On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.
To think just yesterday I talked as though I had plumbed the heaviest depths of bewilderment! I was nothing but the child at the beach, who believes the sea must be deep where he stands, for it reaches from his toes all the way to his torso. My true love, if nothing else, has provided me with a diving lesson.
Indeed, while I can claim no interest in trawling the bed of the sea for incurious fish and tarnished coppers, such a gift could hardly be considered less sensible than that of four birds and two trees. The best that can be said of this latest gift is that turtle doves are somewhat less aesthetically offensive than the wretched partridge. How fortunate my true love thought to provide another specimen to confirm this comparison (as part, he tells me, of some kind of bulk discount, an act of fiscal prudence which surely constitutes the only instance of thought involved in this whole endeavour).
Another specimen, I should add, that once more finds itself tied to its arboreal display piece. At first, under questioning, my true love suggested this state was a source of unholy pleasure for the bird, alluding to depraved ideas I tried most strenuously to neither understand nor commit to memory. Ultimately, however, I extracted the truth: the second partridge remained in chains to prevent a repeat of the devastation unleashed by its predecessor, which once freed from its perch on my insistence has busied itself with befouling my herb garden and loosening my trellises, activities the turtle doves seem only too happy to provide assistance for now they have arrived.
Quite frankly. I would instruct my gardener to shoot all three of them - and, yes, their captive cousin also - had his eyes reached such a state of dilapidation I begin to wonder whether he can remain trusted armed with a trowel, much yet a firearm.
To sum up, then: two currently useless trees, four perennially useless birds, and a disgraceful mess made of both parsley and dill, which are now as frayed and filthy as are my patience and my goodwill. I fear today has once more been a day in which I have had no choice but to retire to my chambers and ignore my frantic true love, who had he put as much energy into choosing his gifts as he does rapping upon my door, might have prevented this whole ugly business from bearing any more fruit than do those wretched pear trees.
Yours, as ever,