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- A Duet - 46/46 -


must have happened to him before ever he came into this world at all, for nothing that has occurred since could account for the intense expression of amusement that one can often see in his eyes. When he laughs, Frank says that he looks like some jolly old clean-shaven toothless friar--so chubby and good-humoured. He takes the greatest interest in everything in the room, watches the nurse moving about, looks out of the window, and examines my hair and my dress very critically. He loves to see untidy hair and a bright tie, or a brooch will often catch his eye, and make him smile. His smile is the most wonderful thing! As he lies gazing with his great serious blue eyes, his whole face suddenly lights up, his mouth turns up at one corner in the most irresistible way, and his cheeks all go off into dimples. He looks so sweet and innocent, and at the same time so humorous and wicked, that his foolish mother wants to laugh at him and to weep over him at the same time.

'Then comes his bath, and there is a sad display of want of faith upon his part. He enjoys the process, but he is convinced that only his own exertions keep him from drowning, so his little fists are desperately clenched, his legs kick up and down the whole time, and he watches every movement of mother and nurse with suspicion. He enjoys being dressed, and smiles at first, and then he suddenly remembers that he has not had his breakfast. Then the smiles vanish, the small round face grows so red and angry, and all covered with little wrinkles, and there is a dismal wailing--poor darling! If the bottle is not instantly forthcoming he will howl loudly, and beat the air with his fists until he gets it. He DOES remind me so of his father sometimes. He is always hunting for his bottle, and will seize my finger, or a bit of my dress, or anything, and carry it to his mouth, and when he finds it isn't what he wants, he throws it away very angrily. When finally he does get the bottle, he becomes at once the most contented being in the whole world, and sucks away with such great long pulls, and such dear little grunts in between. Then afterwards, a well-washed, well-fed atom, he is ready to look about him and observe things. I am sure that he has his father's brains, and that he is storing up all sorts of impressions and observations for future use, for he notices EVERYTHING. I used to think that babies were stupid and indifferent--and perhaps other babies are--but HE is never indifferent. Sometimes he is pleased and amused, and sometimes angry, and sometimes gravely interested, but he is always wide awake and taking things in. When I go into his room, he always looks at my head, and if I have my garden hat with the flowers, he is so pleased. He much prefers chiffon to silk.

'Almost the first thing that struck me when I saw him, and it strikes me more and more, was, how could any one have got the idea of original sin? The people who believe in it can never have looked into a baby's eyes. I love to watch them, and sometimes fancy I can see a faint shade of reminiscence in them, as if he had still some memories of another life, and could tell me things if he could only speak. One day as I sat beside his cot--Oh dear! I hear his Majesty calling. So sorry! Good-bye.--Yours very truly,

MAUDE CROSSE.'

P.S.--I have not time to read this over, but I may say, in case I omitted it before, that he really is a very remarkable baby.'


A Duet - 46/46

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