Posted on Friday, 21 December 2007
'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring -- except for a mouse.
Not the small furry kind, that in fright makes you shimmy --
But one attached to the computer of our very own Jimmy.
What's she doing awake? How odd it does seem
That she's not in the midst of some sugarplum dream!
On Christmas Eve night, what could keep her attention
At such a late hour? (Nearly midnight, I'll mention.)
She's working so hard, in the monitor's glow,
Her hands on the keyboard, they dance to and fro!
Tapping and typing, a click here and there!
A download! An upload! A new file to share!
And it's not even on her own stories that she does strive --
No, all this effort is for the DWG archive!
So many stories each day to that web site are posted,
Keeping up with the pace would get anyone toasted.
So you see that's why Jimmy the midnight oil is burning,
"Just one more!" is the thought she is constantly turning.
But right at this time, as we have started to snoop,
We can see that her eyelids have begun to droop.
"A quick snooze," she thinks, "will be just the thing.
"Then I'll get back to work with a zip and a zing."
So she closes the file, and the off the monitor blinks,
Then she lays her head on the desk for a quick forty winks.
While Jimmy is napping, it seems a good time to remark
How weird and how strange this room looks in the dark!
So quiet and still, and just a dim eerie glow
From the light of the moon on the new-fallen snow.
And what's this? Oh my! I don't know what to think!
Is that Christmas tree growing tall, or do all of us shrink?
The shadows now look so spooky and queer,
And from the hall is that a sound of footsteps we hear?
The door edges open with barely a creak --
If it wouldn't ruin the suspense, I surely would shriek!
A group of dark figures now slowly advances --
Like a scene from Mrs. Radcliffe's Gothic romances!
Who could it be, come like ghosts or like phantoms?
Luckily a few of them are holding up candle-lit lanterns.
In the wavering glow of those glimmering flames,
We can recognize these sneaks and call them by name!
It's Wickham! And Willoughby! And John Thorpe there, too!
Behind them Mr. Crawford and Mr. Elliot in view!
They must have in hand some nefarious plot,
And I shudder to think what brought them to this spot!
First Wickham whispers, "See, it's just like I said!
So much safer to arrive once the household's abed!"
"Never thought I'd say this, Wickham, old man,
But this once you were right," so Thorpe joins in the plan.
Willoughby nods too, and says, "This will be a snap!
Our very own Dwiggie right here to kidnap!"
"Then soon," Crawford muses, "we'll do it up handsome
And tell the other Dwiggies we're holding her for ransom!"
"And we won't let her go," Mr. Elliot concludes,
"Until they write some stories where we're the best dudes!"
So they creep up to Jimmy, they've got her surrounded --
But then from the dark, a bright bugle call sounded!
Followed quick by the tramp of so many marching feet,
With a drummer and fife up front keeping the beat.
And leading the charge (in his red coat, of course)
Is Colonel Brandon, who's mounted on a splendid white horse!
"Unhand her, you knaves!" is what Brandon first shouts.
"This brigade of militia will soon put you to rout!"
"We'll never surrender!" Wickham yells with a sneer,
"Just try to stop us -- ha! We're out of here!"
Then what happens next will hardly be a surprise:
All the shouting wakes Jimmy, who slowly opens her eyes.
Now did you know Jimmy has a great throwing arm?
She grabs the nearest thing handy, and hurls it into the storm.
The villains they tumble -- all five with one blow!
And into a head-over-heels heap they go!
"Huzzah!" cheer the soldiers, as must be required
To celebrate the end of the fuss, without a single shot fired.
Brandon swiftly dismounts, and to Jimmy does bow,
"I salute you! Well done! You sure showed 'em -- and how!"
Then he picked up the object that caused the villains' defeat,
And (did you guess?) it was a Nutcracker -- sweet!
"What's going on here?" Jimmy wonders aloud.
"'Cause when I fell asleep, there wasn't this crowd.
Not that I'm not glad you're here -- you're welcome enough!
(And let's not mention that story where I killed you off.)"
"Dear lady, it's no coincidence that brings us this way --
We're here at the bidding of one Miss J.A.
For your years of service, so I vow by my sword,
There is waiting for you a particular reward.
"While coming to your rescue was a happy chance,
The truth is, dear madam, we came to ask you to dance!
There's a Christmas Eve ball where your presence is needed,
So to fetch you from here to there we have speeded.
"And don't worry," said Brandon, "about these oafish cads.
Some payment from them for their crime will be had.
Tonight Santa needs helpers, and these louts look quite able
To spend all night mucking out a certain reindeer stable!
"So what do you say? Will you come to the ball,
For music and dancing and white soup and all?
And let me tell you, with pride I'd just burst
If from your dance card you'd give me the two first."
Jimmy accepted at once! How could she refuse?
(Wouldn't you do the same, were you in her shoes?)
And Jimmy found herself feeling all the more chipper
To be magically wearing a ball gown and slippers.
Then in a fine carriage Jimmy soon took her seat,
And with Brandon along was soon brought to the fete.
Gliding into the ballroom on the Colonel's strong arm,
She saw much to delight and much more to charm.
So many fine couples were out on the floor,
And when Jimmy entered their approval did roar!
Her arrival a break in the dance may have caused,
But only for the dancers to give her a round of applause.
Then the music was playing, and the Colonel took her hand,
Leading her into the dance -- luckiest girl in the land!
Among the other couples, she saw some that she knew --
Since they're favorites to all, I'd bet you know them too.
First Darcy went by, together with Lizzy --
How do they manage those turns without getting dizzy?
Next in the figure came Bingley and Jane,
He looking ecstatic and she looking the same.
Captain Wentworth and Anne, looking blissfully happy --
Their turns were so graceful, and their footwork was snappy!
Then Catherine Moreland came dancing along,
With Henry Tilney (sans greatcoat) beside her in the throng.
Then Edmund and Fanny are who we next see,
Going down the dance and smiling with glee!
And then in his evening clothes (and looking quite sprightly)
Is none other than that charming fellow Knightley!
But wait! That's not Emma! Who is that we spy
As his partner tonight? Why, it's our own Amy I!
As Knightley and Amy dance up and get near,
She leans over and puts a word in Jimmy's ear.
"A very good evening! By your surprise it is clear
That I'm not the one you expected to be here.
I used my writing skills -- or was I too bold? --
And tonight Emma has caught poor Harriet's cold.
"I hope you won't think that I'm being too naughty
If I treat myself to a night with this Regency hottie!
But let me keep a straight face -- it won't do to laugh --
For I've something to say on all Dwiggies' behalf.
"Many thanks to you, Jimmy, for all that you've done
Maintaining the archives and helping our fun!
The archivers are heroes -- that must be our creed
Whenever there's a great story we want to reread.
"And as your successor, I promise I'll work hard
For my group of authors, J and L through R.
And I'll remember your advice, which will help me survive:
Save your work often, and back up your hard drive!"
So off Amy danced, twirling in Knightley's arms,
And we'll leave Jimmy as well, to enjoy Brandon's charms.
Yet of this poem I will write a few more lines,
And ask every Dwiggie to join voices with mine:
Now all together, let us give three loud cheers!
Huzzah to those working behind the scenes all these years!
Hip, hip, hooray! So all of us shout,
For you're the ones we certainly can't do without!
A toast to the archivers! Our glasses we lift,
And I offer this poem as your Christmas gift.
Then let me conclude (as you all knew I might)
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!