IN WHICH OUR HERO HAS TO WAIT THE ISSUE OF AN ARGUMENT
The reader may observe that, in general, all my first chapters are very short, and increase in length as the work advances. I mention this as a proof of my modesty and diffidence. At first, I am like a young bird just out of its mothers nest, pluming my little feathers and taking short flights. By degrees I obtain more confidence, and wing my course over hill and dale.
It is very difficult to throw any interest into a chapter on childhood. There is the same uniformity in all children until they develop. We cannot, therefore, say much relative to Jack Easys earliest days; he sucked and threw up his milk, while the nurse blessed it for a pretty dear, slept, and sucked again. He crowed in the morning like a cock, screamed when he was washed, stared at the candle, and made wry faces with the wind. Six months passed in these innocent amusements, and then he was put into shorts. But I ought here to have remarked, that Mrs. Easy did not find herself equal to nursing her own infant, and it was necessary to look out for a substitute.
Now a commonplace person would have been satisfied with the recommendation of the medical man, who looks but to the one thing needful, which is a sufficient and wholesome supply of nourishment for the child; but Mr. Easy was a philosopher, and had latterly taken to craniology, and he descanted very learnedly with the Doctor upon the effect of his only son obtaining his nutriment from an unknown source. Who knows, observed Mr. Easy, but that my son may not imbibe with his milk the very worst passions of human nature.
I have examined her, replied the Doctor, and can safely recommend her.
That examination is only preliminary to one more important, replied Mr. Easy. I must examine her.
Examine who, Mr. Easy? exclaimed his wife, who had lain down again on the bed.
The nurse, my dear.
Examine what, Mr. Easy? continued the lady.
Her head, my dear, replied the husband. I must ascertain what her propensities are.
I think you had better leave her alone, Mr. Easy. She comes this evening, and I shall question her pretty severely. Dr. Middleton, what do you know of this young person?
I know, madam, that she is very healthy and strong, or I should not have selected her.
But is her character good?
Really, madam, I know little about her character; but you can make any inquiries you please. But at the same time I ought to observe, that if you are too particular in that point, you will have some difficulty in providing yourself.
Well, I shall see, replied Mrs. Easy.
And I shall feel, rejoined the husband.
This parleying was interrupted by the arrival of the very person in question, who was announced by the housemaid, and was ushered in. She was a handsome, florid, healthy-looking girl, awkward and naive in her manner, and apparently not over wise; there was more of the dove than of the serpent in her composition.
Mr. Easy, who was very anxious to make his own discoveries, was the first who spoke. Young woman, come this way, I wish to examine your head.
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