A quiet Christmas


Sydney Walk
December 20th 1852

This Winter is proving to be much duller than last. I have hardly seen any of my friends and there have been almost no parties, at least not that I have been made aware of. I told Josiah that it must be because we are in rooms people do not wish to visit, but that made him a little cross so I changed the subject. I know he tried his hardest when he comes up to town to choose where we stay for the season, so he must have felt that in speaking ill of his choice I was also speaking ill of him. What a booby I am to have complained so when I am in truth a very lucky woman.

So, I have decided to do away with any hope of hosting a party here and I shall instead make our own family Christmas as cosy as it can be. For dinner this year there will be me, Josiah and poor Papa, who is still a little vague after the assault he suffered in this neighbourhood. He has accepted my invitation to stay for a day or so, but has insisted that he be accompanied from his front door to ours, and back again when he leaves. I said Villiers would be only too pleased to escort him, but he has made his own arrangements it seems. It is as well that he has, for I have resolved to give Villiers some time off to thank him for his solicitous service of late. He, too, has been more solitary than he would like and I think it my duty as a caring employer to allow him his head whilst in London.

Josiah softened somewhat when I apologised for my ingratitude and was almost excited by the prospect of a long evening over brandy and cigars with Papa. He has a proposition to put to him, I am sure of it. I shall keep out of such discussions, since I know Papa is not impressed by Josiah’s business ventures. If only I could tell them both that I, little Effie, am the most successful business brain in the family!

I shall ask the cook to prepare some special treats for Dauncey to eat and have found a delightful neck collar for him to wear. I cannot wait to see his little face when I present it to him. Which puts me in mind of the gift I must find for Josiah – I am quite worn out with trying to find something to please him. He is not a man who likes frippery or adornment – except upon his fortunate wife, of course – and he already has a perfectly adequate watch. I am not inspired to think of anything else!

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