I don’t know about you, but for me, the best gifts are the ones that are heartfelt. The ones you know the giver thought a lot about and searched high and low until she found it—that perfect thing she knows you’ll love. Receiving a gift like that, however big or small, is magical.
Recently at my book launch my Aunt Shirley sent me a beautiful bouquet of flowers and made sure they arrived at the launch. My niece, Ashley, sent me orchids. I felt like a ballerina after a debut when she receives that giant bunch of roses at the curtain call. Also my aunt made me this awesome scrapbook page.
At the same party my parents gave me bookends in the shape of a mermaid, a nod to Vicky’s favorite painting A Mermaid. I’ll treasure them forever and each time I look at them I’ll think about my book party and how happy I was.
Which brings me to William Fletcher and Victoria Darling. Will is Vicky’s art model and collaborator and when Vicky’s birthday arrives he surprises her with a gift. I should mention that Will is a working class boy, a police constable without a lot of money. And Vicky is an upper class girl, the daughter of a wealthy industrialist, who has everything she could ever want, every material thing, that is. So what could William Fletcher get Victoria Darling for her birthday that she doesn’t already have? Will being Will found her the perfect thing.
SPOILER ALERT! Don’t go any further if you haven’t read A MAD, WICKED FOLLY yet and don’t want to know what the gift was. Instead enjoy this kitten valentine…
And this cute picture of a boy feeding goats…
Excerpt from A MAD, WICKED FOLLY
“Happy birthday!” Will said when I reached him. He handed me a small parcel wrapped in brown paper and tied with a green ribbon.
“Will! You didn’t have to do this.”
“I wanted to. It’s just a little thing.”
He watched carefully as I undid the package. Inside was slim volume of the poems of Tennyson.
“Turn to page twelve,” Will said.
I found the page, and there was the mermaid poem. Above the poem was an illustration, a woodcut of Waterhouse’s A Mermaid. The illustration was signed JW Waterhouse.
Without any warning, tears filled my eyes. No one had ever given me such a kind and thoughtful gift before. I pictured Will going into the shop, looking over the books, and then discovering the very one he knew I would love. I even pictured him watching as the clerk wrapped the volume in brown paper. I wondered if the clerk had tied the green bow on it or if Will had gone into a notion shop and chosen it himself. These were all small things, but kindness was built of small things.
So in honor of Valentine’s Day I’m giving page 12 away to 20 lucky people. Leave a comment about your favorite gift you’ve ever received or given. The first 20 commenters will get the page. Send me your address through the contact me form and I’ll send you page twelve from Will.
The mermaid sketch was done by my very talented dad, W.R. Biggs