IN SANTA CLAUS LAND.
AND OTHER STORIES.
ELLIS TOWNE, SOPHIE MAY AND ELLA FARMAN.
D. LOTHROP AND COMPANY,
FRANKLIN ST., CORNER OF HAWLEY.
D. LOTHROP & CO.
LILL'S TRAVELS IN SANTA CLAUS LAND.
Effie had been playing with her dolls one cold December morning, and
Lill had been reading, until both were tired. But it stormed too hard to
go out, and, as Mrs. Pelerine had said they need not do anything for two
hours, their little jaws might have been dislocated by yawning before
they would as much as pick up a pin. Presently Lill said, "Effie, shall
I tell you a story."
"O yes! do!" said Effie, and she climbed up by Lill in the large
rocking-chair in front of the grate. She kept very still, for she knew
Lill's stories were not to be interrupted by a sound, or even a motion.
The first thing Lill did was to fix her eyes on the fire, and rock
backward and forward quite hard for a little while, and then she said,
"Now I am going to tell you about my _thought travels_, and they are apt
to be a little queerer, but O! ever so much nicer, than the other kind!"
As Lill's stories usually had a formalintroduction
she began: "Once
upon a time, when I was taking
a walk through the great field beyond the
orchard, I went way on, 'round where the path turns behind the hill. And
after I had walked a little way, I came to a high wall--built right up
into the sky. At first I thought I had discovered the 'ends of the
earth,' or perhaps I had somehow come to the great wall of China. But
after walking a long way I came to a large gate, and over it was printed
in beautiful gold letters, 'Santa Claus Land,' and the letters were
large enough for a baby to read!"
How large that might be Lill did not stop to explain.
"But the gate was shut tight," she continued, "and though I knocked and
knocked and knocked, as hard as I could, nobody came to open it. I was
dreadfully disappointed, because I felt as if Santa Claus must live here
all of the year except when he went out to pay Christmas visits, and
it would be so lovely to see him in his own home, you know. But what was
I to do? The gate was entirely too high to climb over, and there wasn't
even a crack to peek through!"
Here Lill paused, and Effie drew a long breath, and looked greatly
disappointed. Then Lill went on:
"But you see, as I was poking about, I pressed a bell-spring, and in a
moment--jingle, jingle, jingle, the bells went ringing far and near,
with such a merry sound as was never heard before. While they were still
ringing the gate slowly opened and I walked in. I didn't even stop to
inquire if Santa Claus was at home, for I forgot all about myself and my
manners, it was so lovely. First there was a small paved square like a
court; it was surrounded by rows and rows of dark green trees, with
several avenues opening
"In the centre of the court was a beautiful marble
streams of sugar plums and bon-bons tumbling out of it. Funny-looking
little men were filling cornucopias at the fountain, and pretty little
barefoot children, with chubby hands and dimpled shoulders, took them as
soon as they were filled, and ran off with them. They were all too much
occupied to speak to me, but as I came up to the fountain
one of the
funny little fellows gave me a cornucopia, and I marched on with the
"We went down one of the avenues, which would have been very dark only
it was splendidly
lighted up with Christmas candles. I saw the babies
were slyly eating a candy or two, so I tasted mine, and they were
delicious--the real Christmas kind. After we had gone a little way, the
trees were smaller and not so close together, and here there were other
funny little fellows who were climbing up on ladders and tying toys and
bon-bons to the trees. The children stopped and delivered their
packages, but I walked on, for there was something in the distance that
I was curious to see. I could see that it was a large garden, that
looked as if it might be well cared for, and had many things growing in
it. But even in the distance it didn't look natural, and when I reached
it I found it was a very uncommon
kind of a garden indeed. I could
scarcely believe my eyes, but there were dolls and donkeys and drays and
cars and croquet coming up in long, straight rows, and ever so many
other things beside. In one place the wooden
dolls had only just
started; their funny little heads were just above ground, and I thought
they looked very much surprised at their surroundings. Farther on were
china dolls, that looked quite grown up, and I suppose were ready to
pull; and a gardener
was hoeing a row of soldiers that didn't look in a
condition, or as if they had done very well.
looked familiar, I thought, and as I approached him he
stopped work and, leaning on his hoe he said, 'How do you do, Lilian? I
am very glad to see you.'
"The moment he raised his face I knew it was Santa Claus, for he looked
exactly like the portrait
we have of him. You can easily believe I was
glad then! I ran and put both of my hands in his, fairly shouting that I
was so glad to find him.
"He laughed and said:
"'Why, I am generally to be found here or hereabouts, for I work in the
grounds every day.'
"And I laughed too, because his laugh sounded so funny; like the brook
going over stones, and the wind up in the trees. Two or three times,
when I thought he had done he would burst out again, laughing the vowels
in this way: 'Ha, ha, ha, ha! He, he, he, he, he! Hi, hi, hi, hi, hi!
Ho, ho, ho, h-o-oo!'"
Lill did it very well, and Effie laughed till the tears came to her
eyes; and she could quite believe Lill when she said, "It grew to be so
funny that I couldn't stand, but fell over into one of the little chairs
that were growing in a bed just beyond the soldiers.
"When Santa Claus saw that he stopped suddenly, saying:
"'There, that will do. I take a hearty
laugh every day, for the sake of
"Then he added, in a whisper, 'That is the reason I live so long and
don't grow old. I've been the same age ever since the chroniclers began
to take notes, and those who are best able to judge think I'll continue
to be this way for about one thousand eight hundred and seventy-six
years longer,--they probably took a new observation
at the Centennial,
and they know exactly.'
"I was greatly delighted
to hear this, and I told him so. He nodded and
winked and said it was 'all right,' and then asked if I'd like to see
the place. I said I would, so he threw down the hoe with a sigh, saying,
'I don't believe I shall have more than half a crop of soldiers this
season. They came up well, but the arms and legs seem to be weak. When I
get to town I'll have to send out some girls with glue pots, to stick
"The town was at some distance, and our path took us by flower-beds
where some exquisite
little toys were growing, and a hot-bed where new
varieties were being prop--_propagated_. Pretty soon we came to a
plantation of young trees, with rattles, and rubber
balls, and ivory
rings growing on the branches, and as we went past they rang and bounded
about in the merriest sort of a way.
"'There's a nice growth,' said Santa Claus, and it _was_ a nice growth
for babies; but just beyond I saw something so perfectly
splendid that I
didn't care about the plantation."
"Well," said Lill impressively, seeing
that Effie was sufficiently
expectant, "It was a lovely grove. The trees were large, with long
drooping branches, and the branches were just loaded with dolls'
clothes. There were elegant
silk dresses, with lovely sashes of every
Just here Effie couldn't help saying
"O!" for she had a weakness
sashes. Lill looked stern, and put a warning
hand over her mouth, and
"There was everything that the most fashionable
doll could want, growing
in the greatest profusion. Some of the clothes had fallen, and there
were funny-looking girls picking them up, and packing them in trunks and
boxes. 'These are all ripe,' said Santa Claus, stopping to shake a tree,
and the clothes came tumbling down so fast that the workers were busier
than ever. The grove was on a hill, so that we had a beautiful view of
the country. First there was a park filled with reindeer, and beyond
that was the town, and at one side a large farm-yard filled with
animals of all sorts.
"But as Santa Claus seemed in a hurry I did not stop long to look. Our
path led through the park, and we stopped to call 'Prancer' and 'Dancer'
and 'Donder' and 'Blitzen,' and Santa Claus fed them with lumps of sugar
from his pocket. He pointed
out 'Comet' and 'Cupid' in a distant part of
the park; 'Dasher' and 'Vixen' were nowhere
to be seen.
"Here I found most of the houses were Swiss cottages, but there were
some fine churches and public buildings, all of beautifully
building blocks, and we stopped for a moment at a long depot, in which a
locomotive was just _smashing up_.
"Santa Claus' house stood in the middle of the town. It was an
old-fashioned looking house, very broad and low, with an enormous
chimney. There was a wide step in front of the door, shaded by a
fig-tree and grape-vine, and morning-glories and scarlet
by the side of the latticed windows; and there were great round
rose-bushes, with great, round roses, on either side of the walk leading
to the door."
"O! it must have smelled like a party," said Effie, and then subsided,
as she remembered that she was interrupting.
"Inside, the house was just cozy and comfortable, a real grandfatherly
sort of a place. A big chair was drawn up in front of the window, and a
big book was open on a table in front of the chair. A great pack half
made up was on the floor, and Santa Claus stopped to add a few things
from his pocket. Then he went to the kitchen, and brought me a lunch of
milk and strawberries and cookies, for he said I must be tired after my
"After I had rested a little while, he said if I liked I might go with
him to the observatory. But just as we were starting a funny little
fellow stopped at the door with a wheelbarrow full of boxes of dishes.
After Santa Claus had taken the boxes out and put them in the pack he
"'Let me see!'
"He laid his finger beside his nose as he said it, and looked at me
attentively, as if I were a sum in addition, and he was adding me up. I
guess I must have come out right, for he looked satisfied, and said I'd
better go to the mine first, and then join him in the observatory. Now I
am afraid he was not exactly polite
not to go with me himself," added
Lill, gravely, "but then he apologized by saying
he had some work to do.
So I followed the little fellow with the wheelbarrow, and we soon came
to what looked like the entrance of a cave, but I suppose it was the
mine. I followed my guide to the interior
without stopping to look at
the boxes and piles of dishes outside. Here I found other funny little
at work with picks and shovels, taking
from the bottom of the cave, and china and glass from the top and sides,
for the dishes hung down just like stalactites in Mammoth Cave."
Here Lill opened the book she had been reading, and showed Effie a
picture of the stalactites.
"It was so curious and so pretty that I should have remained longer,"
said Lill, "only I remembered the observatory
and Santa Claus.
"When I went outside I heard his voice calling
out, 'Lilian! Lilian!' It
sounded a great way off, and yet somehow it seemed to fill the air just
as the wind does. I only had to look for a moment, for very near by was
a high tower. I wonder I did not see it before; but in these queer
countries you are sure to see something new every time you look about.
Santa Claus was standing
up at a window near the top, and I ran to the
entrance and commenced climbing the stairs. It was a long journey, and I
was quite out of breath
when I came to the end of it. But here there was
such a cozy, luxurious
little room, full of stuffed chairs and lounges,
bird cages and flowers in the windows, and pictures on the wall, that it
to rest. There was a lady sitting by a golden desk,
writing in a large book, and Santa Claus was looking through a great
telescope, and every once in a while he stopped and put his ear to a
large speaking-tube. While I was resting he went on with his
"Presently he said to the lady, 'Put down a good mark for Sarah
Buttermilk. I see she is trying
her quick temper.'
"'Two bad ones for Isaac Clappertongue; he'll drive his mother to the
"'Bad ones all around for the Crossley children,--they quarrel too
"'A good one for Harry and Alice Pleasure, they are quick to mind.'
"'And give Ruth Olive ten, for she is a peacemaker.'"
Just then he happened to look at me and saw I was rested, so he politely
asked what I thought of the country. I said it was magnificent. He said
he was sorry I didn't stop in the green-house, where he had wax dolls
and other delicate
things growing. I was very sorry about that, and then
I said I thought he must be very happy to own so many delightful
"'Of course I'm happy,' said Santa Claus, and then he sighed. 'But it is
an awful responsibility
so many children according to their
deserts. For I take these observations every day, and I know who is good
and who is bad.'
"I was glad he told me about this, and now, if he would only tell me
what time of day he took the observations, I would have obtained really
valuable information. So I stood up and made my best courtesy
"'Please, sir, would you tell me what time of day you usually look?'
"'O,' he answered, carelessly, 'any time from seven in the morning till
ten at night. I am not a bit particular about time. I often go without
my own meals in order to make a record of table manners. For instance:
last evening I saw you turn your spoon over in your mouth, and that's
very unmannerly for a girl nearly fourteen.'
"'O, I didn't know _you_ were looking,' said I, very much ashamed; 'and
I'll never do it again,' I promised.
"Then he said I might look through the telescope, and I looked right
down into our house. There was mother very busy and very tired, and all
of the children teasing. It was queer, for I was there, too, and the
_bad-est_ of any. Pretty soon I ran to a quiet corner with a book, and
in a few minutes mamma had to leave her work and call, 'Lilian,
Lilian, it's time for you to practise.'
"'Yes, mamma,' I answered, 'I'll come right away.'
"As soon as I said this Santa Claus whistled for 'Comet' and 'Cupid,'
and they came tearing up the tower. He put me in a tiny sleigh, and away
we went, over great snow-banks of clouds, and before I had time to think
I was landed in the big chair, and mamma was calling
it's time for you to practise,' just as she is doing now, and I must
So Lill answered, "Yes, mamma," and ran to the piano.
Effie sank back in the chair to think. She wished Lill had found out how
many black marks she had, and whether that lady was Mrs. Santa