Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Harper's Young People, December 21, 1880 - An Illustrated Weekly
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Harper's Young People, December 21, 1880 - An Illustrated Weekly" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



[Illustration: HARPER'S YOUNG PEOPLE
AN ILLUSTRATED WEEKLY.]

       *       *       *       *       *

VOL. II.--NO. 60. PUBLISHED BY HARPER & BROTHERS, NEW YORK. PRICE FOUR
CENTS.

Tuesday, December 21, 1880. Copyright, 1880, by HARPER & BROTHERS. $1.50
per Year, in Advance.

       *       *       *       *       *



[Illustration: "WHEN THE CLOCK STRUCK TWELVE."--[SEE NEXT PAGE.]]

WHEN THE CLOCK STRUCK TWELVE.

A Christmas Play in One Act.

BY EDGAR FAWCETT.


CHARACTERS.

  The Baron Beautemps, _a wealthy French nobleman_.
  Henri, _his son, aged twelve_.
  Lucienne, _his daughter, aged ten_.
  Gaspard, _serving-man in the château_.
  Eloise, _maid of the_ Baroness Beautemps.

       *       *       *       *       *

(_The action passes in the spacious old castle of the_ Baron. _The time
is about_ A.D. 1600.)


SCENE.

     _A portion of the grand upper hall in the Château de Beautemps.
     Large antique fire-place at back, in which burns a sleepy wood
     fire. Tapestried doors R. and L. Also R. and L., beyond either
     door, entrances to corridors that communicate with main hall. Large
     draped window R. of fire-place. Near R. door small cabinet, on
     which is a silver candelabrum with lighted candle. Near door at L.
     a similar candelabrum resting on heavy carved chair. As curtain
     rises,_ Henri _and_ Lucienne _are discovered beside chimney-place
     in act of hanging up stockings before it._ Lucienne _wears a
     costume of brocaded silken stuff reaching to the ground, and a
     small velvet hood, whence her hair flows in rich abundance._ Henri
     _wears doublet with large collar, and knee-breeches._

_Lucienne_ (_going to window, drawing curtains, and looking out. She
then comes to front of stage_).

  How cold and still! With what an icy glow
  The stars are shining over the château!
  And yonder, where the chapel roofs rise dark,
  The crusted snow gives out a diamond spark.
  Eleven strokes the great hall clock has rung.
  Well, brother Henri, is your stocking hung?

_Henri_ (_joining_ Lucienne _at front of stage_).

  All's ready, sister; see how slim and white
  Both stockings glimmer in the doubtful light.
  I can't help wondering, as I watch them thus,
  What gifts the Christinas Saint will bring to us.

_Lucienne_.

  Oh, everything we've wanted for a year!
  To me a painted doll in bridal gear;
  To you a sword, a cup and ball, a top;
  To me, again--

_Henri_.

  Lucienne, I pray you, stop.
  Dear sister, I've a secret to confess.

_Lucienne_ (_eagerly_).

  What is it, Henri? Anything I'll guess?
  Ah, there! your face reveals it ere you speak:
  You want a falcon, beautiful and sleek,
  To hunt with in the spring, when field and glade
  Hear the sweet bugles of the cavalcade.
  Who knows?--Perchance good luck your bird may bring,
  Tied to the chimney by a silken string.

_Henri_.

  No, no, Lucienne; in vain your wits would tire
  To guess just what it is that I desire.
  I want--come closer; let me speak it low--
  I want--

_Lucienne_ (_in alarm_).

  Why, Henri, what disturbs you so?

_Henri_.

  The wish to look on that famed Saint who brings
  At twelve each Christmas-eve such pretty things;
  To watch old Santa Claus, as plain as day,
  Steal to this hall in some mysterious way;
  To mark his long white beard, his elfish mien,
  And see what others have so rarely seen.

_Lucienne_ (_agitated_).

  Oh, Henri, brother, I am filled with dread!
  How came so queer a fancy in your head?

_Henri_.

  Call it a whim, freak, folly, if you choose;
  Only keep watch with me. You'll not refuse?

_Lucienne_.

  I should not dare! And yet--if I relent--

_Henri_ (_kissing her_).

  Dear, kind Lucienne! I thought you would consent.
  Now hear my plan. Although a dangerous one,
  Its very spice of danger lends it fun.
  Our nurse, Florine, till two o'clock at least
  Will dance, most likely, at the village feast.
  She's stolen away, and begged me not to tell;
  And I, be sure, will keep her secret well.
  We to our chambers will meanwhile repair.
  And till the clock strikes twelve hold vigil there.
  Then we shall both glide out on stealthy feet,
  And--

_Lucienne_.

  Feel my heart, Henri. Just hear it beat!

_Henri_.

  Oh, nonsense! Think how glorious it will be
  To find him here, and know 'tis really he!
  They say that midnight is his favorite hour
  To show the merry magic of his power.
  And if we spy upon his movements then,
  We'll see him here alive. Oh, think, Lucienne!

_Lucienne_ (_starting and looking about_).

  But if your plan by any chance he knew,
  What awful deed might Santa Claus not do?
  Suppose that quickly as the turn of dice
  His anger changed us into cats or mice?
  Suppose as reindeers he should make us drag,
  With monstrous horns, and feet that never flag,
  The tinkling sled in which he journeys forth
  Each Christmas-eve, from wild realms of the North?

_Henri_ (_laughing_).

  A doleful penance for so slight a sin!--
  Come; they who nothing venture, nothing win.

_Lucienne_.

  But, mind, we'll only peep from either door;
  We might indeed repent if we did more.

[Illustration: _Henri_.
  TRUE, SISTER; FOR A LITTLE WHILE WE PART.
  UNTIL THE CLOCK STRIKES TWELVE BE STOUT OF HEART.]

_Henri_ (_kissing her_).

  True, sister; for a little while we part.
  Until the clock strikes twelve be stout of heart.

_Lucienne_ (_as they separate_).

  On kind old Santa Claus to play the spies?

_Henri_ (_taking candle from R._).

  Our plan is made. Good-night till twelve o'clock.

_Lucienne_ (_taking candle from L._).

  What noise was that? It gave me such a shock!

_Henri_ (_listening_).

  A wainscot mouse that somehow came to grief.
  Good-night.

_Lucienne_.

  Good-night. I'm trembling like a leaf.

     [_Exeunt_ Henri _and_ Lucienne _at R. and L. doors. Each carries
     away candle, and the stage is now wrapped in dimness._

      _Enter_ Gaspard _and_ Eloise _from R. corridor._ Gaspard _follows_
      Eloise _in slow, attentive way. He wears a doublet of some dull
      red material, with yarn stockings and low buckled shoes._ Eloise
      _wears a dress that reaches above her ankles, and a dainty white
      apron, into which she occasionally thrusts both hands._]

_Eloise_.

  I pray you, Gaspard, cease these foolish airs,
  These love-sick sighs and sentimental stares.
  They've thrown Madame already in a pet;
  She thinks me quite too young to marry yet.

_Gaspard_.

  Unpitying girl! I scarcely can believe
  You'd show such cruelty on Christmas-eve.
  I'll hang no stocking ere I rest to-night;
  If filled at all 'twould not be filled aright. [_Sighs deeply._]

_Eloise_ (_archly_).

  And how would you prefer it filled, Sir Tease?

_Gaspard_.

  How save with one kind smile from Eloise!

_Eloise_.

  My smiles are not so cheaply gained as that.
  Be off at once, and stop your silly chat!
  'Tis nearly twelve--the hour, as rumor tells,
  When Santa Claus begins his goblin spells.
  Ah, could I once, with these two favored eyes,
  The good Saint at his kindly task surprise,
  I'd give--

_Gaspard_ (_eagerly_).

  You'd give--well, what, Eloise?--your heart?

_Eloise_.

  Why, certainly. But then you need not start.
  There's no occasion to express content
  By quite misunderstanding what I meant.

_Gaspard_ (_very agitatedly_).

  I don't misunderstand--oh, not at all.
  You meant that if by chance it should befall
  Yourself, Eloise, at midnight here to stray,
  And look on Santa Claus, you might repay
  Such privilege by--

_Eloise_.

  Ah, could I see the Saint,
  Speeding his jovial pranks, with visage quaint,
  'Twere hard to warn you where my grateful mood
  Would place the limit of its gratitude.

_Gaspard_ [_aside_].

  What if to-night, disguised with cunning art,
  I should myself enact Kris Kringle's part?

_Eloise_.

  Well, I must hurry on; the hour grows late.

[Illustration: _Gaspard_.
  STEAL HERE BY TWELVE O'CLOCK, WITH CAUTIOUS PACE,
  AND TURN YOUR LOOK TOWARD YONDER CHIMNEY-PLACE.]

_Gaspard_.

  One moment, Eloise, I beg you wait.
  The genial sprite whom you desire to meet
  Perchance your longing gaze may really greet.
  Steal here by twelve o'clock, with cautious pace,
  And turn your look toward yonder chimney-place,
  Then who shall say what marvel yet untold
  'Twill be your happy fortune to behold?

_Eloise_ [_aside_].

  The sly deceiver! Would he dare assume
  The guise of Santa Claus, and in the gloom
  Of this deserted hall delude my sense,
  Hoping to dupe me by some bold pretense?
  I half believe so. Well, if this were true,
  How nicely such deception he should rue!

_Gaspard_.

  You'll come, Eloise?

_Eloise_.

  Perhaps. I can't decide. [_Going toward corridor at R._]

_Gaspard_ (_following her_).

  By all means let your wish be gratified.
  Accept my counsel.--Stop one moment, please.

_Eloise_ (_hurrying off_).

  I'll think of it. Good-night. [_Exit_ Eloise _at R._]

_Gaspard_.

  Nay, stop, Eloise!
  Agree that when the clock strikes twelve you'll fare,
  On timorous tiptoe, by the large North stair,
  Down to this hall-- [_He pauses, looking off R._]

  She's vanished like a dream!
  Still, trust to fate, Gaspard, and work your scheme.

     [_Exit_ Gaspard _at R., slapping breast confidently._

      _Enter the_ Baron Beautemps _at L. The_ Baron _is disguised as
      Santa Claus. He wears a white wig, a dark jerkin, with ruffled
      breeches reaching a little below the knee; he carries a pack of
      toys upon his back: he has a long white beard; his shoulders are
      sprinkled with powdery substance, representing snow. He turns on
      entering, and looks at the two stockings hung before chimney-place
      with a fond, happy smile._]

_Baron_.

  Dear spotless little stockings, viewed with joy,
  Pure memories of my darling girl and boy,
  How tenderly though silently you tell
  Of lightsome, pattering footsteps loved so well!

     [_Laughs to himself softly._]

  Ah, me! that I, a noble great in rank,
  Should thus at midnight play the mountebank!
  And all because I guess how young Henri,
  With curious eagerness, resolves to see
  That mystic Saint of Christmas, whom no eye
  Discerns, whom some believe in, some deny!
  Zounds! what a foolish father I have grown!
  Does Henri sleep, or will he come alone,
  Just as the clock strikes twelve, in night array,
  This fire-lit hall's weird shadows to survey?
  Well, if he comes, the wicked rogue shall find
  A Santa Claus quite suited to his mind.--
  And yet, while fancying his childish glee,
  A strange, unpleasant thought oppresses me:
  Suppose it chanced that while I lingered here
  The real Kris Kringle should himself appear!
  That situation would indeed be fine
  For one decked out in mimic robes like mine.
  Still, since this garb was easy to obtain
  From old ball costumes of our last King's reign,
  And since I knew how Henri's heart was set
  On seeing the good Saint whom so few have met,
  I quietly determined for one hour
  To frolic thus, forgetting state and power.

     [_Listens intently at R._]

  A movement in the turret overhead.--
  Some servant, doubtless, climbing to his bed.
  Hark! steps! I'll fly at once--the sound grows near.
  Too late. I am seen. Confusion!--who is here?

     [_Enter_ Gaspard _at R. He is disguised as Santa Claus. He wears a
     pair of taffetas breeches uncouthly rolled up to his knees, gray
     yarn stockings, and an old jacket trimmed with rusty silver
     buttons. He has a broad hat shading his face, and carries upon his
     back some sort of huge stuffed sack. He stoops affectedly while
     walking, and employs the slow, tottering pace of an aged man. Just
     as he appears on stage, and while the_ Baron _retreats bewilderedly
     toward L., twelve loud, solemn strokes sound, as if from a distant
     clock._]

_Gaspard_ (_who has observed the_ Baron) [_aside_].

  Ah! Heaven, who can it be, in mercy's name?
  That pack of toys, long beard, and stooping frame
  'Tis Santa Claus, by everything that's queer!
  My knees are failing me; I quake with fear.

_Baron_ (_watching_ Gaspard) [_aside_].

  That loaded form--that hesitating gait--
  'Tis Santa Claus himself, as sure as fate!
  I've not sufficient strength to flee away.
  I'm positively frozen with dismay.

     [Gaspard _and the_ Baron _now eye each other in great comic
     bewilderment. The_ Baron _gives a nervous cough, and_ Gaspard
     _starts in ludicrous terror._]

_Gaspard_ [_aside_].

  I'm nearly dead with fright--I choke and pant.--
  I'll speak to him--ask pardon. No, I can't.

     [Gaspard _here gives a heavy groan, at which the_ Baron _starts in
     great alarm._]

_Baron_ [_aside_].

  Of course he means to do some dreadful thing.
  Even now he seems preparing for a spring.

     [_The_ Baron _here makes a loud shuddering sound, at which_ Gaspard
     _sinks upon his knees._]

_Gaspard_ [_aside_].

  My legs have both collapsed--I'm most unwell.

_Baron_ [_aside_].

  Ye saints! he's muttering some horrid spell,
  Calling some gnome, perchance, with grip of ice,
  To shoot me up the chimney in a trice!

     [_While_ Gaspard _and the_ Baron _regard each other in the dimness
     with glances of mutual fear_, Henri _and_ Lucienne _peep forth from
     doors at R. and L._]

_Henri_ (_only perceiving_ Gaspard _at R., and speaking in an excited
whisper_).

  'Tis he! I look on Santa Claus at last.

_Lucienne_ (_only perceiving the_ Baron, _her father, at L._).

  He's here! And oh, my poor heart beats so fast!

_Henri_ (_alluding to_ Gaspard).

  With that large hat, his face I scarce behold.

_Lucienne_ (_alluding to the_ Baron).

  He wears no hat to shield him from the cold.

_Henri_.

  How strange he has no beard, as tales declare!

_Lucienne_.

  How long his beard is, and how white his hair!

_Henri_.

  I thought his clothes were snowy--it is not so.

_Lucienne_.

  He's very thickly covered o'er with snow.

_Henri_ (_discovering the_ Baron _also_).

  What! two of them! I can't believe it true.

_Lucienne_ (_discovering_ Gaspard).

  Oh dear! I never dreamed there would be _two_!

_Gaspard_ (_rising, and staggering helplessly toward back of stage_)
[_aside_].

  I feel that he observes me like a lynx;
  No doubt of some dark punishment he thinks.
  I'll try to escape from his revengeful glare;
  Perhaps he'll drag me back, though, by the hair.
  He turns his head--pursues me with his eye.
  My doom is sealed.--I'm very young to die!

     [_Enter_ Eloise _at R. She comes slowly and cautiously upon stage.
     As she does so_, Gaspard _conceals himself behind the curtain of
     window at R. of chimney-place._ Eloise _discovers the_ Baron,
     _gives a sudden start, and then addresses audience in quick,
     agitated aside._]

_Eloise_ [_aside_].

  Beyond a doubt Gaspard is waiting there,
  In beard and wig disguised with subtle care.
  The artful scamp! how easy to perceive
  This web of crafty guile he means to weave!
  So, so, my clever trickster, you shall meet
  Your match to-night in cunning and deceit.

     [_Aloud_] (_addressing the_ Baron.)

  Pray are you Santa Claus? If this be true,
  It gives me joy, great Saint, to welcome you.

_Gaspard_ (_half hidden behind curtain_) [_aside_].

  What store of courage has the charming jade!
  Now on my life, she's not a bit afraid!
  She thanks her stars for this fine stroke of luck;
  Her curiosity has lent her pluck.

_Baron_ [_aside_].

  It's Eloise.--An awkward thing, forsooth,
  If this young waiting-maid should learn the truth!
  No gossip for a mile but straight would know
  That I, their lord, had wandered his château
  At midnight, clad more like a circus clown
  Than some proud nobleman of high renown.
  How _shall_ I act? what say? I'm sick with dread.
  The minx would doubtless follow if I fled.
  Kris Kringle's gone, and I escape his ire,
  Yet leave the frying-pan to find the fire.

     [_While the_ Baron _speaks this aside_, Eloise _slowly draws nearer
     to him, examining his appearance as closely as the dim light will
     allow. Her manner shows extreme suppressed fun; she now and then
     places her hand over her mouth, as though to restrain herself from
     laughing aloud. Meanwhile_ Gaspard, _still half concealed behind
     curtain, watches very intently what is passing. He seems distressed
     by the boldness of_ Eloise. _He makes one or two gestures of eager
     learning, but_ Eloise _entirely fails to perceive his presence.
     This affords_ Gaspard _opportunity for much comic alarm and
     generally humorous by-play. The_ Baron _retreats a little to L. as_
     Eloise _approaches him from R. At length_ Eloise _addresses him, in
     a voice of mock gravity._]

_Eloise_.

  Great Saint of Christmas! pardon, I beseech,
  My wish to address you in poor mortal speech.
  Yet now, while gazing on your reverend face,
  I long to beg of you one special grace.

_Gaspard_ (_with signs of marked surprise_) [_aside_].

  Her words arouse in me an interest keen.
  "One special grace." What can the vixen mean?

_Baron_ [_aside_].

  Was ever man more oddly placed than I?
  She'll recognize my voice if I reply.

_Eloise_.

  Ah! treat me not with silent unconcern,
  But grant, great Saint, the boon for which I yearn!

_Gaspard_ [_aside_].

  What is the boon that she has come to seek?
  And why on earth does Santa Claus not speak?

_Baron_ [_aside_].

  I must respond; it is my only choice.
  Yet _can_ I properly disguise my voice?

_Henri_ (_from doorway at R._) [_aside_].

  It's Eloise; some favor she would crave.
  Upon my word, she's wonderfully brave.

_Lucienne_ (_from doorway at L._) [_aside_].

  How dare she go as near to him as that?
  And where's the Santa Claus who wore the hat?

     [Henri _and_ Lucienne _have been standing on the threshold of
     either chamber in foreground, with only their heads peeping forth
     from either doorway. They seem immensely concerned and occupied
     with all that is now going on. A little while previously they have
     discovered each other's presence, and made mutual signs of
     astonishment._ Henri _has lifted two fingers of right hand, thus
     indicating by expressive pantomime what surprise it has given him
     to find that there are two Santa Clauses instead of one._ Lucienne
     _has responded by similar pantomime._]

_Eloise_.

  You're silent still. Oh, is it, then, because
  You speak some different language, Santa Claus?
  I know, for my part, but a single tongue;
  I left off going to school when rather young.

     [_Aside_] (_with great secret amusement, while she looks toward
     audience._)

  The wily rascal, he is dumb from fear,
  His voice being so familiar to my ear.
  I'll make him talk, or else my woman's wit
  Is less adroit than I imagine it.

     [_Aloud once more, and in a voice of earnest pleading._]

  Majestic Saint! how pitiless you are!
  I wished to question you of one Gaspard,
  A serving-man in Baron Beautemps' train,
  Who loves me, and who grieves at my disdain.

     [Eloise _now lifts finger roguishly at audience, and turns sly
     looks toward the_ Baron _as she does so._ Gaspard _leans forward
     from curtains, and listens with deep attention._]

_Baron_ (_speaking in a very gruff, hollow voice, totally unlike his
usual tones_).

  Gaspard? Of him what question would you ask?
  To deal with sweethearts never was my task.
  If love's coquettish moods your phrase would paint,
  'Twere best you should consult another saint.

     [Eloise _shows marked surprise as these words are spoken. The voice
     which the_ Baron _uses evidently arouses her astonishment. But by
     the time he has ended she is once more looking at audience with
     same sly expression as before. Meanwhile_ Henri _and_ Lucienne, _as
     though terrified by the stern voice of him whom they suppose to be
     Santa Claus, close doors at R. and L., disappearing wholly from
     stage._]

_Eloise_ [_aside_].

  He's changed his voice; he's warier than I guessed.
  Well, now, till all's revealed I'll never rest.

     [_Aloud._]

  Nay, mighty Saint, I tell it to my grief,
  This lad, Gaspard, torments me past belief.
  In hall or corridor I scarce can pause
  But there he waits to accost me, Santa Claus.
  His flattery turns me ill; with sigh and groan
  He vows that Nature wrought my heart from stone;
  Now rude and fierce, now penitent and meek,
  He swears to hang himself three times a week;
  But most, indeed, my wearied soul regrets
  The doleful chant of stupid canzonets
  Which night by night below my window's ledge,
  Perched like a monkey on a slant roof's edge,
  He drones when all the vast château is mute,
  Hugging against his breast a crack-stringed lute.

_Gaspard_ [_aside, and in tones of great melancholy_].

  Oh, Eloise, relentless and untrue!
  Complained of as a nuisance! and by you!

     [Gaspard _covers face with hands, as though overwhelmed by grief._]

_Baron_ [_at first aside_].

  Good! I have fooled her, and with effort faint.
  How easy it is to play the Christmas Saint!
  A few more words that neatly shall beguile,
  And lo! I'll flit away in ghostly style!

     [_Aloud, to_ Eloise.]

  No more, I pray. 'Tis not for me to deal
  With lovers' destinies, their woe or weal.
  That here within my presence you should come
  But proves you singularly venturesome.
  This once to o'erlook your rashness I will deign;
  Pardon hereafter you shall seek in vain.
  So stern the penalty for deeds thus bold,
  Your very blood would curdle were it told;
  Both limbs would fail your trembling form beneath,
  Both jaws would scarce contain your chattering teeth.

     [_The_ Baron _speaks these latter words in a terribly severe tone._
     Gaspard _audibly shivers as he hears them._ Eloise _recoils and
     seems at first quite horrified. Then suddenly, as though reminding
     herself that it is, after all, not Santa Claus, but only her
     sweetheart disguised for the purpose of deceiving her, she tosses
     her head and regards the_ Baron _very courageously, placing a hand,
     in the most saucy way, on each of her hips._]

_Eloise_.

  No doubt I should be frightened half to death--
  Should scream, should stagger, and should catch my breath,
  And thus, indeed, I really might behave--
  Being not by temperament very brave--
  Did I not chance to more than merely guess
  The shrewd impostor whom I now address.

_Baron_ [_aside_].

  Impostor? She discovers, then, my sham?
  Has she discovered also who I am?

     [_Aloud, in same voice as before_].

  Retire in haste, young maid, and wisely shirk
  To insult Kris Kringle at his goodly work!

_Eloise_ (_with sudden anger, stamping her foot, and, coming much nearer
to the_ Baron).

  Retire, indeed! And do you still surmise
  I've not the sense to pierce your thin disguise?
  I wonder, wicked knave that you appear,
  The real Kris Kringle does not find you here,
  And soundly punish you for this offense
  In due proportion to its impudence.

     [Eloise _here gives a loud, mocking laugh, and abruptly tears wig
     from the_ Baron's _head, afterward pulling beard from his face
     also._]

  Of me, Gaspard, I'll teach you to make sport
  With mask and mummery of this idle sort.
  I'll bid you learn if Eloise will bear
  Being juggled with by stratagems unfair.
  I'll have you know--

[Illustration:
  _Eloise._ AH, HEAVEN! WHAT HAVE I DONE?
  _Baron._ YOU'VE COUNTED ON YOUR GAME BEFORE 'TWAS WON.]

     (_Discovering that it is the_ Baron, _and showing great
     consternation._)

  Ah, Heaven! what have I done?

_Baron_ (_good-humoredly_).

  You've counted on your game before 'twas won.

     [Henri _and_ Lucienne _now peep forth cautiously from doors R. and
     L. They gaze for a moment in amazement at the_ Baron, _and then
     advance toward him from either side of stage._]

_Henri_.

  Papa, as I'm alive! How strange it seems!

_Lucienne_.

  It's like the way things happen in one's dreams.

     [Gaspard, _as if thunderstruck, now quits his hiding-place, taking
     off hat and throwing aside his pack._]

_Gaspard_ (_to_ Eloise).

  Ah, then, Eloise, those cruel words you spoke
  Were all intended as a harmless joke?

_Eloise_ (_agitatedly_).

  Oh yes, Gaspard. I thought 'twas you disguised.
  I never felt so startled--so surprised!

_Henri_.

  'Tis such a disappointment! I could cry!

_Lucienne_.

  I'd help you if you did, Henri.

_Baron_ (_caressing both children_).

  And why?

_Henri_.

  Two Santa Clauses! Think, papa, what fun!
  And now you haven't left us even one!

_Baron_.

  Nay, never mind, dear children. We have seen
  Two loving hearts grow blithesome and serene;
  Made dark misunderstandings melt away
  From both, like sombre vapors touched with day.

     [_The_ Baron _looks toward_ Gaspard _and_ Eloise, _who hold each
     other's hands, exchanging smiles of reconciliation._]

_Eloise_ (_with sudden anxiety, addressing the_ Baron).

  Oh, master, will you pardon my rude act?

_Baron_.

  Agreed; but one condition I exact:
  Gaspard and you must promise both to keep
  My own sly masquerade a secret deep.

_Gaspard and Eloise_.

  We promise, master!

_Baron_.

  Well, so be it; and I
  Perchance will well reward you by-and-by.
  The Baroness in my hearing lately said
  That Eloise was still too young to wed.
  But possibly persuasion may invent
  Some private means of making her relent.

[Illustration:
  _Gaspard_. OH, THANKS! A THOUSAND THANKS, BENIGNANT LORD!]

_Gaspard_ (_delightedly_).

  Oh, thanks! a thousand thanks, benignant lord!

_Henri_ (_to his father_).

  Shall Lucienne and myself gain no reward
  For keeping silent, as your will decrees,
  Like happy Gaspard and his Eloise?

_Baron_ (_taking one of the children's hands in each of his own_).

  Ah, when you wake to-morrow, both shall find
  Your stockings with sweet treasures richly lined.
  Hie straight to bed, and ere the day return
  Let each one here a valued lesson learn:
  Gaspard and I shall grant, grown more discreet,
  That danger paves the pathway to deceit;
  While you, Henri, Lucienne, Eloise, shall own
  That oft the unknown had best remain unknown;
  Nor strive as now, on Christmas-eve, to delve
  In goblin mysteries, while the clock strikes twelve.

     [_All join hands and bow, as curtain falls._]

END OF PLAY.



[Illustration: NURSERY TILES-"THERE HE IS!"]



HOW IT ALL HAPPENED.

A Christmas Story.

BY LOUISA M. ALCOTT.


It was a small room, with nothing in it but a bed, two chairs, and a big
chest. A few little gowns hung on the wall, and the only picture was the
wintry sky, sparkling with stars, framed by the uncurtained window. But
the moon, pausing to peep, saw something pretty and heard something
pleasant. Two heads in little round night-caps lay on one pillow, two
pairs of wide-awake blue eyes stared up at the light, and two tongues
were going like mill clappers.

"I'm so glad we got our shirts done in time! It seemed as if we never
should, and I don't think six cents is half enough for a great red
flannel thing with three buttonholes--do you?" said one little voice,
rather wearily.

"No; but then we each made four, and fifty cents is a good deal of
money. Are you sorry we didn't keep our quarters for ourselves?" asked
the other voice, with an under-tone of regret in it.

"Yes, I am, till I think how pleased the children will be with our tree,
for they don't expect anything, and will be so surprised. I wish we had
more toys to put on it, for it looks so small and mean with only three
or four things."

"It won't hold any more, so I wouldn't worry about it. The toys are very
red and yellow, and I guess the babies won't know how cheap they are,
but like them as much as if they cost heaps of money."

This was a cheery voice, and as it spoke the four blue eyes turned
toward the chest under the window, and the kind moon did her best to
light up the tiny tree standing there. A very pitiful little tree it
was--only a branch of hemlock in an old flower-pot, propped up with bits
of coal, and hung with a few penny toys earned by the patient fingers of
the elder sisters, that the little ones should not be disappointed.

[Illustration]

But in spite of the magical moonlight the broken branch, with its scanty
supply of fruit, looked pathetically poor, and one pair of eyes filled
slowly with tears, while the other pair lost their happy look, as if a
cloud had come over the sunshine.

"Are you crying, Dolly?"

"Not much, Polly."

"What makes you, dear?"

"I didn't know how poor we were till I saw the tree, and then I couldn't
help it," sobbed the elder sister, for at twelve she already knew
something of the cares of poverty, and missed the happiness that seemed
to vanish out of all their lives when father died.

"It's dreadful. I never thought we'd have to earn our tree, and only be
able to get a broken branch, after all, with nothing on it but three
sticks of candy, two squeaking dogs, a red cow, and an ugly bird with
one feather in its tail;" and overcome by a sudden sense of destitution,
Polly sobbed even more despairingly than Dolly.

"Hush, dear; we must cry softly, or mother will hear, and come up, and
then we shall have to tell. You know we said we wouldn't seem to mind
not having any Christmas, she felt so sorry about it."

"I must cry, but I'll be quiet."

So the two heads went under the pillow for a few minutes, and not a
sound betrayed them as the little sisters cried softly in one another's
arms, lest mother should discover that they were no longer careless
children, but brave young creatures trying to bear their share of the
burden cheerfully.

When the shower was over, the faces came out shining like roses after
rain, and the voices went on again as before.

"Don't you wish there really was a Santa Claus, who knew what we wanted,
and would come and put two silver half-dollars in our stockings, so we
could go and see _Puss in Boots_ at the Museum to-morrow afternoon?"

"Yes, indeed; but we didn't hang up any stockings, you know, because
mother had nothing to put in them. It does seem as if rich people might
think of poor people now and then. Such little bits of things would make
us happy, and it couldn't be much trouble to take two small girls to the
play, and give them candy now and then."

"_I_ shall when I'm rich, like Mr. Chrome and Miss Kent. I shall go
round every Christmas with a big basket of goodies, and give _all_ the
poor children some."

"P'r'aps if we sew ever so many flannel shirts we may be rich by-and-by.
I should give mother a new bonnet first of all, for I heard Miss Kent
say no lady would wear such a shabby one. Mrs. Smith said fine bonnets
didn't make real ladies. I like her best, but I do want a locket like
Miss Kent's."

"I should give mother some new rubbers, and then I should buy a white
apron, with frills like Miss Kent's, and bring home nice bunches of
grapes and good things to eat, as Mr. Chrome does. I often smell them,
but he never gives _me_ any; he only says, 'Hullo, chick!' and I'd
rather have oranges any time."

"It will take us a long while to get rich, I'm afraid. It makes me tired
to think of it. I guess we'd better go to sleep now, dear."

"Good-night, Dolly."

"Good-night, Polly."

Two soft kisses were heard, a nestling sound followed, and presently the
little sisters lay fast asleep, cheek against cheek, on the pillow wet
with their tears, never dreaming what was going to happen to them
to-morrow.

Now Miss Kent's room was next to theirs, and as she sat sewing she could
hear the children's talk, for they soon forgot to whisper. At first she
smiled, then she looked sober, and when the prattle ceased she said to
herself, as she glanced about her pleasant chamber:

"Poor little things! they think I'm rich, and envy me, when I'm only a
milliner earning my living. I ought to have taken more notice of them,
for their mother has a hard time, I fancy, but never complains. I'm
sorry they heard what I said, and if I knew how to do it without
offending her, I'd trim a nice bonnet for a Christmas gift, for she _is_
a lady, in spite of her old clothes. I can give the children some of the
things they want anyhow, and I will. The idea of those mites making a
fortune out of shirts at six cents apiece!"

Miss Kent laughed at the innocent delusion, but sympathized with her
little neighbors, for she knew all about hard times. She had good wages
now, but spent them on herself, and liked to be fine rather than neat.
Still, she was a good-hearted girl, and what she had overheard set her
to thinking soberly, then to acting kindly, as we shall see.

"If I hadn't spent all my money on my dress for the party to-morrow
night, I'd give each of them a half-dollar. As I can not, I'll hunt up
the other things they wanted, for it's a shame they shouldn't have a bit
of Christmas, when they tried so hard to please the little ones."

As she spoke she stirred about her room, and soon had a white apron, an
old carnelian heart on a fresh blue ribbon, and two papers of bonbons
ready. As no stockings were hung up, she laid a clean towel on the floor
before the door, and spread forth the small gifts to look their best.

Miss Kent was so busy that she did not hear a step come quietly up
stairs, and Mr. Chrome, the artist, peeped at her through the balusters,
wondering what she was about. He soon saw, and watched her with
pleasure, thinking that she never looked prettier than now.

[Illustration]

Presently she caught him at it, and hastened to explain, telling what
she had heard, and how she was trying to atone for her past neglect of
these young neighbors. Then she said good-night, and both went into
their rooms, she to sleep happily, and he to smoke as usual.

But his eye kept turning to some of the "nice little bundles" that lay
on his table, as if the story he had heard suggested how he might follow
Miss Kent's example. I rather think he would not have disturbed himself
if he had not heard the story told in such a soft voice, with a pair of
bright eyes full of pity looking into his, for little girls were not
particularly interesting to him, and he was usually too tired to notice
the industrious creatures toiling up and down stairs on various errands,
or sewing at the long red seams.

Now that he knew something of their small troubles, he felt as if it
would please Miss Kent, and be a good joke, to do his share of the
pretty work she had begun.

So presently he jumped up, and, opening his parcels, took out two
oranges and two bunches of grapes, then he looked up two silver
half-dollars, and stealing into the hall, laid the fruit upon the towel,
and the money atop of the oranges. This addition improved the display
very much, and Mr. Chrome was stealing back, well pleased, when his eye
fell on Miss Kent's door, and he said to himself, "She too shall have a
little surprise, for she is a dear, kind-hearted soul."

In his room was a prettily painted plate, and this he filled with green
and purple grapes, tucked a sentimental note underneath, and leaving it
on her threshold, crept away as stealthily as a burglar.

The house was very quiet when Mrs. Smith, the landlady, came up to turn
off the gas. "Well, upon my word, here's fine doings, to be sure!" she
said, when she saw the state of the upper hall. "Now I wouldn't have
thought it of Miss Kent, she is such a giddy girl, nor of Mr. Chrome, he
is so busy with his own affairs. I meant to give those children each a
cake to-morrow, they are such good little things. I'll run down and get
them now, as my contribution to this fine set out."

Away trotted Mrs. Smith to her pantry, and picked out a couple of
tempting cakes, shaped like hearts and full of plums. There was a goodly
array of pies on the shelves, and she took two of them, saying, as she
climbed the stairs again, "They remembered the children, so I'll
remember them, and have my share of the fun."

So up went the pies, for Mrs. Smith had not much to give, and her spirit
was generous, though her pastry was not of the best. It looked very
droll to see pies sitting about on the thresholds of closed doors, but
the cakes were quite elegant, and filled up the corners of the towel
handsomely, for the apron lay in the middle, with the oranges right and
left, like two sentinels in yellow uniforms.

It was very late when the flicker of a candle came up stairs, and a pale
lady, with a sweet sad face, appeared, bringing a pair of red and a pair
of blue mittens for her Dolly and Polly. Poor Mrs. Blake did have a hard
time, for she stood all day in a great store that she might earn bread
for the poor children who staid at home and took care of one another.
Her heart was very heavy that night, because it was the first Christmas
she had ever known without gifts and festivity of some sort. But Petkin,
the youngest child, had been ill, times were very hard, the little
mouths gaped for food like the bills of hungry birds, and there was no
tender mate to help fill them.

If any elves had been hovering about the dingy hall just then, they
would have seen the mother's tired face brighten beautifully when she
discovered the gifts, and found that her little girls had been so kindly
remembered. Something more brilliant than the mock diamonds in Miss
Kent's best ear-rings fell and glittered on the dusty floor as Mrs.
Blake added the mittens to the other things, and went to her lonely room
again, smiling as she thought how she could thank them all in a sweet
and simple way.

Her windows were full of flowers, for the delicate tastes of the poor
lady found great comfort in their beauty. "I have nothing else to give,
and these will show how grateful I am," she said, as she rejoiced that
the scarlet geraniums were so full of gay clusters, the white
chrysanthemum stars were all out, and the pink roses at their loveliest.

They slept now, dreaming of a sunny morrow as they sat safely sheltered
from the bitter cold. But that night was their last, for a gentle hand
cut them all, and soon three pretty nosegays stood in a glass, waiting
for dawn, to be laid at three doors, with a few grateful words which
would surprise and delight the receivers, for flowers were rare in those
hard-working lives, and kind deeds often come back to the givers in
fairer shapes than they go.

Now one would think that there had been gifts enough, and no more could
possibly arrive, since all had added his or her mite except Betsey, the
maid, who was off on a holiday, and the babies fast asleep in their
trundle-bed, with nothing to give but love and kisses. Nobody dreamed
that the old cat would take it into her head that her kittens were in
danger, because Mrs. Smith had said she thought they were nearly old
enough to be given away. But she must have understood, for when all was
dark and still the anxious mother went patting up stairs to the
children's door, meaning to hide her babies under their bed, sure they
would save them from destruction. Mrs. Blake had shut the door, however,
so poor Puss was disappointed; but finding a soft, clean spot among a
variety of curious articles, she laid her kits there, and kept them warm
all night, with her head pillowed on the blue mittens.

In the cold morning Dolly and Polly got up and scrambled into their
clothes, not with joyful haste to see what their stockings held, for
they had none, but because they had the little ones to dress while
mother got the breakfast.

[Illustration]

Dolly opened the door, and started back with a cry of astonishment at
the lovely spectacle before her. The other people had taken in their
gifts, so nothing destroyed the magnificent effect of the treasures so
curiously collected in the night. Puss had left her kits asleep, and
gone down to get her own breakfast, and there, in the middle of the
ruffled apron, as if in a dainty cradle, lay the two Maltese darlings,
with white bibs and boots on, and white tips to the tiny tails curled
round their little noses in the sweetest way.

Polly and Dolly could only clasp their hands and look in rapturous
silence for a minute; then they went down on their knees and revelled in
the unexpected richness before them.

"I do believe there _is_ a Santa Claus, and that he heard us, for here
is everything we wanted," said Dolly, holding the carnelian heart in one
hand and the plummy one in the other.

"It must have been some kind of a fairy, for we didn't mention kittens,
but we wanted one, and here are two darlings," cried Polly, almost
purring with delight as the downy bunches unrolled and gaped till their
bits of pink tongues were visible.

"Mrs. Smith was one fairy, I guess, and Miss Kent was another, for that
is her apron. I shouldn't wonder if Mr. Chrome gave us the oranges and
the money: men always have lots, and his name is on this bit of paper,"
said Dolly.

"Oh, I'm _so_ glad! Now we shall have a Christmas like other people, and
I'll never say again that rich folks don't remember poor folks. Come and
show all our treasures to mother and the babies; they must have some,"
answered Polly, feeling that the world was all right, and life not half
as hard as she thought it last night.

Shrieks of delight greeted the sisters, and all that morning there was
joy and feasting in Mrs. Blake's room, and in the afternoon Dolly and
Polly went to the Museum, and actually saw _Puss in Boots_; for their
mother insisted on their going, having discovered how the hard-earned
quarters had been spent. This was such unhoped-for bliss that they could
hardly believe it, and kept smiling at one another so brightly that
people wondered who the happy little girls in shabby cloaks could be who
clapped their new mittens so heartily, and laughed till it was better
than music to hear them.

This was a very remarkable Christmas-day, and they long remembered it;
for while they were absorbed in the fortunes of the Marquis of Carabas
and the funny cat, who tucked his tail in his belt, washed his face so
awkwardly, and didn't know how to purr, strange things were happening at
home, and more surprises were in store for our little friends. You see,
when people once begin to do kindnesses, it is so easy and pleasant they
find it hard to leave off; and sometimes it beautifies them so that they
find they love one another very much--as Mr. Chrome and Miss Kent did,
though we have nothing to do with that except to tell how they made the
poor little tree grow and blossom.

They were very jolly at dinner, and talked a good deal about the Blakes,
who ate in their own rooms. Miss Kent told what the children said, and
it touched the soft spot in all their hearts to hear about the red
shirts, though they laughed at Polly's lament over the bird with only
one feather in its tail.

"I'd give them a better tree if I had any place to put it, and knew how
to trim it up," said Mr. Chrome, with a sudden burst of generosity,
which so pleased Miss Kent that her eyes shone like Christmas candles,
and she said,

"Put it in the back parlor. All the Browns are away for a week, and
we'll help you trim it--won't we, my dear?" cried Mrs. Smith, warmly;
for she saw that he was in a sociable mood, and thought it a pity that
the Blakes should not profit by it.

"Yes, indeed; I should like it of all things, and it needn't cost much,
for I have some skill in trimmings, as you know." And Miss Kent looked
so gay and pretty as she spoke that Mr. Chrome made up his mind that
millinery must be a delightful occupation.

"Come on then, ladies, and we'll have a little frolic. I'm a lonely old
bachelor, with nowhere to go to-day, and I'd like some fun."

They had it, I assure you; for they all fell to work as busy as bees,
flying and buzzing about with much laughter as they worked their
pleasant miracle. Mr. Chrome acted more like the father of a large
family than a crusty bachelor, Miss Kent's skillful fingers flew as they
never did before, and Mrs. Smith trotted up and down as briskly as if
she were sixteen instead of being a stout old woman of sixty.

The children were so full of the play, and telling all about it, that
they forgot their tree till after supper; but when they went to look
for it they found it gone, and in its place a great paper hand with one
finger pointing down stairs, and on it these mysterious words in red
ink,

"Look in the Browns' back parlor!"

[Illustration]

At the door of that interesting apartment they found their mother with
Will and Petkin, for another hand had suddenly appeared to them pointing
up. The door flew open quite as if it was a fairy play, and they went in
to find a pretty tree planted in a red box on the centre table, lighted
with candles, hung with gilded nuts, red apples, gay bonbons, and a gift
for each.

Mr. Chrome was hidden behind one folding-door, and fat Mrs. Smith
squeezed behind the other, and they both thought it a great improvement
upon the old-fashioned Santa Claus to have Miss Kent, in the white dress
she made for the party, with Mrs. Blake's roses in her hair, step
forward as the children gazed in silent rapture, and with a few sweet
words welcome them to the little surprise their friends had made.

There were many Christmas trees in the city that night, but none which
gave such hearty pleasure as the one which so magically took the place
of the broken branch and its few poor toys. They were all there,
however, and Dolly and Polly were immensely pleased to see that of all
her gifts Petkin chose the forlorn bird to carry to bed with her, the
one yellow feather being just to her taste.

Mrs. Blake put on her neat bonnet, and was so gratified that Miss Kent
thought it the most successful one she ever trimmed.

She was well paid for it by the thanks of one neighbor and the
admiration of another; for when she went to her party Mr. Chrome went
with her, and said something on the way which made her heart dance more
lightly than her feet that night.

Good Mrs. Smith felt that her house had covered itself with glory by
this event, and Dolly and Polly declared that it was the most perfect
and delightful surprise party ever seen.

It was all over by nine o'clock, and with good-night kisses for every
one the little girls climbed up to bed laden with treasures and too
happy for many words. But as they tied their round caps Dolly said,
thoughtfully,

"On the whole I think it's rather nice to be poor when people are kind
to you."

"Well, I'd _rather_ be rich; but if I can't be, it is very good fun to
have Christmas trees like this one," answered truthful Polly, never
guessing that they had planted the seed from which the little pine-tree
grew so quickly and beautifully.

When the moon came to look in at the window on her nightly round two
smiling faces lay on the pillow, which was no longer wet with tears, but
rather knobby with the mine of riches hidden underneath--first-fruits of
the neighborly friendship which flourished in that house until another
and a merrier Christmas came.



THEN COMES SANTA CLAUS.


  O children, little children,
    You must be good, because
  A few short days bring Christmas-eve,
    And then comes Santa Claus.
  And somebody will tell him
    All that you've said and done
  For many a week, and if he's pleased,
    Heigh-ho! look out for fun.
  So, children, little children,
    Be lovely, dears, because
  A few short days bring Christmas-eve,
    And then comes Santa Claus.



CHRISTMAS AT BETHLEHEM.

BY LYDIA M. FINKELSTEIN.


Bethlehem, the birth-place of our Saviour, is situated about five miles
from Jerusalem. It is customary for a great number of the residents of
the Holy City, as well as the visitors, to spend Christmas-eve at
Bethlehem, as the Roman Catholic Church celebrates it there with great
pomp and ceremony. Most of those who belong to that Church go there as
worshippers, while many others go simply as spectators of the
ceremonies.

Those who intend to walk, as some prefer doing, set out in the morning
or early part of the afternoon of the 24th of December, while such as
ride never go before the afternoon, and keep on going till midnight. As
there are neither coaches nor horse-cars running between these two
places, people have to get there on donkeys, mules, camels, or horses,
which animals are found in a large square situated in front of the Tower
of David, near the Jaffa Gate, through which people usually go to
Bethlehem. The muleteers and donkey-boys generally get a pretty accurate
idea of the number to be accommodated by asking every one they meet if
he intends going. They accordingly arrange their prices. It is best to
secure one's steed betimes, lest one may be left to put up with a lame
donkey or one-eyed horse. The animals that convey people in the early
part of the afternoon have time to return and take another party.

The principal personage who sets out from Jerusalem is the Roman
Catholic Patriarch, with his priests and monks, accompanied by the
French Consul and suite in full-dress uniforms. This important
procession leaves Jerusalem about one o'clock. First comes a cavalcade
of mounted police, in uniforms of green braided with red, sent by the
Turkish authorities; next Come the Kâwasèe, _i.e._, police allowed by
the local government to every Consul and Patriarch as body-guards,
usually dressed in the national colors of the Consulate to which they
belong. Each carries a long, thick, silver-headed mace, the bottom of
which, on such occasions, rests on their stirrups; then follows the
Patriarch, gorgeously attired in his purple cloak and Cardinal's hat;
alongside of him are the Bishops and Consul, followed by a long train of
secretaries, interpreters attached to the Consulate, and monks and
priests; lastly comes a long line of those who are ready to go at that
hour, most of them mounted on horses, but some on donkeys, mules, and
even camels. Everybody is in good spirits, laughing, chatting, and
cracking jokes good-naturedly.

When this variegated procession nears Rachel's Tomb, which is situated
on the Bethlehem road, it is met by hundreds of Bethlehemites of both
sexes, all in holiday attire, who salute it with firing of guns and
pistols, and with songs of welcome; then turning round, they head the
procession, singing, drumming, firing, and clapping their hands. In this
way they enter Bethlehem, and as they pass through the narrow streets
they are greeted with acclamations of joy by all, and with songs of
welcome from the windows by the women and children.

Three monasteries and the great complex Church of the Nativity are all
under one roof, which covers the stable-cave where Christ was cradled.
They all form a great fortress-like edifice, in front of which is a
large open square, in which the Turkish soldiers in Zouave uniforms are
now ranged on each side of the road through which the procession is
going to pass. A procession of priests and monks from the monastery,
wearing magnificent robes, and preceded by a large number of chanting
choristers gayly attired in red and white garments, meets the Patriarch
and company with songs of praise. All dismount, and enter through the
low iron door into this fine large building, which was built in the
eleventh century, and are met by the hospitable friars, who show the way
to the dining saloon, where the long tables are set with tempting
refreshments. After the travellers have refreshed themselves, their
respective rooms are shown them.

The Church of the Nativity is a splendid high structure, and was first
built by the Empress Helena in the fourth century. In the fifth century
it was devastated; but it was restored by the Emperor Justinian in the
year 630.

There are services going on all the evening, but the grand service
begins about midnight. The church is brilliantly lit with thousands of
wax tapers, and is so crowded that there is scarcely standing room, and
almost every worshipper carries a lighted wax taper. During the service,
which is conducted by the Patriarch, some monks appear, dressed in
sheep-skins, representing the shepherds. Suddenly a song of glorious
melody bursts out from the assembled crowd of priests--that grand and
majestic strain the "Gloria."

The service continues till three o'clock in the morning, when it is
ended by a procession, singing, headed by the Patriarch carrying a waxen
image representing the Saviour in a golden crib, which is taken down
into the grotto, _i.e._, the place or manger where it is supposed that
Christ was born. This grotto is under the church, to which there are two
descents; the one from the north side has a descent of sixteen steps,
and the southern one has thirteen steps. Here there is a small low arch,
over which can be seen, though somewhat defaced by time, a
representation in mosaic of the birth of our Saviour, with which it was
decorated by the Crusaders in the twelfth century. Around this arch,
hanging almost to the ground, are fifteen gold lamps, which are kept
burning night and day; four of them belong to the Roman Catholics, five
to the Armenians, and six to the Greeks. A large marble slab covers the
floor of the arched recess, in the middle of which is a round space
displaying a stone of bluish color, which is said to be a jasper; this
is surrounded by a large silver star, having this inscription on its
broad border: "Hic de Virgine Maria Jesus Christus natus est." At a
distance of about ten feet southeast from this arch a descent of three
steps brings you into the Oratory of the Manger, which is about eight
feet long by seven broad; here you see a manger hewn in the rock. At the
east end of this oratory there is an altar dedicated to the Wise Men,
for it is supposed to be the spot where they worshipped Jesus and
offered Him their gifts. The roof and walls of the grotto are gracefully
draped with crimson figured satin; the curtains are left open here and
there, giving the spectator an opportunity to see the natural rock.
Suspended from the ceiling are beautiful gold and silver lamps, which
are always kept burning.

When the Patriarch descends into this grotto another ceremony is
performed--laying the image into the manger and wrapping it in
swaddling-clothes; then another beautiful strain of praise is sung, and
the bells chime the glad tidings that a Saviour is born. The monks, and
priests here turn and embrace each other, saying, "Peace! peace!" the
assembled crowd do the same, and saying to each other, in the beautiful
expression so natural to the Orientals, "Is S-alaam kul siné ou nahna
s-almean," _i.e._, "Peace! peace!--may we be long spared to celebrate
this great rejoicing!"



[Illustration]

SEEN IN A DREAM.

BY M. E.


  Into the dream-land, the wonderful dream-land,
    Where the fairies that once lived in fairy-land throng,
  And sugar-plum trees bloom both summer and winter,
    And the sleep-time is short and the play-time is long,
  Journeyed our darling, and there she beheld him
    Who never was seen by the light of the sun--
  Old Santa Claus, brave in green wreaths and red berries,
    His merry eyes sparkling with mischief and fun.

  With a shout of fat laughter he showered around her
    I really can't tell you how many nice things:
  Books, dollies, and oranges, tea-sets and apples,
    Nuts, balls, and gay ribbons, and pictures and rings;
  Like rain it came pouring, that shower of treasures,
    And the bright moonlight lent it full many a gleam.
  Oh! never brought Christmas a Santa Claus jollier
    Than the jolly old Santa Claus seen in a dream!



HARPER'S YOUNG PEOPLE.


The Serial Stories omitted from this Christmas Number of YOUNG PEOPLE
will be resumed in No. 61.

SINGLE COPIES, 4 cents; ONE SUBSCRIPTION, one year, $1.50; FIVE
SUBSCRIPTIONS, one year, $7.00--_payable in advance, postage free_.

The Volumes of HARPER'S YOUNG PEOPLE commence with the first Number in
November of each year. Subscriptions may begin with any Number. When no
time is specified, it will be understood that the subscriber desires to
commence with the Number issued after the receipt of the order.
Remittances should be made by POST-OFFICE MONEY-ORDER OR DRAFT, to avoid
risk of loss.

Volume I., containing the first 52 Numbers, handsomely bound in
illuminated cloth, $3.00, postage prepaid: Cover, title-page, and index
for Volume I., 35 cents; postage, 13 cents additional.

  HARPER & BROTHERS, FRANKLIN SQUARE, N. Y.



[Illustration]

A Christmas Carol

BY HOWARD PYLE.


1

  God reft ye all good People,
  That harken to our lay,
    And hear the word,
    That Chrift our Lord,
  Was born upon this day.

2

  We lift our voices gladly,
  And gladly we do fing,
    Of that fame night,
    That fhowed to light,
  The promife He did bring.

3

  When Angels fang to Shepherds,
  That kept their flocks that day,
    And bade them feek,
    Where mild and meek,
  The infant Jefus lay.

4

  So when our life grows older,
  And brings its winter's night,
    May Angels fing,
    And to us bring
  Our Lord His truth and light.

[Illustration: Music]





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Harper's Young People, December 21, 1880 - An Illustrated Weekly" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home