On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: FIVE GOLD RINGS!!!
(Four "calling" birds, three French hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.)
Father, we are making progress. Jewellery has at last made its way across the horizon and into my possession; rings of pure gold, each engraved with my own name, and, whilst not perfectly sized, will fit on my fingers a fine sight better than Lady Sunderland will fit into her ballgown, which is generally taken to be the mark of success at such functions as her lord husband chooses to put on. It would be uncharitable to make too much of the fact that this criteria has become easier with every passing year, but then it was not by my recommendation that Lady Sunderland decided adequate dress alterations were an extravagance incompatible with her epicurean excesses. All it would take to cure my bird infestation completely would be a turkey baster, five pounds of buttered parsnips, and an invitation to Lady Sunderland to join me for afternoon tea.
I digress, perhaps because I am quite giddy at the thought of the figure I shall cut in two days time. I am so delighted that my true love at last came to his senses and sought out a genuinely practical present for me that I find it easy to forgive his previous foolishness, especially as I have now learned that the increasing flood of poultry foisted upon me was and is part of a deal made with the jeweller. I cannot pretend to fully understand the intricacies of this arrangement (do not roll your eyes and mutter of girls and business, Father,I merely feel no more compulsion to learn how my rings came to arrive than I do how my skirts are laundered; it merely matters that I be able to wear them), but the long and short of it is that my true love relieved the jeweller's son-in-law of a number of birds he had acquired - via means unknown - and in return was guaranteed favourable prices.
Naturally, like many cultured people, I find the idea of cheaper goods something of a double-edged blade when it comes to present giving. Those who insist "it is the thought that counts" simply do not wish to confess to their inability to rise high enough in society to acquire the amount of money any fool could see is necessary (though after the last five days I can hardly claim that thinking is entirely incidental to the process). Even so, it comes as some relief to know my true love had a plan in place all along. The blackbirds are no less loud (indeed they are now capable of irritating me equally well at either end of the house) the partridges no less oppressively ugly, and the herb garden no less ruined. My unseasoned and increasingly large omelettes have not miraculously transformed themselves into kippers, meaning the increase by a further half of my egg supply must be considered less than ideal.
These though are but temporary sacrifices. Soon or late, each of my thirty birds will die, perhaps mercifully soon, given their reactions to being left outside during winter. My rings will last forever, and my true love is to be congratulated for seeing his favourable fiscal arrangement as impetus, not to save money, but to purchase more gold with which to delight me.
Though five rings seems a little ambitious; I'm not sure how easily they will all go on, stay on, or allow me to raise my arms above my waist once they have been deployed. I suppose, though, that the odd spare will not go amiss.
Your doting daughter,