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cumstances. These are to be purchased of all qualities and having hung up the stockings that he may fill them and prices, and those sent by friends and lovers, generally with gifts. Here he sits, smoking his pipe, and deappear on New Year's Day, and are signed or not, as lighting himself with the thought of what he ahall leave suits the purpose of the sender.
for the children, and of the delight and surprise in the After the New Year's wishes have been read, a game morning. But we will now. let an American writer of very old standing on this occasion is introduced, a
speak after his own fashion of the good Santa game known to most people in England acquainted with
Claus. old fashions; that of the flour, the water, and the
“ Santa Claus has doffed his cocked-hat and assumes keys. Three plates are set on a round table in the mid- one in union with the weather. The sign of the saint dle of the room. In one is flour, in another water, is stamped on his forehead as the genuine impress of in the third a bunch of keys. The young unmarried heaven. He wears his snow-boots and fur-trimmed people are by turns blindfolded, and, walking round the mantle, which are the very same with which he jourtable, pitch upon one of the plates. These have, of neyed over the hills of Holland. The artist has reprecourse, been shifted while the person about to try his or sented him about the midnight hour, on his last call; her chance, has been under the operation of blind-fold- and, from the position of the saint, we should judge that ing, so as to occupy quite different relative positions to he had heard, or thought he heard, the cock crow; or what they did before; or are sometimes shifted and the rats, which are the great antipathy of the Dutch. then replaced, so that the person, naturally supposing
Saint Nicholas is smothered with gooderies, and is that they have been changed, shall try to avoid the unprepared to be very lavish upon those who live in exlucky ones, by aiming at a new point, and thus shall pectancy of presents. The family has retired, the litactually have a greater chance of passing the lucky tle ones are dreaming most intensely of crammed stock
The lucky one is that containing the keys. Who- ings, which they have hung so as to attract the attenever gets that, is to be married to the person of his own tion of the saint. We fancy ourselves looking upon the choice;
he who pushes his finger into the flour. is to little, short limbs, on tip-toes, straining to place their marry a widow, or vice versa, and he who dips into the hose out of the way of rats. Jane can scarcely reach water, shall not be married at all. This simple lottery higher than one of these animals; the larger boys ant occasions its share of merriment, and then the dancing girls have obtained a better position; and one appears goes on again.
to tower above the rest, who, no doubt, has received With the punch and the glee-wine, come in also one
the friendly aid of grandfather. of those large ornamented and nice cakes, for which
“The mother has coaxed them off to bed earlier than the Germans are so famous, and large cakes of ginger- usual, and has saved a ration of gingerbread. Neither bread, in the shape of hearts, with almonds stuck in tears, words, sobs, nor petulance disturb them now; them. These make an indispensible part of the enter they know that the saint visits only good childre::; anú tainment of New Year's-Eve; and accordingly you see
Bob, Sally, and Peter find it difficult to hold their tongues. them reared in and before the bakers' windows, and on Their mother promises them, even though they have stalls, in thousands ; some of them at least half-a-yard for one night's peace, she will bribe the saint for them.
been violent transgressors throughout the year, that, tall, and a foot wide. On this eve, the servants of house, by right of ancient custom, have their feasts of They fancy they hear the sound of whistles, pennypunch, and their great gingerbread hearts, cach servant trumpets, and drums; the cries of dolls, the singing
of wooden birds, and the ticking of pewter watches; The Catholics, according to their custom, close the then boxes of tools are already at work repairing old year, and open the new one in the churches. They houses built in air ; and they fairly stagger under the have a sermon as midnight approaches; in many places inheritance of a new year. When sound asleep, emthe lights are extinguished, leaving alone conspicuous, blems of innocence and the kingdom of heaven, they a huge cross reaching from bottom to near the top of are blessed with a profusion of presents; the morning the church, illuminated with lamps. When twelve has dawns, and the family are disturbed by their up-risings. struck, an anthem of thanksgiving strikes up, and mass
On other mornings it may have been difficult to arouse is celebrated.
them, but, on the New Year's, trumpets and drums bring In Germany, the servants of tradesmen come for them down, scarcely half awake." John (who is ad New-Year's gifts, as they do for Christmas-boxes with vauced to the age of small boots) takes the lead; he us; and your baker sends you a large cake, like a
misses his way, or runs against the door. Sally and couple of great serpents wreathed into two connected Mary, aided by the bannisters, come down crying with circles, perhaps originally intended to represent the impatience. The little ones seize their stockings with old year and the new.
eagerness, Sally substituting a chair for her grandfaThe Dutch, a kindred nation, carried over their na- ther. The day is consumed with eomments, eyes tional custom to America; but singular enough, one of sparkle with delight, and the faces of all beam with the chief features of their New Year's-Eve is the arrival happiness. of Santa Claus, with gifts for the children, and whose
“What would men do if there were no holidays figure as represented by an Ainerican artist, and which from one year's end to the other! They are as necessary has been handed to us by an indefatigable American as landmarks or resting places for travellers ; and, as friend we present to our readers at the head of this custom--a good custom, one to be established and perarticle.
petuated, a sociable and an endearing one-has thrown Santa Claus is no other than the Pelz Nickel of Ger- this in our way, let us cling to it until the short journey many and the North ; he is in fąct, the good Saint Ni- of life is ended. cholas of Russia, the patron-saint of children; he ar, rives in Germany about a fortnight before Christmas, but as may be supposed from all the visits he has to pay there, and the length of his voyage, he does not arrive in America, until this eve. Here he is, sitting before the empty fire-place of an American house, with his foot on the old fashioned dog, a little after midnight, all the family having retired to bed to be out of his way,
little Angel's supper.) And now, having matched
Greek with Greek, I must proceed to the tug of war. CHRISTMAS STORMS ' AND SUNSHINE.
It was the day before Christmas ; such a cold east wind !
such an inky sky! such a blue-black look in people's BY COTTON MATHER Mills.
faces, as they were driven out more than usual, to complete their purchases for the next day's festival.
Before leaving home that morning, Jenkins' had IN THE town of
(no matter where,) there given some money to his wife to buy the next day's circulated two local newspapers, (no matter when.) dinner. Now the “ Flying Post” was long-established, and
“My dear, I wish for turkey and sausages. It may be respectable ; alias bigoted, and Tory ; the "Examiner” a weakness, but I own I am partial to sausages. My was spirited and intelligent, alias new-angled, and deceased mother was. Such tastes are hereditary. As Democratic. Every week these newspapers contained to the sweets-whether plum-pudding or mince pies-articles abusing each other; as cross and peppery as I leave such considerations to you; I only beg you not articles could be, and evidently the production of irri- to mind expense. Christmas comes but once a year.” tated minds, although they seemed to have one stereo
And again he had called out from the bottom of the typed commencement, —"Though the article appearing first flight of stairs, just close to the Hodgson's door, in last week's “ Post,” (or “ Examiner,”) is below con-|("Such ostentatiousness” as Mrs. Hodgson observed,) tempt, yet we have been induced etc., etc.” and every " You will not forget the sausages, my dear ?" Saturday the Radical shopkeepers shook hands together,
“I should have liked to have had something above comand agreed that the “Post” was done for, by the slash; mon, Mary,” said Hodgson, as they too made their ing clever " Examiner”; while the more dignified plans for the next day, " but I think roast beef must do Tories began by regretting that Johnson should think for us. You see, love, we've a family.” that low paper, only read by a few of the vulgar, worth
Only one, Jem ! I don't want more than roast beef, wasting his wit upon. However, the “Examiner” was though, I'm sure. Before I went to service, mother at its last gasp.
and me would have thought roast beef a very fine It was not though. It lived and flourished;
dinner.” least it paid its way, as one of the heroes of my story
“Well, let's settle it then, roast-beef, and a plumcould tell. He was chief compositor, or whatever title pudding; and now good bye. Mind and take care of may be given to the head man of the mechanical part little Tom. I thought he was a bit hoarse this morning.” of a newspaper. He hardly confined himself to that
And off he went to his work. department. Once or twice, unknown to the editor,
Now, it was a good while since Mrs. Jenkins and Mrs. when the manuscript had fallen short, he had filled up Hodgson had spoken to each other, although they were the vacant space by compositions of his own; an- quite as much in possession of the knowledge of events nouncements of a forthcoming crop of green peas in and opinions as though they did. Mary knew that Mrs. December ; a grey thrush having been seen, or a white Jenkins despised her for not having a real lace cap, hare, or such interesting phenomena ; invented for the which Mrs. Jenkins had ; and for having been a servant, occasion I must confess; but what of that ? His wife
which Mrs. Jenkins had not; and the little occasional always knew when to expect a little specimen of her pinchings which the Hodgsons were obliged to resort to, husband's literary talent by a peculiar cough, which to make both ends meet, would have been very paserved as prelude; and, judging from this encouraging tiently endured by Mary, if she had not winced under sign, and the high-pitched and emphatic voice in which Mrs. Jenkins's knowledge of such economy. But she he read them, she was inclined to think, that an “Ode had her revenge. She had a child, and Mrs. Jenkins to an early Rose-bud.” in the corner devoted to ori: had none. To have had a child, even such a puny baby ginal poetry, and a letter in the correspondence depart: as little Tom, Mrs. Jenkins would have worn comment, signed “ Pro Bono Publico” were her husband's monest caps, and cleaned grates, and drudged her finwriting, and to hold up her head accordingly. I never could find out what it was that occasioned the of her life soured her temper, and turned her thoughts
gers to the bone. The great unspoken disappointment Hodgsons to lodge in the same house as the Jenkinses. inward, and made her morbid and selfish. Jenkins held the same office in the Tory paper, as Hodg
Hang that cat! he's been stealing again! he's son did in the “Examiner," and, as I said before, I
gnawed the cold mutton in his nasty month till it's not leave you to give it a name. But Jenkins had a proper sense of his position, and a proper reverence for all in fit to set before a Christians and I've nothing else for
Jem's dinner. But I'll give it him now I've caught authority, from the king down to the editor, and sub
him, that I will!” editor. He would as soon have thought of borrowing
So saying Mary Hodgson caught up her husband's the king's crown for a night-cap, or the king's sceptre Sunday cane, and despite pussy's
cries and scratches, for a walking stick, as he would have thought of billing she gave him such a beating as she hoped might cure up any spare corner with any production of his own; him of his thievish propensities; when lo! and behold, and I'think it would have even added to his contempt Mrs. Jenkins stood at the door with a face of bitter of Hodgson (if that were possible,) had he known of the wrath. "productions of his brain” as the latter fondly alluded to the paragraphs he inserted, when speaking to his poor dumb animal, Ma'am, as knows no better than to
“Aren't you ashamed of yourself, Ma'am, to abuse a wife.
take food when he sees it, Ma'am. He only follows the Jenkins had his wife too. Wives were wanting to nature which God has given, Ma’am; and it's a pity finish the completeness of the quarrel, which existed your nature, Ma'am, which I've heard, is of the stingy one memorable Christmas week, some dozen years ago, saving species, does not make you shut your cupboard between the two neighbours, the two compositors. door a little closer. There is such a thing as law for And with wives it was a very pretty, a very complete brute animals. I'll ask Mr. Jenkins, but I don't think quarrel. To make the opposing parties still more them Radicals has done away with that law yet, for all equal, still more well-matched, if the Hodgsons had their Reform Bill, Ma'am. My poor precious love of a a baby, (such a baby!--a poor puny little thing;) Mrs. Tommy, is he hurt ? and is his leg broke for taking a Jenkins had a cat, (such a cat! a great, nasty miowling mouthful of scraps, as most people would give a way to tom-cat, that was always stealing the milk put by for a beggar,-if he'd take 'em,” wound up Mrs. Jenkins,
casting a contemptuous look on the remnant of a scrag because his father and mother did, and because he end of mutton.
was so little of his age, but I rather think he was Mary felt very angry and very guilty. For she really eighteen months old,) had fallen asleep sometime bepitied the poor limping animal as he crept up to his fore among his play-things; an uneasy, restless sleep ; mistress, and there lay down to bemoan himself; she but of which Mary had been thankful, as his morning's wished she had not beaten him so hard, for it certainly nap had been too short, and as she was so busy. But was her own careless way of never shutting the cup- now he began to make such a strange crowing noise, board door that had tempted him to his fault. But the just like a chair drawn heavily and gratingly along a sneer at her little bit of mutton turned her penitence to kitchen floor. His eyes were open, but expressive of fresh wrath, and she shut the door in Vrs. Jenkins's nothing but pain. face, as she stood caressing her cat in the lobby, with Mother's darling!” said Mary, in terror, lifting such a bang, that it wakened little Tom, and he began him up. * Baby try not to make ihat noise. Hush
hush-darling; what hurts him ?" But the noise came Everything was to go wrong with Mary to day. Now worse and worse. baby was awake, who was to take her husband's dinner “Fanny! Fanny!” Mary called in mortal fright, for to the office ? She took the child in her arms; and tried her baby was almost black with his gasping breath, to hush him off to sleep again, and as she sung she cried, and she had no one to ask for aid or sympathy but her she could hardly tell why,--a sort of reaction from her landlady's daughter, a little girl of twelve or thirteen, violent angry feelings. She wished she had never beaten who attended to the house in her mother's absence, as the poor cat; she wondered if his leg was really daily cook in gentlemen's families. Fanny was more broken. What would her mother say if she knew how especially considered the attendant of the up-stairs cross and cruel her little Mary was getting ? If she lodgers (who paid for the use of the kitchen, “for should live to beat her child in one of her angry fits ? Jenkins could not abide the smell of meat cooking,")
It was of no use lullabying while she sobbed so; it but just now she was fortunately sitting at her aftermust be given up, and she must just carry her baby in noon's work of darning stockings, and hearing Mrs. her arms, and take him with her to the office, for it was Hodgson's cry of terror, she ran to her sitting-room, long past dinner time. So she pared the mutton care and understood the case at a glance. fully, although by so doing she reduced the meat to an " He's got the croup! Oh, Mrs. Hodgson, he'll die infinitesimal quantity, and taking the baked potatoes as sure as fate. Little brother had it, and he died in out of the oven, she popped them piping hot into her no time. The doctor said he could do nothing for hin, basket with the etceteras of plate, butter, salt, and knife it had gone too far; he said if we'd put him in a warm and fork.
bath at first, it might have saved him; but, bless you ! It was, indeed, a bitter wind. She bent against it as he was never half so bad as your baby." Unconsciously she ran, and the flakes of snow were sharp and cutting there mingled in her statement some of a child's love of as ice. Baby cried all the way, though she cuddled producing an effect; but the increasing danger was him up in her shawl. Then her husband had made his clear enough. appetite up for a potatoe pie, and (literary man as he “Oh, my baby! my baby. Oh, love! love! don't was ) his body got so much the better of his mind, that look so ill; I cannot bear it. And my fire so low ! he looked rather black at the cold mutton. Mary had There, I was thinking of home, and picking currants, no appetite for her own dinner when she arrived at and never minding the fire. Oh, Fanny! what is the home again. So, after she had tried to feed baby, and fire like in the kitchen ? speak." he had fretfully refused to take his bread and milk, she “Mother told me to screw it up, and throw some laid him down as usual on his quilt, surrounded by slack on as soon as Mrs. Jenkins had done with it, and playthings, while she sided away and chopped suet for so I did ; it's very low and black. But, oh, Mrs. the next day's pudding. Early in the afternoon a Hodgson ! let me run for the doctor--I cannot abear to parcel came, done up first in brown paper, then in such hear him, it's so like little brother.” a white, grass-bleached, sweet smelling towel, and a Through her streaming jears Mary motioned her to note from her dear, dear mother; in which quaint go; and trembling, sinking, sick at heart, she laid her writing she endeavoured to tell her daughter that she boy in his cradle, and ran to fill her kettle. was not forgotten at Christmas time; but that learning Mrs. Jenkins having cooked her husband's snug little that Farmer Burton was killing his pig, she had made dinner, to which he came home; having told him her interest for some of his famous pork, out of which she story of pussy's beating, at which he was justly and had manufactured some sausages, and flavoured them dignifiedly (?) indignant, saying it was all of a piece just as Mary used to like when she lived at home. with that abusive “ Examiner;" having received the
Dear, dear mother!" said Mary to herself. “There sausages, and turkey, and mincepies, which her husnever was any one like her for remembering other folk. band had ordered; and cleaned up the room, and preWhat rare sausages she used to make! Ilome-things pared everything for tea, and coaxed and duly bemoaned have a smack with 'em, no bought things can ever her cat (who had pretty nearly forgotten his beating, have. Set them up with their sausages! I've a no- but very much enjoyed the petting), having done all tion, if Mrs. Jenkins had ever tasted mother's, she'd these, and many other things, Mrs. Jenkins sate down have no fancy for them town-made things Fanny took to get up the real lace eap. Every thread was pulled in just now.
out separately and carefully stretched : when, what And so she went on thinking about home, till the was that? Outside, in the street, a chorus of piping smiles and the dimples came out again at the remem- children's voices sang the old carol she had heard a brance of that pretty cottage, which would look green hundred times in the days of her youth. even now in the depth of winter, with its pyracanthus, and its holly-bushes, and the great Portugal laurel that
"As Joseph was a walking he heard an angel sing, was her mother's pride. And the back path through
* This night shall be born our heavenly king. the orchard to Farmer Burton's ; how well she remem
He neither shall be born in housen nor in hall, bered it. The bushels of unripe apples she had picked
Xor in the place of Paradisc, but in an ox's stall.
lle neither shall be clothed in purple nor in pall, up there, and distributed among his pigs, till he had
But all in fair linen, as were babies all : scolded her for giving them so much green trash.
He neither shall be rocked in silver nor in gold, She was interrupted-her baby (I call him a baby, But in a wooden cradle that rocks on the mould,'”ete.
She got up and went to the window. There, below, you've not, ma'am. Mustard plaisters is very sovereign stood the group of grey black little figures, relieved against put on the throat ; I've been up and made one, ma'am, the snow, which now enveloped everything. “For old and, by your leave, I'll put it on the poor little fellow: sake's sake,” as she phrased it, she counted out a half Mary could not speak, but she signed her grateful penny a piece for the singers, out of the copper-bag, assent. and threw it down below.
It began to smart while they still kept silence; and The room had become chilly while she had been he looked up to his mother as if seeking courage counting out and throwing down her money, so she from her looks to bear the stinging pain, but she was stirred her already glowing fire, and sat down right softly crying, to see him suffer, and her want of coubefore it-but not to stretch her lace-like Mary Hodg- rage re-acted upon him, and he began to sob aloud. Inson, she began to think over long-past days-on soft- stantly Mrs. Jenkins's apron was up, hiding her face; ening remembrances of the dead and gone-on words " Peep bo, baby,” said she, as merrily as she could. long forgotten—on holy stories heard at her mother's His little face brightened, and his mother having once knee.
got the cue, the two women kept the little fellow “I cannot think what's come over me to-night,” said amused, until his plaister had effect. she, half aloud, recovering herself by the sound of her “He's better, -oh Mrs. Jenkins, look at his eyes! own voice from her train of thought; my
how different! And he breathes quite softly wandering on them old times. I'm sure more texts As Mary spoke thus, the Doctor entered. He exahave come into my head with thinking on my mother mined his patient. Baby was really better. within this last half hour, than I've thought on for “ It has been a sharp attack, but the remedies you years and years. I hope I'm not going to die. Folks have applied have been worth all the Pharmacopeia an say thinking too much on the dead betokens we're hour later.---I shall send a powder, etc., etc." going to join 'em; I should be loth to go just yet-such Mrs. Jenkins staid to hear this opinion; and (her a fine turkey as we've got for dinner to-morrow,
too." heart wonderfully more easy), was going to leave the Knock, knock, knock, at the door as fast as knuckles room, when Mary seized her hand and kissed it; she could go. And then, as if the comer could not wait, could not speak her gratitude. the door was opened, and Mary Hodgson stood there as Mrs. Jenkins looked affronted and awkward, and as white as death.
if she must go up stairs and wash her hand directly. “Mrs. Jenkins !-oh, your kettle is boiling, thank But in spite of these sour looks she came softly down God! Let me have the water for my baby, for the love an hour or so afterwards to see how baby was. of God!-he's got croup, and is dying!”
The little gentleman slept well after the fright he had Mrs. Jenkins turned on her chair with a wooden in- given his friends; and on Christmas morning, when flexible look on her face, that (between ourselves) her Mary awoke and looked at the sweet little pale face husband knew and dreaded for all his pompous dignity. lying on her arm, she could hardly realize the danger
" I'm sorry I can't oblige you, ina’am; my kettle is he had been in. wanted for my husband's tea. Don't be afeared, Tommy, When she came down (later than usual) she found Mrs. Hodgson won't venture to intrude herself where the household in a commotion. What do you think had she's not desired. You'd better send for the doctor, happened? Why, pussy had been a traitor to his best ma'am, instead of wasting your time in wringing your friend, and eaten up some of Mr. Jenkins's own espehands, ma’am-my kettle is engaged.”
cial sausages; and gnawed and tumbled the rest so, Mary clasped her hands together with passionate that they were not fit to be eaten! There were no force, but spoke no word of entreaty to that wooden bounds to that cat's appetite ! he would have eaten his face—that sharp, determined voice; but, as she turned own father if he had been tender enough. And now away, she prayed for strength to bear the coming trial, Mrs. Jenkins stormed and cried—“Hang the cat. and strength to forgive Mrs. Jenkins.
Christmas-day too! and all the shops shut! What was Mrs. Jenkins watched her go away meekly as one turkey without sausages ? gruffly asked Mr. Jenkins. who has no hope, and then she turned upon herself as “Oh, Jem!” whispered Mary, “ Hearken, what a sharply as she ever did on any one else.
piece of work he's making about sausages, -I should “What a brute I am, Lord forgive me ! What's my like to take Mrs. Jenkins up some of mother's; they're husband's tea to a a baby's life? In croup, too, where twice as good as bought sausages. time is everything. You crabbed old vixen, you--any “I see no objection, my dear. Sausages does not inone may know you never had a child !”
volve intimacies, else his politics are what I can no She was down-stairs (kettle in hand) before she had ways respect." finished herself-upbraiding; and when in Mrs. Hodgson's “But, oh Jem, if you had seen her last night about room, she rejected all thanks (Mary had not voice for baby! I'm sure she may scold me for ever, and I'll not many words) saying stiffly, “I do it for the poor babby's answer. I'd even make her cat welcome to the sausake, ma’am, hoping he may live to have mercy to poor sages.' The tears gathered to Mary's eyes as she dumb beasts, if he does forget to lock his cup-boards.” kissed her boy.
But she did everything, and more than Mary, with “ Better take 'em up stairs, my dear, and give them her young inexperience, could have thought of. She to the cat's mistress. And Jem chuckled at his prepared the warm bath, and tried it with her husband's saying. own thermometer (Mr. Jenkins was as punctual as Mary put them on a plate, but still she loitered. clock-work in noting down the temperature of every " What must I say, Jem? I never know.” day). She let his mother place her baby in the tub, Say-I hope you'll accept of these sausages, as my still preserving the same rigid affronted aspect, and then mother-no, that's not grammar,--say what comes upshe went up-stairs without a word. Mary longed to permost, Mary, it will be sure to be right. ask her to stay, but dared not; though, when she left So Mary carried them up stairs and knocked at the the room, the tears chased each other down her cheeks door; ard when told to " come in,” she looked very faster than ever. Poor young mother! how she counted red, but went up to Mrs. Jenkins, saying, Please take the minutes till the doctor should come. But, before these. Mother made them.” And was away before an he came, down again stalked Mrs. Jenkins, with some answer could be given. thing in her hand. "Ive seen many of these croup-fits, which, I take it, Jenkins came down stairs and called Fanny. In a mi
Just as Hodgson was ready to go to church, Mrs.
nute the latter entered the Hodgsons room, and delivered “Mr. and Mrs. Jenkins's compliments, and they would be particular glad if Mr. and Mrs. Hodgson would eat their dinner with them.
And carry baby up stairs in a shawl, be sure,” added Mrs. Jenkins' voice in the passage, close to the door, whither she had followed her messenger. There was no discussing the matter, with the certainty of every word being overheard.
Mary looked anxiously at her husband. She remembered his saying he did not approve Mr. Jenkins's politics.
“Do ye think it would do for baby?” asked he.
“Oh, yes," answered she eagerly; "I would wrap him up so warm.
"And I've got our room up to sixty-five already, for all its so frosty,” added the voice outside.
Now how do you think they settled the matter? The very best way in the world. Mr. and Mrs. Jenkins came down into the Hodgsons' room, and dined there. Turkey at the top, roast beef at the bottom, sausages at one side, potatoes at the other. Second course, plumpudding at the top, and mince pies at the bottom.
And after dinner, Mrs. Jenkins would have baby on her knee; and he seemed quite to take to her; she declared he was admiring the real lace on her cap, but Mary thought (though she did not say so,) that he was pleased by her kind looks, and coaxing words Then he was wrapped up, and carried carefully up stairs to tea, in Mrs. Jenkins' room. And after tea, Mrs. Jenkins, and Mary, and her husband, found out each other's mutual liking for music, and sat singing old glees, and catches, till I don't know what o'clock, without one word of politics, or newspapers.
Before they parted, Mary had coaxed pussy on to her knee; for Mrs. Jenkins would not part with baby, who was sleeping on her lap.
“When you're busy bring him to me. Do, now, it will be a real favour. I know you must have a deal to do, with another coming; let him come up to me. I'll take the greatest of cares of him; pretty darling, how sweet he looks when he's asleep.'
When the couples were once more alone, the husbands unburdened their minds to their wives.
Mr. Jenkins said to his :--"Do you know, Burgess tried to make me believe Hodgson was such a fool as to put paragraphs into the “Examiner” now and then ; but I see he knows his place, and has got too much sense to do any such thing."
Hodgson said, —“Mary, love, I almost fancy from Jenkins' way of speaking, (so much civiller than I expected,) he guesses I wrote that “Pro Bono” and the *Rose-bud", -at any rate, I've no objection to your naming it, if the subject should come uppermost, I should like him to know I'm a literary man.'
Well! I've ended my tale; I hope you don't think it's too long; but before I go, just let me say one thing.
If any of you have any quarrels, or misunderstandings, or coolness, or cold shoulders, or shynesses, or tiffs, or miffs, or huffs, with any one else, just make friends before Christmas, you will be so much merrier if you do.
I ask it of you for the sake of that old angelic song, heard so many years ago by the shepherds, keeping watch by night, on Bethlehem Heights.
BY MARY HOWITT.
Good luck unto his swift decline ! Let's pile the fire ; let's mend our cheer, Let's watch him out, this bad old year
This pitiless enemy of yours and mine! From first to last he has used us ill,
Has stripped us to the very bone; So, children don your best attire, And draw around the parlour fire,
And let's make merry, he will soon be gone!
The holly only told the time;
But now we will sing forth a jocund rhyme.
This bad old year of forty-seven ! He has run in debt to a vast amount; Has overdrawn his bank-account,
And, 'neath his hand no single thing has thriven. We had friends, by scores, when he came in,
But he has thinned their ranks amain,
And now we look around, and few remain.
For he has been a cruel guest,
And, as a parting boon, the Cholera-pest !
We all rejoice thine end to see!
And not a tongue doth speak in praise of thee.
Yet we shall ne'er forget thy stay,
Nor all the simple joy that thou hast ta’en away. -But hush! light shines amid the gloom,
And in my heart is faith and hope; The year departs that brought such woe, The year that crushed and tried us so,
That gave to drink life's bitter, wormwood cup. Sit down, dear children, by my side,
New thoughts and better fill my brain;
Which do not bring their compensating gain!
For all the blight of forty-seven :
No heavenly peace in injuries forgiven? 'Tis thus that spiritual wealth is won :
No victory but is bought by loss; Then shrink not, oh severely tried, Life's gold by fire is purified,
And none can win the crown but by the cross ! The year is out!-Oh God of love
Bless thou to us the coming year!
We face the untried future without fear!