Sigmund and Beaumont: Miss Sally’s Great Nieces

Sigmund and Beaumont: Miss Sally’s Great Nieces

It was a chilled, snowy day in late January. The wind blew along the surface of the snow, making wisps of sparkling white dance across the ground. Despite the cold and the snow that blanketed the ground, the sky was clear and the sun was bright and cheerful. Miss Sally was still recovering from the broken ankle she had gotten from slipping on ice, just before Christmas, but she simply couldn’t stay in bed any longer. She was too stubborn, and besides, her great nieces, the great-grandchildren of her youngest brother, were coming to visit. This was not simply any visit, however. The youngest, Daisy, was turning three, and Miss Sally had promised her that she would throw a tea party to celebrate. 

The doctor had given Miss Sally a cane after failing to convince her to stay off her foot for at least another week. Mr. Thomas, who had been loyally at her side ever since her injury, laughed with great mirth as he watched her stubborn self hobble down the stairs and into the kitchen to begin baking the most delicious, beautiful cake she could make. 

Beaumont, Miss Sally’s little black housecat who liked wearing bowties, followed her into the kitchen, perching himself on a table in the corner to watch. The icing she made was pale blue, and there were delicate little flowers, which Beaumont knew could only mean one thing. Daisy, Rose, and Lilian were most certainly on their way. Beaumont liked the girls. He smiled whenever they came to visit. He liked to play with them and loved the attention they gave him – and the treats of course. The last time they visited, they snuck him an entire fish! He licked his lips just thinking about it. Sigmund, a wee house spider, and Beaumont’s best friend, swung down from the corner where the pantry stood. He had a juicy ‘winged snack’, a housefly, in his little hands when he saw Miss Sally making the cake, a blueberry cake, and he plopped himself onto the table beside his feline friend with a laugh. 

“Our favourite wee lassies be a comin’ soon now, aren’t they?” Sigmund said as he laughed.

“Yes, I think it’s the smallest one’s birthday. I do believe she’s turning three,” Beaumont meowed in reply. “I saw Mr. Thomas wrapping a parcel up and tying it with a pretty bow. I like having Mr. Thomas around.”

“Aye, and the wee lassies, so ya do,” Sigmund again laughed.

Two days later, the girls had arrived. In the upstairs spare room, they quickly ran. Beaumont followed, flicking his tail eagerly. Sigmund crawled along the wall beside him as they made their way to the spare bedroom where the girls had gone. The middle, seven-year-old Rose, saw Beaumont first and her face lit up. She got up from the chest where the dress-up clothes and things were kept and ran over to the little black cat. Quickly he was whisked into the girl’s arms and surrounded. Thirteen-year-old Lilian, the eldest, dragged the great chest of costumes closer, and the three got to work with beaming smiles across their faces. Dress-up clothes and accessories flew around the room as it was quickly filled with laughter. He didn’t mind one bit as the girls tied colourful ribbons in his fur and on his tail. He rather liked that they even matched with his bowtie, a lovely peach, that he had chosen to wear that day. Sigmund watched from the ceiling, chuckling to himself as he watched the girls dress him up. All fancy and ready for a birthday tea party for certain, Beaumont was. The girls got up and went downstairs again when Miss Sally called them, leaving Beaumont alone with Sigmund. 

“They managed to match the ribbons to my fancy bowtie,” Beaumont said as he proudly pranced in front of the mirror to see their handiwork. He then joked with Sigmund, “You should try wearing a bowtie of your own sometime. Maybe the girls will even tie you one of your very own.”

Sigmund picked up a spare bow, tied from a pale pink ribbon, and held it up as he dangled over Beaumont’s head. “Yeah, yeah, it be a sportin’ look, me thinks,” The spider chimed. 

“Come on then my friend, we have a tea party to attend,” Beaumont meowed as he moved toward the door. Sigmund landed on his head, riding along as the wee kitty made his way out into the garden greenhouse behind Miss Sally’s house. There, Lilian, Rose, and Daisy sat gathered around a table with a lovely white tablecloth draped over it. Around them sat five other girls, gleefully chatting and enjoying the baked goods and tea Mr. Thomas helped Miss Sally prepare. Beaumont made his way through the flowers to where they were, and immediately the girls squealed and laughed when they saw Beaumont. They came rushing over to him, petting him and admiring him joyfully. Beaumont smiled. Mr. Thomas amusedly laughed when he saw them playing with Beaumont. 

But his attention quickly turned to inside when he heard a large crash. Mr. Thomas went running inside, and behind him, Beaumont ran, breaking away from the girls. His concern was for Miss Sally, whom he had seen on his way outside, putting the blueberry cake onto a serving platter. The cake was all over the floor, smashed and splattered in a great heap. Miss Sally stood there with her face in her hands, crying. Mr. Thomas looked from the cake on the floor to her, then pulled her into a kind embrace to calm and reassure her. Beaumont brushed against her legs, picking up her cane in his mouth. Miss Sally had also dropped it when she lost the cake she was trying to balance on one hand. 

She looked at Mr. Thomas, then down at Beaumont brushing up against her legs, and she laughed a bit. Mr. Thomas picked the cane up from Beaumont, handing it back to Miss Sally before picking the cat up. Beaumont was determined to help, but he didn’t know how. He looked up at Mr. Thomas, and the two exchanged a knowing glance. Mr. Thomas gave Miss Sally a clean handkerchief to dry her eyes, then helped her outside to sit and see the girls and their guests. He returned a few minutes later, picking the cat up and placing him on the counter. He quickly cleaned up the spilt cake from off the floor, then slipped on the apron in the kitchen and rolled up his sleeves. Sigmund watched from the windowsill, keeping an eye on both the party out in the greenhouse and Mr. Thomas and Beaumont rushing around the kitchen. 

Mr. Thomas got to work, following the recipe card Miss Sally had left out for the cake. He was used to making pies, not cakes, but he did his best. Beaumont helped too. He brought ribbons from upstairs down to decorate the cake. In the end, they made a cake. It was slightly lopsided and simple, with plain white icing and only the mismatched ribbons adorning it. Mr. Thomas gave Beaumont a scratch under the chin before carefully picking up the cake and carrying it out into the greenhouse. Beaumont followed at his heels, and Sigmund hopped onto his head for a ride. 

Miss Sally brightened up when she saw him, still wearing the flour-covered apron, carrying the lopsided cake, and Beaumont, also covered in flour, at his feet. Sigmund hopped onto a nearby flower as the girls saw the cake, then smiled brightly too. Miss Sally held Beaumont in her lap, giving him more chin scratches in thanks. They enjoyed the slightly wonky, rather plain cake and the party went on. Mr. Thomas again put a comforting arm around Miss Sally, assuring her that accidents happen and not to blame herself. Beaumont meowed in agreement, happily flicking his bow-adorned tail. 

All that was left was the presents. Miss Sally’s was saved for last, after a porcelain doll, a teddy bear, a spinning top, some new shoes, and a rocking horse Mr. Thomas had carved by hand for her. Daisy tore off the brown paper wrappings, then pulled the gift out. It was a hand-sewn stuffed toy version of Beaumont, with a little daisy embroidered on its bowtie. She grinned from ear to ear, toddling over to give her favourite kitty a hug with the toy version clutched in her little hand. This was the best birthday Daisy ever had, and Miss Sally later thanked Mr. Thomas and Beaumont for all they had done to save Daisy’s special day. Beaumont sighed happily as he curled up on Miss Sally’s lap that night, pleased to have once again made Miss Sally happy.