**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!

The Making Of A Christmas Story
by [?]



London at Yuletide!

A mantle of white lay upon the Embankment, where our story opens, gleaming and glistening as it caught the rays of the cold December sun; an embroidery of white fringed the trees; and under a canopy of white the proud palaces of Savoy and Cecil reared their silent heads. The mighty river in front was motionless, for the finger of Death had laid its icy hand upon it. Above–the hard blue sky stretching to eternity; below–the white purity of innocence. London in the grip of winter!

[EDITOR. Come, I like this. This is going to be good. A cold day, was it not?

AUTHOR. Very.]

All at once the quiet of the morning was disturbed. In the distance a bell rang out, sending a joyous paean to the heavens. Another took up the word, and then another, and another. Westminster caught the message from Bartholomew the son of Thunder, and flung it to Giles Without, who gave it gently to Andrew by the Wardrobe. Suddenly the air was filled with bells, all chanting together of peace and happiness, mirth and jollity–a frenzy of bells.

The Duke, father of four fine children, waking in his Highland castle, heard and smiled as he thought of his little ones….

The Merchant Prince, turning over in his Streatham residence, heard, and turned again to sleep, with love for all mankind in his heart….

The Pauper in his workhouse, up betimes, heard, and chuckled at the prospect of his Christmas dinner….

And, on the Embankment, Robert Hardrow, with a cynical smile on his lips, listened to the splendid irony of it.

[EDITOR. We really are getting to the story now, are we not? AUTHOR. That was all local colour. I want to make it quite clear that it was Christmas. EDITOR. Yes, yes, quite so. This is certainly a Christmas story. I think I shall like Robert, do you know?]

It was Christmas day, so much at least was clear to him. With that same cynical smile on his lips, he pulled his shivering rags about him, and half unconsciously felt at the growth of beard about his chin. Nobody would recognize him now. His friends (as he had thought them) would pass by without a glance for the poor outcast near them. The women that he had known would draw their skirts away from him in horror. Even Lady Alice–

Lady Alice! The cause of it all!

His thoughts flew back to that last scene, but twenty-four hours ago, when they had parted for ever. As he had entered the hall he had half wondered to himself if there could be anybody in the world that day happier than himself. Tall, well-connected, a vice-president of the Tariff Reform League, and engaged to the sweetest girl in England, he had been the envy of all. Little did he think that that very night he was to receive his conge! What mattered it now how or why they had quarrelled? A few hasty words, a bitter taunt, tears, and then the end.

A last cry from her–“Go, and let me never see your face again!”

A last sneer from him–“I will go, but first give me back the presents I have promised you!”

Then a slammed door and–silence.

What use, without her guidance, to try to keep straight any more? Bereft of her love, Robert had sunk steadily. Gambling, drink, morphia, billiards and cigars–he had taken to them all; until now in the wretched figure of the outcast on the Embankment you would never have recognized the once spruce figure of Handsome Hardrow.

[EDITOR. It all seems to have happened rather rapidly, does it not? Twenty-four hours ago he had been–AUTHOR. You forget that this is SHORT story.]

Handsome Hardow! How absurd it sounded now! He had let his beard grow, his clothes were in rags, a scar over one eye testified–