I drove slowly home, and little Pat
lay very quiet, looking up steadily at me with his
twinkling blue eyes. For a time, everything went
very well, but happening to look up, I saw in the
distance a carriage approaching. It was an open
barouche, and I knew it belonged to a family of our
acquaintance, in the village, and that it usually contained
Quick as thought, I rolled up Pat
in his shawl and stuffed him under the seat.
Then rearranging the lap-robe over my knees, I drove
on, trembling a little, it is true.
As I supposed, the carriage contained
ladies, and I knew them all. The coachman instinctively
drew up, as we approached. We always stopped and
spoke, on such occasions.
They asked me after my wife, apparently
surprised to see me alone, and made a number of pleasant
observations, to all of which I replied with as unconcerned
and easy an air as I could assume. The ladies
were in excellent spirits, but in spite of this, there
seemed to be an air of repression about them, which
I thought of when I drove on, but could not account
for, for little Pat never moved or whimpered, during
the whole of the interview.
But when I took him again in my lap,
and happened to turn, as I arranged the robe, I saw
his bottle sticking up boldly by my side from between
the cushions. Then I did not wonder at the repression.
When I reached home, I drove directly
to the barn. Fortunately, Jonas was there.
When I called him and handed little Pat to him I never
saw a man more utterly amazed. He stood, and
held the child without a word. But when I explained
the whole affair to him, he comprehended it perfectly,
and was delighted. I think he was just as anxious
for my plan to work as I was myself, although he did
not say so.
I was about to take the child into
the house, when Jonas remarked that it was barefooted.
“That won’t do,”
I said. “It certainly had socks on, when
I got it. I saw them.”
“Here they are,” said
Jonas, fishing them out from the shawl, “he’s
kicked them off.”
“Well, we must put them on,”
I said, “it won’t do to take him in, that
way. You hold him.”
So Jonas sat down on the feed-box,
and carefully taking little Pat, he held him horizontally,
firmly pressed between his hands and knees, with his
feet stuck out toward me, while I knelt down before
him and tried to put on the little socks. But
the socks were knit or worked very loosely, and there
seemed to be a good many small holes in them, so that
Pat’s funny little toes, which he kept curling
up and uncurling, were continually making their appearance
in unexpected places through the sock. But, after
a great deal of trouble, I got them both on, with the
heels in about the right places.
“Now they ought to be tied on,”
I said, “Where are his garters?”
“I don’t believe babies
have garters,” said Jonas, doubtfully, “but
I could rig him up a pair.”
“No,” said I; “we
wont take the time for that. I’ll hold his
legs apart, as I carry him in. It’s rubbing
his feet together that gets them off.”
As I passed the kitchen window, I
saw Pomona at work. She looked at me, dropped
something, and I heard a crash. I don’t
know how much that crash cost me. Jonas rushed
in to tell Pomona about it, and in a moment I heard
a scream of laughter. At this, Euphemia appeared
at an upper window, with her hand raised and saying,
severely: “Hush-h!” But the moment
she saw me, she disappeared from the window and came
down-stairs on the run. She met me, just as I
entered the dining-room.
“What in the world!” she breathlessly
“This,” said I, taking
Pat into a better position in my arms, “is my
said Euphemia. “Where did you get it? what
are you going to do with it?”
“I got it in New Dublin,”
I replied, “and I want it to amuse and occupy
me while I am at home. I haven’t anything
else to do, except things that take me away from you.”
“Oh!” said Euphemia.
At this moment, little Pat gave his
first whimper. Perhaps he felt the searching
glance that fell upon him from the lady in the middle
of the room.
I immediately began to walk up and
down the floor with him, and to sing to him.
I did not know any infant music, but I felt sure that
a soothing tune was the great requisite, and that
the words were of small importance. So I started
on an old Methodist tune, which I remembered very
well, and which was used with the hymn containing the
“Weak and wounded,
sick and sore,”
and I sang, as soothingly as I could:
“Lit-tle Pat-sy, Wat-sy,
Does he feel a lit-ty
Me will send and get
have to cry-wy-wy.”
“What an idiot!” said
Euphemia, laughing in spite of her vexation.
“No, we aint no id-i-otses
What we want’s
a bot-ty mik.”
So I sang as I walked to the kitchen
door, and sent Jonas to the barn for the bottle.
Pomona was in spasms of laughter in
the kitchen, and Euphemia was trying her best not
to laugh at all.
“Who’s going to take care
of it, I’d like to know?” she said, as
soon as she could get herself into a state of severe
“Some-times me, and
I sang, still walking up and down
the room with a long, slow step, swinging the baby
from side to side, very much as if it were grass-seed
in a sieve, and I were sowing it over the carpet.
When the bottle came, I took it, and
began to feed little Pat. Perhaps the presence
of a critical and interested audience embarrassed us,
for Jonas and Pomona were at the door, with streaming
eyes, while Euphemia stood with her handkerchief to
the lower part of her face, or it may have been that
I did not understand the management of bottles, but,
at any rate, I could not make the thing work, and
the disappointed little Pat began to cry, just as
the whole of our audience burst into a wild roar of
“Here! Give me that child!”
cried Euphemia, forcibly taking Pat and the bottle
from me. “You’ll make it swallow the
whole affair, and I’m sure its mouth’s
“You really don’t think,”
she said, when we were alone, and little Pat, with
his upturned blue eyes serenely surveying the features
of the good lady who knew how to feed him, was placidly
pulling away at his india-rubber tube, “that
I will consent to your keeping such a creature as
this in the house? Why, he’s a regular little
Paddy! If you kept him he’d grow up into
“Good!” said I. “I
never thought of that. What a novel thing it would
be to witness the gradual growth of a hod-carrier!
I’ll make him a little hod, now, to begin with.
He couldn’t have a more suitable toy.”
“I was talking in earnest,”
she said. “Take your baby, and please carry
him home as quick as you can, for I am certainly not
going to take care of him.”
“Of course not,” said
I. “Now that I see how it’s done,
I’m going to do it myself. Jonas will mix
his feed and I will give it to him. He looks
sleepy now. Shall I take him upstairs and lay
him on our bed?”
“No, indeed,” cried Euphemia.
“You can put him on a quilt on the floor, until
after luncheon, and then you must take him home.”
I laid the young Milesian on the folded
quilt which Euphemia prepared for him, where he turned
up his little pug nose to the ceiling and went contentedly
That afternoon I nailed four legs
on a small packing-box and made a bedstead for him.
This, with a pillow in the bottom of it, was very
comfortable, and instead of taking him home, I borrowed,
in the evening, some baby night-clothes from Pomona,
and set about preparing Pat for the night.
This Euphemia would not allow, but
silently taking him from me, she put him to bed.
“To-morrow,” she said,
“you must positively take him away. I wont
stand it. And in our room, too.”
“I didn’t talk in that
way about the baby you adopted,” I said.
To this she made no answer, but went
away to attend, as usual, to Pomona’s baby,
while its mother washed the dishes.
That night little Pat woke up, several
times, and made things unpleasant by his wails.
On the first two occasions, I got up and walked him
about, singing impromptu lines to the tune of “weak
and wounded,” but the third time, Euphemia herself
arose, and declaring that that doleful tune was a
great deal worse than the baby’s crying, silenced
him herself, and arranging his couch more comfortably,
he troubled us no more.
In the morning, when I beheld the
little pad of orange fur in the box, my heart almost
misgave me, but as the day wore on, my courage rose
again, and I gave myself up, almost entirely, to my
new charge, composing a vast deal of blank verse,
while walking him up and down the house.
Euphemia scolded and scolded, and
said she would put on her hat and go for the mother.
But I told her the mother was dead, and that seemed
to be an obstacle. She took a good deal of care
of the child, for she said she would not see an innocent
creature neglected, even if it was an incipient hod-carrier,
but she did not relax in the least in her attention
to Pomona’s baby.
The next day was about the same, in
regard to infantile incident, but, on the day after,
I began to tire of my new charge, and Pat, on his
side, seemed to be tired of me, for he turned from
me when I went to take him up, while he would hold
out his hands to Euphemia, and grin delightedly when
she took him.
That morning I drove to the village
and spent an hour or two there. On my return
I found Euphemia sitting in our room, with little Pat
on her lap. I was astonished at the change in
the young rascal. He was dressed, from head to
foot, in a suit of clothes belonging to Pomona’s
baby; the glowing fuzz on his head was brushed and
made as smooth as possible, while his little muslin
sleeves were tied up with blue ribbon.
I stood speechless at the sight.
“Don’t he look nice?”
said Euphemia, standing him up on her knees. “It
shows what good clothes will do. I’m glad
I helped Pomona make up so many. He’s getting
ever so fond of me, ze itty Patsy, watsy! See
how strong he is! He can almost stand on his
legs! Look how he laughs! He’s just
as cunning as he can be. And oh! I was going
to speak about that box. I wouldn’t have
him sleep in that old packing-box. There are little
wicker cradles at the store I saw them last
week they don’t cost much, and you
could bring one up in the carriage. There’s
the other baby, crying, and I don’t know where
Pomona is. Just you mind him a minute, please!”
and out she ran.
I looked out of the window. The
horse still stood harnessed to the carriage, as I
had left him. I saw Pat’s old shawl lying
in a corner. I seized it, and rolling him in
it, new clothes and all, I hurried down-stairs, climbed
into the carriage, hastily disposed Pat in my lap,
and turned the horse. The demeanor of the youngster
was very different from what it was when I first took
him in my lap to drive away with him. There was
no confiding twinkle in his eye, no contented munching
of his little fists. He gazed up at me with wild
alarm, and as I drove out of the gate, he burst forth
into such a yell that Lord Edward came bounding around
the house to see what was the matter. Euphemia
suddenly appeared at an upper window and called out
to me, but I did not hear what she said. I whipped
up the horse and we sped along to New Dublin.
Pat soon stopped crying, but he looked at me with
a tear-stained and reproachful visage.
The good women of the settlement were
surprised to see little Pat return so soon.
“An’ wasn’t he good?”
said Mrs. Hogan as she took him from my hands.
“Oh, yes!” I said.
“He was as good as he could be. But I have
no further need of him.”
I might have been called upon to explain
this statement, had not the whole party of women,
who stood around burst into wild expressions of delight
at Pat’s beautiful clothes.
“Oh! jist look at ’em!”
cried Mrs. Duffy. “An’ see thim leetle
pittycoots, thrimmed wid lace! Oh, an’ it
was good in ye, sir, to give him all thim, an’
pay the foive dollars, too.”
“An’ I’m glad he’s
back,” said the fostering aunt, “for I
was a coomin’ over to till ye that I’ve
been hearin’ from owle Pat, his dad, an’
he’s a coomin’ back from the moines,
and I don’t know what he’d a’ said
if he’d found his leetle Pat was rinted.
But if ye iver want to borry him, for a whoile, after
owle Pat’s gone back, ye kin have him, rint-free;
an’ it’s much obloiged I am to ye, sir,
fur dressin’ him so foine.”
I made no encouraging remarks as to
future transactions in this line, and drove slowly
Euphemia met me at the door.
She had Pomona’s baby in her arms. We walked
together into the parlor.
“And so you have given up the
little fellow that you were going to do so much for?”
“Yes, I have given him up,” I answered.
“It must have been a dreadful trial to you,”
“Oh, dreadful!” I replied.
“I suppose you thought he would
take up so much of your time and thoughts, that we
couldn’t be to each other what we used to be,
didn’t you?” she said.
“Not exactly,” I replied.
“I only thought that things promised to be twice
as bad as they were before.”
She made no answer to this, but going
to the back door of the parlor she opened it and called
Pomona. When that young woman appeared, Euphemia
stepped toward her and said: “Here, Pomona,
take your baby.”
They were simple words, but they were
spoken in such a way that they meant a good deal.
Pomona knew what they meant. Her eyes sparkled,
and as she went out, I saw her hug her child to her
breast, and cover it with kisses, and then, through
the window, I could see her running to the barn and
“Now, then,” said Euphemia,
closing the door and coming toward me, with one of
her old smiles, and not a trace of preoccupation about
her, “I suppose you expect me to devote myself
I did expect it, and I was not mistaken.
Since these events, a third baby has
come to Rudder Grange. It is not Pomona’s,
nor was it brought from New Dublin. It is named
after a little one, who died very young, before this
story was begun, and the strangest thing about it
is that never, for a moment, does it seem to come between
Euphemia and myself.