On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: three French hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.
There will come a time, perhaps, when the women of the world will declare with one voice "Enough!". When the endless burbling insanity which passes for the male thought process (naturally I do not include you in this, Father, though I cannot promise that Mother would do the same) finally becomes too unbearable to be allowed to continue along its trackless depths.
On that day, I am sure, it will fall to one amongst the fairer sex to study the male in such exhaustive detail, and with the help of so large and dedicated a staff behind her, that we shall finally succeed in mapping each and every recess of what men like my true love are pleased to call their minds. That individual will the grateful patronage of every woman in the English-speaking world before the month is out.
She will also be burned as a witch.
Perhaps I should make some small beginnings in such an investigation. Why, for example, when his previous two attempts at pleasing me have resulted in nothing but tears, curses, and minor property damage, did my true love decide that an adequate explanation for presenting me with four birds for Christmas was less urgent a task than securing six more of the wretched creatures? Along with another pear tree, which if he had some reason to believe I might have appreciated two days ago, can be under no such illusion now. Why, upon seeing the damage inflicted by one partridge and two turtle doves upon my herb garden, did it strike him worth sending in reinforcements (only the doves, I am happy to say; I'll not make the mistake of freeing a partridge a second time, though yesterday's captive is becoming ill-tempered, either because it objects to its captivity or because my true love has forgotten to feed it, in one of those lapses of memory that apparently also claimed every single thing he has ever learned or heard about me in the course of our courtship).
The French hens (if indeed they are French; perhaps you can confirm this diagnosis when you next visit, assuming the poultry in question has survived the winter weather, my true love's inconstant attentions, and my own rapidly deteriorating temper), I can at least understand to some extent. My true love, it transpires, recalls me once mentioning to him my appreciation of a nice, hot omelette. This, as I told him rather frostily this morning, is not entirely true, though I like them a good sight more when liberally seasoned with dill, an option difficult enough at this time of year without the entire bed having been obliterated by scavenging avian looters.
With all that said, this suggestion can claim the small distinction of being the most sensible one offered since this whole wretched business began (has it really been only three days since I was sure I would have something new and beautiful to display at the New Year's ball?), and so there I sat at nine this morning, eating my omelette as its providers and their miserable friends ate their way through my seed stocks. It is very hard to cry over one's breakfast when life is so trying, Father, particularly when saltwater is the only seasoning available.
But I am determined not to buckle under pressure. In four days I shall have something to turn heads in Lord Sunderland's hall, or my head will be turning towards men who can take a hint and protect a herb garden. I know you approved of my current engagement, Father, but I have too much faith in you to believe you did so whilst knowing full well my true love would prove to be so very, very stupid.
Your doting daughter,