The Dead Doll Margaret Thomson Janvier (1845–1913)

by Regis Boff

YOU needn’t be trying to comfort me—I tell you my dolly is dead!
There ’s no use in saying she isn’t, with a crack like that in her head.
It ’s just like you said it wouldn’t hurt much to have my tooth out, that day;
And then, when the man ’most pulled my head off, you hadn’t a word to say.

And I guess you must think I ’m a baby, when you say you can mend it with glue: 5
As if I didn’t know better than that! Why, just suppose it was you?
You might make her look all mended—but what do I care for looks?
Why, glue ’s for chairs and tables, and toys and the backs of books!

My dolly! my own little daughter! Oh, but it ’s the awfullest crack!
It just makes me sick to think of the sound when her poor head went whack 10
Against that horrible brass thing that holds up the little shelf.
Now, Nursey, what makes you remind me? I know that I did it myself!

I think you must be crazy—you ’ll get her another head!
What good would forty heads do her? I tell you my dolly is dead!
And to think I hadn’t quite finished her elegant new spring hat! 15
And I took a sweet ribbon of hers last night to tie on that horrid cat!

When my mamma gave me that ribbon—I was playing out in the yard—
She said to me, most expressly, “Here ’s a ribbon for Hildegarde.”
And I went and put it on Tabby, and Hildegarde saw me do it;
But I said to myself, “Oh, never mind, I don’t believe she knew it!” 20

But I know that she knew it now, and I just believe, I do,
That her poor little heart was broken, and so her head broke too.
Oh, my baby! my little baby! I wish my head had been hit!
For I ’ve hit it over and over, and it hasn’t cracked a bit.

But since the darling is dead, she ’ll want to be buried, of course: 25
We will take my little wagon, Nurse, and you shall be the horse;
And I ’ll walk behind and cry, and we ’ll put her in this, you see—
This dear little box—and we ’ll bury her there out under the maple-tree.

And papa will make me a tombstone, like the one he made for my bird;
And he ’ll put what I tell him on it—yes, every single word! 30
I shall say: “Here lies Hildegarde, a beautiful doll, who is dead;
She died of a broken heart, and a dreadful crack in her head