Baby Worship

‘Diddle, diddle, diddle, diddle, dum, dum, dum,’ said, or sung Eleanor Bold.

‘Diddle, diddle, diddle, diddle, dum, dum, dum,’ continued Mary Bold, taking up the second part in the concerted piece.

The only audience at the concert was the baby, who however gave such vociferous applause, that the performers presuming it to amount to an encore, commenced again.

‘Diddle, diddle, diddle, diddle, dum, dum, dum: hasn’t he got lovely legs?’ said the rapturous mother.

‘H’m, ’m, ’m, ’m, ’m,’ simmered Mary, burying her lips in the little fellow’s fat neck, by way of kissing him.

‘H’m, ’m, ’m, ’m, ’m,’ simmered the mamma, burying her lips also in his fat round short legs. ‘He’s a dawty little bold darling, so he is; and he has the nicest little pink legs in all the world, so he has;’ and the simmering and the kissing went on over again, and as though the ladies were very hungry, and determined to eat him.

‘Well, then, he’s his own mother’s own darling: well, he shall—oh, oh,—Mary, Mary—did you ever see? What am I to do? My naughty, naughty, naughty little Johnny.’ All these energetic exclamations were elicited by the delight of the mother in finding that her son was strong enough and mischievous enough, to pull all her hair out from under her cap. ‘He’s been and pulled down all mamma’s hair, and he’s the naughtiest, naughtiest, naughtiest little man that ever, ever, ever, ever, ever—’

A regular service of baby worship was going on. Mary Bold was sitting on a low easy chair, with the boy in her lap, and Eleanor was kneeling before the object of her idolatry. As she tried to cover up the little fellow’s face with her long, glossy, dark brown locks, and permitted him to pull them hither and thither, as he would, she looked very beautiful in spite of the widow’s cap which she still wore. There was a quiet, enduring, grateful sweetness about her face, which grew so strongly upon those who knew her, as to make the great praise of her beauty which came from her old friends, appear marvellously exaggerated to those who were only slightly acquainted with her. Her loveliness was like that of many landscapes, which require to be often seen to be fully enjoyed. There was a depth of dark clear brightness in her eyes which was lost upon a quick observer, a character about her mouth which only showed itself to those with whom she familiarly conversed, a glorious form of head the perfect symmetry of which required the eyes of an artist for its appreciation. She had none of that dazzling brilliancy, of that voluptuous Rubens beauty, of that pearly whiteness, and those vermilion tints, which immediately entranced with the power of a basilisk men who came within reach of Madeline Neroni. It was all be impossible to resist the signora, but no one was called upon for any resistance towards Eleanor. You might begin to talk to her as though she were your sister, and it would not be till your head was on your pillow, that the truth and intensity of her beauty would flash upon you; that the sweetness of her voice would come upon your ear. A sudden half–hour with the Neroni, was like falling into a pit; an evening spent with Eleanor like an unexpected ramble in some quiet fields of asphodel.

‘We’ll cover him up till there shan’t be a morsel of his little ‘ittle, ’ittle, ’ittle nose to be seen,’ said the mother, stretching her streaming locks over the infant’s face. The child screamed with delight, and kicked till Mary Bold was hardly able to hold him.

At this moment the door opened, and Mr Slope was announced. Up jumped Eleanor, and with a sudden quick motion of her hands pushed back her hair over her shoulders. It would have been perhaps better for her that she had not, for she thus showed more of her confusion than she would have done had she remained as she was. Mr Slope, however, immediately recognised the loveliness, and thought to himself, that irrespective of her fortune, she would be an inmate that a man might well desire for his house, a partner for his bosom’s care very well qualified to make care lie easy. Eleanor hurried out of the room to re–adjust her cap, muttering some unnecessary apology about her baby. And while she was gone, we will briefly go back and state what had been hitherto the results of Mr Slope’s meditations on his scheme of matrimony.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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