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The Fir-tree
HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN OUT in the woods stood a n...

The Christmas Holly
ELIZA COOK The holly! the holly! oh, twine i...

Little Wolff's Wooden Shoes

Stand And Wait
I. CHRISTMAS EVE. "They've come! they've come!"...

The First Christmas-tree
BY LUCY WHEELOCK TWO little children were sitting ...

Cradle Hymn
ISAAC WATTS Hush, my dear, lie still and slu...

The Same Christmas In Old England And New
The first Christmas in New England was celebrated by ...

Christmas Waits In Boston


I always give myself a Christmas present. And on this particular year
the present was a Carol party,--which is about as good fun, all things
consenting kindly, as a man can have.

Many things must consent, as will appear. First of all there must be
good sleighing,--and second, a fine night for Christmas eve. Ours are
not the carollings of your poor shivering little East Angles or South
Mercians, where they have to plod round afoot in countries where they do
not know what a sleigh-ride is.

I had asked Harry to have sixteen of the best voices in the chapel
school to be trained to eight or ten good Carols without knowing why. We
did not care to disappoint them if a February thaw setting in on the
24th of December should break up the spree before it began. Then I had
told Rowland that he must reserve for me a span of good horses, and a
sleigh that I could pack sixteen small children into, tight-stowed.
Howland is always good about such things, knew what the sleigh was for,
having done the same in other years, and doubled the span of horses of
his own accord, because the children would like it better, and "it would
be no difference to him." Sunday night as the weather nymphs ordered,
the wind hauled round to the northwest and everything froze hard. Monday
night, things moderated and the snow began to fall steadily,--so
steadily;--and so Tuesday night the Metropolitan people gave up their
unequal contest, all good men and angels rejoicing at their
discomfiture, and only a few of the people in the very lowest Bolgie,
being ill-natured enough to grieve. And thus it was, that by Thursday
evening was one hard compact roadway from Copp's Hill to the
Bone-burner's Gehenna, fit for good men and angels to ride over, without
jar, without noise and without fatigue to horse or man. So it was that
when I came down with Lycidas to the chapel at seven o'clock, I found
Harry had gathered there his eight pretty girls and his eight jolly
boys, and had them practising for the last time,

"Carol, carol, Christians,
Carol joyfully;
Carol for the coming
Of Christ's nativity."

I think the children had got inkling of what was coming, or perhaps
Harry had hinted it to their mothers. Certainly they were warmly
dressed, and when, fifteen minutes afterwards, Howland came round
himself with the sleigh, he had put in as many rugs and bear-skins as if
he thought the children were to be taken new born from their respective
cradles. Great was the rejoicing as the bells of the horses rang beneath
the chapel windows, and Harry did not get his last da capo for his
last carol. Not much matter indeed, for they were perfect enough in it
before midnight.

Lycidas and I tumbled in on the back seat, each with a child in his lap
to keep us warm; I was flanked by Sam Perry, and he by John Rich, both
of the mercurial age, and therefore good to do errands. Harry was in
front somewhere flanked in likewise, and the twelve other children lay
in miscellaneously between, like sardines when you have first opened
the box. I had invited Lycidas, because, besides being my best friend,
he is the best fellow in the world, and so deserves the best Christmas
eve can give him. Under the full moon, on the snow still white, with
sixteen children at the happiest, and with the blessed memories of the
best the world has ever had, there can be nothing better than two or
three such hours.

"First, driver, out on Commonwealth Avenue. That will tone down the
horses. Stop on the left after you have passed Fairfield Street." So we
dashed up to the front of Haliburt