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WHEN I WAS SEVENTEEN.
Ah ! well do I remember ftlll
How bright life was to me
When I was only seventeen
And jou were twenty-three.
The earth was fairer then, I think,
Than ever I see now j
How softly blew the warm west wind
That listened to our tow.
We made It In the whispering dark,
Beneath our trystlng tree.
Ah! then I was but seventeen,
And you were twenty-three.
The river rippled soft and low
Its dear familiar song j
We stood upon the old stone bridge,
And all the world seemed young,
And therewith one long lingering kiss
You took my heart from uie.
Ah ! well, I was but seventeen.
And you just twenty-three.
Far off the grand old hills arose ;
The stars shone out above,
And all the night was fair and sweet,
The air was full of love.
I fondly wonder many a lime
If you think tenderly
Of what I was at seventeen,
And you at twenty-three.
It was not very long ago ;
- But bitter tears have wet
The cheeks you kissed so lovingly,
Ah! If I could forget
Why were you faithless 1 O my love,
The world Is changed to me.
Since I was only seventeen,
And you were twenty-three.
And often when fbe nlght-wlnd sighs
Along the river side,
My heart goes back with longing piln
To that sweet eventide.
But still, I love to think of It,
For nevermore, ah ! me,
Shall I again be seventeen,
Or you be twenty-three.
Our Santa Claus Papa.
A CALIFORNIA mining town, away
up amid the Bnow-clad, rocky-bound
(leaks of the Sierra Nevada mountains.
The town was irregularly laid out,
and was scattered along a creek which
emptied into the Consummes river sev
eral miles below. Both the dwellings
.and business houses or more properly
speaking, cabins were constructed of
unhewn pine logs, the crevices between
the timbers being "chinked" and plas
tered with mud. The town contained
at least a dozen saloons, or saloons and
.gambling houses combined, and In these
'hells much of the hard-earned money of
the miner parted company with him, to
take up its temporary - abode in the
saloon till or the pocket of the profes
ional gambler. The dwellings of the
town were scattered along the creek or
fcuilt on the.side of the mountain, the
majority of them being rough "bachelor
dens," for women were scarce in the
newly discovered diggings.
In a small cabin in the upper end of
the town sat a woman in widow's
weed, holding upon her knee a bright
eyed, sunny-faced little girl about Ave
years old, while a little cherub of a boy
lay upon a bear skin before the open
fire place. It was Christmas Eve, and
the woman sat gazing abstractly into
the fire. She was yet young, and as the
flowing flames lit up her sad face they
invested it with wierd beauty.
Mary Stewart was the widow of Aleck
Stewart, and but two years before had
lived comfortably and happy in a camp
on the American river. Aleck was a
brawny miner, but the premature ex.
plosion of a blast iu an underground
funnel had blotted out bis life in an
NEW BLOOMFIELD, TUESDAY, MAY a, 1881.
Instant, leaving his family without a
protector, and is straightened circum
stances. Ills dally wages hud been their
sole support, and now that he had gone
what colud they do V
With her little fumlly Mrs. Stewart
had emigrated to the camp iu which we
And them (all western mining towns
are called camps), and there earned a
precarious livelihood by washing clothes
for the miners. Her's was a hard lot,
but she tolled on, cheered by the thought
that her daily labors stood between her
darling little ones and the gaunt wolf of
starvation. Their clothes were patched
and shabby, and their food plain, and
sometimes scant, yet they were never
reduced to absolute suffering.
Jack Dawson, a strong, honest miner,
was passing the cabin this Christmas
Eve, when the voice of the little girl
within attracted his attention. Jack
possessed an inordinate love for children,
and although his manly spirit would
abhor the sneaking practice of eaves
dropping, he could not resist the tempta
tion to steal up to the window just a
moment to listen to the sweet, prattling
voices. The first words he caught were:
"Before papa died we always had
Christmas, didn't we, mamma V"
" Yes, Totty darling ; but papa earned
money enough to afford to make his
little pets happy at least once a year.
You must remember, Totty, that we are
very poor, and although mamma works
very, very hard, she can scarcely earn
money enough to supply us with food
Little brlght-faced Benny raised his
curly head from its soft nest In the bear
skin and cheerily said :
"Des' wait till I dlt to be a man,
mamma, an' 'oo won't have to wort.
I'se doin' to be a dreat bid miner 'ike
papa was, an' dlt 'oo ever so much
money ; but I won't do near 'em hateful
blastin' fings an' dlt tilled 'ike papa
(Jack Dawson still lingered upon the
outside. He could not leave, although
he felt ashamed of himself for listen
ing.) "Why, bless my little man, what a
brave future he has planned I I do hope
and pray, darling, that you will grow
up a strong and a good man, and one
who will be' a blessing and a comfort
to mamma when she gets old."
"We hung up our stockings last
Christmas, didn't we, mamma?" ques
tioned the little girl.
"Yes, Totty, but we were poor then,
and Santa Claus never notices real poor
people. He gave you a little candy
then, just because you were such good
" Is we poorer now, mamma ?"
" Oh, yes, much poorer. He would
never notice us at all now."
Jack Dawson detected a tremor of
sadness in the widow's voice as she
uttered the last words, and he wiped a
suspicious dampness from his eyes.
" Where's our clean stockings, mam
ma y I'm going to hang mine up any
how ; maybe he will come like he did
before, Just because we try to be good
children," said Totty.
"It will be no use, darling. I am
sure he will not come," and tears gather
ed in the mother's eyes as she thought
of her empty purse.
" I don't care I'm going to try any
how. Please get one of my stockings,
mamma," pleaded the little girl.
" Your clean stockings are on the line
outside, and I cannot go out and bunt
for them this bitter cold night. You
may hang up your old ones; but, oh,
darling, I fear you will be so terribly
disappointed in the morning. Please
let it go till next Christmas, and then
we may be richer."
"No, mamma; I am going to try
Jack Dawson's great generous heart
swelled until it seemed breaking from
his bosom. He heard the patter of little
bare feet on the cabin floor as Totty ran
about hunting her's and Benny's stock
Ings, and, after she had hung them up,
heard her sweet voice again as she
wondered over and over if Santa Claus
would really forget them. He heard
the mother, in a choking voice, tell her
treasures to get ready for bed ; heard
them lisp their childish prayers, the
little girl concluding;
"And, oh, Loid, please tell good Santa
Claus that we are very poor, but that
we love him as rich children do, for dear
Jesus's pake. Amen I"
After they were In bed, through a
small rent in the plulu white curtain he
saw the widow sitting before the fire,
her face buried iu her hands and weep
ing bitterly. On a peg, just over the
fire place, hung two little patched aud
faded stockings, and then he could
stand It no longer. He. softly moved
away from the window to the rear of
the cabin, where some objects fluttering
in the wind met his eyes. Among these
he searched until he found a little blue
stocking, which he removed from the
line, folded tenderly and placed in his
overcoat pocket, and then set out for
the main street of the camp.
He entered Harry Hawk's gambling
hell, the largest in the place, where a
host of miners and gamblers .were at
play. Jack was well known in the
camp, aud when he got upon a chair
and called for attention, the hum of
voices and the clicking of Ivory checks
suddenly ceased. Then, in an earnest
voice, he told what he bad seen and
heard, repeating every word of the con
versation between the mother and her
children. In conclusion he said :
"Boys, I think I know you, every
one of you, and I know what kind o'
metal yer made of. I've an idee that
Santa Claus knows just whar that
cabin's el ti waled, an' I've an idee he'll
find it afore morula'. Hyar's one of
the little gal's stockln's that I hooked
off'u the line where I heerd the widder
say she'd hung 'em with the washin'.
The daddy of them little una was a good,
hard-working miner, and he crossed
the range in the line o' duty, just as any
of us is liable to do in our dangerous
business. Hyar goes a twenty-dollar
piece right down in the toe, and hyar I
lay the stockln' on this card table
now chip in, much or little, as ye kin
" Hold them checks of mine on the
ace-jack," saidBrocky Clark, a gambler,
and, leaving the faro table, he picked
the little stocking up carefully, looked
at it tenderly, and when he laid it down
another twenty had gone into the toe, to
keep company with the one placed there
Another and another came up, until
the foot of the stocking was well filled,
and then came the cry from the gambling
" Pass her around, Jack."
At the word he lifted it from the table
and started around the hall. Before he
had circulated it at half a dozen tables it
showed Blgns of bursting beneath the
weight of gold and silver coins, and a
stroug coin bag, such as Is used for
sending treasure by express, was procur
ed, and the stocking placed inside of it.
The round of the hall was made ; aud in
the Meantime the story had spread all
over the camp.
From various saloons came messengers
" Send the stocking around the camp ;
the boys are a-waltin' for it."
With a party at his heels Jack went
from saloon to saloon. Games ceased,
and ti piers left the bars as they entered
each place, and miners, gamblers, specu
lators, everybody, crowded up to tender
their Christmas gift to the miner's
widow and orphans. Any one who has
lived in the far-western camps and is
acquainted with the generosity of the
western men, will feel no surprise or
doubt my truthfulness when I say that
after the round had been made the little
blue stocking and the heavy canvas bag
contained over eight thousand dollars in
gold and silver coin.
Horses were procured and a party
despatched to a large town down on
the Consummes, from which they re
turned near day-break with toys, cloth
ing, provisions, etc., In almost endless
variety. Arranging their gifts in the
proper shape, and securely tying the
mouth of the bag of coin, the party
noiselessly repaired to the widow's hum
ble cabin. The bag was first laid on the
step, and the other articles piled up in a
heap over it. On the top was laid the
lid of a pasteboard box, on which was
written with a piece of charcoal ;
Santa Claus doesn't always Give
poor fokes The shake in this camp."
Christmas morning dawned bright
and beautiful. The night had been a
stinging cold one, and when the rising
sun peeped over the chain of mountains
to the east, and shot Its beams upon the
western range, the sparkling frost flash
ed from the snow-ciad peaks as though
their towering beads were sprinkled
with pure diamonds.
Mrs. Stewart arose, and a slmJo of
pain crossed her handsome face, as the
empty little stockings caught her mater
nal eye. She cast a hurried glance
towards the bed where her darlings lay
sleeping, and whispered :
" Oh, God ! how dreadful is poverty I"
Sbe built a glowing fire, and set about
preparing the frugal breakfast. When
it was almost ready she approached the
bed, kissed the little ones until they
were wide awake, and then lifted
them to the floor. With eager haste
Totty ran to the stockings, only to turn
away, sobbing as though her heart
would break. Tears blinded the moth
er's eyes, and clasping her little girl to
her heart, she said, in a choking voice:
"Never mind, my darling; next
Christmas I am sure mamma will be
richer, and then Santa Claus will bring
us lots of nice things."
" Oh! mamma!"
The' exclamation came from little
Benny, who had opened the door and
standing in amazement looking upon
the gilts there displayed.
Mrs. Stewart sprang to his side with
speechless astonishment. Sbe read the
card and then, causing her little ones to
kneel down with her in the open door
way, she poured out her soul in a torrent
of praise and thanksgiving to God.
Jack Dawson's burly form moved from
behind a tree a short distance away,
and sneaked off up the gulch, great crys
tal tears chasing each other down his
The family arose from their knees and
began to move the stores into the cabin.
There were several sacks of flour,
hams, canned fruits, pounds and pounds
of coffee, tea and sugar, new dress goods
and a handsome warm woolen shawl for
the widow; shoes, stookings, hats, mit
tens and clothing for the children ; a big
wax doll that would cry and move its
eyes, for Totty, and a beautiful red sled
for Benny. AH were carried inside,
amid alternate laughs and cries.
" Bring the sack of salt, Totty, and
that is all," said the mother. " Is not
God good to us V"
" I can't lift it, mamma ; it's froze to
The mother stooped and took bold of
it and lifted harder And harder, until she
raised it from the step. Her cheek
blanched as she noted its great weight,
and she carried it in and laid it on the
table. With trembling fingers she loosed
the string and emptied the contents
upon the table. Gold and silver more
than she had ever thought of in her
wildest dreams of comfort, and almost
buried in tne pile of treasure lay Totty's
little blue stocking.
We will not Intrude longer on such
happiness, but leave the joyous family
sounding their praise to heaven and
The whole story soon reached Mrs.
Stewart's ears. She knew Jack Dawson
by sight, and when she next met him,
although the honest fellow tried hard to
push by her, she caught hold of his coat
and compelled him to stand and listen
to her tearful thanks. The tears shed
were not all hers, for when Jack moved
away there were drops of liquid crystal
hanging to his ruddy cheeks.
Four months from that "Merry Christ
mas" Mrs. Stewart became Mrs. Jack
Dawson, and every 'evening, when the
hardy miner returns from his dally labor
to his comfortable and happy home,
Totty and Benny will climb upon his
stropg knees, and almost smother him
with kisses, while they lovingly address
him as " Our Santa Claus papa."
Ingersoll's Creed Annotated.
THE lectures Col. Iogersoll have done
more than any one thing to popu
larize a certain gross phrase of;in fidelity,
characterized chiefly by brilliant and
scurrilous wit and utter unscrupulous
ness In misrepresentation. In a late
number of the Burlington ITatvkeye,
Mr. Robert J. Burdette pays his re
spects to the Colonel in a peculiar 'hap
py way. The larger part of the article
we reproduce here :
"Some one sends us a little tract, con
taining epigrammatic expressions from
Colonel Robert G. Ingersoll's latest
lecture. "What must we do to be
We have read the tract and we have
read the entire lecture. If this is truly
Ingersoll's creed, the Colonel is not so
fur out of the way. He Is coming round
maybe. He manages to get consider
able Scripture into his creed, as he sets
it forth. There is lots of hope, in fact,
there is a good deal of certainty for the
Colonel. We subjoin a few articles of
this great man's creed, Just to show from
what book he got his declaration of
" Honest Industry Is as good as pious
Idleness," says the Colonel.
Well, that's all right. That's ortho
dox. The Bible says the same thing,
and it said it long before the Colonel
long before the Colonel thought of it
" Faith without works is dead."
Christ believed the temple of God to
be the heart of man. Ingersoll.
Yes, that's orthodox, too. We " must
worship In the spirit." " Know ye not
that ye are the temple of the Holy
If I go to heaven I want to take my
reason with tne. Ingersoll.
Of course, and so you will. " For
now we see through a glass, darkly;
but there, face to face; now I know in
part, but then I shall know even as I
am known." 1 Cor. 13 : 12.
Fear Is a dagger with which hypocrisy
assassinates the soul. Ingersoll.
That is good gospel, and " pefect love
casteth out fear."
If I owe Smith ten dollars, and God
forgives me, that doesn't pay Smith.
Correct you are ; the prayer of Chris
tianity is " forgive us our debts as we
forgive our debtors." "Owe no man
If you go to hell, it will be for not
practicing the virtues which the Sermon
on the Mount proclaims. Ingersoll.
That's all orthodox. "If ye know
these things, happy are ye if ye do
The men who saw the miracles all
died long ago. I wasn't acquainted
with any of 'em. Ingersoll,
The same way with the men who saw
Servetus burned. But the Colonel most
firmly believes that Servetus was burn
ed. A little miracle new, right here just
a little one would do more toward the
advancement of Christianity than all
the preaching of the last thirty years.
"If they hear not Moses and (the
prophets, neither will they be persuad
ed though one rose from the dead.
God will not damn a good citizen, a
good father or a good friend. Ingersoll:
Certainly not ; nor any good man.
"A' good man showeth favor, and
lendeth ; he will guide his affairs with
discretion. Surely he shall not be mov
ed forever; the righteous shall be held
in everlasting remembrance. Psalm
22 : 6. 0.
Study the religion of the body in pref
erence to the religion of the soul. A
healthy body will give a healthy mind,
and a healthy mind, will destroy super
stition . Ingersoll.
That explains why the Indians have
People who have the smallest souls
make the most fuss about saving them.
Of course, Colonel ; they are the hard
est kind to save.
I will never ask God to treat me any
fairer than I treat my fellow-men. In.
Well, that's perfectly orthodox : " For
if ye forgive men their tresspasses, your
heavenly Father will also forgive you ;
but if you forgive not men their tres
passes, neither will your Father forgive
your tresspasses." " For with what
judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged,
and with what measure ye mete, It shall
Upoa the shadowy shore of death the
sea of trouble casts no wave. Ingersoll.
The Colonel must have been singing
that good old hymn, "When I can
read my title clear," in which occur the
And not a wave of trouble roll
Across my peaceful breast. "
MJ-Many people use their refinements
as a spider bis web, to catch the weak
upon, that they may be mercilessly de