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BY WnmS^WISm flARK? THE UNSEEN OHOIRS ARE SINGING TAR BEYOND THE AZURE DOME. And the Christmas bells arerjngim fORTHEY BRING THE CHILDREN HOME; AH! THEY COME FROM DALE AND DINGLE. „ AYE, THEY COME FROM AWD WITH <J0YOil5 HEARTS “NEATH THE GIjORIOUC Hqw 5AGREI) SWEET, THUUOH Howthe sfliKTEC Bwmam^ L r Eager HEARTS HAVE WAITED FDR THEM. !1 Loving hands have spread the feast Home's delights are ever o’er them. J And the last is hot the least; I And commingled with thfir coming j is A PLEASURE NOT 0FLARTH, j For the bird of rove is homing | TO THE DEAR OLD CHRISTMAS HEARTH; And theChristmas fire burns brighter, = And the hearts of all grow lighter, . As ABOVE THE LITTLE CIRCLE RISES NEVER CEASING MIRTH., J THE STORY OF I I SANTA CLAUS I 1 St Nicholas the Fir& Patron J ^ Saint of the Children. i ANTA CLAUS is the one myth that will not down. I The tradition of a benefi cent spirit—call him by what name you will, Santa Claus, Kriss Kringle, St. Nicholas, Father Christ mas or Neel—who comes around on December 25 of each year, and glad dens the heart of children, rich or poor, by mysteriously leaving to them the very things they most want, sur vives in spite of dll attacks. Santa Claus, the real Santa Claus, Is both old and young. His pictures show to us a jolly fellow, with a beard suggesting the venerable, twinkling eyes bespeaking bounding youth. And a v, ijw The Russian 8t. Nicholas. young in feeling and action, if not In years, he must be to get over all the world In one night, without missing one house in which lives a deserving child. He Is different in every country, ranging in years from the beautiful Christ child that the good children of France adore, to the jolly old fellow to whom the American youngster vows allegiance. But it is not in this sense that the writer means to depict Santa Claus as both young and old. It is from a his torical standpoint that the comparison Is made. Santa Claus, as we know him in this country, is less than a century old- but the real Santa Claus, the original of them all, goes way back to the remote third century. His present name, Santa Claus, or Kriss Kringle, is derived from St. •Nicholas, the very incarnation of all that was good and generous. St. Nicholas, destined to be wor shipped in various forms by the chil dren of scores of centuries, wa3 born in Patara, a town of Lycia, in Asia Minor. From his earliest days he showed a religions inclination that destined him to take a high place in the church. As a young man he entered the monastery of Sion, and in time he be came abbot and later bishop of Myra. His sanctity and learning made him shine even in the most illustrious company, and he was one of the most notable figures at that wonderful gath ering of 318 bishops, who met at Nicca in 318 to condemn the heresy of Arius. While St. Nicholas became famous In the councils of the church, it was still more as the special friend of the children that his fame spread. One of his eraliest miracles, it is related, had to do with restoring to life two or three children. There are two accounts of the story. One says that an Asian sent his two sons to Athens to study. En route they fell in with a villainous innkeep er, who, to get their valuables, slew the two boys, and cut their bodies in to bits, which he put in his brine bar rel to sell for pork. Then St. Nicholas having seen the crime in’ a vision, came to the spot, and restored the children to life. The other version says there were three children, and that their would be mutderer was a butcher. In either case, S«. Nicholas per formed the miracle of restoring them to life. This was the first act by which St. Nicholas proved his love for children. The second bore still more strongly on the Santa Claus idea, for It was a favor that he did at Christmas time. A certain nobleman of Patara was so poor that he was unable to give a portion for his three daughters, and it seemed impossible that any of the trio could get a husband. St. Nicholas, learning of their plight, came at Christmas time and threw a purse died with gold into an open window. The act was done as stealthily as that of the modern Santa Claus; the noble man could not tell who his benefactor was, but he gave thanks and married off the eldest daughter. Next Christmas came another purse, and the second daughter took a bus* band. When the Christman of the third year approached, the nobleman’s curi osity got the better of him, and he set himself on guard to see who if was that left the money. When the saint appeared, the nobleman came forward and asked why so good an act should be performed in stealth. Then the patron saint ot the children ennnci ated the great truth that the best »ct< are those that are done for the joy of doing, not the hope of praise. Thus centuries ago was proclaimed what Is the best sentiment of Christ mas giving. The idea of St. Nicholas was so beautiful that it took its place among the great beliefs of the chil dren. and in different forme It is found nearly every century. Both his name and his form differ, but everywhere his labor Is the same. In France, Germany. Russia and the Netherlands he is the embodiment of an essentially religious idea, but in England and the United S ates his of fice is more a secular one. France always represents Noel ap the Infant Jesus, and in Germany, too, The German Krle. the name Krist Kindel, corrupted hero into Kriss Kringle, means literally the Christ Child. In central Europe, where the Christ Child is believed to come with gifts for the little ones, he is dressed like a maiden, carrying a silver bell, lighted tapers and wearing a crown. St. Nicholas carries the same name in Holland that he does here, Santa ClauB. la Switzerland they call him Sama Klaus, and in Heligoland, Son ner Klaus. He is Niklo or Niglo in Austria, and boasts the luxury of an attendant, who asidsts him in carrying all his bundles. This assistant to Santa Claus is known as Krampus, and with the children is only a shade less pop ular tfaau his chief. “Holy Man” is the respectful term by which the patron Saint is known in the Tyrol, and here, too, he has help, being accompanied by the ChriBt Child and St. Lucy. The Christ Child Himself comes in Alsace. Even Japan has a Santa Clkus, similar in most respects to the Santa Claus of the Occident. He is known as the “Sage of Long Life.” I * TONY PASTOR’S PARROT. How a Lot of Railway Men Patron ized His Show. ThiB tale was related a little while ago by the principal actor of the story, says a writer in the Boston Herald: A number of years ago in the days of the old Boston & Providence rail road, Tony Pastor approached Bag gagemaster Davis of the midnight ex press, which was bound for New York, and said: "I have here a parrot which I am very desirous of having delivered, and for the favor I am willing to compen sate liberally; also any time you want to attend a performance at my house, call around and mention you are the man that brought the parrot from Bos ton." Davis grasped the opportunity, say ing: "Thank you, Mr. Pastor, I shall see that the parrot is delivered, and shall avail myself of the favor on the fiist occasion." A couple of months passed and the baggageman tar inquired ter Mr. Pas V tor at the box office. “The manager is very busy,” said the ticket seller. “What do you wish to see him for?” “Just tell him,” said Davis, "I’m the man that brought the parrot from Bos ton.” Turning on his stool, the man re peated his reddest. “For God’s sake, John,” bellowed out Mr. Pastor, “send that parrot bach to Boston. There have been twenty railroad men around here trying te work that parrot yarn on me.” j, „ - . i ■ \ HER HIGHNESS ■ . - . ■ The Story of a Christmas Peacemaker By A. M. CONSTANTINE 1 % - - ■■.— Her Highness jumped off the piano 1 stool and ran to him eagerly. “You are very late, Blr knight," she said, reprovingly. “Oh, two—three hours late!” “Fate is the offender, Your High ness,” the young fellow replied, with a deprecating wave of bis arm. "My train was delayed two hours, and— in the accident several people were killed. So I’m fortunate to be here at all.” “Oh!” murmured the child. “But I trust your highness is in good health,** he added, with grave cour tesy, "and all your royal brothers and —her majesty the queen?” Then he kissed the outstretched lit tle fingers with great, dignity and laid a small package in one palm and a handful of bonbons in the other. And then he wished Her Highness a very merry Christmas and again added his courteous felicitations for all the royal relatives. Her Highness cooed delightedly, and oh-ed and ah-ed very softly, and when she had feasted her eyes on the tiny golden pin and had read several times the inscription: “To Her Highness, from her devoted subject,” she re laxed her royal gravity and threw two soft little arms around his neck and kissed him. “Oh thank you very much, sir knight!” she lisped, “and thank you, too, for your good wishes.” Then she sat herself on his knees and looked unendingly at the dainty box and its golden pin and nibbled her bonbons in great content. “Um—” said he, presently. “Isn’t her majesty at court today?” • "No,” Her Highness answered, po litely. “She—she went out for a drive in the park! Everybody rides there in the afternoon, don’t they? And—she’s going to dinner at aunt ie’s.’' “Indeed,” breathed the knight, stand ing very rigidly. After a time ho^sat down again. The silence lengtl^ped until it became oppressive to the child. She observed that the bonbons were all gone, but' he seemed lost in a reverie, so Her Highness begged his pardon, and told him again that they wjere “all gone.” He fumbled in his pocket, and ab sently handed her another tribute, and apologized, and then he gulped and told her highness that she mustn’t for get him when he was many miles across the ocean. “And—and you will be away a long, long time? Away in London and Paris —wayoff in Europe?” “Yes,” he mumbled. “And nobody will bring me pres ents,” sighed the child. “But, then,” ■be added, “I don’t want nobody to bring me presents till you come back.” The knight stroked her golden hair affectionately. "I don’t think,” he said, slowly, “that I’m coming back.” The child looked up with wide eyes. "Never?” she demanded, wonder Ingly. “Never.” “Never —any more?” “No, dear.” Her Highness regarded him with mystificalbon. “Never—cornin’—back? And I won’t see you any more ever, and—and—she won’t see you any more?” "No.” “But I want you to—” she faltered. “ 'Cause-” Then the tears came, and he gathered her in his arms and kissed them away and told her that she mustn’t cry, since she made him feel badly, too, and he didn’t wish to go away feeling badly. “Besides,” he added, soothingly, “somebody else will come and bring you presents, and you can call him your knight.” "I won’t,” declared a stifled small voice from his shoulder. “Only you are our knight. Only you!” After she said this he held her more tightly than ever and tried not to groan, but he made such a failure of his effort that the child detected the break, and sobbed harder. “You -mus’ — come — back,” she walled. "You—mus'—promise.” He gritted his teeth, and forced down the lump, and then he kissed her again and put her down on the [ throne and smiled at her reassuringly. “It is so far away, Your Highness,” he pleaded. “One can’t come back in a day, you know, can one?” “No,” murmured her highness, un certainly. “And then,” he went on, with de ceiving gayety, “there is so much to do there. And I’ve always wanted to go, really and truly—and see all the things there. And my plans are all made. It would cost lots of money to change them. You wouldn’t have me spoil everything, would you— dear?” "But some day—” began the child. “Some day is very far ahead, Your Highness.” He went to the window and looked up the avenue a long time and down the avenue a long time, and then up the avenue again. Her Highness still drooped on her tnrone and gazeu at him out of wet eyes. “Is she cornin’?” i Because he was studying the figures In the avenue Intently, he didn’t he.ar her; so he spoke louder—“Is she cornin'?” ( “No, dear,” he answered, finally. The child sighed. “I guess she went truly to the park, then." “Yes,” said the man between his teeth. He began to walk up and down rap idly. Her Highness looked from him to the floor In great perplexity. “But I Bhould like to have Been her before I sailed,” he observed, pres ently, In a strange, strained voice. Her Highness glanced up quickly and lisped: “She — thought — you — were — coinin’ — you — know. Then—she— thought—you—weren’t—cornin’. By and by she thought again — you—you— were—cornin’.” He leaned forward with a jerk and stood tensely over her. “Yes, yes, Dottle, and—” “Then she looked out of the window awhile and said you weren’t cornin’.” ‘T was delayed by the accident,” he hastened to say. Her Highness clapped her hands. “I—I said you were cornin’,” she cried, triumphantly. “ ’Cause—’cause you promised to bring me something to-day. You was goin’ to keep your promise, wasn’t you?” He seized the chubby hands tender ly. “Before Cod I intended to come,” he said, in a solemn voice. “I knew it,” Her Highness chirped. “I knew It, ’cause you wouldn’t go away and not keep your word. I told her that. Maybe if you had promised to bring her a Christmas something, she would have believed, too, that you was cornin’.” “She — kissed — me — an —awful —lot — and — said — she — wished— you would come,” lisped the small He wheeled and stared at her; then he rushed across the room toward her throne and picked Her Highness up in his arms and kissed her many times, and stroked her hair, and de manded excitedly to know what she said. Her Highness, much confused, nestled her head on' his shoulder and murmured again: “She kissed me lots of times, and said she wished you would come. Then when you didn't she put rose water on her face and dressed and went out. And she didn't say any more 'cept when I told her you was cornin’ to fcring me something, and—how nice you 400k to-day, sir knight!” He imprisdned both her hands. “Go on—go on!” he entreated so feverishly that the blue eyes opened wide. “What more did she say—dear est?” “She only said you was sailin’ away to-day, and perhaps you'd never see her again. But you wanted to see us ’fore you went, didn’t you?” “I should hope so,” he cried, fer vently. “But—did she say anything more?" “If you give me another—” He thrust the entire box of bonbon* Into her hands. “Did she?” he demanded. “Please tell me, Dottie?” “Noo,” she didn't say anythin’ more —’-cause—’cause—’’ He waited impatiently. “ ’Cause she mos' cryin’, I guess. She really wanted you to come, you know. Didn’t she tell?” “Lord, I wish she had!” he groaned. “She told me," Her Highness whis pered, softly, "she told me that if you didn't come, you were—you were a big brute. And then she jumped up and said you didn’t love her, and I said you loved me. Don’t you?” asked the child, seriously. “Are you goin’ to cry? What makes your mouf pucker so? And you're hurryin’ right away ?’’ “Yes,” he said, very gently, kissing the upturned, inquiring face. “But I’m only going to auntie's. And then I’m coming back to see Your Highness again.” The child plucked his sleeve confid ingly. “Then you’ll all come back together, won’t you—you and her majesty?” He stooped and kissed her again. And then he straightened to his full height and smiled happily and cried, gavly: “I promise, Your Highness.” Stroked Her Golden Hair. "There's a wonderful tree, K a wonderful tree, W The happy children re- g joice to see, 3 Spreading its branches ft year by year, H It comes from the forest p to flourish here: p Oh! this wonderful tree, E with its branches wide K Is always blooming at Q Christmastide.” gr a CUROSITIES ABOUT CHRI8TMA8. Some Peculiar Cuetome Connected With the Christian Holiday. The celebration of Christmas as a special festival is said to have begun In the first century, and during the life of the Apostle John one tradition Of the church accredits him with inaugu rating the custom. in England the Christmas decora tions may remain in the churches dur ing the month of January, but must all be cleared away before February*, or 'Candlemas day. „ . ' , * « In France It Is a common practice to celebrate Christmas by giving an extra ration to all domestic animals, on the theory that alljcreatures should rejoice at this season. Santa Claus was Introduced into America by the Dutch, of Holland. He is the American representation of the German Knecht Rupert. Among the English common people, Christmas is lucky when it falls on Sunday, and unlucky when Saturday ip the day of the Nativity. Christina i miace pies in the seven teenth and eighteenth centuries were made with a coffin-shaped crust, te represent the manger. In Silesia there is a superstition that a boy born on Christmas day must be brought up a lawyer, or he will be come a thief. In all the states Christmas is a legal holiday, and in South Carolina the two following days are also holidays. The custom of giving presents a* Christmas day is general throughout the Christian world. In Old England plum porridge was always served with the first course ofi a Christmas dinner. ■* ■ , ■ / *' -j.; 'si' r - '■ ;».< •>. .. ■ i £ / • - .. . # f J. T WAS so cold that the snow looked blue under the dark sky when the Bells ran swiftly down the hard road. There were five of them —Mary and Jimmie and the twins and baby Bell, and they were orphans and very poor, and it was the day before Christmas. The five Bells stopped in front of a big house. "Now sing,” said Mary Bell, and the five sweet voices were upraised: “Merry, merry Christmas everywhere. Cheerily it ringeth through the air.” sang all the little Bells, with red noses and blue fingers, as they stamped their feet and shivered in the snow. The door of the big house opened and a pompous servant came out and shook his finger at them. ‘‘Go away,” he said, “go away! We don’t want you howling around here.” "Oh!” gasped the little Bells, and away they flew, with Mary Bell bring ing up the rear, as she wiped the tears from her eyes, for she was the ofdest, and at home there was nothing to eat and no lire, and she didn’t know what they would do. They sang before other places un til their throats were sore, but every one wa3 too busy or too selfish to listen; and tho night was coming on when at last they limped into the grounds of a dark old mansion that stood far back from the lonely road. In this mansion lived a bachelor, which isn't an ogre, although it is something like one, for bachelors haven’t any children, and they are apt to forget that they were ever young, and sometimes they are very fierce. The bachelor was all alone. He had sent his servants away to keep their Christmas at their homes, and he was in the loneliest room in the lonely house. The Bells sang two song3 before he moved. He drew back the curtain. Go away,” he motioned. They turned to go out of the gate, but when they reached it Baby Bell stumbled and sat down and then she cried, and the other four cried—a for lorn little group, for they were all so tired and cold and hungry that they didn’t care what happened. “O, by George,” said the bachelor, watching them. “By George, they are nothing but babies!" and he ran down stairs and out into the snowy path. “What’s the matter?” he demanded. “No one wants to hear us sing, ” sobbed baby Bell. “Huh!” said the bachelor, gruffly. “I do.” But Mary just looked at the bachelor with eyes that reminded him of days of long ago, and suddenly he found himself holding her hand and talking eagerly. “Come in,” he urged, “where It Is warm, and sing to me there.” The lonely room was not lonely any more when the five little Bells stood in a row In front of the fire, which the bachelor poked into blazing bright ness. They sang with a will, and the bachelor clapped his hands, and then took out his purse. “Here,” he said to Mary, and hand ed her a dollar. But Mary shook her head. “It Is too much,” she said. “You must give us a penny apiece for each song, for that is all that it is worth. We can’t sing very well. We are not beggars.” “By George,” said the bachelor. "By George! I believe you are half starved.” Then he looked at Mary. “Can you cook?” he asked. “Yes, indeed,” c»ed all the little Bells. “I need a cook,” said the bachelor, with twinkling smiles. “I haven't any one to cook my Christmas dinner, and If you don’t take pity on me I shall have nothing.” “Shall I begin now?” asked Mary, eagerly. “I should love it.” “I haven't anything in the house," said the bachelor. “But there is the telephone.” “Is a telephone good to eat?” asked baby Bell. “No,” said the bachelor, “but it’s fine to talk into. Now take off your things and stay with me.” “O, I’m afraid we will be a trou ble." said Mary, uncertainly. “Will your mother worry?” asked the bachelor. “We haven't any mother,” said Mary. “We are orphans, and we are all alone.” mat semes u, s«uu iuts uocueiur. “You are to stay.” And he went to the telephone and ordered everything from turkey to tart3 and from plum pudding to pies. It was the jolliest Christmas eve, and the jolliest person of all was the lonely bachelor, because he wasn’t lonely any more, and there were chil dren in the house to make Christmas what'it should be. “You must stay with me always.” he said, as they sat warm and well fed and rosy around the fire. “The house is so big and I am away half the time, and you could sing for me— yes, you shall come here,” and he tossed baby Bell high in the air! “O, how happy we will be,” sang the children. “How happy you have made us, dear bachelor." But the bachelor shook his head. “It is you who have made the hap piness, you with your music, dear little Christmas Bells.”—Detroit Free Press. Scots’ National Music. An enterprising reporter sends par ticulars of a matrimonial dispute be tween Alphonso and his bride. It ap pears that their majesties were on their way to Drummond castle when an awful sound smote the air. “It’s a wailing banshee!” cried King Al fonso. “No, my dear,” contradicted Queen Victoria, “it is the sound of the rail way wagons shunting.” It appears that both their majesties were wrong. It vras the skirl of the bagpipes.—Lour ton Globe.