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Father Christmas
by [?]

“Jove, I should love that,” I said.” I mean HE would love that. Do you want much land for a house of that size? I know of a site on the nursery floor, but–well, of course, we could always have an iron building outside in the passage for the billiard table.”

We paid and moved off again.

“What are you mumbling about now?” I asked.

“I said you’ll only make the boy discontented with his present home if you teach him to build nothing but castles and ruined abbeys and things. And you WILL run to bulk. Half of those bricks would have made a very nice present for anybody.”

“Yes, and when royalty comes on a visit, where would you put them? They’d have to pig it in the box-room. If we’re going to have a palace, let’s have a good one.”

“Very well. What do your children hang up? Stockings or pillow-cases?”

We went downstairs again.

“Having provided for the engineer and the architect,” I said, “we now have to consider the gentleman in the dairy business. I want a milk-cart.”

“You want a milk-cart! You want a milk-cart! You want a–Why not have a brewer’s dray? Why not have something really heavy? The reindeer wouldn’t mind. They’ve been out every day this week, but they’d love it. What about a nice skating-rink? What about–“

I put him head downwards in my pocket and approached an official.

“Do you keep milk-carts?” I said diffidently.

He screwed up his face and thought.

“I could get you one,” he said.

“I don’t want you to build one specially for me. If they aren’t made, I expect it’s because mothers don’t like them. It was just an idea of mine.”

“Oh yes, they’re made. I can show a picture of one in our catalogue.”

He showed it to me. It was about the size of a perambulator, and contained every kind of can. I simply had to let Father Christmas see.

“Look at that!” I exclaimed in delight.

“Good lord!” he said, and dived into the pocket again.

I held him there tightly and finished my business with the official.

Father Christmas has never spoken since. Sometimes I wonder if he ever spoke at all, for one imagines strange things in the Children’s Shop. He stands now on my writing-table, and observes me with the friendly smile which has been so fixed a feature of his since I brought him home.