An Old, Old Story—Baby's Recitation

  I LOVE old books. I recently acquired one in excellent condition with a copyright by D. Lothrop and Company, 1884. It’s a collection of short stories for Christian youth. What are the odds?

The stories are so sweet and full of meaning that I’d like to share some. I’m pretty sure the copyright has expired, or at least no one will sue me for posting. Of course, it’s not near as charming as reading it from the yellowed pages, but it’s the best I can do.

For Him,

Sarah Elisabeth





Baby’s Recitation

(Author not noted. How sad.)


They called her the baby, though she was two years old. Of course she was the “cunningest little thing that ever lived.” And among her other accomplishments, she could recite little cunning verses in the prettiest manner!

Behold her now, perched on the mantel, her favorite place to practise, rehearsing her new “piece,” so as to be ready when papa comes home.

“May God bless my two little feet,

May they never go astray,

But swiftly and joyfully tread—”

Now baby is puzzled. What is the next line? She can’t think. She twists and untwists her little clasped hands, and finally puts them behind her, in a way she has when she is troubled. “In the straight and narrow way.” Those are the words which have slipped away from her little brain just as her tongue was going to speak them. She thinks and thinks, but they will not come. At last, with bright eyes and smiling lips, she lisps out her next line, repeating the preceding one, that mamma may see just how it fits:

“But swiftly and joyfully tread

After Katie, evway day!

Katie is the ten year old sister, and if there is any thing in the world that baby likes to do, it is trot after her from morning till night. If the verse really doesn’t finish that way—and baby has her doubts about it—she thinks it is a very nice finish indeed.

“Oh, you little rogue!” says mamma, and lifts her down to half smother her with kisses.

“Katie!” said the mamma, that same evening when the baby was sleeping, “how do you think baby said her new verse this afternoon? She forgot the last line, and this is the way she put it:

“May God bless my two little feet,

May they never go astray,

But swiftly and joyfully tread

After Katie, every day!

Do you know I have been praying ever since, that Katie’s feet might be kept from going into places that it would not be safe for baby to follow.”

What made Katie so quiet for the next half hour? Her lips had been parted, all ready to ask permission to go to Jennie Blake’s for the next afternoon, when her mother spoke.

“But,” said Katie, “let me see. If baby has really prayed about following me, I must be careful. Jennie Blake is real funny, but she doesn’t always tell the truth; and she says hateful things to her little sister Carrie, and Carrie is afraid of her and hides, and makes believe she doesn’t hear Jennie sometimes when she calls; and baby might learn to do that ; and oh dear! she might learn from Jennie not to speak the truth. I don’t believe I ought to go to Jennies Blake’s tomorrow.”

And Katie worked away on her tidy, and said never a word to her mother about Saturday afternoon and Jennie Blake’s home.