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cially about the silly little war we had together cheek by jowl!" and they over a century ago.'
cheered again. “Are you sure he's not a British Early in December William made his propagandist?" William asked, with annual announcement. a grin.
“Well, kids, the day has come to be“Yes,” said Angus, “I have a con- gin your letters to Santa Claus." fidential list of them up-stairs, and he 's Instantly Bob and Betty broke forth not on it. He's merely a scholar inter- into joyous hubbub. When they had ested in showing how the anti-British left the table to go to school, Angus attitude was produced in this country. said:
“Thomas Jefferson went through “I say, you American parents do your Revolutionary War,” said Angus, spoil your children, don't you?” "and he said that England was the best "Angus," said Martha Ferguson, friend the United States had or could "you must write a letter, too." win for herself. Those are not his “Dear Cousin Martha,” he stamwords, but that was his idea. Cousin mered, “I really can't, you know. IWilliam, I wish it were possible”-An- I'm most awfully sorry.” gus was tremendously in earnest - "to She was deeply hurt. force every history teacher in the "Why, Angus, why should n't you?" United States to tell the whole truth Angus was shifting most uncomfortabout the revolt of the American colo- ably in his chair. nies."
“I-I don't believe in the Santa Claus “What do you mean by the truth?” thing, don't you know, and—” William asked, puffing away at his cigar She smiled at him, relieved. as he always does when he is very much “I sometimes wonder if Bob does, interested.
either. Betty is hardly old enough to Angus drew himself up, and his eyes question Santa Claus's reality yet; but flashed.
I'm afraid Bob has his doubts. That “A certain German king named does n't matter at all, Angus." George III," he declared, a man who “But you see, dear lady,”—Angus spoke English with a marked Han- was evidently distressed,—“in my case overian accent and who was a madman it does matter. I'm most awfully and had to be confined not long after, seized by corruption the government of I thought I knew what the trouble my country. He it as who attempted to oppress the American colonists. They “Do you hate being given presents, revolted, like the true Britishers they Angus?” I asked. were. The war over here was hopeless- He was amazed at the question. ly mismanaged, and after a time the “No, no; rather not.” colonists succeeded in obtaining com- -“Would n't you prefer to receive the plete separation from the mother coun- things you want instead of a lot of try, just as the great bulk of English- things you don't want?” Mrs. Ferguson men wanted them to."
asked. "Bravo!” said William, applauding. “Oh, I am so sorry!” Angus was quite
Angus maintained his gravity. He miserable. “I'm so sorry, but, you see was really very impressive.
-oh, dash it all, I 'll have to tell you “The true Briton," said he, “is as what I think of the whole Christmas proud of America's independence as he racket. You Americans have been dois of the British Empire. We Anglo- ing this Christmas thing so long you've Saxons cannot be robbed of our lib- forgotten where you got the idea. It's erties by any German that ever lived or a dirty Hun trick." that ever shall live."
Martha Ferguson stared at him in “Hail to the new British ambassa- open-mouthed horror. dor!” William shouted, laughing, and “Why, what a dreadful thing to say!" the children cheered with him. Then she cried indignantly. William declared, “Long may the Brit- “Now you've put your foot in it," ish lion and the American eagle hunt William growled. “When you get
""WILL YOU PLEASE LET ME BE SANTA CLAUS?"
From a painting made for THE CENTURY by Arthur G. Dove
"So now is come our joyfull'st
feast; Let every man be jolly; Each room with ivy leaves is
drest, And every post with holly."
Martha roused up, there 's the devil to for poor Martha, and I followed her uppay. Come and help me find a nice fir stairs. She was crying over William's sapling in the wood-lot over the hill. I Santa Claus costume when I found her. sha'n't cut it to-day, but I want to pick “I'm not going to let that boy spoil it out."
our Christmas!” she declared defiantly. "I know you 'll think me a beastly She threaded a neeale, and tightened rotter,” said Angus, “and I don't blame some of the buttons on the rea muslin you at all for having the Christmas aisguise. Between bites at her thread thing if you want to, but, really, you she confided to me in a tone of triumph, know, I simply can't mess in it. You “I knew that child was too perfect to must excuse me, Cousin William. The be quite right in his mind.”
The conBoche crucified some of our chaps on solation of this thought was very real. his Christmas-trees. I can't go it. It 's Angus did put Bob and Betty more or too German. Please forgive me.” less in the shade, he had been so beauti
“But we 're not Germans, Angus, not fully educated, he had had such unusual even German-Americans."
advantages, such wonderful associa“That's what makes it so hard for tions. But that did n't make it pleasant me, Cousin Martha.
I can't tell you to have him outshine our own children. how beastly I feel. But don't you see, We had never warmed to him as William I-I-not long ago I helped organize a did, nor as Bob and Betty did. Martha secret society whose object is to uproot and I, though I less than Martha, had all German customs and ideas that have been a little jealous for our babies. taken root in England-kindergartens, That is the truth of the matter. ,
And Christmas, and all that. We call our- now it was good to find a flaw in the selves the Enemies of Christmas and perfect prodigy. We were just a little
glad that Angus was such a fool about “Angus, does your mother know about Christmas. That also is the mere truth. this?"
Martha bit off her thread and looked “No, Cousin Martha, she does n't.
at me. We were obliged to make it a secret “That boy is cracked with his notions society because people in England think about Christmas being a dirty German the Christmas thing was brought over custom. Oh, I could shake him! I don't from America,-but, you see, America care if the custom did originate in Gergot it from Germany,—and they would many. Trousers originated in Persia. oppose us if they knew. Besides, you That 's no reason for civilized men discan enroll more members for a secret carding them.” society. I never dared tell mother, be- “But what are we going to do with cause she said once that a secret society him in the house?” is a society that is or ought to be “I don't know," she replied desperateashamed of itself. But I'm sure she ly. “I'll cable his mother, if necessary, would approve of this one,” he con- and make her order him to behave himcluded doubtfully.
self.” "Angus MacLeod," said Martha, and She began to cry again, and I could her voice quivered and her eyes were have cried with her. Christmas is such full of tears, “Christmas is the happiest a joyous time with us! We begin to time of the year for my babies and for plan for it nine months ahead, and by me. I adore giving them things. I Thanksgiving the hiding-places in the adore decorating their tree. I look for- house and all the high shelves and ward from year to year much more than closets and dark corners are filled to the children do to seeing their father in bursting with the most thrilling secrets his Santa Claus clothes. I don't care in packages and boxes and barrels and whether Christmas is German or Turk- crates. You learn to walk warily into ish or Chinese; I love our Christmas. I rooms, and knock with tingling timidity just love it, and I think it's dreadful at doors that were wont to stand open. of you to talk as you do!" Martha fled, What can be gayer than the suspense weeping.
of the week before Christmas? Is there I felt sorry for Angus, but sorrier any more rapturous music than the
rustle of Christmas tissue-paper or the Dear old chap, are n't you Scotch enough soft clink of ornaments being hung on
to want to add five hundred acres of grousea brilliant tree?
jand to your patrimony? “I won't have it ruined, I won't have
WALLAS GRAHAME. it!” exclaimed Martha. “Take this down-stairs, please, dear, and ask Susan “Does that mean they are married to wash it," and she thrust William's already?” William asked. masquerade into my hands.
"No, no," said Angus; "mother would “Won't it shrink, dear?”
n't marry without consulting me.” "Can't be helped. It's all dusty and
Martha has a strong vein of sentidirty and must be washed. William will ment, and she was quite moved. "I'm have to squeeze into it.”
so glad Mollie is going to marry her I took it with some misgivings. I re
old beau. She 's still a young woman, membered that it had been none too
and I see no reason why she should n't large last year.
suit herself if she has a chance.”. That day Angus received a letter
Angus shook his head over the letter. from his mother—a momentous letter,
He had already read it six times, and which he read to us at the dinner-table;
now he read it again slowly, his lips so momentous that it drove the Christ
moving without sound. mas quarrel into the background for
"I don't like her marrying just to get the time being. I cannot attempt to
me a father and five hundred acres," paraphrase one of Mollie MacLeod's said Angus, finally. “That's a bit thick, letters. You must read it in full and you know. I don't see how I can let her draw your own conclusions.
do that, much as I should like to inherit
the Grahame place.” Angus, dear boy:
Martha was exasperated. Colonel Wallas Grahame was invalided to “Angus," she exclaimed crossly, Edinburgh the day you sailed from Liver- “can't you see that your mother loves pool. He convalesced at the Rookery, and Colonel Grahame?" now is ready to return to his ranch in
Angus looked startled. Wyoming. I am coming with him. We "Oh, I say," he admitted, I can't shall see you within a week after you read imagine mother caring like that.
No, this letter, for we are taking the Belgic, a no; I think you must be wrong.' somewhat Ifaster boat than this letter will It turned out that Martha was right. catch.
In their restrained, terribly well-bred, Do you recall that expanse of gorse and “dour” Scotch way they adored each heather next to our hunting-lodge in the other. That was clear from the moTrossachs? That has been in Wallas Gra- ment they arrived. I have never seen hame's family for three hundred years. two people more charmingly suited or Wallas left it and went to Wyoming not more delightfully in love. And when long after I married your father. I loved the children had gone up to bed they Wallas, but I chose Malcolm. Your father confessed to us shyly, but with a good thought Wallas one of the finest men he deal of mirth, that they had "practicalknew.
ly eloped,” and their marriage was Malcolm MacLeod has been dead for two solemnized in Edinburgh just before years, and there are so many things a man they started for America. But they can teach you that no woman ever knows. wanted Angus's approval before telling We are coming to ask your approval of our him. marriage.
Martha had been fidgeting with imThe Rookery, MOLLIE MACLEOD. patience all evening, and as soon as conEdinburgh,
gratulations had been enthusiastically Scotland.
offered, and toasts drunk, she burst
forth: Below was
a postscript in a large, “Mollie, did you know that Angus sprawling hand. Looking at it, I was has organized a secret society?” sure it was a strong, freckled hand hat “It 's too bad to split on the kid,” made those characters.
said William, and laughed, “but are you