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Holly Hill was a place for Christmas! Holly Hill, the old rambling Stratford homestead in Virginia, on its high hill, looking down the long slope and across the wide fields to the far woods rimming the sky. From Bob, the veteran, within a month of his teens, down to brown-eyed Evelyn, with her golden hair floating all around her, when Christmas came everyone hung up a stocking, and the visit of Santa Claus was the event of the year. They went to sleep the night before Christmas-or rather they went to bed, for sleep was long far from their bright eyes-with delightful expectations and thrills along their backs, and with little squeakings and gurglings, like so many little white mice, and if Santa Claus had not always been so very prompt in disappearing up the chimney before daybreak he must certainly have been caught. For by the time the chickens were crowing in the morning there would be an answering twitter through the house, and with a patter of little feet and subdued laughter small, white-clad figures would steal through the dim light of dusky rooms and cold passages, opening doors with sudden bursts, and shouting "Christmas gift!" into darkened chambers, at still sleeping elders. Then they would scurry away in the gray light to rake open the hickory embers and revel in the exploration of their bulging, overcrowded stockings.
Try as they might, the Daemons of the Caves could not tempt old Santa Claus in any way. Quite the contrary, his cheery laughter disconcerted the evil ones and showed to them the folly of their undertaking. It's well known that no harm can come to Santa Claus while he is in the Laughing Valley, for the fairies, and ryls, and knooks all protect him. But on Christmas Eve he drives his reindeer out into the big world, carrying a sleighload of toys and pretty gifts to the children. Christmas Eve is the one time when his enemies have a chance to injure him. So the Daemons made their plans and awaited the arrival of Christmas Eve. Santa bridled his reindeer to the sleigh, and took to the air -- when suddenly a strange thing happened: a rope shot through the moonlight and a big noose that was in the end of it settled over the arms and body of Santa Claus and drew tight. Before he could resist or even cry out he was jerked from the seat of the sleigh and tumbled head foremost into a snowbank, while the reindeer rushed onward with the load of toys and carried it quickly out of sight and sound. Such a surprising experience confused old Santa for a moment, and when he had collected his senses he found that the wicked Daemons had pulled him from the snowdrift and bound him tightly with many coils of the stout rope. And then they carried the kidnapped Santa Claus away to their mountain, where they thrust the prisoner into a secret cave and chained him to the rocky wall so that he could not escape.
The Santa Claus Gang has struck again. Xmas Eve: the Prussian Death Squad Robot commandos (with Live Action Grappling Hooks!) disappear en masse. A panicked CEO places an early morning call for help. Ignoring Call Waiting, Marlowe and Nina answer, launching them yet again into the seedy, dumpster-filled underbelly of the City's criminal underworld. You'd think they'd have learned by now to pay attention to Call Waiting. 'Tis the season to stop the nefarious holiday-themed criminal organization from giving away the Most Wanted Toy of the Year. Otherwise, the poor conglomerate that manufactures the Prussian Death Squad Robot Commandos (with Live Action Grappling Hooks!) will be crushed. And if that isn't incentive enough, failure means Marlowe and Nina will be executed. The Santa Claus Gang is a short story set after the action of Marlowe and the Spacewoman, but before the nail-biting excitement of Balloons of the Apocalypse. And now, for a limited time, it's available in English!
Santa takes his first vacation in 1, years.
The book offers a usage-based account of how humans comprehend complex linguistic structures. The author proposes a theory of constructional access, which treats syntactic patterns as complex and abstract signs. In this view, syntactic processing is subject to the very same dynamics as lexical processing and should yield the same type of frequency effects.
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