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Jack Frost And Sons
by [?]

One year in the last quarter of the present century John Frost, Esquire, of Arctic Hall, paid an unusually long visit to the British Islands.

John, or Jack, Frost, as he was familiarly called by those who did not fear him, was a powerful fellow; an amazingly active, vigorous, self-willed fellow, whom it was difficult to resist, and, in some circumstances, quite impossible to overcome.

Jack was a giant. Indeed, it is not improbable that he was also a “giant-killer,”–an insolent, self-assertive, cold-hearted giant, who swaggered with equal freedom into the palaces of the rich and the cottages of the poor; but he did not by any means meet with the same reception everywhere.

In palaces and mansions he was usually met in the entrance hall by a sturdy footman who kicked him out and slammed the door in his face, while in cottages and lowly dwellings he was so feebly opposed that he gained entrance easily–for he was a bullying shameless fellow, who forced his way wherever he could–and was induced to quit only after much remonstrance and persuasion, and even then, he usually left an unpleasant flavour of his visit behind him.

But there were some abodes in which our hero met with no opposition at all, where the inmates scarcely made any attempt to keep him out, but remained still and trembled, or moaned feebly, while he walked in and sat down beside them.

Jack was somewhat of a deceiver too. He had, for the most part, a bright, beaming, jovial outward aspect, which made the bitter coldness of his heart all the more terrible by contrast. He was most deadly in his feelings in calm weather, but there were occasions when he took pleasure in sallying forth accompanied by his like-minded sons, Colonel Wind and Major Snow. And it was a tremendous sight, that few people cared to see except through windows, when those three, arm-in-arm, went swaggering through the land together.

One Christmas morning, at the time we write of, Jack and his two sons went careering, in a happy-go-lucky sort of way, along the London streets towards the “west end,” blinding people’s eyes as they went, reversing umbrellas, overturning old women, causing young men to stagger, and treating hats in general as if they had been black footballs. Turning into Saint James’s Park they rushed at the royal palace, but, finding that edifice securely guarded from basement to roof-tree, they turned round, and, with fearless audacity, assaulted the Admiralty and the Horse-Guards–taking a shot at the clubs in passing. It need scarcely be recorded that they made no impression whatever on those centres of wealth and power.

Undismayed–for Jack and his sons knew nothing either of fear or favour–they went careering westward until they came to a palatial mansion, at the half-open front door of which a pretty servant girl stood peeping out. It was early. Perhaps she was looking for the milkman–possibly for the policeman. With that quick perception which characterises men of war, Major Snow saw and seized his opportunity. Dashing forward he sprang into the hall. Colonel Wind, not a whit less prompt, burst the door wide open, and the three assailants tumbled over each other as they took possession of the outworks of the mansion.

But “Jeames” was not far distant. The screams of Mary drew him forth, he leaped into the hall, drove out the intruders, and shut the door with a crash, but with no further damage to the foe than the snipping off part of Major Snow’s tails, which Mary swept up into a dust shovel and deposited in the coal-hole, or some such dark region below.

Our trio possessed neither fear nor pride. They were also destitute of taste, and had no respect for persons. Treating their repulse as a good joke, they turned round and went hilariously along the Strand, embracing every one they met, young and old, rich and poor, pretty and plain, with pointed impartiality, until they reached the City. There we will leave them to revel amongst the poor, while we return to the mansion at the west end.