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My nap was gone, and in humor sulky

I stretched a loud and imperious yawn, And then, with a word both big and bulky, I blessed the hour those babes were born.

With a knitted brow and a hasty toilet,

I made up my mind as I mounted the stairs Whatever the fun, I would quickly spoil it

By coming upon them unawares.
I never had seen my top-floor neighbors;
This only I knew, that the tidy house,
Save and except for those infantine labors,
Was silent and still as a baby-mouse.

I knocked at the door, and a moment waited; The noise was hushed to a whispered word; The patter of little feet abated,

And a tiny hand on the knob I heard. The door, with a labored opening, started, And full in its light a vision appeared, That carried my heart to the days departed, And to one to whom it was ever endeared.

Oh, vision of life in the darkened palace

Where I have enshrined the one of my love! What vestige remained of the wrath and malice I threatened to wreak on the noise above?

What memoried thought is the one I am meeting? What hands are they stretched as I entered the door?

"Are you my papa?" was the baby-like greeting; 66 Are you my papa, come home from the war?"

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"No, darling," I said, with a choking emotion, "I am not your papa, come home from the war; I am only a waif on the fathomless ocean,

With no one to love me the weary world o'er." "I will love you myself-you shall be my papa," And I caught the sweet child with the wondering eyes

Up close to my breast where the memories are.

Oh, where was my heart as I lay in bed dozing, And the noise overhead could not quicken its beat?

The chambers of memory surely were closing

When no entrance was found for those dear little feet;

For had I the riches we read of in story,

I would give up the whole to sweep away years— To bring back the pleasure, the wealth, and the

glory,

The patter of dear little feet to my ears.

J. W. Watson.

A NURSERY TALE.

OH! did you not hear in your nursery
The tale that the gossips tell,

Of the two young girls that came to drink
At a certain Fairy well?

The words of the youngest were as sweet
As the smile of her ruby lip,

But the tongue of the eldest seemed to move
As if venom were on its tip!

At the well a beggar accosted them
(A sprite in a mean disguise);

The eldest rebuked her with scornful brow,
That brought tears in her sister's eyes.

Cried the Fairy, " Whenever you speak, sweet girl,
Pure gems from your lips shall fall,

But whenever you utter a word, proud maid,
From your tongue shall a serpent crawl."

And have you not met with those sisters oft
In the haunts of the old and young?
The first with her pure and unsullied lip?
The last with her serpent tongue?

Yes the first is KINDNESS, and diamonds bright On the darkest theme she throws;

And the last is SLANDER-leaving the slime

Of the snake wherever she goes!

T. H. Bayly.

!

SANTA CLAUS AND THE MOUSE.

ONE Christmas eve, when Santa Claus
Came to a certain house,
To fill the children's stockings there,
He found a little mouse.

"A merry Christmas, little friend," Said Santa, good and kind.

"The same to you, sir!" said the mouse, "I thought you wouldn't mind

"If I should stay awake to-night,
And watch you for a while."
"You're very welcome, little mouse."
Said Santa, with a smile.

And then he filled the stockings up,
Before the mouse could wink,-
From toe to top, from top to toe,
There wasn't left a chink.

"Now, they won't hold another thing," Said Santa Claus with pride.

A twinkle came in mousie's eyes,
But humbly he replied:

"It's not polite to contradict—
Your pardon I implore,—
But in the fullest stocking there,
I could put one thing more."

"Oh, ho!" laughed Santa, "silly mouse! Don't I know how to pack?

By filling stockings all these years,
I should have learned the knack."

And then he took the stocking down.
From where it hung so high,
And said: "Now put in one thing more;
I give you leave to try."

The mousie chuckled to himself,
And then he softly stole
Right to the stocking's crowded toe,
And gnawed a little hole!

Now, if you please, good Santa Claus,
I've put in one thing more;

For you will own, that little hole
Was not in there before."

How Santa Claus did laugh and laugh!
And then he gaily spoke;

"Well, you shall have a Christmas cheese

For that nice little joke!"

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