THE RAINBOW BOOK
him about the happy time she had spent with him, and thanked him nicely. " What a dreadful little girl that other Eva was ! " she concluded. " Who was she ?"
"Ah," said Father Christmas very quickly, "she is what you might be were you to give way to bad feelings. I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, my dear!" and without explaining further he kissed her and rapidly withdrew on his business.
Outside the uncurtained window the sun was shining. Snow had been falling softly, and was piled high on the sill. And over the hushed landscape from the far distance the Christmas bells were ringing. Eva joyfully hugged a large doll, which she had found asleep on her pillow.
It was only later, when she thought over past events in detail, that it appeared to her, though she had not paid attention to it at the time, that Father Christmas seemed ill at ease when he was her visitor—perhaps it was because he was in a hurry. Somehow he was different from the stout, merry-faced old gentleman she had been to see; he had strangely shrunk to nearly as thin as her own father, and as pale, comparatively, which she thought very odd.