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To Miss Anna Loring.

New York, December 26, 1843.
I had a very happy Christmas, and I will tell you how it happened. The watchmen picked up a little vagabond in the street, who said he had neither father nor mother, and had lost his way. He said his mother used to get drunk and sleep in the streets, but that he had not seen her for five years. They put him in the Tombs, not because he had committed any crime, but because he had nowhere to go. He was about ten years old. I applied to the orphan asylum, but he was older than their rules allowed them to admit. The poor child worried my mind greatly. On Christmas morning the asylum ladies sent me five dollars and a pair of nice boots for him. Mr. Child went to the Tombs for him, and after a good deal of difficulty found him and brought him home. He was in a situation too dirty and disgusting to describe. I cut off his hair, put him in a tub of water, scrubbed him from head to foot, bought a suit of clothes, and dressed him up. You never saw any little fellow so changed, and so happy in the change! But above all things his boots delighted him. I could hardly keep his eyes off them long enough to wash his face. “Are them boots for me?” he asked; and when I told him yes, it seemed as if the sun had shone out all over his face. “I never [54] expected to have such a boot to my foot,” said he. I shall remember this Christmas the longest day I live. As he sits before me now, making pictures on his slate, he every now and then thrusts out his foot, and examines the boots from toe to heel. He is nearly white, quite good-looking, remarkably bright, and very docile and affectionate. I do not yet know what I shall do with him, but I hope to get him a good place in the country. When I asked what he used to do, “I don't know exactly,” said he; “sometimes I sat down on a stone, let the sun shine on me, and cried.” Poor little fellow! His joy and gratitude have given me a happy Christmas.

Two years later:--

My Christmas boy, of whom I wrote you an account two years ago, has at last obtained a good place in the country. I suppose I have written half a hundred letters about him, trying to get a situation for him ; for my heart bled for the poor little friendless orphan.

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