Christmas at Bracebridge Hall, 1819

When I awoke the next morning, it seemed as if all the events of the
preceding evening had been a dream, and nothing but the identity of the
ancient chamber convinced me of their reality. While I lay musing on my
pillow, I heard the sound of little feet pattering outside of the door,
and a whispering consultation. Presently a choir of small voices chanted
forth an old Christmas carol, the burden of which was,

Rejoice, our Saviour he was born
On Christmas Day in the morning.

I rose softly, slipped on my clothes, opened the door suddenly, and
beheld one of the most beautiful little fairy groups that a painter
could imagine. It consisted of a boy and two girls, the eldest not more
than six, and lovely as seraphs. They were going the rounds of the
house, and singing at every chamber-door; but my sudden appearance
frightened them into mute bashfulness. They remained for a moment
playing on their lips with their fingers, and now and then stealing a
shy glance, from under their eyebrows, until, as if by one impulse, they
scampered away, and as they turned an angle of the gallery, I heard them
laughing in triumph at their escape.

~From The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. by Washington Irving

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