Merry Christmas to every boy and girl I We haven’t Santa Claus’s magic bulging with gifts — would we had I we who bring you stories have a Magic Inkwell I We who dip our pens into the magic ink have had such good times that we want you to share in them. Does something dance inside your head about which you have always wanted to hear a story? We’re pretty sure we know that very story. Write a little letter to the Editor of The Home and give the name of your story-to-be. This will
happen: Pop into the Magic Inkwell will go all the names. We will dip our pens, and out will come the stories, — some of them, if not all.
Why not all? To make stories that will drip off pen-points of their own accord, — and those are the only stories worth having, — the titles must mix with the magic ink. Who can tell which stories- to-be will come out of the Magic Ink well as full-fledged stories? Do your best and the Inkwell will do its best If your story-to-be shouldn’t turn into a
THE EDITOR OP THE HOME
story-that-is you’ll know it didn’t hap pen to be just right to mix with the magic ink.
Another thing. Of course you will not expect all your stories-to-be to turn into stories within one week or two. Ail real magic takes time! Aren’t secrets at Christmas as good as gifts? It makes us happy to share with you all the secret of our Magic Inkwell, and we hope it makes you happy, too.
Merry Christmas, and many of them, to every boy and girl!
ing Santa Claus will get in this house somehow and leave me two stockings full of gifts and things for poor children lie- sides. Now I am going to cover up my ears and sleep ho I ran wake up early in the morning. flood-night, grandpa dear. Merry Christmas !”
After the man went back to the Are she railed again in shrill glad tours. “Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, grandpa, to all the world, and to every one in our family — good night.” After that there was no more hoard from Priscilla until grandpa awakened her In the Christmas dawn.
Meantime perhaps another hour passed and the Ik-11 rang again! No one was there : there were no tracks in the snow. Another interval of time, the tx*ll rang again ! No one. there ; no tracks in the snow.
At last grandfather began to think seri ously of Santa Claus, and suddenly he realized how blind they had all been be cause of the shadow hanging over their Christmas Eve. Hut a child must not suffer too, not if he could help It. No child In grandfather’s .house had ever be fore faced a cheerless Christmas morning. When grandfather had come fully to his senses, he walked to the telephone and talked with two leading merchants of that town and told them to send to the side entrance of his house the finest gifts and books in their shops suitable for a seven- year-old girl, and a general assortment of toys for “poor children” — and “never mind the expense” !
All night at intervals that front-doorbell kept ringing, fainter and fainter at last, until in the early hours of Christmas morning it was bnt a tinkle; still there were no tracks in the snow.
At dawn, though, the latch-key turned In the door and a hasty step sounded in the hall, flrandpa sprang to his feet, and there stood his own son, Priscilla’s father. His face was beaming with Joy.
“Merry Christmas !” was his greeting. “The best of news !” Priscilla’s father ex claimed. “She is living, she will live! The operation was successful — there is every chance for her recovery ! But father, we forgot all about our poor little tad’s Christmas stockings, and” —
“Old Santa Claus didn’t,” flrandpn in terrupted, and waved his hand toward the fireplace, when- two stockings bulged with mysteries, and gifts were piled high up on the floor. “No, sir, Santa Claus didn’t forget — you may distend on that old fellow
every time! No, you mustn’t go for that baby, your clothes are too cold ! I^et me !”
And he went, skipping. “Merry Christ mas, Priscilla!” he called, as he snatched her, blankets and all, from ber bed, to carry her, wiuking and blinking and ruh I ling her eyes, into the warm, bright liv ing-room.
“Oh. Merry Christmas to all the world 1” she shouted when she aaw those stock ings. “He came, he came! I knew he’d come! Is mother getting well this lovely Christmas morning?” she asked her father, before she touched a gift.
“Mother is getting well!” father an swered, and then he danced around the living-room, and behaved the way Tommy Perkins did when his side beat at a ball- game! Oh, but those three had a gay time! The housekeeper could scarcely be lieve her eyes and her ears when she came in to got breakfast
After breakfast, Priscilla’s father and grandfather made a secret examination of the front-doorbell. They found that a huge spider had spun a thick web, for reasons of her own they could not understand, around and around the Inside of that old- fashioned doorbell. It was the kind of bell that worked by the turning of a knob. When the spider stepjied on the slender spring of the boll, down it went with the weight of her heavy body ; when she stepped off, “Ding!” said the bell. The two men had a merry laugh, but they didn’t tell Priscilla Just then what amused them so much.
And at the hospital that day a radiant child said to her mother in the minute in which she was allowed to say any thing :—
“Oh, mother dear, Santa Claus played a big Joke on grandpa ! And you ought to see my presents! We have brought a bushel-basket full to give to children in the hospital! I never had so many to divide liefore In my life! Merry Christmas to everybody in the world ; and most of all to mothers and children In hospitals !”
And that’s all for now.
The Lap-dog’s Christmas Overcoat
‘ Extra ! Extra ! All about the big Are!” shouted Jimsy, — a small newsboy at a sub way entrance on Boston Common.
“Herald! Globe! HeraldT Yes, sir!” shouted Bill, a newsboy of equal size and alertness not three feet away. The hands of the clock on the brick church on the
corner said five o’clock, the hour when business was briskest for Jimsy and Bill.
“Hope It stops snowing, and freezes to night,” said Jimsy to his brother-in-trade during a momentary lull.
“Me, too,” said Bill, in perfect under standing. “Soaks through your soles — Herald! Qlobc! Here you are, sir,” and two more pennies slid Into his pocket.
“Whew ! Fool that warm gust of air that blew up the stairs Just then?” asked Jimsy, darting back to Bill’s side after making half a dozen sales. “S’pose some of these people find warm houses every night when they got home. Extra I All about the big fire !” he sang out cheerily. “Sounds warm, anyway,” he added, chuck ling, and pulling a dingy cap as far as pos sible over his blue ears. “Herald, sir? Sold out Here, Bill! Herald!”
The hands of the clock on the brick church on the corner said six o’clock. “Sold out?” asked Bill. “Just two more? There you are. Now come on, let’s go down to that window we’ve Iieen looking in every night and do our Christmas shopping.”
“What do you s’pose I saw to-day?” de manded Jimsy, two cold hands thrust deep in his pockets. “I was outside Martin’s — you know that big shop where all the automobiles wait outside, — and up rolls a dark blue one, and out steps a lady all dressed up in furs, — you’ve soon ’em, — and under her arm sticks out the head of one of those brown snub-nosed lap-dogs, — Pom- something-or-other, you call ‘cm. And I’d Just sold my last paper and I followed her In.”
“You didn’t!” said Bill.
“I don’t look so bad,” said Jimsy, de fensively, “not before my clothes get soaked through.”
“But what’d you do It for?” asked Bill.
“That’s it,” said Jimsy, chuckling de lightedly. “Wouldn’t you have followed anybody that said to a dog: ‘Well, did it shiver ! Well, we’ll buy it a sweater, yes, we will !* ”
“Crazy?” asked Bill.
“Just what I thought,” said Jimsy, “so I followed her. And we all step in an elevator, me with my cap off, and up we shoot. ‘Dogs’ goods,’ says the lady, and if the elevator girl didn’t say after her, ‘Dogs’ goods, ninth floor.’ ” The two little newsboys scurrying through the white storm burst into joyous laughter.
“Out we get at nine,” went on Jimsy, “nobody stopping me ’cause I acted as if I knew where I was going, and the lady
1252 (16) [Dbchmbbe 23 1920 The Christian Register
headed for a big glass case, and what do you guess was inside it?”
“Collars, yellow leather, with shiny knobs on ’em,” hazarded Bill.
“Collars!” scoffed Jimsy. “Well, there might have been some, but I didn’t notice ’em, and neither would you if you’d seen sweaters and hoods and goggles and shoes and” —
“I don’t believe it,” said Bill, decidedly, “not for dogs.”
“That’s what I’m telling you,” said Jimsy, “for dogs. And the girl behind the counter was the pleasantest you ever saw, and she asked me, — sort of one side, — did I want anything, and” —
“And you had to go?” asked Bill, regret in his voice.
“No, I didn’t,” said Jimsy. ” ’cause I said right out — sort of one side — that I’d never seen any dog-things before and could I just look at ’em a minute, and she smiled and said she’d never seen any either till a few weeks before, and yes, I could.”
Bill sighed enviously. “Well, and the lady,” he prompted. “What’d she buy?”
“Just what I was going to tell you,” said Jimsy. “She stood that little silky, snub- nosed dog up on the counter and said, ‘He felt the cold so in the car that I want him fitted to a nice warm sweater or an overcoat. Now what color would you advise?’ ”
Bill’s laugh rang out at Jimsy’s mincing imitation. “What’d the girl say?”
“She said : ‘Sweaters are cheaper than overcoats. Here’s a green one. would you like that?’ And she said (the lady in the fur coat, I mean), ‘Oh, I don’t care about it being cheaper, — I’m sure an overcoat must be better !’ ”
“Overcoat !” mocked Bill, his shoulders hunched almost to his ears, against the driving storm.
“Yes. sir, an overcoat,” went on Jimsy. “And she said it was her own pet’s Christ mas present, and it had two little pockets in it.”
“It didn’t!” expostulated Bill. “What for?”
“It did,” repeated Jimsy, “and it cost twelve dollars, — I saw her put down the bills.”
“Whew!” was Bill’s whistling com ment.
“And then she said,” continued Jimsy, joyously, “she said : ‘Why, you have moc casins for dogs, haven’t you ! I never saw any before. Tiddle-de-Winks must have a pair! Have you his size? You see. his feet are very small !’ ”
“I s’pose she bought him golf stockings, too,’^ commented Bill, with scorn.
“The girl didn’t have his size, so he didn’t get his moccasins,” gurgled Jimsy. ” ‘They’re for bunting-dogs,’ says the girl, ‘to wear if their feet get sore hunting in the stubble-fields. Other dogs don’t need ’em, not ever,’ says the girl, as if she was disgusted. And the lady says : ‘But why shouldn’t other dogs wear them? How much are they? Couldn’t I have a pair made to order?’ And the girl says, ‘They’re six dollars a sot.’ and that she couldn’t have any made to order. And then she says, smiling at me as if we were old chums. ‘There are lots of boys you can buy shoes for, though.’ You don’t think she saw how bad mine were, do you, Bill?
They don’t look so bad in the morning, when they’re shined a little.”
“What’d she say?” asked Bill.
“I just told you what she said,” an swered Jimsy. “She was the pleasantest girl I”—
“Oh, I mean the lady with Tiddle-de- Winks,” said Bill. “What’d she say?”
“She said she wished she could have got the moccasins too, ’cause she didn’t think just an overcoat was much of a Christmas present, and then she put the green over coat on her dear brown pet, and he growled at her when the hair under his chin got caught in the buckle, and she tucked him under her arm and they went down in the elevator.”
“And you, too,” said Bill.
“No, I didn’t,” went on Jimsy, ” ’cause the girl smiled at me, and told me — sort of one side — to wait a minute, so I waited, and when the lady in the furs and Tiddle- de-Winks-dear got in the elevator, the girl’s cheeks got pink all of a sudden, and what do you think she said? Well, I don’t know why she did, but she said, sort of fierce, as if she meant it hard : ‘Glad you’re gone! Glad you’re gone! I wish they’d never put me in this department !’ I know, it was funny, wasn’t it? But any way, that’s what she said, and then she laughed at me and her cheeks got pinker still, and she said, ‘Guess I’m not any older than you are,’ and I don’t know what she meant by that, either, and she showed me all the tilings I told you ’bout in the glass case, and she said : ‘We wouldn’t treat dogs so and make them ridiculous, if we could, would we? But boys’ “—
“What did she mean by that?” asked Bill.
“I don’t know what she meant — much — by anything she said,” admitted Jimsy. “Only she was so pleasant you felt like chums. And then we talked about the storm and Christmas, and she asked, if I had the price of a dog’s overcoat, what would I buy” —
“What’d you say? How could you spend twelve dollars for Christmas?”
“Easy,” said Jimsy, loftily. “Maybe you don’t know kiddie-cars cost four dollars and ninety-seven cents. Why shouldn’t our baby like one? Yours would, too, you know it. Just because they can’t have ’em is no reason they wouldn’t like ’em, is it? And my mother’s always wanted a red geranium in the kitchen window, — you know that window where the sun comes in a little while. She’s wanted it over since I can remember. Wouldn’t It s’prise her to get one ! Red’s for Christ mas, too. But I was telling you ’bout the girl. She said she’d ask all her friends in that big store to buy papers of me if I’d stand outside mornings, and then she said if I wore a little lap-dog maybe somebody would bring me to her counter and get me a warm sweater and moccasins, and ‘course we both laughed at that; and then she found out somehow that we were go ing to do our Christmas shopping to night, — guess I must have told her, — and she asked, kind of funny, did I have much saved up? and I told her forty-nine pen nies, and she said that was fine, and thou she said she didn’t have any baby sister, — like you and me, — didn’t know any baby at
all that would be hanging up its stockings ; and then what do you think she did? What do you think she did, Bill?” laughed Jimsy, diving deep into a pocket used only for special occasions.
“You know I can’t guess,” said Bill.
Jimsy jingled something in his pocket and under the street-light displayed to Bill’s unbelieving eyes two fifty-cent pieces. “I didn’t want to take ’em,” he said, “but she made me — said it would seem a lot more like Christmas to her if there was a baby’s stocking. And of course when she put it that way” —
“Now can’t you get that red geranium for your mother?” asked Bill, brightly.
“Just what I was thinking,” said Jimsy. “Does one cost more’n fifty cents, you s’pose?”
“Fifty cents?” queried Bill. “Why, you’ve got two fifty cents. You’ve got a dollar.”
“Why, one’s for you !” said Jimsy, blankly. “What’d you s’pose I was telling you all that story for?”
“No,” said Bill, doggedly. “You said yourself you could spend twelve dollars — easy. Now you’ve got one anyway.”
“Haven’t you got a mother and a baby sister yourself?” demanded Jimsy, indig nantly. “And aren’t you the man of the family, same’s me? Anyway, think of that girl, and she was the pleasantest girl you ever saw, Bill. Guess it would seem more Christmasy to her yet with two babies’ stockings, wouldn’t it? Come on, here’s our window ! Let’s decide — sure, this time — before we go in.”
“Well,” Bill gave way reluctantly. “Well, if you put it that way. But let’s go to a flower place first, Jimsy, and ask how much red geraniums cost. Let’s both get ’em for our mothers if they don’t cost more’n fifty cents !”
“Boo !” shivered Jimsy. “Cold, the min ute you stand still,’ isn’t it? Never mind, mother’s-pet-of-a-Tiddle-de-Winks has a nice new green overcoat with pockets in it, so he has !”
And again two shouts of boyish laughter rang out on the winter air as two shabby little newsboys with shining eyes raced for a brightly lighted window in whose warmth bloomed white flowers and pink flowers and yellow flowers, and — yes — in the very back row, small pots of red geraniums !
The Children’s Mission to Children
Instituted 1849. Incorporated 1804.
Tlie Unitarian Children’s Charity.
Children in every form of need are given practical help by experts in child welfare, both in their owa homes and in specially chosen foster homes.
Those within forty miles of Boston who can open their homes to children, without charge or at moderate prices, are urged to communicate with the office.
The Sunday-schools give generously, but contributjosss and bequests from adults are much needed.