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Meet Samantha has ratings and reviews. Kelsey said: For Christmas one year, I opened a big, rectangular box to find a beautiful doll with brow. Meet Samantha, an American Girl by Susan S. Adler has been reviewed by Focus on the Family's marriage and parenting magazine. It is the first book in the . Meet Samantha: An American Girl is the first book in the Samantha series. It was included with the Samantha doll when the doll was available for purchase from.
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. When Samantha wonders why Jessie—the serving woman who had been a fixture in her grandmother's house for many years—abruptly leaves, she and Nellie even sneak out one night to locate Jessie's house and find out the real story behind the mystery.
Such clandestine activity with a good-hearted motive serves to strengthen the bond shared by the two girls. As the book moves along, Samantha begins to see past the wall that her family's wealth has inevitably erected between themselves and much of the world. She sees that what really matters to a compassionate girl like herself is to be kind to others, to treat them with the respect they deserve, and to be able to reach out to make friends with a kind girl like Nellie.
When Samantha hears the sad news that Nellie will be leaving to go back with her own family, she gathers the courage to show one last act of uncommon generosity toward her departing friend, and it becomes clear that Samantha has learned well what it takes to be a real friend. Some of the old-fashioned rules in this book about how kids are supposed to behave can be hard to understand. Why weren't they permitted to initiate questions to the adults around them, or to speak their mind without first being directly addressed by an adult?
This was the world in which Samantha and Nellie lived and grew, though, a real world of disparity and sometimes frequent unfairness, and the inclusion of such details helps to give us a clear window into what life was like for everyone involved. 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. 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 proper 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.
Meet Samantha: An American Girl by Susan S. Adler
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.
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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.
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. Samantha, upset that everyone knows but her, asks why and why Grandmary didn't stop her. Hawkins tells her not to fret, getting an onion to peel, and says that there are things that Samantha does not understand and that Samantha should think that Grandmary knows best.
Samantha is more upset, feeling that she can't know if Grandmary or anyone knows best because she doesn't know anything. Sam leaves the kitchen and goes to the butlers' pantry. Hawkins is there, whistling and polishing silver. He pulls out a chair for her and gives her a polishing cloth so she can work as she speaks.
Sam begins to polish a silver bowl and says that Jessie is gone; she is not surprised that Hawkins says that he knows. She says that no one will tell her why. Hawkins smiles with an understanding look in his eyes, but then says that Jessie is fine and that it might not be easy, especially when young, but she should just trust what is going on. Sam, deciding she does not want to talk anymore, leaves. As she goes past the parlor, Grandmary calls out to her. She says that Samantha has done well these past few weeks and there is something upstairs on the bed for her.
Samantha almost forgets that Jessie has left, and forgets to say thank you as she runs upstairs two at a time and to her bedroom. On her bed is the doll she saw in Schofield's. Samantha calls her "Lydia", picking up the doll gently and holding her close. Nellie is enamoured with the doll and is overly gentle touching her. Samantha wonders if it was a bad idea to bring the dolls as Nellie has never even owned a simple doll and Lydia is quite beautiful. She says it's okay for Nellie to play with Lydia, and points out that her hat comes off and the dress has buttons.
Nellie cradles Lydia as Samantha tells her what happened the day before with Jessie and how no one will tell her why. Nellie doesn't answer, playing with the buttons on Lydia's clothing.
Samantha says that Jessie is going off to be an actress while Nellie takes off Lydia's hat and looks at it. Samantha goes on, saying that Jessie will become famous and come back and introduce her and Nellie to actors and actresses and no one else in the town.
Nellie continues to play with Lydia. As the days pass, Samantha continues to think up fanciful reasons for Jessie's leaving: It is a few days later that Nellie gives a practical solution of Jessie maybe having a baby. Samantha asks why she'd do that. Nellie says that lots of people have babies because they just like them.