Novelist Katherine Ann Porter wrote a little true story of the time she helped her five-year-old niece shop for a Christmas present for her mother . . .
We wandered from shop to shop. Little Mary Alice considered seriously, in turn, a silver tea service (One Thousand Dollars); an embroidered handkerchief with lace on it (Five Dollars); a dressing-table mirror framed in porcelain flowers (Eighty-Five Dollars); a showy crystal flask of perfume (One Hundred Twenty Dollars); a gadget for curling the eyelashes (Seventy-Five Cents); a large plaque of colored glass jewels (Thirty Dollars) . . . she weakened, but only for a moment, before a mechanical monkey that did calisthenics on a cross-bar if you wound it up (One…
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