Citation
Santa Claus's partner

Material Information

Title:
Santa Claus's partner
Creator:
Page, Thomas Nelson, 1853-1922
Glackens, William J., 1870-1938 ( Illustrator )
Updike, Daniel Berkeley, 1860-1941 ( Printer )
Charles Scribner's Sons ( Publisher )
Merrymount Press ( Printer )
Place of Publication:
New York
Publisher:
C. Scribner's Sons
Manufacturer:
D.B. Updike ; Merrymount Press
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
176, [1] p., [7] leaves of plates : col. ill. ; 19 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Wealth -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Selfishness -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Kindness -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Fathers and daughters -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Christmas -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Christmas stories ( lcsh )
Bldn -- 1899
Genre:
novel ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
United States -- New York -- New York
United States -- Massachusetts -- Boston
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )

Notes

General Note:
First edition.
General Note:
Baldwin Library copy lacks illustration facing page 43.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Thomas Nelson Page ; illustrated by W. Glackens.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections (special@uflib.ufl.edu) with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
021058922 ( ALEPH )
ALH5719 ( NOTIS )
00301692 ( OCLC )
99005311 ( LCCN )

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Full Text




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SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER



SANTA CLAUS’S
PARTNER

BY
THOMAS NELSON PAGE

ILLUSTRATED BY W. GLACKENS



NEW YORK
CHARLES SCRIBNER’S SONS
1899

Copyright, 1899, by Charles Scribner’s Sons



TO MY FATHER

who among all the men the writer knew in his
youth was the most familiar with books ; and who
of all the men the writer has ever known has ex-
emplified best the virtue of open-handedness, this
little Book is affectionately inscribed by his son,

THE AUTHOR



ILLUSTRATIONS

FROM DRAWINGS IN COLOR BY W. GLACKENS

¢

Vignette. Title-Page
“Guess who it is ?”” she cried. Facing page 32
Livingstone had to dodge for his life. 42

Half a dozen young bodies flung themselves
upon him. 64

He took the shopkeeper aside and had a little
talk mith him. . 182

The little form snuggled against him closer and
closer. L44

And James with sparkling eyes rolled back the
foiding doors. 162

Standing in the Christmas evening light in a

rn

long avenue under swaying boughs. 176



SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER

‘9
¢

CHAPTER I

ERRYMAN LIVINGSTONE was a
successful man, a very successful man,
and as he sat in his cushioned chair in

his inner private office (in the best office-
building in the city) on a particularly snowy
evening in December, he looked it every inch.
It spoke in every line of his clean-cut, self-
contained face, with its straight, thin nose,
closely drawn mouth, strong chin and clear
gray eyes; in every movement of his erect,
trim, well-groomed figure; in every detail of
his. faultless attire; in every tone of his as-
sured, assertive, incisive speech. As some one
said of him, he always looked as if he had

just been ironed.

[1]



SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER

He used to be spoken of as “a man of

2

parts;”” now he was spoken of as “a man
of wealth —a capitalist.”

Not that he was as successful as he in-
tended to be; but the way was all clear and
shining before him now. It was now simply a
matter of time. He could no more help going
on to further heights of success than his “ gilt-
edged” securities, stored in thick parcels in
his safe-deposit boxes, could help bearing in-
terest.

He contemplated the situation this snowy
evening with a deep serenity that brought a
transient gleam of light to his somewhat cold
face.

He knew he was successful by the silent
envy with which his acquaintances regarded
him; by the respect with which he was
treated and his opinion was received at the
different Boards, of which he was now an

influential member, by men who fifteen years

[2]



SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER

ago hardly knew of his existence. He knew
it by the numbers of invitations to the most
fashionable houses which crowded his library
table; by the familiar and jovial air with which
presidents and magnates of big corporations,
who could on a moment’s notice change from
warmth—temperate warmth—to ice, greeted
him ; and by the cajoling speeches with which
fashionable mammas with unmarried daughters
of a certain or uncertain age rallied him about
his big, empty house on a fashionable street,
and his handsome dinners, where only one
thing was wanting—the thing they had in
mind.

Berryman Livingstone had, however, much
better proof of success than the mere plaudits
of the world. Many men had these who had
no real foundation for their display. For in-
stance, “ Meteor’? Broome the broker, had
just taken the big house on the corner above

him, and had filled his stable with high-step-
[3]



SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER
ping, high-priced horses—much talked of in
the public prints—and his wife wore jewels
as handsome as Mrs. Parke-Rhode’s who
owned the house and twenty more like it.
Colonel Keightly was one of the largest
dealers on Change this year and was adver-
tised in all the papers as having made a cool
million and a half in a single venture out
West. Van Diver was always spoken of as
the “Grain King,” “Mining King,” or some
other kind of Royalty, because of his infallible
success, and Midan touch. .
But though these and many more like them
were said to have made in a year or two more
than Livingstone with all his pains had been
able to accumulate in a score of years of ear-
nest toil and assiduous devotion to business ;
were now invited to the same big houses
that Livingstone visited, and were greeted by
almost as flattering speeches as Livingstone

received, Livingstone knew of discussions as

[4]



SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER
to these men at Boards other than the “ festal
board,” and of “stiffer”? notes that had been
sent them than those stiff and sealed missives
which were left at their front doors by liver-
ied footmen.

Livingstone, however, though he “kept out
of the papers,’ having a rooted and growing
prejudice against this form of vulgarity, could
at any time, on five minutes’ notice, establish
the solidity of his foundation by simply un-
locking his safe-deposit boxes. His foundation
was as solid as gold.

On the mahogany table-desk before him lay
now a couple of books: one a long, ledger-like
folio in the russet covering sacred to the bind-
ing of that particular kind of work which a
summer-hearted Writer of books years ago
inscribed as “a book of great interest ;” the
other, a smaller volume, a memorandum book,
more richly attired than its sober companion,

in Russia leather.

[5]



SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER

For an hour or two Mr. Livingstone, with
closely-drawn, thin lips, and eager eyes, had
sat in his seat, silent, immersed, absorbed, and
compared the two volumes, from time to time
making memoranda in the smaller book, whilst
his clerks had sat on their high stools in the
large office outside looking impatiently at the
white-faced clock on the wall as it slowly
marked the passing time, or gazing enviously
and grumblingly out of the windows at the
dark, hurrying crowds below making their
way homeward through the falling snow.

The young men could not have stood it but
for the imperturbable patience and sweet tem-
per of the oldest man in the office, a quiet-
faced, middle-aged man, who, in a low, cheery,
pleasant voice, restrained their impatience and
soothed their ruffled spirits.

Even this, however, was only partially suc-
cessful.

“Go in there, Mr. Clark, and tell him we

Eos]



SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER

want to go home,” urged fretfully one youth,
a tentative dandy, with a sharp nose and blunt
chin, who had been diligently arranging his
vivid necktie for more than a half-hour at a
little mirror on the wall.

“Oh! He'll be out directly now,” replied
the older man, looking up from the account-
book before him.

“You’ve been saying that for three hours!”
complained the other.

“Well, see if it doesn’t come true this
time,” said the older clerk, kindly. “He'll
make it up to you.”

This view of the case did not seem to ap-
peal very strongly to the young man; he sim-
ply grunted.

“I’m going to give him notice. Ill not be
put upon this way—” bristled a yet younger
clerk, stepping down from his high stool in a
corner and squaring his shoulders with martial

manifestations.

[eal



SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER

This unexpected interposition appeared to
be the outlet the older grumbler wanted.

“Yes, you will!” he sneered with disdain,
turning his eyes on his junior derisively. He
could at least bully Sipkins.

For response, the youngster walked with a
firm tread straight up to the door of the pri-
vate office; put out his hand so quickly that
the other’s eyes opened wide; then turned so
suddenly as to catch his derider’s look of won-
der; stuck out his tongue in triumph at the
success of his ruse, and walked on to the win-
dow.

“He'll be through directly, see if he is
not,” reiterated the senior clerk with kindly
intonation. “Don’t make a noise, there’s a
good fellow;” and once more John Clark,
the dean of the office, guilefully buried him-
self in his columns.

“He must be writing his love-letters. Go in

there, Hartley, and help him out. You’re an

[3]



SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER
adept at that,’ hazarded the youngster at the
window to the dapper youth at the mirror.

There was a subdued explosion from all the
others but Clark, after which, as if relieved by
this escape of steam, the young men quieted
down, and once more applied themselves to
looking moodily out of the windows, whilst
the older clerk gave a secret peep at his
watch, and then, after another glance at the
closed door of the private office, went back
once more to his work.

Meantime, within his closed sanctum Liv-
ingstone still sat with intent gaze, poring over
the page of figures before him. The expres-
sion on his face was one of profound satisfac-
tion. He had at last reached the acme of his
mbingnee ther is, of his later ambition. (He
had once had other aims.) He had arrived at
the point towards which he had been straining
for the last eight—ten—fifteen years—he

did not try to remember just how long—it

[9]



SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER
had been a good while. He had at length ac-

cumulated, “on the most conservative esti-

2”

mate
following the habit of his Boards)—he had

(he framed the phrase in his mind,

no need to look now at the page before him:
the seven figures that formed the balance, as
he thought of them, suddenly appeared before
him in facsimile. He had been gazing at them
so steadily that now even when he shut his
eyes he could see them clearly. It gave him
a little glow about his heart ;—it was quite
convenient: he could always see them.

It was a great sum. He had attained his
ambition.

Last year when he balanced his books at
the close of the year, he had been worth only
—a sum expressed in six figures, even when
he put his securities at their full value. Now it
could only be written in seven figures, “on the
most conservative estimate.”

Yes, he had reached the top. He could walk

uo



SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER

up the street now and look any man in the
face, or turn his back on him, just as he chose.
The thought pleased him.

Years ago, a friend—an old friend of his
youth, Harry Trelane, had asked him to come
down to the country to visit him and meet his
children and see the peach trees bloom. He
had pleaded business, and his friend had asked
him gravely why he kept on working so hard
when he was already so well off. He wanted
to be rich, he had replied.

“But you are already rich—you must be
worth half a million? and you are a single
man, with no children to leave it to.”

“Yes, but I mean to be worth double that.”

“Why?” .

“Oh!—so that I can tell any man I choose
to go to the d—I,” he had said half jestingly,
being rather put to it by his friend’s earnest-
ness. His friend had laughed too, he remem-
-bered, but not heartily.

[ 11 ]



SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER

“Well, that is not much of a satisfaction
after all,’ he had said; “the real satisfaction
is in helping him the other way ;” —and this
Livingstone remembered he had said very
earnestly.

Livingstone now had reached this point of
his aspiration —he could tell any man he chose
“to go to the devil.”

His content over this reflection was sha-
dowed only by a momentary recollection that
Henry Trelane was since dead. He regretted
that his friend could not know of his success.

Another friend suddenly floated into his
memory. Catherine Trelane was his college-
mate’s sister. Once she had been all the
world to Livingstone, and he had found out
afterwards that she had cared for him too,
and would have married him had he spoken
at one time. But he had not known this at
first, and when he began to grow he could

“not bring. himself to it. He could not afford

[ 12 ]



SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER
to burden himself with a family that might

interfere with his success. Then later, when
he had succeeded and was well off and had
asked Catherine Trelane to be his wife, she
had declined. She said Livingstone had not of-
fered her himself, but his fortune. It had stung
Livingstone deeply, and he had awakened,
but too late, to find for a while that he had
really loved her. She was well off too, having
been left a comfortable sum by a relative.
However, Livingstone was glad now, as he
reflected on it, that it had turned out so.
Catherine Trelane’s refusal had really been
the incentive which had spurred him on to
greater success. It was to revenge himself that
he had plunged deeper into business than
ever, and he had bought his fine house to
show that he could afford to live in style.
He had intended then to marry; but he had
not had time to do so; he had always been

too busy.

[13 ]



SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER

Catherine Trelane, at least, was not dead.
He had not heard of her in a long time;
she had married, he knew, a man named—
Shepherd, he believed, and he had heard
that her husband was dead.

He would see that she knew he was worth
—the page of figures suddenly flashed in be-
fore his eyes like a magic-lantern slide. Yes,
he was worth all that! and he could now

marry whom and when he pleased.

[ 14 ]



CHAPTER II

IVINGSTONE closed his books. He
had put everything in such shape
that Clark, his confidential clerk,

would not have the least trouble this year
in transferring everything and starting the
new books that would now be necessary.

Last year Clark had been at his house a
good many nights writing up these private
books ; but that was because Clark had been
in a sort of muddle last winter,—his wife
was sick, or one of his dozen children had
met with an accident,— or something, — Liv-
ingstone vaguely remembered.

This year there would be no such trouble.
Livingstone was pleased. at the thought; for
Clark was a good fellow, and a capable book-
keeper, even though he was a trifle slow.

Livingstone felt that he had, in a way, a
high regard for Clark. He was attentive to

[15 ]



SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER

his duties, beyond words. He was a gentle-
man, too,—of a first-rate family—a man of
principle. How he could ever have been con-
tent to remain a simple clerk all these years,
Livingstone could not understand. It gave
him a certain contempt for him. That came,
he reflected, of a man’s marrying indiscreetly
and having-a houseful of children on his back.

Clark would be pleased at the showing on
the books. He was always delighted when the
balances showed a marked increase.

Livingstone was glad now that he had not
only paid the old clerk extra for his night-
work last year, but had given him fifty dol-
lars additional, partly because of the trouble
in his family, and partly because Livingstone
had been unusually irritated when Clark got
the two accounts confused.

Livingstone prided himself on his manner
to his employees. He prided himself on being

a gentleman, and it was a mark of a gen-

[ 16 ]



SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER

tleman always to treat subordinates with ci-
vility. He knew men in the city who were
absolute bears to their employees ; but they
were blackguards.

He, perhaps, ought to have discharged
Clark without a word; that would have been
“business ;” but really he ought not to have
spoken to him as he did. Clark undoubtedly
acted with dignity. Livingstone had had to
apologize to him and ask him to remain, and
had made the amend (to himself) by giving
him fifty dollars extra for the ten nights’
work. He could only justify the act now by
reflecting that Clark had more than once sug-
gested investments which had turned out
most fortunately.

Livingstone determined to give Clark this
year a hundred dollars—no, fifty—he must
not spoil him, and it really was not “busi-
ness.”

The thought of his liberality brought to

ue



SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER
Livingstone’s mind the donations that he
always made at the close of the year. He
might as well send off the cheques now.

He took from a locked drawer his private
cheque-book and turned the stubs thought-
fully. He had. had that cheque-book for a
good many years. He used to give away a
tenth of his income. His father before him
used to do that. He remembered, with a
smile, how large the sums used to seem to
him. He turned back the stubs only to see
how small a tenth used to be. He no longer
gave a tenth or a twentieth or even a—he
had no difficulty in deciding. the exact per-
centage he gave; for whenever he thought
now of the sum he was worth, the figures
themselves, in clean-cut lines, popped before
his eyes. It was very curious. He could actu-
ally see them in his own handwriting. He
rubbed his eyes, and the figures disappeared.

Well, he gave a good deal, anyhow—a good

[ 18 ]



SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER

deal more than most men, he reflected. He
looked at the later stubs and was gratified to
find how large the amounts were, — they
showed how rich he was,—and what a di-
versified list of charities he contributed to:
hospitals, seminaries, asylums, churches, soup-
kitchens, training schools of one kind or an-
other. The stubs all bore the names of those
through whom he contributed —they were
mostly fashionable women of his acquain-
tance, who either for diversion or from real
charity were interested in these institutions.

Mrs. Wright’s name appeared oftenest. Mrs.
Wright was a woman of fortune and very
prominent, he reflected, but she was really
kind; she was just a crank, and, somehow, she
appeared really to believe in him. Her hus-
band, Livingstone did not like: a cold, selfish
man, who cared for nothing but money-making
and his own family.

There was one name down on the book for

[ 19 ]



SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER

a small amount which Livingstone could not
recall.—Oh yes, he was an assistant preacher
at Livingstone’s church: the donation was
for a Christmas-tree in a Children’s Hospital,
or something of the kind. This was one of
Mrs. Wright’s charities too. Livingstone re-
membered the note the preacher had written
him afterwards—it had rather jarred on him,
it was so grateful. He hated “gush,” he said
to himself; he did not want to be bothered
with details of yarn-gloves, flannel petticoats,
and toys. He took out his pencil and wrote
Mrs. Wright’s name on the stub. That also
should be charged to Mrs. Wright. He car-
ried in his mind the total amount of the
contributions, and as he came to the end a
half-frown rested on his brow as he thought
of having to give to all these objects again.

That was the trouble with charities, they
were as regular as coupons. Confound Mrs.
Wright! Why did she not let him alone!

[ 20 ]



SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER

However, she was an important woman—the
leader in the best set in the city. Living-
stone sat forward and began to fill out his
cheques. Certain cheques he always filled
out himself. He could not bear to Jet even
Clark know what he gave to certain objects.

The thought of how commendable this was
crossed his face and lit it up like a glint of
transient sunshine. It vanished suddenly as he
began to calculate, leaving the place where
it had rested colder than before. He really
could not spend as much this year as last—
why, there was—for pictures, so much; chari-
ties, so much, etc. It would quite cut into the
amount he had already decided to lay by. He
must draw in somewhere: he was worth only
— the line of figures slipped in before his
eyes with its lantern-slide coldness.

He reflected. He must cut down on his
charities. He could not reduce the sum for
the General Hospital Fund; he had been

[ 21 ]



SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER
giving to that a number of years.—Nor that
for the asylum; Mrs. Wright was the presi-
dent of that board, and had told him she
counted on him.— Hang Mrs. Wright! It was
positive blackmail!—Nor the pew-rent; that
was respectable—nor the Associated Chari-
ties; every one gave to that. He. must cut
out the smaller charities.

So he left off the Children’s Hospital
Christmas-tree Fund, and the soup-kitchen,
and a few insignificant things like them into
which he had been worried by Mrs. Wright
and other troublesome women. The only re-
gret he had was that taken together these
sums did not amount to a great deal. To
bring the saving up he came near cutting
out the hospital. However, he decided not to
do so. Mrs. Wright believed in him. He would
leave out one of the pictures he had intended
to buy; he would deny himself, and not cut

out the big charity. This would save him

[ 22 ]



SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER

the trouble of refusing Mrs. Wright and would
also save him a good deal more money.

Once more, at the thought of his self-denial,
that ray of wintry sunshine passed across Liv-
ingstone’s cold face and gave it a look of dis-
tinction—almost like that of a marble statue.

Again he relapsed into reflection. His eyes
were resting on the pane outside of which
the fine snow was filling the chilly afternoon
air in flurries and scurries that rose and fell
and seemed to be blowing every way at once.
But Livingstone’s eyes were not on the snow.
It had been so long since Livingstone had
given a thought to the weather, except as it
might affect the net earnings of railways in
which he was interested, that he never knew
what the weather was, and so far as he was
concerned there need not have been any
weather. Spring was to him but the season
when certain work could be done which in

time would yield a crop of dividends; and

[ 23 ]



SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER

Autumn was but the time when crops would
be moved and stocks sent up or down.

So, though Livingstone’s eyes rested on the
pane, outside of which the flurrying snow was
driving that meant so much to so many people,
and his face was thoughtful—very thoughtful
—he was not thinking of the snow, he was

calculating profits.

[ 24 ]



CHAPTER III

NOISE in the outer office recalled
Livingstone from his reverie. He
aroused himself, almost with a
start, and glanced at the gilt clock just above
the stock-indicator. He had been so absorbed
that he had quite forgotten that he had told
the clerks to wait for him. He had had no,
idea that he had been at work so long. He
reflected, however, that he had been writing
charity-cheques: the clerks ought to appre-
ciate the fact.

He touched a button, and the next second
there was a gentle tap on the door, and Clark
appeared. He was just the person to give just
such a tap: a refined-looking, middle-aged,
middle-sized man, with a face rather pale and
a little worn; a high, calm forehead, above
which the grizzled hair was almost gone;

mild, blue eyes which beamed through black-

[ 25 ]



SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER

rimmed glasses; a pleasant mouth which a
drooping, colorless moustache only partly con-
cealed, and a well-formed but slightly retreat-
ing chin. His figure was inclined to be stout,
and his shoulders were slightly bent. He
walked softly, and as he spoke his voice was
gentle and pleasing. There was no assertion
in it, but it was perfectly self-respecting. The
eyes and voice redeemed the face from being
commonplace.

« Oh!—Mr. Clark, I did not know I should
have been so long about my work. I was so
engaged getting my book straight for you,
and writing—a few cheques for my annual
contributions to hospitals, ete.,—that the time
slipped by —”

The tone was unusually conciliatory for
Livingstone; but he still retained it in ad-
dressing Clark. It was partly a remnant of his
old time relation to Mr. Clark when he, yet

a young man, first knew him, and partly a re-

[ 26 ]



SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER

cognition of Clark’s position as a man of good
birth who had been unfortunate, and had a
large family to support.

“Oh! that’s all right, Mr. Livingstone,”
said the clerk, pleasantly.

He gathered up the letters on the desk and
was unconsciously pressing them into exact
order.

“Shall I have these mailed or sent by a
messenger ?”’

“Mail them, of course,” said Livingstone.
« And Clark, I want you to—”

“T thought possibly that, as to-morrow is—”
began the clerk in explanation, but stopped
as Livingstone continued speaking without no-
ticing the interruption.

—“I have been going over my matters,”
pursued Livingstone, “and they are in excel-
lent shape—better this year than ever be-
fore—”

The clerk’s face brightened.

[ 27 ]



SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER

“That ’s very good,” said he, heartily. “I
knew they were.”

—* Yes, very good, indeed,” said Living-
stone condescendingly, pausing to dwell for
a second on the sight of the line of pallid
figures which suddenly flashed before his eyes.
“ And I have got everything straight for you
this year; and I want you to come up to my
house this evening and go over the books
with me quietly, so that I can show you—”

“This evening?” The clerk’s countenance
fell and the words were as near an exclama-
tion as he ever indulged in.

“Yes—, this evening. I shall be at home
this evening and to-morrow evening— Why
not this evening?” demanded Livingstone
almost sharply.

“ Why, only —that it ’s—. However,—” The
speaker broke off. “I'll be there, sir. About
eight-thirty, I suppose?”

“Yes,” said Livingstone, curtly.

[ 28 ]



SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER

He was miffed, offended, aggrieved. He had
intended to do a kind thing by this man, and
he had met with a rebuff.

“T expect to pay you,” he said, coldly.

The next second he knew he had made an "
error. A shocked expression came involuntarily
over the other’s face.

“Oh! it was not that!—It was—’ He
paused, reflected half a second. “I’ll be
there,” he added, and, turning quickly, with-
drew, leaving Livingstone feeling very blank
and then somewhat angry. He was angry with
himself for making such a blunder, and then
angrier with the clerk for leading him into it.

“That is the way with such people!’ he
reflected. “What is the use of being consid-
erate and generous? No one appreciates it!”

The more he thought of it, the warmer he
became. “Had he not taken Clark up ten—
fifteen years ago, when he had not a cent in the

world, and now he was getting fifteen hundred

[ 29 ]



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dollars a year—yes, sixteen hundred, and al-
most owned his house ; and he had made every
cent for him!”

At length, Livingstone’s sense of injury
became so strong, he could stand it no longer.
He determined to have a talk with Clark.

He opened the door and walked into the
outer office. One of the younger clerks was
just buttoning up his overcoat. Livingstone
detected a scowl on his face. The sight did
_ not improve Livingstone’s temper. He wouid
have liked to discharge the boy on the spot.
How often had he ever called on them to
wait? He knew men who required their
clerks to wait always until they themselves
left the office, no matter what the hour was.
He himself would not do this; he regarded it
as selfish. But now when it had happened by
accident, this was the return he received!

He contented himself with asking somewhat

sharply where Mr. Clark was.

[ 30 ]



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“Believe he’s gone to the telephone,” said
the clerk, sulkily. He picked up his hat and
said good-night hurriedly. He was evidently
glad to get off.

Livingstone returned to his own room; but
left the door ajar so that he could see Clark
when he returned. When, however, a few mo-
ments afterwards Clark appeared Livingstone
had cooled down. Why should he expect grati-
tude? He did not pay Clark for gratitude, but
for work, and this the clerk did faithfully. It
was an ungrateful world, anyhow.

At that moment there was a light knock at
the outer door, and, on Clark’s bidding, some
one entered.

Livingstone, from where he sat, could see
the door reflected in a mirror that hung in
his office.

The visitor was a little girl. She was clad in
a red jacket, and on her head was a red cap,

from under which her hair pushed in a profu-

[ 31 ]



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sion of ringlets. Her cheeks were like apples,
and her whole face was glowing from the
frosty air. It was just her head that Living-
stone saw first, as she poked it in and peeped ©
around. Then, as Mr. Clark sat with his back
to the door and she saw that no one else was
present, the visitor inserted her whole body
and, closing the door softly, with her eyes
dancing and her little mouth puckered up in
a mischievous way, she came on tiptoe across
the floor, stealing towards Clark until she was
within a few feet of him, when with a sudden
little rush she threw her arms about his head
and clapped her hands quickly over his eyes:

“ Guess who it is?” she cried.

Livingstone could hear them through the
open door.

“Blue Beard,” hazarded Mr. Clark.

“No—o!”

“Queen Victoria?”

“No—o—o!”

[ 32 ]





‘*@UESS WHO IT IS,’ SHE CRIED.



SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER

“Mary, Queen of Scots?—I know it’s a
queen.”

“No. Now you are not guessing— It isn’t
any queen, at all.”

“Yes, I an—Oh! I know—Santa Claus.”

“No; but somebody ’at knows about him.”

“Mr. L—m—m—”

Livingstone was not sure that he caught the
name.

“No!!” in a very emphatic voice and with
a sudden stiffening and a vehement shake of
the head.

Livingstone knew now whose name it was.

“Now, if you guess right this time, you'll
get a reward.”

“What reward ?”

“Why,—Santa Claus will bring you a whole
lot of nice—”

“JT don’t believe that ;—he will be too busy
with some other folks I know, who—”

“No, he won’t—I know he’s going to bring

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you— Oh!” She suddenly took one hand from

Clark’s eyes and clapped it over her mouth—
but next second replaced it.—“And besides,
I’ll give you a whole lot of kisses.”

“Oh! yes, I know—the Princess with the
Golden Locks, Santa Claus’s Partner —the
sweetest little kitten in the world, and her
name is—Kitty Clark.”

“Umhm—m!” And on a sudden, the arms
were transferred from about the forehead to
the neck and the little girl, with her sunny
head canted to one side, was making good her
promise of reward. Livingstone could hear
the kisses.

The next second they moved out of the line
of reflection in Livingstone’s mirror. But he
could still catch fragments of what they said.
Clark spoke too low to be heard ; but now and
then, Livingstone could catch the little girl’s
words. Indeed, he could not help hearing her.

“Oh! papa!” she exclaimed in a tone of

[ 34 ]



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disappointment, replying to something her
father had told her.

“But papa you must come— You promised !”’

Again her father talked to her low and
soothingly.

“But papa—I’m so disappointed —I’ve
saved all my money just to have you go with
me. And mamma—lI’ll go and ask him to let
you come.”

Her father evidently did not approve of
this, and the next moment he led the child to
the door, still talking to her soothingly, and
Livingstone heard him kiss her and tell her to
wait for him below.

Livingstone let himself out of his side-door.
He did not want to meet Clark just then. He
was not in a comfortable frame of mind. He
had a little headache.

As he turned into the street, he passed the
little girl he had seen up-stairs. She was wip-

ing her little, smeared face with her hand-

[ 35 ]



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kerchief, and had evidently been crying. Liv-
ingstone, as he passed, caught her eye, and
she gave him such a look of hate that it stung
him to the quick.

“The little serpent !” thought he. “ Here he
was supporting her family, and she looking as
if she could oon him to pieces! It showed how

ungrateful this sort of people were.”

[ 36 ]



CHAPTER IV

IVINGSTONE walked up town. It

would, he felt, do his head good.

He needed exercise. He had been

working rather too hard of late. However, he

was worth—yes, all that!—Out in the snow
the sum was before him in cold facsimile.

He had not gone far before he wished he
had ridden. The street was thronged with
people: some streaming along; others stop-
ping in front of the big shop-windows, block-
ing the way and forcing such as were in a
hurry to get off the sidewalk. The shop-win-
dows were all brilliantly dressed and lighted.
Every conception of fertile brains was there
to arrest the attention and delight the im-
agination. And the interest of the throngs
outside and in testified the shopkeepers’ suc-
cess.

Here Santa Claus, the last survivor of the

[ 37 ]



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old benefactors, who has outlasted whole hie-
rarchies of outworn myths and, yet firm in the
devotion of the heart of childhood, snaps his
fingers alike at arid science and blighting
stupidity, was driving his reindeer, his teem-
ing sleigh filled with wonders from every
region: dolls that walked and talked and
sang, fit for princesses; sleds fine enough for
princes; drums and trumpets and swords for
young heroes; horses that looked as though
they were alive and would spring next mo-
ment from their rockers; bats and balls that
almost started of themselves from their places ;
little uniforms, and frocks; skates; tennis-
racquets; baby caps and rattles; tiny engines
and coaches; railway trains; animals that ran
about ; steamships; books; pictures—every-
thing to delight the soul of childhood and
gratify the affection of age.

There Kris Kringle, Santa Claus’s other self,

with snowy beard, and fur coat hoary with the

[ 38 ]



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frost of Arctic travel from the land of unfail-
ing snow and unfailing toys, stood beside his
tree glittering with crystal and shining with
the fruits of every industry and every clime.

These were but a part of the dazzling dis-
play that was ever repeated over and over
and filled the windows, for squares and squares.
Science and Art appeared to have combined
to pay tribute to childhood. The very street
seemed to have blossomed with Christmas.

But Livingstone saw nothing of it. He
was filled with anger that his way should be
blocked. The crowds were gay and cheery.
Strangers in sheer good-will clapped each
other on the shoulder and exchanged views,
confidences and good wishes. The truck-driv-
ers, usually so surly, drew out of each others’
way and shouted words of cheer after their
smiling fellows.

The soul of Christmas was abroad on the air.

Livingstone did not even recall what day it

[ 89 ]



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was. All he saw was a crowd of fools that im-
peded his progress. He tried the middle of
the street; but the carriages and delivery-
wagons were so thick, that he turned off,
growling, and took a less frequented thor-
oughfare, a back street of mean houses and
small shops where a poorer class of people
dwelt and dealt.

Here, however, he was perhaps even more
incommoded than he had been before. This
street was, if anything, more crowded than the
other and with a more noisy and hilarious
throng. Here, instead of fine shops, there were
small ones; but their windows were every bit
as attractive to the crowds on the street as
those Livingstone had left. People of a much
poorer class surged in and out of the doors;
small gamins, some in ragged overcoats, more
in none, gabbled with and shouldered each
other boisterously at the windows and pressed

their red noses to the frosty panes, to see

[ 40 ]



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through the blurred patches made by their

warm breath the wondrous marvels within. The
little pastry-shops and corner-groceries vied
with the toy-shops and confectionaries, and
were packed with a population that hummed
like bees, the busy murmur broken every now
and then by jests and calls and laughter, as
the customers squeezed in empty-handed, or
slipped out with carefully-wrapped parcels
hugged close to their cheery bosoms or carried
in their arms with careful pride.

Livingstone finally was compelled to get off
the sidewalk again and take to the street.
Here, at least, there were no fine carriages to
block his way.

As he began to approach a hill, he was
aware of yells of warning ahead of him, and,
with shouts of merriment, a swarm of sleds
began to shoot by him, some with dark objects
lying flat on their little stomachs, kicking

their heels high in the air; others with small

[ 41 ]



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single or double or triple headed monsters
seated upright and all screaming at the top
of their merry voices. All were unmindful of
the falling snow and nipping air, their blood
hot with the ineffable fire of youth that flames
in the warm heart of childhood, glows in that
of youth, and cools only with the cooling brain
and chilling pulse.

Before Livingstone could press back into
the almost solid mass on the sidewalk he had
come near being run down a score of times.
He felt that it was an outrage. He fairly
flamed with indignation. He, a large tax-
payer, a generous contributor to asylums and
police funds, a supporter of hospitals,—that
he should be almost killed!

He looked around for a policeman—

“Whoop! Look out! Get out the way!”
Swish! Swish! Swish ! they shot by. Living-
stone had to dodge for his life. Of course, no

policeman was in sight !

[ 42 ]



llustration

(Livingstone had to
dodge for his life)

Missing From
Original



llustration

(Livingstone had to
dodge for his life)

Missing From
Original



SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER

- Livingstone pushed his way on to the top
of the ascent, and a square further on he
found an officer inspecting silently a group of
noisy urchins squabbling over the division of
two sticks of painted candy. His back was
towards the hill from which were coming the
shouts of the sliding miscreants.

Livingstone accosted him:

“That sliding, back there, must be stopped.
It is a nuisance,’ he asserted.—It was dan-
gerous, he declared; he himself had almost
been struck by one or more of those sleds and
if it had run him down it might have killed
him.

The officer, after a long look at him, turned —
silently and walked slowly in the direction of
the hill. He moved so deliberately and with
such evident reluctance that Livingstone’s
blood boiled. He hurried after him.

“ Here,” he said, as he overtook him, “I

aim going to see that you stop that sliding and

[ 43 ]



SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER

enforce the law, or I shall report you for fail-
ure to perform your duty. I see your number
— 268.”

“All right, sir. You can do as you please
about that,” said the officer, rather surlily, but
politely.

Livingstone walked close after him to the
hilltop. The officer spoke a few words in a
quiet tone to the boys who were at the sum-
mit, and instantly every sled stopped. Not so
the tongues. Babel broke loose. Some went off
in silence; others crowded about the officer,
expostulating, cajoling, grumbling. It was “the
first snow ;” they “always slid on that hill;”
“it did not hurt anybody ;” “nobody cared,”
ete.

“This gentleman has complained, and you
must stop,” said the officer.

They all turned on Livingstone with sudden
hate.

“ Arr-ob-h!” they snarled in concert. “We

[ 44 ]



SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER
aint a-hurtin’ him! What’s he got to do wid
us anyhow !”

One more apt archer than the rest, shouted,
“He ain't no gentleman—a gentleman don’t
never interfere wid poor little boys what ain’t
a-done him no harm!”

But they stopped, and the more timid or im-
patient stole off to find new and less inconven-
iently guarded inclines.

Livingstone passed on. He did not know
that the moment he left and the officer turned
his back, the whole hillside swarmed again
into life and fun and joy. He did not know
this; but he bore off with him a new thorn
which even his feeling of civic virtue could
not keep from rankling. His head ached, and
he grew crosser and crosser with every step.

He had never seen so many beggars. It was
insufferable. For this evening, at least, every
one was giving—except Livingstone. Want

was stretching out its withered hand even

[ 45 ]



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to Poverty and found it filled. But Livingstone
took no part in it. The chilly and threadbare
street-venders of shoe-strings, pencils and
cheap flowers, who to-night were offering in
their place tin. toys, mistletoe and holly-
boughs, he pushed roughly out of his way;
he snapped angrily at beggars who had the
temerity to accost him.

“Confound them! They ought to be run in
by the police!”

A red-faced, collarless man fell into the
same gait with him, and in a cajoling tone be-
gan to mutter something of his distress.

“Be off. Go to the Associated Charities,”
snarled Livingstone, conscious of the biting
sarcasm of his speech.

“Go where, sir?”

“Go to the devil!”

The man stopped in his tracks.

A ragged, meagre boy slid in through the

crowd just ahead of Livingstone, to a woman

[ 46 ]



SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER

who was toiling along with a large bundle.
Holding out a pinched hand, he offered to
carry the parcel for her. The woman hesitated.

—“For five cents,” he pleaded.

She was about to yield, for the bundle was
heavy. But the boy was just in front of Liv-
ingstone and in his eagerness brushed against
him. Livingstone gave him a shove which
sent him spinning away across the sidewalk ;
the stream of passers-by swept in between
them, and the boy lost his job and the woman
his service.

The man of success passed on.

[an]



CHAPTER V

F Livingstone had been in a huff when
he left his office, by the time he reached
his home he was in a rage.

As he let himself in with his latch-key his
expression for a moment softened. The scene
before him was one which might well have
mellowed a man just out of the snowy street.
A spacious and handsome house, both richly
and artistically furnished, lay before him. Rich
furniture, costly rugs, fine pictures and rare
books, gave evidence not only of his wealth
but of his taste. He was not a mere business
machine, a mere money-maker. He knew men
who were. He despised them. He was a man
of taste and culture, a gentleman of refine-
ment. He spent his money like a gentleman,
to surround himself with objects of art and to
give himself and his friends pleasure. Con-

noisseurs came to look at his fine collection

[ 48 ]



SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER

and to revel in his rare editions. Dealers had
told him his collection was worth double what
it had cost him. He had frowned at the sug-
gestion ; but it was satisfactory to know it.

As Livingstone entered his library and
found a bright fire burning; his favorite arm-
chair drawn up to his especial table; his fa-
vorite books lying within easy reach, he felt a
momentary glow.

He stretched himself out before the fire
in his deep lounging-chair with a feeling of
relief. The next moment, however, he was
sensible of his fatigue, and was conscious that
he had quite a headache. What a fool he had
been to walk up through the snow! And those
people had worried him!

His head throbbed. He had been working
too hard of late. He would go and see his
doctor next day and talk it over with him.
He could now take his advice and stop work-

ing for a while; he was worth—Confound

[ 49 ]



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those figures! Why could not he think of
them without their popping in before his eyes
that way !

There was a footfall on the heavily carpeted
floor behind him, so soft that it could scarcely
be said to have made a sound, but Livingstone
caught it. He spoke without turning his head.

“James!”

“Yes, sir. Have you dined, sir?”

“ Dined? No, of course not! Where was I
to dine?”

“J thought perhaps you had dined at the
club. I will have dinner directly, sir,” said the
butler quietly.

“Dine at the club! Why should I dine at
the club? Haven’t I my own house to dine
in?” demanded Livingstone.

“Yes, sir. We had dinner ready, only—as
you were so late we thought perhaps you
were dining at the club. You had not said

anything about dining out.”

[ 50 ]



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Livingstone glanced at the clock. It was
half-past eight. He had had no idea it was so
late. He had forgotten how late it was when
he left his office, and the walk through the
. snow had been slow. He was hopelessly in the
wrong.

Just then there was a scurry in the hall
outside and the squeak of childish voices.
James coughed and turned quickly towards
the door.

Livingstone wanted an outlet.

“ What is that?” he asked, sharply.

James cleared his throat nervously. The
squeak came again—this time almost a squeal.

“Whose children are those?” demanded
Livingstone.

“ Ahem! I thinks they’s the laundress’s, sir.
They just came around this evening —”

Livingstone cut him short.

“ Well! I—!” He was never nearer an out-

break, but he controlled himself.

[ 51 ]



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“ Go down and send them and her off imme-
diately ; and you—” He paused, closed his
lips firmly, and changed his speech. “I wish
some dinner,” he said coldly.

“ Yes, sir.”

James had reached the door when he
turned.

“Shall you be dining at home to-morrow,
sir?” he asked, quietly.

“Yes, of course,” said Livingstone, shortly.
« And I don’t want to see any one to-night,
no matter who comes. I am tired.”’ He had
forgotten Clark.

“ Yes, sir.”

The butler withdrew noiselessly, and Liv-
ingstone sank back in his chair. But before
the butler was out of hearing Livingstone
recalled him.

“J don’t want any dinner.”

“Can have it for you directly, sir,” said

James, persuasively.

[52 ]



SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER

“J say I don’t want any.”

James came a little closer and gave his mas-
ter a quick glance.

“ Are you feeling bad, sir?’ he asked.

“No, I only want to be let alone. I shall go
out presently to the club.”

This time James withdrew entirely.

What happened when James passed through
the door which separated his domain from his
master’s was not precisely what Livingstone
had commanded. What the tall butler did was
to gather up in his arms two very. plump little
tots who at sight of him came running to him
with squeals of joy, flinging themselves on
him, and choking him with their chubby arms,
to the imminent imperiling of his immaculate
linen.

Taking them both up together, James bore
them off quietly to some remote region where
he filled their little mouths full of delightful
candy which kept their little jaws working

[ 53 |



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tremendously and their blue eyes opening and
shutting in unison, whilst he told them of the
dreadful unnamed things that would befall
them if they ventured again through that
door. He impressed on them the calamity it
would be to lose the privilege of holding the
evergreens whilst they were being put up in
the hall, and the danger of Santa Claus passing
by that night without filling their stockings.

The picture he drew of two little stockings
hanging limp and empty at the fireplace while
Santa Claus went by with bulging sleigh was
harrowing.

At mention of it, the tots both looked
down at their stockings and were so over-
come that they almost stopped working their
jaws, so that when they began again they
were harder to work than ever. To this James
added the terror of their failing to see next
day the great plum-pudding suddenly burst

into flame in his hands. At this, he threw up

[ 54 ]



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both hands and opened them so wide that
the little ones had to look first at one of his
hands and then at the other to make sure
that he was not actually holding the dan-
cing flames now.

When they had promised faithfully and
with deep awe, crossing their little hearts with
smudgy fingers, the butler entrusted them to
some one to see to the due performance of
their good intention, and he himself sought
the cook, who, next to himself, was Living-
stone’s oldest servant. She was at the mo-
ment, with plump arms akimbo on her stout
waist, laying down the law of marriage to a
group of merry servants as they sorted Christ-
mas wreaths.

“Wait till you’ve known a man twenty
years before you marry him, and then you'll
never marry him,’ she said. The point of her
advice being that she was past forty and had

never married.

[ 55 |



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The butler beckoned her out and confided

to her his anxiety.

“He is not well,” he said gloomily. “I have
not see him this a-way in ten years. He is not
well.”

The cook’s cheery countenance changed.

“But you say he have had no dinner.” Her
excessive grammar was a reassurance. She
turned alertly towards her range.

“But he won't have dinner.”

“What!” The stiffness went out of her form
in visible detachments. “Then he air sick!”

She made one attempt to help matters.
“Can't I make him something nice? Very
nice?—And light?” She brightened at the
hope.

“No, nothink. He will not hear to it.”

“Then you must have the doctor.” She
spoke decisively.

To this the butler made no reply, at least in

words. He stood wrapt in deep abstraction, his

[ 56 ]



SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER
face filled with perplexity and gloom, and as

the cook watched him anxiously her face too
took on gradually the same expression.

“JT has not see him like this before, not in
ten year—not in twelve year. Not since he
got that letter from that young lady what—.”
He stopped and looked at the cook.—“He
was hactually hirascible !”

“He must be got to bed, poor dear!” said
the cook, sympathetically. “ And you must get
the doctor, and I’ll make some good rich
broth to have it handy.—And just when we
were a-goin’ to dress the house and have it so
beautiful !”

She turned away, her round face full of
woe.

“Ah! Well!—” The butler tried to find
some sentence that might be comforting ; but
before he could secure one that suited, the

door bell rang, arid he went to answer it.

[ 57 ]



CHAPTER VI

T was Mr. Clark, who as soon as the door
was opened stepped within and taking
off his hat began to shake the snow from

it, even while he greeted James and wished
him a merry Christmas.

James liked Mr. Clark. He did not rate
him very highly in the matter of intelligence ;
but he recognized him as a gentleman, and
appreciated his kindly courtesy to himself. He
knew it came from a good heart.

Many a man who drove up to the door
in a carriage, James relieved of his coat
and showed into the drawing-room in si-
lence; but the downcast eyes were averted
to conceal inconvenient thoughts and the
expressionless face was a mask to hide views
which the caller might not have cared to
discover. Mr. Clark, however, always treated

James with consideration, and James re-

[ 58 ]



SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER

ciprocated the feeling and returned the treat-
ment.

Mr. Clark was giving James his hat when
the butler took in that he had come to see
Mr. Livingstone.

“Mr. Livingstone begs to be excused this
evening, sir,’ he said.

“Yes.” Mr. Clark laid a package on a chair
and proceeded to unbutton his overcoat.

“He says he regrets he cannot see any
one,” explained the servant.

“Yes. That’s all right. I know.” He caught
the lapels of the coat preparatory to taking it
off.

“No, sir. He cannot see anybody at all this
evening,” insisted James, confident in being
within his authority.

“Why, he told me to come and bring his
books ! I suppose he meant—?!”

“No, sir. He is not very well this evening.”

Mr. Clark’s hands dropped to his side.

[ 59 }



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“Not well! Why, he left the office only an

hour or two ago.”

“Yes, sir; but he walked up, and seemed
very tired when he arrived. He did not eat
anything, and—the doctor is coming to see
him.”

Mr. Clark’s face expressed the deepest con-
cern.

“He has been working too hard,” he said,
shaking his head. “ He ought to have let me
go over those accounts. With all he has to
carry !”’

“Yes, sir, that’s it,” said James, heartily.

“Well, don’t you think I’d better go up
and see him?” asked the old clerk, solicit-
ously. “I might be able to suggest some-
thing?”

“No, sir. He said quite positive he would
not see anybody.” James looked the clerk full
in the face. “I was afraid something might

’ave ’appened down in the—ah—?”

{ 60 ]



SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER
Mr. Clark’s face lit up with a kindly light.
“No, indeed. It’s nothing like that, James.

We never had so good a year. You can make

your mind easy about that.”

“Thank you, sir,’ said the servant. “We’ll
have the doctor drop in to see him, and I
hope he'll be all right in the morning. Snowy
night, sir.”

?

“T hope so,’ said Mr. Clark, not intending
to convey his views as to the weather. “You ’ll
let me know if I am wanted—if I can do any-
thing. I will come around first thing in the
morning to see how he is. I hope he’ll be all
right. Good-night. A merry Christmas to you.”

“‘ Good-night, sir. Thankee, sir; the same to
you, sir. I’m going to wait up to see how he
is. Good-night, sir.”

And James shut the door softly behind
the visitor, feeling a sense of comfort not
wholly accounted for by the information as

to the successful year. Mr. Clark, somehow,

[ 61 ]



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always reassured him. The butler could un-
derstand the springs that moved that kindly
spirit.

What Mr. Clark thought as he tramped
back through the snow need not be fully de-
tailed. But at least, one thing was certain, he
never thought of himself.

If he recalled that a mortgage would be
due on his house just one week from that day,
and that the doctors’ bills had been unusually
heavy that year, it was not on his own account
that he was anxious. Indeed, he never con-
sidered himself; there were too many others
to think of. One thought was that he was
glad his friend had such a good servant as
James to look after him. Another was pity
that Livingstone had never known the joy
that was awaiting himself when at the end
of that mile of snow he should peep into
the little cosy back room (for the front room

was mysteriously closed this evening), where

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a sweet-faced, frail-looking woman would be
lying on a lounge with a half-dozen little
curly heads bobbing about her. He knew
what a scream of delight would greet him as
he poked his head in; and out in the darkness
and cold John Clark smiled and smacked his
lips as he thought of the kisses and squeezes,
and renewed kisses that would be his lot as
he told how he would be with them all the
evening.

Yes, he was undoubtedly sorry for Living-
stone, a poor lonely man in that great house ;
and he determined that he would not say
much about his being ill. Women did not al-
ways exactly understand some men, and when
he left home, Mrs. Clark had expressed some
very strong views as to Livingstone which had
pained Clark. She had even spoken of him as
selfish and miserly. He would just say now
that Livingstone on his arrival had sent him

straight back home.
cee



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No, Mr. Clark never thought of himself, and
this made him richer than Mr. Livingstone.

When Mr. Clark reached home his expecta-
tion was more than realized. From the way in
which he noiselessly opened the front door
and then stole along the little passage to the -
back room, from which the sound of many
voices was coming as though it were a mimic
Babel, you might have thought he was a
thief. |

And when he opened the door softly and,
with dancing eyes, poked his head into the
room, you might have thought he was Santa
Claus himself. There was one second of dead
silence as a half-dozen pair of eyes stretched
wide and a half-dozen mouths opened with a
gasp, and then, with a shout which would
have put to the blush a tribe of wild Indians,
a -half-dozen young bodies flung themselves
upon him with screams and shrieks of de-

light. John Clark’s neck must have been of

[ 64 ]





HALF A DOZEN YOUNG BODIES FLUNG THEMSELVES UPON HIM.



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iron to withstand such hugs and tugs as it was
given.

The next instant he was drawn bodily into
the room and pushed down forcibly into a
chair, whilst the whole half-dozen piled upon
him with demands to be told how he had man-
aged to get off and come back. No one but
Clark could have understood them or answered
them, but somehow, as his arms seemed able
to gather in the whole lot of struggling, squeez-
ing, wriggling, shoving little bodies, so his ears
seemed to catch all the questions and his mind
to answer each in turn and all together.

“‘How did I come?’—Ran every step of
the way.—‘Why did I come back ?’— Well!
that ’s a question for a man with eight children
who will sit up and keep Santa Claus out of
the house unless their father comes home and
puts them to bed and holds their eyelids down
to keep them from peeping and scaring Santa

Claus away !

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—“*What did Mr. Livingstone say ?’—
Well, what do you suppose a man would say
Christmas Eve to another man who has eight
wide-awake children who will sit up in front
of the biggest fire-place in the house until
midnight Christmas Eve so that Santa Claus
can’t come down the only chimney big enough
to hold his presents? He would say, ‘John
Clark, I have no children of my own, but you
have eight, and if you don’t go home this
minute and see that those children are in bed
and fast asleep and snoring,—yes, snoring,
mind,—by ten o'clock, I’ll never, and Santa
Claus will never —’

—“ ‘Did I see anything of Santa Claus?’
Well, if I were to tell you—what I saw this
night, why,—you’d never believe me.
There’s a sleigh so big coming in a little
while to this town, and this street, and this
house, that it holds presents enough for—.

“When will it be here?’ Well, from the

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sleigh-bells that I heard I should say—. My
goodness, gracious! If it isn’t almost ten
o'clock, and if that sleigh should get here
whilst there’s a single eye open in this
house, I don’t know what Santa Claus might
do!”

And, with a strength that one might have
thought quite astonishing, John Clark rose
somehow from under the mass of little heads,
and, with his arms still around them, still talk-
ing, still cajoling, still entertaining and still
caressing, he managed to bear the whole
curly, chattering flock to the door where,
with renewed kisses and squeezes and ques-
tions, they were all finally induced to release
their hold and run squeaking and frisking off
upstairs to bed.

Then, as he closed the door, Clark turned
and looked at the only other occupant of the
room, a lady whose pale face would have

told her story even had she not remained

oa



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outstretched on a lounge during the preceding
scene.

If, however, Mrs. Clark’s face was pale, her
eyes were brilliant, and the look that she and
her husband exchanged told that even in-
validism and narrow means have alleviations,
so full was the glance they gave of confi-
dence and joy.

Yet, as absolute as was their confidence,
Mr. Clark did not now tell his wife the truth.
He gave her in a few words the reason of his
return. Mr. Livingstone was feeling unwell,
he said. He had not remembered it was
Christmas Eve, he added; and, turning
quickly and opening the door into the front
room he guilefully dived at once into the
matter of the Christmas-tree which was stand-
ing there waiting to be dressed.

Whether or not Mr. Clark deceived Mrs.
Clark might be a matter of question. Mr.

Clark was not good at deception. Mrs. Clark

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was better at it; but then, to-night was a
night of peace and good-will, and since her
husband had returned she was willing to for-

give even Livingstone.

[ 69 ]



CHAPTER VII

IVINGSTONE, at this moment, was not
feeling as wealthy as the row of fig-
ures in clean-cut lines that were now

beginning to be almost constantly before his
eyes might have seemed to warrant. He was
sitting sunk deep in his cushioned arm-chair.
The tweaks in his forehead that had annoyed
him earlier in the evening had changed to
twinges, and the twinges had now given place
to a dull, steady ache. And every thought of
his wealth brought that picture of seven star-
ing figures before his eyes, whilst, in place of
the glow which they had brought at first, he
now at every recollection of them had a cold
thrill of apprehension lest they might appear.
James’s inquiry, “Shall you be dining at
home to-morrow?” had recurred to him and
now disturbed him. It was a simple question ;

nothing remarkable in it. It now came to him

fod



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that to-morrow was Christmas Day, and he
had forgotten it. This was remarkable. He had
never forgotten it before, but this year he had
been working so hard and had been so en-
grossed he had not thought of it. Even this
reflection brought the spectral figures back
sharply outlined before his eyes. They stayed
longer now. He must think of something
else.

He thought of Christmas. This was the
first Christmas he had ever been at home
by himself. A Christmas dinner alone! Who
had ever heard of such a thing! He must go
out to dinner, of course. He glanced over
at his table where James always put his mail.
Everything was in perfect order: the book he
had read the night before; the evening paper
and the last financial quotation were all
there; but not a letter. James must have
forgot them.

He turned to rise and ring the bell and

a



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glanced across the room towards it. What a
dark room it was! What miserable gas!

He turned up the light at his hand. It
did not help perceptibly. He sank back.
What selfish dogs people were, he reflected.
Of all the hosts of people he knew,—peo-
ple who had entertained him and whom he
had entertained,—not one had thought to
invite him to the Christmas dinner. A dozen
families at whose houses he had often been
entertained flashed across his mind. Why,
years ago he used to have a half-dozen in-
vitations to Christmas dinner, and now he
had not one! Even Mrs. Wright, to whom he
had just sent a contribution for—Hello! that
lantern-slide again! It would not do to think
of figures. — Even she had not thought of
him.

There must be some reason? he pondered.
Yes, Christmas dinners were always family re-

unions—that was the reason he was left out

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and forgotten ;—yes, forgotten. A list of the
people who he knew would have such re-
unions came to him;—almost every one of his
acquaintances had a family ;—even Clark had
a family and would have a Christmas dinner.

At the thought, a pang almost of envy of
Clark smote him.

Suddenly his own house seemed to grow
vast and empty and lonely; he felt per-
fectly desolate, —abandoned—alone—ill! He
glanced around at his pictures. They were
cold, staring, stony, dead! The reflection of
the cross lights made them look ghastly.

As he gazed at them the figures they had
cost shot before his eyes. My God! he could
not stand this! He sprang to his feet. Even
the pain of getting up was a relief. He stared
around him. Dead silence and stony faces were
all about him. The capacious room seemed a
vast, empty cavern, and as he stood he saw

stretching before him his whole future life

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spent in this house, as lonely, silent, and deso-
late as this. It was unbearable.

He walked through to his drawing-room.
The furniture was sheeted, the room colder
and lonelier a thousand-fold than the other;
—on into the dining-room ;—the bare table
in the dim light looked like ice; the sideboard
with its silver and glass, bore sheets of ice.
“ Pshaw!” He turned up the lights. He would
take a drink of brandy and go to bed.

He took a decanter, poured out a drink and
drained it off. His hand trembled, but the
stimulant helped him a little. It enabled him
to collect his ideas and think. But his
thoughts still ran on Christmas and his lone-
liness.

Why should not he give a Christmas dinner
and invite his friends? Yes, that was what he
would do. Whom should he ask? His mind
began to run over the list. Every one he

knew had his own house; and as to friends

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—why, he didn’t have any friends! He had
only acquaintances. He stopped suddenly, ap-
palled by the fact. He had not a friend in the
world! Why was it? In answer to the thought
the seven figures flashed into sight. He put
his hand to his eyes to shut them out. He
knew now why. He had been too busy to
make friends. He had given his youth and his
middle manhood to accumulate—those seven
figures again!—And he had given up his
friendships. He was now almost aged.

He walked into his drawing-room and
turned up the light—all the lights to look
at himself in a big mirror. He did look at
himself and he was confounded. He was not
only no longer young—he was prepared for
this—but he was old. He would not have
dreamed he could be so old. He was gray
and wrinkled.

As he faced himself his blood seemed sud-

denly to chill. He was conscious of a sensible

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ebb as if the tide about his heart had sud-
denly sunk lower. Perhaps, it was the cooling
of the atmosphere as the fire in his library
died out,—or was it his blood?

He went back into his library not ten min-
utes, but ten years older than when he left it.

He sank into his chair and insensibly began
to scan his life. He had just seen himself as
he was; he now saw himself as he had been
long ago, and saw how he had become what
he was. The whole past lay before him like a
slanting pathway.

He followed it back to where it began—in
an old home far off in the country.

He was a very little boy. All about was the
bustle and stir of preparation for Christmas.
Cheer was in every face, for it was in every
heart. Boxes were coming from the city by
every conveyance. The store-room and closets
were centres of unspeakable interest, shrouded

in delightful mystery. The kitchen was lighted
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by the roaring fire and steaming from the
numberless good things preparing for the next
day’s feast. Friends were arriving from the dis-
tant railway and were greeted with universal
delight. The very rigor of the weather was
deemed a part of the Christmas joy, for it
was known that Santa Claus with his jin-
gling sleigh came the better through the
deeper snow. Everything gave the little boy
joy, particularly going with his father and
mother to bear good things to poor people
who lived in smaller houses. They were always
giving; but Christmas was the season for a
more general and generous distribution. He
recalled across forty years his father and
mother putting the presents into his hands
to bestow, and his father’s words, “My boy,
learn the pleasure of giving.”

The rest was all blaze and light and glow,
and his father and mother moving about like
shining spirits amid it all.

Pe



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Then he was a schoolboy, measuring the
lagging time by the coming Christmas ; count-
ing the weeks, the days, the hours in an ecs-
tasy of impatience until he should be free
from the drudgery of books and the slavery
of classes, and should be able to start for home
with the friends who had leave to go with
him. How slowly the time crept by, and how
he told the other boys of the joys that would
await them! And when it had really gone,
and they were free! how delicious it used to
be!

As the scene appeared before him Living-
stone could almost feel again the thrill that
set him quivering with delight; the boundless
joy that filled his veins as with an elixir.

The arrival at the station drifted before him
and the pride of his introduction of the ser-
vants whose faces shone with pleasure; the
drive home through the snow, which used

somehow to be warming, not chilling, in those

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days ; and then, through the growing dusk, the
first sight of the home-light, set, he knew, by
the mother in her window as a beacon shining
from the home and mother’s heart. Then the
last, toilsome climb up the home-hill and
the outpouring of welcome amid cheers and
shouts and laughter.

Oh, the joy of that time! And through all
the festivity was felt, like a sort of per-
vading warmth, the fact that that day Christ
came into the world and brought peace and
good will and cheer to every one.

The boy Livingstone saw was now installed
regularly as the bearer of Christmas presents
and good things to the poor, and the pleasure
he took then in his office flashed across Liv-
ingstone’s mind like a sudden light. It lit up
the faces of many whom Livingstone had
not thought of for years. They were all beam-
ing on him now with a kindliness to which

he had long been a stranger; that kindliness

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which belongs only to our memory of our
youth.

Was it possible that he could ever have had
so many friends! The man in the chair put
his hand to his eyes to try and hold the
beautiful vision, but it faded away, shut out

from view by another.

[ 80 ]



CHAPTER VIII

HE vision that came next was of

a college student. The Christmas

holidays were come again. They
were still as much the event of the year as
when he was a schoolboy. Once more he
was on his way home accompanied by friends
whom he had brought to help him enjoy the
holidays, his enjoyment doubled by their en-
joyment. Once more, as he touched the soil
of his own neighborhood, from a companion he
became a host. Once more with his friends he
reached his old home and was received with
that greeting which he never met with else-
where. He saw his father and mother stand-
ing on the wide portico before the others with
outstretched arms, affection and pride beam-
ing in their faces. He witnessed their cordial
greeting of his friends. “Our son’s friends are

our friends,’ he heard them say.

[ 81 ]



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Henry Trelane said afterwards, “ Why, Liv-
ingstone, you have told me of your home
and your horses, but never told me of your
father and mother. Do you know that they
are the best in the world?’’ Somehow, it
had seemed to open his eyes, and the man-
ner in which his friends had hung on his
father’s words had increased his own respect
for him. One of them had said, “ Living-
stone, I like you, but I love your father.”
The phrase, he remembered, had not alto-
gether pleased him, and yet it had not al-
together displeased him either. But Henry
Trelane was very near to him in those days.
Not only was he the soul of honor and
high-mindedness, with a mind that reflected
truth as an unruffled lake reflects the sky,
but he was the brother of Catherine Trelane,
who then stood to Livingstone for Truth itself.

It was during a Christmas-holiday visit to

her brother that Livingstone had first met

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Catherine Trelane; as he now saw himself
meet her. He had come on her suddenly in
a long avenue. Her arms were full of holly-
boughs; her face was rosy from a victorious
tramp through the snow, rosier at the hoped-
for, unexpected, chance meeting with her
brother’s guest ; a sprig of mistletoe was stuck
daringly in her hood, guarded by her mis-
chievous, laughing eyes. She looked like a
dryad fresh from the winter woods. For years
after that Livingstone had never thought of
Christmas without being conscious of a cer-
tain radiance that vision shed upon the time.

The next day in the holly-dressed church
she seemed a saint wrapt in divine adoration.

Another shift of the scene; another Christ-
mas.

Reverses had come. His father, through kind-
ness and generosity, had become involved be-
yond his means, and, rather than endure the

least shadow of reproach, gave up everything

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he possessed to save his name and shield a
friend. Livingstone himself had been called
away from college.

He remembered the sensation of it all. He
recalled the picture of his father as he stood
calm and unmoved amid the wreck of his for-
tune and faced unflinchingly the hard, dark
future. It was an inspiring picture: the pic-
ture of a gentleman, far past the age when
men can start afresh and achieve success,
despoiled by another and stripped of all he
had in the world, yet standing upright and
tranquil; a just man walking in his integrity;
a brave man facing the world; firm as an im-
movable rock; serene as an unblemished
morning.

Livingstone had never taken in before
how fine it was. He had at one time even
felt aggrieved by his father’s act; now he was
suddenly conscious of a thrill of pride in him.

If he were only living! He himself was now

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worth—! Suddenly that lantern-slide shot be-

fore his eyes and shut out the noble figure
standing there.

Livingstone’s mind reverted to his own
career.

He was a young man in business; living in
a cupboard; his salary a bare pittance; yet
he was rich; he had hope and youth; family
and friends. Heavens! how rich he was then!
It made the man in the chair poor now to
feel how rich he had been then and had
not known it. He looked back at himself
with a kind of envy, strange to him, which
gave him a pain.

He saw himself again at Christmas. He
was back at the little home which his father
had taken when he lost the old place. He
saw himself unpacking his old trunk, taking
out from it the little things he had brought
as presents, with more pride than he had

ever felt before, for he had earned them him-

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self. Each one represented sacrifice, thought,
affection. He could see again his father’s face
lit up with pride and his mother’s radiant with
delight in his achievement. His mother was
handing him her little presents,—the gloves
she had knit for. him herself with so much
. joy; the shaving-case she had herself em-
broidered; the cup and saucer from the old
tea-service that had belonged to his great-
grandfather and great-grandmother and which
had been given his mother and father when
they were married. He glanced up as she
laid the delicate piece of Sévres before him,
and caught her smile—That smile! Was there
ever another like it? It held in it—every-
thing.

Suddenly Livingstone felt something moving
on his cheek. He put his hand up to his face
and when he took it down his fingers were wet.

With his mother’s face, another face came

to him, radiant with the beauty of youth.

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Catherine Trelane, since that meeting in the
long avenue, had grown more and more to
him, until all other motives and aims had
been merged in one radiant hope.

With his love he had grown timid; he
scarcely dared look into her eyes; yet now
he braved the world for her; bore for her all
the privations and hardships of life in its first
struggle. Indeed, for her, privation was no
hardship. He was poor in purse, but rich in
hope. Love lit up his life and touched the
dull routine of his work with the light of en-
chantment. If she made him timid before her,
she made him bold towards the rest of the
world. "Twas for her that he had had the
courage to take that plunge into the boiling
sea of life in an unknown city, and it was for
her that he had had strength to keep above
water, where so many had gone down.

He had faced all for her and had conquered

all for her. He recalled the long struggle, the

i



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painful, patient waiting, the stern self-denial.
He had deliberately chosen between pleasure
and success,—between the present and the
future. He had denied himself to achieve his
fortune, and he had succeeded.

At first, it had been for her; then Success
had become dear to him for itself, had ever
grown larger and dearer as he advanced, until
now— A thrill of pride ran through him,
which changed into a shiver as it brought
those accursed, staring, ghastly figures straight
before his eyes.

He had great trouble to drive the figures
away. It was only when he thought fixedly of
Catherine Trelane as she used fo be that
they disappeared. She was a vision then. to
banish all else. He had a picture of her some-
where among his papers. He had not seen it
for years, but no picture could do her justice:
as rich as was her coloring, as beautiful as

were her eyes, her mouth, her riante face, her

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slim, willowy, girlish figure and fine carriage,
it was not these that came to him when he
thought of her; it was rather the spirit of
which these were but the golden shell : it was
the smile, the music, the sunshine, the radiance
which came to him and warmed his blood and
set his pulses throbbing across all those years.
He would get the picture and look at it.

But memory swept him on.

He had got in the tide of success and the
current had borne him away. First it had been
the necessity to succeed ; then ambition ; then
opportunity to do better and better always
taking firmer hold of him and bearing him
further and further until the pressure of busi-
ness, change of ambition and, at last, of ideals
swept him beyond sight of all he had known
or cared for.

He could almost see the process of the
metamorphosis. Year after year he had waited

and worked and Catherine Trelane had waited ;

[ 89 ]



Full Text

| The Baldwin Library

RmB win


2s e7
: Ce Fe
Tak

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SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER
SANTA CLAUS’S
PARTNER

BY
THOMAS NELSON PAGE

ILLUSTRATED BY W. GLACKENS



NEW YORK
CHARLES SCRIBNER’S SONS
1899

Copyright, 1899, by Charles Scribner’s Sons
TO MY FATHER

who among all the men the writer knew in his
youth was the most familiar with books ; and who
of all the men the writer has ever known has ex-
emplified best the virtue of open-handedness, this
little Book is affectionately inscribed by his son,

THE AUTHOR
ILLUSTRATIONS

FROM DRAWINGS IN COLOR BY W. GLACKENS

¢

Vignette. Title-Page
“Guess who it is ?”” she cried. Facing page 32
Livingstone had to dodge for his life. 42

Half a dozen young bodies flung themselves
upon him. 64

He took the shopkeeper aside and had a little
talk mith him. . 182

The little form snuggled against him closer and
closer. L44

And James with sparkling eyes rolled back the
foiding doors. 162

Standing in the Christmas evening light in a

rn

long avenue under swaying boughs. 176
SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER

‘9
¢

CHAPTER I

ERRYMAN LIVINGSTONE was a
successful man, a very successful man,
and as he sat in his cushioned chair in

his inner private office (in the best office-
building in the city) on a particularly snowy
evening in December, he looked it every inch.
It spoke in every line of his clean-cut, self-
contained face, with its straight, thin nose,
closely drawn mouth, strong chin and clear
gray eyes; in every movement of his erect,
trim, well-groomed figure; in every detail of
his. faultless attire; in every tone of his as-
sured, assertive, incisive speech. As some one
said of him, he always looked as if he had

just been ironed.

[1]
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He used to be spoken of as “a man of

2

parts;”” now he was spoken of as “a man
of wealth —a capitalist.”

Not that he was as successful as he in-
tended to be; but the way was all clear and
shining before him now. It was now simply a
matter of time. He could no more help going
on to further heights of success than his “ gilt-
edged” securities, stored in thick parcels in
his safe-deposit boxes, could help bearing in-
terest.

He contemplated the situation this snowy
evening with a deep serenity that brought a
transient gleam of light to his somewhat cold
face.

He knew he was successful by the silent
envy with which his acquaintances regarded
him; by the respect with which he was
treated and his opinion was received at the
different Boards, of which he was now an

influential member, by men who fifteen years

[2]
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ago hardly knew of his existence. He knew
it by the numbers of invitations to the most
fashionable houses which crowded his library
table; by the familiar and jovial air with which
presidents and magnates of big corporations,
who could on a moment’s notice change from
warmth—temperate warmth—to ice, greeted
him ; and by the cajoling speeches with which
fashionable mammas with unmarried daughters
of a certain or uncertain age rallied him about
his big, empty house on a fashionable street,
and his handsome dinners, where only one
thing was wanting—the thing they had in
mind.

Berryman Livingstone had, however, much
better proof of success than the mere plaudits
of the world. Many men had these who had
no real foundation for their display. For in-
stance, “ Meteor’? Broome the broker, had
just taken the big house on the corner above

him, and had filled his stable with high-step-
[3]
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ping, high-priced horses—much talked of in
the public prints—and his wife wore jewels
as handsome as Mrs. Parke-Rhode’s who
owned the house and twenty more like it.
Colonel Keightly was one of the largest
dealers on Change this year and was adver-
tised in all the papers as having made a cool
million and a half in a single venture out
West. Van Diver was always spoken of as
the “Grain King,” “Mining King,” or some
other kind of Royalty, because of his infallible
success, and Midan touch. .
But though these and many more like them
were said to have made in a year or two more
than Livingstone with all his pains had been
able to accumulate in a score of years of ear-
nest toil and assiduous devotion to business ;
were now invited to the same big houses
that Livingstone visited, and were greeted by
almost as flattering speeches as Livingstone

received, Livingstone knew of discussions as

[4]
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to these men at Boards other than the “ festal
board,” and of “stiffer”? notes that had been
sent them than those stiff and sealed missives
which were left at their front doors by liver-
ied footmen.

Livingstone, however, though he “kept out
of the papers,’ having a rooted and growing
prejudice against this form of vulgarity, could
at any time, on five minutes’ notice, establish
the solidity of his foundation by simply un-
locking his safe-deposit boxes. His foundation
was as solid as gold.

On the mahogany table-desk before him lay
now a couple of books: one a long, ledger-like
folio in the russet covering sacred to the bind-
ing of that particular kind of work which a
summer-hearted Writer of books years ago
inscribed as “a book of great interest ;” the
other, a smaller volume, a memorandum book,
more richly attired than its sober companion,

in Russia leather.

[5]
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For an hour or two Mr. Livingstone, with
closely-drawn, thin lips, and eager eyes, had
sat in his seat, silent, immersed, absorbed, and
compared the two volumes, from time to time
making memoranda in the smaller book, whilst
his clerks had sat on their high stools in the
large office outside looking impatiently at the
white-faced clock on the wall as it slowly
marked the passing time, or gazing enviously
and grumblingly out of the windows at the
dark, hurrying crowds below making their
way homeward through the falling snow.

The young men could not have stood it but
for the imperturbable patience and sweet tem-
per of the oldest man in the office, a quiet-
faced, middle-aged man, who, in a low, cheery,
pleasant voice, restrained their impatience and
soothed their ruffled spirits.

Even this, however, was only partially suc-
cessful.

“Go in there, Mr. Clark, and tell him we

Eos]
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want to go home,” urged fretfully one youth,
a tentative dandy, with a sharp nose and blunt
chin, who had been diligently arranging his
vivid necktie for more than a half-hour at a
little mirror on the wall.

“Oh! He'll be out directly now,” replied
the older man, looking up from the account-
book before him.

“You’ve been saying that for three hours!”
complained the other.

“Well, see if it doesn’t come true this
time,” said the older clerk, kindly. “He'll
make it up to you.”

This view of the case did not seem to ap-
peal very strongly to the young man; he sim-
ply grunted.

“I’m going to give him notice. Ill not be
put upon this way—” bristled a yet younger
clerk, stepping down from his high stool in a
corner and squaring his shoulders with martial

manifestations.

[eal
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This unexpected interposition appeared to
be the outlet the older grumbler wanted.

“Yes, you will!” he sneered with disdain,
turning his eyes on his junior derisively. He
could at least bully Sipkins.

For response, the youngster walked with a
firm tread straight up to the door of the pri-
vate office; put out his hand so quickly that
the other’s eyes opened wide; then turned so
suddenly as to catch his derider’s look of won-
der; stuck out his tongue in triumph at the
success of his ruse, and walked on to the win-
dow.

“He'll be through directly, see if he is
not,” reiterated the senior clerk with kindly
intonation. “Don’t make a noise, there’s a
good fellow;” and once more John Clark,
the dean of the office, guilefully buried him-
self in his columns.

“He must be writing his love-letters. Go in

there, Hartley, and help him out. You’re an

[3]
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adept at that,’ hazarded the youngster at the
window to the dapper youth at the mirror.

There was a subdued explosion from all the
others but Clark, after which, as if relieved by
this escape of steam, the young men quieted
down, and once more applied themselves to
looking moodily out of the windows, whilst
the older clerk gave a secret peep at his
watch, and then, after another glance at the
closed door of the private office, went back
once more to his work.

Meantime, within his closed sanctum Liv-
ingstone still sat with intent gaze, poring over
the page of figures before him. The expres-
sion on his face was one of profound satisfac-
tion. He had at last reached the acme of his
mbingnee ther is, of his later ambition. (He
had once had other aims.) He had arrived at
the point towards which he had been straining
for the last eight—ten—fifteen years—he

did not try to remember just how long—it

[9]
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had been a good while. He had at length ac-

cumulated, “on the most conservative esti-

2”

mate
following the habit of his Boards)—he had

(he framed the phrase in his mind,

no need to look now at the page before him:
the seven figures that formed the balance, as
he thought of them, suddenly appeared before
him in facsimile. He had been gazing at them
so steadily that now even when he shut his
eyes he could see them clearly. It gave him
a little glow about his heart ;—it was quite
convenient: he could always see them.

It was a great sum. He had attained his
ambition.

Last year when he balanced his books at
the close of the year, he had been worth only
—a sum expressed in six figures, even when
he put his securities at their full value. Now it
could only be written in seven figures, “on the
most conservative estimate.”

Yes, he had reached the top. He could walk

uo
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up the street now and look any man in the
face, or turn his back on him, just as he chose.
The thought pleased him.

Years ago, a friend—an old friend of his
youth, Harry Trelane, had asked him to come
down to the country to visit him and meet his
children and see the peach trees bloom. He
had pleaded business, and his friend had asked
him gravely why he kept on working so hard
when he was already so well off. He wanted
to be rich, he had replied.

“But you are already rich—you must be
worth half a million? and you are a single
man, with no children to leave it to.”

“Yes, but I mean to be worth double that.”

“Why?” .

“Oh!—so that I can tell any man I choose
to go to the d—I,” he had said half jestingly,
being rather put to it by his friend’s earnest-
ness. His friend had laughed too, he remem-
-bered, but not heartily.

[ 11 ]
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“Well, that is not much of a satisfaction
after all,’ he had said; “the real satisfaction
is in helping him the other way ;” —and this
Livingstone remembered he had said very
earnestly.

Livingstone now had reached this point of
his aspiration —he could tell any man he chose
“to go to the devil.”

His content over this reflection was sha-
dowed only by a momentary recollection that
Henry Trelane was since dead. He regretted
that his friend could not know of his success.

Another friend suddenly floated into his
memory. Catherine Trelane was his college-
mate’s sister. Once she had been all the
world to Livingstone, and he had found out
afterwards that she had cared for him too,
and would have married him had he spoken
at one time. But he had not known this at
first, and when he began to grow he could

“not bring. himself to it. He could not afford

[ 12 ]
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to burden himself with a family that might

interfere with his success. Then later, when
he had succeeded and was well off and had
asked Catherine Trelane to be his wife, she
had declined. She said Livingstone had not of-
fered her himself, but his fortune. It had stung
Livingstone deeply, and he had awakened,
but too late, to find for a while that he had
really loved her. She was well off too, having
been left a comfortable sum by a relative.
However, Livingstone was glad now, as he
reflected on it, that it had turned out so.
Catherine Trelane’s refusal had really been
the incentive which had spurred him on to
greater success. It was to revenge himself that
he had plunged deeper into business than
ever, and he had bought his fine house to
show that he could afford to live in style.
He had intended then to marry; but he had
not had time to do so; he had always been

too busy.

[13 ]
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Catherine Trelane, at least, was not dead.
He had not heard of her in a long time;
she had married, he knew, a man named—
Shepherd, he believed, and he had heard
that her husband was dead.

He would see that she knew he was worth
—the page of figures suddenly flashed in be-
fore his eyes like a magic-lantern slide. Yes,
he was worth all that! and he could now

marry whom and when he pleased.

[ 14 ]
CHAPTER II

IVINGSTONE closed his books. He
had put everything in such shape
that Clark, his confidential clerk,

would not have the least trouble this year
in transferring everything and starting the
new books that would now be necessary.

Last year Clark had been at his house a
good many nights writing up these private
books ; but that was because Clark had been
in a sort of muddle last winter,—his wife
was sick, or one of his dozen children had
met with an accident,— or something, — Liv-
ingstone vaguely remembered.

This year there would be no such trouble.
Livingstone was pleased. at the thought; for
Clark was a good fellow, and a capable book-
keeper, even though he was a trifle slow.

Livingstone felt that he had, in a way, a
high regard for Clark. He was attentive to

[15 ]
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his duties, beyond words. He was a gentle-
man, too,—of a first-rate family—a man of
principle. How he could ever have been con-
tent to remain a simple clerk all these years,
Livingstone could not understand. It gave
him a certain contempt for him. That came,
he reflected, of a man’s marrying indiscreetly
and having-a houseful of children on his back.

Clark would be pleased at the showing on
the books. He was always delighted when the
balances showed a marked increase.

Livingstone was glad now that he had not
only paid the old clerk extra for his night-
work last year, but had given him fifty dol-
lars additional, partly because of the trouble
in his family, and partly because Livingstone
had been unusually irritated when Clark got
the two accounts confused.

Livingstone prided himself on his manner
to his employees. He prided himself on being

a gentleman, and it was a mark of a gen-

[ 16 ]
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tleman always to treat subordinates with ci-
vility. He knew men in the city who were
absolute bears to their employees ; but they
were blackguards.

He, perhaps, ought to have discharged
Clark without a word; that would have been
“business ;” but really he ought not to have
spoken to him as he did. Clark undoubtedly
acted with dignity. Livingstone had had to
apologize to him and ask him to remain, and
had made the amend (to himself) by giving
him fifty dollars extra for the ten nights’
work. He could only justify the act now by
reflecting that Clark had more than once sug-
gested investments which had turned out
most fortunately.

Livingstone determined to give Clark this
year a hundred dollars—no, fifty—he must
not spoil him, and it really was not “busi-
ness.”

The thought of his liberality brought to

ue
SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER
Livingstone’s mind the donations that he
always made at the close of the year. He
might as well send off the cheques now.

He took from a locked drawer his private
cheque-book and turned the stubs thought-
fully. He had. had that cheque-book for a
good many years. He used to give away a
tenth of his income. His father before him
used to do that. He remembered, with a
smile, how large the sums used to seem to
him. He turned back the stubs only to see
how small a tenth used to be. He no longer
gave a tenth or a twentieth or even a—he
had no difficulty in deciding. the exact per-
centage he gave; for whenever he thought
now of the sum he was worth, the figures
themselves, in clean-cut lines, popped before
his eyes. It was very curious. He could actu-
ally see them in his own handwriting. He
rubbed his eyes, and the figures disappeared.

Well, he gave a good deal, anyhow—a good

[ 18 ]
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deal more than most men, he reflected. He
looked at the later stubs and was gratified to
find how large the amounts were, — they
showed how rich he was,—and what a di-
versified list of charities he contributed to:
hospitals, seminaries, asylums, churches, soup-
kitchens, training schools of one kind or an-
other. The stubs all bore the names of those
through whom he contributed —they were
mostly fashionable women of his acquain-
tance, who either for diversion or from real
charity were interested in these institutions.

Mrs. Wright’s name appeared oftenest. Mrs.
Wright was a woman of fortune and very
prominent, he reflected, but she was really
kind; she was just a crank, and, somehow, she
appeared really to believe in him. Her hus-
band, Livingstone did not like: a cold, selfish
man, who cared for nothing but money-making
and his own family.

There was one name down on the book for

[ 19 ]
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a small amount which Livingstone could not
recall.—Oh yes, he was an assistant preacher
at Livingstone’s church: the donation was
for a Christmas-tree in a Children’s Hospital,
or something of the kind. This was one of
Mrs. Wright’s charities too. Livingstone re-
membered the note the preacher had written
him afterwards—it had rather jarred on him,
it was so grateful. He hated “gush,” he said
to himself; he did not want to be bothered
with details of yarn-gloves, flannel petticoats,
and toys. He took out his pencil and wrote
Mrs. Wright’s name on the stub. That also
should be charged to Mrs. Wright. He car-
ried in his mind the total amount of the
contributions, and as he came to the end a
half-frown rested on his brow as he thought
of having to give to all these objects again.

That was the trouble with charities, they
were as regular as coupons. Confound Mrs.
Wright! Why did she not let him alone!

[ 20 ]
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However, she was an important woman—the
leader in the best set in the city. Living-
stone sat forward and began to fill out his
cheques. Certain cheques he always filled
out himself. He could not bear to Jet even
Clark know what he gave to certain objects.

The thought of how commendable this was
crossed his face and lit it up like a glint of
transient sunshine. It vanished suddenly as he
began to calculate, leaving the place where
it had rested colder than before. He really
could not spend as much this year as last—
why, there was—for pictures, so much; chari-
ties, so much, etc. It would quite cut into the
amount he had already decided to lay by. He
must draw in somewhere: he was worth only
— the line of figures slipped in before his
eyes with its lantern-slide coldness.

He reflected. He must cut down on his
charities. He could not reduce the sum for
the General Hospital Fund; he had been

[ 21 ]
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giving to that a number of years.—Nor that
for the asylum; Mrs. Wright was the presi-
dent of that board, and had told him she
counted on him.— Hang Mrs. Wright! It was
positive blackmail!—Nor the pew-rent; that
was respectable—nor the Associated Chari-
ties; every one gave to that. He. must cut
out the smaller charities.

So he left off the Children’s Hospital
Christmas-tree Fund, and the soup-kitchen,
and a few insignificant things like them into
which he had been worried by Mrs. Wright
and other troublesome women. The only re-
gret he had was that taken together these
sums did not amount to a great deal. To
bring the saving up he came near cutting
out the hospital. However, he decided not to
do so. Mrs. Wright believed in him. He would
leave out one of the pictures he had intended
to buy; he would deny himself, and not cut

out the big charity. This would save him

[ 22 ]
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the trouble of refusing Mrs. Wright and would
also save him a good deal more money.

Once more, at the thought of his self-denial,
that ray of wintry sunshine passed across Liv-
ingstone’s cold face and gave it a look of dis-
tinction—almost like that of a marble statue.

Again he relapsed into reflection. His eyes
were resting on the pane outside of which
the fine snow was filling the chilly afternoon
air in flurries and scurries that rose and fell
and seemed to be blowing every way at once.
But Livingstone’s eyes were not on the snow.
It had been so long since Livingstone had
given a thought to the weather, except as it
might affect the net earnings of railways in
which he was interested, that he never knew
what the weather was, and so far as he was
concerned there need not have been any
weather. Spring was to him but the season
when certain work could be done which in

time would yield a crop of dividends; and

[ 23 ]
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Autumn was but the time when crops would
be moved and stocks sent up or down.

So, though Livingstone’s eyes rested on the
pane, outside of which the flurrying snow was
driving that meant so much to so many people,
and his face was thoughtful—very thoughtful
—he was not thinking of the snow, he was

calculating profits.

[ 24 ]
CHAPTER III

NOISE in the outer office recalled
Livingstone from his reverie. He
aroused himself, almost with a
start, and glanced at the gilt clock just above
the stock-indicator. He had been so absorbed
that he had quite forgotten that he had told
the clerks to wait for him. He had had no,
idea that he had been at work so long. He
reflected, however, that he had been writing
charity-cheques: the clerks ought to appre-
ciate the fact.

He touched a button, and the next second
there was a gentle tap on the door, and Clark
appeared. He was just the person to give just
such a tap: a refined-looking, middle-aged,
middle-sized man, with a face rather pale and
a little worn; a high, calm forehead, above
which the grizzled hair was almost gone;

mild, blue eyes which beamed through black-

[ 25 ]
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rimmed glasses; a pleasant mouth which a
drooping, colorless moustache only partly con-
cealed, and a well-formed but slightly retreat-
ing chin. His figure was inclined to be stout,
and his shoulders were slightly bent. He
walked softly, and as he spoke his voice was
gentle and pleasing. There was no assertion
in it, but it was perfectly self-respecting. The
eyes and voice redeemed the face from being
commonplace.

« Oh!—Mr. Clark, I did not know I should
have been so long about my work. I was so
engaged getting my book straight for you,
and writing—a few cheques for my annual
contributions to hospitals, ete.,—that the time
slipped by —”

The tone was unusually conciliatory for
Livingstone; but he still retained it in ad-
dressing Clark. It was partly a remnant of his
old time relation to Mr. Clark when he, yet

a young man, first knew him, and partly a re-

[ 26 ]
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cognition of Clark’s position as a man of good
birth who had been unfortunate, and had a
large family to support.

“Oh! that’s all right, Mr. Livingstone,”
said the clerk, pleasantly.

He gathered up the letters on the desk and
was unconsciously pressing them into exact
order.

“Shall I have these mailed or sent by a
messenger ?”’

“Mail them, of course,” said Livingstone.
« And Clark, I want you to—”

“T thought possibly that, as to-morrow is—”
began the clerk in explanation, but stopped
as Livingstone continued speaking without no-
ticing the interruption.

—“I have been going over my matters,”
pursued Livingstone, “and they are in excel-
lent shape—better this year than ever be-
fore—”

The clerk’s face brightened.

[ 27 ]
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“That ’s very good,” said he, heartily. “I
knew they were.”

—* Yes, very good, indeed,” said Living-
stone condescendingly, pausing to dwell for
a second on the sight of the line of pallid
figures which suddenly flashed before his eyes.
“ And I have got everything straight for you
this year; and I want you to come up to my
house this evening and go over the books
with me quietly, so that I can show you—”

“This evening?” The clerk’s countenance
fell and the words were as near an exclama-
tion as he ever indulged in.

“Yes—, this evening. I shall be at home
this evening and to-morrow evening— Why
not this evening?” demanded Livingstone
almost sharply.

“ Why, only —that it ’s—. However,—” The
speaker broke off. “I'll be there, sir. About
eight-thirty, I suppose?”

“Yes,” said Livingstone, curtly.

[ 28 ]
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He was miffed, offended, aggrieved. He had
intended to do a kind thing by this man, and
he had met with a rebuff.

“T expect to pay you,” he said, coldly.

The next second he knew he had made an "
error. A shocked expression came involuntarily
over the other’s face.

“Oh! it was not that!—It was—’ He
paused, reflected half a second. “I’ll be
there,” he added, and, turning quickly, with-
drew, leaving Livingstone feeling very blank
and then somewhat angry. He was angry with
himself for making such a blunder, and then
angrier with the clerk for leading him into it.

“That is the way with such people!’ he
reflected. “What is the use of being consid-
erate and generous? No one appreciates it!”

The more he thought of it, the warmer he
became. “Had he not taken Clark up ten—
fifteen years ago, when he had not a cent in the

world, and now he was getting fifteen hundred

[ 29 ]
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dollars a year—yes, sixteen hundred, and al-
most owned his house ; and he had made every
cent for him!”

At length, Livingstone’s sense of injury
became so strong, he could stand it no longer.
He determined to have a talk with Clark.

He opened the door and walked into the
outer office. One of the younger clerks was
just buttoning up his overcoat. Livingstone
detected a scowl on his face. The sight did
_ not improve Livingstone’s temper. He wouid
have liked to discharge the boy on the spot.
How often had he ever called on them to
wait? He knew men who required their
clerks to wait always until they themselves
left the office, no matter what the hour was.
He himself would not do this; he regarded it
as selfish. But now when it had happened by
accident, this was the return he received!

He contented himself with asking somewhat

sharply where Mr. Clark was.

[ 30 ]
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“Believe he’s gone to the telephone,” said
the clerk, sulkily. He picked up his hat and
said good-night hurriedly. He was evidently
glad to get off.

Livingstone returned to his own room; but
left the door ajar so that he could see Clark
when he returned. When, however, a few mo-
ments afterwards Clark appeared Livingstone
had cooled down. Why should he expect grati-
tude? He did not pay Clark for gratitude, but
for work, and this the clerk did faithfully. It
was an ungrateful world, anyhow.

At that moment there was a light knock at
the outer door, and, on Clark’s bidding, some
one entered.

Livingstone, from where he sat, could see
the door reflected in a mirror that hung in
his office.

The visitor was a little girl. She was clad in
a red jacket, and on her head was a red cap,

from under which her hair pushed in a profu-

[ 31 ]
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sion of ringlets. Her cheeks were like apples,
and her whole face was glowing from the
frosty air. It was just her head that Living-
stone saw first, as she poked it in and peeped ©
around. Then, as Mr. Clark sat with his back
to the door and she saw that no one else was
present, the visitor inserted her whole body
and, closing the door softly, with her eyes
dancing and her little mouth puckered up in
a mischievous way, she came on tiptoe across
the floor, stealing towards Clark until she was
within a few feet of him, when with a sudden
little rush she threw her arms about his head
and clapped her hands quickly over his eyes:

“ Guess who it is?” she cried.

Livingstone could hear them through the
open door.

“Blue Beard,” hazarded Mr. Clark.

“No—o!”

“Queen Victoria?”

“No—o—o!”

[ 32 ]


‘*@UESS WHO IT IS,’ SHE CRIED.
SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER

“Mary, Queen of Scots?—I know it’s a
queen.”

“No. Now you are not guessing— It isn’t
any queen, at all.”

“Yes, I an—Oh! I know—Santa Claus.”

“No; but somebody ’at knows about him.”

“Mr. L—m—m—”

Livingstone was not sure that he caught the
name.

“No!!” in a very emphatic voice and with
a sudden stiffening and a vehement shake of
the head.

Livingstone knew now whose name it was.

“Now, if you guess right this time, you'll
get a reward.”

“What reward ?”

“Why,—Santa Claus will bring you a whole
lot of nice—”

“JT don’t believe that ;—he will be too busy
with some other folks I know, who—”

“No, he won’t—I know he’s going to bring

[ 33 ]
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you— Oh!” She suddenly took one hand from

Clark’s eyes and clapped it over her mouth—
but next second replaced it.—“And besides,
I’ll give you a whole lot of kisses.”

“Oh! yes, I know—the Princess with the
Golden Locks, Santa Claus’s Partner —the
sweetest little kitten in the world, and her
name is—Kitty Clark.”

“Umhm—m!” And on a sudden, the arms
were transferred from about the forehead to
the neck and the little girl, with her sunny
head canted to one side, was making good her
promise of reward. Livingstone could hear
the kisses.

The next second they moved out of the line
of reflection in Livingstone’s mirror. But he
could still catch fragments of what they said.
Clark spoke too low to be heard ; but now and
then, Livingstone could catch the little girl’s
words. Indeed, he could not help hearing her.

“Oh! papa!” she exclaimed in a tone of

[ 34 ]
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disappointment, replying to something her
father had told her.

“But papa you must come— You promised !”’

Again her father talked to her low and
soothingly.

“But papa—I’m so disappointed —I’ve
saved all my money just to have you go with
me. And mamma—lI’ll go and ask him to let
you come.”

Her father evidently did not approve of
this, and the next moment he led the child to
the door, still talking to her soothingly, and
Livingstone heard him kiss her and tell her to
wait for him below.

Livingstone let himself out of his side-door.
He did not want to meet Clark just then. He
was not in a comfortable frame of mind. He
had a little headache.

As he turned into the street, he passed the
little girl he had seen up-stairs. She was wip-

ing her little, smeared face with her hand-

[ 35 ]
SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER
kerchief, and had evidently been crying. Liv-
ingstone, as he passed, caught her eye, and
she gave him such a look of hate that it stung
him to the quick.

“The little serpent !” thought he. “ Here he
was supporting her family, and she looking as
if she could oon him to pieces! It showed how

ungrateful this sort of people were.”

[ 36 ]
CHAPTER IV

IVINGSTONE walked up town. It

would, he felt, do his head good.

He needed exercise. He had been

working rather too hard of late. However, he

was worth—yes, all that!—Out in the snow
the sum was before him in cold facsimile.

He had not gone far before he wished he
had ridden. The street was thronged with
people: some streaming along; others stop-
ping in front of the big shop-windows, block-
ing the way and forcing such as were in a
hurry to get off the sidewalk. The shop-win-
dows were all brilliantly dressed and lighted.
Every conception of fertile brains was there
to arrest the attention and delight the im-
agination. And the interest of the throngs
outside and in testified the shopkeepers’ suc-
cess.

Here Santa Claus, the last survivor of the

[ 37 ]
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old benefactors, who has outlasted whole hie-
rarchies of outworn myths and, yet firm in the
devotion of the heart of childhood, snaps his
fingers alike at arid science and blighting
stupidity, was driving his reindeer, his teem-
ing sleigh filled with wonders from every
region: dolls that walked and talked and
sang, fit for princesses; sleds fine enough for
princes; drums and trumpets and swords for
young heroes; horses that looked as though
they were alive and would spring next mo-
ment from their rockers; bats and balls that
almost started of themselves from their places ;
little uniforms, and frocks; skates; tennis-
racquets; baby caps and rattles; tiny engines
and coaches; railway trains; animals that ran
about ; steamships; books; pictures—every-
thing to delight the soul of childhood and
gratify the affection of age.

There Kris Kringle, Santa Claus’s other self,

with snowy beard, and fur coat hoary with the

[ 38 ]
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frost of Arctic travel from the land of unfail-
ing snow and unfailing toys, stood beside his
tree glittering with crystal and shining with
the fruits of every industry and every clime.

These were but a part of the dazzling dis-
play that was ever repeated over and over
and filled the windows, for squares and squares.
Science and Art appeared to have combined
to pay tribute to childhood. The very street
seemed to have blossomed with Christmas.

But Livingstone saw nothing of it. He
was filled with anger that his way should be
blocked. The crowds were gay and cheery.
Strangers in sheer good-will clapped each
other on the shoulder and exchanged views,
confidences and good wishes. The truck-driv-
ers, usually so surly, drew out of each others’
way and shouted words of cheer after their
smiling fellows.

The soul of Christmas was abroad on the air.

Livingstone did not even recall what day it

[ 89 ]
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was. All he saw was a crowd of fools that im-
peded his progress. He tried the middle of
the street; but the carriages and delivery-
wagons were so thick, that he turned off,
growling, and took a less frequented thor-
oughfare, a back street of mean houses and
small shops where a poorer class of people
dwelt and dealt.

Here, however, he was perhaps even more
incommoded than he had been before. This
street was, if anything, more crowded than the
other and with a more noisy and hilarious
throng. Here, instead of fine shops, there were
small ones; but their windows were every bit
as attractive to the crowds on the street as
those Livingstone had left. People of a much
poorer class surged in and out of the doors;
small gamins, some in ragged overcoats, more
in none, gabbled with and shouldered each
other boisterously at the windows and pressed

their red noses to the frosty panes, to see

[ 40 ]
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through the blurred patches made by their

warm breath the wondrous marvels within. The
little pastry-shops and corner-groceries vied
with the toy-shops and confectionaries, and
were packed with a population that hummed
like bees, the busy murmur broken every now
and then by jests and calls and laughter, as
the customers squeezed in empty-handed, or
slipped out with carefully-wrapped parcels
hugged close to their cheery bosoms or carried
in their arms with careful pride.

Livingstone finally was compelled to get off
the sidewalk again and take to the street.
Here, at least, there were no fine carriages to
block his way.

As he began to approach a hill, he was
aware of yells of warning ahead of him, and,
with shouts of merriment, a swarm of sleds
began to shoot by him, some with dark objects
lying flat on their little stomachs, kicking

their heels high in the air; others with small

[ 41 ]
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single or double or triple headed monsters
seated upright and all screaming at the top
of their merry voices. All were unmindful of
the falling snow and nipping air, their blood
hot with the ineffable fire of youth that flames
in the warm heart of childhood, glows in that
of youth, and cools only with the cooling brain
and chilling pulse.

Before Livingstone could press back into
the almost solid mass on the sidewalk he had
come near being run down a score of times.
He felt that it was an outrage. He fairly
flamed with indignation. He, a large tax-
payer, a generous contributor to asylums and
police funds, a supporter of hospitals,—that
he should be almost killed!

He looked around for a policeman—

“Whoop! Look out! Get out the way!”
Swish! Swish! Swish ! they shot by. Living-
stone had to dodge for his life. Of course, no

policeman was in sight !

[ 42 ]
llustration

(Livingstone had to
dodge for his life)

Missing From
Original
llustration

(Livingstone had to
dodge for his life)

Missing From
Original
SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER

- Livingstone pushed his way on to the top
of the ascent, and a square further on he
found an officer inspecting silently a group of
noisy urchins squabbling over the division of
two sticks of painted candy. His back was
towards the hill from which were coming the
shouts of the sliding miscreants.

Livingstone accosted him:

“That sliding, back there, must be stopped.
It is a nuisance,’ he asserted.—It was dan-
gerous, he declared; he himself had almost
been struck by one or more of those sleds and
if it had run him down it might have killed
him.

The officer, after a long look at him, turned —
silently and walked slowly in the direction of
the hill. He moved so deliberately and with
such evident reluctance that Livingstone’s
blood boiled. He hurried after him.

“ Here,” he said, as he overtook him, “I

aim going to see that you stop that sliding and

[ 43 ]
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enforce the law, or I shall report you for fail-
ure to perform your duty. I see your number
— 268.”

“All right, sir. You can do as you please
about that,” said the officer, rather surlily, but
politely.

Livingstone walked close after him to the
hilltop. The officer spoke a few words in a
quiet tone to the boys who were at the sum-
mit, and instantly every sled stopped. Not so
the tongues. Babel broke loose. Some went off
in silence; others crowded about the officer,
expostulating, cajoling, grumbling. It was “the
first snow ;” they “always slid on that hill;”
“it did not hurt anybody ;” “nobody cared,”
ete.

“This gentleman has complained, and you
must stop,” said the officer.

They all turned on Livingstone with sudden
hate.

“ Arr-ob-h!” they snarled in concert. “We

[ 44 ]
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aint a-hurtin’ him! What’s he got to do wid
us anyhow !”

One more apt archer than the rest, shouted,
“He ain't no gentleman—a gentleman don’t
never interfere wid poor little boys what ain’t
a-done him no harm!”

But they stopped, and the more timid or im-
patient stole off to find new and less inconven-
iently guarded inclines.

Livingstone passed on. He did not know
that the moment he left and the officer turned
his back, the whole hillside swarmed again
into life and fun and joy. He did not know
this; but he bore off with him a new thorn
which even his feeling of civic virtue could
not keep from rankling. His head ached, and
he grew crosser and crosser with every step.

He had never seen so many beggars. It was
insufferable. For this evening, at least, every
one was giving—except Livingstone. Want

was stretching out its withered hand even

[ 45 ]
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to Poverty and found it filled. But Livingstone
took no part in it. The chilly and threadbare
street-venders of shoe-strings, pencils and
cheap flowers, who to-night were offering in
their place tin. toys, mistletoe and holly-
boughs, he pushed roughly out of his way;
he snapped angrily at beggars who had the
temerity to accost him.

“Confound them! They ought to be run in
by the police!”

A red-faced, collarless man fell into the
same gait with him, and in a cajoling tone be-
gan to mutter something of his distress.

“Be off. Go to the Associated Charities,”
snarled Livingstone, conscious of the biting
sarcasm of his speech.

“Go where, sir?”

“Go to the devil!”

The man stopped in his tracks.

A ragged, meagre boy slid in through the

crowd just ahead of Livingstone, to a woman

[ 46 ]
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who was toiling along with a large bundle.
Holding out a pinched hand, he offered to
carry the parcel for her. The woman hesitated.

—“For five cents,” he pleaded.

She was about to yield, for the bundle was
heavy. But the boy was just in front of Liv-
ingstone and in his eagerness brushed against
him. Livingstone gave him a shove which
sent him spinning away across the sidewalk ;
the stream of passers-by swept in between
them, and the boy lost his job and the woman
his service.

The man of success passed on.

[an]
CHAPTER V

F Livingstone had been in a huff when
he left his office, by the time he reached
his home he was in a rage.

As he let himself in with his latch-key his
expression for a moment softened. The scene
before him was one which might well have
mellowed a man just out of the snowy street.
A spacious and handsome house, both richly
and artistically furnished, lay before him. Rich
furniture, costly rugs, fine pictures and rare
books, gave evidence not only of his wealth
but of his taste. He was not a mere business
machine, a mere money-maker. He knew men
who were. He despised them. He was a man
of taste and culture, a gentleman of refine-
ment. He spent his money like a gentleman,
to surround himself with objects of art and to
give himself and his friends pleasure. Con-

noisseurs came to look at his fine collection

[ 48 ]
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and to revel in his rare editions. Dealers had
told him his collection was worth double what
it had cost him. He had frowned at the sug-
gestion ; but it was satisfactory to know it.

As Livingstone entered his library and
found a bright fire burning; his favorite arm-
chair drawn up to his especial table; his fa-
vorite books lying within easy reach, he felt a
momentary glow.

He stretched himself out before the fire
in his deep lounging-chair with a feeling of
relief. The next moment, however, he was
sensible of his fatigue, and was conscious that
he had quite a headache. What a fool he had
been to walk up through the snow! And those
people had worried him!

His head throbbed. He had been working
too hard of late. He would go and see his
doctor next day and talk it over with him.
He could now take his advice and stop work-

ing for a while; he was worth—Confound

[ 49 ]
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those figures! Why could not he think of
them without their popping in before his eyes
that way !

There was a footfall on the heavily carpeted
floor behind him, so soft that it could scarcely
be said to have made a sound, but Livingstone
caught it. He spoke without turning his head.

“James!”

“Yes, sir. Have you dined, sir?”

“ Dined? No, of course not! Where was I
to dine?”

“J thought perhaps you had dined at the
club. I will have dinner directly, sir,” said the
butler quietly.

“Dine at the club! Why should I dine at
the club? Haven’t I my own house to dine
in?” demanded Livingstone.

“Yes, sir. We had dinner ready, only—as
you were so late we thought perhaps you
were dining at the club. You had not said

anything about dining out.”

[ 50 ]
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Livingstone glanced at the clock. It was
half-past eight. He had had no idea it was so
late. He had forgotten how late it was when
he left his office, and the walk through the
. snow had been slow. He was hopelessly in the
wrong.

Just then there was a scurry in the hall
outside and the squeak of childish voices.
James coughed and turned quickly towards
the door.

Livingstone wanted an outlet.

“ What is that?” he asked, sharply.

James cleared his throat nervously. The
squeak came again—this time almost a squeal.

“Whose children are those?” demanded
Livingstone.

“ Ahem! I thinks they’s the laundress’s, sir.
They just came around this evening —”

Livingstone cut him short.

“ Well! I—!” He was never nearer an out-

break, but he controlled himself.

[ 51 ]
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“ Go down and send them and her off imme-
diately ; and you—” He paused, closed his
lips firmly, and changed his speech. “I wish
some dinner,” he said coldly.

“ Yes, sir.”

James had reached the door when he
turned.

“Shall you be dining at home to-morrow,
sir?” he asked, quietly.

“Yes, of course,” said Livingstone, shortly.
« And I don’t want to see any one to-night,
no matter who comes. I am tired.”’ He had
forgotten Clark.

“ Yes, sir.”

The butler withdrew noiselessly, and Liv-
ingstone sank back in his chair. But before
the butler was out of hearing Livingstone
recalled him.

“J don’t want any dinner.”

“Can have it for you directly, sir,” said

James, persuasively.

[52 ]
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“J say I don’t want any.”

James came a little closer and gave his mas-
ter a quick glance.

“ Are you feeling bad, sir?’ he asked.

“No, I only want to be let alone. I shall go
out presently to the club.”

This time James withdrew entirely.

What happened when James passed through
the door which separated his domain from his
master’s was not precisely what Livingstone
had commanded. What the tall butler did was
to gather up in his arms two very. plump little
tots who at sight of him came running to him
with squeals of joy, flinging themselves on
him, and choking him with their chubby arms,
to the imminent imperiling of his immaculate
linen.

Taking them both up together, James bore
them off quietly to some remote region where
he filled their little mouths full of delightful
candy which kept their little jaws working

[ 53 |
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tremendously and their blue eyes opening and
shutting in unison, whilst he told them of the
dreadful unnamed things that would befall
them if they ventured again through that
door. He impressed on them the calamity it
would be to lose the privilege of holding the
evergreens whilst they were being put up in
the hall, and the danger of Santa Claus passing
by that night without filling their stockings.

The picture he drew of two little stockings
hanging limp and empty at the fireplace while
Santa Claus went by with bulging sleigh was
harrowing.

At mention of it, the tots both looked
down at their stockings and were so over-
come that they almost stopped working their
jaws, so that when they began again they
were harder to work than ever. To this James
added the terror of their failing to see next
day the great plum-pudding suddenly burst

into flame in his hands. At this, he threw up

[ 54 ]
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both hands and opened them so wide that
the little ones had to look first at one of his
hands and then at the other to make sure
that he was not actually holding the dan-
cing flames now.

When they had promised faithfully and
with deep awe, crossing their little hearts with
smudgy fingers, the butler entrusted them to
some one to see to the due performance of
their good intention, and he himself sought
the cook, who, next to himself, was Living-
stone’s oldest servant. She was at the mo-
ment, with plump arms akimbo on her stout
waist, laying down the law of marriage to a
group of merry servants as they sorted Christ-
mas wreaths.

“Wait till you’ve known a man twenty
years before you marry him, and then you'll
never marry him,’ she said. The point of her
advice being that she was past forty and had

never married.

[ 55 |
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The butler beckoned her out and confided

to her his anxiety.

“He is not well,” he said gloomily. “I have
not see him this a-way in ten years. He is not
well.”

The cook’s cheery countenance changed.

“But you say he have had no dinner.” Her
excessive grammar was a reassurance. She
turned alertly towards her range.

“But he won't have dinner.”

“What!” The stiffness went out of her form
in visible detachments. “Then he air sick!”

She made one attempt to help matters.
“Can't I make him something nice? Very
nice?—And light?” She brightened at the
hope.

“No, nothink. He will not hear to it.”

“Then you must have the doctor.” She
spoke decisively.

To this the butler made no reply, at least in

words. He stood wrapt in deep abstraction, his

[ 56 ]
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face filled with perplexity and gloom, and as

the cook watched him anxiously her face too
took on gradually the same expression.

“JT has not see him like this before, not in
ten year—not in twelve year. Not since he
got that letter from that young lady what—.”
He stopped and looked at the cook.—“He
was hactually hirascible !”

“He must be got to bed, poor dear!” said
the cook, sympathetically. “ And you must get
the doctor, and I’ll make some good rich
broth to have it handy.—And just when we
were a-goin’ to dress the house and have it so
beautiful !”

She turned away, her round face full of
woe.

“Ah! Well!—” The butler tried to find
some sentence that might be comforting ; but
before he could secure one that suited, the

door bell rang, arid he went to answer it.

[ 57 ]
CHAPTER VI

T was Mr. Clark, who as soon as the door
was opened stepped within and taking
off his hat began to shake the snow from

it, even while he greeted James and wished
him a merry Christmas.

James liked Mr. Clark. He did not rate
him very highly in the matter of intelligence ;
but he recognized him as a gentleman, and
appreciated his kindly courtesy to himself. He
knew it came from a good heart.

Many a man who drove up to the door
in a carriage, James relieved of his coat
and showed into the drawing-room in si-
lence; but the downcast eyes were averted
to conceal inconvenient thoughts and the
expressionless face was a mask to hide views
which the caller might not have cared to
discover. Mr. Clark, however, always treated

James with consideration, and James re-

[ 58 ]
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ciprocated the feeling and returned the treat-
ment.

Mr. Clark was giving James his hat when
the butler took in that he had come to see
Mr. Livingstone.

“Mr. Livingstone begs to be excused this
evening, sir,’ he said.

“Yes.” Mr. Clark laid a package on a chair
and proceeded to unbutton his overcoat.

“He says he regrets he cannot see any
one,” explained the servant.

“Yes. That’s all right. I know.” He caught
the lapels of the coat preparatory to taking it
off.

“No, sir. He cannot see anybody at all this
evening,” insisted James, confident in being
within his authority.

“Why, he told me to come and bring his
books ! I suppose he meant—?!”

“No, sir. He is not very well this evening.”

Mr. Clark’s hands dropped to his side.

[ 59 }
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“Not well! Why, he left the office only an

hour or two ago.”

“Yes, sir; but he walked up, and seemed
very tired when he arrived. He did not eat
anything, and—the doctor is coming to see
him.”

Mr. Clark’s face expressed the deepest con-
cern.

“He has been working too hard,” he said,
shaking his head. “ He ought to have let me
go over those accounts. With all he has to
carry !”’

“Yes, sir, that’s it,” said James, heartily.

“Well, don’t you think I’d better go up
and see him?” asked the old clerk, solicit-
ously. “I might be able to suggest some-
thing?”

“No, sir. He said quite positive he would
not see anybody.” James looked the clerk full
in the face. “I was afraid something might

’ave ’appened down in the—ah—?”

{ 60 ]
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Mr. Clark’s face lit up with a kindly light.
“No, indeed. It’s nothing like that, James.

We never had so good a year. You can make

your mind easy about that.”

“Thank you, sir,’ said the servant. “We’ll
have the doctor drop in to see him, and I
hope he'll be all right in the morning. Snowy
night, sir.”

?

“T hope so,’ said Mr. Clark, not intending
to convey his views as to the weather. “You ’ll
let me know if I am wanted—if I can do any-
thing. I will come around first thing in the
morning to see how he is. I hope he’ll be all
right. Good-night. A merry Christmas to you.”

“‘ Good-night, sir. Thankee, sir; the same to
you, sir. I’m going to wait up to see how he
is. Good-night, sir.”

And James shut the door softly behind
the visitor, feeling a sense of comfort not
wholly accounted for by the information as

to the successful year. Mr. Clark, somehow,

[ 61 ]
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always reassured him. The butler could un-
derstand the springs that moved that kindly
spirit.

What Mr. Clark thought as he tramped
back through the snow need not be fully de-
tailed. But at least, one thing was certain, he
never thought of himself.

If he recalled that a mortgage would be
due on his house just one week from that day,
and that the doctors’ bills had been unusually
heavy that year, it was not on his own account
that he was anxious. Indeed, he never con-
sidered himself; there were too many others
to think of. One thought was that he was
glad his friend had such a good servant as
James to look after him. Another was pity
that Livingstone had never known the joy
that was awaiting himself when at the end
of that mile of snow he should peep into
the little cosy back room (for the front room

was mysteriously closed this evening), where

zal
SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER

a sweet-faced, frail-looking woman would be
lying on a lounge with a half-dozen little
curly heads bobbing about her. He knew
what a scream of delight would greet him as
he poked his head in; and out in the darkness
and cold John Clark smiled and smacked his
lips as he thought of the kisses and squeezes,
and renewed kisses that would be his lot as
he told how he would be with them all the
evening.

Yes, he was undoubtedly sorry for Living-
stone, a poor lonely man in that great house ;
and he determined that he would not say
much about his being ill. Women did not al-
ways exactly understand some men, and when
he left home, Mrs. Clark had expressed some
very strong views as to Livingstone which had
pained Clark. She had even spoken of him as
selfish and miserly. He would just say now
that Livingstone on his arrival had sent him

straight back home.
cee
SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER

No, Mr. Clark never thought of himself, and
this made him richer than Mr. Livingstone.

When Mr. Clark reached home his expecta-
tion was more than realized. From the way in
which he noiselessly opened the front door
and then stole along the little passage to the -
back room, from which the sound of many
voices was coming as though it were a mimic
Babel, you might have thought he was a
thief. |

And when he opened the door softly and,
with dancing eyes, poked his head into the
room, you might have thought he was Santa
Claus himself. There was one second of dead
silence as a half-dozen pair of eyes stretched
wide and a half-dozen mouths opened with a
gasp, and then, with a shout which would
have put to the blush a tribe of wild Indians,
a -half-dozen young bodies flung themselves
upon him with screams and shrieks of de-

light. John Clark’s neck must have been of

[ 64 ]


HALF A DOZEN YOUNG BODIES FLUNG THEMSELVES UPON HIM.
SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER
iron to withstand such hugs and tugs as it was
given.

The next instant he was drawn bodily into
the room and pushed down forcibly into a
chair, whilst the whole half-dozen piled upon
him with demands to be told how he had man-
aged to get off and come back. No one but
Clark could have understood them or answered
them, but somehow, as his arms seemed able
to gather in the whole lot of struggling, squeez-
ing, wriggling, shoving little bodies, so his ears
seemed to catch all the questions and his mind
to answer each in turn and all together.

“‘How did I come?’—Ran every step of
the way.—‘Why did I come back ?’— Well!
that ’s a question for a man with eight children
who will sit up and keep Santa Claus out of
the house unless their father comes home and
puts them to bed and holds their eyelids down
to keep them from peeping and scaring Santa

Claus away !

[ 65 ]
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—“*What did Mr. Livingstone say ?’—
Well, what do you suppose a man would say
Christmas Eve to another man who has eight
wide-awake children who will sit up in front
of the biggest fire-place in the house until
midnight Christmas Eve so that Santa Claus
can’t come down the only chimney big enough
to hold his presents? He would say, ‘John
Clark, I have no children of my own, but you
have eight, and if you don’t go home this
minute and see that those children are in bed
and fast asleep and snoring,—yes, snoring,
mind,—by ten o'clock, I’ll never, and Santa
Claus will never —’

—“ ‘Did I see anything of Santa Claus?’
Well, if I were to tell you—what I saw this
night, why,—you’d never believe me.
There’s a sleigh so big coming in a little
while to this town, and this street, and this
house, that it holds presents enough for—.

“When will it be here?’ Well, from the

[ 66 ]
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sleigh-bells that I heard I should say—. My
goodness, gracious! If it isn’t almost ten
o'clock, and if that sleigh should get here
whilst there’s a single eye open in this
house, I don’t know what Santa Claus might
do!”

And, with a strength that one might have
thought quite astonishing, John Clark rose
somehow from under the mass of little heads,
and, with his arms still around them, still talk-
ing, still cajoling, still entertaining and still
caressing, he managed to bear the whole
curly, chattering flock to the door where,
with renewed kisses and squeezes and ques-
tions, they were all finally induced to release
their hold and run squeaking and frisking off
upstairs to bed.

Then, as he closed the door, Clark turned
and looked at the only other occupant of the
room, a lady whose pale face would have

told her story even had she not remained

oa
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outstretched on a lounge during the preceding
scene.

If, however, Mrs. Clark’s face was pale, her
eyes were brilliant, and the look that she and
her husband exchanged told that even in-
validism and narrow means have alleviations,
so full was the glance they gave of confi-
dence and joy.

Yet, as absolute as was their confidence,
Mr. Clark did not now tell his wife the truth.
He gave her in a few words the reason of his
return. Mr. Livingstone was feeling unwell,
he said. He had not remembered it was
Christmas Eve, he added; and, turning
quickly and opening the door into the front
room he guilefully dived at once into the
matter of the Christmas-tree which was stand-
ing there waiting to be dressed.

Whether or not Mr. Clark deceived Mrs.
Clark might be a matter of question. Mr.

Clark was not good at deception. Mrs. Clark

[ 68 ]
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was better at it; but then, to-night was a
night of peace and good-will, and since her
husband had returned she was willing to for-

give even Livingstone.

[ 69 ]
CHAPTER VII

IVINGSTONE, at this moment, was not
feeling as wealthy as the row of fig-
ures in clean-cut lines that were now

beginning to be almost constantly before his
eyes might have seemed to warrant. He was
sitting sunk deep in his cushioned arm-chair.
The tweaks in his forehead that had annoyed
him earlier in the evening had changed to
twinges, and the twinges had now given place
to a dull, steady ache. And every thought of
his wealth brought that picture of seven star-
ing figures before his eyes, whilst, in place of
the glow which they had brought at first, he
now at every recollection of them had a cold
thrill of apprehension lest they might appear.
James’s inquiry, “Shall you be dining at
home to-morrow?” had recurred to him and
now disturbed him. It was a simple question ;

nothing remarkable in it. It now came to him

fod
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that to-morrow was Christmas Day, and he
had forgotten it. This was remarkable. He had
never forgotten it before, but this year he had
been working so hard and had been so en-
grossed he had not thought of it. Even this
reflection brought the spectral figures back
sharply outlined before his eyes. They stayed
longer now. He must think of something
else.

He thought of Christmas. This was the
first Christmas he had ever been at home
by himself. A Christmas dinner alone! Who
had ever heard of such a thing! He must go
out to dinner, of course. He glanced over
at his table where James always put his mail.
Everything was in perfect order: the book he
had read the night before; the evening paper
and the last financial quotation were all
there; but not a letter. James must have
forgot them.

He turned to rise and ring the bell and

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glanced across the room towards it. What a
dark room it was! What miserable gas!

He turned up the light at his hand. It
did not help perceptibly. He sank back.
What selfish dogs people were, he reflected.
Of all the hosts of people he knew,—peo-
ple who had entertained him and whom he
had entertained,—not one had thought to
invite him to the Christmas dinner. A dozen
families at whose houses he had often been
entertained flashed across his mind. Why,
years ago he used to have a half-dozen in-
vitations to Christmas dinner, and now he
had not one! Even Mrs. Wright, to whom he
had just sent a contribution for—Hello! that
lantern-slide again! It would not do to think
of figures. — Even she had not thought of
him.

There must be some reason? he pondered.
Yes, Christmas dinners were always family re-

unions—that was the reason he was left out

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and forgotten ;—yes, forgotten. A list of the
people who he knew would have such re-
unions came to him;—almost every one of his
acquaintances had a family ;—even Clark had
a family and would have a Christmas dinner.

At the thought, a pang almost of envy of
Clark smote him.

Suddenly his own house seemed to grow
vast and empty and lonely; he felt per-
fectly desolate, —abandoned—alone—ill! He
glanced around at his pictures. They were
cold, staring, stony, dead! The reflection of
the cross lights made them look ghastly.

As he gazed at them the figures they had
cost shot before his eyes. My God! he could
not stand this! He sprang to his feet. Even
the pain of getting up was a relief. He stared
around him. Dead silence and stony faces were
all about him. The capacious room seemed a
vast, empty cavern, and as he stood he saw

stretching before him his whole future life

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spent in this house, as lonely, silent, and deso-
late as this. It was unbearable.

He walked through to his drawing-room.
The furniture was sheeted, the room colder
and lonelier a thousand-fold than the other;
—on into the dining-room ;—the bare table
in the dim light looked like ice; the sideboard
with its silver and glass, bore sheets of ice.
“ Pshaw!” He turned up the lights. He would
take a drink of brandy and go to bed.

He took a decanter, poured out a drink and
drained it off. His hand trembled, but the
stimulant helped him a little. It enabled him
to collect his ideas and think. But his
thoughts still ran on Christmas and his lone-
liness.

Why should not he give a Christmas dinner
and invite his friends? Yes, that was what he
would do. Whom should he ask? His mind
began to run over the list. Every one he

knew had his own house; and as to friends

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—why, he didn’t have any friends! He had
only acquaintances. He stopped suddenly, ap-
palled by the fact. He had not a friend in the
world! Why was it? In answer to the thought
the seven figures flashed into sight. He put
his hand to his eyes to shut them out. He
knew now why. He had been too busy to
make friends. He had given his youth and his
middle manhood to accumulate—those seven
figures again!—And he had given up his
friendships. He was now almost aged.

He walked into his drawing-room and
turned up the light—all the lights to look
at himself in a big mirror. He did look at
himself and he was confounded. He was not
only no longer young—he was prepared for
this—but he was old. He would not have
dreamed he could be so old. He was gray
and wrinkled.

As he faced himself his blood seemed sud-

denly to chill. He was conscious of a sensible

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ebb as if the tide about his heart had sud-
denly sunk lower. Perhaps, it was the cooling
of the atmosphere as the fire in his library
died out,—or was it his blood?

He went back into his library not ten min-
utes, but ten years older than when he left it.

He sank into his chair and insensibly began
to scan his life. He had just seen himself as
he was; he now saw himself as he had been
long ago, and saw how he had become what
he was. The whole past lay before him like a
slanting pathway.

He followed it back to where it began—in
an old home far off in the country.

He was a very little boy. All about was the
bustle and stir of preparation for Christmas.
Cheer was in every face, for it was in every
heart. Boxes were coming from the city by
every conveyance. The store-room and closets
were centres of unspeakable interest, shrouded

in delightful mystery. The kitchen was lighted
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by the roaring fire and steaming from the
numberless good things preparing for the next
day’s feast. Friends were arriving from the dis-
tant railway and were greeted with universal
delight. The very rigor of the weather was
deemed a part of the Christmas joy, for it
was known that Santa Claus with his jin-
gling sleigh came the better through the
deeper snow. Everything gave the little boy
joy, particularly going with his father and
mother to bear good things to poor people
who lived in smaller houses. They were always
giving; but Christmas was the season for a
more general and generous distribution. He
recalled across forty years his father and
mother putting the presents into his hands
to bestow, and his father’s words, “My boy,
learn the pleasure of giving.”

The rest was all blaze and light and glow,
and his father and mother moving about like
shining spirits amid it all.

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Then he was a schoolboy, measuring the
lagging time by the coming Christmas ; count-
ing the weeks, the days, the hours in an ecs-
tasy of impatience until he should be free
from the drudgery of books and the slavery
of classes, and should be able to start for home
with the friends who had leave to go with
him. How slowly the time crept by, and how
he told the other boys of the joys that would
await them! And when it had really gone,
and they were free! how delicious it used to
be!

As the scene appeared before him Living-
stone could almost feel again the thrill that
set him quivering with delight; the boundless
joy that filled his veins as with an elixir.

The arrival at the station drifted before him
and the pride of his introduction of the ser-
vants whose faces shone with pleasure; the
drive home through the snow, which used

somehow to be warming, not chilling, in those

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days ; and then, through the growing dusk, the
first sight of the home-light, set, he knew, by
the mother in her window as a beacon shining
from the home and mother’s heart. Then the
last, toilsome climb up the home-hill and
the outpouring of welcome amid cheers and
shouts and laughter.

Oh, the joy of that time! And through all
the festivity was felt, like a sort of per-
vading warmth, the fact that that day Christ
came into the world and brought peace and
good will and cheer to every one.

The boy Livingstone saw was now installed
regularly as the bearer of Christmas presents
and good things to the poor, and the pleasure
he took then in his office flashed across Liv-
ingstone’s mind like a sudden light. It lit up
the faces of many whom Livingstone had
not thought of for years. They were all beam-
ing on him now with a kindliness to which

he had long been a stranger; that kindliness

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which belongs only to our memory of our
youth.

Was it possible that he could ever have had
so many friends! The man in the chair put
his hand to his eyes to try and hold the
beautiful vision, but it faded away, shut out

from view by another.

[ 80 ]
CHAPTER VIII

HE vision that came next was of

a college student. The Christmas

holidays were come again. They
were still as much the event of the year as
when he was a schoolboy. Once more he
was on his way home accompanied by friends
whom he had brought to help him enjoy the
holidays, his enjoyment doubled by their en-
joyment. Once more, as he touched the soil
of his own neighborhood, from a companion he
became a host. Once more with his friends he
reached his old home and was received with
that greeting which he never met with else-
where. He saw his father and mother stand-
ing on the wide portico before the others with
outstretched arms, affection and pride beam-
ing in their faces. He witnessed their cordial
greeting of his friends. “Our son’s friends are

our friends,’ he heard them say.

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Henry Trelane said afterwards, “ Why, Liv-
ingstone, you have told me of your home
and your horses, but never told me of your
father and mother. Do you know that they
are the best in the world?’’ Somehow, it
had seemed to open his eyes, and the man-
ner in which his friends had hung on his
father’s words had increased his own respect
for him. One of them had said, “ Living-
stone, I like you, but I love your father.”
The phrase, he remembered, had not alto-
gether pleased him, and yet it had not al-
together displeased him either. But Henry
Trelane was very near to him in those days.
Not only was he the soul of honor and
high-mindedness, with a mind that reflected
truth as an unruffled lake reflects the sky,
but he was the brother of Catherine Trelane,
who then stood to Livingstone for Truth itself.

It was during a Christmas-holiday visit to

her brother that Livingstone had first met

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Catherine Trelane; as he now saw himself
meet her. He had come on her suddenly in
a long avenue. Her arms were full of holly-
boughs; her face was rosy from a victorious
tramp through the snow, rosier at the hoped-
for, unexpected, chance meeting with her
brother’s guest ; a sprig of mistletoe was stuck
daringly in her hood, guarded by her mis-
chievous, laughing eyes. She looked like a
dryad fresh from the winter woods. For years
after that Livingstone had never thought of
Christmas without being conscious of a cer-
tain radiance that vision shed upon the time.

The next day in the holly-dressed church
she seemed a saint wrapt in divine adoration.

Another shift of the scene; another Christ-
mas.

Reverses had come. His father, through kind-
ness and generosity, had become involved be-
yond his means, and, rather than endure the

least shadow of reproach, gave up everything

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he possessed to save his name and shield a
friend. Livingstone himself had been called
away from college.

He remembered the sensation of it all. He
recalled the picture of his father as he stood
calm and unmoved amid the wreck of his for-
tune and faced unflinchingly the hard, dark
future. It was an inspiring picture: the pic-
ture of a gentleman, far past the age when
men can start afresh and achieve success,
despoiled by another and stripped of all he
had in the world, yet standing upright and
tranquil; a just man walking in his integrity;
a brave man facing the world; firm as an im-
movable rock; serene as an unblemished
morning.

Livingstone had never taken in before
how fine it was. He had at one time even
felt aggrieved by his father’s act; now he was
suddenly conscious of a thrill of pride in him.

If he were only living! He himself was now

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worth—! Suddenly that lantern-slide shot be-

fore his eyes and shut out the noble figure
standing there.

Livingstone’s mind reverted to his own
career.

He was a young man in business; living in
a cupboard; his salary a bare pittance; yet
he was rich; he had hope and youth; family
and friends. Heavens! how rich he was then!
It made the man in the chair poor now to
feel how rich he had been then and had
not known it. He looked back at himself
with a kind of envy, strange to him, which
gave him a pain.

He saw himself again at Christmas. He
was back at the little home which his father
had taken when he lost the old place. He
saw himself unpacking his old trunk, taking
out from it the little things he had brought
as presents, with more pride than he had

ever felt before, for he had earned them him-

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self. Each one represented sacrifice, thought,
affection. He could see again his father’s face
lit up with pride and his mother’s radiant with
delight in his achievement. His mother was
handing him her little presents,—the gloves
she had knit for. him herself with so much
. joy; the shaving-case she had herself em-
broidered; the cup and saucer from the old
tea-service that had belonged to his great-
grandfather and great-grandmother and which
had been given his mother and father when
they were married. He glanced up as she
laid the delicate piece of Sévres before him,
and caught her smile—That smile! Was there
ever another like it? It held in it—every-
thing.

Suddenly Livingstone felt something moving
on his cheek. He put his hand up to his face
and when he took it down his fingers were wet.

With his mother’s face, another face came

to him, radiant with the beauty of youth.

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Catherine Trelane, since that meeting in the
long avenue, had grown more and more to
him, until all other motives and aims had
been merged in one radiant hope.

With his love he had grown timid; he
scarcely dared look into her eyes; yet now
he braved the world for her; bore for her all
the privations and hardships of life in its first
struggle. Indeed, for her, privation was no
hardship. He was poor in purse, but rich in
hope. Love lit up his life and touched the
dull routine of his work with the light of en-
chantment. If she made him timid before her,
she made him bold towards the rest of the
world. "Twas for her that he had had the
courage to take that plunge into the boiling
sea of life in an unknown city, and it was for
her that he had had strength to keep above
water, where so many had gone down.

He had faced all for her and had conquered

all for her. He recalled the long struggle, the

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painful, patient waiting, the stern self-denial.
He had deliberately chosen between pleasure
and success,—between the present and the
future. He had denied himself to achieve his
fortune, and he had succeeded.

At first, it had been for her; then Success
had become dear to him for itself, had ever
grown larger and dearer as he advanced, until
now— A thrill of pride ran through him,
which changed into a shiver as it brought
those accursed, staring, ghastly figures straight
before his eyes.

He had great trouble to drive the figures
away. It was only when he thought fixedly of
Catherine Trelane as she used fo be that
they disappeared. She was a vision then. to
banish all else. He had a picture of her some-
where among his papers. He had not seen it
for years, but no picture could do her justice:
as rich as was her coloring, as beautiful as

were her eyes, her mouth, her riante face, her

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slim, willowy, girlish figure and fine carriage,
it was not these that came to him when he
thought of her; it was rather the spirit of
which these were but the golden shell : it was
the smile, the music, the sunshine, the radiance
which came to him and warmed his blood and
set his pulses throbbing across all those years.
He would get the picture and look at it.

But memory swept him on.

He had got in the tide of success and the
current had borne him away. First it had been
the necessity to succeed ; then ambition ; then
opportunity to do better and better always
taking firmer hold of him and bearing him
further and further until the pressure of busi-
ness, change of ambition and, at last, of ideals
swept him beyond sight of all he had known
or cared for.

He could almost see the process of the
metamorphosis. Year after year he had waited

and worked and Catherine Trelane had waited ;

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then had come a time when he did not wish
| her to wait longer. His ideals had changed.
Success had come to mean but one thing for
him: gold; he no longer strove for honors but
for riches. He abandoned the thought of glory
and of power, of which he had once dreamed.
Now he wanted gold. Beauty would fade, cul-
ture prove futile; but gold was king, and all
he saw bowed before it. Why marry a poor
girl when another had wealth?

He found a girl as handsome as Catherine .
Trelane. It was not a chapter in his history
in which he took much pride. Just when he
thought he had succeeded, her father had in-
terposed and she had yielded easily. She had
married a fool with ten times Livingstone’s
wealth. It was a blow to Livingstone, but he
had recovered, and after that he had a new in-
centive in life; he would be richer than her
father or her husband.

He had become so and had bought his house

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partly to testify to the fact. Then he had gone

back to Catherine Trelane. She had come un-
expectedly into property. He had not dared
quite to face her, but had written to her, ask-
ing her to marry him. He had her reply some-
where now; it had cut deeper than she ever
knew or would know. She wrote that the time
had been when she might have married him
even had he asked her by letter, but it was
too late now. The man she might have loved
was dead. He had gone to see her then, but
had found what she said was true. She was
more beautiful than when he had last seen
her—so beautiful that the charm of her ma-
turity had almost eclipsed in his mind the
memory of her girlish loveliness. But she was
inexorable. He had not blamed her, he had
only cursed himself, and had plunged once
more into the boiling current of the struggle
for wealth. And he had won—yes, won!

With a shock those figures slipped before

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his eyes and would not go away. Even when
he shut his eyes and rubbed them the ghastly
line was there.

He turned and gazed down the long room.
It was as empty as a desert. He listened to
see if he could hear any sound, even hoping
to hear some sound from his servants. All was
as silent as a tomb.

He rubbed his eyes, with a groan that was
almost a curse. The figures were still there.

He suddenly rose to his feet and gave him-
self a shake. He determined to go to his club;
he would find company there,—perhaps not
the best, but it would be better than this
awful loneliness and deadly silence.

He went through the hall softly, almost
stealthily ; put on his hat and coat; let him-
self quietly out of the door and stepped forth
into the night.

It had stopped snowing and the stars looked

down from a clearing sky. The moon just

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above the housetops was sailing along a burn-
ished track. The vehicles went slowly by with
a muffled sound broken only by the creaking
of the wheels in the frosty night. From the
cross streets, sounded in the distance the jan-

gle of sleigh-bells.

[ 93 ]
CHAPTER IX

IVINGSTONE plodded along through
the snow, relieved to find that the
effort made him forget himself and

banished those wretched figures. He traversed
the intervening streets and before he was
conscious of it was standing in the hall of
the brilliantly lighted club. The lights dazzled
him, and he was only half sensible of the score
of servants that surrounded him with vague,
half-proffers of aid in removing his over-
coat.

Without taking off his coat, Livingstone
walked on into the large assembly-room to
see who might be there. It was as empty as
a church. The lights were all turned on full
and the fires burned brightly in the big
hearths; but there was not a soul in the
room, usually so crowded at this hour.

Livingstone turned and crossed the marble-

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paved hall to another spacious suite of rooms.
Not a soul was there. The room ere swept
and garnished, the silence and loneliness seem-
ing only intensified by the brilliant light and
empty magnificence.

Livingstone felt like a man in a dream from
which he could not awake. He turned and
made his way back to the outer door. As he
did so he caught sight of a single figure at
the far end of one of the big rooms. It looked
like Wright,— the husband of Mrs. Wright to
whom Livingstone had sent his charity-sub-
scription a few hours before. He had on his
overcoat and must have just come in. He was
standing by the great fire-place rubbing his
‘hands with satisfaction. As Livingstone turned
away, he thought he heard his name called,
but he dashed out into the night. He could
not stand Wright just then.

He plunged back through the snow and once

more let himself in at his own door. It was

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lonelier within than before. The hall was
ghastly. The big rooms, bigger than they had
ever seemed, were like a desert. It was intol-
erable! He would go to bed.

He slowly climbed the stairs. The great clock
on the landing stared at him as he passed and
in deep tones tolled the hour—of ten. It was
impossible! Livingstone knew it must have
been hours since he left his office. To him it
seemed months, years;—but his own watch
marked the same hour.

As he entered his bedroom, two pictures
hanging on the wall caught his eye. They
were portraits of a gentleman and a lady.
Any one would have known at a glance that
they were Livingstone’s father and mother.
They had hung there since Livingstone built
his house, but he had not thought of them in
years. Perhaps, that was why they were still
there.

They were early works of one who had

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since become a master. Livingstone remem-
bered the day his father had given the order
to the young artist.

“Why do you do that?” some one had
asked. “He perhaps has parts, but he is a
young man and wholly unknown.”

“That is the very reason I do it,” had said
his father. “Those who are known need no
assistance. Help young men, for thereby some.
have helped angels unawares.”

It had come true. The unknown artist had
become famous, and these early portraits were
now worth—no, not those figures which sud-
denly gleamed before Livingstone’s eyes! —

Livingstone remembered the letter that the
artist had written his father, tendering him

aid when he learned of his father’s reverses

‘' —he had said he owed his life to him—and

his father’s reply, that he needed no aid, and
it was sufficient recompense to know that

one he had helped remembered a friend.

Le |
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Livingstone walked up and scanned the
portrait nearest him. He had not really looked
at it in years. He had had no idea how fine
it was. How well it portrayed him! There was
the same calm forehead, noble in its breadth;
the same deep, sérene, blue eyes;—the artist
had caught their kindly expression ;— the
same gentle mouth with its pleasant humor
lurking at the corners;—the artist had almost
put upon the canvas the mobile play of the
lips ;—the same finely cut chin with its well
marked cleft. It was the very man.

Livingstone had had no idea how hand-
some a man his father was. He remembered
Henry Trelane saying he wished he were an
artist to paint his father, but that only Van
Dyck could have made him as distinguished
as he was.

He turned to the portrait of his mother. It
was a beautiful face and a gracious. He re-

membered that every one except his father

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had said it was a fine portrait, but his father
had said it was, “only a fine picture; no por-
trait of her could be fine.”

Moved by the recollection, Livingstone
opened a drawer and took from a box the
daguerreotype of a boy. He held it in his hand
and looked. first at it and then at the portraits
on the wall. Yes, it was distinctly like both.
He remembered it used to be said that he was
like his father; but his father had always said
he was like his mother. He could now see the
resemblance. There were, even in the round,
unformed, boyish face, the same wide open
eyes; the same expression of the mouth, as
though a smile were close at hand; the same
smooth, placid brow. His chin was a little
bolder than his father’s. Livingstone was
pleased to note it.

He determined to have his portrait painted
by the best painter he could find. He would

not consider the cost. Why should he? He
(gon
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was worth—at the thought the seven gleam-
ing figures flashed out clear between his eyes
and the portrait in his hand.

Livingstone turned suddenly and faced him-
self in the full length mirror at his side. The
light caught him exactly and he stood and
looked himself full in the face. What he saw
horrified him. He felt his heart sink and saw
the pallor settle deeper over his face. His hair
was almost white. He was wrinkled. His eyes
were small and sharp and cold. His mouth was
drawn and hard. His cheeks were seamed
and set like flint. He was a hard, wan, ugly
old man; and as he gazed, unexpectedly in
the mirror before his eyes, flashed those cursed
figures.

With almost a cry Livingstone turned and
looked at the portraits on the wall. He half
feared the sharp figures would appear branded
across those faces. But no, thank God! the fig-

ures had disappeared. The two faces beamed
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down on him sweet and serene and comforting
as heaven.

Under an impulse of relief Livingstone flung
himself face downward on the bed and slipped
to his knees. The position and the association
it brought fetched to his lips words which he
used to utter in that presence long years ago.

It had been long since Livingstone had
prayed. He attended church, but if he had
any heart it had not been there. Now this
prayer came instinctively. It was simple and
childish enough: the words that he had been
taught at his mother’s knee. He hardly knew
he had said them; yet they soothed him and
gave him comfort; and from some far-off
time came the saying, “ Except ye become as lit-

2»

tle children, ye shall not enter—” and he went
on repeating the words.

Another verse drifted into his mind: “ And
he took a child and set him in the midst of them,

and said, * * * Whosoever shall humble him-

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self as this little child, the same is greatest. And
whoso shall recewe one such little child in my
name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one
of these little ones which believe in me, it were
better for him that a millstone were hanged about
his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth
of the sea.”

The events of the evening rose up before
Livingstone—the little girl in her red jacket,
with her tear-stained face, darting a look of
hate at him; the rosy-cheeked boys shouting
with glee on the hillside, stopped in the midst
of their fun, and changing suddenly to yell
their cries of hate at him; the shivering beg-
gar asking for work,—for but five cents, which
he had withheld from him.

Livingstone shuddered. Had he done these
things ? Could it be possible? Into his memory
came from somewhere afar off: “Inasmuch as
ye have done it unto one of the least of these my

brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
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There flashed through his mind the thought,

might he not retrieve himself? Was it too late ?
Could he not do something for some one ?—
perhaps, for some little ones?

It was like a flash of light and Livingstone
was conscious of a thrill of joy at the idea, but
“it faded out leaving him in blanker darkness
than before. He did not know a single child.
— He knew in a vague, impersonal way a
number of children whom he had had a mo-
mentary glimpse of occasionally at the fashion-
able houses which he visited; but he knew
them only as he would have known hand-
somely dressed dolls in show windows. He
had never thought of them as children, but
only as a part of the personal belongings of
his acquaintances—much as he thought of
their bric-a-brac or their poodles. They were
not like the children he had once known. He
had never seen them romp and play or heard

them laugh or shout.
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He was sunk in deep darkness.

In his gloom he glanced up. His father’s
serene face was beaming down on him. A
speech he had heard his father make long,
long ago, came back to him: “Always be
kind to children. Grown people may forget
kindness, but children will remember it. They
forgive, but never forget either a kindness or
an injury.”

Another speech of his father’s came float-
ing to Livingstone across the years: “If you
have made an enemy of a child, make him
your friend if it takes a year! A child’s en-
mity is never incurred except by injustice or
meanness.”

Livingstone could not but think of Clark’s
little girl. Might she not help him? She would
know children. But would she help him ?

If she were like Clark, he reasoned, she
would be kind-hearted. Besides, he remem-

bered to have heard his father say that chil-
[ 104 ]
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dren did not bear malice: that was a growth
of older minds. It was strange for Livingstone
to find himself recurring to his father for
knowledge of human nature—his father
whom he had always considered the most ig-
norant of men as to knowledge of the world.

He sprang to his feet and looked at his
watch. Perhaps, it was not yet too late to see
the little girl to-night if he hurried? Clark
lived not very far off, in a little side street, and
they would sit up late Christmas Eve.

As he turned to the mirror it was with tre-
pidation, his last glance at it had been so
dreadful; but he was relieved to find a plea-
santer expression on his face. He almost saw a
slight resemblance to his father.

The next moment he hurried from the room ;
stole down the stair; slipped on his overcoat,

and hastily let himself out of the door.

[ 105 ]
CHAPTER X

T was quite clear out now and the moon

was riding high in a cloudless heaven.

The jingle of sleigh-bells had increased
and just as Livingstone turned the corner
a sleigh dashed past him. He heard the merry
voices of young people, and amid the voices
the ringing laughter of a young girl, clear
as a silver bell.

Livingstone stopped short in his tracks and
listened. He had not heard anything so musi-
cal in years—he had not heard a young girl’s
laughter in years—he had not had time to
think of such things. It brought back across
the snow-covered fields—across the snow-cov-
ered years—a Christmas of long ago when he
had heard a young girl’s musical laughter
like a silvery chime, and, standing there in
the snow-covered street, for one moment Liv-

ingstone was young again—no longer a gray-

[ 106 ]
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haired man in the city; but a young man in
the country, somewhere under great arching
boughs; face to face with one who was also
young ;—-and, looking out from a hood that
surrounded it like a halo, a girlish face flashed
on him: cheeks like roses, brilliant with the
frosty air; roguish eyes, now dancing, now
melting; a laughing mouth from which came
such rippling music that there was no simile
for it in all the realm of silvery sound, the
enchanting music of the joy of youth.

With a cry, Livingstone sprang forward
with outstretched, eager hands to catch the
vision; but his arms enclosed only vacancy
and he stood alone in the empty street.

A large sleigh came by and Livingstone
hailed it. It was a livery vehicle and the driver
having just put down at their homes a party
of pleasure-seekers was on his way back to
his stable. He agreed with Livingstone to

take him to his destination and wait for him,

[akO7.-]
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and Livingstone, giving him a number, sprang
in and ordered him to drive rapidly.

The sleigh stopped in front of a little house,
in a narrow street filled with little houses, and
Livingstone getting out mounted the small
flight of steps. Inside, pandemonium seemed
to have broken loose somewhere up-stairs,
such running and shouting and shrieks of
joyous laughter Livingstone heard. Then, as he
could not find the bell, Livingstone knocked.

At the sound the noise suddenly ceased,
but the next moment it burst forth again
louder than before. This time the shouts
came rolling down the stairs and towards the
door, with a scamper of little feet and shrieks
of childish delight. They were interrupted and
restrained by a quiet, kindly voice which
Livingstone recognized as Clark’s. The father
was trying to keep the children back.

It might be Santa Claus himself, Living-

stone heard him urge, and if they did not
[ 108 ]
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go back to bed immediately, or into the back

room,—or even if they peeped, Santa Claus
might jump into his sleigh and drive away
and leave nobody at the door but a gro-
cer’s boy with a parcel. This direful threat had
its effect. The gleeful squeals were hushed
down into subdued and half-awed murmurs
and after a little a single footstep came along
the passage and the front door was opened
cautiously.

At sight of Livingstone, Clark started, and
by the light of the lamp the caller could see
his face pale a little. He asked Livingstone
in with a voice that almost faltered. Leaving
Livingstone in the little passage for a moment
Clark entered the first room—the front room
—and Livingstone could hear him sending
the occupants into a rear room. He heard the
communicating door close softly. Every sound
was suddenly hushed. It was like the sudden

hush of birds when a hawk appears. Living-
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stone thought of it and a pang shot through
him. Then the door was opened and Clark
somewhat stiffly invited Livingstone in.

The room was a small front parlor.

The furniture was old and worn, but it
was not mean. A few old pieces gave the
room, small as it was, almost an air of dis-
tinction. Several old prints hung on the walls,
a couple of portraits in pink crayon, such as
St. Mimin used to paint, and a few photo-
graphs in frames, most of them of children, —
but among them one of Livingstone himself.

All this Livingstone took in as he en-
tered. The room was in a state of confusion,
and a lounge on one side, with its pillows still
bearing the imprint of an occupant, showed
that the house held an invalid. In one cor-
ner a Christmas-tree, half dressed, explained
the litter. It was not a very large tree; cer-
tainly it was not very richly dressed. The

things that hung on it were very simple.
[ 110 ]
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Many of them evidently were of home-manu-
facture —knots of ribbon, little garments, sec-
ond-hand books, even home-made toys.

A small pile of similar articles lay on the
floor, where they had been placed ready for
service and had been left by the tree-dressers
on their hasty departure.

Clark’s eye followed instinctively that of
the visitor.

“My wife has been dressing a tree for the
children,” he said simply.

He faced Livingstone and offered him a

chair, He stiffened as he did so. He was evi-
dently prepared for the worst.

Livingstone sat down. It was an awkward
moment. Livingstone broke the ice.

* Mr. Clark, I have come to ask you a favor
—a great favor—”’

Clark’s eyes opened wide and his lips even
parted slightly in his astonishment.

««__JT want you to lend me your little girl—

fru]
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the little girl I saw in the office this afternoon.”
Clark’s expression was so puzzled that Liv-

ingstone thought he had not understood him.

«The Princess with the Golden Locks,’ ”
he explained.

“Mr. Livingstone!—I—I don’t under-
stand.” He looked dazed.

Livingstone broke out suddenly: “Clark, I
have been a brute, a cursed brute!”

“Oh! Mr. Liv—!”

With a gesture of sharp dissent Livingstone
cut him short.

“Jt is no use to deny it, Clark, —I have—I
have!—I have been a brute for years and I
have just awakened to the fact!” He spoke
in bitter, impatient accusation. “JI have been
a brute for years and I have just realized it.”

The face of the other had softened.

“Oh, no, Mr. Livingstone, not that. You
have always been just—and—Jjust;”’ he pro-

tested kindly. “ You have always—”
aie, ]
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—“ Been a brute,” insisted Livingstone, “a
blind, cursed, selfish, thoughtless —”’

“You are not well, Mr. Livingstone,” urged
Clark, looking greatly disturbed. “ Your ser-
vant, James, said you were not well this even-
ing when I called. I wanted to go in to see
you, but he would not permit me. He said that
you had given positive orders that you would
not see—”’

“JT was not well,’ assented Livingstone. “I
was suffering from blindness. But I am better,
Clark, better. I can see now—a little.”

He controlled himself and spoke quietly.
“J want you to lend me your little girl for—”’
He broke off suddenly. “ How many children
have you, Clark?” he asked, gently.

“ ight,” said the old clerk. “ But I haven’t
one I could spare, Mr. Livingstone.”

“ Only for a little while, Clark?” urged the
other ; “only for a little while. — Wait, and let

me tell you what I want with her and why I
fis]
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want her, and you will—For a little while?”
he pleaded.

He started and told his story and Clark sat
and listened, at first with a set face, then with
a wondering face, and then with a face deeply
moved, as Livingstone, under his warming
sympathy, opened his heart to him as a
dying man might to his last confessor.

*__And now will you lend her to me,
Clark, for just a little while to-night and
to-morrow?” he pleaded in conclusion.

Clark rose to his feet. “I will see what I
can do with her, Mr. Livingstone,” he said,
gravely. “She is not very friendly to you, I
am sorry to say—TI don’t know why.”

Livingstone thought he knew.

“Of course, you would not want me to
compel her to go with you?”

“Of course not,” said Livingstone.

ata
CHAPTER XI

HE father went out by the door

that opened into the passage, and

the next moment Livingstone could
hear him in deep conference in the adjoining
room; at first with his wife, and then with the
little girl herself.

The door did not fit very closely and the
partition was thin, so that Livingstone could
not help hearing what was said, and even
when he could shut out the words he could
not help knowing from the tones what was
going on.

The mother was readily won over, but
when the little girl was consulted she flatly
refused. Her father undertook to coax her.

To Livingstone’s surprise the argument
he used was not that Livingstone was rich,
but that he was so poor and lonely; not well

off and happy like him, with a house full
[ 115 ]
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of little children to love him and make
him happy and give him a merry Christ-
mas.

The point of view was new to Livingstone —
. at least, it was recent; but he recognized its
force and listened hopefully. The child’s reply
dashed his hopes.

“But, papa, I hate him so—I just hate
him!” she declared, earnestly. “I’m glad he
hasn’t any little children to love him. When
he wouldn’t let you come home to us this
evening, I just prayed so hard to God not to
let him have any home and not to let him
have any Christmas—not ever /”

The eager little voice had risen. in the
child’s earnestness and it pierced through
the door and struck Livingstone like an ar-
row. There came back to him that sentence,
“ Whoso offendeth one of these little ones, it
were better for him that a millstone were hanged

about his neck—.”

[ 116 ]
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Livingstone fairly shivered, but he had able

defenders.

“Oh, Kitty!” exclaimed both her father
and mother, aghast at the child’s bitterness.

They next tried the argument that Living-
stone had been so kind to the father. He had
“given him last year fifty dollars besides his
salary.”

Livingstone was not surprised that this
argument did not prove as availing with the
child as the parents appeared to expect.—
Fifty dollars! He hated himself for it. He
felt that he would give fifty thousand to drop
that millstone from his neck.

They next tried the argument that Living-
stone wanted to have a Christmas-tree for
poor children and needed her help. He
wanted her to go with him to a toy-shop.
He did not know what to get and wished
her to tell him. He had his sleigh to take her.

This seemed to strike one of the other
[eoletey
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members of the family, for suddenly a boy’s
eager voice burst in:

«Ql go with him. I’ll go with him in a
sleigh. I’ll go to the toy-shop. Maybe, he’ll
give me a sled. Papa, mamma, please let me
go.”

This offer, however, did not appear to meet
all the requisites of the occasion and Master
Tom was speedily suppressed by his parents.
Perhaps, however, his offer had some effect
on Kitty, for she finally assented and said
she would go, and Livingstone could hear
the parents getting her ready. He felt like
a reprieved prisoner.

After a few moments Mr. Clark brought
the little girl in, cloaked and hooded and
ready to go.

When Livingstone faced the two blue eyes
that were fastened on him in calm, and, by
no means, wholly approving inspection, he felt

like a deep-dyed culprit. Had he known of
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this ordeal in advance he could not have
faced it, but as it was he must now carry it
through.

What he did was, perhaps, the best that
any one could have done. After the cool,
little handshake she vouchsafed him, Living-
stone, finding that he could not stand the scru-
tiny of those quiet, unblenching eyes, threw
himself on the child’s mercy.

“ Kitty,” he said earnestly, “I did you this
evening a great wrong, and your father a great
wrong, and I have come here to ask you to for-
give me.—I have been working so hard that
I did not know it was Christmas, and I inter-
fered with your father’s Christmas—and with
your Christmas; for I had no little girls to
tell me how near Christmas was. And now
I want to get up a Christmas for some poor
children, and I don’t know how to do it, so
I have come to ask you to help me. I want

you to play Santa Claus for me, and we will

[ 119 ]
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find the toys, and then we will find the chil-
dren. I have a great big sleigh, and we will
go off to a toy-shop, and presently I will
bring you back home again.”

He had made his speech much longer than
he had intended, because he saw that the
child’s mind was working; the cumulative
weight of the sleigh-ride, the opportunity to
play a part and to act as Santa Claus for other
children, was telling on her.

When he ended, Kitty reflected a moment
and then said quietly, “ All right.”

Her tone was not very enthusiastic, but it
was assent and Livingstone felt as though he
had just been redeemed.

The next moment the child turned to the
door.

Livingstone rose and followed her. He was
amused at his feeling of helplessness and de-
pendence. She was suddenly the leader and

without her he felt lost.
[ 120 ]
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She stepped into the sleigh and he followed
her.

«Where shall we go first ?” she asked.

This was a poser for Livingstone. All the
shops of which he knew anything were closed
long ago.

“Why, I think I will let you select the
place,” he began, simply seeking for time.

“What do you want to get?” she asked
calmly, gazing up at him.

Livingstone had never thought for a second
that there would be any difficulty about this.
He was hopelessly in the dark. Stocks, ““com-
mon” or “preferred,” bonds and debentures,
floated through his mind. Even horses or pic-
tures he would have had a clear opinion on,
but in this field he was lost. He had never
known, or cared to know, what children liked.

Suddenly a whole new realm seemed to
open before him, but it was shrouded in dark-

ness. And that little figure at his side with
[ 121 }
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large, sober, searching eyes fixed calmly on
him was quietly demanding his knowledge
and waiting for his answer. He had passed
hundreds of windows crowded with Christmas
presents that very evening and had never
looked at one. He had passed as between
blank walls. What would he not have given
now for but the least memory of one
glance!

But the eee waiting and he must
answer.

“Why—ah—you know, —ah— toys /”

It was an inspiration and Livingstone shook
himself with self-approval.

“Yes—ah—roys! you know?” he repeated.

He glowed with satisfaction over his escape.

The announcement, however, did not ap-
pear to astonish his companion as much as he
felt it should have done. She did not even
take her eyes from his face.

“ Ffow many children are there ?”
[ 122 ]
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“Why—twenty.” Livingston caught at a
number, as a sinking man catches at a twig.

As she accepted this, Livingstone was con-
scious of elation. He felt as though he were
playing a game and had escaped the ignominy
of a wrong answer: he had caught a bough
and it held him.

“ How old are they ?”

Livingstone gasped. The little ogress! Was
she just trifling with him? Could it be pos-
sible that she saw through him? As he looked
down at her the eyes fastened on him were
as calm as a dove’s eyes.

«Why—ah—. How many brothers and sis-
ters have you?” he asked.

He wished to create a diversion and gain
time. She answered promptly.

“Seven: four sisters and three brothers.
John, he’s my oldest brother; Tom, he’s next
—he’s eight. Billy is the baby.”

This contribution of family history was a

[ 123 ]
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relief, and Livingstone was just trying to
think of something else to say, when she de-
manded again,

“What are the ages of your children ?”

“T have no children,’ said Livingstone,
thinking how clever he was to be so ready
with an answer.

“JT know. —But I mean the children you
want the toys for?”

Livingstone felt for his handkerchief. The
perspiration was beginning to come on his
brow.

“Why,—ah—the same ages as your bro-
thers and sisters—about,”’ he said desperately,
feeling that he was at the end of his re-
sources and would be discovered by the next
question.

“We will go to Brown’s,’ said the child
quietly, and, dropping her eyes, she settled
herself back in the furs as though the pro-

blem were definitely solved.
[ 124 ]
CHAPTER XII

IVINGSTONE glanced at the little fig-
ure beside him, hoping she would
indicate where “ Brown’s” was, but

she did not. Every one must know “Brown’s.”

The only “Brown” Livingstone knew was
the great banker, and a grim smile flick-
ered on his cheek at the thought of the toys
in which that Brown dealt. He shifted the
responsibility to the driver.

“Driver, go to Brown’s. You know where it
is P”

“Well, no, sir, I don’t believe I do. Which
Brown do you mean, sir?”

«“Why—ah—the toy-man’s, of course.”

The driver stopped his horses and reflected.
He shook his head slowly. Livingstone, how-
ever, was now equal to the emergency. Be-
sides, there was nothing else to do. He turned

to his companion.
[ 125 ]
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. “Where is it?” he began boldly, but as he
saw the look of surprise in the little girl’s face
he added, “I mean—exactly ?”

“Why, right across from the grocer’s with
the parrot and the little white woolly dog.”

She spoke with astonishment that any one
should not know so important a personage.
And Livingstone, too, was suddenly conscious
of the importance of this information. Clearly
he had neglected certain valuable branches of
knowledge.

Happily, the driver came to his rescue.

«Where is that, Miss?” he asked.

“You go to the right and keep going to the
right all the way,” she said definitely.

Livingstone was in despair; but the driver
appeared to understand now.

“You tell me when I go wrong,’ he said,
and drove on.

He must have children at home, thought

Livingstone to himself as the sleigh after a

[ 126 ]
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number of turns drew up in front of one of
the very windows Livingstone had passed that
evening on the back street. He felt as though
he would like to reward the driver. It was the
first time Livingstone had thought of a driver
in many years.

Just as they drove up the door of the shop
was being closed, and the little girl gave an
exclamation of disappointment.

“ Oh, we are too late!” she cried.

Livingstone felt his heart jump into his
throat. He sprang to the door and rapped.
There was no answer. The light was evidently
being turned off inside. Livingstone rapped
again more impatiently. Another light was
turned down. Livingstone was desperate. His
loud knocking produced no impression, and
he could have bought out the whole squave!

Suddenly a little figure pushed against him
as Kitty slipped before him, and putting her
mouth to the crack of the door, called,

Pare |
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“Oh! Mr. Brown, please let me in. It’s me,
Kitty Clark, Mr. Clark’s little girl.”

Instantly the light within was turned up.
A step came towards the door, the bolts
were drawn hack and half the door was
opened.

Livingstone was prepared to see the shop-
keeper confounded when he should discover
who his caller was. On the contrary, the man
was in nowise embarrassed by his appearance.
Indeed, he paid no attention whatever to Liv-
- ingstone. It was to Kitty that he addressed
himself, ignoring Livingstone’s presence ut-
terly.

“Why, Kitty, what are you doing out at
this time of night? Aren’t you afraid Santa
Claus will come while you are away, and not
bring you anything? You know what they say
he does if he don’t find everybody asleep in
bed?”

Kitty nodded, and leaning forward on her
-[ 128 ]
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toes, dropped her voice to a mysterious whisper :
“JT know who Santa Claus is.”’ The whisper
ended with a little chuckle of delight at her
astuteness. “I found it out last Christmas.”

“ Kitty, you didn’t! You must have been
mistaken?” said the shopkeeper with a grin
on his kindly countenance. “ Who is he ?”

« Mr.— Brown, and Mr. and Mrs.—Clark,”
said Kitty slowly and impressively, as though
she were adding up figures and the result
would speak for itself. She took in the shop
with a wave of her little hand and a sweep
of her eyes.

“JT’m playing Santa Claus myself, to-night,”
she said, tossing her hooded head, her eyes
kindling at the thought. The next look around
was one of business.

“This is Mr. Livingstone, papa’s employer.”
She indicated that gentleman.

Mr. Brown held out his plump and not

wholly immaculate hand.

[ 129 ]
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“ How d’ye do, sir? I think I’ve heard of
you?”

He turned back to Kitty.

“Who for?” he asked.

“For him,” Kitty nodded. “He’s got a
whole lot of little children—not his own chil-
dren—other people’s children—that he’s go-
ing to give Christmas presents to, and I’ve
come to help him. What have you got left,
Mr. Santa Claus?”

She stood Gn tiptoe and peered over the
shelves.

“ Well, not a great deal, Miss Wide-awake,”
said the shopkeeper dropping into her manner
and mood. “ You see there’s lots of children
around this year as don’t keep wide-awake all
night, and Santa Claus has had to look after
*em quite considerable. I can’t tell you how
many sleighs full of things he’s taken away
from this here very shop. He didn’t leave

nothing but them things you see and the very
[ 130 ]
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expensive things in the cases, He said they
were too high-priced for him.”

He actually gave Livingstone a wink, and
Livingstone actually felt flattered by it.

The reply recalled Kitty to her business.
She turned to Mr. Livingstone.

“How much money have you got to
spend?” she asked.

“ Umhm—lI don’t know,” said Livingstone.

« As much as a dollar?”

SoNiesis!

“ More?”

“Yes,”

“ How much more?”

* As much as you want. Suppose you pick
out the things you like and then we can see
about the price,” he suggested.

“Some things cost a heap.”

She was looking at a doll on whose skirt
was pinned a. little scrap of card-board
marked, “ 25c.”

[ 131 ]
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“Yes, they do,” assented Livingstone. “ But
they are worth it,’ he thought. “I tell you
what!—Suppose you look around and see
just what you like, and I’ll go off here and-
talk with Mr. Brown so as not to disturb you.”

He was learning and the lesson was already
bringing him pleasure.

He took the shopkeeper aside and had a
little talk with him, learning from him all he
could of Clark’s family and circumstances. It
was an amazement to him. He had never
known what a burden Clark had carried. The
shopkeeper spoke of him with great affection
and with great respect.

“ He is the best man in the world,” he said.

He treated Livingstone with familiarity, but
he spoke of Clark with respect.

“He ought to be on the Avenue,” he as-
serted; “and if everybody had their rights
some would be where Mr. Clark is and Mr.

Clark would be in their place.”
[ 132 ]


HE TOOK THE SHOPKEEPER ASIDE AND HAD A LITTLE
TALK WITH HIM.
SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER

Livingstone was not prepared just. then to
gainsay this.

He explained to Mr. Brown his wishes. He
wanted to get many things, but did not know
how to keep the child from suspecting his
plan. The shopkeeper gave him a suggestion.
Close association and sympathy with children

had given Brown knowledge.

{ 133 ]
CHAPTER XIII

HEY returned to Kitty. She was
busy figuring on a little piece of
paper, moistening her little stub of
a pencil, every other second, with her tongue.
Her little red mouth showed streaks of black.
She was evidently in some trouble.
Livingstone drew near.
“ How are you coming on?” he asked.
She looked up with a face full of perplexity.
“Oh! I’ve spent nearly the whole dollar
and I haven’t but nine presents yet. We
must get something cheaper.—But they were

”

so pretty!”’ she lamented, her eyes glancing
longingly towards the articles she had selected.
“Let’s see. Maybe, you have made a mis-
take,” said Livingstone. He took the bit of
paper and she handed him the pencil.
“I’m not very good at making figures,” she

observed.
[ 134 ]
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“J’m not either,’ said Livingstone, glan-
cing at the paper. “I’ll tell you what let’s
do,” he said, “Let’s get Mr. Brown to open
all his cases and boxes, and let’s look at
everything and just see what we would select
if we could have our choice?”

The little girl’s eyes opened wide.

“You mean, let’s make pretense that we
are real sure-enough Santa Claus and just
pick out everything we want to give every-
body, and pretend that we could get it- and
give it to them?”

Livingstone nodded.

Yes.”

That was just what he ought to have meant,
he knew.

The inquiry in Kitty’s big eyes became
light. She sprang to her feet and with a
little squeak of delight marched to the mid-
dle of the shop and taking her stand began to

sweep the shelves with her dancing eyes.
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Livingstone gave a nod to the shopkeeper
and he drew back the curtains that protected
the cases where the finer and more expensive
goods were kept and began to open the boxes.

Kitty approached on tiptoe and watched
him with breathless silence as though she
were in a dream which a word might break.

Then when she had seen everything she
turned back to Livingstone.

“ Well!” she said slowly.

“Well, what do you say?” He too was be-
ginning to feel a spell. :

“Well, if I were a real, sure-’nough Santa
Claus, I’d just get— everything in those
cases.” The spread of her little arms took it
all in.

«And what would you do with it?” asked
Livingstone in the same low tone, fearful of
breaking the reverie in which she stood
wrapped.

He had never before in all his life been

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taken into partnership by a little girl, and
deep down beneath his breast-pocket was a
kindling glow which was warming him through
and through.

“JT’d carry that doll—to Jean, and that—
to Sue, and that—to Mollie, and that—to
Dee, and those skates to Johnny, and—that
sled to Tom, and—that woolly lamb to little
Billy, cause he loves squshy things. —And then
—I’d take all the rest in my sleigh and I’d
go to the hospital where the poor little chil-
dren haven't got any good papas and mammas
like me to give them anything, and where
Santa Claus can’t ever go, and I’d put some-
thing by the side of every bed—of every
one, and, maybe, they’d think at first it was
only a dream; but when they waked up wide
they'd find Santa Claus had been there, sure
enough!”

In her energy she was gesticulating with

earnest hands that seemed to take each pre-
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sent and bear it to its destination, and she
concluded with a little nod to Livingstone
that seemed to recognize him as in sympathy
with her, and to say, “ Wouldn't we if we only
could?”

It seemed to Livingstone as though a casing
of ice in which he had been enclosed had sud-
denly broken and he were bathed in warmth.

The millstone round his neck had suddenly
dropped and he shot upward into the light.

The child was leading him into a new and
vernal world. He wanted to take her in his
arms and press her to his heart. The differ-
ence between the glance she now gave him
and that she had shot at him at the door of
his office that evening came to him and de-
cided him. It was worth it all.

“Yes. Is there anything else you wish?” he
asked, hoping that there might be, for she had
not mentioned herself.

“Yes, but it’s not anything Santa Claus can
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give,” she said calmly; “I have asked God for
it.” :

“What?” asked Livingstone.

“Something to make mamma well: to help
papa pay for the house. He says it’s that ’at
keeps her ill, and she says if she were well he
could pay for it: and I just pray to God for it
every day.”

Livingstone caught his breath quickly as if
from a sudden pain. The long years of Clark’s
faithful service flashed before him. He shivered
at the thought of his own meanness. He was
afraid those great eyes might see into his
heart. He almost shrivelled at the thought.

“Well, let’s take a sleigh-ride and see if any
other shops are open. Then we can return.”

He spoke a few words aside to Mr. Brown.
The shopkeeper’s eyes opened wide.

“But you say you haven’t money enough
with you, and I don’t know you?”

Livingstone smiled.

[ 139 ]
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“Why, man, I am worth—” He stopped
short as a faint trace of seven figures appeared
vaguely before his eyes. “I am worth enough
to buy all this square and not feel it,” he said,
quickly correcting himself.

“That may be all so, but I don’t know you,”
persisted the shopkeeper. “Do you know any-
body in this part of the town ?”

“Well, I know Mr. Clark. He would vouch
for me, but—.”

The shopkeeper turned to the child.

“Kitty, you know this gentleman, you say?”

“Yes. Oh, he’s all right,” said Kitty deci-
sively. “He’s my papa’s employer and he gave
him fifty dollars last Christmas, ‘cause my papa
told me so.”

This munificent gift did not appear to im-
press Mr. Brown very much, any more than it
did Livingstone, who felt himself flush.

“Business is business, you know?” said the

shopkeeper,—an aphorism on which Living-
[ 140 ]
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stone had often acted, but had never had cited
against him.

The shopkeeper was evidently considering.

Livingstone was half angry and half embar-
rassed. He felt as he had not done in twenty
years. The shopkeeper was weighing him in
his scales as he might have done a pound of
merchandise, and Livingstone could not tell
what he would decide. There was Kitty, how-
ever, her eyes still filled with light. He could
not disappoint her. She, too, felt that he was
being weighed and suddenly came to his res-
cue.

“He’s an awful kind man,” she said ear-
nestly. “He hasn’t got any little children of
his own, and he’s going to give things to little
poor children. He always does that, I guess,”
she added.

“ Well, no, I don’t,” said Livingstone, look-
ing at the shopkeeper frankly ; “but I wish I

had, and I'll pay you.”
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“ All right. She knows you and that will
do,” said Mr. Brown.

Kitty, with the light of an explorer in her
eyes, was making new discoveries on the
shelves, and the two men walked to the back
of the shop where the shopkeeper wrote a
list of names. Then Livingstone and Kitty
got into the sleigh and drove for a half-hour
or so.

On their return Mr. Brown was ready.

His shop looked as though it had been
struck by a whirlwind. The floor and counters
were covered with boxes and bundles, and he
and Livingstone packed the big sleigh as full
as it would hold, leaving only one seat deep
in the furs amid the heaped up parcels. Then
suddenly from somewhere Mr. Brown _pro-
duced a great, shaggy cape with a hood, and
Livingstone threw it around Kitty and get-
ting in lifted her into the little nest between

the furs.
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Kitty’s eyes were dancing and her breath
was coming quickly with excitement.

It was a supreme moment.

“Where are we going, Mr. Livingstone?”
she whispered. She was afraid to speak aloud
lest she might break the spell and awake.

“Just where you like.”

“To the Children’s Hospital,” she panted.

“To the Children’s Hospital, driver,” re-
peated Livingstone.

Kitty gave another gasp.

“We'll play you’re Santa Claus,” she said,
in a voice of low delight.

“No. Play you are Santa Claus’s partner,”
said Livingstone.

«And you?”

«You are not to say anything about me.”

[ 143 ]
CHAPTER XIV

IVINGSTONE had not had such a drive
in years. The little form snuggled
against him closer and closer and the

warm half sentences of childish prattle, as
the little girl’s imagination wove its fancies,
came to him from amid the furs and made
him feel as though he had left the earth and
were driving in a new world. It was like a
_ dream. Had youth come back ? Was it possible >

The sleigh stopped in front of a great long
building.

“You have to ring at the side door at
night,” said the driver. He appeared to know
a good deal about the hospital.

Livingstone sprang out and rang the bell
and then stepped back.

“When they open the door, you are to do
all the talking,’ he said to Kitty as he lifted

her down.
[ 144 ]


THE LITTLE FORM SNUGGLED AGAINST HIM CLOSER AND CLOSER.
SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER

“Who shall I say rang?” she asked.

« Santa Claus’s partner.”

« But you—?”

“No. You are not to mention my name.
Remember!”

Before the child could reply the door opened
a little way and a porter looked out.

“Who’s there?” he called to the sleigh,
rather overlooking the little figure in the
snow.

“Santa Claus’s partner,” said Kitty.

“What do you want?” He peered out at
the sleigh. He was evidently sleepy and a lit-
tle puzzled. “We don’t take in anything at
this hour except patients.” He looked as if he
were about to shut the door when a woman’s
voice was heard within speaking to him and
the next moment the door was opened wide
and he gave way as a matronly figure came
forward and stood in the archway.

“Who is it?” she asked in a very pleasant
[ 145 ]
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voice, looking down at the little figure in the
snow before her.

«Santa Claus’s partner,” said Kitty, gazing
up at her.

“What do you want, dear?” The voice was
even pleasanter.

“To leave some presents for the children.”

« What children ?”’

« All the good children—all the sick chil-
dren, I mean—all the children,” said Kitty.

The matron turned and spoke to the porter,
showing to Livingstone, as she did so, a glimpse
of a finely cut profile and a comely figure sil-
houetted against the light within. The bolts —
were drawn from the gate of the driveway and
the doors rolled back.

«Come in,’ said the matron, and the little
figure enveloped in the shaggy cape and hood
walked in under the big arch followed by the
sleigh, whilst Livingstone withdrew a short

distance into the shadow.

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It was some time before the doors opened
again and Kitty reappeared, but Livingstone
did not mind it. It was cold too, but neither
did he mind that. He was warm. As he walked
up and down in the empty street before the
long building his heart was warmed with a
glow which had not been there for many and
many a long year. He was not alone. Once
more the memory of other Christmases passed
through his mind in long processional, but
now not stamped with irretrievable opportu-
nity, to mock him with vain regret for lost
happiness ; only tinged with a sadness for lost
friends who came trooping about him; yet
lightened by his resolve to begin from now
on and strive as best he might to retrieve his
wasted life, and whilst he bore his punish-
ment do what he could to make atonement
for his past.

Just then across the town the clocks be-

gan to sound the midnight hour, and as they
[ 147 ]
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ceased, from somewhere far-away church bells
mellowed by the distance began to chime the

old Christmas hymn : —

“< While shepherds watched their flocks by night,
All seated on the ground,
The angel of the Lord came donn,

And glory shone around.”

Livingstone stood still to listen, in a half-
dream.

Suddenly before him in the snow stood a
little figure muffled in a shaggy cape with
. hood half thrown back. The childish face was
uplifted in the moonlight. With lips half
parted she too was listening, and for a mo-
ment Livingstone could hardly take in that
she was real. She seemed —!

Could she be— ?

“ The angel of the Lord came down,’ — chimed
the mellow bells.

The chiming died out.

[ 148 ]
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“ Christ is born,” said the child. “ You heard
the bells?”

“Yes,” said Livingstone humbly.

“Jt’s all done,’ she said; “and I prayed so
hard that not one of them stirred, and now
when they wake they’ll think it was real
Santa Claus. They say he always comes at
twelve and I counted the clocks.—I wonder
if he went home?” She was speaking now to
herself; but Livingstone answered.

«T’m sure of it,” he said.

“The angel of the Lord came down,’ still
chimed in his ears.

Suddenly a little warm hand was slipped
into his confidingly.

“JT think we’d better go home now.” The
voice was full of deep content.

Livingstone’s hand closed on hers and as he
said “Yes,” he was conscious of a pang at the
thought of giving her up.

He lifted her to put her in the sleigh. As

[ 149 ]
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he did so the little arms were put about his
neck and warm little lips kissed him. Living-
stone pressed her to his breast convulsively
and climbed into the sleigh without putting
her down.

Neither spoke and when the sleigh stopped
in front of Mr. Clark’s door the child was still
in Livingstone’s arms, her head resting on his
shoulder, the golden curls falling over his
sleeve. Even when he transferred her to her
father’s arms she did not wake. She only
sighed with sweet content and as Livingstone
bent oven and kissed her softly, muttered a
few words about “Santa Claus’s partner.”

A half-hour later, Livingstone, after another
interview with Mr. Brown who was awaiting
him patiently, drove back again to Mr. Clark’s
door with another sleighful of packages which
were all duly transferred to the small room
where stood the little Christmas-tree.

The handshake Livingstone gave John
[ 150 ]
SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER
Clark as he came down the steps of the little
house was the warmest he had given any man
in twenty years. It was so warm that it
seemed to send the blood tingling through

Livingstone’s heart and warm it anew.

[ 151 ]
CHAPTER XV

IVINGSTONE drove home through si-
lent streets, but they were not silent
for him. In his ears a chime was still

ringing and it bore him far across the snow-
filled streets and the snow-filled years to a
land of warmth and light. The glow was
still about his heart and the tingle which the
pressure of Kitty Clark’s arms about his neck,
and John Clark’s clasp of his hand had
started still kept it warm.

At his door Livingstone dismissed his driver
and as he cheerily wished him a merry Christ-
mas the man’s cheery reply showed that Liv-
ingstone had already found the secret of good
cheer.

“The same to you, your honor; the same to
you, sir,” said the driver heartily, as he but-
toned up his pocket with a pat of satisfaction.
“We ’ve had a good time to-night, sir, have n’t

[ 152 ]
SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER

we? And I wish you many more like it, sir,
And when Christmas comes along next time I
hope youll remember me, for Ill remember
you; I’ve had a little child in that ’ere same
horspital. God took her to Himself twelve
years ago. They’re good to ’em there, rich
and poor all alike;—and ’tisn’t every night I
can drive ‘Santa Claus’s partner.’ ”

Livingstone stood and watched the sleigh
till it drove out of sight. Even after it had dis-
appeared around a corner, he still listened to
the bells. It seemed to him he had a friend in
it.

Livingstone let himself in noiselessly at his
door, but the softness with which he turned
the key this time was to keep from disturbing
his servants, not to keep them from seeing
him.

He stopped stock still on the threshold.
The whole house seemed transformed. The

hall was a bower of holly and mistletoe, and
[1534]
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the library, as Livingstone entered it, with its
bright fire roaring in the hearth and its fes-
toons and wreaths, seemed once more a charm-
ing home: a bower where cheer might yet
make its abode. -

As quietly, however, as Livingstone had en-
tered, his butler had heard him.

As Livingstone turned to take in all the
beauty of the room, James was standing before
him. His face showed some concern, and his
voice, as he spoke, had a little tremor in it.

“When we found you had gone out, sir, we
were afraid you might be sick, and the cook
has got something hot for you?”

Livingstone glanced about to find a phrase
with which to thank him for the trouble they
had taken; but the butler spared him the
pains.

“We thought we would try to make the
house look a little cheery, sir. Hope you don’t
mind, sir?”

[ 154 ]
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“Mind!” said Livingstone, “I am delighted;
and I thank you very much. Mind? I should
think not!”

The tone of his voice and the light in his
eye showed that there was a change in him
and it acted like a tonic on the butler. The
light came into his eyes too. He drew a breath
of deep relief as though a mountain of care
had rolled off him, and he came a step nearer
his master, who had flung himself into a chair
and picked up a cigar.

The next minute Livingstone plunged into
the subject on his mind. It was a plan which
made the butler’s eyes first open wide and
then sparkle with pleasure.

The difficulty with Livingstone, however,
was that the next day was a holiday and he
did not know whether what he wanted could
be got.

The butler came to his rescue. It was no

difficulty to James. Such an emergency only
[ 155 ]
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quickened his powers. He knew places where
whatever was wanted could be got, holiday or
no holiday, and, “If Mr. Livingstone would
only allow him— ?”

«Allow you!” said Livingstone, “I give you
carte blanche, only have everything ready by
five o’clock.— Ask the cook to send up what-
ever she has; I’m hungry, and we’ll talk it
over whilst I’m taking supper.”

“Yes, sir; yes, sir; yes, sir;’ and James
withdrew with a step as light as air.

«Extraordinary servant!” thought Living-
stone. “Wonder I never took it in before!”

Ten minutes later Livingstone was seated at
the table with an appetite like a schoolboy’s.

It was the happiest meal Livingstone had
eaten in many a long day; for, all alone as he
was, he was not alone. Thought-of-others sat
at the board and a cheery companion it is.

“Tell the laundress to be sure and bring

her children around to-morrow, and be sure

[ 156 ]
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you make them have a good time,” he said
to James, as he rose from the table. James
bowed.

“Yes, sir.”

“And ascertain where policeman, No. 268,
is to be found to-morrow. I want to send a
contribution to make a good slide for some
boys on his beat.”

James bowed again, his eyes somewhat
wider than before.

As Livingstone mounted the stair, though
he was sensible of fatigue it was the fatigue
of the body, so delicious to those who have
known that of the mind. And he felt pity as
well as loathing for the poor, worn creature ©
who had climbed the same stair a few hours
before.

As he entered his room the warmih and
home feeling had come back there also. The
portraits of his father and mother first caught

his eye. Some one had put a wreath around

[ 157 ]
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each and they seemed to beam on him with a
pleased and tender smile. They opened afresh
the flood-gates of memory for him, but the
memories were sweet and tender.

He glanced at a mirror almost with trem-
bling. The last time he had looked at himself
he had seen only that old, haggard face with
the ghostly figures branded across the brow.
Thank God! they were gone now, and he
could even see in his face some faint resem-
blance to the portraits on the wall.

He went to bed and slept as he had not
slept for months, perhaps for years—not
dreamlessly, but the dreams were pleasant.
—Now and then lines of vague figures ap-
peared to him, but a little girl with a smiling
face came and played bo-peep with him over
them, and presently sprang up and threw her
arms about his neck and made him take her
in a sleigh to a wonderful shop where they

could get marvellous presents; among them
[ 158 ]
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Youth, and Friendship, and Happiness. The

door was just being shut as they arrived, but
when he called his father’s name it was
opened wide—and his father and mother
greeted him—and led him smiling into places
where he had played as a child.— And Cath-
erine Trelane in a shaggy coat and hood
pulled the presents from a forest of Christ-
mas-trees and gave them to Santa Claus’s
partner to give to others. And suddenly his
father, with his old tender smile, picked the
little girl up in his arms and she changed into
a wonderful child that shone so that it dazzled
Livingstone and—he waked to find the bright
sun shining in through the window and falling
on his face.

He sprang from bed with a cry almost of
joy so bright was the day; and as he looked
out of the window on the sparkling snow out-

side it seemed a new world.

[ 159 ]
CHAPTER XVI

LL the morning Livingstone “rushed”
as he had never “rushed” in the
wildest excitement of “ the street.”

He had to find a banker and a lawyer and a
policeman. But he found them all. He had to
get presents to Sipkins and Hartly and the
other clerks ; but he managed to do it.

His servants, too, had caught the contagion,
and more than once big wagons driven by smil-
ing, cheery-faced men drove up to the door
and unloaded their contents. And when the
evening fell and a great sleigh with six seats
and four horses, and every seat packed full,
drove up and emptied its shouting occupants
out at Livingstone’s door everything was ready.

Itwas Livingstone himself who met the guests
at the door, and the driver, in his’ shaggy coat,
must have been an old friend from the smil-

ing way in which he nodded and waved his fur-

[ 160 ]
SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER
gloved hands to him, as he helped Mrs. Clark

out tenderly and took Kitty into his arms.

When Kitty was informed that this was
Santa Claus’s Partner’s party, and that she was
to be the hostess, she was at first a little shy,
partly, perhaps, on account of the strangeness
of being in such a big, fine house, and partly
on account of the solemn presence of James,
until the latter had relieved her in ways of
which that austere person seemed to have the
secret where children were concerned. Finally
she was induced to take the children over
the house, and the laughter which soon came
floating back from distant rooms showed that
the ice was broken.

Only two rooms, the library and the dining-
room, were closed, and they were not closed
very long.

Just as it grew dark Kitty was told to
marshal her eager forces and James with

sparkling eyes rolled back the folding doors.
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The children had never seen anything before
in all their lives like that which greeted their
eyes. The library was a bower of evergreen
and radiance. In the centre was a great tree
of erystal and stars which reflected the light
of a myriad twinkling candles. It had un-
doubtedly come from fairy-land, if the place
was not fairy-land itself, on the border of
which they stood amazed.

Kitty was asked by Mr. Livingstone to lead
the other children in, and as she approached
the tree she found facing her a large envelope

addressed to,
Santa Claus’s Partner, Miss Kitty Clark.

This she was told to open and in it was a
letter from Santa Claus himself,

It stated that the night before, as the writer
vas engaged in looking after presents for some
poor children, he saw a little girl in a shop en-

gaged in the same work, and when he reached

[ 162 ]


AND JAMES, WITH SPARKLING EYES, ROLLED BACK THE FOLDING-DOORS.
SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER

a certain hospital he found that she had been
there, too, before him, and now as he had to
go to another part of the world to keep ahead
of the sun, he hoped that she would still act
for him and look after his business here.

The letter was signed,
Your partner, Santa Claus.

The postscript suggested that a few of the
_articles he had left on the tree for her were
marked with names, but that others were un-
marked, so that her friends might choose what
they preferred, and he had left his pack at the
foot of the tree as a grab-bag.

This letter broke the spell and next mo-
ment every one was shouting and rollicking
as though they lived there,

In all the throng there was no one so de-
lighted as Mr. Clark. Livingstone had had no
idea how clever he was. He was the soul of

the entertainment. It was he who discovered---

[ 163 ]
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first the packages for each little one; he who,
without appearing to do so, guided them in
their march around the tree, so that all might
find just the presents that suited them. He
seemed to Livingstone’s quickened eye to di-
vine just what each child liked and wished.
He appeared to know all that Livingstone
desired to know.

At length, he alone of all the guests had
received no present. The others had their
little arms packed so full that Livingstone
had to step forward to the tree to help a
small tot bear away his toppling load.

The next moment Kitty discovered a large
envelope lying at the foot of the tree. It was

addressed,

John Clark, Esq.,
Father of Santa Claus’s Partner.

It was strange that Kitty should have over-

looked it before.
[ 164 ]
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With a spring she seized it and handed it
to her father with a little shout of joy, for
she had not been able to keep from showing
disappointment that he had received nothing.

Clark smiled at her pleasure, for he knew
that the kisses which she had given him from
time to time had been to make amends to
him, and not, as others thought, from joy over
her own presents.

Clark knew well the hand-writing, and even
as he opened the envelope he glanced around
to catch Livingstone’s eye and thank him.
Livingstone, however, had suddenly disap-
peared ; so Clark read the letter.

It was very brief. It said that Livingstone
had never known until the night before how
much he ‘owed him; that he was not sure
even now that he knew the full extent of his
indebtedness, but at least he had come to
recognize that he owed much of his business

success to Mr. Clark’s wisdom and fidelity ;

[ 165 ]
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and he asked as a personal favor to him that
Clark would accept the enclosed as a token
of his gratitude, and would consider favorably
his proposal.

Opening an enclosed envelope, Clark found
two papers. One was a full release of the
mortgage on Clark’s house (Livingstone had
spent the morning in securing it), the other
was a Memorandum of “Articles of Part-
nership”? between Berryman Livingstone and
John Clark, beginning from that very day,
—indeed, from the day before,—all ready,
signed by Livingstone and wanting only Mr.
Clark’s signature to make it complete.

Mr. Clark, with his face quite white and
looking almost awed, turned and walked into
the next room where he found Livingstone
standing alone. The old clerk was still holding
the papers clutched in his hand and was walk-
ing as if in a dream.

“Mr. Livingstone,” he began, “I can never

[ 166 ]
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—I am overwhelmed!—Your letter—your
gifts—” But Livingstone interrupted him.
His face was not white but red.

“ Nonsense!” he said, as he turned and put
his hand on the other’s shoulder. “ Clark, I am
not giving you anything. I am paying.— I
mean, I owe you everything, and what I don’t
owe you, I owe Kitty. Last night you lent
me—” He stopped, caught himself, and be-
gan again.

“It was more than even you knew, Clark,’
he said, looking the other kindly in the eyes,
“and I’ll owe you a debt of gratitude all my
life. All I ask is, that you will forget the past
and help me in the future and sometimes lend
me Kitty. I never knew until now how good
it was to have a partner.”

Just then he became conscious that some-
one else was near him. Kitty, with wide-open,
happy eyes, was standing beside them looking

up inquiringly in their faces. The child seemed.

[ 167 }
SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER

to know that something important had hap-
pened, for she put up her arms, and pulling
her father down to her kissed him, and then
turning quickly she caught Livingstone and,
drawing him down, kissed him too.

“T love you,” she said, in a whisper.

Livingstone caught her in his arms.

“Let’s go and have a game of blind-man’s
buff. I am beginning to feel young again,”
he said, and linking his arm in Clark’s, he
dragged him back to the others, where, in a
few minutes they were all of one age, and
a very riot of fun seemed to have broken
loose.

Matters had just reached this delightful
point, and Livingstone was down on his hands
and knees trying with futile dexterity to avoid
the clutch of a pair of little arms that appar-
ently were pursuing him with infallible in-
stinct into an inextricable trap, when he

became conscious of a presence he had not

[ 168 ]
SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER

observed before. Some one not there before
was standing in the doorway.

Livingstone sprang to his feet and faced
Mrs. Wright.

He felt very red and foolish as he caught
her eyes and found them smiling at him. The
idea of being discovered in so ridiculous a
situation and posture by the most fashionable
and elegant woman of his acquaintance! But
Mrs. Wright waved to him to go on with his
game and the next moment the little arms
had clutched him, and, tearing off her band-
age, Kitty, with dancing eyes, declared him
“ caught.”

“Well, this is my final triumph over Will,’
exclaimed Mrs. Wright, advancing into the
room, as Livingstone, drawing the little girl
along with him, approached her. And she be-
gan to tell Livingstone how they had particu-
larly wanted him to dine with them that day

as an old friend of his had promised to come

[ 169 ]
SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER

to them, but they had supposed, of course,
that he had been overrun with invitations for
the day and, as they had not seen him of late,
thought that he had probably gone out of
town, until her husband saw him at the club
the night before where he had gone to find
some poor lone bachelor who might have no
other invitation.

“You know Will eee been very fond
of you,” she said; “and he says you have been
working too hard of late and have not been
looking well. When I didn’t get my usual
contributions from you this Christmas I did n’t
know what to make of it, but I think that on
my round this morning I have found out the
reason ?”

Livingstone knew the reason, but he did not
tell her. The knowing smile that lit her face,
however, mystified him and he flushed a little
under her searching eyes.

“Will was sure he saw you in the club last

Eaton
SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER

night,” she persisted, “ al he tried to catch
you, but you ran off; and now I have come for
you and will take no refusal.”

Livingstone expressed his regret that he
could not come. A wave of his hand towards the
curly heads and beaming faces clustered before
them and towards the long table gleaming in
the dining-room beyond explained his reason.

“T am having a Christmas dinner myself,’
he said.

“Then you will come in after they go?” in-
sisted Mrs. Wright, and as Livingstone knew
they were going early he assented.

«Who are your friends ?” she asked. “What
a pleasant-looking man, and what lovely chil-
dren! That little girl,—TI thought it was Cupid
when she had the bandage on her eyes and
now I am sure of it.”

- “Let me present them to you,” said Liv-
ingstone, and he presented Mr. Clark as his

partner and Kitty as Santa Claus’s partner.

[ 171 ]
SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER
“J did not know you had a partner?” she
asked.
“Jt is my Christmas gift from Santa Claus,”

he said. “ One of them; I have many.”

[ 172 ]
CHAPTER XVII

HEN Livingstone walked into

Mrs. Wright’s drawing-room that

evening he had never had such a
greeting, and he had never been in such spir-
its. His own Christmas dinner had been the
success of his life. He could still see those
happy faces about his board, and hear those
joyous voices echoing through his house.

The day seemed to have been one long
dream of delight. From the moment when he
had turned to go after the little child to ask
her to show him the way to help others, he had
walked in a new land; lived in a new world;
breathed a new air ; been warmed by a new sun.

Wright himself met him with a cordiality
so new to Livingstone and yet so natural and
unforced that Livingstone wondered whether
he could have been living in a dream all these

years or whether he was in a dream to-night.

[ 173 ]
SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER

Among the guests he suddenly came on
one who made him think to-night must be
the dream.

Mrs. Wright, with glowing eyes, presented
him to a lady dressed in black, as “an old
friend, she believed:” a fair, sweet-looking
woman with soft eyes and a calm mouth.

The name Mrs. Wright mentioned was
«Mrs, Shepherd,” but as Livingstone looked
the face was that of Catherine Trelane.

The evening was a fitting ending to a
happy day—the first Livingstone had had in
many a year. Even Mrs. Shepherd’s failure to
give him the opportunity he sought to talk
with her could not wholly mar it.

Later, Livingstone heard Mrs. Wright begin
to tell some one of his act of the night before,
in buying up a toy-shop for the children at the
hospital.

“I always believed in him,” she asserted

warmly.

[ 174 ]
SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER

Livingstone caught his name and, turning
to Mrs. Wright, with some embarrassment and
much warmth, declared that she was mistaken,
that he had not done it.

Mrs. Wright laughed incredulously.

“J suspected it this morning when I first
heard of it; but now I have the indisputable
proof.”

She held up a note.

“eT think I’ve heard of you before,” she
laughed, with a capital imitation of Mr.
Brown’s manner.

“J still deny it,’ insisted Livingstone,
blushing, and as Mrs. Wright still affirmed
her belief, he told her the story of Santa
Claus’s partner.

Insensibly, as he told it, the other voices
hushed down.

He told it well; for his heart was full of
the little girl who had led him from the

frozen land back to the land of light.
[ 175 ]
SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER

As he ended, from another room some-
where up-stairs, came a child’s clear voice sing-
ing,

God west you, mer-wy genitle-men,
Let nossing you dismay ;
For Jesus Chnist our Sa-rviour

Was born this ve-wy day.

Livingstone looked at Mrs. Shepherd.

She was standing under the long evergreen
festoons just where they met and formed a
sort of verdant archway. Two of the children
of the house, attracted by Livingstone’s story,
had come and pressed against her as they
listened with interested faces, and she had
put her arms about them and drawn their
curly heads close to her side. A spray of holly
with scarlet berries was at her throat and
one of the children had mischievously stuck a
sprig of mistletoe in her hair. Her face was

turned aside, her eyes were downcast, the

[ 176 ]




STANDING, IN THE CHRISTMAS EVENING LIGHT, IN A LONG
AVENUE UNDER SWAYING BOUGHS.
SANTA CLAUS’S PARTNER
long, dark lashes drooping against her cheek,
and on her face rested a divine compassion ;
and as Livingstone gazed on her he saw the
same gracious figure and fine profile that he
had seen the night before outlined against
the light in the archway of the gate of the
Children’s Hospital. It was the reflective face
of one who has felt; but when she raised
her eyes they were the eyes of Catherine
Trelane. And suddenly, as Livingstone looked
into them, they had softened, and she seemed
to be standing, as she had stood so long ago,
in the*Christmas evening light in a long ave-
nue under swaying boughs, in the heart of
the land of his youth.

While still, somewhere above, the child’s
voice carolled,

— Let nossing you dismay ;
For Jesus Chnist our Sa-niour

Was born this ve-mwy day.

‘FINIS
D. B. Updike
The Merrymount Press
Chestnut Street
Boston

¢
a eh 74 a


—

Sa






xml record header identifier oai:www.uflib.ufl.edu.ufdc:UF0008884700001datestamp 2008-11-10setSpec [UFDC_OAI_SET]metadata oai_dc:dc xmlns:oai_dc http:www.openarchives.orgOAI2.0oai_dc xmlns:dc http:purl.orgdcelements1.1 xmlns:xsi http:www.w3.org2001XMLSchema-instance xsi:schemaLocation http:www.openarchives.orgOAI2.0oai_dc.xsd dc:title Santa Claus's partnerdc:creator Page, Thomas Nelson, 1853-1922Glackens, William J., 1870-1938 ( Illustrator )Updike, Daniel Berkeley, 1860-1941 ( Printer )Merrymount Press ( Printer )dc:subject Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )Wealth -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )Selfishness -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )Kindness -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )Fathers and daughters -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )Christmas -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )Christmas stories ( lcsh )dc:description b Statement of Responsibility by Thomas Nelson Page ; illustrated by W. Glackens.First edition.Baldwin Library copy lacks illustration facing page 43.dc:publisher Charles Scribner's SonsC. Scribner's Sonsdc:date 1899dc:type Bookdc:format 176, 1 p., 7 leaves of plates : col. ill. ; 19 cm.dc:identifier http://www.uflib.ufl.edu/ufdc/?b=UF00088847&v=00001002235276 (ALEPH)00301692 (OCLC)ALH5719 (NOTIS)99005311 (LCCN)dc:source University of Floridadc:language English