THE ADVENTURES OF HERR BABY
Author of 'Carrots,' 'Us,' Etc.
'I have a boy of five years old: His face is fair and fresh to see.' WORDSWORTH
Illustrated by Walter Crane
London Macmillan and Co. and New York 1895
First printed (4to) 1881 Reprinted (Globe 8vo) 1886, 1887, 1890, 1892, 1895
CHAPTER I. FOUR YEARS OLD 1
CHAPTER II. INSIDE A TRUNK 20
CHAPTER III. UP IN THE MORNING EARLY 41
CHAPTER IV. GOING AWAY 60
CHAPTER V. BY LAND AND SEA 81
CHAPTER VI. AN OLD SHOP AND AN OGRE 101
CHAPTER VII. BABY'S SECRET 125
CHAPTER VIII. FOUND 145
CHAPTER IX. "EAST OR WEST, HAME IS BEST" 163
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
"OH LOOK, LOOK, BABY'S MADE PEEPY-SNOOZLE INTO 'THE PARSON IN THE PULPIT THAT COULDN'T SAY HIS PRAYERS,'" CRIED DENNY 6
HE SAT WITH ONE ARM PROPPED ON THE TABLE, AND HIS ROUND HEAD LEANING ON HIS HAND, WHILE THE OTHER HELD THE PIECE OF BREAD AND BUTTER—BUTTER DOWNWARDS, OF COURSE 16
THERE WAS ONE TRUNK WHICH TOOK MY FANCY MORE THAN ALL THE OTHERS 30
FOR A MINUTE OR TWO BABY COULD NOT MAKE OUT WHAT HAD HAPPENED 50
"ZOU WILL P'OMISE, BETSY, P'OMISE CERTAIN SURE, NEBBER TO FORGET" 61
POOR LITTLE BOYS, FOR, AFTER ALL, FRITZ HIMSELF WASN'T VERY BIG! THEY STOOD TOGETHER HAND IN HAND ON THE STATION PLATFORM, LOOKING, AND FEELING, RATHER DESOLATE 84
"ARE THAT JOGRAPHY?" HE SAID 94
"OH AUNTIE," HE SAID, "P'EASE 'TOP ONE MINUTE. HIM SEES SHINY GLASS JUGS LIKE DEAR LITTLE MOTHER'S. OH, DO 'TOP" 106
BABY VENTURED TO PEEP ROUND. THE LITTLE BLACK-EYED WHITE-CAPPED MAN CAME TOWARDS THEM SMILING 121
THERE WAS BABY, SEATED ON THE GRASS, ONE ARM FONDLY CLASPING MINET'S NECK, WHILE WITH THE OTHER HE FIRMLY HELD THE FAMOUS MONEY-BOX 138
AUNTIE STOOD STILL A MOMENT TO LISTEN 155
FORGETTING ALL ABOUT EVERYTHING, EXCEPT THAT HER BABY WAS FOUND, UP JUMPED MOTHER 170
THE ADVENTURES OF HERR BABY
FOUR YEARS OLD
"I was four yesterday; when I'm quite old I'll have a cricket-ball made of pure gold; I'll never stand up to show that I'm grown; I'll go at liberty upstairs or down."
He trotted upstairs. Perhaps trotting is not quite the right word, but I can't find a better. It wasn't at all like a horse or pony trotting, for he went one foot at a time, right foot first, and when right foot was safely landed on a step, up came left foot and the rest of Baby himself after right foot. It took a good while, but Baby didn't mind. He used to think a good deal while he was going up and down stairs, and it was not his way to be often in a hurry. There was one thing he could not bear, and that was any one trying to carry him upstairs. Oh, that did vex him! His face used to get quite red, right up to the roots of his curly hair, and down to the edge of the big collar of his sailor suit, for he had been put into sailor suits last Christmas, and, if the person who was lifting him up didn't let go all at once, Baby would begin to wriggle. He was really clever at wriggling; even if you knew his way it was not easy to hold him, and with any one that didn't know his way he could get off in half a minute.
But this time there was no one about, and Baby stumped on—yes that is a better word—Baby stumped on, or up, "wifout nobody teasing." His face was grave, very grave, for inside the little house of which his two blue eyes were the windows, a great deal of work was going on. He was busy wondering about, and trying to understand, some of the strange news he had heard downstairs in the drawing-room.
"Over the sea," he said to himself. "Him would like to see the sea. Auntie said over the sea in a boat, a werry big boat. Him wonders how big."
And his mind went back to the biggest boat he had ever seen, which was in the toy-shop at Brookton, when he had gone with his mother to be fitted for new boots. But even that wouldn't be big enough. Mother, and auntie, and grandfather, and Celia, and Fritz, and Denny, and cook, and Lisa, and Thomas and Jones, and the other servants, and the horses, and—and—— Baby stopped to take breath inside, for though he had not been speaking aloud he felt quite choked with all the names coming so fast. "And pussy, and the calanies, and the Bully, and Fritz's dormice, oh no, them couldn't all get in." Perhaps if Baby doubled up his legs underneath he might squeeze himself in, but that would be no good, he couldn't go sailing, sailing all over the sea by himself, like the old woman in "Harry's Nursery Songs," who went sailing, sailing, up in a basket, "seventy times as high as the moon." Oh no, even that boat wouldn't be big enough. They must have one as big as—and Baby stopped to look round. But just then a shout from inside the nursery made him wake up, for he had got to the last little stair before the top landing, and again right foot and half Baby, followed by left foot and the other half Baby, stumped on their way.
They pulled up—right foot and left foot, with Baby's solemn face top of all—at the nursery door. It was shut. Now one of the things Baby liked to do for himself was to open doors, and now and then he could manage it very well. But, alas, the nursery lock was too high up for him to get a good hold of it. He pulled, and pushed, and got quite red, all for no use. Worse than that, the pushing and pulling were heard inside. Some one came forward and opened the door, nearly knocking poor Baby over.
"Ach, Herr Baby, mine child, why you not say when you come?" Lisa cried out. Lisa was Baby's nurse. Her face was rosy and round, and she looked very kind. She would have liked to pick him up to make sure he had got no knocks, but she knew too well that would not do. So all she could do was to say again—
"Mine child—ach, Herr Baby!"
Baby did not take any notice.
"Zeally," he said coolly, "ganfather must do somesing to zem locks. Zem is all most dedful 'tiff."
Lisa smiled to herself. She was used to Baby's ways.
"Herr Baby shall grow tall some day," she said. "Zen him can open doors."
Lisa's talking was nearly as funny as Baby's, and, indeed, I rather think that hers had made his all the funnier. But, any way, they understood each other. He was thinking over what she had said, when a scream from the nursery made them both turn round in a hurry.
"O Lisa, O Baby, come in quick, do. Peepy-Snoozle has got out of the cage, and he'll be out at the door in another moment. Quick, quick, come in and shut the door."
Lisa and Baby did not wait to be twice told. Inside the nursery there was a great flurry. Celia, Fritz, and Denny were all there crawling over the floor and screaming at each other.
"I have him! there—oh, now that's too bad. Fritz, you frightened him away again," called out Celia.
"Me frighten him away! Why he knows me ever so much better than you girls," said Fritz.
"He just doesn't then," said Denny with triumph, "for here he is safe in my apron."
But she had hardly said the words when she gave a little scream. "He's off again, oh quick, Baby, quick, catch him."
How Baby did it, I can't tell. His hands seemed too small to catch anything, even a dormouse. But catch the truant he did, and very proud Baby looked when he held up his two little fists, which he had made into a "mouse-trap" really, for the occasion, with Peepy-Snoozle's "coxy" little head and bright beady eyes poking out at the top.
"Oh look, look, Baby's made Peepy-Snoozle into 'the parson in the pulpit that couldn't say his prayers,'" cried Denny, dancing about.
"All the same, he'd better go back into his cage," said Fritz, who had a right to be heard, as he was the master and owner of the dormice. "Come along, Baby, poke him in."
Baby was busy kissing and petting Peepy-Snoozle by this time, for, though he did not approve of much of that sort of thing for himself, he was very fond of petting little animals, who were not little boys. And to tell the truth, it was not often he got a chance of petting his big brother's dormice. It was quite pretty to see the way he kissed Peepy-Snoozle's soft brown head, especially his nose, stroking it gently against his own smooth cheeks and chattering to the little creature.
"Dear little darling. Sweet little denkle darling," he said. "Him would like to have a house all full of Peepy-'noozles, zem is so sweet and soft."
"Wouldn't you like a coat made of their skins?" said Denny. "Think how soft that would be."
"No, sairtin him wouldn't," said Baby. "Him wouldn't pull off all their sweet little skins and hairs to make him a coat. Denny's a c'uel girl."
"There won't be much more skin or hairs left if you go on scrubbing him up and down with your sharp little nose like that," said Fritz.
Baby drew back his face in a fright.
"Put him in the cage then," he said, and with Fritz's help this was safely done. Then Baby stood silent, slowly rubbing his own nose up and down, and looking very grave.
"Him's nose isn't sharp," he said at last, turning upon Denny. "Sharp means knifes and scidders."
All the children burst out laughing. Of course they understood things better than Baby, for even Denny, the youngest next to him, was nine, that is twice his age, which by the by was a puzzle to Denny herself, for Celia had teased her one day by saying that according to that when Baby was eighty Denny would be a hundred and sixty, and nobody ever lived to be so old, so how could it be.
But Denny, though she didn't always understand everything herself, was very quick at taking up other people if they didn't.
"Oh, you stupid little goose," she said. "Of course, Fritz didn't mean as sharp as a knife. There's different kinds of sharps—there's different kinds of everything."
Baby looked at her gravely. He had his own way of defending himself.
"Werry well. If him's a goose him won't talk to you, and him won't tell you somesing werry funny and dedful bootiful that him heard in the 'groind room."
All eyes were turned on Baby.
"Oh, do tell us, Baby darling, do tell us," said Celia and Denny.
Fritz gave Baby a friendly pat on the back.
"You'll tell me, old fellow, won't you?" he said. Baby looked at him.
"Yes," he said at last; "him will tell you,'cos you let him have Peepy-'noozle, and 'cos you doesn't call him a goose—like girls does. I'll whister in your ear, Fritz, if you'll bend down."
But Celia thought this was too bad.
"I didn't call you a goose, Baby," she said. "I think you might tell me too."
"And I'll promise never to call you a goose again if you'll tell me," said Denny.
Baby had a great soul. It was beneath him to take a mean revenge, he felt, especially on a girl! So he shut his little mouth tightly, knit his little brows, and thought it over for a moment or two. Then his face cleared.
"Him will tell you all—all you children," he said at last, "but it's werry long and dedful wonderful, and you mustn't inrumpt him. P'omise?"
"Promise," shouted the three.
"Well then, litsen. We's all goin' away—zeally away—over the sea—dedful far. As far as the sky, p'raps."
"In a balloon?" said Denny, whose tongue wouldn't keep still even though she was very much interested in the news.
"No, in a boat," replied Baby, forgetting to notice that this was an "inrumption," "in a werry 'normous boat. All's going. Him was looking for 'tamps in mother's basket of teared letters under the little table, and mother and ganfather and auntie didn't know him were there, and ganfather said to mother somesing him couldn't understand—somesing about thit house, and mother said, yes, 'twould be a werry good thing to go away 'fore the cold weather comed, and the children would be p'eased. And auntie said she would like to tell the children, but——"
Another "inrumption." This time from Fritz.
"Baby, stop a minute," he exclaimed. "Celia, Denny—Baby's too little to understand, but," and here Fritz's round chubby face got very red, "don't you think we've no right to let him tell, if it's something mother means to tell us herself? She didn't know Baby was there—he said so."
But before Celia or Denny could answer, Baby turned upon Fritz.
"Him tolded you not to inrumpt," he said, with supreme contempt. "If you would litsen you would see. Mother did know him was there at the ending, for auntie said she'd like to tell the children—that's you, and Denny and Celia—but him comed out from the little table and said him would like to tell the children hisself. And mother were dedful surprised, and so was ganfather and auntie. And then they all bursted out laughing and told him lots of things—about going in the railway, and in a 'normous boat to that other country, where there's cows to pull the carts, and all the people talk lubbish-talk, like Lisa when she's cross. And zen, and zen, him comed upstairs to tell you."
Baby looked round triumphantly. Celia and Fritz and Denny looked first at him and then at each other. This was wonderful news—almost too wonderful to be true.
"We must be going to Italy or somewhere like that," said Celia. "How lovely! I wonder why they didn't tell us before?"
"Italy," repeated Denny, "that's the country like a boot, isn't it? I do hope there won't be any snakes. I'd rather far stay at home than go where there's snakes."
"I wouldn't," said Fritz, grandly. "I'd like to go to India or Africa, or any of those places where there's lots of lions and tigers and snakes, and anything you like. Give me a good revolver and you'd see."
"Don't talk nonsense, Fritz," said Celia. "You're far too little a boy for shooting and guns and all that. It's setting a bad example to Baby to talk that boasting way, and it's very silly too."
"Indeed, miss. Much obliged to you, miss," said Fritz. "I'd only just like to know, miss, who it was came to my room the other night and was sure she heard robbers, and begged Fritz to peep behind the swing-door in the long passage. And 'oh,' said this person, 'I do so wish you had a gun that you could point at them to frighten them away.' Fritz wasn't such a very little boy just then."
Celia's face got rather red, and she looked as if she was going to get angry, but at that moment, happily, Lisa appeared with the tray for the nursery tea. She had left the room when the dormouse was caught, so she had not heard the wonderful news, and it had all to be told over again. She smiled and seemed pleased, but not as surprised as the children expected.
"Why, aren't you surprised, Lisa?" said the children. "Did you know before? Why didn't you tell us?"
Lisa shook her head and looked very wise.
"What country are we going to? Can you tell us that?" said Celia.
"Is it to your country? Is it to what you call Dutchland?" said Fritz. "I think it's an awfully queer thing that countries can't be called by the same names everywhere. It makes geography ever so much harder. We've got to call the people that live in Holland Dutch, and they call themselves—oh, I don't know what they call themselves——"
"Hollanders," said Lisa.
"Hollanders!" repeated Fritz. "Well, that's a sensible sort of name for people that live in Holland. But we've got to call them Dutch; and then, to make it more muddled still, Lisa calls her country Dutchland, and the people Dutch, and we call them German I think it's very stupid. If I was to make geography I wouldn't do it that way."
"What's jography?" said Baby.
"Knowing all about all the countries and all the places in the world," said Denny.
"Him wants to learn that," said Baby.
"Oh, you're far too little!" said Denny. "I only began it last year. Oh, you're ever so much too little!"
"Him's not too little to go in the 'normous boat to see all zem countlies," said Baby, valiantly. "Him will learn jography."
"That's right, Baby," said Fritz. "Stick up for yourself. You'll be a great deal bigger than Denny some day."
Denny was getting ready an answer when Lisa, who knew pretty well the signs of war between Fritz and Denny, called to all the children to come to tea; and as both Fritz and Denny were great hands at bread and butter, they forgot to quarrel, and began pulling their chairs in to the table, and in a few minutes all four were busy at work.
What a pretty sight, and what a pleasant thing a nursery tea is! when the children, that is to say, are sweet-faced and smiling, with clean pinafores, and clean hands, and gentle voices; not leaning over the table, knocking over cups, and snatching rudely at the "butteriest" pieces of bread and butter, and making digs at the sugar when nurse is not looking. That kind of nursery tea is not to my mind, and not at all the kind to which I am always delighted to receive an invitation, written in very round, very black letters, on very small sheets of paper. The nursery teas in Baby's nursery were not always quite what I like to see them, for Celia, Fritz, and Denny, and Baby too, had their tiresome days as well as their pleasant ones, and though they meant to be good to each other, they did not always do just what they meant, or really wished, at the bottom of their hearts. But to-day all the little storms were forgotten in the great news, and all the faces looked bright and eager, though just at first not much was said, for when children are hungry of course they can't chatter quite so fast, and all the four tongues were silent till at least one cup of tea, and perhaps three or four slices of bread and butter each—just as a beginning, you know—had disappeared.
Then said Celia,—
"Lisa, do tell us if you know what sort of a place we're going to."
"Cows pulls carts there," observed Baby; "and—and—what was the 'nother thing? We'll have frogses for dinner."
"Baby!" said the others, "what nonsense!"
"'Tisn't nonsense. Ganfather said Thomas and Dones wouldn't go 'cos they was fightened of frogses for dinner. Him doesn't care—frogses tastes werry good."
"How do you know? You've never tasted them," said Fritz.
"Ganfather said zem was werry good."
"Grandfather was joking," said Celia. "I've often heard him laugh at people that way. It's just nonsense—Thomas and Jones don't know any better. Do they eat frogs in your country, Lisa?"
"In mine country, Fraeulein Celie?" said Lisa, looking rather vexed. "No indeed. Man eats goot, most goot tings, in mine country. Say, Herr Baby—Herr Baby knows what goot tings Lisa would give him in her country."
"Yes," said Baby, "such good tings. Tocolate and cakes—lots—and bootiful soup, all sweet, not like salty soup. Him would like werry much to go to Lisa's countly."
"Do cows pull carts in your country, Lisa?" asked Denny.
"Some parts. Not where mine family lives," said Lisa. "No, Fraeulein Denny, it's not to mine country we're going. Mine country is it colt, so colt; and your lady mamma and your lady auntie they want to go where it is warm, so warm, and sun all winter."
"I should like that too," said Celia, "I hate winter."
"That's 'cos you're a girl," said Fritz; "you crumple yourself up by the fire and sit shivering—no wonder you're cold. You should come out skating like Denny, and then you'd get warm."
"Denny's a girl too. You said it was because I was a girl," said Celia.
"Well, she's not as silly as some girls, any way," said Fritz, rather "put down."
Baby was sitting silent. He had made an end of two cups of tea and five pieces of bread and butter.
He was not, therefore, quite so hungry as he had been at the beginning, but still he was a long way off having made what was called in the nursery a "good tea." Something was on his mind. He sat with one arm propped on the table, and his round head leaning on his hand, while the other held the piece of bread and butter—butter downwards, of course—which had been on its way to his mouth when his brown study had come over him.
"Herr Baby," said Lisa, "eat, mine child."
Baby took no notice.
"What has he then?" said Lisa, who was very easily frightened about her dear Herr Baby. "Can he be ill? He eats not."
"Ill," said Celia. "No fear, Lisa. He's had ever so much bread and butter. Don't you want any more, Baby? What are you thinking about? We're going to have honey on our last pieces to-night, aren't we, Lisa? For a treat, you know, because of the news of going away."
Celia wanted the honey because she was very fond of it; but besides that, she thought it would wake Baby out of his brown study to hear about it, for he was very fond of it too.
He did catch the word, for he turned his blue eyes gravely on Celia.
"Honey's werry good," he said, "but him's not at his last piece yet. Him doesn't sink he'll ever be at his last piece to-night; him's had to stop eating for he's so dedful busy in him's head."
"Poor little man, have you got a pain in your head?" said his sister, kindly. "Is that what you mean?"
"No, no," said Baby, softly shaking his head, "no pain. It's only busy sinking."
"What about?" said all the children.
Baby sat straight up.
"Children," he said, "him zeally can't eat, sinking of what a dedful packing there'll be. All of everysing. Him zeally sinks it would be best to begin to-night."
At this moment the door opened. It was mother. She often came up to the nursery at tea-time, and
"When the children had been good; That is, be it understood, Good at meal times, good at play,"
I need hardly say, they were very, very pleased to see her. Indeed there were times even when they were glad to see her face at the door when they hadn't been very good, for somehow she had a way of putting things right again, and making them feel both how wrong and how silly it is to be cross and quarrelsome, that nobody else had. And she would just help the kind words out without seeming to do so, and take away that sore, horrid feeling that one can't be good, even though one is longing so to be happy and friendly again.
But this evening there had been nothing worse than a little squabbling; the children all greeted mother merrily, only Baby still looked rather solemn.
INSIDE A TRUNK
"For girls are as silly as spoons, dears, And boys are as jolly as bricks. * * * * * Oh Mammy, you tell us a story!— They won't hear a word that I say."
"Mother, mother!" they all cried with one voice, and the three big ones jumped up and ran to her, all pulling her at once.
"Mother, mother, do sit down in the rocking-chair and look comfortable," said Fritz.
"There's still some tea. You'll have a cup of our tea, won't you, mother?" said Celia.
"And some bread and honey," said Denny.
"It won't spoil your afternoon tea; don't say it will," said all together, for nothing would ever make them believe that when mother came up to the nursery at tea-time it could be allowed that she should not have a share of whatever there was.
"Such a good thing we had honey to-night," said Celia, who was busy cutting a very dainty piece of bread and butter. "We persuaded Lisa to give it us extra, you know, mother, because of the news. And, oh, mother, what do you think Baby says? he——"
"Baby! what is the matter with him?" interrupted mother.
They all turned to look at him. Poor Baby, he had set to work to get down from his chair to run to mother with the others, but the chair was high and Baby was short, and Lisa, who had gone to the cupboard for a fresh cup and saucer for "madame," as she called the children's mother, had not noticed the trouble Herr Baby had got himself into. One little leg and a part of his body were stuck fast in the open space between the bars at the back, his head had somehow got under the arm of the chair, and could not be got out again without help. And Baby was far too proud to call out for help as long as there was a chance of his doing without it. But he really was in a very uncomfortable state, and it was a wonder that the chair, which was a light wicker one, had not toppled over with the queer way in which he was hanging. They got him out at last; his face was very red, and I think the tears had been very near coming, but he choked them down, and looking up gravely he said to his mother,—
"Him's chair is getting too small. Him hasn't room to turn."
"Is it really?" said his mother, quite gravely too. She saw that Celia and Fritz were ready to burst out laughing at poor Baby, and she didn't want them to do so, for Baby had really been very brave, and now when he was trying hard not to cry it would have been too bad to laugh at him. "Is it really?" she said. "I must see about it, and if it is too small we must get you another."
"Him doesn't want you to pack up that chair," said Baby again, giving himself a sort of shake, as if to make sure that his head, and his legs, and all the rest of him, were in their proper places after being so turned about and twisted by his struggles in the chair.
"He's quite in a fuss about packing," said Celia; "that's what I was going to tell you, mother. He stopped in the middle of his tea to think about it, and he said he thought we'd better begin to-night."
"Yes," said Baby. "There's such lots to pack. All our toys, and the labbits, and the mouses, and the horses, and the fireplaces, and the tables, and the cups, and the saucers," his eyes wandering round the room as he went on with his list. "Him thinks we'll need lots of boats to go in."
"And two or three railway trains all to ourselves," said mother.
Baby looked up at her gravely. He could not make out if mother was in fun or earnest. His little puzzled face made mother draw him to her and give him a kiss.
"It's a shame to talk nonsense to such a serious little man," she said. "Don't trouble yourself about the packing, Baby dear. Don't you know grandfather, and auntie, and I have had lots of packings to do in our lives? Why, we had to pack up two houses when we came away from India, and that was much much farther away than where we're going now! And you were such a tiny baby then—it was very much harder, for mother was very very sad, and she never thought you would grow to be a big strong boy like what you are now."
"Was that when——" began thoughtless Denny, but Fritz gave her a tug.
"You know it makes mother unhappy to talk about that time," he whispered; but mother heard him.
"No, Fritz," she said; "I don't mind Denny thinking about it. I am so glad to have all of you, dears, happy and good, that my sorrow is not so bad as it was. And I am so glad you and Celia can remember your father. Poor Baby—he can't remember him," she said, softly stroking Baby's face.
"'Cos he went to Heaven when him was so little," said Baby. Then he put his arms round mother's neck. "Him and Fritz will soon grow big, and be werry good to mother," he said. "And ganfather and auntie are werry good to mother, isn't they?" he added.
"Yes indeed," said mother; "and to all of you too. What would we do without grandfather and auntie?"
"Some poor little boys and girls has no mothers and ganfathers, and no stockings and shoes, and no nothings," said Baby solemnly.
"There's some things I shouldn't mind not having," said Fritz; "I shouldn't mind having no lessons."
"O Fritz," said his sisters; "what a lazy boy you are!"
"No, I'm just not lazy. I'm awfully fond of doing everything—I don't even mind if it's a hard thing, so long as it isn't anything in books," said Fritz, sturdily. "Some people's made one way, and some's made another, and I'm made the way of not liking books."
"I wonder what Baby will say to books," said mother, smiling.
"Is jography in books," said Baby. "Him wants to learn jography."
"I think it's awfully stupid," said Denny. "I'm sure you won't like it once you begin. Did you like lessons when you were little, mother?"
"Yes, I'm sure mother did," said Fritz. "People's fathers and mothers were always far gooder than their children are. I've noticed that. If ever big people tell you about when they were little, it's always about how good they were. And they say always, 'Dear me, how happy children should be nowadays; we were never allowed to do so and so when we were little.' That's the way old Mrs. Nesbitt always talks, isn't it mother? I wonder if it's true. If people keep getting naughtier than their fathers and mothers were, the world will get very naughty some day. Is it true?"
"I think it's true that children get to be more spoilt," said Denny in a low voice. "Just look how Baby's clambering all over mother! O Baby, you nearly knocked over mother's cup! I never was allowed to do like that when I was a little girl."
Everybody burst out laughing—even mother—but Denny had the good quality of not minding being laughed at.
"Was the tea nice, and the bread and butter and honey?" she said eagerly, as mother rose to put the empty cup in a place of safety.
"Very nice, thank you," said mother. "But I must go, dears. I have a good many things to talk about with grandfather and auntie."
"Packing?" said Baby.
"How you do go on about packing!" said Denny. "Of course mother's not going to pack to-night."
Baby's face fell.
"Him does so want to begin packing," he said dolefully. "'Appose we forgottened somesing, and we was over the sea!"
"Well, I must talk about it all, and write down all we have to take," said mother. "So I must go to auntie now."
"Oh, not yet, not yet. Just five minutes more!" cried the children. "And, mother," said Celia, "you've not answered my question. Is it true that children used to be so much better long ago? Were you never naughty?"
"Sometimes," said mother, smiling.
"Oh, I'm so glad!" said Celia. "Often, mother? I do hope you were often naughty. Do tell us a story about something naughty you did when you were little. You know it would be a good lesson for us. It would show us how awfully good one may learn to be, for, you know, you're awfully good now."
"Yes, of course you are," said Fritz and Denny.
"Mother's dedfully good," said Baby, poking up his face from her knee where he had again perched himself, to kiss her. "Do tell him one story of when you was a little girl, mother."
Mother's face seemed for a minute rather puzzled. Then it suddenly cleared up.
"I will tell you a very little story," she said; "it really is a very little story, but it is as long as I have time for just now, and it may amuse you. Baby's packing put it in my head."
"Is it about when you were a little girl, mother?" interrupted Denny.
"Yes. Well, when I was a little girl, I had no mother."
The elder children nodded their heads. But Baby, to whom it was a new idea, shook his sadly.
"Zat was a gate pity," he said. "Poor mother to have no mother. Had you no shoes and stockings, and nothing nice to eat?"
"You sill——" began Denny, but mother stopped her.
"Oh yes," she said, "I had shoes and stockings, and everything I wanted, for I had a very kind father. You know how kind grandfather is? And I had a kind sister whom you know too. But when I was a little girl, my sister was not herself very big, and she had a great deal to do for a not very big girl, you know. There were our brothers, for we had several, and though they were generally away at school there seemed always something to do for them—letters to write to them, if there was nothing else—and then, in the holidays, there were all their new shirts, and stockings, and things to get to take back to school. Helen seemed always busy. She had been at school too, before your grandfather came back from India, for five years, bringing me with him, quite a wee little girl of four. And Helen was so happy to be with us again, that she begged not to go back to school, and, as she was really very well on for her age, grandfather let her stay at home."
"There, you see," whispered Celia, nudging Fritz. "It's beginning—it always does—you hear how awfully good auntie was."
Mother went on quietly. If she heard what Celia said she took no notice. "Grandfather let her stay at home and have lessons there. She had a great many lessons to learn for her age besides those that one learns out of books. She had to learn to be very active, and very thoughtful, and, above all, very patient. For the little sister she had to take care of was, I am afraid, a very spoilt little girl when she first came home. Grandfather had spoiled her without meaning it; he was so sorry for her because she had no mother, and Helen was so sorry for her too, that it was rather difficult for her not to spoil her as well."
Here Baby himself "inrumpted."
"Him doesn't understand," he said. "Who were that little girl? Him wants a story about mother when her was a little girl;" and the corners of his mouth went down, and his eyes grew dewy-looking, in a very sad way.
"Poor Baby," said mother. "I'll try and tell it more plainly. I was that little girl, and auntie was my sister Helen. I must get on with my little story. I was forgetting that Baby would not quite understand. Well, one day to my great delight, Helen told me that grandfather was going to take her and me and the two brothers, who were then at home, to spend Christmas with one of our aunts in London. This aunt had children too, and though I had never seen them Helen told me they were very nice, for she knew them well, as she used to go there for her holidays before we came home. She told me most about a little girl called Lilly, who was just about my age. I had never had a little friend of my own age, and I was always talking and thinking about how nice it would be, and I was quite vexed with Helen because she would not begin to pack up at once. I was always teasing her to know what trunks we should take, and if all my dolls might go, and I am sure poor Helen often wished she had not told me anything about it till the very day before. I got in the way of going up to the big attic where the trunks were kept, and of looking at them and wondering which would go, and wishing Helen would let me have one all for myself and my dolls and their things. There was one trunk which took my fancy more than all the others. It was an old-fashioned trunk, but it must have been a very good one, for it shut with a sort of spring, and inside it had several divisions, some with little lids of their own, and I used to think how nice it would be for me, I could put all my dolls in so beautifully, and each would have a kind of house for itself. I don't remember how I managed to get it open, perhaps it had been a little open when I first began my visits to the attic, for the lid was very heavy, and I was neither big nor strong for my age. But it was open, and it stayed so, for no one else ever went up to the attic but I. The other people in the house were too busy, and no one would have thought there was anything amusing in looking at empty trunks in a row. But I went up to the attic day after day. I climbed up the narrow staircase as soon as I had had my breakfast, and stayed there till I heard my nurse calling me to get ready to go out, or to come to my lessons, for I was beginning to learn to read, and I used to have a little lesson every day. And at last one day I said to my sister,
"'Helen, may I have the big trunk with the little cupboards in it for my trunk?'
"Helen was busy at the time, and I don't think she heard exactly what I said. She answered me hurriedly that she would see about it afterwards. But I went on teasing.
"'May I begin putting Marietta and Lady Regina into the little cupboards inside?' I said.
"'Oh yes, I daresay you can if you like,' said Helen. She told me afterwards that when I spoke of cupboards she never thought I meant a trunk, she thought I was speaking of some of the nursery cupboards.
"It was just bed-time then, too late for me to go to the attic, for I knew there was no chance of my getting leave to go up there with a candle. But I fell asleep with my head full of how nicely I could put the dolls into the trunk, each with her clothes beside her, and the very first thing the next morning I got them all together and I mounted up to the attic. I had never told nurse about my going up there. Once or twice, perhaps, she had seen me coming down the stair, but very likely she had thought I had only been a little way up to look out of a window there was there. I don't know why I didn't tell her, perhaps I was afraid of her stopping my going. I waited till she was busy about her work, fetching coals and so on, and then I trotted off with Lady Regina under one arm and Marietta under the other, and a bundle of their clothes tied up in my pinafore before, to make my way upstairs to the delightful trunk. It was open as usual, and after putting my dolls and bundles down on the floor, I managed to lift out the two top trays. One of them was much larger than the other, and it was in what I called the cupboards below the smaller one that I settled to put Regina and Marietta. There were two of these little cupboards, and each had a lid. They would just do beautifully. Under the larger tray there was just one big space without a lid, 'just a hole,' I called it. I went on for a little time, laying in some of the clothes first to make a nice soft place for the dolls to lie on, but I soon got tired. It was so very far to reach over, for the outside edges of the box were high, higher of course than the inside divisions, for the trays I had taken out, which lay on the top of the lower spaces, were a good depth, and there had been no division between them. It came into my head that it would be much easier if I were to get into the box myself—I could stand in the big hole, as I called it, and reach over to the little divisions where I wanted to put the dolls, and it would be far less tiring than trying to reach over from the outside. So I clambered in—it was not very difficult—and when I found myself really inside the trunk I was so pleased that I sat down cross-legged, like a little Turk, to take a rest before going on with what I called my packing. But sitting still for long was not in my way—I soon jumped up again, meaning to reach over for Lady Regina, who was lying on the floor beside the trunk, but, how it happened I cannot tell, I suppose I somehow caught the tapes which fastened the lid; any way down it came! It did not hurt me much, for I had not had time to stretch out my head, and the weight fell mostly on my shoulders, sideways as it were, and before I knew what had happened I found myself doubled up somehow in my hole, with the heavy lid on the top of me, all in the dark, except a little line of light round the edge, for the lid had not shut quite down; the hasp of the lock—as the little sticking-out piece is called—had caught in the fall, and was wedged into a wrong place. So, luckily for me, there was still a space for some air to come in, and a little light, though very little. I was dreadfully frightened at first; then I began to get over my fright a little, and to struggle to get out. Of course my first idea was to try to push up the lid with my head and shoulders; I remember the feeling of it pushing back upon me—the dreadful feeling that I couldn't move it, that I was shut up there and couldn't get out! I was too little to understand all at once that there could be any danger, that I might perhaps be suffocated—that means choked, Baby—for want of air; or that I might really be hurt by being so cramped and doubled up. And really there was not much danger; if I had been older I should have been more frightened than there was really any reason to be. But I was big enough to begin very quickly to get very angry and impatient. I had never in all my life been forced to do anything I disliked; often and often my nurse, and sometimes Helen, had begged me to try to sit still for a minute or two, but I never would. And now the lesson of having to give in to something much worse than sitting still in my nice little chair by the nursery fire, or standing still for two minutes while a new frock was tried on, had to be learnt! There was no getting rid of it; I kicked and I pushed, it was no use; the strong heavy lid which had been to India and back two or three times would not move the least bit. I tried to poke out my fingers through the little space that was left, but I could not find the lock, and it was a good thing I did not, for if I had touched the hasp, most likely the lid would have fallen quite into its place, crushing my poor little fingers, and shutting me in without any air at all. At last I thought of another plan. I set to work screaming.
"'Nurse, nurse, Nelly, oh Nelly,' I cried, and at last I shouted, 'Papa, Papa, PAPA,' at the top of my voice. But it was no use! Most children would have begun screaming at the very first. But I was not a frightened child, and I was very proud. I did not want any one to find me shut up in a box like that, besides, they would be sure to stop my ever coming up to the attic again. So it was not till I had tired myself out with trying to push up the lid that I set to work to screaming, and that made it all the more provoking that my calls brought no one. At last I got so out of patience that I set to work again kicking for no use at all, but just because I was so angry. I kicked and screamed, and at last I burst into tears and roared. Then I caught sight, through the chink, of Lady Regina's blue dress, where the doll was lying on the floor near the trunk.
"'Nasty Regina,' I shouted, 'nasty, ugly Regina. You are lying there as if there was nothing the matter, and it was all for you I came up here. I hate dolls—they never do nothing. If you were a little dog you'd go and bark, and then somebody would come and let me out.'
"Then I went on crying and sobbing till I was perfectly tired, and then what do you think I did? Though I was so uncomfortable, all crushed up into a little ball, I went to sleep! I went to sleep as soundly as if I had been in my own little bed, and afterwards I found, from what they told me, that I must have slept quite two hours. When I woke up I could not think where I was. I felt so stiff and sore, and when I tried to stretch myself out I could not, and then I remembered where I was! It seemed quite dark; I wondered if it was night, till I noticed the little chink of light at the edge of the lid, and then I began to cry again, but not so wildly as before. All of a sudden I thought I heard a sound—some one was coming upstairs! and then I heard voices.
"'Fallen out of the window,' one said. 'Oh no, nurse, she couldn't! She could never get through.'
"But yet the person seemed to be looking out of the window all the same, for I heard them opening and shutting it. And then I called out again.
"'Oh Nelly, Nelly. I'se here; I'se shut up in the big box with the cupboards.'
"They didn't hear me at first. My little voice must have sounded very faint and squeaky from out of the trunk, besides they were not half-way up the attic-stairs. So I went on crying—
"'Oh Nelly, Nelly! I'se up here. Oh Nelly, Nelly!'
"She heard me this time. Dear Nelly! I never have called to her in vain, children, in all my life. And in half a minute she had dashed up the stairs, and, guided by my voice, was kneeling down beside the trunk.
"'Little May, my poor little May,' Nelly called out; and do you know I really think she was crying too! I was—by the time Nelly and the servants who were with her had got the lid unhooked and raised, and had lifted me out—I was in floods of tears. I clung to Nelly, and told her how 'dedful' it had been, and she petted me so that I am afraid I quite forgot it was all my own fault.
"'You might have been there for hours and hours, May,' Nelly said to me, 'if it hadn't been for nurse thinking of the window on the stair. You must never go off by yourself to do things like that,' and when I told her that I had asked her and she had given me leave, she said she had not at all known what I meant, and that I must try to remember not to tease about things once I had been told to wait. Any way I think I had got a good lesson of patience that day, and one that I never forgot, for it really is not at all a pleasant thing to be shut up in a big trunk."
Baby, who had been listening with solemn eyes, said slowly,
"Him will not pack by hisself. Him will wait till somebody can help him. It would be so dedful sad if him was to get shuttened up like poor little mother, and perhaps you'd all go away ac'oss the sea and nebber find him."
The corners of his mouth went down at this sorrowful picture, and his eyes looked as if they were beginning to think about crying. But mother and Celia set to work petting and kissing him before the tears had time to come.
"As if we would ever go across the sea without him," said mother.
"Why, we should never know how to do anything without Herr Baby," said Celia.
"Fritz and Baby will do all the fussy things in travelling—taking the tickets, and counting the luggage, and all that—they're such big men, aren't they?" said Denny, with mischief in her twinkling green eyes.
"Now you, just mind what you're about," said Fritz, gallantly. "You'll make him cry just when mother's been comforting him up. Such stupids girls are!" he added in a lower voice.
"I really must go now," said mother, getting up from her chair. "Auntie will not know what has become of me. I have been up here, why a whole half hour, instead of five minutes!"
"Auntie will think mother's got shut up in a trunk again," said Denny, whose tongue never could be still for long, and at this piece of wit they all burst out laughing.
All but Herr Baby. He couldn't see that it was any laughing matter. Mother's story had sunk deep into his mind. Trunks were things to be careful of. Baby saw this clearly.
UP IN THE MORNING EARLY
"Sweet, eager promises bind him to this, Never to do so again."
He woke early next morning. He had so much to think of, you see. So much that even his dreams were full of all he had heard yesterday.
"Him's been d'eaming him was in the big, big, 'normous boat, and zen him d'eamed of being shuttened up in a t'unk like poor little mother," he confided to Denny.
He was forced to tell Denny a good many things, because they slept in the same room, and, of course, everybody knows that whatever mammas and nurses say, going-to-sleep-in-bed time is the time for talking. Waking-up-in-the-morning time is rather tempting, too, particularly in summer, when the sun comes in at the windows so brightly and the birds are so lively, chattering away to each other, and all the world is up and about, except "us," who have to stay in bed till seven o'clock! Ah, it is a trial! On the whole, I don't think chattering in the mornings is so much to be found fault with as chattering at night. It is only children who are so silly as to keep themselves awake when the time for going to sleep has come. The birds and the bees, and the little lambs even, all know when that time has come, and go to sleep without any worry to themselves or other people. But children are not always so sensible. I could tell you a story—only I am afraid if she were to read it in this little book it would make her feel so ashamed that I should really be sorry for her, so I will not tell you her name nor where she lives—of a little girl who was promised two pounds, two whole gold pounds—fancy! if for one month she would go quietly to sleep at night when she was put to bed, and let her sister do the same; and she was to lose two shillings every night she forgot or disobeyed. Well, what do you think? at the end of two weeks the two pounds had come down already to nineteen shillings! She had forgotten already ten times, or ten and a half times—I don't quite understand how it had come to nineteen, but so it had; and at the end of the month—no I don't think I will tell you what it had come down to. Only this will show you how much more difficult it is to get out of a bad habit than to get into a good one, for this little girl is very sweet and good in many ways, and I love her dearly—only she had got into this bad habit, and it was stronger, as bad habits so often are, than her real true wish to do what her mother told her.
But I have wandered away from Herr Baby, and I am afraid you won't be pleased. He was forced, I was saying, to tell Denny a good many things, because he was most with her. I don't think he would have told her as much but for that, for Denny's head was a very flighty one, and she never cared to think or talk about the same thing for long together, which was not at all Herr Baby's way. He liked to think a good deal about everything, and one thing lasted him a good while.
"Him's been d'eaming such a lot," he said to Denny this morning.
"I think dreams are very stupid," said Denny. "What's the good of them? If they made things come real they would be some good. Like, you know, if I was to dream somebody gave me something awfully nice, and then when I woke up I was to see the thing on my bed, then dreams would be some good."
"But if zou d'eamed somesing dedful, like being shuttened up in a t'unk like poor little mother, zen it wouldn't be nice for it to come zeal," said Baby, who never forgot to look at things from both sides.
"No, of course it wouldn't. How stupid you are!" said Denny. "And how your head does run on one thing. I'm quite tired of you talking about mother being shut up in the trunk. Do talk of something else."
"Him can't talk of somesing else when him's sinking of one sing," said Baby gravely.
"Well, then don't talk at all," said Denny sharply, "and indeed I think we'd better be quiet, or Lisa will be coming in, and scolding us. It's only half-past six."
Baby did not speak for a minute or two. Then he said solemnly,
"When us goes away ac'oss the sea in the 'normous boat, him hopes him won't sleep in the same zoom as you any more."
"I'm sure I hope not," said Denny snappishly. There was some excuse for her this morning, she was really rather sleepy, and it is very tiresome to be wakened up at half-past six, when one is quite inclined to sleep till half-past seven.
But Baby could not go to sleep again. His mind was still running on packing. If he could but have a little box of his own to pack his own treasures in, then he would be sure none would be forgotten. He did not want a big trunk—not one in which he could be shuttened up like mother, but just a nice little one. If mother would give him one! Stay—where had he seen one, just what he wanted, was it in the nursery or in the cupboard where Fritz kept his garden-tools and his skates, and all the big boy things which Baby too hoped to have of his own some day? No, it was not there. It must have been—yes, it was in the pantry when he went to ask James for a glass of water. Up on a shelf, high up it stood, "a tiny sweet little t'unk," said Herr Baby to himself, "wouldn't mother let him have it?" He would ask her this morning as soon as he saw her. Then he lay still and thought over to himself all the things he would pack in the tiny sweet little t'unk; his best Bible with his name
"Raymond Arthur Aylmer,"
in the gold letters on the back, should have the nicest corner, of course, and his "scented purse," as he called the Russia leather purse which grandfather had given him on his last birthday, that would go nicely beside the Bible, and his watch that really ticked as long as you turned the key in it—all those things would fit in, nicely packed in "totton wool," of course, and crushy paper. The thought of it all made Baby's fingers fidget with eagerness to begin his packing. If only mother would give him the box! It must be mother's, for if it was James's he would keep it in his own room instead of up on the pantry shelf among all the glasses and cups. If Baby could just see it again he would know 'ezackly if it would do!
Baby looked about him. Everything was perfectly still, he heard no one moving about the house—Denny had said it was only half-past six.
"Denny," said Baby softly.
"Denny," a very little louder.
Still no reply; but Baby, by leaning over the edge of his cot a little, could see that Denny's eyes were shut, and her nose was half buried in the pillow in the way she always turned it when she went to sleep. Denny had gone to sleep again.
"Zes," said Herr Baby to himself; "her's a'leep—her's beazing so soft."
He looked about him again; he stuck one little warm white foot out of bed—it did feel rather cold; he felt more than half inclined just to cuddle himself up warm again and lie still till Lisa came to dress him. But the thought of the little t'unk was too much for him.
"Him would so like just to see it," he said to himself.
Then he stood right up in bed and clambered over the edge of the cot the way he had to do to get out of it by himself. He did not make much noise—not enough to waken Denny, and indeed he would not much have minded if she had awakened, only that perhaps she would have wanted to go too, and Baby wished just to go down to the pantry this quiet time of the morning before any one was there and take a good look by himself.
It was cold on the stair—just at the edge, that is to say, where the carpet did not cover, and where he had stepped without thinking, not being used to trotting about on bare feet, you see. But in the middle, on the carpet, it was nice and soft and warm.
"It would be dedful to be poor boys wif no shoes and stockings," he said to himself, "'cept on the carpet. Him would like to buy lots of lubly soft carpets for zem poor boys."
And he pitied the poor boys still more when he got to the back passage leading to the pantry, where there was no carpet at all, only oilcloth. He pattered along as fast as he could; there was no sound to be heard but the ticking of the clock, and Baby wondered that he had never noticed before what a loud ticking clock it was; it did not come into his head that it was very late for none of the servants to be down, for such matters were not his concern, and if he had known the truth that Denny had made a mistake of an hour, and that it was only half-past five instead of half-past six, he would not have thought much about it.
He got to the pantry at last. It was darker in here than in the passage outside, which was a disappointment. The shutters were shut, that was the reason, and when Baby looked up at them and saw how strong and barred they were, even he felt that it would be no use to try to open them. He climbed up on to the dresser that ran round one side of the wall to see better. Yes, there it was—the tiny, sweet, little t'unk—just as he had been fancying it. Not so very high up either. If he could but give it a little poke out he could almost reach it down—it could not be heavy, it was such a tiny t'unk; and, oh, if he could carry it out to the passage, where it was light, how beautifully he could look at it! He stood up on tiptoe, and found he could almost reach it. A brush with a sticking-out handle was lying beside him. Baby took it, and found that by poking it in a little behind the box he could make it move out, and if it were moved out a very little way he could reach to lift it down. He moved it out enough, then he stretched up his two hands to lift it down—it was not very heavy, but still rather heavier than he had thought. But with the help of his curly head, which he partly rested it on, he got it out safely enough, and was just slipping it gently downwards to the dresser when somehow the brush handle, which he had left on the shelf, caught him or the box, he could not tell which, and, startled by the feeling of something pushing against him, Baby lost his balance and fell! Off the dresser right down on to the hard floor, which had no carpet even to make it softer, he tumbled, and the little t'unk on the top of him. What a noise it made—even in the middle of his fright Baby could not help thinking what a tremendous noise he and the box seemed to make. He lay still for a minute; luckily the box, though it had come straight after him, had fallen a little to one side, and had not hit him. He was bruised enough by the floor already—any more bumps would have been too much, would they not? But the poor box itself was to be pitied; it had come open in the fall, and all that was in it had naturally tumbled out. That explained the noise and clatter. The box had held—indeed it had been made on purpose to hold them—two beautiful glass jugs, which had been sent to mother all the way from Italy! Baby had never seen them, because they were only used when mother and auntie wanted the dinner-table to look very nice, and of course Baby was too little ever to come down to dinner. And, alas, the beautiful jugs, so fine and thin that one could almost have thought the fairies had made them, were both broken, one of them, indeed, crushed and shivered into mere bits of glass lying about the pantry floor, and the box itself had lost its lid, for the hinges had been broken, too, in the fall.
For a minute or two Baby could not make out what had happened. He felt a little stupid with the fall, and sore too. But he never was ready to cry for bumps or knocks; he would cry much more quickly if any one spoke sharply to him than if he hurt himself. So at first he lay still, wondering what was the matter. Then he sat up and looked about him, and then, seeing the broken box and the broken glass, he understood that he had done some harm, and he burst into piteous sobbing.
"Him didn't mean," he cried; "him didn't know there was nuffin in the tiny t'unk. Oh, what shall him do?"
He cried and sobbed, and, being now very frightened, he cried the more when he saw that there was blood on his little white nightgown, and that the blood came from one of his little cold feet, which had been cut by a piece of the broken glass. Baby was much more frightened by the sight of blood than by anything else—when he climbed up on the nursery chest of drawers, and Denny told him he'd be killed if he fell down, he didn't mind a bit, but when Lisa said that he might hurt his face if he fell, and make it bleed, he came down at once—and now the sight of the blood was too much.
"Oh, him's hurt hisself, him's all bleeding!" he cried. "Oh, what shall him do?"
He dared not move, for he was afraid of lifting the cut foot—he really did not know what to do—when he heard steps coming along the passage, pattering steps something like his own, and before he had time to think who it could be, a second little white-night-gowned figure trotted into the room.
"Baby, poor Baby, what's the matter?" and, looking up, Baby saw it was Fritz.
"Him's hurt hisself, him's tumbled, and the tiny t'unk is brokened, and somesing else is brokened. Him didn't mean," he sobbed; and Fritz sat down on the floor beside him, having the good sense to keep out of the way of the broken glass, and lifted the little bleeding foot gently.
"Must have some sticking-plaster," said Fritz. "There's some in mother's pocket-book in her room. We must go to mother, Baby."
"But him can't walk," said Baby piteously. "Him's foot bleedens dedful when him moves it."
"Then I must carry you," said Fritz, importantly.
With some difficulty he got Baby on to his back and set off with him. Baby had often ridden on Fritz's back before, in the nursery, for fun, and it seemed very nice and easy. But now, though he had only his nightgown on, Fritz was surprised to find how heavy he seemed after going a little way. He was obliged to rest after he had gone up a few steps, and Baby began to cry worse than before when he saw how tired poor Fritz was. I really don't know how they ever got to the door of mother's room, and, when their knocking brought her out, it was rather a frightening sight for her—Baby perched on Fritz's back, both little boys looking white and miserable, and the wounded foot covered with blood.
But mother knew better than to ask what was the matter till she had done something to put things to rights again.
"Him's foot" was the first thing Baby said, stretching out his poor little toes.
And the foot looked so bad that mother felt quite thankful when she had bathed it and found that the cut was not really a very deep one after all. And when it was nicely plastered up, and both little boys were tucked into mother's bed to get warm again, then mother had to hear all about it. It was not much Fritz could tell. He, too, had wakened early, and had heard Denny and Baby talking, for he slept in a little room near theirs. He had fallen half asleep again, and started up, fancying he heard a noise and a cry, and, getting out of bed, had found his way to the pantry, guided by Baby's sobs. But what Baby was doing in the pantry, or why he had wandered off there all alone so early in the morning, Fritz did not know.
So Baby had to tell his own story, which he did straight on in his own way. He never thought of not telling it straight on; he was afraid mother would be sorry when she heard about the "somesing" that was broken, but it had never entered his little head that one could help telling mother "ezackly" all about anything. And so he told the whole—how he had been "sinking" about trunks and packing, and "d'eaming" about them too, how Denny had been "razer c'oss" and wouldn't talk, and how the thought of the tiny sweet t'unk had come into his head all of itself, and he had fancied how nice it would be to go downstairs and look at it on the pantry shelf, and then how all the misfortunes had come. At the end he burst into tears again when he had to tell of the "somesing brokened," now lying about in shiny fragments on the pantry floor.
Poor mother! She knew in a minute what it was that was broken, and I cannot say but that she was very sorry, more sorry perhaps than Baby could understand, for she had had the pretty jugs many years, and the thoughts of happy days were mingled with the shining of the rainbow glass. Baby saw the sorry look on her face, and stretched up his two arms to clasp her neck.
"Him is so sorry, so werry sorry," he said. "Him will take all the money of him's money-box to buy more shiny jugs for mother."
Mother kissed him, but told him that could not be.
"The jugs came from a far-away country, Baby dear," she said, "and you could not get them here. Besides, I cared for them in a way you can't understand. I had had them a long time, and one gets to care for things, even if they are not very pretty in themselves, when one has had them so long."
"Oh ses, him does understand," said Baby. "Him cares for old 'sings, far best."
"Yes," said Fritz, "he really does, mother. He cries when Lisa says she must put away his old shoes, and his old woolly lamb is dreadful—really dreadful, but he won't give it away."
"It has such a sweet face," said Baby.
"Well I don't care; I wish it was burnt up. He mustn't take it in the railway with us when we go away; must he, mother?"
"Couldn't it be washed?" said mother.
"I don't think so, and I don't believe Baby would like it as much if it was. Would you, Baby?" said Fritz.
Baby would not answer directly. He seemed rather in a hurry to change the subject.
"Mother," he said, "when we go away in the 'normous boat, won't we p'raps go to the country where the shiny jugs is made? And if him takes all the money in him's money-box, couldn't him buy some for you?"
"They wouldn't be the same ones," said Fritz.
Baby's face fell. Mother tried to comfort him.
"Never mind about the jugs any more just now," she said. "Some day, perhaps, when you are a big man you will get me some others quite as pretty, that I shall like for your sake. What will please me more than new jugs just now, Baby, is for you to promise me not to try to do things like that without telling any one. Just think how very badly hurt you might have been. If only you had waited to ask me about the little box all would have been right, and my pretty jugs would not have been broken."
"And mother told us that last night, you know, dear," said Fritz, in his proper big brother tone. "Don't you remember in the story about her when she was little? It all came of her not waiting for her big sister to see about the trunk."
Baby gave a deep sigh.
"If God hadn't put so much 'sinking into him's head, it would have been much better," he said. "Him 'sinks and 'sinks, and zen him can't help wanting to do 'sings zat moment minute."
"Then 'him' must learn what patience means," said mother with a little smile. "But I'll tell you what I've been thinking—that if we don't take care somebody else may be hurting themselves with the broken glass on the pantry floor."
"P'raps the cat," said Baby, starting up, "oh poor pussy, if her was to cut her dear little foots. Shall him go downstairs again, mother, to shut the door? Why, him's foot's still zather bleedy," he added, drawing out the wounded foot, which had a handkerchief wrapped round it above the plaster.
"No," said his mother, "it will be better for me to tell the servants myself," so she rang the bell, and as it was now about the time that Denny had thought it when Baby first woke up, in a few minutes her maid appeared, looking rather astonished. She looked still more astonished, and a little afraid too, when she caught sight of the two curly heads, one dark and one light, on mother's pillow.
"Is there anything wrong with the young gentlemen?" she said. "Shall I call Lisa, my lady?"
"No, not quite yet," said mother. "I rang to tell you to warn James and the others that there is some broken glass on the pantry floor, and they must be careful not to tread on it, and it must be swept up."
"Broken glass, ma'am," repeated the maid, who was rather what Denny called "'quisitive." "Was it the cat? I did think I heard a noise early this morning."
"No, it wasn't the cat," said mother. "It was an accident. James will see what is broken."
The light curly head had disappeared by this time under the clothes, for Baby had ducked out of sight, feeling ashamed of its being known that he had been the cat. But as soon as the maid had left the room he came up again to the surface like a little fish, and a warm feeling of thanks to his mother went through his heart.
"You won't tell the servants it were him, will you?" he whispered, stretching up for another kiss.
"No, not if 'him' promises never to try to do things like reaching down boxes for himself. Herr Baby must ask mother about things like that, mustn't he?" she said.
Mother often called him "Herr Baby" for fun. The name had taken her fancy when he was a very tiny child, and Lisa had first come to be his nurse. For Lisa was very polite; she would not have thought it at all proper to call him "Baby" all by itself.
Herr Baby kissed mother a third time, which, as he was not a very kissing person, was a great deal in one morning.
"Ses," he said, "him will always aks mother. Mother is so sweet," he added coaxingly.
"He calls everything he likes 'sweet,'" said Fritz. "Mother and the cat and the tiny trunk—they're all sweet.'"
But mother smiled, so Baby didn't mind.
"She did not say to the sun good-night, As she watched him there like a ball of light, For she knew he had God's time to keep All over the world, and never could sleep."
How, I can't tell, but, after all, somehow the packing got done, and everything was ready. They left a few things behind that Herr Baby would certainly have taken had he had the settling of it. They didn't take the horses, nor the fireplaces, and, of course, as the horses weren't to go, Thomas and Jones had to be left behind too to take care of them, which troubled Baby a good deal. And no doubt Thomas and Jones would have been very unhappy if it hadn't been for the nice way Baby spoke to them about coming back soon, and the letters he would send them on their birthdays, and that he would never like any other Thomases and Joneses as much as them. It was really quite nice to hear him, and Jones had to turn his head away a little—Baby was afraid it was to hide that he was crying.
It was a very busy time, and Baby was the busiest of any. There was so much to think of. The rabbits too had to be left behind, which was very sad, for one couldn't write letters to them on their birthdays; neither Denny, whom he asked about it, nor Baby himself, could tell when the rabbits' birthdays were, and besides, as Baby said, "what would be the good of writing them letters if they couldn't read them?" The only thing to do was to get the little girl at the lodge to promise to take them fresh cabbages every morning—that was one of the things Herr Baby had to see about, himself. Lisa lost him one morning, and found him at the lodge, after a great hunt, talking very gravely to the little girl about it.
"Zou will p'omise, Betsy, p'omise certain sure, nebber to forget," he was saying, and poor Betsy looked quite frightened, Herr Baby was so very solemn. Fritz wanted to make her kiss her mother's old Testament, the way he had seen men do sometimes in his grandfather's study when they came to tell about things, and to promise they would speak the truth; but Betsy, though she was ready enough to promise, didn't like the other idea at all. She might be had up to the court for such like doings, she said, and as neither Fritz nor Baby had any idea what sort of place the court was, though they fancied it was some kind of prison for people who didn't keep their word, they thought it better to leave it.
The "calanies" and the "Bully" were to go, that was a comfort, and Peepy-Snoozle and Tim, the two dormice, also, another comfort. Baby's own packing was a serious matter, but, on the whole, I think mother and Lisa and everybody were rather glad he had it to do, as it gave other people a chance of getting theirs done without the little feet pattering along the passage or up the stairs, and the little shrill voice asking what was going to be put into this trunk or into that carpet-bag. He gave up thinking so much about the other packing after a while, for he found his own took all his time and attention. Mother had found him a box after all. Not the box of course—that was left empty, by Baby's wish, till some day when he was a big man, he should go to the country of the fairy glass and buy mother some new jugs—but a very nice little box, and she gave him cotton wool and crushy paper too, and everything was as neat as possible, and the box quite packed and ready, the first evening. But it was very queer that every day after that Herr Baby found something or other he had forgotten, or something that Denny and he decided in their early morning talks, that it would be silly to take. Or else it came into his head in the night that his best Bible would be better in the other corner, and the scenty purse on the top of it instead of at one side. Any way it always happened that the box had to be unpacked and packed again, and the very last evening there was Herr Baby on his knees before it on the floor, giving the finishing touches, long after he should have been in bed.
"And we have to be up so early to-morrow morning," said mother, "my dear little boy, you really should have been fast asleep by this time."
"And he wakes me so early in the morning," said Denny, who was standing before the fire giving herself little cross shakes every time poor Lisa, who was combing out her long fair hair, came to a tuggy bit. "Lisa, you're hurting me; Lisa, do take care," she added snappishly.
"My dear Denny, how very impatient you are!" said her mother. "I don't know how you will bear all the little discomforts of a long journey if you can't bear to have your hair combed."
On this, Denny, as Fritz would have said, "shut up." She could not bear it to be thought that she was babyish or "silly." Her great, great wish was to be considered quite a big girl. You could get her to do anything by telling her it would be babyish not to do it, or that doing it would be like big people, which, of course, showed that she was rather babyish in reality, as sensible children understand that they cannot be like big people in everything, and that they wouldn't be at all nice if they were.
Baby always felt sorry for Denny or any of them when mother found fault with them. He jumped up from the floor—at least he got up, his legs were too short for him to spring either up or down very actively—and trotted across to his sister.
"Poor Denny," he said, reaching up to kiss her, "him won't wake her up so early to-mollow morning."
"But we'll have to wake early to-morrow," said Denny, rather crossly still, "it's no use you beginning good ways about not waking me now, just when everything's changed."
Baby looked rather sad.
"Is your box quite ready now, dear?" said his mother. "Well then, let Lisa get you ready for bed as quick as she can, and you and Denny must go to sleep without any talking, and wake fresh in the morning."
But Baby still looked sad; his face began working and twisting, and at last he ran to mother and hid it in her lap, bursting into tears.
"Denny makes him so unhappy," he said. "Him doesn't like everysing to be changed like Denny says. Him is so sorry to go away and to leave him's house and Thomas and Jones, and oh! him is so sorry to leave the labbits!"
"And him's a tired little boy. I think it's because he's so tired that he's so sad about going away," said mother. "Think, dear, how nice it is that we're all going together, not Celia or Fritz or anybody left behind. For you know Thomas has his old mother he wouldn't like to leave, and Jones has his wife and children. And if the rabbits could talk, I'm quite sure they would tell you that they'd far rather stay here in their own nice little house, with plenty of cabbages, than be bundled into a box and taken away in the railway ever so far, without being able to run about for ever so many days."
Baby's face cleared a little.
"Betsy has p'omised," he said to himself. Then he added, "Him won't like the railway neither if it's like that."
"But him's not going to be put in a box or a basket," said mother, laughing. "Him will have a nice little corner all to himself in a cushioned railway carriage, only just now he really must go to bed."
So she kissed him for good-night, and Denny too, who, by this time, had recovered her good-humour in the interest of listening to the conversation between her mother and Herr Baby, and soon both little sister and brother were fast asleep in their cots, dreaming about the journey before them I daresay, or perhaps forgetting all about it in the much queerer and stranger journeys that small people are apt to fly away upon at night, when their tired little bodies seem to be lying quite still and motionless in bed.
It was strange enough—almost as strange as a dream—the next morning when, long before it was light, they had all to get up and be dressed at once in their going-out things—that is to say their thick boots and gaiters, and woollen under-jackets (for it was very cold, though not yet far on in November), while their ulsters and comforters and caps, and the girls' sealskin coats and muffs and hats, were all laid out in four little heaps by Lisa, so that they should be ready to put on the moment breakfast was over.
What a funny breakfast! Candles on the table, for it was not, of course, worth while to light the lamp, and everything looking more like a sort of "muddley tea," Fritz said, than their usual trim nursery breakfast.
"I can't eat," said Fritz, throwing down his bread and butter; "it's no use."
"And there's eggs!" said Denny, who was comfortably at work at hers, looking across at Fritz as if it wouldn't be very difficult to eat up his egg too. "I think it's very kind of cook to have got up so early and made us eggs 'cos we were going away, and——"
"'Twasn't cook, 'twas Abigail," said Fritz. "I saw her coming up with the eggs all in a pan with hot water, so that they shouldn't get cold, she said to Lisa."
"Well then it was very kind of Abigail, and——" said Denny.
"'Twasn't Abigail that made the eggs," said Baby, "'twas the hens zat laid them. Denny should say the hens was werry kind."
"Oh bother," said Denny, "I wish you'd not interrupt me. I don't care who it was. I only want to say it's very stupid of Fritz not to eat his egg, when somebody made them for us, extra you know, because we're going away, and I think Fritz is very stupid."
"Come, Herr Fritz," said Lisa, encouragingly, "try and eat. You will be so hungry."
"I can't," said Fritz, "I've got a horrid feeling just like when mother took me to have that big tooth out. I feel all shaky and cruddley."
"Yes, I know," said Denny, going on with her breakfast all the same, "but eating's the best thing to make it go away. I felt just that way the day I broke grandfather's hotness measure, and mother said I must tell him myself. I couldn't eat a bit of dinner, and I sat on the stair all screwged up, waiting for him to go to the study."
"How dedful!" said Baby, with great feeling. But neither Fritz nor Celia seemed to think much of Denny's sufferings. No one had ever seen her nerves disturbed, and they did not therefore much believe in her having any.
"Grandfather's what did you say?" asked Celia.
"His hotness measure—the little glass pipe thing with a blob that goes up and down. He's got another now, you know."
"You mean his thermometer; you really should learn the proper names of things," said Celia, "you're quite big enough."
Denny would probably not have taken this in good part, though the "quite big enough" at the end was very much to her taste, but there was no time this morning for squabbling.
"Quick, quick, mine children," said Lisa, "the cart with the luggage is 'way, and the Herr Grandpapa is buttoning his coat."
"And Fritz hasn't eaten his egg!" said Denny, eyeing it dolefully, as Lisa was fastening her jacket.
"I couldn't," said Fritz. "There'll be sandwiches or something in the train—sure to be. Now come on; let's see what have I got to look after. Only Tim and Peepy-Snoozle. I couldn't lose my satchel, you see, for its strapped on me. Much more sensible than girls, who have to carry their bags over their arms."
And Fritz, in a new ulster, very long and rather stiff, and feeling, to tell the truth, a little uncomfortable at first, as new things generally do, stalked off—I don't think he could have run!—with the air of a very big man indeed.
Celia and Denny had a slight dispute as to which was which of the bird's cages. For it had been settled that, for the journey at least, the canaries were to be Celia's charge and the "Bully" Denny's, though, hitherto, these three little birds had belonged to all the children together.
"You've got my cage, Denny," said Celia, sharply.
"I haven't," said Denny, holding hers the more tightly. It was not very easy to see, for both were covered up with dark blue stuff wrappers, to keep the birds warm, "and to make them think it's night all the way," said Baby.
"I haven't," repeated Denny, "there, don't you see two yellow tails in yours? Peep through."
And Denny proved to be right, so Celia had to give in.
And at last they were off! The drive to the station safely over without any misadventures, the luggage all locked up in the van, the children and the dormice and the birds—far more important things, of course, than the big people!—all comfortably settled at one end of the nice big saloon carriage, which grandfather had had sent down on purpose from London.
"Dear me," said Denny, jigging up and down on her seat, "so we're really off! How nice and springy these cushions are! And this carriage is as big as a little house. I could never be tired of travelling in a carriage like this."
"Him zought we'd nebber get away," said Baby, with his usual solemnity. "Dear, dear, what dedful lots of boxes there is! Him's box is 'aside the 'normous big straw one; did zou know, Denny?"
"Poor grandfather," said Celia, "what a lot of times he said over, 'three black portmanteaux, four, no five canvas-covered, four carpet bags, one—fourteen in all. Is that right, Helen? Grandfather's something like Baby, he thinks no one can do anything right but himself; and there's Peters come on purpose to bother about these things." (Peters was grandfather's own servant.) "I wish grandfather wouldn't fuss so. I hate people to think he's a fussy old man, something like Mr. Briggs in Punch. As if he had never travelled before!"
As may be imagined, these remarks of Celia's were made in a low voice, for, of course, they were intended for the nursery party alone. Fritz flew up in grandfather's defence.
"Very fine, Miss Celia," he said. "You may laugh at grandfather for fussing, but suppose he didn't, and suppose that when we get to—oh, bother, I can't say those French names—wherever it is we're going to, suppose that Madamazelle Celia's trunk was lost, and Madamazelle Celia hadn't any best frocks or flounces, or Sunday hats, how would Madamazelle Celia look then? Perhaps she'd wish then that grandfather had fussed a little."
Celia turned to look for her bag, and having found it, she took out the book which she had brought with her to read on the way.
"You're too silly to speak to, Fritz," she said; "I'm going to read."
"So am I," said Denny, who had likewise armed herself with a book, though she was rather a dunce for her age, and couldn't read "runningly" as French people say. But big people always had books to read in the railway—that was enough for Denny, of course, to try to do so too.
"I'm going to take a nap, then," said Fritz, who was really looking rather white and tired. He had been wakened out of a very sound sleep this morning, and had not been able to eat any breakfast. Lisa thought that taking a nap was the best thing he could do, so she got down a bundle of the rugs to make him a pillow, and helped him to tuck up his legs comfortably, and Fritz settled himself for his little sleep, making Lisa promise to waken him when they came to a big station.
So everybody seemed inclined to be quiet. Herr Baby's corner was by the window. He looked about him. Celia and Denny were buried in their books, Fritz seemed asleep already; of the big people at the other end, grandfather's face was quite hidden in his newspaper, which he had kept over from last night on purpose to have something to read in the train, knowing that they would start before the postman came in the morning, and mother and auntie were talking together, softly, not to disturb him.
"Should you like the window more open?" said grandfather, suddenly looking up.
"No, thank you," said auntie. "I think that little chink is enough. It is really very cold this morning."
"How good the children are!" said mother. She spoke in a lower voice than auntie; but Baby heard her, for he had quick ears. "One could almost fancy they were all asleep."
"Yes," said auntie, "if it would last all the way to Santino, or even to Paris!"
"Or even to London!" said mother. "But they'll all be jumping about like grasshoppers before long."
Then they went on talking softly again about other things; and Baby didn't hear, and didn't care to hear. Besides, he had already been taught a lesson that boys and girls cannot learn too young, which is, that to listen to things you are not meant to hear is a sort of cheating, for it is like taking something not meant for you. Of course, while auntie and mother were talking in a louder voice he could not help hearing, and it was no harm to listen, as if they had minded his hearing they would have spoken more in a whisper.
Baby turned to his window to amuse himself by looking out. First he tried to count the telegraph wires, but he could never be sure if there were eight or nine—he had not yet learnt to count higher than ten—for the top ones were so tiresome, they danced away out of sight, and all of a sudden danced down again, and sometimes they seemed to join together, so that he could not tell if they were one or two. He wondered what made them wave up and down so; whether there were men down in the ground that pulled them, and what they did it for; he had heard of "sending telegrams," and Denny had told him it meant sending messages on wires, but he did not know that these were the wires used for that. He fancied these wires must have something to do with the railway; perhaps they were to show the people living in the fields that the trains were coming, so that they shouldn't get in the way and be "runned over." This made Baby begin to think of the people living in the fields; they were just then passing a little cottage standing all by itself. It looked a nice cottage, and it had a sort of little garden round it, and some cocks and hens were picking about. Baby looked back at the little cottage as long as he could see it; he wondered who lived in it, if there were any little boys and girls, and what they did all day. He wondered if they went to school, or if perhaps they sometimes went messages for their mother, and if they weren't frightened if they had to pass through the wood, which by this time the train was running along the edge of. Could this be Red Riding Hood's wood, perhaps? Baby shuddered as this idea came into his mind. Or it might be the wood that Hop-o'-my-thumb and his six brothers had to make their way through, where the birds would pick the crumbs they dropped to show the path. It would be very "dedful" for seven little boys to be lost in a wood like that, and still worse for one little boy all alone. Baby was very glad that when little boys had to go through woods now it was in nice railway carriages with mothers and aunties and everybodies with them. But even in this way the wood made him feel a very little frightened; just then it got so much darker. He looked up to see if they were all still reading or asleep; he almost thought he would ask Lisa to take him on her knee a little, when, all of a sudden, the "railway," as he called it, screamed out something very sharp and loud, the rattle and the noise got "bummier" and yet sharper; Baby could see no trees, no fields, "no nothing." What could it be? It was worse than the wood.
"Oh, Lisa," cried poor Herr Baby, "the railway horses must have runned the wrong way. We's going down into the cellars of the world."
Lisa caught him up in her arms and comforted him as well as she could. It was only a tunnel, she told him, and she explained to him what a tunnel was, just a sort of passage through a hill, and that there was nothing to be frightened at. And she persuaded him to look up and see what a nice little lamp there was at the top of the carriage, on purpose to light them up while they were in the dark. Baby was quite pleased when he saw the little lamp.
"Who put it 'zere?" he said. "Were it God?"
He was rather disappointed when Lisa told him that it was the railway men who put it up, but then he thought again that it was very kind of the railway men, and that it must have been God who taught them to be so kind, which Lisa quite agreed in. But even though the little lamp was very nice, Baby was very pleased to get out of the tunnel, and out of the rumbly, rattly noise, into the open daylight again, with the beautiful sun shining down at them out of the sky. For the day was growing brighter as it went on, and the air was a little frosty, which made everything look clear and fresh.
"Nice sun," said Baby, glancing up at his old friend in the sky, "that's the bestest lamp of all, isn't it? and it were God put it up there."
After that he must, I think, have taken a little nap in Lisa's arms almost without knowing it, for he didn't seem to hear anything more or to think where he was or anything, till all of a sudden he heard mother's voice speaking.
"Won't Baby have a sandwich, Lisa? And Denny, why, have you been asleep too, Denny?"
And sitting up on Lisa's knee, all rosy and dimpled with sleeping, his fair curls in a pretty tumble about his eyes, Baby saw Denny, looking very sleepy too, but trying hard to hide it.
"Oh," she said, smoothing down her hair and sitting up very straight, "I've been reading such a long time that my eyes got quite tired; that was why I shut them."
"Oh indeed!" said mother, but Baby could see that she was smiling at Denny, though she didn't laugh right out like Fritz and Celia.
They were all very happy, however, with their sandwiches and buns, and after they had eaten as much as they wanted, auntie taught them a sort of guessing game, which helped to pass the time, for already Denny and Fritz were beginning to think even the big saloon carriage rather a small room to spend a whole day in.
They passed two or three big stations, and then they were allowed to get out and walk up and down the platform a little, which was a nice change. But Baby was so dreadfully afraid of any of them being left behind that he could hardly be persuaded to get out at all, and once when he and Lisa were waiting alone in the carriage while the others walked about, and the train moved on a little way to another part, he screamed so loudly—
"Oh, mother, oh, auntie, oh, ganfather, and Celia, and Fritz, and Denny! All, all is left behind!"—that there was quite a commotion in the station, and when the train moved back again, and they all got in, he was obliged to kiss and hug each one separately, several times over, before he could feel quite sure he had them all safe and sound, and that "not nobody" was missing.
It seemed a long time after it got dark, even though the little lamp was still lighted. But it was not light enough to see to read, and "the big lamp up in the sky," as Baby said, "was kite goned away." It puzzled him very much how the sun could go away every night and come back every morning, and the queerest thing of all was what Celia had told him—that "away there," in the far-off country where they were going, there would still be the same sun, the very same sun, that they had seen every morning peeping up behind the kitchen-garden wall, and whose red face they had said good-night to on the winter evenings, as he slipped away to bed down below the old elms in the avenue, where the rooks had their nests. Somehow as Baby sat in his corner, staring out now and then at the darkness through which they were whizzing, blinking up sometimes at the little lamp shining faintly in the roof, there came before his mind the pictures of all they had left behind; he seemed to see the garden and the trees so plain, and he thought how very, very quiet and lonely it must seem there now, and Baby's little heart grew sad. He felt so sorry for all the things they had left—the rabbits and the pussy most of all, of course, but even for the dear old trees, and the sweet, "denkle" flowers in the garden; even for the tables and chairs in the house he felt sorry.
"Him's poor little bed will be so cold and lonely," he said to himself. "Him sinks going away is werry sad."
BY LAND AND SEA
"So the wind blew softly, And the sun shone bright."
Grandfather had fixed that it would be best to go straight through at once to the seaport, where, the next morning, they would find the 'normous boat waiting to take them over the sea. They had to pass through London on the way, and, by the time they got to the big London station, Baby was very tired—so white and quiet that mother was a little frightened.
"I almost wish," she said, "that we had fixed to stay all night in London. Baby has never had a long railway journey before, since he was a real Baby, you know, and he is not very strong."
She was speaking to auntie. It was just when they were getting near the big London station. Auntie looked at Baby. He was lying on Lisa's knee with his eyes shut, as if he were asleep, but he wasn't. He heard what they said, and he was rather pleased at them talking about him. In some ways he was very fond of being made a fuss about.
"He does look a little white shrimp," said auntie. "But then you know, May, he is so fair. He looks more quickly white if he is tired than other children. And he has been such a good little man all day—not one bit of trouble. He is really a capital traveller—ever so much quieter than the others."
She said these last few words in a low tone, not caring for the other children to hear; but if she had spoken quite loud I don't think they would have heard, and, indeed, it seemed as if they wanted to show that auntie's words were true; for just at that moment there came such a scream from Denny that everybody started up in a fright.
What could be the matter? everybody asked.
"It's all Denny," said Fritz, in a great fuss.
"It's not; it's all Fritz and Celia," said Denny.
"It's both of them," said Celia. "Mother, I wish you wouldn't let them be near each other. Denny put her hand into the dormice's cage when Fritz wasn't looking, and she poked out Tim, who was just beginning to come awake for the night, and she as nearly as could be got his tail pulled off, and then, when Fritz caught her, she screamed."