Scarlett opened her eyes to find herself lying in Rhett's bed. The morning sun streamed through the windows and the clock on the mantle read half past nine. Tumbling from the bed, she ignored the pain in her shin when she banged it into the bedside table. "Am I back," she wondered aloud.
Running into her old room, she ripped open the wardrobe and dug at the back till she found the red robe. It was there, just where she left it. No one had sold it. Still cradling it in her arms, she walked into the middle of the room. All of the ornaments were in their usual places and there was no sign that anything had been disturbed.
"I'm back," she cried happily, spinning in a circle. "I'm home and its morning." She ripped back the covers on the bed, there were the linens just as they should be. "Oh thank God. And thank you Grandmother Robillard. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future," Scarlett repeated, as she walked back into Rhett's room. "Do you all hear me? The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me always. Oh Grandmother! Heaven, and Christmas be praised for this." Falling to her knees, she began to pray, a prayer born of gratitude and thanksgiving.
She was so flustered and so alive with joy that she scarcely knew what to do next. One minute she had been sobbing violently, trapped in her own grave and the next, she'd awoken in her own bed.
"I am here, alive and well. The shadows of the things that would have been, I have the chance to change it all. And I will change, I know I will!"
On the hook next to the door, she found her dressing gown. The red clay of Tara had vanished from the hem, but even that did not banish the knowledge that four spirits had come to her and saved her from continuing down a path that would only lead to heart break for her and her loved ones.
"Great balls of fire, the children," murmured Scarlett guiltily. Returning to her old room, she dug through the wardrobe until she found a festive red and green plaid dress. A charming black velvet vest completed it. Was it wrong to wear color so soon after Melly and Bonnie's passing? Possibly. But Bonnie had loved colorful, bright things as any small child did and as for Melly…Melly had always felt that people mourned with their heart, not their wardrobe.
Clutching the dress, she went back to Rhett's room and yanked the bell pull to summon her maid. "I don't know what to do first," said Scarlett, laughing and crying in turns. "I am as light as a feather, I haven't been this merry at Christmas since I was Wade's age"
Waiting for her maid to help dress her, she went to sit by the fire, which was now nothing but cold ash. "It's all right, it's all true, it all happened." Then she laughed again until her belly ached and tears streamed down her smiling face. For a woman who had been out of practice for the last few years, it was a splendid laugh, a free and joy filled laugh.
Then, an awful thought came to her. "But, what if it isn't Christmas Day?" She mused out loud. "I don't know what day of the month it is. I don't know how long I've been among the Spirits. I'm assuming they did it all in one night, but if they didn't…then I've missed Christmas Day and let the children down again."
When her maid entered the room, Scarlett flew to her side and clutching the girl's arm, she demanded, "What day is this?"
"Ma'am," returned the maid, her eyes goggling at her mistress' behavior..
"What's today," demanded an eager Scarlett. "Please," she added, just in case the spirits were still watching.
"T'day? Miz Sca'lett, iz Chris'maz day."
The churches ringing out to celebrate the birth of the savior of man interrupted her. Clash, clang, hammer; ding, dong, bell. Bell, dong, ding; hammer, clang, clash! Oh, what a glorious, glorious noise, thought Scarlett laughing aloud.
To the window she flew. Opening it, she put out her head. No fog, no mist; just a clear, bright, wonderful day. Golden sunlight was streaming down from a heavenly blue sky. The fresh air was cold, but utterly refreshing. Oh what a glorious Christmas, she thought, the best there ever was!
"It's Christmas day," said Scarlett to herself. "I haven't missed it. The Spirits have done it all in one night. Of course they did. They can do anything they like. Of course they can. Of course they can." She seized the hands of the confused maid. "It's Christmas, I haven't missed it."
"No ma'am," stuttered the maid.
"Do you know Hubert Teller's dry goods shop down in Five Points? The one with the gingerbread and sweets castle?" Scarlett inquired.
"Yes'm, eveybodie knows hiz place. He always got some pretty than'g in the winda at Christmaz", replied the maid.
"Aren't you a clever gir!" Scarlett exclaimed. "Is the castle still there, do you think?"
"'magine so Miz Sca'let?"
"Excellent, wonderful," said Scarlett.
"Iz saw it when I com' dis mornin'."
"Pefect," crowed Scarlett gleefully. "Go and buy it."
"Miz Sca'lett," exclaimed the girl, "I don thik iz onea dos than'gs whuts fo' sale." The girl hazarded a smile. "You funnin' me Miz Sca'lett, likea joke?"
"No, no," said Scarlett, "I'm serious. Go and buy it, tell Hubert Teller it's for me specifically and that he is not to bring it here. I'll give him directions when he comes to see me. Tell Pork you'll need the carriage to go down there."
She went to her reticule and withdrew a fistful of bills. Giving them to the girl, she smiled. "If Mr. Teller doubts you, lay this out on the table and I imagine he'll change his tune." Taking a few more bills out she folded them neatly and gave them to the girl. "This is for you."
Looking down at the amount of money now clutched in her hand, the girl's eyes widened. There had to be nearly ten dollars, the girl estimated quickly. Looking back up at her employer, the girl managed to speak. "Wut's dis for Miz Sca'lett?"
She smiled encouragingly. "What do you think that's for?"
The girl was so out of sorts that she blurted the first thing to come to mind. "To k'ep me mouth shut," she mumbled, clutching the two rolls of cash.
"Not quite," replied Scarlett dryly. "After you've run my errand, do you have family in town?"
"Good, take that money and buy what ever you like. If you bring Mr. Teller back in the next half hour, I'll give you ten dollars more. Now, send someone else up to dress me." When the girl did not move, Scarlett made a shooing motion. "Off you go now, hurry."
The girl was off like a shot.
"I'll send it to George Ruddy," whispered Scarlett, rubbing her hands together, collapsing on a chair, laughing softly. "I'll send it, and I'll do it anonymously. He won't know who sent it. It's twice the size of Lizbeth. And I'll send other things beside. A goose maybe, if …" Her forehead wrinkled, as she recalled the visit to Pitty's house the day before, or rather last night…or was it today. All that traveling with ghosts could make a body crazy trying to sort it out. "Why on earth did Pitty's house smell like ham? She always has mutton for…" Her lips twisted in a smirk. "India."
Going to her small writing table, she withdrew several sheets of paper and a pencil. The hand in which she wrote out the lists and addresses was not a steady one, but write it out she did, not trusting herself to remember all it was she wanted to do for George's family. Another maid came and together they dressed her in record time. Going downstairs, she refused breakfast, asking to instead be served coffee in the library. Once settled there, she stared into the flames, reflecting on the events of the previous night.
"Miss Scarlett," said Pork from the doorway, "Mr. Teller is here."
Coming to her feet, she smiled at the irate but blatantly curious expression on Hubert Teller's face. He must be quite annoyed to have been summoned away from his business and on Christmas morning. But, she added to herself, not so annoyed that he'd refuse my money and tell my maid off.
Deciding to bring her old belle smile out of retirement, taking it out on a trial run, as it were, she smiled brilliantly until her dimples deepened and her eyes danced. "Hubert Teller," she exclaimed, extending her hands, "how good it was of you to come. And today of all days, My girl told you that I wanted to buy that castle of yours, will you sell it to me?"
A flush settled over his features. He'd come to Scarlett Butler's house with the intention of giving her a piece of his mind for summoning him like a peasant, but currently he could not locate the piece of mind which he had wished to gift her with. Her green eyes sparkled at him and the smile on her lovely face seemed as if it were there just for him.
"I-sell it? The castle? Oh, yes, if you want it," he stammered, taking her hands. She gave a small, tinkling laugh that reminded him of tiny silver bells on sleighs in his native Massachusetts. In a gesture that he had not employed in ages, he bent forward and kissed her hand. "Yes," he said, some measure of composure resurfacing. "I will sell it to you, if you'd like it. Your girl told me that you didn't want it brought here, to where will I be delivering it?" He thought it could be Ashley Wilkes' and his boy who might be the intended recipients, but he thought it better not to guess.
"Want it? I do indeed; in fact I shall remember it, as long as I live," cried Scarlett, gesturing for him to sit. "I've always meant to come in and tell you how much I admire your Christmas castle. I've looked at them every year, but this one is the most beautiful of them all."
He smiled at her pleasantly. "Thank you. My brother and I do them. They aren't so much for sale as they are just to…" he smiled self-consciously. "Well, I suppose to make people happy. Do you know, I've never sold one of them before? I don't know what I should ask for it."
What an honest expression he has in his face, she thought. It's a wonderfully honest face. His store makes money and I imagine he never cheats a soul. At any rate, I've never heard anyone complain about him. In future, I'll try to run my shop more like his. "Well, I suppose figure out what it cost for the materials, and the time and labor. I imagine a gingerbread castle is much like a house in that respect, when it comes to figuring out the asking price."
He laughed. "I suppose that's true. You didn't say, who is it for?"
"Oh," she covered her mouth, giggling. "I guess I didn't. It's for my senior clerk, George Ruddy, you know him don't you?"
"Yes, I—of course I know George. You say the castle is for him?"
"More for his children than him. Have you ever seen his children? They are all so darling, especially his youngest." Handing him the first list, she looked up at him helplessly, through lowered lashes. "I have a whole list of things I'd like you to package up and send to him for today. I know its terribly short notice, but I hoped, in honor of the day," she turned her smile on him, full force. "It is Christmas Day, so I hoped you might make allowances for my shortsightedness in asking you to do this all today." Her lower lip trembled slightly, "How terrible I am to put you out like this, if you tell me good day and leave without another word, I would understand."
Not bothering to look at the list, Hubert Teller rose. "Mrs. Butler, it would be a pleasure to do this…for you and for George. I have always thought him a fine man and had he ever left your employment, I would have snatched him up in a second. It cannot be unknown to you that he's had some bad luck in the past. I'll fill your list, at cost. As for the castle, make some donation to any charity you like, I think giving George Ruddy and his family the best Christmas they've ever known is a worthy and admirable cause."
"Oh Mr. Teller!"
Completely besotted, he held up a hand. "Hubert. Please, call me Hubert. All of my friends do. I'll admit to you, I've always thought you were a little," he flushed again.
"Cold hearted," she supplied merrily, "nasty, underhanded perhaps, sharp tongued? Mr. Teller, Hubert, all of those adjectives and more could have described me before last night."
"And now, things have changed, for the better. I wish you a Merry Christmas."
"Merry Christmas, Mrs. Butler."
"Scarlett. I insist. You'll be able to carry the castle to George's house without a problem? I don't want to leave you shorthanded. I could have some of the staff take it?"
"Not at all. My brother and I will take it. Seeing the look on the faces of those children, I can't resist."
They wished each other a Merry Christmas once more and Scarlett promised to take up Hubert Teller and his brother on an invitation to afternoon coffee after the holiday season ended. Watching the carriage pull away, Scarlett waved from the door till it was out of sight.
Pulling on her coat and digging out a bonnet she'd never had the chance to wear, she dressed herself not in her best, but rather in her most festive. After some last minute instructions to Pork regarding the staff, she at last got out into the streets. The people were by this time pouring forth, as she had seen them with the Ghost of Christmas Present. Walking with a lightness that had long been absent from her step, Scarlett regarded every one with a delighted smile.
She looked so irresistibly pleasant, that many a gentleman and ever some women said "Good morning, Miss Scarlett. A merry Christmas to you." Scarlett said afterwards, that of all the wonderful things one could hear, those tidings were the happiest and most welcome.
She came at last to the house of Dr. and Mrs. Meade. It sent a guilty pang across her heart to think how Mrs. Meade would look upon her when they met; but she knew what path lay straight before her. Scarlett, never one to shirk or delay the inevitable, knocked on the door.
"Mrs. Meade," said Scarlett, quickly before Mrs. Meade could order her from her doorstep, "Give me a minute of your time, then you can order me from your property." When the old lady only stood there, waiting, Scarlett continued. "I hope you succeeded yesterday. When you came to the store, I was not at my best. Although, when have I ever been very good at helping anyone I didn't have a personal interest in?" She smiled. "I've come to apologize, to wish you a merry Christmas and to give you this." She handed Caroline Meade a slip of paper.
It was a check; in an amount, that Caroline Meade had never seen written out on a check addressed to her. It was actually in an amount she'd never seen written out, period. "Scarlett?"
"Yes," said Scarlett. "That is my name, and I fear it may not be pleasant to you. Allow me to ask your pardon. Will you forgive me my harsh words yesterday?"
"Lord bless me," gasped Mrs. Meade, as if her breath were taken away. "My dear, Scarlett, are you serious?"
"Quite serious," said Scarlett. "Not a penny less. A great many back payments are included in that amount, I assure you. The money isn't just from me, its from Frank Kennedy and Rhett, you told me that both men gave each year to the poor?"
"Well, since Rhett is away and Frank, God rest his soul, can no longer give, let me do so in their stead."
"My dear Scarlett," said Mrs. Meade, "come inside, its so cold, you'll catch your death…"
At that, Scarlett laughed merrily. Later Mrs. Meade told Doctor Meade it was one of the prettiest, sweetest, most honest laughs she'd ever heard in her life. "Mrs. Meade, I can assure you, I won't catch my death this Christmas or for many to come. I have a lot to make up for so I expect to live a good long time.
"At least come in for a cup of tea. I don't know what to say to such generosity, please won't you come in."
"Don't say anything, please," retorted Scarlett. "Except that you'll come and see me. Will you come and see me?"
"I will," promised the older woman, not stopping to consider that only yesterday afternoon she'd never have imagined herself sitting on the same bench as Scarlett Butler, let alone paying a social call on her. But, it was clear she meant to do it.
"I'll look forward to it, Mrs. Meade," said Scarlett. "I am much obliged to you. I won't have time today, but when you come will you bring Mrs. Elsing? I owe her an apology as well. I only hope she'll give me a chance to make amends."
"She will Scarlett I'll ask her to come as a favor to me. May the good lord bless you Scarlett Butler."
"He has, Mrs. Meade. He truly has." Smiling again, her eyes wide with happiness, "she asked if Doctor Meade was home. Finding him to be out already, she asked if Mrs. Meade would give him a message, which she readily promised she would.
Before she left, Mrs Meade kissed her cheek and whispered softly in her ear, "Melly would be so proud of you, so proud."
With that blessing in her ear and joy in her heart, she went to church, lighting some candles. Then, she walked about the streets, and watched the people hurrying to and fro. She dropped money into the hands of beggars, and looked up at the blue sky, enjoying the crisp fresh air. There was so much around her that could yield pleasure. She had never dreamed that any walk—that anything—could give her so much happiness. After a stop at a butcher and a generous tip to secure the loan of a boy to carry a parcel, she made her way to Pitty's house.
"Uncle Peter," Scarlett said with a smile, "is Aunt Pitty at home?"
The old family retainer was about to answer when Ashley came out of the library. "Scarlett, you came?"
"Only to say hello, this boy has a present for India and Pitty from me, will you call them?"
"They stepped out, but I'm expecting them any minute. Come and wait with me?"
She nodded, "Only for a minute."
When he closed the library door behind them, she raised an eyebrow. "If India sees that, she'll have something to say."
"Let her, I don't care. You are my friend and if she can't accept that, she can find a way to cope with it."
"Why Ashley Wilkes, that sounds almost combative. Don't fight with your sister on my account, and certainly not on Christmas Day."
"For you dearest, anything. I'm glad you came," he said, his voice taking on a different sound.
"Me too, but as I said, I'm only stopping for a minute. I have to go back to the house."
"Did Captain Butler come home?"
Scarlett went to the window. Fingering the bobbles on the curtain lightly. "Rhett did not come home. But, I wasn't expecting him to." Turning her head, she glanced at him over her shoulder. "I imagine he's with his mother today," she said with a secretive smile.
"He's written to you then?"
"Then how do you know he's still in Charleston? He told you that he was going there months ago. He could be anywhere by now."
"He could be, but he isn't. Trust me, I know where he is and if he isn't home soon, I'll do something to fix that."
"Scarlett." He reached out and turned her gently. Tilting her face up, he smiled down at her. "You look so beautiful today, so happy. It's been a long time since I've see you happy. If Rhett Butler comes back, will you lose this new found happiness?"
She curved her hand over his, gently taking it from her face. She squeezed his hand before letting go of it. "I'm happy for a multitude of reasons Ashley, Rhett is one of those reasons. I know in my heart he'll come back to me; one way or another. He loves me Ashley."
"If he loves you…"
"Then how could he leave me?" She finished.
"He needed time. Some people do."
"What do you need Scarlett?"
"A chance to make amends with those I've hurt most. I can't stay much longer. I have the carriage waiting for me at home. I'm going to Tara to get my children. I'm bringing them home."
"Scarlett, that's wonderful. Beau's missed Wade and Ella so much."
"I'm sure they've missed him too."
He rested his hand on her cheek. "Something's changed, hasn't it?"
"How do you mean?"
"It seems silly, but something has changed since I've spoken to you yesterday. Tell me what."
"I can't explain it Ashley. You'd think I'd gone mad."
His gray eyes looked into hers. "I promise you Scarlett, I won't think you're mad."
Scarlett had forgotten how comforting it could be to just talk to Ashley as a friend. "It's a strange story. One I wouldn't believe if anyone were telling it to me."
He led her over to the sofa before sitting in the chair across from it. Later she thought she must have been desperate to tell someone or she would have never told Ashley her story on any account.
"Then I woke up in my bed, and nothing had changed except me," she said, concluding the tale. She shrugged. "Go on, tell me I'm crazy or better yet, tell me you believe me so that you can go send Uncle Peter to fetch Doctor Meade."
"I believe you."
She exploded with disbelief. "You believe me? Just like that? Oh, come now Ashley. I expected something…well I don't know what I expected you to say. But," she held up a warning finger, "whatever I expected you to say, it wasn't just I believe you."
"No." She came to her feet, moving to the window again. She felt him behind her and whirled to face him. "Ashley, I just told you that I saw the ghost of my dead grandmother, your cousin, Frank Kennedy and some man who I didn't even know. How can you just say you believe me?"
"Do you believe it happened?"
"I know it did."
"Then I believe you because you are the most practical person I know. If you say you saw all the things you say you did, I believe you." He grinned. "That parcel, it's a leg of mutton, isn't it?"
"So what if it is? Is it a crime to bring someone a leg of mutton at Christmas?"
"No it isn't."
"I think Pitty will be pleased."
"You said the present was also for India?"
"It is. Trust me, no one should come between Aunt Pitty and her mutton. I've done India a favor, a bigger one than she'll ever realize."
"May I ask you one more thing?"
"You said you saw Charles?"
"How was he?" Ashley laughed self-consciously. "I suppose that sounds strange."
Scarlett began to laugh until she could hardly stand. When she was able to speak again, she grinned at him. "I just told you that in the course of one night I traveled with several ghosts to various points in my life. Being asked how Charles is, not the strangest thing to happen to me in the last few days. Not by a mile."
"How was he?"
"As sweet as he was in life Ashley. I wish I'd realized how sweet he really was."
Moving to brush back a tendril of hair from her cheek, Ashley smiled wistfully. "Do you remember the Christmas I had my furlough?"
"When I made a complete fool of myself and threw myself at you?"
"That isn't how I would have described it."
"Why not, its what happened." She started to move away, but he gently caught her by the hand.
"No, that is not what happened. I kissed you back, just as I did in the orchard that day. I'm sorry Scarlett. I want you to be happy, I've always wanted that for you. You're sure Rhett still loves you, do you love him?"
"With my whole heart."
"Then for your sake, I'll pray that he comes back to you soon." He leaned down and brushed a kiss on the side of her face, high just above her cheekbone. It was soft, no more than a brush of his lips. She smiled. In the old days, she would have turned her head in an attempt to take more than what was offered. Now, she wanted nothing more from Ashley than his friendship.
"Be my friend Ashley?"
Warmth lit his eyes and he smiled. Lifting her hand to his lips he said, "Always, as long as I live."
"Merry Christmas Ashley," she said gently.
"Merry Christmas Scarlett."
Pitty and India arrived home a short time later. After giving her a chilly hello, India retreated to the security of her bedroom leaving Pitty, Ashley and Scarlett to spend the better part of an hour in pleasant recollections of Christmas' past. Scarlett asked about Charles, what he was like as a boy. If he'd been excited when she'd agreed to marry him. What plans he'd had for their future after the war.
The old woman was delighted. For years, she'd been told by everyone close to her that Scarlett hadn't cared for Charles. India had once gone so far as to say that Scarlett had seemed to be glad to be rid of him. But, here she was now, asking all about him and looking as if the answers she received truly mattered to her.
As she left, politely refusing Pitty's invitation to stay, Scarlett gave the old woman one final gift. She promised that she would bring Wade over for tea very soon so that Pitty could tell Wade about his father. "I want him to know everything he can about Charlie," she said solemnly. "Wade's father was a wonderful man. Melly tried to keep him alive for Wade, its my turn now."
In the ensuing years, many good things would happen to Scarlett. There would be other Christmas's filled with laughter, with friends, with family. There would be love and joy. In later years, she would travel over the ocean, spending Christmas in Dublin one memorable year. Yes, in time, many wonderful things would happen to Scarlett Butler but all would pale in comparison to the memory of her children running down the front lawn of Tara to meet her carriage.
How could the sun rising over Rome compare with her daughter throwing her small arms around her neck, nearly knocking her down before whispering, "I knew you would come, I knew it mama." No, there was nothing that could compare with that pronouncement of complete and total faith.
How could the profits, considerable though they were, from opening a second Kennedy Emporium compare with the expression of surprise, followed by joy on Wade's face when she shifted Ella to one hip and reached out her other arm to him?
She would remember, for the rest of her life, the utter wave of contentment that passed over her as she held her children close on Christmas Day. She would remember too the look of complete shock on Suellen's face when she walked into Tara, hand in hand with her children and announced that she would be taking them back to Atlanta before the day ended.
Airily, she told her sister that it would be appreciated if she could have Prissy pack up Ella and Wade's belongings. She would send the carriage back out for their things in a few days.
Then, she went and spoke to Mammy. At first, Mammy was completely averse to returning to the house in Atlanta. Scarlett did not attempt to cajole her, but she explained that she wanted to try and be a proper mother to her two remaining children and she needed Mammy. Not to instruct or to oversee her efforts, but to just be there. She told Mammy that she wanted her to return so she could take care of her. Mammy's old, rheumy eyes looked into Scarlett's bright green eyes and finally, she smiled.
"Yes'um Miz Sca'let, I come bac witcha."
That night Scarlett, Wade, Ella and Mammy spent a pleasant evening in the kitchen of the Peachtree Street house. A few servants had stayed, not having anywhere to go. At first, they'd intended to interrupt their dinner to serve Scarlett and the children. Finding this out from Mammy, Scarlett sat the children down at the large kitchen table, fixed them each a plate and then she and Mammy sat down to Christmas dinner with several members of the household staff.
The next day, she was in her office at her usual time. The clock struck nine. No George A quarter past. No George. In the end, he was full eighteen minutes and a half late. Scarlett sat with her door wide open, waiting for him to take his place behind the counter.
His hat was off, before he even opened the door. His scarf jammed into a ball in the sleeve of his coat. He was in his apron in a jiffy; opening the ledger book quickly, as if he were trying to turn the hour back to nine o'clock.
"George Ruddy! I see you there," growled Scarlett, in her accustomed voice, or as near as she could feign. "What do you mean by coming here at this time of day?"
"I am very sorry Mrs. Butler," said George. "I know I'm late, I'm terribly sorry."
"You are, are you?" Repeated Scarlett. "Yes. I think you are. Richard, go and find something to do, not in the store, if you please. George, step this way."
"Its only once a year, Mrs. Butler," pleaded George, taking off his apron. "I won't repeat it. Yesterday, Mrs. Butler, it was a special day."
"Now, I'll tell you what, George Ruddy", said Scarlett, "I am not going to stand this sort of thing any longer. This situation can not continue, not for another minute, therefore" she gave him a fierce frown, "therefore I am about to raise your salary and change your title to head clerk."
George trembled, violently "Please, don't fire me Mrs. Butler, I…" His mouth fell into an O shape.
"A merry Christmas, George, even if it's a day late," said Scarlett, with an earnestness that could not be mistaken, as she came out from behind her desk. "A merrier Christmas, George, than I have given you, for many a year. I'm going to raise your salary, and endeavor to help your family, especially your youngest." She held out a hand to him, "I promise you George, we will see her through and in time, she will be well and strong."
Scarlett was better than her word. She did it all, and infinitely more. To Lizbeth, who did not die, she was a second mother, or as Lizbeth called her, a guardian angel. She became as good a friend, as good an employer, and as good a woman, as the city of Atlanta had ever known. Some people laughed to see the alteration in her, but she let them laugh, and indeed joined in their laughter; for she was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset. Her own heart laughed and that was quite enough for her.
She did not see her grandmother again, at least not in life. The ghosts never appeared to her again but she lit candles for each man every Christmas Eve thereafter.
It was said of her, that she knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man or woman alive possessed the knowledge.
May that be truly said of us all.
And so, as a man named Charles Dickens once observed,
God bless us, everyone!
The end...or is it?
So, its like this...there could be another chapter after this, one in which a certain tall, dark, brooding anti-hero is featured. Or this could be the end, let me know if there is an interest in a final chapter.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!