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´╗┐Title: A Defective Santa Claus
Author: Riley, James Whitcomb, 1849-1916
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.


*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Defective Santa Claus" ***


[Illustration]



A Defective Santa Claus



[Illustration]



A Defective Santa Claus

JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY

_With Pictures by_

C. M. RELYEA

_and_

WILL VAWTER


  INDIANAPOLIS
  THE BOBBS-MERRILL COMPANY
  PUBLISHERS



  Copyright 1904
  James Whitcomb Riley

  *     *     *     *     *

  December

  PRESS OF
  BRAUNWORTH & CO.
  BOOKBINDERS AND PRINTERS
  BROOKLYN, N. Y.



_DEDICATION_

  _To_

  HEWITT HANSON HOWLAND

  WITH HALEST CHRISTMAS GREETINGS
  AND FRATERNAL


  _Little Boy! Halloo!--halloo!
    Can't you hear me calling you?--
  Little Boy that used to be,
    Come in here and play with me._



A Defective Santa Claus

[Illustration]



A Defective Santa Claus


  Allus when our Pa he's away
  Nen Uncle Sidney comes to stay
  At our house here--so Ma an' me
  An' Etty an' Lee-Bob won't be
  Afeard ef anything at night
  Might happen--like Ma says it might.

  (Ef _Trip_ wuz _big_, I bet you he
  'Uz best watch-dog you ever see!)
  An' so last winter--ist before
  It's go' be Chris'mus-Day,--w'y, shore
  Enough, Pa had to haf to go
  To 'tend a lawsuit--"An' the snow
  Ist right fer Santy Claus!" Pa said,
  As he clumb in old Ayersuz' sled,
  An' said he's sorry _he_ can't be
  With us that night--"'Cause," he-says-ee,
  "Old Santy _might_ be comin' here--
  This very night of all the year

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

  _I'_ got to be away!--so all
  You kids must tell him--ef he call--
  He's mighty welcome, an' yer Pa
  He left his love with you an' Ma

  An' Uncle Sid!" An' clucked, an' leant
  Back, laughin'--an' away they went!
  An' Uncle wave' his hands an' yells
  "Yer old horse ort to have on bells!"
  But Pa yell back an' laugh an' say
  "I 'spect when _Santy_ come this way
  It's time enough fer sleighbells nen!"
  An' holler back "Good-by!" again,
  An' reach out with the driver's whip
  An' cut behind an' drive back Trip.

  An' so all day it snowed an' snowed!
  An' Lee-Bob he ist watched the road,

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

  In his high-chair; an' Etty she
  U'd play with Uncle Sid an' me--
  Like she wuz he'ppin' fetch in wood
  An' keepin' old fire goin' good,

  Where Ma she wuz a-cookin' there
  An' kitchen, too, an' ever'where!
  An' Uncle say, "'At's ist the way
  Yer Ma's b'en workin', night an' day,
  Sence she hain't big as Etty is
  Er Lee-Bob in that chair o' his!"
  Nen Ma she'd laugh 't what Uncle said,
  An' smack an' smoove his old bald head
  An' say "Clear out the way till I
  Can keep that pot from b'ilin' dry!"
  Nen Uncle, when she's gone back to
  The kitchen, says, "We _ust_ to do

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

  Some cookin' in the _ashes_.--_Say_,
  S'posin' we try some, thataway!"
  An' nen he send us to tell Ma
  Send two big 'taters in he saw

  Pa's b'en a-keepin' 'cause they got
  The premiun at the Fair. An' what
  You think?--He rake a grea'-big hole
  In the hot ashes, an' he roll
  Them old big 'taters in the place
  An' rake the coals back--an' his face
  Ist swettin' so's he purt'-nigh swear
  'Cause it's so hot! An' when they're there
  'Bout time 'at we fergit 'em, he
  Ist rake 'em out again--an' _gee_!--
  He bu'st 'em with his fist wite on
  A' old stove-led, while Etty's gone

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

  To git the salt, an' butter, too--
  Ist like he said she haf to do,
  No matter what _Ma_ say! An' so
  He salt an' butter 'em, an' blow

  'Em cool enough fer us to eat--
  An' _me_-o-_my_! they're hard to beat!
  An' Trip 'ud ist lay there an' pant
  Like he'd laugh _out loud_, but he can't.
  Nen Uncle fill his pipe--an' we
  'Ud he'p him light it--Sis an' me,--
  But mostly little Lee-Bob, 'cause
  "He's the best _Lighter_ ever wuz!"
  Like Uncle telled him wunst when Lee-
  Bob cried an' jerked the light from me,
  He wuz so mad! So Uncle pat
  An' pet him. (Lee-Bob's ust to that--

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

  'Cause he's the _little_-est, you know,
  An' allus has b'en humored so!)
  Nen Uncle gits the flat-arn out,
  An', while he's tellin' us all 'bout

  Old Chris'mus-times when _he's_ a kid,
  He ist cracked hickernuts, he did,
  Till they's a crockful, mighty nigh!
  An' when they're all done by an' by,
  He raked the red coals out again
  An' telled me, "Fetch that popcorn in,
  An' old three-leggud skillut--an'
  The _led_ an' all now, little man,--
  An' yer old Uncle here 'ull show
  You how corn's popped, long years ago
  When me an' Santy Claus wuz boys
  On Pap's old place in Illinoise!--

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

  An' your Pa, too, wuz chums, all through,
  With Santy!--Wisht Pa'd be here, too!"
  Nen Uncle sigh at Ma, an' she
  Pat him again, an' say to me

  An' Etty,--"You take warning fair!--
  Don't talk too much, like Uncle there,
  Ner don't fergit, like _him_, my dears,
  That 'little pitchers has big ears!'"
  But Uncle say to her, "Clear out!--
  Yer brother knows what he's about.--
  _You_ git your Chris'mus-cookin' done
  Er these pore childern won't have none!"
  Nen Trip wake up an' raise, an' nen
  Turn roun' an' nen lay down again.
  An' one time Uncle Sidney say,--
  "When dogs is sleepin' thataway,

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

  Like Trip, an' _whimpers_, it's a sign
  He'll ketch _eight_ rabbits--mayby _nine_--
  Afore his fleas'll wake him--nen
  He'll bite hisse'f to sleep again

  An _try_ to dream he's go' ketch _ten_."
  An' when Ma's gone again back in
  The kitchen, Uncle scratch his chin
  An' say, "When Santy Claus an' Pa
  An' me wuz little boys--an' Ma,
  When she's 'bout big as Etty there;--
  W'y,--'When we're _growed_--no matter _where_,'
  Santy he cross' his heart an' say,--
  'I'll come to see you, all, some day
  When _you'_ got childerns--all but me
  An' pore old Sid!'" Nen Uncle he
  Ist kindo' shade his eyes an' pour'

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

  'Bout forty-'leven bushels more
  O' popcorn out the skillut there
  In Ma's new basket on the chair.
  An' nen he telled us--an' talk' low,

  "So Ma can't hear," he say:--"You know
  Yer _Pa_ know', when he drived away,
  Tomorry's go' be Chris'mus-_Day_;--
  Well, nen _tonight_," he whisper, "see?--
  It's go' be Chris'mus-_Eve_," says-ee,
  "An', like yer Pa hint, when he went,
  Old Santy Claus (now hush!) he's sent
  Yer Pa a postul-card, an' write
  He's shorely go' be here tonight....
  That's why yer Pa's so bored to be
  _Away_ tonight, when Santy he
  Is go' be here, sleighbells an' all,

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

  To make you kids a Chris'mus-call!"
  An' we're so glad to know _fer shore_
  He's comin', I roll on the floor--
  An' here come Trip a-waller'n' roun'

  An' purt'-nigh knock the clo'eshorse down!--
  An' Etty grab Lee-Bob an' prance
  All roun' the room like it's a dance--
  Till Ma she come an' march us nen
  To dinner, where we're _still_ again,
  But _tickled_ so we ist can't eat
  But pie, an' ist the hot mincemeat
  With raisins in.--But _Uncle_ et,
  An' _Ma_. An' there they set an' set
  Till purt'-nigh supper-time; nen we
  Tell him he's got to fix the Tree
  'Fore _Santy_ gits here, like he said.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

  We go nen to the old woodshed--
  All bundled up, through the deep snow--
  "An' snowin' yet, _jee-rooshy-O_!"
  Uncle he said, an' he'p us wade

  Back where's the Chris'mus-Tree he's made
  Out of a little jackoak-top
  He git down at the sawmill-shop--
  An' Trip 'ud run ahead, you know,
  An' 'tend-like he 'uz _eatin'_ snow--
  When we all waddle back with it;
  An' Uncle set it up--an' git
  It wite in front the fireplace--'cause
  He says "'Tain't _so_ 'at Santy Claus
  Comes down _all_ chimblies,--least, tonight
  He's comin' in _this_ house all right--
  By the front-door, as ort to be!--

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

  We'll all be hid where we can _see_!"
  Nen he look up, an' he see Ma
  An' say, "It's ist too bad their _Pa_
  Can't be here, so's to see the fun

  The childern _will_ have, ever' one!"
  Well, _we_!--We hardly couldn't wait
  Till it wuz dusk, an' dark an' late
  Enough to light the lamp!--An' Lee-
  Bob light a candle on the Tree--
  "Ist _one_--'cause I'm 'The Lighter'!"--Nen
  He clumb on Uncle's knee again
  An' hug us _bofe_;--an' Etty git
  Her little chist an' set on it
  Wite clos't, while Uncle telled some more
  'Bout Santy Claus, an' clo'es he wore
  "_All maked o' furs, an' trimmed as white_

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

  _As cotton is, er snow at night_!"
  An' nen, all sudden-like, he say,--
  "_Hush! Listen there! Hain't that a sleigh
  An' sleighbells jinglin'_?" Trip go "_whooh_!"

  Like _he_ hear bells an' _smell_ 'em, too.
  Nen we all listen.... An'-sir, shore
  Enough, we hear bells--more an' more
  A-jinglin' clos'ter--clos'ter still
  Down the old crook-road roun' the hill.
  An' Uncle he jumps up, an' all
  The chairs he jerks back by the wall
  An' th'ows a' overcoat an' pair
  O' winder-curtains over there
  An' says, "_Hide quick, er you're too late!--
  Them bells is stoppin' at the gate!--
  Git back o' them-'air chairs an' hide_,

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

  _'Cause I hear Santy's voice outside_!"
  An' _Bang! bang! bang!_ we heerd the door--
  Nen it flewed open, an' the floor
  Blowed full o' snow--that's _first_ we saw,

  Till little Lee-Bob shriek' at Ma
  "_There's Santy Claus!--I know him by
  His big white mufftash!_"--an' ist cry
  An' laugh an' _squeal_ an' dance an' _yell_--
  Till, when he quiet down a spell,
  Old Santy bow an' th'ow a kiss
  To him--an' one to me an' Sis--
  An' nen go _clos't_ to Ma an' stoop
  An' kiss her--An' nen give a whoop
  That _fainted_ her!--'Cause when he bent
  An' kiss her, he ist backed an' went
  Wite 'ginst the Chris'mus-Tree ist where

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

  The candle's at Lee-Bob lit there!--
  An' set his white-fur belt afire--
  An' blaze streaked roun' his waist an' higher
  Wite up his old white beard an' th'oat!--

  Nen Uncle grabs th' old overcoat
  An' flops it over Santy's head,
  An' swing the door wide back an' said,
  "Come out, old man!--an' _quick_ about
  It!--I've ist _got_ to put you out!"
  An' out he sprawled him in the snow--
  "Now _roll_!" he says--"_Hi-roll-ee-O_!"--
  An' Santy, sputter'n' "_Ouch! Gee-whiz!_"
  Ist roll an' roll fer all they is!
  An' Trip he's out there, too,--I know,
  'Cause I could hear him yappin' so--
  An' I heerd Santy, wunst er twic't,

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

  Say, as he's rollin', "_Drat the fice't_!"
  Nen Uncle come back in, an' shake
  Ma up, an' say, "Fer mercy-sake!--
  He hain't hurt none!" An' nen he said,--

  "You youngsters h'ist up-stairs to bed!--
  Here! kiss yer Ma 'Good-night,' an' me,--
  We'll he'p old Santy fix the Tree--
  An' all yer whistles, horns an' drums
  I'll he'p you toot when morning comes!"

       *       *       *       *       *

  It's long while 'fore we go to sleep,--
  'Cause down-stairs, all-time somepin' keep
  A-kindo' scufflin' roun' the floors--
  An' openin' doors, an' _shettin'_ doors--
  An' could hear Trip a-whinin', too,
  Like he don't know ist _what_ to do--

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

  An' tongs a-clankin' down _k'thump_!--
  Nen some one squonkin' the old pump--
  An' _Wooh!_ how cold it soun' out there!
  I could ist _see_ the pump-spout where

  It's got ice chin-whiskers all wet
  An' drippy--An' I see it yet!
  An' nen, seem-like, I hear some mens
  A-talkin' out there by the fence,
  An' one says, "Oh, 'bout twelve o'clock!"
  "Nen," 'nother'n says, "Here's to you, Doc!--
  _God bless us ever' one_!" An' nen
  I heerd the old pump squonk again.
  An' nen I say my prayer all through
  Like Uncle Sidney learn' me to,--
  "O Father mine, e'en as Thine own,
  This child looks up to Thee alone:

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

  Asleep or waking, give him still
  His Elder Brother's wish and will."
  An' that's the last I know.... Till Ma
  She's callin' us--an' so is _Pa_,--

  He holler "_Chris'mus-gif'_!" an' say,--
  "I'm got back home fer Chris'mus-Day!--
  An' Uncle Sid's here, too--an' he
  Is nibblin' 'roun' yer Chris'mus-Tree!"
  Nen _Uncle_ holler, "I suppose
  Yer Pa's so proud he's froze his nose
  He wants to turn it up at us,
  'Cause _Santy_ kick' up such a fuss--
  Tetchin' hisse'f off same as ef
  He wuz his own fireworks hisse'f!"

  An' when we're down-stairs,--shore enough,
  Pa's nose _is_ froze an' salve an' stuff

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

  All on it--an' one hand's froze, too,
  An' got a old yarn red-and-blue
  Mitt on it--"An' he's froze some more
  Acrost his chist, an' kindo' sore

  All roun' his _dy_-fram," Uncle say.--
  "But Pa he'd ort a-seen the way
  _Santy_ bear up last night when that-
  Air fire break out, an' quicker'n _scat_
  He's all a-blazin', an' them-'air
  Gun-cotton whiskers that he wear
  Ist _flashin'_!--till I burn a hole
  In the snow with him, and he roll
  The front-yard dry as Chris'mus jokes
  Old parents plays on little folks!
  But, long's a smell o' tow er wool,
  I kep' him rollin' _beautiful_!--

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

  Till I wuz _shore_ I _shorely_ see
  He's _squenched_! W'y, hadn't b'en fer _me_,
  That old man might a-burnt clear down
  Clean--plum'--level with the groun'!"

  Nen Ma say, "_There_, Sid; that'll do!--
  Breakfast is ready--_Chris'mus_, too.--
  Your voice 'ud soun' best, sayin' _Grace_--
  Say it." An' Uncle bow' his face
  An' say so long a _Blessing_ nen,
  Trip bark' _two_ times 'fore it's "A-men!"

[Illustration]

[Illustration]





*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Defective Santa Claus" ***

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