Well, one day his mother thought she would give him a day of pleasure, and make him very happy indeed, so she told him he should have a feast, and dine under the great cedar tree that stood upon the lawn, and that his cousins should be invited to dine with him, and that he should have whatever he chose for his dinner. So she rang the bell, and she told the servants to take out tables and chairs and to lay the cloth upon the table under the tree, and she ordered her two footmen to be ready to wait upon him.
She desired the butler to tell the cook to prepare the dinner, and to get all sorts of nice dishes for the feast; but she said to Alfred:
“What shall you like best of all, my dear boy?”
So Alfred tried to think of something that he had never had before, and he recollected that one day he had heard a lady, who was dining with his father and mother, say that the oyster patties were the best she had ever eaten. Now Alfred had never tasted oyster patties, so he said he would have oyster patties for dinner.
“Oyster patties, my dear boy? You cannot have oyster patties at this time of the year; there are no oysters to be had,” his mother said to him. “Try, love, to think of something else.”
But naughty Alfred said:
“No, I can think of nothing else.”
So the cook was sent for, and desired to think of something that he might like as well. The cook proposed first a currant pie, then a barberry pie, or a codlin pie with custard.
“No, no, no!” said Alfred, shaking his head.
“Or a strawberry tart, my sweet boy? or apricot jam?” said his mother, in a soothing tone of voice.
But Alfred said:
“No, mother, no. I don’t like strawberries. I don’t like apricot jam. I want oysters.”
“But you cannot have oysters, my little master,” said the cook.
“But I will have oysters,” said the little boy, “and you shan’t say that I can’t have them—shall she, mother?”
And he began to scream and to cry.
“Do not cry, my sweet soul,” said his mother, “and we will see what we can do. Dry up your tears, my little man, and come with me, and, the cook, I dare say, will be able to get some oysters before dinner. It is a long time to dinner, you know, and I have some pretty toys for you upstairs, if you will come with me till dinner is ready.”
So she took the little crying boy by the hand and led him up to her room, and she whispered to the cook, as she passed, not to say anything more about it now, and that she hoped he would forget the oyster patties by the time dinner was ready. In the meantime she took all the pains she could to amuse and please him, and as fast as he grew tired of one toy she brought out another.