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The Nursery, Volume 17, No. 100, April, 1875

by Various

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Our Emily wrote a play for our Christmas entertainment. Emily, Ruth, Mary, and Uncle Peter, all took part in it. The curtain fell amid very great applause from grandma, grandpa, father, and Uncle Charles, Brothers Robert and John, Jane, the housemaid, Aunt Alice, and some six of our cousins. So you see we had a good audience. As it is the only play we have ever seen acted, we may be too partial critics; but readers must judge for themselves.

(EMILY enters with a basket of shoestrings)

EMILY.—Shoestrings to sell! Does anybody want shoestrings? Dear me, how cold it is! To-morrow is Christmas, and I must earn money enough to buy a basket of coal. Who wants a nice pair of shoestrings?

RUTH (entering).—This is a cold day, little girl, and you are thinly clad. Now, if my Uncle Peter, were here I know what he would do: he would buy you a shawl.

EMILY.—As soon as I get rich, I mean to buy one myself. Can I sell you a pair of shoestrings?

RUTH.—What is the price?

EMILY.—Only two cents a pair.

RUTH.—Then you may give me three pairs. Here are six cents. (Takes out her purse, and pays EMILY, but, in putting it back, lets it fall on the ground.)

EMILY.—Thank you; and a merry Christmas to you!

RUTH.—I wish I could make your Christmas a merry one, poor child; but I have done what I could. Good-by. (Goes out.)

EMILY.—Oh, if more such customers would come along, how glad I should be! Will any one buy a nice pair of shoestrings? (Sees the purse, and picks it up.) What is this on the ground? A purse! And it has money in it. One dollar, three dollars—Dear me! That young lady must have dropped it. I must run and give it to her. Where is she? (Puts down her basket, and goes out.)

(MARY enters, and looks at the basket.)

MARY.—A basket on the sidewalk! What does it mean? (Takes it up.) It is full of shoestrings. I will take it to my mother, and ask her to find the owner. (MARY takes up the basket, and is going out, when RUTH enters.)


RUTH.—Are you the girl I bought shoestrings of?

MARY.—No: I have not sold any. These are not mine.

RUTH.—Have you seen any thing of a purse about here?

MARY.—No: I have seen no purse. (Goes off-with the basket.)

RUTH.—- Oh! here comes the little girl I was looking for; and she has my purse in her hand. (Enter EMILY.) That is my purse, little girl.

EMILY (giving RUTH the purse).—Take it. I was looking for you. But where is my basket of shoestrings?

RUTH.—Why, that little girl yonder has it. See her there, crossing the street.

EMILY.—It is my basket. She has taken what does not belong to her.

RUTH.—Run, and bring her to me. (EMILY starts to go out.) Stop! What is your name?

EMILY.—Emily Swift.

RUTH.—Well, Emily Swift, I think you are mistaken in supposing that the little girl meant to steal your basket. Bring her to me. (EMILY goes out.) What a pleasant thing it would be to have a purse so full, that one could keep on giving from it, and never find it empty! But here come the children.

(EMILY leads in MARY).

EMILY.—Here she is. She says she was taking the basket to her mother, so that her mother might find the owner.

RUTH.—And do you doubt her word?

EMILY.—Doubt her word? Not I! She is too good a little girl to tell a falsehood. Just look in her face, and you will see that she speaks the truth.

RUTH.—Yes, Emily Swift, you are right.

EMILY.—Goodness me! What is that thing coming this way?

MARY.—I am afraid of it. Is it a man?

RUTH.—As I live, it is Uncle Peter!

EMILY.—Who is Uncle Peter?

RUTH.—He is the man, who, every Christmas, buys as many toys as he can carry, and gives them to good children. Here he comes.

(Enter UNCLE PETER, comically dressed, and covered from head to foot with all sorts of toys, he is followed by boys and girls. He dances and sings to music.)


"Christmas comes but once a year, once a year, once a year! So follow me, my children dear, children dear, children dear: So follow me, my children dear, on Christmas Eve so joyful!"

(After dancing, he takes EMILY and MARY by the hand, and runs off with them, followed by the rest.)

As this is Emily's first play, and she is only nine years old, I hope the critics will not be too severe upon it. If well performed, it will be found, I think, far more amusing in the acting than in the reading.



The snow had quite covered the ground,The wind whistled fiercely and chill,When a poor little storm-beaten birdFlew down on the broad window-sill. Within, there was comfort and wealth;Gay pictures half covered the wall;The children were happy at play;And the fire shone bright over all. Without, there was famine and frost;Not a morsel of fruit or of grain;And the bird gave a piteous chirp,And tapped with his beak at the pane. Then baby climbed up on a chair,Forgetting his trumpets and drums:He doubled his two little fists,And pointed with both his pink thumbs....