Victorian child's birthday surprise
Mildred wished for a puppy with all her being. She wanted a cuddly, tan, tail-wiggling bundle of joy, and she wanted it right now! But she decided just maybe she could wait till her 10th birthday, which would arrive in only three weeks. A puppy would be the absolute best gift ever, and surely there would be no problems. Mildred’s family lived on a sizeable property in Kensington, with large front and rear yards, and a three-story stone home. Her new puppy could gambol outdoors all day long, and sleep in her room every night. What fun they would have!
Mildred told everybody in the household of her birthday wish: she told the butler Jenks, the housemaid Stratton, and the housekeeper Mrs. Danton. She told her governess Miss Nathan and she told her baby brother Gerald’s nurse, Miss Hanson. Eventually she remembered to tell her Mummy, whom she seldom saw, about her puppy birthday wish.
“Mummy, Mummy, I want a puppy for my birthday! It’s only two more weeks! I want a cuddly little tan puppy, just like the puppy I saw last month when Mrs. Danton let me go along to the Market, that day that your tea circle.”
“Please Mummy Please Mummy Please” was chopped off as Mummy stood up and walked to the bell pull to ring for the governess. Madam Martinson had little to no patience for children’s antics, and probably had not even heard the request.
“Miss Nathan, take this child upstairs at once and ensure she applies herself to her lessons.”
The morning of Mildred’s eagerly anticipated birthday dawned bright and clear. A sunny Monday saw the child tumbling out of bed and racing downstairs to the drawing room, the site of Christmas, Boxing Day, and family birthday celebrations. Her wish had been so intense that she was certain she could hear miniature high-pitched puppy barks and sounds of tumbling across the carpet from wall to wall. Oh! She could not wait!
Mildred rushed into the drawing room, nearly bowling over the housemaid who had just laid and kindled the fire, and raced toward the corner where she expected the wonderfulest birthday gift ever! But-where was her puppy? She almost could still hear its yap! She looked in every corner, she looked under the chairs and the divan and the sofa near the French windows. No puppy! No puppy? No puppy!
Tears streaming down chubby child cheeks, Mildred’s head drooped and she stumbled toward the alcove near the fireplace where the family Christmas tree lorded during the holiday season, now a scant month away. Two items awaited her there: a doll stroller, life-sized, with a porcelain smile and cheery blonde ringlets, and a small framed portrait-of a tan cuddly puppy. Mildred’s birthday wish had come true.