HOW SANTA CLAUS
FOUND THE POOR-HOUSE

by Sophie Swett

HELIOGABALUS was shoveling snow. The snow was very deep, and the path from the front door to the road was a long one, and the shovel was almost as big as Heliogabalus. 
   But Gobaly--as everybody called him, for short--did n't give up easily. You might have known that he would n't give up easily by one glance at his sturdy little figure, at his bright, wide-open eyes, his firm mouth, and his square, prominent chin; even the little, turned-up end of his nose looked resolute. 
   Besides, Mrs. Pynchum had told him to shovel out the path; and she had a switch behind the wood-shed door, to say nothing of her slipper. 
   Mrs. Pynchum kept the poor-farm, and Gobaly was "town's poor." The boys sometimes called him that, when he went to coast on Three-Pine Hill or to see the skating on the mill-pond; and sometimes, too, they made fun of his clothes. But it was only the boys who were a great deal bigger than he who dared to make fun of Gobaly, and some of them even ran when he doubled up his fists. But Methuselah! I don't know what would have become of Methuselah if he had not had Gobaly to defend him. For he was a delicate little fellow; "spindlin' and good for nothin'," Mrs. Pynchum called him; and he had come to her in a basket--in other words, Methuselah was a foundling. Mrs. Pynchum "did n't think much of children who came

  from nobody knew where. It did n't seem to belong to Poplarville to support him, since he did n't belong to anybody that ever lived there, and his keep and his medicine cost more than he would ever be worth, to anybody." 
   Gobaly's mother died in the poor-house,; and left him there, a baby; she had always lived in the town, and so had his father, so of course Gobaly had a perfect right there; and old Dr. Barnacle, who was very learned, had said of him that he was an uncommonly fine baby, and had named him Heliogabalus. 
   Besides, he was strong and willing, and did a great deal of work. Mrs. Pynchum "could put up with Gobaly." But Methuselah, she said, was "a thorn in her side." And now, after being a trial all his life, he had a hip disease, which the doctor feared was incurable, and which made him more troublesome still! 
   But, after all, Mrs. Pynchum was n't quite so bad as one would have thought, from her talk. She must have had a soft spot somewhere in her heart, for she put" plums in Methuselah's porridge, now that he was ill, and once she had let Gobaly leave his wood-chopping to draw him out on his sled. 
   I suppose there is a soft spot in everybody's heart, only sometimes it is n't very; easy to find it; and Mrs. Pynchum might not have been so cross if she had led an

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