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A Touch Of Realism
"I HOPE you've come full of suggestions for Christmas," said Lady Blonze to her latest
arrived guest; "the old-fashioned Christmas and the up-to-date Christmas are both so
played out. I want to have something really original this year."
"I was staying with the Mathesons last month," said Blanche Boveal eagerly, "and we had
such a good idea. Every one in the house-party had to be a character and behave
consistently all the time, and at the end of the visit one had to guess what every one's
character was. The one who was voted to have acted his or her character best got a prize."
"It sounds amusing," said Lady Blonze.
"I was St. Francis of Assisi," continued Blanche; "we hadn't got to keep to our right
sexes. I kept getting up in the middle of a meal, and throwing out food to the birds; you
see, the chief thing that one remembers of St. Francis is that he was fond of the birds.
Every one was so stupid about it, and thought that I was the old man who feeds the
sparrows in the Tuileries Gardens. Then Colonel Pentley was the Jolly Miller on the
banks of Dee."
"How on earth did he do that?" asked Bertie van Tahn.
" 'He laughed and sang from morn till night,' " explained Blanche.
"How dreadful for the rest of you," said Bertie; "and anyway he wasn't on the banks of
"One had to imagine that," said Blanche.
"If you could imagine all that you might as well imagine cattle on the further bank and
keep on calling them home, Mary-fashion, across the sands of Dee. Or you might change
the river to the Yarrow and imagine it was on the top of you, and say you were Willie, or
whoever it was, drowned in Yarrow."
"Of course it's easy to make fun of it," said Blanche sharply, "but it was extremely
interesting and amusing. The prize was rather a fiasco, though. You see, Millie Matheson
said her character was Lady Bountiful, and as she was our hostess of course we all had to
vote that she had carried out her character better than anyone. Otherwise I ought to have
got the prize."
"It's quite an idea for a Christmas party," said Lady Blonze; "we must certainly do it
Sir Nicholas was not so enthusiastic. "Are you quite sure, my dear, that you're wise in
doing this thing?" he said to his wife when they were alone together. "It might do very