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Oh, the luckiest boy in the world am I,
I've hung up my stocking, not too high
On the bed post, ever so close to me,
And the foot hangs just over my
mouth, you see,
And when it is dark, and mama comes
To put in the candy and sugar plums,
She'll pour and pour, but strange to
That stocking will never be full, some
Ami Til tell you why, if you want to
There's" a great, big, monstrous hole
in the toe.
The scene is a cotton plantation in
Louisiana; the time. Christmas Eve.
Company is coming from town,
and the darkies ar.3 going to have a
dance in the barn after the children
have had their Christmas tree
Miss Mattie has been at work all
day with her girl friends who are vis
iting her, and young Mars Willie
has climbed to the top of the barn,
getting his good clothes dusty and
his black curls full of cobwebs, firing
the tree and hanging the preseuts for
the "little niggers."
The candles on the brackets a
round the wall are lighted, and an old
three-legged i-hect-irou stove m a
corner gets redhot and tries to go up
its own Hue, warming the room.
Now the children are sent to bed.
The&rown darkies line themselves a
bout the wall, Uncle Ebenezer with
his fiddle, and Jim with his banjo,
take their places and tune up. Matt
J Jean must open the dance with a
break-down. The music strikes up
"Chicken in the Bread-Tray", and
Matt shakes one foot ana then the
utlier, apparently to see that the
hinges are in go 3d order.
Now he is off.
Back-step and double-shuffle! cut
the pigeon-wing! rock da cradle, and
"Jis as easv! Git erlong dar nig-
"Chicken in de bread-tray, peck,
'Lady in the parlor, step, step
"Umphu, childun, give me room!"
The white folks clap their hands,
sitting in chairs around the stove.
The darkies pat time, slapping their
knees anil rolling their eyes up to
the rafters. The music grows faster
aud wilder; Matt reels and rocks and
keeps up a chanting undertone of
words to the tune.
Mars Will comes in, sleek and smil
ing, with flakes of lint in his back
hair and on his clothes.
No one notices him.
Matt carries the day.
The sweat rolls down his ebon face
and the chant come only in broken
"Time's up," cries someone and
the music stops.
Then up jumps ole Massa.
"Give us Dixie. 'Nezer!" he cries,
"and all clear the floor."
He seizes ole miss round the waist
and commands the boys to choose
their partners. Ole Missus resists
with all the laughing might of her
185 pounds but to no purpose. She
is lugged to her place and the youn
ger couples fill up their place in the
' S'lute yo' partner, an' balance
all!"' cries ole Massa (they have had
an egg-nog and a cherry-bounce
since the boys came from the town
that afternoon) flapping his coat-tails
nearly over his shoulders and singing
with the fiddle:
Oh, away down yander in de land of
Cinnamon seed an' sandy bottom,
Look away, away, away in Dixie! .
The younger children turn over
and mumble in their sleep, disturbed
by the unwonted noise and lamplight.
But after awhile, silence and dark
ness come. The children sleep; the
boys and girls dream of parties and
each other; ole Massa snores; ole Mis
sus thinks of the first daughter, who
died the first Christmas they moved
in the new house and the moon go
es down, the stars fade away and a
new day creeps over the red bluff of
the river, and stands tiptoe on the
brink of its eternity.
Boom! goes the first bladder-gun.
"Chns'mas gif, ole Missus!"
"Chris'mas gif, ole Massa!"
It is Christmas morning on the
"Fust four forard an' back
he noes on, never letting loose old
Miss' hand, for if he should she
would make a breac for the wall.
Oh the buckwheat cakes an' de good
Make my mout go Hitter flitter flutter,
Look away, away, away in Dixie!
The darkies sing to, patting their
knees and saying:
"Yaw, yaw! go it ole Massa! You
an' ole Missus is younger en 'cm all!"
But alas! Ole Missus refuses to
sustain her record. She breaks clean
down, declines to budge, and W'll
and the girls interfere in her behalf.
Off thev scurrv to the house, Will
The Puritans were sorely tried by
the way in which Christmas was ob
served in the colony in 1658, and at
the first General Court subsequently
held the following law was passed:
"For preventing disorders arising
in several places within this jurisdict
ion by reason of some still observing
such festivals as were superstitiously
kept in other countries, to the great
dishonor of God and offence of oth
ers, it is therefore ordered by this
court and the authority thereof that
whosoever shall be found observing
any such day as Christmas or the like
either by forbearing of labor, feast
ing or any other way, upon any such '
account as aforesaid, every such per-
json so offending shall pay for every
such olfence five shillings as a hne to
The following from a letter from
Amos Lawrence to his son, William
K. Lawrence, then at school in France
nearly carrying his mother, and the ' shows the beginning of the change of
darkies have the floor. sentiment. Its date is December 27,
"1 suppose Christmas is observe 1
with creat pomp in France, it is a
Up comes the white moon, but her
white fingers carry no sleep on their
tins this time. On eroes the dance
till the candles are exhausted and the , day winch our ruritan ioretatners,
roosters are crowing on Christmas in their separation from the Church
morning. j of England, endeavored to blot out
Meanwhile in the cabin, old moth- frou these days of religious festivals;
ers and grannies creep over the sleep- and this because it wras observed
ing children to the little yarn stock-! with so much pomp by the Romish
ing dangling from the smoked jams, j Church. In this, as well a3 in many
and the flickering firelight plays on other things, they were unreasonable
wooden dolls, tin horses, and red as though they had eaid they would
oranges in their hands. jnot eat tread as the lloman Catholics
Up in the big house glad feet that do. I trust and hope the time is not
! .never tire patter up and dowrn the far distant when Christmas will be
' stairs. Slam! go the doors, with a observed by the descendants of the
flash of light on the cold white floor Puritans with all suitable respect as
of the halls. It is late, but the boys the first and highest holiday of Chris
must have an egg-nogg, and ole Mas- tians, combining all the feelings and
sa his apple toddy. Ole Missus di- views of New England Thanksgiv
ivcts Mattie in the brewing, sitting ing with all the other feelings appro
by the fire, too done up for active priate to it."