Even after a thorough mending and polishing, the mechanical dolls Ashlee rescued had no owners, and so they remained with Ashlee as her surrogate family. They followed her along the city avenues, frolicking in a nearly life-like manner. As for Ashlee, she saw them as more than mere toys, for they provided her with the same companionship a close sibling or neighbor would. Her tender heart loved their cast-iron forms.
Ashlee is an English feminine variant of both feminine and masculine name Ashley of English origin; the meaning "ash tree clearing" or "ash tree meadow", derived from a place name and surname from the Old English words æsc "ash" and lēah "meadow, forest clearing". As a given name, like most surnames turned into first names, Ashley was originally used for "only" male children, but it is now most often used on girls.