OR, HOW SANTA CLAUS CIRCUMVENTED MR. NEVERSMILE.
BY MRS. C.M. FAIRCHILD.
'Twas the night before Christmas, and all thro' the town
Mr. Neversmile scowled as he tramped up and down;
For the mayor of Honey Bee Hollow was he,
And the sourest old man that you ever did see;
His nose was turned down, and his chin was turned up,
And his mouth was a crater as deep as a cup;
His eyes they were sunk, his coarse gray eyebrows under
So far that the fact he could see was a wonder;
His neck it was thin, and his "limbs" they were lank,
And the wickedest boys often dubbed him "Old Shank;"
For he hated the boys, and he scowled at their noise,
And scolded and badgered them with his cracked voice.
Now, Christmas was coining, and (Mr.) Neversmile said
That for gimcracks and things there should "never a red"
Be spent in the village of Honey Bee Hollow,
And the first child caught at it he was going to swallow
For the mayor of Honey Bee Hollow was he—
And he swelled with importance as big as could be.
Now the boys, when they heard this, began to grow pale,
And they ran to their homes with the pitiful tale,
And each mother's son, with the tears in his eyes,
Gave vent to his wrath between blubbers and sighs;
And every boy's mother her kerchief applied
To his nose and his eyes, and her own cheek beside.
But when each mad youngster went sobbing to bed,
With never a "Lay me" among them all said,
And each careful mother had tucked her kid close
In the woolliest blanket, except his red nose
Then the mothers arose in their just indignation,
And in with their tea took the whole situation;
And the upshot of all was, they voted to call
On the friend of the boys (and the friend of them
Good Santa Claus, who, since the days they were small,
Had visited, comforted, cared for them all.
They wrote a petition and signed all their names,
And sent it up chimney ahead of the flames.
Within it was stated, with very much care:
MR. CLAUS,—We're aware what your sentiments are,
And we know you believe in the dear Christmas eve,
And we want you to help us our task to achieve
Which the whole of it is, this new crotchet of his
(Mayor Neversmile's 't is) to explode with a fizz!
Now, when Santa Claus found this he laughed till he cried,
And he mounted his sledge to set out for a ride.
"I' was snowing and blowing, as cold as could be,
But never a fig or a raisin cared lie,
As he sat on a box full of candy and corn,
And mittens and muffs that had never been worn,
And lean'd 'gainst a barrel that stood tip behind,
With a " buffalo" round him to keep off the wind.
With his feet on a fender of rockets and things,
And his elbows ensconced in some cushions with springs,
Which cushions were held with a gearing beneath
Which had any boy seen 't would have taken his breath.
He rode and he rode, this good Mr. Claus,
And up at the top of the mountain he draws,
Preparing to slide down its side to the town
Of Honey Bee Hollow when night should come down.
In all other towns the glad bells were rung,
And the Christmas eve greetings began to be sung;
But Honey Bee Hollow this night was as still
As all the dead sleepers on Woodbury Hill;
And all the bright children heaved desolate sighs,
And glanced at their mothers with tears in their eyes;
And all the good mothers in hopefulness prayed
That dear Mr. Claus might not long be delayed;
For though they knew not of his infamous (?) plot,
They felt he would hasten ere morn to the spot;
And they ventured to say, in their carefulest way,
That something might happen yet, ere it was day.
This night before Christmas all over the town
Mr. Neversmile scowled as he tramped up and down;
But, anon, yes, he grinned as he thought of the fun
He had spoiled for the "pests" that the Hollow o'errun.
Nov up on the hill Mr. Claus, with his coach,
Impatiently bided his time to approach;
Then he touched his bright steeds, and they sprang thro' the air—
While a hundred red rockets lie lighted right there—
And down to the Hollow they sped like the wind,
While a trail like a comet's streamed, starlike, behind.
Now right by the road Mr. Neversmile stood,
And Santa swept by with a smile and a nod.
His path was ablaze with the brightest of things,
And music was swinging from bells and from rings;
The mothers let loose the wild children in glee,
And Honey Bee Hollow all turned out to see
Whoever it was that so reckless could be
As to beard the mad mayor, so "wrathy" was he.
Then Santa Claus tumbled his cargo about,
The children responded with laughter and shout;
Their aprons and pockets were full to the brim—
And who was the happiest, the children or he,
Is a problem unsolved to this very day;
For good Mr. Claus, he laughed till he cried.
Then the mouth of the barrel, he showed them, was wide,
And into it sour Mr. Neversmile went
Right deftly and quickly, without his consent,
And Santa Claus turned his gay steeds from the light,
While he said, " I must go—further business to-night--
But your crazy old mayor I '11 leave up a tree,
Where the owlets may eat him, for all you or me;
But I '11 venture to say, if he gets safely down,
He 'II be a changed person from this time and on,
And never again will he seek to destroy
The children's own birthright to Christmas and joy."