As he entered his room the warmth and home feeling had come back there also. The portraits of his father and mother first caught his eye. Some one had put a wreath around each and they seemed to beam on him with a pleased and tender smile. They opened afresh the flood-gates of memory for him, but the memories were sweet and tender.
He glanced at a mirror almost with trembling. The last time he had looked at himself he had seen only that old, haggard face with the ghostly figures branded across the brow. Thank God! they were gone now, and he could even see in his face some faint resemblance to the portraits on the wall.
He went to bed and slept as he had not slept for months, perhaps for years—not dreamlessly, but the dreams were pleasant.—Now and then lines of vague figures appeared to him, but a little girl with a smiling face came and played bo-peep with him over them, and presently sprang up and threw her arms about his neck and made him take her in a sleigh to a wonderful shop where they could get marvellous presents; among them Youth, and Friendship, and Happiness. The door was just being shut as they arrived, but when he called his father’s name it was opened wide—and his father and mother greeted him—and led him smiling into places where he had played as a child.—And Catherine Trelane in a shaggy coat and hood pulled the presents from a forest of Christmas-trees and gave them to Santa Claus’s partner to give to others. And suddenly his father, with his old tender smile, picked the little girl up in his arms and she changed into a wonderful child that shone so that it dazzled Livingstone and—he waked to find the bright sun shining in through the window and falling on his face.
He sprang from bed with a cry almost of joy so bright was the day; and as he looked out of the window on the sparkling snow outside it seemed a new world.
All the morning Livingstone “rushed” as he had never “rushed” in the wildest excitement of “the street.” He had to find a banker and a lawyer and a policeman. But he found them all. He had to get presents to Sipkins and Hartly and the other clerks; but he managed to do it.
His servants, too, had caught the contagion, and more than once big wagons driven by smiling, cheery-faced men drove up to the door and unloaded their contents. And when the evening fell and a great sleigh with six seats and four horses, and every seat packed full, drove up and emptied its shouting occupants out at Livingstone’s door everything was ready.
It was Livingstone himself who met the guests at the door, and the driver, in his shaggy coat, must have been an old friend from the smiling way in which he nodded and waved his fur-gloved hands to him, as he helped Mrs. Clark out tenderly and took Kitty into his arms.