Page:Our American Holidays - Christmas.djvu/107

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There have been hurried and whispered conferences hastily suspended at the sound of a familiar step on the stair; packages of every imaginable size and shape have been surreptitiously introduced into the house, and have immediately disappeared in all manner of out-of-the-way places; and for several weeks past one room has been constantly under lock and key, visited only when certain sharp-sighted eyes were occupied in other directions. Through all this scene of mystery Rosalind has moved sedately and with sealed lips, the common confidant of all the conspirators, and herself the greatest conspirator of all. Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love!

After dinner, eaten, let it be confessed, with more haste and less accompaniment of talk than usual, the parlor doors were opened, and there stood the Christmas tree in a glow of light, its wonderful branches laden with all manner of strange fruits not to be found in the botanies. The wild shouts, the merry laughter, the cries of delight as one coveted fruit after another dropped into long-expectant arms still linger in my ears now that the little tapers are burnt out, the boughs left bare, and the actors in the perennial drama are fast asleep, with new and strange bedfellows selected from the spoils of the night. Cradled