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February 25 , 2008

A Versailles Christmas-Tide


THE UNEXPECTED HAPPENS The Summons No project could have been less foreseen than was ours of wintering in France, though it must be confessed that for several months our thoughts had constantly strayed across the Channel. For the Boy was at school at Versailles, banished there by our desire to fulfil a parental duty. The time of separation had dragged tardily past, until one foggy December morning we awoke to the glad consciousness that that very evening the Boy would be with us again. Across the breakfast-table we kept saying to each Other, "It seems scarcely possible that the Boy is really coming home to-night," but all the while we hugged the assurance that it was. The Boy is an ordinary snub-nosed, shock-headed urchin of thirteen, with no special claim to distinction save the negative one of being an only child. Yet without his cheerful presence our home seemed empty and dull. Any attempts at merry-making failed to restore its life. Now all was agog for his return. The house was in its most festive trim. Christmas presents were hidden securely away. There was rejoicing downstairs as well as up: the larder shelves were stored with seasonable fare, and every bit of copper and brass sparkled a welcome. Even the kitchen cat sported a ribbon, and had a specially energetic purr ready
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