The rest was all blaze and light and glow, and his father and mother moving about like shining spirits amid it all.
Then he was a schoolboy, measuring the lagging time by the coming Christmas; counting the weeks, the days, the hours in an ecstasy of impatience until he should be free from the drudgery of books and the slavery of classes, and should be able to start for home with the friends who had leave to go with him. How slowly the time crept by, and how he told the other boys of the joys that would await them! And when it had really gone, and they were free! how delicious it used to be!
As the scene appeared before him Livingstone could almost feel again the thrill that set him quivering with delight; the boundless joy that filled his veins as with an elixir.
The arrival at the station drifted before him and the pride of his introduction of the servants whose faces shone with pleasure; the drive home through the snow, which used somehow to be warming, not chilling, in those days; and then, through the growing dusk, the first sight of the home-light, set, he knew, by the mother in her window as a beacon shining from the home and mother’s heart. Then the last, toilsome climb up the home-hill and the outpouring of welcome amid cheers and shouts and laughter.
Oh, the joy of that time! And through all the festivity was felt, like a sort of pervading warmth, the fact that that day Christ came into the world and brought peace and good will and cheer to every one.
The boy Livingstone saw was now installed regularly as the bearer of Christmas presents and good things to the poor, and the pleasure he took then in his office flashed across Livingstone’s mind like a sudden light. It lit up the faces of many whom Livingstone had not thought of for years. They were all beaming on him now with a kindliness to which he had long been a stranger; that kindliness which belongs only to our memory of our youth.
Was it possible that he could ever have had so many friends! The man in the chair put his hand to his eyes to try and hold the beautiful vision, but it faded away, shut out from view by another.
The vision that came next was of a college student. The Christmas holidays were come again. They were still as much the event of the year as when he was a schoolboy. Once more he was on his way home accompanied by friends whom he had brought to help him enjoy the holidays, his enjoyment doubled by their enjoyment. Once more, as he touched the soil of his own neighborhood, from a companion he became a host. Once more with his friends he reached his old home and was received with that greeting which he never met with elsewhere. He saw his father and mother standing on the wide portico before the others with outstretched arms, affection and pride beaming in their faces. He witnessed their cordial greeting of his friends. “Our son’s friends are our friends,” he heard them say.