This is a collection of ten Christmas Stories, some of which have been published before. I have added a little essay, written on the occasion of the first Christmas celebrated by the King of Italy in Rome.
The first story has never before been published.
It is but fair to say that I have not drawn on imagination for Laura's night duty, alone upon her island. This is simply the account of what a brave New-England woman did, under like circumstances, because it was the duty next her hand.
If any reader observes a resemblance between her position and that of a boy in another story in this volume, I must disarm censure, by saying, that she had never heard of him when she was called to this duty, and that I had never heard of her when I wrote his story.
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“THERE he comes! here he comes!”
"He" was the "post-rider," an institution now almost of the past. He rode by the house and threw off a copy of the "Boston Gazette." Now the "Boston Gazette," of this particular issue, gave the results of the drawing of the great Massachusetts State Lottery of the Eastern Lands in the Waldo Patent.
Mr. Cutts, the elder, took the "Gazette," and opened it with a smile that pretended to be careless; but even he showed the eager anxiety which they all felt, as he tore off the wrapper and unfolded the fatal sheet. "Letter from London," "Letter from Philadelphia," "Child with two heads,"—thus he ran down the columns of the little page,—uneasily. "Here it is! here it is!—Drawing of the great State Lottery.