Read LITTLE HELEN of Baby Nightcaps , free online book, by Frances Elizabeth Barrow, on

One day last spring when Aunt Fanny was in Charleston, she was walking up Meeting Street.  Just before her she saw a pretty little girl, almost as white as snow, carried in the arms of a tall black woman, nearly as black as ink.

Aunt Fanny went softly up behind them, and heard the old nurse say — “You make nurse shame, for carry such a big girl.”

“But I so tired,” said the little thing.  “O my!”

“How much you tired?” said the old black nurse.

“I tired a dollar,” said the child.

Then Aunt Fanny laughed, and went up to her, and said — “Get down my little kitten, and walk with me.”

So the nurse put her down, and she took hold of Aunt Fanny’s finger, and trotted along, quite pleased.

“What is your name little one?” said Aunt Fanny.

“My name Helen, and I’m mamma’s dear little baby.  Here’s my house; come in my house, do, please?”

So she pulled Aunt Fanny in; and there at the side of the house was a large yard, and in it was such a lot of little children! all playing soldiers together; some were white; — they were Helen’s sisters and little brother; — and some were black; they were old nurse’s children; and they were having such a nice time; and the last little black boy was ringing the dinner bell.  Aunt Fanny was glad enough to see them, but she could not stay; so she kissed Helen, her little new friend, and went away down the street, and that’s the whole of this story — there!