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The Galaxy, May, 1877 Vol. XXIII.—May, 1877.—No. 5.   By:

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THE GALAXY.

VOL. XXIII. MAY, 1877. No. 5.

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1877, by SHELDON & CO., in the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

A PROGRESSIVE BABY.

OBER LAHNSTEIN, Jan. 16, 1875.

So much, Susie dear, for our small miseries between Blackwall and Rotterdam. Nurse's sickness and the crowd of Cook's tourists (Cook oos!) aggravated matters; but it is always a tedious bit of way, though I never minded it in my solitary artist days, when either Dresden and happy work or home and happy rest were at end of the hard journey. What it is to be young, gay, and heart free! For then I went always second class when I didn't go third! (except of course on the steamers, where the cheaper accommodation is too rude, and rough companionship too intimate) and once managed the entire distance from Dresden to London for fifty thalers! taking it leisurely too; stopping en route to "do" Frankfort, Weimar, Heidelberg, Lourain, Bruges, and Antwerp, and to pay two or three visits at grand houses, where they didn't dream I was fresh from the peasants' compartments!

And I'd no shillings and sixpences then to fee guards and porters, so had to dodge them, look at them as if I didn't see them, lug about my own parcels, and freeze without a foot warmer!

Now the way is all padded. I always go first class if Ronayne's along, haven't to lift so much as a hand satchel, am fairly smothered in comforts, as beseems the true English Philistine I'm become. I've the delightfullest husband and baby the round world can show; a nurse fit to command the channel fleet (if that meant wisdom in babies, and she weren't such an outrageously bad sailor!); and I've about as much vim as a syllabub; am so nervous that I weep if Ronayne gets out of my sight when we go for a stroll, if too little toast comes up for my breakfast, or the chocolate isn't frothed, or the trunk won't lock, and have aphasia to that degree that I say cancel when I mean endorse, hair brush when I want a biscuit, and go stumping down to dinner in a boot and a slipper, being incapable of the connected effort of memory and will that would get both feet into fellow shoes.

But I'm blissfully happy all the same, and we've beheld a spectacle lately that reconciles me perfectly with my own absurdity, and my awkwardness with my precious tot.

Coming up the Rhine we had a pair of fellow voyagers, circumstanced somewhat like ourselves: first baby, not over young (the couple, not the baby, which was only six weeks old!), but travelling without a nurse. This mighty functionary had struck almost at the moment of their departure from London, and a charitable but inexperienced friend came to their aid and set forth with them in charge of the baby.

We missed them on the Batavier, which wasn't strange, and first had our attention drawn to them by the slow Dutch landlord's asking Ronayne, as we stood looking idly out into the formal little garden of the new Bath hotel at Rotterdam, if that was his baby a young woman seated on one of the garden benches was jerking up and down so violently? "Because it was shaken about too much. Young babies couldn't be kept too quiet." This young woman was the benevolent friend, and I suppose the parents were off sight seeing in the town; for every now and then the whole day through one or another of us reported encountering the young woman alone somewhere, always tossing the baby more or less about.

But next day, after we had embarked on the Rhine boat, and I had helped nurse turn our tiny state room into a tolerable nursery (that folding bassinnette is just invaluable , and lulled by the motion and the breezy air, my lammie slept better in it than in her own quarters at home), I went upon deck to find Ronayne, and on the way came upon a most piteous, persistent wail, and the wail's father and mother in abject, helpless tendance upon it.

Of course my newly found mother's heart took me straight to the miserable group; and after a few sympathetic inquiries, I sat down beside the mother, and took the querulous little creature in my arms, where presently it hushed off to sleep... Continue reading book >>


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