Page:Our American Holidays - Christmas.djvu/286

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mouth, and seized hat and mittens from the table. "I’ll take ’em down in a minute, Granny, and then run home. Mother’ll want me in the morning, likely."

For Roger’s parents lived in a cottage near the old people, and the boy often said that he had two homes, and belonged half in one and half in the other, and the small press-bed in Granny's loft seemed as much his own as the cot in the corner of his mother’s sleeping-room, and was occupied almost as often. So, after a good-night hug from Granny, off he ran. The church was near, and the moon light as day, so he never thought of being afraid, not even when, as he brushed by the dark tower, something stirred overhead, and a long, melancholy cry came shuddering from the ivy. Roger knew the owls in the belfry well, and now he called out to them cheerily: "To-whit-whit-whoo!"

"Whoo-whoo-whit!" answered the owls startled by the cry. Roger could hear them fluttering in the nest.

The church-door stood ajar, and he peeped in. The glow from the open door of the stove showed Grandfather’s figure, red and warm, stooping to cover the fire with ashes for the night. He was so busy he never knew the boy was there till he got close to him and jingled the keys in his ear; but after one start he laughed, well pleased.