Angel Unawares: A Story of Christmas Eve

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Produced by Elaine Laizure from images generously made available by The Internet Archive/American Libraries. Angel Unawares A Story of Christmas Eve BY C. N. and A. M. WILLIAMSON HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS NEW YORK AND LONDON Angel Unawares Copyright, 1916, by Harper & Brothers Printed in the United States of America Published October, 1916 ANGEL UNAWARES IF Angel Odell hadn't had a French nursery governess, and if that French governess hadn't suddenly recognized her lost lover in a wounded French sergeant on the sea-front, the Valois story would have been a Christmas tragedy instead of--what it turned out to be. This was strange, because neither the little American girl nor her governess nor her governess's lover had ever heard of the Valois family, nor had the Valois family heard of them. But most things that happen are strange, if seen from every point of view. At first, when Mademoiselle Rose gave a little scream and rushed away from her charge to a good-looking soldier with his arm in a sling, Angel stood still, extremely interested. Her mother did not know about the lost lover. One need not tell all one's heart secrets to one's employer on being engaged at a Paris agency! But Mademoiselle cried in the night sometimes and gazed at a photograph, so Angel (whose bed was in the same room) had asked questions safer to answer than leave unanswered. When she saw the meeting she quickly put two and two together in her intelligent, seven-year-old brain. "That's Claude," said the child to herself. "So he's alive, after all. My goodness me! what a nice Christmas present for Mademoiselle! I'm glad it's after lunch instead of before, though, for I was hungry, and I expect she'll want to talk to him a long time. I suppose she'll introduce him to me and we'll all three walk up and down." Instead of walking, however, Mademoiselle and her Christmas present sat down on one of the seats placed at regular intervals along the Mentone sea front. Apparently Mademoiselle forgot Angel's existence, and "Claude" had not observed it. The child stood neglected until she was tired and very bored. Then, too polite to interrupt (a succession of nursery governesses of several nations had instructed her never to interrupt), she decided to go home. "Home" was a hotel; and Mrs. Odell, Angel, and Mademoiselle had arrived only the day before from Paris, Mademoiselle had been in Mentone before (that was one reason for engaging her), but Angel and her mother never had. Angel's father was one of several brilliant young men in the American Embassy, where he was well content for himself, but found the idea of bombs on heads he loved bad for his nerves; accordingly, wife and child had been sent to safety in the south of France, somewhat against the former's will. At the moment, Elinor Odell was getting off letters, meaning to go out later and buy Christmas toys. So it happened that, just as

A. M. (Alice Muriel) Williamson and C. N. (Charles Norris) Williamson

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