Sunday, June 26, 2005

Queen Anne Dollhouse

Today's post is for Tony, who asked for a story with this title.

The Pertwee family had hunted for houses for months. They had looked at everything from the suspiciously bright Fischer houses to the plain but solid hinged-roof wooden structures. Many of the houses they viewed had rickety staircases while other houses had no stairs at all. In order to travel between the stories, one had to climb out from the window of one room into another window on a different level.

A "suspiciously bright" Fischer house

The Pertwees finally settled upon a Queen Anne Victorian house in pink with blue trim, simply because Miss Virginia and Master Tristan wanted their bedrooms to be in the turret. At first, the children quarreled over who would get to sleep in the top room, but when it was discovered that one could access the room only by climbing up the sides of the house, Miss Virginia decided she would rather sleep on the wrap-around porch. That way, she could hear the rain at night.

"Miss Virginia and Master Tristan wanted their bedrooms to be in the turret"

The children settled into their new home without much adjustment, but it was harder for the adults to cope. Mrs. Pertwee was appalled at the lack of windowpanes. She said she thought she could sew some curtains, but she would have to do everything by hand, as she could not find an outlet into which to plug her sewing machine. Sometimes the house appeared to have electricity, but the source was a mystery. Mr. Pertwee joked that hands from the sky came down to switch the lights on before they woke. Mrs. Pertwee was not amused. Mr. Pertwee thought she was overreacting until he tried to open his top dresser drawer and discovered that the handles were simply painted on. Mr. Pertwee had the wear the same clothes as he had worn the day before. He was most put out.

While the house lacked basic functionality, it was a great place to have a party. People from other districts agreed that if one wanted to attend a soiree to remember, the Pertwee residence was the place to visit. True, one had to make frequent ice-runs to another neighborhood in order to keep the champagne from getting warm, and in the house, there was nary a water-closet to be found. The guests piled into the living room, onto the porch, and the more adventurous ones attempted to balance themselves on the pointy tip of the turret. They inevitably fell off, but since the ground was soft, the guests rarely suffered more than the occasional ripped hem or scraped knee. Mrs. Pertwee admitted that for all of the apparent safety hazards, the house was a good place in which to raise children. Mr. Pertwee concurred, though in private he wistfully thought back to the days when he could open his dresser drawer in the morning and find a clean, pressed shirt.


Anonymous said...

One, two, three ... four! Ms. the Gleeful, there are four paragraphs in this delightful tale.

Saints and Spinners said...

1)In the original draft, the paragraphs numbered three. In the passion of editing, I got carried away.


Maureen said...

Greetings, A the G,

Great story! Your choice of detail really made it for me.

This is Andrew's wife (frecklefaerie over on lj) and I might actually get around to the blog I have reserved over here.

Saints and Spinners said...

Thanks so much, Frecklefaerie!
It is good to meet you, albeit online.

I just posted a few comments on your LiveJournal. I actually started this blog in order to be able to post on other blogs independently of Bede's website, and then got the blogging bug. One can spend hours tweaking the details. It's a good thing we're past the era of rotating GUIs or I would have fallen hard.

Anonymous said...

Just the beginning of more wonderful Pertwee tales to come, I hope. I'd love to have such a family next door. I have a coatrack they might be able to use, though our dresser is also made of solid wood with only decorative drawers. They might like to know that when I was a girl, I had a very strict ballet teacher who was called Miss Virginia. She had been lamed by polio, and taught us in the attic of her cluttered mansion on 10th Avenue East, not of the Queen Anne period, but Edwardian, and also very nice.

Saints and Spinners said...

Thanks so much, LHH. It is gratifying to know that someone else became fond of the Pertwees as well. Miss Virginia the ballet teacher sounds like a good person to have known. Is there any other kind of ballet teacher than a strict one? I remember in class, at least ONE person cried every year. I know I did.