It was not a very exciting one, as it contained mostly papers. But the Postmaster of St. Helena most kindly sent two parcels of toys and some copy-books, which were particularly acceptable. He has been so kind in remembering the island each time a whaler has come from St. Helena. We had an agreeable surprise, Walter Swain bringing us letters sent through his owners, Messrs.
To tell how Kit then hustled into the box all sorts of things which could, by no remote contingency, be wanted, and how he left out everything likely to be of the smallest use; how a neighbour was persuaded to come and stop with the children, and how the children at first cried dismally, and then laughed heartily on being promised all kinds of impossible and unheard-of toys; how Kit's mother wouldn't leave off kissing them, and how Kit couldn't make up his mind to be vexed with her for doing it; would take more time and room than you and I can spare.
I remember in the catacomb of S. Agnes at Rome is a whole collection of toys found in a Christian grave there, ivory dolls, a rattle, bells, and an earthenware money-box, just such as may be bought for a sou now in a foreign fair. De Rossi, the curator of the catacombs, has had them all put together under glass in proximity to the little grave where they were found.
Do we not know, dear old lady, whose heart still bleeds, that at the bottom of your wardrobe, behind your jewels, beside packets of yellow letters, the handwriting of which we will not guess at, there is a little museum of sacred relics the last shoes in which he played about on the gravel the day he complained of being cold, the remains of some broken toys, a dried sprig of box, a little cap, his last, in a triple wrapper, and a thousand trifles that are a world to you, poor woman, that are the fragments of your broken heart?
The latter stooped mechanically and took the doll, smiling her thanks, and stroking the child's fair curls tenderly. Then she recommenced her walk up and down the room, carrying the doll carefully on her arm. "Take care of dolly," Martha recommended, and went back to her other toys. "Yes, Henriette, you and Hubert have made your calculations cleverly.
All that day people came and went in the toy store, some coming to look, and others to buy. Some of the toys were taken away, and the Nodding Donkey wondered when it would be his turn. But, though he was often taken up, shown and admired, no one purchased him. "I know what I will do, so that Donkey will be sold!" said Mr. Mugg in the afternoon. "What?" asked Miss Angelina.
Soon, very soon, they will be fast asleep in Slumberland, which is where the Little-Clock-with-the-Wise-Face says you should be now. Good-night. Farmer Green has a man who helps him plough, feed the cows and horses, and with all the work on the farm. His name is Frank, but Jehosophat, Marmaduke, and Hepzebiah call him "the Toyman." Winter nights around the fire he makes wonderful toys for them.
I have spoken to you about jeweller's coral, which is made into toys or presents for ladies to adorn themselves with; but its brethren, the madrepores of the Pacific Ocean play a very different part. They have formed in front of the shores of New Holland a barrier of reefs three hundred leagues in extent and twenty wide.
You have seen, or ought to have seen, petrified moss and birds' nests and such things from Knaresborough Well: and now you know a little, though only a very little, of how the pretty toys are made.
With a wrench and a squeak one of the cover boards was raised, letting in a flood of light. The Nodding Donkey blinked his eyes, coming out of the darkness into the glare of the light. Then he felt himself being lifted up and set on a shelf. At the same time he heard a pleasant voice saying: "Here is the case of new toys, Daughters. And see, one of the very newest is a Nodding Donkey!