Before Wren or Debbie could reply, Anais turned and walked to the edge of the box pile.
“This looks like a good place to start,” she said, peering up at the column of boxes beneath her own transparent display cabinet. “I wonder… ah, there she is.”
“Who’s she?” asked Wren.
“Tori, the Victorian young lady. I think she’ll be quite happy to be out and about. You should see her ringlets… they’re the curliest ever.”
“Let’s get her down, then,” said Wren.
First, the dolls lifted down Anais’s display case, and set it horizontally so it could be a little table, in case they needed it for later.
Wren was curious about the padding inside. “Was it comfortable being in there with all that padding?”
“Yes, most definitely. Without it, I’d only be in a box. With that cushion surrounding me I could sleep for longer periods of time.”
“Is that what you were doing for a while?” Wren asked.
“Yes. I was in an attic for just about fifteen years, and came down only recently.”
Debbie felt sad for Anais. She remembered what it was like waiting at a warehouse for someone to order her, and being so excited when the day came for her to be shipped to her new home. “We’re so glad to have you and your many siblings come and stay with us, Anais. We hope you like it here.”
“I think I certainly will. Thank you for having me,” Anais replied, as she lifted down the box containing Tori.
“There, now all we have to do is move the lid. Debbie, would you like to do the honors? Wren can help too.”
Debbie was honored. Gently, she took hold of the lid and slowly moved it away from the rest of the box.
Wren held the lid steady.
“You got the lid tight, Wren?” Debbie asked.
“Yep, I got it alright,” said Wren, while Anais supervised.
Very carefully, the lid moved further and further away from the box. “That’s it, almost there,” Anais said, the eagerness in her voice rising as the rest of the lid was pulled away.
Inside the box stood a doll clad in a very elaborate drop-waist garment. A white hairnet hung around her very elegantly-styled curls, and every bit of her garment was full of detail; from the pleats of her skirt, to the laces on her boots. For a moment, the dolls couldn’t speak.
Tori looked surprised at the sight of so many dolls.
“Where am I?” she asked.
“You’re in our new home,” Anais explained, matter-of-factly.
“You’re one of the many dolls that came to this place.”
“This is Debbie – she’s a Cissette – and this is Wren. She’s a…”
“An Our Generation mini doll,” Wren said, waving.
“Very… pleased to meet you,” said Tori, still very surprised at the sight of so many dolls.
“Psst, Wren,” said Debbie, who had noticed Wren was directly facing Tori. “Give Tori some space.”
“Actually,” said Tori, “if it isn’t too much trouble, could you please free me from these ribbons? I’d like to hop out and stretch. It’s been ever so long since I’ve done that.”
“Or have you ever done that?” Anais wondered aloud. “Your hairnet’s still in place… I’d say you’re in mint condition!”
“Here, let me help you,” said Wren. She tugged at the ribbons around Tori’s waist, which untied easily.
She also untied the ribbons around Tori’s ankles, and the young Victorian lady stepped out of her box, free at last.
“Thank you,” she breathed, leaning back against the box. “It’s great to be out.”
“Why don’t we go over to my display case over there,” Anais suggested, noticing how tired Tori looked, “so you can rest a while.”
Tori thought that was a great idea, so the dolls gathered around Doll’s display case to converse.
Debbie had picked up Tori’s tag that had fallen out of her box, and read the specifics.
Anais informed Tori about where she was, and how delightful it was that they and many others had gone to the same home.
“I forgot to ask, are you two the only dolls that live here?” Doll asked Wren.
Wren looked at Debbie. Debbie looked at Wren. They burst out laughing.
“Heavens, no!” said Wren. “There are many, many dolls that live here… see those two over there, on the other craft table? That’s Alister, and Amber. And over there is Zelia. I think they’re wondering what’s we’re up to!”
“And over in the Doll Room are dolls on the cabinet, on one of the side tables, on the reclining chair…” Debbie added.
“Don’t forget the Fairies!” said Wren. “Their holiday village will be coming out soon, and that’s a lot of space.”
“Oh dear,” said Tori, feeling faint again. “That’s… a lot of dolls.”
Wren was beginning to think Tori was quite dramatic, while Debbie kept marveled at the detail of Tori’s outfit.
Debbie looked at the remaining piles of boxes. How many more can we get out of the boxes today? I wonder if there’s another Cissette in there….
To be continued….