I’m sure I know what mine is, says POLLY, and then as she draws it out. Yes, it is: it’s a doll.
Why, Polly, cries JACK, it’s the very same doll that we—
Hush! says POLLY quickly. Yes, it’s the very same kind of a doll I asked for. See, Mother, she has a pink sash. Isn’t she lovely?
Now, Jack, says FATHER, I think it is your turn next. What is in that box of yours? Slate pencils, probably.
Slate pencils! says JACK, indignantly. You know I didn’t want slate pencils.
But are you sure you will get just what you want? asks FATHER.
Yes, indeed I am, answers JACK, pulling out the box and opening it, and there it is—a soldier. I knew it would be that, because I saw it when—
Hush! says POLLY quickly. Father, it is now your turn at last.
And I know all about mine, says FATHER. It is soft and squashy, so of course it’s a sponge. Now why do you suppose Santa Claus brought me a sponge? for my old one is quite good enough.
But it isn’t a sponge at all, cries JACK, who has been peeking into the little bundle.
Not a sponge? says FATHER. But what is it, then? He opens the paper. A pair of warm gloves, I declare—just what I need. Well, Santa Claus is a great old fellow, and no mistake.
Mother has been turning her head toward the window, as though she were listening to something, and now she says:
Hush! Is that singing that I hear, far away?
They all listen, and sure enough from some distance can be heard the sound of singing voices. The children, nodding their heads, show that they hear it.
What can it be? says MOTHER. Why, I know; it’s the Christmas Waits, of course, singing carols from house to house.
Oh, I wish they would sing in our street, cries POLLY, and runs to the window. Then she exclaims, There they are: they are coming around the corner.
The others all go toward the window, and JACK says delightedly. One of them has a fiddle. Oh, I do hope they will stop here.
Then outside the window the Christmas Waits can be seen, all in warm caps and mittens and mufflers. They stop just in front of the window, hold up their music before them, and begin to sing the dear old carol, called:
THE CAROL OF CHRISTMAS MORNING
God rest you merry, gentlemen,
Let nothing you dismay.
Remember Christ our Saviour
Was born on Christmas Day.
When the carol is finished, POLLY and JACK and MOTHER and FATHER wave to the Waits, and cry, Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!
And the WAITS wave back and cry: Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!