Genevieve: a dollhouse story


The broken doll house sat for over 100 hundred years, alone, neglected, covered in dust, festooned with cobwebs, mold growing on her once elegant wallpaper. Only the mice and other vermin visited her rooms.

Once, she had stood in the light, in glory, in a sparkling shop window admired by all who passed by. Then, a day came when she was placed in a box and carefully brought by carriage to a tall house, where she was displayed in a grand room lit by a hundred candles, their lights flickering in her shining glass window panes. The soft music of violin and pianoforte wafted over her. She basked in the admiration of the many splendidly dressed people who stopped to look at her, and the beautifully wrapped gifts that surrounded her.
She knew she had come home, and rejoiced in her happiness.

Then the girl arrived. Screeching and screaming she tore open gifts one by one, tossing each one aside with a snort. The doll house wished she could run and hide, but luckily, the girl left her alone.

Later a man dressed in black carried the elegant doll house upstairs and placed her in the corner of the nursery.

From then onwards life was miserable for the unhappy doll house named Genevieve. The mean tempered girl would build towers with Genevieve’s lovely gilded furniture and never put them back into her rooms. A cabriole leg would break off a tea table, the back of a rococo dining chair would snap, the posts from a dainty bed would crunch underneath small feet. One day the girl even tore off Genevieve's pretty little curtains to make a cap for the family cat, something that even the cat did not appreciate. One by one Genevieve’s lovely furnishings were destroyed.
To add to Genevieve’s misfortune, on yet another occasion, the girl and her friend played horse and driver and knocked the poor little dollhouse off her stand, breaking off her cupola and two shutters.
Then one day two boys came to play and used her as an enemy fort for cannonball practice. They broke out all her window glass, and that was the end for poor Genevieve. The man dressed in black came and carried her up to the attics and left here there, alone, unwanted, and unloved.

After many years the tall house was shut up, abandoned, and alone, in the attic, Genevieve brooded. She could not weep, as she had no window glass. Slowly, spending year after year in her dark and dirty prison, she went silently mad.

Decades passed by. The house was sold. The mantels, moldings, cupboards and doors were ripped out and carried away. Someone found the doll house up in the attic and carried her outside. Genevieve’s wallpaper was tattered, her cupola, trim and shutters gone, her glass was broken, she was ashamed to be seen in the light of day. But the warmth of the sun felt good upon her damp roof, and she fell into a restful, dreamless sleep, for the first time in many years.

She awoke to find herself on a battered table attended by a woman who poked, prodded and turned her this way and that. During the weeks to come the woman repaired her sagging roof and strengthened her walls. She made her a new cupola and shutters. She glued in dainty new wallpaper and gleaming wooden floors. One day she gave Genevieve sparkling new window glass, and that night the pretty doll house cried herself to sleep with tears of happiness, not of woe.

The next she knew she had a dainty parlor set, and a kitchen stove and lace and dimity curtains. One by one her rooms were filled with the beautiful things a little house like she deserved.
The madness of the attic years faded away.

Then SHE came, in her satin lined wicker basket, her sleek fur gleaming, and her name was Absinthe. Her mistress, Mrs.Hogworthy, was going on another spa vacation, and she was leaving her precious darling with Genevieve’s lady.
Absinthe always won the blue ribbon at all the cat shows. Her picture had been on the cover of Cat Fancier’s Magazine, and her form graced the month of July on the Meoux Cat Food company calendar.
Absinthe ruled all she surveyed. Whether it was in her house or anyone else's house, Absinthe knew her place, and her place was to be the center of the universe.
When she stayed at Mrs.Treadway's, she drank poor Snowball's milk, ate her tuna, scattered her ball of string and destroyed her toy mouse. No one but Absinthe and Snowball knew how poor Snowball came to be covered in ink.
After her stay with the Goodbody's their little kitten Gracie hid in a crate in the basement and wouldn’t come out for three days.
After just two days of a long weekend Absinthe spent at the Dunwoodies’ their cat, Lord Arthur Dunwoodie, ran away from home and was never seen in town again.

Absinthe strolled slowly about the house, both pert nose and tail in the air, looking for amusement. Suddenly she spied Genevieve.
Absinthe knew the little house was for her pleasure, and hers alone. With smug self assuredness she strolled towards the little house and pushed herself into the tiny dining room, breaking the table and chairs and pushing out the tiny glass doored breakfront with her fat tail.
Suddenly there was a shriek, a squeal and a deep throated gurgle. Fur was scattered on the floor beneath the little doll house and Absinthe lay limp, her head hanging out of the dining room, her dead, glassy eyes had a look of horror never seen before or since on any cat.

No one could guess what had happened, no one knew. No one but the pretty little doll house named Genevieve.


  1. I love stories and dollhouses, so this was the perfect combination. But now I'll be wondering what really happened to Absinthe.

  2. Your story is wonderful. I loved Genevieve, and her response to a second destruction leaves so many ideas. Thank you.