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Back windows
by [?]

As I sit working at my back window, I look out on a long row of other people’s back windows; and it is quite impossible for me to help seeing and being interested in my neighbours. There are a good many children in those houses; and though I don’t know one of their names, I know them a great deal better than they think I do. I never spoke a word to any of them, and never expect to do so; yet I have my likes and dislikes among them, and could tell them things that they have said and done, which would astonish them very much, I assure you.

First, the babies,–for there are three: the aristocratic baby, the happy-go-lucky baby, and the forlorn baby. The aristocratic baby lives in a fine, well-furnished room, has a pretty little mamma, who wears white gowns, and pink ribbons in her cap; likewise, a fond young papa, who evidently thinks this the most wonderful baby in Boston. There is a stout, motherly lady, who is the grandma, I fancy, for she is always hovering about ‘the dear’ with cups, blankets, or a gorgeous red worsted bird to amuse it. Baby is a plump, rosy, sweet-faced little creature, always smiling and kissing its hand to the world in general. In its pretty white frocks, with its own little pink or blue ribbons, and its young mamma proudly holding it up to see and be seen, my aristocratic neighbour has an easy life of it, and is evidently one of the little lilies who do nothing but blossom in the sunshine.

The happy-go-lucky baby is just able to toddle; and I seldom pull up my curtain in the morning without seeing him at his window in his yellow flannel night-gown, taking a look at the weather. No matter whether it rains or shines, there he is, smiling and nodding, and looking so merry, that it is evident he has plenty of sunshine bottled up in his own little heart for private use. I depend on seeing him, and feel as if the world was not right until this golden little sun rises to shine upon me. He don’t seem to have any one to take care of him, but trots about all day, and takes care of himself. Sometimes he is up in the chambers with the girl, while she makes beds, and he helps; then he takes a stroll into the parlour, and spins the gay curtain-tassels to his heart’s content; next, he dives into the kitchen (I hope he does not tumble downstairs, but I dare say he wouldn’t mind if he did), and he gets pushed about by all the busy women, as they ‘fly round.’ I rather think it gets too hot for him there about dinner-time; for he often comes out into the yard for a walk at noon, and seems to find endless wonders and delights in the ash barrel, the water-but, two old flower-pots, and a little grass plat, in which he plants a choice variety of articles, in the firm faith they will come up in full bloom. I hope the big spoon and his own red shoe will sprout and appear before any trouble is made about their mysterious disappearance. At night I see a little shadow bobbing about on the curtain, and watch it, till with a parting glimpse at a sleepy face at the window, my small sun sets, and I leave him to his dreams.

The forlorn baby roars all day, and I don’t blame him; for he is trotted, shaken, spanked, and scolded by a very cross nurse, who treats him like a meal bag. I pity that little neighbour, and don’t believe he will stand it long; for I see him double up his tiny fists, and spar away at nothing, as if getting ready for a good tussle with the world by and by, if he lives to try it.