As he spoke he slipped out of bed, and held out his arms to take the
baby. The light was already coming in, just a little, through the blind,
for it was summer. He heard a cow lowing in the fields at the back of
the house, and he wondered whether her baby had woke her. The next
moment he had little Agnes in his arms, for his mother thought he might
as well try, seeing he was awake.
"Do take care and don't let her fall, Willie."
"That I will, mamma. I've got her tight. Now give me the bottle,
"I haven't got it ready yet; for you woke the minute she began to cry."
So Willie walked about the room with Agnes till his mother had got her
bottle filled with nice warm milk-and-water and just a little sugar.
When she gave it to him, he sat down with the baby on his knees, and,
to his great delight, and the satisfaction of his mother as well, she
stopped crying, and began to drink the milk-and-water.
"Why, you're a born nurse, Willie!" said his mother. But the moment the
baby heard her mother's voice, she forsook the bottle, and began to
scream, wanting to go to her.
"O mamma! you mustn't speak, please; for of course she likes you better
than the bottle; and when you speak that reminds her of you. It was just
the same with Tibby yesterday. Or if you must speak, speak with some
other sound, and not in your own soft, sweet way."
A few moments after, Willie was so startled by a gruff voice in the room
that he nearly dropped the bottle; but it was only his mother following
his directions. The plan was quite successful, for the baby had not
a suspicion that the voice was her mother's, paid no heed to it, and
attended only to her bottle.
Mr Macmichael, who had been in the country, was creeping up the stair to
his room, fearful of disturbing his wife, when what should he hear but
a man's voice as he supposed! and what should he think but that robbers
had broken in! Of course he went to his wife's room first. There he
heard the voice plainly enough through the door, but when he opened it
he could see no one except Willie feeding the baby on an ottoman at the
foot of the bed. When his wife had explained what and why it was,
they both laughed heartily over Willie's suggestion for leaving the
imagination of little Agnes in repose; and henceforth he was installed
as night-nurse, so long as the process of weaning should last; and very
proud of his promotion he was. He slept as sound as ever, for he had no
anxiety about waking; his mother always woke him the instant Agnes began
"Willie!" she would say, "Willie! here's your baby wanting you."
And up Willie would start, sometimes before he was able to open his
eyes, for little boys' eyelids are occasionally obstinate. And once he
jumped out of bed crying, "Where is she, mamma? I've lost her!" for he
had been dreaming about her.
You may be sure his mamma let him have a long sleep in the morning
always, to make up for being disturbed in the night.
Agnes throve well, notwithstanding the weaning. She soon got reconciled
to the bottle, and then Willie slept in peace.