'TWAS the night after Christmas, and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring—excepting a mouse.
The stockings were flung in haste over the chair,
For hopes of St. Nicholas were no longer there.
The children were restlessly tossing in bed,
For the pie and the candy were heavy as lead;
While mamma in her kerchief, and I in my gown,
Had just made up our minds that we would not lie down,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my chair to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I went with a dash,
Flung open the shutter, and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave the lustre of noon-day to objects below,
When what to my long anxious eyes should appear
But a horse and a sleigh, both old-fashioned and queer;
With a little old driver, so solemn and slow,
I knew at a glance it must be Dr. Brough.
I drew in my head, and was turning around,
When upstairs came the Doctor, with scarcely a sound.
He wore a thick overcoat, made long ago,
And the beard on his chin was white with the snow.
He spoke a few words, and went straight to his work;
He felt all the pulses,—then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
With a nod of his head to the chimney he goes:—
"A spoonful of oil, ma'am, if you have it handy;
No nuts and no raisins, no pies and no candy.
These tender young stomachs cannot well digest
All the sweets that they get; toys and books are the best.
But I know my advice will not find many friends,
For the custom of Christmas the other way tends.
The fathers and mothers, and Santa Claus, too,
Are exceedingly blind. Well, a good-night to you!"
And I heard him exclaim, as he drove out of sight:
"These feastings and candies make Doctors' bills right!"