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Birmingham state herald. (Birmingham, Ala.) 1895-1897, December 22, 1895, Part One, Image 6

Image and text provided by University of Alabama Libraries, Tuscaloosa, AL

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85044812/1895-12-22/ed-1/seq-6/

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A Wonderful Christmas for the
Little Waif.
Meant to Waylay Santa Claus in the Five Points
House cf Industry and Steal That
Drum—His Confession.
“Now, Great Jones, you must go to
“Don’t want to go to bed. Want to
wait up an’ see Santy Claus."
"Santa Claus won’t come to bad little
boys and girls who don’t say their pray
ers and go to bed.”
Great Jones was at first inclined to
weep, but he thought better of it, at: 1
allowed himself to be. led a captive to
the big children's nursery. He was a
tiny waif lodged under the sheltering
wing of the Five Points House of Indus
try, and his odd pet name of Great
Jones” had been given to him by th
poor family with whom he had lodged
before his removal to that kindly charity
His foster-father, a laboring1 man, baa
picked the child up in Great Jones stieet,
near where that rather grimy.U^ugh;
fare enters the Bowery. No inquiries
could elicit the liitle wanderers name
so that he had been temporarily called
Great Jones after the street of his iind
" now. Great Jones was distinctly red
haired, and as obstinate as he was red
haired. Somebody had told him that
Santa Claus—gracious giver °f R
things—was coming during the still
watches of the night to the Five ?°]«ts
House of Industry and its nursery, ju t
as he came to the young people wlth
wealthy parents in the grand homes up
t0'Tondles,“ who was a cripple, and had
alrcadv spent a Christmas In the nur
sery, had described the gorgeous array
of presents which the good saint left by
the children's bedsides the year before.
Great Jones at first proved incredulous;
but. one day finding the matron disen
gaged, he questioned her on this impor
mill qui-oumi.
"Yes Great Jones, answered the ma
tron. "Santa Claus Is sent here every
Christmas eve by the kind ladles and
gentlemen with presents for the babes
of the nursery. All sorts of nice things
he brings, too--candy and toys and pop
Bl"And drums?” eagerly asked Great
Jones. "Does he bring drums?”
When the matron admitted that Santa
Claus had been known to bring a drum
Great Jones smiled happily. The chief
ambition of his small soul was to own a
drum—a real drum, such as he had seen
In the Peter P. Mulcahy association pa
rade one night last summer. He was de
termined at all hazards to capture the
drum which Santa Claus brought.
But how? Suppose the saint took it
Into his head to give the drum to some
other of the nursery children—to "Too
dles,” for instance, or to Betsy Ann?
Betsy Ann was such a remarkably
good little girl that Santa Claus might
well feel like giving her what seemed to
Great Jones to be the choicest prize of
all. His heart was troubled over the
prospect. He moped In corners think
ing over plans to win the drum and
ashamed to confide his sorrows to the
matron or any one else.
Most charitable folk know about the
Five Points House of Industry and its
nursery. In the very heart of what was
once the wickedest spot in all New York
city stands the plain brick structure
which shields from the cruel streets so
many small men and women. Some of j
them are orphans, some are the children
of parents so poor as to be themselves
objects of charity. Some—like Great
Jones—are waifs and strays on the great
tide of metropolitan life. But all are
happy ns care and comfort can make
them. _
Just now, however. Great Jones, our
red-headed foundling, was anything but
happy. The longed-for drum and tlio
sickening fear of losing It oppressed him.
He had formed a desperate plot to hide
in the hallway, outside the children's
dormitory, and waylay Santa Claus when
he arrived on Christmas eve with Ills
wonderful budget of good things.
You must pardon Great Jones for his
covetousness. You see, he.had not been
long in the house of industry, and the
genial teachings of the ladies in charge
of the charity had not yet eradicated
the bitter lessons of the sidewalk.
That drum—that amazing drum—
which he had seen and heard out of the
charity window as the Peter P. Mulcahy
parade went by still filled him with its
glory. He felt that he should surely die
did he not secure a drum of Ills own.
After all, what could "Toodles.” who was
a cripple, want with such a toy? And
Betsey Ann—a girl—what fun could she
extract from its jocund "rub-a-dub?"
Ro when Christmas eve came around
Great Jones carried Into execution his
desperate scheme. The fifty or sixty lit
tle ones in his dormitory had all been
washed and dressed for the night in their
quaint little white linen gowns. Prayers
would be said In a minute, and then—oft
to bed, and no chance of waylaying Santa
Quickly Great Jones, whose cot was
near the door of the long, warm dormi
tory, sidled out into the hallway and hid
his white-robed form behind a conven
ient window curtain. He feared not
cough or cold. All he hoped for was to
escape observation and meet Santa Claus
with the drum!
But fate and the matron were in Great
Jones's way. Just as he had ensconced
himself behind the curtain the matron
happened to look out of the dormitory
and caught sight of the white night gown
and the tell tale bare feet. Thus was
Great Jones discovered and hauled for
the night into the dormitory once more.
His soul rebelled, but he went with the
matron nevertheless, and, rather sulkily,
knelt down like the other children to
It was a strange and withal a winning
scene, that presented by the dormitory.
Around the brightly papered walls was
festooned greenery galore. Rows and
rows of small cots, each white as the
snow on the roofs overhead, filled the
long, low room. And in the open central
swelled It with harmony as unpremedi
tated as that of so many songbirds in the
hedgerow. Only Great Jones was silent,
and the matrol, missing his shrill treble,
looked wondertngly at the rebellious red
Had she known It, a mighty struggle
was going on in the heart of Great Jones.
As the prayer ended It had suddenly
flashed across his mind that on the very
night of the Peter P. Mulcahy parade
Betsey Ann had watched with him from
the window, and that she, too, had ex
pressed a wish to own a drum. Then,
too, only a few days before Betsey Ann
had divided with him her last two gum
drops, the gift of a visitor. And here he
was going to take the drum away from
Betsey Ann.
The hymn began, but Great Jones was
not singing. The pulses In his temples
were throbbing furiously—his poor little
head seemed to spin round and round.
The voice was that of the matron.
Officially, Great Jones was known as
“Harry” in the house; but even the fa
miliar voice did not make him look up.
Then the matron ceased the hymn, and,
stepping rapidly down between the beds,
took the child in her arms.
"Why, Ha—Great Jones,” she said,
"what can be the matter with you?”
Then the floodgates were opened and
Great Jones burst into a passionate tor
rent of tears. With his head upon the
matron’s shoulder he sobbed out his aw
ful confession. •
“1—1 stayed up to c—catch Santy Claus
an' take the drum fr—from him. Yes—
ipopped his head from betwwen the blan
kets and peered forth.
There stood the matron and In her
hand was—a drum. Yes, a drum, after
all; a splendid affair, crimson painted
and corded, with two line drumsticks to
"Is that Betsey Ann’s,” faltered Great
"No,” smilingly answered the happy
matron, " It’s your own—your very own,
Great Jones. Santa Claus must have
heard you last night, for he brought two
drums—one for Betsey Ann and one for
The Peter P. Mulcahy parade was quite
outdone during Christmas week, when
Great Jones woke the echoes with the
resounding rataplans he beat on his
brand new drum through the house of
industry corridors.
An Old-Fashioned Lover
One of the originals of Moliere’s “Les
Precieuses Ridicules,” that delicious sat
ire on "Lur Maison Rambouillet, was
Mademoiselle Julie d'Augennes. She was
considered altogether charming and
much incense was burned before her by
the frequenters of the Salon. One New
Year's morning she received a unique
and exquisite tribute of admiration. It
was a dainty autograph volume entitled
the Gulrlande de Julie.” A garland was
painted on the outside; within, on one of
the vellum pages, would be a lowly flower
from the garland, on the opposite an
original poem. Nineteen poets and nine
teen artists were represented. This
—- , o aiTOrrr —
space knelt three score of praying chil
dren. That is, all prayed but one. Great
Jones was not praying.
He was a rebel. The whole world
seemed to have gone wrong with him.
His lips pouted and he had to shut his
blue eyes tight to keep back the scalding
tears. For, after all, he was to be cheat
ed out of his drum!
The comely matron led the prayers
and all the sweet childish voices followed
her in unison.
Then she sang a hymn--the hymn
which we have all sung in the days of
boyhood—"Now 1 Day Me Down to
All the voices—at least all but that of
Great Jones—caught up the measure arid
an' Betsey Ann, she wants the drum.
Oh! O—ooo!” and the voice swelled Into
a wall.
The matron lulled the child Into peace
dexterously, as is her wont, while a sus
piciously humorous look might have been
detected In her eyes. Then the dear old
hymn was finally sung and the children
packed off to bed. As for the penitent
Great Jones, he simply wept himself to
Morning icame—Christmas morning—
and with Its earliest peeps aWoke Great
Jon(,s. At flrsf he was afraid to look on
the chair beside his cot, where he had
hung his stocking. Finally, however, he
jr’Tll III "" I-HVi.-— ..-.. *■ '■ J
book Is stll In existence, and was lately
sold at a price representing 1000 francs
for each page. This was devised by the
Marquis de Montausier, whose long woo
ing of Julie was the passionately Inter
esting romance of the Salon. He was
a soldier brave and true, and he won
laurels again and again on the field of
battle, returning from each campaign
only to have his probation continued.
At one time he was ten months a prison
er of war, and was ransomed by his
mother for 10,000 crowqs. Julie was 3
years his senior. At the age of 38 she
wedded him, doubting even then whether
she had known him quite long enough.
Julie d'Augennes, then Madame de Mon
tausier, presided over the Salon in its
later years.
You Must Lay in a Supply for Those Dainty
Prom Europe cotpes the warning note
to the gourmands of the world to provide
themselves as early as possible with their
supply of Russian caviar. During the
latter part of the last month a good
quality of caviar brought from $3 to $4 a
pound in Astrakhan, and since this year’s
output is but very small it will become
very much dearer. Although many peo
ple have tried to explain the small quan
tity of this year's output with various
reasons, the only reason which the prac
tical Russian will admit is that the stur
geons do not want to be caught. The
October catch was so poor that the Rus
sians expect to be out of caviar before
Christmas. Europe is, however, alive to
the fact that American caviar coming
from the United States, more particularly
from California, Washington and Dela
ware, is to be had in large quantities.
A pound of this American product
brings about $1 in Hamburg, and In its
present appearance and taste differs but
very little from the Russian product.
The only safe means of distinguishing
the origin of the caviar is its color,
which, in the American, has a brownish
appearance, while the gray pearls of the
Russian caviar are preferred by the con
solid suer toys
What the Astor Baby Will Play
With. '
The Tree Will Be Illuminated With Electric
Lights, and All Hiss Millionaire Baby
Friends Will Be Invited.
Santa Claus and Christmas, like the
blue sky and the sunshine, belong equal
ly to the million-dollar baby and the
poorest little tenement house waif.
To rich and poor Christmas tells the
same wonderful story of the little babe
born one starry winter's night in the
manger at Bethlehem. For each and all
the angels sang the glad first Christmas
carol of “Peace on Earth, Good Will to
And the wise men who came from the
east and brought gifts of gold and
precious stones taught the first grand
lissen of Christmas giving to every single
one of us.
But there is no gainsaying but old San
ta Claus comes with an unequal sleigh
load to the palace of the rich and the
hovel of the poor, and, in very truth, to
all of the intermediate dwellings. For
there are many little folks whom my
heart gives a great big ache for, who
won’t find a single thing in their stock
ings Christmas morning, even if they
are lucky enough to have a stocking to
hang up, and a fireplace at which to
hang it.
And there are other little boys who are
going to have entirely too much for their
good. But my story is about one little
boy and the wonderful Christmas old
Santa Claus has laid by for him. It is
every bit true, but I am sure that you
will feel when you have read it that the
old-time fairy stories are jio longer grand
enough and there should be a brand new
lot written to fit the modern Inventions
and discoveries.
This little boy’s name is 'William Vin
cent Astor, and he is the only child of
one of the richest men in the world.
One reason for the unusual celebration
this year is due to the fact that the little
chap has just passed four years, and this
is the first of his four Christmases that
he could really and truly appreciate
blessed old Salnto Santa Claus and his
wonderful gifts.
When William opens his big brown
eyes Christmas morning he will see first
of all one of his little white lamb’s wool
stockings hanging by the side of the open
fire in the beautifully appointed nursery.
The stocking will be even fatter than
■ hen filled by the baby’s plump little
leg. The filling will be old-fashioned,
just the same good things that you and
I and all the rest of good little girls and
boys have found since Christmas came
to make this old world a better place In
which to live.
In the toe of this particular stocking
there will be an orange golden yellow, a
big round rosy apple will come next and
Ihen nuts and candies of every sort and
kind. The toys will not be In evidence
until after the Christmas breakfast, then
this little William will be permitted a
peep into a fairyland as beautiful and
wonderful as Aladdin’s lamp could bring
forth in the dear oM days of genii and
magicians and elves.
The father of the little lad, John Jacob
Astor, Is an electrician way past the
amateur stage, and he has spent many
busy days in his work-room devising
the wonders which are to astonish his
little son and all the little guests v/ho
have been lucky enough to be bidden to
the Astor Christmas tree.
The arand saloon in which the tall hoi
ly tree stands Is one of the most mag
nificent apartments In the world. Be
sides the tiny porcelain candles of white
and pink and blue, the light pours out
from stars and snotvy white lily cups in
pleasing contrast to their bright red ber
ries and the glossy green leaves of the
holly tree.
Gold and Bilvor Toys.
The fruit of the tree is rich indeed, for
it is ail of gold and silver. Toys of such
precious metal are a new thing to Ameri
cans, but in qunint old Holland theyhavo
been played with for hundreds of years.
Each family of Importance in the old
Dutch land has these toys, which, being
indestructible, are handed down from
father to son and from mother to daugh
ter through generations. Bunched wdth
gold-colored ribbons, these wonderful
silver toys hang from every little twig
and branch of this generous tree.
Tiny coffee pots, sugar bowls and
creamers of varying shapes and designs,
daintily shaped chairs for dolly to sit
and rock in, cups and saucers holding
quite a tablespoonful of milk or choco
late are for the especial delectation of
the little maids, who play tea party with
their dollies. For the lads there aro
cleverly w rought animals, goats drawing
wagons, storks wdtli a chariot of baby
storks, dogs barking furiously with o-nly
their heads showdng beyond the protect
ing door of the kennel, and rocking
horses, ail of diminutive size, but
wrought with all the skill w’hich grown
up critics would demand. At the foot of
this tree are placed the toys too large to
hang upon the tree, and these are all
for the little Astor child.
But the present of all presents to the
favored boy is not in the house at all,
but safely guarded In the famous Astor
stables. It Is a real live pony of tho
gentle, Intelligent Shetland breed; its
coat is as silky as a fine lady’s seal-skin
sacque, and its eyes are almost human in
their softness.
Along wun an or me juvenile million
aires, William was carried by his nurse
to the horse show. The little Shetland
ponies won his childish heart, and he
could only be persuaded to leave them
by the promise that Santa Claus would,
without fall, bring him one at Christ
mas, and Santa Claus has brought it, as
he will bring all of the temporal good
things of life to this fortune-favored lit
tle 4-year-old.
In the name of this little child, and as
his guests, many little children gather
about Christmas trees In all quarters of
this great city. Though the gifts will
not be of gold or silver, they will be Just
as welcome to the little toyless tots who
will clasp to their hearts the long-looked
for dolly or the big red sled. Into the
wards of the great hospitals, so rich in
healing and blessing, carefully chosen
toys will come on Christmas morning as
a thank offering for this little golden
haired boy wrho lives In a great white
palace and has wonders from land and
sea from all countries the whole world
over to rest his beautiful eyes upon.
F. F.
Are Not Those Which Are Crowded Witt
A decorator who has his own original
ideas on decorations says that the great
fault in American houses is over-orna
mentation, says the Upholsterer. Things
beautiful in themselves are so crowded
that the eye is bewildered and can find
no central point on which to rest. The
decoration of a room should culminate or
center at some spot, and from that the
lines should diverge according to artistic
rules. We see the force of this in cathe
drals where the altar forms the grand
climax of ornamentation of furnishing.
Of course there are minor centers as
there is always a secondary plot in every!
good play, but the eye should instinct
ively be guided to the main point of dec
oration. In an ordinary house this is the
fireplace and mantel in each room, and
special care should be taken that artistic
rules are not broken in the ornamenta
tion of that most important part of the
There are braying men in the world as
well as braying asses; for what is loud
and senseless talking and sweating any
other than braying?—L’Estrange.
k-lll ^

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