Newspaper Page Text
ljc Sitms, Ncu Sloomftclii, )a.
of his very plain statement that a kind
friend had advanced him a considerable,
"Who could that .friend be?" was the
tnizislinir question, which no one could
answer ; but nis unremitting attention to
business, the punctuality of his payments
and other evidences of his prosperity,
suffice to insure him goneral respect,
though certain envious busybodies would
venture now and then to hint significant
ly, that "all is not gold that glistens."
So matters went on pleasantly with
the Wags, till winter, when Tom and bis
three sisters came home for the holidays,
and the latter assisted their mother in
preparing for the festivities of the season.
It wu Christmas eve, and the whole of
the family were congregated in the little
back parlor, when young Jerry started
up at the well-known sound of a custom
er at the shop door at which he arrived
with a hop, step and jump ; and, jerking
it open, beheld a little old gentleman
wrapped in a large cloak.
" Please to walk in, sir," said Jerry
" I lush !" whispered the stranger, pla
cing his forefinger on bis mouth j "I
want to surprise them. Youre altogeth
er to-night, I suppose ?"
"Yes, sir," replied Jerry, smiling, for
he thought he knew to whom be was
" That's all right," said the odd elderly
gentleman, advancing cautiously towards
the darkest part of the shop and throw
ing off his cloak. " Now for a Christ
mas frolic ! Come here, you rogue! Why
you've grown taller than mo. That's
right! a thriving Wag! Now, mind,
you go back as if nothing had happened,
and give me hold of your coat-tail, so
that I can't bo seen. That'll do. No
lausrhing, you young moukcy. There,
Jerry did as ho was bid, save that,
though he bit bis lips unmercifully, his
risible muscles would not remain inactive,
and thus the oddly joined pair made their
way into the family apartment just as the
eldest daughter hud exclaimed, " Now.
mamma, it's your turn to wish !"
They were sitting in a , semi-circle be
fore the fire, and the stranger and bis
shield, of course, stood behind them.
"Heighho!" said Mrs. Wag ; ' there's
only one thing I wish for to-night, and
that is the addition of one more to our
"Name ! name ! You must name your
wish 1" cried three or four juvenile voi
ces, in full glee.
" I wish I could tell you bis name,"
said Mrs. Wag, "but your father knows
who I mean. Don't you, my dear ?"
" I can't mistake you my love," replied
Jeremiah, affectionately, " and I wish ho
could see how happy we are. It would
At Ytta liortt-t rrnnA I rmillv think."
" Who can he be 1" exclaimed the eld
"Perhaps it's somebody liko mo!"
cried tho little odd gentleman, stepping
briskly forward. .
" It is ! it is !" shrieked mamma, and
up jumped the whole party, and down
went' Mrs. Wag upon her knees, while,
utterly unconscious of what she did, her j
arms were clasped round the neck of her
benefactor, whoso bodily frame being iin
ablo to sustain her matronly weight gave
way, and so they iolled together on tho
" Ila, ha, ha !" laughed the eccentric
elderly gentleman, as soon as bo recover
ed breath, but without attempting to rise.
"This is a Christmas gambol, eh ! Master
Wag ? eh ! my merry little Wags ?
Needu't ask you all how you are."
" My dear sir 1" exclaimed Jeremiah,
r " allow mo to assist you. 1 bopo you are
" Hurt !" cried tho little gentlemrn,
jumping up, and offering bis hand to
Mrs. Wag. " Hurt," why, I feel myself
twenty years younger than 1 did hve
minutes ago. Never mind, ma'am.
Like Christmas gambols. Always did.-
Happen to have such a thing as a bunch
of mistletoe, eh?"
" I am sure, sir," whimpered Mrs.
Wao;, " I shall never forgive myself. To
think of taking such a liberty ; I I
can't conceive how I could "
" As often as ever you please, my good
lady'" said the eccentric, handing her to
; a chair ; " but sit down and compose
yourself, while I shako hands all around."
And, turning towards Jeremiah, he
commenced the ceremony, which he went
through with from the eldest to the
youngest, calling them all by their names
as correctly as though he were a constant
A right merry Christmas eve was that.
The young Wags were, ever and anon,
obliged to bold their sides, as they laugh
ed and screamed with delight at the fun
ny little old gentleman, who romped and
played with them with as much glee na
though he bad been the youngest of the
party. So tho hours passed quickly away
till unwelcome sound of " bedtime," was
whispered among the little circle; and
then one after another departed, until Mr.
and Mrs. Wag were left alone with their
The hearts of both wero full, and they
began to endeavor to express their feel
ings; but the singular old gentleman
stopped them by saying :
" Needn't tell me. Know it all. Shall
run away if you goon so. Remember I
told you I had more of the 'ready' than
I knew what to do with. Couldn't have
done better with it, eh ? Out at interest
now. Host sort of interest, too. More
pleasure than receiving dividends, eh !
Never was happier. So come, let us wind
up for the night. I've a memorandum
or two for you in my pocket-book," and
he placed it on the table, and began to
turn over divers papers, as he continued,
" Hem ! ha ! Yes. Those two. You'd
hotter take them, my good sir. They'll
admit William and Stephen to Christ
Church what they call tho Blue-Coat
School. Capital school, eh ?"
" My doar sir !" exclaimed Jeremiah.
. " Don't interrupt me, that's a good fel
low," said the old gentleman. " Hem !
Do you ever snioko a pipo ?"
" Very rarely," replied the wondering
" Well," continued his guest, " take
that paper to light your next with. Put
it in your pocket, and don't look at it till
I'm gone. Hem 1 Tom's master says he
will make a good scholar; so if you've no
objection, I was thinking he might as
well go to college in a year or two. Not
in your way, perhaps ? Never mind. I
know some of the big wigs. Sec all
right, and cuter his name. Should have
one parson in a largo family, eh ?"
Here Mrs. Wag could no longer refrain
from Kivin-r vent to her overcharged feel-
ings by certain incoherent ejaculations,
which terminated in a flood of tears,
" Humph !" said tho old gentleman.
" my spectacles want wiping." And he
took tho opportunity of rubbin
and blowing his nose, while Jercm
was comforting the wife of his bosom, I
and telling her not to be so foolish, al-1
though be could scarcely avoid sniveling!
" Hem ! ahem !" resumed their guest;
" I think I've got some of tho jninco pie
sticking in my throat. Stupid old fellow
to eat so much, eh ?"
"Better take another glass of wine,
sir," said Jeremiah. "(Jive me leave,
sir, to pour it out ?"
" No, no, exclaimed Mrs. Wag, start
ing up and smiling through her tears,
let me! Nobody else! God bless you,
" And you, too!" ejaculated the old
gentleman, gaily; "come, that's a chal
lenge! Glasses round! and then we
must say good- night. Don't let us make
a dull end of a merry evening."
Warm benedictions were forthwith ut
tered, and tho " compliments of the
season" wero wished, with more than
common sincerity, by all three, as their
glasses met jin
whimsical guest tossed on his wine,
jumped up, shook his hosts heartily by
the hand, wished them good-night, and
sallied into tho shop to find his cloak.
Mr. and Mrs. Wag followed, and ex
pressed a bopo that he would honor their
Christmas dinner by his presence on the
following day j but all they could draw
from him was :
" Can't promise. Ato and drank a
little too much to-night, perhaps. Get
ting shockingly old. See bow I am in
tho morning. Enjoyed myself this eve
ning. A jolly set of Wags altogether.
Merry Wags all, eh ? young and old.
Well, well, wag along happily, my dear
Mr. and Mrs. Wag! Goodnight!" And
after , once more shaking hands with
them, he nimbly whisked himself out at
tho shop-door, and trotted across to the
No sooner were tho worthy couple
alone, than curiosity led them to exatn
iuo tho piece of paper which their bene
factor had presented to Jeremiah for the
purpose of lighting bis pipe, and it prov
ed to be the promissory note which the
latter had signed for tho first thousand
pounds. The donor's intention was plain
enough, as it was regularly canceled, so
Mrs. Wag was obliged to use her pocket
handkerchief once more; and her spouse,
after striding threo or four times across
the room, felt himsolf also under (he ne
cessity of taking out his, and blowing his
nose with unusual vehemence. Then
thoy congratulated and comforted each
other, and said their prayers, and offered
up their thanksgivings with a fervor and
sincerity that proved they were not un
worthy of their good fortune. Thon they
retired to rest, though not immediately to
Bleep, for they were each beset by strange
waking dreams, and beheld in their
minds' eye, a black clerical Wag, two
long-coated little bluo Wags, with yellow
nether investments, and other Wags of
sorted sizes, but all very happy.
Ou tho following morning, being j
Christmas day, our fortunate shopkeeper j
equipped himself in his best apparel, and, j
belore breakfast, stepped across the road,
and found Mr. Titus Twist rubbing his
eyes in his own gateway. Mutual salu
tations and " compliments of the season"
were exchanged in good neighborly style,
and then mine host exclaimed :
" There's a box hero for you, Master
Wrag, left by that queer little old gentle
man. I'm sure he's cracked ! In be
comes here yesterday, just after dark,
posting in his own carriage. Well, he
orders up anything as wo happened to
have ready, and I sets him down to as
good a dinner as ever any gentleman need
sit down to, though I say it, because why,
you sec, our larder's pretty considerably
well-stocked at this season. So down ho
sits, rubbing his hands, and seeming as
pleased as Punch, and orders a bottle of
wine ; but, before he'd been ten minutes
at table, up he jumps, claps on his cloak
and hat, and runs smack outo' the house,
and never comes back again till past elev
en at night, when he pays his bill, and
orders horses for six o'clock this morn
ing." " Is he gone, then ?" exclaimed Jere
miah. " Off, sure enough," replied Titus ;
" but he's left a great box for you, which
I was just going to send over. So, I sup
pose, you and he have some dealings to
gether." ' Yes," said Mr. Wag, " I shall have
cause to bless and thank him tho latest
day I have to live : but 1 wished ho had
stormed here to-dav. Well. God bless
him, wherever he has cone, llark ye,
neighbor you have often heard mo speak
of having a friend well, that's him. I
don't know whv. but he's taken a fancy
to.me, and my wife and family, and has
done for us more than you'd believe, if I
was to tell you. However, we can chat
that over another day, as 1 can't stop now,
as Mrs. Wag and the children are waiting
breakfast. But where's the box? I'll
take it with me, if you ploasc."'
"If two of tho strongest follows in
my yard can take it over, it's as much as
they can," replied Titus. " However,
they shall try, and I hope you'll come
over this afternoon and crack a bottle of
my best to drink the little queer old gen
tleman's health. But, mind me, he's
cracked to a certainty, and you'll find it
out some of these days."
The box was accordingly delivered,
and on being opened was found to con
tain a dozen separate packages, each di
rected for one member of the Wag fam
ily, the largest for Jeremiah the smallest
for little Philip, a "rising three" year old
Wag. Their contents wero far too va
rious for precise specification, but could
not have been more judiciously appropri
j ated nor more gratefully received, so that
Christmas day was a day ot rejoici ng ;
and the only regret felt by ono and all
the Wags was that their very kind friend
had not stayed io spend it with them.
When the festive season was over mat
ters went on as usual with Jeremiah, save
that' perhaps there was more of cheerful
ness in his mnuner while pursuing his
course of steady industry. Tho ft ci was
bo never now felt perplexed about
money affairs, which were wont formerly
to occupy much of bis time by day, and
cause him many sleepless hours by night.
Those who had called for payment wero
as welcome as those who came to pay, and
consequently his credit stood high ; and
the travelers and London houses strove,
by tempting bargains and peculiar atten
tion in " selecting the best articles to
complete his kind orders," to keep bis
name upon their books. So ho wont .on
and prospered in all his undertakings,
and in the course thereof visited the
metropolis to make purchasos, and, when
there, called upon Mr. Goodfellow, who
gave him a hearty welcome, but could not
bo persuaded to reveal tho name of his
ecccntrio client though ho scrupled not to
say that bo was in good health, adding,
with a smile, " and in perfect possession
of his intellects."
Jeremiah next endeavored to worm
tho secret from his bankers, but with no
better success. The partner who received
him assured him that the steady increase
and respectability of his account bad
wrought such an impression in a quarter
which he was not permitted to name, that
their house would feel much pleasure in
making advances whenever anything ad
vantageous offered itself tor purchase,
' Tt. la wnnilnrfnl I flvnlnimoil -Tnin t
" A good character, my dear sir," ob
served tho banker " is everything in
trade. Wo arc dealers in money ; and
nothing pleases us more than placing it
where we know it is safe, and have every
reason to suppose it may bo useful."
" But," observed Jeremiah, "you know
nothing about me."
" I beg your pardon, Mr. Wag," said
tno banker j " you are what we call a
good man, and have got a back." '
" A back !" exclaimed the bewildered
" Yes," said the banker, smiling, " that
is, a good friend to your back ; and
though he chooses to keep himself in tho
background, depend upon it he'll not for
sake you so long as you go on as you
have done. Therefore, buy away for
ready cash as largely as you please, and
we'll honor your drafts. '
On this hint Jeremiah subsequently
acted, by making purchases which enabled
him to serve his customers " on terms
that defied all competition." Therefore
and by dint of strict attention and civility
bis trade continued to increase till he
was obliged to add warehouses to his
shop, and employ a regular clerk and
collector, besides shopmen, porters and
In tho meanwhile young Tom Wag
studied Latin and Greek with a neigh
boring curate; William and Stephen
were in due course, admitted into tho
Blue-Coat School, and the education of
the other children went on precisely as
had been recommended by their eccen
tric benefactor whose advice Mr. and
Mis. Wag considered equivalent to com
mands, bull thoy wero otten uneasy
about him, and more particularly after
another Christmas eve had passed with
out his appearance. Poor Mrs. Wag
was sure he was ill, and would occasion
ally charge him with unkindness for
not letting her know, that she might
go and nurso him. But again months
and months rolled away, and at last au
tumn arrived, and with it brought tho
grand denouncement of the mystery, as
suddenly as their former good luck.
All the Wags who were at home were
sitting round a tea-table in tho little gar
den at tho back of the house, and Mrs.
Wag was sedately filling their cups when
one of the younger children exclaimed,
Jeremiah looked around to where the
child was gazing and beheld his benefac
tor stealthily approaching from the back
door, with an arch smile on his counte
nance, as though wishing to t:ke them
by surprise ; but perceiving that he was
discovered, he stepped nimbly forward
according to his usual custom, and hold
ing out his hand, said :
" Well, my dear Wag, how are you?
How are you, my ;j;ir Mrs. Wag? and
how are you, young Jerry Wag, Mary
Wag, Sarah Wag,llcnry Wag and Philip
All expressed their delight at his ap
pearance, according to their different ages
and ubilitics, but all were evidently de
lighted, and none more than the strango
little gentleman himself, whoso eyes
sparkled with gratification as ho took
his seat, looked round at tho joyous group
and begged to join their family party.
Mrs. Wag felt somewhat tremulous at
first, and doubtless her visitor perceived
it, as he turned his attention to the
tie Wasrs till she had finished her table
arrangements and handed bim a cup of
" Thauk you, my good lady," said bo
" That's as it should be. All merry Wags
together, eh ?"
" Wc we thank God !" whimpered
Mrs. Wag ; " we nro.
Yes! But it's all
vour doing sir. I
wish I could thauk
you as I ought."
Hero Jeremiah, porcoiving that his
spouse was too nervous to mako an excel
lent speech, " took up the cudgels" of
gratitude ; but, saving that there could
be no doubt of his sincerity, displayed no
great oratorical talents. Brief, however
as bis speeches, or rather ejaculation,
were, tho funny old gentleman stopped
him by tho apparently funny observa
" So, my good Jeremiah Wag, you
don't know wheroyour father came from ?"
" No sir, indeed," replied tho shop
keeper, marveling at the oddity of the
" Well, then, I do," said his benefac
tor; " I was determined to find it out
becauso the name is so uncommon. Hard
work I had though. Merchant, to
whom he was clerk, dead. Son in the
West Indies. Wrote. No answer for
somo time then not satisfactory. Obli-
gcd to wait till ho came back. Long
talk. No use. Well, well. Toll you
nil annnf it. nnnfnor Anv flut. it. annrfc
now. Found out a person who was an inti
mate frieud and fellow-clerk with your
father. Mado all right. Went down into
the north. Got his register."
" Kcally, sir," stammered Jeremiah ;
" it was very kind of you, but I am sorry
you should have given yourself so much
trouble; but I'm sure, it I have any poor,
relations that I can be of servie o to in
employing them, now that your bounty
has put me in the way of doing well, I
shall bo very glad, though I never did
hear talk of any." - "
" No, Master Jeremiah," said the ec
centric old gentleman, "you have no poor
relations now, nor ever had ; but your
father had a good-for-nothing cider brother
who left homo at an early ago, after your
grandmother's death, and. was enticed to
go abroad by fair promises which were
not fulfilled. So, not having auything
agreeable to write about, he didn't write
at all, liko a young scamp ns he was,
and when the time came that ho had
something pleasant to communicate, it
was too late, as his father was no moro
and his only brother (your father) was
gone nobody knew where. Well, to
make the story short, that chap, your
uncle, was knocked about . in the world,
sometimes up and sometimes down,
but at last found . himself pretty
strong upon his legs, and then
made up his mind to come back to Old
England, whore he found nobody to care
for bim, and went wandering hither and
thither, spending his time at watering
places, and so on, for several years."
" And pray, sir," inquired Jeremiah,
as his respected guest paused, " have you
any idea what became of him?"
" Yes I have," replied the little gen
tleman, smiling significantly at his host
and hostess. ' Ono day be arrived in a
smallish town, very like this," and terri
bly low-spirited he was, for he'd been ill
some time before, and was fretting him
self to think that ho had been toiling to
scrape money together, and was without
children or kindred to leave it to. No
pleasant reflection that ! Well, be or-
! dcrcil dinner, for form's sake, at the inn,
ahd then went yawning about the room;
and then ho took his stand at the window,
and, looking across the road, ho saw the
name of Wag over a shop-door, aud then
You know all tho rest ! Tho fact is, I
am a Wag, and, Jeremiah Wag, you are
my nephew, and you my dear Mrs. Wag,
are my niece, and so let us be merry
JWaT" Betsy was reading the exchanges
tho other day, when she camo across
tho following conundrum :
" When is a woman like a vehicle?"
" When she's sulky."
When reaching homo in the evening
she met us at the door, and spoke thusly:
" Me Lord ! Can you tell me when a
woman is like a vehicle ?"
We answered nay.
She said, " I can."
For a moment she was lost in reflection,
at the expiration of which she exclaimed :
" Now I have it. When she's a little
JSsiF A big whisky guzzling fellow who
came home drunk ono night, and sat
down by the fire to warm his feet, which
were regular " bug smashers." Says the
legend : After dosing some time he
1 awoke chilly ; the embers were entirely
bid from view, and seeing his feet ho
mistook them for his little boy, when,
with a majestio side-wave of the hand,
ho said: " Stand aside, biy little son,anii
let your poor father warm himself."
JttaJ" An unfortunate Indian missionary
had his sermon reported as follows :-- ,
" The speaker was , a doductiou, and
gave a leurned description of Satan ,and
hit skill in sawing trees."; The unhappy
preacher wrote a piteous remonstrance to
tho editor of tho paper which had pub
lished, this resume, to say that he was a
Dutchman, and not a deduction, aud that
he had described Satan, not as sawing
trees, but sowing tares.
" May I ask the time of day,
sir ?" said a stranger to Mr. Buffers.
" By all means, sir by all means," re
plied the amiable Mr. Buffers. " Well,
sir, what time is it?" "Upon my
word I don't know. I have not watched
the time lately."
t&T " Most peoplo decline to loam on
ly by their own experience, and I guess
they are more than half right, for I don't
s'poso a man could get a correct idea of
molasses candy merely by letting another
felier taste it for him."