Mistress had been in to look after them and wished to put them to bed, but as the painters were coming in again in the morning, Mamma thought it best that their beds be piled in the closet.
When all was quiet that night, Raggedy Ann who was on the bottom of the pile of dolls spoke softly and asked the others if they would mind moving along the shelf.
"The cotton in my body is getting mashed as a pancake!" said Raggedy Ann. And although the tin soldier was piled so his foo was pressed into Raggedy's face, she still wore her customary smile.
So the dolls began moving off until one side until Raggedy Ann was free to sit up.
"Ah, that's a great deal better!" She said stretching her arms and legs to get the kinks out of them, and patting her dress into shape.
So the dolls sat and talked until daylight, when the painters came to work.
One of the painters, a young fellow, seeing the dolls, reached up and took Raggedy Ann down from the shelf.
"Look at this rag doll, Jim," he said to one of the other painters, "She's a daisy," and he took Raggedy Ann by the hands and danced with her while he whistled a lively tune. Raggedy Ann's heels hit the floor thumpity-thump and she enjoyed it immensely.
"Better put her back upon the shelf," said one of the other men. "You'll have the little girl after you! The chances are that she likes that old rag doll better than any of the others!"
But the young fellow threw Raggedy Ann up into the air over and over again, doing it once too often and when she came down he failed to catch her and she came down with a splash, head first into a bucket of oily paint.
"I told you!" said the older painter"and now you are in for it!"
"My goodness! I didn't mean to do it!" said the young fellow, "What had I better do with her?"
"Better put her back on the shelf!" replied the other.
So Raggedy Ann was placed back upon the shelf and the paint ran from her head and trickled down upon her dress.
After breakfast, Mistress came into the nursery and saw Raggedy all covered with paint and she began to cry.
The young painter felt sorry for her and told her what happened.
"If you will let me'" he said' "I will take her home with me and will clean her up tonight and I will bring her back day after tomorrow."
So Raggedy was wrapped in newspaper that evening and carried away.
All the dolls felt sad that night without Raggedy Ann near them.
"Poor Raggedy! I could have cried when I saw her all covered with paint!" said the french doll.
"She didn't look like our dear old Raggedy Ann at all!" said the tin soldier, who wiped the tears from his eyes so they would not run down his arms and rust them.
"The paint covered her lovely smile and nose and you could not see the laughter in her shoe-button eyes!" said the Indian doll.
The second day Raggedy was brought home and the dolls were all anxious for the night to come so they could see and talk with Raggedy Ann. "Tell us about it, Raggedy dear!" the dolls cried.
"Oh I am so glad I fell in the paint!" cried Raggedy, after she hugged all the dolls, "For I had the happiest time. The painter took me home and told his Mamma how I happened to be covered with paint and she was very sorry. She took a rag and wiped off my shoe-button eyes and then I saw she was very pretty, sweet faced lady and she got some cleaner and wiped most of the paint off my face.
"But you know," Raggedy continued, "the paint soaked through my rag head and had made the cotton inside all sticky and soggy and I could not think clearly. And my yarn hair was all matted with paint."
So the kind lady took off my yarn hair and cut the stitches out of my head, and took out all the painty cotton."
"It was great relief, although it felt queer at first and my thoughts seemed scattered." "She left me in her work-basket that night and hung me out upon the clothes-line the next morning when she had washed the last of the paint off."
"And while I hung out on the clothes-line, what do you think?"
"We could never guess!" all the dolls cried.
"Why dear little Jenny Wren came and picked enough cotton out of me to make a cute little cuddly nest in the grape arbor!"
"Wasn't that sweet!" cried all the dolls."Yes indeed it was!" replied Raggedy Ann, "It made me very happy. Then when the lady took me into the house again she stuffed me with lovely nice new cotton, all the way from my knees up and sewed me up and put new yarn on my head for hair and--and--and it's a secret!" said Raggedy Ann.
"Oh tell us the secret!" cried all the dolls, as they pressed closer to Raggedy. "Well, I know you will not tell anyone who would not be glad to know about it, so I will tell you the secret and why I am wearing my smile a trifle broader!" said Raggedy Ann.
The dolls all said that Raggedy Ann's smile was indeed a quarter of an inch wider on each side.
"When the dear lady put the new white cotton in my body," said Raggedy Ann "she went to the cupboard and came back with a paper bag. And she took from the bag ten or fifteen little candy hearts until she found a beautiful red one which she sewed up in me with the cotton! So that is the secret, and that's why I'm so happy! Feel here," said Raggedy Ann. All the dolls could feel Raggedy Ann's beautiful new candy heart and they were all happy for her.
After all had hugged each other goodnight and had cuddled up for the night, the tin soldier asked, "Did you have a chance to see what the motto on your new candy heart was, Raggedy Ann?"
"Oh yes," replied Raggedy Ann, "I was so happy I forgot to tell you. It had printed upon it in nice blue letters, 'I LOVE YOU.'"
Special thanks to project Gutenberg. C&G Design