by M. Dinorben Griffith.
  from The Strand Magazine Vol 29 (1905), pages 450-5.

  LET everyone leave the court " was the order of one of
  the judges of the Kammergericht, or Supreme Court of

  "You need not remove the doll," said the usher to its
  owner; "I will prop it up against the rail of the desk

  The court was cleared and the doors were locked, and
  facing the five judges, resplendent in their judicial
  robes-but wigless, and severe of face-stood the doll,
  the real plaintiff in the case. she was a dainty,
  lifesize, but petite figure, costumed in the latest
  Parisian fashion-a real "Bebe Jumeau," with bead-like
  eyes and absolutely impassive features. She gradually
  dying soft whirr of machinery within, or without, her
  provided an out-of-the-way accompaniment to an important
  legal controversy.

  The doll in court was an American, and her right and
  title had been usurped by a cheap imitation, "Made in
  Germany." Naturally no self-respecting doll could permit
  this; hence the case, which had already passed through
  three courts, where the verdict was given against her.
  Finally, the onus of decision as to patent between the
  American and German was left to the High Court.

  The doll, impassive as she looked, was not happy, for she
  had been conveyed in a basket on the top of a cab in
  pouring rain to the courL She was feeling damp and
  depressed, and, adding insult to injury, the porters had
  dumped her upside down and carried her up flights of
  stairs in the same condition. Her debut ore this occasion
  was marred, but her manager soothed her feelings,
  straightened out her rumpled finery, and wound her up.
  Even then her troubles were not at an end; for two mortal
  hours she had to listen to the legal controversy of five
  judges, but their ten astute eyes failed to detect a wink
  or blink in the bead-like eyes of the lovely waxen
  plaintiff. Even when the verdict was given in favour of
  her "home-made" rival and imitator, she was still the
  doll, with every feature calm and reposeful. What
  mattered it to her that five hundred pounds had been
  swallowed up by these actions? Rumour with its thousand
  tongues only added fresh lustre to her name and
  wonderful, skill-baffling performance.

  In less than a week her triumph was complete, for all
  Berlin was ringing with the news-that these solemn
  judges had been hoodwinked by a slim, "cute" little
  American girl, whose marvellous impersonation of a doll
  had puzzled half the world. Moreover, she could boast of
  the fact that she, and she only, had the unique
  experience of having been closeted with her judges while
  they were in solemn conclave, hearing and understanding
  every word they said, for her mother was a native of
  Berlin, and she herself had been educated at a German

  To go back to the beginning of things, Miss Doris
  Chertney, the girl-doll - for she was an ordinary infant
  and precocious child before she became a doll - was
  descended from well-to-do parents, smart society people
  living within a stone's throw of Central Park, New York.

  >From her earliest girlhood little Doris delighted in
  amusing and startling her child friends with her
  marvellous impersonation of mechanical toys. she had
  phenomenal facial control, and could assume at will the
  immobility or the peculiarity of movement of an
  automaton. So realistic were the impersonations that her
  companions often felt more awed than amused.

  After the death of her parents she was adopted by their
  friends, Mr. and Mrs. Melville, and went to live with
  them at their home in Havana. While there she made her
  first appearance in public-an amusing incident which was
  the result of a wager.

  A steam merry-go-round was one of the great amusements in
  Havana. It had an organ attached, the manipulator being a
  grotesque automaton nigger boy. It was necessary that he
  should have a new suit of clothes, which his tailor could
  not complete for two or three days; so young "Miggs"
  could not appear in public, and the merry-go-round
  without him was a failure. Miss Doris volunteered, for a
  wager, to fill his part at a moment's notice. She was
  coloured and clothed to resemble "Mr. Miggs", and
  fastened to the organ, wound up, and for the time being
  became a black boy. So mechanical and stiff - were her
  movements that only those "in the know" dreamed that she
  was not the original figure.

  Her marvellous power of self-control and complete
  absorption of self became the talk of the place, and
  resulted in another wager- that she should tour the
  world as a doll, returning to America in three years'
  time with six thousand pounds clear profit.

  The idea was at once taken up by her adopted parents, but
  the scheme wanted careful thinking out on their part and
  hard work for the embryo doll. she studied her role for
  ten hours a day for nearly a year. "And now," she says,
  "I feel my dual personality rather puzzling, for I find
  it hard to remember when I cease being a girl and become
  a doll, and vice versa."

  Her experiences had been varied, and sometimes alarming,
  before she made her debut in Europe, and when she toured
  through America. The make-up was realistic in the
  extreme; she was a dainty doll, and no one who saw or
  even closely scrutinized her believed she was anything

  Known as "The Motogirl," she attracted immense audiences
  wherever she appeared. Encased in machinery, charged with
  two hundred and fifty volts of electricity, she is an
  alarming little lady to meddle with; her copper-soled
  shoes, and the yards of tubing which she carries about
  her person, would frighten even a scientist.

  Her toilette before a fifteen minutes' performance
  occupies a little over two hours- as long as that of a
  debutante preparing to appear at her first Drawing Room.
  On the stage, her manager winds-or allows anyone else to
  wind-the clockwork arrangement in her back; and the
  girl-doll makes spasmodic doll-like movements across the
  stage, and is finally carried about among the audience,
  who are allowed to touch and lift her; and who, one and
  all, agree that it is a wonderfully-constructed
  automaton. Not even the "Thank you, good-night, ladies
  and gentlemen" (and pretty smile) with which she finishes
  her performance alters their opinion. They are firmly
  convinced it is a phonograph, or something like that,
  which speaks.

  I determined to interview the Motogirl and to stand no
  nonsense, so I called at the hotel where she was staying
  in London, and sent up my card. It did not seem to have
  much effect, for I waited about half an hour, then was
  shown into a sitting-room, where a tall gentleman met me
  and asked my business.

  "To see the girl-doll, interview and have her
  photographed for THE STRAND MAGAZINE," I said. " I want
  to see her whole performance. Is it true that you pack
  her in a basket?"

  "Yes, quite true. I am her manager, and shall be only too
  happy to show you anything in my power. I am sorry to
  say, however, that we were obliged to leave the
  Motogirl's basket in Germany, as it was too cumbersome to
  carry about. But would this do for a photograph, do you
  think ? " getting up from a small laundry basket on which
  he had been sitting.

  "Certainly not," I said, indignantly. "Why, you could not
  put a three-yearold child in that. I want facts, and not
  fiction, please."

  "I think you will find this large enough for her," he
  replied, and, lifting the lid, out sprang the girl-doll,
  beaming and smiling, real flesh and blood, but boneless,
  I am sure. Still almost incredulous, I measured the
  basket and discovered that it was only twenty-three
  inches long, by thirteen inches broad and thirteen inches
  deep. As I looked from the pretty girl to the basket, it
  seemed impos sible for her to have been in it al] this
  time without being suffocated. Still, there she was, and
  I agreed with Shakespeare (who had, perhaps, known a
  Motogirl or two) that "there are more things in heaven
  and earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy".

  Every possible device has been tried to test the
  phenomenal immobility of the girl-doll, but she is still
  an enigma. Medical men have held seances over her, pins
  have been stuck into her, and handkerchiefs flicked in
  her face without disturbing her wonderful self control.

  In New York a gentleman asked if he could put his finger
  into her eye to make sure it was a doll. " Certainly,"
  said her manager. "But as each eye is very delicately
  made and cost me twenty - five dollars (five pounds), I
  shall require the deposit of that sum before you make the
  experiment." So the situation was saved, for the
  gentleman, either convinced or not willing to deposit
  that amount, went quietly back to his seat.

  While dining at a restaurant in Boston with her adopted
  parents a party of six came up to their table and stared
  hard at Miss Doris. She looked up smilingly, and a
  gentleman of the party exclaimed: "Yes; I recognise that
  smile. You are a girl after all! It is the first time I
  have been foiled by any disguise. I have watched you four
  nights running, and been had !" He handed her his card,
  which bore the name of a well-known private detective.

  On one occasion she might be described as an American
  "Sherlock Holmes." The detective before mentioned called
  at her hotel and asked her to assist him professionally.
  A large store in New York was being systematically and
  cleverly robbed? and no clue could be found to the
  burglars, nor how they gained their admittance, although
  the aid of several detectives had been sought. It was
  arranged that Miss Doris should be dressed as a fashion
  dummy, and spend a night amongst the other waxen figures
  at the store.

  "It was very dull," she said, "and an hour seemed as long
  as a day; but presently I saw a faint glimmer of light,
  and the nightwatchman came hurriedly up, helped himself
  from the shelves, then hastened with his booty to some
  place I could not see, and returned again for some more.
  On his last journey he came against me with such force
  that I fell, and upset three other figures."

  "Confound these dummies," he muttered, setting one on its
  feet with a bang.

  The Motogirl lay low until he had disappeared, locking
  the doors after him; then she cautiously got up and with
  a pass-key let herself out and the police in waiting in,
  who captured the thief without trouble, with the stolen
  goods round him. Her reward for this nerve-trying ordeal
  was two hundred pounds.

  "Well," said the detective, "you are wonderful. Join our
  profession and you will make a fortune." But the girl-
  doll prefers to win fame before the footlights.

  In private life she is a shy little girl, pretty and
  refined, and when she can lice dragged into conversation
  can say things worth listening to. she is devoted to her
  adopted mother?

  who designs all her frocks and frills, and Mr. Melville
  guards her as the apple of his eye.

  "I never feel pain," she told me. "I hardly know what it
  means; and I never drink tea or coffee, so I have no
  nerves." An attempt to extract any information about the
  preparation which Mr. Melville uses to convert the girl
  into a doll was ignored; but as girl and doll she is
  nearly perfect, and plays both roles to the life.

  Perhaps the most startling of her experiences occurred
  in the bull-ring at Monterey, Mexico, where, on a tiny
  platform about four inches high (the one on which she is
  photographed here), she stood waiting for the bull to be
  let out. A flourish of trumpets announced his liberation.
  Dazed at first by the sudden light and surging crowd,
  with lowered and quivering nostrils he came with a mad
  rush, bellowing in an ear-stunning fashion and wildly
  pawing the ground with his forefeet. Then he saw the
  little, smiling figure on a stand, and approached near
  enough for her to feel his hot breath on her face. The
  bull and girl made an enthralling study. The spectators
  held their breath, and so did the Motogirl, for the
  quiver of an eyelid spelt death. He stood still, but
  continued his blusterous solo; then, after what must
  have. seemed ages to that little waiting figure, he
  turned tail and ran to try and find some
  thing he could understand better than a girl-doll.

  The matador attracted his attention w h i I e she escaped
  from the ring, to be greeted by tumultuous rounds of
  applause and cries of "Il Reina del Valor" (Queen of
  Valour), a title by which she is still known in Mexico.

  "Of course," said her manager, "the bull had not then
  been teased or tormented, or-with all my belief in her
  power-I would not have dared to trust her in that ring.
  Mexico rang with her wonderful achievement, and well it
  might," he added, enthusiastically.

  When the Motogirl first visited Spain her manager applied
  for permission for her to appear in the bull-ring at
  Madrid, but it was refused. On her next visit there
  they hope their application will meet with better

  After a performance at Prague, Austria, when the doll was
  carried round for inspection by the audience, a man
  seized her by the jaw, and although she exerted all her
  strength he forced her mouth open; she had, however, the
  presence of mind to keep it open until her manager placed
  one hand on top of her head and the other under her chin,
  and closed it seemingly with great difficulty.

  An amusing and unrehearsed turn happened one night at a
  crowded house, when Mr. Melville and his doll fell from
  the narrow platform on which they cross to the audience
  into the orchestra and floored the fluteplayer,
  frightening him out of his senses and flattening him
  almost beyond recognition. despite a fall of six feet the
  Motogirl never turned a hair, and was picked up with the
  same glassy, fixed stare and stiff limbs.

  "You know," said the doll, "when I am wound up my joints
  are stiff and I stumble about considerably; at one part
  of my performance I sway forward over the footlights at
  what is said to be an impossible angle, and then become
  upright again; very frequently women in the audience
  scream when I do this, for they think I have lost my
  balance and am falling headlong into the orchestra. I
  once had my face soundly smacked by one of the audience
  to test me, and another time was dropped on my head by a
  sceptical American to see if I was breakable!"

  "May we kiss the doll?" asked two young gentlemen in the
  audience on one occasion.

  "Yes, if you do not mind an electric shock," said Mr.
  Melville. One of them thought better of his proposal, but
  the second meant business, and approached within two or
  three inches of the lips of the fair charmer; but, always
  on the alert, her manager jerked her off her feet and she
  fell forward suddenly, much to the amusement of the
  audience and the chagrin of the would-be wooer, who

  The Motogirl has appeared before the Emperor Francis
  Josef and the Austrian Court, and while in Paris was
  invited to the Automobile Club to meet and puzzle
  President Loubet; but the greatest test slate has ever
  undergone was when she travelled in a box from St.
  Petersburg to Paris.

  It was for a wager with a well-known theatrical manager,
  and Mr. Melville obtained permission from the authorities
  to travel with her, on the plea that she was a very
  valuable mechanical toy, impossible to replace. The
  critical moment came on crossing the frontier, when the
  doll was taken out and wound up for the satisfaction of
  the Customs officers, who were completely taken in and
  gave a receipt for the doll as a mechanical toy in
  perfectly good faith, and thus enabled Miss Doris and her
  manager to pocket a considerable sum of money. This feat
  has also been performed by her in America. But with the
  suspicious Russian authorities to contend against it was
  a much more formidable affair, and would probably have
  been a pretty serious matter if she had been discovered.

  The following letter I copied from the original received
  by the Motogirl's manager:-

  The Phototype Company,
  Bombay, December 19th, 1903.

  DEAR SIR,-we shall thank you very much by giving the
  full particulars of your motogirl. We wish to purchase
  one if you will he kind to sell like one you exhibit in
  London, Paris, etc. Kindly let me know the price and the
  accessories for same motogirl.

  It is altogether a novelty to our idea.

  I loping to hear soon from you,

  Yours faithfully,


  The accessories required for the figure are many. The
  wooden-looking gloved hands with their wires and strange
  adjuncts, the metal corset and collar, the copper-soled
  slippers and the wires meandering over her baby socks,
  are all necessary for the conversion of the girl into the

  Although she is only five feet high and about seven stone
  in weight, when her toilette is completed her weight
  would tax a Sandow.

  She thoroughly enjoys a joke even at her own expense, and
  her pretty gestures and merry laugh prove that her dual
  personality does not affect her girlish spirits. Meeting
  a young and winsome feminine counterpart of Dr. Jekyll
  and Mr. Hyde in real life is a very pleasant, if novel,