Image from The Doll Show on the Nebraska State Historical Society website.
I found my old dolls in the attic to-day,
In a box where I long ago laid them away.
It was silly, I know, but ’twas such a surprise,
The sight of their faces brought tears to my eyes.
There was poor Flossie, with azure eyes closed,
For many a month she had quietly dozed
In the little silk gown in which I last dressed her.
That time was brought back so, I stooped and caressed her.
And then, as I raised her, she opened her eyes,
And stared at her mother in such sad surprise,
That I kissed her and laid her again in her place
To keep her reproachful blue eyes off my face.
And next I uncovered my little bisque Mable,
To meet whose brown eyes I was still unable.
Their gaze was surprise, but exceedingly milk
My poor little, dear little laid-away child!
And I kissed her, her face looked so childish and sweet,
And I held for a moment her little kid feet,
For her stockings were scattered and so were her shoes,
And then, when I found them, they gave me the blues.
I kissed her and laid her back in the box, but
She looked at me still (for her eyes would not shut).
And hastily covering her face from my sight,
I searched till wax Elsie I brought to the light.
Now, that poor, little doll was only my niece.
Her eyes were dark-blue and her curls white as fleece,
But her nose was so flat ’twas no longer a nose,
And her wax cheeks had faded and lost all their rose;
From losing her sawdust her body was slender,
Yet for these very reasons my kiss was more tender,
And I laid the poor thing away with a sigh,
And feeling, I must say, like having a cry.
One big doll was missing — my dear Rosabel —
How much I did love her, I really can’t tell.
It is painful, indeed, to be talking about,
But I loved her so much that I quite wore her out.
Well, well, I am older, but I’m sure I’m not glad,
The thought of those old times, in fact, makes me sad.
And, although the feeling is silly, I know,
I can not help sighing: “Oh! why did I grow?”
— Bertha G. Davis, in N.Y. Tribune.
The Salem Daily News (Salem, Ohio) Oct 22, 1890