"Of all the joys that brighten suffering earth,What joy is welcom'd like a new-born child."—MRS. NORTON.
A merry scene in the nursery at Viamede, where the little Travillas are waiting for their morning half hour with "dear mamma." Mammy coming in smiling and mysterious, her white apron thrown over something held carefully in her arms, bids the children guess what it is.
"A new dolly for me?" says Vi; "I'm going to have a birthday to-morrow."
"A kite," ventured Harold. "No, a balloon."
"A tite! a tite!" cried little Herbert, clapping his hands.
"Pshaw! it's nothing but a bundle of clothes mammy's been doing up for one of you girls," said Eddie. "I see a bit of lace or work, or something, hanging down below her apron."
"Is it a new dress for Vi, mammy?" asked Elsie, putting her arm about her sister and giving her a loving kiss.
"Yah, yah; you ain't no whar nigh it yet, chillens," laughed mammy, dropping into a chair, and warding off an attempt on the part of little Herbert to seize her prize and examine it for himself.
"Oh, it's alive," cried Harold, half breathlessly, "I saw it move!" Then as a slight sound followed the movement, "A baby! a baby!" they all exclaim, "O, mammy, whose is it? where did you get it? oh, sit down and show it to us!"
"Why, chillen, I reckon it 'longs to us," returned mammy, complying with the request, while they gathered closely about her with eager and delighted faces.
"Ours, mammy? Then I'm glad it isn't black or yellow like the babies down at the quarter," said Harold, eying it with curiosity and interest.
"So am I too," remarked Violet, "but it's got such a red face and hardly any hair on the top of its head."
"Well, don't you remember that's the way Herbie looked when he first came?" said Eddie.
"And he grew very white in a few weeks," remarked Elsie. "But is it mamma's baby, mammy?"
"Yes, honey, dat it am; sho's yer born, 'nother pet for ole mammy,—de bressed little darlin'," she answered, pressing the little creature to her breast.
The information was received with a chorus of exclamations of delight and admiration.
"Tate a bite of cacker, boy," said Herbert, offering a cracker which he was eating with evident enjoyment.
Mammy explained, amid the good-natured laughter of the older children, that the newcomer had no teeth and couldn't eat anything but milk.
"Oh, poor 'ittle fing!" he said, softly touching its velvet cheek. "Won't 'oo tum and pay wis Herbie?"
"No, it can't play," said Violet, "it can't walk and it can't talk."
"Where's mamma, mammy?" asked Eddie, glancing at the clock; "it's past her time; I wonder too she didn't come to show us the new baby herself."
"She's sick, chile," returned mammy, a grave and anxious look coming into her old eyes.
"Mamma sick?" exclaimed little Elsie, "oh, may I go to her?"
Mammy shook her head. "Not jes now, honey darlin', byme by, when she's bettah."
"Mamma sick?" echoed Violet. "Oh, I'm so, so sorry!"
"Don't fret, chillen, de good Lord make her well again soon," said mammy, with cheerful hopefulness, for she could not bear to see how sad each little face had grown, how the young lips quivered, and the bright eyes filled with tears; for dearly, dearly, they all loved their sweet, gentle mother....