The gift of love


Sydney Walk
December 19th 1852

Today, I received an early seasonal gift from Dauncey! He raced into my dressing room as if his whole life depended on reaching me as soon as possible. It really is a most heartening habit of his to make me feel so important and I only wish Josiah might greet me with the same urgency some days. Dauncey made a triumphant little mewing sound and hurled a mouse at my feet. Had I not been able to see at once that it was dead, I should have screamed like Villiers when he assists Josiah at the Hunt. But the blood, tiny entrails and lack of a complete head reassured me that it was not about to run up my skirts at any time. Dauncey sat back, clearly awaiting my thanks and praise.

I remembered looking forward to the sugar mice Mama always brought me when she came back from being away. She was a society lady who was often invited to country house weekends and was a popular face at many a ball. She would show me how much she had missed me whilst on her travels by placing a tiny pink mouse in my hand and kissing me daintily on my head. Oh, those mice were so sweet! How much they spoke of Mama’s love for me! And now Dauncey was offering me the same token of esteem. I laughed at him and begged his forgiveness for not eating the mouse immediately tail first, as I used to do to amuse Mama.

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