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How Deacon Tubman and Parson Whitney Kept New Year’s
by [?]

I

“New Year’s, eh?” exclaimed Deacon Tubman, as he lifted himself to his elbow and peered through the frosty window pane toward the east, where the colorless morning was creeping shiveringly into sight.

“New Year’s, eh?” he repeated, as he hitched himself into an upright position and straightened his night-cap, that had somehow gone askew in his slumber. “Bless my soul, how the years fly! But that’s all right; yes, that’s all right. No one can expect them to stay, and why should we? there’s better fish in the net than we’ve taken out yet,” and with this consolatory observation, the deacon rubbed his head energetically, while the bright, happy look of his face grew brighter and happier as the process proceeded. “Yes, there’s better fish in the net than we’ve taken out,” he added, gayly, “and if there isn’t, there’s no use of crying about it.” With this philosophical observation, he bounced merrily out of bed and into his trousers.

I say Deacon Tubman bounced into his trousers, but, to be exact, I should say that he bounced into half of them; and, with the other half trailing behind him, he skipped to the window and, putting his little, plump, round face almost against the pane, gazed out upon the world. Everything was bright, sparkling and cold, for the earth was covered with snow and the clear gray of the early morning spread its rayless illumination over the great dome, in the fading blue of which a few starry points still gleamed.

“Bless me, what a morning!” he exclaimed. “Beautiful! beautiful!” he repeated, as he stood with his eyes fastened upon the east and, balancing himself on one foot, felt around with the other for that half of the trousers not yet appropriated. “Bless me, what a day,” he ejaculated, as he saved himself by a quick, upward wrench, from falling from a trip he had inadvertently given himself in an abortive effort to insert his foot into the unfilled leg of his pantaloons. “Ha, ha, that’s a good un,” he exclaimed; “trip yourself up in getting into your own trousers, will you, Deacon Tubman?” and he laughed long and merrily to himself over his little joke.

“A happy New Year to everybody,” cried the deacon, as he thrust his foot into his stocking, for the floor of the good man’s chamber was carpetless and so cleanly white that its cleanliness itself was enough to freeze one. “Yes, a happy New Year to everybody, high, low, rich, poor, south, north, east and west, where’er they are, the world over, at home and abroad–Amen!” And the deacon, partly at the sweeping character of his benediction and partly because he was feeling so jolly inside he couldn’t help it, laughed merrily, as he seized a boot and thrust his foot vigorously into it.

“What’s this? what’s this?” cried the deacon, as he tugged away at the straps until he was red in the face. “This boot never went on hard before. What’s the matter with the pesky thing?” And he arose from his chair, and, standing on one foot, turned and twisted about, tugging all the while at the straps.

“Bless my soul!” exclaimed the deacon, disgusted with its strange behavior, “what is the matter with the pesky boot?”

Then he sat down upon the chair again, wrenched his foot out of the offending article and held it up between both hands in front of him and shook it violently, when, with a bump and a bound, out rattled a package upon the floor and rolled half way across the room. The deacon was after it in a jiffy and, seizing it in his little fat hands, held it up before his eyes and read: “A New Year’s gift from Miranda.”

Now Miranda was the deacon’s housekeeper,–Mrs. Tubman having peacefully departed this life some years before,–and, speaking appreciatively of the sex, a more prim, prudent, particular member of it never existed. She had been initiated, some ten years before, into that amiable sisterhood commonly known as spinsters, and was, it might be added, a typical representative. Industrious? You may well say so. Her floors, stoves, dishes, linen,— well, if they weren’t clean, nowhere on earth might you find clean ones. She hated dirt as she did original sin, and I’ve no doubt but that in her own mind considered its existence in the world as the one certain, damning and conclusive evidence of the Fall. It was really an entertainment to see her looking about the house for a speck of dirt; and the cold-blooded manner in which she would seize upon it, bear it away in the dust pan, and, removing the lid of the stove, consign it to the flames, was–well,–what should I say,–yes, that’s it–was most edifying.