When I was still working, one co-worker made this B'Day cake for another...
A fortnight later, after they had finished their evening meal of boiled beef, potatoes, and peas, Lieutenant Hotchkiss proposed a toast. “A glass be raised by all. Today is the ninth of October, and it marks the birth of our esteemed captain, and my long-time friend, Edward Pierce!” Glasses were raised, and Hotchkiss continued. “To your health and happiness, sir,” he said. He drank, as did the others.
“The captain’s health and happiness,” various voices intoned.
Pierce sat slightly embarrassed. He had noted earlier the date’s significance and had hoped it would pass without any notice. Only his old and dear childhood friend knew or would have brought it to the other’s attention. Hotchkiss was of a sentimental nature and took sharp notice of birthdays and other anniversaries. Even as he wished nothing had been said about his birthday, had his friend not brought it up, he would have felt slighted.
In turn, Pierce raised his glass and said, “The health and happiness of all at this table! To Island Expedition and all who sail in her! Their health and happiness!”
“To us and this schooner!” the assembled group said as all took another sip from their cups.
At a discreet nod from Hotchkiss, Mr. Midshipman Hadley intoned, “Gentlemen, the King! God bless our Sovereign, King George the Third!”
“The King! God bless him!” they replied, toasting the Royal Health.
Later, sleep did not come for Pierce. He had enjoyed the fuss made over his birthday and the cabin’s friendly warmth that evening. But something was missing, and he searched for what it was. He lay dead tired, and yet he was wide awake. It would have been a most complete evening, had she been present!
With his thoughts again of Evangeline, Pierce was reminded of his loneliness. That loneliness kept him awake all night.