The Ontario Argus. (Ontario, Or.) 1???-1947, December 25, 1913, Image 3

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    What Christmas Day
Brought the Convict
IT waa late la tho afternoon of the
dny before Christinas. To the
woman who waited for news and
yet dreaded its coining It wns the
closing of the longest wretchedest,
dreariest dny that she hud ever known.
Bhe hnd hwn advised not to hope, yet
be clung to hoe. feeling that If she
tare up entirely she must die. If the
worst came alio must live for the snlce
of the children, who were too young
to know of the shadow that clouded
their llTes
Often and often the woman went to
tho window and looked out at the
drenry street Once when a boy came
down the walk with the blue uniform
of a telegrnph messenger ahe clutched
at her tliront and uttered a little moan
of despair.
"WIim'm matter, mamma T" asked the
little girl thnt clung to her skirts. The
woman could not reply until after the
messenger had passed iter gato. Then
he caught the child In her arma and
covered Its face with kisses. Hope
once more revived 'n her heart.
When she went to the window ngnln
the woman looked out and saw her
bnslintid coming. In the wnve of Joy
that surged over her she did not no
tice thnt he looked old and hopeless
and broken and bent and that there
Waa DO elasticity lo Ills step. Bhe
threw open the door and ran down the
graveled walk to the gate.
"John, nil. John," ahe cried, flinging
her arms ubout hla neck, "you are
free! Heaven I praised for his mer
.ii Von uic free."
The man pressed her to ula heart, un
able to apeak.
"1 knew that they would not find
you guilty they could not." ahe cried.
"My poor Ornce," be murmured,
stroking her hair, "you must be brava.
1 have t .. ii found guilty Five yeara
In the peiiltentlury."
"Then bow la It that yon are hereT"
"The Judge who sentenced me haa
given me a reprieve on my own recog
nisance ao that 1 can spend Christmas
with ton and tho bahlea. I am In hon
or iMiiind to surrender myself to tbe
aberllT on the flrat of tbe year. It wus
a technical violation of the law only.
'1 hey know I am honest, but the senti
ment of the public la set ao strongly
against bunkers that 1 could not get
Justice I . i-n uiy political friends dare
not eupKrt me It la an unexpected
favor thnt 1 um allowed to be wltb you
for a few days."
John Aiistrtither spoke bitterly, and
his wife listened with tearleas eyes
Bhe controlled herself with an effort
"John, the children!" she whispered.
"They musl not know. Let them have
one more buppy Christmas. They have
I.e. n praying for you to come home.
Let us smile and be happy with them
for a few dnys Let ua forget the
dread future"
Once during tbe evening she spoke of
a pardon wlilch might be asked of tbe
"It Is n vnlii hoe, dear." her husband
aid "We will not waste ourselves on
it." n. I he relapsed into thoughtful
Hut for all the shadow that bung
over the home there was a Chrlstmus
tree, aud the Anstrulber babies were
happy. Their convict father played
tbe role of Siuitu Claus Their mother
laughed and sung, though now and
then her voice broke and her eyea were
wet with tears A few neighbors call
ed full of sympathy aud yet timid
about showing it. All the little towu
felt that it wus best to let tbe striiken
family enjoy their Christmas cheer
without intrusion even od tbe part of
those who loved and respected them.
When tbe children, surfeited with
sweets and l heir arms still Ailed with
precious toys, were asleep once more
the mother was busy in her kitchen
with her preparations for the grand
Christmas dinner ot tbe morrow per
haps the last bouutiful meal her chil
dren would have through all the dark
years to come
John Aiistruther went to bis room to
look over his papers In the drawer
he suddenly found something that
made his heart leap
It wns a revolver He took the shin
ing, cruel thing In bis hands, and a
sort of uiadnos i-ame over him Here
raa his opionunity Here was escape
from the stripes, the dark cell, the Ig
nominy of prison life Here waa pro
vision for Urace aud his duties His
1V imo life insurance still wns in force.
and he knew well that it was nonfor
feitable even iu :ae of suicide. A
I tsfJ.J
Hidden shsrp shock and It would ha
over Even for her It would be better
than the live years of living death.
He pressed the cold muzzle to his
forehead His linger was on the trig
ger He could hear tlraep singing sad
ly, with a pathetic attempt to be gny
In the kitchen.
The warning voice came out of the
void, like the voice of the nngel who
spoke to Abraham on the niountnln
top Perhaps It wns only the cry of his
own consciousness, made audible by
his Imagination Hut lie heard It dis
tinctly A revulslou of feeling swept
over him.
"Oh. not thnt not that thank God."
be murmured.
He put the weapon back In the draw
er and went out Into the kitchen,
where Orace waa dressing the Christ
mas turkey.
"Klve yenrs will soon pass," he aald
cheerfully, "and there will bo a gen
erous allowance for good conduct 1
will have some sort of bookkeeping to
do, and the life will be bearable, no
doubt Let us meet the future bravely,
dear heart Uod will not fall to send
ua comfort And you you dear, brave
little woman you will get along some
how We have friends yet tbnnk
It wns the first time he hnd ventured
to speak of the life In prison, and she
was com ivi led to know that he took
solirnvea view That night they slept
and the next dny their Christmas din
ner wns an occasion of Joy to the chil
dren, and the parents, thankful to lie
together, simulated n checrfulucrs thnt
almost deceived one another.
It was Inte in the nfternoon thnt a
large number of their neighbors came
trooping In with words of love nnd
sympathy and encouragement. They
promised to look after draco and the
children, and when John got back
they spoke of It as If be were going
only on a little Journey they declared
thnt the village would be at the train
wlt'.i n band to receive him.
"You will be a convict, but not a
criminal. John." said the lending mer
chant warmly "You can step Into the
best Job in my store the day after you
get home. I promise you that and call
upon these neighbors to witness It"
John Anstruther rose to reply, but
before he could speak the door waa
opened and a blue coated messenger
hoy appeared with a telegram. An
struther tor It open with shaking flu
"The governor baa signed your un
conditional pardon na a Christmas gift
to your wife and huhloa. He did It ta
an act of Justice and In response to
telegrams from hundreds of men
throughout tbe state who know you
are an honest man Congratulations."
The name signed to the telegram
was that of tbe secretary of stale.
Chicago Tribune.
Christmas Treasures
I COUNT my t rear ores o'er with cara
A II. I. (o Him ii.ii.v knrw,
A llttlt MH'k of faded bus.
A huu- lock of (oldsn hair
Long years ago this C'hrtstmss time
My Httls one my all lo ma
Bat robed In white upon my knae
And hrard lha marry Chi 1st ma a chime.
"Tall ma, my Mule goldan head.
If Santa Claua ahould coma tonight
What shall ha bring my baby bright
What traaaura for my U.v! ' I aald
And than be named the little toy
.While In hla round and truthful eyee
There eama a look of glad aurprlaa
That apoka his trustful, childish oy.
And aa he 1 taped hla evening prayer
Ha aaked the boon with baby grace.
And. toddling to the chimney place.
He hung hla little Blocking there
Tbat night aa lengthening abadowa crept
I saw the white winged angela come
Willi inualc to our humble home
Am Mas my darling aa he alept.
Ha muat have heard that baby prayer.
For in the morn, with glowing faoe.
He toddled to the chimney place
And found the little ireaaure there.
Tbey came again one Chrlatmaatlde,
That angel hoal ao fair and while.
And, singing all the Christmas night.
They lured my darling from my aide.
A little sock, a little toy.
A little lock of golden hair.
Tbe Christmas muslo on the air.
A-watchtng for my baby boy.
But If again that Sngel train
And gulden head come back for me
To bear me to eternity
My watching will nol be In vela
For This Christmas,
Te old time stave thai i-aleih out
To Christmas reve 1 , - ill
At tavern tap and Triin sM bout
And In ye banquet halt
Whiles ye old burden rtafjs steals.
Add et ye verse, as 4ue.
tio I rest you merry, gentlemen,"
And gentlewomen la'
Jamea Wultcorab Riley.
of I iirl 1 ' 4 1 - BBaXaalalW aaaaaaafl
Wisest '"' fr OVJ-kS
Festal Day In Dixie
A Carnival of Cheer
OMKHOW there la 0 charm nbout
11 Christmas down in Dixie pe
culinrly fascinating. It savors
more of the old English holiday
when the wassail howl was filled to tbe
brim, when (lie Yule log glowed and
tlie boar's was borne Into the
lianipiet It was In the good old days
before ilie war that the folks of the
south ohsft'vi d Mils Joyous season with
prodigality nunc lavish and hospitality
more extensive than were dreamed ol
even in the annuls of Hrucebrldge Hall
Then came I he true cnrnlval of mer
rltiient. The old manor waa ablaze
with life and beauty. From the sur
rounding country nil the belles and the
lieu 11 ; bud gathered Morning brought
a meet at dayhreiik for the fox hunt
and nighttime called for "Old Uncle
Kphrulin," the plantation fiddler, whose
reels were famous throughout the
whole country. Feast followed feast
and the spirit of celebration extended
from the master down to the Held
hnnds, each of whom received a Jug
Oiled with good whisky when he called
for bis Christmas rations.
Hut these are the days tbat have
gone, anil with their going depnrted
many characteristics which made the
Christmas time down south so distinc
tive, wiiii.- the fate of war and chang
ed condition, have curtailed the prodl
gallty of former days, most of the un
dent customs remain, nnd In mnny in
stances Chrlstmus in the villages and
the country is but a mild repetition of
antebellum observances
A few of the large country homca
still have sonic of the old servauta who
were with the family in slavery daya.
If these old family darkles have been
away during tbe year tbey always re
appear with the approach of the Christ
mas holidays and assume duties about
the household The old "mammy," al
though her services have been engaged
elsewhere during the rest of the year,
reports to make tbe fruit cake for
Christmas dinner
Bhe alone knows the culinary tradi
tions of the family kitchen The In
grodlonts of this wonderful cake have
1. en handed down from generation
to generation, aud the aplco and the
brandy and the citron and all auch
things are comKiunded according to
the proportions laid down yaara and
yaara agone.
Those fruit cakea bear the family
name, unci some time, through the cour
tesy of tho season and the exchange
of compliments of the day, a slice of
Jrn ut iiiiui .ake la on tbe same plate
with a slice of Dublguon cake Not
Infrequently these enkea are cooked a
year In advance, by which time tbey
are fully seasoned aud settled, although
the cracka Iu the Icing and Its yellow
tint mar tbe beauty aoiuownat Its
cooking can be Intrusted to no bands
except those of the antebellum family
cook or her descendants
Not aloue this old cook, but all
branches of the service In vogue dur
ing the daya of slavery are usually
reproaeuted about Christmas time. The
sou of your father's and your grand
father's coachman cornea, and ou rare
daya tbe old man himself bubbles to
the house aud spins out marvelous
tales of the past
These old darkles are all presented
with gifts, and for each of their chil
dren 11 present of some sort has been
prepared Tbls feature generally comes
In the Houlheru home before tlie rest
of the family has been attended to.
In the meant line the children have
been keeping eager wulch at the door
of tbe room where Kaiitu Claus bus
made his visit No one is ji I lowed to
enter tbls sucred precinct until the
paterfamilias gives the signal, but be
fore tills signal Is given every member
of tbe household must be dressed and
ready for breukfast and the morning
prayers must have been said
When everything Is ready the chil
dren ure allowed to rush in and exam
ine the contents of their stockings
Some of the largest children still have
Implicit faith In the wonderful person
ality of old Santa Claus. Forged notea
from the old fellow, admonishing them
to make their behavior according to
the precept of their mother, are eagerly
read nnd compared The Interchange
of presents among the older uicinhci
of the family usually takes place ut the
breakfiiHt table, but III most instances
they are allowed to mingle with the
bounties of old Snntn Claus aud are
plucked from the same holly tree from
which his presents hang.
The bunt fig Hie holly aud tbe mis
tletoe, wbli ' us exciting as the
chase for t. - ar's bead. Is Just as
much a fe.m. .- us tbat old Lngiish
custom and iiullv enjoyable. Sev
eral days before Christinas eve a big
wagon, tried wiib straw and brimming
full of pretty girls ami boys. too. Is
driven Into the woods, sj here the
search for tlie holly is carried on It
require a most agile youngster to
scale to I he height w here the uilstle
toe grows, a ml lie Is ul ways sure of
a generous reward of btassjsl from the
girls U-lou
Christinas day Is ulways ipuiet
Sometimes the boy- and girls have
been taught enrols u hi h they slug
at home or Iu tbe village chapel hard
by Night brings mirth nnd youthful
Jollity again when tbe durkles come
once more and sing old songs or par
tlclpate In outdoor guinea. it uil there bus been a quaint,
old time flavor Everybody Is huppy
and yet there is a tinge of sadness
about It all. for tbe southern Christmas
now N but a faint echo of days
gone by
The Jays of Christmas.
Be merry all. be merry all:
With holly dress the festive hall;
Prepare the song, the feast, the bait
To welcome merry Cluisunaa.
-W. K. Spencer.
Celebrating the Day
Anciently and Now
On Christmas eve the belli were rung;
On Christmas eve the mass was sung.
That only Bight In all the your
Saw the staled prlrst the chalice rear.
Tho damsel donned her klrtle sheen;
The hall was dressed with holly green.
Forth to the wood did merry men go
To gather In the mistletoe
Then opened wide the baron's hall
To vassal, tennnt. serf and all.
Power laid his rod of rule Hilda,
And Ceremony doffed his pride.
The heir, with roses In his shoes.
That night might village partner choose.
SO sang Sir Walter Scott of the
glories of Christmas eve and of
Christmas Itself. And the world
yields to him the palm for the
best practical description of the sea
son's dear delights
Christmas wltb us Is a dny of giving
snd receiving, of good cheer nnd good
feeling, and essentlnlly It Is one of re
Unions significance. Hence It will
sun rid strange to mnny to be told tbat
n number of our Christmas customs
"ome down to us from pagan times.
Yet such Is the fnct. Truces of some
heathen rites are found In L'nglntid ns
well as here, nnd the cause of their
survival lies deeper than theology
When tlie mother country, so called,
was converted to Christianity the
priests found her people wedded to
mnny old customs Not nil of these
were what tbey would have had them.
but they hnd a practical work to per
form and went it It in a practlcnl way.
Tho more revolting of these customs
they properly uprooted nllogelher; the
better of them they preserved, only In
grafting tbe rites of the church upon
Thus It cnino about thnt festivities
which had their origin In the old Ho
man Saturnalia and hnd come Into
use among the drulds survived In the
grim mythology of tbe Snxous and are
a portion of our Inheritance todny
Consplcnous among these are the burn
Ing of the Yule log and tbe hanging
of the mistletoe hough
Among all peoples who celebrate the
dny nt nil It tins nlwnys been a dny for
eating nnd drinking, for singing and
dancing and merriment of all kinds In
dood, tbls tins leen the criticism of the
church against tlie manner of observ
ance thnt Its spiritual moaning was
too often forgotten In the general tide
of worldly cheer.
In Kngiiimi Its observance la unlver
aal. The chroniclers tell us that In
Cheshire no servants would work on
this day. even though their failure to
do ao resulted In their discharge The
richest families were compelled either
to dn their own cooking on Christmas or
eat what hnd been prepared beforehand,
while dnnclng nnd merriment reigned
Aud the games that were played
number nearly legion, the most of
them, though, ou Christmas eve Hun
iin sisskiis
nlng Iu sacks, ducking for apples.
Jumping at cukes suspended by a
airing aud trying to catch them be
tween the teeth, drinking bard elder
nilied with egg and spices, and a
score of otliers-these claimed and still
claim Iu Devonshire the time of old
and young, the children themselves
being allowed on this one night to alt
up until the midnight boll tolls.
What bus been aptly culled "a beau
Uful phase In popular superstition." n
very old belief, was that ull tbe pow
ers of evil ln dormant and haruilees
on Christinas day
Tbe cock crowed through the live
long night to drive all evil spirits
away: the heoa snug In their winter
hlvea; the rattle, half human at all '
limes, became wholly so at midnight
and talked like human beluga..
Itread thnt wns baked tbe night be- '
fore Christmas could not possibly be
come moldy Tbe streets iu many
places were filled wltb iniimmera In
fantastic garb
Indeed there were mummers In the
days when Saturnalia reigned over
even tbe Unman emperors, but tbey
were not necessarily of tbe Christmas
time The love for uiuaiicrade is al
most aa old as the human race Itself.
Itiit as to the day Itself, It was then,
aa it is iinw, a very merry day. with
good fellowship bubbling even from
hearts where theological nouladlef
dwelt a day sacred lo the family, to
the eating of roast turkey and cran
berry sauce or roust beef nod plum
pudding and walnuts and tbe drinking
of i. ii-i ale and un
it has i bunged lo some extent since
the old day. but it is still tbe happiest
day of all the ear- at leust whore the
shudow of misfortune does not ckud
the sky.
Empire Lumber Company, Limited
Sash, Doors, Lumber, Lime. Cement, Plaster and Coal
Malthoid Rooiings and all P & B Produces
The Moat Complete Line of Building Material. If you cannot Hud it anywlu-iv cl.-c
come to u. We have it.
200 Acres for Sale
Fifty acres has been seeded to alfalfa.
Some buildings. All under fence.
Railroad line through tract. On Snake
river. Well drained bench land. Elec
tric pumping plant can be installed for
$12 per acre. Will cut up to suit buyer.
Address Box 128, Ontario, Oregon
Means Not Only Time But Money.
Do you ever consider how lurur it takes to travel the distance
from your house to the Doctor and Merchant and what time
you save by telephoning? If your time is worth anything, you
cannot afford to tie without a Telephone.
Malheur Home TelephoneCo.
A Complete Line of
W? totttg gtatuwnj
At the Argus Office
Must Be Printed
We are printing more wrappers than any other two
offices in this section. There is a reason. We have
the machinery, type and workmen necessary and we
take the same care with Butter wrappers that we do
with wedding invitations.
Take your next order of
Butter Wrappers to the
Buy your Meat at
and get
the best the market affords
Argus Office