Page:Our American Holidays - Christmas.djvu/243

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ON SANTA CLAUS

She married him for his money, and couldn’t put up with his plain way of living and his careless jollity. He is such an easy-going, good natured old soul, that she manages him without any trouble. So the first thing she did was to make him change his name to St. Nicholas; then she made him give up his old house, and move into town; then she sent away the reindeers, for she didn't know what Ma would say to such an outlandish turn-out; then she threw away his pipe because it was vulgar, and the first Christmas Eve that he went off and stayed out all night she had hysterics, an declared she’d go home to her Ma, and get a divorce if he ever did such a thing again. She’d have put a stop to his giving away toys every year, too, only she thought it looked well, and as it was, she wouldn’t let him make them himself any more, but compelled him to spend enormous sums in bringing them from Paris, and Vienna, and Nuremberg.

So now Santa Claus is St. Nicholas, and lives in a brown stone house on Fifth Avenue, a great deal handsomer than he can afford, and keeps a carriage, not because he wants it, but because Mrs. Shoddy, next door, keeps one; and love,s not to be jolly himself and to make everybody else so, but to please his wife’s mother. He has to give an awful pull, what with his wife’s extravagance, and the high prices of Parisian and Viennese toys, to make