Dolly and I - A Story for Little Folks
by Oliver Optic
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The Riverdale Books.







Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1862, by


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.




Do you know what envy means? I hope you have never felt it, for it is a very wicked feeling. It is being sorry when another has any good thing. Perhaps you will know better what the word means when you have read my story; and I hope it will help you to keep the feeling away from your own heart.

Not far from Mr. Lee's house, in Riverdale, lived a man by the name of Green. He was the agent of one of the factories in the village. Mr. Green had two little girls and three sons. The boys have nothing to do with my story, and for that reason I shall not say a great deal about them.

Katy, Mr. Green's older daughter, was ten years old. She was a pretty good girl, but she did not like to have others get good things, when she did not have any herself. If any person gave one of her brothers an apple, or an orange, she seemed to think she ought to have it.

When she was a baby, she used to cry for every thing she saw, and would give her parents no peace till they gave it to her. I am sorry to say they were sometimes very weak on this point, and gave her things which she ought not to have had, just to quiet her.

Her father and mother hoped, when she grew older, she would not want every thing that belonged to her brothers. If Charles had a plaything, Katy wanted it, and would cry till she got it. Very often, just to make her stop crying, her mother made poor Charley give up the thing.

But as Katy grew older, she seemed to want every thing that others had just as much as ever. She was now ten years old, and still she did not like to see others have any thing which she could not have. It is true she did not always say so, but she felt it just as much, and was very apt to be cross and sullen towards those whom she envied.

Nellie Green was not at all like her sister. She was only eight years old, but there was not a bit of envy in her. She would give a part, and often the whole, of her apples, oranges, candy, and playthings to her sister, and to her brothers. She liked to see them happy, and when Charley ate an apple, it tasted just as good to her as though she were eating it herself.

She was not selfish. She would always divide her good things with her friends. Did you ever see a little boy or a little girl eating an apple or some candy, and another little boy or girl standing by, and looking just as if he wanted some?

Nellie always gave her friends a part, and then she not only enjoyed what she ate herself, but she enjoyed what they ate. This is the way to make apples, oranges, and candy taste good.

One New Year's Day, Katy's aunt, after whom she was named, sent her a beautiful wax doll. It was a very pretty doll, and the little girl was the happiest child in Riverdale when the welcome present reached her.

There was another little girl in Riverdale who was almost if not quite as happy; and that was Nellie, her sister. It is true, the doll was not for her; she did not own any of it, and Katy would hardly let her touch it; but for all this, Nellie was pleased to see her sister so happy.

The dolly's name was Lady Jane; for Katy thought, as she was a very fine doll, she ought to have a very fine name. So, when she spoke to the doll,—and she talked a great deal with her,—she always called her Lady Jane.

The two little girls had five or six other dolls, but none of them were any thing near such fine ladies as Lady Jane. Their heads were made of porcelain, or rubber, or composition, and they had grown so old that they were really ugly.

Miss Lucy, who had a rubber head, looked as though she "had been through the wars." Her nose was worn out, so that she had a great hole in the end of it. I suppose, if she had wanted to sneeze, this hole would have been very handy; but Miss Lucy was a very proper young lady, and never sneezed in company. If she ever sneezed when alone, of course there was no one present to know any thing about it.

There was another hole right in the top of her head, so that if she had had any brains, they would certainly have leaked out; but as Miss Lucy was not a strong-minded woman, I suppose she had no use for brains.

One of the family of dolls was a little black girl, whose name was Dinah. She had seen hard service in her day, and did not look as though is she would last much longer.

Miss Fanny had once been a fine lady, but times had gone hard with her, and her fine clothes were both ragged and dirty. But hard times were not so very bad, for she wore the same smile as when her clothes had been new and nice.

Miss Mary was a poor cripple. By a sad accident she had broken one of her legs. Katy placed her on a table one day, and either because the height from the floor made her dizzy, or because she was laid too near the edge, she had tumbled off, and one leg was so badly broken that neither a wooden nor a cork one could be fastened in its place.

Therefore Miss Mary could not walk about the room, and never went any where, except when she was carried. But she was not half so badly off as Miss Susie, who had broken her neck, and lost off her head. The head was tied on with a string, but it kept falling off while the family were at play; but Miss Susie did not seem to mind it at all.

She got along a great deal better without her head than you and I could without ours. Indeed, she wore the same smile upon her face whether the head was on or off—which teaches us that we ought always to be cheerful in misfortune.

Besides these fine young ladies there were two or three rag babies; but as you could not tell by the looks of them what they were thinking about, I will not say any thing about them. They had no virtues worth telling; they never ate soup with a fork, or gave money to the poor.

Some of my readers may not think much of this family of dollies, but I am sure Katy and Nellie had fine times with them. They used to spend hours together with them, and the dollies used to do every thing that any body could do.

Miss Fanny used to visit a great deal, in spite of her dirty, ragged clothes; so did Miss Lucy, with two holes in her head, and Miss Mary, with her broken leg, and Miss Susie, with her broken neck. All of them used to go a-visiting, except Miss Dinah, and she, being a black girl, had to do the sweeping and tend the door.

These ladies were all of them so bashful that they would not speak in company, and Katy and Nellie had to do all the talking for them.

But they used to "make believe" the dollies talked, and this did just as well. They used to say just such things as the ladies did who called on Mrs. Green, and never left without being urged to stay longer, and also to call again; which they always promised to do.

On the whole, they were very wonderful dollies; at least they were until Lady Jane came, and she was such a fine lady, with her white silk dress and her real hair, that none of them could shine after that.


One day Flora Lee came to see Nellie Green, and to spend the afternoon with her. It was in the month of November, and the weather was too cold to permit them to play in the garden; so they said they would have a good time in the house.

Katy Green had to go away, and could not play with them. Nellie was very sorry for this, for she not only liked to have her sister with her, but she also wanted the company of Lady Jane.

She told Flora how sorry she was, and they agreed that it was too bad Katy had to go away, for she was older than they, and could help them a great deal in their plays. Besides, they wanted one fine lady among the dollies, for they had a certain play which required just such a person.

"I wish I had brought Miss Dolly with me. I guess she is fine enough," said Flora.

"I wish you had," replied Nellie; "but as you have not, we can't help it now. I dare say Miss Fanny will do."

"I'll tell you what you can do, Nellie."


"You can just ask Katy to lend you her dolly. We won't hurt her a mite, you know. We will use her just as if she were made of glass."

Nellie did not know what to say. She did not like to ask Katy to let her play with Lady Jane, for she knew how careful her sister was of her fine lady. And she did not like to tell Flora her thoughts, lest she should think her sister was selfish. She did not like to have any one think hard of her sister.

"We must have Lady Jane. I don't see how we can get along without her," added Flora, a little puzzled by the silence of Nellie.

"I don't like to ask Katy," said Nellie, at last.

"Why not? She will let you have her. Of course she will let you have her," added Flora, warmly.

"I don't think she will. You know we might break her neck, or lose off her legs or arms; or we might dirty her white silk dress."

"But we will be very careful. Let us go and ask her. It won't do any harm to ask her, you know. She can't do any more than refuse."

Nellie did not like to be refused, and she tried to prevent Flora from going any farther in the matter. She was sorry to have it appear that her sister was selfish, and she thought more of this than she did of being refused.

Flora said so much that at last she thought Katy might let her have the doll, and they ran down stairs to the sitting room, to have the matter settled.

"Will you lend us your dolly, Katy?" asked Nellie, and the tones of her voice showed how doubtful she was of the result of the question.

"What dolly do you mean?" asked Katy.

"Your wax dolly—Lady Jane."

"I am very sure I shall not," replied Katy.

"We will be very careful of her," added Flora. "We won't let her be hurt a bit—you may depend on that."

"I'm not going to let you have my dolly to break and spoil—I'm sure I shall not," said Katy; who even seemed to be angry because she was asked.

"But don't I say we won't hurt it a bit?" continued Flora. "And when you come over to my house, you shall have my dolly just as long as you want her; and her house too, and all the chairs and tables and things."

"I don't want them."

"Do please to let us have Lady Jane," teased Nellie. "We want her ever so much; and I know she won't get broken or dirty. Please to lend her to us, Katy."

"I shan't do any such thing; so it's no use to tease me. Why don't you play with your own dollies? I won't lend Lady Jane—that's flat."

Nellie felt so bad she could not help crying,—not because she could not have the doll, but because her sister was so harsh and unkind. She would not have cared so much if Flora had not been there, for she did not like to have her see her sister behave in this manner.

Poor Flora wanted to cry, too, when she saw how badly Nellie felt; but she tried to be brave, and placed her arm round her friend's neck, as if to let her know that she would be kind to her.

"Come, Nellie, let's go up stairs again. We won't say any thing more about it," said Flora; and she led her out of the room.

"Now you won't like Katy, after this," replied Nellie.

"O, yes, I will."

"Katy would have lent us the dolly, only aunt Jane gave it to her, and she is afraid it will be broken. If it hadn't been for this, she would have lent us Lady Jane—I know she would," added Nellie, wiping away her tears.

"I dare say she would; but we won't think any thing more about it. And when I come over again, some time, I will bring her something, just to show her that I don't feel hard towards her."

"What a dear, good girl you are, Flora! I was afraid you would hate her after what she said."

"O, dear, no, I should hope not. My mother tells me I must love those who don't do what I want them to; and I try to do so; but it is very hard sometimes. I wish you had a wax doll, Nellie. You ought to have one, you are such a good girl, and love your sister so much, even when she is not kind to you."

"I wish I had one; it would be so nice to have one like Lady Jane. I should be so happy; but then if only one of us can have one, I would rather Katy had it than have it myself."

"You are not a bit selfish, Nellie. Do you know what selfish means? I do."

"I guess I do. It means when you have an apple or any candy to refuse to give a part to your sister."

"Yes, or to any body that happens to be with you. Candy is good, but don't you like to see others eat it almost as well as you do to eat it yourself?"

"Well, yes, I think I do."

"Then you know just what I mean, and I guess we'll play 'visiting' now."

"So we will; and Miss Fanny shall be the great lady, and Dinah shall be her servant."

"Yes, and this shall be her house," said Nellie, as she placed Miss Fanny in a large arm chair which they were to "make believe" was her elegant mansion.

"You shall stay here, and I will bring Miss Mary to visit Miss Fanny."

Flora bounded over to the other side of the room, which was supposed to be the home of the other dolls, and Miss Mary, in spite of her broken leg, was soon on her way to visit the fine lady.

"Ting, a ling, a ling!" said Flora, which meant that the caller had rung the bell, and Dinah appeared at the door.

"Is Miss Fanny at home?" asked Flora, speaking for the lady with the broken leg.

"No, marm, she is not," replied Nellie, who had to speak for Dinah, because, though her mouth was very large, she could not speak for herself.

"What an awful fib!" cried Flora. "There she is; don't I see her through the door?"

"But that's just the way some of the fine folks do," replied Nellie, laughing at Flora's earnestness.

"It is an awful story, and I wouldn't say it even in fun."

Nellie said she would not say it again, only she wanted to have Miss Fanny do just as the big folks did. And so they played all the afternoon, though Lady Jane did not honor them with her company. All the dollies paid lots of visits; and Flora went home.


When Flora reached home, she told her mother what a nice time she had, and what splendid visits Miss Lucy and Miss Mary and Miss Susie had made to Miss Fanny.

She could not help telling her mother what a good girl Nellie was, and how she loved her sister, even when she was unkind and spoke pettishly to her.

Then she told her how much she wished Nellie had a wax doll, with real hair, and a white silk dress. Mrs. Lee thought such a good girl ought to have one, and the very next time she went to the city, she bought the prettiest wax doll she could find for her.

Flora was full of joy when she saw the doll, and learned whom it was for. She was a great deal happier than if the doll had been bought for herself; and she wanted to run right over to Mr. Green's with the beautiful present. She longed to see the eyes of Nellie sparkle as she saw the doll, and to hear what she would say when told it was for her. But Mrs. Lee thought they had better keep the doll till Christmas, and let her find it with her stocking in the morning.

"But then I shan't see her when she first gets the dolly," said Flora.

"That is true; but you must write a little note, which shall be pinned on the doll's dress."

"That will be splendid, mother! And I will go right away and write the note now."

Flora got a pencil and a piece of paper, and seated herself in the corner. She worked away for half an hour as busy as a bee, and then she carried the note to her mother. She was not much of a writer, having been to school only a year. She could only print the note.

Flora was very fond of writing notes, and long before she could make a single letter, she would fill up a piece of paper with pothooks and spiders' legs, and send them to her mother and Frank.

She did not spell all the words right, but her mother told her how to correct them, and then she printed the note over again, on a nice sheet of gilt-edged paper. Thinking my little friends might want to see this note, I place a copy of it in the book, just exactly as she wrote it.

When Christmas morning came, Nellie found the doll in a chair, close by her stocking. I can't tell you how pleased she was, but you can all guess. Then she took the note from the dress, and read it. She was more pleased than ever to find it was from Flora.

She almost cried with joy as she puzzled out the note, and thought how kind Flora and her mother were to remember her.

"What a dear you are, Miss Dolly!" said she, as she took up the doll and kissed her, just as though she had been a real live baby. "You and I shall be first-rate friends, just as long as we live. I will take such good care of you! Dear me! Why, mother! Only think!"

"What is the matter, Nellie?" asked Mrs. Green, who was almost as much pleased as her daughter.

"Did you see that?"

"What, child? What do you mean?"

"Did you see those eyes?"

"Yes, I see them."

"Why, just as true as I am alive, she moved them!"

"I think not, my child. She is a very handsome doll, but I don't think she could move her eyes, if she tried ever so hard."

"But she did; I know she did;" and Nellie took hold of her head to examine it more closely. As she did so, she bent the body a little. "There! as true as I live, she moved them again!"

Mrs. Green took the doll, and found that the eyes did really move. It was funny, but it was true. Mrs. Lee and Flora knew all about it. The eyes were made of glass, and there was something inside of the doll which moved them when the body was bent.

"Let me see," said Katy, who had been looking on in silence all this time. Nellie gave her the doll at once; and she bent the body and saw the eyes move twenty times. The happy owner of Miss Dolly waited with patience till her sister had done with her.

"Why didn't aunt Jane get me one like that, I wonder," said Katy, when she gave the doll to Nellie.

"I suppose she could not afford to buy one like this, for she is not so rich as Mrs. Lee."

"But you shall have her to play with just when you want her," said Nellie.

"Pooh! I don't want your old dolly," snarled Katy. "She isn't half so good as mine. I would rather have Lady Jane than have her, any day."

"Why, then, did you wish your aunt Jane had given you one like this?" asked her mother.

"I don't care for her old dolly! She may keep it for all me," replied Katy.

"But it shall be yours just as much as mine, Katy," said Nellie, in tones so gentle and sweet that her sister ought to have kissed her for them, and loved her more than she ever loved her before.

But she did not. She was envious. She was sorry the doll had been given to Nellie—sorry because it was a prettier one than her own. It was a very wicked feeling. She had some presents of her own, but her envy spoiled all the pleasure she might have taken in them.

Nellie was almost sorry the doll had been given to her, when she saw how Katy felt about it. Mrs. Green talked to the envious girl till she cried, about her conduct. She tried to make her feel how odious and wicked envy made her.

Whenever Katy saw the new doll, she seemed to be angry with her sister. Poor Nellie's pleasure was nearly spoiled, and she even offered to exchange her doll for Katy's, but her mother would not let her do so.

In a few days, however, she seemed to feel better, and the two sisters had some good times with their dolls. I say she seemed to feel better, but she really did not. She did not like it that Nellie's doll was a finer one than her own.

Yet Nellie was happier, for she thought Katy was cured of her ill feeling. Then she loved her doll more than ever. She was a cunning little girl, and she thought so much of her new friend that she always used to say "Dolly and I."

When her mother asked her where she had been, she would reply, "Dolly and I have been having a nice time up stairs." "Dolly and I" used to do ever so many things, and no two little ladies could ever enjoy themselves more than did Dolly and Nellie.

I am sorry to say that Katy did not like Dolly at all. She could never forgive her for moving her eyes, because Lady Jane could not move hers. It is true that, after she saw how silly and wicked her envy made her appear to others, she tried very hard not to show it.

We may be just as wicked without showing our sin to others, as we can be when we let the world see just what we are. When we are wicked, the sin is more in the heart than in the actions.

Men may seem to be very good when they are really very bad, though people almost always find out such persons. Katy was just as wicked, just as envious, when her sister thought she was kind and loving, as she was on that Christmas morning, when the doll was found in the chamber.

You will be surprised and sorry when you see just how wicked her envy made her. I shall tell you about it in the next chapter, and I hope it will lead you to drive any such feeling from your own hearts. If you have such feelings, they will make you very unhappy; and the sooner you begin to get rid of them, the better.


Lady Jane and Miss Dolly were kept in the lower drawer of the bureau, for they were very fine young ladies, and Mrs. Green wished to have them kept clean and nice.

One day, about two weeks after Miss Dolly was given to Nellie, both she and Katy had been playing with the dolls. When the bell rang for tea, they ran down stairs; but before they went they put the dolls in the drawer. As they were in a hurry, they were not very careful, and the dresses of both the dolls were sadly tumbled.

Mrs. Green, who was in the room, saw in what manner Miss Dolly and Lady Jane had been thrown into the drawer; and before she went down to tea, she took them both out, smoothed down their dresses, and put them back in a more proper manner.

Katy and Nellie had had some talk about their dolls; and the envious girl had said hers was better than her sister's. Nellie did not dispute with her about it, but she saw that Katy had not got over that bad feeling yet.

The children ate their suppers, and not a word more was said about the dolls; but Katy looked very sour. She was thinking about Miss Dolly's eyes, and wishing Lady Jane's eyes would move like the other's.

She finished her supper, and ran up stairs again. By this time it was quite dark in the room where the dolls were kept, and Nellie and her mother wondered why she went up stairs at that late hour.

Katy was still thinking of those eyes. She thought her aunt Jane was real mean not to buy her such a doll; and then she was very sorry that Flora's mother had bought it for her sister.

While she was thinking these wicked thoughts she went to the bureau, and opened the lower drawer. It was so dark she could hardly see the dolls, but she took out one of them.

"Your dolly shall not be better than mine any longer," said she to herself.

As she said this, she took the scissors from the work basket on the bureau, and finding one of the eyes with her fingers, she struck one of the points right into it. Then she turned the scissors, so as entirely to destroy the eye. Not content with this, she spoiled the other eye in the same manner.

"Now your doll isn't so good as mine, any how," said she to herself, as she put the poor spoiled lady back into the drawer.

I would not have a little girl feel as she felt then for all the world. Her heart was full of envy and wickedness. To gratify her ill feeling she had thrust the scissors into the eyes of the doll. She knew how badly her sister would feel, but she did not care for this. Now Lady Jane was the best doll, and she did not care for any thing else.

She staid in the room but a few moments. Closing the drawer, she hastened down stairs, and took a seat by the fire. She tried to look as though nothing had happened; but she was sour and sullen, for she felt that she had done a very naughty act.

"Come, Katy; let us go up stairs, and play with the dollies again," said Nellie, when she had got through with her supper.

"I don't want to," replied she, without even looking at her sister.

"Do come, Katy."

"I tell you I don't want to," snarled she.

"You can bring your dolly down stairs, and play with her here, Nellie," said her mother.

"May I, mother?"

"You may—take a light with you."

"I don't want any light, mother; I can find her just as well in the dark;" and away she ran to get the doll.

Don't you think Katy trembled then? She did tremble, like a leaf, and wished she had not done the naughty deed. In a moment Nellie would return with poor Miss Dolly, whose eyes had been spoiled with the scissors. She did not think it would be found out so soon, and she could not think what to say before the doll came down.

She felt just as though she should sink through the floor, when Nellie came into the room with the doll in her arms. There would be an awful time in a moment, and her father and mother would want to know who had spoiled Miss Dolly's eyes.

They knew she had been up stairs since tea, and they would charge her with the naughty act. She meant to deny it, for those who are wicked enough to do such things are almost always wicked enough to lie about them.

"Now won't you and I have a nice time, Dolly?" said Nellie, as she rushed into the sitting room, with the doll in her arms. "Come, Katy, let's play Dolly is the queen of England."

"I don't want to play."

"Well—won't you make me a crown for her?"

"I can't."

Katy was waiting for her sister to find out the mischief that had been done, and she dreaded the moment when she should do so. She did not dare to look at her, for fear her looks might betray her.

"You shall be queen without any crown," said Nellie, as she placed the doll on the table. "This pincushion shall be your throne. There, you look just like a queen—don't she, mother?"

"I think she does," replied Mrs. Green, with a smile. "I hope she will be as good as Queen Victoria."

"She will, mother—only she ought to have a crown."

"I have got a piece of gilt paper up stairs, and I will make her one. I'm going up in a minute."

Katy, not daring to look yet, did not know what to think of this talk. How could the doll look like a queen when her eyes had been punched out with the scissors? It was very strange to her, and she stole a glance at the queenly Miss Dolly on the table.

There she was, seated on her pincushion throne, just as if nothing had happened. Her eyes were just as bright as ever, and as Nelly bent her body, she moved them as well as ever she could.

Katy did not know what to make of it. She had certainly driven the scissors into the eyes of the doll as hard as she could; but there was Miss Dolly as good as new. She could not explain it, and it was of no use to try.

Mrs. Green brought down the scissors, and cut out the crown. Then Miss Dolly certainly looked like a queen, and Nelly spent a very pleasant hour with her majesty, till it was time for her to go to bed.

Katy was very unhappy. She had not done what she meant to do, and she was filled with doubt. But she did not have to wait long to find out what she had done. When Mrs. Green went up stairs with the children, Miss Dolly had to be put to bed first, for she was a queen.

When the bureau drawer was opened, what do you think they saw? There lay Lady Jane, with both of her eyes punched out!

Katy burst into tears when she saw that her doll was entirely spoiled. Then she found that she had made a mistake. In the darkness she had punched out the eyes of Lady Jane instead of Miss Dolly. This is the way that wicked people often punish themselves instead of others.

Her mother had changed the places of the dolls in the drawer, and this was the reason why Katy had made the mistake. Don't you think it served her right?

Katy felt so badly that she could not tell any of the lies she had made up, and the truth was found out by her mother. Mrs. Green scolded her for what she had done, and for what she meant to do. The naughty girl cried herself to sleep that night, but poor Lady Jane was utterly ruined.

Nellie felt almost as bad as her sister, and said all she could to console her. The next day Katy was so ashamed of herself that she did not wish to see any body. But in a few days she got over it; and her mother hoped the affair would do her a great deal of good. Whenever she showed a spirit of envy, Mrs. Green reminded her of her doll, and she tried to conquer the feeling; but it took many years to cure her.

When you envy others, although you may not punch out the eyes of your own doll, you hurt yourself more than any one else.


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