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Christmas; or, The Good Fairy
by [?]

“But don’t you think that it’s right for those who have money to give expensive presents, supposing always, as you say, they are given from real affection?”

“Sometimes, undoubtedly. The Savior did not condemn her who broke an alabaster box of ointment– very precious –simply as a proof of love, even although the suggestion was made, ‘This might have been sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor.’ I have thought he would regard with sympathy the fond efforts which human love sometimes makes to express itself by gifts, the rarest and most costly. How I rejoiced with all my heart, when Charles Elton gave his poor mother that splendid Chinese shawl and gold watch! because I knew they came from the very fulness of his heart to a mother that he could not do too much for–a mother that has done and suffered every thing for him. In some such cases, when resources are ample, a costly gift seems to have a graceful appropriateness; but I cannot approve of it if it exhausts all the means of doing for the poor; it is better, then, to give a simple offering, and to do something for those who really need it.”

Eleanor looked thoughtful; her aunt laid down her knitting, and said, in a tone of gentle seriousness, “Whose birth does Christmas commemorate, Ella?”

“Our Savior’s, certainly, aunt.”

“Yes,” said her aunt. “And when and how was he born? In a stable! laid in a manger; thus born, that in all ages he might be known as the brother and friend of the poor. And surely, it seems but appropriate to commemorate his birthday by an especial remembrance of the lowly, the poor, the outcast, and distressed; and if Christ should come back to our city on a Christmas day, where should we think it most appropriate to his character to find him? Would he be carrying splendid gifts to splendid dwellings, or would he be gliding about in the cheerless haunts of the desolate, the poor, the forsaken, and the sorrowful?”

And here the conversation ended.

* * * * *

“What sort of Christmas presents is Ella buying?” said Cousin Tom, as the waiter handed in a portentous-looking package, which had been just rung in at the door.

“Let’s open it,” said saucy Will. “Upon my word, two great gray blanket shawls! These must be for you and me, Tom! And what’s this? A great bolt of cotton flannel and gray yarn stockings!”

The door bell rang again, and the waiter brought in another bulky parcel, and deposited it on the marble-topped centre table.

“What’s here?” said Will, cutting the cord. “Whew! a perfect nest of packages! oolong tea! oranges! grapes! white sugar! Bless me, Ella must be going to housekeeping!”

“Or going crazy!” said Tom; “and on my word,” said he, looking out of the window, “there’s a drayman ringing at our door, with a stove, with a teakettle set in the top of it!”

“Ella’s cook stove, of course,” said Will; and just at this moment the young lady entered, with her purse hanging gracefully over her hand.

“Now, boys, you are too bad!” she exclaimed, as each of the mischievous youngsters were gravely marching up and down, attired in a gray shawl.

“Didn’t you get them for us? We thought you did,” said both.

“Ella, I want some of that cotton flannel, to make me a pair of pantaloons,” said Tom.

“I say, Ella,” said Will, “when are you going to housekeeping? Your cooking stove is standing down in the street; ‘pon my word, John is loading some coal on the dray with it.”

“Ella, isn’t that going to be sent to my office?” said Tom; “do you know I do so languish for a new stove with a teakettle in the top, to heat a fellow’s shaving water!”