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A Captured Santa Claus by Thomas Nelson Page

Produced by Al Haines

[Illustration: Cover art]

[Frontispiece: Over Evelyn he bent silently.]

A CAPTURED

SANTA CLAUS

BY

THOMAS NELSON PAGE

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY

W. L. JACOBS

CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS

NEW YORK

1902

COPYRIGHT, 1891, 1902, BY

CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS

Published, October, 1902

CONTENTS

I. CHRISTMAS AT HOLLY HILL II. MAJOR STAFFORD COMES HOME III. MAJOR STAFFORD GETS THE CHRISTMAS PRESENTS IV. THE BOYS LEARN SOMETHING OF WAR V. THE SPY VI. SANTA CLAUS PASSES THE LINES VII. BOB SECURES A UNIFORM VIII. SANTA CLAUS SURRENDERS

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

Over Evelyn he bent silently . . . . . . . . . . . . _Frontispiece_

The Major's Christmas presents

Bob trotted around, keeping as far away from the camp-fires as possible

"I'm goin' to get my papa," said the tiny swordsman

A CAPTURED SANTA CLAUS

I

CHRISTMAS AT HOLLY HILL

Holly Hill was a place for Christmas! Holly Hill, the old rambling Stratford homestead in Virginia, on its high hill, looking down the long slope and across the wide fields to the far woods rimming the sky. From Bob, the veteran, within a month of his teens, down to brown-eyed Evelyn, with her golden hair floating all around her, when Christmas came everyone hung up a stocking, and the visit of Santa Claus was the event of the year.

They went to sleep the night before Christmas--or rather they went to bed, for sleep was long far from their bright eyes--with delightful expectations and thrills along their backs, and with little squeakings and gurglings, like so many little white mice, and if Santa Claus had not always been so very prompt in disappearing up the chimney before daybreak he must certainly have been caught. For by the time the chickens were crowing in the morning there would be an answering twitter through the house, and with a patter of little feet and subdued laughter small, white-clad figures would steal through the dim light of dusky rooms and cold passages, opening doors with sudden bursts, and shouting "Christmas gift!" into darkened chambers, at still sleeping elders. Then they would scurry away in the gray light to rake open the hickory embers and revel in the exploration of their bulging, overcrowded stockings. Not Columbus was to be envied when those discoveries were being made. What was a new world to those treasures! The thrill of the new jack-knife remains after forty years--it had four blades, each worth a province. Envy Columbus? Perish the thought!


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