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The Baldwin Library
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LONDON: GEORGE ROUTLEDGE AND
BROADWAY, LUDGATE HILL.
THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.
BY THE AUTHORS OF
STHE WIDE, WIDE WORLD,"
it SPECULATION, k
A -NEW EDITION.
GEORGE ROUTLEDGE AND
THE BROADWAY, LUDGATE.
THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.
WHEREVER Santa Claus lives, and in whatever spot of
the Universe he harnesses his reindeer and loads up his
sleigh, one thing is certain-he never yet put anything
in that sleigh for little Carl Krinken. Indeed, it may be
noted as a fact, that the Christmas of poor children has
but little of his care. Now and then a cast-off frock or
an extra mince-pie slips into the load, as it were acci-
dentally; but in general Santa Claus strikes at higher
game-gilt books, and sugar-plums, and fur tippets, and
new hoods, and crying babies, and rocking-horses, and
guns and drums and trumpets; and what have poor
children to do with these ? Not but they might have
something to do with. them-it is a singular fact that
poor children cut their teeth quite as early as the rich,
even that sweet tooth, which is destined to be an un-
satisfied tooth all the days of its life, unless its owner
should perchance grow up to be a sugar-refiner. It is
also remarkable, that though poor children can bear a
great deal of cold, they can also enjoy being warm-
whether 'by means of a new dress or a load of firing.
and the glow of a bright blaze looks just as comfortable
upon little cheeks that are generally blue, as upon little
cheeks that are generally red; while not even dirt will
hinder the kindly heat of a bed of coals from rejoicing
little shivering fingers that are held over it.
I say all this is strange-for nobody knows much
abcit it; and how can they ? When a little girl once
2 THE CHRTSTMAS STOCKING.
went down Broadway with her muff and her doll, the
hand outside the muff told the hand within that he had
no idea what a cold day it was. And the hand inside
said that for his part he never wished it to be
But with all this Santa Claus never troubled his head
-he was too full of business, and wrapped up in buffalo
skidns besides; and though he sometimes thought of little
Carl, as a good-natured little fellow who talked as much
about him as if Santa Claus had given him half the
world-yet it ended with a thought, for his hands were
indeed well occupied. It was no trifle fill half a million
of rich little stockings, and then-how many poor chil-
dren had any to fill ? or if one chanced to be found, it
might have holes in it; and if the sugar-plums should
come rolling down upon such a floor!
To be sure the children wouldn't mind that, but
Santa Claus would.
Nevertheless, little Carl always hung up his stocking,
and generally had it filled-though not from any sleigh
load of wonderful things; and he often amused himself,
on Christmas Eve, with dreaming that he had made him-
self sick with eating candy, and that they had a stack of
mince-pies as high as the house. So altogether, what
with dreams and realities, Carl enjoyed that time of year
very much, and thought it was a great pity Christmas
did not come every day. He was always contented too
with what he found in his stocking; while some of his
rich little neighbours had theirs filled only to their
heart's discontent, and fretted because they got what
they did, or because they hadn't what they didn't get.
It was a woful thing if a top was painted the wrong
colour, or if the name of a rocking-horse was too short,
or if his bridle was black leather instead of red.
But when Carl once found in his stocking a little
board nailed upon four spools for wheels, and with no
better tongue than a long piece of twine, his little
tongue ran as fast as the spools, and he had brought his
THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.
mother a very small load of chips in less than five
minutes. And a small cake of maple sugar which some-
how once found its way to the same depending toe, was
a treasure quite too great to be weighed; though it
measured only an inch and a half across, and though
the maple trees had grown about a foot since it was
Wife," said John Krinken, "what shall we put in
little Carl's stocking to-night ?"
Truly," said his wife, I do not know. Neverthe-
less we must find something, though there be but little
in the house."
And the wind swept round and round the old hut,
and every cupboard rattled and said, in an empty sort of
way, 1" There is not much here."
John Krinken and his wife lived on the coast, where
they could hear every winter storm rage and beat, and
where the wild sea sometimes brought wood for then,
and laid it at their very door. It was a drift-wood fire by
which they sat now, this Christmas Eve, the crooked
knee of some ship, and a bit of her keel, with nails and
spikes rust-held in their places, and a piece of green
board stuck under to light the whole. The andirons
were two round stones, and the hearth was a flat one;
and in front of the fire sat John Krinken on an old box
making a fishing-net, while a splinter chair upheld Mrs.
Krinken and a half-mended red flannel-shirt. An old
chest, between the two, held patches and balls of twine;
and the crooked knee, the keel, and the green board,
were their only candles.
"We must find something," repeated John. And
pausing with his netting-needle half through the loop, he
looked round towards one corner of the hut.
A clean rosy little face and a very complex set of thick
curls rested there, in the very middle of the thin pillow
and the hard bed; while the coverlet of blue check was
tucked round and in, lest the drift-wood fire should not
do its duty at that distance.
at THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.
John Krinken and his wife refreshed themselves with
a long look, and then returned to their work.
"You've got the stocking, wife?" said John, after a
Ay," said his wife, it's easy to find something to fill."
Fetch it out then, and let's see how much 'twill take
to fill it."
Mrs. Krinken arose, and going to one of the two little
cupboards she brought thence a large iron key; and
then having placed the patches and thread upon the
floor, she opened the chest, and rummaged out a long,
gray, woollen stocking, with white toe and heel, and
various darns in red. Then she locked the chest again
and sat down as before.
"The same old thing," said John Krinken, with a
glance at the stocking.
"Well," said his wife, "it's the only stocking in the
house that's long enough."
I know one thing he shall have in it," said John;
and he got up and went to the other cupboard and
fetched from it a large piece of cork. "He shall have
a boat that will float like one of Mother Carey's chickens."
And he began to cut and shape with his large clasp
knife, while the little heap of chips on the floor between
his feet grew larger, and the cork grew more and more
like a boat
His wife laid down her hand which was in the sleeve
of the red jacket, and watched him.
It 'll never do to put that in first," she said; "the
masts would be broken. I think I'll fill the toe of tbp.
where will you get apples ?" said John Krinken,
the keel of his boat.
"I've got 'em," said his wife, "three rosy-cheeked
apples. Last Saturday, as I came from market, a man
went by with a load of apples; and as I came on I
found that he had spilled three out of his waggon. So
I picked them up."
- %., %.W w w %-, N-IF A. IV JUL %A
THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.
Three apples," said John. "Well
penny to fill up the chinks."
And I've got an old purse that he
I'll give him
said the mother.
"How long do you suppose he'll keep it?" said John.
"Well, he'll want to put it somewhere while he does
keep it," said Mrs. Krinken. The purse is old, but it
was handsome once, and it'll please the child, anyway.
And then there's his new shoes."
So when the boat was done, Mrs. Krinken brought
out the apples and slipped them into the stocking, and
then the shoes went in, and the purse, and the penny-
which of course ran all the way down to the biggest red
darn of all, in the very toe of the stocking.
But there was still abundance of room left.
"If one only had some sugar things," said Mrs.
"Or some nuts," said John.
Or a book," rejoined his wife: "Carl takes to his
Yes," said John, all three would fill up in fine
style. Well, there is a book he can have-only I don't
know what it is nor whether he'd like it. That poor
lady we took from an American wreck when I was mate
of the Skceen-elf-it had lain in her pocket all the while,
and she gave it to me when she died--because I didn't
let her die in the water, poor soul! She said it was
worth a great deal. And I think the clasp is silver."
"Oh, I dare say he'd like it," said Mrs. Krinken;
Give him that, and I'll put in the old pine cone-he's
old enough to take care of it now. I think he'll be con-
The book with its worn leather binding and tarnished
silver clasp, was dusted and rubbed up and put in, and
the old sharp-pointed pine cone followed; and the fisher-
man and his wife followed it up with a great deal of love
and a blessing.
And then the stocking was quite full.
8 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.
It was niidnight; and the fire had long been covered
up, and John Krinken and his wife were fast asleep, and
little Carl was in the midst of the hard bed and his sweet
dreams as before. The stocking hung by the side of the
little fire-place, as still as if it had never walked about
in its life, and not a sound could be heard but the beat
of the surf upon the shore and an occasional sigh from
the wind; for the wind is always melancholy at Christ-
Once or twice an old rat had peeped cautiously out of
his hole, and seeing nobody, had crossed the floor and
sat down in front of the stocking, which his sharp nose
immediately pointed out to him. But though he could
smell the apples plain enough, he was afraid that long
thing might hold a trap as well; and so he did nothing
but smell, and snuff, and show his teeth. As for the
little mice, they ran out and danced a measure on the
hearth and then back again; after which one of them
squealed for some time for the amusement of the rest.
But just at midnight there was another noise heard-
as somebody says-
"You could hear on the roof
The scraping and prancing of each little hoof."
and down came Santa Claus through the chimney.
He must have set out very early that night, to have so
much time to spare, or perhaps he was cold in spite of
his furs; for he came empty-handed, and had evidently
no business calls in that direction. But the first thing
he did was to examine the stocking and its contents.
At some of the articles he laughed, and at some he
frowned, but most of all did he shake his head over the
love that filled up all the spare room in the stocking.
It was a kind of thing Santa Claus wasn't used to; the
little stockings were generally too full for anything of
that sort-when they had to hold candy enough to make
the child sick, and toys enough to make him unhappy
because he didn't know which to play with first, of
THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.
course very little love could get in. And there is no
telling how many children would be satisfied if it did.
But Santa Claus put all the things back just as he had
found them, and stood smiling to himself for a minute,
with his hands on his sides and his back to the fire.
Then tapping the stocking with a little stick that he
carried, he bent down over Carl and whispered some
words in his ear, and went off up the chimney.
And the little mice came out and danced on the floor
till the day broke.
Christmas Day in the morning!" And what a day
it was All night long as the hours went by, the waves
had beat time with their heavy feet; and wherever the
foam and spray had fallen upon board, or stone, or
crooked stick, there it had frozen, in long icicles, or
fringes, or little white caps. But when the sun had
climbed out of the leaden sea, every bit of foam and
ice sparkled and twinkled like morning stars, and the
Day got her cheeks warm and glowing just as fast as
she could; and the next thing the sun did was to walk
in at the hut window and look at little Carl Krinken.
Then it laid a warm hand upon his little face, and Carl
had hardly smiled away the last bit of his dream, before
he started up in bed and shouted-
Merry Christmas !"
The mice were a good deal alarmed, for they had not
all seen their partners safe home; but they got out of
the way as fast as they could, and when Carl bounded
out of bed he stood alone upon the floor.
The floor felt cold, very; Carl's toes curled up in the
most disapproving manner possible, and he tried stand-
ing on his heels. Then he scampered across the floor
and began to feel at the stocking, beginning at the top.
It was plain enough what the shoes were, but the other
things puzzled him till he got to the foot of the stock-
ing; and his feet being by that time very cold (for both
toes and heels had rested on the floor in the eagerness
of examination), Carl seized the stocking in both hands
THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.
and scampered back to bed again; screaming out,
"Apples apples! apples!"
His mother being now awakened by his clambering
over her for the second time, she gave him a kiss, and
a "Merry Christmas," and got up; and as his father
did the same, Carl was left in undisturbed possession of
the warm bed. There he laid himself down as snug as
could be, with the long stocking by his side, and began
to pull out and examine the things one by one, after
which each article was laid on the counterpane outside.
"Well, little boy, how do you like your things ?" said
Mrs. Krinken, coming up to the bed just when Carl and
the empty stocking lay side by side.
First rate!" said Carl. "Mother, I dreamed last
night that all my presents told me stories. 'Wasn't it
Yes; I suppose so," said his mother, as she walked
away to turn the fish that was broiling. Carl lay still
and looked at the stocking.
Where did you come from, old stocking?" said he.
From England," said the stocking, very softly.
Carl started up in bed, and looked between the sheets
and over the counterpane, and behind the head-board;
there was nothing to be seen. Then he shook the
stocking as hard as he could, but something in it struck
his other hand pretty hard too. Carl laid it down and
looked at it again, and then cautiously putting in his
hand, he with some difficulty found his way to the very
toe; there lay the penny, just where it had been all the
time, upon the biggest of the red darns.
A penny!" cried Carl. Oh, I suppose it was you
talking, wasn't it ?"
"No," said the penny. "But I can talk."
"Do you know where you came from?" said Carl,
staring at the penny with all his eyes.
"Certainly," said the penny.
"I dreamed that everything in my stocking told me
a story," said Carl.
THE THREE APPLES.
So we will," said the penny. "Only to you. To
Carl shook his head very gravely, and having slipped
the penny into the little old purse, he put everything
into the stocking again, and jumped out of bed; for the
drift-wood fire was blazing up to the very top of the
little fire-place, and breakfast was almost ready upon the
But as soon as breakfast was over, Carl carried the
stocking to one corner of the hut where stood another
old chest; and laying out all his treasures thereon, he
knelt down before it.
Now begin," he said. "But you mustn't all talk at
once; I think I '11 hear the apples first, because I might
want to eat 'em up. I don't care which of them begins."
"I ASSUME to myself the task of relating our joint his-
tory," said the largest of the three apples, "because I
am perhaps the fairest minded of us all. The judgment
and experience of my younger sister Half-ripe are as yet
immature, and my little brother Knerly is unfortunately
of a somewhat sour disposition, and therefore less likely
to represent things in a pleasant light. My own name
At this opening, the two smaller apples rolled over in
an uncomfortable sort of way, but said nothing.
"As for me," continued Beachamwell, "I have not
only been favoured with a southern exposure, but I have
also made the most of whatever good influences were
within my reach, and have endeavoured to perfect my-
self in every quality that an apple should have. You
perceive not only the fine roundness of my shape, but
10 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING
also the perfect and equal colour of my cheeks. My
stem is smooth and erect, and my eye precisely in a line
with it; and if I could be cut open this minute I should
be found true to my heart's core. I am also of a very
tender disposition, being what is usually called thin-
skinned; and a very slight thing would make a perma-
nent and deep impression on me. My behaviour to-
wards every one has always been marked by the most
perfect smoothness, and on intimate acquaintance I
should be found remarkably sweet and pleasant."
You'd better not say any more about yourself at pre-
sent, Beachamwell," said Carl, because I might eat you
up before you got through your story, and that would be
a pity. Let's hear about Half-ripe and Knerly."
My sister Half-ripe," said Beachamwell, though
with the same natural capabilities as myself, has failed
to improve them. Instead of. coming out into the warm
and improving society of the sun and the wind, she has
always preferred to meditate under the shade of a bunch
of leaves; and though in part she could not help doing
credit to her family, you will perceive that her time has
been but half improved-it is only one of her cheeks
that has the least proper colour, while the other displays
the true pale green tint of secluded study; and even
the seeds of influence and usefulness within her are but
half matured; but mine will be found as dark as-- "
"As the chimney-back ?" suggested Carl.
They are not exactly that colour," replied Beacham-
well, being in fact more like mahogany."
Well I never saw any of that," said Carl, so you
don't tell me much. Never mind-I shall know when 1
cut you up. Now, be quick, and tell about Knerly; and
then give me all the history of your great, great, great
Knerly," said Beachamwell, "was a little cross-
grained from the very bud. Before he had cast off the
light pink dress which as you know we apples wear in
our extreme youth, the dark spot might be seen. It is pro-
THE THREE APPLES.
able that some poisonous sting had pierced him in that
tender period of his life, and the consequence is, as I have
said, some hardness of heart and sourness of disposition
As you see, he has not softened under the sun's influence,
though exposed to it all his life; and it is doubtful
whether he ever will attain a particle of the true Beach-
amwell colour. There are, however, good spots in Knerly;
and even Half-ripe can be sweet if you only get to the
right side of her."
"I'll be sure to do that," said Carl, for I'll go all
round. Come, go on."
Unfortunately," said Beachamwell, "I cannot give
the information which you desire about my respected
and venerable ancestors. The pedigree of apples is not
always well preserved, and in general the most we can
boast of is the family name : nor is that often obtained ex-
cept by engrafting upon a very different stock. For one
generation back, however, we may claim to be true
Beachamwells. From root to twig the parent tree was
the right stuff. The remarkable way in which this came
about, I am happily able to tell you.
A number of years ago, one Thanksgiving Eve, Widow
Penly was washing up the tea things, and her little boy,
Mark, sat looking at her.
"I wish we could keep Thanksgiving, mother," said he
"Why, so we will," said his mother.
"But how ?" said Mark, with a very brightened face.
What will you do, mother ?"
I'll make you some pies-if I can get anything to
make them of," said Mrs. Penly.
Ah,.but you can't," said Mark, his countenance fall"
ing again. "There aren't even any potatoes in the house-
You used to make potato pies, didn't you, mother, when
father forgot to bring home the pumpkin?"
Yes," said Mrs. Penly, but as if she scarce heard
him; for other Thanksgiving Days were sweeping across
the stage where Memory's troop was just then performing.
12 .stiE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.
So what will you do, mother?" repeated little Mark,
when he had watched her again for a few minutes.
Do ?" said the widow, rousing herself. "Why, my
dear, if we cannot make any pies we will keep Thanks-
giving without them."
"I don't think one can keep Thanksgiving without
anything," said Mark, a little fretfully.
Oh no," said his mother, neither do I; but we will
think about it, dear, and do the best we can. And now
you may read to me while I mend this hole in your
stocking. Read the 103rd Psalm."
So Mark got his little old Bible and began to read:-
"' Bless the Lord, 0 my soul, and forget not all his
benefits.- who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who health
all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruc-
tion; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender
Don't you think, Mark," said his mother, that we
could keep Thanksgiving for at least one day with only
such blessings as these ? "
Why, yes," said Mark, I suppose we could, mother
*-though I wasn't thinking of that."
"No, of course not," said his mother; "and that is
the very reason why we so often long for earthly things
-we are not thinking of the heavenly blessings that
God has showered upon us."
But mother," said Mark, not quite satisfied, it goes
on to say, Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things ;
so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's.'"
And Mark looked up as if he thought his mother must
be puzzled now, if she never was before.
It did occur to Mrs. Penly, as she glanced at thie child,
that his cheeks were not very fat, nor his dress very
thick; and that a greater plenty of pies and other
nourishing things might exert a happy influence upon
his complexion; but she stilled her heart with this word,
"Your Father knoweth that ye have need of such
THE THREE APPLES.
"I am sure we have a great many good things, Mark,"
she answered cheerfully; "don't you remember that bar-
rel of flour that came the other day ? and the molasses,
and the pickles ? We must have as much as is good
for us, or God would give us more; for it says in another
part of that psalm, Like as a father pitieth his chil-
dren, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.' I wouldn't
keep from you anything that I thought good for you."
"But you are my mother," said Mark, satisfactorily.
"Well," said the widow, "the Bible says that a mother
may forget her child, yet will not God forget his chil-
dren. So you see, dear, that if we have not a great many
things which some other people have, it is not because
God has forgotten to care for us, but because we are
better without them."
I wonder why," said Mark. Why should they hurt
us any more than other people?"
God knows," said his mother. "It is so pleasant to
have him choose and direct all for us. If I could have
my way, I dare say I should wish for something that
would do me harm-just as you wanted to eat black-
berries last summer when you were sick."
But we are not sick," said Mark.
"Yes we are-sick with sin; and sin-sick people must
not have all that their sinful hearts desire; and people
who love earth too well must want some of the good
things of this world, that they may think more of
"Well," said Mark, the last thing before he got into
bed, we'll keep Thanksgiving, mother-you and I; and
we'll try to be as happy as we can without pies."
May be we shall have some pleasant thing that we
do not think of," said his mother, as she tucked the
clothes down about him.
"Why, what ?" said Mark, starting up in an instant
SWhere could anything come from, mother ?"
From God in the first place," she answered,1" and he
can always find a way."
14 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.
Mother!" said Mark, "there's a great many apples
in the road by Mr. Crab's orchard."
"Well, dear," said his mother, "they don't 'belong
"But they're in the road," said Mark; "and Mr
Smith's pigs are there all day long eating 'em."
We won't help the pigs," said his mother, smiling.
"They don't know any better, but we do. I have cause
enough-for thanksgiving, Marky, in a dear little boy who
always minds what I say."
Mark hugged his mother very tight round the neck,
and then went immediately to sleep and dreamed that he
was running up a hill after a pumpkin.
But Mark woke up in the morning empty handed.
There were plenty of sunbeams on the bed, and though
it was so late in November, the birds sang outside the
window as if they had a great many concerts to give be-
fore winter, and must make haste.
Mark turned over on his back to have both ears free,
and then he could hear his mother and the broom step-
ping up and down the kitchen: and as she swept she
"Rejoice, the Lord is King!
Your Lord and King adore;
Mortals, give thanks and sing,
And triumph evermore;
Lift up your hearts, lift up your voice;
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!
"Rejoice in glorious hope,
Jesus the Judge shall come
And take his servants up
To their eternal home;
We soon shall hear th' archangel's voice!
The trump of God shall sound-Rejoice !"
Mark listened a while till he heard his mother stop
sweeping and begin to step in and out of the pantry.
She wasn't setting the table, he knew, for that was al-
ways his work, and he began to wonder what they were
THE THREE APPLES.
going to have for breakfast. Then somebody knocked at
Here's a quart of milk, Mrs. Penly," said a voice.
" Mother thought she wouldn't churn again 'fore next
week, so she could spare it as well as not."
Mark waited to hear his mother pay her thanks and
shut the door, and having meanwhile got dressed, he
rushed out into the kitchen.
"Is it a whole quadt, mother?"
"A whole quart of new milk, Mark. Isn't that
"Delicious!" said Mark. "I should like to drink it
all up. I don't mean that I should like to do so really,
mother, only on some accounts, you know."
Well, now what shall we do with it?" said his
mother. You shall dispose of it all."
If we had some eggs we'd have a pudding," said
Mark, a plum pudding. You can't make it without
eggs, can you, mother ? "
"Not very well," said Mrs. Penly. "Nor without
No, so that won't do," said Mark. "It seems to me
we could have made more use of it if it had been
"Ah, you are a discontented little boy," said his
mother smiling. Last night you would have been glad
of anything. Now, I advise that you drink a cup of milk
for your breakfast- "
A whole cupful? interrupted Mark.
"Yes, and another for your tea; and then you will
have two left for breakfast and tea to-morrow."
"But then you won't have any of it," said Mark.
"I don't want any."
"But you must have it," said Mark. "Now I'll tell
you, mother. I'll drink a cupful this morning and you
shall put some in your tea; and to-night I'll drink some
more and you'll have cream, real cream; and what's left
I'll drink to-morrow."
16 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.
"Very well," said his mother, "But now you must
run and get washed and dressed, for breakfast is almost
ready, I have made you a little shortcake, and it's
baking away at a great rate in the oven."
"What's shortcake made of?" said Mark, stopping
with the door in his hand.
"This is made of flour and water, because I had
Well, don't you set the table," said Mark, because
I'll be back directly; and then I can talk to you about
the milk while I'm putting on your cup and my cup and
It would be hard to tell how much Mark enjoyed his
cup of milk-how slowly he drank it-how careful he
was not to leave one drop in the cup; while his interest
in the dish of milk in the closet was quite as deep. Jack
did not go oftener to see how his bean grew, than did
Mark to see how his cream rose.
Then he set out to go with his mother to church.
The influence of the dish of milk was not quite so
strong when he was out of the house; so many things
spoke of other people's dinners that Mark half forgot his
own breakfast. He thought he never had seen so many
apple trees, nor so many geese and turkeys, nor so many
pumpkins, as in that one little walk to church. A gain
and again he looked up at his mother to ask her sym-
pathy for a little boy who had no apples, nor geese, nor
pumpkin pies; but something in the sweet quiet of her
face made him think of the psalm he had read last
night, and Mark was silent. But after a while his
"There was once a man, Mark, who had two springs
of water near his dwelling. And the furthest off was
always full, but the near one sometimes ran dry. He
could always fetch as much as he wanted from the
further one, and the water was by far the sweetest;
moreover, he could, if he chose, draw out the water of the
THE THREE APPLES.
upper spring in such abundance that the dryness of the
lower should not be noticed."
"Were they pretty springs ?" said Mark.
"The lower one was very pretty," replied his mother,
" only the sunbeams sometimes made it too warm; and
sometimes an evil-disposed person would step in and
muddy it; or a cloudy sky made it look very dark.
Also the flowers which grew by its side could not
bear the frost. But when the sun shone just right, it
I don't wonder he was sorry to have it dry up, then,"
"No, it was very natural; though if he drank too
much of the water it was apt to make him sick. But
the other spring-- and the widow paused, while her
cheek flushed, and on her lips weeping and rejoicing
were strangely mingled.
There was a great Rock,' and from this the cold
flowing waters' came in a bright stream that you could
rather hear than see; yet was the cup always filled to
the very brim, if it was held there in patient trust, and
no one ever knew that spring to fail, yea in the great
droughts it was ever full. And the water was life-
But this man often preferred the lower spring, and
would neglect !the other when this was full; and if
forced to seek the Rock, he was often weary of waiting
for his cup to fill, and so drew it away with but a few
drops. And he never learned to love the upper spring
as he ought, until one year when the very grass by the
lower spring was parched, and he fled for his life to the
other. And then it happened, Mark," said his mother,
looking down at him with her eyes full of tears, that
when the water at last began slowly to run into the
lower spring, though it was very lovely, and sweet, and
pleasant, it never could be loved best again."
"Mother," said Mark, "I don't know exactly what
you mean, and I do know a little, too."
18 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.
"Why, my dear," said his mother, "I mean that
when we lack anything this world can give, we must
fetch the more from heaven."
"You love heaven very much, don't you, mother ?"
said Mark, looking up at her quite wonderingly.
More than you love me."
Mark thought that was hardly possible; but he didn't
like to contradict his mother, and besides, they were now
at the church door, and had to go in and take their seats
Mark thought the clergyman chose the strangest text
that could be for Thanksgiving Day, it was this :-
There is nothing at all, beside this manna, before
When church was over, and Mark and his mother
were walking home again, they were overtaken by little
Come," said little Tom-" let's go sit on the fence
and eat apples. We sha'n't have dinner to-day till ever
so late, 'cause it takes so long to get it ready; and I'm so
hungry. What are you going to have for dinner ?"
"I don't know," said Mark.
"I know what we're going to have," said Tom, only
I can't remember everything. I makes me worse than
ever to think of it. Come-let's go eat apples."
i haven't got any," said Mark.
Haven't got any !" said Tom, dropping Mark's elbow
and staring at him-for the idea of a boy without
apples had never before occurred to any of Mr. Crab's
family. Oh, you mean you've eaten up all you had in
"No," said Mark, "we haven't had any this year.
Last year Mr. Smith gave us a basketful."
Well, come along, and I'll give you some," said Tom.
I've got six, and I think three'll do for me till
dinner. Oh, Mark! you ought to see the goose roasting
in our kitchen! I'll tell you what-I think I may as
well give you the whole six, 'cause I can run home and
get some more; and I might as well be at home, too,
THE THREE APPLES.
for they might have dinner earlier than they meant to
And filling Mark's pockets out of his own, Tom ran
"It so happened," said Beachamwell, turning herself
round with a tired air when she got to this point in her
story-" it so happened, that Mark having stopped so
long to talk with Tommy Crab, did not get home till his
mother had her things off and the table-cloth laid; and
then, being in a great hurry to help her, and a rather
heedless little boy besides; there being, moreover, but
one table in the room, Mark laid his six apples upon
the sill of the window which was open. For it was a
soft autumn day-the birds giving another concert in
the still air, and the sunshine lying warm and bright
upon everything. The apples looked quite brilliant as
they lay in the window, and as Mark eat his queer little
Thanksgiving dinner of bread and a bit of corned beef,
he looked at them from time to time with great plea-
But when it was almost time for the apples to come
on table as dessert, Mark suddenly cried out, "Mother!
where are my six apples?"
"Why, on the window-si," said his mother.
"There are but five! there are but five!" said Mark.
"I must have lost one coming home! No, I didn't,
either." And running to the window, Mark looked out.
There lay the sixth apple on the ground, appropriated
as the Thanksgiving dinner of his mother's two chickens.
Mark could hardly keep from crying.
"It's too bad," he said, "when I had but just six!
The ugly things!"
"You called them beauties this morning," said his
"But just see my apple!" said Mark, all dirty and
pecked to pieces."
An1 just see my little boy," said his mother, all
red and. angry Did you suppose, my dear, that if
20 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.
apples rolled off the window-sill, they would certainly
fall inside ?"
I will take care, I '11 never put anything there any
more," said Mark, gathering up the five apples in his
arms and letting them all fall again. But they fell
inside this time, and rolled over the floor.
You had better decide how many apples you will eat
just now," said Mrs. Penly, "and then put the others
away in the closet."
"It's too bad!" said Mark. "I had but six; and
I thought you would have three and I'd have three."
Well, you may have five," said his mother, smiling,
the chickens have got my part. And, maybe, some good
will come of that yet, if it only teaches you to be careful."
Oddly enough," said Beachamwell, some good.did
come of it. When the chickens pecked the apple to pieces,
the seeds fell out, and one seed crept under a clover leaf
where the chickens could not find it. And when the
snow had lain all winter upon the earth, and the spring
came, this little seed sprouted and grew, and sent down
roots, and sent up leaves, and became an apple tree."
"How soon ?" said Carl.
Oh, in the course of years, by the time Mark was a
big boy. And the tree blossomed and bore fruit; and
from that time Mark and his mother never wanted for
apples. He called it the Thanksgiving tree,' but it
was a true Beachamwell, for all that."
"But stay!" exclaimed Carl, catching hold of Beach-
amwell's stem in his great interest, "Mark isn't alive
now, is he ?"
"No," said Beachamwell, twisting away from Carl
and her stem together. No, he is not alive now, but
the tree is, and it belongs to Mark's grandson. And
the other day he picked a whole waggon-load of us, and
set off to market; and we three were so tired with jolt-
ing about, that we rolled out and lay by the wayside
Thus it was that your mother found us."
THE THREE APPLES.
"Well, that is certainly a very pretty story," said
Carl; but nevertheless, I'm glad my stocking was full.
But I will let you, Beachamwell, and Half-ripe, and
Knerly, lie on the chest and hear the rest of the stories,
for I like this one very much."
Carl was tired of sitting still by this time, so he went
out and ran about on the beach till dinner time; and
after dinner he went up to his corner again.
The sun came in through the little window, looking
askance at Carl's treasures, and giving a strange, old-
fashioned air to purse, and book, and stocking. The
shoes looked new yet, and shone in their blacking, and
the apples had evidently but just quitted the tree;
while the bright penny gleamed away in the fair light,
and the old pine cone was brown as ever, and reflected
not one ray. Carl handled one thing and another, and
then his eye fell on his small portion of money. He
might want to spend it! therefore, if the penny could do
anything, it must be done at once; and as he thought
on the subject, the sun shone in brighter and brighter,
and the face of the penny looked redder and redder.
Then the sunbeam fled away, and only a dark little
piece of copper lay on the chest by the side of the new
Now, penny," said Carl, it is your turn. I'll hear
you before the purse, so make haste."
Turn me over, then," said the penny, "for I can't
talk with-my back to the people."
So Carl turned him over, and there he lay and stared
at the ceiling.
22 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.
I CANNOT begin to relate my history, said the penny,
without expressing my astonishment at the small con-
sideration in which I am held. "I wouldn't give a
penny for it !"-" It isn't worth a penny !" such are the
expressions which we continually hear; and yet truly a
man might as well despise the particles of flour that
laake up his loaf of bread.
People say it is pride in me; that may be, and it may
not. But if it be, why shouldn't a penny have at least
that kind of pride which we call self-respect? I was
made to be a penny, I was wanted to Ie a penny, I was
never expected to be anything else, therefore why should
I be mortified at being only a penny ? I am all that
I was intended to be, and a silver dollar can be no more.
Pride, indeed! why even Beachamwell here is proud, I
dare say, and only because she is not a russeting;
while I think-Well, never mind, but I have bought a
good many apples in my day and ought to know some-
thing about them. Only a penny! People can't bar-
gain so well without me, I can tell you. Just go into
the market to buy a cabbage, or into the street to buy a
newspaper, and let me stay at home; see how you will
care then. Indeed, when there is question of parting
with me, I am precious enough in some people's eyes,
but it hardly makes up for the abuse I get from other
quarters. There is indeed one pretty large class of the
community who always think me worth picking up,
though they are over ready to part with me. To them
alone would I unfold the secrets of my past life. I
might have lain mute in a man's purse for ever, and.
rubbed down all the finer parts of my nature against
various hard-headed coins; but there is something in the
solitude of a boy's pocket which touches all the ,ympa,
this of our nature, even beforehand.
I am not, however, continued the penny, I am not
at all of friend Beachamwell's temperament,-in fact
I never had but one impression made on me in my life.
To be sure that was permanent, and such as only Time
can efface; though no doubt he will one day soften down
my most prominent points, and enable me to move
through society with a calm and even exterior. For it
happens, oddly enough, that while beneath the pressure
of years the human face divine" grows wrinkled and
sometimes sharp, a penny grows smooth and polished,-
a little darker and thinner perhaps than formerly, but
with as good business faculties as ever.
When that time arrives, said the penny, we re-
fuse to tell our age; but until then we are perfectly
communicative. I would at once tell you how old I am,
but that you can see for yourself.
I shall not give you a detailed account of my origin,
nor of the fire and water through which I passed in order
to become a penny. If, when you grow up, you are still
curious about the matter, you travel over England, and
there, down in Cornwall, you will find what may be
called my birth-place, and can learn, with full particulars,
why I left it. Neither shall I relate how I was pressed,
and clipped, and weighed, at the Mint, nor speak of the
first few times that I went to market and changed hands.
My present history will begin with the pocket of a rich
old gentleman, into which I found my way one afternoon,
along with a large variety of the 1" circulating medium."
"You do use such big words !" said Carl.
"Because I have travelled a great deal," said the
penny. It is the fashion. But to return to the pocket."
What a pocket it was!
At the bottom lay an overfed pocket-book, bursting
with bank bills new and old, while another of like di-
mensions held more value, snugly stowed away in notes
and bonds. The leather purse in which I lay had one
THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.
end for pence and the other for gold and silver; but
with my usual love of bright company, when the old
gentlemen slipped me in among a parcel of dingy pence,
I slipped out again, and ran in among the half-sovereigns
For I was the only new penny the old gentleman had,
and as by right I belonged about half to him and half
to the bank, the cashier and he had some words as to
which should carry me off. I believe the old gentleman
chuckled over me half the way home.
If this part of my story teaches nothing else, said the
penny, with a moralizing air, as he stared at the ceiling,
it will at least show the folly of going out of one's
proper place. Had I been content to lodge with the
pence, I should but have been set to do a penny's work,-
as it was I was made to do the work of sovereigns, for
which I was totally unfit. It fell out thus.
The old gentleman walked leisurely home, having very
much the air of a man with a pocket full of money,-
as I should think from the deliberate and comfortable
way in which we were jogged about; and when he rang
his own door bell it was already quite dark. A dear little
girl opened the door, dressed in a white frock and black
Oh, grandpa," she said, I'm so glad you've come,
because there's a little boy been waiting here ever so long
for ten dollars."
Well my dear," said the old gentleman, "ten dollars
is worth waiting for."
But he's in a great hurry to get home before dark,
because he says the children have got no bread for sup-
per till he buys it," said the little girl. He brought a
pair of boots and shoes for you, grandpa, and his father's
Is he ?" said the old gentleman. Then I'm afraid
my boots won't be worth much. However, Nanny, my
dear, you may take him the money for them, since
Shall I fetch you a light, grandpa ?" said the child
" It's too dark to see."
"No, no-not a bit of it,-I know how ten dollars
feel, well enough. He shall have a gold piece-for the
first time in his life, I'll warrant. It is too dark to read
And opening the most precious end of his purse, the
old gentleman's unerring thumb and finger drew forth
me, and laid me in the little girl's open palm. The soft
little hand closed upon me, and down she ran to the
"There"-she said,-" here it is. Grandpa says he
supposes that's the first gold piece you ever had. Have
you got a great many little brothers and sisters?"
This aint gold," said the boy, too busy examining
me to heed her last question. "He's made a mistake-
this is only a penny."
Oh, well, I'll take it back to him then," said the little
messenger. I suppose he couldn't see in the dark."
And away she ran.
The old gentleman by this time was enjoying his slip-
pers and the newspaper, between a blazing fire and two
long candles in tall silver candlesticks.
Grandpa," said the child, laying her hand on his
knee, do you know what you did in the dark ? You
gave that boy a penny instead of a gold piece-wasn't
Hey! what?" said the old gentleman, moving his
paper far enough to one side to see the little speaker,
"Gave him a penny instead of a gold piece ? Nonsense !"
But you did, grandpa," urged the child. See here
-he gave it right back to me. It was so dark, you
know, and he took it to the window to look; and he said
directly it was only a penny."
Which he had kept in his hand for the purpose, I'll
warrant," said the old man. Took it to the window,
did he ?-yes, to slip it into his pocket. He needn't think
to play off that game upon me "
But only look at it, grandpa," said the child,-" see
*-it's only a penny. I'm sure he didn't change it."
"I don't want to look at it;" said he putting away her
hand. "All stuff, my dear-it was as good a piece as
ever came out of the Mint. Don't I know the feel of
one ? and didn't I take it out of the gold end of my
purse, where I never put copper ? Bad boy, no doubt-
you mustn't go back to him. Here, William "
But he looked good, grandpa," said the child, and
"He'll look sorry now, I'll be bound," said the old
man. I say, William !-take this penny back to that
boy and tell him to be off with it, and not to show his
face here again."
The command was strictly obeyed; and my new
owner, after a vain attempt to move the waiter, carried
me into the street and sat down on the next door-step.
Never in my life have I felt so grieved at being only a
penny, as then.
The boy turned me over and over, and looked at me
and read my date, with a bewildered air, as if he did
not know what he was doing; and I, alas, who could
have testified to his honesty, had no voice to speak.
At length he seemed to comprehend his loss; for,
dropping me on the pavement, he sunk his head on his
hands, and the hot tears fell fast down from his face
upon mine. Then in a sudden passion of grief and ex-
citement he caught me up and threw me from him as
far as he could; and I, who had been too proud to asso-
ciate with pence, now fell to the very bottom of an in-
glorious heap of mud. As I lay there, half smothered, I
could hear the steps of the boy, who soon repenting his
hastiness now sought me-inasmuch as I was better
than nothing; but he sought in vain. He couldn't see
me and I couldn't see him, especially as there was little
but lamp light to see by, and he presently walked away.
I am not good at reckoning time. said the penny,
but I should think I might have lain there about a
week-the mud heap having in the mean time changed
to one of dust-when a furious shower arose one after-
noon, or I should rather say came down; and not only
were dust and mud swept away, but the rain even washed
my face for me, and left me almost as bright as ever,
high and dry upon a clean paving-stone.
I felt so pleased and refreshed with being able to look
about once more, that what next would become of me
hardly cost a thought; and very wet and shiny I lay
there, basking in the late sunshine.
"I thought you said you were high and dry," said
That is a phrase which we use," replied the penny.
"I was high and dry in one sense-quite lifted above
the little streams of water that gurgled about among the
paving-stones, though the rain-drops were not wiped off
my face; and as I lay there I suddenly felt myself
picked up by a most careful little finger and thumb,
which had no desire to get wet or muddy. They be-
longed to a little girl about ten years old."
"You pretty penny," she said admiringly-" how
bright and nice you do look! and how funny it is that I
should find you-I never found anything before. I
wonder how you came here-I hope some poor child
didn't lose you."
While she thus expressed her opinion I was busy
making up mine, and truly it was a pleasant one. Her
calico frock was of an indescribable brown, formed by
the fading together of all the bright colours that had
once enlivened it-water and soap, and long wear, had
done this. But water and soap had also kept it clean,
and a very little starch spread it out into some shape,
and displayed the peculiar brown to the best advantage.
Instead of an old straw bonnet with soiled ribbons, she
had a neat little sun-bonnet; but this was made of a
piece of new pink calico, and made her face look quite
rosy. I could not see her feet and shoes, for my back
was towards them, but I have no doubt they were in
28 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.
nice order-she was too nice a child to have it other.
wise Her hair was brushed quite smooth, only when
she stooped to pick me up one lock had fallen down from
under the sun-bonnet, and her face was as simple and
good as it could be. With what contented eyes did she
look at me !-she didn't wish I was a piece of gold-ine
deed I thought it doubtful whether she had ever heard
of such a thing. But I saw that her cheeks were thin,
and that they might have been pale but for the pink sun-
bonnet. Whatever she meant by a poor child," little
Nanny would surely have given the name to her.
Suddenly she exclaimed- Now I can get it! Oh,
I'm so glad! Come, little penny, I must give you away,
though I should like to keep you very much, for you're
very pretty; but you are all the money I've got in the
Now for the candy-shop, thought I; for as she turned
and began to walk away as fast as she could, I peeped
into the little basket that hung on her arm and saw there
a small loaf of bread-so I knew I was not to go for
that commodity. She did not put me in the basket, but
kept me fast in her hand as she tripped along, till we
came to a large grocer's shop. There she went in.
Please, sir, to let me have a penny's worth of tea,"
she said timidly.
Got sixpence to pay for it ?" said one of the clerks,
to make the other clerks laugh, in which he succeeded.
No, sir, I've got this," she said, modestly showing
me, and giving me a kind glance at the same time. It's
only a penny, but it will get enough for mother, and.
she's sick and wanted some tea so much."
The young men stopped laughing, and looked at the
child as if she had just come out of the museum; and
one of them taking down a canister, measured out two
or three good pinches of tea into a brown paper and
folded it up. The child took it with a very glad face,
laying me down on the counter with a joyful "Thank
you, sir," which I by no mean repeated I wanted to go
home with her and see that tea made. But we pence can
never know the good that our purchases do in the world.
The clerk took me up and balanced me upon his
finger, as if he had half a mind to give the child back
her money, and pay the sum of one penny into the till
out of his own private purse. But habit prevailed-; and
dropping me into the till, I heard him remark as he
closed it, "I say, Bill, I shouldn't wonder now if that
was a good child."
I shouldn't have wondered either.
We were a dull company in the till that night, for
most of the money was old; and it is a well known fact
that worn-down coins are not communicative. And
some of the pieces were rusty through long keeping, and
one disconsolate little sixpence which sat alone in the
furthest corner of the till was in a very sad state of mind;
for he had just laid himself out to buy some rice for a
poor family and now could do nothing more for them-
and he was the last moneyed friend they had.
In this inactive kind of life some time passed away,
and though some of us were occasionally taken to
market yet we never bought anything. But one
evening a man came into the grocer's and asked
for starch, and we hoped for bright visitors; but
I had no time to enjoy them, for I was sent to make
change. The messenger was a man-servant; and with
the starch in his hand and me in his pocket he soon left
the shop and went whistling along the street. Then he
put his other hand into the pocket, and jingled me against
the rest of the change in a most unpleasant manner-
picking me up and dropping me again just as if pence
had no feeling. I was glad when he reached home, and
ran down the area steps and into the kitchen. He gave
the starch to the cook, and then marking down on a little
bit of paper what he had bought and what he had spent,
he carried it with the change into the parlour. But what
was my surprise to find that I was in the very same
bouse whence I had gone forth as a golden piece!
THE CHRISTM~AS ST0CKDI(GO
The old gentleman was asleep in his chair now, and a
pretty-looking lady sat by, reading; while the little girl
was playing with her doll on the rug. She jumped up,
and came to the table and began to count the
Two and sixpence, mama-see, here's a shilling and
two sixpences, and fivepence, and a penny. Mama,
may I have this penny ?"
It isn't mine, Nanny-your grandfather gave James
Well, but you can pay him again," said the child;
" and besides, he'd let me have it, I know."
"What will you do with it, Nanny?"
"Don't you know, mama, you said you thought you
would give me one penny a month to spend?"
"To do what you liked with"-said her mother. Yes,
I remember. But what will you do with this one?"
Oh, I don't know, mama-I'll see if grandpa will let
me have it."
"Let you have what?"
"This penny, grandpa."
"To be sure you may bavE
"No, she must have but
smile. "I am going to giv
penny a month."
"Fiddle-de-dee!" said the
she do with that, I should
"Why she can do just th
could with half-a-crown," said
Of course !-and fifty
one," said the lady, with a
e her an allowance of one
old gentleman. What can
like to know?-one penny
e thirtieth part of what she
I the lady, and that will be
money matters enough for such a little head. So you
may take the penny, Nanny, and spend it as you like;
only I shall wish to be told about it afterwards."
Fanny thanked her mother, and holding me fast in
one hand she sat down on the rug again by her doll. The
old gentleman seemed very much amused.
THE Pr3mY, 81
"What will you do with it, Nanny?" he said, bending
down to her. "Buy candy?"
Nanny smiled and shook her head.
"No, I believe not, grandpa-I don't know-I'll see.
Perhaps I'll buy beads."
At which the old gentleman leaned back in his chair
and laughed very heartily.
From that time, whenever little Nanny went to walk
I went too, and she really seemed to be quite fond of me;
for though she often stopped before the candy shops or
the toy shops, and once or twice went in to look at the
beads, yet she always carried me home again.
"Mama, I don't know how to spend my penny,'
she said one day.
"Are you tired of taking care of it, Nanny?"
No mama, but I want to spend it."
"Why mama-I don't know-money is meant to
spend, isn't it!"
"Yes, it is meant to be spent-not to be thrown
"Oh, no," said Nanny,-" I wouldn't throw away my
penny for anything. It's a very pretty penny."
"How many ways are there of throwing away
money ?" said her mother.
Oh, mama-a great many! I couldn't begin to count
You know I might throw it out of the window, mama,
or drop it in the street-or somebody might steal it; no,
then it would only be lost."
"Or you might shut it up in your box and never
"Why, mama!" said Nanny, opening her eyes very
wide, "would it be thrown away then?"
"Certainly-you might just as well have none. it
would do neither you nor any one else any good."
But I should have it to look at."
But that is not what money was made for. Your
penny would be more really lost than if you threw it out
THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING
for then some poor child
"How surprised she would be!" said Nanny, with a
very bright face. "Mama, I think I should like to
spend my money so. I could stand behind the window-
curtain and watch."
Her mother smiled.
"Why, mama? do you think there wouldn't any
poor child come along?"
"I should like to see that day, dear Nanny. But your
penny might fall into the grass in the courtyard, or into
the mud, or a horse might tread it down among the
paving-stones; and then no one would be the better
"But it's only one penny, mama," maid Nanny,--
"it don't matter so much after all."
Come here, Nanny," said her mother, and the child
came and stood at her side. The lady opened her purse,
and took out a little gold piece.
What is this made of? said she.
"Why, of gold, mama."
So Nanny thought, and could'nt think, and laid her
head against her mother, and played with the little gold
coin. Then she laid it upon me to see how much
smaller it was, and how much brighter. Then she cried
out. Oh, I know now, mama! it's made of a hundred
and twenty pence."
"Then if every day you lose 'only a penny,' in
year you would have lost more than a sovereign and a
half. That might do a great deal of good in the
How strange that is," said Nanny. "Well, I'll try
and not lose my penny, mama."
There is another reason for not losing it," said her
mother. In one sense it would make little difference
whether or not I threw this little gold piece into the fire
--you see there are plenty more in my purse. But
Nanny, they do not belong to me." And taking up a
Bible she read these words-" The silver and gold are
the Lord's.' "
"Do you think, Nanny, that it pleases Him to have us
waste or spend foolishly what he has given us to do good
with ? "
"No, mama; I won't get my beads, then," said
Nanny, with a little sigh.
That would not be waste," said her mother, kissing
her. It is right to spend some of our money for harm-
less pleasure, and we will go and buy the beads this very
So after dinner they set forth.
It was a very cold day, but Nanny and her mother were
well wrapped up, so they did not feel it much. Nanny's
fur tippet kept all the cold wind out of her neck, and her
little muff kept one hand warm while the other was given
to her mama. When that hand got cold, Nanny
changed its place, she put it in the muff and the other
out. As for me, I was in the muff all the time; and I
was just wondering to myself what kind of a person the
bead woman would prove to be, when I heard Nanny
Mama !" did you see that little girl on those brown
steps? She had no tippet, mama, and not even a
shawl, and her feet were all tucked up in her petticoat;
and and Nanny's voice faltered-" I think she was
crying. I didn't look at her much, for it made me feel
sad; but I thought so."
Yes, love," said her mother, I saw her. How good
God has been to me, that it is not my little daughter
who is sitting there."
Nanny walked on i
she spoke again.
want things more than
"I'm afraid they do,
I want my
for a few yards-then
many poor children
84 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.
Mama, will you please go back with me, and let
me give that little girl my penny ? wouldn't she be
pleased, mama ? would she know how to spend it ? "
Suppose you spend it for her, Nanny. People that
are cold are very often hungry, too-shall we go to the
baker's and buy her something to eat?"
Oh yes!" said Nanny. "Will you buy it, mama, or
shall I ?"
And when they reached the shop, Nanny looked round
once more at her mother, and opening the shop-door with
a pleased and excited little face, she marched up to the
"If you please, sir," she said, laying me down on
the counter, "I want something for a very poor little
The baker was a large fat man, in the whitest of shirt-
sleeves and aprons, and the blackest pantaloons and vest,
over which hung down a heavy gold watch-chain. He
put his hands on his sides, and looked at Nanny, and
then at me, and then at Nanny again.
What do you want, my dear?" said he.
Nanny looked round to her mother to reassure herself,
and repeated her request.
I want something for a very poor little girl, if you
please, sir. She's sitting out in the street all alone."
And Nanny's lips were trembling at the remembrance.
Her mother's eyes were full, too.
What will you have, my dear ? said the baker.
Nanny looked up at her mother.
"What would you like if you were hungry ? replied
Oh, I should like some bread,"
am sure the little gixl woulI, too.
are too big."
How would these do?" said th
Nanny, and I
all those loaves
Le baker. taking rSmA
rolls out of a drawer. ..
"Oh, they're just the thing!" said Nanny,
rohli so much. May I take one, sir? and is a penny
enough to pay for it?"
The baker gave a queer little shake of his head, and
searching below the counter for a bit of wrapping paper,
he laid the two largest rolls upon it.
A penny is enough to pay for two," he said. "Shall
I tie them up for you ?"
No, thank you, sir, you needn't tie it-if you'll only
wrap them up a little. Mama," said Nanny, turning
again to her mother, I'm afraid that poor little girl does
not know that' the silver and gold are the Lord's,' and
she'll only think that I gave it to her."
You can tell her, Nanny, that everything we have
comes from God," said her mother; and they left the shop.
"What a nice little girl!" said Carl. "I think I
should like to marry that little girl when I grow up-if I
was good enough."
The baker went into the back room, continued the
penny, to tell the story to his wife, and I was left to my
own reflections on the counter; but I had reason to be
well satisfied, for it was certainly the largest pennyworth
I had ever bought in my life. But while I lay there
thinking about it, a boy came into the shop; and seeing
me, he caught me up and ran out again. At least, he
was running out, when he tripped and fell; and as I
am noted for slipping through people's fingers, I slipped
through his, and rolled to the furthest corner of the shop.
There I lay all night; and in the morning, when the
baker's boy was sweeping the floor, he found me and put
me in the till, for he was honest. But just then, Mr.
Krinken came in with a string of fish, and the careless
creature gave me, with some other change, for a parcel of
miserable flounders. That's the way I came here.
"Why was he a careless boy?" said Carl. "I think
he was very careful, to find you at all."
Oh, because I did not want to quit the baker, I sup-
pose," said the penny. And I don't like the smell of
fish,--it don't agree with me."
36 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.
"You won't smell much of it when I've kept you awhile
in my purse," said Carl. I'll take good care of you,
penny, and I won't spend you till I want something."
The next day Carl had tired himself with a run on
the sands. He used to tuck up his trousers as high as they
would go, and wade slowly in through the deepening
water, to pick up stones and shells, and feel- the little
waves splash about his legs. Then, when a bigger wave
than usual came rolling in, black and high, to break
further up on the shore than the other great waves did,
Carl would run for it, shouting and tramping through
the water, to see if he could not get to land before the
breaker which came rolling and curling so fast after him.
Sometimes he did; and sometimes the billow would curl
over and break just a little behind him, and a great sea
of white foam would rush on over his shoulders and per-
haps half hide his own curly head. Then Carl laughed
louder than ever. He didn't mind the wetting with salt
water. And there was no danger, for the shore was very
gently shelving and the sand was white and hard; and
even if a large wave caught him up off his feet and cra-
dled him in towards the shore, which sometimes happened,
it would just leave him there, and never think of taking
him back again; which the waves on some beaches would
All this used to be in the summer weather; at Christ-
mas it was rather too cold to play with the breakers in
any fashion. But Carl liked their company, and amused
himself in front of them, this sunny December day, for
a long time. He got tired at last; and then sat himself
flat down on the sand, out of reach of the water, to rest
and think what he would do next. There he sat, his
trousers still tucked up as far as they would go, his little
bare legs stretched out towards the water, his curls cris-
ped and wetted with a dash or two of the salt wave, and
his little ruddy face sober and thoughtful,-pleasantly
resting, and gravely thinking what should be the next
play. Suddenly he jumped up, and the two little bare
feet pattered over the sand and up on the bank, till he
reached the hut.
"What ails the child?" exclaimed Mrs. Krinken.
But Carl did not stop to tell what. He ran to the cup.
board; and climbed up on a chair, and drew forth with
some trouble, from behind everything, a clumsy wooden
box. This box held his-own treasures and nobody else's.
A curious boxful it was. Carl soon picked out his
Christmas purse; and without looking at another thing
shut the box, pushed it back, swung to the cupboard
*or, and getting down from his chair, ran back, purse in
and, the way he came; the little. bare feet pattering
over the sand, till he reached the place where he had
be ,sitting; and then down he sat again just as he was
before, stretched out his legs towards the sea, and put the
purst down upon the .sand between them.
Now, purse," said he, I'll hear your story. Come,
"I don't feel like story-telling," said the purse. "I
have been opening and shutting my mouth all my, life,
and I am tired of it." ) .
The purse looked very snappish.
Why, you wouldn't be a purse if you couldn't open
and shut your mouth," said Carl.
"Very true," said the other; "but one may be tired
of being a purse, mayn't one ? I am."
"Why?" said Carl.
"My life is a failure."
"I don't know what that means," said Carl.
"It means that I never have been able to do what I
was meant to do, and what I have all my life been trying
"What's that?" said Carl.
"To keep money."
"You shall keep my penny for me," said Carl.
Think of that! A penny! anything might hold a
penny. I am of no use in the world."
THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.
"Yes, you are," said Carl,-" to carry my penny."
"You might carry it yourself," said the purse.
"No I couldn't," said Carl. My pockets are ful
"You might lose it, then. It's of no use to keep
penny. You might as well have none."
"No I mightn't," said Carl; "and you must kee
and you must tell me your
Maybe you'll lose me,"
said the purse.
"I wish your
"No, I shan't lose you," said Carl; and he lifted up
his two legs on each side of the purse, and slapped them
down in the sand again.; "I shan't lose you."
It wouldn't be the first time," said the purse.
Were you ever lost ?" said Carl.
Certainly I was."
"Then how did you get here ?"
"That's the end of my story-not the beginning."
"Well, make haste and begin," said Carl.
"The first place where I was settled was in a large
fancy shop in London," the purse began.
"i Where were you before that ?" said Carl.
I was in one or two rooms where such things are
made, and where I was made."
Where were you before that ?"
I wasn't a purse before that. I wasn't anywhere.
What are you made of?" said Carl, shortly.
I am made of sealskin, the sides, and my studs and
clasp are silver."
Where did the sides and the clasp come from? "
How should I know ?" said the purse.
"I didn't know but you did," said Carl.
"I don't," said the purse.
"Well, go on," said Carl. "What did you do in that
large shop ? "
"I did nothing. I lay in a drawer, shut up with a
parcel of other purses."
"Were they all sealskin with silver clasps ?'
"Some of them; and some were morocco leather
with steel clasps."
I'm glad you have got silver clasps," said Carl,-
you look very bright."
For Mrs. Krinken had polished up the silver of the
clasp and of every stud along the seams, till they shone
I feel very dull now," said the purse; but in those
days I was as bright as a butterfly, and as handsome.
My sides were a beautiful bright red."
I don't believe it," said Carl; "they are not red a bit
That's because I have been rubbed about in the world
till all my first freshness is worn off. I am an old purse,
and have seen a good deal of wear and tear."
"You aren't torn a bit," said Carl.
"If you don't shut up, I will," said the purse.
"I won't," said Carl. And you must go on."
The next place I was in was a gentleman's pocket."
How did you get there ?"
"He came to buy a purse,' and so a number of us were
thrown out upon the counter, and he looked at us and
tried us, and bought me and put me in his pocket."
"What did you do there?"
"There my business was to hold guineas and half
guineas, and crowns and half crowns, and all sorts of
beautiful pieces of silver and gold."
"And pence ?" said Carl.
Not such a thing. My master hadn't any. He
threw all his pennies away as fast as he got 'em."
Threw 'em where?" said Carl.
"Anywhere-to little boys, and beggars, and poor
people, and gate-openers, and such like."
Why didn't he keep 'em ? "
He had enough besides-gold and silver. He didn't
want pennies and halfpennies."
I wish you had kept some of them," said Carl.
I nevei had them to keep. I couldn't keep but what
40 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.
he gave me, nor that either. He was always taking out
and putting in."
Did he wear the red off?" said Carl.
"No; I didn't stay long enough with him. He was
travelling in some part of England, with a friend, riding
over a wide lonely plain one day; and they saw at a
little distance before them, a cow in the road, lying down,
across their path. Stapleton,' said my master, let us
clear that cow.' Can't your servant do that?' said Mr.
Stapleton. Do what?' said my master. Clear that
beast from the road,' said his friend. Pshaw!' said
my master,-' I mean, let us clear her at a bound. Leave
her in quiet possession of the road, and let us take an
air-line over her back.' Suppose she took a stupid
notion to get out of our way just as we are in hers,'
said Mr. Stapleton. I don't suppose anything of the
sort,' said my master; we shall be too quick for her.'
With that they put spurs to their horses, but it happened
that Mr. Stapleton's horse got the start and was a little
forward He cleared the cow well enough, but unluckily
it gave her an impression that just where she was, it was
a poor place to be; and she was throwing up her hind
legs at the very minute my master came to take the leap.
He was flung over and over, he and his horse, over and
under each other-I don't know how. I only know my
master was killed.
His friend and his servant picked him up and laid
him by the road-side; and while Mr. Stapleton went full
speed to the nearest town to get help, the other stayed
behind to take care of his master and do what could be
done for him. But he very soon found that nothing
could be done for him; and then, as nobody was in
sight, he took the opportunity to do what he could for
himself, by rifling his master's pockets. He pulled out
several things which I suppose he didn't dare to keep,
for he put them back again after a careful look at them,
and after carefully taking off some seals from the watch-
chain. I did not fare so well. He had me in his hand
a long time, taking out and putting in silver and gold
pieces; afraid to keep too much, and not willing to leave
a crown that might be kept safely; when a sudden step
heard near, and the bursting out of a loud whistle,
startled him. He jumped as if he had been shot, which
was natural enough, as he was running a pretty good
chance of being hanged. I was dropped, or thrown
behind him in the grass; and before the countryman
who came up, had done asking questions, the horses of
Mr. Stapleton and assistants were seen over the rising
ground. They carried away my unfortunate master, and
left me in the grass.
I knew I shouldn't stay there long, but I was picked
up sooner than I hoped. Before the evening had closed
in, while the sun was shining yet, I heard the tread of
light feet,-somebody coming near the road. and then
crossing it. In crossing, this somebody came just upon
me; and a kind sunbeam touching one of my silver
points, I embraced the opportunity to shine as hard as I
could. People say it is dangerous to have bright parts;
I am sure I never found it out. I shone so she could
not help seeing me. It was a girl about fifteen or six-
teen years old ; a thin figure, very tidy in her dress, with
light brown hair nicely put back from her face, and that
face a very quiet sweet one She looked at me, inside
and out, looked up and down the road, as if to see where
I had come from, and finally put me in her pocket. T
was very glad nobody was in sight anywhere, for I knew
by her face she would have given me up directly. She
left the road then, and went forward over the common,
which was a wide, lonely, barren plain, grass-grown,
with here and there a branch of bushes or a low stunted
tree. She was going after her cows, to bring them
home; and presently seeing them in the distance, she
stood still and began to call them."
How did she call them ? said Carl.
Cuff, Cuff. Cuff '-That was while they were a good
42 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.
way off; when they came near,--' Sukey,' and Bessie,
And did they come when she called? "
"Left off eating as soon as they heard her; and then
when they had looked a little while, to make sure it was
she, they set off slowly to come up to her."
"How many cows were there ?" said Carl.
"Sukey was a great black cow, and always-marched
first. Dolly was a beautiful red cow, and allays was
second. Three more came after in a line, and when
they got up to their little mistress she set off to go home,
and the whole five of them followed gravely in order.
The common was smooth and wide, and much broken
with ups and downs, and little foot paths-or cow-paths
-tracking it in all directions. We wound along, my
mistress and the cows, and I in my mistress's pocket,
through one and another of these; passing nothing in
the shape of a house, but a large gloomy-looking build-
ing at some distance, which I afterwards found was a
factory. A little way beyond this, not more than a.
quarter of a mile, we came to a small brown house, with
one or two out-buildings. The house stood in a little
field, and the out-buildings in another little field, close
beside it. Everything was small; house and barn, and.
shed, and cow-field, and garden-field; but it was all snug
and neat, too.
My little mistress-for she was slender, fair, and
good, and such people we always call little "
"But she wasn't large, was she ?" said Carl.
She was not as large as if she had been grown up,
but no more was she little for fifteen or sixteen. She
was just right. She opened a gate of the barn-yard,
and held it, while all the five cows marched slowly in,
looking around them as if they expected to see some
change made in the arrangements since they had gone
out in the morning. But the old shed and manger stood
just where they had left them, and Sukey stopped quietly
in the middle of the barn-yard, and began to chew the
cud, and Dolly, and Bessie, and Beauty, took their stand
in different places after her example; while Whiteface
went off to see if she could find something in the
mangers. She was an old cow that never had enough."
Was Beauty a handsome cow ?" said Carl
"No; she was the ugliest of the whole set; one of
her horns was broken, and the other lopped down
directly over her left eye."
"What was she called Beauty for, then ?"
"Why, I heard that she was a very pretty calf, and
was named Beauty in her youth; but when she grew
older, she took to fighting, and broke one of her horns;
and the other horn bent itself down just in the wrong '
place. There is no knowing, while they are little, how
calves or children will turn out.
When their mistress had shut the gate upon the five
cows, she opened another small gate in the fence of the
field where the house stood; and there she went in,
through two beds of roses and sweet herbs that were on
each side of the narrow walk, up to the door. That
stood open to let her in.
It was the nicest place you ever saw. A clean-scrubbed
floor, with a thick coarse piece of carpet covering the
middle of it: a dark wooden table and wooden chairs,
neat and in their places, only one chair stood on the hearth
as if somebody had just left it. There was a large, wide,
comfortable fire-place, with a fire burning in it, and over
the fire hung a large iron tea-kettle, in the very midst of
the flames, and singing already. On each side of the
chimney, brown wooden cupboards filled up the whole
space from the floor to the ceiling. All tidy and clean.
The hearth looked as if you might have baked cakes on it.
The girl stood a minute before the fire, and then went
to the inner door and called, Mother !'
A pleasant voice from somewhere said.--" Here!"
In.the milk room ?" *
And my little mistress went along a short passage,-
44 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.
brown it was, walls and floor, and all, even the beams
overhead, to the milk room; and that was brown too,-,
as sweet as a rose.
Mother,-Why did you put on the tea-kettle?"
"Because I wanted to have some tea, dear."
"But I would have done it."
"Yes, honey, I know. You've quite enough to do."
"Look here, what I've found, mother."
Can't look at anything, daughter. Go along and
milk, and I will hear you at tea-time."
Then my little mistress took up the pails and went out
by another way, through another gate that opened
directly into the cow's yard; and there she stripped tho
yellow sweet milk into the pails, from every one of the
five cows she had driven home. Not one of them but
loved to be milked by her hand; they enjoyed it, every
cow of them; standing quiet and sleepily munching the
cud, except when now and then one of them would
throw back her head furiously at some fly on her side,
and then my mistress's soft voice would say-
And Beauty was as good as possible to her, though I
have heard that other people did not find her so.
Mrs. Meadow took the milk pails at the dairy door,
and my mistress came back into the kitchen to get tea.
She put up a leaf of the brown table, and set a tray on
it, and out of one of the cupboards she fetched two tea.
cups and saucers; so I knew there were no more in the
family.. Then two little blue-edged plates and horn-
handled knives, and the rest of the things; and when the
tea was made, she dressed up the fire, and stood looking
at it and the tea-table by turns, till her mother showed
herself at the door, and came in taking off her apron.
She was the nicest looking woman you ever saw.
She wasn't as nice as my mother," said Carl.
Mrs. Krinken was never half so nice. She was the
best-natured, cheerfullest, pleasantest-faced woman you
could find, as bright as one of her own red apples."
Mine are bright," said Carl.
"Yours are bright for Christmas, but hers were bright
for every day. Everything about her was bright. Her
spoons, and the apples, and the brass candlesticks, and
the milk pans, and the glass in the window, and her own
kind heart. The mother and daughter had a very cosy
tea; and I was laid upon the table, and my story told,
or rather the story of my being found; and it was decided
that I should remain in the keeping of the finder, whom
her mother, by some freak of habit, rarely called any-
thing but Silky.'"
"What for ?" said Carl.
Maybe you'll find out, if you don't ask so many
questions," said the purse, snappishly. "It's yours, Silky,"
Mrs. Meadow said, after looking at me, and rubbing the
silver mountings. It's odd such a handsome purse
should have no money in it."
"I'm not going to put it away out of sight, mother,"
said Silky; I'm going to have the good of it. I'll
keep it to hold my milk-money."
"Well, dear, here goes the first," said Mrs. Meadow;
--" here's a silver penny I took for milk while you were
after the cows."
Who came for it, mother ?"
"Don't know-a lady riding by--and she gave me
So a little silver coin was slipped into my emptiness,
and my little mistress laid me on a shelf of the other
cupboard, alongside of an old Bible. But she left the
door a crack open; and I could see them at work, wash-
ing up the tea-things, and then knitting and sewing upon
the hearth, both of tnem by a little round table. By
and by Mrs. Meadow took the Bible out and read, and
then she and Silky knelt down, close together, to pray.
They covered up the fire after that, and shut the cup-
board door, and went off to bed; and I was left to think
what a new place I had come to, and how I liked it.
It was a very great change. In my old master's
46 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.
pocket T had kept company with wealth and elegance,-
the tick of his superb watch was always in my ear;
now, on Mrs. Meadow's cupboard shelf, I had round me
a few old books, beside the Bible; an hour-glass; Mrs.
Meadow's tin knitting-needle case; a very illiterate ink-
stand, and stumpy clownish old pen; and some other
things that I forget. There I lay, day and night; from
thence I watched my two mistresses at their work and
their meals; from thence I saw them, every night and
morning, kneel together to pray; and there I learned a
great respect for my neighbour the Bible. I always can
tell now what sort of people I have got among, by the
respect they have for it."
"My mother has one," said Carl.
"Her great chest knows that," said the purse. "I've
been a tolerably near neighbour of that Bible for ten
years; and it rarely gets leave to come out but on
She reads it on Sunday," said Carl.
"Yes, and puts it back before Monday. Mrs. Krinken
means to be a good woman, but these other people were
good; there's all the difference.
My business was to lie there on the shelf, and keep
the milk pennies, and see all that was going on. Silky
sold the milk. The people that came for it were mostly
poor people from the neighboring village, or their
children. going home from the factory; people that lived
in poor little dwellings in the town, without gardens or
fields, or a cow to themselves, and just bought a penny's
worth, or a halfpenny's, at a time-as little as they could
do with. There were a good many of these families,
and among them they took a pretty good share of the
milk; the rest Mrs. Meadow made up into sweet butter
-honest sweet butter, she called it, with her bright face
and dancig eye; and everything was honest that came
out of her dairy.
The children always stopped for milk at night, when
they were going home; the grown people, for the most
part, came in the morning. After I had been on the
cupboard shelf awhile, however, and got to know the
faces, I saw there was one little boy who came morn-
ing and evening, too. In the morning he fetched a
half-pennyworth, and in the evening a pennyworth of
milk, in a stout little brown jug; always the same
brown jug, and always in the morning he wanted
a ha'pennyworth, and in the evening a pennyworth.
He was a small fellow, with a shock of red hair, and
his face all marked with the small-pox. He was one
of the poorest looking that came. There was never
a hat on his head; his trousers were fringed with tags;
his feet bare of shoes or stockings. His jacket was
always fastened close up, either to keep him warm, or to
hide how very little there was under it. Poor little
Norman Finch! That was his name.
He had come a good many mornings. One day early,
just as Mrs. Meadow and Silky were getting breakfast,
his little red head poked itself in again at the door with his
little brown jug, and Please, ma'am,-a ha'penn'orth."
Why don't you get all you want at once, Norman?"
said Silky, when she brought the milk.
I don't want only a ha'penn'orth," said Norman.
But you'll want a pennyworth to-night again, won't
you ? "
I'll stop for it," said Norman, casting hi,
into the brown jug, and looking more dull th
"Why don't you take it all at once, then ?
"I don't want it."
"Have you got to go back home with this
go to work?"
No-I must go," said Norman, taking
Are you going to the factory?"
"Yes, I be."
How will your mother get her i
"She'll get it when I go home."
"But not this, Norman. What d
s eyes down.
hold of the
to you want this for ?"
48 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.
"I want it-she don't want it," said the boy, looking
troubled,-" I must go."
Do you want it to drink at the factory ?"
No. It's to drink at the factory. She don't want it,"
He went off. But as Silky set the breakfast on the
table she said,
Mother, I don't understand,-Im afraid- there is
something wrong about this morning milk."
There is nothing wrong about it, Honey," said Mrs.
Meadow, who had been out of the room. "It's as sweet
as a cloverhead. What's the matter ? "
"Oh not the milk, mother; but Norman Finch's coming
after it in the morning. He won't tell me what it's for;
and they never used to take but a pennyworth a day, and
his jug's always empty now at night; and he said it
wasn't and it was to drink at the factory; and that his
mother didn't want it; and I don't know what to think."
"Don't think anything, dear," said Mrs. Meadow, "till
we know something more. We'll get the child to tell us.
Poor little creature! I wish I could keep him out of
What place, mother ?"
I meant the factory."
"I don't believe he can have a good home, mother, in
his father's house. I am sure he can't. That Finch is
a. bad man."
It's the more pity if it isn't a good home," said Mrs.
Meadow, "for it's very little he sees of it. It's too much
for such a morsel of a creature to work all day long."
But they are kind at the pin factory, mother. People
say they are."
Mr. Carroll is a kind man," said her mother. "But
nine hours is nine hours. Poor little creature! "
"He looks thinner and paler now than he did six
Yes, and then it was winter and now it is summer,"
said Mrs. Meadow.
"I wish I knew what he wants to do with that milk"
The next morning Norman was there again. He put
himself and his jug only half in at the door, and said
"Please, ma'am,-a ha'petm'orth."
"Come in, Norman," said Silky.
Come !-come in,-come in to the fire; it's chilly ou,
of doors. You're in good time, aren't you ? "
Yes-but I can't stay," said the boy, coming in, how-
ever, and coming slowly up to the fire. But he came
close, and his two hands spread themselves to the blaze
as if they liked it, and the poor little bare feet shone in
the firelight on the hearth. It was early, very cool and
"I'll get you the milk," said Silky, taking the jug;
you stand and warm yourself. You've plenty of time."
She came back with the jug in one hand and a piece
of cold bacon in the other, which she offered to Norman.
He looked at it, and then caught it, and began to eat
immediately. Silky stood opposite to him with the
"What's this milk for, Norman?" she said plea-
He stopped eating and looked troubled directly.
"What are you going to do with it ?"
Carry it-home," he said slowly.
"Now ?-home now ? Are you going back home with
it now ?"
"I am going to take it to the factory."
"What do you do with it there ?"
"Nothing," said Norman, looking at his piece of bacon
and seeming almost ready to cry;-" I don't do nothing
"You needn't be afraid to tell me, dear," Silky said
gently. I'm not going to do you any harm. Does your
mother know you get it ?"
60 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.
He waited a good while, and then when she repeated
the question, taking another look at Silky's kind quiet
face, he said half under his breath,
I No -"
What do you want it for then, dear? I'd rather give
it to you than have you take it in a wrong way. Do you
want it to drink ?"
Norman dropped his piece of bacon.
"No," he said, beginning to cry,-" I don't want it-
I don't want it at all!"
Silky picked up the bacon, and she looked troubled in
"Don t cry, Norman,-don't be afraid of me. Who
does want it ?'
"Now don't cry!"
Yes !-my little d
said Silky.-" Your little dog ?"
og." And he sighed deeply between
"Where is your little dog ? "
He's up yonder-up to the factory."
"Who gave him to you ?"
"Nobody didn't give him to me. I foi
"And this milk is for him ?"
"He wants it to drink."
"Does your mother know you get it ?"
Norman didn't answer.
"She don't?" said Silky. "Then v
money come from, Norman ?" She sp(
"It's mine," said Norman.
"Yes, but where do you get it?"
"Mr. Swift gives it to me."
"Is it out of your wages?"
Norman hesitated, and then said yes
and eat you
*e does the
3, and began to
the matter ?"
r bacon. I'm
He looked at her again and
bacon, but said
tie wanted to go.
What for ?-it isn't time yet."
"Yes-I want to see my little dog."
"And feed him ? Stop and tell me about him. NV
colour is he ? "
"He's white all over."
What's his name ?"
"Little Curly Long-Ears."
"What do you call him ?-all that?"
"I call him Long-Ears."
"But why don't you feed him at home, Norman ?"
"He lives up there."
"And don't he go home with you?"
"Why not ?"
"Father wouldn't let him. He'd take him awnv
do something to him."
Norman looked dismal.
"But where does he live ?"
"He lives up at the factory."
But you can't have him in the factory ?"
"Yes I have him," said Norman, because Mr Carroll
said he was to come in because he was so handsome."
But he'll get killed in the machinery, Norman, and
then you will be very sorry."
No, he won't get killed; he takes care; he knows he
mustn't go near the 'chinery, and he doesn't; he just
comes and lies down where I be."
"And does Mr. Swift let him ?"
"He does let him, 'cause Mr. Carroll said he was to."
"But your money-where does it come from, Nor-
"Mr. Swift," said Norman very dismally.
"Then doesn't your mother miss it, when you carry
home your wages to her ?"
"She must, my No.hild."
She must, my child."
THF CHRISTMAS STOCKING.
'cause I carry her
the same I did
How can you, and keep out a ha'penny a day?"
"'Cause I get more now-I used to have four pe
ha'penny, and now they give me fi'pence."
And Norman burst into a terrible fit of crying, o
his secret was out, and it was all up with him and
Give me the milk and let me go!"
through his tears. Poor Curly !-poor C
"Here it is," said Silky very kindly. "ID
not going to hurt you or Curly either.
anything but milk ? Won't he eat meat ?"
"Why can't he?"
He don't like it."
Won't he eat
" Well; you run off to the factory now, and give Curly
s milk, and stop again to-morrow."
"And won't you tell ?" said Norman, looking up.
"I shall not tell anybody that will get you into trouble
Run, now "
He dried his tears and ran, fast enough; holding the
little brown jug carefully at half-arm's length, and his
bare feet pattering over the ground as fast as his short
legs could make them.
Silky stood looking gravely after him.
"I'm so sorry for him, mother!" she said. "This
won't do; it's very wrong, and he'll get himself into
dreadful trouble besides."
Poor fellow! We'll see, honey;-we'll try what we
can do," said Mrs. Meadow.
The next morning, Norman came again, and Mrs.
Meadow was there.
"How is Long-Ears, Norman, and how are you ?" she
said cheerfully; but she did everything cheerfully.
He's well," said Norman, looking a little doubtfully
at these civilities.
"And you are not well?" said Mrs. Meadow kindly.
"Suppose you come and see me to-morrow ?-it's Sunday,
ou know, and you have no work-will you? Come
right and early, and we'll have a nice breakfast, and you
shall go to church with me if you like."
Norman shook his head. "Curly '11 want to see me,"
Well, about that just as you like. Come here to
breakfast-that you can do. Mother '11 let you."
Yes, she '11 let me," said Norman, and I can go to
see Long-Ears afterwards. You won't tell?" he added,
with a glance of some fear.
"About him," said Norman, nodding his head in the
direction of the factory.
Long-Ears ?-Not I.! not a word."
So he set off, with a glance of pleasure lighting up his
little face and making his feet patter more quickly over
"Poor little creature !" Mrs. Meadows said again most
heartily, and this time the tear was standing in her eye.
The next morning it rained,-steadily, constantly,
straight up and down. But at the usual time. Mrs.
Meadow and Silky were getting breakfast.
How it does pour down !" said Mrs. Meadow.
I'm so sorry, mother," said Silky; he won't come."
She had hardly turned her back to see to something at
the fire, when there he was behind her, standing in the
middle of the floor; in no Sunday dress, but in his
every-day rags, and those wet through and dripping.
How glad and how sorry both mother and daughter
looked. They brought him to the fire and wiped his
feet, and wrung the water from his clothes as well as
they could; but they didn't know what to do; for the
fire would not have dried him in all the day; and to sit
down to breakfast dry, with him soaking wet at her side,
Mrs. Meadow could not. What to put on him was the
trouble; she had no children's clothes at all in the house.
But she managed. She stripped off his rags, and tacked
THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.
two or three towels about him; and then over them
wound a large old shawl, in some mysterious way,
fastening it over the shoulders in such a manner that it
fell round him like a loose straight frock, leaving his
arms quite free Then when hi s jacket and trousers had
been put to dry, they sat dowh to breakfast.
In his old shawl wrapper, dry and warm, little Norman
enjoyed himself, and liked very much his cup- of weak
coffee, and bread and butter, and the nice egg which
Mrs. Meadow boiled for him But he did not eat like a
child whose appetite knew what to do with good things;
he was soon done; though after it his face looked
brighter and cheerier than it had done before in that
Mrs. Meadow left Silky to take care of the breakfast
things, and drawing her chair up on the hearth, she took
the little boy on her lap and wound her arms about him.
Little Norman," said she kindly, "you won't see
Long Ears to-day."
No," said Norman, with a sigh, in spite of breakfast
and fire; he will have to go without me."
Isn't it good that there is one day in the week when
the poor little tired pin-boy can rest ?"
Yes-it is good," said Norman quietly, but as if he
was too accustomed to being tired to take the good of it.
"This is God's day. Do you know who God is,
"He made me," said Norman,---" and everybody."
"Yes, and everything. He is the great King over all
the earth; and he is good; and he has given us this day
to rest and to learn to be good and please him. Can
you read the Bible, Norman ?"
No, I can't read," said Norman. Mother can."
You know the Bible is God's book, written to tell us
how to be good, and whatever the Bible says we must
mind, or God will be angry with us. Now the Bible
says, Thou shalt not steal.' Do you know what that
means ? "
Mrs. Meadow spoke very softly.
Yes," said Norman, swinging one little foot back and
forward in the warm shine of the fire,-" I've heard it."
"What does it mean ?"
"I know," said Norman.
"It is to take what does not belong to us. Now,
since God has said that, is it quite right for you to take
that money of your mother's to buy milk for Long
Ears ? "
It isn't her money !" said Norman, his face changing*
"and Long-Ears can't starve !"
It is her money, Norman;-all the money you earn
belongs to her or to your father, which is the same thing.
You know it does."
But Curly must have something to eat," said
Norman, bursting into tears. Oh, don't tell! oh, don't
Hush, dear," said Mrs. Meadow's kind voice, and hei
kind hand on his head; "I'm not going to tell; but I
want you to be a good boy and do what will please God,
that you may be one of the lambs of the Good Shepherd's
flock. Do you know what I'm talking about?"
Yes-no,-I don't know about the lambs," said
"Do you know who Jesus Christ is?"
"Poor little thing !" said Silky, and the tears fell from
her face, as she went from the fire to the table. Norman
looked at her, and so did her mother, and then they
looked at each other.
"Jesus Christ is your best friend, little Norman."
"Is he ?" said Norman, looking.
"Do you know what he has done for you, little pin-
Norman looked, and no wonder; for Mrs. Meadow's
eyes were running over full, and he did not know what
to make of the dropping tears; but he shook his head.
It's all told about in God's book, dear. Little
THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.
Norman Finch, like everybody else, hasn't loved God,
nor minded his commandments as he ought to do; and
God would have punished us all, if Jesus Christ hadn't
come down from Heaven on purpose to take our punish"
ment on himself, so that we might be saved."
How would he have punished us ?" said Norman.
He would have sent us away from him for ever, to
be in a miserable place with devils and bad people, where
we should see nothing good nor happy, and we shouldn't
be good nor happy ourselves; it's a place so dreadful, it
is called in the Bible the lake that burns with fire; and
he would never let us come into his heaven, where God
is, and Jesus Christ is, and the good angels, and all God's
people are, who are all as good and happy as they can
And would I have been punished so ? said Norman
Yes,-the Bible says so; and every one will now,
who won't believe and love Jesus Christ."
"And did he go there ?"
"To that place-that bad place-did he go there?"
What, the Lord Jesus ?"
Not there,-he is God; and he is called the Son of
God; he could not do that; but he did this. He came
to this world and was born into the world a little child;
and when he grew up to be a man, he died a cruel death
for you and me-for you and me, little Norman."
"And then will God not punish me now?" said
"No, not a bit, if you will love the Lord Jesus, and be
What did he do that for?" said Norman
"Because he is so good he loved us, and wanted to
iave us and bring us back to be his children, and to be
good and happy."
"Does he love me ?" said Norman.
"Yes indeed," said Mrs. Meadow; do you think he
came to die for you and doesn't love you ? If you will
love and obey him, he will love you for ever, and take
care of you; better care than any one else can."
There isn't any one else to take care of me," said
Norman. Mother can't, and father don't much I wish
I knew about that."
With a look of wonder and interest at her daughter
Mrs. Meadow reached her Bible, without letting Norman
down from her lap; and turning from place to place,
read to him the story of Christ's death, and various parts
of his life and teaching. He listened gravely, and con-
stantly, and intently, and seemed not to weary of it at
all, till she was tired and obliged to stop, He made no
remark then, but sat a little while with a sober face, till
his own fatigue of days past came over him, and his eye-
lids drooped, and slipping from Mrs. Meadow's lap, he
laid himself down on the hearth to sleep. They put
something under his head, and sat watching him, the
eyes of both every now and then running over.
How much do you think he understood, mother?"
"I don't know," said Mrs. Meadow, shaking her head.
He listened, mother," said Silky.
Yes. I won't say anything more to him to-day.
He's had enough."
And when the little sleeper awoke they lent all their
attention to give him a pleasant day. He had a good
dinner and a nice supper. His clothes were thoroughly
dried; and Mrs. Meadow said, when she put them on,
'that if she could only get an opportunity on a week day
she would patch them up comfortably for him. Towards
nightfall the rain stopped, and he went home dry and
warm, and with a good piece of cheese, and a loaf oi
plain gingerbread under his arm. When he was all
ready to set out, he paused at the door, and looking ur
at Mrs. Meadow, said,
Does he say we mustn't do that ?"
Who, dear ?"
THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.
" Does Jesus Christ say we mustn't do that ?"
" Do what?"
" Steal," said Norman, softly.
"Yes, to be sure. The Bible says it, and the Bible is
od's word; and Jesus said it over again, when he was
on the earth."
Norman stood a quarter of a
minute, and then went
out and closed the door.
The next morning they looked eagerly for him. But
he did not come. He stopped at evening as usual, but
Silky was just then busy, and did not speak to him
beyond a word. Tuesday morning he did not come.
At night he was there again with his jug.
How do you do, Norman?" said Mrs. Meadow, when
she filled it, and how is Long-Ears?"
But Norman did not answer, and turned to go.
Come here in the morning, Norman," Mrs. Meadow
called after him.
Whether he heard her or not, he did not show himself
on his way to the factory next morning. That was
Norman hasn't been here these three days, mother,"
said Silky. Can it be that he has made up his mind
to do without his halfpennyworth of milk for the dog ?"
"Little fellow!" said Mrs. Meadow;-" I meant to
have given it to him; skim milk would do, I dare say;
but I forgot to tell him on Sunday; and I told him last
night to stop, but he hasn't done it. We'll go up there,
Silky, and see how he is, after dinner."
To the factory, mother ?"
"And I'll carry a little pail of milk., mother."
"Well, honey, do."
After dinner they went, and I went in Silky's pocket.
The factory was not a great distance from Mrs. Meadow's
house, which stood about half-way between that and the
town. Mrs. Meadow asked for Mr. Swift, and presently
ne came. Mrs. Meadow was a general favourite, I had
found before; everybody spoke to her civilly; certainly
she did the same to everybody.
Is little Norman at work to-day, Mr. Swift?"
"Norman Finch ?-well, yes, ma'am, he's to work,"
said the overseer;-" he don't do much work, this day or
"He's not just right well, Mr. Swift?"
"Well, no, I s'pose he isn't. He hasn't hard work
neither; but he's a poor little billet of a boy."
Is he a good boy, sir ?"
"Average," said Mr. Swift,-" as good as the average.
What, you're going to adopt him ?"
"No, sir," said Mrs. Meadow;-" I wanted to ask
a few questions about him."
I don't know any harm of him," said Mr. Swift
"He's about like the common. Not particularly strong
in the head, nor anywhere else, for that matter; but he
is a good-feeling child. Yes-now I remember. It's as
much as a year ago, that I was angry with him one day,
and was going to give the careless little rascal a strapping
for something,-I forget what; we must keep them in
order, Mrs. Meadow, let them be what they will;-I was
going to give it to him, for something, and a bold brave
fellow in the same room, about six times as big, and six
times as strong as Norman, offered to take it, and spare
him. I didn't care; it answered my purpose of keeping
order just as well that Bill Bollings should have it,
as Norman Finch, if he had a mind;-and ever since
that time Finch has been ready to lay down his body and
soul for Bollings if it would do him any service. He's a
good-hearted boy, I do suppose."
Mrs. MIeadows and Silky looked at each other.
"That's it, mother!" said Silky. "That's why he
understood and took it so quick."
"What a grand boy, the other one !" said Mrs.
Ah, well-that was noble enough," said Mr. Swift,
---" but he's a kind of harum-scarum fellow-just as
60 THE CHRISTMAB STOCKING.
likely to get himself into a scrape to-morrow as to get
somebody else out of one to-day."
"That was noble," repeated Mrs. Meadow.
"Norman has never forgotten it. As I said, he'd lay
down body and soul for him. There's a little pet dog he
has too," Mr. Swift went' on, that I believe he'd do as
much for. A pretty creature! I would have bought it
of him, and given a good price for it, but he seemed
frightened at the proposal. I believe he keeps the crea-
ture here partly for fear he would lose him if he took him
Isn't it against the rules, sir, to have a dog in the
"Entirely !-of course !" said Mr. Swift; "but Mr,
Carroll has said it, and so a new rule is made for the
occasion. Mr. Carroll was willing to let such a pretty
creature be anywhere, I believe."
I should be afraid he would get hurt."
So I was, but the dog has sense enough; he gets into
no danger, and keeps out of the way like a Christian."
May we go in, sir, and see Norman for a moment?"
Certainly," Mr. Swift said; and himself led the way.
Through long rooms and rows of workers went Mr.
Swift, and Mrs. Meadow and Silky after him, to the one
where they found little Norman. He was standing be-
fore some sort of a machine, folding papers and pressing
them against rows of pins, that were held all in order
and with their points ready, by two pieces of iron in the
machine. Norman was not working briskly, and he
looked already jaded, though it was early in the after-
noon. Close at his feet, almost touching him, lay the
little white dog-a very little, and a most beautiful
creature. Soft white curling hair, and large silky ears
that drooped to the floor, as he lay with his head upon
his paws; and the two gentle brown eyes looked almost
pitifully up at the strangers. He did not get up; nor
did Norman look round till Mrs. Meadow spoke to him.
"Hey, my boy, how are you getting on?" Mr. Swift
said first, with a somewhat rough but not unkind slap
across the shoulders. Norman shrugged his shoulders,
and said, Pretty well, thank you, sir,"-when he heard
Mrs. Meadow's soft, Norman, how do you do?"
His fingers fell from the row of pin points, and he
turned towards her, looking a good deal surprised and a
little pleased, but with a very sober face.
"Where have you been these two or three days ?"
"I've been here," said Norman gravely.
"How comes it you haven't been for Long-Ears' milk
these days ?"
"I-I couldn't," said Norman.
"I hadn't any money-I gave it to mother.,
He spoke low and with some difficulty.
*' What made you do that, Norman?."
He looked up at her.
Because-you know,-Jesus said so."
Mrs. Meadow had been stooping down to speak to
him, but now she stood up straight and for a minute she
"And what has Long-Ears done, dear, without his
Norman was silent and his mouth twitched. Mrs.
Meadow looked at the little dog, which lay still where
he had been when she came in, his gentle eyes having,
she thought, a curious sort of wistfulness in their note-
"Won't he eat meat?"
Norman shook his head and said No," under his
He's a dainty little rascal," said the overseer; he
was made to live on sweetmeats and sugar plums."-
And Mr. Swift walked on.
I've brought him some milk," whispered Silky; and
softly stooping down she uncovered her little tin pail
and tried to coax the dog to come to it. But Norman
no sooner caught the words of her whisper and saw the
THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.
pail, than his spirit gave way; he burst into a bitter fit
of crying, and threw himself down on the floor and hid
Mr. Swift came back to see what was the matter.
Mrs. Meadow explained part to him, without telling of
Norman's keeping the money.
Oh well," said Mr. Swift,-" but he mustn't make
such a disturbance about it!-it's against all order; and
feeding the dog too, Lois !-but it's a pretty creature.
He's hungry, he is !-Well, it's well we don't have ladies
come to the factory every day."
Silky's other name was Lois.
"I will never do so again, Mr. Swift," said s1 e gently.
Oh I don't say that," said he. "I don't dislike the
ighnt of you, Miss Lois; but I must have you searched
at the door. Keep this boy quiet, now, Mrs. Meadow;
and don't stay too long; or take him with you."
The boy was quiet enough now. While Mr. Swift had
been speaking he had raised himself from the floor, half
up, and had stopped sobbing, and was looking at Long.
Ears and gently touching his curly head; who on his part
was lapping the milk with such eagerness as if he had
wanted it for some time. Norman's tears fell yet, but
they fell quietly. By the time the little dog had finished
the milk they did not fall at all. Till then nobody said
"Come for it every morning again, my child," said
Mrs. Meadow softly;-" I'll give it to you. What a dear
little fellow he is! I don't wonder you love him. He
shall have milk enough."
Norman looked up gratefully and with a little bit of a
You don't look very strong, my boy," said Mrs.
Meadow. You don't feel right well, do you?"
He shook his head, as if it was a matter beyond his
Are you tired?"
His ey6s gave token of understanding that. "Yes,
I'm tired. People are not tired up there, are they ?"
Up there-in heaven ?"
"No, dear," said Mrs. Meadow.
"I'll go there, won't I ?"
"If you love Jesus and serve him, he will take good
care of you and bring you safe there, surely."
He will," said Norman.
"But you're not going yet, I hope, dear;" said Mrs.
Meadow kissing him. Good-by. Come to-morrow, and
you shall have the milk."
"Will you read to me that again, some time ?" he
Mrs. Meadow could hardly answer. She and Silky
walked back without saying three words to each other;
and I never saw Mrs. Meadow cry so much as she did
that afternoon and evening.
Norman came after that every morning for the dog's
milk; and many a Sunday he and Long-Ears passed
part of the time with Mrs. Meadow; and many a reading
he listened to there, as he had listened to the first one.
He didn't talk much. He was always near his little
dog, and he seemed quietly to enjoy everything at those
As the summer changed into autumn, and autumn
gave way to winter, Norman's little face seemed to grow
better looking, all the while it was growing more pale
and his little body more slim. It grew to be a contented,
very quiet and patient face, and his eye acquired a clear-
ness and openness it did not use to have; though he
never Was a bad looking child. He won't live long,"
Mrs. Meadow said, after every Sunday.
The little white dog all this while grew more white
and curly and bright-eyed every day; or they all thought
It was not till some time in January that at last Nor-
man stopped coming for milk, and did not go by to the
THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.
factory any more. It was severe weather, when Mrs.
Meadow was shut up with a bad cold; and some days
were gone before she or Silky could get any news of him.
Then, one cold evening, his mother came for the milk,
and to say that Norman was very ill and would like to
see Lois and Mrs. Meadow. She was a miserable-look-
ing woman, wretchedly dressed, and with a jaded spirit-
less air, that seemed as if everything she cared for in
life was gone, or she too poor to care for it. I thought
Norman must have a sad home where she was. And his
father must be much worse in another way, or his mother
would not have such a look.
Silky and Mrs. Meadow got ready directly. Silky put
her purse in her pocket, as she generally did when she
was going to see poor people, and wrapping up warm with
cloaks and shawls and hoods, she and her mother set
out. It was past sunset of a winter's day; clear enough,
but uncommonly cold.
It will be dark by the time we come home, mother,"
Yes, honey, but we can find the way," came from
under Mrs. Meadow's hood; and after that neither of
them spoke a word.
It was not a long way; they soon came to the edge of
the town,. and entered a poor straggling street that ran
where no good and comfortable buildings showed them-
selves, or at least no good and comfortable homes. Some
of the houses were decently well built, but several fami-
lies lived in each of them, and comfort seemed to be an
unknown circumstance. At least after Mrs. Meadow's
nice kitchen, with the thick carpet, and blazing fire, and
dark cupboard doors, these all looked so. The light
grew dimmer, and the air grew cooler, as Mrs. Meadow
and Silky went down the street; and Silky was trem-
bling all over by the time they stopped at one of these
brick dwelling-houses and went in.
The front door stood open; nobody minded that; it
was nobody's business to shut it. They went in, through
a dirty passage and up stairs that nobody ever thought of
cleaning, to the third story. There Mrs. Meadow first
knocked, and then gently opened the door. A man was
there, sitting over the fire; a wretched tallow light on the
table hardly showed what he looked like. Mrs. Meadow
spoke with her usual pleasantness.
"Good evening, Mr. Finch;-can I see little Norman?"
"Yes,-I suppose so," the man said in a gruff voice,
and pointing to another door; '" they're in yonder."
"How is he ?"
"I don't know !-Going, I expect." He spoke in a
tone that might have been half heartless, half heartfull.
Mrs. Meadow stayed no further questions. She left him
there and went on to the inner room.
That was so dark hardly anything could be seen. A
woman rose up from some corner-it proved to be Mrs.
Finch-and went for the light. Her husband's voice
could be heard gruffly asking her what she wanted with
it, and her muttered words of reply; and then she came
back with it in her hand.
The room was ill lighted when the candle was in it;
but there could be seen two beds; one raised on some
sort of a bedstead, the other on the floor in a corner.
No fire was in this room, and the bed was covered with
all sorts of coverings; a torn quilt, an old great coat, a
small ragged worsted shawl, and Norman's own pooi
little jacket and trousers. But on these, close within
reach of the boy's hand, lay curled the little dog; his
glossy hair and soft outlines making a strange contrast
with the rags and poverty and ugliness of the place.
Norman did not look much changed, except that his
face was so very pale it seemed as if he had no more
blood to leave it. Mrs. Meadow and Silky came near,
and neither of them at first was able to speak. Mrs.
Finch stood holding the light. Then Mrs. Meadow
stooped down by the bed's head.
"Little Norman," she said, and you could tell hei
heart was full of tears,-" do you know me ?"
THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.
I know you," he said, in a weak voice,
"How do you do?"
Very well," he said in the same manner.
"Are you very well ?" said Mrs. Meadow.
"Yes," he said. I'm going now."
' You know-to that good place. Jesus w
won't he ?"
If you love and trust him, dear."
He will take me," said Norman.
"What makes yo'd think you're going, d
"I can't stay," said Norman shutting hi,
ill- take me,
lear ? "
opened them again immediately. "I'm going," he said.
"I'm so tired. I shan't be tired there, shall I ?"
No, dear," said Mrs. Meadow, whose power of speech
was likely to fail her. She kept wiping bha face with her
pocket-handkerchief. Norman stroked and stroked his
little dog's head.
"Poor Long-Ears," said he faintly,-"poor Long-Ears!
-I can't take care of you now. Poor Long-Ears! you're
hungry. He hasn't had anything to eat since-since-
"He don't know how time goes," said Mrs. Finch,
who had not before spoken. The dog hasn't had a sup
of anything since day before yesterday. He has a right
to be hungry. I don't know what he lives on. My hus-
band don't care whether anything lives or not."
Silky had not-said a word, and she didn't now, but she
brought out that same little tin pail from under her cloak
and set it down on the floor. Norman's eye brightened.
But the dog could not be coaxed to quit the bed; he
would set only his two fore feet on the floor, and so drank
the milk out of the pail. Norman watched him, almost
with a smile. And when the dog, having left the milk,
curled himself down again in his old place, and looke4
into his master's face, Norman quite smiled. '. c
*; ***> ^ ./-^ r
"Poor Long-Ears!" he sai
a feeble hand; "I'm going to
id, patting him again with
leave you,-what will you
"I'll take care of him, Norman," said Mrs. Meadow.
"Will you ?" said Norman.
"As long as he lives, if you wish."
Norman signed for her to put her ear down to him, and
"I give him to you-you keep him. Will you?"
"Yes, indeed I will," said Mrs. Meadow.
"Then you'll have milk enough, dear little Long-Ears,"
said Norman. But," he said eagerly to Mrs. Meadow,
you must take him home with you to-night-I'm afraid
father will do something with him if you don't."
"But you will want him," said Mrs. Meadow.
"No, I won't. Father will do something with
"Indeed he will, sure enough," said Mrs. Finch.
"Then I'll take him, and keep him, dear, as if he
yourself," said Mrs. Meadow.
"I won't want him," said Norman, shutting his
"And you're not sorry, dear?" said Mrs. Meadow.
No!" he said.
" I wonder why he
said Mrs. Finch, wiping
"And you know Jesus will take you?"
"Because I love him," said Norman without
e V a.'
"What-makes you love him so, dear?"
"Because he did that for me," said Norman, opening'
his eyes once more to look at her, and then reshutting
them. And he never opened them again. It seemed that
having his mind easy about his pet, and having seen his
friends, he wanted nothing more on this earth. He just
slumbered away a few hours, and died so, as quietly as
he had slept. His little pale meek face looked av if, as
he said, he was glad to go
THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING
Nothing but a degree of force that no one would use
could have moved Long-Ears from the body of his
master, till it was laid in the grave. Then, with some
difficulty, Mrs. Meadow gained possession of him and
brought him home.
"Is that all?" said Carl, when the story stopped.
"What more of Mrs. Meadow and Silky?"
"Nothing more. They lived there, and took care of
Long-Ears and were kind to everybody and sold milk,
just as they used."
"And what about Long-Ears?"
"Nothing about him. He lived there with Mrs. Mea-
dow and Silky, and was as well off as a little dog could
"And is that all ?"
That is all."
"And how did you get here ? "
"I've told enough for once."
"I'll hear the rest another time," said Carl, as he
grasped the purse and ran off towards home; for it was
getting to be high noon, and his mother had called to
him that dinner was ready.
"Mother," said Carl, "I've heard the stories of my
purse, and of my penny, and of my three apples; and
"What a child!" said Mrs. Krinken. "Are the stories
not done yet?"
"No," said Carl; "and I don't know which to hear
next. There's the boat, and the pine cone, and the
shoes, and the book, and the old stocking-all of them;
and I don't know which to hear first. Which would you,
"What's all that? said John Krinken.
He says his things tell him stories," said Mrs.
Krinken; "and he's told over one or two to me, and it's
ns good as a book. I can't think wherE
hold of them."
Why they told 'em to me, mother," sa
Yes," said Mrs. Krinken; something
Who told 'em, Carl?" said his father.
the child got
told it to thee,
My penny, and my purse, and my three apples,-
or only one of the apples," said Carl;-" that was Beach-
Beach 'em what ?" said his father.
Beachamwell-that is the biggest of my three
apples," said Carl.
At which, John and Mrs. Krinken looked at each other
and laughed till their eyes ran down with tears.
Let's hear about Beachamwell." said John when he
I've told it," said Carl, a little put out.
Yes, and it was a pretty story, as ever I heard, or
vish to hear," said Mrs. Krinken soothingly.
Let's hear the story of the shoes, then," said John.
"I haven't heard it yet," said Cai'.
i" Oh, you can't tell it till you've heard it?" said his
I haven't heard any of
" and I don't know which to
The old stocking would
knew how," said his father;
em but three,"
as long as its own."
I'd -rather hear the old pine
wife. "Ask the pine cone, Carl.
you a rare
could spin y
story if it
cone, John," said
I wish it could
and I hear."
one to the
But John and Mrs. Krinken were too busy thinking of
the story-teller, to help him out with his question about
"Then I'm going to keep the stocking for the very last
one." said Carl
first ? "
THIE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.
Why ?" said his mother.
"'Cause it's ugly. And I intend to make the shoes
tell me their story next, because I might want to put
them on, you know."
And Carl looked down at two sets of fresh-coloured
toes which looked out at him through the cracks of his
old half boots.
Mr. and Mrs. Krinken got up laughing, to attend to
their business; and Carl, indignantly seizing his shoes,
ran off with. them out of hearing to the sunny side of
the house; where he plumped himself down on the
ground with them in front of him, and commanded them
"I BELIEVE," said the right shoe, "that I am the first
individual of my race whose history has ever been
thought worth asking for. I hope to improve my oppor-
tunity. I consider it to be a duty, in all classes, for
each member of the class-- "
"You may skip about that," said Carl. "I don't care
"I am afraid," said the right shoe, "I am uninterest-
ing. My excuse is, that I never was fitted to be any-
thing else. Not to press upon people's notice is the very
lesson we are especially learned; we were never intended
to occupy a high position in society, and it is reckoned
an unbearable fault in us to make much noise in the
I say," said Carl, you may s]dp that."
"I beg pardon," said the shoe, I was coming to the
THE TWO SHOES,
point. 'Step by step' is our' family motto. However, I
know young people like to get over the ground at a leap.
I will do it at once.
My brother and I are twins, and as much alike as it
is possible perhaps for twins to be. Mr. Peg, the cobbler,
thought we were exactly alike; and our upper leathers
did indeed run about on the same calf (as perchance
they may another time), but our soles were once further
apart than they are ever like to be for the future; one
having roamed the green fields of Ohio on the back of a
sturdy ox, while the other was raised in Vermont. How-
ever, we are mates now, and having been as they say
cut out for each other," I have no doubt we shall jog
on together perfectly well.
We are rather an old pair of shoes. In fact, we have
been on hand almost a year. I should judge from the
remarks of our friend Mr. Peg, when he was beginning
upon us, that he was quite unaccustomed to the trade
of sboe-making-shoemending was what he had before
lived by; or, perhaps, I should rather say, tried to
live by : I am afraid it was hard work; and I suppose
Mr. Peg acted upon the excellent saying, which is also
a motto in our family, that "It is good to have two
or three strings to one's bow." It was in a little light
front room, looking upon the street, which was Mr. Peg's
parlour and shop and workroom, that he cut out the
leather and prepared the soles for this his first manufac-
ture. I think he hadn't stuff enough but for one pair,
for I heard him sigh once or twice as he was fidgeting
with his pattern over my brother's upper leather till it
was made out. Mr. Peg was a little oldish man, with a
crown of gray hair all round the back part of his head ;
and he sat to w6rk in his shirt sleeves, and with a thick,
short leather apron before him. There was a liitle fire-
place in the room, with sometimes fire in it, and some-
times not; and the only furniture was Mr. Peg's small
counter, the low, rush-bottomed chair in which he sat to
work, and a better one for a customer; his tools, and his
72 THY CHRISTYAS STOCKING.
chips; by which I mean the scraps of leather which he
Hardly had Mr. Peg got the soles and the upper
leathers and the vamps to his mind, and sat down on
his chair to begin work, when a little girl came in. She
came from a door that opened upon a staircase leading
to the upper rooms, and walked up to the cobbler. It
was a little brown-haired girl, about nine or ten years
old, in an old calico frock; she was not becomingly
dressed, and she did not look very well.
"Father," she said; "mother's head aches again."
The cobbler paused in his work, and looked up at her.
And she wants you to come up and rub it-she says
I can't do it hard enough."
Rather slowly Mr. Peg laid his upper leather and tools
"Will you close this shoe for me, Sue, while I am
He spoke half pleasantly, and to judge by his tone and
manner, with some half-sorrowful meaning. So the little
girl took it, for she answered a little sadly-
"I wish I could, father."
"I'm glad you can't, dear."
He laid his work down, and mounted the stairs. She
went to the window, and stood with her elbows leaning
on the sill, looking into the street.
It's only a small town, that Beachhead; but still,
being a sea-coast town, there is a good deal of bustle
about it. The fishermen from the one side, and the
farmers from the other, with their various merchandise;
the busy boys and odd. forms of women, for ever bustling
up and down, make it quite a lively place. There is
always a good deal to see in the street. Yet the little
girl stood very still and quiet by the window; her head
did not turn this way and that; she stood like a stupid
person, who did not care what was going on. A woman
passing up the street stopped a moment at the window.
How's your mother to-day, Sue ? "
THE TWO SHOES.
"She's getting along slowly, Mrs. Binch."
"Does the doctor say she is dangerous?"
The doctor doesn't come any more."
Has he giv' her up ?"
"Yes; he says there is nothing to do but to let het
Oh !-she's so brisk, is she ?"
"No, ma'am-she's not brisk at all; she says- "
But Mrs. Binch had passed on and was out of hearing,
and the little brown head stood still at the window again,
leaning now on one hand. It was a smooth-brushed,
round little head, seen against the open windows. By
and by another stopped, a lady this time; a lady
dressed in black, with a sweet, delicate face.
How's your mother, Sue ? "
She's just the same way, Mrs. Lucy."
Not much, ma'am. It'll take a long time, the doctor
And are you, poor little tot, all alone in the house to
do everything ?."
No, ma'am-there's father."
The sweet face gave her a sort of long, wistful look,
and passed on. She stood there yet at the open window,
with her head leaning on her hand; and whatever was
the reason, so dull of hearing, that her father had come
down, seated himself in his work-chair, and taken up
his shoe, several minutes before she found it out. Then
she left the window and came to him.
What shall I do, father? "
She'll want you directly," said the cobbler. "She's
Sue stood still.
Dont you want some dinner, Sue ?"
She hesitated a little, and then said yes.
Well see, dear, and make some more
ridge. Can you ? "
of that pore
THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.
"Yes, father, there's some meal yet. And there's a
little bread, too."
"You may have that," said the cobbler. "And I'll
go out by and by and see if I can get a little money.
Mr. Shipham had a pair of boots new soled a month
ago, and Mr. Binch owes for some jobs-if I ever could
get hold of them."
And the cobbler sighed.
If people only knew, they would pay you, father,
wouldn't they ? "
There is One that knows," said the cobbler. "And
why they don't pay me He knows. Maybe it's to teach
you and me, Sue, that 'man does not live by bread
But by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth
of God doth man live,' his little daughter went on,
softly, as if she were filling up the words for her own
But didn't we know that before, father? "
Maybe we didn't know it enough," said 1
"I'm afraid I don't now "
And as her back was turned, he hastily brought his
hand to his eyes.
But, father, can one help feeling a little sorrowful,
when-when things are so bad ?"
A little bad '-perhaps one might feel a little bad,"
said the cobbler; but if I believe all that I know, I
don't see how I could feel very bad. I don't see how 1
could; and I oughtn't."
His little daughter had been raking the fire together
and setting on -the coals a little iron skillet of water.
She turned and looked at him when he said this, as if
she had not known before that he did feel very bad."
He did not see the look, which was a startled and sor-
rowful one; he was bending over his shoe-leather. She
left the room then and went after the meal, which she
brought in a yellow earthen dish, and began silently to
mix for the porridge.
THE TWO SHOES
" The Bible says, father-" she began, stirring
" Yes, dear-what does it say ? said Mr. Peg.
Y ? "said r. Pg.
"It says, Trust in the Lord and do good; so shalt
thou dwell in the land, and-verily-- "
Susan's voice broke. She stirred her porridge vehe-
mently, and turned her back to her father.
Verily thou shalt be fed,' said the cobbler. "Yes
--I know it. The thing is to believe it."
"You do believe it, father," Susan said, softly.
"Ay, but I haven't trusted the Lord, nor done good,
any to speak of. It'll stand good for you, daughter, if it
doesn't for me."
She had stirred her meal into the skillet; and now
setting down her dish she came to his side, and putting
her two arms round his neck, she kissed him all over
his face. The cobbler let fall leather and ends and
hugged her up to his breast.
That's done me more good than dinner, now," said
he, when he had, albeit tearfully, given her two or three
sound kisses by way of finishing. "You may have all
the porridge, Susie."
There's enough, father, and there's some bread
Eat it all up," said the cobbler, turning to his work
again; maybe to hide his eyes. She stood leaning on
his shoulder, just so as not to hinder the play of his arm.
Shall I keep the bread for supper, father ?"
"No, dear; maybe I'll get some money before that."
"Whose shoes are those, father?"
"They aren't anybody's yet."
"Whose are they going to be ?"
"I don't know. The first pair of feet that come along
that will fit 'em. If I sell them, I'll get some leather
and make more."
"Is that the last of your leather, father ?"
Ay-the last big enough; the rest is all pieces."
She stood a little while longer, laying her head on his
shoulder; then there came a knocking up-stairs, and
76 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.
she ran away. The cobbler wrought at his shoe for a
space, when turning his head, he dropped everything to
go and see after the porridge; and he squatted over the
fire, stirring it, till such' time as he thought it was done,
and he drew back the skillet. He went to the foot of
the stairs and looked up and listened for a minute, and
then left it and came back without calling anybody. It
was plain that he must eat his dinner alone.
His dinner was nothing but porridge and salt, eaten
with what would have been a good appetite if it had
had good thoughts to back it. And the cobbler did not
seem uncheerful; only once or twice he stopped and
looked a good while with a grave face into the fire on
the hearth. But a porridge dinner after all could not
last long; Mr. Peg put away his plate and spoon, placed
the skillet carefully in the corner of the fire-place, took
off his leather apron and put on his coat, and taking his
hat from the counter he went out.
There were no more stitches set in the shoe that after-
noon, for Mr. Peg did not get home till dark. The first
thing that happened after he went away, a gust of wind
blew round the house and came down the chimney
bringing with it a shower of soot which must have
sprinkled pretty thick upon the open skillet. Then the
wind seemed to go up chimney again, and could be
heard whistling off among the neighboring housetops.
A while after, little Susie came down and made for her
skillet. She pulled it out, and fetched her plate and
spoon and began to skim out the soot; but I suppose
she found it rather indifferent, or else that it would lose
her a good deal of her porridge; for one time she set her
plate and spoon down upon the hearth beside her, and
laid her face in her apron. She soon took it up again,
but she didn't make a large meal of the porridge.
She went up-stairs then immediately, and when she
came down the second time it was near evening. She
stood and looked about, to see that her father was not
come in; then she built up the fire, and when it was
THE TWO SHOES.
burning she stood and looked into it just m the same way
that she had stood and looked out of the window.
Suddenly she wheeled about, and coming behind the
counter took her father's Bible from a heap of bits of
leather where it lay, and went and sat down on the
hearth with it; and as long as there was light she was
bending over it. Then, when the light faded, she
clasped her hands upon the shut Bible, and leaning
back against the jamb fell fast asleep in an instant,
with her head against the stone.
There she was when her father came home; her feet
were stretched out upon the hearth and he stumbled over
them. That waked her. By the glimmering light of
the fire something could be seen hanging from Mr.
Have you got home, father ?-I believe I went to
sleep waiting for you. What have you got in your
hand ?-Fish !-Oh, father !"
You should have heard the change of little Sue's
voice when she spoke that. Generally her way of
speaking was low and gentle like the twilight, but those
two words were like a burst of sunshine.
Yes, dear. Blow up the fire so you can see them.
I've been to Mrs. Binch's-I've been all over town,
a'most-and Mrs. Binch's boy had just come in with
some, and she gave me a fine string of 'em-nice blue
Susan had made a light blaze, and then she and the
cobbler admired and turned and almost smelt of the fish,
"And shall we have one for supper, father ?"
"Yes, dear. You have some coals, and I'll
fish ready directly. Has mother had all she
isn't it good ?
What a be
er. Mrs. Lucy sent her some soup and she
And I saved the bread from dinner, father
and there's more porridge, too."
xd of coals Sue had made by the time her
78 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.
father came back with the fish, nicely cleaned and
washed. She put it down, and then the two sat over it
in the fire-light and watched it broil. It was done as
nicely as a fish could be done; and Susan fetched the
plates and the salt and the bread; and then the cobbler
gave thanks to God for their supper. And then the two
made such a meal! there wasn't a bone of that fish but
was clean picked, nor a grain of salt but what-did duty
on a sweet morsel. There was not a scrap of bread left
from that supper; and I was as glad as anything of my
tough nature can be, to know that there were several
more fish besides the one eaten. Sue cleared away the
things when they had done; ran up to see if her mother
was comfortable; and soon ran down again. Her step
had changed too.
Now, darling," said her father, come and let us
have our talk by this good fire-light."
Susan came to his arms and kissed him; and his arms
were wrapped round her and she sat on his knee.
It's one good thing, you haven't lights to work, so
we can talk," said Sue, stroking his face. "If you had,
Maybe we would," said the cobbler. Let us talk
to-night of the things we have to be thankful for."
There's a great many of them, father," said Sue with
her twilight voice.
The first thing is, that we know we have a Friend
in heaven, and that we, do love and trust him."
Oh, father !" said Sue, if you begin with that, all
the other things will not seem anything at all."
That's true," said Mr. Peg. "Well, Sue, let's have
'em all. You begin."
I don't know what to begin with," said Sue, looking
into the fire.
I have you," said her father, softly kissing her.
Oh, father !-and I have you; but now you are
taking the next best things."
I shouldn't care for all the rest without this one,"
THE TWO SHOES.
cobbler;-" nor I shouldn't mind anything but
he added, in a somewhat changed tone.
father, you mustn't talk of that to-night;-we
going to talk of the things we have to be thank-
Well, we'll take the others to-morrow night maybe.
and see what we can make of- them. Go on, Susie,"
said the cobbler, putting his head down to her cheek,-
" I have my dear little child, and she has her father.
That's something to thank God, and to be glad for,--
So I do, every day, father," said Susan, very softly.
And so I do," said the cobbler; and while I can
take care of thee, my dearest, I will take trouble for
Now you are getting upon the other things, father,"
said Sue. Father, it is something to be thankful for,
that we can have such a nice fire every night,-and
every day, if we want it."
You don't know what a blessing 'tis, Sue," said her
father. If we lived where we couldn't get drift wood-
if we lived as some of the poor people do in the great
cities-without anything but a few handfuls of stuff to
burn in the hardest weather, and that wretched stuff for
making a fire-I am glad you don't know how good it
is, Sue!" said he, putting his arms round her. There
isn't a morning of my life, but I thank God for giving
us wood, when I set about kindling it."
"How do they do in those places, without wood?"
said Sue; sticking out her feet toward the warm ruddy
e who knows all only knows," said the cobbler,
y. They do without. It seems to me I would
go without eating, and have a fire."
don't know," said Sue, thoughtfully, "which I
rather do. But those poor people haven't either,
said the cobbler.
"They manage to
80 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.
pick up enough to keep them alive, somehow." And he
sighed, for the subject came near home.
"Father," said Sue, 1 I don't believe God will let us
"I do not think He will, my dear," said the cobbler.
"Then why do you sigh ? "
"Because I deserve that He should, I believe," said
the cobbler, hanging his head. I deserve it, for not
trusting Him better. Cast all your care upon him, for
he careth for you.' Ah, my dear, we can't get along
without running to our upper storehouse, pretty often."
Father, I believe God don't mean we should."
That's just it!" said the cobbler. That is just, no
doubt, what He means. Well, dear, let's learn the lesson
he sets us."
Then, father," said Sue, don't you think we have
a good little house ? It's large enough, and it's warm."
Yes, dear," said the cobbler; "some of those poor
people we were talking about would think themselves a3
well off as kings if they had such a house as this."
And it's in a pleasant place, father, where there are
a great many kind people."
I hope there are," said the cobbler, who was think-
ing at the moment how Mr. Shipham had put him off,
and Mr. Dill had avoided him, and Mr. Binch had
fought every one of his moderate charges.
Why, father!" said Sue;-" there's Mrs. Lucy every
day sends things to mother, and Mrs. Binch gave you
the fish, and Mrs. Jackson came and washed ever so
many times, and-and Mrs. Galatin sent the pudding
and other things for mother, you know."
Well, dear," said the cobbler,-" yes,-it seems that
womankind is more plenty here at any rate than man.
"Why, father ? said Sue.
I hope you'll never know, dear," he answered. It
was a foolish speech of mine."
And I'm sure it's a blessing, father, that we have so
THE TWO SHOES. 81
many things sent us for my mother,-she has almost as
much as she wants; and things we couldn't get. Now,
Mrs. Lucy's soup-you don't know how nice it was. I
tasted just the least drop in the spoon; and mother had
enough of it for to-day and to-morrow. And then the
doctor says she will get well by and by; and that will be
It was a blessing so far off that both the cobbler and
his little daughter looked grave as they thought about it
"And I'm well, father, and you're well," said Sue,
Thank God !" said the cobbler.
"And father, don't you think it is a little blessing
to live near the sea ? and to have the beautiful beach to
walk upon, and see the waves come tumbling in, and
smell the fresh wind. We used to go so often, and
maybe by and by we shall again. Don't you think it is
a great deal pleasanter than it would be if Beachhead
was away off in the country, out of sight of the
"Ah, Sue," said her father,-" I don't know;-I've
lived a good piece of my life in one of those inshore
places, and I didn't want to hear the sea roar then-a-days,
and I could get along without the smell of salt water.
No,-you don't know what you are talking about exactly;
every sort of place that the Lord has made, has its own
prettiness and pleasantness; and so the sea has; but I
love the green pasture-fields as well as I do the green
field of water, to this day."
But one might be in a place where there wasn't the
sea nor the pasture fields either, father."
So one might," said the cobbler. Yes, there are
plenty of such places. The sea is a blessing. I was
thinking of my old home in Connecticut; but the worm
isn't all green hills and sea shore,-there's something
else in it-something else. Yes, dear, I love those large
And then, father," said Sue, laying her head on his
TIIE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.
breast, "we come back to the best things,-tbat you
were beginning with."
"Ay," said the cobbler, casting his arm round her.
And for a little space they sat silent and looked into tho
fire, and then he went on.
"Poor as we sit here, and weak and dying as we know
we are, we know that we have a tabernacle on high-a
house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. It
won't matter much, Sue, when we get there -"
What would not matter, the cobbler did not say;
there was something came in his throat that stopped
It won't matter, father," said Sue, softly.
They sat still a little while ; the flame of the bits of
brands in the chimney leaped up and down, burned
strong and then fell outright; and. the red coals glowed
and glimmered in the place of it, but with less and less
Now Sue, let us read," said the cobbler on a
She got up, and he put on the coals two or three pieces
of light wood, which soon blazed up, While be was
doing this, Sue brought the Bible. Then she took her
former place in her father's arms; and he opened the
book and read by the firelight, pausing at almost every
sentence. "' Praise ye the Lord.'--We will do that,
Sue," said the cobbler, for ever."
Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, that
delighteth greatly in his commandments.' "
You do that, father," said Sue, softly.
"I do fear him;-I do delight in his commandments,"
said the poor cobbler. I might do so a great deal
More. But see how it goes on:-
-" 'l His seed shall be mighty upon earth : the generation
of the upright shall be blessed.' No doubt of it;-only
let us see that we are upright, my child.
4'" Wealth and riches shall be in his house. So they
ar- Sue; aren't we rich ? "
THE TWO SHOES. 83
Yes, father. But don't you think that means the
other kind of riches too ? "
I don't know," said the cobbler; "if it does, we
shall have them. But I don't know, daughter; see-
"' Wealth and riches shall be in his house: and his
righteousness endureth for ever.' It seems as if that
riches had to do with that righteousness. You know
what Jesus says,-' I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried
in the fire, that thou mayest be rich.' I think, it is the
kind of riches of that man who is described as having
nothing, and yet possessing all things.'"
"Well, so we do, father, don't we ?"
"Let us praise him," said the cobbler.
"' Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness.
What a promise "
"Unto the upright, again," said Sue.
Mind it, dear Sue," said her father, for we may see
darker times than we have seen yet."
Sue looked uip at him gravely, but did not speak.
Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness :
he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.'"
That is, the upright man," said Sue.
'A good man showeth favour and lendeth: he will
guide his affairs with discretion. Surely he shall not be
moved for ever: the righteous shall be in everlasting
remembrance.' You remember who says,-' I have graven
thee upon upon the palms of my hands; thy walls arn
continually before me ?' "
"That is Zion, father, isn't it ? said Sue.
"And just before that,-' Can a woman forget her
sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the
son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not
"We oughtn't to be afraid, father," said Sue, softly.
"I am not afraid," said the cobbler.
S The righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance,
IHe shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed,
trusting in the Lord.' There it is, Sue.
THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.
His heart is established, he shall not be afraid, until
he see his desire upon his enemies. He hath dispersed,
he hath given to the poor, his r ighteousness endureth for
ever ; his horn shall be exalted with honour. The
wicked shall see it, and be grieved ; he shall gnash with his
teeth and melt away, the desire of the wicked shall perish.' "
The cobbler closed the book; and he and his little
daughter knelt down, and he prayed for a few minutes ;
then they covered up the fire, and they went away up-
stairs together. And the night was as quiet in that
house as in any house in the land.
The next morning the cobbler and his daughter broiled
another fish; but the breakfast was a shorter and less
talkative affair than the supper had been. After break-
fast the cobbler sat down to his work, but before the shoe
was half an hour nearer to being done, Sue appeared at
the bottom of the stairs saying, Father, mother says
she wants a piece of one of those fish."
The cobbler's needle stood still. "I don't believe it is
good for her," said he.
"She says she wants it."
"Well, can't you put it down, my daughter?"
"Yes, father; but she says she wants me to put her
room up; and she's in a great hurry for the fish."
Mr. Peg slowly laid his work down. Sue ran up-stairs
again, and the cobbler spent another half-hour over the
coals and a quarter of a blue fish. Sue came for it, and
the cobbler went to his work again.
It was a cold day; the wind whistled about and
brought the cold in; and every now and then Sue came
down and stood at the fire a minute to warm herself.
gEvery time she came, the cobbler stayed his hand and
%ooked up, and looked wistfully at her.
Never mind, father," said Sue. It's only that I'm
a little cold."
You're blue," said he.
And at last Mr. Peg couldn't stand it. Down went
the leather on one side of him and the tools on the other;
THE TWO SHOES.
and he went and lugged an armful or two of sticks up-
stairs and built a fire there, in spite of Sue's begging
him to keep on with his work and not mind her.
But we shan't have wood enough, father," she said
at last gently.
I'll go o' nights
quantity," said the c(
to come down stairs.
to the b(
" A .11
and fetch a
do. I can't
see you cold, if you can."
And Sue stayed up-stairs, and the cobbler wrought after
that, pretty steadily, for some hours. But in the middle
of the afternoon came a new interruption. Two men
oame into the shop and gave an order or two to the
cobbler, who served them with unusual gravity.
"When is court day, Sheriff? he asked in the course
"To-morrow itself, Mr. Peg."
"To-morrow ?" said the cobbler.
"What's the matter ? comes the wrong day ?
I had forgot all about it," said the
I be let off, sir ? "
"From what ?" said the other man.
"Why it's rather an ugly job, some
the Sheriff. He's got to sit on the jury that is to try
I must beg to be let off," said the cobbler. "I am
not at all able to leave home."
You must tell the court, then," said he who was
called the Sheriff; "but it wouldn't do any good, I do
believe. Everybody says the same thing, pretty much;
nobody likes the job; but you see, this is a very difficult
and important case ; a great many have been thrown out;
itis hard to get just the right men, those that are altogether
unobjectionable; and every one knows you, Mr. Peg."
But my family want me," said the cobbler; "they can't
do without me. Can't you let me go, Mr. Packum? "
Not I," said the Sheriff; "' that's no part of my duty,
-you must ask the court, Mr. Peg."
THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.
"To-morrow ?" said the cobbler."
"Yes, to-morrow; but I tell you beforehand it won't
do any good. What excuse can you make ?"
"My family want my care," said the poor cobbler.
"So does every man's family," said the Sheriff with a
laugh; "he's a happy man that don't find it so. You
haven't much of a family, Mr. Peg, have you;-if you
had my seven daughters to look after-Well, Mr. Jibbs,
-shall we go ? "
They went; and sitting down again in his chair the
poor cobbler neglected his work and bent over it with
his head in his hand. At length he got up, put his
work away, and left the room. For a while his saw might
be heard going at the back of the house; then it ceased,
and nothing at all was to be heard for a long time; only
a light footstep overhead now and then. The afternoon
passed, and the evening came.
The cobbler was the first to make his appearance.
He came in, lighted the fire which had quite died out,
and sat down as he had sat before, with his head in his
hand. So his little daughter found him. She stepped
lightly, and he did not hear her till her hand was on his
shoulder. Then she asked him, What was the matter ? "
Oh, nothing that should make me sit so," said the
cobbler rousing himself.
We've got more fish left yet," said Sue.
"Yes dear,-'tisn't that; but I have to go away to
"Away ?" said Sue.
"Yes, away to court."
"What for, father?"
"Why they've put me down for a juryman, and Irm
afraid there'll be no getting off. The Sheriff says there
"What have you to do, father ?"
S Sit on the jury, dear, to decide whether Simon Ruffin
is guilty or no?"
Simon Ruffin ?-that shot th at man! Oh, father 1"
THEk TWO SHOES.
It's very bad," said the cobbler.
"How long will you be gone ?"
"I can't tell at all," said the cobbler; maybe a day
--a day! they can't take the evidence in two days,-I
don't know whether it will be two or three days, or a
"A week. And what shall we do?" Sue could not
If I can get off, I will," said the cobbler; "but in
case I can't, I have or I will have by morning as much
wood as will do till I come back. I have two and six-
pence besides, which I can leave you, darling; and I can
do nothing more but trust."
Father, isn't it hard to trust, sometimes ?" Sue said
with her eyes full of tears. The poor cobbler wrapped her
in his arms and kissed them away, but he did not try to
Maybe it won't do us any harm, after all," said Sue
more brightly;-" or maybe you will be able to come
back, father. Father, you know we are to talk over to-
night the things that we have that we can't be thankful
"' In everything give thanks,"'" said the cobbler.
"Yes father, but it doesn't say for everything ?"
Perhaps not," said the cobbler. Well, darling, we'll
see. Let's have our supper first."
We'll have the largest fish to-night, father."
The fish wasn't just out of the water now, but it was
eaten with a good will; not quite so cheerily as the first
one the night before; and Sue sighed once or twice as
she was putting the dishes away, and didn't step quite so
lightly. Then she came to her former place in her father's
arms; and her head stooped upon his shoulder, and his
cheek was laid to her forehead, and so they sat some
minutes without speaking.
Come, father," said Sue,-" will you talk?"
Yes, dear. Let us tell over what we have to bear,
and see how wv can bear it."
THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.
We must go to our upper storehouse' again for that,
t" The first thing, I suppose," said Sue, "is that we
haven't quite money enough."
We have just what God gives us," said the cobbler.
"I'll never complain of that."
Why, you never complain of anything, father. But
it isn't pleasant."
"No, dear," said the cobbler;-" and yet if we had
money enough, could we trust God as we do ? It is a
sweet thing to live by his hand directly; to feel that it
is feeding us to-day, and to know th at it will to-morrow,
for 'Was he ever a wilderness to Israel ?' No, dear; I
don't mean to say that poverty is not hard to bear some-
times; nor I don't mean to say that I wouldn't give you
plenty of everything if I had it to give; but I do say
that there is a sweet side even to this."
Father, our blue fish wouldn't have tasted so good if
we had always had plenty of them."
I suppose not," said the cobbler, with a little bit of
a stifled sigh-" and maybe we shouldn't know how to
love each other quite so well, Sue."
Oh yes we should!" said Sue,
I don't know," said the cobbler. "I shouldn't know
what my little daughter can do and bear, if she had not
had a chance to show me."
Why, I have not much to bear, father," said Sue.
Mother wouldn't know what a good nurse you can
"I wish she hadn't a chance to know that, father."
"Yes," said the cobbler, "your mother's sickness-
that seems the hardest evil we have had to do with. It's
not easy to find any present comfort in that, nor any
present good; for I am afraid it makes me more impa-
tient than patient. Maybe that's why this is sent to me.
But if we can't see the reason of a great many things
now, we shall by-apd-by. We shall know, Sue, what
THE TWO SHOES
the reason was. Thou shalt remember all the way
which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the
wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know
what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his
commandments or no.'"
Sue lifted up her head, and her little face was beautiful
for the strong patience, and bright trust and love, that
was in it. Her eyes were swimming; and her lips were
speaking, though they only moved to tremble.
We can't wait, Sue," said the cobbler gently Sue
laid down her head again.
"So it seems we have got the reason of it, already,"
Mr. Peg went on-" if not the good."
"Maybe we 've got some of the good too, without
knowing it," said his little daughter.
"Still we '11 be very glad to have mother get well."
"Oh, won't we!" said Sue.
"And it will teach us how to be thankful for the comr
mon things we forget."
There was a little pause.
Then you would like to have me go to school," said
Sue; "and I can't."
"And if you could, I shouldn't have the pleasure of
teaching you myself," said the cobbler. "I can bear
"But then I can't learn so many things," said Sue.
"Of one kind you can't, and of another kind you can,"
said her father. "I don't believe there's a school-girl in
Beachhead that can broil a blue fish as you can."
"Oh, father! but then you showed me how."
"Do you think broiling blue fish comes by nature?"
said the cobbler. I can tell you there are many people
that can't learn it at all. And that's only one of your
"Oh, father!" said Sue again, smiling a little.
"You can nurse a sick mother, and mend a hole in
your father's coat, and clean a room, and make a bed,
THE CHRISTMAS STOCKi.N.
"Still, father, you'd like to have me go to school.
"Yes, I would," said the cobbler. Maybe I shall
not be sorry, by-and-by, that I couldn't."
"And then, father," said Sue, "you can't get work
"Yes!" said the cobbler. "If I could do that, it
would be all smooth. But God would give it to me if it
pleased Him, and if it don't please Him, there must be
some reason; can't we trust Him and wait ?"
Sue looked up again, not so brightly as before; meekly
and rather tearfully.
"And then I must leave you to-morrow," said her
father, kissing her brow-" that seems just now the
worst of all."
Maybe you '11 come back again, father," said Sue.
I am afraid I shall not-till this trial is over."
"It's a disagreeable business, isn't it, father ?"
"Very disagreeable-as frightful as can be, to look at."
They were silent awhile.
Maybe there '11 some good come of it, somehow, after
all," said Sue in her twilight voice.
"Good will be the end of it," said the cobbler. There's
a kind hand doing it, and an almighty arm upholding
us in it; 'we shall not be utterly cast down;' so we
must bear to be poor, and to be sick, and to be sepa-
rated; and just leave it all with God."
Father, it's pleasant to do that," said Sue; but you
could tell by the tone of her words that she was crying t
"'Why, darling, if we are poor, and sick, and in
trouble, we have our dear Saviour, and we know that
the Lord is our God. W\e are not poor people-not we.
' Having nothing, and yet possessing all things.' Who
would we change with, Sue ?"
Sue had to wait a little while before she spoke, but
then she said-" I wouldn't change with anybody."
"No more would I," said the cobbler, giving her
THE TWO SHOES.
Aid so they went to bed,
of very rich poor
But the house looked poor the next day-empty and
cold. The cobbler was off betimes; the little breakfast
ofir died out; dust lay on the counter; the tools and
the unfinished work were here and there; the wind
slipped in and slipped out again; and nothing else paid
us a visit, except Sue, who once or twice looked in and
looked round as if to see whether her father were there.
Once she came into the room and stood a few minutes,
with her little brown head and quiet grave face, looking
at the ashes in the fire-place, and the neglected work,
and her father's chair, with a wistful sort of eye. It
said, or seemed to say, that however she felt last night,
she would be very glad to-day if they were not poor, nor
sick, nor separated. She looked pale and weary too;
but she didn't stay long to rest or think. Her feet could
be heard now and then up-stairs. The cobbler did not
come home; the night darkened upon just such an after-
noon as the morning had been.
The next day began in the same manner. Towards
noon, however, the outer door opened, and in came a
puff of fresh cold air, and another visitor, who looked
fresh, but not cold at all. It was a boy about thirteen
or fourteen; healthy, ruddy, bright-eyed, well-dressed,
and exceeding neat in his dress. He came in like one
familiar with the place, and took note of all the unusual
tokens about as if he knew well what was usual anc
what was unusual. He looked at the cold chimney and
scattered work; he went to the foot of the stairs and
stood listening a moment; and then coming away from
there, he loitered about the room, now going to the
window and now to the chimney, evidently waiting. He
had to wait a good while; but he waited. At last he
got what he wanted, for, tired with being up-stairs, or
wanting to gather some news from the outer world,
Sue slowly can e down the stairs, and showed her
little face at the staircase door. And almost before it
92 THE CHRISTMAS 5TOCKING,
had time to change, the new comer had called out--
And with an unknown light breaking all over her face,
Sue exclaimed joyously-" Roswald! "-and springing
across to him, put her sweet lips to his with right good
Oh you've got back," said Sue, with a gladsomeness
it did, or would have done, anyone's heart good to hear.
Here I am. Haven't I been a long while away ?"
"Oh, so long!" said Sue.
"But what's the matter here, Sue ? what's become of
you all ? "
Why, mother's sick, you know-she hasn't got well
yet; and father's away."
"Where is he ? "
"He had to go to court-he had to be a juryman to
try Simon Ruffin."
"Yesterday morning. And we hoped he would be
able to get leave to come away-we wanted him so much;
but he hasn't been able to come."
"He's been away since yesterday morning? Who's
taking care of you ?"
"Why, nobody," said Sue.
"So there's nobody in the house with you ?"
"Nobody but mother. Father left wood enough all
"Wood enough for how long?"
"Oh, for a good many days."
"Aren't you afraid?"
Why no, Roswald !"
"Who goes to market for you, Sue?"
"What do you live on?"
Oh, people send mother nice things: Mrs. Lucy sent
her a whole pail of soup the other day."
"How big a pail ? "
Why, Roswald !-I mean a nice little tin pail: so big."