The Nursery Dance
When Raggedy Andy was first brought to the nursery he was very quiet.
Raggedy Andy did not speak all day, but he smiled pleasantly to all the other dolls. There was Raggedy Ann, the French doll, Henny, the little Dutch doll, Uncle Clem, and a few others.
Some of the dolls were without arms and legs.
One had a cracked head. She was a nice doll, though, and the others all liked her very much.
All of them had cried the night Susan (that was her name) fell off the toy box and cracked her china head.
Raggedy Andy did not speak all day.
But there was really nothing strange about this fact, after all.
None of the other dolls spoke all day, either.
Marcella had played in the nursery all day and of course they did not speak in front of her.
Marcella thought they did, though, and often had them saying things which they really were not even thinking of.
For instance, when Marcella served water with sugar in it and little oyster crackers for “tea,” Raggedy Andy was thinking of Raggedy Ann, and the French doll was thinking of one time when Fido was lost.
Marcella took the French doll’s hand, and passed a cup of “tea” to Raggedy Andy, and said, “Mr. Raggedy Andy, will you have another cup of tea?” as if the French doll was talking.
And then Marcella answered for Raggedy Andy, “Oh, yes, thank you! It is so delicious!”
Neither the French doll nor Raggedy Andy knew what was going on, for they were thinking real hard to themselves.
Nor did they drink the tea when it was poured for them. Marcella drank it instead.
Perhaps this was just as well, for, most of the dolls were moist inside from the “tea” of the day before.
Marcella did not always drink all of the tea, often she poured a little down their mouths.
Sugar and water, if taken in small quantities, would not give the dolls colic, Marcella would tell them, but she did not know that it made their cotton, or sawdust insides, quite sticky.
Quite often, too, Marcella forgot to wash their faces after a “tea,” and Fido would do it for them when he came into the nursery and found the dolls with sweets upon their faces.
Really, Fido was quite a help in this way, but he often missed the corners of their eyes and the backs of their necks where the “tea” would run and get sticky. But he did his best and saved his little Mistress a lot of work.
No, Raggedy Andy did not speak; he merely thought a great deal.
One can, you know, when one has been a rag doll as long as Raggedy Andy had. Years and years and years and years!
Even Raggedy Ann, with all her wisdom, did not really know how long Raggedy Andy and she had been rag dolls.
If Raggedy Ann had a pencil in her rag hand and Marcella guided it for her, Raggedy Ann could count up to ten—sometimes. But why should one worry one’s rag head about one’s age when all one’s life has been one happy experience after another, with each day filled with love and sunshine?
Raggedy Andy did not know his age, but he remembered many things that had happened years and years and years ago, when he and Raggedy Ann were quite young.
It was of these pleasant times Raggedy Andy was thinking all day, and this was the reason he did not notice that Marcella was speaking for him.
Raggedy Andy could patiently wait until Marcella put all the dollies to bed and left them for the night, alone in the nursery.
The day might have passed very slowly had it not been for the happy memories which filled Raggedy Andy’s cotton-stuffed head.
But he did not even fidget.
Of course, he fell out of his chair once, and his shoe button eyes went “Click!” against the floor, but it wasn’t his fault. Raggedy Andy was so loppy he could hardly be placed in a chair so that he would stay, and Marcella jiggled the table.
Marcella cried for Raggedy Andy, “AWAA! AWAA!” and picked him up and snuggled him and scolded Uncle Clem for jiggling the table.
Through all this Raggedy Andy kept right on thinking his pleasant thoughts, and really did not know he had fallen from the chair.
You see how easy it is to pass over the little bumps of life if we are happy inside.
And so Raggedy Andy was quiet all day, and so the day finally passed.
Raggedy Andy was given one of Uncle Clem’s clean white nighties and shared Uncle Clem’s bed. Marcella kissed them all good night and left them to sleep until morning.
But as soon as she had left the room all the dolls raised up in their beds. When their little mistress’ footsteps passed out of hearing, all the dollies jumped out of their beds and gathered around Raggedy Andy.
Raggedy Ann introduced them one by one and Raggedy Andy shook hands with each.
“I am very happy to know you all!” he said, in a voice as kindly as Raggedy Ann’s, “and I hope we will all like each other as much as Raggedy Ann and I have always liked each other!”
“Oh, indeed we shall!” the dollies all answered. “We love Raggedy Ann because she is so kindly and happy, and we know we shall like you too, for you talk like Raggedy Ann and have the same cheery smile!”
“Now that we know each other so well, what do you say to a game, Uncle Clem?” Raggedy Andy cried, as he caught Uncle Clem and danced about the floor.
Henny, the Dutch doll, dragged the little square music box out into the center of the room and wound it up. Then all, catching hands, danced in a circle around it, laughing and shouting in their tiny doll voices.
“That was lots of fun!” Raggedy Andy said, when the music stopped and all the dolls had taken seats upon the floor facing him. “You know I have been shut up in a trunk up in an attic for years and years and years.”
“Wasn’t it very lonesome in the trunk all that time?”
Susan asked in her queer little cracked voice. You see, her head had been cracked.
“Oh, not at all,” Raggedy Andy replied, “for there was always a nest of mice down in the corner of the trunk. Cute little Mama and Daddy mice, and lots of little teeny weeny baby mice. And when the mama and daddy mice were away, I used to cuddle the tiny little baby mice!”
“No wonder you were never lonesome!” said Uncle Clem, who was very kind and loved everybody and everything.
“No, I was never lonesome in the old trunk in the attic, but it is far more pleasant to be out again and living here with all you nice friends!” said Raggedy Andy.
And all the dolls thought so too, for already they loved Raggedy Andy’s happy smile and knew he would prove to be as kindly and lovable as Raggedy Ann.