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Y principal intention, or rather aim, in
writing this little book, was to amuse
children by a story founded on one of their favourite 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 temper and consideration for others. And further, I wished to say a word in favour of that good old-fashioned plaything, the Doll, which one now sometimes hears decried by sensible people who have no children of their own.
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 dependants; 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
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 fidgety 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 bearing 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.