Mar 01, Josiah rated it it was ok The Pleasant Company has done a great job through all of its American Girl stories and products in helping to make history interesting for kids in a variety of different ways, while making it a priority to address their contemporary concerns as well. All of the American Girl dolls have a finely tuned background, family history and unique niche in the timeline of our nation's past, and the books about them marvelously capture what makes everything about their historical narratives so special.
Sa The Pleasant Company has done a great job through all of its American Girl stories and products in helping to make history interesting for kids in a variety of different ways, while making it a priority to address their contemporary concerns as well.
Samantha has always been one of my favorites, and this story was the first to bring her to life as a living, breathing literary character. Living with her wealthy, stern grandmother inSamantha leads a privileged existence that is starkly different from the experiences of most other Americans of the time. Samantha isn't expected to do chores or help around the house, or even to prepare to one day get a job and earn her own income.
Such things were not expected of girls in those days, especially of one born into affluence. When a girl her age named Nellie moves next door, however, Samantha begins to really see for the first time that this world she inhabits is not all like her own.
Nellie is only nine years old, yet she has been hired out alone from her family as a servant girl for the people living in the mansion next to Samantha's, where Nellie now works valiantly to earn her dollar-a-week salary. Their class differences mean nothing to Samantha and Nellie, though, and the girls quickly form a close friendship. Jessie Samantha and Eddie. Samantha's name is called. An oak tree rustles and Samantha, who had been climbing in the tree, tumbles out.
Eddie Ryland, her next door neighbor, is in the hedge between their houses and was the one who startled her and calls her dumb. He says Samantha is so dumb she doesn't know how to climb a tree. Samantha looks at her scraped knee, pained not at her knee but at Eddie. She glares at Eddie icily and tells him to go away.
Eddie instead replies that Samantha is so dumb that she thinks three times four is twelve.
Samantha says that three times four is twelve. Eddie is about to say another thing, but Samantha cuts him off and says that if he doesn't leave right now, she will take his beetle collection from behind the shed, put it in the church offering plate on Sunday, and tell his mother he did it.
Eddie makes a face and leaves to find a better hiding place for his beetle collection. Samantha looks at her knee—the blood has stopped but her stocking is ripped. She thinks about how Grandmary will look at her if she sees it; she is very stern with Samantha when she is improper.
Samantha, with her bow drooping and stockings damaged, decides that she should go see Jessie. She hurries up the walkway and into the house, slowing down at the front door so that Elsa does not catch her. Sam makes her way all the way to the third floor and to the sewing roomwhere Jessie is working on a dress for Grandmary. Samantha goes to be cleaned up by Jessie.
Jessie stops when she sees Samantha. She scolds Samantha on her disarray, mentioning that she is almost a lady but still getting into mischief.
Samantha stands quietly, as while Jessie will lecture her she will also clean her up; as she was lecturing she has gotten the grass and dust from her hair. She inspects her clothes and, finding the torn stocking, has Samantha take off her shoes and stockings and asks if her knee hurts.
Sam says it's okay; she's more worried about making sure she doesn't have to explain it to Grandmary. She gets a clean rag and wipes up her knee while Jessie starts working on her stocking.
Samantha sees a piece of jelly biscuit on the floor that she dropped the day before.
There are three ants on it, and Samantha thinks to tell Jessie but sees more ants coming and decides to see how many will come. She says aloud that it must be boring to be grown up, and Jessie replies that it depends on the person and that Samantha will not be bored even when she is grown.
BeForever Play at American Girl American Girl
Samantha says that Cornelia, a "friend" of her Uncle Gard, is probably not bored. Samantha thinks Cornelia is pretty, but not right for her uncle; she thinks someone more like Alice Roosevelt would be better, as she is in several papers and doing exciting things. Sam asks if Gardner will marry Cornelia and Jessie tells her that it is none of her business and that children shouldn't ask those questions. Samantha grumbles that she was a lady a moment ago but is now a child again.
Samantha says that Gard is a spy, and Jessie asks where she got a foolish idea like that. Sam says that he should be as he is handsome and brave, and that everyone would give up their secrets to him easily.
Jessie says that Samantha should keep such ideas to herself as she's made enough trouble today. Samantha asks if Jessie knew her parents, and Jessie says that Sam knows they died two years before Jessie came to work for Grandmary so she didn't know them. Sam thinks that she only asked out of wishing.
She touches the locket pinned to the front of her dress that has a picture of her mother and father inside, then asks Jessie about New Orleans.
Samantha Parkington BeForever Play at American Girl
Jessie begins to talk about the place, and Samantha listens attentively. Jessie's husband Lincoln is a porter and brings home tales of the city as well as postcards for Samantha and occasionally candy. Samantha listens to Jessie talk for an hour. A New Girl Samantha and Grandmary. At four o'clock, Samantha waits at the parlor doors completely cleaned up for her hour with Grandmary.
She knocks on the door and then goes inside, giving her grandmother a curtsy. She thinks of Grandmary as a queen, sitting in her velvet chair with her gown around it. Samantha does try to be a young lady, but it's easier for her when she is being watched by Grandmary; she thinks everyone is more ladylike around her.
They greet each other formally and Samantha squirms, worried Grandmary will know she's been up to trouble. Grandmary instead smiles, bids her sit next to her, and hands her her sampler to work on. Samantha begins to work on the sampler, glancing at her grandmother to check her mood.
She then asks about a doll she saw in Schofield's Toy Storeand after brief discussion, asks if she may have her. Grandmary says that the doll is quite expensive at six dollars  and that if Samantha is to be responsible, she must learn the value of a dollar. Samantha suggests that she could earn the money by making boomerangs and selling them, having read about it in The Boys' Handy Book.
Grandmary cuts her off in shock, saying that a lady does not earn her own money. Samantha replies quietly that Cornelia says that women should be able to earn money and not have to depend on men; Grandmary cuts off Samantha again by saying that Cornelia has quite a few notions she should keep to herself. Samantha goes back to her work, saying with a sigh that she would name the doll Lydia after her own mother.
Grandmary becomes gentle and says there are other ways Samantha may earn the doll. She offers that if Samantha does her daily tasks well such as piano practice, she might earn the doll.
Samantha eagerly promises to practice the piano an hour a day, make her sampler beautiful, help Mrs. Hawkins, and keep her clothes clean. She almost says she won't tease Eddie, but cuts herself off before promising something she might not do. She hugs Grandmary tight in thanks. Grandmary says with caution in her voice that they'll see. Samantha works on her sampler for a half hour, then hears a low rumble that gets louder and more noisy, accompanied by angry voices and sounds of scared horses.
Samantha gets up from her seat and runs to the window, seeing her Uncle Gard and his "friend", Cornelia, and announces them. Grandmary looks at the ceiling and complains that he's brought the automobile again and that she won't know what to say to the neighbors. The car comes to a jerky stop in front of the house and Gardner and Cornelia get out. They are wearing long coats; Cornelia has a hat tied down with a scarf and Gard has large goggles.
They make their way up the walk, beating the dust off their coats, and in a few moments Hawkins announces their presence. Grandmary has Hawkins show them in and Elsa bring tea. The two come into the parlor; Gard greets his mother with a hug. Grandmary says she is well and remarks on the car, saying Gard has ruined the peace with "that horrible machine.
Samantha excitedly asks if Gard will let her drive the car, and Gard says he'll take her for a ride right then. Grandmary objects immediately, saying Samantha's clothes will be ruined. Samantha is disappointed until Cornelia offers her duster for Samantha to wear. They go into the hall to get Samantha into the coat and then she and Gard head down the walk, Samantha with the too-big coat on.
Eddie was sitting in the car, but scrambles out. Gard lifts Samantha in and goes to crank up the car. Eddie tells Samantha she looks dumb and Samantha ignores him as the car lurches with the cranking.
Eddie says loudly he knows something Samantha doesn't, and Gard gets into the car with Samantha and grabs the wheel as the car sways into the road. Eddie yells that a nine-year-old girl will be coming to live with them. Samantha says that he's lying, choking on dust. Eddie says he is not and that the girl's name is Nellie. Samantha doesn't respond as the automobile lurches towards town. Inside, Grandmary shakes her head and heads inside to offer Cornelia tea. She is distracted by Jessie coming out of the kitchen in a hurry and asks what she's holding.
Jessie announces that it's pepper for the sewing room as there are hundreds of ants up there. The Tunnel It is days later; Samantha makes her way out of her house with a gingerbread cookie after her piano practice. She has practiced every day for an hour; it feels very long to her and she can't wait to get outside afterwards. She takes some breaths and leaps before making her way to the tunnel —a hole worn in the lilac hedge between her house and Eddie Ryland's.
She sees a girl hanging laundry in the yard.
Samantha is surprised that Eddie Samantha and Nellie. The girl is surprised and says that she is—calling Samantha "miss"—without stopping her work. She is smaller than Samantha. Sam asks if she's a visitor and Nellie says that she's there to work.
Samantha is a little confused, but still eager to have a friend next door. She offers Nellie some of her cookie. Nellie says that she can't and when Samantha asks if the Rylands won't let her, she says that she's got her job to do, calling Samantha "miss" again. Samantha gives her name, says she doesn't have to be called "miss", and sets her cookie down before offering to help so they can play. Nellie is embarrassed; since she can't stop Samantha, Nellie helps her finish quickly so no one will see her working.
When they're done, Samantha pulls Nellie to the tunnel and says that no one will see them there while eating. Sam asks Nellie why she's working, and Nellie turns away as she describes her family. Her father works in a factory, and her mother does laundry. But with three girls, the money they make doesn't care for them well; she mentions a lack of food and coal for heating specifically. Samantha is shocked with disbelief; she is good at imagining fanciful things, but not hunger and cold.
She says that Nellie's parents sent her away and that it's awful. She's paid a dollar a week  and, while it is not as much as in the factory, it has better conditions. In the factory she worked every day but Sunday until dark in poor conditions that have ruined her health. She was sent to work for the Rylands because the air is better, the hours are shorter, and Nellie is fed well but does not see her family much.
Samantha asks when Nellie goes to school and Nellie says she has never been. Samantha is again shocked, and then gets the idea that the two can meet every day, and Samantha will teach her everything. Nellie is excited, and they make plans. Samantha tells Nellie about her life and family; Nellie is amused about hearing about Gard's automobile.
The two are interrupted by Eddie Ryland, who says that he sees them and that they're so ugly they'd scare a moose. Samantha tells him to leave, and he says that's he's going to tell and starts towards the house. Nellie looks scared and Samantha yells at him, saying that if he says anything to anyone, she'll take his new pocketknife and stuff it full of taffy. Eddie stops in his tracks, stares, covers his back pocket where the knife is, backs away, and runs off.
Nellie gets to her feet after Eddie leaves, saying that she must get back to work. Samantha follows saying that they can make a telephone using tin cans and string from Mrs. Hawkinsand string it through the hedge where Eddie can't see it to talk to each other. She is anticipating the fun they will have together. The next Tuesday after meeting Nellie, Sam is in the parlor sewing with Grandmary and the hour is almost over. There is a knock on the door, and Grandmary says come in.
Jessie comes in dressed to leave; she curtsies and waits for Grandmary to speak. Sam thinks Jessie looks elegant, especially in her summer coat. Grandmary asks Jessie what she's there for and Jessie says she won't be coming back anymore.
Samantha jumps out her chair in shock and asks why; Grandmary silences Samantha with a look, then thanks Jessie for her service, says she has been a great help, and that she will be missed. Samantha is horrified at Grandmary's words and that she is just letting Jessie leave. Grandmary continues, telling Jessie that she can see Hawkins for a bonus. Jessie thanks Grandmary, then stops by Samantha and tells her to be very good and she'll miss her.
Samantha waits until she is gone before speaking, asking why Jessie is leaving and why Grandmary is letting her go. Grandmary, not looking up from her own lacework, tells Samantha to sit down and not ask questions of her elders.
AG Doll Collecting Samantha
She cites that this is Jessie's business. Samantha sits down, but is so upset she can only fidget with her sewing and has to redo all her stitches.
She can't understand why Jessie left without an explanation.
As soon as the sewing hour is over and she has been excused, she goes to find Mrs. Hawkins in the kitchen. Hawkins is working on a meat pie; she asks why Samantha is rushing so, saying she looks like thunder. Sam flops into a chair, saying that Jessie's left. Hawkins says she knows.