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A CHRISTMAS TALE.

BY E. X.

Snow, snow, nothing but snow,

On the housetops above and the fences below;:.
It covers the road and it hides the foot-path,
As if the Snow King, in his anger and wrath,
Had thrown over all things a blanket of white,..
To hide all the objects of nature from sight.

But no matter which way you fasten your gaze—
Whether meadows, or forests, or roads, or by-ways,
Meet your eyes, it is always the same everywhere-
There is snow on the trees and there's snow in the air,
And all things appear as if winter 'd been out
And whitewashed the landscape for furlongs about.

But the air is as keen and as clear as a whistle,
And it tingles your ears and your nose like a thistle ;
The merry old bells in the distance are heard,

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As they send through the country the gladdening word.
That this is the morning of Christmas, the day
When all should be happy and joyous and gay.

In the county of No-matter-where, the estate
Of No-matter-who, the esteemed and the great,
Is the scene of this story-my uncle's, you know-
And the jolliest place in the county to go
To have fun and enjoyment whenever you please,..
Especially Christmas, if the weather agrees.

But, if outside the weather is dreary and cold,

It is cozy and jolly inside, for behold

The relations are gathered from far and from near,
The rich and the poor and the humble appear
All rigged in their finest and sprucest array,
To celebrate Christmas, this bleak winter's day.
There's old Aunty Jones, sixty-eight, and cross-eyed,
With old Uncle Toby, so stiff, at her side;
On the sofa is Spriggy as prim and as proper
And quiet, as if she was corked with a stopper;,

While there in the corner sits Grandmother Quin,
Rheu natic and deaf, with a trumpet of tin.

Round the cheerful old hearth with its crackling blaze
Sit the hosts of the house; like two brightening rays
Of sunlight they shine in the hearts of the rest,
As the rays from the sun when it sinks in the west-
Nearly set, but as bright and as cheering as e'er-
They send out their sunbeams of love everywhere.

The rest of the party is made up of brothers,
And cousins, and sisters, and fathers, and mothers,
Relations, connections, adoptions and others;
Hazards and McClellans and Cooks and Carothers,
Too numerous now to name over just here,
But all met together, just once in a year.

The scene is the dining-room; time, half-past eight,
And breakfast is over, though not very late,
For on Christmas all hands are astirring as soon
As the sun, getting up, takes the place of the moon,
And breakfast is soon hurried out of the way
To make room for a happy and very long day.

The presents around on the table are spread,
And Uncle, the host, with his radiant head,
Takes his place at the side, and the gifts in their turn
Are taken and handed to whom they concern,

And many a joke and a laugh goes around,

As the presents are eagerly grasped and unbound.

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Aunty Jones! here's a present for her, I declare; By the shape of the package it looks like glass-ware. Yes; spectacles, really! as sure as I liveAnd where is the imp so mischievous to give Such trash as these are. Never mind, Aunty dear, Your eyes ar'n't so bad but they'll spy him if here."

"Here's Grandmother's present-a pair of lace mitsAnd they must have cost fully two fip-penny bits." Then Grandmother answered, with horn to her ear: 'Speak louder, my son, for you know I can't hear ;

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Did you say those were stockings for Hannah Jane's child?
Indeed! well they look very dirty and siled."

Then the laugh it went round, and each face was aglow
With good nature and humor and plentiful flow

Of mirth and good spirits at Grandmother's blunder,
As fin'ly the clouds of her face broke asunder.
And, joining the laughter, she relished the fun
As much as the loudest and jolliest one.

Then Miss Susan Spriggy was called to step up,
An old maid of 50, who carried a pup.
Her gift proved substantial, if not ornamental,
And though it was so, it was not incidental
To beauty nor youth, but was rather inclined
As a slur on her age, as the donor designed.

She unwrapped the box and unfastened the top,
When up jumped a man with a flash and a pop-
A bachelor-ugly and wrinkled and old,

And printed in letters, apparent and bold,

On his breast were these words which compelled him to say: "AT YOUR SERVICE, DEAR MADAM, JUST MENTION THE DAY."

Miss Spriggy looked ice-pickers; then, in a flutter,
Commenced to say something which died to a mutter,
And tuining around she sat down in high dudgeon,
And then what a gigglin' and winkin' and nudgin';
And every one simpered and sniggered outright
At Spriggy, and some said she wanted to fight.

Some called this "the de'il in the band-box," but she
Took the joke as a personal insult to be,

And though it was only intended for fun,

She grew quite indignant because any one

Should hint that the days of her youth were far back

In the dim, faint perspective of Time's crooked track,

Uncle Toby came next for his share of the stuff,
And untying his pack found a box full of snuff.
Little Maud got a doll, and Susanna some blocks;
Aunt Sallie received some black silk to make frocks;

Little Billy and Ephraim each got a book,

And some gloves were presented to Phoebe the cook.
And thus it went on, and no one was forgot,
From old Uncle Toby to dear little "Dot";
Each one was amused and good feeling presided,
And quickly the hours in happiness glided;
And dinner at last was announced to the party,
And each one partook with a will, long and hearty.
You may talk of your dinners of fashion and show,
Your delicate dishes from France; but I know
There never was anything under the sun

Could compare in substantial repast to this one
Which smoked and perfumed all the air with its savor,
And delighted the guests with its delicate flavor.
When supper was through, by the hearth's cheerful light
We sat, telling stories, far into the night.

The logs were piled on till the chimney-place roared,
And the sparks crackled round us and heavenward soared.
And they seem with a kind of fierce pleasure to burn,
While we listened to each tell his story in turn.
Each one had a tale or adventure to tell,
Of a ghost or a fight, or a bottomless well,
Or a murder, a peddler, a Jew or a nun

Who was seen, till the folks disappeared one by one;
Or a dragon that prowled in the dark for its food;
Or a knight who went round doing wonders of good.
Each story elicited frequent applause,

And when finished there followed an ominous pause.
And thus it went on till far into the night
Our nerves were affected, aud genuine fright
Was depicted in each of the feminine eyes,

While the men were all silent and tried to look wise.
Thus the party broke up; all were pleased and content
With the manner in which Christmas day had been spent.
And next year, if we live, we will gather once more

And celebrate Christmas, as often before.

So, hoping to meet you, with all the rest, there,

We wish every one a most happy New Year.

THE STUDY OF MEDICINE.

BY MYSTIC.

Queer ideas prevail as to the study and practice of medicine. One quite prevalent is that it requires neither brains nor preparation, If a young man has not enough ability for the legal profession the proud father, determined to do something for his son, directs him in ecclesiastical ways; but, if he be too thick-headed even for this, he must, of necessity, accept the alternative of studying medicine. Why is it that a reasonable man will risk his health and life in the hands of an unscientific ignoramus, when, for the preservation of his property, he will employ the best talent the country affords? Lawyers compete with each other at the bar before the assembled public, and thus the people have a chance to test and decide as to the relative merits of each. Ministers are likewise subject to nearly the same test; but not so with physicians. They silently enter the sick chamber, administer unknown drugs, make various explanations which are intended rather to confuse than enlighten, and go their way. Under the best of treatment patients occasionally die, while under the worst they frequently recover, cases apparently of equal gravity. So it is often difficult, if not impossible, to make any distinctions. Of necessity more persons get well than die under medical treatment, therefore the physician has the credit of curing more than he kills, making no allowance for vis medica= trix naturæ. The time, however, is fast approaching when this state of affairs will be changed. The cloud of superstition and igno rance, respecting medical treatment, is being gradually removed. The coming physician will be something more than a quack. Conscientious and scientific, rational not empirical, he will cause the profession of medicine to take its legitimate rank with the other professions. If practicing physicians had, as a whole, more regard for the reputation of their chosen profession than for a few dollars, or for the satisfaction of a selfish ambition, the study of medicine would assume a higher plane. If they rejected, without fear or favor, when applied to for instruction as preceptors, all those whose acquirements or natural abilities were such as not to reflect any credit upon the profession, a great desideratum would be gained; but the difficulty that arises just here is that it not unfrequently happens that the preceptor is as illiterate as the student. The

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