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3 HRISTMAS at Mount Vernon in the peaceful days which followed the Revo lution was always exceedingly merry. The Virginians of those days,, being cavaliers, made the most of the holiday which the grim Puritans of New Eng land ignored. It was a season of profuse hospitality. But in all the northern neck of Vir ginia no house was the scene of more joyous doings than that of George Washington. Often mere strangers bearing letters of introduction, came and went at will, sometimes staying for weeks, or even months Though stern, Washington could unbend consider ably on such an occasion. He was getting to be an old man, and his adopted •on, George Custis, de scribes him as wearing habitually at that period plain drab clothes, with a broad-brimmed white hat, and carrying an umbrella with a long staff attached to his saddle-bow when he rode to shelter him from the sun, his skin being tender and burning easily. While yet a young man he had inherited the Mount Vernon estate from his half-brother. The house was much smaller, than it is today, being what was then called a "four-room cottage"—that is to say, with only that many rooms on the ground floor. It had been built in 1743 by Lawrence Wash ington by the labor of transported convicts from fir" 11^ 1 W, J1 vx*. A Va :r wA5////*sro// England, the main timbers being cut from the nearby forest, while the outer Bheathing of North Carolina pine was hewn into blocks to resemble •tone. There were about a dozen bedrooms, all of them small, and doubtless they were rather crowded at Christmas time—some of the people, very likely, "doubling up." All of the rooms had low ceilings there was no paper on the walls water pipes of all kindB were conspicuous by their absence no furnace heated the mansion (there were no stoves, indeed), and the only il lumination in the evening was furnished by can dles. Yet, as things went in those days, this was a luxurious establishment The Christmas dinner was at 3 o'clock in the "banquet hall," and probably twenty-five or thirty people sat down to the repast The table was covered with a snowy damask cloth, and there were fine linen napkins—both being luxuries rath er exceptional In those days. But this was by no means all. There was a handsome service of pure silver, most of which had belonged to the widow Custis when she married Mr. Washington, and also there was a big display of cut glass even more precious. Most remarkable of all, however, there were real silver forks—a rarity Indeed! Ladles and gentlemen ate with their knives In those days In a way that would now be consid ered shocking. It was a matter almost of neces sity, Inasmuch as the forks they used, which had only three tines, did not serve very well for some purposes, such as the carrying of peas to the mouth, for example. It Is painful to think of the Father of His Country at his Christmas dinner putting his knife Into the mouth, but there is no doubt that he did so. Another oddity, as now adays It would be considered, was the arrange ment of the table, upon which all the dishes to be served, Including even the puddings and pies, were placed at once. No wonder that In those times a festive board was said to "groan" beneath the weight of the viands! A MERRY CHRISTMAS $ Christmae brings the* remembrance of a gift so great and wonderful that all who realise what it meant to the world feel the desire to give some thing In return though it may be nothing more than the expression of wish for a merry Chrlstmai. No one WAS anxious to receive the gift at first People do not always know the value of what is given them. The only door opened to reoelve It led iato a cattle stable! But now, whose door doea not fly open at Christmas to amd out some Messing, some word at good wfflt The old carol, song to a few shep herds, has gone around the world dr /rowr &ywa/y now, and the message of peace and good .will has been carried every where. Somehow, when you lay a new-born babe in a man's arms, you are pretty sure to bring a smile to his face, and a softening to his heart aB well. An Infant, is a great peace brlnger. What has touched and soft ened the heart of this grim world more than anything else, is the re membrance that Christmas brought a blessed child down to earth and laid him confidingly in the arms of hu manity, brought him from home, and left him outcast, that the opportunity might be given to every man to take him In and give hhn the love and tenderness which la every child's birthright a As a matter of course, at the Christmas dinner (as on other occasions) the table was waited upon by slaves, who did duty as house servants. Two were allotted to each guest, so that quite a num ber were required. All of the eatables had to be fetched a considerable distance, the kitchen being detached from the mansion, with which it was connected by a covered way. At the houses of the great Virginia families at that period it was customary for the slavesto wait on the table In their ordinary plantation garb. But at Mount Vernon many things were on a scale of exceptional luxury, and the negroes who performed such service were clad in Washing ton's own livery of red, white and gold, which was handsome and striking. One may suppose, then, that the conversation at the Christmas dinner was more than ordinarily entertaining. As a matter of course, everybody was hungry for, according to the custom of those days, there were only two meals—breakfast, which was early, and dinner. The necessity for supper was removed by a great prolongation of the dinaer, at which each person was expected to eat *11 that he or she possibly could. In fact, it was the duty of the hostess gently to persuade her guests to gorge themselves to repletion, while the host made It his business to press wine and other drinkables upon the men to an extent which In these times would be considered most im prudent. The ladles, however, drank Uttle or nothing. So far as they were concerned, the prohibition of stimulants was much more strict than It is today —a rather curious thing, when It Is considered how copiously the men Imbibed. As for the lat ter, If on occasions a gentleman took tco much, the matter was politely ignored—such an acci dent, it was considered, being more or less likely to happen to anybody. But it should be under stood that the really hard drinking was done, not while the ladies were present, but after their departure from the table. jvamr yzft/yo/r This it is, which moves us to strive to make children happy at Christmas. They may be like those who float along with the river, knowing nothing of its lovely source high up in the everlasting hills. But even if they do not know why, most of us do want to make it a merry time for children It is emphatically the children's fes tival No one ever regrets it who goes out of the way to help some little ones to be happy at Christmas. They are the special friends of the Christ mas child, and it is well to be able to entertain the king's friends. If not the king himself. It does the world good to open its heart and take in the season's greet ing. Business goes on all tbe happier. 0 3l 1 One may view the scene In Imagination, as, the moment having arrived for an important act of ceremony, Washington rises to his feet from his place at the table, holding a glass of Madeira in his hand. He is a very tall man, two inches above six feet In height and large of frame. His nose is slightly aquiline, his mouth broad, hia chin square, his cheek bones high, and his com plexion rather florid. He is dressed in a suit of costly black velvet, with knee breeches, black silk stockings, and silver buckles on his shoes. At his wrists are fine lace ruffles, and his hair Is drawn back and done up behind in queue. "Gentlemen," he says, bowing right and left, "I drink to my guests!" The natural response, at the Instance of the most distinguished guest present, is a health drunk to Lady Washington. This is followed, perhaps, by five or ten minutes of general conver sation, after which Mrs. Washington gives the signal by pushing back her chair, and the women rise to takp their departure. The General himBelf walks to the"' door, throwing it wide open, and each of the ladies courtesies deeply as she goes out, in response to the bows of the host and the other men. If, when the time comes to rejoin the ladies, two or three of the guests find themselves hardly in a condition to do so, they are handed over to the care of the African major domo, who sees that they are put to bed. Such things are bound to happen occasionally, and it is not likely that any of the women will have the bad tact to ask what has become of them. There is a good long evening, which, appropri ately to Christmas, is given up to a romp. Such old-fashioned games as blind man's bufT and hunt the slipper furnish incidental opportunities for much incidental flirtation and love-making. Per haps there may even be a kissing game or two and a spray of mistletoe fastened over a doorway gives excuse for some osculation and a great deal of merriment. It is all very delightful. Christ mas gifts are exhibited, and Nellie Custis, It la likely, plays a bit on her harpsichord. A negro fiddler, one of the slaves on the estate, In picturesque plantation garb, starts some merry music, while the young people choose partners for the dance. But the older ladies and gentle men prefer cards, and sit about little tables, shuffling and dealing. The host himself plays, for small stakes only, gambling for money to considerable amounts being one of the vices be most abhors. As for Mrs. Washington, she talks to a neighbor and knits. When not' otherwise busily occupied she always has knitting in her hands, having acquired the habit in camp during the Revolution, when she made stockings for des titute soldiers. Fortunately, the frame, or setting, as It might be called, of the Christmas festivities here de scribed in such crude outline is sy Btill intact, thanks to the efforts of a few patriotic women who have made this their loving task. The United States government has never paid one cent to keep the home of Washington from destruction. Many years ago congress refused to give the money to buy it. But in the hands of the Mount Vernon Association the historic man sion and its immediate surroundings are kept in such excellent repair that Mount Vernon today is practically as it was more than a century ago, when George and his wife, Martha, kept open house and offered a generous hospitality, not only at Cbrlstmastlde but at all other seasons of the year. preserved because there is a warm charitable feeling in a man's soul towards his employers, or employes, or acquaint ances. We are all so busy, we are apt to forget to be considerate, forgiv ing, and kind. It is well to let the brain rest, and allow the heart to rule sometimes, or men may lose the facul ty of loving and being charitable. Centuries of experience have prov ed that it Is well also to make a clearing house of the season, to square accounts by wiping off all the old grudges and settling old quarrels, and listen once again to the message of peace and good will. Anger and mal ice never gave a man happiness nothing but forgiveness «ad charity can do that ~-'Xv. tie 1912 MEETING GOOD ATTENDANCE EXPECTED FOR CORN AND GRAIN CON VENTION AT MITCHELL. HAPPENINGS OVERTHESTATE What Is Going On Here and There That Is of Interest to the Read ers Throughout South Da kota and Vicinity. Mitchell.—Preliminary arrangements are being made here for the session of the South Dakota Corn and Grain Growers' convention, which will be held during the week of January 15-19. Some exceptionally line special prizes have been put up for the exhibitors in the three different districts pf the state, while the association's prizes will be in cash and several? silver tro phies. Prof. A. N. Hume of Brook ings agricultural college, and other men of high reputation in the growth of corn and other grains will be here to deliver addresses and conduct schools of instruction. The business men of this city have arranged to .con duct a short course throughout the week, and a school in domestic sci ence will be one of the features. Last year's success portends a big meeting in January, together jvitli a !jarge number of entries from the ^various sections of the state. Victim of Black Handers. Pierre.—Bold black •haaitl 'riiethods. were attempted in the peaceful farm ing section of Sully county. Henry Esselbrugge, a wealthy bachelor farm er and one of the c«»iuitjs^com,mission ers of t.iat county, wf^lir^|f About miles north of this" city," received a letter threatening tha^fc, hys-i buildings, would be destroyed iV^'fire unless'he placed $1,000 at a certain specified place. He at once telephoned the sheriff of the county, and that official, with several deputies', went-tA the 12s-1 selbrugge ranch. Instead of the money a check was left at the designated place, and it was watched until wel toward morning, when the members of the posse went to the ranch house to warm their chilled limbs. On their return a few minutes later the check had disappeared. Esselbrugge notified all banks in this part of the state to refuse payment, and bioodhounds have been sent for to attempt to trail the party who took the check. Bullet Meant for Dog. Plankinton.—J A. Mueller, a farmer living near here has reason to believe he could not qualify for a sharpshooter. He attempted to shoot a dog with an old revolver which had been around his home for some time, but the weapon missed fire, and in an effort to extract the cartridge the weapon was dis charged and he shot himself in the face. The bullet entered his cheek close to the mouth and lodged just be low the base of the brain. That he was not instantly killed Is regarded as little less than a miracle. He will recover, but the bullet will have to re main where it is, for its removal would endanger his life. wmsw Restraining Order. Chamberlain.—Judge Williamson of the state circuit court of the Eleventh judicial circuit, has granted a restrain ing order against Prank Mace, mayor C. F. Jewell, auditor George J. Cril ly, treasurer, and the members of the city council of Bonesteel, restraining the defendants from ordering and is suing city warrants in payment of certain cement sidewalks and other street work done in Bonesteel. Judge Williamson fixes January 24 as the time for the hearing in .the matter. That hearing will be hold during an adjourned term of the state circuit court for Gregory county at Fairfax. Banks Show Improvement. Lead.—An Indication of improved' business conditions in tho northern Black Hills is shown by the state ments of the First National bank here and the First National bank. in Dead wood, both of which show a heiiTtHy increase. The total for the local bank is nearly one and three-quarter mill ions, the deposits being giv§n. as $1, 378,419.84, or $95,000 more than a year ago. The First National at Dead wood shows an increase during the year and Its totals are now $1,672, 934.32, while its deposits are $1,223, o45.35. These dre the two largest banks in the state. 40 f\ ''4 w, T» Telephone Improvement.:? Spearfish.—The Nebraska Tele phone company is installing a new switchboard and apparatus here, the total cost of which Improvements is $8,000.^, The company has spent with in the past year nearly $100,000 in the Black Hills in improving its lines and extending the system and the new switchboard here will improve the service into eastern \Yyoming. ,7A- JCY Mrs. Berry Freed. Lead—Evidence showing that she was badly frigntened by previous at tempts of unknown people to enter her house resulted in the -coroner's Jury exonerating Mrs. H. Berry, the young matron who shot and killed Charles J. Herbert, her wealthy landlord, when be sought admission to her house to see about rent. She was alone with her babies, and Herbert, being deaf, did not hear her warnings before she fired bullets from ah automatic Di^tol through the door. 1® SMELTER BUILDING RE8UMEB, Work in Black Hills Mining 8ald to Be Normal Once More. Deadwood.—H. C. Osterman, who to building a smelter at Galena, has re turned from Chicago and work on the property will be resumed at once. The smelter will treat from 200 to 300 ton* daily this winter, enlarging later on. At the same time the concentrating plant being erected by tne Gilt-Edge Consolidated company will be com* pleted. The smelter will be the first to operate in the Black Hills in seven years and is equipped to handle the pryritic ores in the Gaena and Tiro Bit districts an^ in portions of the central Hills. Increased Membership. Huron.—Rev. If. p. Carson, stated clerk of the Presbyterian synod of South Dakota is sending out his an nual report. The1 increase in church membershershlp and Sunday schools for the past year is more marked than heretofore. Houses of worship and parsonages have* been greeted and: Im proved and church property improved many thousands of dollars. Contribu tions for missionary work were largely increased and churches generally aire in prosperous condition, spiritually and otherwise. The fact that the Presbyterian churches of the state contributed nearly $100,009 toward Huron college endowment find is In dicative of the interest manifest in this institution. A Reunion at Geddes. Geddes.—The annual reunion O? the Charles Mix County Old Settlers' as sociation held here was a success. The weather was fine, and the large Tem ple theater was crowded beyond its capacity. H. C. Tucker, editor of the Geddes News, was unanimously chosen as the new president of the associa tion, and Adam Grimes of Wagner, J. M. Humphrey of Geddes and Thomas A. Thomson of Platte, vice presidents in the order of the districts named. G. L. Kirk of Platte and James H. Exon of Wheeler were re-elected secretary and treasurer, respectively. Geddes was chosen as the permanent location for the meeting place hereafter, and 125 new members were enrolled. Corn Growers' Convention. Mitchell.—Preliminary arrangements are being made here for the session of the South Dakota Corn and Grain Growers' convention which will be held during the week of January 15 -19. Some fine special prizes have been put up for the exhibitors In the three different districts of the state, while the association's prizes will be in cash and several silver trophies, Prof. A. N. Hume, of Brookings agri cultural college, and other men of high reputation in the growth of corn and other grains, will be here to deliver addresses and conduct schools of in* struction. "Free Range, Free Beef." Pierre.—The county attorney of Dewey county is having his peck of trouble with settlers who insist on supplying themselves with fresh meat from range cattle belonging to any body but themselves. TJiis mode of securing meat is based on the princi ple of "FFree range, free beef." The state law is very stringent on this point, providing, that anyone else than regular butchers killing branded cattle must keep the hides of the same* with brands unmutilated for a period of 10 days after the killing, and provides a penalty of $500, and six months iji jsijW for violators of the law. Harness Men Elect .Officers. Sioux Falls.-—The h^rn^ps, and sadv dlery dealers of South' Dakota hav€P^» concluded their annual convention In'*'?'' this city. At a business session heldl near the close of the convention th© -following officers were elected for the ensuing year: President, John Piatt,' Montrose vice president, J. M. Lpuns berry, Centerville secretary-treasur er, L. J. Gilbert, Sioux Falls, Sioui Falls, was selected as the place for holding the next annual convention. Goat Farm Planned. Deadwood.—A goat farm, the only one in this part of the state, Is to be es tablished just beyond the confines of'!:' the city. Gus Kellar and J. M. Reedy' have purchased a herd of fifty goats,'' which will be here next week and will!/.' supply the milk to this vicinity. In-'' vestigation indicated that there will be,, a good market for goat milk here en account of its nourishing quality. Mr. Reedy owns a large ranch which will be used for grazing the animals. Arraigned for Theft. Aberdeen.—Mrs. Dera Schroh was arraigned in municipal court here charged with having stolen $250 from her husband, Henry Schroh. The hus band claims that he aqd nis wife had not been getting along well together and that she had left him. She re turned again, and he thought that a" reconciliation had been effected until he found his wife missing again, to gether with a roll ^containing rbout* $250.' An Automobile Accident. Huron.—Mert Knowlton, with a party of friends,-was riding in an auto mobile near Cayour when the car took fire. Mr. knowlton, becoming fright* ened and before the car was stopped,1 sprang from the back, seat, striking the frozen ground with his head and f$l ssrai" Postofflce detectives are still wotfe ing on the theft of a tl.«nin money, which was stolen from a maU^ pouch at Madison recently. l§ L«&V"