It is Christmas, 1880. Mother and father and married brother Ned and his wife and baby and Cleo, the sweetest girl in the family for other reasons than that she is the only one, and the youngest son, Bert, are all gathered about the festive board. Ned tells his family he has a promising offer to go to England, and with well wishes and fond good-byes he departs. While the others laugh and chat with the Christmas gaiety of young souls, the mother draws aside and weeps for the loss of her first-born, going away, perhaps forever. But the years linger not, and with them go sorrow and pang. Comes a new Christmas, new joys, and new sorrows. It is 1890. Another bird has tried its wing; Cleo has married. After the dinner she and her husband depart. The younger son, meantime, has gone the way of many others who have faced two paths and selected the wider, and has chosen the downgrade and degradation. He leaves the house to join the fast set of whom he is one. He returns home very late, ...
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