"Dashing through the snow, on a one horse open sleigh..." sang Cecil, as she bounced, glowing and red cheeked into the house.
"Hello Poppet" greeted Jo, "How was your snowfight?"
"We smashed the boys!" yelled Pippa triumphantly as she kicked off her boots.
"You did not 'smash' us" said Roddy haughtily, grabbing one of her pigtails playfully, "We let you win!"
"You did not let us win!" said Cecil indignantly, "and anyway Daphne smushed your face in the snow!"
"Daphne did what?" asked Jo, sitting down.
"And what kind of word is Smush?" asked Roddy.
"You were smushed! And you were smushed by a little girl!" laughed Cecil.
"Roddy was smushed by a girl, Roddy was smushed by a girl" sang Marie-Claire over and over in an annoying voice, as she warmed her hands in front of the fire.
"Hush little one!" said Roddy grabbing hold of the family baby and tickling her, until she shrieked with laughter.
"Where is Daphne?" asked Jo at this point.
But her own question was answered, as Daphne and Felix appeared at the door, both of them laughing loudly.
"Kind damsel, would thou be so kind as to help me get off my Boots."
"But of course good sir." replied Daphne, with a cheeky smile.
As she entered the house though, into the suddenly silent kitchen, she started to blush, and became quiet again.
Behind them there was a shriek, and they all turned as Felicity, hat in hand and hair streaming wildly, slipped and went flying with a rather unelegant, "Yeowww".
She was caught gracefully by Seth, who had until then been on a quest for a lost glove.
Firmly he grabbed her hand and walked her up the path.
"Felicity" greeted her Mother, "that was a shriek worthy of young Cecil."
Cecil promptly sqwuaked in protest, proving Jo's point completely.
"Thank you Seth" continued Jo, "For saving some of Fliss's dignity, its unlike her to be so clumsy."
"She seems to keep falling about since you've been here Seth" said Roddy laughing, "She practically fell down the stairs this morning."
Felicity blushed bright red.
"Well perhaps that's because you boys were charging down them like a herd of wild animals" replied Pippa hotly.
"Mittagessen?" suggested Jo, putting an end to the scrapping.
There was a scramble for the table, with even Daphne being pulled into the rabble, as Cecil grabbed her hand.
They all wolfed down firsts, seconds and in some case thirds, and Jo was pleased to note that Daphne was eating as much as Cecil, rather than just daintily nibbling on something.
"More spuds Daphne?" asked someone, and Daphne nodded eagerly.
"Oh yes please! They are lovely thanks." she replied enthusiastically, as they were heaped onto her plate.
"Can someone pass the gravy?" asked Pippa, from the other end of the long table, where she was engaged in a game of "footsies" under the table, with her twin.
"Of course they Can" stressed Jo, "you should say Will..."
"Shut up!" chorused most of her children as one.
Felix made a long arm for the gravy, managing to knock it over, and spill it all over his twin.
"Felix!" shrieked Felicity, who felt as if her mortification was now complete. She jumped up, and ran out of the room.
"What! I didn't mean to!" exclaimed Felix sounding injured as everyone turned to stare at him.