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Mf) It TIMER, 1
Editor and Proprietor. t
AN INDEPENDENT FAMILY NEWSPAPER.
Terms: IN ADVANCE
One Dollar per Year,
J Published Weekly, '
At New Rloomfleld, Penna.
ONE DOLLAR PER YE All I
Oil 10 CENTS PEll MONTH,
The Wag Family.
A CHRISTMAS STORY.
IN a town which wo will call Middle-town,
becauso it was of tho middlo 6ize, dwelt
a worthy shopkeeper, hearing the odd name
of Jeremiah Wag. By dealing in all sorts
of commodities, and steady attention to
his business, ho managed to keep up his
respectability, and doubtless would have
considorbly increased his store, but for tho
gradual ineroaso of his family. For sev
eral years after his marriage a littlo Wag
was ushered annually into the world ; and
though there had latterly been somewhat
loss of regularity, as many as ten small heads
might bo counted every evening in his back
parlor. Jerry, tho eldest boy, was, however,
almost fourteen years of age, and therefore
began to "make hinwelf useful," by carry
ing out small parcels and assisting behind
tho counter. All tho rest were, to use their
parents' phrase, "dead stock," and wcro
"eating their heads ofT ;" for sooth to say;
they were a jolly littlo sot, and blessed
with most excellent appetites. Such was
tho stato of family matters at tho time
whon our narrative commences.
Now, on the opposite sido of tho street,
exactly facing tho modest board on which
Jeremiah's name was painted, with tho
usual announcement of certain commodi
ties in which ho dealt, was another board
of a very different description. On it were
emblazoned the arms of her majesty, with
tho supporters, a lion, and a unicorn, as tho
country folks said, "a fighting for the
The establishment indicated by this dis
play was upheld by a very different class of
customers to that which patronized tho
shop. Two or three times in each day
some private carriage of postchaiso would
stop to change horses at tho King's Arms,
and occasionally a "family" took up their
quarters thero for the night ; but tho latter
was a piece of good luck not often to be ex
pected, as there were no lions to bo scon in
Middlotown save tho rod rampart guardian
on the signboard.
It was haymaking timo, and business was
very "slack" with tho worthy Jeremiah;
but he said he didn't care much about it,
as the country folks wore earning monoy,
part of which he trustod would find its way
into his till in due course. So, after ruma
ging about among his stock to see if he was
"out of anything," ho took his stand at
tho door, just to breathe a mouthful of
fresh air. Titus Twist, tho landlord, made
his appearance at tho same moment in his
own gateway, apparently with tho same. sa
lubrious inteut, and immediately beckoned
to his neighbor just to step across. ,
" Well, how are you, Master Wag?" said
he, when they met. " Did you observe
that fine greon chariot that is stand
ing down iu tho yard thero, and camo in
over an hour ago?" Jeremiah answered
iu tho negative " Well, continued mine
liost, "it bolong8 to one of the oddest, runi
i roiest littlo old gentlemen I ever clapped my
eyes on. lie's been asking me all sorts of
; -questions, and seems mightily tickled with
your name abovo all things. I think, he's
cracked. Howsoniever. he's ordered din
ner ; but hush 1 hero he comes."
Tho littlo gentleman in question seemed
lictwcen sixty and seventy ; but, excepting
a certain sallowncss of complexion, carried
his years well, his motion being lively, and
wearing a good-humored smile, as though
habitual, on his countonancc. His dress
was plain but good, and altogether becom
ing his apparent rank.
" I shall bo back in a quarter of an
hour," said ho to tho landlord ; "I'm only
going over tho way to tho shop to buy
something." And away he went, and, of
course, was followed by Jeremiah, who, im
mediately on entering his own house, skip
ped nimbly behind tho counter to wait up
on his new customer.
After trying on some gloves, and purchas
ing two pairs, tho littlo straugo gentleman
looked round tho shop, as though examin
ing its contents to find something ho want
ed. ' Any thing clso I can do for you, sir?"
" You sell almost every thing, I see, Mr.
Wag, " observed the old gentleman. ' ' Mr.
Wag? Your name is Wag, I suppose?"
"Yes, sir," replied tho shopkeeper, dryly.
" Wag, Wag, Wag 1" repeated tho stran
ger, briskly. "Funny namo, eh?"
"It was my father's before me," observ
ed Jeremiah, scarcely knowing what to
think of the matter.
Very good name 1" continued tho littlo
gentleman ; "like it very much. Got any
children? Any littlo Wags, eh? Like to
see 'em. Fond of children littlo Wags,
in particular he, he, ho !"
"Much obliged to yo for inquiring, sir,"
replied tho senior Wag ; "I'vo got just half
a score, sorted sizes. That's tho eldest!"
And ho pointed to young Jerry, whose
lanky limbs were at tho moment displayed,
spreading fashion against tho shelves, from
the topmost of which ho was reaching down
somo commodity for a customer.
" That's all right. Bring 'em up to in
dustry," said tho little gentleman. "Well,
I can't stay now, becauso my dinner is
ready ; but I seo you soli Irish linen, and I
want a piece for shirts ; so, perhaps, you'll
bo so good as to look me out a good one,
and bring it over to me."
"You may rely," commenced Mr. Wag,
but his new customer cut him short by ad
"I know that well enough." and briskly
mado his exit.
Tho industrious shopkeepor forthwith se
lected certain of his primest articles, folded
them in a wrapper, and, at tho appointed
timo carried tho wholo across to King's
He was immediately ushered into tho pres
ence of tho eccentric elderly gentleman,
who was seated alone behind a bottlo of
white and a bottlo of red. "Suppose you
have dined, Master Wag," said ho; "so
come ! No ceremony, sit down and take a
glass of wine."
I'm very much obliged to you. I'm sure.
sir," replied Jeremiah, " bus I havo just
brought half a dozen pieces of Irish for
you to look at and choose."
" Phoo, phoo 1" quoth tho small stran
ger, " I don't want to soo them. I know
nothing aliout 'om. Leave all to you. On
ly meant to have had a piece ; but as you've
brought half a dozen, I may as well take
era. 'btoro is no sore, thev sav. There's
a fifty pound note ! Reckon 'em up and
soo if thore's any change."
Jeremiah stared at this unusual wholesalo
way of dealing, stammered his thanks, and
observed that tho goods would not amount
to half tho money.
"So much the worse," said the littlo
gentleman. "Must seo if I can't buy
something else in your lino presently ; but
sit down now, that's tv good follow I I
want to have some talk with you."
The bashful shopkeeper hereupon perch
ed himself on the extreme front edge of a
chair, at a respectablo distance from the ta
ble ; but was told to draw up closer by his
IVcav Ulooiiifiold, I?n,., Icccinlci- 20. 1870.
hospitablo entertainer. Then they took
three or four glasses of wino together, and
gradually Jeremiah found hinisclf more at
home, and scrupled not to reply to the
odd stranger's questions respecting his
family and occupations. And so they went
on chatting till they appeared as two very
old and intimate friends ; for Mr. Wag was
of an open unsuspecting disposition, and
talked as though ho had no objection that
all the world should know all about his af
fairs. " Well, but my dear Wag." ' said tho
stranger, " can't you tell what part of tho
country your father camo from ?"
"No, sir, I can't," replied Jeremiah;
" ho died when I was about eight years old,
and tho London merchant to whom ho was
clerk put mo to school, and after that ap
prenticed mo to old Hicks, who lived over
the way where I do now. Well, thero I
served my time, and then married his
daughter, and so came in for tho business
when ho died ; but I've increased it a pret
ty deal ; and if I'd moro capital could make
a snug thing of it by going into the whole
sale, and serving shops with grocery, and
" Why don't you try it?" asked tho littlo
"It wont do unless ono has got tho ready
knowingly ; "and then ono must be ado to
give credit, and ought to keep one's own
wagon to carry out goods. No, no, it wont
do. Many a man has made bad worse by
getting out of his depth ; and as it is, thank
God, I can live. The only thing that puz
zles mo now and then is what I shall do
with all tho children."
"Hark ye, my worthy Wag," said tho
odd stranger, " I have not got any children,
so if you'll let mo pick among the lot I do
not caro if I take two or threo off your
" Sir :" exclaimed tho astonished shop
keeper. "I mean what I say," replied tho old gen
tleman, demurely. " Take mo with you.
Introduce nio to your wife and family and
let us all have a friendly cup of tea togeth
er in your back parlor. Don't stare, my
good Wag, but fill your glass. I don't
want to buy your little Wags, but I hap
pen to havo moro of the ready, as you call
it, than I want , so I'll put them to school
or what you like. What say you ?"
Jeremiah rubbed his eyes as though
doubtful if ho were awako, and then utter
ed his thanks for such extraordinary kind
ness in tho best way ho was able, and about
an hour after tho whiiusscal littlo old rich
gentleman was sitting by the sido of Mrs.
Wag, with a little curly-headed Wag on
each knee, whilo the rest were playing
round or gazing open mouthed at the stran
ger with childish wonder.
By degrees all stiffness wore off, and, bo
foro the evening concluded, nothing could
exceed tho merriment of the wholo party.
The eccentric elderly gentleman had learn
ed to call all tho Wags by their names, and
ho played and frolicked, and rolled upon
tho floor with the littlo people, in a stylo
that made tho parents suspect, with the
landlord, that ho must be "cracked."
However, at parting, he became more so
rious, and invited Jeremiah to come and
breakfast with him in the moruiiur. and to
bring with him a copy of the names and
birthdays ot ins children, as entered iu the
Mr. and Mrs. Wag, of course, lay awako
for an hour that night, talking over tho
strango incidents of the day, and perhaps
building a few castles in tho air, after tho
stylo of affectionato parents for their chil
dren. On tho following niornincr Jeremiah dress
ed himself iu his Sunday suit, and repaired
to fulfil 1 his engagement. His new old
friend received him in tho most cordial
manner, and they breakfasted together,
chatting over family concerns as on the
proceeding day. Whon their repast was
endod, the littlo gentleman read over tho
list of tho young Wags, and smilingly ob
served : . . .
"A jolly set of them. We must con
trive to make them all good and happy
Wags, if wo can, eh? Eldest, Jerry, al
most fourteen useful to you in business.
That's right, lcavo him there, eh ? Then
threo girls running, Mary, Anno and Fanny,
rack them off to a good school too. Never
mind. Then comes William, eight and
Stephen seven. Think I know where to
placothcm. Just tho right ago. Perhaps
can't do it at onco, though. That's all I
can take at present. The other three, Sa
rah; Henry and Philip, too young. Well,
my worthy Wag, you will hear what I mean
to do with them beforo long, and a friend
of mine will call upon you somo day to con
sult about tho best way of increasing your
business. Settle all in time. No moro to
say now, but good-by eh ? Carriage is at
tho door sa id the landlord.
" That's right 1" exclaimed tho extraor
dinary elderly gentleman. "Good by, my
worthy Wag ! Remember mo to Mrs.
Wag, and give my lovo to all tho littlo
Wags. Ten besides yourselves ! A dozen
Wags in ono family I Never expected to
see such a sight 1 Never expected to see
such a sight as that ! He, he, ho ! Seo it
again, though, hope. Wag together, all of
you, like a bundle of sticks, hope !" And,
laughing and uttering similar incoherent
sentences alternately, ho walked briskly
along tho passage to his carriage, into
which ho forthwith jumped, and, having
repeated his valediction to tho astounded
shopkeeper, ordered tho postillion to drive
Thus Jeremiah was prevented from ex
pressing his grateful feelings for such won
derful promises, and so stood gaping in si
lence till the carriage was out of sight.
"Why, you seem regularly 'mazed,
neighbor !" exclaimed tho landlord.
"Enough to make me," replied Mr. Wag.
" If one half what I'vo heard this morn
idg should come true, I shall bo a lucky
fellow, that's all !"
"Tho old fellow's cracked," observed
Titus Twist. " He's a gentleman, howev.
er, every inch of him, that I will say for
him. Didn't make a word about nothing.
All right. Used to good living, no doubt.
More's tho pity, as he's cracked, no cer
tainly ought not to bo allowed to travel
witbout a servant, as he does."
"Well," observed Jeremiah, "I don't
know what to say or what to think about
it ; but, if ho is cracked humph ! I don't
know. It may bo so. However, there's no
harm done yet !"
"So he's been cramming you, eh 1" said
minohost. "Mado you a present of tho
moon, perhaps ? They do fancy strango
things, and think themselves kings, and
very rich in particular."
Tho truth of this latter assertion mado
an impression upon our worthy shopkeeper,
who communicated it to his wife : but she
had taken a great fancy to the odd old gen
tleman, and was not to bo shaken jn her
conviction that ho would really bo "as
good as his word."
" Well," observed her husband, "timo
will show ; and, at all events, it was no bad
thing to sell six pieces of lino linen at once.
We don't hare such customers every day.
However, the best thing we can do is to
keep our own secret ; for, if the neighbors
were to hear of it, they would laugh at us."
Mrs. Wag agreed in tho propriety of her
spouse's suggestion, but, nevertheless, was
unable to refrain from dropping hints to
sundry gossips concerning her anticipations
of coming good fortune ; and tho vagueness
and mysterious impoitanco of her manner
uicuwu a sensation and causou many
strango surmises. Some decided tlmf. the
Wags had been so imprudent as to 'pur
chase a wholo lottery ticket, and blamed
thorn accordingly, whilo others shook their
their heads, and hinted that, with so largo
a family, it would be a very fortunato cir
cumstance if Jeremiah could manage so as
not to go back in thd world ; and, for their
parts they nover liked to hear folks.! talk
mysteriously nbout good luck ; so, for some
rs o. si.
timo, the stranger's visit appeared to have
produced results the reverse of beneficial ;
but at the end of a month, an elderly gen
tleman dressed in black, entered the shop,
and requested a private interview with Mr.
Wag ; and as tho back parlor was full of
littlo Wags, then undergoing the ceremo
nies of ablution, combing, etc., he proposed
that they shonld adjouru to the King's
When they wcro seated there, tho stran-
ger very deliberately precceded to arrango
a variety of papers upon tho table in a bu
siness-like manner ; and whon his task was
completed, apparently to his satisfaction,
he smiled, rubbed his hands, and thus ad
dressed tho wondering shopkeeper :
" My name is Stephen Goodfellow. I am
an attorney, living in London ; and there
(handing a card) is my address. You will
probably guess who my client is, but my
instructions are to conceal his name. Well
ho has consulted mo as to tho best mode of
carrying your intention of increasing your
business into effect, and I have, conse
quently, had interviews with certain com
mercial gentlemen, and, ahem ! tho result
is, that as the thing must bo done gradual
ly, I havo to present you, in the first place,
with this order for a thousand pounds.
You will then be so good as to sign this
document, by reading which you will per
ceive that you cannot be called upon for
repayment before the expiration of three
years. Ahem ! don't interrupt mo. That
will do to begin with ; but, after a little
while, as you must give credit, and some of
your commodities, particularly grocery,
amount to considerable sums, you may
want mor, so ahem ! yes, this is tho pa
per. You are to put your usual signature
hero ; and, mark me, in precisely six months
from this day, an account will bo opened in
your namo with tho London bankers, whose
check-book I now present you with. They
will havo assets in tlieiihandivnid instruc
tions to honor your drafts for any sum or
sums not exceeding four thousand pounds.
"I hearwhat you say, sir'" stammered
Jeremiah, "but, really, I'm so astonished
" Well, well," observed Mr. Goodfellow,
smiling, "it certainly is not an every day
transaction, but my respected client is a lit
tle eccentric, and so wo must allow hiin to
do things in his own way.. He has taken a
fancy to you, that's clear, and when ho
takes anything in hand ho doesn't mind
" But so much 1" exclaimed Mi. Wag.
"One thousand four thousand five thou
sand pounds ! It is like a dream 1 Surely,
sir," and ho hesitated ; "surely the gentle
man can't bo in ahem .'in his right sen
ses?" "Sound as a boll," replied tho lawyer.
" I hope you may have as clear a head to
carry on your new business. At prcsont
you are a littlo bewildered, that's plain
enough, but no great marvel. However
my timo is precious, so just let mo have
your signature, and I'm oil."
Ho then placed the papors beforo Jeremi
ah, who, after a littlo moro demur, and a
great deal of trepidation, wrote his name
twico, and received the money order and
tho banker's check-book. Mr. Goodfellow
then ordered a chaise, and chat ted familiar
ly till it was ready, when ho shook Mr.
Wag by tho hand, wished him good luck,
" I told you so !" exclaimed Mrs. Wng,
when her spouse related the morning's ad
venture. " Ho seemed so fond of tho chil
dren. I know how it would bo. But you
should havo naked his namo. I wonder
who he can bo 1 Somo great lord, no doubt
Well, bless him, whoever ho is. O Jerry I
my dear Jerry Wag ! I feel as if I was go
ing to cry. How foolish 1 Well, I can't
help it, and that's tho truth." And the
good housewife wiped her eyes, nnd then
threw her arms round tho neck of her dear
ly beloved Wag, who, albeit that he was
unused to the melting mood, found his eyen
suddenly grow dim, und so they performed
a weeping duet together. ,
Much marveling, of course, thero was in
tho town and neighborhood at tho steady
inorease in Mr. Wng's "concern," in spite