THE GAMEKEEPERS DAUGHTER
The first visit was to Iris at the Grange, whither Santa Claus was already on his way. They entered the pretty bedroom, where the spoilt little lady was smiling in anticipation in her sleep ; and the " dolly, pamberlator, watch, and titten with real scratches " (immovably asleep) were all produced as though by some conjuring trick from Santa Claus's basket or deep pockets, and duly placed to meet the child's eager glance on her waking.
" Mr. Santa Claus," whispered Nancy, who had been wondering all the time,"how did we get here?"
" Chimney ! " he whispered back.
" Chimney ?"
Santa Claus nodded.
This didn't make her much wiser, for to her knowledge she had never seen the inside of a chimney in her life ; but she forgot to pursue the subject now that something more interesting was going on.
Iris had vanished, and a pale little boy lay asleep in a room above a flower shop.
" He doesn't care for toys," whispered Santa Claus ; " he loves that pink geranium by his side." And a gaily painted watering-pot was placed next to his flowering possession. " How white in comparison with the blossom the suffering, pinched little face looks on the pillow!" thought Nancy; "he will be pleased." Before they left, Santa Claus filled the can with water from the cracked toilet jug.