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THE LOST RING.
A Christmas Story. '
YY yellow Immortelle In It make
It look like a real star banging there In
the shadow of the choir," Raid Laura
Wlnthrop, who was weaving a long
garland of evergreen.
It was Christmas Eve, and the young
people of the parish were decorating the
church, while the choir was rehearsing
" Miss Gilbert has both the eye and
he skillful fingers of an artist," said
Mr. Herman Leeds, a young man too
exquisite in bis personal appearance, in
a voice which had something emotional
In its ring. He was always emotional,
and always particularly devoted to some
young lady. This month the young
lady happened to be Elsie Gilbort.
"Thanks, Mr. Leeds," said Elsie,
..... laughing. "I always did long to be
rnppreclated, and now I really believe
tuat I am beginning to be. No one
ever noticed my artistic abilities be
fore." Mr. Leeds looked tenderly incredulous.
Tom Hay ward, who had just returned
from Europe, and had been In love with
Elsie for three years, bit his Hps furi
ously, and handled a huge bunob of fir
as though he would like to have tried its
strength on the head of this devoted
young man. Then, as if be had con
eluded to be Indifferent instead, he drop
ped the bough, and joined a group who
were trimming an arched window on
the other side of the house. But he
could not refrain from casting jealous
glances over his shoulder. Elsie and
"that idiot Leeds," as he always dubbed
him in his mind, were, to all seeming,
enjoying a lively, bit of flirtation in a
little bower of green which stood tem
porally in a dusky corner.
"Peaoe on earth, good will toward
men," sweetly chanted the choir, as if
in rebuke to bis angry and excited
feelings. But the holy Christmas music
found no echo in his breast. - : -. ' ,
"OMr. Hay ward, please como hero
and help us make these provoking let
ters," called Laura , Wlnthrop. " They
have enough workers on that side of the
house already, and wo shall not allow
you to desert your post."-1"
" Mr. Leeds is such an efficient work
er, that I did , riot suppose you needed
my. poor assistance," said he, with a
touch of sarcasm in his voice, though
he cam back to her.
"Well, you see, Hay ward, you haven't
had the experience that I have. Now I
assist nearly all the prominent ladles in
our society in decorating for receptions
and that sort of thing. Mrs. Marchmont
always says, ' O Mr. Leeds, what should
I do without your taste V It is to you I
owe all my success in my little enter
tainments,' " said Mr. Leeds, with an
air of perfect complacency. ' . '
Elsie's eyes twinkled with fun. , Tom
experienced a great sense of relief.
"She cannot care for such a puppy,"
he thought, "she Is amusing herself
But the next minute he caught the
gleam of Elsie's ring on his finger, the
odd little serpent ring which he himself
had given her as a parting gift on bis
departure for Europe a year and a half
ago. There had been no engagement
between them. Elsie wasn't quite sure
that she cared for him enough to marry
him, she said, and he might see some
one, during his absence, who . would
cause him to forget her.- She thought it
would be better to let the long parting
serve as a test of ther affection for each
other. But she consented to wear his
ring until she should care for some one
tl&o more than she cared for him. And
NEW BLOOMPIELD, !P.A., TUESDAY,
Tom weutaway with an anxious mlml.
He arrived In the city only yesterday,
and had not yet found an opportunity
to speak to Elsie alone, though he called
at her mother's house that morning.
But he had experienced a great eullsfao.
tlon to find the ring still upon her
finger, and then something In her man
ner assured him that she was not at
least wholly indifferent to his bumble
But now all was over, though she
might have expressed her preference for
Leeds in a more delicate and considerate
manner. Tom felt Insulted, and in spite
of MIbb Winthrop's persistence in teach
ing him, declared that he was totally
Incapable In the art of making letters,
strolled away into the gallery, where he
assisted for a while in wreathing tbe
railings with garlands of holly.
Elsie colored with vexation. 8he had
noted his glance when it fell upon the
ring, and the half-contemptuous, half
surprised expression of his face as he
turned away, after fixing one keen, re
proachful look upon her.
" Mr. Leeds, pray give me back my
ring," she said. "I am coutlnually
startled by thinking I have lost it, when
I missed it from my fluger."
" But you will lose it, it 1b very loose,
you know ; and you dropped It luto my
hand when you were tying one of the
wreaths. I think that was very signif
icant," with a glance which he meant
to be killing into her flushed face. , " It
seems to be very precious to you really.
A gift from some one V"
" It is precious Mr. Leeds. The fact
that it slipped off my fluger into your
hand is significant of my own careless
ness. I usually wear a little guard to
keep it on, but In my haste to-night, I
forgot it. Laura came for me before I
was ready to go out. I went out of town
with mamma thls afternoon, and had
only just returned."
And after more soft speeches on the
part of Mr. Leeds, and almost angry
perseverance from Elsie, she finally suc
ceeded in obtaining the pretty trinket
which had caused such a misunderstand
ing. But it was too late to display it to
Tom in its accustomed place. He had
already left the church.
"Never mind he will come to see me
to-morrow," she said to herself, with an
effort at re assurance. " And then he
really could not have any idea that I
fancied Herman Leeds."
" Mr. Hay ward used to be very oblig
ing and genial before he went abroad,
but now be seems quite like a bear,"
said Laura Wlnthrop, struggling with
a perverse spray of holly. " It was pro
voking in him to go away when we
need help so much, extremely ungallaut
Elsie said nothlnar. but worked awav
with a will, and before very long she
bad forgotten her vexation, and was
Joining in a hearty frolic with the other
young people, who bad grown hilarious
as cue evening wore on. Tney fell to
pelting each other with flowers and
evergreen sprays. They wound long,
prickly garlands around each other.
They bid behind dusky pillars. They
tried all sorts of odd effects with their
graceful decorations, and all the echoes
in the vast building repeated their
merry burst of laughter, until the nolite
organist was obliged to speak In behalf
of the choir, whose music they com-
pletely overpowered with their wild
But when Elsie was about to draw oh
her glove in preparation to ko bome.she
'ound that her ring was gone.
" O my ring I my ring I" she cried.
" I would not have lost It for the world."
" But if you lost it here in the church
we shall surely find it," said every one
And every one Joined In the searoh,
but It was not to be found.
" Perhaps it dropped while you were
at work, and lodged in the foliage or one
of the wreaths," suggested one.
And the sexton promised to examine
all the decorations carefully wheu they
should be taken down, 'and to search the
church faithfully by daylight the next
. But tbe search by daylight was of no
avail, neither was the ring found when
the decorations were tuk sn down some
i Elsie waited at horn all th next ky,
expecting to see Tom Hayward, Sut he
did not make bis appearance. She look-
for him In church on Christmas morn
ing, but he was not there. She looked
for him every day for a week, but be
did not come. Then she heard that be
had left town, ' that be had become a
partner in the law-firm In Philadelphia
to which his brother belonged, and did
not think of visiting Bralton again for
And this was true. Tom did leave
town the very next morning after meet
ing Elsie in the church, lie was stay,
lu Bralton only on Elsie's account, his
own family had left there during his ab.
seuce, and now ho no longer desired to
see Elsie. Still he could not forget her.
Her bright piquant face flushed before
blm in his business hours, her musical
voice rang la his ears, even lu court,
wheu fierce arguments were clashing,
and his own words were either to win
blm victory, or bring him defeat. He
planned telling sentences for tomorrow's
pleas, and the downfall of his opponent
before lie slept, but he dreamed of the
serpent ring which he gave Elsie, and
woke In the morulug with nothing In
hlsmiudbutan almost overwhelming
desire to see her.
A year passed in this way, at the end
of which business called hltn to Bral
It was the night before Christmas
Eve. Tom had been restlessly promen
ading the streets since dinner, and many
tblBp besides business were in his
mink He wondered if Elsie wero mar
ried Leeds yet. He .thought not, for
he had carefully read tbe marriage list
in the Bralton papers, and he had seen
no notice of any such event. He de
bated in bis mind the question whether
be should call at her mother's house or
no, and tried to Imagine how she would
receive blm If he did so. Then a sud
den turn in the street brought blm di
rectly opposite Bt. Paul's Church, where
he had met her just one year ago that
The church as then was brilliantly
lighted, and a group of young people ran
up the steps, laughing gayly. Through
the open door, as they passed In, poured
a flood of jubilant Christmas melody,
and he caught a glimpse of a great cloud
of greenery, with bright, flushed faces
in the midst of It.
"Elsie is there," be thought, and
moved by an irresistible impulse, he
crossed the street, and entered the
" Peace on earth, good will toward
men," chanted tbe choir, while the
pure, lofty melody seemed In reality like
the voices of tho an geld of the Lord.
And the soft undercurrent of happy
laughter, which arose from tbe pictur
esque groups whose fingers wreathed
the holly and the mistletoe, was in
sweet accord with the higher strains.
Tbe odor of flowers and pines mingled
with the sweet sounds like frankincense.
The ruddy light flashed down to find
the scarlet glow of berries in the dark,
green gloom of foliage, to dance in
bright eyes, on scarlet Hps and golden
hair. It was a pretty scene which Tom
gazed upon as he stood for a few minutes
in the shadow of the gallery ; but Elsie
was not there. Leeds was looking un
utterable things in the face of a strange
blonde girl, while with his long white
womanish fingers he fashioned what
was evidently intended to be the Star of
Bethlehem. Laura Wlnthrop, brisk
and commanding as usual, was flitting
hither and thither, with long garlands
of evergreen banging over her shoul
der. "Why, Mr. Hayward, is It really
you r" she exclaimed, as he moved to
ward her. "I thought you had forsaken
Bralton entirely. But I am so glad to
see you, especially Just now,", she began
after. Tom bad sufficiently explained his
sudden appearance. " There is no one
tall enough to trim these pillars without
tbe aid of a step-ladder, and tbe step
ladders are all in use. You would not
appear in our midst like some Christmas
fairy every year, if you did not wish to
make yourself of use."
" It Is early yet, and Elsie may make
her appearance after all," -eald Tom to
himself, as be good-naturedly applied
himself to the task assigned blm, while
a dozen or so of old acquaintances came
up to give him a merry greeting. . .
After a while he managed to inquire
for Elsie, saying, Indifferently enough,
that he supposed she never failed to as
DECEMBER 31, 1880. NO. CI.
sist In decorating the church for Christ
mas. The color rose In his cheek in
spite of himself, however, and quick
keen Laura Wlnthrop perceived It.
"Elsie," said she. "Why, haveu't
you heard V When Shaw & Street's
banking-house failed, her mother and
she lost all their fortune, They do not
coma here to church any more. They
have moved into a little bouse on May
field Street, just on the outskirts of the
city, you know, and Elsie gives inuslo
lessons as a means of support."
" No, I had not heard," said Tom
with an effort at perfect coolness, though
he commenced to tear down the decora
tions which he had Just adjusted, with
his nervous fingers.
" She's a brave little soul as ever
lived," pursued Miss Laura, " but too
proud. She prefers to shun her old ac
quaintances as a general thing."
"I wonder If she would shun me ?"
thought Tom, resolving to find her that
very night, though, since he had taken
the task of entwining the pillars he
muBt remain to finish It, but be would
do that speedily.
" I have an engagement at quarter
past eight," he announced to MUs Wln
throp, who was loatb to allow blm to
depart; " but until that time I shall be
most happy to serve you."
And at the same time Indulging in a
lively conversation with the gay girls
around blm, he decorated with satisfy
ing skill and swiftness.
" You have such delightfully long
arms, Mr. Hayward," lisped a pretty
little maiden, who stood on tip-toe to
reach a strip of plaited holly Into his
Tom peered behind the pillar to see
where to fasten the garland, placing his
eye close to the chink behind it and the
wall. Something glittered strangely in
the dust in the little groove where the
ornamental scrolls of tho pillar were
Joined to the wall. Tom investigated
the mystery, and picked up the serpent
ring which was lost a year ago. He
quietly placed it in bis pocket, keeping
his own counsel. How did It get into
such a queer hiding place y Did it be
come entangled In the foliage which was
banging above, and then drop Into the
An hour later Tom rang at the door of
the tiny woodtn bouse where Elsie had
taken up her abode. What a contrast It
was to the fine old mansion where the
was born !
Elsie, herself, answered the summons
looking much the same that she did one
year ago, only a little thinner and paler,
and more dignified and womanly. ' Her
face lighted when she recognized Tom,
and the old brlght.dimpled smile, which
bad enslaved his heart In years gone by,
made bim welcome. Tben as if she had
forgotten herself, a shade of dignity and
L coldness came over her manner. But
Tom would not be chilled by this, and
taking the ring from bis pocket, he held
it up for Inspection, saying in a voice
which fairly trembled with eagerness,
and with a face full of anxiety,
" Elsie, what would you have done
with this ring if you hadn't lost it t"
" I should have worn it always," said
Elsie the ploture of bewilderment. :
"But I saw Hon tbe finger of that
silly Leeds, myself."
" Yes," said Elsie, " It was too large
forme, I usually wore a smaller ring
with it for a guard, but that night I
dressed in a hurry and forgot the guard.
It slipped from my finger, and Mr. Leed
picked it up, and placed it playfully up
on bis own finger. I did not allow him
to wear it ten minutes, however."
" What a jealous fool I was," groaned
" Afterward I lost it from my finger
again," continued Elsie, who was blush
ing very much, " and I supposed that it
was lost forever. "
Tom explained how be had chanced
to find it.
"Oh, yes, I remember having dec
orated two or three of the pillars, mount
ed on a step-ladder," said she. " I re
member, too, that I was obliged to reach
into very small spaces wbere lu some
places they stood nearly against tbe wall
lu order to fasten the wreaths and it
was as much as ever that I was able to
get my band luto these spaces. I must
have lost It then."
Tom was beginning to look eloquent:
but, before be was able to give vent t
this eloquence, Elsie's mother appeared
on the scene.
He did not leave the bouse until near
ly midnight, and before be left, though
the three conversed on Indifferent sub
jects, a sort of understanding existed be
tween him and his lady love,
On Christmas morning he placed an
other ring on Elsie's finger, which
meant more than did the ruby-eyed ser
pent, which had caused so much sorrow
for both. Then tbey walked to church
together. It was a bright, frosty morn
ing. Bells were ringing choirs chanting
even the very sunshine loenied to praise
" Last Christmas," said Tom, "was
the blackest and most wretched day I
ever spent In my life, and I spnt it in
the train hurrying away from you, be
cause I thought you cared fur Lteds.
To-day is the brightest Chrlsmas I ever
spent thus far."
" I was Just contrasting the two days
in tbe same way," laughed Elsie. " I
expected that you would be atchuroh,
and would walk home with me, and was
so disappointed that you were not there
that I beard neither choir nor sermon."
" I never knew what beautiful days
were until I saw you," said a high
pit cbed but extremely tender masculine
voice. Just behind.
And Tom and Elsie walked very slow
ly, in order to see what other radiantly
happy couple were out tbat morning.
Elsie's eyes wore sparkling with fun.
"It is Mr. Leeds," said she; "and
this is bis seventh love aflalr, to my cer
tain knowledge, since be took a freak to
talk nonsense to me."
Ms and Betsey.
One day a bear walked out of the
woods and, all uninvited, entered tho
bumble home where a man and his wife
Betsey were sitting. At sight of his
brulnshlp the man arose with a yell of
terror and, without thought of his wife,
hastened to climb a place of refuge on
top of an old Dutch clock that stood in
one corner of tbe room. The more val
iant Betsey stood ber ground, and seis
ing a long poker fiercely attacked the
bear, and did not desist, in spite of the
game defense which be made, until she
had him stretched dead at ber feet, ner
lord and master from his safe perch
watched the combat between her and
tbe bear with evident Interest, and ever
and anon kept shouting : " Give it to
him, Betsey," "Hit him another wipe
across the bead," " Smash his infernal
skull," etc. As soon as be became satis
fied tbat the brute was dead and there
was no danger of bis " coming to," he
hastened to descend from the clock and
summon the neighbors for miles around
saying to all those whom be met, " I
want you to coma to our bouse and see
tbe bear tbat me and Betsay have Just
A Too Sudden Application.
The following incident is related of
tbe venerable Dr. Nesbltt, formerly
president of Dickinson College, Car
lisle. "It amazes me that minister don't
write better sermons. I am sick of the
dull prosy affairs I" said a lady in the
presence of Dr. Nesbltt.
" But it is no easy matter, my good
woman to write sermons," suggested
" Yes," rejoined the lady, " but you
are so long about it. I could write one
in half tbe time, if I only bad a text."
" Ob, if a text is all you want," said
Dr. Nesbltt, " I will furnish that. Take
this one from Solomon : ' Itls better to
dwell In a corner of a house top than
with a brawling womau in a wide
" Do yo mean me, sir ?" inquired the
lady, quickly. !
"Oh, my good woman," was the re
sponse, " you will never make a aer
monizer. You are too soon in your appli
cations." 3 Were all drunkards removed from
the world, and moderate drinking still
permitted, in a short time the aota
would be as abundant as now. Tbe
habit of moderate drinking la the seed
of a heavy harvest of drunkard.
(J-Let it not be Imagined that the
life of a good Christian must neoeeiarily
be a life of melancholy and gloominess;
for he only resigns some pleasures to en
joy others infinitely better.