I knew that a baby was hid in that house,
    Though I saw no cradle, and heard no cry,
But the husband went tiptoeing 'round like a mouse,
    And the good wife was humming a soft lullaby;
And there was a look on the face of that mother
That I knew could mean only one thing, and no other.

The mother, I said to myself; for I knew
    That the woman before me was certainly that,
For there lay in a corner a tiny cloth shoe,
    And I saw on a stand such a wee little hat;
And the beard of the husband said plain as could be,
"Two fat, chubby hands have been tugging at me."

And he took from his pocket a gay picture book,
    And a dog that would bark if you pulled on a string;
And the wife laid them up with such a pleased look;
    And I said to myself, "There is no other thing
But a babe that could bring about all this, and so
That one is in hiding here somewhere, I know."

I stayed but a moment, and saw nothing more,
    And heard not a sound, yet I know I was right;
What else could the shoe mean that lay on the floor--
    The book and the toy, and the faces so bright?
And what made the husband as still as a mouse?
I am sure, very sure, there's a babe in that house.


Shells by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Milwaukee: Hauser & Storey, 1873.

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