FATHER CHRISTMAS AT HOME
Then Eva advanced, almost in spite of herself, went up the front steps, and standing on tiptoe, lifted the knocker and let it fall. The knocker resounded for a while musically, like a peal of bells; when they ceased, the door opened, and a very ancient man confronted her. He was tall and thin and bent, and was dressed in draperies, with bare legs, and he had a funny little curl in the middle of his bald forehead.
"Is Father Christmas at home, please ?" faltered Eva.
" Yes, little Madam," came the reply. " Do you want to see him ? Really ? Rut you will be astonished—I warn you. Aren't you frightened ?"
" Not a bit," replied Eva.
" Brave little girl!" said the very ancient man. " Come in!" and he ushered her into an old oak-panelled room. It had a delicious sense of comfort, and a delight about it which, for the moment, she didn't try to define. Her attention was attracted by catching sight of what she thought was her own reflection in the large mirror against the wall—it was a little girl who came in at the same time, and was of exactly her own height. As she looked closer she saw that the other child was uglier than herself, unkind in expression, slovenly in appearance, and tried to hide herself, rather, in the dark corner where she remained. And Eva,