HOW SANTA CLAUS FOUND THE POOR-HOUSE       92


Then why don't he ever come here and bring us some?" said Methuselah, as if a new idea had suddenly struck him. "Do you s'pose it 's because we 're worse than any other boys in the world? She says we are, sometimes. Or may be he 's too proud to stop at the poor-house." 
   "Perhaps he can't find the way," said Gobaly.    "'Cause it 's a pretty crooked road, you know. Or may be he would n't think it was worth the while to come so far out of the village just for us; he would n't be going to Squire Thorndike's, because there are n't any children there, and there are n't any other houses on this road." 
   "I wish we lived where there was a truly Christmas, like places where Uncle Sim has been; don't you, Gobaly? May be he makes them all up, though; it seems if they must be too good to be true." 
   "I should n't wonder if you got lots of plums in your porridge to-morrow and perhaps a piece of mince-pie. And I 'll ask her to let me take you up to Three Pine Hill on the sled." 
   Gobaly always showed the bright side of things to Methuselah and he had become so accustomed to looking for a bright side that he could find one when you would n't have thought there was any there. 
   And whenever he found a very big lump in his throat he swallowed it for Methuselah's sake, and pretended that he did n't see anything in the world to cry about. 
   He had to go back to his shoveling then, but after he had started he turned back to say:
   "When I 'm a man, you shall have Christmases, 'Thusely!" 
   It was in that way that Gobaly often comforted Methuselah. It never seemed to occur to either of them that 'Thusely might possibly grow to be a man too. 
   Gobaly went to work at the snow again as if it were not a bit bigger than he was, and he soon had a rampart

piled up on each side of the path so high that he thought it must look like the Chinese Wall which Uncle Sim was always telling of. 
   As he was digging the very last shovelful of snow out of the path, he heard the jingle of sleighbells, and saw the butcher's wagon, set upon runners and drawn by a very frisky horse, going in the direction of the village. The butcher's boy and three of his comrades occupied the seat, and as many more boys were wedged in among the joints of meat and heaps of poultry in the back of the wagon. They were evidently combining pleasure with business in the liveliest manner. 
   Coming in the other direction, from the village, was a large Newfoundland dog with a basket in his mouth. Gobaly liked dogs, and he was sure that he was acquainted with every one in the village. As he was on intimate terms with every big one, he knew that this must be a stranger. 
   The butcher's boy was driving recklessly, and seemed to think it would be fun to make a sudden turn into the drifts through which the dog was bounding. The horse, taken by surprise and somewhat frightened, made a sudden plunge; and though Gobaly could not quite see how it happened, it seemed that before the dog had time to get out of the way, the sled had gone over him, and he lay helpless and howling upon the snow!        
   The boys either found it impossible to stop their horse, or were too frightened to investigate the extent of the mischief 's they had done, for they went careering on, and left the poor dog to his fate.   
   Gobaly was at his side in a moment, patting his shaggy black head, calling him "poor doggie" and "good doggie," and trying to discover how badly he was hurt. He came to the conclusion, after a thorough examination, that his leg was either broken or badly sprained,--and Gobaly


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