The Father Christmas

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A long time back we talked of Our Darlings, a book I got while I was in England in 2010. It’s hard to tell when it was published, because sometimes they didn’t put years on the copyright page. This is especially true with British publications. I think this is from the 20s.

THE FATHER CHRISTMAS.

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“I don’t feel a teeny-weeny bit sleepy,” announced Effie, “let us talk about something.”

In the drawing-room Mummie and Daddy were sitting by the fire, Daddy reading aloud, and Mummie sewing Christmas frocks for Effie and Lil.

Christmas was in the air, and it was no wonder that Lil’s answer to Effie was, “I’m dreadfully sleepy, but if you talk about Christmas, perhaps I can wake up.”

“Talk a little louder, please,” came Geoff’s voice in a sepulchral whisper from the other room.

“Turn your faces this way!” said Sam.

“Well!” said Effie, leaning up on her elbow, “let us all think for a whole minute what we should like for a Christmas treat. Mummie might ask us, you know, though I don’t supposed she will.”

“A minute is too short,” said Sam.

“If you are too long you will go to sleep!” grumbled Effie.

“Must it be something we have not had before?” inquired Lil.

Very soon Effie, Geoff, and Sam had said “we’re ready.”

“Go on without me,” said Lil.

“A Father Christmas,” said Effie, Geoff, and Sam, and Lil added, “Oh, lovely! A Father Christmas!”

There being nothing to discuss, the four promptly went to sleep.

Downstairs Daddy had just finished a chapter, and was beginning on the next, when Mummie said, “Wait a minute, John! We really must settle what we do for the children on Christmas Day!”

A smile shot into Daddy’s eyes. “What do you propose?” said he.

“We seem to have had everything,” said Mummie. “The only thing I can think of is Father Christmas.”

“Who is to be Father Christmas?”

“John! of course you must be!”

Daddy whistled a little tune and, opening his attache case, produced a parcel.

“Ha! Ha!” said he, “see what I bought to-day!” and out he brought a pair of white eye-brows, a white moustache, and a long white beard.

He put them on in front of the looking-glass, and turned round for Mummie to survey the effect. Mummie had her hands over her face, and was laughing so much she could hardly speak.

“John! John! you look awful!”

But daddy only pulled her hands off her face. “You are the nicest girl Father Christmas ever saw, and you shall have the first Christmas kiss!” and he gave her a lovely kiss.

Mummie laughed more than ever. “Oh, John! John! you are all tickles and prickles! Oh, I’m glad you don’t wear a beard, or a moustache, or eye-brows! You look awful!”

“If you make any more remarks on my personal appearance I’ll give you another kiss!”

“Oh, don’t! I’ll be very good!” cried Mummie; “who will buy the presents?”

“You will, of course, out of the housekeeping money.” Daddy was still admiring himself in the glass.

“I’ll pay half!” promised Mummie.

Next day Effie could not rest until she had encouraged Mummie to consult them.

“Mummie! are you going to have anything at Christmas?”

“Oh, yes!” said Mummie cheerfully. “A Party! You can each invite three children!”

When the four were alone they each gave a deep sigh.

“No Father Christmas! what a pity!”

In the middle of the Party there was a loud knocking at the front door, and in walked a Father Christmas, loaded with toys and white with the falling snow.

It was his laughing eyes that told Effie and Geoff and Sam and Lil who he was.

They thought he looked lovely.

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