THE RAINBOW BOOK
Then as Granny came in Nancy told of all she had seen, and of all the wonderful presents the tiny lady at the Grange was going to receive at Christmas, because she wanted them; and that a gentleman staying at the house called Mr. Santa Claus gave them, and knew what to get, because a bird—a parrot, she supposed—had heard and told him what the little lady wanted.
That night when Nancy was in bed she could think of nothing else but Santa Claus and the wonderful toys ; and the thoughts were just beginning to get confused with a greatly envied skipping-rope and workbox, when she suddenly sat bolt upright in bed wide awake.
Her room was a tiny one leading off the kitchen, and in the moonlight she had just seen Tom Grollins pass by—this time with a full bag on his back, and the faithful Muffins was close at his heels.
" Well, I never did!" exclaimed Nancy, in her astonishment and vexation unconsciously quoting her grandmother ; " I never did ! Now what's to be done ? Gran's no use—Dad's out. But Dad's sure to find that wicked poacher," she reflected, on hearing the clock strike nine: " he's in the forest, and can't be far." And she lay back, relieved at the thought that her father had suspiciously refused the invitation of a shabby, gaitered, and very