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Of negative merits I possess a good share. I am never out of humour, 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 ştale
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 favourite, 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 everything complete. Neither can I found my claim to notice upon anything 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, an 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 dolls 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 grandchildren.
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
I descried, at various distances, aids to amusement in endless succession, -balls, bats, battledores, boxes, bags, and baskets ; carts, cradles, and cups and saucers. I did not then know anything 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 action 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