OCR Interpretation

St. Paul daily globe. (Saint Paul, Minn.) 1884-1896, December 24, 1893, Christmas Supplement, Image 18

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

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn90059522/1893-12-24/ed-1/seq-18/

What is OCR?

Thumbnail for

mm n
THE 111 m
t Some Tender Memories Becalled by
Krs. Amelia E. Bany;
Ho*w the Gccd People of Yorkshire Welcomed
Christmas Half a Century Ago— The Yule
Log*, the Wassail Cup and the Waits Car
rolled on Christmas Homings-Beautiful Cus
toms Kow Gene Forever.
When I was a child, Christmas Day was the
pearl of the year, and the river of life which
flowed on ordinary days was not the river
which flowed from Christmas Day until the
second of January. Christmas now has lost
all touch of social electricity; then.it was the
household festival of the year; and in most
parts of England they made haste to begin it
on St. Thomas' Day, when evergreens were
cut for decoration, and all clerical charities
The first Christmas which makes any distinct
impression on my mind, occurred more than
half a century ago. I spent it in the cathedral
city of Ripon, an old town in the North Riding
of Yorkshire, head of a diocese since A. D.
675; and even yet, retaining many very ancient
customs, one of which, is the blowing of a horn
every night before the mayor's door, at the set
ting of the watch. I was staying with a friend,
whom I suppose must have been a tanner, for
I have to this day fearsome thrills, when I
recollect a certain place outside the city, which
is connected with my visit place of dark
pits, and of perilously narrow paths between
them, which reminded me continually, of
Christian, walking through the Valley of the
Shadow of Death.
But the family was a large and joyous one,
and on St. Thomas' Day we went out to Studley
Royal, and Fountain's Abbey, and from among
the bosky dells on the river banks cut ever
greens enough to turn every room into a sylvan
bower. Misletoe was the sacred house plant;
but the holly's unwithering leaf and coral ber
ries always went with a holy song for the deco
ration of the old cathedral. Oh! how cold it
was in the frozen woods that day; and oh! how
little we cared for the icy wind. How we
shouted and laughed, as we gathered the ever
greens; and how good natured were the men,
who were cutting the ash bole for the Yule
However it was not permissable to bring
home the Yule Log until Christmas Eve; and
then it was always the boys and girls of the
household, who went for it; so that the streets
Of Ripon that afternoon, were full of parties of
wildly-joyful children, pulling home their Yule
Logs, amid mirth that was not only tolerated,
but encouraged and shared. For every one
then, wh"o met a Yule Log, raised his hat to the
kindly symbol. None of us felt the cold; the
physical exertion and mental excitement kept
us at summer heat; beside which, I had an ex
alted feeling, for one of the boys, who was going
to be a Bishop— and who really did become one
—had told me all about the mystical rite and
the wondrous power of Ash Log. So that it
seemed a perfectly solemn and natural thing
to me, that the Yule Log should be treated with
so much ceremony— when it was within
the threshold, each member of the family
should sit down on it — that it should be lifted
with cleanly washed hands into its place on the
hearth— that it should be kindled from a brand
of the previous year's log, which had been re
ligiously kept for the purpose.
I can remember yet how it blazed and
how the happy Master of the house mixed the
Wassail Cup in its light. The old October
ale, with the sugar, and the spices, and the
roasted apples stood on the table for it; and he
gave to every child a little loving cup to drink
with our basins of frumerty—o. Christmas Eve
supper-dish, made from creed wheat, boiled
with milk; sugar, raisins, currants and spices.
All these customs have a distinctly pagan
origin; but at midnight I was awakened out of
deep sleep by the strangest, wildest music, that
ever floated between earth and heaven; and
this was a purely Christian Christmas rite.
It was the voices of Waits, carolling in the
clear frost air for Christmas dawning. Up the
Still, stately garden came the sweet and simple
Strains, and they thrilled me with wonder and
delight. I sat up and listened, and though I
had never heard the song before, and have
never heard it since, these lines from it, still
ring in my memory:
" And all the angels in heaven shaU sing,
On Christmas Day in the morning.
•* And all the souls on earth shaU sing,
On Christmas Day in the morning. • ,
" And all the bells on earth shall ring
On Christmas Day in the morning."
And really the old Minster chimes seemed to
me to clash more joyfully as they were thus
invoked. A few years later, I heard another
old carol which has the same haunting charm;
for I can hear it across the chasm of forty-six
years, telling me:
" And for the saving of our souls, He died
upon the Cross:
We never can do for Jesus Christ, what he
has done for us."
Well; it may be an old-fashioned taste, to
prefer these simple heart songs of our fathers,
to the modern Sunday school carol; but in
faith' I do; and that with all my heart.
In th ose days Christmas presents were not
much thought of between friends and equals.
The rich gave to the poor; but not to each
other, and the kind of black mail now exacted
from relatives and acquaintances, was not a
Christmas sentiment. Such presents as were
Bent, were usually in the way of Christmas
delicacies— hampers of country produce and
game, delicate cake, pasties and pastries, and
fine brawn. Brawn, could not then be omitted,
and had not been for centuries; for when the
French took Calais, they found there a large
quantity of it. Not understanding that it was
already cooked, they tried to roast, to boil, and
to fry it; and, of course, without success. How
ever, some monks tasted the finely prepared
pork, and declaring it to be fish, added it to
their fast day viands. On this Christmas Day,
we had turkey; but turkeys were then rare and
expensive, and a goose, generally had the place
of honor. Every one, however, had abundance
of mince pies made in the shape of a manger.
Ripon had never been a Puritan city, and so
these symbols of the Wise Men's offerings,
were not considered idolatrous; nor yet their
eating ever made a religious test. John Bunyan
when in jail, and hard pressed for a dinner,
had indeed refused to eat them; but stripped of
their objectionable form and symbol, they do
not now disagree with the most rigid Presby
Christmas pics were not, however, restricted
to mince meat. The sideboard during the whole
holiday week "raised crusts" containing whole
turkeys, chickens, and such a number of small
birds that the fabulous pie of fo ur-and-twenty
blackbirds, was eclipsed by the reality; and
even the kitchen tables were loaded with roasts
of beef, loaves of sweet bread, and cheese, and
good ale; and of such provision, the poorest
stranger might eat his fill, and be welcome;
just for the sake of the Day, and of Him, who
came to bring peace and good-will, and univer
sal brotherhood among men. *
The Sabbath that fell in Christmas week was
Indeed a day of rejoicing. I can vividly re
member every hour of it— the chaffing, chatter
ing breakfast in the large upper room, which
was the nursery— walk to the cathedral
....'_>-. '7 ißwMßßteH&SßgKßgßWaaJajtefcfc?- 7 <:■':. "~ ' '
through the queer streets with their red tiled
houses— solemn splendor of the church, its
dark oak pews all trimmed with ivy, and box,
and holly, and tho choir of white-robed boys
singing among the green branches, Ventteex
ultemus Domino. The Bishop, Dean and Canons
at the altar in their canonicals very re
spectable congregation with their air of holy
satisfaction— service so joyful and so pleas
antly short the smiles and whispered greet
ings in the naive after all— all these things,
made on my child's memory an ineffaceable
picture. .a ?.::•■: '■■ '•'"-•- ■■''■* "■ £.*£*_.",
If any one would but sit still, and send their
thoughts back over the Christmas days of their
lives, what pictures they might evolve! What
records of social changes! What tide marks of
their own history!— of its sorrows and defeats,
of its victories and its progress. Without
effort as I write, there comes as in a kaleido
scope, festivals with all kinds of backgrounds—
the peace and plenty of English country homes,
the snow-bound mountain-ways of Scotch
Highlands— the sunny Iprairics of far western
Texas— the dark desolation of the winter At
lantic Ocean— gay courtesies, of great
cities— homeish joys of secluded hamlets.
Christmas is thus a kind of • heart calendar
which none could miss. comfort and counsel
by inquiring from. .
But however different the individual records,
all would be compelled to admit a great change
in the very essentials of the festival. Fifty
years ago it was an adult and a home festival.
It received all its honor, all it joyousness, from
the ideas of Father, Mother and Home. It
was the golden ring that held all the love and
sentiment we associate with those three al
most divine words. Sons and daughters might
stray to the very ends of the earth, Christ
mas brought them home again— the body, if
possible; but if not possible, then in the sweet
est love and memory. If a child had done well,
it looked forward to the joy of telling it to
Father and Mother at Christmas ; if it had done
ill, it felt sure of pardon and help at Christmas.
"Father Christmas," was their own father,
and by his side stood the dear, sweet mother,
ever ready to persuade and plead for all her
children; glad to welcome, glad to forgive, glad
to praise; full of sympathy for every joyful and
sorrowful condition.; • 7- .; . .;
In transferring Christmas from the hearth to
the church, we have robbed it of all its Home
influences. There is but one general home
idea now, with regard to it— presents. And
even in this respect, how seldom docs a father
or mother, or lover succeed in giving pleasure
or satisfaction. The thing offered is generally
the thing not wanted ; or it is not good enough;
or it is not to the receiver's taste; or it is too
big, or too little; or it is not the proper color
there is sure to be something wrong. Conse
quently, the givers of Christmas presents have
very generally adopted the plan of giving what
is always correct— money. And thus Christ
mas has fallen to 'the level of a cheque.
It is in no one's power to bring into favor,
what is out of fashion. And undoubtedly the
old Christmas ceremonials have become unfash
ionable. They aro thought .to be out of sym
pathy with our present life; they bring forward
claims we have no desire to meet; they give
poor relations, and other objectionable domes
tic black sheep opportunities of reminding us of
their existence; and of our duty; in short the
taste of the day is for individuality in love,
duty, pleasure, and every other claim of life;
while old Christinas appeals essentially to the
solidarity and brotherhood of human feelings.
But as fashions of every kind pass away, and
then return again, there is strong hope that
the next generation will renew the Home
character of Christmas with increased affection
and attraction; for though men come and go,
and nations rise and fall, the "promise of His
coming " is delayed. Therefore, all the more
we should renew it once a year; in such a
Christmas feast as gives us best the foretaste of
the milennium— a feast which in the Divine
command regards the Home first, and then for
gets not those who have not the wherewithal
to keep it alone,—" your ways, eat the fat
and drink the sweet; and send portions unto
them for whom nothing is prepared; for this
day, is holy unto the Lord."
All hail to Christmas ;-,?* ' '.._•
With its mirth and Its joys,
All hail to Kris Kringle
With his millions of toys.
,/, OF CMS! IS
Rev. Robert Collyer Gives a Timely
Holiday Caution.
Times When it is Better to Save Money Than to
Spend Rev. T. Dewitt Talmage Preaches
the Gospel of Good Cheer— Good Times are
Coming and We Should Hasten Their Advent.
The things we do at Christmas are touched
with a certain grain of extravagance, as ■ beau
tiful in some of its aspects as tbs extravagance
of nature in June. It is the children's carnival,
the midsummer of charity to the poor, the
spring-tide of good-will to men; the time of the
year when heaven opens, and . angels come
down to sing to sailors on the ocean, to old
country folks in the long-reaches of new colon
ies, to people in hospitals, poor-houses, in man
sions, and " the huts where poor men lie; " the
time when the atmosphere is just right for
clear-burning fires, and it would be something
of a shame for the wind to send the smoke
down any chimney as it does a week before or
after; when there is a goodly smeU abroad, a3
if the frankincense wise men brought on a
a day long ago, to temper the taint of a stable,
had got into this whole world of ours, as a
trailing cloud of the odors of spiced bread;
when the poorest, platters and mugs take a
touch of fine recklessness by reason of the
though tfulness of those who have bread enough
and to spare; when the Christmas tree grows
all radiant and fruitful, as no other tree which
blooms through the year; for it bears at least
twelve manners of fruit, and the leaves of the
tree are for the healing of the nations. v.;_!
I would not, therefore, insult Christmas by
underdoing it. The man who then does most
for his fellow men, according to his means,
does best. We can give the tramp who comes
to our back door, a royal cup of coffee Christ
mas morning, with a good grace, though we
have to see that he does not run away with the
spoon. They are wide pages the angel opens in
the book of life at Christmas; and when we do
our best, we cannot do it quicker than he can
write it down. f. ly s'ZZ'-^A-"' .-■''
Still I think it is not hard to see how we may
spare, even at Christmas-tide, and yet do more
and better than if we spend. If a man spends
the money he ought to save to pay his debts,
when he knows very well he can only pay his
debts by saving, he may give what he buys,
right and left with an open hand, and it will be
to his own shame.* I have never digested one of
the best suppers I ever sat down to in my life,
though it is years; since I ate it, because, as it
came out after, my host owed for it at the store,
and the debt was never paid. I don't want any
more of those suppers. There are millions of
dollars spent every Christmas, of other men's
money. Not a penny ought to be laid out in
gifts one can well let alone. Men who do that
get drunk on their own generosity, though they
never taste of wine ; and, if they are men of con
science, the headache and heartache of getting
sober will be none the less for their motive in
getting drunk. >
We should never spend when we ought to
spare, especially if we have families. One of
the saddest things I have struck in my life has
been the sight- of families left destitute,
through a certain easy-going generosity in the
man out of whose life they sprang, who would
have everything of the best, trusting to his
luck to come out all right ; who would spare
nothing at Christmas-time, or any "other time,
so that he might have things handsome, while
ho had not laid up a dollar for a rainy day or
for that instant peril of death which dogs all
our footsteps between the cradle and the
grave. Saving is so slow to such men and so
hard ! I should not take much stock in that
man who would not close instantly with the
proposal of a decent competence for bis wife and
children, in exchange for the open gates of
heaven, and the angels waiting with a crown,
if he had the chance. *
We brought nothing into this world, and It
is certain we can carry nothing out," the sad
old Hebrew cries. I answer, " Surely, surely, if
yon mean mere things;" but somewhere with
I- ■' --•- . ■ ''lylZy-Zi.'
{The region between Jerusalem and Bethlc
hem was formerly: covered with a forest o
pines, which has since entirely disappeared.
; The forest In a whisper spoke,
Vine to flower, and pine to oakj ,
From holy-hill'd Jerusalem ; ■
To where, upon its leafy hem '
The humble village clung,— ' " .; •-.
Calm Bethlehem,. yet^ike a gem. ;. _
Enwrapped with light, as jewels are,
By trembling radiance of the star.
The trees a coming Wonder told;
While yet the birds, their songs unsung,
Dreamed of the coming of their young.
But, though of splendor bright
The forest breathed, its boughs were hung
With sable shade. No taper's beam
Cast through that dusk its happy gleam.
The.angels sang; the shepherds came:
In the low manger shone a flame
That burned with supernatural light.
The pine-trees whispered, through the night
And. though the Saviour's birth - '•"'•' " ""
Changed not their shadowy gloom to white,
. They in a patient darkness still -
Bowed, sighing, and obeyed His will.
Vanished is that old forest, now,
And withered wholly, root and bough;
Yet in all Christian realms of earth
Springs a new forest, full of mirth
That lights with radiant cheer
The evergreen's enduring worth,
And to that whispering prophet brings
A glory of the King of Kings.
For all our merry Christmas trees
Glow fair with flame and revelries,
That cluster round them, year by year;
And fir and pine, or far or near,
Live upright,— gladly die;
Knowing that they to God are dear
And bring to man, illuminate
A torch that leads to heaven's gate.
Even so the measure slow of time-
Like a full rhythm closed with rhyme-
Raises the patient soul on high;
Brings joy to life, even from a sigh;
And in conclusion sweet
Dark grief with gladness can ally.
So shines the forest, when we meet
With light and. song, Christ's birth to greet."
George Parsons Lathrop.
me, when I go away, I carry the account of
what I have done to fend for those I leave be
hind me, and save them from the bitter pangs
of poverty, by my forethought, self-denial, and
clear grit, from the day when \ I took a maid
from her mother, and said, "Trust me to tako
care of you, whatever comes, to be a house-bond;
to you and. the children God. may give us; "
yes, even by pushing back Christmas, if we
have to do it, and letting the bairns rise to find
empty stockings these hard times. Better
empty stockings to-day* than the bitter bare
winter of poverty, .if I should be taken from
them. I can easily imagine how a man would
be glad to exchange his golden harp and crown,
if he could, for good six per cent stock, if he
should find himself in heaven — supposing a man
could go there, when, through his own careless
ness, he has left a wife and family of little ones
without a penny in the world.
Robert Collyer.
Doctor Talmage Brings Christmas Tidings for
' • '■■ Business Men.
i I enjoin upon all those whom these Christmas
■ times find in* comfortable -circumstances, two
things: . First, helpfulness to the helpless and
the next, cheerful talk. This experiment has
been made by medical scientists: . A dozen men
conspire to tell a well man he looks sick. They
are to meet him on a journey and by the time
the fourth man is giving him melancholy salu
tation, he feels he is doomed, and the twelfth
man comes up with melancholy salutation just
in time to help to carry him home on a stretcher.
Then twelve men conspire that they will meet
a man in uncertain health and tell him how
well he looks. By the time the fourth has met
him with a cheerful salutation, his nervous
system is all toned up, and by the time the
twelfth man has met him with his cheerful sal
utation, he says to his wife: " Throw out that
apothecary shop from our shelves. I don't want
any more medicine." -\_..: v v. . .__-
Now, the nation is only a man on a larger
scale. If you want to prostrate business and
keep it prostrated, talk in dolorous tones and
keep on- talking. Let till the merchants sigh,
and all the, editors prognosticate a hard winter,
and all tne ministers groan in the pulpit. In
the great orchestra of complaint those who play
the loudest trombones are those who have the
fullest salaries and the completest wardrobe.
They are only made because they have to fall
back upon the surplus resources of other years
or because they cannot make as large invest
ments as they would like to make. Did you
have your breakfast! Yes. Did you have your
supper last night. Yes. Did you have a pillow
to sleep on? Yes. What are you complaning
about? ; The genuine sufferers, those who are
■ really in destitution, for the most part suffer in
silence ; but theloudest crie3 against hard times
are by men to whom the times are not hard.
Artists tell us it is almost, impossible to sing
well on a full stomach, but it, has been demons
trated over and over again that it is impossible
for men to groan well on a full stomach!
The land is full of prophets, and I have as
much right toprophe3y as any one. I prophesy
that we are coming toward the grandest tem
poral prosperity we have witnessed in this
country. Mechanics are going to have larger
wages.- Capitalists are going to have larger
dividends. . The factories that are now closed
are going to run day and night to meet de
mands. Stores are going to" be crowded with
customers, impatient to get waited on. .
You prophesy midnight. I prophesy mid
noon. You pitch your tent 'toward universal
bankruptcy. I pitch my tent toward national
opulence. - " What are your reasons? " you say.
I give yon one dominant reason: . God's evident
determination to prosperity on this
nation. • - •_. |£ .- .. .. ■• . r*V-" . -■'
In these Christmas days let. all the comfort
able classes exchange the Lamentations of
Jeremiah for the exultant Psalms of David, and
we will have a different state of things in this
country. 'Vl wish there might be a conspiracy
formed: I would like to belong to it, a conspir
acy made up that all the merchants and editors
and ministers of religion in this country agree
that they would have faith in God and talk
cheerfully, and there would be a revival of
business immediate and tremendous and glori
ous. Stop singing Naomi and old Windom, and
give ns Mount Pisgah and Coronation. Merry
, Christmas, - T. DjSwtitTat.m ahe:,
..■■ .A fpr -. >:- 7 _ ~.
The Glory and Splendor of the Tropics
Caught and Preserved.
A Land Where the Mere Consciousness of Liv
ing Gives Joy and Exaltation— A Dainty and
Out of the Way Etching by the Author of
"South Sea Idyls "-A Feast and a Question
-Without an Answer.
We had all been breathless waiting for sun
set—breathless, because there was not a breath
of air to breath. We dozed— dozed audibly,
some of us; woke, yawned, stole down into the
deep path in the wood at the rear of our thatch
ed village; bathed, yawned and dozed again,
and so the afternoon was slowly disposed of.
Really there was nothing else to do. Before
us stretched the sea, one broad blue blaze that
burned into the horizon sky line; the shining
beach was a blaze of white light that sparkled
where it was out of reach of the pulsing wave;
the water upon the reef broke with a hollow
boom and laced itself with ribbons of chain
lightning— but it was splendid! glorious;—
quite too glorious for human eye to behold ; the
naked eye, you know; we were mostly naked
on that bit of desert island. The village, only
one hut deep, ran up and down the shore as if
it were trying to get out of the sun but of course
it was not; had it really wanted to shelter
itself it might easily have done so by merely
backing up into the densely leaved grove that
came within forty rods of it and covered the
whole island with deep and fragrant shadows.
About a million cocoa palms— like to be exact
in my estimates— crowded upon the shore and
reared their plumes triumphantly far aloft in
the air; they were so tall, some of them, that
their shadow— never very much of a shadow
seemed to have been blown away in the breeze;
at any rate it never struck us to any consider
able extent. .
Well, all at once the big, oval, red-hot, copper
colored sun went down into the sea as if it had
foundered; for a little while the waves were
like blood, and the sky was a purple canopy,
and the reef hushed itself and sobbed softly,
and all the palms stood still. Then, suddenly,
a vail of shadow, pricked with a few enormous
stars— evening had come premptorily.
That is the way evening always comes in the
tropics; twilight and the afterglow are one,
and so fervid is their union they are soon con
sumed away. -yV-r '7„v'
A great sigh went up from the village at sun
down; a sigh of prbfoiindest relief that was
speedily followed by exclamations of pleasure ;
and this long row of huts gave forth its tenants
and each saluted the other with the love-greet
ing of the tribe— after which and with one im
pulse we ran to the shore and plunged into the
sea; it was like bathing in wine— no, it was like
bathing in milk— for the softest, milkiest, silk
iest ripples lapped us all over our bodies, and
the palest, most silvery luster suffused the face
of the waters.
That evening was like the evening before,
and the evenings before that as far back as we
could remember; those that were to follow were
sure to be like what else could we do there
save bathe and fish and eat and sleep and let
the world go by. - . ■ , .
We were to fish as usual this evening; noth
ing but a hurricane could bave caused an alter
ation in the programme; of course we took as
little beed of the rain squalls that visited us at
frequent intervals as if Wg were so many can
vass-back ducks ; the sun dries one in a moment
oft yonder in the tropics, and the rain— like the
noisy, theatrical shower that plays so effective a
role in the spectacular drama— seem half
as wet as it should be. But, come, the night is
passing! With songs and rippling laughter the
canoes are dragged down the shelving sand and
launched upon the dark waters where they
float like long curled plumes; indeed there were
as many stars in the sea as in the sky,— they
glowed like pearls ,— the canoes seemed sus
pended in mid air— transparent was the
nether element. - _ .
/.. Soon we were all embarked, a fleet of shadowy.
pirates about to ravage* the deep. In the bow
of each canoe stood a youth holding aloft a
palm branch; the palm branch is a natural-born
beacon ; it blazes wonderfully when lighted and
trails a banner of red flame a yard long, as the
torch bearer holds it high over his head; there
we had a living statue of Liberty, in its broadest
sense, enlightening the Lagoon! The glow
from those flaring palm-fronds made plainly
visible every object beneath the sea.
Now, more than ever, it seemed as if we were
drifting through space; the waters beneath us
were like amber-tinted air, within it sailed
marvelous fish of every conceivable form and
hue, and those dainty and fairy like creatures,
bewildered by the torch light swam very near
us in blind curiosity. They were too delicate,
too brilliantly beautiful to harm; we were in
search of nobler prey. It was not only the
feathery finned small fry that decorated the
Lagoon; a thousand exquisite sea gardens blos
somed in splendor beneath the tranquil waves;
and these were coral bowers that caught the
light and flashed it back from their gilded
antlers, and then white stretches of sea-sand
that shone as if paved with gold.
There was silence everywhere; only the low
music of the reef and the occasional splash of
a fish that had freed itself from the spear and
dropped back into his native element.
Suddenly a shriek arose! Our fleet was
stretched up and down the shore like a chain
of fire; at one end of it there was consternation;
the torches were being plunged into the sea
and the rowers were paddling swiftly forward
down the coast.
All followed and when within hailing dis
tance word was passed from mouth to mouth,
but under the breath "the sacred fish had
been seen heading for the distant Point of
Palms! " .
Now, it is well known that when this myster
ious fish makeslits appearance— he doe?
at very uncertain intervals— something is about
to take place; it may be the death of a chief, or
a birth; a great misfortune or a great joy. ,; It
is an omen that thrills the stoutest heart, and
no wonder we were all dismayed.
It must be confessed that we were barbarians ;
wo had refused to be civilized and our village
was looked upon in the South Sea as given over
to all manner of iniquities. In fact we were a3
good as we could be, in our way; we merely
chose to stay so, rather than change our spots
and so our camp was considered the abomina
tion of desolation. ■'.
So it happened that our first fear was that
the Sacred Fish had come to warn us; but he
was heading for the Point of Palms and we fol
lowed him in fearful curiosity, expecting to
reach a climax shortly. We reached it!
Having rounded the Point of Palms we
paused a moment; faint music was wafted
over the sea to us, chants and joyous refrains
and the unaccustomed accompaniment of
drums and instruments. What could it mean,
this rejoicing at midnight and in the depths of
the forest? Hither the Sacred Fish had piloted
us; we drew our canoes ashore, where the
music seemed nearest, and with utmost cau
tion began penetrating the dark alleys of the
wood. The music grew louder and louder; ar
rows of light glistened among the branches
overhead and shortly, through an opening we
caught sight of a rustic chapel thronged
with worshippers; there was a blaze of light
within; upon the high altar, surrounded by
acolytes in picturesque raiment and with clouds
of incense hovering over him, the priest was
celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
We all drew nearer and were warmly wel
comed by the throngs who could not gain ad
mission to the chapel, but this mattered not,
for the building was little more than a roof with
hardly a side wall to shelter those beneath it.
Presently the music ceased; the priest turned
toward us and began a fervent appeal to one
and aIL It was the hour of rejoicing he said,
when the morning stars sang together, and the
Christ-child was born in glory, though cradled
in a manger. The Christ-child! we had not
thought of this ; most of us knew nothing of it ;
to us, all days and all seasons were alike— even
their names and their significance were forgot
ten or unheeded by us. y ;_" . *•'."'
•'- Again the music poured forth and awoke
glorious echoes in the solemn wood and some
how we found ourselves uniting in the chorus,
the glad tidings of great Joy. The day that
followed was a feast such as we had never yet
partaken of. Did we return to Barbarism,
think you. . -
Charles Wabrkn Stoddard, .
Figures Whose Size Almost Take One's
Breath. Away.
America Spends More on Christmas Than Any
Other Country, and the Yearly Expenditure
Amounts to Tens cf Million.-— and
Trees Among the Biggest Items of Expense—
The Cost of Cliristmas Toys.
- So it is that America spends more on Christ
mas than any other country. ' A-Z • '■' Z ' ;
Don't I except England where Christmas is
the one holiday and feasting time that over
shadows all other days? No, Ido not. England,
it is true, celebrates Christmas— whero
there is money to do it. But the Cliristmas of
the well-to-do country squire of whom Dickens
wrote is not the Christmas of millions of Eng
lish people in London, Liverpool and Man
chester. Roast beef and plum pudding and
boar's head and all that sort of thing are not
over familiar to the masses.
In the United States it is a pretty poor family
that does not get its share of turkey or chicken
with some accessories at Christmas.
This was the gist of what a veteran market
man told me; a very Carroll D. Wright when
it came to statistics about game, provisions, and
the capacity of the American people to consume
these and other things. What is more, he fig
ured out results that made me open my eyes to
say the least. I had no idea that the American
people had such an appetite even at Christmas,
First he started in with turkeys. There be
ing over 60,000,000 people in tho United States
the number of families might bo set down at
near to 20,000,000. Allowing that one half of
these families had a turkey the number would
be 10,000,000 turkeys consumed, not an extra
vagant estimate. Some of these will be large,
some small, but eight pounds per turkey will
be a good enough average and that makes 80,
--000,000 pounds turkey or more than a pound
for each man, woman and child in the United
States, providing it was all eaten at one meal
and not kept on hand and picked at for a couple
of days. Ten cents a pound say, and good tur
key will bring more, and you see that the turkey
will foot up §8,000,000. '
My informant said that turkey was the big
gest item in the Christmas bill for tho reason
that Americans who do not care much for turkey
eat it as a duty at Christmas time. Of course,
a good many eat chickens and a large minority
can afford game. The man of figures put the
outlay in this way down at §2,000,000 and said
the figures were low.
" Cranberries you want to figure on too," said
my statistician, " and you're safe to figure on A
pound for each family. Some of them will tako
a good many pounds and some of them none, i
Figure 'em at 8 cents a pound." -
I did and footed up $1,600,000 as the cranberry
outlay. Verily .figures were mounting up and
I wondered how all this was to bo accomplished
in the way of eating when money is so high,
*' Then there's the mince pie," the statistician
went on. " Every one doesn't have niincc pie, •
hut I'll venture anything that 10,000,000 of thorn
will be baked. They are not so popular in this I
city Jmt in the country districts they., make,
shelves "upon shelves of them. ; That's where
the 10,000,000 come in. If you bought those plea .
in the city you would have to pay 20 cents and •
more apiece for them. Made in a farm-house :
with home made cider and cheap labor, put 'cm
down at say, 8 cents a pie and you get $800,000 *
for mince pies?
"Now as for beef and mutton," the statist!
cian was going on, but I fled. Beef and mutton
are every day commonplace articles of diet
and besides I began to get frightened at tho
manner in which the dollar figures were piling
I next sought one of the biggest dealers in
the country in Christmas trees, greens and
decorations. He gave more figures and big
ones, too. He admitted that in country places
the people gathered trees and greens and all
that. But he held that the demand for trees
throughout the country and through dealers
would amount to from 8,000,000 to 10,000,000
trees. The poorest of these go to small groceries,
the finest to churches and hundred of thousands
go to houses that go in for decorations at)
Christmas. Asked the price of those trees tho
merchant said from 25 cents to §10 and more
for a single tree. Fifty cents on tho whola
would be a fair price per tree for the whole lob
in striking an average. I * -'.'
I figured on 10,000,000 trees at 60 cents and tho
bill for Christmas trees ran up to $5,000,000
more. It looked too big. The troe merchant
remarked that it was not and that this was a
big country. He went on to say that the other
greens, holly, ivy, mistletoe and all that sort of
thing would foot up a million or two more, I
put down 81,000,000 and gazed once more in awe.
at the swelling total of Christmas cost.
Christmas toys ! To be sure they must not*
be forgotten. Ten million.at least of little ones
figured in this. The head of a mammoth toy
house pondered when he was asked what the
Christmas toy trade amounted to in the
" Well, yon might put it down at about a dol
lar a family on the average. Some spend 8100
and some ten cents, so it is hard to estimate tho
amount of the total expenditure."
I did not put the figures at a dollar a family.
I put it at 60 cents. It looked more modest and
even at that I got a total of some §10,000,000, * i
Next I saw some big dealers in Jewelry and
novelties such as are in vogue as Christmas
presents and again the figures were astonish
ing. Putting the various estimates,-- tho small-
est ones at that, together and then adding
them I could not get the total bolow $10,000,000.
But large though the sums of money that aro
spent they are not too largo. The flguros I
have quoted of the cost of Christmas in a few
directions, footing 'as they do upwards of £K>,
--000,000 are but part of the whole sura spont at
the Christmas times and even if we be in no
way sentimental about Christmas wo cannot
deny that the spending of so much money at
such a time hurts no one and helps the com
munity In general. The individual will hardly
feel the dollar or so that he may spond, bub
when 20,000,000 or 30,000,000 persons spend such
a sum the amount is worth considering. It
gives work for months before Christmas to a
vast army of workingmen and women in shops
and factories where Christmas goods arc made.
It gives the farmer a chance to make up for a
bad year, with Christmas market supplies.
Even the bare legged country lads may earn
money for stout shoes and warm jackets by
gathering Christmas greens and berries. Ib
stirs trade, it stimulates human feeling, it sets
the blood running red in the veins of men and
women of right mind. It is a time when the
poor are helped, the miserable lifted up and
even the criminal is made to feel that he has
not ceased to be a man ; while thieves for the
time forget to think that tbe getting of money
is the purpose for which man was put on
earth. . _. '■"'•■ -"• ■-.-'■■
So what if the coming of Father Christmas
does cost us a round hundred million and a
good bit more. His visit is worth the money
and twice as much more. .-
And the work of Christinas ! Why it is all a
pleasure. The hardest of it is as light as th«
touch of a fairy's wand I
, \, ,:■,-.. ,-A.iAZy. Foster Coatbs.

xml | txt