|Rights||No Copyright - United States (NoC-US)|
|Publisher||Digitized by J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah|
|Article Title||A Christmas Echo|
! .f M Christmas Echo t Written for the Intermountain Catholic ! J BY TERESA C. HENDRICK. Silver' moonlight and Eilvery bells ushered in the holidays at the Living-Eton Living-Eton mansion. All the family, from jrandmamma to little Sue, were packed pack-ed into sleighs and covered with furs, and spea through the silent streets to where the lights of the stately convent shone throug-h snow-laden trees. Josie and Bella were pupils at the convent, and by right of them their friends were privileged to attend the midnight Mass. Passing through th quiet, dimly lighted corridors, they entered en-tered the adjoining Church, where the moonlight streamed with wierd effect through the stained glass of the windows. win-dows. Fronting them was the altar, i and beside it the crib of the Infant Redeemer, the beautiful primitive scema fiamed in llowers and brilliantly illuminated illu-minated from above by a star. Service had already commenced, and j clouds of fragrant incense rolled I through the dim arches, and the notes of the organ came in sobbing? waves I through the Church. A deep bush fell on the kneeling congregation, and pres- j ntly the bird-like tones of Bella's so- j prano thrilled the silent throng with the I simple, beautiful notes of the Adeste ' Fidelia. How different are the thoughts and sentiments with which we listen to the sweet, familiar hymn as time goes on, and we glide from youth to maturity! ma-turity! The Livingstons lingered in the Chapel until the lights were all out excepting those around the crib, when one of the nuns beckoning, they followed fol-lowed into a small room, where was spread a collation, and where Bella and Josie waited to smother them with kisses. Home again, over the crisp, shining snow. While the merry voices of the younger party kept time with the sleigh bells, the elder ones some silent, for through their hearts', mingling with the merry voices of the present, echoed the phantom voices of the past. Not until the Livingstons had re turned from the late service at St. Stephen's, and ample justice had been done to the traditional turkeys and plum pudding, were the mysterious 3oors of the library unfolded and .the contents disclosed to their eager gaze. Mamma and Kitty, her eldest daughter daugh-ter and first lieutenant, had been busy there all the day liefore, and Will had guarded the entrance from intruders. The sight, however, which now greeted greet-ed the expectant eyes amply repaid the enforced self denial. Davlight was excluded and the shaded shad-ed burners diffused a softened radiance radi-ance over a lovely scene. From the ceiling opposite the door was suspended a lovelv Christmas Child, welcoming-to welcoming-to entrance. Over the mirror was hung a h-avy wreath whereon shone the waxen loaves and scarlet berries of the j auspicious holly, while over windows, cornices and mantels trailed garlands of evergreens interspersed with bright, flagrant llowers from the conservatory, I and in one end of the spacious apart ment was constructed a grotto within which was a life-sized representation of the Child-Jesus, while grouped I around were the obscure witnesses of I hia glorious nativity. The illusion was ! perfect, and one could easily fancy, I looking through the heavy Turkish . j curtains which draped the entrance, I that the scene was the same on which ! the. adoring Magi had gazed nineteen f centuries before. In the opposite end of the room was f the heavily laden tree, ana stanaing f its brilliant light a figure dissruised as 1 ' Santa Claus. It did not take a moment, I however, to recognize through the pow- j dcred hair and snowy beard the saucy ; rvnile and bright eyes of Will. The m- ; teresting ceremony of dispensing the ifts concluded, the children adjourn-i adjourn-i " cd to the long hall as affording an ex- ? tended field for operations. A proces sion was soon formed, led by Susie's 1 French doll; a fine young lady in silk S aMire, who by herself promenaded the. ''. iioor alternately lifting a viniagrette to 3ier deli-ate nostrils, and languidly fluttering flut-tering a fan. This accomplished female also dispensed music from within her graceful figure, though its harmony was broken in upon by the whistle of a train of elevated cars the -bugle blast of a ally-no coach and the various clatter clat-ter of other mechanical tevs, which followed in her wake, greatly to t.he mystification of Paul's quaint little silver sil-ver grav skye terrier, which gave vent to its baffled curiosity in a series ' sharp, yelping barks. Kittv seated herself at the piano, Jo-Fie. Jo-Fie. Bella, Will and Christy surrounded her, and while she played their fresh young voices rang out with The mistletoe shone on the castle 'wall. And the holly branch shorn on the old oak wall. And various other Christmas carols end songs. The warm light of the fire cast a sort of halo on grandmamma's fine old figure, fig-ure, in ita dress of rich, dove-colored r'.hl, a folded kerchief fastened over her bosom, with a fine sheil cameo, and a cap of delicate Malines lace crowning her snowy puffs. She held in her hand a rainted V-atin fire screen, and her eyes had a faraway expression as they roved from it to the Minton tiles on the hearth. ' At last the songs were ended and the 6ingers thronged around the fireplace. 'Grandmamma, how do you like my prtsent-s? Do you think I will ever be an artist? Is the picture like?" And Josie looked over the old lady's shoulder at the screen which the held, and on which wus pictured a gabled old mansion, sutrgessuug ieuiuie-iiia.y days. I hope yovt will realize your wisn. ivy darling; though if Uwere prophet onoufch to read your destiny. I think I would predict for you rather the fame of Angelica Kaufman than Fra Angelica. Angel-ica. Yes. you have faithfully reproduced repro-duced the dear oid house in which I spent so many happy Christmas days." And grandmamma smiled lovingly in the fresh young face bent over her. "A pi cry, a story!" clamored the rar-ty rar-ty now. eagerly, w hile Josie sa d, taking the w ithered hand in her own: "I know there is a story among; those, happy old Christmas times.' and since I have done so well, you really cannot refuse me." "You certainly have a strong case, r.:y dear. Well. Christmas is with us but once a year. I may not be with 30U the next one, so I will relate to you an adventure connected with a Oboist mas in the dear old home lonsr, long ago: -1 was iuPt IS that Christmas and bad just returned from England where, for several years. 1 was a pupil at a fashionable boarding-school, where I had learned to strum on the spinnet, to dance a minuet, to work impossible figures fig-ures on. canvas to walk with the help of a back-board, and bad acquired various va-rious other accomplishments deemed indispensible to the young lady of that period and doubtless ornamental, since hey were certainly of no use what-ivir. what-ivir. "Grandpapa and Grandmamma Sehe-merhoro, Sehe-merhoro, who resided in the old mansion man-sion whose picture you see on the t-creen. had sent me a pressing invitation invita-tion to visit thern, S3, accompanied by several other sleighloadsv consisting of cousins and acquaintances Brother Lafayette La-fayette and 1 feet out to spend the day with them. Our home was fifty miles distant, si we accomplished the journey 5n two nays, stopping the first night at a wavside tavern, nineteen miles from car destination. 'I had forgotten the road, though I .ad often rode over it in my childhood, before I went to England, and only recognized some prominent and familiar landmarks. Memory revived. " . however, as I rode up the avenue of ' ancient trees, time wotn and scarred. ; and climbing- above the great sloping roof. Welcoming lights eireanusd." out t from the cellar to the dormer win-' win-' dows in the roof and the sound of music arose above the sighing wind which swept through the lofty-bra lofty-bra nclies. "It was with lively anticipations of pleasure that we sprung from the; sleighs to the spacious portico wiiiie the lightened vehicles and weary horses sped around to the great cathedrallike cathedral-like barn. Before we had time to sound the great brass knocker on the upper leaf of the old fashioned door, it was opened by a wooly-headed footman, and I was folded in welcoming arms. The great hall with its quaint settees, antique book cases, old engravings, the huge antlers over the door and various vari-ous hunting implements and trophies were all wreathed with holly, mistletoe mistle-toe and evergreens. At each side the reception and drawing rooms were filled with guests, keeping time to the music of the stately minuet. "Followed by Phyllis who, like myself, my-self, had grown into a woman since I saw her last. I sped up the large oaken staircase in the second hall, and into a room which 1 formerly had occupied, oc-cupied, and which had been reserved for me. Assisted by the siave's deft fingers. I quickly doffed the high plumed "hat, the long cardinal cloak and purple cloth suit with velvet lap-pels, lap-pels, which I had worn traveling. "What a nervous tremor came over me as I arrayed myself in the finery I brought with me for this was my first appearance in an assemblage, and I indulged in-dulged in all the dreams and hopes which to foolish girlhood are inevitable on such an occasion. When all was finished I anxiously surveyed my reflection re-flection in the square mirror which hung above the high chest of drawers. "How vividly I recall the picture. My hair was erected in a towering structure, and its natural color obscured ob-scured by powctor, while in the back was a gigantic comb. My upper round gown was of sapphire blue padusay, with frill of finest Dutch lace about the low, square neck and about the sleeves, which were met at the elbow by long embroidered gloves. Beneath was a white satin petticoat, covered with raised work of embroidered flowers and vines, the whole spread over a wide hoop of the latest London fashion. Embroidered Em-broidered hose and high-heeled blue satin shoes with large rosettes com-1 com-1 pleted my toilet. Laughable as this figure may now seem to you 1 smiled with girlish pride as I gazed at my reflection and swept it a deep courtesy as I gave vent to my satisfaction in the complimentary remark, 'I think you will .do, my dear.' "Lafayette was waiting at the foot of the stairs gorgeous in lace ruffles and a pea green velvet waistcoat laced I with gold, his hair curled and powdered I and held back with a smart ribbon tied j in a true love knot. He turned as he 1 heard the clicking of my high-heeled shoes and cast over me a proud, admiring ad-miring glance as he gave me his arm. " 'Who do you think is among the guests, Sis?' said he. 'The Marquis De Luyne, the son of father's revolutionary revolu-tionary friend. I have been looking for him but no one seems to be able to tell where he is. I wish to present him to you, and to invite him to come and tarry awhile with us before he returns to his native country.' "I was' soon surrounded with partners. It was. as I said, my first appearance in society, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Never since, it seems to feet kept time more naturally, I thrilled with happiness and every event added to my pleasure. "I did not. however, forget my brother's words, and among the throng of partners I looked out in vain for the Marquis De Luyne. My brother also failed to find him, although as each splendidly dressed stranger appeared, he made anxious inquiries. Surely, we thought the representative of an ancient and wealthy family, as we knew this young nobleman to be. would 'appear in raiment befitting his station. "As I entered the dining hall I observed, ob-served, leaning against the high-tiled mantle, a young man who impressed me much in spite of his plain appearance, appear-ance, for his dark hair was combed plainly back without, curl or powder . and tied simply with a black ribbon, his linen very plain admitting only of two ruffles, and he wore nothing gayer than a dark blue cloth coat, yet there was something singularly attractive about him, and his appearance and'at- . titude partook of a graceful dignity . which contrasted favorably with that of many elegantly attired youths around. "I felt angry with myself for the strong, involuntary interest I felt for one whom I sunuosed. from his nlain appearance, to be some dependent of my grandfather. As I looked, tha eight day clock sounded the midnight hour, and the stranger still further excited ex-cited my curiosity by raisin? his hand to his forehead and making a sign, which I did not then know the import of, the sign of the cross. "Soon afterwards with several others I descended to the cellar, which extended extend-ed under the whole house, and where the negroes in winter had their quarters. quar-ters. In the huge fireplace at one end was an enormous flaring back-log, the chimney was surrounded by glowing pine knots which threw- into lurid grotesque relief the high, black rafters, and the group of negroes, who, like animated figures, in ebony, cut curious curi-ous and unheard capers to the music i a. Ruin. Jicic u(. lOUKiliy oil Willi attentive interest was the young man I I had seen in the dining hall. One of I the party pushed rudely by him. He turned and, though not in fault, made a graceful apology. We did not, however, how-ever, further notice him, deeming him &me inferior, but judge of our astonishment aston-ishment when my grandfather, coming amongst us, introduced him as the honored guest of the evening, the Marquis De Luyne. "We all tried to atone for our former rudeness, but the Marquis, with well-bred well-bred courtesy, soon put us at our ease, j I am afraid I thought of little else but the distinguished stranger all the rest? of the evening, find when I climbed into a great, high four-poster in my bedroom. bed-room. I fell asleep to dream of his handsome hand-some face. "A week sped by in merrymaking. Lafayette and the Marquis soon became be-came fast friends, and the latter consented con-sented to accompany us home and remain re-main as our guest for a short season. "The summer preceding our visit to grandpapa's was a rainy one, and the month of November had been phenomenally phenom-enally cold, freezing the river and covering cov-ering the ground with hard, shinging snow, over which the sleighs had glided on our journey thither, with scarcely any friction, but during the past week a sudden wave of heat and continuous thaw had prevailed. "As our party filled the sleighs, a little alarm was manifested lest the roads should be too soft for the runners, run-ners, and it was suggested to substitute wheeled vehicles, but the suggestion was overruled. "Grandpapa had made me a present of a small sleigh, something like the cutters now in use, and a beautiful pair of cream colored ponies. On our journey jour-ney homeward. I contrived that the Marquis should be my companion in this sleigh, as I had already found him to be an accomplished whip. " 'Keep us in sight, callgd out Lafayette, La-fayette, w ho was in ihe sleigh directly in front of us. This we did for several miles of alternate forest and open country, coun-try, but suddenly V.turning a corner which, in a forest, wound around a cliff, we saw that several roads met and we had lost sight of the party in advance. However, I thought I recognized recog-nized the road and we pursued the one which I pointed out for an hour, during dur-ing which we saw no trace of them. "'At least,' said' I, as we came in Eight of the river, 'we can make for that and cross on the ice as we did in coming. Once across we cannot be far out of the way, and will find some one who will direct us to the tavern where we are to spend the night.' "I spoke more confidently than I felt, for I knew that in the thinly settled set-tled country the chances were against our meeting any human being. We had not encountered one since we had left my grandfather's, though we had heard the baying of wolves and had caught sight of deer several times. As the thought came over me of spending the night in the forest, I could not restrain re-strain myself and burst into passionate tears. The road, I noticed, had become soft and slushy, and the ponies dragged us wearily along. How 1 wished I had listened to the voice of prudence which suggested that I should remain with my brother, but my foolish vanity and desire for this stranger's society had overruled the dictates of sense. Now I could easily see that though he treated me with the kindly courtesy of a brother, he had not a trace of the feeling feel-ing which I had dreamed of awakening in his breast. Perhaps, indeed, he had seen through my artifices to attract attention and despised them. "However, he did not shotr it by. word or deed, but tried in Uie kindest' and gentlest manner to soothe my agitation agi-tation and calm my fears. At last we reached the river's bank, and he brought the ponies to a halt, anxiously looking across. It was at a bend in the river, about fifty yards above where the steep, shaggy sides of a high cliff obscured our further view. Over the ice flowed a few inches of water, showing show-ing that, unless arrested by a sudden change in the atmosphere, the congealed con-gealed mass would soon break up and float down the stream. Beyond the stream we heard ominous sounds, now like the report of a pistol and again like the crash of falling towers. Had either of us been more experienced we would have known that these sounds indicated that the ice had already broken up above and was on its way downwards, but the Marquis evidently wras ignorant of our changeable northern north-ern climate, and I was so anxious to cross and rejoin my friends that, even had I known it to be the case, I would have felt like braving the attendant ' peril. - "The Marquis turned to me, inquiring H what was best to be done, and expressed ex-pressed a fear that the ice would not bear cur weight. " 'Oh, I am sure it will,' said I. 'We all came over safely a few days- ago, and Lafayette said that the ice was three feet thick. Oh, go over, please; we can then find our friends, and if we remain here or attempt to return we may lose our way and be frozen to death, or perhaps be torn to pieces-by wolves.' "He did not reply, but urged the ponies forward. The ice, though showing show-ing fissures here and there, sustained our weight until we had gone about one-third of the distance between the banks. Here a view was afforded of the river beyond the cliffs alluded to, ana as we looKea a tern Die signt Durst on our fascinated gaze. "The ice had yielded, the rising waters had forced themselves through their imprisoning barriers, which, in their full strength, enormous thickness and rock-like solidity, were "rent asunder asun-der with loud, crashing explosions and hurled up into ragged mountains, which were borne onward before the raging torrent with inconceivable force, spreading devastation along the banks in its course. As far as the eye could reach the whole channel was filled with the long, white, glistening column of ice, mountain high, and driving down towards us with fearful rapidity. "At this critical moment, when this startling scene burst upon us, the icy j ruins came rolling round the screening j point, and at the same instant, with a deep and startling report, the broad sheet of ice where we were had involuntarily invol-untarily paused!, burst asunder, parted and was atloat in a hundred pieces. With an involuntary impulse at the fearful shock. I sprang out on the large cake of. ice on which the sleigh and ponies were resting, while the frightened fright-ened animals made a sudden and des- perate lunge forward. I could hear the sleigh crack like some toy between two j immense masses of ice. The ponies were birne struggling onward with the current, cur-rent, and their crushed and mangled bodies were, several days afterward, washed ashore some twenty miles below. be-low. . "What horror was crowded into the next few frantic moments, every one of which I believed would be my last! I shrieked aloud in anguish as I looked on the swirling gulf around me, in which I thought each instant would find me swallowed up. "My companion had flung away the reins and sprung out beside me to save me or share my fate, without a thought of himself. 'Courage,' he said; 'keep up heart. If it is God's will and man can accomplish it, I will save you; if not, let us try to prepare ourselves for that . awful presence in which we soon shall I standi and looking upw ard, he made again that sign with whose sublime import im-port I was yet unacquainted. "He seized a long pole w hich, among the debris, was providentially drifted towards him. Fortunately the broad, solid crystal block on which we stood by the submerged masses rising beneath, be-neath, was gradually and evenly lorced upward to the top of the column, with which it now was moving swjftly down .the current. "The Marquis, with sublime presence of m'nd, which in our terrible situation could only be conferred by a higher than mere human will, steadied our terrible boat as coolly as though he were sculling on a tranquil stream, at I the same time addressing encouraging words to me. " 'Let us pray together,' said he. 'Perhaps 'Per-haps God, who for some purpose of His own has permitted us to encounter this peril, may hear us in our extremity.' "And then, in a clear, beautiful voice, he began what I since learned were the prayers of his church. How sublime seemed the words in the midst of the j raging elements. How they calmed and comforted me, and how little and triv-j triv-j id! seemed the schemes and ambitions which had occupied my mind few hours before in the presence of the great destioyer. I learned from the glorious example . before me the full meaning of the.- words, 'Oh, grave, where is thy victory! Oh, death, where is thy sting!' "Getiing my eyes upwards, I now saw-on saw-on the banks several Indians on snow-shoes, snow-shoes, who had espied us and were endeavoring en-deavoring to k;e: abreast of us. gesticulating ges-ticulating violently and trying evidently evident-ly to direct us to some point below. There were none now but friendly In-i In-i dian.s in that section, and the sight was a welcome one. Down the stream, in the direction in which they pointed I saw that about half a mile below was another bend in the stream, to which they wished to guide us. My companion compan-ion srave hopeful signs that he understood under-stood them, bv.t my heart sunk, for I could see from the commotion of the ice around us thai our hitherto unbroken un-broken and level support was -'rowing every mcment n.ore insecure and u;i. er-tain. er-tain. -t rose and fell or was Ditched forward and thrown aslant in the chancing volume and it required his utmost skill to save us from being hurled hurl-ed into the frightful chasms constantly opening to receive u. "On the eastern side cf the river, at the bend below, was a small bay with steep, precipitous banks, and to that the Indians new pointed. As we came opposite if the ice on which we stood, by the pressure at the curve, was suddenly sud-denly thrown into a perpendicular position, po-sition, and I felt myself suddenly seized in the strong arms "of-my companion as M- -f4 x 1 1 ' ' J vr9 x Mm X ! THE HOLY NIGHT. -f 4.4.4.. 4.4. 4t 4t he half swam and half sprung from one cake to another, gaining, after a few frightful moments, the little bay. "The Indians had gained the banks above before us. Quick as thought they tore up a wild grapevine and lowered it over the side of tha cliff. I felt my companion com-panion struggling against fearful odds to maintain his footing on the ice, fasten fast-en it about me, and I felt myself lifted slowly into strong arms and laid on the bank. .' "I fainted when I found myself on the solid earth asain. When I awoke I found myself in an Indian wig-warn, with the dusky faces of squaws kindly resarding me. "Soon after a figure in the dress, then unfamiliar to my eyes, of a Jesuit priest, entered. In gentle, kindly tones he soothed my agitation, telling one he had ser.it word to the tavern where I was expected. I soon recovered from the prostration induced by my terrible experience and before many hours I was among my friends." "And the mareuis, grandmamma?" "I never saw him again. Freed from his burden he clambered up the banks and, joining the Indians, bore me to the wigwam. Recognizing an old acquaintance ac-quaintance in the French-Jesuit missionary, mis-sionary, he left me in his care, and proceeded to fulfil the vow which he made to God whiie we were on the ice. It was that if we were saved herfwould devote the remainder of his life to the service of God. He became a Jesuit missionary labored among the Indians, and afterwards cained the crown of martyrdom in the Far West." "Then it wasn't grandpapa?" said Josie. Jo-sie. "But, true, he was not the Marquis Mar-quis du .Lurnc." "No, my darling; this, you know, is a true story, and no romancer's dream. J did not meat your grandfather till two years afterwards. Before then. I had gained the priceless boon of faith, I and had been enfolded in the church whose strong arms u'pheld the marquis an his frightful peril," and to which he afterwards sacrificed his rank and his wealth, choo sir.fr the hard but glorious lot of a missionary."