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The clerk ran his eye along the The largest of the trio took the role counters, the shelves, and even took of spokesman:in the big barrels, pushed back, in "I want a pack o'firecrackers, the rear, out of the way.

mister; an' Jim wants one, an' so does "Well, Aunt Angie, what shall the Harry. Can't we have 'em all for ten 'gift' be?"

cents?" He could see the bare toes where The clerk thrust his pen behind his her torn old shoes fell away from the ear. stockingless feet. She needed shoes; "They are five cents a pack," he he was about to go for a pair when said. she stopped him by a gesture.

“Can't you come down on three "Dem ar things, marster,” she said, packs? They do up town an' we aint pointing to a string of masks-gaudy, got another nickel. ħideous things, festooned from the Riley read the keen interest of the ceiling. “I wants one o' dem ar. transaction in the faces before him. De chillun 'll lack dat sho."

But he had orders. "Couldn't do it, He allowed her to select one; it was boys, sorry.” the face of a king, fat, jovial, white. "Well, then."-- but a half sigh said She enjoyed it like a cuild. Then, it wasn't "well"- "give us gum. We unwrapping a bit of soiled mus in, she can divide that up anyhows." took from it three pieces of silver. It was a very poor compromise-a three bright, precious dollars. They very poor compromise. The voice, the represented precisely three fourths very face of the little beggar expressed of her month's wages. She purchased contempt. Riley hesitated. “Pshaw!" a tin horn "fur de baby, honey”; a said he, “Christmas without a racket candy sheep fur Ephum, de naix un"; is just no Christmas to a boy. I know, a string of yellow beads “fur Jinny. for I've been a boy too. And it only Dat yaller gal ain' got no reason- comes once a year.

Here, boys, take mint she am dat set on habin' dem the three packs for ten cents, and run beads”; a plug of tobacco "fur de ole along and enjoy yourselves. man's Chris'mus"; a jew's harp "fur And as they scampered out. he Sam; dat chile gwi l'arn music, he sighed, thinking of two poor little feet am”; a doll "fur Lill Ria; she's de that could never throw off their weight po'ly one, Lill Ria am"; and last, "a and run, as only childhood runs, not dust ob corn meal ter make a hoe- even at the Christmas time. cake fur dey alls Chris'mus dinner.” "To S. Riley, 1 pack of firecrackers,

She had been lavish, poor beggar; .05." without stint she had given her all; Then it was the clerk took himself foolishly, perhaps, but she had apolo- to task.

He was

a poor man on a gized in full for the folly: "It am small salary. He had a little girl to Chris’mus, marster."

look after, a cripple, who would never Aye, Christmas! wear your masks, be able to provide for herself, and for poor souls; fancy that you are kings, whom, in consequence, some one else kings. Oream that pain is a myth must provide. She would expect a and poverty a joke. Make grief a little something for Christmas too. phantom. Set red folly in the seat of And the good neighbor in the attic grim doubt, pay your devoirs one day! who kept an eye on the little one To-morrow the curtain rises on the while Riley was at work-he must old scene; the wheels grind on; the remember her. It was so pleasant to chariots of the rich roll by, and your give he wondered how a man with a throat is choked with their dust; your full pocket must feel when he came day is over.

face to face with suffering. God! if The clerk made his entry in the he could feel so once! just once have day-book, "To S. Riley, one mask, .20," his pockets full! But he would never before he waited upon three newsboys be rich; the boss had told him so who were tapping the floor with their often: he didn't know the value of a boot heels, just in front of the dollar. The head of the establishment counter.

would think so, verily, when he glanced over the night's entries in the A little girl stood at the counter. day-book.

A flaxen-haired, blue-eyed little O well, Christmas comes

but

maiden; alone, at night, and beautiful. once a year!” he said, smiling, as he Growing up for what? adopted the universal excuse.

Crippled feet, at all events, are not Some one came in and he went for- swift to run astray. Theclerk sighed. ward again.

The Christmas eve was full of shadNo, he didn't keep liquor; he was ows; shadows that would be lost in outside the corporation line and came the garish day of the morrow. He under the four-mile restriction."

leaned upon the counter. "What do "Just a Chris'mus toddy,” said the you want, little one?" customer that might have been. “Bread." Don't drink reg'lar.

Sober's any

Only a beggar understands that body all th' year, cep-Chris'mus. trick of asking simple bread. Ah, Chris'mus don't cum-don' cum but well! Christmas must have its starve. once year.”

lings too! The big blotter lingered He staggered out, and Riley stepped upon the last entry. And when he to the door to watch him reel safely did remove it to go and wait upon some beyond the boss' big glass window. new customers he quieted the voice of

There was another figure occupying prudence with the reflection that his the sheltered nook about the window. own wee one might stand at the bread Riley discovered the pale, pinched counter some pitiless Christmas eve, little face pressed against the pane and this loaf, sent upon the waters of before he opened the door. The little mercy, might come floating back; who waif was so utterly lost in wonder of

could tell since, – and the

and the clerk the Christmas display set forth behind smiled,the big panes, that he did not hear the ""The world goes 'round and round; door open or know that he was Some go up, and some go down observed until the clerk's voice re- The counter was crowded; it was called his wandering senses.

nearing the hour of closing, and busi. See here, sonny, you are marring ness was growing brisk. And some the glass with your breath. There of the customers were provokingly will be ice on that pane in less than slow, some of the poorer ones keeping ten minutes.”

the richer ones waiting. It isn't diffiThe culprit started, and almost lost cult to buy when there is no fear of his balance as he grasped a little the funds running short. There was wooden crutch that slipped from his one who bought oysters, fruit, and numb fingers and rolled down upon macaroni, ten dollars, all told, in less the pavement.

than half the time another was dividHello!" The clerk stepped out ing twenty-five cents into a possible into the night and rescued the poor purchase of a bit of cheese, a strip of

bacon, and a handful of dry beans. Humanity! Humanity! When all is And old Mrs. Mottles, the shopgirl's told, thy great heart still is master. landlady at a big yellow tenement, up

*Go in there,” the clerk pointed to town a bit, took a full twenty minutes the door, “and warm yourself at the hunting over cheap bits of steak, stale fire. It is Christmas; all the world bread, and a roast that ought to go should be warm at Christmas."

mighty low, seeing it was tolerable The waif said nothing; it was enough tough and some gristly.” Riley was to creep near to the great stove and pretty well tired out when the last watch the Christmas display from his one left the store. He glanced at the warm, safe corner.

clock: eleven ten; he had permission "There's that in the sound of a to close at eleven, and it was ten minchild's crutch strikes away down to utes after. my boots," the clerk told himself as he He went out and put up the shutters, made an entry after the boy had left came back, and began putting away

-Whenever I hear one the books. I- Hello! what is it, sissy?"

The big ledger had been scarcely

little prop

the store.

touched; he had been too busy to post Home to the little attic and the cripthat night.

pled nestling. She was asleep, but a "Mr. Riley? Mr. Riley?

Just a

tiny red stocking, worn at the heel, minute before you close up, Mr. Riley. but thoroughly clean, hung beside the

He went back to the counter, impa- chimney. tiently; he was very tired.

A woman He tiptoed to the bed, and looked with a baby in her arms stood there down at the little sleeper. There was waiting.

a smile upon the baby lips, as if in "I am late,” she said, “a’most too dreams the little feet were made late. I want a bite for to-morrow. straight, and were skipping through Give me what will go farthest for that.sunny '

meadows, while their owner's She laid a silver quarter upon the hand was clasped fast in the hand of counter.

the hero of all childish adoration, – “How many of you?" said Riley. the mythical, magical Santa Claus. “It might make a lunch for one”— The little hands were indeed clasped The woman shook her head.

tightly upon a bit of cardboard that “A drunkard counts for one when it peeped from beneath the delicate fincomes to eatin', anyhows," she said, gers, upon the breast of the innocent and laughed - a hard, bitter laugh. sleeper. Riley drew it gently away. It “He counts for somethin' when he's was a Christmas card the neighbordrunk,” she went on, the poor tongue woman had picked up in some home of made free by misery that would re

the rich where she had gone that day to pent itself the morrow. May be carry home some sewing. It bore a man, brute likely. I've got the proofs face of Christ, a multitude, eager, o'it.”

questioning, and underneath a text: She set the child upon the counter “Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of and pushed back her sleeve, glanced the least of these, my brethren, ye did a moment at a long, black bruise that it unto me. reached from wrist to elbow, then He sighed, thinking of the hungry quickly lowered the sleeve again. horde, the fainting multitude at the

“Give me somethin' to eat, Mr. Ri. grocery that Christmas eve. ley, for the sake o' your own wife, sir,

His heart had ached for them; he -an' the Christmas."

understood so well what it was to be His own wife! Why she was safe; wretched, lonely, hungry.

Not one safe forever from misery like that. of those he had helped had thanked He almost shrieked it to the big blue him, in words; not one had wished blotter. And then he looked to see him a Merry Christmas. Yet, for what he had written. He almost what he had done, because of it, the trembled, lest in his agony he had en- little red stocking by the chimneytered upon the master's well-ordered place would be half empty.

He book his thought: "Safe! Elizabeth

Safe! Elizabeth hadn't missed their

hadn't missed their thanks, poor Riley, under the snow- Christmas.” He starvelings, and to say Merry Christhad written it somewhere, upon his mas," would have been to mock. Yet heart, perhaps, but surely somewhere. he fancied a smile touched for an inThe entry in the boss' book was all stant the lips of the pale Nazarene, right; it read a trille extravagantly, those lips said to have never smiled, as however:

he slipped the card to its place under To T. Riley..

the wee hands folded upon the child's

Dr.
I shoulder, 10 tbs. (a 10 cents. $100

heart. 2 its colle'e 11130 c nts....

And after a little while he was lying 2 tbs. sugar (a 1:1 cents.

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by her side, too tired to sleep, think3 doz. egg (1 15 cents.

15

ing of the unbalanced ledger and the For the sake of the dead wife," he books that must be posted before the told the blue blotter.- the dead wife year should end. and the Christmas time. Then he At last he slept. But the big ledger thrust the book into the safe, turned refused to leave him; even in dreams the combination, looked into the stove, it followed to annoy him, and drag lowered the gas, and went home. him back to the little suburban grocery.

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And when he unlocked the safe and longer begged, they laughed. And took it out, lo! he was surrounded by there was one who wore a mask; and a host of beggars: boys without money when it was removed he saw that it wanting firecrackers; women with was Christ. starving babies in their arms; little Then he took back his old ledger, girls crying for bread; old men, young and lo, upon the credit side where the men, white, black, -all the beggars of balance was not made, a text had been the big round world. They seized the entered. It filled the page down to boss' big book and began to scribble the bottom line: “Inasmuch as ye in it, until a little girl with a crutch be- did it unto the least of these, ye did it gan to beat them off. And when they unto me.” And full across the page, were gone he could still hear the noise as plain as if it had been writ in blood, of them- a mighty rustle of wings; ran the long red lines that showed the and he saw they had gathered all sheet was balanced. about him, in the air; and they no

-W. A. Dromgool, in December, 1892, Arena.

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I

TO THE EDITOR OF THE DAILY TELEGRAPH:-

to my flock.

On one occasion a WesSHOULD like to say with refer- leyan family remonstrated with me on ence to the question of the pro- the bad example I was setting the

priety of holding -raffles" at young of the district, but I continued church bazaars, that on one occasion to pursue the error of my ways, as it when engaged in procuring the neces- seemed to that family, until we had sary funds for the erection of a church our church opened free of debt and a in a country district we had several good congregation gathered together. *picnics," doll fairs," and a bazaar. Then came along the very same WesWe had raffling at these, horse-racing, leyan family, backed up by the Wesat which prizes were offered by grave leyan minister, and requested the use church officers, all of which as minis- of the very church built up by what ter I allowed, and spent a few pounds they considered unholy means, and in said raffles by way of an example were mightily offended with me be

6

use us.

cause, out of regard for their con- would have recognized as did our sciences, I refused the request.

Savior) that "it is also written": I may say that we found the church "Abstain from all appearance of evil." quite as comfortable to worship in as To me, a snake is no less venomous a similar church built without any or dangerous, because it is a little raffling, only the church built by snake. Neither would I recommend raffles and horse-racing was free of parents to procure snakes of any size debt, the other was not, and often for household pets, because they may was that debt a cause of discord. be kept within proper bounds." To The church built by bazaars, raffles, the thoughtful there is no truth in the races, etc., has ever since been a statement: “Gambling in itself is not favorite resort for the people; the one an evil,” and “the same may be said with debts, minus bazaars, etc., has of horse-racing, dancing, and drinkdrawled on a very lifeless existence. ing.” It needs no comment. "By their fruits ye shall know them.” Of late, Bread and Butter Dances"

I give it further as my opinion that have been popular, for raising funds gambling in itself is not an evil. Kept for the poor. They were patronized within proper bounds it is good, and only by the Gentry," including the may be used for a good purpose. The Governor and family, all of whom are same may be said of horse racing, people of means. I have often wondancing, and drinking. The evil is dered why people do not contribute to not in using them, but in letting those charitable objects direct from the

"To the pure all things are purse, instead of doing so through the pure," saving, perhaps, hypocrisy. medium of these various avenues of Yours, etc.,

pleasure and doubtful and sinful per

VERITAS. formances. But it is a seeming fact The above attracted my attention in that people usually regard a direct to-day's Daily Telegraph. It is signifi- tax in civil affairs as more burdensome cant, coming as it does from a minis- than an equal indirect tax. It may be, ter. Surely the conscience is a this same disposition is exhibited in "creature of education."

Men can church government. tolerate almost anything under the From our standard books, I gather guise of religion as long as the con- that our Father is pleased with a science approves. That this is not un- direct offering, especially, if it be a fair, one has only to call to mind the sacrifice. Giving is designed to pro“Inquisition," and the doctrine of mote the benevolent in our nature, Blood Atonement," legalizing (reli- and to starve out the selfish

progiously) murder; or, Freeloveism, pensity.

pensity. Helping the church (or goswhich promotes the practice of adul- pel work) through eating at church tery.

festivals, buyirig articles of wear at The above writer can quote Scrip. bazaars, or purchasing pleasure in ture, but the amount of it used reminds dancing, horse-racing, drinking, gamone of a certain celebrated character bling, etc., is not giving in a gospel who tempted the Savior, and quoted sense. In so doing, we obtain "value Scripture to justify the ground taken. received,” and are just as selfish as "To the pure, all things are pure” before. (with the possible exception of hypoc- I am aware that it has seemed necesrisy) It would seem that little erils sary in certain cases to raise funds are not harmful if kept within proper through suppers, bazaars, etc., but bounds," and not allowed to use us." does it not show a lack somewhere? The very admission that they must be Why is it that a community cannot watched within proper bounds," and raise a certain amount needed directly, that there is a possibility of their and yet can raise it indirectly? Here using us, proves their dangerous are offered some thoughts for meditanature.

tion, and a suggestion in some parts As a light in society the minister of the line of gospel effort, for imshould have seen this and then he provement.

GOMER WELLS. SYDNEY, Australia, Sept. 23, 1993,

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