Thursday, August 28, 2008

Mr. and Mrs. Douglas

It was half-past two and it was tea-time. Mrs. Douglas was particular about one being punctual for tea, but lately she has had to exercise some tolerance for tardiness. She waited for her friend Mrs. Sylvester to join her. Mrs. Sylvester was also very recently married and she was already expecting. With sore ankles and woozy spells, Mrs. Douglas understood she had all the excuse in the world to be late, so she patiently waited, having Mary keep the kettle hot in case she had to make a new pot..

When the doorbell rang only a few minutes late, and Mary let the visitor in, Mrs. Douglas settled down into her favourite wingback, and started to pour the tea. She looked up at the door expectantly, surprised to see Mr. Douglas enter, not Mrs. Sylvester. He looked most pleased with himself.

“Ah, you’ve served tea. Capital!” he declared. He sat down and helped himself to Mrs. Sylvester’s tea and pastries. Mrs. Douglas was confused.

“Don’t eat that. It’s for Mrs. Sylvester. She’ll be arriving at any moment.”

“I ran into Mr. Sylvester just a moment ago. He was on his way over to excuse his wife from today’s tea. It seems the lady isn’t feeling too well today. So we’ll have tea together for a change.” He smiled and then dug into the lovely service of tea; which included both smoked salmon and egg sandwiches as well as plump, golden scones, and a fine array of pretty pastries.

“What brings you home so early?” Mrs. Douglas asked, delicately biting into a dainty petit-four. She was quite delighted to see her husband so early in the afternoon. It was a welcome change to have him home for tea.

“I’ve a surprise for you,” he smiled. He jumped to his feet, and left the room, returning with two small framed portraits. “As soon as the artist brought them, I came home directly. Look! They’re finished at last!”

Mr. and Mrs. Douglas have only been married for a year and a half. Mr. Douglas is a fairly well-to-do young attorney with great prospects, and Mrs. Douglas is a doting, loving wife. At their first anniversary, Mr. Douglas commissioned these portraits to be made for their humble drawing room. At length, the portraits were complete.

Mrs. Douglas was enchanted, and interrupted tea to insure they were hung on the wall at once.

The creatures are Douglas squirrels; which are the kind that frequent my home near Mount Hood. As usual, they are wearing Regency period clothing; Mrs. Douglas sports a cap, a turkey-red gown and a chemisette. She sits modestly with her hands folded in her lap.Mr. Douglas wears his best blue frock-coat, his tangerine waistcoat and a nice crisp cravat. He is a handsome young fellow indeed.These are both hand-painted and sealed in craft paints on wooden plaques. They hang from a swiveling ring topped by a bow. They are backed in black felt. The plaques are ~ 2" x 4" at their widest points.

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