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THE BABY-HOUSE FAMINE.

Sarah Orne Jewett

At the baby-house door sits my sweet little Kitty,
   In her apron lies Kitty, her namesake, asleep;
The dollies look out of the baby-house parlors,
   And the baby-clothes lie on the floor in a heap.

Are the cares of your housekeeping quite overwhelming?
   Are the children unruly, and servants a bore?
But they sit dressed for callers; and down in the kitchen
   Sits placid old Dinah with eyes on the floor.

If you're tired of playing, run out to the garden;
   There's green grass to play on, the sunshine is bright;
Or Aunty will read you a nice little story, --
   Take her lap for your bed, dear, and play it is night.

Then the dear little face grew exceedingly solemn,
   And in the brown eyes were two wee little tears;
The dollies -- believe me -- looked anxious and troubled;
   Miss Kitten gaped sadly; O. what were your fears?

Dear Aunty, my children are dying of hunger;
   Just look at Miss Anna! she's grown very thin;
I've not had a party for such a forever, --
   And to see them all starving! It's really a sin.

Well, the last that I saw of the dolls in affliction,
   They sat round their table, mamma at the head;
She seemed very hungry, but they sat there smiling,
   And when Kitty finished they all went to bed.



Note

"The Baby-House Famine" was published under the pseudonym of Alice Eliot in Our Young Folks (4:568) in September 1868. This is the first Jewett poem listed by Weber and Weber in A Bibliography of the Published Writings of Sarah Orne Jewett, and so is her first poem known to have appeared in a major magazine. This text is available courtesy of the Newberry Library.

Edited by Terry Heller, Coe College.


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