It was a fortnight before Christmas, and every one agreed that this would be a real Christmas, such as had not been seen for many years. There was a delightful cold nip in the air, as exhilarating as good news; the sky was grey and overcast, and the streets were covered with a thick layer of snow.
Few sights are more charming than that of a town covered with new-fallen, clean white snow; and how pretty it is to watch the tiny flakes drift downward through the air as if there were a wedding in the sky and the fairies were throwing confetti.
At this time of the year the afternoons are short and the daylight quickly fades, so that the narrow streets which lead off the main roads of a great city like London assume an air more and more mysterious. The passer-by looks anxiously about him as his business takes him down some dark alley, for this is the season of goblins and pixies and elves - perhaps even the will-o-the wisps are in town.
From The Mysterious Toyshop by Cyril W.Beaumont, 1891-1976