THE GAMEKEEPER'S DAUGHTER
green cover, on which the title was printed in large gold letters.
Twice only did Nancy heave a little sigh, quickly repressed, and her eyes filled with longing: once when a skipping-rope was loosely tied round the clasped hands of a little girl who was convalescent, and was going to leave, as Santa Claus explained ; and once again when, creeping on tiptoe, he placed under the chair of the dozing nurse a very smart workbox, with the name engraved on top.
Every now and then Santa Claus would linger to smooth the look of pain from a little suffering face into a smile, or touch with his cool palm a little fevered hand.
As she trotted round with him, tears of pity and happy sympathy filled Nancy's eyes, and she tried to give Santa Claus a good hug—only she couldn't reach half-way round—while he tenderly wiped those tears on his big cuff, and carried her off, a long way, to a very poor cottage. There they peeped round from behind the door.
Everything looked bright, and sounded happy too, and every now and again, amid the laughter and the chatter, the arrival of Santa Claus was gaily prophesied. Three little girls were dancing round three of those tiny decorated Christmas-trees Nancy had seen that eve, and their parents, looking on happily, echoed their exclamations of joy. She