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Title: The Doll and Her Friends - or Memoirs of the Lady Seraphina
Author: Unknown
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Doll and Her Friends - or Memoirs of the Lady Seraphina" ***

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by The University of Florida, The Internet
Archive/Children's Library)



[Illustration: Page 59.]


                      THE

             DOLL AND HER FRIENDS;


        Memoirs of the Lady Seraphina.



               BY THE AUTHOR OF
 "LETTERS FROM MADRAS," "HISTORICAL CHARADES,"
                   ETC. ETC.



 WITH FOUR ILLUSTRATIONS BY HABLOT K. BROWNE,
         ENGRAVED BY BAKER AND SMITH.



                    BOSTON:
          TICKNOR, REED, AND FIELDS.

                   MDCCCLII.



   PRINTED BY THURSTON, TORRY, AND EMERSON.



PREFACE.


My principal intention, or rather aim, in writing this little Book, was
to amuse Children by a story founded on one of their favorite
diversions, and to inculcate a few such minor morals as my little plot
might be strong enough to carry; chiefly the domestic happiness produced
by kind tempers and consideration for others. And further, I wished to
say a word in favor of that good old-fashioned plaything, the Doll,
which one now sometimes hears decried by sensible people who have no
children of their own.



The Doll and Her Friends.



CHAPTER I.


I belong to a race, the sole end of whose existence is to give pleasure
to others. None will deny the goodness of such an end, and I flatter
myself most persons will allow that we amply fulfil it. Few of the
female sex especially but will acknowledge, with either the smile or the
sigh called forth by early recollections, that much of their youthful
happiness was due to our presence; and some will even go so far as to
attribute to our influence many a habit of housewifery, neatness, and
industry, which ornaments their riper years.

But to our _influence_, our silent, unconscious influence alone, can
such advantages be ascribed; for neither example nor precept are in our
power; our race cannot boast of intellectual endowments; and though
there are few qualities, moral or mental, that have not in their turn
been imputed to us by partial friends, truth obliges me to confess that
they exist rather in the minds of our admirers than in our own persons.

We are a race of mere dependents; some might even call us slaves. Unable
to change our place, or move hand or foot at our own pleasure, and
forced to submit to every caprice of our possessors, we cannot be said
to have even a will of our own. But every condition has its share of
good and evil, and I have often considered my helplessness and
dependence as mere trifles compared with the troubles to which poor
sensitive human beings are subject.

Pain, sickness, or fatigue I never knew. While a fidgetty child cannot
keep still for two minutes at a time, I sit contentedly for days
together in the same attitude; and I have before now seen one of those
irritable young mortals cry at a scratch, while I was hearing needles
drawn in and out of every part of my body, or sitting with a pin run
straight through my heart, calmly congratulating myself on being free
from the inconveniences of flesh and blood.

Of negative merits I possess a good share. I am never out of humor,
never impatient, never mischievous, noisy, nor intrusive; and though I
and my fellows cannot lay claim to brilliant powers either in word or
deed, we may boast of the same qualifications as our wittiest king, for
certainly none of us ever 'said a foolish thing,' if she 'never did a
wise one.'

Personal beauty I might almost, without vanity, call the 'badge of all
our tribe.' Our very name is seldom mentioned without the epithet
_pretty_; and in my own individual case I may say that I have always
been considered pleasing and elegant, though others have surpassed me in
size and grandeur.

But our most striking characteristic is our power of inspiring strong
attachment. The love bestowed on us by our possessors is proof against
time, familiarity, and misfortune:

    'Age cannot wither' us, 'nor custom stale'
    Our 'infinite variety.'

With no trace of our original beauty left,--dress in tatters, complexion
defaced, features undistinguishable, our very limbs mutilated, the mere
wreck of our former selves,--who has not seen one of us still the
delight and solace of some tender young heart; the confidant of its
fancies, and the soother of its sorrows; preferred to all newer
claimants, however high their pretensions; the still unrivalled
favorite, in spite of the laughter of the nursery and the quiet contempt
of the schoolroom?

Young and gentle reader, your sympathy or your sagacity has doubtless
suggested to you my name. I am, as you guess, a DOLL; and though not a
doll of any peculiar pretensions, I flatter myself that my life may not
be quite without interest to the young lovers of my race, and in this
hope I venture to submit my memoirs to your indulgent consideration.

I am but a small doll; not one of those splendid specimens of wax,
modelled from the Princess Royal, with distinct fingers and toes, eyes
that shut, and tongues that wag. No; such I have only contemplated from
a respectful distance as I lay on my stall in the bazaar, while they
towered sublime in the midst of the toys, the wonder and admiration of
every passing child. I am not even one of those less magnificent, but
still dignified, leathern-skinned individuals, requiring clothes to take
off and put on, and a cradle to sleep in, with sheets, blankets, and
every thing complete. Neither can I found my claim to notice upon any
thing odd or unusual in my appearance: I am not a negro doll, with wide
mouth and woolly hair; nor a doll with a gutta-percha face, which can be
twisted into all kinds of grimaces.

I am a simple English doll, about six inches high, with jointed limbs
and an enamel face, a slim waist and upright figure, an amiable smile,
and intelligent eye, and hair dressed in the first style of fashion. I
never thought myself vain, but I own that in my youth I did pique myself
upon my hair. There was but one opinion about _that_. I have often heard
even grown-up people remark, 'How ingeniously that doll's wig is put on,
and how nicely it is arranged!' while at the same time my rising vanity
was crushed by the insinuation that I had an absurd smirk or a
ridiculous stare.

However, the opinions of human beings of mature age never much disturbed
me. The world was large enough for them and me; and I could contentedly
see them turn to their own objects of interest, while I awaited in calm
security the unqualified praise of those whose praise alone was valuable
to me--their children and grand-children.

I first opened my eyes to the light in the Pantheon Bazaar. How I came
there I know not; my conscious existence dates only from the moment in
which a silver-paper covering was removed from my face, and the world
burst upon my view. A feeling of importance was the first that arose in
my mind. As the hand that held me turned me from side to side, I looked
about. Dolls were before me, dolls behind, and dolls on each side. For a
considerable time I could see nothing else. The world seemed made for
dolls. But by degrees, as my powers of vision strengthened, my horizon
extended, and I perceived that portions of space were allotted to many
other objects. I descried, at various distances, aids to amusements in
endless succession,--balls, bats, battledores, boxes, bags, and baskets;
carts, cradles, and cups and saucers. I did not then know any thing of
the alphabet, and I cannot say that I have quite mastered it even now;
but if I were learned enough, I am sure I could go from A to Z, as
initial letters of the wonders with which I soon made acquaintance.

Not that I at once became aware of the uses, or even the names, of all I
saw. No one took the trouble to teach me; and it was only by dint of my
own intense observation that I gained any knowledge at all. I did not at
first even know that I was a doll. But I made the most of opportunities,
and my mind gradually expanded.

I first learned to distinguish human beings. Their powers of motion made
a decided difference between them and the other surrounding objects, and
naturally my attention was early turned towards the actions of the
shopwoman on whose stall I lived. She covered me and my companions with
a large cloth every night, and restored the daylight to us in the
morning. We were all perfectly helpless without her, and absolutely
under her control. At her will the largest top hummed, or was silent;
the whip cracked, or lay harmlessly by the side of the horse. She moved
us from place to place, and exhibited or hid us at her pleasure; but she
was always so extremely careful of our health and looks, and her life
seemed so entirely devoted to us and to our advantage, that I often
doubted whether she was our property or we hers. Her habits varied so
little from day to day, that after watching her for a reasonable time, I
felt myself perfectly acquainted with _her_, and in a condition to make
observations upon others of her race.

One day a lady and a little girl stopped at our stall.

'Oh, what a splendid doll,' exclaimed the child, pointing to the waxen
beauty which outshone the rest of our tribe. It was the first time I had
heard the word _Doll_, though I was well acquainted with the illustrious
individual to whom it was applied; and it now flashed upon my mind, with
pride and pleasure, that, however insignificant in comparison, I too was
a doll. But I had not time to think very deeply about my name and nature
just then, as I wished to listen to the conversation of the two human
beings.

'May I buy her?' said the little girl.

'Can you afford it?' asked the lady in return. 'Remember your intentions
for your brother.'

'Perhaps I have money enough for both,' answered the child. 'How much
does she cost?'

'Seven shillings,' said the shopwoman, taking the doll from her place,
and displaying her pretty face and hands to the utmost advantage.

'I have three half-crowns,' said the little girl.

'But if you spend seven shillings on the doll,' answered the lady, 'you
will only have sixpence left for the paint-box.'

'What does a paint-box cost?' asked the child.

'We have them of all prices,' replied the shopkeeper; 'from sixpence to
seven shillings.'

The little girl examined several with great care, and stood some time in
deliberation; at last she said, 'I don't think Willy would like a
sixpenny one.'

'It would be of no use to him,' answered the lady. 'He draws well enough
to want better colors. If you gave it to him, he would thank you and try
to seem pleased, but he would not really care for it. However, he does
not know that you thought of making him a birthday present, so you are
at liberty to spend your money as you like.'

'Would he care for a seven shilling one?' asked the little girl.

'Yes; that is exactly what he wants.'

'Then he shall have it,' exclaimed the good-natured little sister. 'Poor
dear Willy, how many more amusements I have than he!'

She bought the best paint-box, and received sixpence in change.

'Is there any thing else I can show you?' asked the shopkeeper.

'No, thank you,' she replied; and turning to the elder lady, she said,
'May we go home at once, Mama? It would take me a long time to choose
what I shall spend my sixpence in, and I should like to give Willy his
paint-box directly.'

'By all means,' answered the lady; 'we will lose no time; and I will
bring you again to spend the sixpence whenever you please.'

Without one backward glance towards the beautiful doll, the child
tripped away by the side of her companion, looking the brightest and
happiest of her kind.

I pondered long upon this circumstance; how long I cannot say, for dolls
are unable to measure time, they can only date from any particularly
striking epochs. For instance, we can say, 'Such an affair happened
before I lost my leg;' or, 'Such an event took place before my new wig
was put on;' but of the intricate divisions known to mortals by the
names of hours, days, months, &c., we have no idea.

However, I meditated on the kind little sister during what appeared to
me a long but not tedious period, for I was gratified at gaining some
insight into the qualities proper to distinguish the human race.
Readiness to show kindness, and a preference of others' interests to her
own, were virtues which I easily perceived in the little girl's
conduct; but one thing perplexed me sadly. I could not understand why a
doll would not have answered her kind intentions as well as a paint-box;
why could she not have bought the doll which she admired so much, and
have given _that_ to her brother.

My thoughts were still engaged with this subject, when a boy approached
the stall. Boys were new characters to me, and I was glad of the
opportunity to observe one. He did not bestow a look on the dolls and
other toys, but asked for a box of carpenter's tools. The shopkeeper
dived into some hidden recess under the counter, and produced a
clumsy-looking chest, the merits of which I could not discover; but the
boy pronounced it to be 'just the thing,' and willingly paid down its
price. I followed him with my eyes as he walked about with his great box
under his arm, looking from side to side, till he caught sight of
another boy rather younger than himself, advancing from an opposite
corner.

'Why, Geoffrey,' exclaimed my first friend, 'where have you been all
this time? I have been hunting every where for you.'

Geoffrey did not immediately answer, his mouth being, as I perceived,
quite full. When at last he could open his lips, he said, 'Will you have
a cheesecake?'

'No, thank you,' replied his friend. 'We must go home to dinner so soon,
that you will scarcely have time to choose your things. Where _have_ you
been?'

'At the pastrycook's stall,' answered Geoffrey; 'and I must go back
again before I can buy any thing. I left my five shillings there to be
changed.'

The boys returned together to the stall, and I saw its mistress hand a
small coin to Geoffrey.

'Where is the rest?' said he.

'That is your change, sir,' she replied.

'Why, you don't mean that those two or three tarts and jellies cost four
and sixpence!' he exclaimed, turning as red as the rosiest doll at my
side.

'I think you will find it correct, sir,' answered the shopkeeper. 'Two
jellies, sixpence each, make one shilling; two custards, sixpence each,
two shillings; a bottle of ginger-beer, threepence, two and threepence;
one raspberry cream, sixpence, two and ninepence; three gooseberry
tarts, threepence, three shillings; two strawberry tarts, three and
twopence; two raspberry ditto, three and fourpence; four cheesecakes,
three and eightpence; two Bath buns, four shillings; and one lemon ice,
four and sixpence.'

'What a bother!' said Geoffrey, as he pocketed the small remains of his
fortune. 'I wish I could give her some of the tarts back again, for they
weren't half so nice as they looked, except just the first one or two.'

'Because you were only hungry for the first one or two,' said the other
boy. 'But it can't be helped now; come and spend the sixpence better.'

'There won't be any thing worth buying for sixpence,' said Geoffrey
gloomily, as he shuffled in a lazy manner towards my stall.

'I want a spade,' said he.

Several were produced, but they cost two shillings or half-a-crown.
There were little wooden spades for sixpence; but from those he turned
with contempt, saying they were only fit for babies. Nothing at our
table suited him, and he walked towards our opposite neighbour, who sold
books, maps, &c. On his asking for a dissected map, all the countries of
the world were speedily offered to his choice; but alas! the price was
again the obstacle. The cheapest map was half-a-crown; and Geoffrey's
sixpence would buy nothing but a childish puzzle of Old Mother Hubbard.
Geoffrey said it was a great shame that every thing should be either
dear or stupid.

'Can't you lend me some money, Ned?' continued he.

'I can't, indeed,' replied the other; 'mine all went in this box of
tools. Suppose you don't spend the sixpence at all now, but keep it till
you get some more.'

'No, I won't do that; I hate saving my money.'

So saying, he wandered from stall to stall, asking the price of every
thing, as if his purse was as full as his stomach.

'How much is that sailor kite?' 'Two shillings, sir.'--'How much is that
bat?' 'Seven and sixpence.'--'How much is that wooden box with secret
drawer?' 'Three shillings.'

'How provoking!' he exclaimed. 'I want heaps of things, and this stupid
sixpence is no good at all.'

'It is better than nothing,' said Edward. 'It is not every day that
one's aunt sends one five shillings, to spend in the bazaar; and in
common times sixpence is not to be despised. After all, there are plenty
of things it will buy. Do you want a top?'

'No; I've got four.'

'Garden seeds?'

'What is the use of them, when I can't get a spade?'

'Steel pens? You said this morning you could not write with quills.'

'I don't like buying those kind of things with my own money.'

'A box? Yesterday you wanted a box.'

'I don't care for boxes that won't lock, and I can't get one with a lock
and key for sixpence.'

'A knife?'

'Sixpenny knives have only one blade; I want two.'

'Sealing-wax? wafers? a penholder? a paint-box? India-rubber? pencils?'

'Stupid things!'

'A ball? You might have a very good ball.'

'Not a cricket ball; and I don't care for any other.'

'What a particular fellow you are! I am sure I could always find
something to spend sixpence in. String? One is always wanting string.
You may have a good ball of whipcord.'

'These sort of places don't sell it.'

'Then, I say again, keep your money till you want it.'

'No, that I'll never do, when I came on purpose to spend it. After all,
the only thing I can think of,' continued Geoffrey, after a pause, 'is
to go back to the pastrycook's. There was one kind of tart I did not
taste, and perhaps it would be nicer than the others. I'll give you one
if you like.'

'No, thank you; I am much obliged to you all the same; but I won't help
you to spend your money in that way. Don't buy any more tarts. Come and
walk about; there are plenty more shops to look at.'

They sauntered on, but Geoffrey, by various turns, worked his way back
to the pastrycook's; and as no persuasions could then bring him away,
Edward walked off, not choosing, as he said, to encourage him.

Presently I saw a tall gentleman enter the bazaar, and I wondered what
he would buy. I did not then understand the difference between grown-up
people and children, and as he approached my stall, I could not repress
a hope that he would buy _me_. But his quick eye glanced over the tables
without resting on any of the toys.

'Can I show you any thing, sir?' said my mistress.

'No, I am much obliged to you,' he answered, with a pleasant smile. 'I
am only in search of some young people who, I dare say, have been better
customers than I. Ah, here they are,' he continued, as the two boys of
whom I had taken so much notice ran up to him from different ends of the
room.

'Well, boys,' said he, 'what have you bought? Must we hire a wagon to
carry your property home?'

'Not quite,' answered Edward. 'I have bought a wagon-load of amusement,
but I can carry it home well enough myself; I have spent all my money in
this box of tools.'

'A very sensible and useful purchase,' said the gentleman; 'they will
give you plenty of pleasant employment. The only objection is, that they
are likely to be lost or broken at school.'

'I do not mean to take them to school, papa. I shall use them in the
holidays, and leave them with Willy when I go back to school; that was
one reason why I bought them. Willy could do a good deal of
carpentering on his sofa.'

[Illustration: Page 25.]

'True, my boy, and a kind thought. They will be a great amusement to
poor Willy, and he will take good care of them for you.'

'Now, Geoffrey, how have you invested your capital? I hope you have
found a strong spade. It is fine weather for gardening.'

'No, I haven't,' stammered Geoffrey.

'Well, what have you bought?'

'I don't know,' said Geoffrey.

'Do you mean that you have not spent your money yet? Make haste, then,
for I can only allow you five minutes more. I expected to find you ready
to go home. Be brisk; there is every thing on that stall that the heart
of boy can wish,' said the gentleman, pointing to my abode.

But Geoffrey did not move. 'I don't want any thing,' said he at last.

'What a fortunate boy!' said the gentleman; but he presently added,
'Have you lost your money?'

'No.'

'Show it to me.'

Geoffrey slowly produced his sixpence, almost hidden in the palm of his
hand.

'Where is the rest?' asked the gentleman. 'Have you spent it?'

'Yes.'

'And nothing to show for it? Nothing?'--and the gentleman looked at the
boy more narrowly. 'Nothing,' said he again, 'except a few crumbs of
pie-crust on your waistcoat? Oh, Geoffrey!'

There was a short silence, and the boy colored a good deal; at last he
said, 'It was my own money.'

'You will wish it was your own again before long, I dare say,' said the
gentleman. 'However, we must hope you will be wiser in time. Come home
now to dinner.'

'I don't want any dinner,' said Geoffrey.

'Probably not, but Edward and I do. We have not dined on tarts; and I
dare say Ned is as hungry as I am.'

So saying, he led the way towards the door, leaving me, as usual,
pondering over what had passed. One word used by the gentleman made a
great impression on me--USEFUL.

What could that mean? Various considerations were suggested by the
question. Some things, it seemed, were useful, others not; and what
puzzled me most was, that the very same things appeared to be useful to
some people, and not to others. For instance, the sixpenny paint-box,
which had been rejected as useless to Willy, was bought soon afterwards
by a small boy, who said it would be the most useful toy he had.

Could this be the case with every thing? Was it possible that every
thing properly applied might have its use, and that its value depended
upon those who used it? If so, why was Geoffrey blamed for spending his
money in tarts? _He_ liked them. Perhaps he had plenty of food at home,
and that uselessness consisted in a thing's not being really wanted. I
revolved the subject in my mind, and tried to discover the use of every
thing I saw, but I was not always successful. The subject was
perplexing; and gradually all my thoughts became fixed on the point of
most importance to myself--namely, my own use.

How changed were my ideas since the time when I imagined the world to
belong to dolls! Their whole race now seemed to be of very small
importance; and as for my individual self, I could not be sure that I
had any use at all, and still less _what_, or _to whom_.

Day after day I lay on my counter unnoticed, except by the shopwoman who
covered us up at night, and re-arranged us in the morning; and even this
she did with such an indifferent air, that I could not flatter myself I
was of the smallest use to _her_. Every necessary care was bestowed upon
me in common with my companions; but I sighed for the tender attentions
that I sometimes saw lavished by children upon their dolls, and wished
that my mistress would nurse and caress me in the same manner.

She never seemed to think of such a thing. She once said I was dusty,
and whisked a brush over my face; but that was the only separate mark of
interest I ever received from her. I had no reasonable ground of
complaint, but I began to grow weary of the insipidity of my life, and
to ask myself whether this could be my only destiny. Was I never to be
of use to any body? From time to time other toys were carried away. Many
a giddy top and lively ball left my side in childish company, and
disappeared through those mysterious gates by which the busy human race
entered our calm seclusion.

At last even dolls had their day. The beautiful waxen princess no longer
graced our dominions. She was bought by an elderly lady for a birthday
present to a little grand-daughter; and on the very same day the 'old
familiar faces' of six dolls who had long shared my counter vanished
from my sight, one after another being bought and carried away.

I was sorry to lose them, though while we lived together we had had our
little miffs and jealousies. I had sometimes thought that the one with
the red shoes was always sticking out her toes; that she of the flaxen
ringlets was ready to let every breath of wind blow them over her
neighbours' faces; that another with long legs took up more room than
her share, much to my inconvenience. But now that they were all gone,
and I never could hope to see them again, I would gladly have squeezed
myself into as small compass as the baby doll in the walnut-shell, in
order to make room for them once more.

One thing, however, was satisfactory: dolls certainly had their use.
Seven had been bought, and therefore why not an eighth? I had been
sinking almost into a state of despondency, but now my hopes revived and
my spirits rose. My turn might come.

And my turn did come. Every circumstance of that eventful day is deeply
impressed on my memory. I was as usual employed in making remarks upon
the passing crowd, and wondering what might be the use of every body I
saw, when I perceived the lady and the little girl who had been almost
my first acquaintances among the human race. As they approached my
stall, I heard the mama say, 'Have you decided what to buy with the
sixpence?'

'Oh yes, quite,' answered the child; 'I am going to buy a _sixpenny
doll_.'

The words thrilled through me; her eyes seemed fixed on mine, and the
sixpence was between her fingers. I imagined myself bought. But she
continued: 'I think, if you don't mind the trouble, I should like to go
round the bazaar first, to see which are the prettiest.'

'By all means,' replied the lady; and they walked on, carrying all my
hopes with them.

I had often fancied myself the prettiest doll of my size in the place;
but such conceit would not support me now. I felt that there were
dozens, nay scores, who more than equalled me; and all discontented
notions of my neglected merit now sunk before the dread that I had
really no merit to neglect.

I began also to have some idea of what was meant by time. My past life
had glided away so imperceptibly, that I did not know whether it had
been long or short; but I learnt to count every moment while those two
mortals were walking round the bazaar.

I strained my eyes to catch sight of them again; but when at last they
re-appeared, I scarcely dared to look, for fear of seeing a doll in the
child's hands. But no; her hands were empty, except for the sixpence
still between her finger and thumb.

They came nearer--they stopped at another stall; I could not hear what
they said, but they turned away, and once more stood opposite to me. The
child remained for some moments as silent as myself, and then exclaimed,
'After all, Mama, I don't think there are any prettier dolls than these
in the whole room.'

'What do you say to this one, Miss?' said our proprietor, taking up a
great full-dressed Dutch doll, and laying her on the top of those of my
size and class, completely hiding the poor little victims under her
stiff muslin and broad ribbons.

But on the child's answering, 'No, thank you, I only want a sixpenny
doll not dressed,' the Dutch giantess was removed, and we once more
asserted our humble claims.

'That seems to me a very pretty one,' said the mama, pointing to my next
neighbour. The child for a moment hesitated, but presently exclaimed in
a joyful tone, 'Oh no, _this_ is the beauty of all; this little darling
with the real hair and blue ribbon in it; I will take this one, if you
please.' And before I could be sure that she meant me, I was removed
from my place, wrapped up in paper, and consigned to her hands. My
long-cherished wishes were fulfilled, and I was bought. At first I could
scarcely believe it. Notwithstanding all my planning and looking
forward to this event, now that it really happened, I could not
understand it. My senses seemed gone. What had so long occupied my mind
was the work of a moment; but that moment was irrevocable, and my fate
was decided. In my little mistress' hands I passed the boundaries of the
world of toys, and entered upon a new state of existence.



CHAPTER II.


A very different life now opened before me. I had no longer any pretence
for complaining of neglect. My young mistress devoted every spare moment
to the enjoyment of my company, and set no limits to her caresses and
compliments; while I in return regarded her with all the gratitude and
affection which a doll can feel. My faculties as well as my feelings
were called into fresh exercise; for though I had no longer the wide
range of observation afforded by the daily crowd of strangers in the
bazaar, I had the new advantage of making intimate acquaintance with a
small circle of friends.

Having hitherto been so completely without any position in the world, I
could not at first help feeling rather shy at the idea of taking my
place as member of a family; and it was therefore a relief to find that
my lot was not cast amongst total strangers, but that I had already some
slight clue to the characters of my future companions.

My mistress, whose name was Rose, was sister to the Willy for whom she
had bought the paint-box, and also to Edward, the purchaser of the
tools. Geoffrey, the lover of tarts, was a cousin on a visit to them for
the holidays; and they had also an elder sister named Margaret; besides
their papa and mama, whom I had seen in the bazaar.

The first of the family to whom I was introduced was Willy, and I soon
became much interested in him. He was a pale thin boy, who spent the day
on a sofa, to and from which he was carried in the morning and at night.
In fine weather he went out in a wheel-chair; but he was unable to move,
without help, and was obliged to endure many privations. Though he often
looked suffering and weary, he was cheerful and patient, and always
seemed pleased to hear other children describe enjoyments in which he
could not share. Every body was fond of Willy, and anxious to amuse and
comfort him. All that happened out of doors was told to him; all the
kindest friends and pleasantest visitors came to see him; the new books
were brought to him to read first; the best fruit and flowers always set
apart for him; and all the in-door occupations arranged as much as
possible with a view to his convenience. He and his little sister Rose
were the dearest friends in the world, and certain to take part in
whatever interested each other. As soon as Rose brought me home from the
Pantheon, she ran up stairs with me to Willy, whom I then saw for the
first time, sitting on the sofa with his feet up, and a table before
him, on which stood several books, and my old acquaintances the
paint-box and the chest of tools.

'Look at this, Willy; is not this pretty?' exclaimed Rose, laying me
down on his open book.

Willy looked up with a pleasant smile: 'Very pretty,' he answered. 'I
suppose she is to be the lady of the new house; and with Ned's tools, I
hope to make some furniture worth her acceptance.'

'Oh, thank you, Willy dear. And will you help me to choose a name for
her? What do you think the prettiest name you know?'

'_Rose_,' answered Willy, laughing; 'but I suppose that will not do. I
dare say you want something very fine and out-of-the-way.'

'As fine as can be,' replied Rose; 'I have been thinking of Seraphina or
Wilhelmina: which do you like best?'

'Call it Molly,' cried Edward, who just then entered the room; 'Molly
and Betty are the best names: no nonsense in them.'

'Call it Stupid Donkey,' mumbled a voice behind him; and Geoffrey
advanced, his mouth as usual full of something besides words. 'Have any
nuts, Willy?' he asked, holding out a handful.

'No, thank you,' answered Willy; 'I must not eat them.'

'I wouldn't be you, I know,' said Geoffrey, cracking one between his
teeth; 'never let to eat any thing but what's wholesome, and always
reading, or doing something stupid. I believe you are helping Rose to
play with that doll now. Put it into the fire; that is the way to treat
dolls. Stupid things. I hate 'em!'

'Pray do not touch it, Geoffrey,' said Rose.

'Leave it alone, Geff,' said Edward. 'You have your things, and Rose has
hers. I don't see the fun of dolls myself, but she does, and nobody
shall interfere with her while I am here to protect her. Just remember
that, will you?'

'The d-o-ll!' said Geoffrey, drawling the word, and making a face as if
the pronouncing it turned him quite sick. 'Oh, the sweet doll! Perhaps
you would like to stay and play with Rose, and Willy, and the d-o-ll,
instead of coming out to cricket.'

'Nonsense, you foolish fellow, you know better,' answered Edward. 'But I
won't have Rose bullied; and what's more, I won't have Willy quizzed. I
should like to see you or me pass such an examination as Willy could if
he were at school. Why, he can learn as much in a day as we do in a
week.'

'Well, he is welcome to learn as much as he likes,' said Geoffrey; 'and
let's you and I go and play. What stupid nuts these are! I've almost
cracked one of my teeth with cracking them.'

The boys ran off; and presently there came into the room the papa and
mama, whom I already knew, and a young lady very like Rose, but older. I
found she was Margaret, the eldest sister. They inquired whether Willy
wanted any thing before they went out; and Margaret fetched a drawing
that he wished to copy, while his father and mother wheeled his sofa and
table nearer the window, that he might have more light. When he was made
quite comfortable, they told Rose that she might stay and take care of
him till they returned; and she said she would bring her box of scraps
and begin dressing me. Then I came in for my share of notice, and had
every reason to be satisfied with the praises bestowed on me. The mama
said that I deserved very neatly-made clothes; the papa, that my hair
would be a pattern for Margaret's; and Margaret said I was charming, and
that she would make me a pink satin gown.

They admired the name _Seraphina_, though the papa suggested various
others which he thought might suit Rose's taste,--Sophonisba, Cleopatra,
Araminta, Dulcinea, Ethelinda, &c.; but as she remained steady to her
first choice, the LADY SERAPHINA was decided to be thenceforth my name
and title.

And now began the real business of my life. I was no longer doomed to
fret at being of no use, for the object of my existence was plain
enough, namely, to give innocent recreation to my young mistress when
at leisure from her more serious employments. Every day she spent some
hours in study with her mother or sister; and she would fly to me for
relief between her lessons, and return to them with more vigor after
passing a little time in my refreshing company. She often showed her
tasks to me, and discussed their difficulties. I think she repeated the
multiplication-table to me nearly a hundred times, while I sat on the
_Tutor's Assistant_ waiting for the recurrence of the fatal words,
'Seven times nine.' Day after day she could get no farther; but as soon
as she came to 'Seven times nine,' I was turned off the book, which had
to be consulted for the answer.

At last, one day she came running into the room in great glee,
exclaiming, 'I have done the multiplication-table. I have said it quite
right, sixty-three and all. I made no mistake even in dodging. And _you_
helped me, my darling Lady Seraphina. I never could have learned it
perfect if you had not heard me say it so often. And now, look at your
rewards. Margaret has made you a bonnet, and Willy has made you an
arm-chair.'

Beautiful, indeed, was the bonnet, and commodious the arm-chair; and I
wore the one and reclined in the other all the time Rose was learning
the French auxiliary verbs _être_ and _avoir_. I flattered myself I was
of as much use in them as in the multiplication-table; but I do not
recollect receiving any particular recompense. Indeed, after a little
time, it would have been difficult to know what to give me, for I
possessed every thing that a doll's heart could wish, or her head
imagine. Such a variety of elegant dresses as Rose made for me would
have been the envy of all my old friends in the bazaar. I had gowns of
pink satin and white satin; blue silk and yellow silk; colored muslins
without number, and splendid white lace. Bonnets enough to furnish a
milliner's shop were mine; but I was not so partial to them as to my
gowns, because they tumbled my hair.

I believe a good many of my possessions were presents from Margaret to
Rose on account of perfect lessons; but in course of time, I ceased to
superintend Rose's studies. Margaret said that I interrupted the course
of history; and the mama said that Rose was old enough to learn her
lessons without bringing her play into them, and that I must be put away
during school hours.

Though I did not think that the fault was altogether mine, I quite
acquiesced in the wisdom of this decree; for during Rose's last
reading-lesson she had stopped so often to ask me which I liked best,
Lycurgus or Solon, Pericles or Alcibiades, &c., that Margaret was almost
out of patience. And though I made no answer, and had really no choice
at all between the characters, I felt that I rather hindered business.

I was therefore now left to myself for several hours in the morning; but
I found ample and pleasant employment in surveying the comforts and
beauties of my habitation. For I was not forced to perform the part of
an insignificant pigmy in the vast abodes of the colossal race of man: I
possessed a beautiful little house proportioned to my size, pleasantly
situated on a table in the furthest corner of the schoolroom, and
commanding an extensive view of the whole apartment.

I must describe my house at full length. It had been originally, as I
heard, a mere rough packing-case; but what of that? The best brick house
in London was once but clay in the fields; and my packing-case was now
painted outside and papered inside, and fitted up in a manner every way
suitable for the occupation of a doll of distinction.

My drawing-room was charming; light and cheerful, the walls papered with
white and gold, and the floor covered with a drab carpet worked with
flowers of every hue. Rose worked the carpet herself under the
directions of Margaret, who prevailed on her to learn worsted-work for
my sake. So there, again, how useful I was! From the ceiling hung a
brilliant glass chandelier, a birthday present from Edward to Rose; and
the mantel-piece was adorned by a splendid mirror cut out of a broken
looking-glass by Willy, and framed by his hands. I cannot say that Willy
ever seemed to care for me personally, but he took considerable interest
in my upholstery, and much of my handsomest furniture was manufactured
by him. He made my dining-room and drawing-room tables; the frames of my
chairs, which were covered with silk by Margaret; my sofa, and my
four-post bedstead; and it was he who painted the floor-cloth in my
hall, and the capital picture of the Queen and Prince Albert which hung
over the dining-room chimney-piece. I had a snug bed-room, containing a
bed with pink curtains, a toilette-table, with a handsome looking-glass,
pincushion, and rather large brush and comb; a washing-stand,
towel-horse, chest of drawers, and wardrobe. But the last two, I must
confess, were rather for show than for use. They were French-polished,
and in appearance convenient as well as handsome, but in reality too
small to hold my clothes. A few minor articles of dress were kept in
them; but the mass of my gorgeous attire was always in larger boxes and
trunks belonging to my mistress; her work-box, for instance, and at one
time her desk; but her mama turned all my gowns out of the latter when
she banished me from the lessons, and desired that, for the future, only
writing materials should be kept in it. 'Every thing in its proper
place, Rose,' I heard her say. 'You have plenty of little boxes for
doll's clothes; and your doll ought to teach you to be more tidy instead
of less so.'

My dining-room was well adapted for all the purposes of hospitality,
being furnished with a substantial dining-table, chairs, and a
sideboard, on which there always stood two trays, one filled with
decanters and wine-glasses, and the other with knives and forks.

My kitchen was resplendent with saucepans, kettles, pots and pans, and
plates and dishes, ranged upon the dresser, or hung from the walls. A
joint of meat was always roasting before the fire, and a cook of my own
race appeared to spend her life in basting it, for I never failed to
find her thus employed when Rose was so kind as to take me into my
kitchen. There was also a footman, who sat for ever in the hall; and I
was inclined to consider him rather wanting in respect, till I
discovered that, owing to a broken leg, he was unable to stand. I did
not quite comprehend the use of my servants, as Rose herself did all the
work of my house; but she said they were indispensable, and that if it
were not for want of room, I should have a great many more.

Besides all these arrangements for my comfort in-doors, I possessed a
beautiful open phaeton, emblazoned with the royal arms of England, and
drawn by four piebald horses with long tails, so spirited that they
never left off prancing. Every day, after school-time, Rose brought
this equipage to my door; and the four horses stood with their eight
front feet in the air while I was dressed for my drive. Then, attired in
my last new bonnet and cloak, I sat in state in my carriage, and was
drawn round and round the room by Rose, till she said I was tired. She
made many attempts to persuade the lame footman to stand on the
footboard behind, but she never could manage it. He was a very helpless
creature; and I am not quite certain that he even did his best, little
as that might be. The first time Rose set him up behind the carriage, he
tumbled head over heels into the middle of it, and stood there on his
head till she picked him out again. Then he fell off behind, then on one
side, and then on the other, till she was quite tired of his foolish
tricks, and left him to sit quietly and stupidly in his old place in the
hall.

I lived in great comfort in my pleasant house, and being of a cheerful,
contented temper, never felt lonely, although left to myself during
great part of the day; for Rose was very obedient to her Mama's orders,
and even if now and then tempted to forget the regulation herself, Willy
was always at hand to remind her, and help to fix her attention on her
business. But when it was all over, she flew to me with redoubled
pleasure.

One day she said to me, 'My dear Seraphina, I am afraid you must be very
dull, alone all the morning.' I longed to assure her of the contrary;
but not having the gift of speech, I could only listen submissively
while she continued: 'It is a pity that you should sit doing nothing and
wasting your time; so I have brought you some books, which you are to
read while I am at my lessons; and I shall expect you to learn just as
much as I do.'

So saying, she seated me on my sofa, and placing a table with the books
before me, 'Look,' continued she, 'I have made them for you myself, and
covered them with these pretty red and green papers. This is your
English History, and this is your French Grammar; and here is a
Geography Book, and here is a History of Rome. Now read attentively, and
do not let your thoughts wander; and be very careful not to dogs-ear the
leaves: that always looks like a dunce. And mind you sit upright,' added
she, looking back, as she left the room in obedience to a summons from
her sister.

I obeyed to the best of my power. To be sure, I did not know which was
geography and which was grammar; and English and Roman history were both
alike to me. But I did as I was bid. I sat upright in the place
appointed me, staring as hard as I could at the open pages; and my worst
enemy could not accuse me of dogs-earing a single leaf.

When my mistress returned, she pleased me much by calling me a very good
girl, and saying that if I continued to take so much pains, I could not
fail to improve. On hearing this, Willy laughed, and said he hoped that
that was a duplicate of Margaret's last speech; and Rose looked very
happy, and answered that not only Margaret, but Mama had said the same.

This was not my only duplicate of Rose's adventures. My education
appeared to be conducted precisely on the same plan as her own. Before
long, she brought a little pianoforte and set it up in my drawing-room.
I thought it rather hid the pretty paper, but it was a handsome piece of
furniture.

'Now, Lady Seraphina,' said Rose, 'I am obliged to practise for an hour
every day, and you must do the same. See what a pretty piano I have
given you. You need not mind its being meant for a housewife and
pincushion; the notes are marked, and that is all you want. Now practise
your scales, and be very careful to play right notes and count your
time.'

I sat at my piano with all due diligence, but I am sorry to say that my
progress did not seem satisfactory. One day Rose said that she was sure
I had forgotten to count; and another day, that I hurried the easy bars
and slackened the difficult ones; then she accused me of not caring
whether I played right notes or wrong, and torturing her ear by my false
chords; then I banged the notes till I broke the strings: in short,
there was no end to her complaints, till at last she wound them all up
by declaring that both she and I hated music, and that if Mama and
Margaret would take her advice, we should both leave it off.

But still I practised regularly, and so, I suppose, did Rose; and
gradually her reproaches diminished, and she grew more contented with
me; and we both persevered, till she said that really, after all, I
seemed to have a good ear, and to be likely to make a very respectable
player.

'But you know it all depends upon yourself, Seraphina; your present
improvement is the result of pains and practice. Pains and practice will
do any thing.'

It was fortunate for me that I had so careful a superintendent as Rose;
for unless she had kept a constant watch over me, there is no saying
how many awkward habits I might unconsciously have contracted. But she
cured me of poking my head forward, of standing on one leg, of tilting
my chair, of meddling with things that were not my own, of leaning
against the furniture while I was speaking, of putting my elbows on the
table, of biting my nails, of spilling my tea, and of making crumbs on
the floor.

I cannot say I was myself aware either of the faults or their cure; but
I think one seldom does notice one's own faults, and therefore it is a
great advantage to have kind friends who will point them out to us. I
believed Rose when she told me of mine; so I had a right to believe her
when she gave me the agreeable assurance of their cure, and to indulge
the hope that I was becoming a pleasing, well-bred little doll.

On one mortifying occasion, however, I must own that Rose's anxiety for
my always following in her steps was the cause of a serious injury to
me. She remarked that I had got into a horrid way of kicking off my
shoes while I was learning my poetry; and she thought the best cure
would be to make me wear sandals. I observed that she was sewing sandals
to her own shoes at the time, and she consulted Willy about some means
of doing the same by mine. Willy held me head downwards, and examined my
feet. My shoes were painted, therefore sewing was out of the question.
He advised glue. This was tried, but it came through the thin narrow
ribbon of which my sandals were to be made, and looked very dirty. They
were taken off; but the operation had spoilt the delicacy of my white
stockings, and Rose said it was impossible to let me go such an untidy
figure; we must try some other way. She asked Willy to lend her a
gimlet, that she might bore holes at the sides of my feet, and glue the
ribbon into them, so as not to show the glue. Willy said she was welcome
to the gimlet, but that he advised her to leave it alone, for that she
would only break my feet. But Rose would not be dissuaded, and began
boring.

It was on this occasion that I most peculiarly felt the advantage of
that insensibility to pain which distinguishes my race. What mortal
could have borne such an infliction without struggling and screaming? I,
on the contrary, took it all in good part, and showed no signs of
feeling even at the fatal moment when my foot snapped in two, and Rose,
with a face of utter dismay, held up my own toes before my eyes.

'Oh, my poor Seraphina!' she exclaimed, 'what shall we do?'

'Glue it on again,' said Willy. 'You had better have taken my advice at
first, but now you must make the best of it. Glue is your only friend.'

So Rose glued the halves of my foot together, lamenting over me, and
blaming herself so much all the time, that it seemed rather a comfort to
her when Margaret, coming into the room, agreed with her that she had
been foolish and awkward. Margaret said that ribbon might have been tied
over my feet from the first, without using glue or gimlet either; and
Rose called herself more stupid than ever, for not having thought of
such an easy contrivance.

My foot was glued, and for the purpose of standing, answered as well as
ever; and Rose sewed me up in a pair of blue silk boots, and declared
that I was prettier than before; and my misfortune was soon forgotten by
every body but myself. I, however, could not but feel a misgiving that
this was the first warning of my share in the invariable fate of my
race. For I had already lived long enough to be aware that the existence
of a doll, like that of every thing else, has its limits. Either by
sudden accidents, such as loss of limbs, or by the daily wear and tear
of life, decay gradually makes its progress in us, and we fade away as
surely as the most delicate of the fragile race of mortals.

Though the fracture of my foot was my own first misfortune, I had had
opportunities of remarking the casualties to which dolls are liable. For
it is not to be supposed that our devotion to human beings precludes us
from cultivating the society of our own species. Dolls will be dolls;
and they have a natural sympathy with each other, notwithstanding the
companionship of the race of man. Most little girls are aware of this
fact, and provide suitable society for their dolls. I myself had a large
circle of silent acquaintances, to whom I was introduced by Rose's
kindness and consideration. When other little girls came to drink tea
with her, they often brought their dolls to spend the evening with me;
and among them I had more than once the pleasure of recognising an old
friend from the bazaar.

Then I was in my glory. There was a constant supply of provisions in my
larder; and at a moment's notice Rose would produce an excellent dinner,
all ready cooked, and dished in a beautiful little china dinner-service.
Willy compared her to the genius of Aladdin's lamp; and though I did not
know what that might mean, I quite understood the advantage of being
able to set such a banquet before my friends. I could always command
salmon, a pair of soles, a leg of mutton, a leg of pork, a turkey, a
pair of boiled fowls, a ham, a sucking pig, a hare, a loaf of bread, a
fine Cheshire cheese, several pies, and a great variety of fruit, which
was always ripe and in season, winter or summer. Rose's papa once
observed that his hothouse produced none so fine; for the currants were
as large as apples, and two cherries filled a dish.

Rose and her companions performed the active duties of waiting at table
on these occasions; but the lame footman was generally brought out of
the hall, and propped up against the sideboard, where he stood looking
respectable but awkward.

At these pleasant parties I saw a great range of characters, for Rose's
young visitors were various in their tastes, and their dolls used to be
dressed in every known costume. Besides plenty of pretty English
damsels, I was introduced now to a Turkish sultana, now to a Swiss
peasant; one day to a captain in the British army, another day to an
Indian rajah. One young lady liked to make her dolls personate
celebrated characters; and when she visited us, most distinguished
guests graced my table. I have had the honor of receiving the Queen and
Prince Albert themselves; the Duke of Wellington, Sir Walter Scott, and
Miss Edgeworth, have all dined with me on the same day, and Robinson
Crusoe came in the evening.

But it was at these social meetings that I became most fully aware of
the liability of dolls to loss of limbs. I never remember giving a party
at which the guests could boast of possessing all their legs and arms.
Many an ingenious contrivance hid or supplied the deficiencies, and we
were happy in spite of our losses; still, such was the case: and I saw
that dolls, however beloved and respected, could not last for ever.

For some time after my accident I had no particular adventures. I lived
in peace and plenty, and amused myself with watching the family. They
were all amiable and easy to understand, except Geoffrey; but he was a
complete puzzle to me, and it was long before I could make out why he
was so different from the rest.

The others all seemed to like to help and please one another, but
Geoffrey never seemed happy unless he was making himself disagreeable.
If Willy was interested in a book, he was obliged to sit upon the second
volume, or Geoffrey would be sure to run away with it. If Edward was in
a hurry to go out, Geoffrey would hide his cap, and keep him a quarter
of an hour hunting for it. The girls dared not leave their worsted-work
within his reach for a moment; for he would unravel the canvass, or chop
up the wool, or go on with the work after a pattern of his own
composing, so that they would be obliged to spend half an hour in
unpicking his cobbling.

Margaret remonstrated with him in private, and made excuses for him in
public, and did her best to prevent his tiresome tricks from annoying
Willy; Edward tried rougher means of keeping him in order, which
sometimes succeeded; but still he could find plenty of opportunities of
being a torment: people always can when such is their taste.

One day Margaret was keeping Willy company, while the rest of the party
were gone to the Zoological Gardens. She had brought a drawing to
finish, as he liked to see her draw, and was sometimes useful in
suggesting improvements. But while they were thus employed, Margaret was
summoned to some visitors, and went away, saying that her drawing would
just have time to dry before she returned.

But unfortunately, during her absence, Geoffrey came home. He had grown
tired of the Gardens, which he had seen very often, and rather hungry,
as he generally was; so after amusing himself by eating the cakes he had
bought for the bear, he had nothing more to do, and tried to persuade
his cousins to be tired also. But Edward was making himself agreeable to
the monkeys, Rose was cultivating the friendship of the elephant, and
their Papa and Mama were waiting to see the hippopotamus bathe; so that
Geoffrey's proposals of leaving the Gardens were scouted, and he could
only obtain leave from his uncle to go home by himself.

He entered the room, as usual, with his mouth full, having spent his
last penny in a piece of cocoanut as he came along the streets. While
the cocoanut lasted, he was employed to his satisfaction; but when that
was finished, he was again at a loss for something to do. He tried
walking round the room on one leg, working heel and toe, and that
succeeded very well, and did no harm till he unluckily came to the
drawing-table, when he immediately brought himself to a stand on both
feet.

'Hallo!' cried he, 'here's a daub! Is this your splendid performance,
Will?'

'No,' replied Willy, 'it is Margaret's; and mind you don't touch it by
accident, because it is wet.'

'Touch it by accident!' exclaimed Geoffrey; 'I am going to touch it on
purpose. I wonder Margaret is not ashamed to do it so badly. I'll
improve it for her. How kind of me!'

Poor Willy, in dismay, tried to secure the drawing, but he could not
move from his sofa, and Geoffrey danced round him, holding it at
arm's-length. Then Willy caught at the bell-rope, but his mischievous
cousin snatched it quicker, and tied it up out of his reach. Willy
called all the servants as loud as he could, but no one was within
hearing; and he threw himself back on his sofa, in despair, exclaiming,
'How can you be so ill-natured, when Margaret is always so kind to you?'

'Ill-natured!' answered the other; 'I'm doing her a favor. She admired
the moonlight in the Diorama; now I shall make just such a moon in her
drawing.' And while he spoke, a great yellow moon, like a guinea, rose
in the midst of poor Margaret's brilliant sunset.

'That's the thing,' said Geoffrey; 'and now I shall put the cow jumping
over it, and the little dog laughing to see such sport. Some figures
always improve the foreground.'

'Oh, you have quite spoilt it!' cried Willy. 'How I wish I could stop
you! I cannot imagine how you can like to be so mischievous and
disagreeable. Oh, if Margaret would but come back.'

At last Margaret came, and the troublesome Geoffrey expected great
amusement from her displeasure; but he was disappointed. Margaret was
one of those generous people who never resent an injury done to
themselves. If Geoffrey had spoilt any body else's drawing, she would
have been the first to punish him; but now she was much more vexed at
Willy's distress than at the destruction of her own work, and instead of
scolding Geoffrey, she gave herself up to consoling Willy. She assured
him that there was no great harm done. She said the drawing was good for
very little, and that she would copy it and improve it so much that he
should be quite glad of the disaster; and she made a present of the
spoilt drawing to Geoffrey, telling him she was sure he would one day
be ashamed of so foolish a performance, but that meanwhile he might keep
it as a specimen of his taste. He had not the manners to apologize, but
he looked very silly and crest-fallen, and left the room in silence,
with the drawing in his hand.

When he was gone, Willy exclaimed, 'If it were not for losing Edward, I
should wish the holidays were over; Geoffrey is so disagreeable.'

'He is very thoughtless,' Margaret replied; 'but we must not be too hard
upon him. Let us recollect that he has no parents to teach him better,
nor brothers and sisters to call forth his consideration for others.
Poor Geoffrey has had neither example nor precept till now. But now Papa
and Mama give him good precepts; and if we try to set him good examples,
perhaps we may help him to improve.'

'Well, I'll hope for the best, and do what I can,' said Willy.
'Certainly he has some good qualities. He is as brave as a lion; and he
is good-natured about giving away his own things, though he is so
mischievous with other people's.'

'And he is clever in his way, notwithstanding his idleness,' added
Margaret. 'Those foolish figures that he put into my drawing were
uncommonly well done, though they were provoking to us.'

'You are the best girl in the world,' said Willy; 'and if you think
Geoffrey will improve, I'll think so too; but you must own there is room
for it.'

Perhaps Geoffrey did improve, but it seemed slow work, faults being more
easily acquired than cured; and for a long time I could perceive no
difference in him. Indeed, as his next piece of mischief concerned
myself, I thought him worse than ever.

I have often wondered at the extreme dislike which boys have to dolls. I
was the most inoffensive creature possible, giving myself no airs, and
interfering with nobody; yet even the gentle Willy was indifferent to
me. Edward, though he protected Rose in her patronage of me, despised
me thoroughly himself; and Geoffrey never lost an opportunity of
expressing his mortal hatred to me. I shrunk from Edward's contemptuous
notice, but I was not at all afraid of him, well knowing that neither he
nor Willy would hurt a hair of my head; but whenever Geoffrey came into
the room, terror seized my mind. He never passed my house without making
all kinds of ugly faces at me; and I felt instinctively that nothing but
the presence of the other boys restrained him from doing me any harm in
his power.

I had hitherto never been alone with him, but at last the fatal moment
arrived. One fine afternoon, Willy went out for a drive in his
wheel-chair, Edward insisting upon drawing it himself, and the two girls
walking on each side. Geoffrey accompanied them, intending to walk with
them part of the way, and to go on by himself when he was tired of the
slow pace of the chair. All seemed safe, and I hoped to enjoy a few
hours of uninterrupted leisure. I always liked having my time to
myself; and as Rose had set me no lessons, I reposed comfortably in my
arm-chair by a blazing fire of black and red cloth, from the glare of
which I was sheltered by a screen. My dog sat at my side, my cat lay at
my feet, and I was as happy as a doll could be.

Suddenly the silence was broken by a sound as of a turkey gabbling in
the hall; presently this changed to a duck quacking on the stairs; then
a cock crew on the landing-place, and a goose hissed close to the
schoolroom door. I guessed but too well what these ominous sounds
portended, and my heart sunk within me as the door burst open, and my
dreaded enemy banged into the room.

'Why, they are not come home yet!' exclaimed he; 'so my talents have
been wasted. I meant to have made them bid me not make every different
noise. When they said, "Don't hiss," I would have crowed; and when they
said, "Don't crow," I would have quacked, or barked, or bellowed, or
mewed, till I had gone through all the noises I know. Now I have
nothing to do.'

He walked to the window and looked out.

'What a stupid street it is!' said he. 'If my uncle had not taken away
my squirt, I would squirt at the people.'

Then he yawned, and sauntered to the bookcase. 'What stupid books! I
wonder any body can write them. I wish Edward had left his tools out; I
should like to plane the top of the shelf. How stupid it is having
nothing to do!'

As he spoke, I shuddered to see him approaching my end of the room. He
came nearer; he made a full stop in front of me, and looked me in the
face.

'You stupid, ugly thing,' he exclaimed, 'don't stare so. I hate to have
a doll's eyes goggling at me.'

Gladly would I have withdrawn my eyes, if possible. But they had been
painted wide open, and what could I do? I never was so ashamed of them
in my life; but I had no control over them, so I stared on, and he grew
more indignant.

'If you don't leave off,' he cried, 'I'll poke out your eyes, as I did
those of the ugly picture in my room. I won't be stared at.'

I longed for the gift of speech to represent to him, that if he would
but leave off looking at me, I should give him no offence; but alas, I
was silent, and could only stare as hard as ever.

'Oh, you will, will you?' said he 'then I know what I'll do: I'll hang
you.'

In vain I hoped for the return of the rest of the party. I listened
anxiously for every sound, but no friendly step or voice was near, and I
was completely in his power.

He began rummaging his pockets, grinning and making faces at me all the
time. Presently he drew forth a long piece of string, extremely dirty,
looking as if it had been trailed in the mud.

'Now for it,' he exclaimed; 'now you shall receive the reward of all
your stupidity and affectation. I do think dolls are the most affected
creatures on the face of the earth.'

He laid hold of me by my head, pushing my wig on one side. Alas for my
beautiful hair, it was disarranged for ever! But that was a trifle
compared with what followed. He tied one end of his muddy string round
my neck, drawing it so tight that I foresaw I should be marked for life,
and hung the other end to a nail in the wall.

There I dangled, while he laughed and quizzed me, adding insult to
injury. He twisted the string as tight as possible, and then let it
whirl round and round till it was all untwisted again. I banged against
the wall as I spun like a top, and wished that I could sleep like a top
too. But I was wide awake to my misfortunes; and each interval of
stillness, when the string was untwisted, only enhanced them, by showing
in painful contrast the happy home whence I had been torn. For I was
hung on the wall directly opposite my own house; and from my wretched
nail I could distinguish every room in it. Between my twirls I saw my
pretty drawing-room, with its comfortable arm-chair now vacant; and my
convenient kitchen, with my respectable cook peacefully basting her
perpetual mutton; I envied even my lame footman quietly seated in his
chimney-corner, and felt that I had never truly valued the advantages of
my home till now. Would they ever be restored to me? Should I once again
be under the protection of my kind and gentle mistress, or was I
Geoffrey's slave for ever?

[Illustration: Page 72]

These melancholy thoughts were interrupted by a step on the stairs.
'Hallo!' cried Geoffrey, 'who would have thought of their coming home
just now?' and he was going to lift me down from my nail; but when the
door opened, the housemaid came in alone, and he changed his mind.

'Why, Master Geoffrey,' said she, 'what are you doing here all alone?
Some mischief, I'll be bound.'

'Bow, wow, wow,' answered he, dancing and playing all sorts of antics to
prevent her seeing me.

'Come,' said she, 'those tricks won't go down with me. The more lively
you are, the more I know you've been after something you ought to have
let alone.'

'Hee haw, hee haw,' said Geoffrey, twitching her gown, and braying like
a donkey.

'Well, you're speaking in your own voice at last,' said she, laughing.
'But let go of my gown, if you please; you are big enough to walk by
yourself, and I want to set the room to rights. There's some young
ladies coming to tea with Miss Rose.'

She bustled about, dusting and putting every thing in order, and talking
all the time, partly to Geoffrey and partly to herself, about the blacks
that came in at the windows, and made a place want dusting a dozen times
a day, when her eye fell on my unfortunate figure, which my persecutor
had just set swinging like the pendulum of a clock. I was a deplorable
object. He had forced me into the most awkward attitude he could invent.
My arms were turned round in their sockets, one stretched towards the
ceiling, the other at full length on one side. I was forced to kick one
leg out in front, and the other behind; and my knees were bent up the
wrong way. My wig had fallen off altogether from my head, and was now
perched upon my toe. I was still swinging, when Sarah caught sight of
me. She looked at me for a moment, and then turned round, opening her
eyes at Geoffrey much wider than I had ever done.

'Why, you audacious, aggravating boy!' she exclaimed, making a dash at
him with her duster; but he ran away laughing, and she was obliged to
finish her speech to herself.

'To think of his being so mischievous and ill-natured! What will poor
Miss Rose say! To be sure, there is nothing boys won't do; their equals
for perverseness don't walk the earth. Though I ought not to speak
against them, while there's Master William and Master Edward to
contradict me. They are boys, to be sure; but as for that Geoffrey!' And
here she shook her head in silence, as if Geoffrey's delinquencies were
beyond the power of words to express.

She then released me; and after restoring my limbs to their proper
position, and smoothing my discomposed dress, she laid me gently on my
bed, and placed my wig on my pillow beside me, with many kind
expressions of pity and good-will.

Repose was indeed needful after so agitating an adventure; and I was
glad to be left quiet till the young people came in from their walk. I
composed my ruffled spirits as well as I could; but I found it
impossible not to be nervous at the idea of Rose's first seeing me in
such a plight, and I anxiously awaited her return. They came in at last,
Rose, Willy, and Margaret; and after establishing Willy on his sofa,
Rose's next care was to visit me. 'O Willy! O Margaret!' she exclaimed,
and burst into tears.

'What is the matter, my darling?' asked Margaret.

Rose could not answer; but Sarah was there to tell the story, and do
ample justice to my wrongs. Yet I could not help observing, in the midst
of all her indignation, the difference of her manner towards her
present hearers and towards Geoffrey. She never seemed on familiar terms
with Willy, much less with Margaret or Rose. She neither cut jokes nor
used rough language to them, but treated them with the respect due to
her master's children; though, as I well knew, she was extremely fond of
them, and disliked Geoffrey, in spite of her familiarity with him.

I saw Geoffrey no more that day. Rose's young friends soon arrived, and
consoled both her and me by their kind sympathy and attentions. One made
an elegant cap to supply the loss of my wig; another strung a blue
necklace to hide the black mark round my throat; Rose herself put me to
bed, and placed a table by my bedside covered with teacups, each, she
told me, containing a different medicine; and the young lady who had
once brought Miss Edgeworth to dine with me, charged me to lie still and
read 'Rosamond' till I was quite recovered.

Next morning, as I lay contentedly performing my new part of an invalid,
I heard a confidential conversation between Margaret and Geoffrey, in
which I was interested.

They were alone together, and she was taking the opportunity to
remonstrate with him on his unkind treatment of me.

'What was the harm?' said Geoffrey. 'A doll is nothing but wood or bran,
or some stupid stuff; it can't feel.'

'Of course,' answered Margaret, 'we all know _that_. It is wasteful and
mischievous to spoil a pretty toy; but I am not speaking now so much for
the sake of the doll as of Rose. Rose is not made of any stupid stuff;
_she_ can feel. And what is more, she can feel for other people as well
as herself. She would never play you such an ill-natured trick.'

'I should not mind it if she did,' argued Geoffrey; 'I am not such a
baby.'

'You would not mind that particular thing,' answered Margaret, 'because
you do not care about dolls; but you would mind her interfering with
_your_ pleasures, or injuring your property. You would think it very
ill-natured, for instance, if she threw away that heap of nuts which
you have hoarded like a squirrel on your shelf of the closet.'

'Nuts are not nonsense like dolls,' said he. 'Besides, she may have as
many of mine as she likes. I tried to make her eat some yesterday.'

'Yes, and half choked her by poking them into her mouth, when she told
you she did not want them. She cares no more for nuts than you for
dolls. You would think it no kindness if she teazed you to nurse her
doll.'

'I should think not, indeed,' answered Geoffrey, indignant at the very
idea.

'Of course not. Kindness is not shown by forcing our own pleasures down
other people's throats, but by trying to promote theirs. That is really
doing as we would be done by.'

'But doing as we would be done by is one's _duty_,' said Geoffrey.

'I fear it is a duty of which you seldom think,' replied his cousin.

'Why, one can't be thinking of _duty_ in those kind of things,' answered
he.

'Why not?' asked Margaret.

'Because they are such trifles; duties are great things.'

'What sort of things do you consider to be duties?' Margaret inquired.

'Oh, such things as letting oneself be tortured, like Regulus; or
forgiving an enemy who has shot poisoned arrows at one, like Coeur de
Lion.'

'Well,' said Margaret smiling, 'such heroic duties as those do not seem
likely to fall in your way just now, perhaps they never may. Our
fellow-creatures are so kind to us, that we are seldom called upon to
fulfil any but small duties towards them, or what you would consider
such; for I cannot allow any duty to be small, especially that of doing
as we would be done by. If we do not fulfil that in trifles, we shall
probably never fulfil it at all. This is a serious thought, Geoffrey.'

Geoffrey looked up; and as he seemed inclined to listen, Margaret
continued talking to him kindly but gravely, bringing many things before
his mind as duties which he had hitherto considered to be matters of
indifference. But Margaret would not allow any thing to be a trifle in
which one person could give pain or pleasure, trouble or relief,
annoyance or comfort to another, or by which any one's own mind or
habits could be either injured or improved. She maintained that there
was a right and a wrong to every thing, and that right and wrong could
never be trifles, whether in great things or small. By degrees the
conversation turned upon matters far too solemn to be repeated by a mere
plaything like myself; but I thought, as I heard her, that it might be
better to be a poor wooden figure which could do neither right nor
wrong, than a human being who neglected his appointed duties.

Geoffrey said little, but he shook hands with Margaret when she had
finished speaking, and I noticed from that day forward a gradual
improvement in his conduct. Bad habits are not cured in a minute, and he
did not become all at once as gentle and considerate as Willy, nor as
kind and helpful as Edward; but he put himself in the right road, and
seemed in a fair way of overtaking them in due time. He at once left off
_active_ mischief; and if he could not avoid being occasionally
troublesome, he at any rate cured himself of teazing people on purpose.
And it was remarkable how many employments he found as soon as his mind
was disengaged from mischief. Instead of his dawdling about all the
morning calling things stupid, and saying he had nothing to do, all
manner of pleasant occupations seemed to start up in his path, as if
made to order for him, now that he had time to attend to them. When he
relinquished the pleasure of spoiling things, he acquired the far
greater pleasure of learning to make them. When Edward was no longer
afraid of trusting him with his tools, it was wonderful what a carpenter
he turned out. When Margaret could venture to leave drawing materials
within his reach, he began to draw capitally. Good-natured Margaret gave
him lessons, and said she would never wish for a better scholar. He
found it was twice the pleasure to walk or play with Edward when he was
thought an acquisition instead of a burden; and far more agreeable to
have Rose and Willy anxious for his company than wishing to get rid of
him. But the advantages were not confined to himself; the whole house
shared in them; for his perpetual small annoyances had made every body
uncomfortable, whereas now, by attention to what he used to look upon as
trifles, he found he had the power of contributing his part towards the
happiness of his fellow-creatures, which is no trifle.

On the last day of the holidays, the young people were all assembled in
the schoolroom till it was time for Edward and Geoffrey to start. While
Edward was arranging various matters with Willy, I heard Geoffrey
whisper to Margaret that he hoped she had forgiven him for spoiling that
drawing of hers. She seemed at first really not to know what he meant;
but when she recollected it, she answered with a smile, 'Oh, my dear
Geoffrey, I had forgiven and forgotten it long ago. Pray never think of
it again yourself.' Geoffrey next went up to Rose and put a little
parcel into her hands. On opening it, she found a box of very pretty
bonbons in the shape of various vegetables. When she admired them, he
seemed much pleased, and said that he had saved up his money to buy
them, in hopes she might like them for her dolls' feasts. Rose kissed
and thanked him, and said she only wished he could stay and help her and
her dolls to eat them. Every body took an affectionate leave of
Geoffrey, and Willy said he was very sorry to lose him, and should miss
him sadly.

Edward and Geoffrey returned to school, and I never saw Geoffrey again;
but a constant correspondence was kept up between him and his cousins,
and I often heard pleasant mention of his progress and improvement.

Time passed on; what length of time I cannot say, all seasons and their
change being alike to me; but school-days and holidays succeeded one
another, and our family grew older in appearance and habits. Rose
gradually spent less time with me, and more with her books and music,
till at last, though she still kept my house in order, she never
actually played with me, unless younger children came to visit her, and
_then_, indeed, I was as popular as ever. But on a little friend's one
day remarking that I had worn the same gown for a month, Rose answered
that she herself had the charge of her own clothes now, and that what
with keeping them in order, and doing fancy-work as presents for her
friends, she found no time to work for dolls.

By and by, her time for needlework was fully engaged in Geoffrey's
behalf. He was going to sea; and Rose was making purses, slippers,
portfolios, and every thing she could think of as likely to please him.
Perhaps _her_ most useful keepsake was a sailor's housewife; but many
nice things were sent him from every one of the family. I saw a trunk
full of presents packed and sent off. And when I recollected my first
acquaintance with him, I could not but marvel over the change that had
taken place, before books, drawing materials, and mathematical
instruments could have been chosen as the gifts best suited to his
taste.

Edward used to come home from school as merry and good-humored as ever,
and growing taller and stronger every holiday. Rose and Margaret were as
flourishing as he; but poor Willy grew weaker, and thinner, and paler.
Fresh springs and summers brought him no revival, but as they faded, he
seemed to fade with them. He read more than ever; and his sisters were
frequently occupied in reading and writing under his direction, for they
were anxious to help him in his pursuits. His Papa and Mama sometimes
said he studied too hard; and they used to sit with him, and try to
amuse him by conversation, when they wished to draw him from his books.
Doctors visited him, and prescribed many remedies; and his Mama gave him
all the medicines herself, and took care that every order was implicitly
obeyed. His father carried him up and down stairs, and waited upon him
as tenderly as even Margaret; but he grew no better with all their
care. He was always gentle and patient, but he appeared in less good
spirits than formerly. He seemed to enjoy going out in his wheel-chair
more than any thing; but one day he observed that the summer was fast
coming to an end, and that then he must shut himself up in his room, for
that he minded the cold more than he used.

'I wish we lived in a warmer country,' said Rose; 'perhaps then you
might get better.'

'I do not know about _living_,' replied Willy. 'England is the best
country to _live_ in; but I certainly should like to be out of the way
of the cold for this next winter.'

'Why do not you tell Papa so?' asked Rose.

'Because I know very well he would take me a journey directly, however
inconvenient it might be to him.'

Rose said nothing more just then, but she took the first opportunity of
telling her father what had passed; and he said he was very glad indeed
that she had let him know.

From that day forward something more than usual seemed in contemplation.
Papa, Mama, and Margaret were constantly consulting together, and
Edward, Rose, and Willy followed their example. As for me, nobody had
time to bestow a look or a thought upon me; but I made myself happy by
looking at and thinking of _them_.

One morning two doctors together paid Willy a long visit. After they
were gone, his Papa and Mama came into his room.

'Well, my boy,' his father exclaimed in an unusually cheerful tone, 'it
is quite settled now; Madeira is the place, and I hope you like the
plan.'

'Oh, Papa,' said Willy, 'is it really worth while?'

'Of course it is worth while, a hundred times over,' replied his father;
'and we will be off in the first ship.'

'The doctors strongly advise it, and we have all great hopes from it, my
dear Willy,' said his mother.

'Then so have I,' said Willy; 'and, indeed, I like it extremely, and I
am very grateful to you. The only thing I mind is, that you and my
father should have to leave home and make a long sea voyage, when you
do not like travelling, and Papa has so much to keep him in England.'

'Oh, never mind me,' said his mother; 'I shall like nothing so well as
travelling, if it does you good.'

'And never mind me,' said his father; 'there is nothing of so much
consequence to keep me in England, as your health to take me out of it.'

'Besides, my dear child,' said his mother, 'as the change of climate is
so strongly recommended for you, it becomes a duty as well as a pleasure
to try it.'

'So make your mind easy, my boy,' added his father; 'and I will go and
take our passage for Madeira.'

The father left the room, and the mother remained conversing with her
sick child, whose spirits were unusually excited. I scarcely knew him
again. He was generally slow and quiet, and rather desponding about
himself; but he now thought he should certainly get well, and was so
eager and anxious to start without delay, that his mother had some
difficulty in reconciling him to the idea that no ship would sail till
next month. She also took great pains to impress upon him the duty of
resignation, in case the attempt should fail, after all, in restoring
his health; and she finally left him, not less hopeful, but more calm
and contented with whatever might befall him.

And now began the preparations for the voyage. There was no time to
spare, considering all that had to be done. Every body was at work; and
though poor Willy himself could not do much to help, he thought of
nothing else. His common books and drawings were changed for maps and
voyages; the track to Madeira was looked up by him and Rose every day,
and sometimes two or three times in the day, and every book consulted
that contained the least reference to the Madeira Isles.

Edward was an indefatigable packer. He was not to be one of the
travellers, as his father did not choose to interrupt his
school-education; but no one was more active than he in forwarding the
preparations for the voyage, and no one more sanguine about its
results.

'We shall have Willy back,' he would say, 'turned into a fine strong
fellow, as good a cricketer as Geoffrey or I, and a better scholar than
either of us.'

Margaret and Rose were to go; and Rose's young friends all came to take
leave of her, and talk over the plan, and find Madeira in the map, and
look at views of the island, which had been given to Willy. And a
sailor-friend, who had been all over the world, used to come and
describe Madeira as one of the most beautiful of all the beautiful
places he had visited, and tell of its blue sea, fresh and bright,
without storms; its high mountains, neither barren nor bleak; and its
climate, so warm and soft, that Willy might sit out all day in the
beautiful gardens under hedges of fragrant geraniums. And when Willy
talked of enjoying the gardens while his stronger sisters were climbing
the hills, there was more to be told of cradles borne upon men's
shoulders, in which Willy could be carried to the top of the highest
hills as easily as his sisters on their mountain ponies. And now the
packing was all finished, and the luggage sent on board, and every body
was anxious to follow it; for the ship was reported as quite
comfortable, and the house was decidedly the reverse. Margaret and her
father had been on board to arrange the cabins, accompanied by their
sailor-friend, who professed to know how to fit up a berth better than
any body. He had caused all the furniture to be fastened, or, as he
called it, _cleated_ to the floor, that it might not roll about in rough
weather. The books were secured in the shelves by bars, and swinging
tables hung from the ceilings. Willy's couch was in the most airy and
convenient place at the stern cabin window, and there was an easy chair
for him when he should be able to come out on deck. The ship was said to
be in perfect order, whereas the house was in the utmost confusion and
desolation: the carpets rolled up, the pictures taken down, the mirrors
covered with muslin, the furniture and bookcases with canvass; not a
vestige left of former habits and occupations, except me and my little
mansion. But in the midst of all the bustle, I was as calm and collected
as if nothing had happened. I sat quietly in my arm-chair, staring
composedly at all that went on, contented and happy, though apparently
forgotten by every body. Indeed, such was my placid, patient
disposition, that I do not believe I should have uttered a sound or
moved a muscle if the whole of London had fallen about my little ears.

I did certainly sometimes wish to know what was to become of me, and at
last that information was given me.

The night before they sailed, Rose busied herself with Sarah in packing
up my house and furniture, which were to be sent to a little girl who
had long considered it her greatest treat to play with them. But Rose
did not pack me up with my goods and chattels.

'My poor old Seraphina,' said she, as she removed me from my arm-chair,
'you and I have passed many a happy day together, and I do not like to
throw you away as mere rubbish; but the new mistress of your house has
already more dolls than she knows what to do with. You are no great
beauty now, but I wish I knew any child who would care for you.'

'If you please to give her to me, Miss Rose,' said Sarah, 'my little
niece, that your Mama is so kind as to put to school, would thank you
kindly, and think her the greatest of beauties.'

'Oh, then, take her by all means, Sarah,' replied Rose; 'and here is a
little trunk to keep her clothes in. I remember I used to be very fond
of that trunk; so I dare say your little Susan will like it, though it
is not quite new.'

'That she will, and many thanks to you, Miss. Susan will be as delighted
with it now, as you were a year or two ago.'

So they wrapped me up in paper, and Rose having given me a farewell
kiss, which I would have returned if I could, Sarah put me and my trunk
both into her great pocket; and on the same day that my old friends
embarked for their distant voyage, I was carried to my new home.



CHAPTER III.


And now began a third stage of my existence, and a fresh variety of
life.

I at first feared that I should have great difficulty in reconciling
myself to the change; and my reflections in Sarah's dark pocket were of
the most gloomy cast. I dreaded poverty and neglect. How should I,
accustomed to the refinements of polished life and the pleasures of
cultivated society, endure to be tossed about with no home of my own,
and perhaps no one who really cared for me? I knew that I was not in my
first bloom, and it seemed unlikely that a new acquaintance should feel
towards me like my old friend Rose, who had so long known my value.
Perhaps I might be despised; perhaps allowed to go ragged, perhaps even
dirty! My spirits sunk, and had I been human, I should have wept.

But cheerful voices aroused me from this melancholy reverie, and I found
myself restored to the pleasant light in the hands of a
goodhumored-looking little girl, whose reception of me soon banished my
fears. For, although altered since the days of my introduction to the
world in the bazaar, so that my beauty was not quite what it had been, I
still retained charms enough to make me a valuable acquisition to a
child who had not much choice of toys; and my disposition and manners
were as amiable and pleasing as ever. My new mistress and I soon loved
each other dearly; and in her family I learned that people might be
equally happy and contented under very different outward circumstances.

Nothing could well be more unlike my former home than that to which I
was now introduced. Susan, my little mistress, was a child of about the
same age as Rose when she first bought me; but Susan had no money to
spend in toys, and very little time to play with them, though she
enjoyed them as much as Rose herself. She gave me a hearty welcome; and
though she could offer me no furnished house, with its elegancies and
comforts, she assigned me the best place in her power--the corner of a
shelf on which she kept her books, slate, needlework, and inkstand. And
there I lived, sitting on my trunk, and observing human life from a new
point of view. And though my dignity might appear lowered in the eyes of
the unthinking, I felt that the respectability of my character was
really in no way diminished; for I was able to fulfil the great object
of my existence as well as ever, by giving innocent pleasure, and being
useful in my humble way.

No other dolls now visited me; but I was not deprived of the enjoyments
of inanimate society, for I soon struck up an intimate acquaintance with
an excellent Pen in the inkstand by my side, and we passed our leisure
hours very pleasantly in communicating to each other our past
adventures. His knowledge of life was limited, having resided in that
inkstand, and performed all the writing of the family, ever since he
was a quill. But his experience was wise and virtuous; and he could bear
witness to many an industrious effort at improvement, in which he had
been the willing instrument; and to many a hard struggle for honesty and
independence, which figures of his writing had recorded. I liked to
watch the good Pen at his work when the father of the family spent an
hour in the evening in teaching Susan and her brothers to write; or when
the careful mother took him in hand to help her in balancing her
accounts, and ascertaining that she owed no one a penny, before she
ventured upon any new purchase. Then my worthy friend was in his glory;
and it was delightful to see how he enjoyed his work. He had but one
fault, which was a slight tendency to splutter; and as he was obliged to
keep that under restraint while engaged in writing, he made himself
amends by a little praise of himself, when relating his exploits to a
sympathising friend like myself. On his return with the inkstand to the
corner of my shelf, he could not resist sometimes boasting when he had
not made a single blot; or confessing to me, in perfect confidence, how
much the thinness of Susan's upstrokes, or the thickness of her
downstrokes, was owing to the clearness of his slit or the fineness of
his nib.

The family of which we made part lived frugally and worked hard: but
they were healthy and happy. The father with his boys went out early in
the morning to the daily labor by which they maintained the family. The
mother remained at home, to take care of the baby and do the work of the
house. She was the neatest and most careful person I ever saw, and she
brought up her daughter Susan to be as notable as herself.

Susan was an industrious little girl, and in her childish way worked
almost as hard as her mother. She helped to sweep the house, and nurse
the baby, and mend the clothes, and was as busy as a bee. But she was
always tidy; and though her clothes were often old and shabby, I never
saw them dirty or ragged. Indeed, I must own that, in point of
_neatness_, Susan was even superior to my old friend Rose. Rose would
break her strings, or lose her buttons, or leave holes in her gloves,
till reproved by her Mama for untidiness: but Susan never forgot that 'a
stitch in time saves nine,' and the stitch was never wanting.

She used to go to school for some hours every day: and I should have
liked to go with her, and help her in her studies, especially when I
found that she was learning the multiplication-table, and I remembered
how useful I had been to Rose in that very lesson; but dolls were not
allowed at school, and I was obliged to wait patiently for Susan's
company till she had finished all her business, both at school and at
home.

She had so little time to bestow upon me, that at first I began to fear
that I should be of no use to her. The suspicion was terrible; for the
wish to be useful has been the great idea of my life. It was my earliest
hope, and it will be my latest pleasure. I could be happy under almost
any change of circumstances; but as long as a splinter of me remains, I
should never be able to reconcile myself to the degradation of thinking
that I had been _of no use_.

But I soon found I was in no danger of what I so much dreaded. In fact,
I seemed likely to be even more useful to Susan than to Rose. Before I
had been long in the house, she said one evening that she had an hour to
spare, and that she would make me some clothes.

'Well and good,' answered her mother; 'only be sure to put your best
work in them. If you mind your work, the doll will be of great use to
you, and you can play without wasting your time.'

This was good hearing for Susan and me, and she spent most of her
leisure in working for me. While she was thus employed, I came down from
my shelf, and was treated with as much consideration as when Rose and
her companions waited at my table.

A great change took place in my wardrobe. Rose had always dressed me in
gay silks and satins, without much regard to under clothing; for, she
said, as my gowns must be sewn on, what did any petticoats signify? So
she sewed me up, and I looked very smart; and if there happened to be
any unseemly cobbling, she hid it with beads or spangles. Once I
remember a very long stitch baffled all her contrivances, and she said I
must pretend it was a new-fashioned sort of embroidery.

But Susan scorned all _make-shifts_. Nothing could have been more
unfounded than my fears of becoming ragged or dirty. My attire was plain
and suited to my station, but most scrupulously finished. She saw no
reason why my clothes should not be made to take off and on, as well as
if I had been a doll three feet high. So I had my plain gingham gowns
with strings and buttons; and my shifts and petticoats run and felled,
gathered and whipped, hemmed and stitched, like any lady's; and every
thing was neatly marked with my initial S. But what Susan and I were
most particularly proud of, was a pair of stays. They were a long time
in hand, for the fitting them was a most difficult job; but when
finished, they were such curiosities of needlework, that Susan's neat
mother herself used to show off the stitching and the eyelet-holes to
every friend that came to see her.

Among them, Sarah the housemaid, who was sister to Susan's father, often
called in to ask after us all. She was left in charge of the house where
my former friends had lived, and they sometimes sent her commissions to
execute for them. Then she was sure to come and bring us news of _the
family_, as she always called Rose and her relations. Sometimes she told
us that Master William was a little better; sometimes that she heard
Miss Rose was very much grown; she had generally something to tell that
we were all glad to hear. One evening, soon after my apparel was quite
completed, I was sitting on my trunk, as pleased with myself as Susan
was with me, when Sarah's head peeped in at the door.

'Good evening to you all,' said she; 'I thought as I went by you would
like to hear that I have a letter from the family, and all's well. I
have got a pretty little job to do for Master Willy. He is to have a
set of new shirts sent out directly, made of very fine thin calico,
because his own are too thick. See, here is the stuff I have been buying
for them.'

'It is beautiful calico, to be sure,' said Susan's mother; 'but such
fine stuff as that will want very neat work. I am afraid you will hardly
be able to make them yourself.'

'Why, no,' answered Sarah, smiling and shaking her head. 'I am sorry to
say, _there_ comes in my old trouble, not having learned to work neatly
when I was young. Take warning by me, Susan, and mind your needlework
now-a-days. If I could work as neatly as your mother, my mistress would
have made me lady's maid and housekeeper by this time. But I could not
learn any but rough work, more's the pity: so I say again, take warning
by _me_, little niece; take pattern by your mother.'

Susan looked at me and smiled, as much as to say, 'I have taken pattern
by her;' but she had not time to answer, for Sarah continued, addressing
the mother:

[Illustration: Page 106]

'How I wish you could have time to do this job! for it would bring you
in a pretty penny, and I know my mistress would be pleased with your
work; but they are to be done very quickly, in time for the next ship,
and I do not see that you _could_ get through them with only one pair of
hands.'

'We have two pair of hands,' cried Susan; 'here are mine.'

'Ah, but what can they do?' asked Sarah, 'and how can they do it? It is
not enough to have four fingers and a thumb. Hands must be handy.'

'And so they are,' answered Susan's mother. 'See whether any hands could
do neater work than that.' And she pointed me out to Sarah.

Sarah took me up, and turned me from side to side. Then she looked at my
hems, then at my seams, then at my gathers, while I felt truly proud and
happy, conscious that not a long stitch could be found in either.

'Well to be sure!' exclaimed she, after examining me all over; 'do you
mean that all that is really Susan's own work?'

'Every stitch of it,' replied the mother; 'and I think better need not
be put into any shirt, though Master William does deserve the best of
every thing.'

'You never said a truer word, neither for Master William nor for little
Susan,' replied Sarah; 'and I wish you joy, Susan, of being able to help
your mother so nicely, for now I can leave you the job to do between
you.'

She then told them what was to be the payment for the work, which was a
matter I did not myself understand, though I could see that it gave them
great satisfaction.

The money came at a most convenient time, to help in fitting out Susan's
brother Robert for a place which had been offered to him in the country.
It was an excellent place; but there were several things, as his mother
well knew, that poor Robert wanted at starting, but would not mention
for fear his parents should distress themselves to obtain them for him.
Both father and mother had been saving for the purpose, without saying
any thing about it to Robert; but they almost despaired of obtaining
more than half the things they wanted, till this little sum of money
came into their hands so opportunely.

The father was in the secret, but Robert could scarcely believe his
eyes, when one evening his mother and Susan laid on the table before
him, one by one, all the useful articles he wished to possess. At first
he seemed almost more vexed than pleased, for he thought of the saving
and the slaving that his mother must have gone through to gain them; but
when she told him how much of them was due to his little sister's
neatness and industry, and how easy the work had been when shared
between them, he was as much pleased as Susan herself.

We were all very happy that evening, including even the humble friends
on the shelf; for I sat on my trunk, and related to the Pen how useful I
had been in teaching Susan to work; and the worthy Pen stood bolt
upright in his inkstand, and confided to me with honest pride, that
Robert had been chosen to his situation on account of his excellent
writing.

Time passed on, and I suppose we all grew older, as I noticed from time
to time various changes that seemed to proceed from that cause. The
baby, for instance, though still going by the name of 'Baby,' had become
a strong able-bodied child, running alone, and very difficult to keep
out of mischief. The most effectual way of keeping her quiet was to
place me in her hands, when she would sit on the floor nursing me by the
hour together, while her mother and sister were at work.

Susan was become a tall strong girl, more notable than ever, and, like
Rose before her, she gradually bestowed less attention on me; so that I
was beginning to feel myself neglected, till on a certain birthday of
her little sister's, she declared her intention of making me over
altogether to the baby-sister for a birthday present. Then I once more
rose into importance, and found powers which I thought declining, still
undiminished. The baby gave a scream of delight when I was placed in her
hand as her own. Till then she had only possessed one toy in the world,
an old wooden horse, in comparison with which I seemed in the full bloom
of youth and beauty. This horse, which she called JACK, had lost not
merely the ornaments of mane and tail, but his head, one fore and one
hind leg; so that nothing remained of the once noble quadruped but a
barrel with the paint scratched off, rather insecurely perched upon a
stand with wheels. But he was a faithful animal, and did his work to the
last. The baby used to tie me on to his barrel, and Jack and I were
drawn round and round the kitchen with as much satisfaction to our
mistress, as in the days when I shone forth, in my gilt coach with its
four prancing piebalds.

But the baby's treatment of me, though gratifying from its cordiality,
had a roughness and want of ceremony that affected my enfeebled frame. I
could not conceal from myself that the infirmities I had observed in
other dolls were gradually gaining ground upon me. Nobody ever said a
harsh word to me, or dropped a hint of my being less pretty than ever,
and the baby called me 'Beauty, beauty,' twenty times a day; but still
I knew very well that not only had my rosy color and fine hair
disappeared, but I had lost the whole of one leg and half of the other,
and the lower joints of both my arms. In fact, as my worthy friend the
Pen observed, both he and I were reduced to stumps.

The progress of decay caused me no regret, for I felt that I had done my
work, and might now gracefully retire from public life, and resign my
place to newer dolls. But though contented with my lot, I had still one
anxious wish ungratified. The thought occupied my mind incessantly; and
the more I dwelt upon it, the stronger grew the hope that I might have a
chance of seeing my old first friends once more. This was now my only
remaining care.

News came from them from time to time. Sarah brought word that Master
William was better; that they had left Madeira, and gone travelling
about elsewhere. Then that the father had been in England upon business,
and gone back again; that Mr. Edward had been over to foreign parts one
summer holidays to see his family, and on his return had come to give
her an account of them.

Sarah was always very bustling when she had any news to bring of the
family, but one day she called on us in even more flurry than usual. She
was quite out of breath with eagerness.

'Sit down and rest a minute before you begin to speak,' said her quiet
sister-in-law. 'There must be some great news abroad. It seems almost
too much for you.'

Susan nodded, and began to unpack a great parcel she had brought with
her.

'It don't seem bad news, to judge by your face,' said the other; for now
that Sarah had recovered breath, her smiles succeeded one another so
fast, that she seemed to think words superfluous.

'I guess, I guess,' cried Susan. 'They are coming home.'

'They are, indeed,' answered Sarah at last; 'they are coming home as
fast as steam-engines can bring them: and here is work more than enough
for you and mother till they come. Miss Margaret is going to be
married, and you are to make the wedding-clothes.'

So saying, she finished unpacking her parcel, and produced various fine
materials which required Susan's neatest work.

'These are for you to begin with,' said she, 'but there is more coming.'
She then read a letter from the ladies with directions about the
needlework, to which Susan and her mother listened with great attention.
Then Sarah jumped up, saying she must not let the grass grow under her
feet, for she had plenty to do. The whole house was to be got ready; and
she would not have a thing out of its place, nor a speck of dust to be
found, for any money.

Susan and her mother lost no time either; their needles never seemed to
stop: and I sat on the baby's lap watching them, and enjoying the happy
anticipation that my last wish would soon be accomplished.

But though Susan was as industrious as a girl could be, and just now
wished to work harder than ever, she was not doomed to 'all work and no
play;' for her father took care that his children should enjoy
themselves at proper times. In summer evenings, after he came home from
his work, they used often to go out all together for a walk in the
nearest park, when he and his wife would rest under the trees, and read
over Robert's last letter, while the children amused themselves. Very
much we all enjoyed it, for even I was seldom left behind. Susan would
please the baby by dressing me in my best clothes for the walk; and the
good-natured father would laugh merrily at us, and remark how much good
the fresh air did me. We were all very happy; and when my thoughts
travelled to other scenes and times, I sometimes wondered whether my
former friends enjoyed themselves as much in their southern gardens, as
this honest family in their English fields.

Our needlework was finished and sent to Sarah's care to await Margaret's
arrival, for which we were very anxious.

On returning home one evening after our walk, we passed, as we often
did, through the street in which I had formerly lived. Susan was leading
her little sister, who, on her part, clutched me in a way very unlike
the gentleness which Susan bestowed upon her. On arriving at the
well-known house, we saw Sarah standing at the area-gate. We stopped to
speak to her.

'When are they expected?' asked Susan's mother.

'They may be here any minute,' answered Sarah; 'Mr. Edward has just
brought the news.'

The street-door now opened, and two gentlemen came out and stood on the
steps. One was a tall fine-looking boy, grown almost into a young man;
but I could not mistake the open good-humored countenance of my old
friend Edward. The other was older, and I recognised him as the
traveller who used to describe Madeira to Willy.

They did not notice us, for we stood back so as not to intrude, and
their minds were evidently fully occupied with the expected meeting.

We all gazed intently down the street, every voice hushed in eager
interest. Even my own little mistress, usually the noisiest of her
tribe, was silent as myself. It was a quiet street and a quiet time, and
the roll of the distant carriages would scarcely have seemed to break
the silence, had it not been for our intense watching, and hoping that
the sound of every wheel would draw nearer. We waited long, and were
more than once disappointed by carriages passing us and disappearing at
the end of the street. Edward and his friend walked up and down, east
and west, north and south, in hopes of descrying the travellers in the
remotest distance. But after each unavailing walk, they took up their
post again on the steps.

At last a travelling carriage laden with luggage turned the nearest
corner, rolled towards us, and stopped at the house. The two gentlemen
rushed down the steps, flung open the carriage-door, and for some
moments all was hurry and agitation, and I could distinguish nothing.

I much feared that I should now be obliged to go home without actually
seeing my friends, for they had passed so quickly from the carriage to
the house, and there had been so much confusion and excitement during
those few seconds, that my transient glance scarcely allowed me to know
one from another; but in course of time Sarah came out again, and asked
Susan's father to help in unloading the carriage, desiring us to sit
meanwhile in the housekeeper's room. So we waited till the business was
finished, when, to my great joy, we were summoned to the sitting-room,
and I had the happiness of seeing all the family once more assembled.

I was delighted to find how much less they were altered than I. I had
been half afraid that I might see one without a leg, another without an
arm, according to the dilapidations which had taken place in my own
frame; but strange to say, their sensitive bodies, which felt every
change of weather, shrunk from a rough touch, and bled at the scratch
of a pin, had outlasted mine, though insensible to pain or sickness.
There stood the father, scarcely altered; his hair perhaps a little more
gray, but his eyes as quick and bright as ever. And there was the
mother, still grave and gentle, but looking less sad and careworn than
in the days of Willy's constant illness. And there was, first in
interest to me, my dear mistress, Rose, as tall as Margaret, and as
handsome as Edward. I could not imagine her condescending to play with
me now. Margaret looked just as in former times, good and graceful; but
she stood a little apart with the traveller friend by her side, and I
heard Rose whisper to Susan that the wedding was to take place in a
fortnight. They were only waiting for Geoffrey to arrive. His ship was
daily expected, and they all wished him to be present.

And Willy, for whose sake the long journey had been made, how was he?
Were all their hopes realized? Edward shook his head when Susan's mother
asked that question; but Willy was there to answer it himself. He was
standing by the window, leaning on a stick, it is true, but yet able to
stand. As he walked across the room, I saw that he limped slightly, but
could move about where he pleased. He still looked thin and pale, but
the former expression of suffering and distress had disappeared, and his
countenance was as cheerful as his manner. I could see that he was very
much better, though not in robust health like Edward's. He thanked
Susan's mother for her kind inquiries, and said that, though he had not
become all that his sanguine brother hoped, he had gained health more
than enough to satisfy himself; that he was most thankful for his
present comfort and independence; and that if he was not quite so strong
as other people, he hoped he should at any rate make a good use of the
strength that was allowed him. Turning to Edward, who still looked
disappointed, he continued: 'Who could have ventured to hope, Edward,
three years ago, that you and I should now be going to college
together?' And then even Edward smiled and seemed content.

As we turned to leave the room, Susan and her little sister lingered for
a moment behind the others, and the child held me up towards Rose. Rose
started, and exclaimed, 'Is it possible? It really _is_ my poor old
Seraphina. Who would have thought of her being still in existence? What
a good, useful doll she has been! I really must give her a kiss once
more for old friendship's sake.'

So saying, she kissed both me and the baby, and we left the house.

And now there remains but little more for me to relate. My history and
my existence are fast drawing to an end; my last wish has been gratified
by my meeting with Rose, and my first hope realized by her praise of my
usefulness. She has since given the baby a new doll, and I am finally
laid on the shelf, to enjoy, in company with my respected friend the
Pen, a tranquil old age. When he, like myself, was released from active
work, and replaced by one of Mordan's patent steel, he kindly offered to
employ his remaining leisure in writing from my dictation, and it is in
compliance with his advice that I have thus ventured to record my
experience.

That experience has served to teach me that, as all inanimate things
have some destined use, so all rational creatures have some appointed
duties, and are happy and well employed while fulfilling them.

With this reflection, I bid a grateful farewell to those young patrons
of my race who have kindly taken an interest in my memoirs, contentedly
awaiting the time when the small remnant of my frame shall be reduced to
dust, and my quiet existence sink into a still more profound repose.


THE END.





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