happier, a thousand times happier, than all the birds on earth. It is the Christmas Holidays—Christmas Day itself—Christmas Night—and Joy in every bosom intensifies Love. Never before were we brothers and sisters so dear to one another—never before had our hearts so yearned towards the authors of our being—our blissful being! There they sat—silent in all that outcry—composed in all that disarray—still in all that tumult; yet, as one or other flying imp sweeps round the chair, a father's hand will playfully strive to catch a prisoner—a mother's gentler touch on some sylph's disordered symar be felt almost as a reproof, and for a moment slacken the fairy flight. One old game treads on the heels of another—twenty within the hour—and many a new game never heard of before nor since, struck out by the collision of kindred spirits in their glee, the transitory fancies of genius inventive through very delight. Then, all at once, there is a hush, profound as ever falls on some little plat within a forest when the moon drops behind the mountain, and small green-robed People of Peace at once cease their pastime, and vanish. For she—the Silver-Tongued—is about to sing an old ballad, words and air alike hundreds of years old—and sing she doth, while tears begin to fall, with a voice too mournfully beautiful long to breathe below—and, ere another Christmas
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