Diana isn’t the prettiest doll, but she definitely doesn’t deserve what that cat has been doing to her.
You remember I told you about Perseus the cat? Well, he has taken it into his head that a good place to sleep is the shelf where Diana lives. He squeezes behind her and lays down, most of the time with no problem, but, all too frequently, you will suddenly see Diana fly off the shelf and land face first on the floor.
Thank goodness she’s not a bisque! We all know what happens to bisque dolls that fall. She is papier mache and I don’t know how she has managed to survive thus far without a pushed in nose or some chipping, but she has. She must be made well. For a papier mache, that is.
Not that there aren’t some very lovely papier maches, of course.
I’m not sure how wise it is for a doll collector to own a cat, and I’m sure that Vicki (our owner) will eventually realize this and rectify the situation.
Meanwhile we watch such atrocities as Diana getting pushed repeatedly off her shelf, or the white monstrosity laying on the floor chewing on one of the irish rag doll’s felt shoes, which it wrestled free of her foot and ran off with. By the time Vicki found it, it was barely recognizable. We expected her to explode in anger and perhaps send the animal on its way, but she quietly looked at the shoe for a bit, set it gently beside the irish rag doll and then got out a couple catnip filled toys and batted them back and forth while Perseus chased around after them. The cat rolled on its back and Vicki sat there on the floor rubbing its tummy till it turned on her and grabbed her hand in its claws and sunk its teeth into her.
“Ow!” she said and brushed it away. “You brute!” And then laughed. Laughed!
“Oh no you don’t!” she said when it tried it again.
And then it was a little hand carved wooden dollhouse doll. She had sent away special from some internet site for the doll house family. One of a kind. Primitive. She had shown them off to anyone that would look, when she first got them. We fully expected an appropriate response.
“You bad boy!” she said, but the way she said it sounded like baby talk, not at all like she actually thought Perseus was a bad boy. “You are evil.”
Perseus purred and rubbed against her ankles, obviously chastened.
Not. Not one bit.
Vicki picked up the chewed doll house father and examined it. “Distressed,” she said. “Well worn. Perhaps we should hire you out! You seem to be an expert. We could make a fortune.”
She plucked the entire dollhouse family off their perch and put them in a glass fronted cabinet. She looked appraisingly around at all of us. She shook her head. “You are a devil,” she said fondly to the cat.
I looked sideways at Penn. He rolled his eyes at me. I rolled mine at him. You don’t really dare do more than that during the day when there are humans around. It’s pushing it to even dare to do that, but we couldn’t help it.
That damned cat.
Most dolls only have one name and it’s generally the name we are christened with, the name that our child gave us when we were a toy. This is totally on trust, of course. Occasionally dolls take on new identities. I’m not sure why. We all (well, most of us) come from humble circumstances, there’s no reason to make up stories. In my opinion, our time with our child is what defines us, but not everybody feels that way.
So every now and then you meet someone whose story doesn’t ring true. There’s no use challenging it. Life’s too short, and the doll world is too small. Sooner or later the truth generally outs. It makes you feel very uncomfortable.
But you can’t help wondering. Stories don’t add up, they say one thing and then another. They spin one fantastic tale after another. It’s hard to take them seriously. It actually gets pretty tiring. I mean, I have lots of friends that I truly care for. I don’t need to work so hard to have new ones.
Penn and I, I must confess, are quite entertained by this sort of thing. We have an unfortunate habit of sharing incredulous eye rolls and significant smiles at the expense of those, behind their backs, of course, most of the time, anyways. We don’t mean to cause trouble, but our little jokes sometimes get out of hand. We are having such a hilarious time making fun that we forget to be discreet. Walking on the edge just makes it all the more exciting, you know.
And so we have made a few enemies along the way.
One in particular is a doll with the wholly improbable name of Marguerite du Bouvier Rothschild. I suppose I wouldn’t like it much if other dolls snickered at me all the time behind my back (hopefully behind my back). I suppose I would learn to loathe those snickerers as heartily as she loathes Penn and me.
We didn’t intend for this to happen. Our mirth was supposed to be secret, harmless. Instead we were careless, enjoying our game too much to exercise any caution. It’s turned into an all out war. I can look back and see every wrong step we made, every stupid move. Oh, if we could only go back and undo it.
Who am I kidding? We would probably make them all again, even knowing what trouble they would cause.
Sometimes there is just a devil inside me, and when you put me together with Penn…..
Although there is a devil in Marguerite du Bouvier Rothschild (or whatever her name really is), as well. I saw it gleaming in her eye the night she told the Grand Duke a sweet little lie about having seen Penn in a “compromising” position with the Buddy doll who lives on the bottom shelf in the living room. She said it so sweetly, so innocently, that he nearly believed her. Unfortunately for her, the Grand Duke is not so naïve as all that. He has lived a wide and varied life. He has known many kinds of people and witnessed all sorts of behavior, but most of all, he knows Penn.
(The very idea! that Penn would dally with a doll dressed in a gas station uniform! I mean, really!)
A few people believed it, though, there was some whispering and gossip, and that was a few too many.
The fact that Penn may have deserved it, having talked the china doll twins into leaving off her off the guest list of their last soiree, didn’t take any edge off whatsoever. Of course, he did that to get even with a snide remark she’d made about my ribbons not matching my dress. (They once matched, mind, but they aged differently.)
This morning, early, as the day dawned and the light began to peep through the windows, I gradually became aware of a splash of red velvet on the carpet below. It looked vaguely familiar. Perseus, the cat, pounced upon it, wrestled with it, rolled around with it and ran off with it in his mouth. I saw a little black pompom and recognized it at once. It was Marguerite du Bouvier Rothschild’s hat. A prim little concoction that normal perched in the midst of her complicated poofed and plated hairstyle. I discreetly glanced over to where she stood, oblivious and unaware. It was not on her head.
All hell is going to break out soon, when she figures this out. And yet, I am certain that Penn didn’t move an inch from our shelf all night. I glanced over at him, but he stood looking blandly innocent (this doesn’t mean much, however). I looked around the room and there were so many dolls’ eyes fastened upon the two of us.
I’ll have to keep you posted on this. I can’t imagine it’s going to go well. I have a bad feeling.