Darkness had fallen in the museum. The visitors had all left. The door was tightly locked. Only the scratching of a mouse in the cupboard in the Colonial Kitchen broke the silence.
Deborah, the old rag doll, sat by the fire and remembered. She remembered a wild Indian war whoop on a snowy night in Deerfield. She remembered the gay song of the fife and the drum when the Minute Men marched away. She remembered the shrill blast of the Captain's horn on the canal boat. Most of all she remembered the happy voices of the little girls who had played with her long ago.
Finally, the old grandfather clock struck twelve and then all the dolls in the glass case jumped quickly down from their places and hurried across the museum to Deborah's kitchen. They did this every night at twelve. It was the magic hour when all the dolls woke up.
"Tell us a story, Deborah," cried Kitty, the hoopskirt doll.
"We want to hear about when you were new," said Jerusha, the little wooden doll.
"Tell us about your first mother. Tell us about Mercy Ann," said Harriet Jane, the doll with the china head.
"Oh, Mercy Ann was not my first mother," said Deborah. "Dear me, no. The first mother I ever had was little Mary who lived in Deerfield way back in 1704."
"Oh, how long ago that was!" cried all the dolls. "Do tell us about her." And they seated themselves cozily on stools near Deborah's chair by the fire.
"Yes, indeed," sighed Deborah, as she took up her knitting. "I am older than anybody would think. You see, my face has been painted over many times and I've often been mended. This dress I am wearing was made for me when I came to live here in the kitchen in the museum. I look very young, I know, but I am really an old, old doll."
"Tell us about Mary in old Deerfield," Jerusha prompted her.
"Mary lived in Deerfield over three hundred years ago," Deborah began.