CHRISTMAS IS COMING
Christmas was coming. The Curlytops and their playmates now began counting the days until this grand holiday should arrive. Trouble, with the help of Janet, had written his letter to Santa Claus, and the other children had told each other the things they wished St. Nicholas to bring them.
One morning Uncle Toby brought the big automobile around to the door of the cabin. It was two days before Christmas, and everything had been prepared for a jolly good time at the cabin. A big green tree had been cut in the woods, and set up in one of the rooms. There it was to be trimmed and made ready for the presents to be put under it.
"Come, children, we're going to the village to get the mail and some other things," called Uncle Toby to the Curlytops and their friends. "Pile in, and we'll all go to the village. I wouldn't be surprised but what there would be some letters for all of you," he said, with a twinkle in his eyes, as if he knew what was going to happen.
"Oh, maybe daddy and mother will be here for Christmas!" cried Ted and Janet.
"And maybe my father and mother will come," added Lola, though she did not have much hope of this.
"If I could get a letter that my mother was all well again, that would be the best Christmas present I could have," sighed Mary.
"Maybe you will get such a letter," said Uncle Toby.
Aunt Sallie said she would not make the trip to the village in the automobile, as she had work to do at the bungalow. So Uncle Toby, the Curlytops and their playmates started off. The snow seemed to be coming down thicker and faster, but this only made the children more joyful, for they loved snow at Christmas, as what youngster does not?
The post-office was reached, and Uncle Toby went in for the mail. He came out with both hands full. There was a letter for Mary and Harry, one for Ted and Janet and one for Tom and Lola, and then there were separate letters for each boy and girl from some of the friends they had left behind. There was even a postal for Trouble.
"Oh, such good news!" cried Ted, when he and Janet had read their letter. "Daddy and Mother are coming here to spend Christmas with us!"
"We have good news, like yours!" Lola said to Janet. "Our daddy and mother are coming here also for Christmas. You invited them, didn't you, Uncle Toby?" she asked.
"Why, yes, I believe I did," chuckled the jolly old gentleman. "But have you good news, too?" he asked Harry and Mary.
"Yes," they answered with happy tears in their eyes. "Our mother is well again, and she is coming up here for Christmas. Oh, how happy we are!"
"Everybody's happy!" sang Trouble. "Everybody's happy, an' Santa C'aus is comin'!"
"That's right!" laughed Janet, hugging him.
After the letters had been read again Uncle Toby drove the automobile down the village street to the store to get some things Aunt Sallie wanted for the Christmas dinner. As the children each had some spending money they were allowed to get out and wander through a general store next to the grocery. There was a "five and ten cent" department in the variety "Emporium" as it was called, and the children had fun there, picking out inexpensive presents as surprises one for the other.
It was not until, bubbling over with joy and happiness, they had again gotten back in the automobile that Trouble was missed.
"Oh, where is your little brother?" exclaimed Lola.
"Why, I thought you had him!" said Janet.
"And I thought you did. We must have left him back in the store. Let's look!"
But Trouble was not there! He was missing!