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An Only Child's Tea-Party.

Juliana Horatia Ewing 1841 (Ecclesfield, Sheffield) – 1885 (Bath, Somerset)

When I go to tea with the little Smiths, there are eight of them there, but there's only one of me,
Which makes it not so easy to have a fancy tea-party as if there were two or three.
I had a tea-party on my birthday, but Joe Smith says it can't have been a regular one,
Because as to a tea-party with only one teacup and no teapot, sugar-basin, cream-jug, or slop-basin, he never heard of such a thing under the sun.
But it was a very big teacup, and quite full of milk and water, and, you see,
There wasn't anybody there who could really drink milk and water except Towser and me.
The dolls can only pretend, and then it washes the paint off their lips,
And what Charles the canary drinks isn't worth speaking of, for he takes such very small sips.
Joe says a kitchen-chair isn't a table; but it has got four legs and a top, so it would be if the back wasn't there;
And that does for Charles to perch on, and I have to put the Prince of Wales to lean against it, because his legs have no joints to sit on a chair.
 
That's the small doll. I call him the Prince of Wales because he's the eldest son, you see;
For I've taken him for my brother, and he was Mother's doll before I was born, so of course he is older than me.
Towser is my real live brother, but I don't think he's as old as the Prince of Wales;
He's a perfect darling, though he whisks everything over he comes near, and I tell him I don't know what we should do if we all had tails.
His hair curls like mine in front, and grows short like a lion behind, but no one need be frightened, for he's as good as good;
And as to roaring like a real menagerie lion, or eating people up, I don't believe he would if he could.
He has his tea out of the saucer after I've had mine out of the cup;
You see I am sure to leave some for him, but if I let him begin first he would drink it all up.
The big doll Godmamma gave me this birthday, and the chair she gave me the year before.
(I haven't many toys, but I take great care of them, and every birthday I shall have more and more.)
You've no idea what a beautiful doll she is, and when I pinch her in the middle, she can squeak;
It quite frightened Towser, for he didn't know that any of us but he and I and Charles were able to speak.
I've taken her for my only sister, for of course I may take anybody I choose;
I've called her Cinderella, because I'm so fond of the story, and because she's got real shoes.
I don't feel so only now there are so many of us; for, counting Cinderella there are five,--
She, and I, and Towser, and Charles, and the Prince of Wales--and three of us are really alive;
And four of us can speak, and I'm sure the Prince of Wales is wonderful for his size;
For his things (at least he's only got one thing) take off and on, and, though he's nothing but wood, he's got real glass eyes.
And perhaps in three birthdays more there may be as many of us as the Smiths, for five and three make eight;
I shall be seven years old then (as old as Joe), but I don't like to think too much of it, it's so long to wait.
And after all I don't know that I want any more of us: I think I'd rather my sister had a chair
Like mine; and the next year I should like a collar for Towser if it wouldn't rub off his hair.
And it would be very nice if the Prince of Wales could be dressed like a Field-marshal, for he's got nothing on his legs;
And Cinderella's beautifully dressed, and Towser looks quite as if he'd got a fur coat on when he begs.
Joe says it's perfectly absurd, and that I can't take a Pomeranian in earnest for my brother;
But I don't think he really and truly knows how much Towser and I love each other.
I didn't like his saying, "Well, there's one thing about your lot,--you can always have your own way."
And then he says, "You can't possibly have fun with four people when you have to pretend what they say."
But, whatever he says, I don't believe I shall ever enjoy a tea-party more than the one that we had on that day.
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Submitted on August 03, 2020

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Juliana Horatia Ewing

Juliana Horatia Ewing was an English writer of children's stories. Her writings display a sympathetic insight into children's lives, an admiration for things military, and a strong religious faith. more…

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