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On Christmas Day In The Evening   By: (1866-1959)

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First Page:

[Illustration: "It's a good thing to exercise the imagination, now and then. That's the way changes come"]


On Christmas Day In The Evening

by Grace S. Richmond

Illustrated by Charles M. Relyea

A. L. Burt Company Publishers New York

All Rights Reserved, Including that of Translation into Foreign Languages, Including the Scandinavian

Copyright 1910 Doubleday Page & Company

Copyright, 1910, By The Ridgway Company


"It's a good thing to exercise the imagination, now and then. That's the way changes come" Frontispiece

Facing Page

"Cut it out cut out the steam calliope!" 22

"Billy!" His sister Margaret's voice was anxious. "Are you sure you'd better?" 32

There was flesh and blood in the message he gave them, and it was the message they needed 52




On Christmas Day In The Evening

[Music: Holy night! peaceful night! Darkness flies, all is light!]

All the Fernald family go back to the old home for Christmas, now, every year. Last Christmas was the third on which Oliver and Edson, Ralph and Guy, Carolyn and Nan, were all at the familiar fireside, as they used to be in the days before they were married. The wives and husbands and children go too when other family claims can be compromised with and no one of them, down to Carolyn's youngest baby, who was not a year old last Christmas, has sustained a particle of harm from the snowy journey to North Estabrook, tucked away though it is among the hills, where the drifts are deep.

Taking them all together they are quite a company. And as Father and Mother Fernald are getting rather well along in years, and such a house party means a good deal of preparation, last year their younger daughter Nan, and her husband, Sam Burnett: and their youngest son, Guy, and his wife of a year, Margaret: went up to North Estabrook two days ahead of the rest, to help with the finishing labours. Sam Burnett and Guy Fernald, being busy young men all the year round, thought it great sport to get up into the country in the winter, and planned, for a fortnight beforehand, to be able to manage this brief vacation. As for Nan and Margaret they are always the best of friends. As for Father and Mother Fernald

"I don't know but this is the best part of the party," mused John Fernald, looking from one to another of them, and then at his wife, as they sat together before the fireplace, on the evening of the arrival. "It was all over so quick, last year, and you were all piling back to town, to your offices, in such a hurry, you boys. Now we can have a spell of quiet talk, before the fun begins. That suits us to a T eh, Mother?"

Mrs. Fernald nodded, smiling. Her hand, held fast in Guy's, rested on his knee; Nan's charming head, with its modish dressing, lay against her shoulder. What more could a mother ask? Across the fireplace, Sam Burnett, most satisfactory of sons in law, and Margaret, Guy's best beloved, who had made the year one long honeymoon to him so he declared completed the little circle.

There was much to talk about. To begin with, there was everybody in North Estabrook to inquire after; and though North Estabrook is but a very small village, it takes time to inquire after everybody. Quite suddenly, having asked solicitously concerning a very old woman, who had nursed most of the Fernald children in their infancy and was always remembered by them with affection, it occurred to Nan to put a question which had been on her mind ever since she had come into town on the afternoon stage.

"Speaking of Aunt Eliza, Mother, makes me think of the old church. She used to talk so much about liking to hear the bell ring, right up over her head, next door. Does the bell ever ring, these days or have cobwebs grown over the clapper?"

A shadow dropped upon Mrs... Continue reading book >>

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