The anniversary of the day of my birth is coming!

Poor mother and father shan't be home to enjoy my birth-day with me. Mother's doctor has sent her on holiday to the coast in the hopes that the sea air will help cure her of her persistent case of melancholitis. Father, meanwhile, has been invited to the birthday celebration of Prince Tansu of Turkey, a boy my own age. They say Prince Tansu is spoiled and is a perfectly awful little brat, but as he is also a very important nobleman it certainly wouldn't do for father to decline the invitation.

So with whom must I have to celebrate my birth-day? Horrible nanny, of course, with her incessant coddling! Last year on my birth-day she attempted to give me a kiss on the forehead! Can you imagine the cheek? The smell of corned-beef on her breath made me swoon so - I nearly fainted!

In their infinite kindness, my parents have taken pains to ensure that my cow of a nanny shan't be the sole celebrant of my birth-day. They also hired a man to organize a party in my honor and invite 200 of the finest-bred boys and girls in the area to attend. There will be pony rides (though I cannot ride due to allergies), a grand cake (though I cannot eat any due to a case of the sugars), and vigorous games of sport (though I cannot play due to my brittle bones). I quite look forward to watching it all transpire, though! Doctor thinks it best that I take in the whole affair through the safety of the window in my bed chamber.

* * *

The evening before my birth-day, an uncommon mood of melancholy descended upon my normally jovial nature.

After nanny had finished her evening routine of picking up my playthings, changing me into my sleeping gown, brushing my teeth, washing my face, stimulating my arm and leg muscles, checking the bed-chamber for bogeys or tiny devil-men, and saying my prayers for me, she finally could stop and actually give me some attention. Though I feared that her Irish heritage might not allow her to understand the full range of an English gentleman's emotions, I unburdened myself to her.

"Nanny," I confessed. "I do not wish to have a birth-day."

"Oh, but it'll be a grand celebration, Master Winthrop," Nanny said. "Many a little boy and girl will be coming here just to brighten your day. Why, you're such a special little lad, I shouldn't be surprised if the fairies themselves come to pay their respects."

̉But I'm happy the age I am and long to stay that way for-ever," I explained.

"We all feel that way from time to time," said Nanny (or something like it, through her accent). "But not a one of us has a choice but to be carried onward by the tide of time. Just think of all the things you have to look forward to as you grow to become a man, my Little China Doll. There's the fancy of young ladies, getting bigger, going away to University, growing whiskers on your face!"

None of these things sounded appealing to me.

"Will you still be my nanny when I'm a man?" I asked. "To shave my whiskers for me?"

"Oh, I shouldn't think so," said Nanny, a smile at her lips and sorrow in her eyes. "I don't think you're old nanny shall still be alive then."

Well then. Something, at least, to look forward to.

And yet, even with the thought of a nannyless adulthood to look forward to, trepidation lingered in regards to the coming day's events.