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The San Francisco call. (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, January 08, 1911, Image 6

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IT was pretty hard. Cicily Rand.ill
murmured to. herself as she stood
looking out of the window of the big
-hotel into brilliant,* busy Fifth avenue,
it was pretty hard to be away from
home on Christmas day without a
single brother or sister or mother or
father or Christmas'tree or anything
to make Christmas day worth while.
"And without a single .friend, too. I
never thought I'd be alone without, a
friend on Christmas day." '. '_-...■
She pressed her nose against the pane
..this'time, .although the governess had
told her that X was not at all polite to
. do'this,'but,' big girl as she was, almost;"
13, she felt that the tears were very
near, the surface and "she didn't want ;
• Miss Monk to know that she was cry
ing because she couldn't be at home for
She was here in New York to stay .
;- until after Christmas, Just because
Greataunt Truesdale, for whom she
was,, named, and J"who had been, papa's
.-,' faithful second mother when his own
mamma died, had chosen to sail for'
Europe on the day after Christmas and
had! particularly requested that Cicily.
her favorite, should be detained in .
New York for a day or two so that she
might bid goodby to her greataunt be
fore going down to New Orleans for. the
holidays. 'Greataunt-Truesdale wasn't
due from her western home until
Christmas night and Cicily's Boston
school had 'begun its '. Christmas holi
days two - days before, so that Miss
Monk had come up from New Orleans
to meet her and there they were,
penned up together for Christmas day.'
Cicily's vision was blurred for an in
stant, but when she brushed the tears
out of her eyes the blur was still there,
and as it was a bright Christmas morn
ing she was sure there:was something
odd '.about this. "Then she discovered
that it wasn't *a' blur at all: It was an ■
object hanging outside the window that
darkened the glass. Cicily looked at
"" It -in '" wonder. No, she could not be
mistaken: the. dangling object that had
appeared so unexpectedly was certainly
a stocking, a red stocking andj a long
" 'one.;.;CicilyI,wasi sure It was the llong«
--est. stocking'she had ever ; seen. •".'
Cicily laughed; she couldn't help
the stocking was such a ridiculous af
fair, so full of bulging packages that it
looked like a string of large bumps.
i "Oh. Miss» Monk, ■< look," cried Cicily.
"May I • see what •it is?" ' Miss ' Monk
. was •so busy - with' her time table . that,'
she didn't quite hear what was said, so
she murmured' an absent- minded "yes,
„ dear,*.', and Cicily opened the window
- I and '■'■ began pulling in ~ the monstrous
>'^r!;It was very heavy, so heavy, that she
could scarcely get it Into the room. :. For :
a moment she was not quite sure that;
V. it was.meant; for her,V but >on looking
at it more closely she saw, a large card,
"For the little girl in red." A Cicily.
glanced . at; her '. frock, : and knew that
there could be :no doubt . for whom it
was meant.'; '^BSSSM^fBOBfBSBSSBfOS^X,
\As she ■ took,; firm hold of the stock
ing the strong cord by which it. was
- suspended from above Loosened, so that
. (""icily was f left with ; the stocking in
her I arms,' i, She glanced .up with an
idea of I catching > a glimpse of the, un
expected SantaiClaus, 1, but nothing,was
:! to be seen but the facade of the hotel. «
.-,-' with: its rows of window boxes towering !
' far« up into the aky. Cicily drew the
stocking Into the room and straightway
i. started ;to examine ; its •'contents.!.,
. First, in the very top of the stocking
there was va.- bunch of mistletoe 4and
holly. Then came a most fascinating
round package, .! which ; dolly ;•; un
, wrapped, trembling j!:; meanwhile .with
i' excitement. The package contained a
beautiful rosy apple, not a Veal one but
a perfect imitation.,! There was a box
concealed';', in' the- middle- of '.the apple,
and in the box Cicily' found 'a.' beauti
ful cake ..covered with "chocolate on
which was a large white T. Cicily
. looked, at 'it,!; wonderingly. .She was
'. used \ to ! mysteries, because! the Randall
home' was • full of rthemv at 1 Christmas
time," so she' knew that the T had some
meaning which she must try hard" to
"n.* The "next, package was even more at
tractive in" its gold and scarlet wrap
pings, and Cicily ? undid it k; hastily. It
contained: a" beautiful yellow pear, not
■■' a \ real \ one but \ an imitation like .the
apple, and in the i box '.which the pear
concealed Cicily; another choco
late cake,icedi with the letter E.
"..More, and more letters tumbled out
of;that remarkable stocking. - r Some of
them;appeared; in white Icing'on choc
olate - colored cake,; some marked out
by red candies on white, iced '«cakes,
and V some: appeared *in various colored
• icing on a yellow ground. They were
inclosed Cm:!; fruit and animal boxes,
plum puddings, miniature trunks,"mu
sical vlnstruments 'in.". gold ;'■ and silver,
aeroplanes "; of several varieties, bright
colored 'boxes in silk and satin* and
..'■ . _•-.'■
tiny pieces of. dolls' furniture. Some
of the !. letters • even appeared in little
boxes hid. in the widespreading skirts
of tiny dolls, but whatever appeared at
first glance it was sure to disclose in
time a box concealed adroitly, and In
this box examination Invariably re
vealed a little cake with a letter on it.
The stocking -was exciting enough in
itself, but when she saw the contents
of several of the boxes Cicily became
convinced that she was on the track of
something even more interesting, so she
hurried as fast as she could to get hold
of all the letters that . were in the
stocking.. When. the last box had been
opened and the floor space around her
was strewn;with the bright contents of
the stocking Cicily saw, that she had
these letters, ' which she arranged . ac
cording to ; the colors, into the follow
ing .'groups:
' Odro-og-to-het-der.
Miss; Monk,' who had been sitting
quietly in the other end of'the-large
room, suddenly ■ became aware that
something was going on in Cicily's cor,
ner that was quite unusual. .
"What are you doing. Cicily?" she
demanded,,coming over to see and ut
tering, a series of astonished exclama
tions on her way. "What in the world
have you got there?",-\
She looked even more astonished
when Cicily explained how the stocking
had ,* come through the window 'and
about the letters that." were hidden, in
It. Even Miss Monk became a little ex
cited ; when she saw i: the collection ,of
bright objects that had come out of the
stocking, 'and there" was a : little pink
glow in her cheeks as she looked care
fully over the letters;with Cicily.
"I do:believe that it's a message of
some sort which you are bound to make
out for yourself," said the governess
finally, with an air of keen discernment.
". "I til ink so v \ too. Miss Monk," said
Cicily politely. She did not, tell the
governess that the fact was perfectly
obvious,;for she knew that Miss Monk
was! always bewildered by puzzles; '«,':*;<
"It's very difficult," said Miss Monk.
, Cicily ' smiled demurely. Then "she
reached out and changed the little cakes
with their bright letters around a little.
; The , message then; read':
■ "Odor-go- to-the-red."
- She was interrupted by a shrill little
cry from Miss Monk and,;looking down,'
saw the ; governess "had J; arranged the
letters In the following order:
i "Go to ;the, red door.',' * ' ;'.-■-,
Cicily embraced the governess excit
edly. ; "Oh, 'you dear ' thing!"" she .' cried.
"Of course i that's,' It. Wasn't; I * stupid!
The' red door..and it must be in! the ho
tel,; because if it, were outside it would
certainly',name, the - street.",: She : ran
quickly to the door, followed ■by Miss
Monk, who,was now quite as interested
as s;herself, and, after locking the door
carefully,"l the two started on a quest for
the red door.
There were certainly,no red doors on
the corridor. ' A hasty glance up! and
convinced them, that all the doors
within sight were ivory white.'" ; 'At .the
farther end of;the corridor sat a young
lady! clerk, who,took charge of; all the
messages that were sent 'up .'to * the
rooms by visitors. Cicily and Miss Monk
approached. this young lady, and Cicily
asked breathlessly:
;'. "Oh, I beg your;pardon, but could you
possibly; tell us where there Is a rod
door In this hotel?" ;.I&Bfß&tE9s&&tßt£Bz
The young lady,was.used to strange
demands from the guests of the hotel,
so "she! merely-stared a little more pro
nouncedly than usual;at Cicily and sail
politely: "I don't know, but I can In
quire from the clerk in the office."
She-picked up 'a' telephone ' and re
peated " Cicily's " question^: to -; the : clerk
down" stairs and then she listened for
quite a long time, while a rather pleas
ant; expression appeared-on her digni
fied i countenance. ; ■
i "They're not quite sure,", she said
finally, "but they think that If you go
down to the second floor in the elevator
an.l . inquire along the corridor they
may be able to -11 you,where the red
door is."
Cicily and Miss Monk started for the
elevator in a walk that was so quick
that even in Miss Monk's case it de
veloped, almost into • a run, and in a
moment they "were on * board the ele
vator being quickly wafted to the sec
ond floor.
"It's rather odd," said Miss Monk,
"it really is rather odd to, ask us to
inquire along the corridor. I*should
really have supposed that a; bellboy or
a maid would have been sent with us,"
They were walking along the cor
ridor by this time, and as If in answer
to Miss Monk's remarks at this very
moment what at first glance appeared
to be a bellboy came into view from
around a bend. .
('icily and Miss Monk stopped short
• and. looked at ■ this ■: personage In sheer
amazement, for if it were a bellboy he
was the strangest one they had "ever
"seen. - .'-.' *..■ ■-
He wore a. uniform like the other
bellboys, but in reality he was not a
boy at all, he was ' a bird, a gigantic
bird with a befeathered head and a
beaked face like any other bird and
clawlike feet, which came out from
beyond his green uniform. Cicily was
the.first to recover from her astonish
ment. .This ; she felt at; once must be
the person who would tell'them where
the red door was. '
For a moment Miss Monk hesitated,
but Cicily drew her along and pres
ently they came up to the bird bellboy.
"Certainly, miss." said the bird po
litely in a high shrill voice when Cicily
told him what she wanted. "We have
a great .' many red doors, in stock.
Which one Wbtthl you like?"
This was a poser, and Cicily looked
quite bewildered until Miss Monk came
to the rescue. -..■■
"We'll try them all." she said with
"Certainly, madame." said the bird
bellboy, as any well bred bellboy would
have done, and ho turned 1 and led the
way in an. opposite, direction, from the
way they had been going.
", Presently they turned, off -the main
corridor : into .a much ; narrower one,
which seemed a great deal less expen
sive and luxurious than the other parts
of the hotel .which "they had seen.
Now, as she looked at him he waved his
wing around in a comprehensive sweep-'
ing fashion. ; "There they are," he said
complacently. . - . _ -vi,-"'.'■*.
Miss) Monk and Cicily stared at him.
It was all. so strange that Cicily .was
prepared not to be astonished at any
thing, but '.Miss Monk said sharply,
"There. what are?" >-,
• "The * red,-doors," said the bellboy,
"pointing to the doors along the corri
dor. "Don't you see them?" ,'-,
'.'Why.: those ;doors aren't red; they
are green," declared ; Miss Monk and
Cicily in one breath.
V , They could, not-help feeling a little
cross ; at * the bird bellboy, ami they
were, just about to tell him that he
must not be; facetious, at their expense
when ' • they 'were, interrupted .by, a loud
chuckle, arid turned to see that a very
strange looking person had come softly
up behind them.
,* "Well," that's' good." said the new
comer with another chuckle. ""Poor
old Birdie didn't -know which. was
which.. You ' see, he's absolutely color
blind .because he's a snowbird, and
looking so much at all that white has
hurt his eyesight. He never-can tell
red from green. Indeed, I find it pret
ty hard to do so myself. -The wo col
ors are pretty;much alike."
ClCily would ' have liked" to tell this
person that she didn't think red and
green were at all alike, but she was so
interested in finding out what he was
like himself that she said nothing. He
was a four -footed creature, with a
brown soft coat like a deer, arid very
remarkable horns, in. which some scar
let ribbon an.l bells were twined.
There was nothing unusual about his
looks If you considered hint as a crea
ture of the forests, except that ho wore
upon his forehead in front of his horns
a little cap, which was fastened with
a rubber band and which bore the word
"Porter" in as large letters as it would
accommodate." , :'"y -'•*".
"I've just been taking up some boxes
for the room with the red door.** ex
plained this porter, "and I'd be very
glad to show you the way there."
They had hardly gotten off the ele
vator before the reindeer' began to go
like mad down the corridor. It seemed
to Cicily that he must be an elderly
reindeer or perhaps he was not used
to traveling on anything but ice. and
snow, because. lie got over the ground
very awkwardly when , he tried to go
fast. Nevertheless, he made good speed
and Cicily and Miss Monk and the
snowbird followed him eagerly.
Suddenly they turned sharply around
the corner and there, sure enough- was
a red door. It was the reddest door she
had ever aeon, Cicily thought, and she
was quite sure it "was a" very, unusual
color. for a door. The reindeer made
Straight for it, and as Cicily followed
him she heard a'strange and attractive
gurgle behind the red door. ' What it
was she could not just at the moment
remember,* she was so excited over
what was happening, but she was per
fectly certain that she had heard the
noise before.
The reindeer reached the door first
and knocked with his horns, ('icily and
Miss Monk were so Interested that they
could scarcely wait for those within to
answer. They were not required to be
patient very long, however, because
as soon as the reindeer knocked there
was a rustling sound within and the
door flew open.
Cicily and Miss Monk drew back In
amazement, for, whatever else they had
expected, they had never for on.
dreamed of the sight that then and
there met their astonished eyes, for
there, in a very large room, which was
full of Christmas just as full as a
Christmas tree filled with bright
things, and all manner of Christmas
trimmings could make It—there were
the Randall family drawn up in line
to welcome them, the Randall family
from New < Orleans, with ; all their
Christmas stockings in their arms, and
black Nancy, beaming all over with
Christmas smiles, holding the .baby,
who was gurgling away in the de
lightful manner that was, In the opin
ion of the Randall family, sacred to
that baby alone.
Cicily gave a wild rush and caught
her mother in her arms. "Oh!" she
cried, "it doesn't seem possible that
you are all here for Christmas day
—and she looked around the smil
ing circle—"all but Tom and Cousin
Ned and Uncle Marius."
,But just at this moment she was
confronted by two other smiling faces
that looked at her, one from over the
,top of a' queer, s feathery mass, which
seemed very much like the discarded
plumage of the bird" bellboy, and the
other, which grinned up at her from
under a pair of branching antlers.
"Cousin (fed and Tom!", gasped CI
cily, "and I never dreamed it was you.
I thought It must be just some one in
the hotel, and now." she added happily.
"every one of us is here.every one but
Uncle Marius, and I suppose he couldn't
get away,"
She. was interrupted by a knock at
the door and there stood a very nice
looking person, who was just, the sort
of uncle that any girl would like to
have. - . -. < -
"Oh, Uncle Marius:" cried Cicily.
whereupon the nice looking person re
plied in a cosy, comfortable voice:
'■Poor old Santa, \he couldn't get here
before. Because he has been so awfully
knocked about* that he was obliged to
take a long nap."
"You Bee,'*. explained Cicily's brother
Tom, coming, hastily out of his bellboy
disguise, "we weren't-going to let you
have Christmas lip here all by yourself,
even if Greataunt ".Truesdale; did have
to see you just before she sailed," and so
here we are, the whole kit and kaboodle
of the Randalls, with all their Christ
mas fixings. We fixed it up with the
hotel people, and we did just what we
pleased at this jolly old place since we
got here yesterday afternoon, ; And
"haven't we hustled? Well, I guess;
You know that snowbird disguises tot
antlers for reindeer don't grow on
every, bush. We meant to ; have the
stocking ready-at your bedside when
you waked up this morning, but we got
a room right' over yours, so we dan
gled It down at you instead, and 1 must
say you bit beautifully."
Cicily found the mystery clearing up
gradually, and she bestowed a Christ
mas hug on her brother Tom and one
on Cousin Ned, which' they, expressly
stipulated that they forgave in honor
of the day.
"And now," said her father, "for the
Christmas merry go round and then for '
the , stocking emptying," whereupon
every Randall seized hold of every
other Randall and they danced around
the Christmas tree until they ..were ex
hausted,- And fun! Well, if you ever
want to know which the Randalls con
sider to have been after all the fun-,
niest Christmas they ever had, just ask •
them and they will respond, one and
all, from father to the baby, "Our hotel
Christmas." * ■ .

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