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    Chapter 22

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    Chapter 22
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    (Extract from a letter to the Author from Mrs. Frank Crosse.)


    'It is very singular that you should say with such confidence that you know that our baby is a splendid one, and further on you say that in some ways it differs from any other baby. It is so true, but neither Frank nor I can imagine how you knew. We both think it so CLEVER of you to have found it out. When you write to us, do please tell us how you discovered it.

    'I want to tell you something about baby, since you so kindly ask me, but Frank says there is no use my beginning as there is only one quire of paper in the house. As a matter of fact, I shall be quite short, which is not because I have not plenty to say--you cannot think what a DEAR he is--but because he may wake up at any moment. After that happens I can only write with one hand, while I wave a feather fan with the other, and it is so difficult then to say exactly what you mean. In any case you know that I have not the habit of collecting and writing down my ideas, so please forgive me if this seems a stupid letter. Frank could have done it splendidly. But he has so many sweet and quite REMARKABLE ways, that I ought to be able to put some of them down for you.

    'It will be easier perhaps if I imagine a day of him--and one of his days is very much like another. No one could ever say that he was irregular in his habits. First thing in the morning I go over to his cot to see if he is awake yet--though, of course, I know that he can't be, for he always lets us know--the darling! However, I go over all the same, and I find everything quiet and nothing visible of baby, but a tiny, turned-up nose. It is so exactly Frank's nose, only that his is curved the other way. Then, as I bend over his cot, there is a small sigh, such a soft, comfortable sound! Then a sort of earthquake takes place under the eider down, and a tightly clenched fist appears and is waved in the air. He has such a pleasant, cheerful way of waving his fists. Then one eye is half opened, as if he were looking round to see if it were safe to open the other one, and then he gives a long, sorrowful wail as he realises that his bottle is not where he left it when he went to sleep. In a moment he is in my arms and quite happy again, playing with the lace round the neck of my pink dressing-gown. When he finds that his nice warm bath is all ready for him, he becomes quite jovial, and laughs and chuckles to himself. Something awfully funny 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,


    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.'


    THE END.
    Chapter 22
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