Readings for Rural Life

From Moore’s Rural New-Yorker in Rochester, NY

November 26th, 1864


If there is anything of which I am positively afraid, it is a baby – a real, live, genuine, long-white-gowned baby. I like little ducks, chickens, turkeys, and pigs are quite admissible. But a little, bald-headed, red-faced, tender-eyed, mouth-puckered baby is inadmissible. I am a very courageous youth; I hardly know the feeling of fear, but deliver me from entering a room where I am liable to be asked to hold some body’s “dear baby!” I rather hold a bag of cats. I am afraid to hold the thing with any degree of tenacity, for fear of squeezing it to death, and if I do not hold it fast, I am afraid it will fall to pieces. If I look at it, it sets up a squall, and if I do not look at it, it upsets itself.

Besides making me tremble with fear and horrible apprehensions, a baby nonpluses me. I neither know how to act, what to say, which way to look, or what to do with myself. So with a species of desperation unknown under any other circumstances, I grab a portion of the garments on either side of the bundle of flesh, and hang on! To keep my stomach from turning treasonable, I call up all the prose and poetry I ever read, to help me to believe that they are sweet, angelic, and the other pretty things that some women and a few men have written about, but I never could see where the dear adjectives applied. I never could understand why some persons will go a long distance just to see a baby, when I would go as far the other way to avoid it. When you have seen one you have seen the whole craft, for they all look alike. Some one, in the Rural, some time ago, says he “would recommend no many to marry a woman who says ‘I hate babies!’” and adds that such a one “is not fit to be a wife,” &c. So I infer if a baby is brought into a room full of young women, the one who makes the greatest pow-wow over it, and thinks Heaven has one in every niche and corner, and Earth is rendered a Paradise by their presence, she is the one who would make a model married woman. I do not deny his statement. I rarely indulge in newspaper conflicts – I have too much regard for the editors. On the contrary, I think “Lead Pencil” is correct, for I most thoroughly dislike babies! Even when a five-year-old girl, if one came toward me with a baby, I would run as if a thousand snakes were after me. But being considerably older now, I kill the snakes and run from the babies. S I suppose, according to “Lead Pencil’s” phraseology, when a marriageable man meets me, he ought to turn his head away, and run for his dear life. That would hardly be advisable, for having a profound passion for imitating broadcloth, I might “put” after him, and bless him! (just imagine how that would look!) he would think is time had come, surely.


Published in: on November 20, 2014 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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