THE RAINBOW BOOK
Father Christmas whispered that he feared they must not linger, and led the way up a spiral staircase in order to enable Eva to have a peep into the toy-loft, where men were letting the toys down into the busy yard below. How she would have loved to stay longer in each delightful place, but without a murmur she followed her guide below and back to the oak-panelled room. It looked so bare and different without the toys—much like any ordinary room.
" And now, my dear," he said, " you must excuse me for a short time, as I must go upstairs and get ready."
" Please, ought I to be going ?" she asked politely.
" No, no. Not yet." And he went away, up the grand staircase, to his bedroom. There he took from the drawer his scarlet fur-lined cloak and hood with wide swansdown trimming, which had been put away in lavender, chose his thickest top-boots, and humming a song, proceeded to array himself for the long, cold journey in store for him that night.
Meanwhile, the moment he left his little visitor downstairs, the strange-looking child approached her.
" What's your name ?" asked Eva pleasantly.
" Eva," came the surly reply.