Page images
PDF
EPUB

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.'

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

'It would be of no use to him,' answered the lady. 'He draws well enough to want better colours. 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 goodnatured 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 anything 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, mamma ? 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.'

[ocr errors]

6

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, etc., 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 their 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 everywhere 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;

6

'and I must go back again before I can buy anything 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.'

« PreviousContinue »