**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!


Miss Middleton
by [?]

“Sort of instinct.”

“The worst of it is, I believe you’re right.”

“Of course I am. That settles it. Now, what was your next idea?”


“‘Angelas,'” said Miss Middleton, “are ALWAYS fair.”

“Why do you want all the names to yourself? You say everything’s fair.”

“Why can you only think of names beginning with ‘A’? Try another letter.”

“Suppose YOU try now.”

Miss Middleton wrinkled her brow and nibbled a lump of sugar.

“‘Dorothy,'” she said at last, “because you can call them ‘Dolly.'”

“There IS only one.”

“Or ‘Dodo.'”

“And it isn’t a bird.”

“Then there’s ‘Violet.'”

“My good girl, you don’t understand. Any of these common names the parents could have thought of for themselves. The fact that they have got me in at great expense–to myself–shows that they want something out of the ordinary. How can I go to them and say, ‘After giving a vast amount of time to the question, I have decided to call your child ‘Violet’? It can’t be done.”

Miss Middleton absently took another lump of sugar and, catching my eye, put it back again.

“I don’t believe that you’ve ever been a godfather before,” she said, “or that you know anything at all about what it is you’re supposed to be going to do.”

There was a knock at the door, and the liftman came in. Miss Middleton gave a little cough of recognition.

“A letter, sir,” he said.

“Thanks…. And as I was saying, Aunt Alison,” I went on in a loud voice, “you are talking rubbish.”

. . . . . . .

“Bah!” I said angrily, and I threw the letter down.

“Would you like to be left alone?” suggested Miss Middleton kindly.

“It is from the child’s so-called parents, and their wretched offspring is to be called ‘Violet Daisy.'”

“‘Violet Daisy,'” said Miss Middleton solemnly, trying not to smile.

“Why stop there?” I said bitterly. “Why not ‘Geranium’ and ‘Artichoke,’ and the whole blessed garden?”

“‘Artichoke,'” said Miss Middleton gravely, “is a boy’s name.”

“Well, I wash my hands of the whole business now. No napkin ring from ME. Here have I been wasting hours and hours in thought, and then just when the worst of it is over, they calmly step in like this. I call it–“

“Yes?” said Miss Middleton eagerly.

“I call it simply–“


“‘Violet Daisy,'” I finished, with a great effort.


“OUR dance,” I said; “and it’s no good pretending it isn’t.”

“Come on,” said Miss Middleton. “It’s my favourite waltz. I expect I’ve said that to all my partners to-night.”

“It’s my favourite too, but you’re the first person I’ve told.”

“The worst of having a dance in your own house,” said Miss Middleton, after we had been once round the room in silence, “is that you have to dance with EVERYBODY.”

“Have you said that to all your partners too?”

“I expect so. I must have said everything. Don’t look so reproachfully at me. You ARE looking reproachful, aren’t you?”

I let go with one hand and felt my face.

“Yes,” I said. “That’s how I do it.”

“Well, you needn’t bother, because none of them thought I meant THEM. Men never do.”

“I shall have to think that over by myself,” I said after a pause. “There’s a lot in that which the untrained observer might miss. Anyhow, it’s not at all the sort of thing that a young girl ought to say at a dance.”

“I’m older than you think,” said Miss Middleton. “Oh, bother, I forgot. You know how old I am.”

“Perhaps you’ve been ageing lately. I have. This last election has added years to my life. I came here to get young again.”

“I don’t know anything about politics. Father does all the knowing in our family.”

“He’s on the right side, isn’t he?”

“I think he is. He says he is.”

“Oh, well, he ought to know…. Yes, the truth is I came here to be liked again. People and I have been saying awfully rude things to each other lately.”

“Oh, why do you want to argue about politics?”

“But I DON’T want to. It’s a funny thing, but nobody will believe me when I say that.”