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The Night Before Christmas Again

                          'Twas the night before Christmas,
                           When all through the flat,
                           Not a creature was sober,
                           Not even the cat.
                           The glasses were placed
                           On the mantel with care,
                           In hopes that our Nicholas
                           Soon would be there;
                           The children were dining
                           At Tony's and Fred's,
                           Where speakeasy vintages
                           Danced through their heads.
                           And Mama with her whiskey,
                           And I with my gin,
                           Had just settled down
                           For an evening of sin.
                           When out in the lane
                           There arose such a clatter
                           I swallowed an olive--
                           Now what was the matter?
                           A gulp to the window
                           I fell like a flash,
                           Tore open the shutters
                           And threw up the sash.
                           A light on the crest
                           Of the new-fallen sleet
                           Gave a luster of mid-day
                           To things on the street;
                           When what to my wondering
                           Eyes should appear
                           But a truck loaded down
                           With a mountain of beer,
                           And a little old driver,
                           So lively and quick,
                           I knew in a moment
                           It must be out Nick!
                           More rapid than eagles
                           His helpers they came,
                           And he whistled and shouted
                           And called them by name,
                           "Now Lefty! Now Louie!
                           Now, Alky and Witzen!
                           On, Conky! On, Chowder!
                           On, Harry and Blitzen!
                           To the top of the house--
                           Ring the bells in the hall!
                           Now dash away, dash away,
                           Dash away all!"
                           As dry leaves before
                           The wild hurricane fly,
                           When they meet with an obstacle,
                           Mount to the sky,
                           So up to the top-floor
                           The helpers they flew
                           With a lift full of treasure--
                           And Nicholas too.
                           And then in the twinkling
                           I heard on the flags
                           The prancing and pawing
                           Of bottles in bags.
                           As I drew in my head
                           And was turning around,
                           In the doorway our Nicholas
                           Came with a bound.
                           He was dressed like a Mayor
                           From his head to his feet,
                           And his tie was all spangled
                           With diamonds and sleet;
                           A bag full of beer
                           He had flung on his back,
                           And he looked like a peddler
                           Just opening his pack.
                           His rings, how they twinkled!
                           His sniffle, how merry!
                           His hands were like roses,
                           His eye like a cherry;
                           A scar drew his mouth
                           To one side like a bow,
                           And the foam on his chin
                           Was as white as the snow.
                           The gold of the dentist
                           Was bright in his teeth,
                           And a derby encircled
                           His head like a wreath.
                           He laid down his burden
                           To draw forth a sample,
                           And snapped off the cap
                           With a thumb that was ample.
                           He was cheerful and prompt--
                           An expensive young begger--
                           And we laughed when we saw him--
                           Our Christmas Bootlegger!
                           A wink of his eye,
                           And a twist of his head,
                           Soon gave us to know
                           We had nothing to dread.
                           He spoke not a word,
                           But went straight to his work,
                           And filled all the glasses;
                           Then turned with a jerk,
                           And, laying his finger
                           aside of his nose,
                           And giving a nod:
                           "Down the hatch! Here she goes!"
                           He sprang to the door,
                           To his men gave a whistle,
                           And away they all went
                           Like the down of a thistle;
                           But I heard him exclaim
                           'Ere he drove out of sight,
                           "Happy Christmas to All,
                           And to All a good night!"
                           1932 by Robert McBlair,

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