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St. Paul daily globe. (Saint Paul, Minn.) 1884-1896, December 24, 1893, Christmas Supplement, Image 21

Image and text provided by Minnesota Historical Society; Saint Paul, MN

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn90059522/1893-12-24/ed-1/seq-21/

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WHY WE KEEP THE STOCKING.
There's a stocking, worn and single, .
Folded on our w*ardrobe shelf,
Laid aside to let Kris Kringle
Just unfold it by himself.
Santa Claus will here find broken
P3an3 for useful gifts and toys-
Find the stocking's but a token—
For this garment was our boy's.
He had planned to hang this stocking
From the parlor mantel, high,
So, when kind old Kris camo knocking.
He should find it waiting nigh.
What a hoard of precious treasure.
. Like his pockets, in would hold!—
•Large enough, though small it measure,
For some gifts as good as gold.
•* One tiling more— l want you, father,
"To relieve Saint Nick," he said,
So the old chap needn't bother
" With my bicycle and sled."
* ••••••
But before the bells of Yuletide
Heralded tho givers' joy
We had gathered at a grave-side
Dedicated to our boy;
For there came a Heavenly Spirit,
And tico spirits left our house
His was taken to inherit
Richer gifts thaa Santa Claus?
Xathan B. Heath.
JOE'S CHRISTMAS LUCK
Joe drove his old grey mare along the
stony road in deep thought. They had been
across the ferry to Newtown with a load of
Christmas truck. It had been a hard pull up
hill for them both, for Joe had found it neces
sary not a few times to get down and give old
'Liza a lift to help her over the roughest spots;
and now, going home, with the twilight coming
on and no other job a-waiting, he let her
have her own way. It was slow, but steady,
and it suited Joe for his head was full of busy
thoughts and there were few enough of them
that were pleasant.
Business had been bad at the big stores, never
worse, and what trucking there was they were
too many about. Storekeepers who never
used to look at a dollar so long as they knew they
could trust the man who did their hauling,
were counting the nickels these days. As for
chance jobs like this one, that was all over now
with tne holidays and there had been little
enough of it too.
There would be less, a good deal, with the
hard winter at the door and with 'Liza to keep
and the many mouths to fill. Still, he wouldn't
have minded it so much but for mother fretting
and worrying herself sick at homo, and all
along o' Jim, the eldest boy, who had gone
away mad and never came back. Many were
the dollars he had paid the doctor and the
druggist to fix her up, but it was no use. She
was worrying herself into a decline, it was
( dear to be seen.
Joe heaved a heavy sigh as he thought of tho
strapping lad who had brought such sorrow to
his mother. So strong and so handy on the
wagon. Old 'Liza loved him like a brother and
minded him even bef tor than she did himself.
If he only had him now, he wouldn't mind the
winter and the bad times. It seemed as if they
should easily pull through somehow. But things
never had gone right since he left. He didn't
know, Joe thought humbly as he jogged along
over the rough road, but he had been a little
hard on the lad. Boys wanted a chance once in
a while. All work and no play wore them out.
Likely he had forgotten hew-as a boy once him
self. But Jim was such a big lad, most like a
man. He took after his mother more than the
"they say it is luck."
/est. She had been proud too, when she was a
girl. He wished he hadn't been hasty that
time they had words about those boxes at the
store. Anyway, it turned out that it wasn't
Jim's fault. But he was gone that night and
try as they might to find him, they never had
word of him since. And Joe sighed again
more heavily than before.
Old 'Liza shied at something in the road, and
Joe took a firmer hold on the reins. It turned
his thoughts to the horse. She was getting old
too, and not as hardy as she was. He noticed
that she was getting winded with a heavy load.
It was well onto ten years now she had been
their capital and the breadwinner of the house.
Sometimes he thought that she missed Jim,
like his mother. If she was to leave them now,
he wouldn't know what to do, for he couldn't
raise the money to buy another horse nohow, as
things were. Poor old 'Liza! He stroked her
grey coat musingly with the point of his whip
as lie thought of their old friendship. The
horse pointed one ear back toward his master
and neighed gently as if to assure him that she
was all right.
Suddenly she stumbled over something in the
track. Joe pulled her up in time, and throwing
the reins over her back, got down to see what
it was. An old horseshoe and in the dust be
side it a new silver quarter. He picked both up
and put the shoe in the wagon.
"They say it is luck," he mused, "finding
i horse-iron and money." Maybe it's my Christ
mas. Get up, : Liza! " and he drove off to the
" ferry.
The glare of a thousand gas-lamps had chased
the sunset out of the western sky, when Joe
drove home through the city's streets. Between
their straight milelong rows surged the busy
fife of the coming holiday. Women with mar
ket baskets and men carrying big bundles
elbowed each other in the street, a good
natured throng that had no" ill word for an
accidental bump as they pushed their way be
tween the sidewalk stands and the hucksters
who hawked their wares from carts at the
curb-line. In front of every grocery was a
grove of fragrant Christmas tree 3 waiting to
be fitted into little green stands with fairy
fences. Within, customers were bargaining
chatting and bantering the busy clerks. dlers
offering tinsel and colored candles waylaid
them on the doorstep. The rack under the
butcher's awning fairly groaned with its weight
of plucked geese, of turkeys, stout and skinny,
of poultry of every kind. The saloon keeper
even had wreathed , doorposts in ground-ivy
' £n-t hemlock, and hung a sprig of holly in the
window as if with a spiiriotts promise of peace
on earth and good will toward toon who entered
there. It tempted not Joe. He drove past ij to
the corner where he turned up a street darker
and lonelier than the rest, toward a stretch of
rocky, vacant lots fenced in by an old stone
wall. 'Liza turned in at the rude gate without
being told, and pulled up at the house.
A plain, little one-story frame with a lean-to
for a kitchen, and an adjoining stable-shed,
overshadowed all by two great chestnuts of the
days when there were country lanes where now
are paved streets, and on Manhattan Island
there was farm by farm. One might have been
tempted to call it a shanty, but for the evidence
Of care and order all. about, and the fresh
white paint on the walls. . There was a light in
the window looking toward the street. As
'Liza hoofs were heard on the drive, a young
r -VV vt,.- W^"*" *—* "
girl with a shawl over her head ran out from
some shelter .where %he had been watching, and
took the reins from Joe. ■_ : . *; V;
" You're late," she said, stroking the mare's
steaming flank. 'Liza reached around and
rubbed her head against -the girl' 3 shoulder,
nibbling playfully at the fringe of her shawL
"Yes, we've come far and it's been a hard
pull. 'Liza is tired. Give her a good feed and
I'll bed her down. How's mother? "
" Spryer than she was," replied the girl,
bending over the shaft to unbuckle the horse;
" seems as if she'd o kinder cheered up. for
Christmas. And she led 'Liza to the stable
while her father backed the wagon into the
shed.
It was warm and very comfortable in the
little kitchen where he joined the family after
" washing up." The fire burned brightly in the
"^-^fc^SgjS *=s-"*^'. —^
" 'LIZA, OLD GIRL ! IT'S ME."
range on which a savory roast sizzled cheerily
in its pot, sending up clouds •of appetizing
steam. The sand on tho white pine floor was
swept in tongu es, old country fashion. Joe and
Ms wife were both born across the sea and
liked to keep Christmas eve as they had when
they were children. Two little boys and a
younger girl than the one who had met him at
the gate, received him with shouts of glee and
pulled him straight from the door to look at a
hemlock branch stuck in the tub of sand in the
corner. Itwa3 their Christmas tree and they
were to light it with candles— pranced
about like little colts at the thought— mamma
got them at the grocer's where the big Santa
Claus stood on the shelf, red and yellow and
green. They clung to Joe and shouted all at
once, each one anxious to tell the great news
first and loudest.
Joe took them on his knee, all three and
when they had shouted until they had to stop
for breath, he pulled from under his coat a
paper bundle at which the children's eyes
bulged. He undid the wrapping slowly.
"Who do you think has come home with me,"
he said, "but Sante Claus himself," and he
held up before them the veritable Christmas
fairy, done in plaster and shouldering a sprig
of fir in his folded arms as a soldier does his
gun. "I met him on the road over on Long
Island where 'Liza and I was to-day, and I gave
him a ride to town." He had bought it at the
toy store on the corner for the quarter he found.
"They say it's luck falling in with Sante
Clau3, partickler when there's a horseshoe
along. I put his'n up in the barn, in 'Liza' 3 stall.
Maybe our luck will turn yet, eh ! old woman? "
and he put his around his wife who was setting
out the dinner with Jenny and gave her a good
hug, while the children danced off with their
Santa Claus.
She was a comely little woman yet and she
tried hard to be cheerful. She gave him a
bravo look and a smile, but there were tears in
her eyes, and Joe saw them, though he tried
to let on that he didn't. He patted her tenderly
on tho back and smoothed bis Jenny's yellow
braids while he swallowed the lump in his
throat and got it down and out of the way.
He needed no doctor to tell him that Santa
Claus would not come again and find her cook
ing their Christmas dinner unless she mended
soon and swiftly.
It may be it was the thought of that, that
made him keep hold of her hand in his lap as
they sat down together and he read from the
good book the " tidings of great joy, which
shall be to all the people," and 'said the simple
grace of a plain and ignorant but reverent man.
He held it tight as though he needed its sup
port, when he came to the petition for " those
dear to us and far away from home," for his
glance strayed to the empty place beside the
mother's chair and his voice would tremble in
spite of himself. He met his wife's eyes there,
but, strangely, he saw no faltering in them.
They rested* upon Jim's vacant seat with a
new look of trust that almost frightened him.
It was as if the Christmas peace, the tidings of
great joy, had sunk into her heart with rest
and hope that presently throbbed through his
with new fife and promise, and echoed in the
children's happy voices. ~
So they ate their Christmas dinner together
and sang and talked until it was time to go to
bed. Joe went out to make all snug about 'Liza
for the night and to give her an extra feed.
He stopped in the door, coming back, to shake
the snow out of his clothes. It was coming on
with bad weather and a northerly storm, he
reported. The snow was falling thick already
and drifting badly. He saw to the kitchen fire
and put the children to bed. Long before the
clock in the neighboring church tower struck
twelve and its doors were opened for the
throngs come to worship at the midnight mass,
the lights in the cottage were out and all
within it fast asleep.
The murmur of the homeward hurrying
crowds had died out and the last echoing shout
of " Merry Christmas " had been whirled away
on the storm, now grown fierce with bitter
cold, when a lonely wanderer came down the
street. It was a boy, big and strong-limbed
and, judging from the manner in which he
pushed his way through the gathering drifts,
not unused to battle with the world, but evi
dently in hard luck. His jacket, white with
the falling snow, was scant and worn nearly to
rags, and there was that in his face which
spoke of hunger and suffering silently endured.
He stopped at the gate in the stone fence and
looked long and steadily at the cottage in the
chestnuts. No life stirred within and he walk
ed through the gap with slow and hesitating
step. Under the kitchen window he stood
'LIZA ! IT WAS YOUR DOIN'S."
awhile, sheltered from tho storm, as if unde
cided, then stepped, to the horse-shed and
rapped gently on the door. 'jH-ffpi
" 'Liza ! " he called, " 'Liza, old girl ! It's me,
Jim?"
A low, delighted whinnying from the stall
told the shivering boy that he was not forgot
ten there. The faithful beast was straining at
its halter in a vain effort to get at its friend.
Jim raised .a bar that hold the door closed by'
the aid of a lever within, of which he knew the
trick, and went in. The horse made room for
him in its stall and laid its shaggy head against
his check. . v j _ > . i
"Poor old 'Liza I " ho said, patting its neck,
and smoothing its grey coat, "poor old girl.
Jim has one friend that hasn't gone back on
CHRISTMAS SUPPLEMENT-
him. I've come to keep Christmas with you,
'Liza ! Had your supper, eh 1 You're in luck.
I haven't ; I wasn't invited, 'Liza ; but never
mind. You shall feed for both of us. Here
goes i " and suiting the action to the word, lie
dug into the oats-bin with the measure, and
poured it full into 'Liza's crib.
" Now chew, while I blink upstairs," and with
a departing pat he crept up the ladder to the
loft above and scooping out a berth in the loose
hay snuggled down in it to sleep. Soon his reg
ular breathing up there kept step with the
steady munching of theihorso in its stall. The
two reunited friends were dreaming happy
Christmas dreams.
The night wore into the small hours of Christ
mas morning. The fury of the storm was in
creasing still. The old cottage shook under the
fierce blasts and the chestnuts waved their
hoary branches wildly, beseechingly, above it
as if they wanted to warn those within of some
threatened danger. But they slept and heard
them not. From the kitchen chimney, after a
blast more violent than any that had gone be
fore, a red spark issued, was whirled upward
and beaten against the shingle roof of the barn,
swept clean of snow. Another followed it, and
another. Still they slept in the cottage ; the
chestnuts moaned and brandished their arms
weirdly in vain. The storm fanned one of the
sparks into a flame. It flickered for a moment
and then went out. So, at least, it seemed.
But presently it reappeared, and with it a faint
glow was reflected in the attic window over
the door. Down in her stall 'Liza moved uneas
ily. Nobody responding, she plunged and
reared, neighing loudly for help. The storm
drowned her calls ; her master slept, unheed
ing.
But one heard it, and in the nick of time.
The door of the shed was thrown violently open,
and out plunged Jim, his hair on fire and his
clothes singed and smoking. He brushed the
sparks off himself as if they were flakes of
snow. Quick as thought, he tore' 'Liza's halter
from its fastening, pulling out staple and all,
threw his smoking coat over her eyes and i
backed her cut of the shed. He reached in and
pulling the harness off the book, threw it as
far into the snow as he could, yelling " fire " at
the top of his voice. Then he jumped on the
back of the horse and beating her with heels
and hands into a mad gallop, was off up the
street before the bewildered inmates of the cot
tage had rubbed the sleep out of their eyes and
come out to see the barn on fire and burning
up.
Down street and avenue fire engines raced
with clanging bells, leaving tracks of glowing
coals in the snow drifts, to the cottage in the
chestnut lots. They got there just in time to
see the roof crash into the barn, burying, as
Joe and his crying wife and children thought,
'Liza and their last hope in tho fiery wreck.
The door had blown shut and the harness Jim
threw out was snowed under. No one dreamed
that the mare was not there. The flames burst I
through the wreck and lit up the cottage and
swaying chestnuts. Joe and his family stood
in the shelter of it, looking sadly on. For the
second time that Christmas night tears came
into the honest truckman's eyes. He wiped
them away with his cap.
"Poor 'Liza," he said.
A hand was laid with gentle touch upon his
arm. He looked up. It wa3 his wife. But she
was no longer sad or crying. Her face beamed
with a great happiness.
"Joe," she said, "you remember what you
read : ' tidings of great joy.' Oh, Joe ! Jim
has come home."
She stepped aside, and there was Jim, sister
Jenny hanging on his neck, and 'Liza alive and
neighing her pleasure. The lad looked at his
father and hung his head. '■■y^-.A ::'*•"
"Jim saved her, father," said Jenny, petting
the grey mare, "it. was him fetched the en
gine.".
Joe took a step toward his son and held out
his hand to him. '. _-, .*. -. ._'.■-;
" Jim," he said, " you're a better man nor yer
father. . From now on, you'n I run the truck on
shares. But this mind, Jim : never again
leave your mother."
And in the clasp of the two hands all the past
was forgot and forgiven. Father and son had
found each other again.
" 'Liza," said the truckman with sudden vehe
mence, turning to the old mare and putting his
arm around her neck, " 'Liza ! It was your do
in's. I knew it was luck when I found them
things. Merry Christmas ! " And he kissed her
smack on her hairy mouth, one, two, three
times.
JACOB A. RIIS.
UNDER WINTER STARS.
A Prairie Idyl of Christmas Eve, by Hamlin
Garland,
His chores done, his supper eaten, the farm
hand starts on his lonely walk to the Christmas
tree at the grove school house, miles away
across the snowy prairfte.
The winter night is clear and cold and still
The moon a cresent, low in the west, soon to set
The poplar trees creak in the wind, the snow
cries out under the youth's foot, the sound of
faint voices can be heard as he enters the wood,
the wide air is full of a. misty radiance.
The way is long, but the wind is in his back
and his limbs are strong. His feet slip and slide
in the deep worn sleigh path where the moon
light shines back from its track of smooth
heavy runners.
Hi 3 feet move in rhythm to his heart. He has
left the monotony and toil of the farm-yard
behind before him is a crowded school
house, the sound of bells, the sight of girlish
faces half concealed, yet with magical flash of
eyes from shadowy hoods.
She will be there! The one be had worshiped
afar off— she will be there !
His eyes lose their hold upon the stars and
become filled with the soft lines of a girl's head.
Large, demure, of eyes, with hidden depths of
mirth, shining teeth, pink ears— was worth
walking twice ten miles to see.
He had looked forward to this evening for
days. It had nerved his heart to swing the
axe and to drive the hay knife. It had built a
fire in his blood against the cold winds. Her
face illumined life. -..■"; ;
He leaped the fence and struck across the
fields billowed with drifts. A wolf eyed him
from a distance in meditative silence. A white
owl flew by close to the stubble.
The sound of bells thickened; the warm light
of the school house shone out and his heart beat
breathlessly fast.
The fight of the room brought back his awk
wardness and shyness. His eyes fell as he crept
down the wall, hearing the low rumble of
voices. He sat obscurely in the crowd, his
hair tumbled by his cap, his hands swollen and
chapped with cold and toil.
The tree stood there loaded with gifts. . All
about gay voices rang out, and the bustle of
preparation went on. Young girls in shining
dresses went about greeting each other and
confiding secrets. Boys shouted and scuffled,
and men with great coats on their arms stood
all about the room talking in hearty voices.
In the midst of it the lonely farm-hand sat
with wistful eyes. ' - ~ ~
Then came the voice of a chairman, then
prayer, then the voice of a child reciting a
verse about Jesus, then she came down through
the aisle to the organ. . She came like a queen, a
lofty look on her face, lofty but sweet. All
made way for her. .v .
The young man's heart beat with suffocating
power, the blood swelled in his throat. He
looked at her with the bowed head ©f a worship
ful, scared, innocent animal. Suddenly the
light of her eyes fell into bis like rays of pure
June : sunshine. _ Blinded and shrinking, his
head fell and his face flamed and throbbed.
She brushed past him. . He seemed to feel her
dress but he could not lift his eyes again. As
she sang the room darkened and the floor
seemed far away. He hardly dared breathe for
fear of losing something of the sweetness of
her voice. ;As she moved past him again amid
the applause, he dared not clag his hands, but
be raised his eyc3 again to h,e? rounded cheek
and small delicate ear.* The curve of her head
was tco beautiful for words. 7. .- ■ -• ' •* ■ V" '"-■
... After a time came the giving of presents. She
was one of the bearers. To and fro she went
with the presents; everywhere she went cries
of wonder and joy arose. Everywhere she wont
the eyes of j the farm-hand went, sad and wist
ful,and beautiful as the eyes of a hungry dog. r
The tree grew, bare and the fun grew louder
and louder and in the midst of it sat the home
less, loveless man.
Suddenly out of the throng she came 'for the
last time bearing gifts. She -went here, there,
then she looked at the farm-hand again and his
v*' & _ yf
_»«>-.__-/' /
whole body grew luminous as before. She
came toward him and put something into his
hand. "Here is something for you," she said.
On his way home his feet slid and stumbled,
but heart glowed with joy. *•-
He felt tho speed of the elk in his limbs. He
placed his hand upon his thigh rejoicing in the
'roll of; his great muscles. His knees rose and
fell tirelessly, like the beams of an engine.noise
less and swift.
The snow glittered. He rose and fell against
the sky as he ran over the high drifts. The owl
and the wolf he did not see; the stars he saw.
The dogs barked, passing a friendly word
across the silent farms. Bells rang out and
voices singing, rose above the creak of sleighs
and the squeal of runners on the dry snow.
The youth was exalted. In his hand he kept
that little present. In his brain still lay the
light and Warmth of her sweet womanly pity.
She saw only somebody's lonely, hired man,
with pleading, wistful eyes. :';.
He did not know that. He did not think of
the future. He expected nothing. He ran on
under the stars with throat aching with happi
ness. . • -,=...■ Hamlin Garland.
808 HAGERSON'S CHRISTMAS.
How the Meanest Boy in Town Observed the
..-■•*. Happy Days. - : .';i-Zy
By common consent Bob Hagerson was the
meanest boy in town. And it required a holi-
particularly Christmas— to bring out all
the latent depravity of his nature. Bob was in
the habit of spending half bis time at a livery
stable in the neighborhood. His ambition was
to be cither a horse tamer or a street-car driver.
So far as any one could see he cared for nothing
in particular but; horses. A short apprentice
ship was sufficient to acquaint him with all the
technical and profane terms of the livery stable
business, and he could make use of them with
the most accomplished hack driver. ■■.'■-■ :"A;AZ-.
Bob's father succeeded after much difficulty
in placing him in a grocery store in the hope of
weaning him from the stable and making a
merchant of him. It was a sad day for Bob.
The store had to be kept open awhile on
Christmas morning and Bob was left in charge.
The first customer to call was a lady who
wanted to purchase a bottle of horseradish. " "*"
"Have you any good .horseradish? " she
asked.
If Bob could not be a horse tamer or drive a
team he could at least, as a grocer's clerk,
bring to bear all his livery stable intelligence in
waiting on a customer who wanted to buy
horseradish. And he was mean enough to do it.
" Good hoss radish? " he repeated. " I should
say wo have. We have tho most remarkable
hossradish in the market," and he pulled a bot
tle from the, shelf and rolled it along the
counter. "Observe its gait," he. went on.
"How is that for the saddle' There's a hoss
radish that I can recommend. There's an A.
No. 1. family . hossradish. Can warrant it to
work anywhere. It's sixteen hands high,
without a spot or blemish, and can drag a
family carriage at a 2:30 clip."
The lady looked at Bob with some astonish
ment. She wanted the horseradish, however,
and ventured to ask if it was strong.
" Strong? " echoed Bob. " You have my word
for it that it is the strongest hossradish that
ever looked through a collar. Why, you can
take it right out of your phaeton after speeding
it on the track, hitch it to a stone sled, and if it
doesn't draw more than a steamboat I'll knock
it in the head. Fact is, it is a -draught
hossradish with the fleetness of Nancy Hanks
and it doesn't scare at the cars."
"I meant to ask," said the lady, very much
confused by this jargon, "if it is sharp does it
bite?
"Bite? no; it's as gentle as a sucking dove.
Wouldn't bite the smallest child. Seems kind
of sad-like when it has to take the bit in its
mouth. And kick? You couldn't make that
hossradish kick unless you tickled its heels
with a straw," and Bob punched the bottle in
the side in proof of its excellent disposition.
The lady took the bottle up and looked at it
as if to find some explanation for all this irrel
evance.
"That's right," exclaimed Bob. "Look it
over carefully. Never buy a pig in a poke. Ex
amine it closely for ringbone, spavin, poll evil,
quarter crack, heaves, humps, mumps, bumps,
dumps, grumps or anything else under the
shining sun. If you find it is not as sound as
a new bass drum the hossradish is yours,
without costing you a red cent, and a nice set
of silver-mounted harness thrown in. Shall I
wrap it up?"
The lady said she would call later with a
halter.
* * *
Bob locked up the store after a while, and
went to the livery stable where he could enjoy
himself like a Christian, as he said. But he was
too mean to stay there and made his appearance
at a residence in the neighborhood and, appar
ently much agitated, said to the lady of the
house who came to the door :
"I don't want to alarm you, but I have im
portant news. I came up from the livery stable
to tell you."
" Good heavens, what is it ? "
" Why, you know your little boy Aleck, what
we can't keep out of the stable ? "
" Well, well I"
"I told Aleck just now. not to go into the
stable among the hosses, but he wouldn't mind
me- —
" Gracious heavens, what has happened ? "
"Aleck said he wanted to see what a mule
would do when you tickled his heels with a
straw." '
. " Heavens 1" gasped the lady, as she clung to
the door for support.
"Well, ma'am, your little boy Aleck got a
straw, snuck up behind a sorrel mule, tickled
him on the heel and " :.JY *i - •",
The lady started for the sidewalk.'
" And the blamed beast never lifted a hoof,"
concluded Bob as he raised his hand and de
tained her. " Never so much as switched his
paint brush tail. , It's a mighty lucky thing for
Aleck that he didn't, too. Thought you would
like to hear it," and he shot around the corner
and back to the livery stable. ' * A
It is tfie opinion of the neighbors that a boy
as mean as Bob, and one with his inclination
for horses and meanness combined, must ulti
mately bring up as the proprietor of an estab
lishment where horse _xk_-_-_&«o_d for. beef. ' ;
Ji. W. CRIj. WELL.
\_ n_»*. . *™ ---<-<
THE JUDGE AND HIS DOG.
The Strange Adventure That Once Befel on a
Christmas in Pike County.
Whenever Christmas approaches in Pike
County, the younger generation of woodsmen
that gather in the tavern at Wayback.invar-
iably demand of some of the older dwellers in
the district the story of the way one Christmas
Eve was made enjoyable to some of them and
rather an aggravation to others by the result
of a lawsuit which was tried before old Judge
Sniffits. The Judge was the David of the
Sugar Swamp district, and whenever he came
to judgment folks simply held their breath and
watched the splinters fly. He was not only the
bench, bar and jury, but he was the legislature,
too, as far as providing law to suit the case in
his bailiwick went, and if there was anything
that he prided himself on more than another it
was that he never wasted any time looking up
precedents, but just made them as he wanted
them. So there are always a good many enjoy
able things the old timers remember about
Judge Sniffits, but the one tho new generation
loves to hear best when Christmas comes
around is the story of that famous lawsuit, the
case of Bipsnapp against Buzzle.
One fall Adinijah Bipsnapp, claiming that
Uriah Buzzle owed him seven dollars back
money on the price of a niuley heifer he had
sold Uriah, summoned Uriah to appear before
Judge Sniffits and to stand suit for the money.
There was considerable doubt as to whether the
money wa3 owing to Adinijah, and the chances
of Uriah winning the suit were good anyhow,
because the old Judge didn't like Adinijah's
lawyer, Gage Tabbs, the shingle weaver. Gabe
had been town clerk, once, and he was fuller of
law points than a catperillar is of hair, and the
Judge couldn't forgive him for that. But Gabe
was cunning, and he gave his client good ad
vice. He knew as well as anybody, that Judge
Sniffits would rather hunt than eat, and that
he had a hound which he thoughfmore of than
he did of himself. That hound had the run of
the court, and folks had to be mighty careful
and not hurt his' feelings. It wasn't a dog,
either, that a discriminating stranger would
have cared to take to his bosom, he being very
yellow, and of a lumpy build. Gabe's advice to
Adinijah at the start was something like this:
. ".'Nijah," said he, "you either got to go an'
hunt with the ol' Jedge an' let him beat ye all
to pieces gittin' game, or else ye must make a
big fuss over that darn yaller 'houn* o' his'n
w'en yer case is bein' tried. Either one cf these
'11 be a big pint in yer favor, fer it'll be a per
ceedent the Judge '11 m&ke'a note on."
Adinijah couldn't fetch tilings around so that
he could go hunting with the Judge, so he said
he would pat and be loving to the Judge's*
hound whenever the Judge might be looking at
him during the trial. The case happened to
come up the day before Christmas. Judge
Snifflt's court was five miles from the Bear
Path Tavern, and a lot of us had gathered
there Christmas Eve, and were waiting to hear
the news from the "trial. There were half a
dozen of Adinijah's friends there, and about as
many more of Uriah's, and the arguments as
to how the case would be likely to result ran
"coStf- "t-^-'^sS ''^fe^S^fc
"kicked him clean acrosst the room."
high and warm. By-and-by Sol, the landlord
said:
" This here's Christmas Eve, boys, an' a good
time fer to hey some fun. I'm a gittin' up a
leetle the best supper that ever was dished in
this tavern, an' if 'Nijah Bipsnapp wins his
suit, that supper b'longs to his friends that's
hero or mowt happen to come in. If 'Riah Buz
zle comes out ahead on it, then the set-out goes
to stuff his friends, ez many ez keers to tackle
it. So let's all tako an appetizer on it, an' a
Merry Cliristmas to ev'rybody, anyhow! "
We did that, of course, without any hanging
back. Tho glasses had hardly been emptied
when clatter-tc-bang a horse rushed up to the
door and stopped. The rider was one of Adi
nijah's boys, and he dashed into the tavern
shouting:
"Hooray fer our side! Dad's won! The ol'
Jedge was with him from the word go, fer dad
ji3t patted an' honeyfoogled that ornery houn'
o' the Jedge's all through the case, an' ketched
him solid. The Jedge didn't hardly wait to
hear t'other side at all, but give us jedgment
an' costs, by Hokey! I piled right onter my
hoss an' hain't ben more'n fifteen minutes
fetchin' in the news. Le's all take a drink! "
By and by 'Nijah's friends began to pass into
the dining-room, and aggravated our party
with all sorts of sayings and doings as we sat
there, hungry, as catamounts and glum as
mourners.
"Nevermind," said they. "You fellers kin
hey all that we don't git away with
And laughing and noisy with glee they sat
down to the feast. At that moment another
horse came tearing up to the tavern, and this
time the rider was one of 'Riah's boys.
"Hooray!" he yelled. "Pap's won!"
"Pap's won!" shouted 'Riah's boy. "The
way 'Nijah patted an' made a fool o' bisself
with the Jedge's houn', we see that we was
gone from the start, an' w'en the Jedge give
SiiNTA ClaT78.~ 44 HOW IN THUNDER AAt T OQma TO oict DOWN THAT HOLE !"
jedgment agin us we 'wasn't a bit" s'prised.
'Xijah he riz up when he heerd the verdict,
an' was ez pleased ez Cuffy. The Jedge's houn'
f oiler ed him an' jumped up agin him, wan tin'
to be patted some more. But 'Xijah'd had
enough o' the houn', an' he up an* kicked him
clean acrosst the room. Quicker'n a flash the
ol' Jedge rapped on his desk till the winders
rattled. Ev'rybody kirn up a standin'. The
Jedge give one look at his yellin' an' ki-yi-in,
dog, an' then hollered out :
" The jedgment o' this court's reversed, with
costs on the plaintiff an' twenty-five dollars
fine on him for contempt o' court! "
It is no use to begin to try and tell what fol
lowed. 'Xi jah's friends simply wilted down in
their boots, and if the rest of us did not do jus
tice to Uncle Sol's feast, and have a Christmas
Eve that almost raised the roof, then there's no
use of history being written. Ed. Mott.
A TALE TOLD CHRISTMAS EVE.
Why One Man Never Touches Liquor— A Touch-
ing Story and a True One.
" I was born and raised in a little western town
My father and family— my mother died when I
was a child, and I have never married— were
proud and high-spirited, and when I went up
on the stage they were very much cast down.
Actors were hard and heavy drinkers in those
days and I was not long an exception to the
rule. I learned to love liquor and though sel
dom helplessly drunk, was seldom sober. Of
ten I have gone upon the stage not knowing
how I was going to speak my lines. Finally, as
a result of my intemperance, I lost my engage
ment in the middle of the season and went
home to my father. My discharge, however,
failed to teach mo a lesson, and at home I was
constantly in my cups.
" One afternoon I was passing a house near
where my father lived when I was attracted by
a rap on the window. I looked up and saw
that a lady was beckoning to me from inside.
" I opened the gate and walked up the path
to the house. The lady met me at the door, led
me into the parlor and asked mo to be seated.
I wondered what her errand with me could be,
but I did not have to wonder long.
" ' Pardon my boldness,' she said, ' but you
are drinking heavily are you not I '
" I told her that I was.
" You are at home at an unusual time of the
year. Are you out of employment ? '
" ' And whisky is the cause!.'
" Yes.
" ' Why do you not stop drinking 1 My hus
band when I married him, was young, hand
some and promising, as you are now. Drink
has made him a pitiable wreck and it will do
the same for you:
" I told her that I had tried to break off, but
had failed.
" I will help you if you will let me,' she said.
"How?"
"'Come and live with me and I promise to
cure you.'
" I was under the influence of liquor at the
time, but a sudden impulse seized me and I an
swered her by asking : When shall I come?'
"'You are here now,' she said, 'and you
must remain here. Take off your hat and over
coat.'
"I did as she commanded. We sat and talk
ed until supper was announced by one of the
lady's daughters, and then I went in and ate
with the family. During the evening the
craving for liquor came upon me, and I made
several excuses to get away from the house,
but all without avail. About 10 o'clock my new
—old friend showed me to a room, * You will
sleep here, she said.
If you need anything during the night knock
upon the door and I will come to you. Good
night.'
" I was weak, tired and exhausted and soon
fell into a profound sleep.
" How long I slept I do not know, but sud
denly I awoke and sat up in bed. All the liquor
I had drank the day before had gone from me.
I was on fire with thirst, and suffering the tor
tures of the damned. Drink I must have, at all
hazards and at any cost. I determined that I
would get up, dress quietly and steal from the
house.
When my friend found in the morning that
I had gone she would say that she had done
her best and would rest content.
" With considerable difficulty, for I was ner
vous and trembling in every limb, I got out of
bed and lit the lamp. My clothes were gone!
My friend had stolen into my room while I wa3
asleep and taken them away. With a groan of
despair I blew out the light and staggered back
to the bed as best I could.
" When morning came I was a very sick man,
and my friend, true to her promise, nursed me
with all the tenderness and devotion of a
mother. It was days before I left my room,
but when I did it was with the taste and desire
for drink gone forever.
"That was sixteen years ago, and during that
time a drop of liquor has never passed my
lips. . 7-1; -,'' -'",■
" For sixteen years also that woman's house
has been my home, and when I am absent from
her not a day passes that I do not write her. *
She has made me all that I am and -in her
old age I am striving as best I can to repay in
part the deep debt of gratitude which I owe
her.
" Friends you know now why I never drink."
There was a long pause after the manager
had finished. Finally the actor said : " A toast,
boys, to our friend's gray haired guardian."
It was drank standing and in silence.
A temperance story, say you Yes, but a
beautiful story as well.
It so impressed me when I heard the manager
tell it.
And that is why I tell it again here.
Jennie F. Wilson.
CHRISTMAS 1
THE Fill EAST.
How the Native Christians of China
Observe the Day.
The Great Heathen 'Feast of Chang Sin and
its Resemblance to that of Yuletide—
the Little Folks Dress for the Occasion— The
One Cloud Upon the Horizon of the Christian
Chinaman at Christmas Time.
Christmas in the Far East is not as simple a
matter as it is with us " western barbarians."
The Europeans celebrate it with lavish hospi
tality and the proverbial punch bowl. The
Christian Chinese observe it in a manner alto
gether their own, while the Heathen Chinese
have a festival known as the Feast of Chang
Sin, which bears a vague resemblance to that
of the Yuletide. What strikes a foreigner most
of all who is sojourning in the flowery kingdom
i 3 tho enthusiasm with which the Chinese
Christians enter into the observance of the day.
Nearly all these converts belong to the Roman
Church and are attached to the Jesuit missions
which are so prominent a feature in Mongolian
life. Only a handful belong to tho various
Protestant sects.
The converts seem to regard their new faith
as being about the same as the old under new
names and use on Christmas day nearly all the
forms and ceremonies which are employed by
their compatriots who belong to the Buddhist)
and Tauist Churches. In the morning they all
go to mass. The church or chapel i 3 generally
decorated for the occasion. The familiar ever
greens are there as are the lilliea and bright
bowers used by ourselves. But in addition to
these are Chinese garlands, tinsel flowers, bits
of scarlet paper, vermillion flags and banners,
and such fruits as may be in season. The mo
ment mass is over the firecrackers begin. Mil
lions upon millions are burned and the whole
day kept noisy and smoky by the young and old
alike. In the evening they have fire cracker
pyrotechnics which would astonish an Ameri
can boy upon the Fourth of July. A common
piece is a fire cracker tree. This is a figure
shaped like a tree of which the trunk is a bam
boo pole firmly sunk in the ground. Arms like
boughs run out in every direction growing
smaller and smaller until they culminate in a
little bush on the top of the pole. The leaves of
this tree consist of countless fire crackers ar
ranged in strings, in bunches and little knots. .
It looks for all the world like an evergreen
whose foliage has been suddenly turned into
bright vermillion. The tree is usually lighted
about dusk. The flame starts at a central point}
and then rushes rapidly along central firo
strings until the whole affair is ignited. The
fusilade begins at the very outset. It increases
in volume and rapidity for several minutes and
then changes in character to the imitation of a
battle in which heavy and fight artillery alter
nate irregularly with musketry fired in volleys,
by battalions or in single shots by individual
soldiers. Here and there from paste-board tubes
long colored flames shoot out in every direction.
After the first few moments a series of trans
formations begin which are simply unique.
What seems a piece of wood explodes, opens
and falling down becomes a suspended lantern .
with a light burning inside of it. Another piece
of wood similiarly changes but becomes a bird
cage in whose centre swings a fiery bird. A
third piece of wood becomes a flower pot with
growing flowers all outlined in fire* A fourth
becomes annigneous bouquet. These changes
occur more rapidly than it takes to tell them.
Long before the firecrackers have been fired off
tho entire tree is a mass of blazing, flaming and
exploding fines and figures. Somo of these fire
cracker trees arc immense affairs standing forty
feet high, others are small, no larger than a,
man. They range in cost from one to twenty. .
dollars apiece.
*7 - -
Beside the universal firecracker the balloon
is in great vogue. It is the ordinary tissue
paper, hot-air affair so common on the Fourth of
July. It is usually round bu£ occasionally is
made in fantastic or graceful shapes. Among
those aro the fish, whale, elephant, pig and
bird. In the clear skies of China, these go up a
long distance and can be seen for many miles
..after they have left the earth.
The day is celebrated with all the features of
both our Christmas and New Years. In every
house there is some table set where refresh
ments await each and all who call. Upon tha
walls or in the ante-chamber are evergreens,
festoons of bright paper and other festal decor
ation. Visits are made* and exchanged, pres
sents bestowed and a general round of pleasure
kept up until about eleven o'clock at night.
In those cities where there are a large number
of Christian Chinese the street shows reap a
rich harvest. They include our old friends.
Punch and Judy, Marionettes, Panoramas and
theatrical entertainments. Besides theso are
amusements essentially Asiatic; dolls' theatres
where all the performers are little dolls made of
painted cardboard, silhousette boxes, shadow
boxes, the lion and tiger booth, acrobats,
sword players, shield and spear men and jug
glers. Although the eastern Christian like the
western is opposed to games of chanco yet now
and then he yields to temptation and takes an
hour off to try his luck. Christmas is one of his
favorite days for that purpose and he can be
found either on the highway or in his own home
throwing dice, playing dominoes or handling
cards for stakes of which the "chip " is worth
one tenth of a cent and the "limit " is a penny.
A Christmas dinner is a good one no matter
how poor the convert may be. The good old
Jesuit padres are very thoughtful in this re
gard and have their rich followers contribute
handsomely at this season of the year for the
poorer members of their flock. In addition to
this they exhaust their own scanty resources
to make the day happy for every one in their
congregation. Upon every board on Christmas
day there is good tea and Chinese wine. There
is fresh fish, stewed with onion and bamboo
tips and pig cooked with yam or sweet potato.
There is smoked fish and the inevitable chicken
steamed and parboiled until it i 3 snowy white,
sausage and bacon, pig's feet and Japanese sea
weed, sweet bean cakes and funny little pies.
The converts eat and drink well and to their
credit he it said they never get inebriated.
A pretty feature of the day is the way in
which the little folks are dressed for the occa
sion. In place of the faded and too often dirty
garments, which they have been wearing in the
autumn and winter they now come out in new
and gorgeous raiment. Both boys and girls
dress very much alike especially in the wear
ing of four or five jackets, one over the other to
keep tho cold out. Thus clad they look like
great globes with little legs attached. One
globe will be covered in scarlet with its legs in
bright green; another will have an ultrama
rine body and , pale pink unmentionables; a
third will combine orange and violet; a fourth
indigo and sulphur. A group of fifty little
children will display never less than seventy
bright and glaring colors. If there were only a
handful of them the effect would be pleasant.
But when it comes to hundreds and in some
cities even to thousands the sight is both pic
turesque and pleasing.
The Christian Chinaman has one cloud upon
his horizon. He is not liked by his so-called
heathen neighbors. While there is toleration
practised in China, there is still an invincible
antagonism between the followers of the old
faiths and of the new. The Christian convert
wishes his Buddhist cousin a Merry Christmas
but in return seldom receives more than a per- . .'
functory bow. They do not call upon him; -'
neither do they take any part in the festivities
of the day.. In the communities where the con- .
verts may bo counted upon the fingers the clay
is rather gloomy and dismal. Only in the great '.
coast cities where they are numbered far up in §§
the thousands is the day really enjoyed by tha
natives themselves and by the few Europeans
who happen to be dwelling in that part of the _
world, T ?.- : •'__; William E. S. Fales, -
■y-r..-*-'-.

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