The McCook tribune. (McCook, Neb.) 1886-1936, December 29, 1893, Image 3

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    Christmas, 1893
Phut, putter, 'tilt the putter of the ruindrop
on the roof;
TIs not tl»u ruindrop, ’ll* the clatter of the
reindeer*#tiny hoof.
The children are all fast asleep and tucked
away so snug,
Drenmim: of the corning morning, when one
will have a mug.
On© will have a candy pistol, one will hnve a
Everyone will have a treasure, each will be
Papa, mamma, dear Krtss Kringle, a long time
have looked out.
And knew when they the presents purchased
what they were about.
Christmas morning, bright and charming.
comcM hut once a year;
1*1 us each one then determine to make it |
bring good cheer;
11© the morning bright or cloudy, be it rain or
Take the blessings as we find them under our
*‘fig and vine.**
J*t us feel nowhere the pleasure which we find
at home.
Then indeed wo will he happy and never wish
to roam.
1*1 contentment bo our watchword ever
through this lile,
Ketncmbering home and Christmas morning
over in the strife.
A happy childhood with memories bright and
Oft helps the tired wayfareron his lonely way;
In looking back lie views his childhood’s homo
so bright
That while ho dreams of home and strives for
heaven he sees the beacon light.
—Philadelphia Times.
It had been snowing all day, intense
cold had succeeded the storm, and the
stars, shining brightly in the clear sky,
looked down on the good old town of
Nuremberg in the year 1500. It was a
beautiful winter night, and although
the curfew hour had passed the lights
still glistened through the small diamond
shaped window panes in the houses, and
the church bells rang out loud and clear.
The people were coming out of their
dwellings and walking slowly hut cheer
fully along the streets, not seeming to
mind the crisp cold nor the deep snow
under their feet.
The throng of people had passed on and
the voices of the bells had become mere
reverberations, when a little girl
about 8 years old appeared in the
principal street, which was now silent
and deserted. She was alone and look
ed so small as she walked fearlessly |
along, taking short steps so as not to
slip on the hard glistening snow, and
singing in a soft voice, made a little
tremulous by the sharp cold, an old
Christmas hymn about the angels, Beth
lehem and a child asleep in a manger.
Suddenly she stopped, uttered a cry of
dismay, and falling on her knees began
searching for something in the snow.
She was evidently unsuccessful, how
ever. for her sighs changed to tears and
her grief increased until it found vent in
‘My money,” she cried; “my poor
groschen! O dear infant Jesus, bring
me back my groschen!”
Like an answer to her prayer there
sounded not far off a strange, sweet
melody, and she dried her eyes suddenly
and looked about, half expecting to see
an angel, for she thought the music
must have come from heaven, so beauti
ful it was.
But she 600n perceived a figure with
out wings, harp or halo, a lad about 15
years old, dressed unlike any one in Nu
remberg, with dark blue breeches, a
short cloak on his shoulders and a little
red cap on his black hair. He carried a
musical instrument and touched the
strings as he glanced up at a house where
a light was gleaming. It was the home
of a rich merchant, and a lantern swung
from above the doorway, and this light
had attracted the young musician. When
he had played a few chords on his lute,
he sang, and the little girl, remembering
the guide of young Tobias who had
seemed but a simple traveler, began to
think that the singer was indeed an
angel. The child did not understand
the singer's words, and feeling sure that
he was nsing the language of heaven she
threw herself at his feet, clasped her
hands and raised her eyes entreatingly
to his face.
‘Good angel, 1. pray thee, she cried,
“help me to find my groschen! I beg
thee in the name of the infant Jesus!”
•What is the trouble, little one? Tell
me. and if 1 can help you 1 will. There
is so much sorrow in the world for every
one that 1 always like to help other peo
ple carry theirs.” He smiled cheerily as
he spoke, and the child answered:
‘1 have lost my money—my groschen.
We never have anything nice for sup
per but because it is Christmastime
my mother gave me the money to buy a
sausage and an apple pie, but 1 have
dropped my groschen in the snow. We
have no more, and now we can have no
Christmas supper.”
•Where did you drop it?” asked her
listener, and when she pointed to the
8pot he knelt down and began turning
over the snow. His back was turned to
ward the child, when he gave a cry of
triumph and held up a coin in his fin
“Oh, you must be an angel!” cried the
little girl joyfully And he added with
a smile;
“A Florentine angel then. My name
is Maso Napone. Remember it and pray
for me sometimes, little one. Now
goodby. Go buy your supper.”
•Not until I have been to the mid
night mass,” replied the girl. “My
mother is ill, so I must go and pray for
•Then 1 will go with you,” said Maso,
taking her hand. ‘What is your name?”
“Christine Dachs. My mother is the
Widow Gudule.”
“Your mother has to work?”
“Yes, she does beautiful embroidery.
1 do a little of it, but I have not learned
to work very well yet. Pretty soon 1
shall do it better, and then mamma can
Test She is often tired and weak, and
when she cannot work we have no
“1 am all alone in the world," said the
youth when Christine stopped speaking.
“1 have no parents, no money, no home.
My father’s creditors took everything ex
cept my lnte, so I left Florence, and now
I earn a little money by singing in the
streets, but I often have to sleep in the
open air and without supper.”
As they entered the church Maso doffed
his hat reverentially, dipped his fingers
into the holy water font and touched
them to Christine's. Then the two chil
dren knelt down in theshadow oj' a great
pillar which rose to the high arched roof.
At the end of the nave stood the altar,
gleaming with wax lights and flooded
with the rising incense; priests, acolytes,
and choristers were engaged with the
Christinas service, anil one could see the
fluttering white surplices and the glit
ter of gold and precious stones on copes
and stoles.
The whole congregation joined in
singing the carols, and the weak, broken
voices of tlie aged, the silvery ones of
the children, the sweet tones of the
maidens, the clear high notes of the
young men and the strong, deep ones of
their elders combined to produce har
monies both powerful and sweet. Maso
could not keep silence. Suddenly hi.
voice rose above the rest, and it was so
full, so cjear and so sweet that every
one near turned to look at him. A tall man
wrapped in a great cloak left his place,
and coming nearer to the iail listened
attentively, with Ids eyes fixed upon
Maso's face as long as lie continued to
sing. Neither of the children noticed
the stranger.
After they left the church Maso led
Christine into a provision shop, and not
allowing her to spend her only coin
purchased ham, fruit and pastry for her.
and then, seeing that she shivered in the
cold night air, lie took off his own cloak
and put it round her shoulders. “Now
I will take you home,” he said. And
when they reached her door she asked
wistfully: “Will you not come in and
have supper with us, as if you were my
brother? Mamma will be so glad.”
Maso followed lier m auu was wel
comed by the Widow Gudule. While
they sat at supper Maso told them of
his childhood's home in I tali', which had
been opulent, but sad, because mother
less, of his father’s ruin and death and
of his own wanderings.
“And so, mother, lie sings—you should
hear him! The angels in heaven have
not sweeter voices,” exclaimed Chris
tine, and the lad, taking up Ids lute,
struck the chords lightly, then began to
sing, while the mother and daughter lis
tened with clasped hands and tearful
eyes. As soon as he stopped there was
a knock at the door. Christine opened
it fearlessly, for there was nothing in
that poor home for robbers. Outside
stood the tall man who had been in
church. Ho recognized the child and
smiled as he said:
“My dear. 1 want to speak to your
brother, who has just been singing.”
“He is not my brother.” said Christine,
“No? Well, it does not matter. I want
to see the lad who was in church with
you. Tell him Master Kriegwinckel
wants him a minute.”
This man was one of the most cele
brated musicians of that time, not only
in Munich, where he lived, but through
out the music loving world. Little
Christine, however, knew nothing about
him, and thinking that the stranger
merely wished to compliment Maso upon
his singing she bade him enter. He
bowed politely to the widow and then
addressed Maso, saying:
“You have a beautiful voice, my lad—
an unusually fine one. I am an old man,
but I have seldom heard such a voice as
yours. You understand what you sing,
too, and you love music. You have all
the makings of a great artist. But—you
do not know how to sing!”
“That is because I have never been
taught,” said Maso sadly and humbly.
“I observed that. It is not your fault,
and it can be remedied. How old are
“Fifteen on Candlemas day."
“Very good. I have a proposition to
make you. Have you relatives?"
“None. I am all alone.”
“Better still. 1 will take charge of
you. I will take you back to Munich
with me; I will teach j-ou music and
singing, and in three or four years—you
will see! Kings and prinoes will invite
you to come to court and sing for them,
and 1 shall have the honor of giving the
world another great musician. Perhaps
you have heard of me. I am Krieg
winckel, leader of the choir hi Munich."
“I would be only too happy, master,"
Maso stammered, “but I am obliged to
earn my living. I have nothing”
“it ou will not need money. I will treat
you as my own son, and you will earn a
great deal more than your living when 1
have taught you music. It is agreed, is
it not? Ah, it was not for nothing that
I watched you in the church, followed
you out and after losing sight of you in
the crowd searched for you until I heard
your voice through that window. But 1
must leave Nuremberg tonight. Come.''
The boy took up his cloak and lute,
saying: “Goodby, Christine, I will come
back some day. Do not forget me.”
The girl clung to his arm and whis
pered: “1 shall never forget you. 1
thought at first that you were an angel
because you sang like one and were as
good as one. I will love you all my life.’
“Then ask your mother to kiss me
good night. It will bring me luck," he
said, and the Widow Gudnle, clasping
him in her arms, prayed that heaven’s
blessings might always follow him. As
he turned away he handed his purse to
Christine, saying:
“The master says 1 shall not need
tnoney, so here are my day’s earnings.
I have had a very good day, and they
will help you until your mother can
work again."
Eight years passed.
The Christmas bells were ringing mer
rily, and the people, coming out of their
houses to attend midnight mass, greeted
each other with Christmas wishes.
Among the throng there was none who
received more salutes and friendly smiles
than an elderly woman who leaned on
the arm of a beautiful young girl, tall
and slender as a reed. By the light of
the torch she carried, the girl's bright
blue eyes, rosy cheeks and golden hair
were seen, and every passer looked at
her with admiration; young und old
greeted her smilingly, even portly bur
gomasters murmured as they met her,
“God bless that sweet young creature!”
while the poor people exclaimed aloud,
“God bless the widow and her daughter
for their goodness and charity to us!”
These two were but simple working
people, yet all Nuremberg honored
them. Every one knew that Dame
Gudule Dacha, when left a widow with
her child to bring up and her husband's
debts to pay, had set about bravely to
perform the task. She had become the
most successful embroiderer in the town,
her daughter had soon grown celebrated 1
for her taste in designing new patterns, ,
and now the widow owed nothing and .
could hardly fill all the orders she re
ceived from the richest ladies in the
As the people entered the church the
organ’s peal rose to the vaulted roof, and
Widow Gudule, kneeling at Christine’s
side, heard her murmured prayer:
“Sweet Saviour Jesus, protect him'.
Bring him back to us that I may tell
him I have not forgotten him!”
The mothei*smiled sadly, for she had
had experience of the world, and she
knew that with young people remem
brance often fades. Every Christmas
eve Christine had said, “Suppose he
should come tonight!” and when her
mother tried to explain how unlikely it
was that the youth who for a single hour
had been their guest should ever think
of them again the girl only shook her
head and answered, “He will come.”
Tha widow was growing uneasy, for
her daughter was 16 years old.
Suddenly, just as the priest turned
round to administer communion to the
faithful, a voice in the choir rose above
the organ's strains, and Christine’s face
was transfigured as she whispered, “It
is he!”
Oil, that beautiful voice—powerful,
impassioned, yet as sweet as if it came
straight from heaven!
“Glory to God in the highest and
peace on earth” it sang, and Christine,
carried out of herself as she listened,
wept softly and wondered whether it
were not indeed an angel's voice. With
a saddened look in her soft blue eyes,
she followed her mother out of the
church, casting a wistful, timid glance
up the dark winding staircase which
led to the choir, and the widow, who
also had recognized the voice, hurried
her daughter away.
When they reached the street, the girl
looked about her in vain, for there was
no sign of the red cap and dark curls of
the young lute player, no strange figure
was to be seen except a tall man wrapped
in a handsome cloak and wearing a gold
embroidered cap which glistened in the
moonlight. When the two women ar
rived at their home, this person stepped
quickly up, and with a bow said:
“Merry Christmas to you, Dame Gu
dule! Merry Christmas, Miss Christine!
Will you let the Florentine singer share
your supper once again?”
“I knew he would come, mother!”
cried Christine, and the widow, in spite
of her misgivings, almost against her
will, added:
“He is welcome as before.”
They all entered the house, and when
the girl had lighted the candles on the
supper table Maso Napone gazed round
the room eagerly. It was unchanged,
and he even recognized the old chest on
which he, the poor orphan minstrel, had
laid his cloak and lute on that night
eight years before. When Maso took off
his cloak, Christine was astonished to see
that the slender stripling had become a
strong, handsome man, who looked at
her with smiling admiration. Her sim
ple yet well fitting blue gown showed her
graceful figure to advantage. While she
filled his cup Maso said to her, “One
might take you for an angel now.”
Then he related how Master Krieg
winckel had brought him up and taught
him and been a father to him. The old
man was dead now, and Maso once more
traveled about to earn his living by
singing. But he went as a great artist,
not a poor vagabond. Kings and princes
wrote asking him to come and sing to
them, just as the master had predicted.
He was rich and honored, and yet he
was not happy, for he was alone.
“Dame Gudule,” he added after a
pause, “yon once gave me a mother’s
kiss—will you now accept me as your
son? Will yon let me ask Christine if
she remembers her promise?”
“I remember,” murmured the girl,
while her mother smiled and nodded.
“You promised not to forget me, and
to love me all your life,” he said, taking
her hand. “1 have always thought of
yon, and I love you, Christine, my little
Christmas rose! Sweetheart, will you
be my wife?"
“I knew you would come back,” was
ill her answer.
Then Maso put upon her finger a gold
ring set with precious stones, and said
gayly, as he kissed her lips:
“A queen gave me this ring, and I
kept it for you, my darling, that are
more precious than all the queens on
earth!”—J. Colomb in Short Stories.
The Christmas Box.
The origin of the term “Christmas
box,” as applied to donations of Christ
mas spending money, is uncertain,
though antiquarians generally seem to
think that it was derived from the cus
tom of placing money for masses to be
said or sung on Christmas day—there
fore “Christ masses”—in a box, which
from this use was called a Christ mass
box, a term gradually corrupted to
Christmas box and finally applied to all
tioney given as a Christmas gratuity.
Yuletide Song.
Heigho, the Winter! The bluff old fellow.
In meadow and field he roars amain.
The maple that late was deck'd in yellow
Has doffed its leaves in the gusty iaoe.
Heigho, sweetheart! I will find thy tippet.
Thy dainty hood for thy golden head.
And out in the frosty air we'll trip it
And over the stubble gayly tread.
Heigho, the Winter! He brings the holly.
The frolic of Yule's enchanted tree.
And the mistletoe—now, by my folly.
There will be a kiss for thee and me!
Heigho, sweetheart! With a “Hey down
We'll sack the wood of its treasures now.
But, oh, there's never a bramble berry
Is half so red as thy lip, I vow!
t —Richard Burton.
How sings the wind in the splendid day
When ?iie world is wild with the wealth o*
"The w jrld is thrilling with light and love;
There was never a cloud in the heavens
Never a matelese and moaning dove.
Never a grave for a rose to hide.
And never a rose that died!**
How plugs the wind in the hopeless night
When the lone, long winters are cold and
^Tliere are rainbows back of the storms to be
Back of the Btorms and their mystery;
But oh for the Bhips that are lost at sea!
And oh, for the love in the lonesome lands,
Far fiom the clasp of the drowning hands!"
So the •'ind singeth. Its God decrees
The wind should sing such songs as these;
Should laugh in the sunlight's silver waves
And toss the green on the world's 6ad graves
But why. In the night, should it sing to me
Of tne chips, the ships that are lost at sea?
—Frank L. Stanton in Atlanta Constitution.
Up at the top of the studio building
in three small, cheap rooms lived old
Parkes and his daughter Rose. She
was a very pretty girl, and her figure
was so good that she always provoked
a favorable comment from the men
abont town who sometimes strayed into
the precincts of that Bohemian quarter
in New York, Washington square. But
Rose, as she went through the park,
kept her eyes modestly bent on the as
phalt walk, apparently quite uncon
scious of the admiration she excited. It
was the opinion of those who were ac
quainted with old Parkes’ works that
she was by far the best thing he had
ever produced.
The truth is, old Parkes did not get
along very well. How he got along at
all was a mystery until Rose and he
became acquainted with little Spacer,
one of the best fellows that ever lived.
Rose, who was a born financier, per
haps could have explained liow they
managed to exist. At a ridiculously
early hour in the morning she went to
market with a basket, and she had the
knack of making a deliciously appetiz
ing dish with very little for a founda
tion. In short, Rose was a genius, and
without her old Parkes would have
found himself long ago in the poorhouse.
Though ho was an excellent painter,
who had spent years of his life in study
abroad, his pictures somehow never
seemed to sell well. Speaking from a
mercantile point of view, his handling
was too broad and free, and the people
were not up to him. Then, too, his
canvases were generally so large that
they were not adapted to the walls of
the average drawing room, and he cap
ped it all by putting a price on them
that frightened buyers off. As one well
known critic pnt it, he would have done
much better 50 years hence. Certainly
he would not have done worse.
The few of his fellow artists who knew
him did not liko old Parkes very much,
though they fully approved of Rose.
His lifelong struggle with poverty had
soured his disposition, and the nasty,
cutting things he said were by no means
relished. His overwhelming conceit
rendered him a most disagreeable per
son. He rated himself far above the
younger and more successful men—‘ * pot
boilers,” he contemptuously referred to
them—and it dazed him to think that
they should do so well and he so badly.
Rose wras the only person he could get
along with, and he had never said an un
kind word to her in his life. Whenever
he looked at her, he would always think
of her mother, dead so many years, and
then he would sigh to himself. Rose,
who knew what ho was thinking of,
would come to him and throw her arms
around his neck, with never a word.
When little Spacer fell head over
heels in love with Rose, their financial
condition materially improved. As 1
have already said, he was one of the
best fellows that ever lived, and he was
on the staff of a metropolitan newspaper
and enjoyed a very good salary.
He knew nothing at all about art,
which was the reason why perhaps the
city editor gave him so many assign
ments to write of it. With a few stock
words and phrases, such as “chiaroscu
ro, ' ’ ‘' tine atmosphere, ” “ masterly han
dling, ” etc., he wrote up the exhibi
tions, on the whole, quite creditably.
Little Spacer first saw Rose when he
came to her father’s studio for infor
mation as to where he was to spend the
summer. He had been instructed to
prepare an article with the title “Where
Artists Will Spend the Summer.” Old
Parkes gruffly told him that he wasn’t
going anywhere, and he carefully noted
down the fact. When he went away,
he carried with him a vision of Rose's
soft black eyes and Rose's creamy
cheeks, and he was thinking of them
still down at the office when he wrote
these words, “Mr. Godfrey Parkes, the
distinguished landscape painter, will
remain in the city to execute a number
of important commissions.”
After that, upon one pretext or an
other, little Spacer kept coming so of
ten that he grew to be a source of pos
itive dislike to old Parkes. With Rose,
however, it was different. The two
had become such good friends that it
would have grieved her very much if
he had never come again. Little Spacer
had two rooms near by, in West Tenth
street, and he haunted the park in the
hope of seeing her. Once, when he had
been detained at the office very late and
he was coming home completely fagged
out at dawn, he had been refreshed by
the sight of Rose going to market, and
he had carried her basket for her, and
they had had a jolly time.
As their friendship grew stronger he
could Bee how miserably poor she was,
and often in his lonely rooms he pon
dered over some way of helping her.
As Rose was such a proud little be
ing, he realized that he would have to
act with the utmost delicacy. Finally
he decided that the best plan to follow
was to buy some of her father’s pic
tures, and with no ether thought than
to benefit her he began to recklessly in
vest in them.
When Rose appeared in a charming
new gown ana dainty bonnet, little
9pac*r fairly beamed with delight, and
the arch hypocrite continued his invest
ments even more recklessly than before.
His bare white walls filled up with
canvases for which he honestly did not
give a snap of his fingers. Old Parkes
let them all go at •‘summer prices,” in
one case sacrificing his "View of the
Ramapo Valley," for which ho had
asked $500 at the academy, for a beg
garly $50.
He was really growing to look upon
little Spacer with more favor. He com
mended his judgment and said that he
was evidently a man of taste. Twice
he had permitted Rose to accompany
him to the Casino roof garden, and they
sat often in the park. ,
On an excessively warm night little
Spacer had met Rose, and they had
gone to the park for a breath of air.
The green benches were crowded with
lovers whom the heat had driven from
the suffocating neighborhood south 01
Washington square, and many, with a
happy disregard of both propriety and
the extreme sultriness of temperature,
sat with their arms around each other’s
Near the fountain they stopped to rest
for a few minutes to listen to the plash
ing of the water in the basin, since it
sounded so deliciously cool, and there,
in a few hurried, badly put together j
words, which were quite unlike those i
he nad been intending to say for the j
last few months, little Spacer asked
Rose to be his wife. And, without
thinking of her father, so happy was
she, Rose said that she would, after
which they sat down on one of the
benches where the shadows were black
est and imitated their neighbors’ exam
With her pretty cheeks flushed and
her black eyes sparkling, Rose put her
arms around her father’s Deck that night
and gave him a careful revision of all
that little Spacer had told her. Old
Parkes said nothing, but got up and
made a circuit of the room several times
—a way he had of doing when ho got ex
cited. Then ho sat down at the table
and buried bis face in his arms.
"He’s robbed me of my pictures, and
now he’s going to rob me of my daugh
ter!” he said bitterly.
“Oh, papa, don’t talk like that!”
cried Rose, quite distressed. "Of course
Chauncey couldn’t afford to give you
what the pictures were really worth,
“I should say not,” broke in old1
Parkes moodily. “ ‘The Raraapo Val- 1
ley,’ 42 by 64, $50; ‘The Highlands at 1
Navesink,’ 18 by 24, $30. I can’t go:
on. It’s really too ridiculous. ”
“But, papa, dear, I don’t know what i
we would have done without the mon- i
ey,”6aid Rose. “The old dealer on
Fifth avenue wouldn’t take any more
at $5 apiece, you know.”
“Very well,” growled old Parkes.
"Marry him, if your mind is set upon
it. You’re of age and can do as you
like, I suppose. If you leave me, I dare
say I shall get along somehow.”
“I shall never leave you.” said Rose
grimly, and coming over she kissed
him. “Chauncey and I have planned
that we three are to live together.”
Now, it chanced the very next day
that old Parkes was laid up with rheu
matism, and for three long months he
was unable to hold a brush in his hand.
Little Spacer came heroically to the
rescue and bought so many pictures
that he was obliged at last to close out
his once comfortable account in the
Greenwich Savings bank. Everything
in old Parkes’ studio found its way to
his walls, and finally they were so cov
ered that he was obliged to stack them
up one against another.
Often he would stand with his hands
in his pockets gazing at them ruefully.
His only cheerful thought was that it
was not money thrown away. It was
for Rose’s sake that he had bought
them, and they had brought her many
a comfort that otherwise she would not
have had. Rose and he were to be mar
ried in the spring.
While old Parkes still lay grumbling
and helpless in bed the distinguished
French painter, M.Villemont, came over
for a brief visit. The two had worked
side by side at Julien’s in Paris, andM.
Villemont made it his business to hunt
up his old friend. The artistic contin
gent lionized the new arrival, and news
papers devoted whole columns to him.
In an interview, which was prepared
by little Spacer, he was made to say:
“I am really much surprised at the
I growth of art in America. You have
one painter as great as any that we
have in Europe. I refer to Mr. God
frey Parkes, whose works should be
held in rare appreciation by collectors.
Ho is one of the few great painters of
the century. ”
Whether M. Villemont really said
all this or not makes no difference. It
settled the whole business, and dealers
and buyers kept pouring in at the studio
from morning until night. Old Parkes
threw away his oils and liniments and
was back at his easel, a new man. He
had enough commissions to keep him
1 busy a year.
One of the leading galleries effected
arrangements with little Spacer to auc
tion off the pictures he had accumulat
ed. The auction was held in Chicker
ing hall, and the sales reached the hand
some figure of $19,675. Little Spacer
was dazed and could not believe his
good luck until a check for that amount,
minus the commissions, was handed
In the spring Rose and he were mar
ried, and soon after their handsome
Queen Anne at Orange was ready for
them. Of course old Parkes went to
live with them. The studio annex was
constructed according to his views and
is the admiration of all who have seen
it.—Malcolm Douglas in New York
Under Surveillance.
“I see Mrs. Skinflint has had her late
husband’s miniature painted and wears
it under her chin.”
“So? When he was alive, she always
kept him under her thumb.’’—Detroit
1 Free Press.
Their I'nefulDriiH an Scavenger* and Saga
city an l>an;;<*r SlgnaU.
The first rata wm* brought to tho
Comstock from California in freight
wagons principally, most likely in tho
big “prairie schooners," stow 1 away
among boxes &u<l crates of goods. Their
rapid increase, after their first appear
ance on the Comstock, was astonishing.
From 10 to 14 young are produced at a
birth, and there are several litters each
year; besides, a rat is a great-grand
father before be is a year old. Then, the
rats that colonized the Comstock towns
encountered no enemies. There were no
cats in the country.
The rats soon discovered the mines
and found therein a congenial home,
and a home free from the terrifying pres
ence of members of the feline tribe.
Never was a cat seen in any of the lower
levels of the mines, though they some
times prowl about the surface of the
tunnels. In the first opening of the
mines there was no place for the rats,
but as soon as the timbers began to be
set up and cribs of waste rock built they
were able to find safe hiding places; also
there was room for them everywhere be
hind the lagging of tho drifts. As they
increased m numbers there was on all
sides an increase of space through the
rapid extraction of ore by the miners.
They doubtless soon discovered that,
though man was their enemy on the sur
face, he was their friend down in the un
derground drifts and chambers. Ho
shared his meal with them, and they
scampered and capered about him with
perfect impunity. The warmth of the
lower levels appeared to be very conge
nial to the rats, both old and young.
Cold is a thing unknown to them. It is
as though they had been given immense
hothouses in which to breed. Any tem
perature they desire, from (JO degrees to
130 degrees, is at their command. Rats
are useful as scavengers in mines. They
devour all the scraps of meat and other
food thrown upon tho ground by the
miners while at lunch, eating even tho
hardest bones, thus preventing bad odor.
As tho decay of the smallest thing is un
endurable in a mine, tho miners never
intentionally kill a rat.
The miners have a high opinion of
their sagacity. The rats generally give
the miners the first notice of danger.
When a big cave is about to occur, they
are seen to swarm out of the drifts and
scamper about the floors of a level atun
woifted times. Tho sol tling of the waste
rock probably pinches the animals in
their dens, causing them at * nee to leave
in search of less dangerous quarters.
At times, when a mine lias b<*tn shut
down for a few weeks, the rats become
ravenously hungry. Then they do not
scruple to devour the young, old and
weak of their kind. During the suspen
sion of work in a mine that is not con
nected with other mines that are run
ning, everything eatable in the under
ground regions is devoured, even the
candle drippings on the floors.
When work is resumed, the almost
famished creatures are astonishingly
bold and fearless. Then they will come
out of their holes and get upon the un
derground engines—even when they are
in rapid motion—and drink the oil outoi
the oil cups, quite regardless of the pres
ence of the engineers.
A fire in a mine slaughters the rats by
the wholesale. Few escape, as the gases
penetrate every nook and cranny of the
underground regions, and often so sud
denly as to asphyxiate them in their
homes.—Engineering Journal.
Never Despair.
“This battle is lost,” said Desaix to
Bonaparte at Marengo, “but there is yet
time to win another!”
With the aid of Desaix, the couquerer
of kings, never stopping to brood over
liis misfortune, won that auspicious vic
tory soon after blazoned on the banners
of his guards. Repentance is a blessed
state of mind, but in and of itself it
never saved the day. Despair over de
feat may be perfectly natural, but it has
never won another victory. A consci
entious but erring lady said the other
day that she spent much time in sorrow
ing over past mistakes, and thus she
committed the biggest mistake of all.
“Never despair!” said Sir Walter
Scott, sitting down, an aged cripple, to
write off a debt of stupendous size, nor
resting until he had accomplished his
“Never despair!” muttered that gal
lant Frenchman, Bernard Palissy, as he
hurled his last stick of furniture into the
furnace containing the first glazed porce
lain ever made in modern years. Hence
never despair.—New York Ledger.
Queer Salutations.
The Abyssinians drop on their knees
and kiss the earth when they meet. In
saluting a woman the Mandiukas take
her hand, put it to their nose and smell
it twice. The Egyptians stretch out one
hand, then lay it on their breast and
bow the head. Among the less civilized
tribes of the old world, say, the Kal
mucks and in Polynesia, the custom of
rubbing noses is pretty general. Per
haps the most extraordinary form of
salutation is to be found in Tibet, where
the natives put out their tongues, gnash
their teeth and scratch their ears.—Lan
der und Volkerkunde.
The Mule 3Ieant Well.
An ex-street car mule in Los Angeles,
from force of habit, had wandered be
tween the rails. The electric car came
along, and the mule imagined he was at
the old business. The motorman put on
a little extra speed, but the mule main
tained the regulation distance between
himself and the car. Faster and faster
went the car, so did the mule. He had
no thought of shirking, to the huge de
light of the spectators and motorman.—
San Francisco Report.
Unusual Punishment.
A judge in Ohio sentenced a man to
be hanged before daybreak. This may
not be cruel or unusual punishment in
the case of a farmhand, but it would be
rough on most other citizens, who do not
like to have their sleep broker.—Buffalo