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Christmas Holidays at Merryvale

CHAPTER IX

CHRISTMAS MORNING

"Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!" shouted Toad.

It was seven o'clock and Chuck awoke with a start and looked around him.

"Merry Christmas," he answered, and both boys scrambled down to the foot of their beds to untie the stockings full to overflowing with candies, nuts, oranges and many small gifts.

"Oh!" cried Chuck, "see what I have," holding his stocking up by the foot and shaking the contents out on the bed. "A big knife, and a top, and some reals."

"So have I! By jinks, I'm glad to get the knife,—it's a beauty, three blades!"

Chuck, who by this time had a whole candy apple in his mouth, could only nod his head in reply.

"Let's hurry up and dress so we can go down to see the tree," proposed Toad. "I'll bet there will be lots more things for us down there," and this the boys hastened to do.

"Merry Christmas," greeted Mother Brown, a few minutes later, as the boys, now fully dressed, came to her door.

"Merry Christmas, boys," called their father from the hall below, as Mother Brown and the boys hurried downstairs.

As they entered the library the very first thing that met Toad's eyes was a beautiful new sled, much larger than the one he had given the night before to Michael O'Reilly.

"Oh, is that for me?" he cried in delight as he pounced upon it. "I didn't expect to get one."

"Yes, my son," answered his father, "it is for you."

"Oh, wait until Reddy sees this!" and Toad fairly hopped about in his delight.

Chuck was very much excited over a new building game, the very thing he had hoped for, but Toad hardly had time to look at his other gifts from his many aunts and uncles, so anxious was he to go out doors to try his new sled.

After breakfast Mother Brown helped him into his coat and found his mittens and cap, for they always seemed to run away and hide while Toad slept.

"Come on, Chuck!" he cried. "Aren't you coming out?"

"Nope, I'm going to see if I can build a derrick," was the reply, so Toad started off alone.

As he reached the hill down which most of the boys liked best to coast, he met Reddy, trudging along with his sled.

"Hey, Merry Christmas," he shouted. "Look at what Dad gave me!"

"Merry Christmas," answered Reddy. "Jingoes, that's a beauty!"

"Did you get the football you wanted?" he was asked.

"You bet I did, and a punching bag, too."

"Like the one in Daddy Williams' window?" inquired Toad.

"Just like it, and when you give it a punch, whack! it comes back at you, quick as a flash."

"What did Fat get?"

"Oh, a lot of books and a pair of ice skates," replied Reddy, "so he's gone over to White's pond to try them."

"Chuck got his building game; you know, the one he wanted, and he wouldn't come out," declared Toad in fine disgust. "He's making things with it."

"Who's that just starting?" and Reddy pointed up the long hill where some one was getting ready to coast down. "Well, if it isn't Mike O'Reilly!" he exclaimed,—"here ahead of us."

Then, as the sled with Mike lying flat on it shot past them, they greeted him with a shout.

"Hello," returned Mike, his face all aglow with joy, "look at what I got for Christmas."

"Bet you're glad now that you gave it to him," said Reddy as the two boys reached the top of the hill. "Let me go down with you the first trip?"

"You bet!" Toad assented.

"Merry Christmas," Reddy shouted, giving the sled a push from behind. "One, two, three, we're off," and down they flew.

"She's speedy, all right," he declared as the cold north wind stung his cheeks.

"And she steers like a bird," echoed Toad.

THE END


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