Her father and mother arose from their seats in perfect amazement, and followed their little girl to her room, where, lying upon her bed, was a bundle from which came a baby’s cries. Nannette’s mother began to unfasten the wrappings, and sure enough there was a wee little girl not more than two or three weeks old looking up at them with two great wet eyes.
Of course Nannette was questioned, and she related all she could remember of her talk with the woman from whom she bought the baby. Her papa said perhaps the baby had been stolen, and that something had been given to it to make it sleep.
“But what shall we do with it?” asked both the father and mother. “Do with it?” cried Nannette. “Why, it is my baby, mamma! I paid all my money for it. It cries, it does! I will keep it always.”
So it was decided, that the baby should stay, if nobody came to claim it, which nobody ever did, although Nannette’s papa put an advertisement in a newspaper about it.
It would take a larger book than this one in which to tell all of Nannette’s experiences in taking care of “my baby,” as she called the little girl, whom she afterward named Victoria, in honor of the then young queen of England.
Victoria is now a woman, and she lives, as does Nannette, in the city of Philadelphia. She has a little girl of her own, “mos’ six” who is named Nannette for the good little “sister-mother,” who once upon a time bought her mamma of a strange woman for a quarter of a dollar, as she thought. And this other little Nannette never tires of hearing the romantic story of the indolent “Didy” and the “real little live baby that will cry.”
Molly was six years old; a plump, roly-poly little girl with long, crimpy golden hair and great blue eyes. She had ever so many brothers; Fred, a year older than herself, and who went to the Kindergarten with her, was her favorite. Molly was very fond of swinging on the front-yard gate; a forbidden pleasure, by the way. This is the preface to my story about Molly.
One windy, sunny day the little girl was “riding to Boston” on the front gate; she had swung out and let the wind blow her back again a half dozen times, and she was happy as a captain on the high seas, enjoying the swaying, dizzy motion.
Every little girl—and many a boy—has swung on a gate, standing tip-toe on the lower bar, leaning the chin on the upper bar; and as the gate swayed outward, watched the brick pavement rush under foot like a swift stream, all the time dreaming she was a steamboat.
In some such position, with some such thoughts. I suppose, was our Molly when a strange cry reached her ears.
“Brothers for sale? Brothers for sale? Got any brothers for sale?”
“Dot a plenty,” said Molly as the gate swung plump against the oddest great man.