THE GEORGE WASHINGTON DOLL
[chapter 2 of Josephine Lawrence, The Man in the Moon Stories Told over the Radio-Phone,
illustrated by Johnny Gruelle (New York: Cupples & Leon, 1922): pp. 57-60]
II. THE GEORGE WASHINGTON DOLL
"I THINK something should be done about it," said I the Hobby Horse.
"Yes, something should be done," agreed the Sailor Boy Doll. "But what?"
And then the China Doll, who had been skipping rope on the back porch of the doll house, heard them and asked what should be done about what?
"Why, you see tomorrow is Washington's Birthday," explained the Hobby Horse. "And we have just heard that there is a very old doll living in the poor box who once belonged to a little girl who used to stand in the road to watch Washington and his troops go past. And once that great general stopped and patted the little girl on the head and asked her what was the name of her doll."
"You said she was living in the poor box," said the China Doll. "Are you sure you don't mean the poor house?"
"Well, you can see for yourself that it is that large box over there in the corner," answered the Hobby Horse, pointing to a dusty wooden box that stood under the attic window. "That's the poor box, where all the toys are sent when they're too old, or too broken, to be left where people will see them. And I think it is a shame that a doll whose name was once asked by George Washington should be left to such a fate."
The China Doll didn't know what a "fate" was, but she rather thought it meant something unpleasant, and her kind little heart felt sorry at once for the doll in the poor box. The boys and girls who lived in the big house downstairs, you see, had all grown up and gone away to college, and their toys were put up in the attic. Those that were very old and broken were tumbled into the dusty poor box, and those that were almost as good as new, like the China Doll and the Hobby Horse and the Doll House, were left on the attic floor.
"Let's give a patriotic meeting tomorrow night," suggested the little Toy Drum to the Hobby Horse. "I will play marching music, with the Mouth Organ to help me,
and perhaps the George Washington Doll will make a speech. And I am sure the poor old lead soldiers who are living in the poor box will be glad to come out and give a parade in honor of the George Washington Doll."
Well, this plan interested the toys very much. The China Doll and the Sailor Boy Doll promised to climb up on the doll house roof and put up an American flag—they knew where they could find an old one. The Hobby Horse said he would harness himself up to the little toy wagon and go and get the George Washington doll and bring her over to the doll house to hear the mu-
sic and speeches. And the tools in the tool-chest promised to tack down a strip of red carpet from the poor box to the doll house to make it look as though there was going to be a party.
"Dear me, I never was more surprised in my life," fluttered the George Washington doll, when the Hobby Horse called for her the next night and explained what the toys had planned to do. "Of course I will tell you about General Washington; I remember him very well."
The George Washington doll looked very old. She was carved out of wood and she wore the queerest clothes the China Doll had ever seen. But she was very pleasant and—poor thing!—so glad to get out of that dusty poor box.
The broken lead soldiers were glad to have a parade, too, and they limped and hobbled along, while the little toy drum and the mouth organ played marching music as loudly as they could. When the doll house was reached, the George Washington doll got out of the toy wagon and went up on the porch of the doll house and made her speech. She told the listening toys about George Washington, how he looked and how he spoke and what kind of a uniform he wore. And she told them about the little girl who had been her mother and of the scarey times they had both known during the American Revolution. Just as she was telling them about the Red Coat soldiers who came to the town where she lived the little toy drum began to beat an alarm.
"They come, they come!" throbbed the little toy drum warningly. "Run—run—they come I"
Sure enough, someone was coming up the attic stairs. The toys started to run, and they all reached their places
safely, except the poor George Washington doll. She caught her foot in the red carpet that was spread on the doll house steps, and down she fell. Before she could scramble up, the Someone whose steps had been heard on the stairs was in the attic.
"Poor George Washington-doll!" whispered the Hobby Horse to the China Doll. "Whatever will she do? I'm sorry I didn't leave her in the poor box, where she would at least have been safe. That is Aunt Dora. Perhaps she will throw the poor old wooden doll away."
But, goodness, Aunt Dora did nothing of the kind. She had come up to the attic to get an old book, and she forgot the book as soon as she saw the George Washington doll.
"Why, I wonder where this came from?" said Aunt Dora aloud, picking up the old doll. "This was great-great-great-grandmother Barton's doll. I must speak to Mrs. Lucas about it at once," and she went away, taking the George Washington doll with her.
Three days later the Hobby Horse told the China Doll he had some news to tell her.
"What do you think?" he said. "The sparrow who lives under the eaves told me this morning that he heard the George Washington doll is living in a beautiful glass case in the rooms of the Historical Society. Aunt Dora took her there. Her clothes are all washed and mended and crowds of people come to see her every day because they know that George Washington once admired her. Isn't that nice?"
"I'm so glad we didn't let her stay in the poor box," the China Doll said.
And all the other toys were glad, too.
View scan of page 58 (w/ Gruelle illus.)
View ad for Man in the Moon Stories (w/ Gruelle dj)
Return to main page