Page 6 article text (OCR)
Christmas come.s but once a yrnrl Ring the bells of every steeple So the people, sill the people In the Christian world, shall henr, Kmeruld trees of precious splondt Will th 1r wondrous fruit« surrender, 1 And the glf t-ltlni? will appear. Wherdfore should I tell the story Of the heavenly child of glory— ' Tale of sorrow and good cheer I You huvo heard it often spoken And by many a treasure-token Have memorialized the tear And the gladness th;it commingled When tho Holy One was singled (For the manner, cross, and Dier. ' Christmas comes comes but once a yearI With its legend of the stacking, And tho presence that— unknock- Ing Enters, ere bold chanticleer <// fy. Cnll", In shrill and sturdy warning: . "Itismo-r-n-lng! Ills mo-r-n-ingT" " In bis matin, loud and cle.ir; ; • • • And the shadrfw-gnte unlocking, \\ Is so beautiful, so mocking. M Arched by hope and imried by fear. 11 Lovely spirits in robes of whiteness 11 Leave their dreams with feet of /« lightness, is the duy-duwn draweth neaf. And their cheeks are : like Juno roses AVheii their eager search discloses Christmas presents swtet and queer. Christmas comes but once a yearl But to some It does not tome ,ver with remembrance dear. Some arc poc r andluuo and weary, Sorely stncuen arid hi art-dre.iry. r jnly lie—pierced by the spear Till his side became a fountain, On the brow of Calvary's mountain - : iifathoms discipline severe. . , He tan read the checkered ^blending Of the wrong and rieht unending— uilng so to eycsipht blear— "i'is the sphinx of man's career. But ring bells from every steeple; Tell the happy, favorod ptople, Christmas gilds the dying year. (./ »HE CHATEAU OF Ploerneuf was the terror of the Breton people. The country folk made the sign of Ihe crces as they passed 'by and murmured, Uie Accursed one's castle!" About the walls that surrounded the grounds was a brier hedge, which ro cne dnred to cross. The servants passed each other by like shadows, afraid to (peak above a whisper. No one dared to address the master. Only the young OoCnt Robert found favor in the eyes \f the lord of tho manor, the old Duke "My dear Lord, is your .suffering. worse?" asked Robert, gently. The Duke shuddered; he was still listening intently. It was Christmas night. "NoelJ Noel!" sang the peasants' voices. "Noel I Noel!" rang out the chimes; Then the old Duke rose up like a spectre. "Listen, Robert!" he said. "Listen!" The old man had not spoken for twenty years. His sepulchral voice echoed through the great hall and the ancient armor hanging on the walls gave forth a metallic sound. The young Count was petrified with fright. "Twenty years ago I had a son; he was handsome, brave and generous. He loved a young peasant girl and wished to marry her, but I refused my consent—I could not countenance such an outrage. My son pleaded with me, | but I was inflexible; my escutcheon | would have been eternally disgraced. I was wrong, my boy, I was wrong! Never give way to pride! It is a mortal I sin!" Sobs choked the old Duke's utterance, but he continued: "The maiden was beautiful and virtuous. I offered her money; she refused it. Then 1 had her carried off and imprisoned in the tower of the castle. Several months passed; my son was faithful to his word, I to my I decided to kill the maiden, so i-u-ange IK-. who , " 'Come!' saici i conducted me. "Leading me on through innu Tier- able arches, we went on and on for a longtime. Then stopping suddenly, 'See!' he said. 'Behol.l thy soul!' 1 i was petrified with terror. One sin'gle drop of oil remained in my lamp, and over it hovered an angel with coal black wings, who blew upon the flame torted with fear. He was listening intently; one would have said that he was the ghost of terror. P£2ide him on a porphyrj' column burned a small golden lamp set with ,/e Kerberzoff, his uncle. At the time when this story begins i pride. Robert was seated at the old man's j I sent word'to her secretly to escape at feet He was seated in the great ducal j the first opportunity. A silken ladder ;hair; his face was livid, his eyes ! was given to her, and she was care- gleaming and his countenance dis- ] fully instructed as to its use and how to fasten it to the window. She prepared for flight. Then I arranged an infamous trap for her. Listen,Robert! listen! I had the stones of the window sill loosened, so that it would give way beneath her weight, carrying Ihe unfortunate girl with it as it fell, and she would be dashed to pieces u'non the marble floor of the courtyard below. "It was Christinas! That night I fell asleep in the fear of God. Then I was transported to an immensity of clouds. Innumerable arches followed each other in never ending succession. Beneath these arches small golden lamps were swinging gently lo and fro, so numerous that it would have taken years to count them. Some burst suddenly into flume, others were as suddenly extinguished. Some burned with a fierce light, others flickered for a long time before they died out completely. "Each one of these lamps was guarded by an angel. All the new lamps were tended by fair white angels with faces of unspeakable beauty; by others stood black angels, ugl-y and "I WAS I'ETRIFIED WITH TERROR." to make it burn out more quickly. I was in mortal fear, and I was a coward; yes, I was a coward," said the Duke, trembling violently. "Listen, Robert, listen! Beside my lamp burned another with a steady I and brilliant flame; a white-winged angel watched over the golden vessel. The Spirit of Evil came and whispered in my ear." The old Duk<5 ceased. It seemed as if he heard the spirit's voice at that n-om^'il His eyes were bloodshot, his hair sto-<d on end witli fright and his u-u,h chattenvd. He continued, in a hoarse vuici-: "The white-win-fid angel looked at me sadly, but the black kept whispering in my ear. I saw nothing; I would see nothing. From the black angel's wing I plucked a feather, and dipping it into the brilliant lamp I took the oil out drop by drnn and let it fall into my own. Hy flame became brilliant evil looking, and those seemed to and red as blood; the other grew paler, my "THE STONES OF THK SILL WERE I.OOS- KNED," precious stones. Behind it stood a tall negro, who, as each minute passed, let Jail a single drop of oil upon the flame. Close to o.d man's withered hand lay »n axe, and the negro would v have atoned with his life for a single forge" fulness of his duty. The Duke was even paler than usual; bis long, white hair was matted his temples, and from his tern stricken eyes great tears rolled downl await with impatience the moment when the flame should be finally extinguished. " 'What is all this?' I asked guide. " 'These lamps are the souls of men," he replied. 'The ones which start suddenly into flame are the souls of newborn infants, and spotless angols guard them. Here are the souls of those who have reached the time ol life when they can think for themselves, and the Spirit of Evil and the Spirit of Good dispute their possession. Those lamps which are flickering and fading out are the souls of the dying. Seel' he cried, pointing out several flames which were on the point of extinction, 'see! at the supreme moment the soul almost always turns to the Spirit of Good!' "Then 1 1 asked him to show me my 15 but retained its starry brightness. Only one drop of oil remained; and the white angel stretched forth his wing to stop me, but another with wings gleaming like mother of pearl and bearing a golden sword came to us. 'Let the man do his will! God will judge him!' he said. Then I took tho last drop of oil. "Then I was afraid. 'Whose lamp is this?' I asked, pointing to the flame which was just on the point of going out. And the voice replied, 'It is t.he soul of thy beloved son.' At that moment the flame went out. The white angel took the soul in its wings und flew away with a cry of grief, but the Spirit of Evil responded with a loud cry of triumph '•I awoke frozen st4ff with horror, Two corpses werel stretched out upon the floor of p»y /roprn crushed aloapst by bis betrothed, had wished to.pro- tect her in her "flight;, and the dreadful trap whicli I had set for her had killed them both. -It was Christmas—twenty years ago!" , • • The old man fell back in his chair, the tears streaming' down his face. • "Stop!" ne said to the negro who was tending this precious lamp. "Feed, the flame no more! I have made my confession, now I can die—but can God find pnfdon for me?" At that- moment the castle bell rang loudly and the, chantsi of the church Wer<» heard. The doors of the great hall swung open. Through them was seen the,chapel of the old manor blazing with lights, and the Child Jesus on His bed of, straw Reemed resplendent .with glory and pardon. The old Duke fell on'his knees before the Infant God. "Man!'' Said the voice of•"'the priest, •«OK«is,t was"'born, suffered» died tore- dtv'm the sins of men. Thou hast sinned, tho'u liast suffered, thou hast repented-^rGod pardons theet May thy soul depart in peace!" Then -the old man looked at the golden lamp and saw above it an angel with snow white wings, and he recognized him as the guardian of the brilliant lamp. The angel smiled on him sweetly, and taking up the flickering light flew off toward heaven. - • The Duke Kerberzoff was dead. Christmas Chtiroli Decoration. In decorating a church, do not wait until the afternoon before Christmas, and then get at the work in hand in a haphazard fashion, trusting to a happy inspiration which generally fails to come, when'wanted, for satisfactory., resitlts. Appoint a committee to see to the work, and let it decide on some, scheme of decoration. When it has made a decision, fall 'to with a will, and . help it work out its plans, but - never hamper or annoy it by constant suggestions of changes which you may think would be improvements. In this, '• as in other things, too many cooks spoil the broth. If the committee possesses ordinary taste,and thinks out a definite scheme before beginning operations, tho chances are that the church will present a far more pleasing appearance than it would be likely to if all the young people.in the neighborhood came together without a plan ,to work on, and suggestions from everybody were received and an attempt made to carry them out ChrlHtmaa Gifts for Men. If a man has a nook of his own in his home, what men are apt to call their "den," the Christmas gift cannot be better than something which will enter into the practical spirit of that room. If he has used a writing table, or if his present desk has outgrown his papers, the most acceptable gift would be one of those roller-top desks of generous capacity which men so enjoy. Expensive, you say? Not at all for the lasting enjoyment derived from such an article. A most capacious oak desk, filled with pigeon holes, drawers and side-slides, can now be purchased for S30, and far better is it to spend a little more on a usef nl present than to waste a small amount upon something utterly useless to a man. Or, if the desk be there, or the purse will not permit, there is perhaps lacking a comfortable rug under the desk, or an easier chair. A revolving book-case, a dictionary holder, or a simple "double-storied" table stand for books and papers, to be placed beside the desk, are luxuries which any man enjoys in his library. For the inside of the desk there are many little CHfikSTMAS A NATURAL WOEFUL SKEPTIC HAS EXPERIENCE. Goes a Nplrlt-llniitlnff niul . Knconnter* A Deitti Crerfltnc' nn(< it Aftprwnrci linrlcd into h Clii-litinus Festival In Land. , . HEY HAD TOLD Plummer that the \ shining lights. time was not dis- t-ati't when n e Would meet the 'dead face to face on the street, and shake hands with them and pass the compliments of the day. "Oh, my brother," they had said (meaning Me- t &fc dium Brown and Sister Solomon, and. several oth ers, who were strong in the spiritual faith), "we are making progress'very fast. It was wonderful enough when the spirits embodied themselves in matter which was merely an imitation of flesh and bone and blood; but we are now to have the genuine article, and it will stay with us as long as secmeth to it good and profitable." Now, mark you!" said Plummer, speaking of this to a friend in whom he had confidence, "I don'fc believe it. I'M JONES—p. Q. JONES. It is simply impossible; and yet even more curious things are told of in scriptural history, you know. Plummer was naturally skeptical. He had fat, red cheeks and a little mouth that continually looked as if it wanted to whistle, and fat hands and short, fat legs, and a confiding way that made him many friends; and then he had a habit of believing in himself and his own shrewdness that made everybody laugh. "They can't fool me," he oftan remarked,snapping his fingers as if in contempt of all efforts to that end; and whenever he said it, the words created a broad smile all around the board, as if the idea of fooling Plvimmer was the height and depth of all absurdity. Well, the manifestations began without the aid of the slightest electricity. There was no sitting around disensd now," and he disftpp6 are j u Jl he had.been shot up some invlirhul chimney. w l Just hdw .Plummet got into the IdA* 1 dining-hali of the place he can notrt ! member. It seems to him that h e ^L ' pushed one way and pulled another ^ and he is confident that sohiebodt kicked his shins—he carried the verv bark ori them a long time. He recoZ le'cts that he' suddenly found himaali on the floor, having- finally b6 B « thrown there with, great velocity. AS he went down there Were a thousand • in his eves, and ther* was -the noise of clinking .glas&ta I and merry laughter. About the tabli I Were as many as a hundred gentlemei' and ladies* clad in as many kinds 6f dress, running back to the ffiodeaof the middle and further ages. Thera was a Mrs. Cleopatra, who was not at* tired to • any .great extent, clinkldff-, glasses with a gentleman who appeared I | to bear a close resemblance to JulUu and pointing a coquettish finger * Antony, There was Queen Elizabeth, with a ruffle around her neck so Inrge that it seemed as if It ought to choke her, exchanging excla- ' mations of wonder with - Walter Raleigh with respect to the Brooklyn bridge, whiel King John tossed merry jests to Annie Laurie and got them back again, Mary Queen of Scotts dis- < cussed the war tariff with Lord Darnley, and William Shakespeare put up his hands with Francis Bacon in a violent argument as to Mr. Darwin's origion of man. Plummer had apparently risen to a sitting posture about this time and was drinking it all in wili his eyes and wishing the same with respect to his eager mouth, when there advanced a marvelously pretty lady who announced herself as Uagar in the wilder• ncss, and immediately introduced »| lady with a water-vessel on her shapely ) head as Rachel at the well. "In good faith," said' Plummer gal- | lantly, "you carry your years right royally. You must be—why, good gracious!" exclaimed Plummer, as ha hastily indulged in mathematics, "you must be so old that you can't count it, and here you are with the down and color of the peach on your, your cheeks,and with eyes that sparkl« and lips that lift my soul to unutterable yearning. By heavens! it is good to be here. And how are Uncle Abraham and litle Ishmael?" "We may not dwell," said Rachel at the well; and thereupon Hagar in tho wilderness spoke up business-like, but with a winning smile: "We are appointed a committee of two to bear to you the compliments of the Queen of i'heba, and conduct you to her Majesty's side. Shall we have that honor?" "You bet!" exclaimed Plummer,with great rudeness; recognizing and regretting which, he promptly added, "Even as the duck yearneth for its native element, so my heart goeth out to her serene and unrivalled Majesty." "'Plummer,'said her Majesty, as I slid into a chair at her side, embarrassed like, 'I have long looked ahead to this hour. Hundreds of years I ( have waited for it. Ah, with what intensity of alternate hope and de spair, dear Plummer! Sweetheart,! have a drink?' I "The concluding words seemed harsh! to me, though they were uttered in the clearest and most musical of tones. I quaffed, however, and it must have been of a beverage brewed by the immortal gods. Fast as I quaffed, odd a* things which can be thought of to a PP ar ? nt premeditation, and the boys a pine table and singing psalms, as . - . . --, Plummer remarked afterward. The 't may seem, the words were repeated, conditions were perfected withoutany 'SwHethfinvt-s. i™ «mr,n,»» • n-j «—"'- brighten writing hours, and when they are to be had in silver they are far more acceptable, since silver brightens by r«s ornamentation, and is lasting as well in its usefulness. A silver pen tray or pen rack, a paper weight, a letter opener, a paper cutter, a mucilage stand and brush, a letter or bill clip, an inkstand, a memorandum tablet, a penholder, a hand blotter, a match box or stamp box, a library ash receiver, an ink eraser, a pincushion or holder, an engagement tablet—all these are little adjuncts ony one of which is appreciated by a man much at the desk in his home.. lliird I>uok. Uncle Tom—Well, Bobby, what do you expect to get in your stocking on Christmas? Bobby (disconsolately)—Not much? Mom put me into socks last October! Miss Lovina Cottedge—Oh, Mr. Squeer, I am so much pleased with your beautiful Christmas gift! i Madison Squeer—I am very glad you I liked it. (Thinking of his rival.) Er-r-r, [ did you get anything from Shippen Clarke? Miss Cottedge—I told him that he had better save the money. Envy Hebnked. "Any one can see with half an eve," remarked the Potato to the Plum Pudding, "that you have got an awfully swelled head." "Oh, rot!" rejoined the Autocrat of the Christmas Table} "you're the un fortunate fellow whq'e always fuming up) bu,t I and girls over there came and went Just as if they belonged here and were about to resume where they left off when they passed out. Plummer was first astonished by being stopped at the junction of thft streets. It was about 9 ojclock 'at nightof the24th of December.and there was a full head of gas in the street lamp on the corner. A man with blood- red eyes, dressed in a ragged overcoat and a plug hat, the front of the rim of which was torn so as to rest on his nose, leaving the eyes conspicuous in the vacancy thereby created remarked in a hoarse, low voice: "I'm Jones— P. Q. Jones. Know me? Died in '04. 'Member that $5 I loaned you? Want it!" "I had an indistinct remembrance of borrowing ,$5 of somebody of that name," said Plummer afterward, "and of his dying before I had a chance to return the money. Now I don't know that this was the Jones in question, but if not, how should he have known of the transaction? Well, I was glad to get the matter off my mind, and I handed out 85. I iutendeci to ask for a receipt in full, but as 1 looked the man disappeared. He paused before a building that was lighted from top to bottom, and every light in which anueared to be daneintr a jig without regard to rhyme, time, . or propriety of movement. This might | have been partly a result, however, of the whirling snow, it having come on to storm in good, old-fashioned Christmas style. Pausing to put a handful of silver into the outstretched palm of an old woman who said she was once known as Lucretia Borgia, I and casually remarking to her that ho ' hoped she had stopped the poisoning business, Plummer entered the build- i ing, and nearly ran against a man of rather suiall stature, with a prominent nose cast in the Roman style, long gray, hair brushed back of his ears and tied ' with a ribbon, and remarliably keen, bright eyes. "If I'm not crazy," said Plummer, half to himself, "that's the ghost of Aaron Burr," "Your servant, sir," said the man to Plummer, with a courtly bow. PJummer could think of nothing appropriate to say, so he blurted out: "How's Aleck?" "Mr. Hamilton and I Sweethearts, try another,' and finally I sank, I swooned—the spectacle, th« music, th. company faded away—I knew no more." The Christmas day began with flying snow. The bells rang out from church steeples and rang merrily from the nocks of flying horses. The windows had countlebs forest and city scenes and figures on them, traced by the merry but eccentric frost. "It must be late," said a forlorn figure, Btaggcving to An upright position in ft deserted hallway, "Wh-hy, where's getting difficulty satisfactorily arranged , l . pn *. our SITAKHSPEARE IN ARQUMKNT, m' watch?" The figure searched tt» pockets and inquired with mnch anxiety, "Wh-hy, wh-here's m 1 money?" Then the figure staggered out to the sidewalk, dismally utterinjf the mysterious word, "So-cooped!' 1 "Merry Christinas!" exclaimed M expectant youth, extending his open palm. "M'shon," replied the flgure.gloom*- ly and in a great state of confusion and doubt, wearily lifting a tremulou» hand to a throbbing brow, "Y 1 may th-think so, b-but I know b-b-etter." And the Christinas bnlls rang oa, In l)««uriuiiijf it uluireU. In decorating a church for Chris* mas, bear iu mind that fine effects d,W not depend so much on the quantity <J flowers as used on the manner in which they are arranged. A few flowers and plants in tho hands of a person of artistic tuste, and, with a good eye for color-eflVctSj will giye excellent results, while a great quantity of flowers arranged by persons deficient In those r»p •pecte, will never glY 9 ' •• • • tfoo4 J,aste ap.d ' " * '