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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 75 pages of information about Santa Claus's Partner.

Livingstone’s hand closed on hers and as he said “Yes,” he was conscious of a pang at the thought of giving her up.

He lifted her to put her in the sleigh.  As he did so the little arms were put about his neck and warm little lips kissed him.  Livingstone pressed her to his breast convulsively and climbed into the sleigh without putting her down.

Neither spoke and when the sleigh stopped in front of Mr. Clark’s door the child was still in Livingstone’s arms, her head resting on his shoulder, the golden curls falling over his sleeve.  Even when he transferred her to her father’s arms she did not wake.  She only sighed with sweet content and as Livingstone bent over and kissed her softly, muttered a few words about “Santa Claus’s partner.”

A half-hour later, Livingstone, after another interview with Mr. Brown who was awaiting him patiently, drove back again to Mr. Clark’s door with another sleighful of packages which were all duly transferred to the small room where stood the little Christmas-tree.

The handshake Livingstone gave John Clark as he came down the steps of the little house was the warmest he had given any man in twenty years.  It was so warm that it seemed to send the blood tingling through Livingstone’s heart and warm it anew.

CHAPTER XV

Livingstone drove home through silent streets, but they were not silent for him.  In his ears a chime was still ringing and it bore him far across the snow-filled streets and the snow-filled years to a land of warmth and light.  The glow was still about his heart and the tingle which the pressure of Kitty Clark’s arms about his neck, and John Clark’s clasp of his hand had started still kept it warm.

At his door Livingstone dismissed his driver and as he cheerily wished him a merry Christmas the man’s cheery reply showed that Livingstone had already found the secret of good cheer.

“The same to you, your honor; the same to you, sir,” said the driver heartily, as he buttoned up his pocket with a pat of satisfaction.  “We’ve had a good time to-night, sir, haven’t we?  And I wish you many more like it, sir.  And when Christmas comes along next time I hope you’ll remember me, for I’ll remember you; I’ve had a little child in that ’ere same horspital.  God took her to Himself twelve years ago.  They’re good to ’em there, rich and poor all alike;—­and ’t isn’t every night I can drive ‘Santa Claus’s partner.’”

Livingstone stood and watched the sleigh till it drove out of sight.  Even after it had disappeared around a corner, he still listened to the bells.  It seemed to him he had a friend in it.

Livingstone let himself in noiselessly at his door, but the softness with which he turned the key this time was to keep from disturbing his servants, not to keep them from seeing him.

He stopped stock still on the threshold.  The whole house seemed transformed.  The hall was a bower of holly and mistletoe, and the library, as Livingstone entered it, with its bright fire roaring in the hearth and its festoons and wreaths, seemed once more a charming home:  a bower where cheer might yet make its abode.

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