THE GRANDMOTHER OF THE DOLLS.
Once upon a time there lived on a plantation, in the very middle of Middle Georgia, a little girl and a little boy and their negro nurse. The little girl’s name was Sweetest Susan. That was the name her mother gave her when she was a baby, and she was so good-tempered that everybody continued to call her Sweetest Susan when she grew older. She was seven years old. The little boy’s name was Buster John. That was the name his father had given him. Buster John was eight. The nurse’s name was Drusilla, and she was twelve. Drusilla was called a nurse, but that was just a habit people had. She was more of a child than either Sweetest Susan or Buster John, but she was very much larger. She was their playmate—their companion, and a capital one she made.
Sweetest Susan had black hair and dark eyes like her father, while Buster John had golden hair and brown eyes like his mother. As for Drusilla, she was as black as the old black cat, and always in a good humor, except when she pretended to be angry. Sweetest Susan had wonderful dark eyes that made her face very serious except when she laughed, but she was as full of fun as Buster John, who was always in some sort of mischief that did nobody any harm.
These children were not afraid of anything. They scorned to run from horses, or cows, or dogs. They were born on the big plantation, and they spent the greater part of the day out of doors, save when the weather was very cold or very wet. They had no desire to stay in the house, except when they were compelled to go to bed, and a great many times they fretted a little because they thought bedtime came too soon.
Sweetest Susan had a great many dolls, and she was very fond of them. She had a China Doll, a Jip-jap Doll, a Rag Doll, a Rubber Doll, a White Doll, a Brown Doll, and a Black Doll. Sometimes she and Drusilla would play with the Dolls out in the yard, and sometimes Buster John would join them when he had nothing better to do. But every evening Sweetest Susan and Drusilla would carry the Dolls into the bedroom and place them side by side against the wall. Sweetest Susan wanted them placed there, she said, so she could see her children the last thing at night and the first thing in the morning.
But one night Sweetest Susan went to bed crying, and this was so unusual that Drusilla forgot to put the Dolls in their places. Sweetest Susan’s feelings were hurt. She had not been very good, and her mother had called her Naughty Susan instead of Sweetest Susan. Buster John, in the next room, wanted to know what the matter was, but Sweetest Susan wouldn’t tell him, and neither would she tell Drusilla. After a while Sweetest Susan’s mother came in and kissed her. That helped her some, but she lay awake ever so long sobbing a little and thinking how she must do so as not to be called Naughty Susan.
Drusilla lay on a pallet near Sweetest Susan’s bed, but, for a wonder, Drusilla lay awake too. She said nothing, but she was not snoring, and Sweetest Susan could see the whites of her eyes shining....