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16. 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
'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