Rilla of Ingleside HTML version

VIII. Rilla Decides
Families and individuals alike soon become used to new conditions and accept them
unquestioningly. By the time a week had elapsed it seemed as it the Anderson baby
had always been at Ingleside. After the first three distracted nights Rilla began to sleep
again, waking automatically to attend to her charge on schedule time. She bathed and
fed and dressed it as skilfully as if she had been doing it all her life. She liked neither
her job nor the baby any the better; she still handled it as gingerly as if it were some
kind of a small lizard, and a breakable lizard at that; but she did her work thoroughly and
there was not a cleaner, better-cared-for infant in Glen St. Mary. She even took to
weighing the creature every day and jotting the result down in her diary; but sometimes
she asked herself pathetically why unkind destiny had ever led her down the Anderson
lane on that fatal day. Shirley, Nan, and Di did not tease her as much as she had
expected. They all seemed rather stunned by the mere fact of Rilla adopting a war-
baby; perhaps, too, the doctor had issued instructions. Walter, of course, never had
teased her over anything; one day he told her she was a brick.
"It took more courage for you to tackle that five pounds of new infant, Rilla-my-Rilla,
than it would be for Jem to face a mile of Germans. I wish I had half your pluck," he said
Rilla was very proud of Walter's approval; nevertheless, she wrote gloomily in her diary
that night:--
"I wish I could like the baby a little bit. It would make things easier. But I don't. I've heard
people say that when you took care of a baby you got fond of it--but you don't--I don't,
anyway. And it's a nuisance-- it interferes with everything. It just ties me down--and now
of all times when I'm trying to get the Junior Reds started. And I couldn't go to Alice
Clow's party last night and I was just dying to. Of course father isn't really unreasonable
and I can always get an hour or two off in the evening when it's necessary; but I knew
he wouldn't stand for my being out half the night and leaving Susan or mother to see to
the baby. I suppose it was just as well, because the thing did take colic--or something--
about one o'clock. It didn't kick or stiffen out, so I knew that, according to Morgan, it
wasn't crying for temper; and it wasn't hungry and no pins were sticking in it. It
screamed till it was black in the face; I got up and heated water and put the hot-water
bottle on its stomach, and it howled worse than ever and drew up its poor wee thin legs.
I was afraid I had burnt it but I don't believe I did. Then I walked the floor with it although
'Morgan on Infants' says that should never be done. I walked miles, and oh, I was so
tired and discouraged and mad--yes, I was. I could have shaken the creature if it had
been big enough to shake, but it wasn't. Father was out on a case, and mother had had