[] IT was great fun on Christmas morning. The children awoke early and tumbled out of bed to look at the presents that were stacked on chairs near by. Squeals and yells of delight came from everyone.

[] 'Oh! a railway station! Just what I wanted! Who gave me this marvellous station?'

[] 'A new doll - with eyes that shut! I shall call her Betsy-May. She looks just like a Betsy-May!'

[] 'I say - what a whopping great book - all about aeroplanes. From Aunt Fanny! How decent of her!'

[] 'Timothy! Look what Julian has given you - a collar with big brass studs all round - you will be grand. Go and lick him to say thank you!'

[] 'Who's this from? I say, who gave me this? Where's the label? Oh - from Mr. Roland. How decent of him! Look, Julian, a pocket-knife with three blades!'

[] So the cries and exclamations went on, and the four excited children and the equally-excited dog spent a glorious hour before a late Christmas breakfast, opening all kinds and shapes of parcels. The bedrooms were in a fine mess when the children had finished!

[] 'Who gave you that book about dogs, George?' asked Julian, seeing rather a nice dog-book lying on George's pile.

[] 'Mr. Roland,' said George, rather shortly. Julian wondered if George was going to accept it. He rather thought she wouldn't. But the little girl, defiant and obstinate as she was, had made up her mind not to spoil Christmas Day by being 'difficult'. So, when the others thanked the tutor for their things she too added her thanks, though in rather a stiff little voice.

[] George had not given the tutor anything, but the others had, and Mr. Roland thanked them all very heartily, appearing to be very pleased indeed. He told Anne that her Christmas card was the nicest he had ever had, and she beamed at him with joy.

[] 'Well, I must say it's nice to be here for Christmas!' said Mr. Roland, when he and the others were sitting round a loaded Christmas table, at the mid-day dinner. 'Shall I carve for you, Mr. Quentin? I'm good at that!'

[] Uncle Quentin handed him the carving knife and fork gladly. 'It's nice to have you here,' he said warmly. 'I must say you've settled in well - I'm sure we all feel as if we've known you for ages!'

[] It really was a jolly Christmas Day. There were no lessons, of course, and there were to be none the next day either. The children gave themselves up to the enjoyment of eating a great deal, sucking sweets, and looking forward to the lighting of the Christmas tree.

[] It looked beautiful when the candles were lighted. They twinkled in the darkness of the hall, and the bright ornaments shone and glowed. Tim sat and looked at it, quite entranced.

[] 'He likes it as much as we do,' said George. And indeed Tim had enjoyed the whole day just as much as any of the children.

[] They were all tired out when they went to bed. 'I shan't be long before I'm asleep,' yawned Anne. 'Oh, George - it's been fun, hasn't it? I did like the Christmas tree.'

[] 'Yes, it's been lovely,' said George, jumping into bed. 'Here conies Mother to say good night. Basket, Tim, basket!'

[] Tim leapt into his basket by the window. He was always there when George's mother came in to say good night to the girls but as soon as she had gone downstairs, the dog took a flying leap and landed on George's bed. There he slept, his head curled round her feet.

[] 'Don't you think Tim ought to sleep downstairs tonight?' said George's mother. 'Joanna says he ate such an enormous meal in the kitchen that she is sure he will be sick.'

[] 'Oh no, Mother!' said George, at once. 'Make Tim sleep downstairs on Christmas night? Whatever would he think?'

[] 'Oh, very well,' said her mother, with a laugh. 'I might have known it was useless to suggest it. Now go to sleep quickly, Anne and George - it's late and you are all tired.'

[] She went into the boys' room and said good night to them too. They were almost asleep.

[] Two hours later everyone else was in bed. The house was still and dark. George and Anne slept peacefully in their small beds. Timothy slept too, lying heavily on George's feet.

[] Suddenly George awoke with a jump. Tim was growling softly! He had raised his big shaggy head and George knew that he was listening.

[] 'What is it, Tim?' she whispered. Anne did not wake. Tim went on growling softly. George sat up and put her hand on his collar to stop him. She knew that if he awoke her father, he would be cross.

[] Timothy stopped growling now that he had roused George. The girl sat and wondered what to do. It wasn't any good waking Ann. The little girl would be frightened. Why was Tint growling? He never did that at night!

[] 'Perhaps I'd better go and see if everything is all right,' thought George. She was quite fearless, and the thought pf creeping through the still, dark house did not disturb her at all. Besides she had Tim! Who could be afraid with Tim beside them!

[] She slipped on her dressing-gown. 'Perhaps a log has fallen out of one of the fire-places and a rug is burning,' she thought, sniffing as she went down the stairs. ‘It would be just like Tim to smell it and warn us!'

[] With her hand on Tim's head to warn him to be quite quiet, George crept softly through the hall to the sitting-room. The fire was quite all right there, just a red glow. In the kitchen all was peace too. Tim's feet made a noise there, as his claws rattled against the linoleum.

[] A slight sound came from the other side of the house. Tim growled quite loudly, and the hairs on the back of his neck rose up. George stood still. Could it possibly be burglars?

[] Suddenly Timothy shook himself free from her fingers and leapt across the hall, down a passage, and into the study beyond! There was the sound of an exclamation, and a noise as if someone was falling over.

[] 'It is a burglar!' said George, and she ran to the study. She saw a torch shining on the floor, dropped by someone who was even now struggling with Tim.

[] George switched on the light, and then looked with the greatest astonishment into the study. Mr. Roland was there in his dressing-gown, rolling on the floor, trying to get away from Timothy, who, although not biting him, was holding him firmly by his dressing-gown.

[] 'Oh - it's you, George! Call your beastly dog off!' said Mr. Roland, in a low and angry voice. 'Do you want to rouse all the household?'

[] 'Why are you creeping about with a torch?' demanded George.

[] 'I heard a noise down here, and came to see what it was,' said Mr. Roland, sitting up and trying to fend off the angry dog. 'For goodness' sake, call your beast off.'

[] 'Why didn't you put on the light?' asked George, not attempting to take Tim away. She was very much enjoying the sight of an angry and frightened Mr. Roland.

[] 'I couldn't find it,' said the tutor. 'It's on the wrong side of the door, as you see.'

[] This was true. The switch was an awkward one to find if you didn't know it. Mr. Roland tried to push Tim away again, and the dog suddenly barked.

[] 'Well - he'll wake everyone!' said the tutor, angrily. 'I didn't want to rouse the house. I thought I could find out for myself if there was anyone about - a burglar perhaps. Here comes your father!'

[] George's father appeared, carrying a large poker. He stood still in astonishment when he saw Mr. Roland on the ground and Timothy standing over him.

[] 'What's all this?' he exclaimed. Mr. Roland tried to get up, but Tim would not let him. George's father called to him sternly.

[] 'Tim! Come here, sir!'

[] Timothy glanced at George to see if his mistress agreed with her father's command. She said nothing. So Timothy took no notice of the order and merely made a snap at Mr. Roland's ankles.

[] 'That dog's mad!' said Mr. Roland, from the floor. 'He's already bitten me once before, and now he's trying to do it again!'

[] 'Tim! Will you come here, sir!' shouted George's father. 'George, that dog is really disobedient. Call him off at once.'

[] 'Come here, Tim!' said George, in a low voice. The dog at once came to her, standing by her side with the hairs on his neck still rising up stiffly. He growled softly as if to say, 'Be careful, Mr. Roland, be careful!'

[] The tutor got up. He was very angry indeed. He spoke to George's father.

[] 'I heard some sort of a noise and came down with my torch to see what it was,' he said. 'I thought it came from your study, and knowing you kept your valuable books and instruments here, I wondered if some thief was about. I had just got down, and into the room, when that dog appeared from somewhere and got me down on the ground! George came along too, and would not call him off.'

[] 'I can't understand your behaviour, George; I really can't,' said her father, angrily. 'I hope you are not going to behave stupidly, as you used to behave before your cousins came last summer. And what is this I hear about Tim biting Mr. Roland before?'

[] 'George had him under the table during lessons,' said Mr. Roland. 'I didn't know that, and when I stretched out my legs, they touched Tim, and he bit me. I didn't tell you before, sir, because I didn't want to trouble you. Both George and the dog have tried to annoy me ever since I have been here.'

[] 'Well, Tim must go outside and live in the kennel,' said George's father. 'I won't have him in the house. It will be a punishment for him, and a punishment for you too, George. I will not have this kind of behaviour. Mr. Roland has been extremely kind to you all.'

[] 'I won't let Tim live outside,' said George furiously. 'It's such cold weather, and it would simply break his heart.'

[] 'Well, his heart must be broken then,' said her father. 'It will depend entirely on your behaviour from now on whether Tim is allowed in the house at all these holidays. I shall ask Mr. Roland each day how you have behaved. If you have a bad report, then Tim stays outside. Now you know! Go back to bed but first apologize to Mr. Roland!'

[] 'I won't!' said George, and choked by feelings of anger and dismay, she tore out of the room and up the stairs. The two men stared after her.

[] 'Let her be,' said Mr. Roland. 'She's a very difficult child - and has made up her mind not to like me, that's quite plain. But I shall be very glad, sir, to know that that dog isn't in the house. I'm not at all certain that Georgina wouldn't set him on me, if she could!'

[] 'I'm sorry about all this,' said George's father. 'I wonder what the noise was that you heard - a log falling in the grate I expect. Now - what am I to do about that tiresome dog tonight? Go and take him outside, I suppose!'

[] 'Leave him tonight,' said Mr. Roland. 'I can hear noises upstairs - the others are awake by now! Don't let's make any more disturbance tonight.'

[] 'Perhaps you are right,' said George's father, thankfully. He didn't at all want to tackle a defiant little girl and an angry big dog in the middle of a cold night!

[] The two men went to bed and slept. George did not sleep. The others had been awake when she got upstairs, and she had told them what had happened.

[] 'George! You really are an idiot!' said Dick. 'After all, why shouldn't Mr. Roland go down if he heard a noise! You went down! Now we shan't have darling old Tim in the house this cold weather!'

[] Anne began to cry. She didn't like hearing that the tutor she liked so much had been knocked down by Tim, and she hated hearing that Tim was to be punished.

[] 'Don't be a baby,' said George. 'I'm not crying, and it's my dog!'

[] But, when everyone had settled down again in bed, and slept peacefully, George's pillow was very wet indeed. Tim crept up beside her and licked the salt tears off her cheek. He whined softly. Tim was always unhappy when his little mistress was sad.