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* Instead of these three little stockings I see,
Each waiting its poor, penny treasure,
Which should bear costly fruits without measure."
Tis gone; the feverish longing is past—
Exchanged is the low, humble cottage at last
Those years fill his coffers, but stay not their flight,
Her eye has lost much of its olden love-light—
Christmas Eve. In the splendor of parlor and hall
The mother sits, wearied and weeping;
While her late lonely vigil sbe's keeping.
She looks on the brilliant luxuriance there,
Fruition of Hope's early dreaming,
Rich and ripe, 'midst its foliage gleaming.
But the hands which should gather—where are they tonight?
Ah, gold ! the false hearted, alluring,—
There are tears for the fair one whose coming no more
That desolate bosom will gladden; There's an ache in the heart which wealth covers o'er,
Which poverty could not so sadden.
There are tears for the wayward—the boys are so changed^
Money opens the door to temptation,—
They wander in wild dissipation.
Hark! is it the night-wind in fury unbound
She listens—her quick ear interprets the sound—
Her white hands unlock and throw open the door,
A terrible vision revealing! Robbed—murdered—her husband lies covered with gore—
His heart's blood still flowing, congealing. n*
With a shriek of deep anguish and utter despair,
Dreaming, wer'n't you? The children sleep well, I declare.
"Here, tuck in their stockings these candies and toys— Only trifles—but true love goes with them!
God bless our sweet baby, and dear, darling boys
Marv smiles through her tears on that fond beaming fac*. "6h, John, we are blessed without measure!
Our own humble home is a dear happy place,
ONLY A BOY.
Only a boy, with his noise and fun,
The veriest mystery under the sun;
As brimful of mischief, and wit, and glee,
As ever a human frame can be,
And as hard to manage as—what? ah, me I
Tis hard to tell,
Yet we loved him well.
Only a boy, with his fearful tread,
Than would stock a store
For a year or more!
Only a boy, with his wild strange ways,
Only a boy, who trill be a man.
Our torment, our joy!
Only a bay.
THE "FAT CONTRIBUTOR" ON INSURANCE AGENTS.
I picked him out as an insurance man as quick as I saw him. There was no mistaking that glance of inventory with which he took in my age, occupation, parents long or iihort lived, age of great-grandfather, when he died, pulmonary complaint on my mother's side, summer complaint on my father's side, etc., etc. Before he ever spoke, he would sit looking at me for an hour at a time, with great tears in his benevolent eyes as big as soap bubbles, grieving because one so young, and yet so fair, wasn't insured. Then he would clasp his hands and gaze yearningly upon me as if to say—" Why will you not take out a policy?"
Oh, it was touching to hear that old man go on at the table and tell of the hundreds and hundreds of families whom he had rendered comfortable and happy, by inducing their husbands and fathers to gfft insured; and he did it out of pure goodness of heart, and love of humanity, too— that was the best of it. The satisfaction it afforded him was all the reward he wanted.
If, in a moment of weakness, I should yield to his persuasion and get insured, I shouldn't want to remain in this vicinity long. So anxious is he to have families reap the benefit of insurance, I should be afraid that well-meanin<;, but impetuous old man would contrive to get me killed, for the satisfaction of handing the insurance money over to my widow.
I was greatly touched by a story this venerable insurance man told about his search for a poor woman, who had a policy on her husband's life, (in a company represented,) in order to pay it to her, having heard casually that she wanted it. I think he was occupied some fifteen years in his hunt for that woman; and yet only one payment on the policy had ever been made. But it is so much the custom of life insurance companies to do this, that it is hardly necessary to mention that.
At length his efforts were rewarded. He found the poor woman, with six children, in a miserable garret, trying to earn a living for her family, by splitting up toothpicks at one cent a thousand. Lying in a corner was her brute of a husband dead drunk. But J. will let the agent tell it m his own words.
"I was sure I had found the right woman. But I went about it carefully, to find out whether she still kept the policy. I had to be cautious, you know, or I might drive the poor woman wild.
"' Have you nothing to maintain yourself by,' said I, 'save this toothpick factory?'
"'Nothing whatever,' she replied. 'My husband ought to support us, but he don't. He's a good man when he's sober, but he ain't ever sober. He can make good wages when he ain't drunk, but he has been drunk ever since I knew him.'
"'Didn't he—now be calm, madam—'control yourself'— didn't he have a life insurance policy?'
"' No. Stop, though; yes, now I recollect; he did have one, but that was a good many years ago (sighing.) He only made one payment upon it, and then let it run out.'
"'Where is that policy?'
"'Dun'ne- Kickin' round the house somewhere, I s'posa daw it in an old barrel in the loft, last time I remember it; well that's on to a dozen years ago. But what use is it? It run out long ago.'
"'Madam,' said I, impressively, scarcely able to suppress my emotion for fear the policy was lost,'the company I represent, never allows any policy to run out, no matter it nothing has been paid on it.'
"With this she hastened to the loft, and to my unspeakable joy [here the insurance man produced a pocket handkerchief, and wiped away some tears] she soon returned with the policy for which I had been searching for fifteen years; torn some, 'tis true, and considerably soiled, but for the most part there. The endorsement was torn oflf, but the signature of our president was all right, and that was enough. Thereupon I paid the overjoyed woman, fifteen thousand dollars, the amount of the premium."
"And the man not dead yet?" I inquired.
"Well, yes;" said the insurance man; "he was dead drunk; but our company don't draw any fine distinctions under such circumstances."
We all wept at this touching recital, and one of the party could not refrain from catching the old man iD his arms. BINLEY AND "46."
Upon Wahsateh's peaks of snow,
Night holds illimitable sway,
Resplendent shone with day.
From out the sky no star-ray shines
Upon the awful solitude;
Like some unquiet spirit's brood
And seem in saddened mood
At first they only sighed,
But now they moan and sob;
Their maddened pulses throb
As their fleeting footsteps glid*
And all the upper air
Is filled with drifting clouds,
Are weaving shifting shrouds;
They reel in goblin mirth,
On tempest's wings to earth.
Twas leven o'clock near Bridger's Gap,
Where a lightning jerker enjoyed his nap,
And he caught the words from the subtle clicks, "Send Binley down here with 40."
Soon Binley had mounted his iron steed,
And the fires of the furnace glowed again, As the ponderous monster devoured its feed,
And rolled from the side track on to the main. Out on the night whore the snowflakes fell,
Out where the blasts of the tempests roar, Binley shouted his friend farewell,
As he opened the throttle-valve one notch »or*.