Crown of Sorrows
by A. A. Milne
There is something on my mind, of which I must relieve myself. If I
am ever to face the world again with a smile I must share my trouble
with others. I cannot bear my burden alone.
Friends, I have lost my hat. Will the gentleman who took it by
mistake, and forgot to leave his own in its place, kindly return my
hat to me at once?
I am very miserable without my hat. It was one of those nice soft
ones with a dent down the middle to collect the rain; one of those
soft hats which wrap themselves so lovingly round the cranium that
they ultimately absorb the personality of the wearer underneath,
responding to his every emotion. When people said nice things about
me my hat would swell in sympathy; when they said nasty things, or
when I had had my hair cut, it would adapt itself automatically to my
lesser requirements. In a word, it fitted—and that is more than can
be said for your hard unyielding bowler.
My hat and I dropped into a hall of music one night last week. I
placed it under the seat, put a coat on it to keep it warm, and
settled down to enjoy myself. My hat could see nothing, but it knew
that it would hear all about the entertainment on the way home. When
the last moving picture had moved away, my hat and I prepared to
depart together. I drew out the coat and felt around for my—Where on
I was calm at first.
"Excuse me," I said politely to the man next to me, "but have you
got two hats?"
"Several," he replied, mistaking my meaning.
I dived under the seat again, and came up with some more dust.
"Someone," I said to a programme girl, "has taken my hat."
"Have you looked under the seat for it?" she asked.
It was such a sound suggestion that I went under the seat for the
"It may have been kicked further along," suggested another
attendant. She walked up and down the row looking for it, and, in
case somebody had kicked it into the row above, walked up and down
that one too; and, in case somebody had found touch with it on the
other side of the house, many other girls spread themselves in
pursuit; and soon we had the whole pack hunting for it.
Then the fireman came up, suspecting the worst. I told him it was
even worse than that—my hat had been stolen.
He had a flash of inspiration.
"Are you sure you brought it with you?" he asked.
The programme girls seemed to think that it would solve the whole
mystery if I hadn't brought it with me.
"Are you sure you are the fireman?" I said coldly.
He thought for a moment, and then unburdened himself of another
"Perhaps it's just been kicked under the seat," he said.
I left him under the seat and went downstairs with a heavy heart.
At the door I said to the hall porter, "Have you seen anybody going
out with two hats by mistake?"
"What's the matter?" he said. "Lost your hat?"
"It has been stolen."
"Have you looked under the seats? It may have been kicked along a
"Perhaps I'd better see the manager," I said. "Is it any good
looking under the seats for HIM?"
"I expect it's just been kicked along a bit," the hall porter
repeated confidently. "I'll come up with you and look for it."
"If there's any more talk about being kicked along a bit," I said
bitterly, "somebody WILL be. I want the manager."
I was led to the manager's room, and there I explained the matter
to him. He was very pleasant about it.
"I expect you haven't looked for it properly," he said, with a
charming smile. "Just take this gentleman up," he added to the hall
porter, "and find his hat for him. It has probably been kicked under
one of the other seats."
We were smiled irresistibly out, and I was dragged up to the grand
circle again. The seats by this time were laid out in white
draperies; the house looked very desolate; I knew that my poor hat
was dead. With an air of cheery confidence the hall porter turned
into the first row of seats....
"It may have been kicked on to the stage," I said, as he began to
slow down. "It may have jumped into one of the boxes. It may have
turned into a rabbit. You know, I expect you aren't looking for it
The manager was extremely sympathetic when we came back to him. He
said, "Oh, I'm sorry." Just like that—"Oh, I'm sorry."
"My hat," I said firmly, "has been stolen."
"I'm sorry," he repeated with a bored smile, and turned to look at
himself in the glass.
Then I became angry with him and his attendants and his whole
"My hat," I said bitingly, "has been stolen from me—while I
. . . . . . .
You must have seen me wearing it in the dear old days. Greeny brown
it was in colour; but it wasn't the colour that drew your eyes to
it—no, nor yet the shape, nor the angle at which it sat. It was just
the essential rightness of it. If you have ever seen a hat which you
felt instinctively was a clever hat, an alive hat, a profound hat,
then that was my hat—and that was myself underneath it.