On Christmas Day In The Evening

Grace S. Richmond
On Christmas Day In The
Evening, by

Grace Louise Smith Richmond This eBook is for the use of anyone
anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You
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Title: On Christmas Day In The Evening
Author: Grace Louise Smith Richmond
Illustrator: Charles M. Relyea
Release Date: September 26, 2006 [EBook #19384]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ASCII

Produced by Louise Hope, Mark C. Orton and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net

[Illustration: "It's a good thing to exercise the imagination, now and
then. That's the way changes come"]

On Christmas Day In The Evening
by Grace S. Richmond
Illustrated by Charles M. Relyea
A. L. Burt Company Publishers New York

All Rights Reserved, Including that of Translation into Foreign
Languages, Including the Scandinavian
Copyright 1910 Doubleday Page & Company
Copyright, 1910, By The Ridgway Company

"It's a good thing to exercise the imagination, now and then. That's the
way changes come" Frontispiece
Facing Page
"Cut it out--cut out the steam calliope!" 22
"Billy!" His sister Margaret's voice was anxious. "Are you sure you'd
better?" 32
There was flesh and blood in the message he gave them, and it was the
message they needed 52


On Christmas Day In The Evening
[Music: Holy night! peaceful night! Darkness flies, all is light!]
All the Fernald family go back to the old home for Christmas, now,
every year. Last Christmas was the third on which Oliver and Edson,
Ralph and Guy, Carolyn and Nan, were all at the familiar fireside, as
they used to be in the days before they were married. The wives and
husbands and children go too--when other family claims can be
compromised with--and no one of them, down to Carolyn's youngest
baby, who was not a year old last Christmas, has sustained a particle of
harm from the snowy journey to North Estabrook, tucked away though
it is among the hills, where the drifts are deep.
Taking them all together they are quite a company. And as Father and
Mother Fernald are getting rather well along in years, and such a
house-party means a good deal of preparation, last year their younger
daughter Nan, and her husband, Sam Burnett: and their youngest son,
Guy, and his wife of a year, Margaret: went up to North Estabrook two
days ahead of the rest, to help with the finishing labours. Sam Burnett
and Guy Fernald, being busy young men all the year round, thought it
great sport to get up into the country in the winter, and planned, for a
fortnight beforehand, to be able to manage this brief vacation. As for
Nan and Margaret--they are always the best of friends. As for Father
and Mother Fernald----
"I don't know but this is the best part of the party," mused John Fernald,
looking from one to another of them, and then at his wife, as they sat
together before the fireplace, on the evening of the arrival. "It was all
over so quick, last year, and you were all piling back to town, to your
offices, in such a hurry, you boys. Now we can have a spell of quiet
talk, before the fun begins. That suits us to a T --eh, Mother?"
Mrs. Fernald nodded, smiling. Her hand, held fast in Guy's, rested on

his knee; Nan's charming head, with its modish dressing, lay against
her shoulder. What more could a mother ask? Across the fireplace, Sam
Burnett, most satisfactory of sons-in-law, and Margaret, Guy's best
beloved, who had made the year one long honeymoon to him--so he
declared--completed the little circle.
There was much to talk about. To begin with, there was everybody in
North Estabrook to inquire after; and though North Estabrook is but a
very small village, it takes time to inquire after everybody. Quite
suddenly, having asked solicitously concerning a very old woman, who
had nursed most of the Fernald children in their infancy and was
always remembered by them with affection, it occurred to Nan to put a
question which had been on her mind ever since she had come into
town on the afternoon stage.
"Speaking of Aunt Eliza, Mother, makes me think of the old church.
She used to talk so much about liking to hear the bell ring, right up over
her head, next door. Does the bell ever ring, these days--or have
cobwebs grown over the clapper?"
A shadow dropped upon Mrs. Fernald's bright face, but before she
could speak her husband answered for her. He
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