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Chapter 12

MRS. FOUNTAIN, FOUNTAIN


Mrs. Fountain: "'From Uncle Philip for Clarence.' Well, Uncle Philip, if you have sent Clarence— Clarence!" breaking into a whimper: "It is, it is! It's another."

Fountain: "Well, that only makes the seventh, and just enough for every day in the week. It's quite my ideal. Now, if there's nothing about a cigar-case— Hello!" He feels in the pocket of the robe and brings out a cigar-case, from which a slip of paper falls: "'Couldn't make up my mind between them, so send both. Uncle Phil.' Well, this is the last stroke of Christmas insanity."

Mrs. Fountain: "His brain simply reeled under it, and gave way. It shows what Christmas really comes to with a man of strong intellect like Uncle Phil."

Fountain, opening the case: "Oh, I don't know! He's put some cigars in here—in a lucid interval, probably. There's hope yet."

Mrs. Fountain, in despair: "No, Clarence, there's no hope. Don't flatter yourself. The only way is to bundle back all their presents and never, never, never give or receive another one. Come! Let's begin tying them up at once; it will take us the rest of the night." A knock at the door. "Come, Maggie."

William Dean Howells

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