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THE MYSTIC MISTLETOE. Once a Feature of Pagan Bites, It Now Belongs to Lovers. From time Immemorial the white ber ried mistletoe has played a loading part In Yuletide festivities, though It has not always conveyed the oscillatory privi leges which give It its value in the eyes of the romantic youth of to-day. Like so many other features of the Christmas celebration, mistletoe has been borrowed from the pagans of antiquity and Chris tianized by the lapse of centuries. The Persians before the birth of Christ used the mistletoe in their sacred rites, and In parts of India pagan priests still In corporate it in their ritual. It figures largely in Scandinavian mythology., Bal dur, the son of Odin, though a demigod, was slain by a spear of mistletoe, a proof of its magic powers. It is from the Druids of old England, however, that mistletoe has come to us. The Druidical priests, sprung, It is said, from the mngi of the east, the wise men who worshiped at the cradle of the infant Savior, held the mistletoe as their most Bacred possession, and the cutting of the pretty parastio from the oak, the tree which tho Druids claimed God loved more than any other, was attended with the greatest solemnity. On the Druids' festival day a grand procession, leading two white oxen, moved to the mystic grove. There the oxen were fastened to the oak by their horns, and a white robed priest climbed into the leafless branches and cut the bunches of mistle toe with a golden knife. The oxen were then sacrificed and religious services per formed, after which the procession re turned to the temple in the forest and the mistletoe was deposited In the Druid ical arcanum. Besides taking its place In the relig ious observances of the Druids, the mis tletoe, which the priests gave a name meaning "all healing," was made into many curious decoctions by processes in which times and seasons and Incanta tions were supposed to add to its myste rious powers. These medicines were re garded as cures for human ills generally. With the advance of civilization and the death of superstition mistletoe has lost Its religious character, but not its popularity, and the forests of England and of our own Southern States are as jjagerly frequented by mistletoe gather ers as ever were the dark woods of tho ancient Druids. ORDERED OFF. The New Year You'll have to move on, old man. Just a Wish. There was no doubt as to who was the head of the Meekun family, to judge by a trifling passage at arms chronicled by the Chicago Tribune. "What are you doing with that sheet of paper, Orvllle?" sharply asked his wife. "I . am making a wish," answered Mr. Meekun. "A wish?" "Yes, my dear. In your presence I shall not presume to call It a will." Soft. "I wish ym would spare me some kft soap' labels," said the young man, as he entered the corner grocery. "Going to put up some soft soap?" queried the grocer. "No; I'm going to put them on bag gage." "Who ever heard of soap labels on baggage?" "Oh, this Is the baggage of a couple who have just wedded." BOBBIF8 CHRISTMAS PRAYER. "Dod b'ess all the family dear) Dod b'en mamma, papa, toot Dod b'ess 'ittle slater Fan An' bring me a sled, nice an' new. "Dod b'ess all the chll'ren poor, An' make all the slek folks well) An' dear Dod, p'ease don't forget To send a pony, big an' swell. "Dod be gracious to your lamba, An' keep sin out of my life; Dod b'ess all my 'lttle frlen's An' p'ease don't forget a life. "An Dod b'ess ole Kanta Claus, He Is such a sprendld man! An' tall him to not forget To bring a gun, too, If he can. "An' a box of mcrblea, too, An' lot of picture books An' a toolcbest full of tools, Wlf tacks, nails, screws, an' hooks. "An dear Dod, some other rings To fill In corners wlf, you know, Ginger cakes an' nuts an' figs An' a lot of candy, too. "An' I wouldn't mind some skates, (I'll give my ole ones to some frlen') An' I reckon dls is all So dood-nlght, dear Dod, amen." Detroit Free Pr" A Quaint Christmas Custom. The burning of the ashen fagot Is a curious custom observed In Devon and Somerset on Christmas eve. The fagot consists of green ash sticks cut length ways and neatly fastened into a bundle with withy bands. At 8 o'clock in the evening this Is placed on the fire with much ceremony, when the family and in vited guests are gathered round the hearth. The flames lick round the bun dle, and, when the first green withe hold ing the fagots bursts, glasses are raised and emptied to "a Merry Christmas!" The breaking of each bond is the signal for a fresh toast. Legend accounts for this custom by the story that a fire of ash wood warmed the stable at Bethle hem, while local tradition tells of a green wood fire kindled by Alfred the Great during his lonely wanderings in Somer set. An Improved Diary. This," explained the bookseller, "is our latest patent diary. We think it Is the cleverest thing in that line ever de vised." The shopper turns the leaves Idly. "But I can't see where It Is different from any other," she observes. "No? Well, If you will look at all the dates after Jan. 23 you will see that In each space has been printed, 'Got up, ate breakfast, lunch and dinner, and went to bed.' That insures a complete diary for the year." Judge. Big Life Insurance Policies, According to the best obtainnbli records two men In the United States carry more than $1,500,000 life Insur ance. Eight carry $1,000,000 more. In the $900,000 class Is found on. In the $700,000 class are fouctf sight. The $600,000 group has a membership of three. The $500,000 list includes the names of 27. Adding together the above classes, It Is noted that there are 49 Individuals carrying $500,000 or nm of Insurance. A good runner Is not one who ia constantly Into debt and running away from creditors. Bobby How much footwear do you wear out in a month, Tommy? Tom myTwo pairs of shoes and a pair of my mother's slippers. Hlni Yes, he's an artist, a musi cian and a poet. He poor fell'owl I had no. idea poverty had such a hold ou him. Chicago Dally News. She I wonder why the baby doesn't begin to talk, John? He Why, I guess because you. don't give him a chance, dear. Yonkcrs Statesman. Old Boarder How does the beef steak here compare with that In the boarding bouse you Just left. New Boarder It's neck and neck. Balti more American. Bill Did you ever notice how many tall men you meet In a day? Jill No, J but I've often noticed how many short men one meets wnen you want a loan. Yonkers Stntesmnn. "Yes, Miss Myrtle," drawled Reggy Van Pickle, "there Is a time for nil things." "Indeed," yawned the girl in the Roman chair. "Then you have really looked at the clock." "How can you let George boss you around that way? I always thought you so Independent." "Yes, dear, but you mustn't forget that Christmas Is not far off." Cleveland Plain Dealer. "One danger 'bout education," said Uncle Eben, "Is dnt a young man is H'ble to stan' aroun' recitin' Woodman, Spare Dat Tree, when he ought to be choppln' firewood." Washington Star. "Marriages, you know," remarked Miss Eldorlelgh, "are made in heaven." "Oh, well, cheer up," rejoined Miss Youngbud, consolingly. "You'll prob ably go there some time." Chicago News. "How do you know that Solomon was the wisest man?" "That's easy," answered Mr. Dustln Stax. "His wis dom is proved by his extraordinary accumulation of wealth." Washing ton Star. First Elevated Road Strap That's a mighty pretty girl. Second Elevat ed Road Strap Yes; and, what's more, I can support her in the manner to which she has been accustom od. New York Sun. Lady What is it, little boy? Boy I come to claim de reward you of fered for de return of yer canary. Lady But that is a cat. Boy Yes, but the canary is inside de cat. Chi cago News. Travers I hear you are lecturing on the Strenuous Life. PalaversYes, I got tired of hustling, and it's so much easier to tell other people what to do than it is to do things one's self. De troit Free Press. Farmer Skldmore (rending signs In a city hotel room) "Gas burned all night charged extra." "Don't blow out the gas." These fellers is bound to catch you one way or the other. Cleveland Leader. Father What did the teacher say when she heard you swear? Small Boy She asked me where I learned It Father What did you tell her? Boy I didn't want to give you away, pa, so I blamed it on to the parrot Ex change. First Bachelor Suppose you saw some beautiful scenery coming ove. the Rockies. What was it like? Seo ond Ditto It had gray eyes and browt hair and a blue gown; It sat just across the aisle from me. Detroit Fret Press. Gunner I'll wait outside the barber shop until you get shaved. How long are you going to be? Guyer About eight hours. Gunner What! Guyer Yea, there Is a varsity eleven in there waiting to get an end-of-the-sea-son haircut , They Wear a Mask. Wearly every shopkeeper in the land is forced, in the conduct of his busi ness, to wear the mask of diplomacy. This was Illustrated the other day in a downtown art store. An elderly lady, connected with some of the best families, made her purchases and paid a small sum on ac count of a former bill and the goods just bought. As she placed tho new bill In her reticule she said to the at tentive shopkeeper; "Now er no bothering me about this, you know; no sending around to my place. If you do send a man I'll set the dog on him." . "You'll have no trouble about it, madam," was the suave answer. "Take your time about it; all the time you want," and he smiled like a seraph until the old dowager's coach rolled oft up the street. Then be turned to a friend who was taking it all in and muttered: "Dum her old picture, I won't see a red cent of that money in nine months. But what can you do? You've got to be polite." Tho Op-;raor. ' A New York matron bought a sew ing machine recently, and her 11 -year-old daughter, anxious for a novelty, says the New York Sun, laid out the printed directions and attempted to run the machine. All seemed to be going well, till the mother's nttention was attracted by a deep sigh and a whispered "O dear! I cannot find it." "What is it, daughter, that you can not And?" she asked. "Why, mother," was the reply, "the directions say, 'Place the screw to the right of the operator,' and I can't find the operatorl" False Faces. "What becomes of all the false faces?" asked the city salesman. "Who wears them? There are lots of them made. A trip ou the elevated roads gives petps into many doors where dozens of workmen do nothing year in and year out but make false faces. The output must be sufficient to ena ble the entire population to go about dressed for a continuous carnival. On Thanksgiving nnd a few other fete days masks are in demand, but the rest of the time most of us are con tent to show our natural countenances. I'hnt comparatively light local trade, even when swelled by the year round trade of small shops in populous dis tricts, leaves a tremendous quantity of false faces to be accounted for." New York Press. Business and Pleasure. "Every morning Mrs. A. used to re main at homo and do her churning. Now she spins past here in her automobile." "You don't say! Has she given up her dairy business?" "Oh, no. Instead of turning the clumsy old churn she just places the milk cans In tho automobile and by the time she has run twenty miles the cream has been shaken Into butter." Surprised. "You say your wife makes good bread?" "Splendid." "How do her pies strike you?" "Who went and told you abou( that?" "About what?" "About her throwing pie at me?" Houston Post Dangerous indeed. "President Roosevelt," said the man on the back platform of a Harrison street car, "made himself universally popular by being umpire at the peace confer ence." "Yes," assented the conductor, "but let us hope he will use discretion." "What do you mean?" "Let us hope he will never undertake to be umpire at a baseball game," Quiet Tip. "Papa," said the millionaire soap man ufacturer's daughter, "I do wish you wouldn't boast continually of being a self-made man." "Why not?" queried the fond parent. "Because," she explained, "if you would keep quiet people might think it was only grandfather."