TATE'S DOLL'S WEDDING.
BY PENN SHIRLEY.
TATE BEDELL was going to have a birthday the next day. That, in itself, was something for a little girl to be proud of, who only had had eight birthdays in her life, and could n't remember half of those. But more than that, she was to give a party in honor of the occasion,-her mother had said she might,-and besides, and beyond, and above all, it was to be a wedding party, and Tate's doll-the open-and-shut-eyed Luella Viola-was to be the bride ! And though that small lady could n't, by any manner of means, be married before to-morrow, because her bridegroom was n't expected till the morning train, she was already dressed for the ceremony in white muslin,-with such a trail!- and lay on the spare chamber bed, under a pillow-sham, face down, for fear of crushing her long veil and wreath of orange blossoms.
Tate herself was on her knees by the bureau, packing the bridal wardrobe into the japanned cake-box, leaving out the traveling-dress, of course, for Luella Viola to wear on her wedding journey.
Was there ever an outfit like it ? Six complete suits; and by changing them about a little-putting the polonaise of one over the under-skirt of another, you know-you could make as many more; six hats, all of the latest styles; a handkerchief, bordered with real lace; besides two entire sets of underclothing that had been sewed by Tate, every stitch of them, without a thimble.
" Got the notes ready, Tate ? "
That was Minty Mozier's voice in the hall, and that was Minty's happy little self clumping upstairs after the wedding invitations. She was to carry them around. Tate could n't, of course; for I forgot to say dear little Tate was lame, and not able to walk beyond the garden, even with her pretty rose-wood crutch. And it was very stupid of me '' not to mention this before, since but for her lameness, and her sweet, patient way of bearing it, I suppose her mamma would never have taken the pains to plan the doll's wedding of which I 'm telling you.
"Dear me! No, Minty!" said Tate, moving along to give Minty kneeling-room by the trunk,
" Toney has n't printed 'em yet ! "
" I say he's poison slow ! " grumbled Minty, folding Luella Viola's balmoral into a neat bundle.
"And he 'sheen teasing to take the invitations round himself. Do you care if I let him ? "
" Pooh ! not the least bit," said Minty.
" 'Cause, you see, he thinks I 'm real mean not to have boys at my party," said Tate, looking relieved ; " and I ought to make it up to him somehow."
"As if you wanted to play with boys!" said Minty, indignantly,
" Oh, of course I don't want 'em ! " said Tate, decidedly; "but Toney says 't wont be any kind of a wedding 'thout I have 'em, 'cause at grown-up weddings they always invite men."
" But then, men behave!" put in Minty. " Boys are horrid,-all but five or six, you know ! "
" Well, I can't have 'em, anyway," said Tate, cheerfully. " Mamma says I 'm not strong enough. But I can ask nine girls to my birthday, 'cause I shall be nine years old-and going on ten, just think! "
" Yes," said Minty, very meekly.
She was only seven and a-half, and it mortified her dreadfully. But she forgot this affliction before long, in helping Tate pack the trunk and buckle her mamma's shawl-strap about it; and when she trudged home at noon, she was just as happy as a girl only seven and a-half years old could possibly be; for was n't she going to a wedding-party in her new pink sash and bronze boots ? And was n't Toney coming that very afternoon to leave her a printed invitation ? To be sure he was ! She knew that as well as if Tate had said it !
Indeed, as it happened, Toney was rushing into Tate's house at precisely this minute with the notes he had just struck off on his little printing-press. They were the daintiest affairs in the world, printed on pink satin paper, and reading this way :
Miss TATE BEDELL
Requests the pleasure of your presence at the Marriage of her Doll,
LUELLA VIOLA BEDELL,
On Thursday, September 4th, 1873, at Three o'Clock.
P. S.-Please bring all your dolls.
'Toney had slightly objected to the postscript, but he finally added it to satisfy Tate. She had now only to double these sheets across the centre, and they filled their envelopes exactly: such pretty envelopes, with the monogram "B. O." embossed on them. That stood for Bedell. and Osborne, of course.
Toney walked up and down the gravel-path, whistling, while Tate directed the envelopes to her nine little friends; and just before he lost his patience, she brought them out to him, in a neat willow basket, with a white satin bow perched on the top, to give it a bridal air. And then he carried round the notes, delivering a funny speech with each one,
But, alas ! for poor Minty ! There was none for her! From the back-door step, where she was amusing the bald-headed baby with tin muffin-rings, she saw Toney call at the door opposite and hand Jenny Gilson a note, and then walk straight on-never so much as looking at her house ! No wonder Minty nearly cried her eyes out, and went to bed that night thinking this was a dreadful world for a little girl only seven and a-half years old to live in!
Papa Bedell came next day in the early train, right from New York, and brought with him Clarence Osborne, Luella Viola's bridegroom, a handsome young gentleman in a black broadcloth suit, with white gloves and waistcoat, and a watch no bigger than a buttercup. Tate took him up to the front chamber, to wait till it was time to hand Luella Viola down to the parlor; and there he had been standing in a corner, handkerchief in hand, fully five hours, for now it was quarter of three, and, as Tate said, "almost late enough for the wedding to begin."
She had got together all the old dolls she could find about the house, and had just ranged them on the sofa, to represent Luella Viola's poor relatives come to see her married, when Jenny Gilson rushed in quite out of breath.
"0, Tate!" cried she; "didn't you mean to ask little Minty Mozier ? She feels awfully, because you have n't sent her an invitation ! "
" Why, Jenny Gilson ! I did send her one-I certain did!"' cried Tate, hopping about on her crutch in great excitement. " Toney must have lost it. O dear ! what shall I do ? "
" I '11 carry her one, and tell her about it, sha' n't I ? " said Jenny, eagerly. " I 'most knew it was a mistake."
" But they 're all gone, Toney only printed nine ! " said Tate, fairly crying.
" I 'd write her one, right off quick, before the rest come," cried Jenny, who was a born peacemaker.
" But folks don't write wedding cards on just bare paper," sobbed Tate, dragging her writing-desk from beneath the what-not ; " and I 'm afraid Minty wont like it ! "
"There's her invitation, this minute, I do believe ! " shouted Jenny, joyfully, as Tate opened the desk. And there, to be sure, it was, half-hidden by a package of envelopes; but so plainly directed to Minty Mozier, that the postmaster himself might have read it.
Jenny darted off with it, and at the gate met the rest of the wedding guests, all dressed in white, who, of course, must know the whole story,
"Let's go with Jenny, and take Tate along!" they cried. And, in a twinkling, the two largest girls had joined hands and made a sedan-chair for Tate, and the entire party was hurrying on after Jenny.
It was amazing how Minty could have dressed herself so quickly ! I think her mother must have helped her, for when the sedan-chair arrived at Mr. Mozier's door, she was all ready, even to her coral beads. Jenny and Lottie Prince would make a chair for her too; and the little white procession, on its way back, with Minty and Tate riding at its head, made such a gay appearance, that Bobby Wright got out his drum in great haste, and trotted behind it as fast as his chubby legs would carry him, having a misty notion that the Fourth of July had come again.
But this was small excitement beside the wedding which followed. Jenny Gilson played minister, in a water-proof cloak and white handkerchief necktie; and Tate had to make the responses for the bride and bridegroom, as Luella Viola could only say "papa" and "mamma," which would not have done at all on this occasion, and Clarence Osborne was too much stuffed to speak a word.
After the ceremony, Minty led each doll up in turn to kiss the bride and offer congratulations; and then Tate passed around a little waiter heaped with bride's cake, and slices of wedding-cake folded in white paper.
And all the while the wedding presents were lying in state on the chess-table. There were spoons, and knives and forks, and napkin-rings, and salvers, and card-receivers, and I can't begin to tell you how many other things, cut out of silver paper. The bride herself could n't stay to examine them. She and her husband were whisked off on their wedding tour in a baby-carriage. Tate threw an old slipper after them for good luck, and then turned to kiss Minty for the sixth time.
" Oh, Minty, my wedding would have been spoilt if you had n't come ! "
" I 've had the splendidest time ! " said Minty, swinging Jenny Gilson's hand; " and you made me, Jenny! "
And of them all, I think Jenny was the happiest girl at Tate's doll's wedding.
St. Nicholas 2 (November 1874)
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