JOY AT CHRISTMAS .-seep. 37.
TALES TOLD IN WINTER WEATHER.
Written for the Massachusetts Sabbath school Society, and
S approved by the Committee of Publication.
MASSACHUSETTS SABBATH SCHOOL SOCIETY,
Depository, No. 13 Cornhill.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1851,
BY CHRISTOPHER C. DEAN,
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.
A STORY OF NOVEMBER.
IT was a plainly furnished little back par-
lor as you ever saw. There was no centre
table in it; no piano-forte ; no pictures; no
sofa; no book-case; no gas-lights. What
an empty room! Not at all,-it was, on the
contrary, quite full.
First, there was a baby in it; and the
baby's mother; and its three brothers; and
its two sisters; and its father; and the cat;
and the cradle, the baby's, not the cat's
cradle; and a huge work-basket; and a
table with the tea-things on it and a clock
in the corner; and a geranium in the win-
dow; and a glass lamp; and a stove; and
a Bible; and a hymn-book; and a rocking-
8 THANKSGIVING NIGHT.
chair; and nine other chairs; anda stool;
and an ink-bottle; and a broom; and a
All these things November saw, as he
looked in from the shop, through the glass
doors of the little back parlor. The baby
was looking at the flame of the fire, and
seeming, as is the way with babies, to see
wonderful and mysterious things in it; the
mother held the baby, and wrapped a rag
round the youngest boy's sore-finger; the
youngest boy was intent on that operation;
his next brother whittled a stick with a dull
knife; Susy played with the cat; the cat
played with Susy; the eldest boy dipped
his fingers into the sugar-basin; Jane who
was setting the table, scolded him; the
father sat and thought; the cradle, impelled
by the whittler's foot, rocked now and then
with great violence; the work-basket ran
over with stockings to be mended; the tea-
cups clinked into their saucers, and the tea-
spoons tinkled beside them under Jenny's
hand; the clock in the corner ticked bravely,
THANKSGIVING NIGHT. 9
unconscious that its hands were half an
hour too slow; the geranium in the window
drooped for want of water; the glass lamp
smoked; the stove thawed the ink in the
bottle; the Bible and the hymn-book waited
on their shelf; the rocking-chair held the
mother and the baby; the chair which sup-
ported the father was poised on two legs;
the other eight stood more soberly on four;
on the stool sat Susy; the broom cast a
little shadow into its corner ; and the clQset-
door creaked as Jenny went to and fro with
Who would have thought it was Thanks-
giving night? No one spoke for a long
time. At last, the father, rousing himself
a little, said, Is not tea almost ready ? It
seems to me Jane, you are slow to-night."
I am sure it is not late, father," said
Jane, peevishly. If James didn't keep
stealing the sugar, I should have been ready
by this time; but it is not six yet."
Here the clock tolled out six full, sonor-
ous strokes. The father and son laughed.
-. ,____________________________ --- ----------- <
10 THANKSGIVING NIGHT.
" That clock is slow too," said the father,
taking out his watch.
Yes, I wish you would set it right,"
said the wife.
Jane went with a cross face into the
closet, and came back with some dough-
nuts. James tried to take one, and missed
it. Then Willie laughed at him. The
father bade James sit down and be quiet.
The mother reproved Willie for making so
many chips, and told him to put up his
knife. The cat scratched Susy; Susy
struck the cat, which then slunk away into
the corner in the broom's shadow.
Oh, what a dull Thanksgiving evening!
One hopes the homes of the Governor and
Council are more cheerful.
And now the boy with the sore finger
frets, and wishes he could go to bed; and
the baby cries, because the mother attempted
to lay it in its cradle. At last, even the
mother's patience gives way, and she says,
" Well, I shall be glad, children, when
THANKSGIVING NIGHT. 11
Thanksgiving Day is over, and you are all
safe in bed."
This will never do! said November to
himself, and he went away from the glass
doors, and into the street, just as Jane
announced that tea was ready, and the
family drew round the table.
James, see if that stair door is open,"
said the father, after a few minutes' silence;
it feels very chilly here. Wife, these
dough-nuts are not very good, are they ? I
thought housekeepers always contrived to
have some good cake at Thanksgiving time.
I can't eat these."
James, coming back, put his cold hand
on Jenny's neck. A fresh complaint fol-
lowed. The mother sighed, and filled the
baby's mouth with bread and milk. Jane
had burnt Willy's slice of toast; George
put his feeble finger through the handle of
his mug, and cried out with the pain. Susy
scalded her mouth with hot tea. Pussy
got nothing. The father thought of trade,
and expense of winter fuel, and winter
I'------------------- -- ^
12 THANKSGIVING NIGHT.
clothing. Wife and child must not expect
much indulgence this season. Times were
hard. Most men had large losses, and
small gains. Such a family too, to provide
for, he did not know how it was ever to be
done. So he sipped his tea and grumbled,
and ate his toast, and was discontented;
and Thanksgiving was only a name in that
Just then came a knock at the door; a
single, faint knock, as if the person outside
would a little rather no one should hear.
Hush! said Amos Reed, somebody
"No!" said the rest, it is a loose
You promised me a long time ago to
secure that blind," complained the wife.
Her husband only stirred his tea with
Knock! knock! Two knocks this time.
Amos Reed took the lamp and went to the
door. The wind blew the light out, the
moment the door was opened.
THANKSGIVING NIGHT. 13
Now the light is gone out!" said Mrs.
Reed. Then those in the room heard
voices speaking, and the outer door shut,
and Amos Reed coming back. But he has
some one with him. Come in here," he
says. Here, Jenny, light us this lamp
After two or three attempts, this was
accomplished, and the family saw, standing
in the door-way, a poor woman with a
bundle in her arms, and a child of four or
five years holding by her gown.
The master of the house explained that
it was a poor woman who came to ask for
something for her children to eat. I
thought, wife," said Amos Reed, by way
of apology, "that as it was Thanksgiving,
it would be a sin to send any body away."
You are quite right, my dear," an-
swered Mrs. Reed, pleasantly, every wrin-
kle smoothed out of her anxious forehead,
by the spirit of charity. It would have
been a pity not to ask her in."
14 THANKSGIVING NIGHT.
Put down your bundle," said the hus-
And take off your hood, and sit by the
fire," added the wife.
Mother, shan't I give this little girl a
doughnut," asked Jenny, and James hand-
ed the plate to his sister.
The bundle proved to be a baby, another
baby, and its feet were duly spread out to
the fire, to be warmed, and the pale mother
smiled to see its pleasure. When her own
wrappings were taken off, she seemed a
neat, comely person, still quite young, and
mentioning her name, the Reeds found that
she was a neighbor, wmho had been spoken
of to them as a very respectable and deserv-
Amos Reed's heart smote him, that one
of his neighbors should, on Thanksgiving
day be forced to beg a little food to keep
her children from suffering. Why had he
not thought to call at her house the evening
before, to inquire if she needed any thing?
He was not so poor, he hoped, but that he
a)h_________________ _____ <
THANKSGIVING NIGHT. 15
could assist a neighbor. Things had not
come to that yet.
Then the stranger was made to sit up to
the table with them. Finished ? Oh, no,
they had scarcely begun their meal. Jenny
was directed to put more tea into the tea-
pot; the creaking closet door was again
opened and shut, and a fresh loaf cut.
How charming it was to have two babies
at the table; how they looked at each other
and stared, and nodded, and marveled,
and how the new baby relished its bread
and milk; and what a dear funny little
thing Peggy was, and how happy a night
Thanksgiving night was, nobody can know
who was not there to see.
Amos Reed told his wife, that the dough-
nuts were not so bad, after all; and re-
marked, that for his own part, he preferred
a good doughnut to most other kinds of
cake. Jane and James were the best friends
in the world; Willy liked his toast to be
done very brown, he said, and George
found it easy to take up his mug in his
16 THANKSGIVING NIGHT.
right hand, instead of his left. Susy was
too busy with her little visitor to remember
her scalded mouth; and there never was
happier tea-table than theirs.
I am to blame, Mrs. Walker," said
Amos Reed, that I did not come in to see
you yesterday. I ought to have seen that
you had your Thanksgiving comforts."
Oh, sir, I had no claim," answered
Yes, you had. Here was I, surrounded
with blessings, a happy and prosperous
man, who should not have let the sun go
down, without knowing that those on each
side of me, had some share of the good
things of the season." Amos Reed went
on,-" I have the best of wives, and good
healthy children; a flourishing trade; no
debts; (he had forgotten all about the hard
times), and I did not send you even a tur-
key to keep your Thanksgiving. I hope I
shall be forgiven, and I'll tell you what I'll
do, just to make myself feel a little easier,
& '--------------- ---- -i
THANKSGIVING NIGHT. 17
you know; I'll send in a cord of wood, to-
morrow, and some flour and meal."
Amos Reed looked at his wife, his wife
thanked him by a look. If Mrs. Walker
will accept them," said she, I have some
very good clothes which Susy has outgrown,
and which would about fit little Peggy."
Here Mrs. Walker began to speak, but
her words became inaudible, and soon died
away, smothered by emotion, as much as if
buried under the cord of wood that was
coming. The children began to play at
blind-man's buff, and Mrs. Walker told her
new friends, her story. It was a simple,
common story enough:-the husband un-
fortunate, perhaps improvident, though that
did not appear; -discouraged, -sick,-
dead. Her relations all gone; the nearest
remaining, some cousins, poor, and an uncle,
rich, but displeased. There was no hope
from him. She could get work, sewing,
washing, ironing, any honest work. To
night was the first time she had ever begged.
It was very hard to make up her mind to
18 THANKSGIVING NIGHT.
it, but the children were so cold and hun-
gry, and she had no money left.
Don't say a word about it," cried Amos
Reed. It was all my fault. I should
have gone to see you. I can't forgive
And I ought to have reminded you,"
said his wife; we are both to blame."
Then Amos Reed bustled into his shop,
and came back with a piece of ninepenny
calico, from which he insisted on measur-
ing off two gowns, one for his wife, and
one for the widow. They grew very merry
over it, as he made them stand up to see
which was the taller of the two, and they
thought it wonderfully amusing when he
cut an extra yard to make Mrs. Walker a
cape, and ordained that his wife should go
without, unless she would promise to re-
form, and try harder to please him. Then
his wife said she would be very good and
dutiful, if, instead of her cape, he would
give her some spotted flannel for Mrs.
Walker's baby. Why should not their
- .. .. .. ..
THANKSGIVING NIGHT. 19
babies be dressed alike as well as them-
To be sure! a capital idea, Mrs. Reed! "
and the spotted flannel was brought out,
and cut off.
Mrs. Walker did not receive these gifts
with tears and humility, as she had the
offer of wood. She was no longer the beg-
gar-woman who had asked food for hungry
children. She was a visitor now, and the
calico and the flannel were little tokens
of regard between friends. Besides, the
Thanksgiving season made it becoming to
give and take presents. She began to seem
quite a pretty woman, and sat there not
without dignity. Her faded shawl hung
with an air over one shoulder, and she
really had very good teeth when she smiled,
and pretty eyes too, thought Amos Reed.
She must have had a great deal of trou-
ble, poor thing; a nice, smart girl I'll be
bound, when she was young."
When November came back, and looked
20 THANKSGIVING NIGHT.
from the shop through the glass doors of
the little back parlor, he saw both babies
asleep in the cradle; the mistress of the
house sewed; the stranger rocked the cra-
dle from time to time, or talked or watched
the children. They are now in the height
of their play. Blind-man's buff having
been interdicted as too noisy. Susy is in
the centre of a circle, with the broom in her
hand. (Willy's chips were swept up long
ago), the others dance round her, in the
intricacies of some anonymous game.
The great work-basket stood under the
mother's chair; eight other chairs were put
up in a corner; so was the stool; the mas-
ter of the house needed no chair; he made
frequent journeys between the shop, the
window and the stove. The ink was
thawed, and the bottle put away. The
table had retired into the recess behind the
closet door; the geranium had been water-
ed. The cat had been treated to the milk
left from tea; the clock, now set forward,
the half hour, was about to strike nine. It
_.~~~~ ~ ~~ ~~~~ a------- __________________
THANKSGIVING NIGHT. 21
was a pleasant Thanksgiving scene, and
little Peggy thought never was there so
delightful a room, never were people so
1" Things look better," said November,
going away from the glass doors into the
I don't know if Amos Reed heard him,
but that worthy man, now walking to the
window, drew aside the curtain, and looked
out on the night. "' Dear, me !" he ex-
claimed. There is a light in the old man's
room. He is not gone any where, it seems.
I wonder if he is sitting up there all alone."
Who, father," asked Willy, chancing to
overhear the words.
The poor old man that lives opposite,"
said his father, pointing to a house whose
back windows looked down into the Reed's
yard* Willy knew that his father meant
Mr. Hallet. He had often been at that
house during the last six months, to do
errands for the persons whose lodger Mr.
Hallet was. Nobody liked Mr. Hallet ex-
22 THANKSGIVING NIGHT.
cept Willy. He had given Willy an old
copy of Cook's voyages, and the boy felt
under obligations to him. Willy always
spoke of him as the cross old gentleman;'
the others were in the habit of calling him
by the less civil name of' Old Spectacles.'
A poor sort of Thanksgiving, he must
have," continued Amos Reed, as he put
down the curtain, without chick or child,
or any body to talk to;" and the speaker
turned towards his own noisy family, with
a face that seemed to say blessings on you,
Suppose," suggested Willy, I should
go, and ask the old gentleman, to come here
and see us a little while."
He'd never come," said James.
Besides it is late," said the mother.
Only nine o'clock," pleaded Willy,
and nobody goes to bed early on Thanks-
giving night. Why, even George is not
sleepy now, though he wanted to go to bed
THANKSGIVING NIGHT. 23
Wouldn't he think it very strange,"
asked the father ?
Willy would not dare to go," said
"Who's afraid," demanded Willy stoutly?
"He won't like children's noise," said
We can be very still," shouted all the
children in a breath, if Old Spectacles
So it seems," answered the father,
laughing, as their voices woke the babies.
Then putting the chairs in order, the
children betook themselves to play at 'turn
the trencher;' but Willy thought of the
cross old gentleman sitting all alone on
Thanksgiving night. He asked if he might
go and inquire whether he was wanted to
do any thing.
"Not at this time of night. You can't
do an errand now, unless he is sick, and
wants medicine,-in that case,-I don't
know; "-said Amos Reed, hesitatingly.
961 (1- -.
24 THANKSGIVING NIGHT.
Yes, I could see how he does. It is
bad to be ill on Thanksgiving day, father."
The father nodded; so Willy drew his
hand from Peggy's detaining clasp,kprom-
ised not to stay many minutes, and fan off.
November happened to be looking into
"the cross old gentleman's" room, as Willy
rang at the front door. It was a large room,
warm and light. There were books all
round upon the walls, and on the table by
the fire, as well as on the chairs and floor.
The single occupant of the room had been
reading, for an open volume lay on the
table near his hand. Now, however, he
was leaning back in an easy chair, and
gazing steadily at the fire. November saw
that his face was neither that of a very old,
nor of a very cross man. November thought
it looked sad, and showed the traces of care
and grief. Perhaps the eyes that were
fixed so steadily on the fire, saw visions of
other Thanksgiving days, when he was not
a cross old gentleman, and all alone. Per-
haps in that silence of his room, he listened
to the voices that used to speak to him
Now, November hears Willy's footsteps
coming up the stairs and along the pas-
sage. Next comes a gentle knock at the
door, and the old man starts from his rev-
Please, sir," said the boy, when the
26 THANKSGIVING NIGHT.
door was opened to him, I came to see if
you wanted any thing to-night. It is
Thanksgiving night," faltered he in confu-
sion, and I said I would come and see if
you were all alone, and if you were well."
If I were alone, and if I were well!
What ails the boy ?"
It is Thanksgiving night," answered
the child meekly.
The old man threw open the door, and
made the boy enter. He gave him a chair
by the fire, and then resuming his own seat,
looked straight at his visitor. Willy began
to repent very thoroughly of his boldness,
and thought the 'cross old gentleman'
extremely disagreeable, in spite of the gen-
erous affair of Cook's voyages. He looked
round the room at the astonishing number
of books; Willy had not supposed there
were so many in existence as those shelves
contained; but whenever his eyes had made
the circuit of the room, they again met
those of Mr. Hallet, and all his confusion
THANKSGIVING NIGHT. 27
At length the old gentleman saw fit to
break the uncomfortable silence. He said,
"Do people in this town go about cus-
tomarily, on Thanksgiving evening, to
other men's houses to inquire if they are
alone, and if they are well ? "
No, sir," answered the boy.
How did it concern you whether I was
alone or not? Who sent you ? What is
your father's object ? "
Nobody sent me," said Willy, answer-
ing the question that was most easily an-
swered; but father saw your light shining
through the window down into our yard,
and he said you had not gone any where to
see your friends."
Friends! repeated the old man bit-
terly. Well, go on-."
"And father said it must be a poor
Thanksgiving,-and-and that is all."
No, that's not all; so he sent you to
Oh, no sir, he did not send me. I came
myself to cajole you."
28 THANKSGIVING NIGHT.
The old man could not help a smile at
the boy's innocent ways. He asked him
more mildly, the reason of his coming.
Because it is Thanksgiving, sir; we
are very happy at our house."
"D Do people hereabouts make presents at
Thanksgiving," asked Mr. Hallet sud-
I think they do," replied the boy; "for
my father gave the poor woman a calico
gown, and some flannel for the baby."
And what do you expect of your rich
neighbor," asked Mr. Hallet, coolly ?
Who, sir ? said the child.
What, I say, did you think I should
give you ? If your father could give away
calicos and flannels, you thought, I suppose,
that I could afford something better; heh?
What had you fixed on in your mind as a
suitable present from the rich old man ? It
is likely you had some idea about it,-
I did not know you were rich, sir,"
said Willy, manfully. He no longer felt
confused and bashful. He had been in-
sulted. My father said you were poor,
and lonely, and we were sorry for you,
and I said I would come and ask you to
our house, because we were so happy, but
he thought you would not come, and my
mother thought it was too late, and that
you would not like children's noise,-and
we all said we would be still, if old,-
Out with it," said Mr. Hallet, what
is that word that sticks in your throat 7 "
Old Spectacles," said Willy, bluntly;
they call you so, but they don't mean any
harm;-only I don't call you that, because
I like you. I mean I was obliged to you
for Cook's voyages, you know. So I said
I would come to inquire if you were well,
or if you wanted any body to go for medi-
cine,-that is the whole story," continued
the boy; but I would not have come if we
had known that you were not poor, and did
not mind being lonely; and as for a present,
I don't want one, I never thought of one;
>.- -- ------------5
30 THANKSGIVING NIGHT.
and if you were to offer me all these beau-
tiful books, I would not touch one of them."
Willy had here worked himself up to a
quite heroic state of indignation; (for my
part I don't blame him), and picking up his
cap, he began to put his chair back from
the fire, in order to go away.
Stop a minute," said Mr. Hallet; so
you left your play, from gratitude for an
old book given you months ago! You were
very merry at home, were you "
You were at a good game of play, I
Yes, first we had blind man's buff;
afterwards some other plays, and little
Peggy is so funny."
One of your sisters is named Peggy, it
S" No, sir; Peggy is Mrs. Walker's little
girl, that came to beg."
Who," demanded Mr. Hallet, eagerly.
A poor woman came just as we were
at tea, and asked for something for her
THANKSGIVING NIGHT. 31
children to eat, and father brought her in,
because it was Thanksgiving, and her
baby is in our baby's cradle, and Peggy
plays with us, and is going to have our
Susy's clothes, that she has outgrown."
Where does Mrs. Walker live, and how
long have you known her ?" inquired Mr.
Hallet, after a pause.
She lives in our street, we never saw
her before. She cried when she first came
in. She is poor as any thing, you see, and
her husband is dead, and she has no friends,
and she wants to get some work, and she
has a wicked uncle that quarreled with her
Boy, I'll go back with you. I have an
errand to your father," said Mr. Hallet.
Willy thought he had better run on first,
and stop the noisy play of the children, but
the old man checked him. The two en-
tered the little back parlor together.
Old Spectacles is come, I declare,"
said James. Jane begged him to be quiet.
Amos Reed began to place a chair, and to
32 THANKSGIVING NIGHT.
be civil, but the visitor crossed the room
hastily, and going straight to Mrs. Walker,
looked in her face and said, are you the
wife of Hallet Walker, of Philadelphia ? "
I was," answered the woman with
faltering voice; he is dead."
I am his mother's brother, who brought
him up, and for whom he was named,"
said Mr. Hallet. I did not know that he
was dead. I would not believe him when
he wrote to say he was ill. I scarcely read
his letter, for I was very angry with him,
and I am afraid I have been harsh, and
now he is gone; -poor boy,-poor boy !"
Mrs. Walker knew that her husband had
been extravagant and undutiful, and that
the man before her, had repeatedly for-
given him, and paid his debts and restored
him to favor. She could not in her soft-
heartedness blame the uncle for being at
length discouraged, and indignant. She
told him so, and that in his last days her
husband expressed great penitence and
affection towards the relative for whose
THANKSGIVING NIGHT. 33
kindness he had made so poor a return.
He told her to find out his uncle, but she
had not yet been able to do so.
And now Willy had brought them to-
gether, and there would be no cord of wood
sent on the morrow, nor flour, nor meal.
Mrs. Walker would have plenty of every
thing now, only she said she should not
return the gown and the flannel which Mr.
Reed had given her. Those she wanted as
keepsakes. And Mrs. Reed and she should
take tea with each other some day, dressed
just alike in their new gowns, should they
And both the babies," suggested Mr.
Hallet, in their red petticoats, hey?"
Mrs. Reed repudiated that name for the
infantile garments in question. Robes, I
believe, she insisted on having them called.
What is the baby's name ?" asaJed the
He is called Hallet, for his father,"
said the widow.
34 THANKSGIVING NIGHT.
And for me," added Mr. Hallet, snatch-
ing up the infant, and kissing it. Then
were not all the children amazed at the
sight of 'Old Spectacles' playing with a
When November came again, he had two
visits to make. Up stairs, he saw George
asleep, forgetful of play as of sore finger, in
his crib. If Willy still kept Thanksgiving,
it was in his dreams; and James' roguish
pranks had ceased until the sunrise. In
the neater room occupied by the girls,
Jane's cares were at rest, and Susy's curls
no longer danced in frolic with the cat.
Below, the cat was wide awake, and the
parent Reeds, and Mrs. Walker, and the
uncle. They made plans about the future,
and talked of the past, and rejoiced in the
present, and were very sensible and friendly.
Of all the Thanksgivings he had ever
known, Amos Reed said, this was the
strangest, and most wonderful. And his
wife, as she always did, agreed with him.
2 ,_____________' 1
THANKSGIVING NIGHT. 35
So November left them there, and went
away to look through those glass doors into
the little back parlor, no more for a twelve-
W 46 -
36 JOY AT CHRISTMAS.
50u at C riotmao.
A STORY OF DECEMBER.
IN Mr. Maurer's brick block, were four
houses, occupied by the same number of
families. In the corner house lived young
Dr. Andover, with his wife, child, and
mother. The second was tenanted by the
two Miss Newburys, who kept boarders,
of whom I was one. The Haverhills were
in number three, and the remaining house
had been taken by my friends, Mr. and
As I knew something of all these fami-
lies, I am able to relate to you some of the
pleasant though not uncommon things that
JOY AT CHRISTMAS. 37
befell them about Christmas time, a few
It was one day in the week before Christ-
mas, that Frank Haverhill, after sitting for
a long time by the fire with a book in his
hand which he was not reading, suddenly
said to a lady who was in the room,
Aunt, since I came here you have given
me some good lessons about controlling my
temper. I wish now there was any way
to cure me of a love of money."
Love of money, my dear boy? I have
never observed in you any undue regard
No, aunt," said Frank, I do not think
you have, for I do not know that I ever
felt it till to-day." As he said these words,
Frank blushed, and looked a good deal
"Will you tell me how it was ." asked
Why, aunt, you know I have to be at
school by nine o'clock, and I was rather
late in setting off this morning; so instead
, )- -- -----------__------------, -- ft
38 JOY AT CHRISTMAS.
of giving me my luncheon, you gave me a
five cent piece to buy some gingerbread."
Mrs. Haverhill remembered this very
Well, aunt, I gave the money away."
"Then you have had nothing to eat
since breakfast," said his aunt.
"Oh, yes, I have; but I will tell you
how it all happened. When I got to the
bridge, James Mott was standing by the
toll-house door, shivering with cold, and
holding a snow-shovel in his hand. He
had not any mittens or gloves, and I could
see his arm in two or three places through
the holes in his jacket sleeve. I called to
him not to stand shivering there, but to run
a race with me to the other end of the
bridge. Then he said that he had not a
cent to pay the toll. He said he had come
early to the bridge, hoping that the toll-
taker would have employed him to clear
away the snow about his door, but the man
preferred doing it himself. Poor James
looked very sorrowful. He said he had
been so happy while making his new
shovel, at the thought of earning something
by it, for his mother. If he could only get
across, he knew of one gentleman who
would employ him, and there were so many
people who would want the snow cleared
from their sidewalks, that he thought he
should be almost certain to earn three or
"So, aunt, I gave him my five-cent
piece, and told him to take his toll out of
that, and run as fast as he could. I started
to run, too, for I was afraid of being late.
I was in good time, however, and had
looked over my lesson before Mr. Dixit was
ready for my class. I thought no more of
my five cents until recess, when we were
going out to play on the common.
Tom Coxall asked me to go with him to
the confectioner's. I told him he had better
ask somebody who could keep him com-
pany in eating,-that I had no money, and
could not buy any thing. Then some of
the other boys noticed that I had no lun-
JOY AT CHRISTMAS.
40 JOY AT CHRISTMAS.
cheon, and asked me if I forgot it. I could
not say that, you know, so I told them
about meeting James Mott at the toll-house.
Tom Coxall said I was the greatest
fool he had ever heard of, to give a boy
five cents because he wanted one. I should
never be rich, he said, it was very easy to
prophesy that. I told him I did not desire
to be rich, I was a very happy boy without
being rich, and I could be a happy man
just as well. Tom said none but simple-
tons or hypocrites talked in that way.
Every body wanted to be rich, only all did
not know enough to accomplish it. Then he
began to boast about his grandfather, how
every body talked of him as the richest man
in New York, and admired him, and liked
to be introduced to him. Catch him giv-
ing five cents when one would have done
just as well," said Tom.
The other boys said they meant to be
rich, too, and one or two of them who had
money went with Tom over to the confec-
tioner's. I could see that some of the boys
JOY AT CHRISTMAS. 41
began to think less of me, for what Tom
said, and I was sorry for that. Yet I did
not see either what the harm was if I chose
to go without my luncheon to please James
Mott, and besides, how were Tom and the
others to get rich by spending their money
on cakes and tarts ?
"Still, I had a kind of feeling that I
never had before, about our being poor.
Somehow all the fine houses I had ever
been in, rose up before my eyes, and Mrs.
Coxall's carriage rolled by, with Mrs. Cox-
all and her daughters sitting in it; and
then I had a picture of you, dear aunt, and
Fanny, getting out of the omnibus in the
middle of the street, where the snow was
deepest. Perhaps I should have gone on
thinking, until I had repented giving away
my half-dime, if just then James Mott had
not come up to me. He said he had earn-
ed sixty cents, and he had come to pay me
what I had lent him. He said he had not
a five-cent piece, and should be obliged to
42 JOY AT CHRISTMAS.
give me coppers, unless I would take a four-
penny piece instead."
"And what did you do ?" asked Frank's
aunt, with a shade of anxiety on her face.
I took two cents to buy a roll, because
I was really hungry," said Frank, and I
begged James to keep the rest to carry home
with his earnings."
Mrs. Haverhill asked the little boy if he
thought Tom Coxall's luncheon tasted bet-
ter than his. Frank said he did not know
how much Tom had enjoyed his tarts; his
roll was an excellent one, he knew that.
He felt grateful, too, to James Mott as
he eat it, and that made it taste the
"I wish 1 could give him a jacket, aunt,
or something of that sort," said Frank
presently; don't you think it was very
kind of James to come down by the school
just at twelve o'clock, just at the right time,
you know, aunt, to give me the money for
my luncheon ?"
Mrs. Haverhill was of Frank's opin-
,-- ------- --- -----;,
JOY AT CHRISTMAS. 43
ion that a service gains in value by
being well-timed. She thought in this case
both the loan and the re-payment had been
so, and she was glad both boys had been
so friendly. There was no further conver-
sation on the subject that evening. It was
tea-time, and after tea Frank learned his
lessons, and when the lessons were done,
he was sleepy and went to bed.
Mrs. Haverhill had Frank's luncheon put
up for him in season the next day, safe in
the satchel which he strapped over his
shoulder; then she put on his comforter,
and tied down the ears of his cap, and bade
him good morning. He was no sooner gone,
than putting on her own walking-dress, she
went out to find Mrs. Mott. It was a very
cold day, and as Mrs. Haverhill walked
rapidly to keep herself warm, she thought
of the rents in the poor boy's jacket of
which Frank had spoken.
The house to which she was directed
had a forlorn and neglected appearance.
It did not look as if it had been painted
44 JOY AT CHRISTMAS.
since the declaration of independence, and
two or three panes were gone, their places
being supplied by shingles.
To Mrs. Haverhill's knock a voice an-
swered, Come in." The lady obeyed the
voice, shutting the door after her as quickly
as possible, so as not to admit the cold,
frosty air. When in the room, she saw a
few embers on the hearth, close to which,
wrapped in a shawl and holding a baby in
her arms, sat a woman with a sorrowful
face. The sorrowful face, to which no
smile came, looked up at the visitor.
"I am afraid you are not well," said
Mrs. Haverhill in a voice which conveyed
sympathy and all the comfort of sympathy
in its tones. The kind words made the
tears fall fast all over the baby's head; the
mother wiped them away hastily, and set a
chair near the chimney for Mrs. Haverhill.
That lady began to play with the baby, a
healthy little rogue it was, while she in-
quired about the wants of the family. She
found that the last stick of wood had just
JOY AT CHRISTMAS.
been burned in order to boil the water for
their breakfast. They were late, Mrs.
Mott said; but it did not seem worth while
to get up earlier, since they were warmer
in bed, and the day would be quite long
If it had not been for a young gentle-
man that my son knows," continued the
poor woman, "' we should have been with-
out a shelter this bitter day. He gave
James some money to go to Boston with,
and my boy earned enough to pay a little
towards the rent, and to get a spoonful of
tea and a pound of meal."
I am glad Frank's little gift was of so
much use to you," said Mrs. Haverhill;
and I came here this morning partly to
thank James for taking the time and trou-
ble to go to the school in order to repay
Frank in season for his luncheon. I assure
you my nephew felt it as a great kindness,
and I am sorry James is not here to receive
At these words there was an immense
stirring in the bed which stood in a cor-
ner of the room, and James, with his hair
in a sad state of confusion, and his face red
with blushes, bounced out from under the
clothes, and, coming to the lady, protested
that she had nothing to thank him 'or. He
knew, he said, that he ought to have
insisted on returning all the money, but
then they were all so cold and hungry at
home, and their landlord threatening to turn
them out of his house. Besides the other
boy said he only wanted two cents.
While James was speaking, the dirty red
face grew very pale. His mother said he
was weak lately; she poured out some
warm tea into a cup, without sugar or
milk, and gave it to him with a piece of
bread. This was his breakfast. Mrs.
Haverhill begged Mrs. Mott to drink a little
also; she poured it out for her, and cut a
slice from the bread and put it into her
hand. Then she left the room, saying, as
she did so, "I will return in a few min-
JOY AT CHRISTMAS.
JOY AT CHRISTMAS.
When she came back, she was followed
by a little girl carrying three sticks of wood.
Mrs. Haverhill herself had a little basket
on her arm, and in her hand some shavings
and pieces of bark.
Ah! what a charming fire soon blazed
upon the hearth! How it shone on the
pale, thin faces, and cheered them with its
warm brightness! And now suddenly ap-
peared on the hearth, a sauce-pan of warm
bread and milk. The same bright-eyed
little girl who had brought the wood,
stretched out her arms and said, Let me
feed the baby, while you warm yourself."
Mrs. Mott said she should make some hasty-
pudding for dinner, now that she had so
good a fire, and felt a little stronger.
Now it happened that Mrs. Haverhill
had a sort of wash-house standing in her
yard, of which she made no further use
than to put under cover her tubs and gard-
ening tools, with odd benches, empty bar-
rels and the like. She easily gained her
husband's permission to offer this house to
48 JOY AT CHRISTMAS.
the poor widow for the winter, and Frank
was to have the pleasure of carrying her
the news when he came home from school.
Don't take off your coat, Frank," she
said when he came in, I want you to do
an errand for me." Perhaps Frank was a
little disappointed that he could not at once
come to the fire, and enjoy a new book
which one of his school-fellows had lent
him. He cast rather a rueful glance at the
great basket, which was put into his hands.
But when he knew the errand he was to
be sent upon, when Mrs. Haverhill had
told him all she had seen in the morning,
and when he heard that James Mott and his
mother were to live in their yard all winter,
rent-free, he took a great leap into the air,
kissed his aunt, and was out of the house
in a moment. Indeed, he came very near
overthrowing Patrick, who was waiting
with a wheel-barrow of wood to accompany
The next day began the Christmas holi-
days. Very busy Frank was then in help-
2 ... ... 9
JOY AT CHRISTMAS. 49
ing James to put the house in order for the
Motts to move in before Christmas day.
There was a great deal to be done in a few
days. The little room up stairs was to be
emptied of its rubbish. All this old lumber
must be examined to see if any thing could
be found likely to be useful to Mrs. Mott.
In this Fanny joined the boys, and their
exclamations of pleasure over half-worn
pieces of furniture were often so loud, as to
reach the ears of Mrs. Haverhill's woman
Jemima who was ironing at a table by the
kitchen window. Perhaps no other article
called forth such demonstrations of delight
as a cradle, the very cradle in which Fanny
had been rocked when she was a baby.
Would it not be just the thing for Mrs.
Mott's baby? There it could lie and sleep
while its mother washed, or sewed, or
cooked, or did any thing else her friends
should employ her about. Then James
could sit by the cradle in the evening, and
learn his lessons, for Frank had already
decided to make a scholar of him.
50 JOY AT CHRISTMAS.
Jemima became so much interested in the
good work, that she actually offered to take
a tub of hot water, with soap and brushes,
and make the whole place clean.
"You shall not work by yourself," cried
Frank, "James and I will help you." Je-
mima afterwards declared that the two boys
had been very useful; they were almost as
good as girls, she said. James swept the
whole house before she went into it; he
cleaned the windows, and blacked an old
cooking-stove which had been allowed to
grow rather rusty. Frank, armed with a
yellow bowl full of paste, and a painter's
brush, proceeded to put up some prints that
he had been a long time collecting, over a
partition which was covered by a very
shabby paper disfigured in places by marks
of damp, and even by holes. Most con-
spicuous of all, was a large engraving of
General Washington crossing the Delaware,
the figures colored by Frank himself,-
Washington being represented in a very
extraordinary uniform, and the horse in
JOY AT CHRISTMAS. 51
the foreground very brilliant and peculiar.
When the house was clean and dry,
Frank invited his aunt to look at it. She
expressed great pleasure at finding it better
than she expected, and then she asked
James what furniture his mother had to put
in it. One bed, one table, two chairs, and
a chest were all they had left. The rest
had gone for rent and fuel.
Mrs. Haverhill said she would look over
her house and see if she could find any
thing to spare. I have something," cried
Frank; "you know those shelves that I
made in the autumn, that we could never
think of any place for, I'll hang them up in
James' room; they will do for him to keep
his books in, that is if he has any books,
and if I can make the shelves stay without
Mrs. Haverhill did not look in vain. The
bed and bed-clothes were found for the
cradle, and Fanny had the pleasure of
making ready the baby's bed. Then a
narrow stretcher was discovered by Jemi-
2>i -------- i ------------- ------ ----- -- I
52 JOY AT CHRISTMAS.
ma, with its mattress, and pronounced just
the thing for James. Next an old table
was brought out, which might be made
useful if it had four legs instead of three.
Frank volunteered to supply the deficiency,
but as there was in the family a well-
founded doubt of the strength and stability
of his carpenter's work, it was judged best
to send it away for the necessary repairs.
Three chairs, the cane seats of which were
worn out, Patrick seized upon, saying that
he could make them very tidy and ele-
gant by nailing some bits of carpet tight
over the broken cane-work. All hands
were interested in this work of furnishing
When these and a good many other less
important articles were put in order, and
brought into the house, a fire was made in
the stove, the cradle judiciously placed with
a chair for the mother on one side the fire,
James' seat on the other, and the table with
its new leg in front. Frank and Fanny
would go out repeatedly take a run across
JOY AT CHRISTMAS. 53
the yard, then come back, open the door
suddenly, and look in, to see the effect;
while Jemima declared it as her settled
opinion, that the only things wanting to
make it as comfortable and cheerful like
for Christmas as any cottage in England,
were a bit of carpet on the hearth, and some
branches of holly and ivy in the windows
and over the fire-place.
"Oh," said Frank, "you old English
people think there is nothing to equal your
holly and ivy, but I can tell you, Mistress
Jemima, if James and I took the trouble to
go into the woods, we could soon convince
you that we have things full as pretty as
any you ever saw."
Jemima looked as if she thought holly
and ivy had not their equals in the vegeta-
ble kingdom, but she said it would give her
pleasure to see any thing green in the house
at this season. She hoped if Frank got any
boughs, he would spare her enough to dress
the kitchen, as she had been used to see it
A ,_________________________________. ------ C
54 JOY AT CHRISTMAS,
Patrick offered to move Mrs. Mott.-It
was in the afternoon of the twenty-fourth
of December, that she took possession of her
new abode. She had been there just long
enough to have her bed set up, and to
admire the cozy look of the little place,
when the boys came in with the hemlock
and ground pine which they had collected.
Frank carried his share of the green boughs
to Jemima, who almost shed tears of delight
over them, and proceeded at once to adorn
her territories after the fashion of her native
That was a happy Christmas eve at the
Haverhill's. In the smaller house, the
Motts were enjoying the warmth and clean-
liness of their new quarters. Mrs. Mott did
more. She had felt ill, desponding, deso-
late. Now, she had found friends, and
consequently hope and strength of heart.
It was with her as with the apostle, when
the brethren heard of him and came to meet
him as far as Appii Forum and the Three
JOY AT CHRISTMAS. 55
Taverns; whom when Paul saw, he thank-
ed God, and took courage.
Jemima was happy in her kitchen, ad-
miring her own decorative powers, and
discoursing to Patrick about those far-off
scenes and days which the season recalled
to her memory.
In the parlor, Frank and Fanny were
happy in anticipating the surprise James
Mott would feel, when on going to bed, he
should find lying in his room a complete
suit of warm clothes which Mr. Haverhill
had bought for him from Frank's measure.
It was just at this point, that I, the writer
of this story, came to know any thing about
the Motts. I had gone to Mrs. Haverhill's
to return a book, and the children, whose
intimate friend I was, told me all the cir-
cumstances which I have related.
Frank's aunt asked him if he had been
troubled during the last few* days with
the desire to be rich. Frank said he had
not thought about it since the holidays
began. He supposed there was no tempta-
Sl ---- ------------ ---- ___ __ ___________________ .._____.. &
56 JOY AT CHRISTMAS.
tion for him to love money except when he
was at school, where his companions
thought so much of riches. At home he
What is that," inquired Mr. Haverhill,
whose attention had been attracted from
his newspaper by the earnestness of Frank's
tones. You despise money ? Let me tell.
you money is a very good thing."
Oh, uncle! Do you care about money?
Do you think much of people just because
they are rich asked Frank with a sort
of wondering horror in his face, and great
emphasis on the pronoun.
That is not the question, my good
fellow. I have said nothing of that sort."
Then Mr. Haverhill, smoothing his paper
over his knee, and opening his eyes wide in
comical mimicry of Frank's, repeated his
words, "l Money is a very good thing, most
So Tom Coxall thinks," answered
Frank, "and a good many of the boys.
But, uncle, I did not believe that you
a.' ________ ____________-----------------------C
JOY AT CBRISTMAS. 57
would say so. I thought;-I mean I did
not think;-I was almost certain; "-
Money-is-a very good-thing,"
said the uncle again, in a manner half
laughable, half provoking. "But, Frank,
always remember and be sure of this. It
is by no means the best thing."
Frank and Fanny both looked relieved
at this. "What is better, then?" asked
the boy, beginning to comprehend his uncle's
"Better ? Better than money? I suppose
whatever we are willing to give money
for, and especially whatever money is una-
ble to buy."
"But tell me some particular thing,"
Well, I should say, a good nephew that
never misunderstands, nor feels shocked at
his uncle, is to be preferred."
What should you say," asked Frank,
turning to the rest of us.
Good health is better," said his aunt.
Dear friends," suggested Fanny.
58 JOY AT CHRISTMAS.
A good conscience," said Mr. Haver-
A glass of cold water," added I, put-
ting down mine.
"A merry Christmas is better," cried
Fanny, and Mrs. Haverhill said more
gravely than we had hitherto been speak-
ing, I will tell you what Moses felt on this
Moses ?" asked the children.
"Yes; we are informed in the epistle to
the Hebrews, that Moses esteemed the re-
proach of Christ greater riches than the
treasures in Egypt."
Frank said it never occurred to him be-
fore that Moses had any temptation to stay
It is certainly insinuated in this verse,"
said Mr. Haverhill, that if he had contin-
ued in the court of Egypt as the son of
Pharaoh's daughter, he might have had the
free use of the king's treasures, and of
course, might have procured all the enjoy-
ments to be bought with money."
JOY AT CHRISTMAS. 59
"I can understand," said Frank, that
Moses gave up a good deal. I suppose
Egypt was a very rich country; but I do
not know what is meant by the reproach of
Perhaps," said his uncle, the scoffs
cast on the Israelites, for expecting the
Christ to arise among them, in whom all
the nations of the earth should be blessed.
In more general terms, Moses, wise in this
beyond all the wisdom of the Egyptians,
preferred the reward which he looked for in
the life to come, to the temporary enjoy-
ment of the pleasures in the court of Egypt.
Remember, the Egyptians were a civilized
and powerful nation; the court was a lux-
urious and wealthy one. On the other
hand the Israelites were a race of slaves,
condemned to the most sordid and laborious
tasks. How should a king arise from
these 7 Where was that sceptre, not to
depart from Judah till Shiloh came ? Where
the promised lawgiver? The families of
Judah are working in mortar, and in brick,
a;-------- ----- ---------,
60 JOY AT CHRISTMAS.
and in all manner of service in the field,
and their mocking masters make 'their
lives bitter with hard bondage.'
"We have no king but Pharaoh, was
doubtless the cry of most of them, as the
years rolled by, and no help came. It was
not so with all. We know that by one of the
Hebrews, even the son of Pharaoh's daugh-
ter, that promised blessing of the whole
earth,-those prospects grown so dim to the
minds of most of his brethren,-that re-
proach of Christ, were esteemed greater
riches than all the treasures of Egypt."
Fanny, my child," continued Mr. Hav-
erhill, turning to his little girl, "those were
very true words of yours, that a merry
Christmas is better than money; for what is
Christmas ? The day on which the nativity
of our blessed Saviour is celebrated. And
what has not our Saviour's birth been to
us? No longer a reproach;-for he has
come, and his coming is hope, and truth,
and life, and joy, and Heaven. Give me a
JOY AT CHRISTMAS. 61
Bible, Fanny, and let me read part of the
matchless story." Mr. Haverhill read:
"And there were in the same country
shepherds abiding in the field, keeping
watch over their flock by night.
And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon
them, and the glory of the Lord shone
round about them; and they were sore
"And the angel said unto them, Fear not;
for, behold, I bring you good tidings of
great joy which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day, in the city
of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the
"And this shall be a sign unto you; ye
shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling
clothes, lying in a manger.
"And suddenly there was with the angel
a multitude of the heavenly host, praising
God and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth
peace, good will toward men."
62 JOY AT CHRISTMAS.
There was not so much joy at Christmas
in the next house, which as I told you was
occupied by the Miss Newburys and their
boarders. A boarding-house is not like a
family. Yet I thought, when I took my
place at the breakfast-table on Christmas
morning, and answered the good wishes of
my fellow-boarders, that we all liked each
other better than usual. I think we should
all have been more ready to assist each
other, more reluctant to believe any evil
about each other. How could it be other-
wise, after we had just used that pleasant
form of words, I wish you a merry Christ-
mas ? "
Even our old bachelor, Mr. Freeman,
was benignant towards us all, and civilly
helped Mrs. Maritou to her favorite dishes.
The universal good humor was so ap-
parent as even to set at rest the heart of
Miss Dorcas Newbury, who, poor woman,
was apt to fear that her boarders were
always more or less dissatisfied, if not on
i ________________ ___ _______________<
JOY AT CHRISTMAS. 63
the very verge of a general remonstrance
Miss Phebe was a quiet person of few
words, and so far as appeared, of only one
strong partiality. She was genuinely fond
of flowers. The discovery of a new bud
on one of her plants was always an event
of some importance in Miss Phebe's sel-
dom-varied life. Judge then if she was
not made happy this morning by the un-
expected gift of a pot of carnations almost
ready to bloom.
These are trifles, you will say.-Yes;
but it is in trifles chiefly that we can show
our good will toward men." Few of
us may be called upon for acts of heroic
daring, or heart-rending self-sacrifice in
behalf of others; but we may all con-
tribute something to the "peace on earth,"
by our morning, afternoon, and evening
acts of common life. The kind word
spoken,-the unkind look forborne,-the
slight service heartily rendered,-we often
fail even in these things; and need not
covet opportunity of failure in the per-
formance of more difficult duties. It is
only the faithful over a few things who
have proved their fitness to be intrusted
I was to dine that Christmas day, with
my friends, Mr. Danvers and his daughter.
On my arrival, I saw at once that they
had something to tell me, and Miss Dan-
vers presently said; "l The strangest thing
has happened to me to-day which I must
ask you to listen to, though it is quite a
On my expressing a desire to hear it,
my friend continued. You must know
that our good Betsey, having married and
left me, I wished to engage in her place a
sempstress and housemaid. So I told
Mrs. Goodwin to look out for a proper
person. Two or three days ago, Goodwin
brought to me a very nice young woman,
as she said, who had been recommended
by a friend of hers. I was pleased with
JOY AT CHRISTMAS.
HF .1 -!
JOY AT CHRISTMAS.
her appearance, and engaged her at once.
She came the day before yesterday.
"Now comes the interesting part of my
story. Old Mrs. Goodwin, you know,
always goes to church at Christmas.
Father and I also went out, leaving only
Anne, which was the new girl's name, and
the cook in the house. I was not very
well this morning, and came home after
walking a short distance. I let myself in
without ringing, by means of a latch-key,
and was no sooner in the house, than I
heard some one playing in most masterly
style on the piano-forte. I remembered
that my instrument had been left open,
but it was none of my music which was
now played. It was something very beau-
tiful and elaborate, and executed with such
ease, such brilliancy that I stood for some
minutes in the passage, without moving,
and almost afraid to breathe, lest I should
put an end to the performance.
Bye and by, the character of the music
changed. A few chords were struck in a
66 JOY AT CHRISTMAS.
kind of simple prelude, and a voice began
to sing. The voice was as wonderful as
the previous playing, very sweet and full.
Words and music were alike new to me,
but I find I can recall one verse which was
"A song of thanks and loud to Him
Who makes our labor cease,
Who feeds with love the midnight dim,
And hearts devout with peace."
"I could not restrain my curiosity any
longer, but even as the singer was dwell-
ing on the last line I went into the room.
What was my surprise to find there the
newly engaged Anne! She was not aware
of my presence till I stood close by her
side. She blushed a good deal, half mur-
mured something about its being very
wrong,-a pleasure long denied, and great
temptation. I could hardly catch the
words, the poor girl was so much em-
And what did you do 3"
You will think me very foolish,"
JOY AT CHRISTMAS. 67
answered Miss Danvers laughing; "but
acting hastily and under the influence of
that magnificent music, I told her not to
get up, that I had never heard such play-
ing before, that she was too good a musi-
cian to be any thing else, that I had long
desired to take some lessons in music,-
that instead of living with me in any other
capacity she must stay as my teacher,-
that then she should play all day if she
liked, and I never should be tired of listen-
And how did she receive this ?"
Why, I suppose very improperly for a
discharged housemaid. She leaned her
head against my shoulder, and cried with
all her heart."
If the whole truth is to be told, I must
own that I cried for sympathy. Such
things, you know are catching, and her
emotion was so genuine that I could not
help it. Just then father came in."-
"Yes;" said Mr. Danvers, "what should
68 JOY AT CHRISTMAS.
I see on entering my parlor, but my
daughter and my housemaid weeping in
each other's arms. I uttered some excla-
mation of surprise. Julia, sly little rogue,
knowing her father's weakness where mu-
sic is concerned, and willing to propitiate
him in favor of her new friend, managed
matters very skillfully."
"( I think so;" said the young lady. I
first motioned to the astonished Mr. Dan-
vers to sit down and listen; then I told
Anne that he was very fond of music, and
implored her to oblige me by at once
beginning something, any thing. She
wiped away her tears and commenced the
beautiful Andante movement in Beetho-
ven's Fifth symphony. Whether it was
well played or not, I leave it for yonder
musical gentleman to decide."
"Admirably played it was to be sure,"
said Mr. Danvers.
," He has not heard her sing though,"
said his daughter. She was no longer in
voice, poor thing, after crying. When she
JOY AT CHRISTMAS. 69
had finished the Andante, she got up, and
telling us that her father had been a music-
master and organist of great skill, and had
taught her what she knew, she left the
room. That is my story. I want you to
see Anne and to hear her. I know you
will agree with me that she would be mis-
placed as a servant, and very useful and
happy as my governess in music."
Accordingly after dinner, just before it
was time for lamps to be lighted, Miss
Danvers brought her in. She was a slight,
quiet-looking girl about twenty years old.
Her face indicated talent I thought, and
bore the traces of suffering. I was pleased
with the modest, yet self-respecting man-
ner of this young person, and not a little
surprised, when, on my name being men-
tioned, she looked earnestly at me for a
moment, and then said,
Miss S- has forgotten me, I think,
or I should be inclined to claim her as one
of my earliest acquaintances."
I shook my head, smiling, and affirming
70 JOY AT CHRISTMAS.
that if so, she had quite outgrown my
Yet you will probably remember Mr.
Newport, the blind organist in P and
the little girl who used to lead him about."
"Little Anne!" I exclaimed, "is it
possible that you are little Anne New-
"Whose gloves you used to mend for
her, and to whom you gave the good
counsels which a motherless girl sorely
"And good old Mr. Newport," I said,
"I fear, my dear, you have lost your
She made a motion of mournful assent,
but was not at that moment able to
answer me. Turning to Mr. and Miss
Danvers, I told them that ten or twelve
years before, I had been for several months
the guest of some friends in P The
daughters of the family were then young
and received instruction in music from Mr.
Newport, a gentleman of great eminence
JOY AT CHRISTMAS. 71
in his profession. Being blind, he was
always attended by a little girl, his only
child. I perfectly well remembered the
interest I felt at the time in this little
creature, to whom I took pleasure in ren-
dering slight services with the needle,
when I saw that her dress needed such
After some years' absence, I again visited
P and on inquiring for my old
friends, I learned that Mr. Newport had,
not long before, given up his situation as
organist and left the town. It was thought
he had gone to the West. After this, I had
never heard of them, though I bad some-
times wondered what had become of my
little Anne. I expressed the satisfaction
I now felt at meeting her; a feeling fully
shared by Miss Danvers. I became, as it
were, a sort of voucher for the worthiness
of her new protege.
I have known a good deal of sorrow
since those days," said Anne Newport.
My father's illness was long and painful.
72 JOY AT CHRISTMAS.
We were very poor and obliged to sell our
books and the music which he had used
before his blindness, and which he was
saving for me. At length he grew so
restless that he would not stay long in any
place, and so we made few friends. After
his death I thought of trying to obtain
pupils, but we had not been known in the
neighborhood of Boston, and without proper
recommendations and amidst so much com-
petition, I had no chance of success. I had
not money to go any where else, and be-
sides, there were some trifling debts which
I did not wish to leave behind me. So I
was glad and thankful to take any respect-
able situation that was offered me. That
situation however, I have now lost;" said
she, with a half playful timidity as if
uncertain what was to become of her after
But you have found friends and a
home, dear Anne," said the warm-hearted
Julia, looking at her father, after she had
A' ---- -- ----- .- -- -- -- __ -. ____ --___________f
JOY AT CHRISTMAS. 73
"Yes," added Mr. Danvers in the polite,
slightly formal manner which was natural
to him, and rather becoming. Your
friends, Miss Newport, will take care of
your interests now." (Here a gentle bow
to me.) At present you are on a visit to
And so," I said, "I wish you a merry
Christmas, and if there are any gloves to
be mended, I have not forgotten my old
"It is much if I have gloves at all now,"
said Anne, "but I can play without them,
and with your permission, I will give you
some music in this Christmas twilight."
Yes, do, it will gratify us all, and I
am sure it will do you good," said Julia;
and I added, Let me hear if you have
improved. When I saw you last, you
could only play 'Bounding Billows' with
She seated herself without further invita-
tion, at the instrument, and held us silent
with her excellent performance. Then she
i'- --------------_______________--.. -
74 JOY AT CHRISTMAS.
sang this hymn. A midnight hymn by an
English poet, set to music by her father
she told us.
"The stars shine bright while earth is dark,
While all the woods are dumb,-
How clear those far-off silver chimes
From tower and turret come!
Chilly but sweet the midnight air,
And, lo! with every sound,
Down from the ivy leaf, a drop
Falls glittering to the ground.
"'Twas night when Christ was born on earth;- "
Night heard his first, faint cry;
While angels caroled round the star
Of the Epiphany."
I had promised to spend the evening at
Dr. Andover's, and indeed, having known
something of the Christmas-keeping of the
other three houses in our block, I felt
inclined to take a peep at the fourth. So I
said good-bye to the pleasant group at
Mr. Danver's, wondering within myself
which felt the happier, she who had found,
or they who had given a home.
JOY AT CHRISTMAS. 75
The Andovers were poor; the Danverses
were rich. Not poor like Mrs. Mott, not
rich like Croesus. But about the one family
every thing showed a certain carelessness
of expense. One lamp was never made to
do the duty of two; one person was not
expected to do the work of two. Innocent
pleasures were not given up because they
could not be afforded. There was plenty
of furniture, plenty of servants, plenty of
time, plenty of every thing.
At Dr. Andover's the cost had to be
nicely calculated. Friends were invited
for tea rather than for dinner; the new
book was borrowed, rather than bought;
the faded carpet was made to last another
year. Dr. Andover was still young, and
of a profession in which success is prover-
bially slow. Many were their struggles,
many their little sacrifices, and self-denials,
and many their hopes of brighter days.
The husband studied diligently, was
very attentive to what business he had,
and helped out his income by writing in
a,. __ .----------------- <
76 JOY AT CHRISTMAS.
his own proper name for the medical
Journals, and anonymously for some of the
His wife and mother taxed the common
purse as lightly as possible, making and
repairing all the family clothing, and re-
ducing their personal expenses to the
lowest sum possible. They were poor,
but they were not in debt, and they were
happy. If sometimes the future looked
dark, it was not on Christmas day they
would allow the gloom to gather, and
our evening was as cheerful as if we had
been a quartette of millionaires.
Now, Miss Danvers had that morning
early, as I chanced to know, sent to Dr.
Andover's a large and handsome Christmas
Scake,-" from an old patient," as the card
with it stated; the fact being, that the
lady had once had a tooth extracted by
the Doctor, which she called being his
Great was dear Mrs. Andover's pride and
pleasure in her cake;-great the satisfac-
JOY AT CHRISTMAS. 77
tion with which she exhibited it to me.
She had saved it uncut till I should see it.
"' Is it not a handsome cake? she asked;
adding, "a present this morning, from
one of my husband's patients."-It was
indeed as handsome and rich as frosting
and citron could make it.
But the cake was not the only thing kept
to be shown to me. Little Eddy had been
allowed to sit up in order to see me, or
rather to be seen by me, and now the dear
little fellow is called upon to say the hymn
he has learned. "Mind," said his mother,
"and speak very plainly, and don't say
Eddy stood up very straight on the
hearth-rug and recited:
"While shepherds watched their flocks by night,
All seated on the ground,
The angel of the Lord came down
And glory shone around.
'Fear not,' said he,-for mighty dread
Had seized their troubled mind-
*Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all mankind.
&p ___ ,______*- -- ___ __ cu
78 JOY AT CHRISTMAS.
To you, in David's town, this day
Is born of David's line,
The Saviour, who is Christ the Lord;
And this shall be the sign:
The heavenly babe you there shall find
To human view displayed,
All meanly wrapped in swathing bands
And in a manger laid.'
Thus spake the seraph, and forthwith
Appeared a shining throng
Of angels, praising God, and thus
Address their joyful song:
'All glory be to God on high,
And to the earth be peace!
Good will henceforth from heaven to men,
Begin and never cease.' "
"It is very sweet to hear from infants'
lips the words that were first uttered on
this earth by lips of angels," I remarked,
when the child had finished, without mak-
ing a single mistake.
"Doubtless," said Dr. Andover, "there
is much better poetry in the world than this
hymn, yet it was the first I taught my boy.
JOY AT CHRISTMAS. 79
Is it not dearer to us all than almost any
other And now, Eddy, say your other
little verse, and then kiss us a good night."
Do you mean Child Divine,' asked
the little one who knew nothing else .
"Yes," said his father.
Thou Child Divine, Immanuel,
Welcome to thy lowly manger!
With heart-felt joy thy birth we hail,
And greet with songs the lovely stranger."
Then he gave us each a kiss with his rosy
lips and disappeared with his mother.
When Mrs. Andover returned, she said
to her husband, Edward, if you have
finished the poem you were writing, I wish
you would read it to us now. I liked what
I heard of it, and we have nothing to do
but to listen."
The other two ladies added their solici-
tations, and the Doctor read
80 JOY AT CHRISTMAS.
"A CHRISTMAS HYMN.
BY ALFRED DOMETT.
"It was the calm and silent night!
Seven hundred years and fifty-three
Had Rome been growing up to might,
And now was queen of land and sea.
No sound was heard of clashing wars,-
Peace brooded o'er the hushed domain;
Apollo, Pallas, Jove and Mars
Held undisturbed their ancient reign
In the solemn midnight
'Twas in the calm and silent night!-
The senator of haughty Rome
Impatient urged his chariot's flight
From lordly revel rolling home.-
Triumphal arches gleaming swell
His breast with thoughts of boundless sway;
What recked the Roman what befell
A paltry province far away,
In the solemn midnight
Centuries ago ?
Within that province far away
Went plodding home a weary boor.
JOY AT CHRISTMAS.
A streak of light before him lay,
Fallen through a half-shut stable door
Across his path.-He passed,-for naught
Told what was going on within;
How keen the stars, his only thought,
The air how calm and cold and thin,
In the solemn midnight
Oh, strange indifference Low and high
Drowsed over common joys and cares;
The earth was still-but knew not why,
The world was listening-unawares
How calm a moment may precede
One that shall thrill the world forever I
To that still moment none would heed,
Man's doom was linked no more to sever,
In the solemn midnight
SIt is the calm and solemn night I
A thousand bells ring out, and throw
Their joyous peals abroad, and smite
The darkness-charmed and holy now!
The night that erst no name had worn,
To it a happy name is given;
For in that stable lay new-born
The peaceful Prince of Earth and Heaven,
In the solemn midnight
i ------------- --- (
82 JOY AT CHRISTMAS.
Then the Doctor went out to see a pa-
tient. A poor, non-paying patient, it is
likely, since he took with him two of the
oranges from the table. I am sure he want-
ed to carry a dozen, but he could not afford
himself the luxury of giving more, even
although it was Christmas day.
He was not absent long, and, soon after
his return, a letter was left at the door.
The Doctor took his letter, which he read
with a slight flush on his face. He then
said to his mother and wife, "I have
received the appointment as visiting physi-
cian to the which I asked for, you
know some time ago. I heard that it had
been given to Balsam, but it seems I am to
have it; the duty to commence at New
Here was a joyful surprise. His income
would be more than doubled at once.
There was opportunity besides, of becom-
ing more generally known, and means of
self-improvement. We all shook hands
JOY AT CHRISTMAS.
with him on his appointment, and his'
mother kissed him.
Christmas had brought them relief from
pressing cares, and I left them full of
pleasant hopes and plans for the coming
I have certainly known a great many
happy people this Christmas, I thought, as
I re-entered the Miss Newbury's front door
and made my way up to my own apart-
ment, There is a great deal of happiness
in this world, doubt it who will. I did not
doubt it, when the next minute, I espied a
letter on my table; a long welcome letter
from a dear relative at a distance. This
was a cup of blessing poured out for my
especial use, and I hope I was not unthank-
Once more I read as had been my custom
from childhood, Milton's wonderful Hymn
on the Nativity, and though now that was
read alone, by my solitary fire, which had
W d m
84 JOY AT CHRISTMAS.
once been read aloud with brothers and
sisters round, I would not yield to the sad-
ness of such a thought, nor sully with sel-
fish tears the Joy of Christmas.
m --- A-----
THE YOUNG MISSIONARY. 85
tw 5nnng Wi inatrq.
A STORY OF JANUARY.
THE prayer was ended, and the last words
of peace were spoken. The humble ser-
vice was over, and all prepared to depart
in haste, for the sky had long been growing
darker, and the air seemed thickening with
snow. The people had listened quietly
and with respect, but an anxious gaze was
every now and then directed through the
small window-panes, and it might have
been noticed that at length, after such a
look, weather-beaten heads nodded to each
other, and there was a slight stir near the
door. Perhaps they would have begun to
go away, singly or in pairs, for they knew
86 THE YOUNG MISSIONARY.
that the young minister, if not a stranger
in the country, would be aware of the com-
ing storm and dismiss them, but the ser-
mon before long drew to a close, and wag-
ons and boats were speedily filled. The
missionary himself had twenty miles to
ride, and even his inexperienced eye saw
the threatening omens, and that there was
no time to lose. Before the last boat left
the shore, he was ready to set off, not with-
out due refreshment offered and received,
and the precautions rendered necessary by
that terrible climate of carefully wrapping
up neck, chin and forehead.
By this time, the snow, which had been
whirling in the upper air, began to descend
in the fine, dust-like particles, which are
thought to indicate the beginning of a long-
continuing storm. The large, plumy flakes,
which float down in white beauty, and
deck the ground with soft stars, showing,
it is said, an approaching change in'the
weather, soon cease to fall, and are followed
by suns more golden, and skies bluer than
THE YOUNG MISSrONARY. 87
before. But these tiny crystals, grey as
you look up through them, crowded myr-
iads on myriads together, fall, hour after
hour, with unceasing industry, till every
fence is covered, and every hollow filled.
The roads, through the remote settlements
of this country, always solitary enough,
assume a death-like stillness beneath their
shroud, nor does any living thing remain
THE YOUNG MISSIONARY.
For the first four or five miles, the young
minister, passing at intervals the homeward
bound wagons of his people, received re-
peated and urgent invitations to turn aside
with them for the night. Declining to do
this, every voice called after him as he rode
away, and eager warning to use his utmost
speed in getting home. There were warn-
ings too, all around him; from the old woods
came moans and sobbings; and dismal
voices went by on the hurrying blast.
His horse's feet make no sound on the
muffled earth, and still deeper grew the fast-
increasing drifts. He knows that if he
were to relax his efforts, or to lose his way,
as now on these logs and stones, even so
above his body, and around his head would
the fantastic snow-wreath settle. Lost in
a snow-storm;'-' In the woods in a snow-
storm,' were words that would not fail to
account for his absence, to all who heard
them. He thought of the people with
whom he had so recently parted. Even
the fishermen of Wallace Cove were by
I- ,atL--- \
THE YOUNG MISSIONARY. 89
this time at home, and every member of his
afternoon's congregation safe under shelter,
while in that blinding and bewildering tem-
pest, all the trees look alike to him, and he
toils on, in a hope that is half despair. That
vast hemlock, has he passed it before, or is
it one of many of the same size, and form,
deceiving his senses with its familiar looks ?
And yonder half-fallen tree lying against
its fellow is strangely like one seen half an
hour ago, if indeed it be not the same, and
he, miserably wandering still, in the same
part of the woods, there to wander till night
comes on, and the snow and the frost do
their work on him helpless in the dark-
He feels for a moment as if his prayer
could not rise among those close-serried
ranks of trees, and through the stifling
snow. Then indeed is he utterly alone.
And is it thus must end all his early dreams
of distinction, all his more sober hopes of
usefulness 7 Shall they all lie down to-
gether, and be alike shrouded and forgot-
90 THE YOUNG MISSIONARY.
ten, till on some afternoon in the distant
summer, the step of. the hunter or the
woodman shall pause, and his careless
whistle cease, on a sudden, as his eye falls
on a heap of human bones, found where
the fatal sleep overtook its victim, and
buried where they were found at the foot of
the ancient pine ?
Still another hour, and the horse plodded
on,.forcing his way through the drifts, for
rider dared not to deviate from the path
so much as to go round them, were that
possible in the thick forest. So while a
chill colder than that of winter or the grave
was at his heart, even the shadow of a mo-
mentary despair, he encouraged his gener-
ous companion, and felt that there was
between them a sympathy of suffering.
On! on! not a sound is to be heard but
the wailing of the wind, when suddenly
the trees seem closer together, and the
horse stops before a mountain drift of snow.
Now may they well give themselves up for
lost. The path has ceased; it is fast grow-
THE YOUNG MISSIONARY. 91
ing dark, and there is no more strength to
struggle. But hark! along, distant howl min-
gles with the blast, and the horse, catching
the sound, turns aside, and with increased
and still increasing speed goes forward.
The wolf is exulting over his expected prey,
and the shout of his triumph, louder than
the voices of the storm, stirs anew the
languid pulses of both horse and rider.
But the missionary was not forgotten in
the wild woods of Nova Scotia. Not for-
gotten was it, that he was the only son
of his mother and that she was a widow."
Another sound ere long meets his ear, and
this time a sound of hope. Surely that
must be the sea breaking surlily against
the rocks! And, in truth, the sea is near,
and a few more efforts bring him out of the
forest, and upon the shore. In another half
hour, the hamlet is in sight, and the dan-
ger over. None of his fisher neighbors are
abroad, but, as he goes by in the silence,
some rays from the blazing fires shine
through uncurtained windows across his
ft _________ ._____________________________________________C
92 THE YOUNG MISSIONARY.
path, and all unknowing it, each dwell-
ing blesses him as he passes to his own
Nor was the missionary without cheerful
reception at his home. Mr. Donaldson, a
Christian man from one of the islands in
the Bay, had come to welcome the new
minister, and to spend the Sabbath with
him. So after his solitary ride of the after-
noon, he sat not down to a solitary meal
that evening, but a brother sat beside him
at his table.
The cold all the next day was more se-
vere than had been remembered in the
hamlet, and that thirteenth of January
came afterwards to be spoken of as the cold
Saturday. No fires could secure a com-
fortable temperature in those thin, wooden
houses, where angry draughts pour in
through many a crevice, and about the ill-
fitting doors and windows. Going out was
impossible. Nor would it avail to shovel
paths while the snow continued to fall. A
quantity of wood had been collected, but not
THE YOUNG MISSIONARY. 93
prepared for burning, and the two men
were glad to warm themselves by sawing
and splitting it ready for the fires.
So wore away'the day. In the evening
they spoke together of the manifold trou-
bles and wants of the Christian life, and
how mercifully the Almighty Father deals
with his erring children. The gray head
offered to his young friend the fruits of his
experience of the ways of God and man in
that wilderness, and listened in his turn to
the plans and hopes of the missionary.
They read some of David's psalms, all af-
terwards distinguished in the young man's
Bible by a pencil-mark. They sang togeth-
er a hymn, and the pastor prayed more fer-
vently than usual, now that- a Christian
brother's heart was beating near in unison
with his own. And thus their prayers went
up together through the still, chilly night
"1There are good men, everywhere,"
was the missionary's thought before he fell
asleep that night, and even were it not
94 THE YOUNG MISSIONARY.
so, the good God is everywhere." Even
in the howling woods," added conscience,
yet did thy faith fail thee !" But in the
heart where faith failed, gratitude was
strong, and filled its chambers with her
song of love, and all within the pastor's
house and around it was peace.
For many years, the old man had not
heard a sermon, or been present in a con-
gregation of worshipers, and very pleasant
to him were the services of the next day.
Now," said he, I depart in peace;-the
preaching of theword, I had scarcely hoped
would be enjoyed by my children, and lo!
mine eyes have seen Thy "-he would
have added salvation," but something
choked his utterance, and his lips moved
inaudibly while a tear of joy glistened in his
Perhaps it is in such isolated spots as this
settlement, that the comforts and hopes of
religion are most fully apprehended. Those
humble, solitary ones gladly receive the
promises of the Bible, and to the spirits of
THE YOUNG MISSIONARY. 95
the storm-tossed and weary how welcome
its fair visions of peace.
Monday morning at Fair Cove was clear
and fine; and with the minister's promise
to visit him on Thursday, the old man
entered his boat, spread its single sail
of dingy red, and departed over the
waters of the Bay, and the missionary sit-
ting by his fire alone, blessed the Provi-
dence that had brought to him this coun-
selor and friend. On Thursday it had
been agreed, he should hold a meeting at
the island and early on that day he set
forth, taking with him two of his neighbors
as boatmen and choristers. The blue un-
frozen waters rolled freely along, and the
great snowy hills looked down upon them;
and the wintry day laughed in its beauty,
and man, satisfied with what was present
with him, thought not of longing for the
A few hours saw the boat safe at the
island. The missionary inquired for Don-
aldson's, and was followed by the person to
96 THE YOUNG MISSIONARY.
whom he had spoken. A second left a cart
which he was mending and joined the first.
A third stood in the door of his house, and
seeing the minister, gravely added himself
to the group.
When they arrived at the place they
sought, some of the men who accompanied
the missionary opened the door for him,
and he went in. He saw an elderly woman,
and said to her, This I think is Mr. Don-
aldson's house. Can I see him?"
Oh, aye, sir," replied the woman, "he
is not at all altered. Just this way, sir."
The missionary with light step followed.
The door was thrown open; the room was
filled with people, and there was Mr. Don-
aldson-in his coffin. The minister had
come to his friend's funeral.
How, or when the old man passed away
could not be known. His boat was seen
coming before the wind, and managed, it
was thought, carelessly. Was there no one
in it? A neighbor meeting it as it ran
aground among the ice of the little beach,
THE YOUNG MISSIONARY.
found the owner lying in the bottom as if
asleep. At first they thought he was sleep-
ing, but he waked no more. A paper which
the missionary recognized, was found on
his person, to the effect that there would
be religious worship at his house on the
next Thursday, and for that day they had
arranged his funeral.
The poor young missionary felt as if his
heart would break. How could he comfort
the afflicted when he had himself sustained
so great a shock ? But perhaps his sorrow
was a balm to theirs, for true sympathy
avails more to a wounded heart than fair
words of consolation.
He took a short time for communing with
his own spirit, then rose before them all,
and spoke the words of which we are never
weary. The Lord gave: the Lord hath
taken away : Blessed be the name of the
Lord. His prayer was made amidst the
tears and sighs of the people, and all the
time he prayed, he wept. Then there was
silence for a little, and a Bible being
98 THE YOUNG MISSIONARY.
brought him, he said, I probably heard
the last words which our dear friend and
brother addressed to mortal ear, and it is
fitting that I should make them now the
text of his funeral sermon. On that last
morning of his earthly life, he bade me be
of good cheer, relying on Him who said,
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my
word shall not pass away."
It was sad for them all to remember how
much of their earthly pleasure, much of the
higher joy which we name of heaven, had
passed away, but they were not allowed to
rest here. Here was one thing firmer than
the hills of earth, more lasting than the
stars of heaven, the Word that shall not
pass away. In this strain the minister dis-
coursed, holding the Bible of the departed
in his hand, and the people looked at it and
at him and reverently listened.
There was preaching on his island, and
in his house; the day he had so desired to
see was come, and he lay still and regarded
it not. A servant of the church was be-
THE YOUNG MISSIONARY. 99
neath his roof, and he gave him no wel-
come. So thought the missionary as he
sat down after his sermon, and all the
stricken family sat calm in their grief around
him. On Sunday," said he at last, our
venerable and now most happy friend sang
with me this hymn:
'There is a house not made with hands,
Eternal and on high.'
Sing you it now, I cannot." The boat-
men who had accompanied the minister be-
gan; other voices took up the words, and
at length, even his voice who said he could
not sing that hymn, and who felt almost as
if he should sing no more henceforth, joined
the solemn strain, and had ceased to trem-
ble ere its close.
100 COMING HOME.
A STORY OF FEBRUARY.
FIRST it should snow; then it should hail;
then it should rain; and all the while it
should freeze. During the night this must
take place. Then, when about ten o'clock
the next morning, the sun puts aside the
clouds like a curtain, and looks forth, the
world has become a very miracle of beauty.
What long sparkling aisles of steel-stemmed
trees! How the woods blaze with rnbies
and diamonds, till not all the jewelry of all
the courts on earth can compare with the
splendor of this strip of New England for-