Welcome to the final installment of our first festive Tale for Our Time this Christmas - a seasonal sampling from a beloved American classic by Louisa May Alcott, Little Women at Christmas. This concluding installment takes place one year on from yesterday's - another Christmas Day in an America at war, but one that brings the only present the four March sisters really wanted:
Now and then, in this work-a-day world, things do happen in the delightful story-book fashion, and what a comfort that is. Half an hour after every one had said they were so happy they could only hold one drop more, the drop came. Laurie opened the parlor door, and popped his head in very quietly. He might just as well have turned a somersault and uttered an Indian war-whoop; for his face was so full of suppressed excitement and his voice so treacherously joyful, that every one jumped up, though he only said, in a queer, breathless voice, "Here's another Christmas present for the March family."
Before the words were well out of his mouth, he was whisked away somehow, and in his place appeared a tall man, muffled up to the eyes, leaning on the arm of another tall man, who tried to say something and couldn't.
This Christmas Day, though freighted with the tragedy that will ultimately befall Beth, is suffused in all the joy and love of the season. Members of The Mark Steyn Club can hear me read the conclusion of our Little Women Christmas sampler simply by clicking here and logging-in. The first two installments can be found here.
Thank you for your kind words about this first of our festive treats. To be honest, I wasn't sure about our Orchard House foray, and worried that it might be too well known. But it seems to have been enjoyed, and I'm always grateful for your thoughts on this series. Fran Lavery provides an overview:
I became so immersed with each of the Tales for our Times from the first Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Tragedy of the Korosko through to The Scarlet Pimpernel with my top four favorites being The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, The Prisoner of Zenda, Plum Duff, and Metamorphosis. Some crazy things were crawling through my mind with that one:
What do you get when you skewer some beetles, cherry tomatoes and onions, coated with a salt and pepper vinaigrette and stick them under the broiler? Ans. A Kafka Kabob!
That's an eclectic quartet, Fran - although kebabs are probably more suited to Greenmantle. Speaking of accompanying dishes to our audio entertainments, Hari, a first-week Founding Member from Pennsylvania, adds.
Happy Stir-Up Sunday, Mark!
(At least according to the Catholic schedule for Introits)
More in that vein anon.
It's the Christmas season at SteynOnline, which means this coming weekend we'll have another seasonal tale that I think you'll enjoy very much. Meanwhile, if you've yet to hear any of our Tales for Our Time, you can do so by joining The Mark Steyn Club. For details on membership, see here - and, if you're seeking something for a fellow fan of classic fiction this holiday season, don't forget our limited-time-only Christmas Gift Membership, which this year includes a personalized Christmas card from yours truly along with a handsomely engraved presentation set of three of our most popular Tales for Our Time (The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, The Time Machine and The Thirty-Nine Steps).
On the other hand, if you'd like a book in old-fashioned book form, over at the Steyn store there are bargains galore among our Steynamite Christmas Specials - as well as a couple of extra-festive gifts for your loved one: two on the aisle for the first ever Dennis Miller/Mark Steyn live tour, or a deluxe berth on next year's second annual Mark Steyn Club Cruise.