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Baby Nightcaps

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You dear little darling:

A long time ago, that is, long for such a little speck of a child as you, just before last Christmas, I wrote a story book called "Nightcaps." I called it this funny name, because poor little lame Charley to whom all the stories were told, called them his "nightcaps," as he and his sisters and brothers had to go to bed, the moment a story was finished for the evening.

Did you read them? I am afraid they were too old for you, you dear little kitten!

But since last Christmas, I have heard some of the funniest little bits of stories! funny enough to make all the dimples in your round face come out, or rather come in, and cause you to look perfectly lovely: for the happy laughing face of a little child, is the loveliest sight in the world; and if I should see those dimples, do you know what I would do? why I would just catch you up in my arms, and give you a good kissing.

Then I have heard other little stories, that are sad; because you know in this world we cannot always have perfect happiness: things will sometimes happen to grieve even a tender little child; but although your sweet lip may tremble as mine does when I am writing, or listening to a sad story, you will not love me less, I hope, because I have told the truth; for remember, every thing is true in this little book, and all the dear little boys and girls are living at this very moment. What would you say if you knew some of them? Wouldn't it be funny if you should exclaim, while your mamma was reading:

"Why, mamma, I know Lily; why that's the very Lily that lives next door:" or, "Oh, mamma! stop! look here! that very Willy goes to my school, he's got a kite as big as any thing! and he said he would let me fly it, as soon as kite time came. Won't he stare, when I tell him he's in a book? I wish Aunt Fanny knew me."

You precious pet! Just ask Mr. Appleton to tell you where I live, then come with a hop, skip, and jump to my house, and you and I will have a nice little talk, and after that, take care! you will find yourself in my next "Nightcap book." Won't that be funny?

I have a little daughter, named Alice; once upon a time she gave away all the clothes she had on to a poor little shivering child, without any clothes, only old rags. You see, Alice felt so sorry for her; she had plenty of clothes in her drawer, but she did not think of those, she just took off all she had on. She is a dear "little Alice," and I call her by a great many pet names; sometimes she is "my rosebud," sometimes I say, "Come here, Mrs. Frizzlefits." When she is sick, it is always "darling," and when she is well and hopping about, it is "you precious little old toad." But they all mean the same thing. She likes to be my "old toad" just as much as my "rosebud," for she knows perfectly well, that they all mean love.

One day, when I felt as if I could not find a word to express how much I loved her, I came out with, "Come and kiss me, you dear little donkey!" How she laughed! and how I laughed! You may be sure she told her papa the moment he came home, that now she was a dear little donkey, as well as a precious old toad. Does your mamma ever call you funny names? I hope so.

I will tell you how I came to hear these stories....