IN order to define the sphere within which the existence of these dolls falls, one might conjecture concerning them that there are no children in their lives: this would be, in a certain sense, the condition of their origin, that the world of children was past and over. In these figures the doll has at last outgrown the understanding, the sympathy, the pleasure, and the sorrow of the child, it has become independent, grown-up, prematurely old, it has entered upon all the unrealities of its own life.
Have we not asked ourselves a thousand times anent the plump, unchanging dolls of childhood, as we do in the case of certain students, what will they be later? Are these then the grown-up versions of those doll-childhoods, which were pampered to excess by real and enacted emotions? Are these the fruits which they fleetingly reflected in humanly saturated atmosphere? The sham fruits, the germ of which knew no rest, being now almost washed away by tears, and now exposed to the and heat of anger or to the void of forgetfulness; planted in the softest depth of a tenderness infinitely experimental and torn out again a hundred times, flung into a corner amongst sharp-edged broken objects, scorned, spurned, done with.
Fed like the "Ka" on imaginary food, when it seemed absolutely essential that they should be given real food, they messed themselves with it like spoiled children, being impenetrable and incapable of absorbing, at any point, even a drop of water in their extreme state of well-enough known solidity; without any judgment of their own, acquiescent towards every rag, and yet, once it was theirs, possessing it in their own careless, complacent, unclean manner; awake only at the moment of opening their eyes, then immediately continuing to sleep with their disproportionate, mobile eyes open, scarcely capable, indeed, of distinguishing whether it was the mechanical lid or that
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Publication information: Book title: Selected Works. Volume: 1. Contributors: Rainer Maria Rilke - Author, G. Craig Houston - Translator. Publisher: New Directions. Place of publication: Norfolk, CT. Publication year: 1960. Page number: 43.
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