It was a lovely workday evening in early spring, and Ali was eager to take a break from chores. She asked the dolls if they would like to have a tea party on the back patio, and they happily agreed. Emily, one of the newest family members, was nominated by group consent as “Queen Mum,” both as a token of respect for her stature as the tallest doll in the family, and as a gentle pun on her identity as a Paola Reina “Las Reinas” (“queens”) doll. The dolls agreed that this party was to be attended by all the newest dolls in the collection, to help Ali get to know them better. The blankets were quickly spread, the tea was brewed, and the dolls arrived.
Emily poured out. She had arrived only a few days before, along with Beatrix. The other dolls were at first awed by her beauty and majestic stature and the fact that she came express all the way from the United Kingdom! Their awe was soon transformed to affection when they observed the extreme sweetness and graciousness of her manners. They all felt her English accent was charming.
The conversation was diffuse as the girls sipped their hot tea (white peach!). With gentle poise, Emily offered gingersnaps and graham cookies, and then turned to Caoimhe. “May I refresh your cup?”
Caoimhe had a name everyone could pronounce (KEE-va) but hardly anyone could spell! She had arrived on St. Patrick’s day, so Ali had chosen a true Irish name for her. Heather the JellyCat pup sat patiently between Emily and Caoimhe, hoping for a cookie! When any of the dolls looked her way, her tail began wagging, but she stayed quietly seated.
Beatrix, the other brand new doll, sampled her gingersnap. She had made the trip with Emily from London, and she too spoke with an English accent.
“These gingersnaps are delicious!”
Beatrix loved gardening, and she was particularly excited to come live in a place so full of nature.
Meanwhile, Georgette tuned to Mary. “May I please pet your lamb?”
Georgette was so excited to touch the lamb’s soft wool, that she accidentally upset her tea cup. She surveyed the mess with distress.
She blushed. “I’ve spilled my tea!”
“Never mind,” said Emily kindly. “Here’s a napkin. Please pass her cup, Melinda, and I’ll pour her a new one.”
After passing the cup, Melinda turned to Matilda, who was rather quiet and a bit shy.
“Have you heard that two new dolls are on their way?”
“Yes, indeed! I heard it from Ali. A Gotz doll and a Schildkroet doll, isn’t that right?”
“Yes! I’m so looking forward to meeting them both.” Melinda had recently retired from a career as a model for a doll clothes retailer, and so was particularly happy to be living in a family with lots of sisters to visit with. “That’s such a pretty dress, Matilda,” Melinda added. “It suits you so well.”
“Thank you. It is handmade and came all the way from a dressmaker in Singapore!”
Caoimhe suddenly spoke up. “Do you see that tree over there?”
“Where?” they all asked together.
“Isn’t it beautiful? I think it’s a plum.”
“I see it,” said Emily. “It is lovely.”
“Isn’t April the most beautiful month?” said Mary to Georgette. Mary was not very talkative, but perfectly friendly once you got to know her, and rather thoughtful. Meanwhile her lamb, feeling a little frisky, was trying to reach Mary’s cup of tea.
Melinda turned to Beatrix. “What a nice bag!”
“Thanks! It came with my outfit. It is nice, isn’t it?”
Dusk was coming on and all the dolls knew it was just about time to go in. They finished their tea and cookies and admired the evening light settling on the pines. Heather the pup was resting in Caoimhe’s lap.
“Time to clear up!” Emily said at last. “Let’s have another party when the new dolls arrive, shall we?”
“Definitely!” the girls agreed, and set to clearing up the cups and plates.
“There’s nothing quite as lovely as an afternoon tea party in spring,” said Mary to Matilda, who shared her interest in literature. “It reminds me of that beautiful passage in The Secret Garden when Mary and Dickon take Colin into the garden for the first time, and they have tea under the blossoming plum tree. I always love to imagine that scene.”
Emily is a Paola Reina Las Reinas Lidia doll; Beatrix is a Gotz Happy Kidz Sophie 2012 doll; Melinda is a very special original Pleasant Company Felicity doll; Georgette is a Kidz ‘n Cats Anne doll; Mary is a Kidz ‘n Cats Tinka doll; Caoimhe is a Kidz ‘n Cats Rieke doll; Matilda is from the doll line A Girl For All Time; Heather is a JellyCat Heather Blossom pup. Matilda’s dress was made by Swish and Swirl, and purchased on Etsy.com.