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ing heavy and sad, but his manly bravery prompting him to comfort his little brother in his sorrow, "see how dark it is out there; we can't even see the hay-stacks, nor the barn, nor nothing. If Santa Claus tried to come to-night he might get lost, and all his reindeer, and his sleigh, and his books, and his toys, and his goodies, and -and-everything. And if I was you I'd er heap ruther he wouldn't try to come to-night-wouldn't you, Steenie?-than for him to get lost on the prairie. Don't cry, Steenie! Mother will hear you, and it will make her sad, too, and father might wake up. Don't cry; try to be a man, like mother said, and Santa Claus wont forget us when it aint so dark and he can get here.”
The brave little fellows both tried very hard to keep back the tears, but somehow they just would come, and by-and-by, when mother called to them to go to bed, they were very wet little faces that were held up to hers for a kiss.
“May I hang up our stockings and pray God to make it light, so Santa Claus can see how to come, mother?” said Steenie.
“Yes, dear,” said mother.
She tucked the covers well about the boys when they pressed their tearful faces upon the pillows, and the little fellows lay very still for some time.
“Ev,” said Steenie, by-and-by, when mother's light was out and he knew she was gone to bed, too; "do you think Santa Claus could see if there was a light?”
" He might," said Ev drowsily.
Steenie turned over, stuck his head out from under the cover and opened his eyes very wide to keep from going to sleep. He had not many minutes to wait before Ev's regular breathing told that he was asleep. It was very dark and Steenie could not see a wink, but he reached down to the foot of the bed, and got Ev's overcoat and slipped into it. It was not much too big for him, but it was getting very tight on Ev.
“Now I shall not take cold,” he said, as he felt for the
matches which mother always put on the little table so Ev could make a light if Steenie had the croup. “Yes, here they are," said Steenie to himself, "and I know the lantern is hanging just above the bed on the peg by the window, for I saw Ev put it there.”
It was but the work of a moment for him to strike a match and light the big lantern that hung near the bedpost. He saw the light spring up and shine through the bare window out into the white yard, over the white fence, across the white prairie beyond.
"If Santa Claus is coming that way he'll see my light,” the little fellow said, as he crept back to bed; and very soon he was asleep. Steenie saw the light shine across the white yard and the white fence and the white prairie, but he did not see the poor, miserable little peddler, who struggled to his feet again when the bright gleam reached him, and who made another effort to get out of the drift by the roadside.
Steenie did not hear the faint knock at the door, as, almost frozen and well-nigh bent to the ground by the weight of his heavy pack, the peddler sank exhausted upon the steps. But mother heard, and let the poor man in, and the next morning the boys saw him.
And they saw something else, too. When they opened their eyes they saw the lantern still burning and the light of a beautiful Christmas day shining in upon their bright faces. And what were those piles of bundles upon the two chairs where Steenie had hung the stockings?
Out of bed the boys sprang, laughing and shouting to find their stockings stuffed with the candies they had longed for, round and flat and red and white. There were a new overcoat, new boots, new mittens for Ev and a new suit for Steenie, with a helt to buckle around his waist; there were books and pictures, and everything they had wished for, down to Ev's jack-knife and Steenie's ball.
“God answered my prayer, didn't he, mother?” said Steenie, joyfully.
THE BACHELOR'S HOPE.-Malcolm M. LUZADER.
We talked of books, we talked of songs,
We talked of home and friends;
Its ills and their amends.
The story of my heart;
Sweet sunshine did impart.
That gave my being zest;
My hopeful love to test.
Through life's revolving years,
To banish all my cares.
The fairest of her kind;
Reflected from her mind;
As silvery calm and sweet,
Shall make my joy complete.
“And now, dear love, for you I've lived,"
I took her hand in mine,-
Can bring my life sunshine.”
I knew my fate was sealed ;
The truth her word revealed.
Remembered, but forgiven,
“ Young man, your home's in heaven."
favorite magpie sees the play,
cage, and, with a sigh Takes one fond look, and lets him fly. Now Mag, once more with freedom blest, Looks round to find a place of rest; To Temple Gardens wings his way. There perches on a neighboring spray. The gardener now, with busy cares, A curious seed for grass prepares: Yet spite of all his toil and pain, The hungry birds devour the grain. A curious net he does prepare, And lightly spreads the wily snare ; The feathered plunderers come in view, And Mag soon joins the thievish crew. The watchful gardener now stands by, With nimble hand and wary eye; The birds begin their stolen repast, The flying net secures them fast. The vengeful clown, now filled with ire, Does to a neighboring shed retire, And, having fast secured the doors And windows, next the net explores. Now, in revenge for plundered seed, Each felon he resolves shall bleed; Then twists their little necks around, And casts them breathless on the ground. Mag, who with man was used to herd, Knew something more than common bird; He therefore watched with anxious care, And slipped himself from out the snare, Then, perched on nail remote from ground, Observes how deaths are dealt around. "Oh, how he nicks us!” Maggy cries ; The astonished gardener lifts his eyes ; With faltering voice and panting breath, Exclaims, “Who's there? ”-All still as deather His murderous work he does resume, And casts his eye around the room With caution, and, at length does spy The magpie, perched on nail so high! The wondering clown, from what he heard, Believes bim something more than bird ;