The Winnipeg Tribune from Winnipeg,  on December 18, 1926 · Page 36
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The Winnipeg Tribune from Winnipeg, · Page 36

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Saturday, December 18, 1926
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5 , THE WINNIPEG TRIBUNE MAGAZINK BATUHDAY, DJJOJJMBEJi. 18, 1926 A CHRISTMAS IN THE BUSH By Frederick Philip Grove HF, BJornfclJs had moved inlo Prl the muskeg district ent of III MnDouiall lonr before It I I was settled as It is today they bnd teen middle-aged people at the time, having found eacr. other late In life. They had chosen the district because It reminded them ef their only remembered home In the Norrland of Sweden. They na i chosen each other because, when they met, they had had much In common; both were employed on neigh-' torlng farms In the Swedish distrlc e-f Clanwllllam; both had early bevn crphaned after their parents had ome Into the country from across the aea; and both had. almost all thtlr lives, keen hnme-sirk, tho hardly knew for what. Both, were Illiterate and almost Inarticulate. On the homestead clearing, In the course of ten years, some :o acres ol tMh land-they had worked together With that passionate devotion wnicn nly they know who, with the In-ttnets of home-maker, have been eondemned for many years to eat the tread of servitude. They were separated, there, from the already settled districts south of them by a strip of virgin bush four miles wide; anl from the main line of homestead land, west, along the great railroad, by a muskeg and gravel wilderness eight miles In width. There, In utter solitude. In an absolute dependence of one on the other, they had worked out their dostlny Then. Karl, being by that time over go, and Anna nearly as old, a miracle had happened to them. Twins were born In the wilderness. They ban tamed them Verner and Rosa, re-' xtpctlvely. ., For 18 years there had followed ' Jfhat, In retrospeotion appeared as a period of almost Incomprehensible bilas. When the children were aman the two old people disputed each iw the Dleasura of looking after their manifold wants; Karl, for In ' (stance bathing the boy. while Anna bathed the girl, both of them Iaugn Uig and chattering at the rosy, nne-aklnned bodies of the Infants as :f they were those of heavenly visi tors from another world. In order to make sure that there would be enough to provide for two more mouths Karl began to raise a email flock of sheep In the bush, fencing a large lot against the wolves, THEN, as the children began to walk. Anna, who for a year or longer had stayed at home, began to go out again with Karl, to help in lie work. They took the little ones long, In summer to the field, where v,. anread a blanket on the ground, In the margin of the clearing, for them to play and romp on; In winter , to the bush, where, wrapped In coats Mid shawls, the children made a playhouse of the sleigh box, their most familiar sight, whenever they raised themselves, consisting in the blr olaeid faces of the two oxen which vera tied to the stepping board of the vehicle, and there munched their bay; beyond, they looked Into the heep lot where little flakes of wool tuck to the brush and the barbs of the fence wire against which the animals had rubbed in summer time. Still later, when the twjns were six years old, Karl and Anna dally shared the task of taking the two of them. In wagon or sleigh, according to the season, winding their way south, through the virgin bush, now pierced by a trail, to the nearest settlement boasting a school. And though, in their unceasing ministrations to the children, they ecmed to find a link connecting them with a wider world, the world of man and of Cod, they also found, more and more, through them, eaon tn the other. To quarrel with each ther would have seemed as Impossible to them as for each to quarrel with hlmseir. Strange to say. It was through this rery unity and oneness that the children grew up as strangers to their T'Srenta. For they were to these par-ants, not something to be fashioned nd moulded to their likeness, but abenomena to be watched and ad-. mired, like beings of another race; not Immature scions of their kind tc be taught In the ways of an established tradition, but unique gift f the powers above, growing and developing according to laws of their wn. No wonder that the children went their own ways, tyrannising over their parents, taking from them what aoemed good to them, refusing them what they seemed mutely to crave, .filial tenderness and an obedience never openly exacted; no wonder 'that when they were IS years old. both of thera turned tholr backs on the old people, now on the threshold of their eighth decade of their -pilgrimage on earth. One. the boy. enlisted to go to the foreign wars which had broken out; while the joiner, the girl, took service In a well-to-do house of the southern set. 'Element and shortly after disappeared tato the treat city. pHJS Id couple lived henceforth. especially after they had re ceived word of the death In action of .Verner. their son. In memories only The. felt aa If these children of thtlra had been no more than a loan to them, granted by heaven for a abort time ami then withdrawn. For a while longer. In plt ' Mum- Increasina- decrepitude, they worked. In summer. In tho little field, and In the t.un tn winter. But when tCarl had reached the rijve old ago of 75, they gave up the tillage- of the aoil, though the winter work of gathering fuel did not permit Of any Stay. Tiers waa M reel ", them to make their living any longer; they had saved and hoarded, tinaer the mattress of their bed, enough to subsist on up to their natural end. which, by human calculation, cculd r.ot be many years distant now. They still lived In the low, two- roomed log hut which they had ncted when they had first settled on the place; behind It fcood two other buildings, one the stable, now empty except for the chickens; the other the sheep shed, far to the west The fluid, south of the house, en gulfed In the bush, was slowly re- verting to forest But they were no longer alone In the district; a road had been worn lii'o the finest bottom, past tht.ll place, running east and west, from north of Poplar Grove near the lake to north of McDougall on the main railway, a road 17 miles long; and every mile or two, along this road you met with a homestead now, some of them poor, some prosperous be-yond expectation. Far to the east lived the great Nel son, the cattle man, be, too, a Swede, who had bad the great Idea of using the bush as It stood Instead of clear Ing It; and a mile or so west lived young Searle, a devll-mny-care good for-nothlng, so people said; yet he was always able to strike a deal whereby others had to do the hard work for Islm while he drove about the country trading, amusing him self, and acting the gentleman; die women, so people said, could not re fuse him a thing. South of the BJornfclda, too, a settlement had grown up, especially southeast; s school had been built there, Mac-donald School, opposite the Jucitson farm, where a post office was kept. 7ET, for Karl and Anna life re- malned what It had always been, a life limited to the two of them1. only that now they had a shadowy company, the momory of the children. And two years after the dVath In action of their son, these memories were mado strangely living by the arrival of a printed card In an en velope which young Soarle brought ovet one day, and which, It being written In English, they had to ask him to read to them, "fit eve Svenson and Rosa Svenson torn BJornfeld, recommend them selves as newly-married. Winnipeg. Man June, 191J." Young Seorle laughed at the qual form of this announcement; but to Karl and Anna it did not seem strange, for 1n Sweden that la the proper form In which It Is made. The envelope was burned; but the card was fastened to the wall of the kitchen In the little house. Henceforth the two old peopl lived tn an unavowed but mutually understood expectation which, yenr after year, grew stronger and stronger when Christmas approached whenever the new year had ap peared. It suffered Its most grievous disappointment. This disappointment which came to he expected was what kept each of them from ever avowing his hope to the other. Yet, as. the years went by, filled now by nothing but the dally round of little household duties, the whole meaning of their lives grew to con slst In the expected fulfilment of their one great desire once more to see on this earth, before the end of their pilgrimage, the one remaining child of theirs, Rosa, their daughter; and, as the years went by. It became inevitable that finally the polgnan' expectation and hope should break Into speech. It was during the first week n December, during the year In which Karl had crossed the line of his eightieth year on earth. He was now a thin little man with a straggling white beard around a face almost rosy; and Anna was a wiry, old, little woman with a parchment skin as perfectly white as her smooth hair. When Karl walked, he swnng his arms; and It looked as If he were pushing his body rigidly In front of himself, by means of short, trip ping steps; compared with blm, Anna setmed strangely active; she bowed and curtsied with every step; and cn her thin, transparent face lay a smile as of welcome; but she did not know she was smiling; nor did she know that she bowed and curtsied; tho fact was that her neck and her kres were becoming weak. THIS waa how speech camo about Ana annlnr .ft. II,. v. a been lit, the two had gone to bed; they were using only one of the two rooms now; they hnd niovod their bed over from the other; and they never lighted a lamp except for the rurposo of retiring at night, after they hart closed the stove off. Up to that time they always sat In the dark, or rather by the flickering light from the Are which Issued from the half-open Hd of the stove, groping with their souls back Into the past till they met each other in a feeling of companionship In desolation. In red, Karl lay on the far side, along the wall; Anna, on the outside where a chair stood by the head of the bed. with the lamp on It, Now Anna waa Just reaching out with a trembling hand to turn the lamp down when her dim eye caught sight of the white spot on the brown, pnrer covering of the opposite wall above the table. That white spot was the card which announced Rosa's mnrrliige. At Its sight tears began to run Intr Anna's hair from her eyes. She withdrew the hand and sat up In bed Pnfl then roso out of It. As If afraid of'-being left behind, Karl followed' her. And then both stood, barefooted on the Icy floor, at he table and looked ' at that rectangle of wfcrte pasteboard, with, the tears running down their hollow cheeks. When tliey bad gone back to bed and all was dark, Karl suddeuly said In his thin, staccato treble, "Could we write? "Who'd writer ahe asked, her voice a flute-note of eagerness mixed with despair. . "Young Searle," he replied. That was all; but It set them both thinking In a feverish way till sleep overcame them late In- the night. Trey had laid their plans. Next morning, after breakfast, the two old people dressed In their ancient Sunday-bests; he. In a black .tore-suit, more than 10 years old, with slanting pockets and many but tons on naps ana sleeves a young man's fashion of a day gon-by; she. In a black alpacca dress, with a bustle behind and many frills In front, the skirt sweeping the floor. Thus they set out on the long, long trip to Searle's, more than a mile west. Slowly, arm In arm, they tripped over the thin, fresh snow1 of the road. OEARLE'S pluce was a small clear. - Ing In the edge of the bush, with a Jumber shanty and a large log stable behind. There, at the stable they found the young man, in mac-Hnaw coat, corduroy 'breeches, and leather gaiters, with twinkling b!auk eyes in a rod, laughing tuft. "What's that?- he asked! "Write a letter for you? Sure. Will cost you SO cents." Anna pulled at her long skirt, raised It with her gloved fingers, and. bending down, drew a little leather bag from a pocket In her petticoat. Searle led the way to the shanty In which he offered the only chair, to Anna. Karl sat down on the edge of the unmade bed; while Searle. with Ms fool, pushed an up-endI box to the table for himself. Then he cleared one corner by sweeping tho litter of soiled breakfast dishes Lack with his arm, reached Into an open cupboard hung to the wall. RAMBLES AROUND WINNIPEG No. 5Old Timers' Homes OCATTERED In various locali-tl's, chiefly along the banks of both rivers, are a number of old houses, principally of wooden construction, which have survived th-earlier period of settlement and no belong to a third generation of bwn-ers. Though the earliest, they are per haps the most auiccsyful models on i modest scale, for meeting the varle I climatic changes of the Northwesi Tho eariles examples now scldon seen, were of hewn logs otone storv only, with on attlo above whlc served to keep out the undue heat '' summer as also to make t'.ie hoin very liveable In winter. 7nler, these settlers took odvan tuge of boards cut In the sawplt eni constructed the frame houses wh'C are still In evidence today. Thoug' not exactly arresting In design as ar. those of the Puritan descendants r New England, they nevertheless hnv. much that Is worthy and character istlc, particularly in their good pri portions. Later designs In brick have not retained this effective look. The Chang? of plan nnd the rejection of the plain gable roof probably accounts for theli comparative failure to attract . aes- j thntlcally. Roraineaa was evidently a charac terlstlo In the old-time houseEntcr-talnlng was greatly called for, espe daily In winter, when leisure was more abundant. THE kitchen, as In the exumplo illustrated, often formed a fea ture or wing separate from the main building. Its proportions, as in most farm houses, were ample, but both living-room and parlor were apt to be on an equally generous scale. These three principal apartments, with an intervening hall and stairway, were often designed on an axial line, so that there resulted a long and interesting perspective through thj large open connecting doors. Th well-known device lent an additional air of spaciousness and hospitality. In those days, In some ways superior to our own, we can Imagine many scenes of merriment and enjoyment of life. For drinking could scarcely have been accompanied oy excess and disorder. Canada has left behind that heroic simplicity of life tn which news and entertalnmont could only be com municated In th' home or the tavern. Pedestrian travel which waa common both In Europe and Canada tende-l towards a natural hunger which wai commonly satisfied in, Company and preferably under hofpltable auspices That increasing wealth haa caused the lack of such good procedure Is undoubted, and so, much fine companionship haa been lost, especially on this side of the Atlantic. j "N the other hand,' we are to be congratulated on the growth of golf and other exacting sports and pastimes which do encourage goo.1 fellowship. So we may hope to even up accounts on this score. To return to our settler's home.. The quiet charm of their surroundings was due In good measure to the largo front yards well shaded by trees and tn some cases protected from tho winds by substantial barns and out-hoiiKes, vbere a number of "rlg-i" could be put up. Of the simple, and often home made furniture, but little remains, as also Is the case with regard to household tm pitmen ta. . ' In this Christmas story Mr. Grove, Manitoba's foremost nature writer, is at his best. A fine' appreciation of human nature, keen delineation of character, and vivid word pictures of outdoor nature are shown. Every lover of good literature will appreciate this article written especially and exclusively for The Winnipeg Tribune. v took a pad of paper out, and an Ink tell, and sat down. , "Well," he said, "what is It to be?" Both the old people- broke Into spf-ech at the same time; but Karl, seeing Anna's eagerness, stopped. rose to his feet, and came to- look over Searle's shoulder. "Dear son-In-law Steve and deariy beloved daughter Rosa," dictated the old woman who had carefully pre paied what to say. But, having reached this point, the pathos of her own composition overwhelmed her, and she broke down; and so did Karl; and henceforth bntb spoke at the erme time, excitedly and Inarticulately. Searle listened for a moment; but he could not make out what either was saying; and then, with a grin and a shrug of his shoulders, he wtnt on writing whatever came Into his head. ''.McDougall Is a small town of 100 souls and 50 houses, situated in the bush district of Manitoba, and doing a lively trade in cordwood and gen eral merchandise. It is 140 miles from the city of Winnipeg by rail, 37 miles from Poplar drove by road. South ofjlt, the next town of any Importance is Minor, with Balfour still farther south; north of It stretches the bush which God blast!' And so on and so on. "Have .you written that?" Anna esked at last. . "Sure." "Better read t to us," Karl said .-- Fight for Island Home A story full of romantlo adventure gulf, occupies an important strateglo and Eastern intrigue lies belnd a.001"011' legal case wbjch will shortly coma before the Anglo-Turkish Mixed Arbitral Tribunal in Constantinople. It centres round the adventures of a young Englishman and his fore, fathers on a smalt Island three-and-balf miles long by about two mllqs wide, which lies basking In the warm sunshine about 18 miles from the mainland off Karaburun, in the Gulf ot Smyrna. The Island rejoices in the pic. turesque name of Drymusa, which means a sweet-smelling herb. ' Over a century ago, when the Island was uninhabited, a retired Brl. tlsh Army officer, named Charles Edwards, settled In Smyrna, WhSre a son, Anthony, was born. Anthony became a journalist, and, In search of "local color," cruised foi many years around the Islands In the Aegean Sea, In 1845, he discovered the Island, and, falling in love with the romantic splendour, bought tt from the Turkish government , There probably would have been the end of the story had It not been for the fact that the Islam' situated aa It 1 almost In the cmV ot the in his trembling treble. "What's the use? It'a all there," young Searle said, grinning. "Your loving father and mother, Karl and Anna BJornfeld." the old woman abruptly concluded her i ND Searle wrote that. Then. reaching for an. envelope, he aked, "What's the address?" Anna laid down the wedding card. ''Eh?" Searle said, puzzled, for there wss no street address. Then, thinking better of It, he merely ocpled the name, added that of the city, and sealed the letter. "What's the difference?" he thought "I want to get rid of these loonies." But he had scruples about accepting the fifty-cent piece. "Ah, that's all right," he said. Th old couple thanked hlra pro fusely. On the way home Anna carried the letter. "Did you ask them to be sure and come for Christmas?" Karl sudden ly said, and stopped. ' "Yes," Anna replied. "But I forgot to ask whether they have chll-dren." "I did that," Karl exclaimed triumphantly?' and they went on. Both imagined that all they had said and even thought while Searle bad been writing waa safely within that envelope, ' Next day, they made an all-day trip and walked the four miles to ) EAST. KlLDONAN 77ic od frem T Cwg. loio Rao rTrywt. Hous. His grandson, another Anthony Edwards, who subsequently became (he owner, Is the claimant In the case now pending. : His predecessors had been content to pay occasional visits to the Island to enjoy Us wonderful climate and splendid Ashing, but Mr. Anthony Jun, -noticed that - vines, almonds, aniseed, tobacco, and olives could be grown there with little trouble, so he cultivated the soil. Then 2.000 Ottonian Greeks from the mainland settled on the Island out refused to pay any rent When Albanian soldiers were loaned to Mr. Edwards to enforce the law the Turks realised , the Importance ot the island's position. . When the war came the Germans converted the island into a fortress, and Mr. Edwards was Interned. Then came the Kemalist advance in Asia . Minor, and Mr. Edwards returned from Malta only to find that his Island had been placed in a milt, tary aone, And that he waa unable to land even as a visitor. ' Mr. Edwards who is now employed in the British Consulate In Symrna, ho taken steps to sue the Turkish government for the value of the Island and substantial amount In damage i Macdonald post office, where they mailed the letter. AT the great post office in the city, the name Steve Svenson was called out every morning for a week when the letter carriers assembled to sort the mall by streets. On tas slrth dsy one of them ex cli.lmed, "Svenson? Let me have that letter. I believe there's a mechanic by that name In the repair shops." Thus, for a wonder, the Jotter found Its destination. . ' The Svensons lived tn a neat little suburban cottage on the outskirts of Winnipeg. When, at night, Steve entered through the back door, still black with grease arid grime, though he had washed - at the works, he pecked, In the kitchen, a kiss at Rosa's pale, middle-aged face, bent down to look at the last one In the cradle, said, "Hello, sonny," to the oldest who came running In from the hall, and picked the second one, a girl of twb, up In his arms and swung her to the ceiling so that she crowea wun aengnr, "Adaln, daddy." the .little one called. "Daddo, do It adaln." "By the way," Steve said to his wife, "there's a letter In ny pocket. Just pull it out. I can't make head or tall, of U: but it's trom your par ents at last" , ' Rosa, a big, heavy woman, turned white and sat down. With a waver- ng eye she (ought her husband's face. He laughed. "No," he said, "they're both alive at any rate." He was a tall, good-looking man of 40. of powerful build, clean-shaven, .with gold-filled teeth flashing out from behind rather heavy Hps. He stood close to his wife, raising an elbow so that she could reach nto ' tfie pocket. She sat absent-minded, her thoughts gone far. "Well," he asked, 'Won't you want it?" - "Not now, Steve," she answered: stornoway House Mclror omesfedcf ?ze South fczst Lullaby in Light Having been troubled for some time past by constant outbursts ot discontent and Irritability on the part of the employees in one of their ! departments, a British firm of menu facturera has found this -disposition to be due to an unusual kind of "Red" Influence. ' One day It occurred to the manager that the red light with which for technical reason, the workmen was flooded, might be the cause of the trouble, t ' ' Consequently. s an experiment the red light was replaced by a green light ' The result was miraculous. Almost Immediately the ttmwr of the workpeople changed, and under, the peaceful rays of the green light they have since been perfectly good-tempered and contented. . This knowledge of the therapeutic effect of colored rays haa now Wen turned to another useful purpose. Experiments have shown that cer. tain colors. In combination, have an influence on 'the retina of the eye which quickly Induces sleep, a system has been ' elaborated for the treatment of Insomnia through the medium of these colored rays. The Inventor of the process haa perfected a amah apparatus,, which, when operated by the woald-b sleeper as he reclines In bed. floods his eyes successively with says of 1! different colors, thus Inducing a peaceful and drowsy feeling which ultimately results In healthy sleep. Several tests have been made on victims who hava suffered badly from Insomnia for many years,nd the results have been so successful sleep having been induced umiaUyvrltnln 10 or 15 minutes that the treatment which is knjwn - as the Somnlum system, Is. now receiving the consideration of the medical pro-fesstotJt ' and she rose, 'lt'a have supper first." She busted herself at the stove, a ftr-away look In her eye. She had left her parents, en emouned with life. Even when ahe did It, she had known she was doing wrong. She had always felt that they must blame her for that wrong ahe had done them. The feeling of guilt had bred obstinacy; she could not stand reproaches. "Let them write!" she had said to herself when she felt no longer In dinger of being summoned back Into the bush. But how could they write when they did net know where she was? That was the reason why she hod sent, the card announcing ,her marriage; she had scribbled the address in a corner of the envelope. No word had come. Children of her own had arrived; she was almost middle-aged herself. Henceforth she Pad known regret, repentance, lona-. Ing for the blessing. Instead of the curse, of her parents. Yet she had made the fiat step; and the second step was not being made. The years nad gone by. Perhapa the old peo pie were dead. .Now this. It upset her. AFTER. upper she. asked ab- rutiflv. If ruptly, as If in 111 humour, "Where's that letter?" Steve who waa sitting "behind his paper looked up, reached Into his pocket, and held the letter up with out a word. She snatched t from his fingers and left the kitchen, slamming the door. Without being aware of it she was hardening her heart as a guilty person Is apt to do. She went up stairs, into her bedroom, turned the lleht on, and locked the door, Slowly she drew the letter from the envelope and- unfolded It. Then. with a shrug, sitting down on the bed, she, read: "Dear son-in-law Steve, and dear ly beloved daughter Rosa," That was all she could read, tears blurring her sight. For, as she sat there with unsee ing eyes, something had happened to her, .haT happened to her senses, so tbat she saw, heard, and smelt What she saw, seemed quite irrele vant: the two big, placid faces of two oxen, and behind them little flakes of wool caught in the barbs of a fence, from sheep grazing along It. What she heard, was a munching sound alongside a wagon box where the oxen were slowly eating their hay What she smelt was the thin, acrid smell of smoke from the clearing In the bush where roots were burning. That moment these three things meant home to her, the place she had aprung from, and almost only Incidentally the place where her parents lived. But a certain soreness of oul, a certain wilfulness of re trospection made her embrace that sight, sound, nnd smell with an overpowering love with a longing so Intense that not to see, hear, smell the things of that vision In reality seemed like losing life. And cuddenly the love as well as the long ing were transferred to the two old people who had had that letter writ ten, and had thereby shown that they. too, loved and longed. Her father, her mother! She sat for an hour or longer. The rest of the letter which was a puzzle to her did not matier. 'Mhere was this certainty; they loved her. had always 1ovd her, had never cursed her. Had she but known! At last ahe pushed the letter Into her bosom and rose. She did her work that night In an almost defiant way, under the musing eye of Steve who wondered a,t her. KTEXT morning, wlien ' he cams ' down for breakfast, she treated hlm-as If they had quarrelled. Then, when he finished his bacon and eggs, the suddenly veered on him. "I might Just aa well tell you," she said. "You can say and do what you please; but I am going home for Christmas." "That so?" Steve asked half mock-ingly. "Well, what'a all the fuss about?" Tm Just telling you," she said. "I and the children." "You are, eh. And what about me?" Slid sat down and burled her face tn her hands. Steve rose and shouldered Into his overcoat Then he reached for th knob of the door. "There are twl ways you can go," he said. "One by McDougall, one by Poplar Grove. I loked It up last night By McDougall la nearer; but you get there at two o'clock at night By Poplar Groce Is farther; but you get there at two In the afternoon. Which way are you going? Tm going by Poplar Grove." Rdbe looked tip, almost Indignant. Then she sprang to her feet But Steve bad quickly opened the door and slipped out, holding hshut by the knob. He laughed, "Save your klsees for tonight honey," he called through the door. "Bye-bye." "Kisses!" ahe rang out and relinquished ber attempt A moment later she aw him. through the window, rapidly striding along the house, already signalling an approaching street -car to stop. She .nrshed to the front door, picked up handful of snow from the stoop and threw lt after the now running figure. k 9 CHRISTMAS Eve dawned dark and grey. As daylight defined ltseir, It waa seen that a true Manitoba bllsxard waa blowing through a low. celllnged world with whlte-stroiked walk, . ! The train being late, the Svensons arrived at Poplar Grove at four o'clock, stepping out on the Itttle station platform, Into a premature dusk. Rosa remained, with the children, tn the warm waiting-room while Steve went to town'to find a team and a driver who would . take them out ' The livery man refused to go, The wind had here, on the Big Ridge, too wide a sweep. The rattling noise of the storm was, In town, too Intimidating. But at last he found a halt-breed boy who had a team of small, Indian ponies and who was not afraid. - It was post six o'clock and fully night before they got away. Or) the road, Steve and the driver took turns at every farm In getting Out and -making sure of their bearing. It was slow work. But the children, burled under thick robes, slept through It all; Rosa, half apprehen-s!ye, half secure In her reliance on "Big Steve,-" sat awake In her corner, peering Into the dark through a narrow opening In her wrapt. Meanwhile, In the little log houiie in the bush, Karl and Anna had been heating all day; for they had opened, for the first time In years, the door Into the back room and made up the two beds which had stood unused since "the" children" had left Not for a moment did they doubt that fulfilment was at hand. Here In the bush where the shelter was perfect the fury of the wind was naraiy percepiioie, wnne ineir own activities and the roar of t'.'.t-fire In the little tin beater kept n a foreground, as It were, of familiar sounds. All day they were busy cleaning, preparing. Karl killed n chicken; Anna plucked and stuffed l'i. They did not speak. But now and then they 6topped and looked nt each other out of spent eyes; and each saw In those of the other unwonted gleam. When night fell, all work was done. They had an early supper of wjrmed nuiK ana Dreaa; tne little heater gave enough light through Its half-open lid. But as soon as the few dlsho w ere cleared away, Anna lit the lamp and then turned the flame down till it was a mere raylcss point ret ready to blaze forth when needed. Thus, at last, they sat down side by side on their straight-backed chair.', to await the hour of Christmas. PITFULLY the gleam from tht burning wood leaped through the low room, picking out the door here, a window there, and perhaps the corner of the kitchen cupboard or the white card on the wall. And now. that all noises In the house had ceased, the wind outside made Itself heard aa an all-enveloping accom paniment to their thoughts or feel ings. Ordinarily Its noise consisted only in a steady roar or hum, varying. In slow and solemn variations, like a iugal choral, changing from one key to another In a stately way. But now and then, as the wind shifted its quarter for a moment, it fell Into the clearing, like a wild band of spirits or a drunken troop of revellers who tore et roof, windows, doors or tapped furiously at anything that was loose. The two eld people, half denf. heard It all, through the stillness that," reigned within; but it hardly entered their consciousness; or If t did, it had a Joyful sound. . Their ears were attuned for a different note; they were listening alonj the road which, a hundred feet north, led past the house. The gate to the yard was open. ' Hours went by. Every now and then one of the two 'would get to his feet and stagger over to the stove to replenish It from the pile of wood they had ready. Then he would sit down again, In silence ana faith. Neither felt sleepy though at times both of them dozed. They were at the age when sleep comes unexpectedly and unpercelved. When they awoke, they did so without a rtart, as If awakement were merely a continuance of sleep. All that happened was. that" the unconscious perception of the fugal muslo of th wind became conscious for a moment, to be submerged again by the effort of listening. v They were unaware of the passage of time; and so they were spared til doubt. It was midnight at last. Suddenly Karl stood on his feet; Anna had started. "Did you hear the singing?" he asked. "Yes," she said breathlessly. "Angels singing," he muttered. Both listened. Anna had grasped Karl's sleeve with thin, trembling fingers. Light and still distant, like Uttlu'1 luminous droplets of sound, came the tinkling- of bells. To them they sounded like orchestral symphonies. They stood, and listened. The bells came nearer and stopped. " j Just then a .clatter of wind fell into the clearing, followed by a grea', hollow stillness. A shout rose outside. They awoke to reality. Their faith illumined their faces like a halo bursting forth' from Inside. Anna slipped to the table and turned up the flame of the lamp. The flickering light was to theui like al burst ot glory. Both went to the door an5 threw It wide. And a moment later three figures had clasped each other to the sound of sobbing; a man's square shoulders loomed behind. All about.' the 'wind was beating Us ketil--. drums. ' And over the hut In the bush, in the midst of the storm, there howed the angel of fulfilment. . j .- i

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