Scissors hid among scraps of waste material, and on request were searched for by very young girls whose apparent business was to supply the sewing-machines with cut-out and basted-up garments, to fold and stack the finished things according to kind, and to knit wildly at intervals on immense stockings with singularly long feet which clearly could suit no one but Santa Claus.
"I'll take this, and this, and this," she went on, rapidly choosing, "and these, and these, and this. I'll take those four for a friend of mine who is going to be married next week this solves the eternal problem of wedding-presents and all of these for next Santa Claus time. "I can use all the handkerchiefs, and every pin-cushion cover and corsage-pad you've made.
The golden rule is an axiom of the most ancient wisdom. These are bewildering speculations as we stroll along Fourteenth Street and loiter in Twenty-third Street, which, at the holiday season, have especially the aspect of a fair or a fascinating bazaar. The whole world is tributary to Santa Claus.
They saw the red, perspiring face of the fat boy above a clump of grass, his yells for help continuing, unabated. "What is it?" shouted the guide. "I've got it, Santa Claus! I've got it!" "Got what?" roared the Professor. "The stick! I mean it's got me. Help! Help!" Stacy was wrestling about as if engaged in combat with some enemy.
"You look just like a woolly worm, Helen," said Zaidee, gleefully. "You're all fuzzy with sawdust. Lie down and I'll bury you all up." Helen obediently sat down, and Zaidee heaped a yellow mound over her. "You're like a yellow Santa Claus," cried Zaidee, as Helen emerged, presently, somewhat smothered. "Now, bury me!"
He laid the rescued child on the hearth, and brushing away the snow he discovered it to be Weekum, a little boy who lived in a house beyond the Valley. Claus wrapped a warm blanket around the little one and rubbed the frost from its limbs. Before long the child opened his eyes and, seeing where he was, smiled happily.
This was her great adventure. She was like a timid child, enraptured at sight of its first tinseled Christmas tree; to have that ecstacy spoiled, to see the girl's tenderest sensibilities wounded by a haughty clerk, enraged the man who played Santa Claus. Abruptly he resumed charge of the Briskow purchases, and it gave him a pang to note how Allegheny ran to him with her hurt, as it were.
Now that I have heard their voices, all the beauty of Bret Harte is being ruined for me, because I find myself catching through the roll of his rhythmical prose the cadence of his peculiar fatherland. Get an American lady to read to you "How Santa Claus Came to Simpson's Bar," and see how much is, under her tongue, left of the beauty of the original. But I am sorry for Bret Harte.
"His honour rooted in dishonour stood, And faith unfaithful kept him falsely true." Asako was glad on the whole that she had no visitors. The Fujinami were busy with their New Year preparations. Christmas Day passed by, unheeded by the Japanese, though the personality and appearance of Santa Claus are not unknown to them.
"Oh, there's not much fear of that," he replied; still he put a large stone into the bag, and then tied it tightly, and gave it a push. "Plump!" In went Great Claus, and immediately sank to the bottom of the river. "I'm afraid he will not find any cattle," said Little Claus, and then he drove his own beasts homewards.