It had seemed to the little Wendell children that they would have a very sad Christmas. Mama had been very ill, and papa had been so anxious about mama that he could not think of anything else.
When Christmas Day came, however, mama was so much better that she could lie on the lounge. The children all brought their stockings into her room to open them.
"You children all seem as happy as if you had had your usual Christmas tree," said mama, as they sat around her.
"Why, I NEVER had such a happy Christmas before," said sweet little Agnes. "And it's just because you are well again."
"Now I think you must all run out for the rest of the day," said the nurse, "because your mama wants to see you all again this evening."
"I wish we could get up something expressly for mama's amusement," said Agnes, when they had gone into the nursery.
"How would you like to have some tableaux in here?" asked their French governess, Miss Marcelle.
"Oh, yes," they all cried, "it would be fun, mama loves tableaux."
So all day long they were busy arranging five tableaux for the evening. The tableaux were to be in the room which had folding-doors opening into Mrs. Wendell's sitting-room.
At the proper time Miss Marcelle stepped outside the folding-doors and made a pretty little speech. She said that some young ladies and a young gentleman had asked permission to show some tableaux to Mrs. Wendell if she would like to see them. Mrs. Wendell replied that she would be charmed.
Then mademoiselle announced the tableaux; opening the doors wide for each one. This is a list of the tableaux: First, The Sleeping Beauty; second, Little Red Riding Hood third, The Fairy Queen; fourth, Old Mother Hubbard; fifth, The Lord High Admiral.
Miss Marcelle had arranged everything so nicely, and Celeste, the French maid, helped so much with the dressing, that the pictures all went off without a single mistake.
Mama was delighted. She said she must kiss those dear young ladies, and that delightful young man who had given her such a charming surprise.
So all the children came in rosy and smiling.
"Why, didn't you know us?" asked the little Lord Admiral.
"I know this," said mama, "I am like Agnes. I NEVER had such a happy Christmas before."