While watching them Johnny had another thought, and he ran quickly to the house, and brought out the new trumpet which papa had given him for Christmas. By this time the animals had all finished their breakfast and Johnny gave a little toot on his trumpet as a signal that the tree festival was over. Brownie went, neighing and prancing, to her stall, White Face walked demurely off with a bellow, which Spotty, the calf, running at her heels, tried to imitate; the little lamb skipped bleating away; Piggywig walked off with a grunt; Pussy jumped on the fence with a mew; the squirrel still sat up in the tree cracking her nuts; Bunny hopped to her snug little quarters; while Rover, barking loudly, chased the chickens back to their coop. Such a hubbub of noises! Mamma said it sounded as if they were trying to say “Merry Christmas to you, Johnny! Merry Christmas to all.”
XXIV. THE PHILANTHROPIST’S CHRISTMAS*
This story was first published in the Youth’s Companion, vol. 82.
JAMES WEBER LINN
“Did you see this committee yesterday, Mr. Mathews?” asked the philanthropist.
His secretary looked up.
“You recommend them then?”
“For fifty thousand?”
“For fifty thousand—yes, sir.”
“Their corresponding subscriptions are guaranteed?”
“I went over the list carefully, Mr. Carter. The money is promised, and by responsible people.”
“Very well,” said the philanthropist. “You may notify them, Mr. Mathews, that my fifty thousand will be available as the bills come in.”
Old Mr. Carter laid down the letter he had been reading, and took up another. As he perused it his white eyebrows rose in irritation.
“Mr. Mathews!” he snapped.
“You are careless, sir!”
“I beg your pardon, Mr. Carter?” questioned the secretary, his face flushing.
The old gentleman tapped impatiently the letter he held in his hand. “Do you pay no attention, Mr. Mathews, to my rule that no personal letters containing appeals for aid are to reach me? How do you account for this, may I ask?”
“I beg your pardon,” said the secretary again. “You will see, Mr. Carter, that that letter is dated three weeks ago. I have had the woman’s case carefully investigated. She is undoubtedly of good reputation, and undoubtedly in need; and as she speaks of her father as having associated with you, I thought perhaps you would care to see her letter.”
“A thousand worthless fellows associated with me,” said the old man, harshly. “In a great factory, Mr. Mathews, a boy works alongside of the men he is put with; he does not pick and choose. I dare say this woman is telling the truth. What of it? You know that I regard my money as a public trust. Were my energy, my concentration, to be wasted by innumerable individual assaults, what would become of them? My fortune would slip through my fingers as unprofitably as sand. You understand, Mr. Mathews? Let me see no more individual letters. You know that Mr. Whittemore has full authority to deal with them. May I trouble you to ring? I am going out.”