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What St. Nicholas Brought To The Candidate

What St. Nicholas Brought To The Candidate image
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ákNCE upon a time there was a vcry lrl ruh (trinan uierchaut, who had a T '. very beautiful danghter. Shc did t$ffi not have two envious sister?, Hke the mcrchant's daughter Beauty, in the fairy tale. On the contrary, she had no eider sister at all : but a whole crowd ol merry, romping younger brothers and sisters, who loved her dearly. In fact, tliey eould not help doing so, for Bertha was as good as she was beautif'ul. Now this charmingyounglady had many lovers, but none of tbern had won her heait. She was gentle and uierry with them all, granting special favor to none. Of course there was a reason for this, as there generally is in such cases. There was a very quiet, modest young man, who lived in Bertha' s home as tutor to her little bothers and sisters. He was what they cali in (emiany, a candidato ; that is, hc had studied to be a minister, but he had not yet been given the charge of a congrcgation. Bertha had met him as a stranger a few years before, when both werc visiting in Holland. She was skating one day on one of the frozen canals near Amsterdam, and in stooping to tighten her skate-strap she had dropped a pretty trinket. This young man had found it, and had given it to her with a courteous " It is yours, Fraulein ! " She bad thanked him and passedon. That was all, but neither of them forgot the moment, and neithet tried to hide a bright look of recognition when in time the good merchant formally introduced the ncw tutor to bis daughter. At first he had been very happy in bis new capacity.and had helped to make every body elseso, by hispleasant sunny temper, and his merry plans. But for the last few months he had been grave and silent, and though the children loved him dearly, still they could notfind hiscouijiany as amusiDg as it once was. Fraulein Bertha, too, had lost a great deal of her pretty color, and often looked very absent and ad when she thought no une was watching her. The good father and mother soon saw what was the matter, and spoke to one another about it. They agreed that they would rather see their dear daughter happy than to have any other blessing in the world ; and that they believed a good, truehearted man, like the young candidate, was the very person to make her so. "Icangive her money enough," said her father, "but money alone cannot bring her happines , and that is what I want for her. me good uiotber assented ; and tbey carne to the conclusión tuat tbey need only be nuiet, and things would soon come right of themselves. But uionths passed away, and things did not sceru to be coming right at all. The young eandidate grew graver and paler, and bis eyes bogan to look quite fcunken and hollow. Bertha could not eat any oi the nice things that her anxious father piled upon her platter each day, in the hope of tempting her appetite ; and she was so nervous that the slightest thing startled her. One day her mother begged her to say all that was on her heart. The Eretty Bertha burst into tears, and, bowing er head on her mother's shoulder, told her trouble. It was not much to teil- only that she knew that the candidate loved her dearly, and was too proud to teil her so, because he was so poor. "And how about uiy Bertha," 8aid the iuothcr ; but Bertha only clasped her more tightly and sobbed barder tban before. " It is nothing to be asbamed of that my dear little daughter should have learneÜ to love a good and noble man, who for months bas evidently loved herbetter than anything in the world ; and it is better that we should talk of the matter reasonably together." So at last Bertha was quiet and calm, and looked happier than abe had done for months, as her mamma talked in the pleaaantest poseible way to her about tho many virtues of the young eandidate. Still mattere remained at a stand-still ; the father showed as inuch friendship as possible 10 theyouog man, aüdthe mother had long niotherly talks wilh hini abouthis healtb, and acoldecT him in the most ffectionate way for nut taking bettcr care ol bimself. Bat the kinder they wen to bim, the moro determinad he became in nis owu uiind tbat it would bc a very uieau thiog for him to take advantage of this conüdence and ftiendshin by trying to persuade their daughter to be tba wife of a póor young miouter. So the whole family was very anoomfortable indeed, and all beoauM ono young man was too modest to see wbat everybod; elae ga w very plainly. At last, hen the good mother could not bear anylongertoseeso inany people made uncomfortable without reason, she told B rauleiD Benha that she mub't really sel het wmnan's wit to work and h'nd some way out 01 the diffieulty, el.-e it would end in a very pami'ul way iör them all, by ihe lover'a dying of' a brokeu heart. It was the fifth of December- St. Nlcholas Kve- and all the little brothers and sisters were gathered around the table in the sitting room, in a great state of exoitement preparing for the expected visit of the Saint in the cuuiing night, on his silverwhite steed. Betides the little ornamented .-hoes, which hold the forage for the horse, the children in a great, many bouaes set ouc Iheir own shoee aleo on ihis night, just as yon hang op our Blooking ; iu fuct, in .some parts of üermauy the chitaren do that too, but itis not a common costom. Tbc Saint is .y apt to leave a little gift in each of the little leathern shoes, if he finda them very neat and hining ; not the great haodsome pres ents which the Ohriit kind brings at Christmas, but a pretty little something to keep them in ujind that Christtuas is coming - a half dozen marbles, a little pin-eushion, or a little box of bon-bons. The children tako great pride in having their shoes in the pest pos&ible conditiou at this time; and inM( ad ot truating Hans to black and pol isb them as usual, there is a great borrowiug of blaokiDR-brushés from the kitchen, and so niuch polishing and brushina takes placa in ilio Dursery, that tlieuurte thi-y make the floors and tluii aprona blaeker tlian their i Tnii time the litlle leathern shoes had be?n [lolished 1 1 11 the iittloowners could almost see themselves in them ; and miree had waslii'd linndsand i'aoe.s, and put clean aproas cto-atl tliat still woro this nurserybadge ; and now they were very busy arranging the Jorage for the beautiful white horse. Kind sister Bertha was helping theno, and trying to langh with them at their merry onatter "See, sister Bertha," said little Fritz, ' I aiii going to put rye lor the Saint's horse in my caody ihoe, and Max is going to put water in Lis ; su there will bc both fuod and water there for the good horey, und ho will li(' Wflll rAfraahaH V.f.C.T-fi )¦ .au on to the next hou ,. ',' '" 'jut 'uar fof him in mine," said littlc Katohen. "Nu, indeed Katohen, I would not do tiiut, t. Nicholas' hor$e can always get sugar i nough, f..r his master oarriet a great bag tn)l of mugar thinn on hú back. He would uiuch rather havo sonje rye, and aomegood tie-.h water," .s:iid wise little bilbelm. '" Is not that true, Herr Drcifuss?" he added, appealiog to the grare young teacher, who sat quietiy by, and who now Dodded asient " You did nut wee St. Nicholas to-dT," .snit] liertha upon this, turning to liini. "Did you know he carne this afternoon, between dinncr and coftec, while you were taking your solitary walk? Ile was na great hurry, but he got news of all of' the childrcn tor tho Christ-kind, left a bag of applee and uuts f'ur theni, and promisea to come again to-night tn bring us all another fbretaste of Christme "1 am sorry I did 'not seebim," said tho young teacher, trying to be interested in the pleasure of hts little pupils. " Howevrr, he inquired espeeially about you," said Uurtba, ' and wc gave him hueh a good account that he left word you uiu.-.t be sure to put your very larges-t pair oí' shoes befóre the door of your room to-night for him to fill for you." "Oh, Hcrr Dreifus," said Katchen, eagerly,"you must niakc a hoe for the good Saint. You can cut everything so nioely with your knife. See, here is a great big luiup of sugar. Cuta shoe all out of sugar, and I will give you some rye to put in it. Then, wben the bene bas eaten the rye he can eat the shoe too." Herr Dreifuss thanked the belpful little maiden, and, to the great pleasure ot' the children, began to carve a t-hoe out of tlie big lump of tugar, wbile Bertha silontly looked on. Usually Herr Drcifuss was very skillful in such matters, and had made many a piece of droll furniture for the folks : but to day liis hands trembled, the knite sHpped, and, in short, everything seeuied to conspiro to uiake him look clumsy and stupid in the eyes of Fraulein Bertha. So he hurried through with histask at last without caring inuch how it succeeded. " It looks more like u heart than B ¦boe ! " cricd Friiz. Doeso't it, sister Hertha?" And so it did- like a great, irregulari-liaped heart ; and tho place wliore the foot sbonld go in looked as if it were the rent where this big heart was beginniug to break asunder. The candidato saw that Fritz was right, and wondered at his own awkwardness. " Yes, it is a very poor shoe," he Bttid ; "we will not set it out lorSt. Nicbo!as ; he will have so inany prettier ones." I think itdoes very nicely," said Bertha, "and I am suro St. Nioholaa will think go too. You must be sure to put it on your table, and your largest pair of .'¦hoe" bcf'ore your door, jut as the children do. " " Well, I will certainly ubey you." said Herr Dreifoas, trying to smile checrf'ully in responae to her kiodnOM Hü went to his rooms, as u-ual, with a heavy heart. "Yes, it is just like her angelie sweetnes?,". he thought. "She sees roy hopelcss love, and ijitics it ; mul now sho has made tome little tokento give me, to ihow me that she is sorry for me, and will be my triend. Ah ! I ought to be happy thal is willingto be even tliis inuch to me, Bipoa I know that she uever can be jnytbing more." And thia very stopid young man- stupid only on this subject- alter setting his big slippers outside his door, went to bed aad drranied all night long, as, of golden hair and kind blue eyea. En tlw ruoroing he woke with a siight fecling of pleaMOt expeclation, and the fint tniog that hc did was to open his door to get his (lippen. But - no slippers were to be seen I " It was all a jcst, in order to hide my slippen," he thought, "but it is nota kind or picasant jest. llowever, shecould not have meant it unkiudly- that would bo too unlike her; o 1 inu-t tnke It H she meant it. " And with his ycslcrdiiy's hcuvy heart he went down to the breaklast-ioom. All the children were alreaJy there around the table ohattering like so many blackbirds, showing the mother and the fat her the ClnUtkindiiil big cake images of hünaalfwhioh St. Niobolai bad laid on their tables, and , dropped into the shioing shoes bcfore their doors. ' "And his liorse atj all the rye I put in i the candy shoe," said delighted little 1 Fritz. "Ad drank all my water !" cried Noas. "And ate my socar too," said Katchen, " and lelt a grcat bis cake rooster alnm.-t as big m the une in the poultry-yard on my table." And what did he liring you, dearHen Dreifuss?" said the little pet running up to lier teacher and taking bis hand. Did he ically have SOmething large and beautiful to put in yourshoes? and was it a cakerooster ?" " Xo, littlo Katcben, lic did not put anything ia my slippers. Ou the enntrary he oarried tlium off witn him. 1 think he mast have wanted tliem to uiako a new pair of Raddle-bajss lor his bon.', Little Katclieti opened her blue eyes vcry wide, aud looked as ii' the feit very doubtf'ul as to the progriety of snob couduct on the part of a Saint, llowevcr, ju.-t then the oonversation wa-. brought to a f'ull stop by the entrance of aistei Bertha ; everybody looked curiously at her as she came in; for iustea'd of her usual light-springing step she eame slipping and sliding along In the most extraordinaiy manner as if' she werc suddenly lauie. "Wha( is the matter, sister Bertba?" ciicd all the childrea togethcr; but the father atd mother did not say a word, and Bertha did not answer any of the others. She only came quietly sliiping. .The young oandidate looked, too, to see wbat was the matter and tliere, on her pretty little feet- even over her own dainty hhoes - wore his ííi'cat slippers ! Bertha did not say a word, but came and stood quietly, wilh oiaoped hands and dnwm-astcyes, right bcfore the candidato ! Ves, blusiiing, but yery brave and sieaiiy- Ibr wcre not her lat her aud mother by, and did not (bey ap? - she stood waiïing for hiiu to take her. But the oandidate ! What eould he think? He feit as if the room were whirling around him. All uiy-tcry. He looked at the slippers; but tbat did not help him- this stupid joung man ; he looked at the little white hands clasped loosely logether, but they did not explain the matter either ; then lic looked at the sweet, downeast face, with the soft blushas coming and going upon it, and Hertha raised lier eyes and looked iuto hi.. Then hc undurstood it all- riglit off- without a word ; and juiuped up and clasped the little hands in his, and kissed them a liundred times. ïhen hc gave a hearty kiss to the gnod mother, and then, as they were both Geruians, gave tho father also a hearty embrace and kis. " So Bertha and the young man got married, and lived happily ever afterward ? " ('iitainly they did. And now, girls, remember I dj not relate this story as an example to any of my girls in America. I merelv " teil the tale as it. was t.nlH t,n m "


Ann Arbor Courier
Old News