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IN THE DEPTHS. "She told mc she could mahc it all right with you." How long I gazed stupidly into the fire I know not, but the shadow of the past rose out of it, shutting out the present utterly. No sooner was the pressuro of her presence taken off than my mind re bounded from tho White Mouse. I for got her very existence. Blacker and blacker grew the coals, and with them the gloom of my thoughts grew deeper and deeper; but, bitter as they were, the cold became more bitter still, and I was literally driven by it to seek my own room. As I entered the door 1 almost ran over the hostler, who was still engaged in his mysterious interview with Tom. "And are you sure you understand perfectly, Bosley?" the latter was saying, "Wo must have no risk of a mistake this trip." "I got it all yere, plain as writin'," re sponded sagely he of the stables as he tapped his forehead. "Let 'nn zee— moon rises at three, starts at four, drives nineteen miles in two hours and a half, and feeds light on cut feed and looks out for Jalap's kickin' of his near foreleg." "Right as a trivet, Bosley! You're a trump, and this is yours;" and Tom chucked the fellow a bright half eagle as he left the room. Then he jerked off his coat and lighted an Havana. I could stand it no longer. As the grinning groom left the room I turned upon Tom and prepared to charge. "Hold a bit, old boy," ho said. "I have treated you badly, I know." A fierce snort was the only response I deigned to give. "Yes, I know it, but prudence was essential. You're not riled?" "Riled!" I answered, with forced calm ness. "I can't see how you have used mo badly, but you must permit mo to say you have done yourself great in justice.' Tom seemed a little puzzled. '''And yon have dono a palpable, a gross in justice"—l was grand now, doing the outraged virtuous—"to an old per son who" "Oh, bother tho old person!" he inter rupted, carelessly. "But then you have really twigged what I am up to in the morning?" "In the morning." A ray of light be gan to dawn upon me. "Yes, in the morning. Tin going to— now, old boy, don't look scared—l'm going to ran away and be married!" To be married! And in the morning! The ray of light was a blinding gleam now. 1 was literally staggered. 1 dropped into a chair with a big lump in my throat "Yes, my boy, I'm to be married in the morning. You know I'd havo told you before, but Bet and I only fised it yester day. She arranged it all in the sleigh as we came along; and, for reasons you know so well, wo must be quick; I'm done for if the old party suspects. But it's all fb.ed —you're to help me." , "I help you!" I gasped, faintly. "Certainly. Who else? You must come with us; you nntst be best man; you must go with us to Uncle Bob and help Bet explain all about the" "Lieut. Jones!" —I rose stiffly and stood at attention as Tom's eyes opened very wide —"Lieut. .Tories, I have no criticisms to make on 3-our cousin's course. If she desires to"— — "Desires! the devil! Why, man. she planned the wholo thing—arranged the Christmas frolic, suggested all the de tails of the elopement, and she specially insisted you should aid us." "She did?" "Yes; she said you were so fond of us both you'd be glad to do it." Oh, the cruel girl! the hardened, in grained flirt! This was why sho bad led me on then. Tom kept on, speaking rapidly, but with no sense to mo in the sound till I caught: "So you see, my dear boy, it was she originated tho affair; sho planned every detail, not L" "Stop sir!" I cried, hoarsely—my face must have been purple; it felt black — "you have a right to run away, perhaps —to stoop to anything you please—the lady is to be your wife. But, by heaven! you have no right to compromise' your cousin by saying these things." "There's something in that," Tom mut tered, thoughtfully; "I musn't let Bet's name get out, of course. I only told you, you know." 1 gavo a grant that was meant for scalding sarcasm. "Bet will tell you all about it herself." "Oh, she will," I panted. "To be sure. She told me she con Id make it all right with you. That's what we were talking about when you drove over tho cad today." Oh, tho cold blooded, heartless co quette? To deliberately plan a torment for mo thus! And he, my old school mate, my bosom friend! If the soft answer that tumeth away wrath had been a deadly weapon I should have used it then. But it wasn't, so I said no word, only strode about the room, loosen ing my neckcloth by fierce and suddeu tugs. Tom, lying flat on his back and puffing little wreaths into tho air, eyed me with some wonderment. At last he said cheerily: "Well, old boy, don't take on so. It's as sudden for me as it is for you, and a deuced sight more serious to boot. So I'll count on you of course in the morn ing." "Count on me! I tell you I'll have nothing to do with it Your uncle Blythe would never" "Popcorn! I say, Bet will make it all Uncle) Bob. I verily believe he'd have helped ns if we had dared to trust Oar secret." "Helped you! Mr. Blythe not object! . >a are mad enough to risk let of gossip soil tho name you love! You plan this mad est padc far away from his roof THE LOS ANGELES HERALD: THURSDAY MORNING, DECEMBER 25, 1890. when he might have consented" "To what?" Tom sat bolt upright on the bed, resting on his hands, behind him. A strange, fitful contraction swept over his face, followed by a very grin of agony. I was merciless. "To your union with his daughter," 1 said sternly. My words struck him like a bullet. He clenched his teeth until tho cigar drop ped in two from them; his face grew crimson, its muscles twitched convul sively and his chest heaved with a des perate struggle for breath. Then, with a gasping sob, he buried his faco in the pillow, while his whole frame shook and. trembled like an aspen. I was pained, shocked. The sight of "the tears of bearded men" is always touching beyond expression, and besides I was at a loss to account for the great violence of his sudden emotion. I became more puzzled as I looked, for ho still sobbed and shook with the weak ness of a child. I walked up and down the room and tried to think more calmly. A fter all I had no real claim on Miss Bettie. She had refused me once and never allowed me to address her again; 1 conld not but confess that. True, she had let me think there was hope, but what woman is strong enough to refuse to sniff the in cense burnt upon the altar of her vanity': Then Tom, too, was an old and tried friend. Poor fellow! how ho shook and groaned iv his great agony! and if a vici ous flirt had cruelly played upon my feel ings through him, why should I let that react upon his head? No! I would bo a Roman! a very Pythias! I would crush down my own feelings into my heart: I would brave the mayor's anger; I would die of smothered rage, but her feline triumph should be cheated of its prey. Yes, I would do as she had planned for J mo. I would see her wed another, would give her away at the altar, and not one ! of the thousand torments that were rend ing me should give her the expected pleasure of its evidence. Twice Tom had raised his head and I moved his lips in a fruitless essay to speak; twice a torrent of mixed passions had swept over him: And then a moment o'er his face A tahlet of unutterable thought was traced, Ami then he buried it in the pillow again! There was something in his eyes that made me shudder with a shapeless, undefined dread that his reason might give way. Now he lay quiet. He had ceased to sob, but his face was still buried in the pillow, while ever nnd again a quick, hysteric shudder ran through him. 1 laid my hand kindly on his shoulder: "Tom, old fellow, I was hasty," He slipped away from my touch like a hurt child, and again the shudder, long er and more marked than before, thrilled through him. I respected his feelings too much In look upon lub suffering; I blew out the candle. "My dear old boy!" he muttered hoarse ly. Tho voice was still much broken, with a hysteric catch in it. I only pressed his hand for answer, but 1 felt the bed shake under me with the effort he mode to control himself. It was a mighty one. Then he spoke again. "We have been friends for years," hi said. 1 'You know me for a man of honor, and I pledge you that honor my—my ancle will be fully and entirely satisfied when—when he learns —that—that I have married his daughter!" Once more his feelings overcame him; j once more he crushed bis face into the ' pillow while the gust of passion rent aud shook him. I was more mystified than ever. Was he deceiving me? No, he was a 1 man of honor; he would never stoop to | that. But, then, why this terrible emo tion he could not control? A startling thought leaped into my brain. Great heavens! was Tom drunk? 1 Had he gotten liqnor from Bosley, the hostler? No, that was too absurd. I gave it up; I was dead beat. Still wondering, I threw myself ready dressed upon tho bed. Tom lay quiet ; now, but I intended to watch him by tho fitful firelight, lest his intense excite- ] ment should make him really ill. But the narcotic administered by the ancient spinster, added to my unwonted exertions behind those demon horses in the frosty air, were too much for me. I slept profoundly. CHAPTER VI. the dark noun BErOBR day. "You'U tahc Ilct," Tom whispered hoarsely in my car. How long I slept I know not, but I was lying only half awakened when I heard a very gentle tap at the door. Tho moon had risen, and her great white disk shone clear over the trees, throwing a broad light into tho room. Tom heard the tap and sprang up on the instant. By the moonlight I saw that he was dressed an when he first threw himself down, aud could not have been to bed. As he opened tho door gently: "Sh—h, dear Tom!" said a soft voice in the hull. "Tho moon is up, and 1 heard Bosley take the sleigh over the snow about ten minutes since." "I'm all ready, Bet dear: won't be a minute." "1 conldn't trust the servants, of course, and fearing you'd be too late, 1 thought I'd call you myself," Bettie an swered. Great heavens! what an escape I had made! How had I misunderstood that girl! Here was a bride elect on the very verge of a runaway waking her lover herself, urging haste in his movements. and generally being as cool as a cucum ber. "That's right," she added coolly. "Anna's all ready, and tho old lady sleeps like William Tell; so hurry, dear." I breathed a fraction more freely. At all events, she was to havo another fe male in tho escapade. That would be more respectable, perhaps, when the af fair came to be talked of. But how had she persuaded that little milk-and-water thing to brave her Argus and the pro prieties at such an hour and for such a purpose? I actually pinched myself to see if I was really awake. Tho whole tiling seemed like an ugly dream, and I could scarcely realize that a single day could have crowded into it the overturn of all my hopes that had almost grown to cer tainties; tho substitution of so unex pected a rival; and, more than all, the unheard of fact of Anna Belton stepping so far out of her modesty as to make me a formal declaration of love! No! I was wido awake. The whole series was only too real, and there was Bettie Blythe standing at our door in the gray dawning. She was really going to run away with her cousin. She had in very fact driven me to desperation, and she had actually persuaded the White Mouse to rebellion. It was really remarkable what won derful sway she could exert over all who came within her influence. And yet there was no tremor in her voice to show the slightest agitation. By George, she was going to clandestine matrimony as she would to her breakfast! "He's ready. He's going with ns, of course," Miss Blythe definitely said. "You told him I would settle that?" An irrepressible groan of rage and despair burst from me. They did not notice it as Tom answered: "Oh, yes. But you must be.careful to explain fully as soon as you can." "Leave him tome," was the short an swer. "Now wake him." "In one minute; he's all dressed," Tom replied, cheerily. "But you ought to know that he thinks"— He stepped into the hall and drew the door gently behind him. He was only gone a moment. A sound of whispering and a half smothered sob came over the transom; a light step tripped up the hall, and Tom re-entered with his hands pressed over his face. Then I knew he had told her how I had spoken. I felt a thrill of triumph that she heard 1 had borne the news so calmly. "Wake up, old fellow." Tom stood by my bedside, nnd I saw in the moonlight something of the expres sion on his face it had worn tho night be fore. It died out, however, as I spoke, "I am awake. I have no dressing to do," I said, gloomily. We were soon ready. Walking stealth ily as burglars. .Tones and I reached the foot of the broad stairway. The back door stood wide open, and the moon light, faintly reflected from the dark panels, showed two muffled and veil.,! figures awaiting ns. "You'll take Bet." Tern whispered hoarsely in my car. Once more h pressed both ban Is against his face as if to repress his feelings. Like an animated statue I advanced and oifer. 1 my arm to the' veiled figure nearest, me. For I was resolved! Sin.' should never have one ray of triumph over me to brighten the blackness of the wrong sue was about to do her doting father. I noticed the little hand she rested on my arm trembled slightly. She had some feeling, then? It was more than I had suspei ted, but I only grew stonier and stonier. I set my face like a flint. Tom approached her companion very quietly, drew her arm through his witli more deference than I thought necessary with such v w. ak, inane Utile brides maid, ami led tie-way out ..!' the hall on tiptoe. Silent as the grave we followed. As we stepped nut into the moonlight I felt rather than saw the veiled face by me turn up to mine. I shivered from head t<> foot, bat that perhaps WM part ly owing to the bitter cold of tho dawn, and looked straight ahead. Then once more I heard that burstingbut repressed sigh; once more tile tremor of her frame was so painfully evident that I almost wavered in my belief of her heartless ness. Did she at last repent! Did she really feel t he heavy crime she was com mitting toward her father? Or, great heaven! could there lie the barest possi bility that she had awakened? Could she. feci that even now it was not too late— that she had not utterly thrown away a heart she cotdd never replace? There was such delirium in the bare idea 1 al most framed the wild hope into words: but pride as much as honor came to my rescue. 1 was pledged to Tom, and I was silent. Softly and swiftly we followed the other couple over the crisp, crackling surface of the snow; down the broad lane, under arching trees that sifted the moonlight through them in sil ver spangles; through snowclad hedge rows standing like an army of specters at present arms. Here we found the sleigh, the impa tient horses blowing out great, clouds of mist, and the more impatient groom blowing out greater clouds of smoke from his black jape. "Well, ieftenant, we's pretty nigh a-freezed," was his salutation. "All ready, sir, and uns in fust rate trim: do the nineteen miles iv two hours sure!" Tom answered never a word. He almost lifted tbe light form of his brides maid into the back seat, and as he tucked the buffalo around her witli most un necessary care I saw sho had pressed her handkerchief to her eyes and was sob bing bitterly. Poor fragile child: 1 thought. To feel thus for the folly of another, and that other— I cast one glance, my first, at the still figure on my arm Not a sign was there of any emo tion, not a single ray of feeling, not a spark of repentance. "I'll drive," Tom said to me shortly. He looked very grave and pale now as ho bundled his bride into the front seat with much less ceremony than he had used to her bridesmaid. Then he gath ered up the reins as I stepped in beside the still weeping blonde. We were off. CHAPTER VIL VICTORY 1 We took a road utterly unknown to me—up hill and down. No one spoke a word. I had plenty of time to think, but somehow my ideas refused to come in any sort bf order. One thought, however, kept rolling upper most in the surging stream of ideas—to be true to my proud resolve not to aid her triumph by one weak look even! And there she sat, crouched up in the buffalo, holding her muff before her face, and seemingly more anxious about tho tip of her nose than about her future state. Once she turned, looked pityingly at her weeping friend. "Don't cry so, Anna darling. It will soon l>e over." *" Ye gods! Here was coolness for you! But tho tender one, far from seeming comforted, only bowed her head still lower, while she ceased to sob. At last tho moonlight waned. A pale, sickly flush rose over the face of the east, ami as we reached the crest of the next hill the day broke. Tom turned two or three times in the next mile and glanced uneasily at the still, bent figure beside me. It seemed to me he took very unnecessary in terest in that young person's crying. Perhaps, however, her evident reluc tance to aid in his disgraceful proceed ing raised remorse in his bosom. Still, I rather respected the White Mouse for her sympathy in her friend's unwomanly position, and as we passed the next heavy shadow of trees I tried my hand at consolation. Stooping toward her I said very gently: "Pray be comforted. A foolish girl will throw herself away sooner or later, yon know. Believe me, if my opinion is of any value to you, I feel that none of the sin, little of the folly, of today is at your door. I know yon were entrapped into it; I know you wouldn't do it if yon could help yourself." The others had failed, but I was suc cessful. The weeping White Mouse stared at me a moment, straightened herself up and the same flash she had left me With the ni"ht before came into her eyes. Then she dried them, stuffed She put her lrrjial hand In mine and mur mured, very gently. handkerchief and hands into her muff and looked dead at the gray's ears. At first I hardly understood that look, then I was fully satisfied. She really did love me then, after all, aud my ire at the perfidy of the pair before us woke a sympathetic flash in her. I said noth ing now. I felt she would be comforted by the commendation of the man she loved so strangely. Up the steep we rattled, nnd straight ahead of us at the base of the winding hill stood a little country church, its graceful spire and old time moldings standing out in clear cut silhouette against the whito clad hill behind it. Tom straightened himself up, pointed to the church with his whip and then without a word let it fall on tho sorrel's flanks. The steaming horses answered with a rush down the hill, whirled us past the white railed church yard and drew up at tho door of the old parson age, lying almost within it. As we stopped the sleigh bells shook out a merry marriage elrime that called a gen tleman into the porch. He was a tall, handsoifte old man, with a forest of gray beard framing a ruddy face, and a sparkle in his (dear eye that showed him not all saint. '"You are prompt as welcome, my dear children," he said, as he lifted Miss Blythe from tho sleigh and bent down to kits her forehead. "All is ready, Tom. I got your letter and the license just in time, and your courier's zeal was proven by the foam that covered his horse." "It was a tough ride over country from the Bull's Eye," Miss Bettie chirped out with perfect composure, while tho still silent Tom helped tho blonde to alight, "and you may bo sure we man aged it in a hurry, Mr. Lindsay. I had to make frightful love to the old clerk— almost kiss him—before I could get the paper." And Miss Bettie actually laughed softly while the wicked black eyes rested for a single second upon my own. I was absolutely struck dumb—motion less—with one leg over the scraper and one to the knee in a snow drift. The coolness of that young woman paralyzed me. The old gentleman laughed. "You are a woman of business, Bet," he said. Woman of business! Did ever bride before run away with lieutenant of Boomerang-! and then boast her prowess to the parson? Woman of brass, he meant. But ho only added: "The paper is a little irregular after all, but I'll make it do. There's nothing I wouldn't do for the daughter of my dear old friend." • Phoebus and Cupid! He'd even help her to an elopement with a penniless boy! Some brilliant reflections upon the corruption of the church popped into my mind, but before I could frame them into portable shape they were cut off by the (dear, sharp voice of that inscrutable bride elect: "And this, of course, is Miss Belton, and this our first and only groomsman." So was I introduced to the Rev. Dr. Lindsay. I shook hands very mistily aud uttered something unintelligible. Then before the awkward boy from the rectory stables had persuaded liimself to take the horses' heads in charge the doctor's i wife appeared on tho steps in the neatest [ of morning toilet*, She kissed Tom and the girls with the most motherly einpressement. "I have heard of you from Bettie," she ] said pointedly to me, and then glanced ; at that wicked young person. Once more the dark eyes flashed into mine for a second, and they so magne tized me that I could scarce resist knock ing the head that contained them against that of the rector's wife. By a huge effort, however, I mastered the impulse, and left that lady free to say: "Do take a cup of coffee, my dears. It is hot and ready. You will wait break fast till after the ceremony, but you really need something hot after your long ride." Bettie looked at Tom. Tom, who by this time was very white and immensely eoleinn, only shook his head shortly. Then he drew the arm of that blonde waterspout—her eyes were running like a millrace again—tenderly within his own. As for me, I stood knee deep in the snow where I had alighted. My head seemed whirling round, and the people near me looked dim and misty. Tom turned shortly to me. "You take Bet." he said in a hoarse whisper. Before I could recover from the strange ness of the arrangement and obey, that wonderful young person had slipped her arm quietly into mine and said, witli a tremor in her voice: "Thanks, dear Mrs. Lindsay, but we prefer the marriage first, and then we*ll all feel more comfortable to enjoy your nice things." Feel more comfortable! Could she /t»el more comfortable? 1 didn't wonder any longer that Tom had yielded when "she planned the whole affair." Such coolr ess would overcome any man. But I couldn't but admire her plnck, though! The rector tucked his wife under his arm and led tbo way over the crisp path. We followed into the side door of the church, where two candles blinked upon the reading desk and threw the rest of the building into still more dismal dark ness. Just before we reached the door, Miss Blythe pressed my arm half nervously, and looked into my face with more of hesitation than she had yet shown at anything. "I ought io explain," she said softly. "Tom told mo how you" I looked at that girl. There was no need for speech—that look was enough! With a sort of half sob her face dropjvd in her liands in what I could only feel was becoming shame. In the aisle Tom stopped, turned a ghastly face to me, while his white lips moved in a loundless effort at speech. He extended something in a hand that shook plainly. Miss Blythe held out hers—it was steady as that of a practiced duelist—took the something and pressed it into my lingers. "The ring," she whispered. I took it passively. By this time I was completely conquered. A young person who could plan an elopement, arrange every detail herself, choose her avowed lover for solo Witness, and finally wake the groom at midnight, had power to startle me no further. As we approached the chancel I let go the bride's arm mechanically and ranged up at Tom's right side. Forbearance was leaving mo fast. My boasted strength had all gone long ago; I was wandering in my mind nnd weak in my knees. I was dead beat. But for pure shame I should have rushed from the church and wallowed abjectly in the snow without. When we all dropped on our knees 1 could not strangle down the sob that burst frdm my heart, and the bitterness of my spirit found vent in anything but the utterance of the prayer the time and place called for. How long we knelt I have no idea. It might have been seconds, it might have been hours. Somehow I found myself again standing up, clutching the chancel rail for sup port, while the tall form of the rector seemed miles away, and his words came dulled to my ears through a boom in them like that of angry surf. I could think, hear, feel nothing. 1 had but one consciousness, that I was wretched—wretched! Tom's tremulous responses fell mean ingless upon my ear, and yet, through all my agony, I listened with strained intensity for the words in which she was to speak herself his. Those words never came —only a soft, murmur, as of the spring breeze. Even in that supreme moment of agony I felt a tender, yearning pride that all the woman in her was not dead—that it had at last been touched, even in the depths, by the solemnity of the sacrifice at which she held a part. The doctor's hands were laid upon the wedded pair, It was done! I staggered alone into the glaring sun light on the church yard snow. »»»»»# As wo dashed down the main street of Piketon at 10 a. in. that day, our sleigh bells screamed with a rollicking jollity that brought many a face to door and window. Mrs. Lindsay's wedding breakfast had been of the very best, and the bridal party, plucking appetite out of the inev itable, enjoyed it hngely. Even after the clear coffee and feathery waffles could tempt no longer, they had lin gered to listen to the rector's genial flow of talk. Mayor Blythe was just mounting his sober old horse as we dashed into his avenue at a slashing trot. "Hello!" he cried, arresting one foot half way over the beast. "Back so soon? And you, too, Anna? Why, we will have our Christmas dinner here, after all, then!" "Oh, darling papal You'll forgive us? Now promise you will!" and Bettie hounded from my side and threw her arms round the chief magistrate of Pike ton. "Forgive you, puss! Why, of course I will. But for what?" "Oh, papa, he's just the dearest fellow in the world! And he couldn't help it. Twaa all my fault, wasn't it now?" She turned to me. "Not for tho life of him!" I cried, slap ding Tom on the back with wild hilarity. "Ho deserves the very best wife in the land. Mr. Blythe, and I'm sure he's found her!" Hero I kissed the bride's hand with a fervor that smacked again iv the frosty air. "Wife! What do you mean?" cried the mayor, descending rapidly from his saddle. "Now, papa, don't be impatient" "Impatient, tho devil! You'll drive me wild! Here"—this to me—"yon seem to have your wits left. What does the girl mean?" you forgive us? You promised to forgive us, that's a darling old papa!" and throwing her aims round the bewil dered mayor she led him into the snug little parlor. Then she shut the door carefully after we had filed guiltily in. "Now, you dear old papa, we all ran away—that is, Tom and 1 ran away" "Ran away!" roared the mayor, very red in the face. "Yes; but it was my fault, wasn't it, Tom? And, oh! papa, I'm so glad we did, aud we married" "Married!" Tho old gentleman's face was purple now. "Yes, papa, at Dr. Lindsay's church at 6 o'clock. Now, don't be angry, you dear, dear papa! And we married—that is, Tom married—Anua Belton!" 11 I "Oh—oh!" whistled the mayor. "So | that's the secret, is it? So you ran away ! with the golden fleece, you little Jason jin petticoats!" and the old gentleman I laid his hand kindly upon the golden j locks of the blushing Mrs. Tom. "Well, I will promise not to be angry." "But—my aunt?" Mrs. Tom blushed and glanced slyly at her husband. "How can 1 tell her?" "How she will rave! Why, I had quite forgotten her," cried Mr. Blythe, witli a furious fit of laughter. "To sleep with one eye open for ten years and lose her treasure after all! Bad children, bad children! But I see I must be peace maker, so I'll put off business today and drive over to 'Shadynook' on that mis sion." "And, papa, you must make our peace with Aunt Belton, and you must bring her back to eat her Christmas dinner in forgiveness. Tell her it is too late now, and she has noth ing for it but forgiveness. And she can ride over, too, papa," added Miss Bertie saucily, "for we left her horses and ran away with our own." "She shall come, puss, even if I have to elope with her myself. But you can't tell what a shock you gave me, my baby, by your mystery, for you know, you rogue, 1 never mean to give you up!" "Then, sir," 1 said quietly, "after what she has told me this morning, we will have to come and live with you. For I never mean to give her up!" It was Bettw's turn to blush now, down to the snowy ruffle against her delicate throat; but she put her loyal hand in mine and murmured, very gently: "He loves me so well, papa!" THE END. CHRISTMAS IN PERU. THE GREAT FESTIVAL IN A SUMMER LIKE SETTING. It Comes in the Height of the Outdoor BatliiDg Season unci Is Celebrated Amid Blooming Wild flowers—A Sol emn Heligioug Holiday. As the season consecrated by all Chris tian peoples, of whatever race or clime, draws near, how few of us realize how dif ferently it is observed according to the po sition of the observer on this globe of ours, itself so small an atom in the immensity of the universe! The northern nations of Europe welcome it with good cheer and so cial gatherings; the dwellers on English soil with yule log and mistletoe; our own people with wreaths of evergreen and holly, and among all these there lingers the fragrance of the ancient, traditions of good old St. Nicholas, the children's friend, witli team of reindeer and burden of toys, which the legends tell were meant for distribu tion among the good little children. But this is talk too serious for Christmas tide. How do our neighbors of warmer climes keep the festival? For them Santa Claus and his outfit would be a mystery too deep to bo penetrated. The only snow they have ever seen lies miles nway on the slopes of their volcanoes. They have never heard the merry jingle of the sleigh bell or the keen ring of the skate on a frosty morning, while a snow storm would aston ish them as mnch as we should bo amazed by the importation of one of their earth quakes. Let us take a peep at Peru, our lovely sonthern sister. Blessed with a climate almost perfect, where tho heliotrope grows wild on the hillside and (lowers bloom all the year round, there is no more gentle, kindly, hospitable people on earth. Lima, the capital, is renowned for t he beauty and grace of its Indies, aud the children are like animated Christmas cards. There is no jealousy of the foreigner. He is welcomed, entertained and treated kindly and fairly by the government and the people. Life in Peru is of a quieter, gentler character than as wo know it in the hurry nnd rush of our business eagerness, nnd one who has lived among them and learned to ap preciate their lovable qualities will often send back a grateful glance of retrospec tion, Aa trav'li?rs oft look back at eve, when eastward darkly gi.ing, To gaze upon the light they leave still faiut behind them glowing Among the Anglo-Saxon dwellers in Peru Banta Claus is not forgotten, and the approach of Christmas is looked for ward to with eager expectation in many a childish heart. The fabled shoe of the an cient dame with her numerous progeny, the glass slipper of Cinderella, and the trials and triumphs of the Sleeping Beauty, are as familiar to them ns to ourown little ones. Perhaps some who may read these lines may remem her a dozen years ago to have seen the parlors of one of the leading foreign families in Lima filled with a de lighted audience to witness the debut of the daughter of the house ns Cinderella, the beautiful child bearing herself with as perfect self possession as the bride of the prince as she afterward showed when, at the drawing room of iier majesty, in Lon don, she bowed before the queen, herself the fairest among them all. But Pern lies a few degrees south of the equator, and while the American boy is burnishing his skates or putting his sled in order, his Peruvian brother is hastening to the seashore, and the summer bathing season is at its height. Christmas gifts are not so plentiful, the shops not so crowded with puzzled customers, nor their windows so filled with dazzling novelties as with us; but a beautiful custom obtains there, as throughout all South American countries. As the season rolls on apace and the sacred anniversary draws nigh, one of tbe largest rooms is set apart, and a Stage improvised, ou which is built up, in varying degrees of detail, according to the ability of the family, a representation of tho scene nt Bethlehem, with all its sur roundings faithfully shown. In the dis tance are the shepherds watching their llocks—the wise men of the east in royal robes, bringing gifts from afnr, and iv the foreground tiie bumble manger, with the holy family grouped around the cradle, while the star of Bethlehem shines brightly in the sky above. Gold, silver and jewel" nre lavished on the decoration of the scene, days are devoted to perfecting its smallest detail, and on Christinas eve, and for days thereafter, friends and visitors are ad mitted to gaze and admire. At the Christmas season in Lima—com ing as it does at midsummer—the skies art, cloudless and the air is tempered by the breeze from the Pacific, which rolls plac idly along the shores of Peru. As the brief twilight of the tropics fades, th<* jeweled cross of the southern hemisphere rises in the sky, the avenues of the plazt begin to fill, bright eyes flash brief glances of recognition, friends exchange pleasant greetings as they meet, the well trained bands of the garrison play softly tn the summer air, until at last the sweet voice* bell of the cat lied ml tells the "Animas.' There is a momentary hush, a whispered prayer for the souls of loved ones gone be fore, the crowd begins to melt silently away, and as the moon rises soft and full over the distant peaks of the Andes we turn from the scene, bearing with us a pleasant memory of a Christinas in Peru. —Ex-Mayor Grace in Troy Times.