desk."
"I see," replied Mrs. Dillingham.
"Then those lovely vases in the par
lor, which you have admired so often,
are also some of Freddy's Christmas
presents. The way we happened to
get them was this: Mr. Keedick could
not think of anything useful to buy
for Fre'ody last Christmas, and I hap
pened to think of those vases, which
I had seen at such a very reasonable
price in a store down town. The par
lor was so bare of ornaments that we
needed them very badly, and so I
went straight out and bought them
Mrs. Dillingham rose to go, and as
Mrs. Keedick followed her caller to
the door, she continued to explain how
much more sensible it was to give
children useful presents rather than
gimcracks, which are broken in a
week or two.
Mrs. Dillingham went home, and
surprised her husband with the an
nouncement that she had decided to
give Freddy Keedick a handsome sofa
pillow for Christmas.
The Birde' Christmsna.
In N'orway, the cold northern land,
the kind-hearted people wish to have
every creature rejoice at the glad
Christmas season, and they think of
the dear little birds; so there is al- I
ways a sheaf of wheat fastened high
on a pole in every farmyard, that
the birds may enjoy a good dinner
of grain, and the little Norwegian
children are Santa Claus' helpers,
when they help to bring Christmas to
the birds.-Detroit Free Press.
THE MAN WHO SWORE OFF,
He Is Deservla eof Respect and 3S3
The world, if it knows its business,
will doff its hat to the man who
swore off New Year's day. Notwith
standing the guffaws of the crowd
at the bar when they hear about it,
that man, says the Chicago Daily
News, is worthy of respect and en
couragement. Having the desire to
mend his ways, he has braved the
jests of his associates, the sneers of
those whose unworthy methods he
hopes to forsake, and the curious
glances of casual acquaintances, in
order to exercise his will in resist
ing evil habits. His militant man
hood is worthy of praise. So, for
your own sake as well as for his,
do not laugh or sneer at him or
take a patronizing attitude toward
him because of your well-known and
unassailable virtue. Express confi
dence in him and help him to stick
to his good intentions.
Why should not one resolve.to for
sake one's bad habits on the first
day of the year? Why should not
one resolve to forsake them on any
other day? Having made the resolve
and entered upon the effort neces
sary to carry it out, why should one
be the subject of jests, since there is
nothing foolish nor dishonorable in
trying to improve one's methods of
life? If the school of experience
teaches valuable lessons, as every
one knows it does, why should not
one profit by these lessons? Habit
is mainly a relic of youth and ig
norance, so far as it is not formed
on good models or by the firm hands
of wise elders. To improve one's hab.
its from year to year is the valuable
privilege of the man or the woman
who has been learning lessons in the
world's academy of hard knocks. To
take no advantage of those lessons
is to write one's self down a fool.
Pity. therefore, the man or the wom
an who never swears off.
Mrs. Saurs (suspiciously) - Well,
now, what do you want?
George de Gent-Nuthin', lady,
nuthin'! Dis is jus' me New Year's
call.-Chicago Daily News.
Good-By, Old Year.
The minutes are flying, the Old Year is
The time will soon come when' the old
clock will chdme.
When the year, bent and gray, will pass
And the New Year will come In the foot
prints of time.
Old Year, you will go as you cae, in the
For that emblem of childhood is waiting
And when in old age you will pass from
The snowflakes wil. cover the place
where you falL
For many you hold what is dezrer than
We will never forget you, although you
For the New Year is here, and so good-by,
We will number you now with the years
that are ,lead&
-Marguerite M. Hillery (age 14), in St.
Those New Yeea Resolutions.
Meadowbrook-How fine this worls
would be if we sho'ild all keep the
good resolutions we make on New
Year's day, instead of breaking them
all within a week.
Hempstead-Yes! I guess the few
days after New Year's, each year;
will be about as rear as we will
ever get to the miilcnnium.-Brook
A Time of Trril.
Clarissa-I'm always glad whes
New Year's day is safely over.
Fidelia-Yes; it is a saddening an
Clarissaa-Oh. I don't mean that
Clarence and I always have a horrid
quarrel suggesting improvements in
each other's conduct.-Detroit Free
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