Pretty Tales


8. Mamma's Doll

Ellen. Oh! mamma, I am so sorry! Look at my poor doll. I let baby play with it, and she has thrown it upon the floor, and broken its nose.


Mamma. Poor doll! You do look a sad figure, indeed.

Ellen. I did not like to be unkind to baby, you know, mamma, and so I gave it to her for a little while, when she held out her hands to take it. But I did not think she would throw it upon the floor.

Mamma. Do not cry, my dear. Come and sit upon my knee, and I will tell you a story. I hope you were not very angry with baby. She is too young to know that a doll is not to be thrown upon the floor.

Ellen. No, mamma, I was not angry. Baby did not know any better. But I cannot help crying for my pretty doll.

Mamma. Let me wipe away that tear. Now hear my story. I am going to tell you about my doll, when I was a little girl.

Ellen. Oh! mamma, had you a doll, once? And was it as large as mine? Was it a wax doll, mamma?

Mamma. It was a large wax doll much larger than yours; and it had blue eyes and dark brown hair. When I was a little older than you are, I went with my mamma and my aunt to spend some weeks in a fine old city; and one day while we were there, my mamma took me into a shop, and bought this doll for me. She said I must dress it myself, and my aunt showed me the proper way to make its frocks. With this help I was able to dress it very nicely. And my mamma said to me, "This is the last doll that I intend to buy for you; for, if you take care of it, it will not spoil like your other dolls."

Ellen. And did you take care of it, mamma?

Mamma. Yes, for my mamma taught me to be neat, and to keep everything in order, as I try to teach you. So at the end of a year, my doll looked just as good as new. I used to play with it very often, and I called it by the name of Jessie. I had a little sister, as you have, whom I loved very much, and when she was a baby I used to nurse her, and kiss her little soft cheeks. But when she was two or three years old, she was taken very ill, and could no longer play about the nursery. She grew pale and thin, and used to lie all day in the nurse's arms, or in her little cot. She was too ill to play with any of the toys that she had been fond of before. But one day I took my doll to the side of her little cot, where she was lying, and then she gave a very faint smile; so I laid it by her side, and that seemed to please her. After that, when she was lying in her cot, the doll always lay there too, for it was the only thing which seemed to please her, all the time that she was ill.

One day, when I wanted to go into her room as I had been used to do, they told me she was dead. I saw her when she was laid in her little coffin. She was pale, and so very cold. There were some flowers lying on her pillow, and a rose-bud in each little hand. The soul of the dear baby was gone to God; and her body was laid in a grave, under the yew tree in the churchyard.

Ellen. Oh! dear mamma, how sad you must have felt! What should I do if our dear baby were to die?

Mamma. I did indeed feel sad, and after that time I could never bear to play with my pretty doll, for the sight of it seemed to bring back my grief again. So my mamma put it by with great care, and all the frocks and other things that I had made. But only think, Ellen, what pain I should have felt, if I had been unkind to my little sister when she wished to have my doll. Should not all little girls try to be kind to each other?

Ellen. I will try, mamma; and I am glad that I was not cross with baby when she threw my doll upon the floor.

Mamma. I have not yet done with the story about my doll. It was put by safe in a drawer, and lay there a great many years, and when I was grown up, I used to look at it now and then. My mamma never gave it away. Can you guess where it is now? And should you not like to see my pretty Jessie?

Ellen. Yes, mamma, I should like to see her, indeed.

Mamma. Then after dinner we will take a walk, and pay a visit to grandmamma, and we will ask her to show us the doll that came from the fine old city so many long years ago.

Ellen. Thank you, mamma, that will be very nice. And may I play with Jessie a little while, and walk with her round grandmamma's garden?

Mamma. You may, my love. And since baby, who did not know any better, has broken your doll's face, it shall be put among her toys for her to play with. And we will ask grandmamma to let Jessie come home with us. You have been a kind little girl; and so, as I like to see you happy, you shall have her for your own.