페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

experienced mother finds out that her little felt “no end" of benignity, universal friendship,
ones are really safer than she used to think they and pure delight, in having attained to the hon-
were, and can be trusted sometimes to compe- or of so lovely an office of superintendence.
tent guardians-like me.

“Yah !"
Well," said she, at last, “baby's a dood Thus remarked my darling Sammy, sudden-
yitty ting (warn't oo, baby ?), and if I put him ly waking up and writhing about, and digging
to sleep before I go, perhaps he won't wake up in a helpless, wavering manner at his eyes with
until we get back. I'll try you, for once.” his fists. At that very moment it occurred to

So my small cousin was nicely arrayed in me that really I had never had one minute's some mysterious but clean white garments, the intercourse with him, and that possibly he details of whose arrangement I did not see, as might be an exception to the rule which I had donated with (as they say about gifts to infant laid down that all children liked me~in fact, colleges ; ergo, why not to infants, though the he was. phrase be insufferable ?) a bounteous repast of— I mentioned that some fiend had, doubtless, from--by-in short, the maternal fount (I thank inspired me with my benevolence. As nearly you, Mr. Micawber!), and soothed with gentle as I can calculate, it was now that the said oscillation and oft-repeated chanting of that fiend did, in my opinion, leave me, and enter wondrous, ancient rhyme or magic song which into that baby. As the above-mentioned sug-. commences with an allusion to our country's gestion about Sammy's exceptional disposition flag, to wit,

toward me arose in my mind, an expression of “ By-lo baby bunting ;"

confusion appeared upon my face-I remember and thus was the young immortal prosperously it accurately. This Sammy perceived as I dismissed within the peaceful realms of Dream- arose, and, with what I fancied an unexceptionland. Then my Aunt Fanny adorned herself able demonstration of parental rapture, apwith speed, and forthwith the old, lean, over- proached the cradle of my chubby and innocent worked farm-horse shambled off down the sun- companion angel. shiny summer road toward the church, two * Ah, oo pooty yitty ting! Did he want to miles and more away. As she stepped over tum and see his tuzen ? So he should !" the threshold she looked back for an instant, I appeal to every mother's heart; is not that and some shadows flitted indistinctly across her a first-class blandishment ? I can't print the face. Was it a presentiment ?

affecting drawl that I put into it, the recitative

style and portamente di voce with which I garHuman prosperity is a deceitful thing. I nished it secundum artem. But as far as types passed half an hour in profound quiet, reading will show it, I contend that the very mother of by the open window, in the sweet summer air, Moses, if you like, couldn't have turned out a in the leafy solitude of the remote farm, in a more superior article of verbal endearment, stillness so complete that the buzzing of a fly The baby listened with some complacency to across the pane, or the motion or fall of one my dulcet tones; and encouraged by my sucleaf from the tall trees in the darkly-shaded cess, I thought it proper to communicate to him door-yard, was a noticeable event. I had been the peculiar circumstances which rendered me perusing a sermon from that stately work, his guardian for the time. Thus, therefore, to “ Theology Explained and Defended, in a Se- him, I: ries of Sermons, by TivotHY Dwight, S.T.D., Ha, pooty! Was oo muzzer au gone ou LL.D.” The grave, elaborate fancifulness of church ? Es ee was! An lef oo wiz oo tuzen the old President's descriptions, their formal and Freddy (my baptismal name is Frederic) all ee sonorous periodicity of phrase, not without the mornin ? Ha-a-a-a, ketcher, ketcher, ketcher, recognizable decent sermonic idioms, bore an ketcher, ketcher! Ha-a-a-a prrrrrrrrr! Jigefficient analogy to the solemnity of the day; gle, jiggle, jiggle !" and I lingered long in pleasant imaginings over Not being quite satisfied with the expression " thirdly” of the Remarks, Sermon XXII., ON of Master Sammy's minute features during the Man.

first half of this address, I began somewhat to “They were companions of angels,” saith doubt my ability to communicate with him in the great New England Doctor, speaking of language half baby and half English, and Adam and Eve in Paradise," and shared their therefore I repeated my statement as above, in conversation, their friendship, and their joys. pure baby, as near as I can judge, pointing at Alike were they free from pain, sickness, sor- him in a free and jovial manner during the row, and death ; safe from fear and hatred, in- words “Ha, ketcher," etc. ; making a kind of justice and cruelty; and superior to meanness, swoop at him with outspread fingers during the sloth, intemperance, and pollution. They were remark, “Ha, prrr,” etc.; and smiling very also immortal ; were destined to dwell in a per- sweetly indeed at the word “jiggle.” petual Eden; were surrounded always by beau As I said, in despite of the profound theory ty, life, and fragrance; and were employed and masterly execution of this maneuvre, I only in knowing, loving, and enjoying." did not perform it without a secret and embar

It was a pretty thought, that. I was in a sort rassing apprehension. The evil spirit in the of paradise, with a little angel for my compan- child — for no mere human baby could have ion; and as I gazed upon the sleeping child, I failed to respond to such affectionate approaches

[ocr errors]

-perceived this hidden misery of mine, and cock-a-doodle-doo and all ee old biddy hens ? took instant advantage thereof; namely, by re- Da, see um! Urk, urk, u-r-r-r-k, a-chackle, turning, not demonstrations of reciprocal affec- chackle, chackle. Ducky go quack, quack! tion, but what I may truly call demon-strations (Shriek continued; nurse tries other class of of anger, unmingled except with fear and aver- impressions, and jumps him vigorously up and sion. While I spoke and stuck out my paws down, accompanied with a noise similar to the at him (for I will admit that my gestures may following.) Ha ti deedle deedle deedle dum have been susceptible of that interpretation), dum dum tiddy I, tiddy I, widdlety widdlety Master Sammy preserved an ominous silence, widdlety widdlety quee quee quee quee, poor a grave and attentive expression, and entire ittle fella, ha ha ha!” quiet-only opening his eyes and likewise his "Full well I laughed, with counterfeited glee," mouth. But no sooner had I ended, and made hoping that a genial sympathy might create a as though I would actually lift him from the smile upon the “open countenance” of Sammy. cradle, than he looked hastily about after his Vain hope! All my jumbling only served to mother. She not being forthcoming, a species modify that surprising and steady yell by introof fearful contortion passed over his visage ducing a kind of pulsation or measured emphahis mouth opened to an extent unparalleled in sis into it. My words might as well have been my experience, occupying a space that left no uttered to a drunken Sixth Warder in a row at room for the rest of his face, which was, there the polls; and my hollow merriment, although fore, shriveled or heaped up together in a lit- its merits as an imitation did in fact make the tle pile of wrinkles in the region of the bridge baby stop a moment, catch breath, and look up of the nose — no eyes whatever being visible, at me, did no more. His face curled up again, and only two little pink holes indicating the and out came the yell. "smellatory organ,” as Mrs. Baggles hath it I had observed, upon lifting Sammy from the and from this preternatural orifice he discharged cradle, that he seemed to stiffen himself in a such a shriek as really hit me on the forehead somewhat writhen attitude, as if to resist my and knocked me straight up again into a fright- purpose. He now began to squirm and wrigened perpendicular. It didn't stop either-it gle in a rather alarming manner, so that I fancontinued. I had no idea there was so much cied he might be about to indulge in the pleasnoise in any thing. This was evidently a dia- ing diversion of a fit. All at once I refiected bolic energy

A child would have had to that he must be hungry; and that very possibly breathe, but this phenomenon didn't. Its whole both screeching and squirming might be rebeing resolved itself into shriek. The mere fat ferred to that cause. I accordingly placed the human baby of a moment before was transmuted little one, still indefatigably howling in a maninto a sorcerer's thing-a kind of live Teraph ; ner that would have exhausted a Mohawk wara mere Institution for the Promotion of Awful chief in three minutes, in his cradle, raked some Noises.

live coals out from the buried kitchen fire, I think I stood, astounded and incapable of warmed some (cow's) milk in an old tin cup, action, for a minute. And really, now that I watered it and sugared it according to the regam retrospecting the thing, in what a fix was ulations in such case made and provided, put I! Well-meaning, but absurdly ignorant young it in the "suck-bottle”-as I believe it is called bachelor that I was, how was I calculated, ei- —took a small precautionary pull at the prepather by nature or art, for assuaging the dire ration myself, found it a perfect nectar for lukealarms of an unweaned child---much more for warmness, washiness, and sweetness, and prodealing with such an instance of precocious de- ceeded to invite Master Sammy to partake, so moniac possession as this? Conjuro te would to speak, of the festive bowl. not tell on a baby, nor By-lo baby bunting on Lying yelling on his back, with eyes close an imp.

shut and mouth wide open, he heeded not the All that, however, I had no leisure to con- approach of the seductive viand. I half lifted sider; and Quintus Curtius did not show more him up, but he wouldn't look. I jerked some nerve and hardihood in riding into that crack in drops into his mouth, as they "job" peppered the ground of the Roman Forum than I did vinegar or tomato catsup through a quill in in stoutly bending me to the task of quieting the cruet-cork at eating-houses ; but he apSammy. I may safely say, that in the wild peared not to perceive it. I cautiously inserted and fearful struggle which followed, all the the bottle into his mouth, until the tip of the resources of an active mind, a vigorous and sucking thing, whatever they call it, fairly poked healthy body (masculine), and an excellent open his epiglottis. He only gagged, writhed, disposition, were nobly devoted to the work, and yelled on. Evidently he was not hungry; and if I failed, it was in an attempt beyond the I put away the bottle. powers of any mere man.

The business grew dreadful ; Sammy began I picked Sammy up, in the first place, and to turn purple, and I to feel blue; but still he carried him to the window, jumbling him up continued that wonderful and ear-torturing cry. and down as I went, and aiming to divert his I looked about me in forlorn and hopeless permind by action and by speech.

plexity. There was a rattle-one of these coral “Poor itty fella! Was ee tired seepin in things with half a dozen minute pewter sloighhis tadle? Did ee want to tu and see old bells on it--and a penny whistle; I shook the

Vol. XV.-No. 87.--AA

former and blew the latter, in an industrious / great bed of live coals in the old-fashioned but rather imbecile way, near Sammy's phiz. kitchen fire-place. Not altogether free from I might as well have used the same means to uneasiness as to what I might be left to do, I scare a lioness robbed of her whelps, or a New put Sammy into his cradle, and shut the kitchYork city alderman nosing out a job. I lifted en door. Then I walked up and down the room the infant, who stiffened himself again at my a while, casting looks full of sneers, fury, and touch almost into a stony arc, and shivered as contempt at the unterrified and still shrieking a dying fish will sometimes do in the captor's child. Then I stationed myself at the foot of hand, and with a feeble effort to preserve further the cradle, and delivered a long and savage inthe benignity and universal friendship which vective at Sammy, as Cicero used to at his enI had flourished so largely, and which I felt emies—when they were out of the way-shakmomentarily growing thinner and thinner, I ing my fist at him, stringing reproachful episang to the child the inevitable “By-lo baby thets together by the score, and attributing to bunting," and then “Now I lay me,” also the the little wretch an early and mature degradaaffecting ballad of The Three Little Kittens, tion of character that would have satisfied the and as my stock of strictly juvenile literature toughest of the old New England Predestinagave out at this point, I proceeded with “Rise rian Calvinists. my soul,” and one or two other hymns. These But I quickly grew ashamed of this. Digefforts were all in vain ; I felt as sheepish as if nified indifference, I remembered, would suit I had been caught trying to sing a tornado to me better, Besides, I recollected having heard sleep; and my voice died away as I tried once that letting babies alone would stop their crymore to raise the square-built strains of old ing when every thing else failed. I think it Amsterdam, like those of “the monk, her son, would — when they had yelled themselves to and her daughter, the nun," around the coffin death. So I erected a sort of little fortificaof the wicked old woman of Berkeley, “in a tion in the middle of the floor, of pillows and quaver of consternation.”

blankets, ensconced Sammy within it, stuck his It was at this point that my long-tried pa- rattle in his hand, took my "Dwight's Theol. tience utterly failed; and with a sudden revul- ogy," and sat down again by the window to sion of wrath, I felt myself, mentally speaking, read. The first passage upon which my eye slung round into a position of absolute opposi- fell was within a page of that which I had been tion to this terrific child; of positive anger and reading when these horrors began; and, like it, spite, not entirely unmingled with fear. I per- it seemed to bear an indistinct but decided refectly recollect that precisely as I was feeling lation to my case. It was this: myself carried away by this impulse, Sammy, “To escape from our present melancholy, who lay in a stiffish attitude, with his head well stormy, bloody world, to such a state, would be back over one arm, opened his eyes a moment. to quit, for a palace of splendor and delight, the As I am a living man, the pestilent infant gloom of a vault, hung round with midnight, WINKED HIS LEFT EYE AT ME! Never tell me and peopled with corpses ; a bedlam, where the there wasn't a devil in that baby!

eye of frenzy flashed, the tongue vibrated with Well; it occurred to me in this new frame malice, and chains clanked, in dreadful conof mind, that possibly I might intimidate the cert, to rage and blasphemy; a dungeon, hauntchild, or simply out-yell and overwhelm it by ed with crimes, teeming with curses, filled with sheer superiority of vociferation. So I held fiends in the human shape, and opening its him up by both arms on my knee, looked right doors only to the gibbet and the grave.” down his little, ugly, red throat, and gave him Aha, my boy !" I involuntarily exclaimed “A wet sheet and a flowing sea,” in a style to Sammy. “Fiends in human shape, eh? that would have electrified the whole British How'll you like that place ?” And I shook my navy. It didn't discourage him at all. I tried fist at him. He paid no regard either to my the Pirate's Glee, containing some fearful chro- remark or my fist. matic whining, which I made the most of; but I read on; but perplexed, wearied, and exto no end. Then I degenerated, I am afraid, cited as I was, and with that wild alarm ever into mere mindless, ignoble spitefulness; and sounding in my ears, the forms upon the printopening my mouth again I spent from ten to ed page made no impression upon my sensorififteen minutes in a series of the most hideous, um, and I turned over leaf after leaf in utter complicated, and disgusting yells that probably ignorance of what I read. it ever entered into the heart of man to con I had no perception of the duration of time. ceive, until my throat felt as if I had had a peck For what I know, Sammy squalled there a week. of teazles poked into my lungs and then pulled Once, with a grim smile, I started up, and empout again. Great Cæsar's ghost! what a baby! tied about half the milk out of the bottle, that He never flinched, nor “bated a jot of heart or I might permit it to be supposed he had fed to hope ;” he yelled away as peacefully as if no- that extent. I had also mind enough left to thing had happened.

shape a scheme of equivocation wherewith to But as for me, this finished me. I fancied elude the necessity of confessing the facts of the that, under these frightful discouragements, my morning to my respected aunt. Otherwise, the intellect was beginning slightly to waver. King period which supervened is a miserable blank Herod came into my mind. I thought of the in my recollection-nothing moro, except a yell.

me.

It was at some time in the distant future-as No lie there. I did give him quite a lot regards my reading of that ominous delineation quite a small lot. But I have always labored of the abodes of the wicked—that the sudden under the impression that my Aunt Fanny susnoise of stamping feet, rattling wheels, and min-pected that the proceedings had been a little gled voices smote upon my ear, and awakened irregular that morning. I let her think so. I me from a kind of awful stupor. Before I had didn't care to press the subject much. composed my countenance my Aunt Fanny entered the room, glanced at her vociferous pro I've speculated often upon the causes of that geny, and bent a keen and suspicious look upon failure of mine, for it was a failure. I did eva

I fairly cowered before her-an abject ery thing right; why— But I invariably fall thing—as miserable as if I had been taken back upon my theory of demoniacal possession. in the act of stealing sheep from my best No other solution is possible. friend. I know my face was flushed; I know I've formed some few conclusions upon this I had a hang-dog look; and I felt, to use a subject. certain figurative expression, “like a boiled I don't think children like me much. owl.”

I think that the Fall of Man consisted in the “Well, Fred,” said she, in her sharp, deci- becoming liable to be born, and to struggle up sive, incisive voice,“ how did you get along ?” to maturity through the horrors of infancy. In

“Well,” I said, feebly, "pretty well, on the the paradisiacal state we should all have merely whole. He cried some latterly. But, on the come into existence, at eighteen for women and whole, I think he enjoyed himself.”

twenty for men, together with a good common Did I lie ? I don't care much if I did. But school education. I think he did enjoy himself.

I often ask, with Dr. Franklin, “What's the As the people came trooping in, Sammy was use of a baby?" He gave no answer; I do apparently diverted by the noise, and “ceased A baby is providentially provided as an “awful firing.” That is, his devil went out of him, be- example" for the warning of maids and bachecause there was no further chance to torment lors, as terrific consequences universally follow me. He was very soon in the enjoyment of his great follies. It is the delirium tremens af stated means of support, and seemed to appre- matrimony. If you don't want to have it, let ciate them fully.

the causes alone, “Rather hungry," said my Aunt Fanny, when Mother Ann Lee is your only true prophet. he had been dining strenuously for about half I intend to join the Shakers. I have already an hour, and looking queerly at me.

secured a broad-brimmed hat, and a coat of “I'm sure,” I answered, “I gave him quite butternut brown. I can naturally sing through a lot of milk. It's half gone, at least.”. my nose and shake my paws about.

[ocr errors]

THREE PICTURES.

AFTER THE MANNER OF FEROGIO.
THREE girls, half-draped, stood by the sedgy bank,

Where, mocking with low laugh the noonday sun,
A cool stream flowed. Their robes of whitest linen,
Swept round their limbs, in large, uncertain folds,
Scarce knowing which, of all the varied charms,
From the bold day to vail; but 'wildered clung,
Betraying all the more what they would hide.
One dark-eyed maid, in whose voluptuous form
A passionate strength was glossed with gentle curves,
Leaned on a rock, and drooped her languid hand
Into the waves that rippled in blue rings,
As round a floating lily. Her deep eyes,
Moist with the dews of maiden longings, gazed
Down the still stream, peopling, mayhap, its depths
With gorgeous dreams, and visionary shapes
Of sensual beauty. Her half-parted lips,
Scarlet and wet as some red Orient fruit
To its core cleft, seemed oping to the sun-
Rich fruit of Love that burst in ripest hour!
Tossed in the wind, her black and chainless curls
Waved, like a pirate's flag, from her proud head
Defiance to the world! Stooping she stood;

With limbs half-quivering in convulsive grace,
Head drooping forward, with an unborn kiss
Fluttering upon her lips, and long, white arms
That, from sheer wantonness, twined round each other!
The hot wind, gusty with its mad desire,
Snatched at her robe; the while she did not strive
To gain it back, but stood, with heaving breast,
Proud in the knowledge of her beauty. She
Seemed a born Queen of Love. Her glowing form
Was but her soul in flesh; a reckless maid,
Whose very life was love, but whom much love
Could kill, or unrequited love might make
A murderess!

A blonde the second was. Her simple robe drooped heavily around The form that shone beneath. She leaned against A rough-hewn wall, until her flexile shape Seemed with its own weight bending. Sweet blue eyes, O'erhung with carved white eaves of heavy lids, As hangs the snow-ledge o'er calm Alpine lakes. From head to foot the eye was led along In curves of beauty rich and rythmical. Unfilleted her head, and down her neck Streamed the rich river of her golden hair That on her shoulders broke, and, foaming, fell Into her bosom's valley. One pink hand, Like to some brooch from pale cornelian carved, Clasped her thin robe o'er her rebellious bust, That would be free. The other listless hung, Curled like a sleeping blossom, while her feet, White as the daisies that they crushed, were seen Budding beneath her robe, as if too timid To show themselves full-blown by day. A flush Faint as the earliest dawn was on her cheek. Along the rugged wall she leaned against, The rambling eglantine came clambering, and pressed Its starry blooms close to her face, and brushed The vermeil down with countless honeyed kisses. Above her head, between her and the sun A maple spread its golden canopy; And at her feet a throng of purple flowers, That, night and day, gave all their looks to Heaven, Now turned on her their young adoring eyes. What charm was in the maid! An atmosphere Of pleasure seemed around her, and a glow Soft as the summer's breathed about her limbs, Warming the air, as if young Love were near Waving his ardent pinions! Soft and frail, And with a beautiful humility, She, drooping, seemed to ask from out those eyes, Deep with unfathomable tenderness, Something to love and cling to. She was one Who craved, and not demanded to be loved. With such a woman clinging to one's heart Sorrow were sweet; 'twould be such great delight To watch her calm assumption of one's griefs, As if they were her birth-right. None like her

« 이전계속 »