Suzette was a doll, a pretty French doll with dark eyes and hair that curled, and her clothes could be taken off and fastened with hooks and snaps like the clothes of a real lady.
Suzette lived in a playroom with many other toys, but Suzette was by far the most stylish and important doll or toy in the room, for did she not come from across the big ocean and was she not made in a foreign country?
“Suppose I was made in France,” said Suzette one night when all the toys were talking, “and suppose my clothes are dainty and pretty, don’t you suppose I like to talk with you other toys?
“You all treat me as though I didn’t have a heart at all, you never come over to my part of the playroom, and if I happen to come near when any of you are talking, you stop at once and only stare.”
“We supposed you were stuck up and proud,” said Teddy Bear, who found his speech first, “We had another doll in here, and she hadn’t come from France either, and she would not have a thing to say to any of us; said we were just toys.
“She wasn’t as pretty as you are either, Miss Suzette.”
“Well, I cannot help what the other doll did or said,” replied Suzette, “but I find it dull and stupid sitting here night after night and no one speaking to me.”
“We will all come over to your corner this very night,” said all the toys.
A few days after this, a very stylish boy doll was brought into the playroom by the little mistress and placed in a chair by Suzette.
That night, when the house was still, all the toys came trooping over to Suzette’s corner for a chat.
“This is Boy Doll who has come to live in the playroom,” said Suzette to the toys. But instead of smiling and saying he was glad to meet them, Boy Doll stared at them and then turned his head.
The toys did not stay long that night, for in spite of all Suzette could say, no one seemed in their usual humor.
When the toys had gone and Suzette and Boy Doll were alone, he said to her: “Suzette, how can you be friendly with those common toys? Why, you even talked with the butcher boy who has the shop across the room. We belong to a much higher order of toys; you must have more pride if you expect me to marry you.”
“I do not expect to marry you,” said Suzette, “and I wish you had not come here to live; the toys are just getting so they speak to me, and we were having such jolly times.”
“Jolly times with the butcher and the jumping jack, and Teddy Bear, and the cart driver, and all those common toys,” said Boy Doll with a high and haughty air, “really, Suzette, I never could marry anyone who had such common taste.”
“Nobody asked you to marry me,” said Suzette with a toss of her head.
“Ah! but there is no one else for you to marry; you will be an old maid,” said Boy Doll.
“We will see about that,” said Suzette, walking across the room and joining the other toys, to whom she repeated what the haughty Boy Doll had said.
The butcher, in his nice, clean white apron, stepped nearer to Suzette. “Could you love a butcher man, Suzette?” he asked.
“If he loved me,” answered Suzette.
“He does,” said the butcher, who was a toy of few words.
So Suzette and the butcher man were married, and Suzette lived on the opposite side of the playroom, where the butcher man had his little shop, and the Boy Doll, after a little while, went to live in a box in the far corner of the playroom.
Sometimes, of a night, when all the toys are laughing and having a jolly time in front of the butcher man’s shop, Boy Doll peeks over the box where he lives and looks at them.
“Perhaps, after all, Suzette is happier than I am,” he will sigh. “No one cares whether I am alive or not.”
And Suzette, in her gingham dress—for she no longer wears her pretty French frocks—looks across at her old home on the other side of the playroom and says: “I am glad I live over here. I’d rather be the happy wife of the butcher man than live on the other side alone.”
“But you could have married the Boy Doll,” the butcher man said to her.
“Oh! I had forgotten all about the poor bachelor Boy Doll,” Suzette answered. “I wonder if he will ever marry?”
“Not unless some other doll comes to the playroom to live, for I married the only doll in the room,” the butcher man replied, “and it is lucky for you that I did.”
“How is that, you saucy man?” Suzette laughingly asked.
“Because if you had married Boy Doll, I would have sold you tough meat,” answered the butcher man with a laugh.