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Crane, Walter / The Adventures of Herr Baby
E-text prepared by Delphine Lettau, Clive Pickton, and the Project
Online Distributed Proofreading Canada Team
(http://www.pgdpcanada.net)



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THE ADVENTURES OF HERR BABY

by

MRS. MOLESWORTH

Author of 'Carrots,' 'Us,' Etc.


'I have a boy of five years old:
His face is fair and fresh to see.'
WORDSWORTH

Illustrated by Walter Crane







[Illustration: There was Baby, seated on the grass, one arm fondly
clasping Minet's neck, while with the other he firmly held the famous
money-box.--P. 138.]



London
Macmillan and Co.
and New York
1895

First printed (4to) 1881
Reprinted (Globe 8vo) 1886, 1887, 1890, 1892, 1895




CONTENTS


CHAPTER I.
FOUR YEARS OLD 1

CHAPTER II.
INSIDE A TRUNK 20

CHAPTER III.
UP IN THE MORNING EARLY 41

CHAPTER IV.
GOING AWAY 60

CHAPTER V.
BY LAND AND SEA 81

CHAPTER VI.
AN OLD SHOP AND AN OGRE 101

CHAPTER VII.
BABY'S SECRET 125

CHAPTER VIII.
FOUND 145

CHAPTER IX.
"EAST OR WEST, HAME IS BEST" 163




LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

"OH LOOK, LOOK, BABY'S MADE PEEPY-SNOOZLE INTO
'THE PARSON IN THE PULPIT THAT COULDN'T SAY HIS
PRAYERS,'" CRIED DENNY 6

HE SAT WITH ONE ARM PROPPED ON THE TABLE, AND HIS
ROUND HEAD LEANING ON HIS HAND, WHILE THE OTHER
HELD THE PIECE OF BREAD AND BUTTER--BUTTER DOWNWARDS,
OF COURSE 16

THERE WAS ONE TRUNK WHICH TOOK MY FANCY MORE
THAN ALL THE OTHERS 30

FOR A MINUTE OR TWO BABY COULD NOT MAKE OUT WHAT
HAD HAPPENED 50

"ZOU WILL P'OMISE, BETSY, P'OMISE CERTAIN SURE,
NEBBER TO FORGET" 61

POOR LITTLE BOYS, FOR, AFTER ALL, FRITZ HIMSELF
WASN'T VERY BIG! THEY STOOD TOGETHER HAND IN
HAND ON THE STATION PLATFORM, LOOKING, AND
FEELING, RATHER DESOLATE 84

"ARE THAT JOGRAPHY?" HE SAID 94

"OH AUNTIE," HE SAID, "P'EASE 'TOP ONE MINUTE.
HIM SEES SHINY GLASS JUGS LIKE DEAR LITTLE
MOTHER'S. OH, DO 'TOP" 106

BABY VENTURED TO PEEP ROUND. THE LITTLE BLACK-EYED
WHITE-CAPPED MAN CAME TOWARDS THEM SMILING 121

THERE WAS BABY, SEATED ON THE GRASS, ONE ARM
FONDLY CLASPING MINET'S NECK, WHILE WITH THE
OTHER HE FIRMLY HELD THE FAMOUS MONEY-BOX 138

AUNTIE STOOD STILL A MOMENT TO LISTEN 155

FORGETTING ALL ABOUT EVERYTHING, EXCEPT THAT HER
BABY WAS FOUND, UP JUMPED MOTHER 170




THE ADVENTURES OF HERR BABY




CHAPTER I.

FOUR YEARS OLD

"I was four yesterday; when I'm quite old
I'll have a cricket-ball made of pure gold;
I'll never stand up to show that I'm grown;
I'll go at liberty upstairs or down."


He trotted upstairs. Perhaps trotting is not quite the right word, but I
can't find a better. It wasn't at all like a horse or pony trotting, for
he went one foot at a time, right foot first, and when right foot was
safely landed on a step, up came left foot and the rest of Baby himself
after right foot. It took a good while, but Baby didn't mind. He used to
think a good deal while he was going up and down stairs, and it was not
his way to be often in a hurry. There was one thing he could _not_ bear,
and that was any one trying to carry him upstairs. Oh, that did vex
him! His face used to get quite red, right up to the roots of his curly
hair, and down to the edge of the big collar of his sailor suit, for he
had been put into sailor suits last Christmas, and, if the person who
was lifting him up didn't let go all at once, Baby would begin to wriggle.
He was really clever at wriggling; even if you knew his way it was not
easy to hold him, and with any one that didn't know his way he could get
off in half a minute.

But this time there was no one about, and Baby stumped on--yes _that_ is
a better word--Baby stumped on, or up, "wifout nobody teasing." His face
was grave, very grave, for inside the little house of which his two blue
eyes were the windows, a great deal of work was going on. He was busy
wondering about, and trying to understand, some of the strange news he
had heard downstairs in the drawing-room.

"Over the sea," he said to himself. "Him would like to see the sea.
Auntie said over the sea in a boat, a werry big boat. Him wonders how
big."

And his mind went back to the biggest boat he had ever seen, which was
in the toy-shop at Brookton, when he had gone with his mother to be
fitted for new boots. But even that wouldn't be big enough. Mother, and
auntie, and grandfather, and Celia, and Fritz, and Denny, and cook, and
Lisa, and Thomas and Jones, and the other servants, and the horses,
and--and---- Baby stopped to take breath inside, for though he had not
been speaking aloud he felt quite choked with all the names coming so
fast. "And pussy, and the calanies, and the Bully, and Fritz's dormice,
oh no, them _couldn't_ all get in." Perhaps if Baby doubled up his legs
underneath he might squeeze himself in, but that would be no good, he
couldn't go sailing, sailing all over the sea by himself, like the old
woman in "Harry's Nursery Songs," who went sailing, sailing, up in a
basket, "seventy times as high as the moon." Oh no, even that boat
wouldn't be big enough. They must have one as big as--and Baby stopped
to look round. But just then a shout from inside the nursery made him
wake up, for he had got to the last little stair before the top landing,
and again right foot and half Baby, followed by left foot and the other
half Baby, stumped on their way.

They pulled up--right foot and left foot, with Baby's solemn face top of
all--at the nursery door. It was shut. Now one of the things Baby liked
to do for himself was to open doors, and now and then he could manage it
very well. But, alas, the nursery lock was too high up for him to get a
good hold of it. He pulled, and pushed, and got quite red, all for no
use. Worse than that, the pushing and pulling were heard inside. Some
one came forward and opened the door, nearly knocking poor Baby over.

"Ach, Herr Baby, mine child, why you not say when you come?" Lisa cried
out. Lisa was Baby's nurse. Her face was rosy and round, and she looked
very kind. She would have liked to pick him up to make sure he had got
no knocks, but she knew too well that would not do. So all she could do
was to say again--

"Mine child--ach, Herr Baby!"

Baby did not take any notice.

"Zeally," he said coolly, "ganfather must do somesing to zem locks. Zem
is all most dedful 'tiff."

Lisa smiled to herself. She was used to Baby's ways.

"Herr Baby shall grow tall some day," she said. "Zen him can open
doors."

Lisa's talking was nearly as funny as Baby's, and, indeed, I rather
think that hers had made his all the funnier. But, any way, they
understood each other. He was thinking over what she had said, when a
scream from the nursery made them both turn round in a hurry.

"O Lisa, O Baby, come in quick, do. Peepy-Snoozle has got out of the
cage, and he'll be out at the door in another moment. Quick, quick, come
in and shut the door."

Lisa and Baby did not wait to be twice told. Inside the nursery there
was a great flurry. Celia, Fritz, and Denny were all there crawling over
the floor and screaming at each other.

"_I_ have him! there--oh, now that's too bad. Fritz, you frightened him
away again," called out Celia.

"_Me_ frighten him away! Why he knows me ever so much better than you
girls," said Fritz.

"He just doesn't then," said Denny with triumph, "for here he is safe in
my apron."

But she had hardly said the words when she gave a little scream. "He's
off again, oh quick, Baby, quick, catch him."

How Baby did it, I can't tell. His hands seemed too small to catch
anything, even a dormouse. But catch the truant he did, and very proud
Baby looked when he held up his two little fists, which he had made into
a "mouse-trap" _really_, for the occasion, with Peepy-Snoozle's "coxy"
little head and bright beady eyes poking out at the top.

"Oh look, look, Baby's made Peepy-Snoozle into 'the parson in the pulpit
that couldn't say his prayers,'" cried Denny, dancing about.

"All the same, he'd better go back into his cage," said Fritz, who had a
right to be heard, as he was the master and owner of the dormice. "Come
along, Baby, poke him in."

Baby was busy kissing and petting Peepy-Snoozle by this time, for,
though he did not approve of much of that sort of thing for himself, he
was very fond of petting little animals, who were not little boys. And
to tell the truth, it was not often he got a chance of petting his big
brother's dormice. It was quite pretty to see the way he kissed
Peepy-Snoozle's soft brown head, especially his nose, stroking it gently
against his own smooth cheeks and chattering to the little creature.

"Dear little darling. Sweet little denkle darling," he said. "Him would
like to have a house all full of Peepy-'noozles, zem is so sweet and
soft."

"Wouldn't you like a coat made of their skins?" said Denny. "Think how
soft that would be."

[Illustration: "Oh look, look, Baby's made Peepy-Snoozle into
'the parson in the pulpit that couldn't say his prayers,'" cried
Denny.--P. 6.]

"No, sairtin him wouldn't," said Baby. "Him wouldn't pull off all their
sweet little skins and hairs to make him a coat. Denny's a c'uel girl."

"There won't be much more skin or hairs left if you go on scrubbing him
up and down with your sharp little nose like that," said Fritz.

Baby drew back his face in a fright.

"Put him in the cage then," he said, and with Fritz's help this was
safely done. Then Baby stood silent, slowly rubbing his own nose up and
down, and looking very grave.

"Him's nose _isn't_ sharp," he said at last, turning upon Denny. "Sharp
means knifes and scidders."

All the children burst out laughing. Of course they understood things
better than Baby, for even Denny, the youngest next to him, was nine,
that is twice his age, which by the by was a puzzle to Denny herself,
for Celia had teased her one day by saying that according to that when
Baby was eighty Denny would be a hundred and sixty, and nobody ever
lived to be so old, so how could it be.

But Denny, though she didn't _always_ understand everything herself, was
very quick at taking up other people if they didn't.

"Oh, you stupid little goose," she said. "Of course, Fritz didn't mean
as sharp as a knife. There's different kinds of sharps--there's
different kinds of everything."

Baby looked at her gravely. He had his own way of defending himself.

"Werry well. If him's a goose him won't talk to you, and him won't tell
you somesing _werry_ funny and dedful bootiful that him heard in the
'groind room."

All eyes were turned on Baby.

"Oh, do tell us, Baby darling, _do_ tell us," said Celia and Denny.

Fritz gave Baby a friendly pat on the back.

"You'll tell _me_, old fellow, won't you?" he said. Baby looked at him.

"Yes," he said at last; "him will tell you,'cos you let him have
Peepy-'noozle, and 'cos you doesn't call him a goose--like _girls_ does.
I'll whister in your ear, Fritz, if you'll bend down."

But Celia thought this was too bad.

"_I_ didn't call you a goose, Baby," she said. "I think you might tell
me too."

"And I'll promise never to call you a goose again if you'll tell _me_,"
said Denny.

Baby had a great soul. It was beneath him to take a mean revenge, he
felt, especially on a _girl_! So he shut his little mouth tightly, knit
his little brows, and thought it over for a moment or two. Then his
face cleared.

"Him _will_ tell you all--all you children," he said at last, "but it's
werry long and dedful wonderful, and you mustn't inrumpt him. P'omise?"

"Promise," shouted the three.

"Well then, litsen. We's all goin' away--zeally away--over the
sea--dedful far. As far as the sky, p'raps."

"In a balloon?" said Denny, whose tongue wouldn't keep still even though
she was very much interested in the news.

"No, in a boat," replied Baby, forgetting to notice that this was an
"inrumption," "in a werry 'normous boat. All's going. Him was looking
for 'tamps in mother's basket of teared letters under the little table,
and mother and ganfather and auntie didn't know him were there, and
ganfather said to mother somesing him couldn't understand--somesing
about _thit_ house, and mother said, yes, 'twould be a werry good thing
to go away 'fore the cold weather comed, and the children would be
p'eased. And auntie said she would like to tell the children, but----"

Another "inrumption." This time from Fritz.

"Baby, stop a minute," he exclaimed. "Celia, Denny--Baby's too little
to understand, but," and here Fritz's round chubby face got very red,
"don't you think we've no right to let him tell, if it's something
mother means to tell us herself? She didn't know Baby was there--he said
so."

But before Celia or Denny could answer, Baby turned upon Fritz.

"Him _tolded_ you not to inrumpt," he said, with supreme contempt. "If
you would litsen you would see. Mother _did_ know him was there at the
ending, for auntie said she'd like to tell the children--that's you, and
Denny and Celia--but him comed out from the little table and said _him_
would like to tell the children hisself. And mother were dedful
surprised, and so was ganfather and auntie. And then they all bursted
out laughing and told him lots of things--about going in the railway,
and in a 'normous boat to that other country, where there's cows to pull
the carts, and all the people talk lubbish-talk, like Lisa when she's
cross. And zen, and zen, him comed upstairs to tell you."

Baby looked round triumphantly. Celia and Fritz and Denny looked first
at him and then at each other. This was wonderful news--almost too
wonderful to be true.

"We must be going to Italy or somewhere like that," said Celia. "How
lovely! I wonder why they didn't tell us before?"

"Italy," repeated Denny, "that's the country like a boot, isn't it? I do
hope there won't be any snakes. I'd rather far stay at home than go
where there's snakes."

"_I_ wouldn't," said Fritz, grandly. "I'd like to go to India or Africa,
or any of those places where there's lots of lions and tigers and
snakes, and anything you like. Give me a good revolver and _you'd_ see."

"Don't talk nonsense, Fritz," said Celia. "You're far too little a boy
for shooting and guns and all that. It's setting a bad example to Baby
to talk that boasting way, and it's very silly too."

"Indeed, miss. Much obliged to you, miss," said Fritz. "I'd only just
like to know, miss, who it was came to my room the other night and was
sure she heard robbers, and begged Fritz to peep behind the swing-door
in the long passage. And 'oh,' said this person, 'I do so wish you had a
gun that you could point at them to frighten them away.' Fritz wasn't
such a very little boy just then."

Celia's face got rather red, and she looked as if she was going to get
angry, but at that moment, happily, Lisa appeared with the tray for the
nursery tea. She had left the room when the dormouse was caught, so she
had not heard the wonderful news, and it had all to be told over again.
She smiled and seemed pleased, but not as surprised as the children
expected.

"Why, aren't you surprised, Lisa?" said the children. "Did you know
before? Why didn't you tell us?"

Lisa shook her head and looked very wise.

"What country are we going to? Can you tell us that?" said Celia.

"Is it to your country? Is it to what you call Dutchland?" said Fritz.
"I think it's an awfully queer thing that countries can't be called by
the same names everywhere. It makes geography ever so much harder. We've
got to call the people that live in Holland Dutch, and they call
themselves--oh, I don't know what they call themselves----"

"Hollanders," said Lisa.

"Hollanders!" repeated Fritz. "Well, that's a sensible sort of name for
people that live in Holland. But _we've_ got to call them Dutch; and
then, to make it more muddled still, Lisa calls her country Dutchland,
and the people Dutch, and _we_ call them German I think it's very
stupid. If I was to make geography I wouldn't do it that way."

"What's jography?" said Baby.

"Knowing all about all the countries and all the places in the world,"
said Denny.

"Him wants to learn that," said Baby.

"Oh, you're _far_ too little!" said Denny. "_I_ only began it last year.
Oh, you're ever so much too little!"

"Him's not too little to go in the 'normous boat to _see_ all zem
countlies," said Baby, valiantly. "Him _will_ learn jography."

"That's right, Baby," said Fritz. "Stick up for yourself. You'll be a
great deal bigger than Denny some day."

Denny was getting ready an answer when Lisa, who knew pretty well the
signs of war between Fritz and Denny, called to all the children to come
to tea; and as both Fritz and Denny were great hands at bread and
butter, they forgot to quarrel, and began pulling their chairs in to the
table, and in a few minutes all four were busy at work.

What a pretty sight, and what a pleasant thing a nursery tea is! when
the children, that is to say, are sweet-faced and smiling, with clean
pinafores, and clean hands, and gentle voices; not leaning over the
table, knocking over cups, and snatching rudely at the "butteriest"
pieces of bread and butter, and making digs at the sugar when nurse is
not looking. _That_ kind of nursery tea is not to my mind, and not at
all the kind to which I am always delighted to receive an invitation,
written in very round, very black letters, on very small sheets of
paper. The nursery teas in Baby's nursery were not always _quite_ what I
like to see them, for Celia, Fritz, and Denny, and Baby too, had their
tiresome days as well as their pleasant ones, and though they meant to
be good to each other, they did not _always_ do just what they meant, or
really wished, at the bottom of their hearts. But to-day all the little
storms were forgotten in the great news, and all the faces looked bright
and eager, though just at first not much was said, for when children are
hungry of course they can't chatter quite so fast, and all the four
tongues were silent till at least one cup of tea, and perhaps three or
four slices of bread and butter each--just as a beginning, you know--had
disappeared.

Then said Celia,--

"Lisa, do tell us if you know what sort of a place we're going to."

"Cows pulls carts there," observed Baby; "and--and--what was the 'nother
thing? We'll have frogses for dinner."

"Baby!" said the others, "_what nonsense_!"

"'Tisn't nonsense. Ganfather said Thomas and Dones wouldn't go 'cos they
was fightened of frogses for dinner. _Him_ doesn't care--frogses tastes
werry good."

"How do you know? You've never tasted them," said Fritz.

"Ganfather said zem was werry good."

"Grandfather was joking," said Celia. "I've often heard him laugh at
people that way. It's just nonsense--Thomas and Jones don't know any
better. Do they eat frogs in your country, Lisa?"

"In mine country, Fršulein Cťlie?" said Lisa, looking rather vexed. "No
indeed. Man eats goot, most goot tings, in mine country. Say, Herr
Baby--Herr Baby knows what goot tings Lisa would give him in her
country."

"Yes," said Baby, "such good tings. Tocolate and cakes--lots--and
bootiful soup, all sweet, not like salty soup. Him would like werry much
to go to Lisa's countly."

"Do cows pull carts in your country, Lisa?" asked Denny.

"Some parts. Not where mine family lives," said Lisa. "No, Fršulein
Denny, it's not to mine country we're going. Mine country is it colt, so
colt; and your lady mamma and your lady auntie they want to go where it
is warm, so warm, and sun all winter."

"_I_ should like that too," said Celia, "I hate winter."

"That's 'cos you're a girl," said Fritz; "you crumple yourself up by the
fire and sit shivering--no wonder you're cold.



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