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Py/yWho is it hammers the big church bell ^
W Va (l Cn Christmas Eve, till melodies welp^i^^>sV jl,' b |L -/y\ AndUbybble and float, in liquid note, y ^ /V\' l ^own over the town from its depp-toined throaty^.' \1 |T | /The Christmas fairies hammer the^bell,jjyi |jr ' ^^-morls it fashions thyrobe-ofynow, /W )j\ V A. V/YWith diamonds woven, and^tacjight-glow,. Vy ill \So\ondrous white it mocks the nigh^>. lL \ p" On Natures shouldet^glisteiUfrgijrigh*? ( //In "ur pA/Kfce Christmas^iries fashiofTtiKf^now. \jf Jjj Syv \ \ And itr^f at twelve when the^thaoribeanis tall \ 1 U n W>|!yp^ve flecked the floor of the great frdntjjall, }J V mb y -:What merry trajo-make sweetmeats rain ;v (~~7}\ J WT /y ) Who paiWlittle frost-thoughts on the pahwV— /« jfiy/ / The CnristmaMairjes arrsm||it all., /pren tpfp upstairs ip/a shimmering band^/ ( ft, 'l./.. - Anc^ shower"'on/TedyiH tucked in bed; 'yyy'.^ / iQ Jr ° ,f *y>A^dPwpr oLddreams for his happvhead—- X / \jRI jfly/yjjyXften scam pe^a way to NkwhereJLajfcfy (^^V'7 yJySl f-' An Old Maid s Christmas By BERTHA E. BUSH ‘‘Aunt Annabel,” said Juanita, with a merry jingling of skates accompany ing her speech, “won’t you please tie up my Christmas packages for me? You know where they go.” Aunt Annabel assented with a little sigh, for her hands were already full of Christmas errands for the family. Juanita did not notice the sigh. Her laughing eyes were filled with the vision of the boy whom she knew to be waiting just around the corner, ready to carry those skates and buckle up the straps. But her girl companion, less absorbed, did notice it. “I don’t believe you ought to have asked her to do that, Nita. Every body is so busy at Christmas.” “Oh, Aunt Annabel is always busy. But she isn’t any busier at Christmas than at any other time. What does an old maid’s Christmas amount to?” Aunt Annabel heard the careless wrords and the little wrinkles on her forehead deepened with pain. “An old maid’s Christmas.” The red mounted slowly to her thin cheeks. It was not the quick blushing of girlhood which is deemed so beautiful, but a burning, painful flushing that seemed to leave her wan face more hollow and whiter than before. “An old maid’s Christmas!” How hateful it was to be an old maid! She had never dreamed of it when she was as young as Juanita. When she was as young as Juanita—oh, much young er—John Warren had said: “Annabel is my little wife, and we are going to be married next Christmas.” How far away the next Christmas had seemed then—farther than the next century now! The years slipped before her eyes like a dream. There had been other lovers, but none so dear as this little John of her childish years. How de voted they had been to each other, and how constant through all their boy and girl ups and downs! The eld ers had smiled at their frank affection and half believed that what John said would come to pass at some future Christmas. She and John had wholly believed it. She remembered how they played together, how he drew her on his sled, how he always chose her first at spelling matches, although she was not a good speller, and John was one n I.T7.1 " ■ >-11 |i-_L/a ii I'r’WKM n hi “AUNT ANNABEL,” SAID JUANITA. of the best. She remembered their quarrels. Ah! The last time she had ever seen him they had quarreled. It was about a pair of stubby red mittens that she had knit with skillful girlish fingers. She had meant them for his Christmas present, but he had found it out beforehand, and, boy fashion, had teased her about them. “I’ll never give them to you now," she had declared, angrily. And then her John, little true lover as he was, had melted. “Oh, please give them to me,” he had begged. “You know I would give you everything I have, Annabel. If you love me, you will give them to pie.” : But it was Bweet to hear him plead, and the little maiden was desirous of prolonging the pleasure. “If ever I love you again, I will give them to you,” was all she would say. jjust then a neighbor’s boy had hurried up breathless with importance. “John, John. Your mother has sent for you to go home right away. She’s got a telegram from your grandfather. (He’s dead.” It was the last time she had ever Been John Warren. Within an hour he was speeding on the train to the home that death had entered so sud* denly. Then there had been sickness and unexpected removal in her own family. If John had written to her, she had never received the letter. Her own childish, misdirected epistle to him had come back to her months aft erward from the dead letter office. I John had passed completely out of her life. But put away among her most precious treasures were the little red mittens w'aiting to be given to him. What had an old maid to do with such mementoes? How Juanita would laugh if she knetv her foolishness! She would get out the mittens this very Christmas and send them to her brother Bob’s boy—Bob’s boy who was always losing mittens. It was a hard day. Juanita’s heed less words seemed to tinge everything with bitterness. They sounded in her imagination again as she sat wrapping up the Christmas presents. A foolish mist was in her eyes as she did the stubby mittens up into a neat parcel, wrapped them in white tissue paper “SWEETHEART.” HE SAID. and tied them with red ribbon. Just then she was called away. The pres ents lay out on her table as carefully arranged as the specimens In a scien tific cabinet, hers on one side and Juanita’s on the other. So they would have remained had careless little Susette kept out of the room. But Susette wanted baby ribbon for her own small concerns, and nobody but Aunt Annabel kept it on hand. In helping herself to it, she knocked two small packages from the table. They were both about the same size, soft and tied up with red ribbon, and the envelopes to hold each had laid, al ready directed, beside. Susette, hastily picking them up and trying to put them back, exchanged the packages. The stubby red mittens in their dainty wrappings laid beside the envelope ad dressed “Mr. Walter Taylor,” to whom Juanita had meant to send an em broidered handkerchief. “Who is Mr. Walter Taylor?” Aunt Annabel had asked, and Juanita had replied, lightly: » “Oh, he’s Jack’s uncle.” (Jack was the boy who carried the skates for her.) “He’s a lonely old gentleman and I thought it would please him to have me send him something. He’s a wid ower, and he has lots of money, and Jack is his only nephew.” And world ly-wise little Juanita smiled meaning ly at the unworldly little aunt who would never, at her age or at any age, have thought of future prospects in this way. And so, by Susette’s mistake, Mr. Walter Taylor received the stubby red mittens instead of the handkerchief that was designed for him. It was a lonely man who opened the little red ribboned package, though no one but a girl like Juanita would have thought of calling him an old gentleman. When he unwrapped the package and read the card that said in the small, dainty, old-fashioned “lady’s hand”: “With a great deal of love for Christ mas from Annabel Wilder,” his face suddenly changed into the face of a boy. He whistled. Then he laughed. Then he scrutinized the postmark, snatched his hat and was off like a shot to find a directory. But Miss An nabel’s name was not in the directory, as she lived with her sister and sister’s husband. It was Christmas evening before he traced her. It had been a lonely day for Anna bel. Juanita's words had taken all the pleasure out of it. Sister Agnes and Brother Charles and their children were as kind as could be, but they be longed so thoroughly to each other and were so absorbed in each other that she could not help a very sore left-out feeling. She went to her room early with a headache, and some tears had bedewed the pillow before Juanita tapped at the door to say, in an aston ished voice: "There’s a caller in the parlor for you, Aunt Annabel. It’s Jack uncle, and ha no^er said a word about the | Christmas handkercnlef I embroidered for tyim. He didn’t seem to notice mi at all. I doubt if he knew me. But he wants to see you dreadfully." Jack’s uncle? Annabel felt bewil dered enough, but she rose and made ready with a sigh, feeling quite sm that Juanita was mistaken and that it was only a book agent making a most untimely visit. Who else ever called upon her? The caller stood by the parlor door as if he could hardly wait for her com ing, and, curiously enough, he held in his hands—of all the ridiculous things —a stubby pair of red mittens. But it was not a strange face that bent over them. It was the face, grown older and altered, but certainly the face, of the boy for whom the little mittens had been knit, John Warren, The room whirled strangely to An nabel, but it was surely John who caught her. It was John’s voice that was explaining that he was indeed John, that his name had been changed to suit the provisions of the will of the maternal grandfather who made him his heir, with the condition that bs would take his name. Somehow in the surprise and the be wilderment and the comfort of having John again, John to whom she had told every thought, the pitiful little story of the spoiled Christmas day came out. Then she raised her head in sudden mortification, and held it to the light till every wrinkle and worried pucker from the broad forehead to the tremulous mouth revealed themselves in pitiless plainness. “Oh, what have I said? What must you think of me?” she cried. But the man who had been John Warren drew the little head down again, and, quite unmindful of Juanita, who was certainly peeping through the crack in the door, kissed the trembling Ups and the white cheek that grew suddenly as rosy as Juanita’s own. “Sweetheart,” he said, “you shall never spend another old maid’s Christ mas.” HE WANTED TO KNOW MUCH An Inquisitive Youngster’s Efforts to Obtain Information About Christmas Day. “Papa!” It was two o’clock in the morning, and Higgins was as sleepy as the aver age man is at that hour, but the littlo lad of four in his little bed near by was just as wide awake as some chil dren are apt to be at any hour of the night, relates the Detroit Free Press. “What is it?” asks papa. “When’s Christmas?” “Oh, before long.” “When is ‘before long?’ ” “Well, it’s soon. You go to sleep.’* “I don’t want to. I’m all waked up. How soon is Christmas?” “Next week.” “Monday?” “No—you go to sleep." “The day after Monday?” “No—not until Saturday. Now, you shut up your peepers right away. 1 want to go to sleep.” “I don’t. Say, papa!” “What do you want?” “What you going to buy me?” “I can’t tell yet.” “I wouldn’t want you to, if you could, papa.” “Why not?” “I’d rather be s’prised.” "Well, supposing you ’s’prise me by going to. sleep.” “That wouldn’t be any s’prise, ’cause you’d know I was going to do it. Say, papa, papa!” “What now?” “Sammy Smithers says there ain't no such thing as a Santy Claus. There is, isn’t there?" "Oh, I suppose so.” “Sammy he said you and my mam ma was all the Santy Claus there’d bo in this house. He was a big old liar, wasn’t he?” “There! there! Don’t you ever call anyone a liar.” “Not even when they are one?” “Not at all.” “You can, if they’re littler’n you are, can't, you?” “No; you must never call anyone a liar.” “Well, he is one, all the same, isn’t he?” iou go to sleep. “You’re not Santy Claus, are you, papa? If Sammy Smithers says so again, I’ll—well, I guess I’ll break h'.a jaw.” “Don’t you ever let me hear you say such a thing again. Now you go to sleep, or maybe you’ll not find any thing at all in your stocking Christ mas morning.” “What you s’pose I’d find there if I'm good?” “Oh, I don’t know.” "Then you’re not Santy Claus, and Sammy Smithers Is a big, old liar. Goody, goody, gout! I s’pect me an’ Sammy’ll fight about it, and—” “No, you’ll not. But you’ll go to sleep right now, because—” “Do you s’pose I’d get a bike in my stocking?” “No, I do not.” “Why?” “Because you’re not big enough to have one.” “But I’m getting bigger an’ bigger all the time, an’ my legs is getting longer an’ longer, an—” “Now, that will do. You shut right up, of---” “Sammy he thinks he’ll get a tri cycle, but I’ll bet he don’t. I wouldn’t want one. They’re only fit for girls! Glad I ain’t a girl, because—you s’posc I’ll get a railroad train with real smoke an’ steam coming out of it?” “No, I do not, but—” “I’d rather have a steamboat to float in the bathtub, or a real gun to shoot with. I know a boy I’d kill if I had a gun. Won’t you buy me a gun?” “No, and I’ll not buy you anything, if you don’t go right to sleep.” “Well, I guess I will. I don’t want to know, anyhow. I’m asleep now, papa. My eyes are shut just as tight! I’m all asleep. Are you, papa?” “Yes.” “So am I." He is at least still, and Higgins ia thankful that he does not hear any thing more from him that night No Credit for Dad. It is hard to be saving up every cent for a kid’s Christmas when you know old Santa is to get all the credit for it— Atlanta Journal. • ;tMU Dear me I Q \yy Here’s Christmas ohce" again—9 j MT The Christmas Tree, _■ c - trjiff The Merry BeUs, The Holly] mht The Peace on Barth and the Goodwill tv XT® \ Y i The Jolly' T ti t Good Fellowship, the generous supply-^ (Jm Of Christmas Turkey, Pudding, also Pie, * sij The Family Reunion i * ' U. f And *weet communion > 1 Of heart to heart, expanded now by reason f^j Of the glad season, WJ The cards, depicting frosty Christmas \ apy% scenes/ LVt The magazines Hrl Filled with the same old hoary | fr Of Christmas story. Y I m All these are with us now] L *A * aUow jhYH It’s Christmas, and the chances are but Yvfl That I’m mistaken.^ My confidence in this cannot be shaken, if^klsohere’a a Merry^Chriatmaa toyou aU.' C0J «*y II si |j 1 JfA This Christmas day (-Jg? /yjr 9. Y ( tl Prove all your fancy has anticipated, WtXH Tomorrow you will have no cause to mope And wish to Moses you’d not celebrated. ' Your wife has had assistance in selecting 1m\ Those annual cigars. ’ lyy It sort of jars akT A woman, when, effuaive thanks expecting] She finds her gift at dbr* Christmas unkindly sniffed at. UrnT Also I hope that she, Tjm'WUlbe f u 1 Enraptured with her lovely rocking chair. ; And get a chance to sit Sometimes in it. 1 i II She ought to—sometimes—that is only s\ I I hope your boys jSJ And girls will like their toys,\ And that their health’s condition yJQ Will not Aory Shortly necessitate a lot Of visits from the family physician. Should suchcontidgencies rVYj Let’s rather try 1 ( 1LAJ To realize our visions rosy tinted . fiS* And make good cheer. (P**’" ^ That December^ ^ jiwy 25th conies only once ■ year. SjjTkl t'a welcome home with glee . Iwfl returned—If we have got l!nW And have a time that will moat truly be CSA > A hot one. „ Let's eat and drink our fill without • r ! f question i J j/ | Of indigestion, VcJ Indulge ourselves in care-free mirth and PI laughter' PK / Without a thought \ KSr To mar our joyous sport ' _ |/j| Of that sad, dark brown feeling the day yW It doesn't to much matter, so it’s hung. Irak The young uf 1 Will much enjoy it, and, to be quite . BLi truthful, rwv So will tome others not exactly youthful, f, Fill up the bowl And let its grateful fragrance warm your rrhGzln I make no harsh condition ’ Of composition— Say lemonade, or even oyster But whoop 'Ur up Or be it glass or bowl or To Santa Claus. f-Vlhe season’s cluefeet I ''"s’ ^ grace is U / / * | \t‘ The children's happy faces. ^ / \ < 1 /mr The poor are always with us, Ahat you know, 1 _ And so d£jf^* Spare of your substance something for , their need, , Feed The hungry; let no famished face at least | Rise like a ghost to spoil your Christmas feast. ' ~x_x 'v\ \ If anyone has done 'v. • 's\ You wrong forgive his sinning. . ■ ' That’s not a bad beginning. ~ Don’t let __ . The Christmas spirit get " ^ f] Evaporated when the day is past, / ... '/iiwMI Jf Why should it disappear? .• / / ' | 'J J Keep it with you, radiant, glowing, sweet, ' kind, compassionate and altogether wholesome in this and every coming -' The Spirit of Christmas By DR. WORTH M. TIPPY Of all the year’s festival days, Christ mas is peculiarly the festival of love. Easter commemorates the resurrection of Jesus. It is our festival of life, divine and immortal; for the power that raised Christ from the dead has passed into the lives of the millions. It comes with peculiar appropriate ness at the season of the year when nature is awakening to spring and everywhere are warm winds, sunshine, growth and beauty. Thanksgiving is our festival of Di vine Providence, celebrating the lov ing care of God over all that He has made. It comes at the time when, in agricultural communities, the earth's fruitage has been garnered and the year’s work draws to a close. It is a good time in all pursuits to close the books with God, and to bring to Him the only possible return for His benefi cence, the gratitude and appreciation of our hearts. But Christmas is the climax of the Christian year. It is our festival of love, and as such is it not beautifully fitting that the day should be cele brated by the bestowment of gifts? It is as natural for love to give as for birds to sing and for flowers to grow. The spirit of Christmas is the spirit Of giving. This spirit takes hold upon all classes of people, carrying into every soul the sweetness and purity of love’s ministry. It lavishes gifts in homes of wealth and it finds a way in the direst poverty. unristmas was me uay wueu uou gave His richest gift to men—Jesus the Christ—and that marvelous gift of the ages has proved the inspiration of the day and given birth to the spirit of giving among men. And for this reason let us give remembrances to just as many people as we can af ford to give, to those of our own homes, to our friends and to,the poor. It doesn’t need to be much, so that it Is a token of friendship. Remember particularly the lives that are cast in hard places. Lift a mortgage, pay a debt, send a check to the brave wom an who is fighting for her children. Bring the young man or young woman who is away from home to your own fireside. Send a Christmas dinner where you are sure there would be a scanty one if you did not send it. The spirit of Christmas is love ex pressing itself in service. The love of God found its expression in the gift of a Saviour to the world. The love of Christ found its expression in the gift of a life of pure and unselfish service to mankind. He gave Himself to the closest association with men so that every man might take heart in the Struggle and have a reasonable hope of being able to live likewise. This gift of service is the best gift which can be given to the world. And this gift is within the reach of every body. There is no excuse for those who do not make it. None are too busy to be friendly and none too great to stoop to little kindnesses. I once thought there were natures that could not be cordial, but I know now that it was a mistake. The most inexorable duty men ever have is to love and to render services of love. It was one of the last teachings of Jesus that we will be judged at last by our attitude in practical service to the sick, the op pressed, the stranger and to thos£ who lack the plainest necessities of food and clothing. But this spirit of Christmas which is to find its expression in the gift of loving service is not the spirit of mere benevolence. Kindness that is not in spired by comradeship is not beautiful at all. ' It may be pity from a proud heart, but that is not friendship, and it is not the deep brotherly love of Christianity. Men needs friends more than they need alms. We all need each other’s friendships. We are in separably bound together as men of one race and men of all races. The powerful-need the sympathy and rec ognition of the humble, the rich of the poor, and the cultured of the unrefined, and for this reason the life which finds its expression in unaffected and uni versal friendship is the life which has most nearly caught the spirit of Christ and of Christmas. Let us give gifts, and among them that larger gift of loving service. Thus will the spirit of Christmas be shed abroad and make the world brighter and better. ^ Gifts from the Tree" If Money Brought Happiness. If money only brought happiness, there would be little Christmas cheer in a majority of homes. In the Dark. ‘ Well, have you .bought wour wife's Christmas present yet?” “I dunno. She has all our Christ mas stuff locked up in one of the clos ets, where I can’t get at it.” CHILDHOOD’S FAITH. Grandpa—Now, Tommy, you must take good care of all these nice toys; don’t beat your drum so hard. Tommy—Gran’pa, don’t you be so bossy; Santa Claus don’t care how soon we break our things all up—he’s got lots. His Little List. “Have you made up your list for Christmas?” asked the fond father. “Yep,” replied the young hopeful, as he produced a toy manufacturer’s cata logue. “There it is.” Fond of Writing. "I am really delighted at the inter est my boyTommy is taking in his writ ing,” said Mrs. Hickelby. “He spends two hours' a day at it.” “Really? How strange! How did you get him to do it?” “Oh, as for that, I told him to writs me out a list of everything he wanted for Christmas, and he’s still at it” HE bells were not going to be rung that Christ mas. Bargle, the sexton, had said so. “I don’t hare no strangers tinklin’ wi’ my bells, Mr. Edwards,’’ he protested. “I’ve rung ’em over 50 year, an’ if I ain’t ekal to it this Christmas—why, let ’em do without for once, that’s all!” “Seems a pity, though, Bargle, don’t you think?” The vicar spoke per suasively. He was young and diffident and new to Peridale, and the sexton was crotchety and opinionated. The last vicar had slipped into an easy habit of deferring to his long expe rience, and this had made him arro gant. -“It is a fine old custom, Bar gle—” “There’ll be the chimes at the par ish church over the hill yonder,” Bar gle interrupted, testily; “they sound here in the village quite plain, an’ folks must make the best o’ that an’ be thankful.” There was a deal of grumbling about It in the village; Bargle knew that, and took a morbid pride in feeling that he was having his own way. People were hinting that his ailments were imaginary, that his rheumatism W'as merely another name for his crabbed perversity, and an excuse for his increasing indolence. As he sat smoking and ruminating, his thoughts traveled along that bleak road to the church, and back into blither old Christmases when he had toiled robustly, with his assistant, high up in the crazy tower, and they had kept the three bells swinging and pealing joyously from eight o’clock till midnight, with short rests between W'hiles, and one long rest when steam ing hot coffee and toast had been car ried up the narrow, steep stairs to them by a homely, cheery little wom an, who was his wife, and a merry eyed, winsome maid, who was their daughter Alice. But that had happened for the last time—how mi.ny Christmases ago? Why, already eight winters had 6nowred over that mound in the church yard. And this was the fourth year since Alice had deserted him in his loneliness, and he had set himself to forget her. «e naa not iorgouen yet, tnougn; nor forgiven her. In defiance of his imperative be hests, she had married the ne’er-do weel son of a tradesman in the town yonder, and they had gone away to London. She had written to him thrice, but he burned her first letter and re turned the others unopened, and, if he had not forgotten her, her name was never on his lips. At length, a few months ago, the village heard that her husband was dead. She had written to a neighbor Baying she and her baby were desti tute, and begging that she would in tercede and ask her father to forgive her and let her come home. But Bargle, mindful of his dignity, hardened himself, and, resenting this intercession as an impertinence, curt ly advised the peacemaker not to med dle in his business again; hot words passed between them, and she flung off in such a whirl of indignation that her reply to Alice apparently scared the girl from attempting any further overtures. Absorbed as he was in these regret ful reveries, a sudden sound broke in upon him, and he started, glancing around dazedly and wondering wheth er he had been asleep. But no!—as he listened, breathless, the sound was repeated; a single, deep clang of the church bell. No wind was stirring, and he had the keys of the belfry; yet—it was no trick of his imagination, for, after a tense interval, another dull clang echoed down the night; and presently another, like the booming of a funeral knell. With a chill creeping up his spine, the gray, gnarled old man recalled a legend that the belfry was haunted by the ghost of a man who had wronged a friend, and, in a fit of remorse, had flung himself from the tower on some forgotten Christmas; Bargle had known folks who spoke to hearing the bell toll mysteriously on Christmas eves before he was born, but he had not half believed them, and had never heard it himself—until now. That was it sounding again! He was no coward nor superstitious, and a swift, irresistible impulse seized and drove him to fathom this strange happening. His very excitement braced him and put new strength into his limbs. He lighted a lantern, and, helping his halting steps with a stout stick, made for the village and waked up the youth who assisted him in his duties. “Dost hear yon bell, Amos?” he called, quaveringly. “Ey, Mr. Bargle,” and Bargle was relieved to have his hearing thus cor roborated. “Who be It oop there, I wonner?” “Put your coat on smartly, lad. I m goin’ to see.” Silent, and quaking with cold or nervousness, they moved noiselessly over the muffling snow, turned the wall of the churchyard, and, Bargle grimly leading, filed in through the creaking lych gate. The narrow path between the graves brought theta to the porch, and here Bargle, who entered first, stopped, fumbling for his keys, and suddenly held the lantern lower wfth a husky cry of alarm. In the glimmering light of the lan tern, a woman lay huddled close to the church door, with a child rolled In a shawl, and clasped tightly in her arms. "Alice!"faltered the old man,“Alice!” He flung himself on his knees be side her, crying put, clasping her cold hands, and appealing wildly and help lessly to those who were with him, for she lay as still and unresponsive as If she were dead. They took the child, which woke and whimpered, and dispatched Amos With it to the nearest cottage. “Tell '’em to light a fire,” eald one of the men; “an’ get you on, lad, an’ get the doctor there against wo come.” Then the two lifted the woman be tween them, and the old man, trem ulously, distractedly, leading with the lantern, carried her with what speed they could in the direction that Amoa bad taken. And every minute still the bell re iterated its heavy, monotonous clang, though, for the nonce, they had al most ceased to be aware of It; Bargle had become indifferent to it altogeth er, and only gradually awoke to It again as he sat holding his daughter’s hand, watching the life rekindle in her eyes, and listening to her feeble whis perings. “It is a long way from the station," she was telling him, satisfied with the forgiveness she could read in his every tone and look; “and when I got as far as the church I was so tired and faint—and I fancied about that time to-night you would be there, In the belfry; so I went to the church, but the door was locked, and—” Bargle turned to a touch on his shoulder. “The vicar is waiting, with several others, in the next room,” said the doctor. “They want the key of the belfry, but I think you had better go with them—you are talking to my pa tient more than is good for her. Come!” Bargle hesitated a moment, then stooped to kiss the pale face on the pillow, and submissively obeyed. Up the steep, narrow stone stairway of the belfry tower, up, and up, and up they clattered, one after the other, till at last they streamed in across the hollow-sounding floor of the belfry, and there through the ceiling the three ropes dangled in the shadowy emptiness, moved by no visible agency; and yet, even as the palpitat “WHAT ARE YOU DOING' HERE, YOUNG MASTERS ?” ing little group paused, the iron clang boomed again close above them. “Some one’s up in the bell chamber,” said Bargle, dubiously. By right of his office and of his familiarity with the place, Bargle mounted first with his lantern, the others trailing up after him. In a twinkling, he had jerked the trap door open, and stepping into the bell chamber, peered eagerly around, and was startled by a vision of two white faces gazing from the shadow of one of the bells. “Why!” he ejaculated, “what an you doing here, young masters?” For he recognized them instantly as the Squire’s two sons, down at Perl dale for a holiday. They came forward shivering, but evidently bent on showing that they were unperturbed. “It’s all right, Bargle,” cried the older of them; “you have been a long time coming.” * “But why are you here, James?” In quired the vicar, reprovingly. “O, we nipped out after we’d gone up to bed, sir,” said the boy, “and came to ring the bells.” “But I’ve got the keys,” muttered Bargle. “We crawled through the belfry window.” “There was no need to come so high as this, though—” T 4- nrnn „ A _ ._• *v --- *-*-» UC51U when we got here, so we came up to see what it was like in here; and all in a jiffy the trapdoor slammed down and the candle blew out, and we’d left the matches below. We couldn’t feel where the trap was in the dark, but we found one of the bells—” He fal tered, shuddering reminiscently, but added, forcing a laugh: “It’s your fault really, Bargle. If you hadn’t said you wouldn’t ring the bells—no bells at Christmas!—never heard ol such a thing!—we shouldn’t have come.” “If you hadn’t come, young mas ters—” Bargle stopped as if his words choked him. He thought of the white face he had left lying on the pillow, and could not believe it was by mere accident or by human hands only that the warning bell had summoned him there in time. “Amos!” he cried, sharply, motion ing to his assistant; “get thee down, lad. It’s more’n time we was makin* a start!” DECORATIONS FOR HOLIDAY All Manner of Pretty Fixtures, from Peanuts in Tissue Paper to Bed Cranberries. Peanuts wrapped in yellow, red and white fringed tissue paper and tied on pendant lengths of strings, three or four to each, are splendid decora tions when tied to the limb3 of the Christmas tree. Red strings of cranberries, with knots of narrow satin ribbons tied here and there on the strands, are about as pretty as anything that could be bought for either tree, table or room ornamentation. Gilding English walnuts becomes a delightful frolic if several young peo ple are in the secret Crack open the nuts so there will be two perfect half shells to each. Inside the empty nuts place a mottto or device which will tell the fortune of the one receiving it Then glue the shells firmly to gether. When dry work a tack in the end where the stem grew, inserting It slowly that the shell may not break, ri.d the entire nnt, fasten a string around the tack and hang the latereaS log nuts on the tree. '