A Very Dickensy Christmas

~ A Short Story by Andre Norton

very dickensy christmas 1992


Synopsis ~

Write-up from a fan ~

Mrs. Hotchkiss turns her Southern mansion, Laurel Hall, into a bed and breakfast. But for a Very Dickensy Christmas, she needs snow -- and a ghost or two. Sara Haines has been working at a vintage dress shop as a model, but since she has no plans for Christmas -- accepts Mrs. Hotchkiss's job offer to be one of the ghosts. She is to portray the young daughter of the house whose fiancé returned from the Civil War on Christmas Eve to see her, was betrayed and shot in the garden. An out-of-work actor is to portray the fiancé. the dress Mrs. Hotchkiss has obtained for her to wear is a modern, poorly made, copy of a vintage dress -- and way too big for Sara. So, she winds up wearing the actual dress that belonged to the other girl on that faithful night.

The two "ghosts" were to appear on the balcony above the ballroom at exactly midnight, and promptly at five to, a knock-on Sara's bedroom door is her ghostly partner, Bryce Seldon. They make their appearance and fade out (through a swath of sheer curtain) exactly as planned, and then he takes her on a tour of the "family" part of the house, including the Long Hall portrait gallery. Bryce shows her the portrait of the original Bryce Seldon, whom he is supposedly depicting. Next morning, the housekeeper reports to her that Sara's performance was very convincing - too bad the other actor hadn't showed up. ~ SL


Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • The Magic of Christmas (1992) Edited by John Silbersack & Christopher Schelling, Published by Penguin/Roc, PB, 0-451-45190-2, 221pg ~ cover by unknown

Write-up from the back of the paperback ~

This festive and fantastic collection brings together seven original stories by some of today's most talented and highly acclaimed science fiction and fantasy writers. Blending the traditional with the supernatural, the stories contained here touch on all the themes of glad Christmas tidings, wrapped in imaginative packages that include ghostly visitations, elfish folk, life after death, time travelers, far-off worlds, and even a sunbathing Santa Claus. Filled with the goodwill and joyful spirit that comes but once a year, the otherworldly stories in this superlative collection showcase some of the best authors of the genre and will be sure to delight readers all year round.


    vii • Introduction (The Magic of Christmas) • essay by Christopher Schelling and John Silbersack
    11 • Star of Wonder • (1953) • short story by Julian May
    37 • The Ornament • short story by Dennis L. McKiernan
    51 • A Very Dickensy Christmas • novelette by Andre Norton
    76 • What Are We Going to Do with Grandfather? • novella by Christopher Stasheff
    137 • I Sing of a Maiden • novelette by Judith Tarr
    161 • Tidings of Comfort and Joy • novella by Gaèl Baudino
    213 • Holiday • (1982) • short story by Richard Christian Matheson


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