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Happy Days by A. A. Milne

The Sideboard Department is upstairs


Her Father has smoked his last cigar to-day. Isn't it awful? I have forbidden him to waste his money on any more, but he says he must give me 500 for a Christmas present. If he does, I shall give him that sideboard that I want so badly, and then we shall both go to prison together. You will look after Baby, won't you?

I am, ~The Baby's Mother.~

P.S.--Which she isn't proud, but does think it's a little bit classier than an uncle.

And so finally, I:

_Dear Child_,--I've thought of the very thing.

I am, ~The Baby's Uncle.~

That ends Chapter I. Here we go on to

II

Chapter II finds me in the Toy Department of the Stores. "I want," I said, "a present for a child."

"Yes, sir. About how old?"

"It must be quite new," I said sternly. "Don't be silly. Oh, I see; well, the child is only a baby."

"Ah, yes. Now here--if it's at all fond of animals----"

"I say, you mustn't call it 'IT.' I get in an awful

row if I do. Of course, I suppose it's all right for you, only--well, be careful, won't you?"

The attendant promised, and asked whether the child was a boy or girl.

"And had you thought of anything for the little girl?"

"Well, yes. I had rather thought of a sideboard."

"I beg your pardon?"

"A sideboard."

"The Sideboard Department is upstairs. Was there anything else for the little girl?"

"Well, a box of cigars. Rather full, and if you have any----"

"The Cigar Department is on the ground floor."

"But your Lord Chamberlain told me I was to come here if I wanted a present for a child."

"If you require anything in the toy line----"

"Yes, but what good are toys to a baby of four months? Do be reasonable."

"What was it you suggested? A sideboard and a cigar?"

"That was my idea. It may not be the best possible, but at least it is better than perfectly useless toys. You can always blow smoke in its face, or bump its head against the sideboard. _Experto crede_, if you have the Latin."

Whereupon with great dignity I made my way to the lift.

In the Sideboard Department I said: "I want a sideboard for a little girl of four months, and please don't call her 'IT.' I nearly had a row with one of your downstairs staff about that."

"I will try to be careful about that, Sir," he replied. "What sort of a one?"

"Blue eyes and not much hair, and really rather a sweet smile.... Was that what you wanted to know?"

"Thank you, Sir. But I meant, what sort of a sideboard?"


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