THE RAINBOW BOOK
in the novel surroundings, soon forgot all about her.
At the far end was a great log fire, and near it a huge arm-chair, in which sat a stout, healthy, red-faced old gentleman warmly wrapped in a crimson dressing-gown; he was leaning back, thinking or dozing. Eva advanced with soft steps. She was full of eagerness and excitement, for she recognised the white-bearded, handsome old face at once from the many coloured portraits she had seen. It was Father Christmas himself! Eva never knew what impelled her to do it, but when she got close to him she simply threw her arms around his neck and kissed him.
" Bless my soul!" exclaimed Father Christmas, starting ; and catching her up, he seated her on his knee. He recognised her at once. " How you've grown since last year, Eva! " and he looked at her with beaming eyes. " I suppose you know you're trespassing ? and the penalty is forty crackers or a kiss !" And he chuckled and laughed so merrily that she felt quite comfortable, finding trespassing a very pleasant occupation, and wasn't a bit alarmed at the penalty.
" And what brings me this honour ?" he continued.
" Good evening, Father Christmas," spoke up Eva quite boldly. "I'm afraid I disturbed you."