Dark frost was in the air without,
The dusk was still with cold and gloom,
When less than even a shadow came
And stood within the room.
But the three around the fire,
None turned a questioning head to look,
Still read a clear voice, on and on,
Still stooped they o'er their book.
The children watched their mother's eyes
Moving on softly line to line;
It seemed to listen too -- that shade,
Yet made no outward sign.
The fire-flames crooned a tiny song,