THE RAINBOW BOOK
just as it really ought to be. She herself never went for a morning walk in the middle of the night, nor had she ever heard of any one else doing so.
All at once, from the distant steeple which peeped through the white sparkling trees beyond the bridge, came a muffled striking of the hour, and Minna, to her increasing surprise, counted on her fingers up to ten, and then there were two more. And then, to her amazement, whom should she see on the bridge in the snow, which had begun gently to fall againónot the little girl in redóbut dear old Santa Claus himself, covered up in fur and scarlet, trudging towards the house with tempting-looking parcels slung about him ! Now he fixed a ladder against the thick, frost-laden ivy which covered the front of the old house, and he mounted it very carefully. Then he climbed up the roof as easily as if he had been walking along the high≠road in the daylight. And then he disappeared down one of the chimneys. Very soon he re≠appeared without quite so many parcels, slowly descended the ladder, put it upon his shoulder, and walked off with it.
Minna's eyes followed him with the utmost asto≠nishment and interest. Of course, she always knew that it was Santa Claus's lovely privilege to come down the chimney, but she had never actually known him to do itóand then the joy of seeing