him even while the doctor was speaking.
If he went away, who would take care of
'Thusely? And 'Thusely's heart would be
"I can't go, sir; I forgot. No--no--I
can't go!" said Gobaly.
Oh, what a lump there was in his throat!
He had swallowed many a lump for
'Thusely's sake, but that was the very
And then he turned and ran out of the
house, without any ceremony. He knew it
was rude, but that lump would n't stay
down, and though he might be called
"town's poor," he was n't going to be
called a cry-baby!
And home he ran, as fast as his legs
would carry him.
That night something very unusual happened. Mrs. Pynchum went to the village
to a Christmas festival. She went before
dark, and the spirits of everybody in the
poor-house rose as soon as she was out
of sight. Mr. Pynchum piled great logs
upon the fire-place, till there was such a
roaring fire as had not been seen there for
many a long day; and he told Joe Golightly
and Gobaly to go down cellar and bring
up as many apples as they wanted to, and
he found the key of the closet where the
bag of nuts was kept! And Sandy Gooding
brought out some fine pop-corn that he
had saved up; and Joe Golightly brought
out his violin, which, though some of its
strings were broken and its voice was a
little cracked and wheezy, could yet cheer
one up wonderfully with "Bonnie Dundee" and "The Campbells are Coming."
Everybody was merry,--although there
was no Christmas-tree, and nobody had a
present except 'Thusely, who had a big
red peppermint-drop that Gobaly bought
him with a penny hoarded for six weeks--
and it would have been a very pleasant
evening if there had not been one great drawback. Mrs. Pynchum had a way
of pouncing upon people when they least
expected her. If a window rattled or a mouse
stirred in the wall, a hush fell upon the
mirth, and everybody shrank with dread.
It would be so like Mrs. Pynchum to sus-
pect that they were having a good time,
and turn back to put a stop to it before she
had fairly reached the festival!
Just as they had poured out a popperful
of corn,--popped out so big and white
that it would do you good to see it,--and
Uncle Sim was clearing his throat to begin
a story, there came a loud knock at the
door. Everybody jumped. Mr. Pynchum
and Sandy began to cram the apples into
their pockets, and thrust the cornpopper
into the closet, and Joe hid his violin under
his coat-tails. It took them all fully two
minutes to remember that Mrs. Pynchum
Mr. Pynchum sat down again, and said,
in a tone of surprise, as if he had not been
in the least agitated:
"What is the matter with you all?
Gobaly, open the door."
Gobaly opened the door, and who should
be there but Squire Thorndike and the
The moment 'Thusely saw Dr. Carruthers he called out "Santa Claus!" And the
big doctor laughed, and took a great package of candy out of his pocket and gave
it to 'Thusely.
After that it was of no use for Gobaly
to whisper, "The dog gentleman!" in
'Thusely's ear; he could n't think it was
anybody but Santa Claus.
"I 'm so glad you 've come!" he said,
confidentially. "And you look just like
your picture. And I don't see why you
never came before, for you don't seem
proud. And we are n't such very bad boys;
anyway, Gobaly is n't. Don't you believe
what Mrs. Pynchum tells you! Will you?
The doctor laughed, and said he was